Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Voice of Global South Summit
- NDRF and SDRF
- Rural Health Statistics report
- Basic Structure
- Facts for Prelims
We have restarted CA MCQs. We strongly suggest you to attempt the Current Affairs MCQs as it will help you to revise Current Affairs better. It covers CA from Hindu, Indian Express and PIB.
1 . Voice of Global South Summit
Context: Inaugurating the Voice of the Global South Summit, a virtual event, Mr. Modi said, the Global South does not have an adequate voice in the “eight decades-old models of global governance” and that it should shape the “emerging order”.
What is Global South?
- Global South refers to the developing and the less-developed countries of the world.
What is the Voice of the Global south summit?
- The Voice of Global South Summit, a new initiative of the Indian government months after it took on the presidency of the G20, brought together the leaders of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guyana, Mozambique, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
- Summit envisages bringing together countries of the global south and sharing their perspectives and priorities on a common platform across a whole range of issues.
- More than 120 countries are being invited for this Summit.
- Theme of the Summit is ‘Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose’
- Summit will have eight ministerial sessions including finance, energy, education, foreign affairs, and commerce.
- Initiative is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabha Vikas, Sabka Vishwas Aur Sabka Prayas and India’s principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
- Summit is considered a “unique and new initiative” which will generate ideas that will be taken forward at the Global level.
- Indian leadership has emphasised that it will act as the representative of the Global South during its G20 presidency.
- Summit will articulate the views of the developing countries regarding the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
- The Global South has the largest stakes in the future. Most of the global challenges have not been created by the Global South. But they affect them more. It is essential that other countries need to respond to the priorities of the Global South, recognise the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, respect international law and territorial sovereignty, and reform international institutions including the UN.
Role of India
- Summit is India’s endeavour to provide a common platform to deliberate on these concerns that affect the developing nations.
- India will work to ensure that the valuable inputs generated from partner countries in the Voice of Global South deliberations receive due cognizance globally.
- India’s ongoing G20 Presidency provides a special and strong opportunity to channelise these inputs into the deliberation and discourse of the G20.
Theme of the Ministerial sessions
- Finance Ministers’ Session on “Financing People-Centric Development”
- Environment Ministers’ Session on “Balancing Growth with Environment-Friendly Lifestyles (LiFE)”
- Foreign Ministers’ Session on “Priorities of the Global South – Ensuring a Conducive Environment”
- Energy Ministers’ Session on “Energy Security and Development- Roadmap to Prosperity”
- Health Ministers’ Session on “Cooperation to Build Resilient Healthcare Systems”
- Education Ministers’ Session on “Human Resource Development and Capacity Building”
- Commerce and Trade Ministers’ Session on “Developing Synergies in the Global South – Trade, Technology, Tourism and Resources”
- Foreign Ministers’ Session on “G-20: Suggestions for India’s Presidency”
2 . National and State Disaster Response Force
Context: The Uttarakhand government informed the Delhi High Court on that the State authorities were in the process of rehabilitating families affected due to land subsidence in Joshimath and said the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the area and that a rehabilitation package was also being prepared.
- Recently Joshimath has been declared a landslide-subsidence zone and over 60 families living in uninhabitable houses in the sinking town have been evacuated to temporary relief centres.
- People were evacuated and relief packages were given out to them.
- It was claimed that construction activities undertaken by the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways; Power; and New and Renewable Energy, in the town of Joshimath had worked as a catalyst to land subsidence and “violated” the fundamental rights of the residents there.
What is National disaster Response Force?
- The mid-nineties and the subsequent decade saw much international debate & discussion around Disaster Response & Preparedness. Some of the notable and more impactful ones were the Yokohama Strategy Plan (1994) & the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005), adopted by the UN.
- During the same period, India faced some of its most severe natural calamities like the Orissa Super Cyclone (1999), the Gujarat Earthquake (2001), and Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004).
- This succession of events and the international environment brought to fore, the need for the comprehensive disaster management plan.
- This led to the enactment of the Disaster Management Act on December 26th, 2005.
- The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was constituted to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management.
- The NDRF was constituted under Section 44 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for a specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
- The Disaster Management Act has statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
- Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted with 8 Battalions. At present, NDRF has a strength of 12 Battalions with each Battalion consisting of 1149 personnel.
- In the beginning, the personnel of NDRF were deployed for routine law and order duties also.
- In a meeting of the NDMA with the Prime Minister on October 25, 2007, the need of NDRF being made a dedicated force was highlighted and accepted.
- This led to the notification of NDRF Rules on February 14th, 2008, making NDRF a dedicated force for disaster response related duties, under the unified command of DG NDRF.
- At present, NDRF comprises 12 battalions, with each battalion consisting of 1149 personnel. All the 12 battalions are in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh.
What is State Disaster Response Force?
- As per Section 3.4.5 of National Policy on Disaster Management 2009, the State Governments are required to raise their own SDRF for quickly responding to disasters.
- As per information available, 24 State/UTs have raised their SDRF. These SDRF are placed strategically at suitable locations well connected to the airport, rail heads and roads for their immediate deployment at the disaster sites.
- The SDRF are also be used for Community Capacity Building and Awareness Generation programmes within the State.
- During these programmes, SDRF can familiarize themselves with terrain, critical buildings and other existing infrastructure for prompt responses at the time of disasters and simultaneously work with the community, including school children, village volunteers and other stakeholders on what to do during disasters.
2 . Rural Health Statistics Report
Context: India is reeling under an acute shortage of specialist doctors, with a shortfall of nearly 80% of the required specialists at Community Health Centres (CHCs), reveals the Rural Health Statistics report published by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
What is Rural Health statistics Report?
- Rural Health Statistics 2021-22 is an annual publication of MoHFW since the year 1992.
- It provides the data on health infrastructure including manpower up to 31st March of every year.
- The publication is based on the data uploaded by States/UTs on HMIS portal and published only after getting verified by respective States/UTs.
- It would serve as a vision document in identifying the gaps in the existing Healthcare Infrastructure and Human Resources in rural, urban and tribal areas of the country and will serve as an important source of information for citizens too.
RHS Report 2021-2022
- The Rural Health Statistics report shows that there is a shortfall of more than 80% of the required surgeons and paediatricians in the 6,064 Community Health Centres across the country
- As per the RHS report, there are 6,064 CHCs across India and the Health Ministry has been unsuccessful in meeting the requirement for specialist doctors in most of these centres.
- The current position of specialists at the CHCs reveals that as of March 31, 2022, of the sanctioned posts, 71.9 % of surgeons, 63% of obstetricians and gynaecologists, 67.5% of physicians and 69.7% of paediatricians are vacant.
- Overall, 67.8% of the sanctioned posts of specialists at the CHCs are vacant. Importantly, there has been no change in the specialist shortfall between 2021 and 2022 with the shortage percentage being almost the same – 79.9% in 2021 and 79.5 % in 2022.
- The RHS report states that this is even though, in 2005, the number of specialist doctors in CHCs was 3,550- a 25% increase to 4,485 in 2022. However, with the number of CHCs growing, the requirement for specialist doctors required to make the centers functional has also increased.
- “Requirements of specialist doctors in CHCs has increased by 63.8%, whereas there is only an increase of 26.3% in the actual number of in-position specialists,” the report notes.
- The report also recommends that nursing orderlies be trained in the assistive procedures required for surgery and funds be provided for outsourcing and providing support services according to the need of each centre.
- “Apart from specialist doctors, there is also a shortage of female health workers and auxiliary nursing midwives, with upto 14.4% of these posts lying vacant in primary health centres and sub-centres,”
What are CHCs?
- CHCs which constitute the secondary level of health care were designed to provide referral as well as specialist health care to the rural population.
- Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) for CHCs were first released under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in early 2007 and are mandated to provide specialised medical care of surgeons, obstetricians, gynaecologists, physicians and paediatricians to the village population.
3 . Basic Structure of the Constitution
Context: Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar Wednesday sparked a debate on the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary. He criticised the Supreme Court once again, for using the doctrine of basic structure to strike down the constitutional amendment that introduced the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act.
What is the basic structure doctrine?
- The Doctrine of Basic Structure is a form of judicial review that is used to test the legality of any legislation by the courts.
- The doctrine was evolved by the Supreme Court in the 1973 landmark ruling in Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala. In a 7-6 verdict, a 13-judge Constitution Bench ruled that the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution is inviolable, and could not be amended by Parliament
- If a law is found to “damage or destroy” the “basic features of the Constitution”, the Court declares it unconstitutional. The test is applied to constitutional amendments to ensure the amendment does not dilute the fundamentals of the Constitutional itself.
- The test is widely regarded as a check on majoritarian impulses of the Parliament since it places substantive limits on the power to amend the Constitution
How was the doctrine developed?
- The Kesavananda ruling was a culmination of a series of tussles between the judiciary and the executive led by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. After a reversal of key legislation including land reforms; nationalization of banks; abolition of the privy purse- the Parliament brought in a constitutional amendment to give itself the power to amend any part of the Constitution and passed a law that it cannot be reviewed by the courts.
- The Court had to then examine the scope of the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution and the legality of the land reforms. The 13-judge bench gave 11 separate judgments, and the doctrine was culled out as the majority opinion in the case.
- The Court ruled that while Parliament has vast powers to amend the Constitution, it cannot amend certain “basic features.” On land reforms, the Court upheld the amendment that removed the fundamental right to property. The court ruled that in spirit, the amendment would not violate the “basic structure” of the Constitution.
- The origins of the basic structure doctrine are found in the post-war German Constitution law which, after the Nazi regime, was amended to protect some basic laws. Jurist Nanbhoy Palkhivala who appeared against the government relied on the writings of Professor Dietrich Conrad in support of the basic structure doctrine.
What are the basic features of the Indian Constitution?
- In the Kesavananda ruling, the Supreme Court cited several aspects of the Constitution that could be identified as “basic features” of the document but added that it was not an exhaustive list.
- For example, judicial review, rule of law, federalism, and democratic republic structure are identified as basic features.
- In the 2015 ruling where the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and the related Constitutional Amendment, “judicial independence” was identified as a basic feature of the Constitution.
- The five-judge bench struck down the amendment passed with an overwhelming majority by the Parliament (with just one member abstaining) by applying the basic structure doctrine. This, Dhankhar referred to as the judiciary undermining the sovereignty of the Parliament.
Why is the doctrine criticised?
- Vice President Dhankhar’s remarks reflect the criticism often made against the doctrine and its application: that it is not found in the text of the Constitution itself. By evolving a test, which is not a textual application of judicial review, an argument is made that the judiciary is encroaching on the Parliament’s powers.
- Some critics of the doctrine, like senior advocate Raju Ramachandran have argued that the power of “unelected judges” to strike down amendments to the Constitution on the basis of this doctrine is “anti-democratic and counter-majoritarian
- However, legal scholarship over the years has defended the legitimacy of the test. In his book-length defence of the basic structure doctrine, Dr Sudhir Krishnaswamy, the Vice Chancellor of National Law School of India University, Bangalore argues that the doctrine rests on a sound structural interpretation of the Constitution. Krishnaswamy in his book Democracy and Constitutionalism in India notes that even some skeptics of the doctrine have turned around over the years.
- For example, Justice YV Chandrachud, former Chief Justice of India found himself in the minority in the Kesavananda Bharati ruling. However, in subsequent rulings where the Court applied the test, Justice Chandrachud applied the doctrine to limit Parliament’s powers.
5 . Facts for Prelims
Human Right’s World Watch Report
- World Report 2023 is an annual report prepared by Human Rights Watch
- This World Report summarizes human rights conditions in over 100 countries and territories worldwide in 2022.
- Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization headquartered in New York City that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.
- In the section on India, the HRW said authorities throughout India arrested activists, journalists, and other critics of the government on what it called “politically motivated” criminal charges, including that of terrorism.
- The report added that rights groups were harassed by Indian authorities throughout the country through tax raids, the use of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, and other allegations of financial irregularities.
- The HRW noted the increasingly liberal steps taken by the Supreme Court in India, citing the ruling to halt all use of the colonial-era Sedition law, which it said, “has repeatedly been used to arrest critics of the government”.
- It also referred to the top court’s ruling on extending abortion rights to all women regardless of marital status and to people other than cisgender women, hailing the court for widening the definition of a family to include same-sex couples, single parents, and other households
Article 141 of the Indian constitution
- Article 141 of the Constitution of India stipulates that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all Courts within the territory of India.
- Thus, the general principles laid down, by the Supreme Court are binding on each individual including those who are not a party to an order.
- Recently this Article was criticized for the dilution of parliamentary sovereignty