Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Process of inclusion in ST list
- Armenia – Azerbaijan issue
- National List of Essential Medicines
- Financial Stability Development Council
- Breakfast Scheme
- Eastern Economic Forum
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Process of Inclusion in ST List
Context: The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister approved the addition of four tribes to the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST).
- Communities added to the list:
- The Hatti tribe in the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh
- The Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran hill tribes of Tamil Nadu, and
- The Binjhia tribe in Chhattisgarh, which was listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but
- A proposal to bring the Gond community, residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list was also proposed.
- This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community: Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari and Rajgond.
- The inclusion of synonyms for 11 tribes in Chhattisgarh and one tribe in Karnataka was also proposed so that variations in their spellings and pronunciations do not result in beneficiaries being left out of schemes.
- Synonyms approved ‘
- Betta-Kuruba’ as a synonym for the Kadu Kuruba tribe In Karnataka.
- In Chhattisgarh, synonyms for tribes like the Bharia (variations added include Bhumia and Bhuyian), Gadhwa (Gadwa), Dhanwar (Dhanawar, Dhanuwar), Nagesia (Nagasia, Kisan), and Pondh (Pond).
- Synonyms approved ‘
- With this decision, the number of Scheduled Tribes in the country has increased from 705 to 720.
- According to the 2011 census, the ST population in the country is 10.43 crore, which is 8.6% of the total population of the country.
Process of inclusion in ST list
- The criteria presently followed for specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe are:
- Indications of primitive traits,
- Distinctive culture,
- Geographical isolation,
- Shyness of contact with the community at large, and
- However, these criteria are not spelt out in the Constitution.
- The process of approval:
- Only those proposals which have been recommended and justified by concerned State Government / UT Administration can be processed further.
- Then it is concurred by Registrar General of India (RGI) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) for consideration.
- Then the list is sent to Cabinet for the final decision.
2 . Armenia – Azerbaijan Issue
Context: 49 soldiers of Armenia had been killed in the worst clashes with Azerbaijan since their war two years ago, but Russia said it had convinced the historic rivals to agree to a rapid ceasefire. After several hours of fierce border fighting overnight, Armenia appealed to world leaders for help, saying Azerbaijani forces were trying to advance on its territory.
About the conflict
- Christian majority Armenia and Muslim majority Azerbaijan have been in a state of near conflict for centuries, initially over religion but more recently concerning territorial disputes.
- The current crisis draws its roots from the early 1920s when Russia under Joseph Stalin conquered large parts of the Caucasus.
- At the time, Stalin placed the Armenian dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh into Azerbaijan.
- As the erstwhile USSR started to collapse in the late 1980s, nationalist forces on both sides started a battle for control over the disputed region.
- In 1991, ethnic Armenians in the region declared independence culminating in an all-out war three years later.
- By 1994, Armenia managed to drove Azerbaijani military out of Nagorno-Karabakh. The violence left tens and thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.
- Later that year, a Russian imposed ceasefire took effect but failed to resolve the underlying dispute. Clashes have broken out sporadically since then, most notably in 2020.
The peace process
- Although the enclave is still recognised internationally as Azerbaijani territory, it is dominated by ethnic Armenians and controlled by Armenian separatists who have declared it as the “Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast”.
- While the Armenian government does not recognize the region as independent, it does support the region politically and militarily.
- In 2018, Armenia went through a so-called Velvet Revolution in which its president at the time was peacefully deposed, leading to hopes that the conflict could be peacefully resolved.
- Although Armenia’s new president indicated that he was willing to settle the issue diplomatically, he later backtracked on his statements, arguing that Nagorno-Karabakh belonged to Armenia.
The current situation
- Although the current crisis has been simmering since 2020 after a six weeklong war left 6,500 people dead, relations were relatively subdued until early this year.
- In March, Azerbaijani forces seized territory in Farukh, an ethnic Armenian populated village. Because of its strategic location, the events in Farukh triggered concerns that Azerbaijan would make a play for the region, especially given that Russian forces were preoccupied with Ukraine.
- In April, an EU-backed mediation process established a brief period of peace, but by August, the situation escalated once again. On the third of that month, Baku launched an offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, alleging that an Armenian soldier was killed in the Lachin region.
- Earlier this week, Armenia claimed that Azerbaijani forces “launched intensive shelling, with artillery and large-calibre firearms, against Armenian military positions in the direction of the cities of Goris, Sotk, and Jermuk”.
- Elnur Mammadov, Azerbaijan’s deputy foreign minister, said: “Armenia has been shelling Azerbaijani military positions for a few weeks now. That shelling has been intensified over the last few days. Armenia has started amassing heavy weaponry and armaments along the deemed border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. What happened overnight is a large-scale provocation by the Armenian military against Azerbaijani positions as well as the shelling of employee and civilian infrastructure.”
- Reports indicate that at least 100 soldiers – 49 Armenian and 50 Azerbaijani — soldiers have been killed over the last one week.
- Russia, the US and Turkey have all reacted to the situation with concern.
3 . Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
Context: The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is not a military bloc, nor is it aimed at any one country or group, said officials underlining that SCO Summit will bring together 15 regional “strongmen”, including Russian President, Chinese President, Iranian President, Turkish President and Indian Prime Minister.
- This will be the first such summit with Russia since the Russian invasion in Ukraine, which has sparked sanctions by the U.S. and the EU and their partners, and the first time that China is stepping out for a multilateral conference since the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Both Russia and China came in for severe criticism on different issues at the G-7 Summit in June, and the optics of the SCO this year will be that of a counter to the western coalition: as all countries particularly targeted by the West — Russia, Iran, China, Belarus and Turkey — find a common cause.
- India is very clear that the SCO is not an organisation which is against any other bloc of countries or any other country.
- The SCO is a venture for constructive cooperation and peace and stability in the world.
- India will look closely at the Samarkand declaration for language on terrorism and the listing of terror groups such as the LeT and the JeM that target India, as well as the mention of connectivity initiatives involving the Chabahar port.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization, the establishment of which was announced on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan.
- It was preceded by the mechanism of the Shanghai Five.
- In June 2002, the Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was signed at a meeting of the Council of Heads of State in St. Petersburg, on September 19, 2003, entered into force.
- It is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation.
- Having begun as the Shanghai Five in 1996 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, it was rechristened as the SCO in 2001.
- The SCO entered into force on 19 September 2003.
- It is the world’s largest regional organization, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population, and more than 30% of global GDP.
- Secretariat: The SCO Secretariat, based in Beijing, is the main permanent executive body of the SCO.
- The SCO Secretary-General is elected to a three-year term.
- Bringing together the colorful and distinctive cultures of Central and South Asia, China and Russia it promotes mutual assistance and team spirit among staff and provides reliable support based on a stable administrative system that has taken shape over 15 years.
- The aim of SCO is to establish cooperation between member nations on:
- Security-related concern
- Resolving border issues
- Military cooperation
- Intelligence sharing
- Countering terrorism
- Countering American influence in Central Asia
- The official languages of the SCO are Chinese and Russian.
Members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
- Apart from the founding members, Uzbekistan joined the group later as a permanent member.
- India and Pakistan are the newest inclusion to the Organisation and it added another 1.45 billion people in the SCO making the group cover around 40 per cent of the global population.
- Both these nations signed the memoranda for becoming a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2016.
- The eight permanent members of the SCO are:
- The Heads of State Council (HSC) are the supreme decision-making body in the SCO.
Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS)
- The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Executive Committee, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
- The Director of SCO RATS Executive Committee has been elected to a three-year term.
4 . National List of Essential Medicines
Context: National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2022, was recently released by Union Health Minister.
- Twenty-six drugs, including the common gastrointestinal medicines ranitidine and sucralfate, have been excluded from the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2022.
- A total of 384 drugs are on the list with the addition of 34 drugs.
- Twenty-six from the previous list have been dropped.
- The medicines have been categorised into 27 therapeutic categories.
- The first NLEM was compiled in 1996 and was revised thrice in 2003, 2011, and 2015.
- Drugs deleted from the NLEM include medicines banned in India and those having reports of concerns on the safety profile.
- Drugs also go off the list if medicines with better efficacy or favorable safety profile and better cost-effectiveness become available.
- If the disease burden for which a medicine is indicated is no longer a national health concern, it is deleted from the NLEM.
- In case of antimicrobials, if the resistance pattern has rendered them ineffective, the drugs are taken off the list.
- The new list includes four drugs that are still under patent —
- Bedaquiline and delamind used in the treatment of multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis,
- Dolutegravir used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and
- Daclatasvir used in treating viral infections such as Hepatitis C, the Health Ministry said.
- No drugs used specifically for the treatment of COVID-19 have been made part of the list as the committee in charge of the list is of the view that the clinical trials to check the efficacy of the drugs are not yet conclusive.
- Ivermectin, mupirocin and nicotine replacement therapy have been added.
- Endocrine medicines and contraceptives fludrocortisone, ormeloxifene, insulin glargine and teneligliptin have been added to the list.
- Montelukast, which acts on the respiratory tract, and ophthalmological drug latanoprost figure in the list.
- Cardiovascular medicines dabigatran and tenecteplase are also in the list, as also medicines used in palliative care.
- The drugs in the NLEM are included in the schedule category and their price is regulated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
- Several antibiotics, vaccines and anti-cancer drugs will become more affordable with their addition to the list.
- Several antibiotics, vaccines, anti-cancer drugs and many other important drugs would become more affordable, and the “out-of-pocket expenditure” on health care would come down.
- The primary purpose of the NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects — cost, safety and efficacy.
- It also helps in optimum utilisation of healthcare resources and budget; drug procurement policies; health insurance; improving prescribing habits; medical education and drafting pharmaceutical policies.
- There is a need to enhance awareness regarding antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which is emerging as a big challenge for scientists and the community and there is a need to create awareness in society about AMR.
- The pharmaceutical industry in India is a strategic sector that is recognized around the world for providing affordable and high-quality medicines.
- The release of the NLEM, 2022, has come after a long gap of seven years, when it is recommended for an NLEM to be revised more frequently, every two-three year, to be responsive to changing health needs.
5 . Financial Stability Development Council
Context: Finance Minister stressed the need for the government and regulators to monitor financial sector risks and market developments on a continuous basis and take timely actions to mitigate vulnerabilities at a meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).
- Some systemic issues were deliberated upon by the council, such as early warning indicators for the economy and the administration’s preparedness to deal with them.
- The council also took note of the preparation in respect of financial sector issues to be taken up during India’s G20 Presidency in 2023.
- Improving the efficiency of the existing financial and credit information systems, issues of governance and management in Systemically Important Financial Institutions including Financial Market Infrastructures, and the strengthening of the cybersecurity framework in the financial sector were also discussed.
- A common KYC for all financial services, update and next steps on account aggregators, issues relating to power sector financing were also discussed along with the need for utilisation of the services of registered valuers by all government departments.
About Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)
- Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) is an apex-level body constituted by the government of India.
- The idea to create such a super regulatory body was first mooted by the Raghuram Rajan Committee in 2008.
- The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) has been constituted via GOI notification on 30th December 2010.
- It is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and its members are Governor, Reserve Bank of India; Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Secretary, Department of Financial Services; Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance; Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India; Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
- The Council deals with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development, inter–regulatory coordination, financial literacy, financial inclusion and macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates.
- No funds are separately allocated to the Council for undertaking its activities.
- The Council and its Sub-Committee (chaired by Governor, Reserve Bank of India) deliberate on agenda items proposed by any of the members of the Council which broadly include matters relating to financial stability, inter-regulatory coordination, and financial sector development.
- The Council/Sub-committee deliberates on these issues and suggests taking appropriate steps, as required.
6 . Breakfast Scheme
Context: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister launched the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme for students of Class I to V in government schools.
About the scheme
- The scheme covers around 1.14 lakh students in 1,545 schools which include 417 municipal corporation schools, 163 municipality schools and 728 taluk and village panchayat-level schools.
- A sum of ₹33.56 crore has been set apart for the scheme.
- The inauguration of the scheme marks an important milestone in the State’s history of providing free meals to school students.
How has the idea evolved?
- In November 1920, the Madras (now Chennai) Corporation Council approved a proposal for providing tiffin to the students of a Corporation School at Thousand Lights at a cost not exceeding one anna per student per day.
- The scheme, which was extended to four more schools and facilitated higher enrollment of students, suffered a setback in 1925 when the British government disallowed the expenditure on the supply of mid-day meals to students from the Elementary Education Fund.
- It was revived two years later, benefiting around 1,000 poor students in 25 schools.
- The concept saw a State-wide application in 1956 when the then Chief Minister K. Kamaraj decided to provide free noon meals to poor children in all primary schools across the State.
- The Budget for 1956-57 contained a provision for supplying midday meals to schoolchildren for 200 days a year, initially covering 65,000 students in 1,300 feeding centres.
- In July 1982, it was left to the then Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran to extend the programme to children in the 2-5 age group in Anganwadis and those in 5-9 age group in primary schools in rural areas.
- Subsequently, the scheme — now called Puratchi Thalaivar M.G.R. Nutritious Meal Programme — was extended to urban areas as well. Since September 1984, students of standards VI to X have been covered under the scheme.
- Over the years, there have been improvements to the programme.
- M. Karunanidhi, as Chief Minister during the short-lived Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Ministry (1989-91), introduced the provision of boiled eggs once every fortnight, starting June 1989.
- His successor, Jayalalithaa, in March 2013, extended the scheme by including variety meals along with masala eggs as per the children’s choice.
Number of beneficiaries of the programme
- As of now, there are nearly 46.7 lakh beneficiaries spread over 43,190 nutritious meal centres.
- This includes around 3,500 students of National Child Labour Project (NCLP) special schools.
- The State budget for 2022-23 has provided around ₹2,077 crore for the nutritious meal programme.
- Besides, because of the collaborative implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the nutritious meal programme, around 15.8 lakh children in the age group of 2+ to 5+ years receive nutritious meals.
Impact of the midday meal scheme on school education
- After the improved version of the mid-day meal scheme in 1982, the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) at primary level (standards I to V) went up by 10% during July-September 1982 as compared to the corresponding period in 1981.
- The rise in boys’ enrollment was 12% and in the case of girls, 7%, according to a publication brought out by the Tamil Nadu government on the launch of the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme.
- Likewise, attendance during July-September 1982 rose by 33% over the previous year’s figure.
- After the inauguration of the mid-day meal scheme in 1956, the number of primary schools went up from 15,800 in 1957 to 29,000 in 1962.
Where should the programme focus more?
- Anaemia is a major health problem in Tamil Nadu, especially among women and children, says the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5’s report.
- From 50% during the period of the 2015-16 NFHS-4, the prevalence of anaemia in children now went up to 57%.
- This and many other health issues can be addressed through the combined efforts of the departments of School Education, Public Health and Social Welfare and Women Empowerment.
- Based on expert advice, those in charge of the implementation of the ICDS and the nutritious meal programme can enhance the component of nutrition to those children having specific problems. The latest Breakfast Scheme is a step in this direction.
- Besides, a continuous and rigorous review of the progress of the scheme and nutritious meal programme should be carried out in a sustained manner.
7 . Eastern Economic Forum
Context: Russia hosted the seventh Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) Vladivostok. The four-day forum is a platform for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses into Russia’s Far East (RFE).
What is the Eastern Economic Forum?
- The EEF was established in 2015 to encourage foreign investments in the RFE.
- The EEF displays the economic potential, suitable business conditions and investment opportunities in the region.
- Agreements signed at the EEF increased from 217 in 2017 to 380 agreements in 2021, worth 3.6 trillion roubles. As of 2022, almost 2,729 investment projects are being planned in the region.
- The agreements focus on infrastructure, transportation projects, mineral excavations, construction, industry and agriculture.
Who are the major actors in the Forum? What are their interests?
- This year, the Forum aimed at connecting the Far East with the Asia Pacific region.
- China: China is the biggest investor in the region as it sees potential in promoting the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and the Polar Sea Route in the RFE.
- China’s investments in the region account for 90% of the total investments.
- Russia has been welcoming Chinese investments since 2015; due to the economic pressures caused by the war in Ukraine.
- The Trans-Siberian Railway has further helped Russia and China in advancing trade ties.
- The countries share a 4000-kilometer-long border, which enables them to tap into each other’s resources with some infrastructural assistance.
- China is also looking to develop its Heilongjiang province which connects with the RFE.
- China and Russia have invested in a fund to develop northeastern China and the RFE, through collaborations on connecting the cities of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe via a 1,080 metre bridge, supplying natural gas, and a rail bridge connecting the cities of Nizhneleninskoye and Tongjiang.
- South Korea: It has also been gradually increasing its investments in the region.
- South Korea has invested in shipbuilding projects, manufacturing of electrical equipment, gas-liquefying plants, agricultural production and fisheries.
- In 2017, the Export-Import Bank of Korea and the Far East Development Fund announced their intention to inject $2 billion in the RFE in a span of three years.
- Japan: It is another key trading partner in the Far East.
- In 2017, Japanese investments through 21 projects amounted to $16 billion.
- Japan identified eight areas of economic cooperation and pushed private businesses to invest in the development of the RFE.
- Japan seeks to depend on Russian oil and gas resources after the 2011 meltdown in Fukushima which led the government to pull out of nuclear energy.
- It also sees a market for its agro-technologies which have the potential to flourish in the RFE, given similar climatic conditions.
- However, the momentum of trade that existed with Shinzo Abe was lost with the leadership of Yoshihide Suga and Fumio Kishida.
- The trade ties between Japan and Russia are hindered by the Kuril Islands dispute as they are claimed by both countries.
- India: It seeks to expand its influence in the RFE.
- During the forum, India expressed its readiness in expanding trade, connectivity and investments in Russia.
- India is keen to deepen its cooperation in energy, pharmaceuticals, maritime connectivity, healthcare, tourism, the diamond industry and the Arctic.
- In 2019, India also offered a $1 billion line of credit to develop infrastructure in the region.
- Through the EEF, India aims to establish a strong inter-state interaction with Russia.
- Business representatives of Gujarat and the Republic of Sakha have launched agreements in the diamond and pharmaceuticals industry.
What does the EEF aim for?
- The primary objective of the EEF is to increase the Foreign Direct Investments in the RFE.
- The region encompasses one-third of Russia’s territory and is rich with natural resources such as fish, oil, natural gas, wood, diamonds and other minerals.
- The sparse population living in the region is another factor for encouraging people to move and work in the Far East.
- The region’s riches and resources contribute to five per cent of Russia’s GDP. But despite the abundance and availability of materials, procuring and supplying them is an issue due to the unavailability of personnel.
- The RFE is geographically placed at a strategic location; acting as a gateway into Asia.
- The Russian government has strategically developed the region with the aim of connecting Russia to the Asian trading routes.
- With the fast modernisation of cities like Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita and more, the government aims to attract more investments in the region. Russia is trying to attract the Asian economies in investing and developing the far east.
- The Ukraine war is a worrying issue as it affects the economic growth of the country. However, Russia believes that it can survive the economic crisis and the sanctions with the help of China and other Asian powers.
- Although, the EEF is an annual gathering, the forum comes at an opportune time for Russia who is dealing with the impact of the sanctions.
- Moreover, the coming together of countries like Myanmar, Armenia, Russia, and China seems like the forming of an anti-sanctions group in the international order.
Will India be able to achieve a balance between the EEF and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)?
- The U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and the EEF are incomparable based on its geographic coverage and the partnership with the host-countries.
- India has vested interests in both the forums and has worked towards balancing its involvement.
- India has not shied away from investing in the Russia-initiated EEF despite the current international conditions.
- India has given its confirmation and acceptance to three of the four pillars in the IPEF.
- The country understands the benefits of being involved in the development in the RFE but it also perceives the IPEF as a vital platform to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The IPEF also presents an ideal opportunity for India to act in the region, without being part of the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or other regional grouping like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- The IPEF will also play a key role in building resilient supply chains. India’s participation in the forum will help in disengaging from supply chains that are dependent on China and will also make it a part of the global supply chain network.
- Additionally, the IPEF partners will act as new sources of raw material and other essential products, further reducing India’s reliance on China for raw materials.
8 . Facts for Prelims
- Manasbal Lake is a freshwater lake located in Safapora area of Ganderbal District in Jammu and Kashmir, India.
- The name Manasbal is said to be a derivative of Manasarovar.
- Lake is encircled by four villages.
- The large growth of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) at the periphery of the lake (blooms during July and August) adds to the beauty of the clear waters of the lake.
- The Mughal Garden, called the Jaroka Bagh, (meaning bay window) built by Nur Jahan overlooks the lake.
- It is a good place for birdwatching as it is one of the largest natural stamping grounds of Aquatic birds in Kashmir and has the sobriquet of “supreme gem of all Kashmir Lakes”.
- The rootstocks of the lotus plant which are extensively in the lake are harvested and marketed and eaten by the local people.
- The lake is surrounded by the Baladar mountains on the east, by an elevated plateau known as ‘Karewa’ comprising lacustrine, fluviatile and loessic deposits on the north and bounded by the Ahtung hills in the south, which are used for limestone extraction.
- Important vegetation in the catchment of the lake comprises Orchards (apple, mulberry), some Platanus (Chinar trees) and Salix trees.
- Safar, a nearby village of Safapur which has a grove of Chinar trees, is known as Badshah Boni, royal Chinar, and was planted in imitation of the Nasim Bagh in Srinagar.
- Maize, mustard and wheat are generally the main crops grown in the agricultural lands of the catchment.
- In recent years, land use patterns have changed with more land used for horticulture and diversion of land for construction purposes
Laws against hate speech
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) has said that due to the lack of a specific law against hate speech and rumour mongering during polls, it has to resort to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Representation of the People (RP) Act to ensure that members of political parties do not make statements which can create disharmony in society.
- Hate speech has not been defined under any existing law in India.
- India prohibits hate speech by several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and by other laws which put limitations on the freedom of expression.
- Section 95 of the Code of Criminal Procedure gives the government the right to declare certain publications “forfeited” if the “publication … appears to the State Government to contain any matter the publication of which is punishable under Section 124A or Section 153A or Section 153B or Section 292 or Section 293 or Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code
- The Law Commission of India, in its 267th Report, had not made any recommendations with regard to whether the ECI ought to be conferred with the power to derecognise a political party for committing the “offence of hate speech”.
- Abhiram Singh case, held that “any appeal to vote or refrain from voting for a candidate on the grounds of religion, caste, race, community or language by a candidate or his agent to the electors would amount to corrupt practice under the 1951 Act”.
- Hate speech and rumours has the potential of provoking individuals or society to commit acts of terrorism, genocides, ethnic cleansing, etc.
Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)
- The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO)under Directorate General of Health Services,Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,Government of India is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India.
- Its headquarters is in New Delhi and has six zonal offices,four sub zonal offices,thirteen Port offices and seven laboratories spread across the country.
- The Drugs & Cosmetics Act,1940 and rules 1945 have entrusted various responsibilities to central & state regulators for regulation of drugs & cosmetics
- It envisages uniform implementation of the provisions of the Act & Rules made there under for ensuring the safety, rights and wellbeing of the patients by regulating the drugs and cosmetics.
- CDSCO is constantly thriving upon bringing out transparency, accountability and uniformity in its services in order to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of the medical product manufactured, imported and distributed in the country.
- Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, CDSCO is responsible for approval of Drugs, Conduct of Clinical Trials, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs in the country and coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organizations by providing expert advice with a view of bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
- Further CDSCO along with state regulators, is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.
PMAY – Gramin
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is a central government initiative aimed at providing affordable housing for all by the year 2022.
- It has two components Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Gramin or Rural (PMAY-G, also known as PMAY-R) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U).
- Objectives of PMAY gramin
- The primary goal of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin is to build pucca houses with basic amenities such as water, sanitation and electricity for those who do not have their own homes and those who live in kutcha houses or damaged houses.
- The central government has extended the rural housing scheme PMAY (Rural) for another two years till 31st March 2024 granting further financial assistance to achieve its target of building 2.95 crore low-cost homes.
- Subsidies under PMAY-G scheme
- Loans up to Rs. 70,000 from financial institution
- Interest subsidy of 3%
- Subsidy for the maximum principal amount is Rs. 2 lakhs
- The maximum subsidy payable for the EMI is Rs. 38,359
- Features and benefits
- Both the central and state governments share the cost of housing units in a 60:40 ratio in plain areas offering up to Rs. 1.20 lakh funding assistance for each unit
- The ratio of central and state cost sharing is 90:10 in the Himalayan states, North-Eastern states and Union Territories (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir with monetary aid up to Rs. 1.30 lakh for each unit
- 100% financing provided by the centre for Union Territories including the UT of Ladakh
- Beneficiaries get 90-95 days of employment under MGNREGA and Rs. 90.95 per day for unskilled labour
- The Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) parameters help identify PMAY-G beneficiaries, which are then verified by Gram Sabhas
- Financial support of Rs. 12,000 for construction of toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin (SBM-G) or other schemes
- Based on topography, climate, culture and other housing practices, beneficiaries can choose their house design
- Direct payments made to Aadhar-linked bank accounts or post office accounts electronically
- The minimum area or size of the housing units offered under this scheme increased from 20 sq.mt. to 25 sq. mt