Daily Current Affairs : 16th February 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Vibrant Villages Programme
  2. Mental Healthcare act 2019 –
  3. Roche Limit
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Vibrant Villages Programme  

Context: The Union Cabinet approved two decisions — raising of seven new ITBP battalions and allocated ₹4,800 crore under the Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) to stop migration and boost tourism in villages bordering China — to bolster social and security framework along the China border. 

What is Vibrant Villages Programme? 

  • The Cabinet had approved a Centrally sponsored scheme — the Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) for the financial years 2022-23 to 2025-26 with an allocation of ₹4,800 crore for development of villages on the northern border, thus improving the quality of life of people living in identified border villages. An amount of ₹2,500 crore of the allocated funds will be spent on roads.   
  • This scheme is a Comprehensive development of villages of blocks on northern border thus improving the quality of life of people living in identified border villages.   
  • The scheme will provide funds for development of essential infrastructure and creation of livelihood opportunities in 19 Districts and 46 Border blocks 4 states and 1 UT along the northern land border of the country which will help in achieving inclusive growth and retaining the population in the border areas. In the first phase 663 Villages will be taken up in the programme. 
  • The scheme aids to identify and develop the economic drivers based on local natural human and other resources of the border villages on northern border and development of growth centres on “Hub and Spoke Model” through promotion of social entrepreneurship, empowerment of youth and women through skill development and entrepreneurship, leveraging the tourism potential through promotion of local cultural, traditional knowledge and heritage and development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses on the concept of “One village-One product” through community based organisations, Cooperatives, SHGs, NGOs etc. 
  • This will help in encouraging people to stay in their native locations in border areas and reversing the outmigration from these villages adding to improved security of the border. 
  • Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by the district administration with the help of Gram Panchayats. 100 % saturation of Central and state schemes will be ensured. 
  • Key outcomes that have been attempted are, Connectivity with all-weather road, drinking water, 24×7 electricity – Solar and wind energy to be given focused attention, mobile and internet connectivity, Tourist centers, multi-purpose centers and health and wellness Centers. 
  • The scheme will not be overlap with Border Area Development Programme.

About ITBP

  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police was raised on October 24, 1962 for reorganizing the frontier intelligence and security set up along the Indo-Tibetan border. Only four Battalions were sanctioned to begin with. ITBP was initially raised under the CRPF Act. However, in 1992, parliament enacted the ITBPF Act and the rules there under were framed in 1994.
  • With additional tasks entrusted to ITBP from time to time on border guarding, counter-insurgency and internal security roles, the number of ITBP Battalions increased gradually and ITBP presently has 56 service Battalions, 4 Specialist Battalions, 17 Training Centres and 07 logistics establishments with a total strength of approx. 88,500 personnel.
  • In the year 2004, in pursuance of GoM recommendations on “One Border One Force”, the entire stretch of the India-China Border comprising 3488 Kms was assigned to the ITBP for Border Guarding duty and, accordingly, ITBP, replaced Assam Rifles in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in 2004.
  • The motto of the Force is “Shaurya-Dridhata-Karma Nishtha”.
  • CAPFs is a uniform nomenclature for the six Forces of the Union of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • These Forces are, the Assam Rifles (AR), the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

2 . Mental Health care Act 2017 

Context: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a report flagged the “inhuman and deplorable” condition of all 46 government-run mental healthcare institutions across the country. The report notes that the facilities are “illegally” keeping patients long after their recovery, in what is an “infringement of the human rights of mentally ill patients”. These observations were made after visits to all operational government facilities, to assess the implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 (MHA). 

About Mental health Care Act (MHA) 2017 

  • Mental healthcare act 2017 is an Act to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of such persons during delivery of mental healthcare and services and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Act superseded the previously existing Mental Health Act, 1987 that was passed on 22 May 1987. 

Key Provisions of the Act

  • As part of Section 19, the government was made responsible for creating opportunities to access less restrictive options for community living — such as halfway homes, sheltered accommodations, rehab homes, and supported accommodation.  
  • The Act also discourages using physical restraints (such as chaining), objects to unmodified electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), and pushes for the rights to hygiene, sanitation, food, recreation, privacy, and infrastructure.   
  • This Act also recognised “people have a capacity of their own — unless proven otherwise 
  • Under Section 5 of the Act, “people are empowered to make “advance directives”. They can nominate a representative for themselves, thereby potentially helping to eliminate absolute forms of guardianship in favour of supported decision-making. 
  • The act adopted the psychosocial approach to mental healthcare   
  • The Act acknowledged that external factors — such as income, social status, and education — impact mental well-being, and therefore, recovery needs a psychiatric as well as a social input. 
  • The Mental Healthcare Act 2017 aims at decriminalising the Attempt to Commit Suicide by seeking to ensure that the individuals who have attempted suicide are offered opportunities for rehabilitation from the government as opposed to being tried or punished for the attempt.

What are the challenges in the Act? 

  • While the Mental HealthCare Act safeguards the rights of people in mental healthcare establishments, enforcement challenges remain. Almost 36.25% of residential service users at state psychiatric facilities were found to be living for one year or more in these facilities, according to a 2018 report. Experts note three main reasons: non-compliance to MHA regulations, absence of community-based services, and social stigma that looks at a person with mental illness as a “criminal” deserving of incarceration.   
  • All States are required to establish a State Mental Health Authority and Mental Health Review Boards (MHRBs) — bodies that can further draft standards for mental healthcare institutes, oversee their functioning and ensure they comply with the Act. But in a majority of the States, “these bodies are yet to be established or remain defunct. Further, many States have not notified minimum standards which are meant to ensure the quality of MHEs. The absence of MHRBs renders people unable to exercise rights or seek redressal in case of rights violations 
  • The mental healthcare institutes did not routinely assess the condition of patients to ascertain if they can be discharged. It results in cases where people “languish” in mental hospitals for decades, if not years.
  • Poor budgetary allocation and utilization of funds further create a scenario where shelter homes remain underequipped, establishments are understaffed, and professionals and service providers are not adequately trained to deliver mental healthcare 
  • While the Act says a person can walk out if they are recovered, in practice, people still need somebody– a caregiver or the state — to take them out. People are either put in these establishments by families or through the police and judiciary. In many cases, families refuse to take them because of the stigma attached to incarceration or the idea that the person is no longer functional in society.  
  • Gender discrimination plays a role: women are more likely to be abandoned due to “family disruption, marital discords and violence in intimate relationships. Many long-term patients at mental healthcare institutions, especially women have no place to go — families do not want them back and some are even ask to stay on at the institution as they do not want to go back.  
  • Moreover, 55.4% of people who lived in mental healthcare facilities were referred to by the police or magistrates –most people have histories of homelessness, poverty, and a lack of education– and they thus have no place to go after recovery. The dearth of alternative community-based services — in the form of homes for assisted or independent living, community-based mental healthcare services, and socio-economic opportunities – further complicates access to rehabilitation. 

About the Mental Healthcare Act, 1987 

  • The law was described as “An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the treatment and care of mentally ill persons, to make better provision with respect to their property and affairs and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto” 
  • Mental Healthcare Act, 1987 has prioritised the institutionalisation of mentally ill people and did not afford any rights to the patient.  
  • This Act provided disproportionate authority to judicial officers and mental health establishments to authorise long-stay admissions often against the informed consent and wishes of the individual. As a result, several persons continue to be admitted and languish in mental health establishments against their will, 

3 . Roche Limit 

Context: Astronomers have found a ring around a dwarf planet, located in the Kuiper Belt at the solar system’s edge, called Quaoar, according to a new study. The ring, however, is positioned much further away from the planet than is usual and defies theoretical explanations. 

Findings of the study 

  • Study was published in the journal Nature, ‘A dense ring of the trans-Neptunian object Quaoar outside its Roche limit’, has been done by Bruno Morgado of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Bruno Sicardy of the Paris Observatory, and others. 
  • According to the study, the ring lies far away from the Roche limit — a mathematically determined distance beyond which rings aren’t supposed to exist. 
  • According to the researcher this study might force astronomers to rethink the laws governing planetary rings. 
  • The most intriguing part of the findings is the distance between Quaoar and its ring. Located 2,500 miles away from the dwarf planet, the ring is around 1,400 miles further away from the Roche limit, as per the calculations of the scientists. They suggest that at such a distance, the particles of the ring should have come together to form a moon.

About Quaoar

  • With an estimated radius of 555 km, Quaoar is roughly half the size of Pluto and orbits beyond Neptune. It also has a moon of its own, which is known as Weywot. As the dwarf planet is too small and too distant to be observed directly, the researchers detected the ring with the help of a phenomenon called stellar occultation.

How was the ring discovered? 

  • Rings of the planet was discovered with the help of stellar occultation 
  • A stellar occultation occurs when, as seen from Earth, a bright star passes behind a planet. This allows astronomers or anybody on Earth to observe the sharp silhouette of the planet for a brief period of time.  The phenomenon, which rarely occurs, is used by researchers to analyse a planet’s atmosphere and determine if it has a ring around it — in 1977, scientists discovered the Uranian ring system with the help of stellar occultation 
  • Team involved in the latest study examined Quaoar for around three years, between 2018 and 2021, through Earth-based and space-based telescopes. During these years, the dwarf planet passed in front of four stars, helping researchers observe the shadow of the eclipses. However, they also observed some dimming of the starlight before and after the star blinked out. That pointed to a ring obscuring part of the light,

What is the Roche limit? 

  • The Roche limit is the minimum distance to which a large satellite can approach its primary body without being torn apart by tidal forces 
  • For instance, The Earth’s gravity pulls on the moon. However, one side of the moon is closer to the planet and hence, the pull is stronger on the side facing the Earth. The result is the so-called tidal force, which either stretches or compresses the moon from all sides. Moon’s gravity helps to keep it together. It essentially counteracts the effect of the tidal force.  But when bringing the moon closer to the Earth, the tidal force will overcome the satellite’s gravity and then disintegrate it, turning the moon into a ring.  The minimum distance at which this happens is known as the Roche limit.  
  • It is named after the French astronomer Édouard Roche, who discovered the limit in 1848. 
  • The Roche limit doesn’t just exist between just the Earth and the moon. It is applicable to any planet and the celestial bodies around it. 
  •  The beautiful rings that you see around the planet Saturn are within the Roche limit and therefore, there are no moons in that area.
  • In 1992, comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 got too close to Jupiter, breaching the Roche limit, and was broken apart by the tidal force.  
  • Two years later, parts of it collided with the planet, providing the first direct observation of an extra-terrestrial collision of solar system objects. 

What is the reason behind Quaoar’s far-out ring? 

  • Researchers are not sure about how Quaoar’s ring has managed to remain stable at such a distance from the Roche limit 
  • It might be possible that Quaoar’s moon, Weywot, or some other unseen moon contributes gravity that somehow holds the ring stable.  
  • Another potential explanation can be that the particles of the ring are colliding with each other in such a way that they are avoiding to coalesce into a moon. 

4 . Facts for prelims 

Remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) 

  • It is a set of configurable elements consisting of a remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), the required command and control links and any other system elements as may be required, at any point during flight operation. 
  • In practical terms, a small RPAS can be visualized as having these configurable elements and characteristics:
    • An Remotely Piloted Aircraft;
    • Human-operated remote pilot station(s) usually located on the ground or on a ship, but which may be aboard another airborne platform;
    • A command and control system — sometimes called a communication, command and control system — that includes data links and other system elements (e.g., instruments and transponders on satellites and/or terrestrial cable networks) that connect the remote pilot station(s) to the RPA.
  • RPAS operators’ missions are: 
    • Security surveillance; 
    • Emergency response, including involvement in search and rescue (SAR), and delivery of medications and automated external defibrillators (AEDs); 
    • Enabling data communication and broadcast of information in remote areas; 
    • Small package and bulk cargo transport; 
    • Visual, spectral and thermal examination of structures; 
    • Monitoring of linear network infrastructure such as railway tracks, power lines and pipelines; 
    • Photography, videography, cinematography and cartographic survey; 
    • Agricultural fertiliser and chemical application; 
    • Aircraft external maintenance inspection and airport infrastructure inspection; and, 
    • Atmospheric research and documentation of global warming effects. 
    • RPAS can also offer a wide range of civil applications such as infrastructure surveillance, firefighting, disaster or environmental monitoring, as well as border control and management.   

I-T “survey 

  • I- T surveys are carried out under the various provisions of the I-T Act, 1961, such as Section 133A, which gives the I-T Department the power to carry out “surveys” to collect hidden information.  
  • The provision for surveys was incorporated into the Act through an amendment carried out in 1964. 
  • Section 133A allows an authorised officer to enter any place of business or profession or charitable activity within their jurisdiction to verify the books of account or other documents, cash, stock, or other valuable article or thing, which may be useful for or relevant to any proceeding under the Act. 
  • An I-T authority may, during the survey, make an inventory of any cash, stock, or other valuables; it may record the statements of anyone, or place marks of identification on the books and documents, or take their extracts or copies. 
  • The I-T authority may also “impound and retain any books of account or other documents after recording reasons for doing so”. 
  • However, to retain such books for more than 15 days (excluding holidays), prior approval of a senior officer, including the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner or Principal Director General or Director General or Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, must be obtained. 
  • The provisions for impounding or seizing the goods were introduced only by the Finance Act, 2002. 

What is I-T “search”? 

  • A “search” typically refers to what is called a “raid” — although the word ‘raid’ has not been defined anywhere in the Income-Tax Act. However, “search” has been defined under Section 132 of the Act. 
  • Under this Section, the I-T Department can carry out a process of inspection by entering and searching any building where it has reasons to believe someone is in possession of undisclosed income or property like money, bullion, gold. 
  • An I-T search can even be carried out when “any person to whom a summons or notice…has been or might be issued will not, or would not, produce or cause to be produced, any books of account or other documents which will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding” under the Act. 

what is the difference between a “search” and a “survey” ? 

  • While in common parlance, people often use these two words (and also “raid”) interchangeably, they are defined differently, and they denote different things. Broadly speaking, a search is a more serious proceeding than a survey, with larger consequences. 
  • Search, as defined under Section 132, can take place anywhere within the jurisdiction of the authorized officer.  
  • A survey under Section 133A(1) can only be conducted within the limits of the area assigned to the officer — or at any place occupied by any person in respect of whom he exercises jurisdiction — at which a business or profession, or an activity for a charitable purpose, is carried on. 
  • Also, surveys can be carried out only during working hours on business days, whereas a search can happen on any day after sunrise and continue until the procedures are completed. 
  • Finally, while the scope of a survey is limited to the inspection of books and verification of cash and inventory, in a search, the entire premises can be inspected to unravel undisclosed assets, with the help of police. 

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action