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12th January Current Affairs

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

(GS-II: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies)

In News:

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the West Bengal chief secretary to get all children care institutions (CCIs) registered under the Juvenile Justice Act 2015.

Details:

Citing that it was mandatory for all CCIs to comply with the JJ Act, the NCPCR has sought an action taken report from the state within 10 days.

About NCPCR:

Set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

Definition: The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Under the RTE Act, 2009, the NCPCR can:

  • inquire into complaints about violation of the law.
  • summon an individual and demand evidence.
  • seek a magisterial enquiry.
  • file a writ petition in the High Court or Supreme Court.
  • approach the government concerned for prosecution of the offender.
  • recommend interim relief to those affected.

Composition:

This commission has a chairperson and six members of which at least two should be women.

All of them are appointed by Central Government for three years.

The maximum age to serve in commission is 65 years for Chairman and 60 years for members.

About Child Welfare Committees:

As per the Section 27(1) of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act), Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) are to be constituted by State Government for every district, for exercising the powers and to discharge the duties conferred on such Committees in relation to children in need of care and protection under JJ Act, 2015.

Composition of the committees:

The Committee shall consist of a Chairperson, and four other members as the State Government may think fit to appoint, of whom atleast one shall be a woman and another, an expert on the matters concerning children.

Eligibility conditions:

Chairperson and the members shall be above the age of thirty-five years and shall have a minimum of seven years of experience of working with children in the field of education, health, or welfare activities, or should be a practicing professional with a degree in child psychology or psychiatry or social work or sociology or human development or in the field of law or a retired judicial officer.

Quad- related issues

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

The newly signed Japan-Australia defence agreement should be welcome to New Delhi, but there also ought to be some concerns.

Concerns for India:

There could be a warning for New Delhi in these efforts, that others are stitching up formal, institutionalized security cooperation that leave India out.

With two new security treaties now in the region in the space of just a few months—AUKUS being the other—and more potentially on their way, New Delhi needs to consider seriously whether its continuing scepticism of closer security cooperation with others best serves India’s interest.

More problematically, it is another indicator that India has not entirely escaped its traditional aversion to external security partnerships even when the limitations of its domestic capacities are self-evident.

India’s changing attitude towards China:

The coalescing of the region around shared concerns about China should be satisfying to India.

Like many in the region, India has in the past waffled about China, but its position has shifted considerably over the last several years, as China’s general hostility and aggressiveness at the border has become clearer.

Nevertheless, New Delhi is still reactive and playing catch-up, essentially responding to China’s moves rather than taking the initiative.

What needs to be done?

One way to compensate for this all-but-certain future is to strengthen efforts to build international counterweights to China’s power.

While India might not need direct help from partners in the Himalayas, it does need such help on the maritime front.

But that help would be possible only when India overcomes its ambivalence to stronger and deeper security cooperation with its partners in the region that goes beyond simply holding military exercises.

What is Quad grouping?

The quadrilateral security dialogue includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.

The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.

Significance of the grouping:

Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.

Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.

National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)

(GS-III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights)

As per the ministry of science and technology’s annual year-end review:

Under the National Super-Computer Mission (NSM), four new Supercomputers have been installed since July 2021 at IIT-Hyderabad, NABI- Mohali, CDAC-Bengaluru and IIT Kanpur.

NSM provides access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) facilities to around 75 institutions and more than thousands of active researchers, academicians working through Nation Knowledge Network (NKN).

What is National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)?

It is being implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

Implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Focus of the mission:

The Mission envisages empowering national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.

These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is another programme of the government which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high speed network.

The Mission includes development of highly professional High Performance Computing (HPC) aware human resource for meeting challenges of development of these applications.

Achievements:

The first supercomputer assembled indigenously, called Param Shivay, was installed in IIT (BHU).

Similar systems Param Shakti and Param Brahma were installed at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune. They are equipped with applications from domains like Weather and Climate, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Bioinformatics, and Material science.

OSIRIS-REx and asteroid Bennu

(GS-III: Awareness in space)

In News:

OSIRIS-REx is bringing back an asteroid sample. It will arrive home in 2023, ejecting a capsule full of samples that may help eager scientists decipher the origin of Earth’s water and life.

Details:

The debris NASA’s asteroid-touching spacecraft collected could help us learn about the origins of our solar system.

Background:

On October 20th, 2021, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it is meant to collect samples of dust and pebbles and deliver them back to Earth in 2023.

What is the OSIRIS-REx mission?

OSIRIS-Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.

This is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid.

Launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018.

The departure window for the mission will open up in 2021, after which it will take over two years to reach back to Earth.

Asteroid Bennu:

The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.

Scientists believe that it was formed in the first 10 million years of the solar system’s formation, implying that it is roughly 4.5 billion years old.

Because of Bennu’s age, it is likely to contain material that contains molecules that were present when life first formed on Earth, where life forms are based on carbon atom chains.

Because of its high carbon content, the asteroid reflects about four per cent of the light that hits it, which is very low when compared with a planet like Venus, which reflects about 65 per cent of the light that hits it. Earth reflects about 30 per cent.

It classified as a Near Earth Object (NEO), might strike the Earth in the next century, between the years 2175 and 2199.

Site for sample collection:

NASA has selected a site located in a crater high in Bennu’s northern hemisphere designated “Nightingale”.

Why are scientists studying asteroids?

To look for information about the formation and history of planets and the sun since asteroids were formed at the same time as other objects in the solar system.

To look for asteroids that might be potentially hazardous.