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March 13, 2020
14 March Current Affairs
March 14, 2020
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13 March Current Affairs

Foundation Day of National Archives of India

In News:

Recently, on the occasion of 130th Foundation Day of National Archives of India, an exhibition “Jallianwala Bagh” was inaugurated, to mark the Jallianwala Bagh massacre centenary.

Key Points:

The present exhibition is primarily presented with the help of original and digital copies of archival documents relating to the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre available in National Archives of India.

This is an attempt to portray the relentless struggle of the Indian people against the British tyranny through our record holdings.

National Archives of India:

The National Archives of India is an attached office under the Ministry of Culture. It was established on 11 March 1891 at Kolkata (Calcutta) as the Imperial Record Department.

Following the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, the present building of the National Archives of India was constructed in 1926 which was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

The transfer of all records from Calcutta to New Delhi   completed in 1937. It is the nodal agency for the implementation of the Public Records Act, 1993 and Public Record Rules, 1997.

National Institute of Health & Family Welfare

In News:

Recently, the 43rd Annual Day of the National Institute of Health & Family Welfare (NIHFW) was organised.

On the occasion, the Union Health Minister emphasized that synergy and cooperation between institutions needed to counter India’s Public Health challenges.

Key Points:

The National Institute of Health & Family Welfare (NIHFW) is situated in Delhi and was established in 1977.

NIHFW is the premier organisation under Ministry Of Health and Family Welfare for capacity building through training of health professionals, frontline health workers such as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANMs) and other central and state officers & healthcare staff.

Accredited Social Health Activist:

An Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) is a community health worker instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as a part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The mission began in 2005.

ASHAs must primarily be female residents of the village that they have been selected to serve, who are likely to remain in that village for the foreseeable future.

National Judicial Pay Commission

In News:

Recently, a Supreme Court Bench has made it clear to the States and Union Territories (UTs) that recommendations made by the Second National Judicial Pay Commission to nearly triple the pay and allowances for subordinate judiciary should be implemented proactively.

The Supreme Court highlighted, in its February 28, 2020 order, that a financially self-sufficient subordinate judiciary was pivotal for the existence of an independent judiciary.

Second National Judicial Pay Commission:

The Commission was constituted in 2017 pursuant to the order of the Supreme Court in All India Judges Association case, under Article 32 (Constitutional Remedies) of the Constitution.

It is headed by former Judge of Supreme Court Justice P. Venkatrama Reddi.

Few of the objectives of the Commission are:

1) To evolve the principles governing the pay structure and emoluments of Judicial Officers belonging to the Subordinate Judiciary all over the country.

2) To examine the present structure of emoluments and conditions of services of Judicial Officers in the States and Union Territories and to make suitable recommendations including post-retirement benefits such as pension, etc.

3) To consider and recommend such interim relief as the Commission considers just and proper to all categories of Judicial Officers.

4) To make recommendations regarding setting up of a permanent mechanism to review the pay and service conditions of members of Subordinate Judiciary periodically by an independent Commission.

The Supreme Court observed that the Commission may consider, if necessary, sending reports on any of the matters as and when recommendations are finalised.

The Commission has been empowered to devise its own procedure and formulate the modalities necessary for accomplishing the task.

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)

In News:

As much as 67% of donations to national parties in 2018-19 came from “unknown sources,” an increase from 53% in the previous financial year, said a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

About:

The ADR analysed the income tax returns and donation statements submitted to the Election Commission by the BJP, the Congress, the Trinamool, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

The total income of the parties was ₹3,749.37 crore, of which ₹951.66 crore was from known donors. Of the total income from unknown sources, 64% went to the BJP and 29% to the Congress.

Electoral bonds accounted for 78% of the ₹2,512.98-crore income from unknown sources.

While parties are required to give details of all donations above ₹20,000, donations under ₹20,000 and those through electoral bonds remain anonymous.

Way ahead: “Since a very large percentage of the income of political parties cannot be traced to the original donor, full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI [Right to Information Act],” the ADR said in a statement.

Role of L-G and govt. intertwined: Madras HC

In News:

Madras High Court has set aside its own order restraining the L-G from interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government of the union territory.

Background:

Previously, On March 30, 2019, the Madras High Court had said that the L-G does not have the power to interfere in the day-to-day activities of the union territory.

LG also have doesn’t the right to seek any government documents from the Puducherry government.

Observations made by the High Court in its latest order:

The role of Puducherry’s Lieutenant Governor and that of an elected government in the Union Territory were intertwined as per law, and therefore they were expected to act in unison and not in division.

In the past judgment on this issues, the single judge had erred in holding that the Puducherry Legislative Assembly enjoys similar powers to that of a State legislature.

A government is “a trustee for the little man who should not have a perception that the running of the government is a gigantic conspiracy”.

What are the powers and sources of LG of Puducherry?

The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 provides for a Legislative Assembly of Pondicherry (as Puducherry was then called), with a Council of Ministers to govern the “Union Territory of Pondicherry”.

The same Act says that the UT will be administered by the President of India through an Administrator (LG).

Section 44 of the Act, says the Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister will “aid and advise the Administrator in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory has power to make laws”.

The same clause also allows the LG to “act in his discretion” in the matter of lawmaking, even though the Council of Ministers has the task of aiding and advising him.

What happens when there is a difference of opinion?

In case of a difference of opinion between the LG and his Ministers on any matter, the Administrator is bound to refer it to the President for a decision and act according to the decision given by the President.

However, the Administrator can also claim that the matter is urgent, and take immediate action as he deems necessary.

When prior sanction of the Administrator is required?

Under Section 22 of the Act, prior sanction of the Administrator is required for certain legislative proposals. These include Bills or amendments that the Council of Ministers intends to move in the Legislative Assembly, and which deal with the “constitution and organisation of the court of the Judicial Commissioner”, and “jurisdiction and powers of the court of the Judicial Commissioner with respect to any of the matters in the State List or the Concurrent List”.

It is also obligatory on the part of the UT government to seek the “recommendation” of the LG before moving a Bill or an amendment to provide for “the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax”, “the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken”, and anything that has to do with the Consolidated Fund of the UT.

Assent of LG?

Once the Assembly has passed a Bill, the LG can either grant or withhold his assent; or reserve it for the consideration of the President. He can also send it back to the Assembly for reconsideration.

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

In News:

The Centre has asked states and Union Territories to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, so that Health Ministry advisories are enforceable.

At present, at least 60 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in India.

What is Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897?

It is routinely enforced across the country for dealing with outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera.

It was introduced by colonial government to tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague that had spread in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency in the 1890s.

Why was this act criticised?

Historians have criticised the Act for its potential for abuse.

Using powers conferred by the Act, colonies authorities would search suspected plague cases in homes and among passengers, with forcible segregations, evacuations, and demolitions of infected places.

In 1897, the year the law was enforced, freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak was punished with 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment after his newspapers Kesari and Mahratta admonished imperial authorities for their handling of the plague epidemic.

Provisions of the 1897 Epidemic Diseases Act:

It empowers state governments/UTs to take special measures and formulate regulations for containing the outbreak.

It also empowers state to prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as it shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof.

The state may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any) shall be defrayed.

The State Government may take measures and prescribe regulations for the inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and the segregation, in hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease.

It also provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act. These are according to section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

It also gives legal protection to the implementing officers acting under the Act.

Examples of implementation:

In 2018, the district collector of Gujarat’s Vadodara issued a notification under the Act declaring the Khedkarmsiya village in Waghodia taluka as cholera-affected after 31 persons complained of symptoms of the disease.

In 2015, to deal with malaria and dengue in Chandigarh, the Act was implemented and controlling officers were instructed to ensure the issuance of notices and challans of Rs 500 to offenders.

In 2009, to tackle the swine flu outbreak in Pune, Section 2 powers were used to open screening centres in civic hospitals across the city, and swine flu was declared a notifiable disease.