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16th September Current Affairs

Andhra Pradesh Government launches YSR Sampoorna Poshana Scheme

In News:

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy launched YSR Sampoorna Poshana scheme and YSR Sampoorna Poshana Plus scheme. The schemes aim to provide nutritious food to lactating mothers and pregnant women.

Details:

The scheme will bring down malnutrition in vulnerable section. Around 30.16 lakh children and mothers are to be benefitted through the schemes. It will mainly focus on malnutrition and anaemia in pregnant and lactating mothers. The scheme will provide supplementary nutrition through Anganwadi centres.

Apart from this, the scheme is to cover 77 tribal areas. The State Government is to spend Rs 1,863 crores per annum towards the scheme. The scheme involves Rs 1,100 expenditure per beneficiary every month.

Background:

Around 52.9% of pregnant women in Andhra Pradesh are suffering from Anaemia. Also, 31.9% of children in the state are suffering from low birth weight and 31.4% of children are suffering from stunted growth.

The under-nutrition in tribal population in the state is mainly due to following reasons

Malnutrition in India:

According to Food and Agriculture Organization, there are around 194.4 million people in India that are under nourished. India ranked 102 among 117 in Global Hunger Index, 2019.

Central Government schemes:

The following schemes were launched by the Central Government to tackle malnutrition in the country

Global Initiatives:

The United Nations has included ending hunger as one of its Sustainable Development Goals that is to be achieved by 2030. The World Food Day is observed on October 16 to address the problem of Global Hunger.

UNICEF to lead procurement and supply operation of COVID-19 vaccine

In News:

In an attempt to ensure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine UNICEF has announced that it will be leading the procurement and supply of Corona Virus vaccines. The mission is said to be the world’s largest and fastest ever operation of its kind.

Why UNICEF has taken such step?

On behalf of around hundred countries, UNICEF procures more than two billion doses of various vaccines annually. Generally, these vaccines are meant for routine immunization and various other outbreak response. This makes the UNICEF world’s largest single vaccine buyer. Though in the current pandemic situation there are numerous vaccine candidates available but, the UNICEF in collaboration with PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) will lead these candidates. The UNICEF will procure on behalf of the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility. This purchase will help nearly 92 low and lower middle-income countries whose vaccine purchase mechanism is not so good.

Who all are participating in the operation?

92 Lower income economies along with 80 higher income economies have expresses their intent to participate in the COVAX facility. This huge operation involving more than 170 countries will be world’s largest and fastest ever operation of its kind. This giant operation will involve a partnership between governments, manufacturers and multilateral partners.

What is COVAX facility?

In its attempt to take control over the global pandemic a universal platform was setup in April this month to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine. COVAX onboard has nearly 165 countries which is nearly sixty percent of the world’s population.

Progress of vaccine so far:

Various researchers world-wide are on their toe working around the clock to find a vaccine against the COVID-19. Several vaccines are already in the trial phase. With all this good news, till date just one vaccine has reached up-to the final approval stage. Sputink-V erstwhile known as Gam-COVID-Vac is researched and developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow. The vaccine was approved by the Ministry of Health of the Russia Federation. However, the experts have growing concern with the vaccine efficacy and safety.

Who was Kesavananda Bharati?

In News:

Kesavananda Bharati, the man who lent his name to an iconic case as the petitioner, died on Sunday.

The landmark ruling in which the Supreme Court announced the basic structure doctrine was in the case of His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru and Ors v State of Kerala.

Who was Kesavananda Bharati? Why is he remembered?

He was the head seer of the Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district of Kerala since 1961.

He left his signature in one of the significant rulings of the Supreme Court when he challenged the Kerala land reforms legislation in 1970.

What was the case about?

The case was primarily about the extent of Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.

First, the court was reviewing a 1967 decision in Golaknath v State of Punjab which, reversing earlier verdicts, had ruled that Parliament cannot amend fundamental rights.

Second, the court was deciding the constitutional validity of several other amendments. Notably, the right to property had been removed as a fundamental right, and Parliament had also given itself the power to amend any part of the Constitution and passed a law that it cannot be reviewed by the courts.

Politically, the case represented the fight for supremacy of Parliament led by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

What happened then?

A 13-judge Bench was set up by the Supreme Court, the biggest so far, and the case was heard over 68 working days spread over six months. The basic structure doctrine was evolved in the majority judgment.

What did the court decide?

In its majority ruling, the court held that fundamental rights cannot be taken away by amending them.

While the court said that Parliament had vast powers to amend the Constitution, it drew the line by observing that certain parts are so inherent and intrinsic to the Constitution that even Parliament cannot touch it.

However, despite the ruling that Parliament cannot breach fundamental rights, 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.

Essentially, Kesavananda Bharati, lost the case. But as many legal scholars point out, the government did not win the case either.

What constitutes the basic structure?

The Constitutional Bench ruled by a 7-6 verdict that Parliament should be restrained from altering the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

The court held that under Article 368, which provides Parliament amending powers, something must remain of the original Constitution that the new amendment would change.

However, the court did not define the ‘basic structure’, and only listed a few principles — federalism, secularism, democracy — as being its part. Since then, the court has been adding new features to this concept.

‘Basic structure’ since Kesavananda:

The ‘basic structure’ doctrine has since been interpreted to include the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, Independence of the judiciary, doctrine of separation of powers, federalism, secularism, sovereign democratic republic, the parliamentary system of government, the principle of free and fair elections, welfare state, etc.

Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA)

In News:

19th meeting of Supreme Court -mandated Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) was held recently.

What is CCRGA? When was it set up?

As per the directions of Supreme Court in 2015, the Government of India had set up a three member body in 2016 to look into content regulation of government funded advertisements in all media platforms.

As per directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, states are mandated to set up their respective three member committees on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements.

Karnataka, Goa, Mizoram and Nagaland States have already constituted state-level Three Member Committees.

What are its powers?

It is empowered to address complaints from the general public and can also take suo-moto cognizance of any violation of the Supreme Court guidelines and recommend corrective actions.

The Committee may, if necessary, also decide to summon the concerned official of the Govt. agencies dealing with release of advertisements in the event of undue delay in responding to Committee’s notices.

Supreme Court Guidelines:

The content of government advertisements should be relevant to the government’s constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizen’s rights and entitlements.

The advertisement materials should be designed to meet the objectives of the campaign and to ensure maximum reach in a cost effective way.

It should be accurate and not presenting pre existing policies and products as new. The advertisement content should also not promote the political interests of the ruling party.

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