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26 July Current Affairs

Speaker disqualifies three rebel MLAs

In News:

Two days after the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government lost the trust vote, Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly K.R. Ramesh Kumar disqualified three rebel legislators from their Assembly membership with immediate effect till the end of the 15th Vidhana Sabha.

Details:

The disqualification of the three MLAs, which is open to a judicial review, brings down the strength of the Assembly to 222, including the nominated member.

“They have been disqualified with immediate effect and till the expiry of the legislative Assembly (2023 or otherwise if dissolved early). They cannot enter the 15th legislative Assembly again,” the Speaker said.

The disqualification has been initiated against them under paragraphs of 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution read with Article 191(2).

Legal Provisions for the disqualification:

The disqualification was as per the provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951. The Representation of the Peoples act defines the corrupt practices for the disqualification of the elected representative.

Under the section 125 (4) of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951, The publication by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent, of any statement of fact which is false, and which they either believes to be false or does not believe to be true, in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature, or withdrawal, of any candidate, would be reasonably calculated to prejudice the prospects of that candidate’s election and it constitutes corrupt practice.

Is State heading for President’s rule?

In News:

Karnataka seems to be heading towards a period of President’s rule as the chances of the passage of the Finance Bill before the end of month seems to be bleak given the current political atmosphere.

Details:

The vote on account providing government to spend routine expenditure through an appropriation Bill is only till July 31, and without the passage of the Finance Bill, the State government will come to a standstill — an unprecedented situation for the State.

After the fall of the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition, the BJP, which was widely expected to stake claim to form the government, is yet to make its move, leaving less than six days to get the Bill passed.

In case the State Assembly fails to meet within the time frame, the Parliament can pass it after suspending the State legislature.

About President’s Rule:

Under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, the Union government can take over the affairs of the state government when state government is unable to function according to the constitutional provisions. This is called as President’s rule in the state.

President’s Rule in a state can continue for 6 months.

It can be extended, with the approval of both the houses done every 6 months, for a maximum of 3 years

For President’s rule to continue over a year every 6 months following conditions should be met:

  1. There should already be a National emergency across the country, or in the whole or any part of the state.
  2. The Election Commission of India should certify that the conduct of elections is not possible in the concerned state.

EC sets up teams to probe VVPAT mismatch in Lok Sabha election

In News:

After reports of mismatches between the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips and the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) count in eight cases during the Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission has set up teams to probe seven of the cases.

Details:

Of the 1.25 crore VVPAT slips counted, 51 or 0.0004% of the total saw a mismatch, according to facts shared by the EC on July 21.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT):

The VVPAT is a method that provides feedback to voters after they cast their votes in EVMs. It is independent verification printer machine attached to EVMs. It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate. Thus, ensure free and fair elections.

In the VVPAT system, when voter presses button for candidate of his choice in EVM, a paper slip containing serial number, name of candidate and poll symbol will be printed for voter. The paper slip will be only visible to voter from glass case in VVPAT for seven seconds, after that slip will be cut and dropped into drop box in VVPAT machine. VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

Purpose of VVPAT:

VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for EVM designed to (i) allow voters to verify that their votes are casted correctly, (ii) detect possible election fraud or malfunction and (iii) Provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.

Monsoon diseases: H1N1 biggest killer

In News:

In a trend that has become a cause for concern for health authorities in Maharashtra, nearly 82% of deaths.

About H1N1:

  • Swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus, is a relatively new strain of an influenza virus that causes symptoms similar to the regular flu.
  • The H1N1 infection was originally transmitted through contact with pigs, but now it can be spread from person to person.
  • Its symptoms, which include fever, coughing, a sore throat, and body ache, are similar to the regular flu.
  • But if not treated, the H1N1 infection can lead to more serious conditions, including pneumonia and lung infections.
  • The risks are especially high for children under the age of five and the elderly.

What was the measure taken by the government in the past?

  • The quadrivalent vaccine for active immunisation of adults of age 18 to 64 years was approved in May 2018 by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
  • For years, flu vaccines were designed to protect against three different flu viruses (trivalent vaccines).
  • Trivalent vaccines include an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and one influenza B virus.
  • However, the quadrivalent flu vaccine will contain four influenza virus strains (two influenza A subtypes and two influenza B subtypes — H1N1 and H3N2, and Victoria and Yamagata respectively).
  • The viruses used in the vaccine are killed and this eliminates the possibility of the virus in the vaccine itself causing infection.
  • However, most public health programmes are not prepared for a mass adoption of this vaccine.
  • There are also reports of non-availability of sufficient doses of quadrivalent vaccine.

IMD withdraws red alert

In News:

The India Meteorological Department has withdrawn the red alert issued to Kodagu district in anticipation of heavy to very heavy rain.

About IMD:

  • It is an agency of Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • It is responsible for meteorological observations, seismology and weather and climate related forecasts for the country.
  • It is mandated to warn against severe weather phenomenon like cold and heat-waves, dust storms, cyclones, heavy rain and snow and others.

Cyclone warnings:

The four stages of cyclone warnings in India are:

  • The First Stagewarning Pre Cyclone Watch, issued 72 hours in advance. It contains an early warning about the development of a cyclonic disturbance in the north Indian Ocean, its likely intensification into a tropical cyclone and the coastal belt likely to experience adverse weather.
  • The second stage warning is Cyclone Alert, is issued at least 48 hrs in advance of the expected commencement of adverse weather over the coastal areas. It contains information about the location and intensity of the storm likely direction of its movement, intensification, coastal districts likely to experience adverse weather and advice to fishermen, the general public, media and disaster managers.
  • The Third Stage warning is Cyclone Warning, issued at least 24 hours in advance of the expected commencement of adverse weather over the coastal areas and the landfall point is forecasted at this stage.
  • The Fourth Stage of warning is Post Landfall Outlook and it gives likely direction of movement of the cyclone after its landfall and adverse weather likely to be experienced in the interior areas.

National Data Quality Forum (NDQF)

In News:

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) launched the National Data Quality Forum (NDQF) to improve data collection and use.

About:

Launched by: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute for Medical Statistics (ICMR-NIMS), in partnership with Population Council.

Purpose:

NDQF will integrate learnings from scientific and evidence-based initiatives and guide actions through periodic workshops and conferences.

Its activities will help establish protocols and good practices of data collection, storage, use and dissemination that can be applied to health and demographic data, as well as replicated across industries and sectors.

Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP)

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved the determination of ‘Fair and Remunerative Price’ of sugarcane payable by sugar mills for 2019-20 sugar season.

About: 

Background: Price of sugarcane is fixed by the centre/State, while the price of sugar is market determined.

What is it? Fair and remunerative price (FRP) is the minimum price at which rate sugarcane is to be purchased by sugar mills from farmers.

Who determines it? The FRP is fixed by Union government on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Rules: The ‘FRP’ of sugarcane is determined under Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966.

Methodology: Recommended FRP is arrived at by taking into account various factors (cost of production, demand-supply situation, domestic & international prices, inter-crop price parity etc.

Benefits: FRP assures margins to farmers, irrespective of whether sugar mills generate a profit or not.

This will be uniformly applicable all over the country. Besides FRP, some states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, UP and TN announce a State Advised Price, which is generally higher than the FRP.

Sugar buffer stock:

The Cabinet has also approved the creation of buffer stock of 40 lakh Metric Tonnes of sugar for one year from the 1st of next month.

The decision will lead to an improvement in the liquidity in sugar inventories and stabilization in sugar prices.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy

In News:

IBBI has amended the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016 and the IBBI (Model Bye-Laws and Governing Board of Insolvency Professional Agencies) Regulations, 2016 with effect from 23rd July, 2019.

About: 

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board India (IBBI) notified regulations related to the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019, and the IBBI (Model Bye-Laws and Governing Board of Insolvency Professional Agencies) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019.

Amendments made by the IBBI (Insolvency Professionals) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019 are: 

An insolvency professional shall not accept any assignment as resolution professional, liquidator, bankruptcy trustee, authorised representative under the Insolvency and bankruptcy Code, 2016 unless he holds an ‘Authorisation for Assignment’ issued by his Insolvency Professional Agency. This is effective from 1st January, 2020.

An insolvency professional shall not engage in any employment when he holds an Authorisation for Assignment or when he is undertaking an assignment.

Amendments made by the IBBI (Model Bye-Laws and Governing Board of Insolvency Professional Agencies) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019:

An Insolvency Professional Agency shall issue/renew an Authorisation for Assignment to insolvency professionals in accordance with its Bye-laws.

An insolvency professional shall be eligible to obtain an Authorisation of Assignment if he has not attained the age of seventy years.

An individual may serve as an independent director on the Governing Board of an Insolvency Professional Agency up to the age of 75 years.

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