African swine fever
African Swine Fever (ASF) was first reported in Manipur in December 2020 and there have been no cases since. Illegal import of pigs might have introduced the infection to the state, officials of the state veterinary department suspect.
Recently, four districts of Mizoram have been declared as epicentres of the African swine fever (ASF).
About African Swine Fever (ASF):
ASF is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects domestic and wild pigs, typically resulting in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.
It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.
The mortality is close to 100 per cent, and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.
As of now, there is no approved vaccine, which is also a reason why animals are culled to prevent the spread of infection.
India faces numerous challenges in its bid to ban single-use plastics
The Indian government is planning to phase out single-use plastics leading to complete elimination. But concerns revolve around the availability of alternatives and plastic waste management systems.
In 2019, the Union government in a bid to free India of single-use plastics by 2022, had laid out a multi-ministerial plan to discourage the use of single-use plastics across the country.
A government committee has identified the single use plastic (SUP) items to be banned based on an index of their utility and environmental impact. It has proposed a three-stage ban:
The first category of SUP items proposed to be phased out are plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice-cream and ear buds, and thermocol that is used in decorations.
The second category, proposed to be banned from July 1, 2022, includes items such as plates, cups, glasses and cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays; wrapping and packing films used in sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packets; stirrers and plastic banners that are less than 100 microns in thickness.
A third category of prohibition is for non-woven bags below 240 microns in thickness. This is proposed to start from September next year.
It is not going to be an easy task given that close to 26,000 tons of plastic waste is generated across India every day, of which more than 10,000 tons stays uncollected.
A significant amount of plastic ends up in rivers, oceans and landfills.
What needs to be done?
The government has to do a thorough economic and environmental cost-benefit analysis.
The plan has to take into account social and economic impacts for the ban to be successful.
We need better recycling policies because resources are poor and there needs to be a much broader strategy.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (URBAN)
Anniversary event- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) was launched on 25th June, 2015.
About PMAY- Urban:
Launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) in Mission mode.
It envisions provision of Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.
The Mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals:
Ownership of houses:
Houses are to be allotted in the name of adult female members or in joint name and all houses to have toilet facility, drinking water and power supply. Preference is given to persons with disabilities, ST/ SC/ OBCs, minorities and transgender.
A total of 1.12 crore houses have been sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (U), of which 82.5 lakh houses have been grounded and around 48 lakh have been completed.
The Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949
The Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949 is being challenged before the Gujarat High Court, more than seven decades after it came into effect as the Bombay Prohibition Act.
The Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949:
Introduced by the then Bombay province as Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 to overhaul the law relating to intoxicating drugs and narcotics total prohibition.
It is an Act relating to the promotion and enforcement of alcohol prohibition in the Bombay State.
The Bombay state was divided into the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960.
Gujarat adopted the prohibition policy in 1960 and subsequently chose to enforce it with greater rigidity.
In 2011, it renamed the Act as Gujarat Prohibition Act.
Please note, the first hint at the prohibition of liquor was through the Bombay Abkari Act, 1878. This Act dealt with levying of duties on intoxicants, among other things and aspects of prohibition via amendments made in 1939 and 1947.
Rationale behind this law:
The state government says that it is “committed to the ideals and principles of Mahatma Gandhi and firmly intends to eradicate the menace of drinking liquor.”
How does the act rule?
Under the Act, a permit is mandatory to purchase, possess, consume or serve liquor.
The Act empowers the police to arrest a person for purchasing, consuming or serving alcohol without the permit with punishment ranging from three months to five years in prison.
What are the main grounds raised against prohibition of liquor and in favour of prohibition?
The right of privacy is violated, which was given voice by the Supreme Court in 2017 in Puttaswamy judgment. The Right is associated with the citizens’ right to eat and drink as per their choice.
Ground of manifest arbitrariness: The law grants health permits and temporary permits to out-of-state tourists. The petition says there are no intelligible differences in the classes thus being created by the state on who gets to drink and who does not and violates the Right to Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.
The following arguments indicate that such ban was the need of the hour:
The Constitution places a responsibility on all state governments to “at least contain, if not curtail, consumption of alcohol” (Article 47).
Strict state regulation is imperative to discourage regular and excessive consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol denudes family resources and reserves and leaves women and children as its most vulnerable victims. A social stigma at least as far as the family unit is concerned is still attached to the consumption of alcohol.
Vulnerable persons, either because of age or proclivity towards intoxication or as a feature of peer pressure, more often than not, succumb to this temptation.