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31 May Current Affairs

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

In News:

The Supreme Court urged the Assam State National Register of Citizens (NRC) Coordinator to ensure that those who have appealed against non-inclusion of their names in the NRC must get a fair hearing, and due process should be followed.

Details:

Indirectly referring to reports of a Kargil war veteran being declared a foreigner, the Vacation Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Aniruddha Bose said reports were “disturbing and the media is not always incorrect.”

“Do not cut short the process just because you have to meet the deadline of July 31,” Justice Gogoi told NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela. But the court reiterated its consistent stand that the publication of the final list should not go beyond July 31.

“There is a deadline. But do not cut short and just complete the process only to complete it. Merely disposing of 70% claims till today is not good unless the disposal is properly done,”

About National Register of Citizens (NRC) of Assam:

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the list of Indian citizens of Assam. It was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951.

For a person’s name to be included in the updated NRC list of 2018, he/ she will have to furnish:

Existence of name in the legacy data: The legacy data is the collective list of the NRC data of 1951 and the electoral rolls up to midnight of 24 March 1971.

Proving linkage with the person whose name appears in the legacy data.

Why was it updated?

The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013. In order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas, NRC updation was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.

Why is March 24, 1971 the cut-off date?

There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.

Who is a citizen in Assam?

The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended after the Assam Accord for all Indian-origin people who came from Bangladesh before January 1, 1966 to be deemed as citizens. Those who came between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 were eligible for citizenship after registering and living in the State for 10 years while those entering after March 25, 1971, were to be deported.

‘Wise discretion’:

The court had asked the NRC Coordinator Court to act with “wise discretion” while dealing with people who have failed to appear for scheduled hearings on their objections filed against exclusion from the draft NRC.

“If they are not appearing, the law will take its own course,”.

The CJI had stressed that decisions taken by the NRC officials should be free and fair, keeping the law in mind.

‘Make it hassle-free’:

The court urged the NRC authorities to make the hearing processes as hassle-free as possible for the people of the State. Over 35 lakh people excluded from the draft NRC have filed claims for Indian citizenship.

The court had also asked the NRC authorities to ensure “optimum convenience” for those seeking justice in the NRC proceedings.

Source: The Hindu, Wikipedia

Public interest litigation

In News:

Almost every public tender is being challenged through PIL petitions as a “matter of routine”, affecting the promptness and efficacy of delivery in public sector projects.

Details:

Almost every public tender is being challenged through PIL petitions as a “matter of routine”, affecting the promptness and efficacy of delivery in public sector projects, the Supreme Court said.

A Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that normally parties would be governed by their contracts and the tender terms, and really no writ petition would be maintainable.

What is PIL:

PIL is a legal action initiated in a court of law for enforcement of public or general interests.

PIL can be directly filed in SC under art 32 or in HC under Art 226 for enforcement of rights under the writ jurisdiction of courts.

Categories like bonded labor matters, welfare of children, nonpayment of minimum wages, condition of prisoners etc have been explicitly given in guidelines by SC under which PIL may be filed.

The working of PIL is in harmony with the principles enshrined in Article 39A which seeks to protect and deliver prompt social justice with the help of law.

As P N Bhagwati, father of PIL said, “Purpose of PIL is to provide justice to persons who by reasons of poverty, helplessness or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position are unable to approach the courts”.

Source: The Hindu

‘Dr.’ prefix

In News:

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has opposed the move by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) to authorise candidates receiving the Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm D) from recognised universities to use the ‘Dr.’ prefix.

Details:

“As this title reflects entitlement and identity, IMA is against all such shift from those who are trained in other streams of health sector to venture into medical practice. Such illegitimate conferment cannot become entitlements, just [as] in case if an advocate or an engineer should be called doctor by an executive order. Such social anarchy only creates confusion in the minds of common man and the impact it has on the structure of a well organized society is clearly evident,”

Irreplaceable roles:

The roles and responsibilities of nurses, physiotherapists, optometrists and others in the field of healthcare are irreplaceable and are in accordance with their entitlement.

“A pharmacist by any other name will remain a pharmacist. Indirect entitlement to practice modern medicine on human beings by the coloured exercise of power by bodies created for a limited purpose is unacceptable. Transgressions of entitlement are illegal and illegitimate,”.

‘Duty, privilege’:

“The IMA has the duty and privilege to defend the rights of medical graduates. The IMA demands that the Government of India use its authority and settle the issue as per the law of the land. It also urges the Pharmacy Council to take back the unlawful order. The entitlement of a medical graduate comes out of merit and the nature of the course. The whole purpose of the exam is diluted by adding other medical streams,”.

Source: The Hindu

EC Recommendations

In News:

The nine working groups set up by the ECI to suggest improvements in specific areas, based on their experience during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, had submitted a total of 337 recommendations, of which 300 have been disposed of so far.

Details:

Among the 37 recommendations of the Election Commission’s (EC) Working Groups, which are pending since 2014, are the disqualification of candidates at the stage of framing of charges to attract a minimum of five years’ imprisonment; increased punishment for false affidavits; and permanent disqualification of those guilty of corruption and heinous crimes.

Pending recommendations:

Drafting of legal provisions to disqualify candidates for offences with a minimum of five years’ punishment on framing of charges, rather than on conviction.

The punishment for filing false affidavits be increased from six months to more than two years.

Candidates found guilty of corruption, disloyalty and heinous crimes be permanently disqualified.

  • Currently, under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), any person convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for the listed offences is disqualified from the date of conviction and remains disqualified for a further period of six years after his release.

A candidate contesting a different election should resign from the current seat.

Amendments to MCC:

Empowering the Commission to issue notice to a party for necessary corrections in its manifesto.

It was also for the setting up of courts to adjudicate electoral offences and disallowing the use of government designations for the purposes of political publicity.

Other recommendations:

Introduction of indelible marker ink pens, instead of ink vials, as a pilot project.

In order to constrict the duration of the election process, a Working Group had said that, under the community legal demographic profiling and election time zones system, factors like weather, examination schedules and festivals should be mapped in each State to facilitate the scheduling of polls.

Guidelines for parties:

Another group had submitted that the number of members required for the registration of a party should be increased from 100 to 1,000. Parties that do not field any candidate in elections should be de-registered. Also, legal provisions should be drawn to regulate funding. A major recommendation is for drafting a comprehensive bill that deals with registration, recognition and funding of political parties.

Standardisation of Electors’ Photo Identity Card numbers, as they are of 10 digits in some States and 16 in others, is also one of the issues, apart from the setting up of fast-track courts for speedy resolution of expenditure-related matters.

Source: The Hindu

Microbes in body could help predict future health

In News:

We share our bodies with trillions of microbes that are critical to staying healthy, but now scientists are getting a much-needed close look at how those bugs can spur disease.

Details:

Repeat testing spotted the microbial zoo changing in ways that eventually may help doctors determine who’s at risk of preterm birth, inflammatory bowel disease, even diabetes.

Micro biome: The community of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live on the skin or in the gut, nose or reproductive tract.

“The instability of our microbiome might be an early indicator of something going awry,”

Background:

Microbiomes start forming at birth and are different depending on whether babies were born vaginally or via C-section. And they change with age and different exposures, such as a course of antibiotics that can wipe out friendly bacteria along with infection-causing ones.

Some of the microbes produce molecules that keep the intestinal lining healthy, likely one reason the disease worsened when those bugs disappeared.

People who are insulin-resistant showed delayed immune responses to respiratory infections, correlating with tamped-down microbial reactions.

Source: The Hindu

Orangutan

The Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) has lost one of its beloved members — 41-year-old orangutan.

An extant species of great apes.

Restructuring of Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI)

In News:

The National Statistical Commission, under the Chairpersonship of Dr. C. Rangarajan, had, inter-alia, recommended for the creation of National Statistical Office (NSO) to be headed by a National Statistician, with appropriate autonomy and independence for producing Official Statistics as is prevalent in other countries.

Details:

The Government, while accepting the recommendations, had approved the establishment of NSO to be headed by Chief Statistician of India by merging the then Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) to form the NSO in May, 2005.

The NSO was in existence since then to serve as the executive wing of the Government in the field of statistics, and the Chief Statistician of India (CSI) & Secretary was its sole functionary.

The internal restructuring exercise was undertaken with a view to have greater synergies amongst the available statistical manpower and improve data quality not only for survey data but also for administrative statistics.

To monitor India’s progress in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, MoSPI has formulated a National Indicator Framework which requires significant data to flow from the field formations and requires extensive use of technology. This requires active and continuous involvement of State Governments, and the field presence of NSS in the States, with their knowledge and experience of official statistics system, can play a proactive role in this process, in addition to their existing functions.

In the ongoing Seventh Economic Census, the field officers of Field Operations Division, NSS are playing a prominent role in the supervision of data collection from households and enterprises.

The internal restructuring of MoSPI is to strengthen the national statistical system while maintaining its autonomy. The various divisions in MoSPI continue to perform their functions as before. Further, the role and status of National Statistical Commission (NSC) remains unaltered and it continues to have the overall responsibility for providing strategic direction and leadership to the national statistical system in MoSPI, line Ministries and State Governments.

The Ministry also remains committed to making available official statistics and reports to various users. In fact, MoSPI has revised its guidelines for statistical data dissemination and data are now being made available to all users, free of cost.

Source: PIB

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