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January 8, 2021
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7th January Current Affairs

J&K Internet ban extended

In News:

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has extended the ban on 4G mobile Internet up to January 8, saying “the restrictions on the high-speed connectivity acted as an impediment to attempts” of the militants to disturb the District Development Council (DDC) polls.

Need for:

An order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department noted that there were credible inputs about the presence of a large number of militants trying to infiltrate from across the border.

Supreme Court’s ruling in 2020:

Supreme Court on May 11 refused to restore 4G internet in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

But, the Court had ordered the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to form a committee of Secretaries from MHA and J&K UT Admin to take a call after reviewing the ground security situation.

The high-powered Committee headed by the MHA Secretary will also look into the contentions raised by various petitioners.

Important observations made and rationale behind this verdict:

There is a need to ensure that national security and human rights are balanced. J&K UT has plunged into crisis, but at the same time there are concerns related to ongoing pandemic and hardships.

The bench also referred to its earlier decision in the Anuradha Bhasin case (2020) wherein it ordered review of restrictions placed in J&K in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Background- what’s the issue?

In August 2019, the Central government had suspended all modes of communications in the wake of revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, granted under Article 370. Eventually, services were partially restored, with internet speed restricted to 2G.

A plea was filed by ‘Foundation for Media Professionals’ for restoration of high-speed internet in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the Covid-19 situation.

But, the administration opposed restoration of 4G services in the union territory. It justified its move in view of protecting the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

Criticisms against the internet shutdown:

Restrictions have virtually abrogated the fundamental rights and paralyzed the lives of seven million people in the region.

The shutdown of internet services have severe consequences on business, trade and heavily affect the common people in the region.

What procedure does the government follow to suspend Internet services?

The Information Technology Act, 2000, the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 and the Telegraph Act, 1885 are the three laws that deal with suspension of Internet services.

But before 2017, Internet suspension orders were issued under section 144 of the CrPC.

In 2017, the central government notified the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules under the Telegraph Act to govern suspension of Internet.

These Rules derive their powers from Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, which talks about interception of messages in the “interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India”.

Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT

In News:

PM Modi to launch the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) SEHAT scheme for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

About the Scheme:

SEHAT scheme stands for Social, Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine, a health insurance scheme for the Union Territory.

The Scheme provides free of cost insurance cover to all the residents of the UT of J&K.

It provides financial cover up to Rs.5 Lakh per family on a floater basis to all residents of the UT of J&K.

It provides for an operational extension of PM-JAY to 15 lakh (approximately) additional families.

About PM- JAY:

The PM-JAY, world’s largest health insurance/assurance scheme fully financed by the government, provides a cover of Rs 500,000 per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation across public and private empanelled hospitals in India.

The benefit of Rs 5,00,000 is on a family floater basis, which means that it can be used by one or all members of the family.

It covers medical procedures such as oncology, cardiology, nephrology etc and up to three days of pre-hospitalisation and 15 days post-hospitalisation expenses such as diagnostics and medicines are also included in the scheme.

Tso Kar Wetland Complex

In News:

India now has forty-two Ramsar sites with the addition of Ladakh’s Tso Kar wetland.

About Tso Kar:

Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex, consisting of two principal waterbodies, Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake and Tso Kar itself, a hyper saline lake, situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India.

It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water.

It is also an Important Bird Area (IBA) as per BirdLife International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway.

Important bird species found in the area:

Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis), Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and many other species.

About Ramsar convention:

It is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

It is named after the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the Caspian Sea, where the treaty was signed on 2 February 1971.

Known officially as ‘the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat’ (or, more recently, just ‘the Convention on Wetlands’), it came into force in 1975.

Montreux Record:

Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.

It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.

The Montreux Record was established by Recommendation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (1990).

Sites may be added to and removed from the Record only with the approval of the Contracting Parties in which they lie.

Currently, two wetlands of India are in Montreux record: Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur).

Chilka lake (Odisha)was placed in the record but was later removed from it.