National Florence Nightingale Awards 2021
President presented the award to the nursing profession.
Florence Nightingale was a British Nurse, Statistician and social reformer, born in Florence, Taly (1820).
Her effort during Crimean War (1854-56), by curing patients, calculating mortality data and showing how improvements made in sanitary methods would reduce the number of deaths, won her recognition.
She is also known as the land with the lamp and the founder of modern nursing.
National Florence Nightingale Awards was instituted in 1973 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to recognize meritorious service rendered by nursing professionals in India.
To mark the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale, WHO announced the year 2020 as the year of the Nurse and Mid-Wife.
22nd Law Commission
After two and a half years, the 22nd Law Commission of India has been constituted with Justice (retd) Rituraj Awasthi as its head. Commission would have a tenure of three years.
Terms of reference of 22nd Law Commission:
Identify laws which are no longer needed or relevant and can be immediately repealed.
Examine the existing laws in the light of Directive Principles of State Policy and suggest ways of improvement and reform.
Suggest such legislation as might be necessary to implement the Directive Principles.
Revise the Central Acts of general importance so as to simplify them and remove anomalies, ambiguities and inequities.
The Law Commission of India is a non-statutory body that is constituted by a notification of the Government of India, with definite terms of reference to carry out research in the field of law.
The Commission makes recommendations to the Government (in the form of Reports) as per its terms of reference.
The Law Commission was first constituted in 1955 and has so far submitted 277 reports.
According to the Law Ministry’s website, the “Law Commission of India provides excellent thought-provoking and vital review of the laws in India”.
Government will disallow the blending of more than 15% non-basmati rice with basmati rice for the product that is sold as blended ‘Basmati’ Rice.
Reasons behind the move: Government intends to ensure that the purity of Indian Basmati Rice doesn’t dilute due to excessive blending. Rice blended with more than 15% non-basmati rice will be called ‘blended Rice’ instead of ‘blended Basmati Rice’.
Basmati rice has its origin in the Indian subcontinent and has a unique fragrance (due to 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline). India is the largest producer (over 70% of global production). GI tag has been provided to Basmati grown in some of the states such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand etc.
2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline is an aroma compound and flavour that gives freshly baked bread, jasmine rice and basmati rice, the spice pandan, and bread flowers their customary smell.
A Jammu and Kashmir political party recently stated that the people of J&K are being punished for excelling in life following the repeal of Article 370, as evidenced by preventing a Kashmiri journalist (Sanna Mattoo) from accepting the Pulitzer Prize in person.
Reuters news agency’s four Indian photographers – Danish Siddiqui, Adnan Abidi, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Amit Dave have won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for their coverage of India’s Covid-19 crisis.
In 1937, Indian-American journalist Gobind Behari Lal, a member of the Ghadar Party in America, became the first Indian to receive the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.
About the Pulitzer Prize:
It is an annual award for achievements in newspapers, magazines, online journalism, literature, and musical composition.
It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer (a newspaper publisher) and is administered by Columbia University, US.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution:
It exempted J&K from the application of the Indian Constitution (except Article 1 and Article 370 itself) and permitted the state to draft its own Constitution.
It restricted the Indian Parliament’s legislative powers in respect of J&K.
For extending a central law on subjects included in the Instrument of Accession (IoA), mere “consultation” with the state government was needed, however, in the case of other matters, “concurrence” of the state government was mandatory.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
(GS-II: Issues related to children)
The POCSO Act brings tribals in the Nilgiris into conflict with the law, as youth under the age of 18 in relationships within or outside marriage are subject to the Act’s stringent provisions.
In another case, the High Court of Karnataka recently stated that the Law Commission of India will have to rethink the age criteria in the POCSO Act for having consensual sex.
About the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act:
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development led the introduction of the POCSO Act in 2012.
The Act was designed to protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography offences, as well as to provide for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences.
The Act was amended in 2019 for enhancing the punishments for specific offences in order to deter abusers and ensure a dignified childhood.
A gender-neutral law: The POCSO Act establishes a gender-neutral tone for the legal framework available to child sexual abuse victims by defining a child as “any person” under the age of 18.
Not reporting abuse is an offence: Any person (except children) in charge of an institution who fails to report the commission of a sexual offence relating to a subordinate is liable to be punished.
No time limit for reporting abuse: A victim can report an offence at any time, even a number of years after the abuse has been committed.
Maintaining confidentiality of the victim’s identity: The Act prohibits disclosure of the victim’s identity in any form of media, except when permitted by the special courts established under the act.
New obligations under the POCSO Rules 2020:
Any institution housing children or coming in regular contact is required to conduct a periodic police verification and background check of every employee.
Such an institution must impart regular training to sensitise its employees on child safety and protection.
The institution has to adopt a child protection policy based on the principle of zero tolerance for violence against children.
POCSO Act’s performance in comparison to global standards:
A 2019 Economist Intelligence Unit report ranked India’s legal system for safeguarding children from sexual abuse and exploitation as the best of the countries surveyed.
On this metric, India outranked the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia.
Despite the existence of such comprehensive child sexual abuse law, the scale of such abuse is staggering.
According to a recent survey, one in every two children is a victim of sexual abuse in India.
Furthermore, in the vast majority of cases, the perpetrators are known to the victim, causing the victim to be hesitant to approach authorities for redress.
Incidents of child abuse have also risen exponentially since the Covid-19 pandemic, with the emergence of new forms of cybercrime.
The general level of awareness or knowledge on the part of minor girls and boys of the POCSO Act remains severely inadequate in the country.
Child marriage is common among certain tribal groups in the country, resulting in the criminalisation of 17-18 years old youths due to a lack of knowledge of the POCSO Act.
Recently, the Karnataka HC has directed the State Education Department to set up a mechanism for educating students, at least from Class IX onwards about the act and its provisions.