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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – 29 March 2017



Front Page / NATIONAL [The Hindu]


[1].States get warning to brace for heat waves

[2].New Bill on mental illness termed progressive

[3].Can’t appoint Lokpal for now, Centre tells SC


Editorial/OPINION [The Hindu]


[1].Whither human rights in Sri Lanka?

[2].Unique distinction: SC’s clarification on Aadhaar gives space for reforms


Economy [The Hindu]


[1].Centre may expand social security net

[2].Northeast may get subsidised capital


Indian Express


 —


Live Mint


[1].Time to nuke the storm in the teacup

[2].A new paradigm for privacy


 Front Page / NATIONAL


[1].States get warning to brace for heat waves

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Even as the country braces for a scorching summer and temperatures in several States have been going up over the past week, the India Meteorological Department, along with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), is exhorting the States to implement Heat Wave Action Plans

 

Heat Wave Action Plans

These describe step-by-step procedures the States ought to implement in case of heatwave like conditions. These steps include,

  • Ensuring first aid to imposing early summer vacations in schools
  • Ensuring that laborers employed in MGNREGA schemes aren’t assigned work during certain times of the day

 

States committed to HWAP

So far Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Odisha and Maharashtra have committed themselves to action plans

 

Backdrop

It has been since 2016 that the IMD began giving heatwave forecasts and the States began considering plans

 

Defining a Heat wave

IMD broadly defines a heatwave as when a place’s temperature is 5-6°C above normal. A proper plan would mean that the States and district administrations would get warnings on the likelihood of temperatures rising to heatwave limits.

 

Read More: Heat Wave

 

[2].New Bill on mental illness termed progressive

 

The Hindu

 

Context

The Mental Health Bill passed in the Lok Sabha after almost a six-year-long wait is expected to revive the way mental illnesses are dealt with in the country

 

The positives of the Bill

  • Recognition of the right to live within the community: For the first time, there is an emphasis on rehabilitation within the community. The Bill talks about the patients’ right to live within the community and not in seclusion. This changes the perspective with which we look at mentally-ill patients
  • Increasing the number of mental health care workers: The Bill mandates the government to increase the number of mental health workers
  • Free access to medicines: Bill also talks about free access to medication from the levels of Community Health Centres (CHCs) and above
  • Prohibition on ECT for children: The Bill prohibits Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) for minors. In adults, ECT can be given only after the use of anaesthesia or muscle relaxant
  • Restriction on seclusion: The Bill also restricts medical institutions from chaining patients or keeping them in seclusion
  • Right to access good quality mental health care: The Bill empowers every person to access mental healthcare and treatment from services run or funded by the government. The right to access mental health care includes affordable, good quality of and easy access to services
  • Mental disorders to be covered by insurance companies: The Bill has made it mandatory for insurance companies to cover hospitalization due to mental disorders

 

Issues still remain

  • Retaining of ECT for adults: While ECT is used by few medical practitioners who are rooted to age old treatments, retaining ECT in the Bill has not gone down well with many progressive doctors who don’t believe in this therapy
  • Consent, an unpredictable clause: The Bill states that a mentally-ill person shall have the right to make an advance directive that states how he wants to be treated and who his nominated representative shall be. However, this is a potentially uncertain clause. How will a person who has illusions, or feels that everyone is conspiring against him or her, be in the state to give such a consent !
  • Certification of the directive: The Bill further adds that the advance directive has to be certified by a medical practitioner or someone registered with the Mental Health Board. If a mental health professional/ relative/care-giver does not wish to follow the directive while treating the person, he can make an application to the Mental Health Board to review/alter/cancel the advance directive. Doctors say that this could result in them just making application after application

Source: The Hindu

[3].Can’t appoint Lokpal for now, Centre tells SC

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Points to amendments in law pending in Parliament

 

What has happened?

The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that appointment of the anti-corruption ombudsman, Lokpal, is not possible now

 

Reason

Government has said that the amendments to the Lokpal law, concerning the substitution of the Leader of Opposition (LoP) with the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha on the high-power Lokpal selection committee, is still pending with Parliament

  • Hence, unless the proposed amendment making leader of the largest opposition party as LoP is passed by Parliament, the Lokpal cannot be appointed

 

Members of the selection committee

The committee comprises

  • The Prime Minister
  • Lok Sabha Speaker
  • LoP (but the 16th Lok Sabha has no recognised LoP)
  • The Chief Justice of India or a SC judge as per the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013

Editorial/OPINION


[1].Whither human rights in Sri Lanka?

 

The Hindu

 

Context

The singular focus on international rights intervention is killing a once-vibrant local rights movement

 

Article deals with the aftermath of the 8 years of human rights engagement in Sri Lanka.

 

A light read will suffice

 

[2].Unique distinction: SC’s clarification on Aadhaar gives space for reforms

 

The Hindu

 

Context

The SC’s clarification on the use of Aadhaar gives the government space for key reforms

 

What has happened?

SC on 27th Mar 17 made oral observations regarding the use of Aadhaar numbers by the government

 

What did SC observe?

SC said that,

  • Voluntary exercise: 12-digit Unique Identification number, which requires the holder to part with his personal bio-metric data, and using it to avail himself of government subsidy was a voluntary exercise
  • Non-welfare activities: Government is free to use Aadhaar for ‘non-welfare’ transactions or activities. These include filing income tax returns, opening bank accounts or getting a mobile phone connection

 

Defining the usage

SC through in its interim order in October 2015 the court made it clear that the Aadhaar scheme cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided “one way or the other”. But it has set the stage for the 12-digit Unique Identification (UID) numbers being used as the basic identity proof for all residents

 

Aadhaar being targeted

Author suggests that the privacy concerns regarding Aadhaar are overblown as vast amounts of data can be collected from various databases like ranging from applications for passports, driving licences, ration cards, and more

 

Yet to decide

The apex court is yet to decide on whether Aadhaar violates the right to privacy


Economy


[1].Centre may expand social security net

 

The Hindu

 

Context

A lower contributory rate of 10% toward EPF mooted

 

What has happened?

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organidation’s central board of trustees will meet on 30th Mar 17 to consider extending social security benefits to volunteers under anganwadi, mid-day meal and Accredited Social Health Activists (Asha) schemes.

 

Proposal sent to labor ministry

The EPFO has proposed to the Labour ministry that a lower contributory rate of 10% of income towards the Employees’ Provident Fund be allowed for scheme workers as against 12% contribution stipulated for the organised workers.

 

Present situation

There is no mandatory social security cover for such scheme workers at present

 

Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

The Centre can issue a notification to cover any class of establishments with a lower contributory rate under the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. This will only be applicable to scheme workers in organisations employing at least 20 workers

 

Increasing the wage ceiling

The EPFO will also consider a proposal to increase wage ceiling for its social security coverage to Rs 25,000 a month from Rs 15,000 a month at present in a bid to bring more workers under the provident fund net

  • Present situation: At present, EPF is optional for employees earning more than Rs 15,000 a month
  • Why an increased wage ceiling?The purpose of revision of wage ceiling is to ensure that on increase in wages due to inflation etc, minimum social security benefits are continuously made available to intended beneficiaries. Timely revision of wage ceiling is of utmost importance to ensure that new employees who are joining establishments covered under the EPF & MP Act, 1952 are assured of PF benefits

 

Financial burden on Union government

The move may lead to additional financial burden on the Union government as it contributes 1.16% of the employee’s salary as subsidy towards the Employees’ Pension Scheme

  • The wage ceiling hike will lead to additional burden of Rs 2,708 crore per annum on the central government

 

[2].Northeast may get subsidised capital

 

The Hindu

 

Context

DIPP aiming to reduce cost of funds.The Centre is working on an industrial policy for backward areas of the northeast as well as the Himalayan States to subsidise the cost of capital

 

News

The Centre is working on an industrial policy for backward areas of the northeast as well as the Himalayan States to subsidise the cost of capital

 

Rationale

It is a challenge to access funds in India. Cost of funds is high, and the government is working to bring this down and make funds easily accessible. There are interest subsidy schemes specifically for more difficult areas like the northeast

  • Government is trying to come out with an industrial policy for backward areas of northeast and the Himalayan States

 

What is DIPP?

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)is responsible for formulation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for growth of the industrial sector, keeping in view the national priorities and socio-economic objectives

  • Overall industrial policy: It is responsible for the overall Industrial Policy
  • Monitoring industrial growth & production: It monitors the industrial growth and production, in general, and selected industrial sectors
  • Facilitating & increasing FDI inflow: The Department is also responsible for facilitating and increasing the FDI inflow in the country. It publishes FDI policy
  • Responsibility of IPR: The Department is also responsible for Intellectual Property Rights relating to Patents, Designs, Trade Marks and Geographical Indication of Goods and oversees the initiative relating to their promotion and protection

Indian Express



Live Mint


[1].Time to nuke the storm in the teacup

 

Live Mint

 

Context

It is time for India to undertake a comprehensive review of its nuclear doctrine and kill the unnecessary speculation

 

Article discusses about the arguments Shivshankar Menon’s 2016 book Choices: Inside The Making Of India’s Foreign Policyprovides us regarding India’s Nuclear doctrine

 

Give it a go through if you have time.

 

[2].A new paradigm for privacy

 

Live Mint

 

Context

If we discard consent we can build a privacy framework that can serve as a model for the rest of the world

 

Issue: Need for Privacy law in India

 

Basis of privacy laws

Author states that the basis of most of the privacy laws are based on,

  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) data protection principles articulated in the 1980s – They clearly state that personal data is the property of the data subject and cannot be used without his consent

 

Author’s contention

Author contends that if we base our privacy law on the above principles then we place upon the data subject (that means any person) the burden of determining whether or not the use of personal data for a particular purpose is in his interest. In our present data-intensive world, this is a question the data subject is ill-equipped to answer

 

So, who is most well equipped to take the decision?

  • Data controller i.e. the organization collecting the data. It knows what the data will be used for, as well as the algorithms through which the data will be processed. It is best equipped to assess the possible consequences—both intended and unintended—of its use
  • More importantly, it has the ability to consciously determine the outcome of the data processing
  • Hence, it makes more sense to hold the data controller accountable for ensuring that no harm occurs to the data subject than use poorly informed consent provided by the data subject as a licence to process

 

Trouble with Data controller model

Author states that the above model suffers from the following flaw,

  • Misalignment of interests: The data controller’s interests are not always aligned with the data subject’s. There will be instances where safeguarding the privacy of a data subject runs contrary to the commercial interests of the data controller
  • Solution: There are legal safeguards against this sort of misalignment
  • Directors have a fiduciary (involving trust) obligation towards their company that must override any allegiance that the director owes to individual shareholders
  • Company law requires directors to fulfil their fiduciary obligation even if doing so is contrary to the interests of the shareholder who appointed him
  • A similar fiduciary responsibility on data controllers can be imposed.

Conclusion

Author concludes by stating that while the rest of the world is struggling to redesign their laws that are based on a data protection model conceived of in the 1980s when data volumes were a mere trickle compared to today, India has the opportunity to build, from scratch, a forward thinking privacy framework that can address the current reality and can serve as a model for the rest of the world.

 


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