Daily PT Capsule Feb 12

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Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services
Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services

Evidence of Gravitational waves detected confirming Einstein’s general theory of relativity

In a landmark discovery for physics and astronomy, international scientists including from India, claim to have glimpsed the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time. Indian scientists played a crucial role, including in data analysis, in the path-breaking project.

The announcement of detection of gravitational waves was made simultaneously at IUCAA, Pune, and by scientists in Washington in the United States.

 

Analysis

Gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of space time which propagate as waves, travelling outward from the source.

Background

Predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation. And these radiations are potential sources of detectable gravitational waves include binary star systems composed of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes.

Significance

The new data will allow measurements of faraway stars, galaxies and black holes based on the waves they make.

Detectors which are in operation

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect gravitational waves.  LIGO is an interferometer. It works by splitting a laser beam in two, sending the halves to and fro along paths identical in length but set at right angles to one another, and then looking for interference patterns when the halves are recombined.

 

SC says, Governor has no role to play in issues concerning Anti-Defection Law

The Supreme Court has said that a Governor has no role to play in issues concerning the Anti-Defection Law, which it said is the Speaker’s domain.

Critically examining a direction of Arunachal Governor J P Rajkhowa that the party-wise position in the State Assembly should not be disturbed, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said that the Governor cannot ask that a particular party-wise composition be maintained, as it would amount to interference in the working sphere of the Speaker.

The court, however, said its observations are tentative in nature.

Analysis

What is Anti-Defection Law?

The anti-defection law, passed by parliament in 1985, sets the provisions for disqualification of elected members on the grounds of defection to another political party. Twenty-five years down the road, it is pertinent to trace the several modifications and to evaluate how well the law has worked.

The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule which laid down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection.

A Member of Parliament or state legislature was deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may not vote on any issue in contravention to the party’s whip.

Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party.  Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.

The role of the Governor

The governor may have some role in the functioning of the assembly, but he has no role to play in the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection provision). It is a constitutional imperative, obligation and duty of the governor to see that the constitutional powers under Schedule Ten is exercised in a right manner.

 

Plan to eliminate malaria by 2030

The Union Health Ministry has announced the much-awaited plan to eliminate malaria from the country by 2030. By 2016 end, all States are expected to include malaria elimination in their broader health policies; by the end of 2017, all States are expected to bring down Annual Parasite Incidence (API) to less than 1 per thousand population; and by the end of 2020, 15 States/UTs under category 1 (elimination phase) are expected to interrupt transmission of malaria and achieve zero indigenous cases and deaths due to malaria.

Analysis

This will be the first time that the government’s policy intervention will have deliverable and time-bound targets. Under the new framework, India will be divided into three categories as per malaria prevalence — low, moderate and endemic States.

  • The first target includes eliminating malaria from all low and moderate endemic states and Union territories by 2022.
  • The second objective is aimed at reducing incidence or new cases of malaria to less than one case per 1000 population in all states and Union territories by 2024.
  • As part of its third objective, and a very crucial stage of the strategy, the government will interrupt indigenous transmission of malaria in all states by 2027.

This is crucial because it will help control further spread of the disease leading to the final objective of preventing re-establishment of local transmission of malaria in areas where it has been eliminated and to achieve the

Why government is so concerned to eliminate malaria?

According to government estimates, close to 10 lakh malaria cases are reported annually from across the country. The government is also particularly concerned because India continues to bear a huge burden of the vector-borne disease in the South East Asia region, whereas other neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal reported no deaths due to the disease in the past several years.

Hence, India is readying to eliminate malaria, the mosquito-borne viral fever that sickens millions of people each year, by permanently stopping transmission across India.

 

100% digitization of ration cards done, major steps towards leak-proof PDS in the country

The Government has achieved significant mile stones in the reforms of PDS. Almost 100 % (99.9%) ration cards have been digitized across the country. Over 42 % ration cards have been even linked with Aadhaar cards and Point of Sale Devices, to keep electronic record of allocation to the beneficiaries, have been installed in over 77,000 ration shops.

Analysis

National Food Security Act (NFSA) came into force in July, 2014, now being implementing in 27 States/UTs.  By April it is likely to be implemented in all remaining States/ UTs.

These measures will help making PDS more transparent and leak proof. Now all the States 36 States/UTs have an online redressal of PDS grievances and toll free number for beneficiaries.

Online allocation of food grains is being made in 20 states. The number of states implementing National Food Security Act has now increased to 27, benefiting over 54 crore people with Rs 2/kg wheat and Rs3/kg rice.

Under the scheme, in lieu of food grains subsidy component is credited directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries  in order to make them free to buy food grains from anywhere in the market. This move helps in keeping a check on leakage and diversions and to facilitate Direct Cash Transfer of food subsidy to the beneficiaries.

The Central Government also decided to share 50% (75% in the case of Hilly and difficult areas) of the cost of handling & transportation of food grains incurred by the states and the dealers’ margin so that it is not passed on to the beneficiaries and they get coarse grains Rs1/kg, wheat at Rs2/kg and rice at Rs 3/kg.

Some additional welfare schemes are also recommended such as provision of milk and eggs-pulses etc. in order to provide nutritional security to the economically vulnerable sections of society.

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