Daily PT Capsule May 19

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

Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!

Draft Bill on Delhi statehood

The Delhi government has released a bill seeking full statehood for the capital. The State of Delhi bill 2016 motions for the extension of jurisdiction of the elected government of the Capital over police, land, municipal corporations and bureaucracy.

Areas demarcated under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Delhi Cantonment Board would, however, remain beyond the legislative and administrative control of the proposed Delhi State.

The draft bill seeks the replacement of the term ‘Lieutenant Governor’ with ‘Governor’ in a significant shift in terms of administrative nomenclature. The Governor of State of Delhi would act “on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers as provided in Article 163 of the Constitution”, as per the draft.


What is the difference between Delhi and other states? – The Delhi government differs from other states in authority when it comes to matters related to police, public law and order, land. Other than these crucial functions, there are several other civil arms of government that are under the central control and the Delhi government has little say in crucial matters pertaining to them.

What are the implications of full statehood? – Converting the present status of Delhi into ‘full statehood’ has several implications, mostly relating to finance and quality of governance. If we look at the three important subjects(police, public law and order, land) there are merits and demerits of bringing each one of them under the state government.

Police and public order are critical issues in Delhi as it is the capital of the country and therefore security of all central institutions, including Parliament, President & Prime Minister’s residences, various central ministries, headquarters of the three armed forces, along with various embassies and international bodies is important.

There are existing examples of this dual policing model in several international capitals including Washington D.C. (USA), Ottawa (Canada), and also the Vatican in Rome, Italy where the Vatican has its own Police and Rome has its own.

Land is a subject that can be brought under state jurisdiction as Delhi faces space crunch along with the continuing pressure of increasing population. Housing is a major issue for local and migrated population.

There is the issue of financial viability as well. At present Delhi enjoys a great share of subsidy from the Centre. The Centre has made investment in the infrastructure of the city and provides financial support to many of the projects. Delhi has been able to raise only a fraction of the amount from its budget.

Source: TheHindu


Mental distress high in Kashmir: Survey

According to a survey conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), over 1.8 million adults – or 45% of Jammu & Kashmir’s population – suffer from some degree of mental distress. Ten per cent of these people, 4,15,000, meet the diagnostic criteria for severe depression, states the MSF report.

The comprehensive survey – done in collaboration with the Department of Psychology, Kashmir University, and the Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (IMHANS) – reveals that 41% of people living in the Valley exhibit symptoms of depression; a further 26% show symptoms of anxiety and 19% show symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The survey shows that, on an average, an adult living in the Kashmir Valley has witnessed or experienced 7.7 traumatic events during his/her lifetime. According to the survey, the number of people living in Kashmir who have experienced and/or witnessed trauma either due to natural disasters or due to conflict stood at 94% and 93%, respectively. Further, over 70% adults have experienced or witnessed the sudden or violent death of someone they knew.


What are the initiatives for mental health in India? – India is lacking institutional and policy support for mental health. The Indian Lunatic Asylum Act, 1858, and Indian Lunacy Act, 1912, ignored the human rights aspect and were concerned only with custodial issues. After Independence, it took 31 years for India to attempt the first enactment, which resulted another nine years later in the Mental Health Act, 1987. But due to many defects, the Act never came into force.

The Mental Health Policy 2014 has ensured a start in the right direction. The policy calls for for an increase in funds to provide those with mental illness accessible and affordable care.

The policy calls for a higher number of mental health professionals to be trained, from community-based counselors to specialized psychiatrists. The policy also call for decriminalising suicides.

The new policy is backed up by the “Mental Health Action Plan 365” which spells out specific roles for the Centre, States, local bodies and civil society organisations.

The policy acknowledges that some populations are especially vulnerable to mental health ailments, and must not be discriminated against in the provision of services. The policy document contains a comprehensive list of these different groups, which include the poor (who are linked with mental illnesses in a “negative vicious cycle”), the homeless (who have “no provision for care and support”), persons in custodial institutions (who face a “deprivation of personal liberty”), orphans, children, the elderly and people affected by emergencies and various natural or man-made disasters.

Source: TheHindu, PIB


Hypersonic test flight

A joint U.S.-Australian military research team is running a set of trials which could promise the advent of hypersonic travel. An international group of American and Australian scientists has successfully tested a scramjet – for supersonic combustion ramjet as a part of program called “Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation” (HIFiRE).

Scientists have said hypersonic technology could cut travelling time from Sydney to London to as little as two hours for the 17,000-km flight.

Scientists involved in the programme called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) are developing an engine that can fly at Mach 7.

The first test was conducted in 2009 with the project expected to be completed in 2018.

At such speeds traditional gas-turbine engines can’t cope with the temperature and air pressure. A scramjet is essentially something between a conventional jet engine and a rocket, A scramjet engine does not require an oxidizer, like rockets, instead using atmospheric air like an ordinary jet engine.


What is mach number? – The Mach number (M or Ma) is a dimensionless quantity representing the ratio of flow velocity past a boundary to the local speed of sound. In the simplest explanation, the speed of Mach 1 is equal to the speed of sound. Therefore, Mach 0.65 is about 65% of the speed of sound (subsonic), and Mach 1.35 is about 35% faster than the speed of sound (supersonic).

What is the benefit of the project? – The project can blur the boundary between technologies used for space travel and air travel in general. Scram jet can be used for low orbit space mission as well as air travel on earth. The technology could also reduce the fuel payload of aircrafts.

Source: TheHindu


Feasibility study for New Delhi-Chandigarh corridor

Rail Budget 2014-15 announced that New Delhi – Chandigarh Corridor will be upgraded for increasing the speed of passenger trains to 160/200 kmph. Ministry of Railways of the Republic of India had already signed an MoU with the French National Railways (SNCF) on technical co-operation in various fields of Railways.

During PM’s visit to France in April,2015 a protocol with SNCF on cooperation in Semi-High Speed rail on Delhi – Chandigarh section was signed with the approval of Minister of Railways.

In December, 2015, an agreement was signed between Ministry of Railways and SNCF vide which the feasibility/implementation study of Delhi – Chandigarh Corridor for raising the speed of passenger trains to 200 kmph was awarded to SNCF on 50:50 percent cost sharing basis. The study commenced on 19th January,2016 and has a time frame of one year.


What is the semi-high speed train initiative? – As part of India’s two pronged strategy there is a focus on upgradation of existing railway system to semi high speed links parallely with bullet train project launch between Ahmedabad and Mumbai in the high speed corridor.

Indian Railways aims to increase the speed of passenger trains to 160–200 km/h on dedicated conventional tracks. They intend to improve their existing conventional lines to handle speeds of up to 160 km/h, with a goal of speeds above 200 km/h on new tracks with improved technology.

Source: TheHindu


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