September 2019

Daily Current Affairs (17-09-19)

J&K PUBLIC SAFETY ACT (PSA)

Related Topics: Internal Security, Preventive Detention

Why in News?

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has been detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act.

What is the Public Safety Act?

  • The Act was introduced by the government of Sheikh Abdullah as a tough law to prevent the smuggling of timber and keep the smugglers “out of circulation”.
  • This is a preventive detention law that allows the State government to detain any person above the age of 16 without trial for a period of two years.
  • After the emergence of militancy, the J&K government frequently invoked the PSA to crack down on separatists.
  • It is similar to the National Security Act, but this was enacted two years before the NSA came into being.
  • In police custody, a person has to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of detention.
  • But, the PSA allows the State to hold a person without producing them in court.
  • The Act which received the assent of the J&K Governor on April 8, 1978, is often referred to as a “draconian” law.

Detention under PSA

  • Detention orders under PSA can be issued by Divisional Commissioners or District Magistrates.
  • The detaining authority need not disclose any facts about the detention “which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose”.
  • Section 22 of the Act provides protection for any action taken “in good faith” under the Act: “No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.”
  • Under Section 23 of the Act, the government is empowered to “make such Rules consistent with the provisions of this Act, as may be necessary for carrying out the objects of this Act”.

What happens when PSA is used?

  • Within four weeks of passing the detention order, the government has to refer the case to an Advisory Board.
  • This Advisory Board will have to give its recommendations within eight weeks of the order.
  • If the Board thinks that there is cause for preventive detention, the government can hold the person up to two years.

Criticisms against the Act

  • The law was misused widely, and was repeatedly employed against political opponents by consecutive governments until 1990.
  • J&K parties have often blamed each other for the rampant misuse of the PSA.
  • In August 2018, the Act was amended to allow individuals to be detained under the PSA outside the state as well.
  • It has been used against human rights activists, journalists and others who are considered as a threat to the law & order.
  • Usually when a person is arrested, they have the right to legal representation and can challenge the arrest.
  • But, when a person is arrested under the PSA, they do not have these rights before the Advisory Board unless sufficient grounds can be established that the detention is illegal.
  • According to Section 13(2), the detaining authority need not even inform the detained individual as to the reason for the action, if it decides that it goes against public interest.
  • As per Amnesty report published, which analysed over 200 case studies of PSA detainees between 2012 and 2018, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had informed the J&K Assembly that between 2007 and 2016, over 2,400 PSA detention orders were passed, of which about 58% were quashed by the courts.

[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express]

 

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX NETWORK (GSTN)

Related Topics: GST, Indian Economy

News

  • GSTN has decided to make Aadhaar authentication or physical verification mandatory for new dealers from January 2020 to check malpractices in GST.

Why making Aadhaar or Physical verification mandatory?

  • The decision was taken after noticing in the last two years that there is a good number of fly-by-night operators, who make fake invoices.
  • Those who don’t want Aadhaar authentication, physical verification will be carried out, which will be completed in three days.
  • Currently, Aadhaar authentication is optional and no physical verification is required.

What is GSTN?

  • Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is a not for profit, non-Government, private limited company.
  • The Company has been set up primarily to provide IT infrastructure and services to the Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • It is unique as it seeks, for the first time to establish a uniform interface for the tax payer and a common and shared IT infrastructure between the Centre and States.
  • It was incorporated on March 28, 2013.

Recent Change in Shareholding Pattern of GSTN

  • Earlier, the Central Government and State Government were holding 24.5% equity shares respectively and the remaining 51% were held by non-Governmental institutions.
  • The restructured GSTN, with 100% government ownership has equity structure between the Centre (50%) and the States (50%).

Need for the Change in Shareholding

  • Through various mechanisms, GSTN is under strategic control of government.
  • Majority of the GST processes including registration, filing of returns, payment of taxes, processing of refunds is IT driven.
  • GSTN is handling large-scale invoice level data of lakhs of business entities including data relating to exports and imports.
  • Considering the nature of ‘state’ function performed by GSTN, GST Council felt that GSTN should be converted into a fully owned government Company.
[Source: The Hindu, gstn.org]

 

GLOBAL ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT HUB

Related Topics: Science & Technology, Antimicrobial Resistance

News

  • India has joined the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member.
  • This expanded the global partnership working to address challenges and improve coordination and collaboration in global AMR R&D to 16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organisations (as observers).

Why India Joined Global AMR R&D Hub?

  • Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society and is driven by many interconnected factors.
  • Single, isolated interventions have limited impact and coordinated action is required to minimize the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.
  • By partnering with the Global AMR R&D Hub, India looks forward to working with all partners to leverage their existing capabilities, resources and collectively focus on new R&D intervention to address drug resistant infections.
  • Given the important and interdependent human, animal, and environmental dimensions of antimicrobial resistance, India considers it reasonable to explore issues of antimicrobial resistance through the lens of One Health approach which should be supported by long-term commitments from all stakeholders.

About Global AMR R&D Hub

  • The Global AMR R&D Hub was launched in May 2018 in the margins of the 71st session of the World Health Assembly, following a call from G20 Leaders in 2017.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub supports global priority setting and evidence-based decision-making on the allocation of resources for AMR R&D through the identification of gaps, overlaps and potential for cross-sectoral collaboration and leveraging in AMR R&D.
  • The operation of the Global AMR R&D Hub is supported through a Secretariat, established in Berlin.
  • It is currently financed through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).

[Source: PIB]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

HRANT DINK AWARD

Meghalaya-based rights activist Agnes Kharshiing received the 11th International Hrant Dink Award along with Turkish activist against male violence Nebahat Akkoç. Often referred to as the “woman who chases trucks ferrying illegally-mined coal”, Ms. Kharshiing and her associate Amita Sangma was assaulted by a mob during one of their many “surveillance” trips to Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills, a district rich in coal and limestone. The two activists were presented the award that commemorates the memory of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was killed in 2007. Since 2009, the Hrant Dink Award is presented every year to individuals, organisations or groups that work for a world free from discrimination, racism and violence, and who take personal risks for achieving those ideals, break the stereotypes and use the language of peace and by doing so give inspiration and hope to others.

RCC TO HELP MALDIVES SET UP CANCER CARE CENTRE

Kerala State government and the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) have entered into an agreement of cooperation with the Republic of Maldives to help the latter establish its own cancer care centre and to help train Maldivian health-care professionals gain expertise in cancer diagnostics, care and management. Maldives has also sought RCC’s support to create a cancer registry in that country. The RCC, located in the Thiruvananthapuram, is the premier cancer care facility in Kerala.

ARTIFICIAL CARTILAGE FROM CRAB AND SHRIMP SHELLS

A professor of National Institute of Technology, Calicut has secured a patent for an invention of preparing artificial cartilage from crab and shrimp shells for biomedical applications in human beings. This engineered cartilage from hydrogels for biomedical implantation is stable under different chemical environment. It is bio-compatible and non-cytotoxic. This material could replace damaged nose and ear. As of now, these products are imported and hence make the surgery costly. About six-to-eight million tonnes of waste crab, shrimp and lobster shells are produced globally every year. This is about 1.5 million tonnes in South-East Asia. However, the meat present in a crab is only 40% of the mass.

 

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