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Prime Minister to launch Accessible India Campaign for Physically disabled people n important aim of the society is to integrate persons with disabilities in the society so that they can actively participate in society and lead a normal life. Ideally, a disabled person should be able to commute between home, work place and other destinations with independence, convenience and safety. The more persons with disabilities are able to access physical facilities, the more they will be part of the social mainstream. With firm commitment of the government towards socio-economic transformation of the persons with disabilities there is an urgent need to create mass awareness for universal accessibility. DEPwD is also in the process of creating a mobile app, along with a web portal for crowd sourcing the requests regarding inaccessible places. With the app, downloaded on his/her mobile phone, any person would be able to click a photograph or video of an inaccessible public place (like a school, hospital, government office etc.) and upload the same to the Accessible India portal. The portal will process the request for access audit, financial sanction and final retrofitting of the building to make it completely accessible. The mobile app and portal will also seek engagement of big corporates and PSUs to partner in the campaign by offering their help to conduct access audit and for accessibility- conversion of the buildings/transport and websites. India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has formulated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs. The campaign targets three separate verticals for achieving universal accessibility namely the built up environment, transportation eco-system and information & communication eco-system. The campaign has ambitious targets with defined timelines and will use IT and social media for spreading awareness about the campaign and seeking commitment / engagement of various stakeholders. The Department has asked various State Govts. to identify about 50 to 100 public buildings in big cities and also identify citizen centric public websites, which if made fully accessible would have the highest impact on the lives of PwDs. Once identified, “Access Audit” of these buildings and websites will be conducted by professional agencies. As per the audit findings, retrofitting and conversion of buildings, transport and websites would be undertaken by various government departments. This will be supported by the Scheme of Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA), an umbrella scheme run by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) for implementing various initiatives for social and economic empowerment of PwDs. Article 9 of UNCRPD casts an obligation on all the signatory governments to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities. Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 under Section 44, 45 and 46 also categorically provides for non-discrimination in participation, non-discrimination of the roads and built up environment. As per Section 46 of the PwD Act, the States are required to provide for : i) Ramps in public buildings ii) Provision of toilets for wheelchair users iii)Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts iv) Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other rehabilitation centres. Article 9 – Accessibility of UNCRPD 1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services. 2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information; Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
The Supreme Court laid down norms for state governments to select public prosecutors and government advocates and limited the earlier discretion they had to accommodate lawyer supporters of the ruling party. in choosing government lawyers, the state must look for competence and not appoint anyone with a criminal background. Though appointment of PPs and several layers of government advocates for district courts in Uttar Pradesh was in question, the judgment of Justices Vikramjit Sen and A M Sapre will have a salutary effect on other states too. The bench said, “It is beyond cavil that it is in the interest of the dispensation of criminal justice that competent counsel possessing integrity should alone be appointed, since otherwise, there is a strong miscarriage of justice. In choosing them, the state will not only have to be satisfied of their forensic competence, but also that they are bereft of any criminal antecedents.” It clarified that strict selection process to be appointed by states in choosing government lawyers did not mean there would be any security of tenure for them. Justice Sen said, “The state, like any other litigant, must have the freedom to appoint counsel in whom it reposes trust and confidence. The only expectation is that the choice made by the state should not be such as could defeat the sacred and onerous responsibility of ensuring that justice is meted out to all citizens.” Referring to an earlier judgment in Johri Mal case, the bench said the SC had categorically rejected the claim of a lawyer for continuous renewal of appointment as a government advocate. “We entirely agree with this exposition of law, ” the bench said. The bench agreed with the apex court’s Johri Mal judgment, in which it had said district counsel did not have a statutory right for renewal of tenure and the state government enjoyed discretionary power in this regard. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Johri Mal 2004 1. A distinction is to be borne in mind between appointment of a Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor on the one hand, and Assistant Public Prosecutor, on the other. So far as Assistant Public Prosecutors are concerned, they are employees of the State. They hold Civil posts. They are answerable for their conduct to higher statutory authority. Their appointment is governed by the service rules framed by the respective State Government. 2. The appointment of the Public Prosecutors, on the other hand, is governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure and/or the executive instructions framed by the State governing the terms of their appointment. Proviso appended to Article 309 of the Constitution of India is not applicable in their case. Their appointment is a tenure appointment. Public Prosecutors, furthermore retain the character of legal practitioners for all intent and purport. They, of course, discharge public functions and certain statutory powers are also conferred upon them. Their duties and functions are onerous but the same would not mean that their conditions of appointment are governed by any statute or statutory rule. Article 309 of Constitution “Recruitment and conditions of service of persons serving the Union or a State”.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore PIL once filed & heard, cannot be withdrawn: SC Supreme Court said , a Public Interest Litigation PIL, once filed & heard, cannot be withdrawn. The observation came during a hearing on a lawyer’s plea that he was getting threats for filing a PIL seeking entry of girls and women in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. The court noted this when Naushad Ahmed Khan, President of Indian Young Lawyers’ Association, which has filed the PIL on Sabarimala issue, sought urgent hearing of the matter. He said he has received 500 threatening phone calls in recent times and asked to take back the PIL. What is Public Interest Litigation (PIL)? Public-Interest Litigation is litigation for the protection of the public interest. In Indian law, Article 32 of the Indian constitution contains a tool which directly joins the public with judiciary. Article 32: The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part. A PIL may be introduced in a court of law by the court itself (suo motu), rather than the aggrieved party or another third party. For the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction, it is not necessary for the victim of the violation of his or her rights to personally approach the court. In a PIL, the right to file suit is given to a member of the public by the courts through judicial activism. The member of the public may be a non-governmental organization (NGO), an institution or an individual. It was in the case of SP Gupta vs Union of India that the Supreme Court of India defined the term Public Interest Litigation in the Indian Context. The 38th Chief Justice of India, S. H. Kapadia, has stated that substantial fines would be imposed on litigants filing frivolous PILs. PIL has been successful in making official authorities accountable to NGOs.
UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost The United Nations Report says : The rising level of air borne pollution in Asia is extracting greater social and economic costs leading to millions of people dying prematurely each year. Globally some 7 million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in the Asia Pacific. From forest fires with their smoky haze over South East Asia, to China’s smog-filled mega cites, to rural homes in South Asia choked by inefficient stoves, scientists say in Asia there are rising health and social costs from air borne particle pollution. The costs from air pollution are rising for millions across the region, with hundreds of cities facing pollution levels exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) safety standards. We know that well over 200 cities in Asia exceed WHO guidelines on PM2.5 emissions. Millions of people living in them exceeding WHO guidelines which is directly linked with basically chronic health problems. Emission rates from household fuel combustion should not exceed the following targets (ERTs) for particles with aerodynamic diameters of less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO), based on the values for kitchen volume, air exchange and duration of device use per day set out in Table R1.1 and which are assumed to be representative of conditions in low- and middle-income countries. Scientists warn that without significant steps, the number of premature deaths from air borne pollution will double by 2050. In South Asia, from Bangladesh to India and Pakistan, the toll to human life has been directly linked to people using stoves that burn solid cooking fuels, like wood or dung. Indoor pollution is a major contributor to health problems that compares to the pollution faced by urban communities with traffic borne smog. it’s not just a kind of respiratory problem, but it’s also a cardiovascular problem. it’s not just young children’s and women’s problem but across all age groups — men and women — everybody’s impacted — it makes it the top most public health environment concern. In India alone some 3.5 million deaths a year are attributable to household air pollution. But she adds India’s economic growth and rising incomes has led to more families to seek alternatives to solid fuels, such as liquid petroleum gas. Atmospheric brown clouds (ABCs) over mega cities from Bangkok, Japan, China and throughout India, also extract serious costs to communities. China is reported to be increasing investment to curb severe pollution in major cities, both the capital and regionally. But U.N. scientists say more must be done than merely punishing polluters. They say the challenge lies in ensuring there is the political will to enforce existing environmental laws and cooperate on cross border problems such as smoke haze and other atmospheric pollution. Air pollution in India It is quite a serious issue with the major sources being fuelwood and biomass burning, fuel adulteration, vehicle emission and traffic congestion. In autumn and winter months, large scale crop residue burning in agriculture fields – a low cost alternative to mechanical tilling – is a major source of smoke, smog and particulate pollution. The National Green Tribunal directed Delhi and its neighbouring States Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to stop the age-old practice of straw burning recently. India has a low per capita emissions of greenhouse gases but the country as a whole is the third largest after China and the United States. A 2013 study on non-smokers has found that Indians have 30% lower lung function compared to Europeans. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was passed in 1981 to regulate air pollution and there have been some measurable improvements. However, the 2014 Environmental Performance Index ranked India 155 out of 178 countries.In which Air quailty is ranked 174 out of 178 countries.
ICFT-UNESCO Fellini award to be declared International Film Festival India (IFFI) 2015 in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris will present a special ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Fellini Medal, awarded to a film, which reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO. Background: Five films have been shortlisted from the official selection of IFFI following the recommendations of the Film Preview Committee constituted by the Directorate of the Film Festivals. The broad guidelines for the selection of the films are: The film shall exhibit artistic excellence in screenplay, music, and filming technique. The film shall promote the common good, which is defined as a society in which persons and communities care for one another’s well-being. The film shall exhibit sensitivity to the human situation, promoting the dignity of all. The film shall cultivate a realistic hope of creative transformation. The film shall reflect the ideals of peace, love, tolerance, harmony, and friendship. The UNESCO Fellini Medal: When Italian film director Federico Fellini died in 1993, UNESCO’s Member States had just adopted a General Conference resolution calling for the safeguarding of the cinematographic heritage. An appeal was launched to the international community inviting governments, industry, and the public to participate in a campaign to keep the seventh art alive. Activities were also earmarked for UNESCO’s participation in the forthcoming cinema centenary celebrations in 1995. The Fellini medal, first unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1995, therefore had a double significance: to honour the director’s tremendous contribution to film as an art form and to commemorate the centenary of the birth of cinema (1895-1995). The medal’s design of fragmented, interlocking images is the work of Italian painter Valerio Adami. The obverse side features a profile of Fellini with his signature hat, facing the inscription 8 1/2, the title of one of the most famous films in the history of cinema. The reverse is inscribed Fellini (1920-1993) UNESCO. French sculptor Robert Michel created the model and the Paris Mint strike the medal. The Indian films that made it to the competition are- 1. Cinemawala – Bengali 2. Katyar Kaljat Ghusli – Marathi 3. Ain – Malayalam 4. Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal – Malayalam
India plans to construct six more fast breeder reactors Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited, the implementing arm of the Department of Atomic Energy, has plans to construct six new Fast Breeder Reactors over the next 15 years. Country’s first 500-MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam, around 70 km from Chennai, being set up by BHAVINI, is expected to become critical in March or April 2016. Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor components has been installed successfully. Reactor assembly internals have been kept in poised condition for pre-heating prior to Sodium filling. Innovative techniques/tools were developed and deployed to ensure complete cleanliness of reactor internals including dummy sub-assemblies and to maintain dust free environment. Various mechanisms viz., fuel handling, under sodium scanning, periscope, eddy current flow meter and core monitoring thermocouples were checked for smooth performance within reactor assembly before filling nitrogen. The main drive motors for the sodium pumps have been commissioned under no load condition after integrating the variable frequency drive systems. The integrated performance of pumps and motors will be demonstrated after filling of sodium in the respective systems. This prototype fast breeder reactor uses MOX fuel, which is a combination of plutonium and uranium oxide. The Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (BHAVINI) is a government-owned corporation of India established in 2004 in Chennai. One of the public sector undertakings, it is wholly owned by the Union Government and is responsible for the construction, commissioning and operation of all Stage II fast breeder reactors envisaged as part of the country’s three stage nuclear power programme. BHAVINI is administered by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Once the first fast breeder reactor, called Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) goes into commercial power production, BHAVINI will be the second power utility in India after Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), to use nuclear fuel sources to generate power. The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is a 500 MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, India. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) is responsible for the design of this reactor. As of 2007 the reactor was expected to begin functioning in 2010 but now it is expected to achieve first criticality in September 2015. Total costs, originally estimated at 3500 crore (35 billion Rupees, 450 million euros) are now estimated at 5, 677 crore (750 million euros). The Kalpakkam PFBR is using uranium-238 not thorium, to breed new fissile material, in a sodium-cooled fast reactor design. The power island of this project is being engineered by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, largest power equipment utility of India. The surplus plutonium (or uranium-233 for thorium reactors) from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India’s needs for power. The PFBR is part of the three-stage nuclear power program. India has the capability to use thorium cycle based processes to extract nuclear fuel. This is of special significance to the Indian nuclear power generation strategy as India has one of the world’s largest reserves of thorium, which could provide power for more than 10, 000 years, and perhaps as long as 60, 000 years.
Draft National Policy on Capital Goods and Engineering A draft base paper on National Policy on Capital Goods was prepared by the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI)- Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Joint Task Force on Capital Goods and Engineering. WHAT ARE CAPITAL GOODS? Any tangible assets that an organization uses to produce goods or services such as office buildings, equipment and machinery. Consumer goods are the end result of this production process. “Capital Goods” sector comprises of plant and machinery, equipment / accessories required for manufacture / production, either directly or indirectly, of goods or for rendering services, including those required for replacement, modernization, technological upgradation and expansion. It also includes packaging machinery and equipment, refrigeration equipment, power generating sets, equipment and instruments for testing, research and development, quality and pollution control. Capital goods sector is extremely crucial for the development of the country’s economy for the following two important reasons: – 1.Capital Goods is considered as a strategic sector and development of domestic capabilities is essential from a national self-reliance and security perspective . 2.Capital Goods sector has multiplier effect and has a bearing on the growth of user industries as it provides critical inputs, i.e., machinery and equipment to the remaining sectors covered under the manufacturing activity. The capital goods sector contributes 12% to the total manufacturing activity (which is about 15% of the GDP). It is a large and diverse sector in India with a market size of INR 2, 50, 000 Cr in 2013–14 and a domestic production of close to INR 1, 92, 000 Cr. The sector is estimated to grow to a market size of approx INR 4, 65, 000 Cr in 2016–17 with domestic production of approx INR 4, 00, 000 Cr. The sector is a major employer, with close to 13, 00, 000 people employed across various sub-sectors. The sector has grown at the rate of 15% per annum over the last decade. Heavy electrical and power plant equipment is the largest sub-sector contributing to approx 65% of total capital goods requirement. The sector contributes significantly to exports with over Rs 52, 000 crores in 2013-14 which have grown at approx 20% per annum over the last decade. The sector also imports to the extent of Rs. 1, 14, 500 crore, which is 37% of the total demand of capital goods. The capital goods component in industrial production has lagged in recent years due to slow pace of domestic demand leading to growing dependence on imports and following slow growth in the world economy. Further, in the globalized world and as trade barriers in the form of tariffs are reduced, not all capital goods manufacturers have been able to tap the global opportunity. Today, the sector has witnessed a gradual improvement and registered a positive growth from April to December 2014 at 5.7%. Key Issues: Imports continue to address ~35-40% of domestic demand for capital goods with the proportion being significantly higher in “critical components” segment for each subsector. Machine tools, heavy electrical and power plant equipment are sub-sectors that are particularly weak in self reliance with ~40% of demand being met by imports. Indian share in global exports in the capital goods sector is still low, ranging between 0.1% and 0.6%, across various sub-sectors. In contrast, share of global exports for China ranges between 7.7% and 16.3% depending on the sub sector. The prospects for growth of the capital goods sector in India have always been projected to be good. Basis this, industry has invested significantly in capacity while the market 3 growth has not been commensurate with the same. This has led to large blocks of underutilized capacity, waiting to capitalize on the latent demand in the market. Beyond 4-5 large players, the market is fragmented with the majority of operative units in the SME sector. These SMEs are challenged vis-à-vis large foreign competitors with low operating scale and issues related to access to capital. Historically, lower appetite for capital investment in R& D and limited know-how of process technologies, the technology profile of domestic products ranges from basic to intermediate. Support facilities, technology development institutions and skilled man-power continue to lag behind global standards Cost disabilities such as higher cost of power, finance and infrastructure leading to higher operating cost. Vision: “To increase the share of capital goods contribution from present 12% to 20% of total manufacturing activity by 2025” Mission Become one amongst top 10 capital goods producing nations of the world 4 – Raise exports to a significant level of at least 40% of total production. objectives: Creating an Eco-system for globally competitive Capital Goods Sector. Creation and Expansion of Market for Capital Goods Sector Promotion of Exports Human Resource Development Technology & IPR Introduction of Mandatory Standards Focus on SME Development
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore WHO declares end to Ebola outbreak in Liberia The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, meaning that all known chains of transmission of the disease have been stopped in West Africa. It joins Guinea and Sierra Leone, which earned the status last year. Liberia was first declared free of Ebola transmission in May 2015, but the virus was re-introduced twice since then, with the latest flare-up in November. Today’s announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed patient in Liberia tested negative for the disease 2 times. WHO cautions that the 3 countries remain at high risk of additional small outbreaks of Ebola, like the most recent one in Liberia. What is Ebola? Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever and one of the deadliest diseases known to humanity. The Ebola virus disease is a viral hemorrhagic fever that was first discovered in Africa in the 1970s. The current outbreak in West Africa, with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone worst hit, is the largest in history. It has sickened more than 5, 300 people and killed more than 2, 600. With a death rate of up to 90 percent, Ebola is described as “one of the world’s deadliest diseases” by Doctors. Symptoms: Many of those infected with the virus quickly get flu-like symptoms such as fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. The symptoms are non-specific, making the disease difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure. Treatment: There is no vaccine or cure available for the disease. The most serious cases require intensive care and a drip to combat dehydration. How does it spreads? How Ebola spreads Ebola can be caught from both humans and animals. It spreads by direct contact with blood, body fluids or tissues of the infected. Funeral rituals in which relatives and friends touch the body of the dead play an important role in transmission, as does handling dead or living animals carrying the virus. In Africa, particular species of fruit bats are considered possible natural hosts for Ebola virus. Infected bats are thought to transmit the disease to humans, or indirectly through other animals which are hunted for their meat. Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreak was near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore Supreme Court stays Centre’s notification lifting ban on controversial bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’ The Supreme Court today stayed the Centre’s notification lifting ban on controversial bull taming sport Jallikattu The court rejected the plea of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Tamil Nadu that Jallikattu is part of the ancient tradition and culture and should not be stopped as there were enough safeguards provided. The four-year-old ban on holding of Jallikattu was lifted by the Centre in poll-bound Tamil Nadu with certain restrictions recently. What is Jallikattu? “Jallikattu” is a cattle/ bull taming tradition played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebration. This is one of the oldest living ancient sport seen in the modern era. It is held in the villages of Tamil Nadu as a part of the village festival. The festivals are held from January to July, every year. The sport results in major injuries and deaths with over human 200 deaths over the past two decades. Animal activists and PETA India has protested against the sport over the years for animal cruelty. How did Jallikattu ban ? On November 27, 2010 the Supreme Court in accordance with the law enacted on the regulation of events, permitted the Tamil Nadu government to allow jallikattu for five months in a year from January 15. The court also directed the District Collectors to make sure that the animals that participate in jallikattu are registered to the Animal Welfare Board and in return the Board would send its representative to monitor over the event. The state government ordered that two lakhs be deposited by the organizers for the benefit of the victims which also includes the victim’s family, in case of an accident or injury during the event. The government also enacted a rule to allow a team of veterinarians would be present at the venue for testing and certifying the bulls for participation in the event to provide treatment for bulls that get injured. The Animal Welfare Board of India took the case to the Supreme Court for an outright ban on jallikattu because of the cruelty to animals and the threat to public safety involved. The Supreme Court of India banned jallikattu bull fights on May 7th, 2014. The court struck down a 2011 Tamil Nadu law regulating the conduct of Jallikattu and the judges also asked the center to amend the law on preventing cruelty to animals to bring bulls within its ambit.
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