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Daily current affairs for IAS upsc

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Now, Aadhaar required for death certificates

News: Government Made Aadhaar numbers a pre-requisite for issuing death certificates to residents of all States.

Why this move? 

  • Terming it a move to curb identity fraud,
  • Barring Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam, in order to establish the identity of the deceased, with effect from October 1, 2017.

What next?

  • If the person applying for the death certificate is not aware of the Aadhaar number or the Aadhaar enrollment ID number of the deceased, she or he would be required to provide a certificate that the deceased person does not possess Aadhaar number to the best of her or his knowledge.
  • Moreover, applicants will be required to provide their own Aadhaar number along with that of the applicant’s spouse or parents.

What if wrong declaration made?

  • The Ministry has warned that any false declaration given by the applicant in this regard will be treated as an offence under the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969.

ISRO set to launch satellite with corrected clocks

  • Indian Space Research Organisation will soon launch a replacement navigation satellite fitted with corrected atomic clocks to make up for the crippled satellite, IRNSS-1A.
  • ISRO completed putting the seventh and last regional navigation spacecraft, 1G, in orbit in April last year. The first one was put in orbit in July 2013.
  • The Rs. 1,420-crore fleet, now called NAViC or Navigation Indian Constellation, is India’s own GPS-like system to give accurate information about location and time of persons or objects — in the same way as the older U.S. Global Positioning System or Russia’s GLONASS.

Why its important?

Positional details are vital for civil and military aviation, defense needs, ATMs and individual users, besides transport on land, sea or air.
New Bill to allow States to drop no-detention policy

News:

  • With some Bills pertaining to education already passing muster in either House of Parliament this session, the Ministry of Human Resource Development is looking to introduce a Bill to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, to enable States to do away with the no-detention policy if they wish.

Beyond these:

  • The Cabinet has cleared the introduction of the Bill and the Ministry wants it introduced in this session itself and passed in the next session.
  • Twenty-five States had recently agreed with the idea of doing away with or tweaking the no-detention policy — wherein a child is not detained till Class 8 — to give a boost to levels of learning.
  • Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra did not ask for a rollback of the policy, however.

Some Provisions of bill:

  • The Bill is expected to permit States to introduce exams in Classes 5 and 8.
  • Students who fail in the exams — to be held in March — will be given remedial training and offered another chance to pass in May.
  • Those who still fail will be detained in the same class.

SC for centralised system to select judicial officers

  • The Supreme Court indicated a favorable attitude towards a centralized selection mechanism for appointment of judicial officers in the subordinate judiciary.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar said the court was even ready for a day-long hearing on the issue on August 22 to amicably resolve the objections of various States and High Courts to the proposal.
  • The Bench tried to assuage the concern of various States and High Courts, saying there would be no breach and interference in the federal structure.

Punishing the victims

Rajesh Sharma & Ors vs State of U.P. & Aanr :

  • Dealt another punishing blow to what has become a toothless anti-dowry law.
  • When first enacted in 1961, the law sought to protect women from being killed or tortured in their marital homes by greedy husbands and in-laws.
  • Thereafter, passionate advocacy by women’s rights activists resulted in the insertion of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 498A

  • Made the offence of dowry harassment cognizable and non-bailable.
  • thereby bringing enormous relief to women who face virtually insurmountable obstacles in the public space, especially when taking complaints to the police or facing long-winded judicial proceedings.
  • In a sense, Section 498A sought to level the playing field and further ensure the safety of women. However, as with all laws relating to women, the patriarchal, self-fulfilling argument that Section 498A had created a bunch of monstrous, disgruntled women determined to destroy family values and drag innocent husbands and in-laws to jail for their own nefarious purposes began to dominate the discourse.

Wages of being a legislator

  • The Tamil Nadu Assembly recently voted to double the salaries of its legislators.
  • It is in the backdrop of a group of farmers from the State who are still on protest in New Delhi demanding that the Centre announce a drought relief package and loan waiver for farmers from the State.

What next?

  • India paid Rs. 2.7 lakh a month, which includes salaries and expenses, to every Member of Parliament in 2015.
  • Maharashtra’s Assembly passed a Bill in 2016 that raised the monthly salary of its MLAs to above that of the President (Rs. 1.5 lakh per month).
  • Proposals to raise the salaries of ministers to Rs. 3.6 lakh per month and MLAs to Rs. 2.1 lakh a month have been passed by the Delhi Assembly.

[Op-Ed]  Editing ourselves (hindu)

News: Scientists have for the first time managed to edit genes in a human embryo to repair a genetic mutation, fueling hopes that such procedures may one day be available outside laboratory conditions.

  • Scientists fixed a mutation that thickens the heart muscle, a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

What is its significance?

  • The cardiac disease causes sudden death in otherwise healthy young athletes and affects about one in 500 people overall.
  • It is caused by a mutation in a particular gene and a child will suffer from the condition even if it inherits only one copy of the mutated gene.
  • Correcting the mutation in the gene would not only ensure that the child is healthy but it would also prevent the mutation from being passed on to future generations

.For further reading:

  • In an attempt to remove the small portion of mutation, the researchers injected sperm of a man affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and the gene-editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9, that cuts the DNA near the position of the mutation, into the egg at the same time.
  • The gene-editing tool cut the DNA at the correct position in all embryos and 42 out of the 58 embryos did not carry the mutation.
  • Even research on embryos using federal funding is not permitted in the U.S., where the research was carried out. The embryos were produced with the clear intention of using them solely for research and not for implanting them in women.

Future scope:

  • While several diseases can potentially be prevented by using this technique, including some cancers, the announcement has also revived fears about designer babies being within the realm of possibility.

Concerns: 

  • In February this year, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Medicine allowed scientists to use the tool for research and said the technique to edit embryos will become acceptable for clinical use.
  • But for that to happen, rigorous research involving multiple locations has to be carried out to address all safety concerns and ethical issues.
  • To that end, the researchers have already addressed an inherent problem of producing embryos containing a mosaic of unrepaired and repaired cells by introducing the gene-editing tool and the sperm together into the egg.

Price of rapacity{ Hindu}

News:In ordering that lease-holders should pay compensation to the extent of 100% of the price of the quantum of minerals they had illegally extracted, the Supreme Court has gone beyond a mere affirmation of the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

What next?

  • It has also set a significant benchmark for stringent action against those who indulge in mining without environmental or forest clearance.
  • Even the Central Empowered Committee had recommended compensation to the extent of 30% of the value of the iron ore and manganese ore illegally mined in Odisha, but the court has been firm about not compromising on the quantum of compensation.
  • It is impossible to dispute the court’s reasoning that the defaulter or violator should bear the consequences of the illegality, and therefore cannot be allowed the benefit of “pocketing 70% of the illegally mined ore”.
  • The mining companies tried every possible means of avoiding the tag that they had illegally mined iron or manganese ore.

What minors say:

  • Some of them argued that they did not require environmental clearance as they had started operations prior to 1994, when the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification was first issued, and that unless there was an expansion, they did not require environmental clearance.

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