Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has conferred 5th National Kayakalp awards to Public and Private Health Facilities for high Sanitation and Hygiene standards.
➤ Background: Government of India launched a National Initiative 'Kayakalp' on 15th May 2015 to ensure hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness in Public Health Facilities in India.
➤ About: Those District Hospitals, Sub-divisional hospitals, Community Health Centres, Primary Health Centres and Health & Wellness Centres in the public healthcare system who have achieved high levels of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control were recognised and felicitated with awards.
- To promote cleanliness, hygiene and infection control practices in public healthcare facilities, through incentivizing and recognizing such public healthcare facilities that show exemplary performance in adhering to standard protocols of cleanliness and infection control.
- To inculcate a culture of ongoing assessment and peer review of performance related to hygiene, cleanliness, and sanitation.
- To create and share sustainable practices related to improved cleanliness in public health facilities linked to positive health outcomes > Other Initiatives under Kayakalp:
- Mera Aspataal: The Mera Aspataal Initiative was launched to capture patient reaction to the hospital's services and help improve the services by taking corrective measures.
- Swachh SwasthSarvatra (SSS): MoHFW collaborated with Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and launched SSS program. One community health centre (CHCs) situated within Open Defecation Free block receives one-time grant of Rs. 10.00 lakhs under the National Health M ission for undertaking improvement activities, so that the CHC becomes Kayakalp CHC.
Scandalising the Courts: A Ground for Contempt
The Karnataka High Court has issued notice to the Union government on a PIL petition, challenging the constitutional validity of a provision of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, that makes "scandalising or tends to scandalising courts" as a ground for contempt.
- Public Interest Litigation (PIL) stands for a legal action taken by a public spirited person in order to protect public interest (any act for the benefit of the public).
➤ Grounds for Contempt:
- Contempt is the power of the court to protect its own majesty and respect. The power is regulated but not restricted in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
- The expression 'contempt of court' has not been defined by the Constitution.
- However, Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself. Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts.
- The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 defines both civil and criminal contempt.
- Civil contempt [Section 2(b)] refers to wilful disobedience to any judgment of the court.
- Criminal contempt can be invoked if an act:
(i) Tends to scandalise or lower the authority of the court [Section 2 (c)(i)]; or
(ii) Tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding [Section 2 (c)(ii)]; or
(iii) Obstruct the administration of justice [Section 2 (c)(iii)].
- Section 5 of the Act provides that "fair criticism" or "fair comment" on the merits of a finally decided case would not amount to contempt. But the determination of what is "fair" is left to judges' interpretation.
- The Act was amended in 2006 to include the defence of truth under Section 13 of the original legislation. Implying that the court must permit justification by truth as a valid defence if it is satisfied that it is in the public interest.
➤ Arguments of the Petitioners:
- Section 2(c)(i) of the Act violates the right to free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and does not amount to a reasonable restriction under Article 19(2).
- Though the petitioners have not challenged the constitutional validity of Section 2(c) (ii) and Section 2(c)(iii) of the Act, they have contended that rules and guidelines must be framed defining the process that superior courts must employ while taking criminal contempt action, keeping in mind principles of natural justice and fairness.
- In the contempt jurisdiction, the petitioners have contended, the judges may often be seen to be acting in their own cause, thus violating the principles of natural justice and adversely affecting the public confidence they seek to preserve through the proceeding.
➤ Issues that Get Highlighted:
- The word 'scandalising' is subjective and depends on the concerned person's perception. As long as the words 'scandalising the court' are present (in the statute book), it will be susceptible to arbitrary power exercise.
- One of the disturbing trends is the court's propensity to treat personal attacks on their character as contempt.
- It is often forgotten that the law of contempt is not meant for protecting the judges, but it is for protecting the institution of the judiciary.
- Violation of Freedom of Expression:
- A strong judiciary in a democratic republic is the bulwark of masses of this country. It must fulfill the goals set out in the constitution - to secure social economic and political justice for the masses and uphold their fundamental rights.
- If the judiciary is not functioning keeping in mind these objectives, an individual should have the freedom to point out the same and it cannot be said to be criminal contempt. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right.
- United Kingdom's Decision to abolish 'scandalising the judiciary' as a form of contempt of court:
- India's contempt of court law is derived from British law, but in 2013, the United Kingdom abolished 'scandalising the judiciary' as a form of contempt of court because this went against freedom of expression while retaining other forms of contempt like behaviour causing disruption or interference with court proceedings.
- One of the reasons why the UK repealed scandalising judiciary as a ground for contempt is to allow constructive criticism.
- Does not recognise one of the basic principles of natural justice, i.e., no man shall be a judge in his own cause.
- Thus, in contempt proceedings, the court arrogates to itself the powers of a judge, jury and executioner which often leads to perverse outcomes.
- Freedom of speech is the most fundamental of the fundamental rights and the restrictions thereupon have to be minimal. The law of contempt of court can impose only such restrictions as are needed to sustain the legitimacy of the judicial institutions. The law need not protect the judges. It has to protect only the judiciary.
- A contempt notice issued without proper scrutiny could cause great hardship to people engaged in public life. Freedom must be the rule and the restriction must be an exception.
- In contemporary times, it is more important that courts are concerned about accountability. That is, impartial probes scotch allegations rather than threats of contempt action, and processes are transparent.
Five Years of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
Recently, the Government of India's flagship crop insurance scheme - the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) - has completed five years of its launch.
- PMFBY was launched on 13thJanuary 2016.
- The scheme was conceived as a milestone initiative to provide a comprehensive risk solution at the lowest uniform premium across the country for farmers.
➤ Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):
- It provides a comprehensive insurance cover against failure of the crop, thus stabilizing the farmers' income.
- Scope: All food & oilseed crops and annual commercial/horticultural crops for which past yield data is available.
- Premium: The prescribed premium is 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all rabi crops. In annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium is 5%.
- The premium is calculated on the Sum Insured (SI) or the actuarial rate, which estimates the expected value of the future losses. This estimation is predicted based on historical data and consideration of risk involved.
- States and GoI equally subsidized
- Premium cost over and above the farmer share.
- However, GoI shared 90% of the premium subsidy for North Eastern States to promote the region's uptake.
- The scheme was compulsory for loanee farmers availing Crop Loan /Kisan Credit Card (KCC) account for notified crops and voluntary for others.
➤ PMFBY 2.0:
- To ensure more efficient and effective implementation of the scheme, the central government had revamped PMFBY in the 2020 Kharif season.
- This overhauled PMFBY is often called PMFBY 2.0, it has the following features:
- Completely Voluntary: Enrolment 100% voluntary for all farmers from 2020 Kharif.
- Limit to Central Subsidy: The Cabinet has decided to cap the Centre's premium subsidy under the scheme for premium rates up to 30% for unirrigated areas/crops and 25% for irrigated areas/crops.
- More Flexibility to States: The government has given the flexibility to states/UTs to implement PMFBY and given them the option to select any number of additional risk covers/features.
- Investing in ICE Activities: Insurance companies have to spend 0.5% of the total premium now collected on information, education and communication (IEC) activities.
➤ Use of Technology under PMFBY: Crop Insurance App:
- Provides for easy enrollment of farmers.
- Facilitate easier reporting of crop loss within 72 hours of occurrence of any event.
- Latest Technological Tools: To assess crop losses, satellite imagery, remote-sensing technology, drones, artificial intelligence and machine learning are used.
- PMFBY Portal: For integration of land records.
➤ Performance of the Scheme: The Scheme covers over 5.5 crore farmer applications on average per year. o Aadhar seeding (linking Aadhaar through Internet banking portals) has helped in speedy claim settlement directly into the farmer accounts. o One notable example is mid-season adversity claims of nearly Rs. 30 crore in Rajasthan during Rabi 2019-20 Locust attack.
- Rationalising waivers and service delivery: Loan waiver schemes announced by state governments along with mandatory Aadhar linkage should be rationalised to enable PMFBY of greater coverage.
- Enable Timely Compensation: There have been reports of delayed compensation by some states.
- Bringing Behavioural Change: Apart from this, a lot more needs to be done in bringing about a behavioural change regarding the cost of insurance being a necessary input and not a money-back investment.
- Streamlining with Similar Schemes: PMFBY needs to be streamlined with state crop insurance schemes and schemes like Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme to include more risk areas not covered under them.
- Proper Implementation: Successful implementation of PMFBY is an essential benchmark in India's agricultural reform to make farmers self-sufficient in times of crisis and support the creation of an Aatmanirbhar Kisan.
Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) refused to treat the Central Vista project as a unique one requiring greater or heightened judicial review.
- The SC said the government was "entitled to commit errors or achieve successes" in policy matters without the court's interference as long as it follows constitutional principles.
- The Central Vista project of New Delhi includes Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, North and South Block, India Gate, and National Archives.
- The Indian Constitution adopted the Judicial Review on the American Constitution's lines.
➤ Judicial Review:
- It is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.
- In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to how a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.
- Concepts of Law:
(i) Procedure Established by Law: It means that a law enacted by the legislature or the concerned body is valid only if the correct procedure has been followed to the letter.
(ii) Due Process of Law: It is a doctrine that checks if there is a law to deprive the life and personal liberty of a person and ensures that the law is made fair and just.
(iii) India follows Procedure Established by Law.
- It is the power exerted by the courts of a country to examine the actions of the legislatures, executive and administrative arms of government, and ensure that such actions conform to the nation's Constitution's provisions.
- Judicial review has two important functions, like legitimizing government action and the protection of the constitution against any undue encroachment by the government.
- Judicial review is considered a basic constitution structure (Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain Case 1975).
- Judicial review is also called the interpretational and observer roles of the Indian judiciary.
- Suo Moto cases and the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), with the discontinuation of the principle of Locus Standi, have allowed the judiciary to intervene in many public issues, even when there is no complaint from the aggrieved party.
➤ Types of Judicial Review:
- Reviews of Legislative Actions: This review implies the power to ensure that the legislature's laws comply with the provisions of the Constitution.
- Review of Administrative Actions: This is a tool for enforcing constitutional discipline over administrative agencies while exercising their powers.
- Review of Judicial Decisions: This review is used to correct or make any change in previous decisions by the judiciary itself.
➤ Importance of Judicial Review:
- It is essential for maintaining the supremacy of the Constitution.
- It is essential for checking the possible misuse of power by the legislature and executive.
- It protects the rights of the people.
- It maintains the federal balance.
- It is essential for securing the independence of the judiciary.
- It prevents tyranny of executives.
➤ Problems with Judicial Review:
- It limits the functioning of the government.
- It violates the limit of power set to be exercised by the constitution when it overrides any existing law.
- In India, a separation of functions rather than of powers is followed.
- The concept of separation of powers is not adhered to strictly. However, a system of checks and balances has been put in place so that the judiciary has the power to strike down any unconstitutional laws passed by the legislature.
- The judges' judicial opinions once taken for any case become the standard for ruling other cases.
- Judicial review can harm the public at large as personal or selfish motives may influence the judgment.
- Repeated interventions of courts can diminish the faith of the people in the integrity, quality, and efficiency of the government.
➤ Constitutional Provisions for Judicial Review
- There is no direct and express provision in the constitution empowering the courts to invalidate laws, but the constitution has imposed definite limitations upon each of the organs, the transgression of which would make the law void.
- The court is entrusted with the task of deciding whether any of the constitutional limitations has been transgressed or not.
- Some provisions in the constitution supporting the process of judicial review are:
- Article 372 (1) establishes the judicial review of the pre-constitution legislation.
- Article 13 declares that any law which contravenes any of the provisions of the part of Fundamental Rights shall be void.
- Articles 32 and 226 entrust the protector's roles and guarantor of fundamental rights to the Supreme and High Courts.
- Article 251 and 254 states that the state law shall be void in case of inconsistency between union and state laws.
- Article 246 (3) ensures the state legislature's exclusive powers on matters about the State List.
- Article 245 states that the powers of both Parliament and State legislatures are subject to the constitution's provisions.
- Articles 131-136 entrusts the court with the power to adjudicate disputes between individuals, between individuals and the state, between the states and the union. Still, the court may be required to interpret the provisions of the constitution and the interpretation given by the Supreme Court becomes the law honoured by all courts of the land.
- Article 137 gives a special power to the SC to review any judgment pronounced or order made by it. An order passed in a criminal case can be reviewed and set aside only if there are errors apparent on the record.
- With the power of judicial review, the courts act as a custodian of the fundamental rights.
- With the growing functions of the modern state, judicial intervention in making administrative decisions and executing them has also increased.
- When the judiciary surpasses the line of the powers set for it in the name of judicial activism, it could be rightly said that the judiciary then begins to invalidate the concept of separation of powers set out in the Constitution.
- Making laws is the legislature's function and duty to fill the gap of laws and properly implement them. So that the only work remaining for the judiciary is interpretations. Only a fine equilibrium between these government bodies can sustain the constitutional values.
Global Housing Technology Challenge-India
The Prime Minister has laid the foundation of LightHouse Projects (LHPs), as part of the Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC-India) initiative, at six states videoconference.
- He also announced the winners under Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators - India (ASHA- India) and gave away annual awards for excellence in implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Urban (PMAY-U) Mission.
- He also released a certification course on innovative construction technologies named NAVARITIH (New, Affordable, Validated, Research Innovation Technologies for Indian Housing).
➤ Global Housing Technology Challenge-India:
- The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has conceptualized a Global Housing Technology Challenge - India (GHTC- India) which aims to identify and mainstream a basket of innovative technologies from across the globe for the housing construction sector that are sustainable, ecofriendly and disaster-resilient.
- The Prime Minister declared the year 2019-20 as 'Construction Technology Year' while inaugurating GHTC-India in March 2019.
- 3 Components of GHTC-India:
- Grand Expo and Conference: It is organized biennially to provide a platform to all stakeholders associated with housing construction to exchange knowledge and business.
- Proven Demonstrable Technologies for the Construction of Lighthouse Projects: These projects demonstrate the merits of the selected technologies and serve as live laboratories for research, testing, technology transfer, increasing mass awareness and for mainstreaming them in the country.
- The funding for the LHPs is as per the guidelines of PMAY-U.
- Potential Future Technologies for Incubation and Acceleration Support: Potential future technologies from India that apply to the housing sector will be supported and encouraged through the ASHA (Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators) India program.
➤ LightHouse Projects at Six Sites:
- Six LHPs consisting of about 1,000 houses each with physical & social infrastructure facilities are being constructed at six places across the country namely Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Rajkot (Gujarat), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).
- These projects will showcase the use of the six distinct shortlisted innovative technologies for field level application, learning and replication.
- LHPs will demonstrate and deliver ready to live mass housing at an expedited pace as compared to conventional brick and mortar construction and will be more economical, sustainable, of high quality and durability.
➤ Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerator - India (ASHA India):
- The aim of ASHA-India is to catalyse research and development in the housing construction sector, building materials and related products by providing a suitable platform to promote and showcase India's vibrant and dynamic community of innovators.
- It will support the potential future technologies developed in India by the way of incubation and acceleration.
- Incubation and acceleration support is provided to potential future technologies that are not yet market ready (pre-prototype applicants) or to the technologies that are market ready (post prototype applicants) respectively.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has supported private entities in creating necessary infrastructure to promote Moringa products exports from India.
- Globally, the demand for Moringa products, such as Moringa Leaf Powder and Moringa Oil, Moringa as a nutritional supplement and in food fortification has been witnessing healthy growth.
- Its usage has been well received among the global consumers for its nutritional, medicinal, culinary uses.
- Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority
- Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by India's Government under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985.
- It functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The Authority has its headquarters in New Delhi.
- APEDA is mandated to export promotion and development of the scheduled products like fruits, vegetables and their products, meat and meat products, etc.
- APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.
- Botanical name: Moringa oleifera
- It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree native to the Indian subcontinent.
- Common names include moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree etc.
- It is widely cultivated for its young seed pods and leaves, used as vegetables and for traditional herbal medicine. It is also used for water purification.
- It has various healthy compounds such as various vitamins, important elements such as Iron , Magnesium etc. and is extremely low on fats and contains no cholesterol.
Smart Classes for Rural Schools
Recently, RailTel has proposed to the Ministry of Education its plan for equipping rural schools, run by the central government, with the ability to hold 'smart classes'.
➤ About the Proposal:
- The proposal is to power remote government schools with high-speed broadband and create an "Internet of Things" environment for learning.
- The plan is to create end-to-end e-learning solutions for the schools, using the solid Optical Fibre Cable network, which is the backbone of Indian Railways telecom operations.
- Behind the plan is the education sector's thrust on leveraging the gains of e-learning as a mode of instruction, at a time when the pandemic has forced teachers and students to migrate to virtual platforms and adopt IT-enabled interactive means for teaching.
- The cable network runs along railway tracks. So as far as reach is concerned, there is the capability to impact rural schools anywhere in India, including the remotest locations which otherwise may not get reliable Internet.
- RailTel has already provided such connectivity to 723 higher learning institutions under the Centre's National Knowledge Network programme, with broadband speed of up to 10 gigabytes per second.
- It would impact around 3.5 lakh students who are enrolled in these schools, which are run by the Central government predominantly for meritorious students in rural India.
- It is a "Mini Ratna (Category-I)" Central Public Sector Enterprise.
- It is an ICT (Information and Communication Technology) provider and one of the largest neutral telecom infrastructure providers in the country owning a Pan-India optic fiber network on exclusive Right of Way (ROW - for laying telecom cables) along Railway track.
- The OFC network covers all important towns & cities of the country and several rural areas.
- It has been selected for implementation of various mission-mode projects for the Government of India including rolling out the National Knowledge Network, Bharat Net and USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) funded optical fiber based connectivity project in North East India.
Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog
Recently, the Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog has announced 'Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Exam' intending to "infuse curiosity" among people about the importance of cows, and to "sensitise and educate" them about the bovine species.
- Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog is an agency under the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying) established to protect cows.
- It has been constituted to organize animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and take steps to preserve and improve breeds and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
- There are 50 well-defined breeds of cattle and 17 breeds of buffaloes in the country.
- It is a high-powered permanent body to formulate policies and provide directions for the implementation of schemes related to cattle to lay more emphasis on livelihood generation for small & marginal farmers, women, and youth entrepreneurs.
- It functions as an integral part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission.
- Rashtriya Gokul Mission was initiated by Government of India in December 2014 to develop and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds, genetic upgradation of bovine population, and enhancing milk production and productivity of bovines thereby making milk production more remunerative to the farmers.
Demand For Autonomy in Assam
There has been a demand for implementation of Article 244A to create an autonomous Statewithin Assam.
- The appeal to the Centre has been to create an autonomous State for the Karbi Anglong region.
- This has been a demand since 1986.
- The districts are currently governed by two autonomous councils Karbi Anglong and North Cachar hills.
➤ Definition of Scheduled and Tribal Areas: The areas inhabited by the socially and educationally backward 'Aboriginals' are called Scheduled Areas.
➤ Administration of Scheduled and Tribal Areas:
- There are two schedules (5th and 6th) of the Indian Constitution which entail the details about the control and management of the Scheduled and Tribal Areas.
- Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution:
- The provisions regarding the administration and control of Scheduled and Tribal Areas of any state except the four states (Assam, Meghalaya,Tripura, Mizoram) are mentioned under this schedule.
- At present, 10 states namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana have Fifth Schedule Areas.
➤ Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution
- This schedule deals with the administration and control of the scheduled and tribal areas of the four states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram.
➤ Scheduled and Tribal Areas are dealt with two articles:
- Article 244:
- This article deals with the administration of the Scheduled and Tribal Areas.
- It defines Scheduled Areas as the areas defined so by the President of India and are mentioned in the fifth schedule of the Constitution.
- Article 244A:
- Formation of an autonomous state comprising certain tribal areas in Assam and creation of local legislature or Council of Ministers or both therefore.
Sagarmala Seaplane Services
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is starting the ambitious Project of Sagarmala Seaplane Services (SSPS) with potential airline operators.
- A seaplane is a fixed-wing aeroplane designed for taking off and landing on water.
- The project is being initiated under a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) framework through prospective airline operators.
- SPV is a legal object formed for a specifically-defined singular purpose.
➤ Project Implementation:
- The project execution and implementation would be through Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL), which is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
- Airline operators will be invited to form a SPV with SDCL.
- The routes may be operated under the government's subsidised ude desh ka aam nagrik (UDAN) scheme.
➤ Location: Several destinations are envisaged for seaplane operations:
➤ Benefits and Significance:
- The seaplanes services will be a game-changer providing a supplementary means of faster and comfortable transportation across the nation.
- Apart from providing air connectivity to various remote religious/tourist places, it will boost domestic and international holiday makers.
- It will save travel time and stimulate localized short distance travelling especially in the hilly regions or across the rivers/lakes etc.
- It will provide infrastructure enhancements at the places of operations.
- It will generate employment opportunities.