This Daily Current Affair Capsule is a time-saving tool for going through relevant news from national dailies and government releases on PIB. Aspirants for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. will find it highly useful to cover for revision and awareness purposes.
National Important Current Affairs – 10 March 2018
■ In a historic decision, the Supreme Court has declared passive euthanasia and the provision of a living will (the right of persons, including the terminally ill, to give advance directives to refuse medical treatment) permissible. A Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in three concurring opinions, has upheld that the fundamental right to life and dignity includes right to refuse treatment and die with dignity.
The court has held that fundamental right to a “meaningful existence” under Article 21 includes a person’s choice to die without suffering. The SC said a provision for passive euthanasia through ‘advance directive’ or ‘living will’, would save “a helpless person from uncalled for and unnecessary treatment when he is considered as merely a creature whose breath is felt or measured because of advanced medical technology”. The SC also ruled that a patient had the right to refuse medical treatment.
The court has invoked its inherent power under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant legal status to advance directives, and its directives will hold good until Parliament enacts legislation on the matter. The centre government submitted that it was in the process of introducing a law to regulate passive euthanasia, but opposed the concept of an advance directive on the ground that it was liable to be misused.
What is Passive euthanasia? It entails a patient being allowed to die by limiting medical intervention, not escalating already aggressive treatment, withholding or withdrawing artificial life support in cases that are judged to be medically futile.
What is a Living Will? A Living Will is a healthcare directive, in which people can state their wishes for their end-of-life care, in case they are not in a position to make that decision. Simply put, a living will is a document prepared by a person in their healthy/sound state of mind under which they can specify in advance whether or not they would like to opt for artificial life support, if he/she is in a vegetative state due to an irreversible terminal illness in the future.
Who can make a Living Will? Any adult with a sound and healthy mind. It should be voluntarily executed and based on informed consent. It should be expressed in specific terms in a language “absolutely clear and unambiguous”. The circumstances in which medical treatment should be withheld or withdrawn should be contained the living will. It should specify that the Will can be revoked any time. It should also give the name of the “guardian or close relative” who will give the go-ahead for starting the procedure of passive euthanasia.
- However, to prevent possible misuse by greedy relatives eyeing the patient’s property, the SC has provided for stringent guidelines for preparing and giving effect to ‘living will’ and administration of ‘passive euthanasia’ by involving multiple medical boards comprising several experts and even judicial officers.
- The Will shall be attested by two independent witnesses and counter-signed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) assigned the jurisdiction by the District Court.
Note that: The 241st report of the Law Commission had stated that passive euthanasia should be allowed with certain safeguards and there is a proposed law—Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patient (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill, 2006 regarding this.
■ Rajasthan has passed a bill to award death penalty for those who rape girls under 12 years of age. State Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria has introduced ‘The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018’ in the assembly, which was passed in the House by a voice vote following a debate. The new amendment added sections 376-AA and 376-DD to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 – a person who is convicted of raping/gang-raping a girl up to twelve years of age will be given a death sentence or rigorous imprisonment, which shall not be less than fourteen years and 20 years, respectively.
As per the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, the cases of crime against children have become rampant in Rajasthan in the recent past.
By doing so, it has become the 2nd state after Madhya Pradesh to award death penalty to child rapists. Last year, Madhya Pradesh assembly unanimously passed ‘The Penal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill-2017’ awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below.
■ NITI Aayog has launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
The Women Entrepreneurship Platform is aimed at building an ecosystem for women across India to enable their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses. This will be done through an enabling network of industry collaborations, partnerships, mentors and peer-to-peer connect.
Note that: According to Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, India has scored an overall 41.7 points, ranking 49 among 54 economies globally with comparatively low in Women Business Ownership percentages. India presents lower opportunities for women to assume leadership roles, participation in the workforce or engagement in entrepreneurial activities.
■ The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report on State Finances for 2016-17, has revealed several irregularities in the implementation of Gender Budgeting in Rajasthan, including non-implementation of schemes aimed at women empowerment. As per the CAG report, Rajasthan has also registered a decrease in the total expenditure against gender budgeting.
The CAG report has observed that only 0.37 percent of budget allocation was incurred on the ‘SABLA’ scheme aimed at empowering adolescent girls by improving their nutritional and health status, during the 2016-17 fiscal. This was due to non-implementation of the supplementary nutrition scheme.
The CAG also observed that under the ‘Mission Gramya Shakti (MGS)’ no expenditure was incurred during 2016-17 against a budget provision of Rs 16.60 crore. The scheme aims to strengthen women self help groups (SHGs) through clustering, capacity building and handholding and linking them with livelihood promotion programmes.
■ The government has approved a Rs 1,151 crore new central scheme to promote in-situ (in the farm itself) management of crop residue in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The ‘Promotion of agricultural Mechanization for in-situ management of crop residue’ scheme will be implemented for two years. This move is aimed at providing a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to farmers to deal with the problem of stubble burning that every winter results in raising air pollution levels in the capital and neighbouring states.
About the ‘Promotion of agricultural Mechanization for in-situ management of crop residue’ scheme:
This fully centrally-funded scheme, is as per the government’s budget announcement on having a special scheme to support efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to address air pollution.
The fund will primarily be used to subsidise machinery required for in-situ management of the crop residue.
Establishment of ‘Farm Machinery Banks’ for custom hiring of in-situ crop residue management machinery will be the key component of the scheme.
The government will assist individual farmers, cooperative societies, farmer producer organisations (FPOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), private entrepreneurs and registered groups of women farmers.
State governments will identify various beneficiaries and location–specific agricultural equipment, depending on the farming system. They will also identify and select beneficiaries for establishment of ‘Farm Machinery Bank’ for custom hiring and procurement of machines on individual ownership basis to avail the benefit in transparent and time-bound manner.
■ Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Biplab Deb took oath as the 20th chief minister of Tripura, thus making the first BJP government in the state under the banner of National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Jishnu Deb Burman also took oath as deputy chief minister of Tripura. Prime minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Union ministers and BJP chief ministers attended the swearing-in ceremony. With this, BJP ended the 25-year Left Front rule in the State by winning 35 out of the 59 seats. Its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, has won eight seats, taking the tally to 43.
International Current Affairs Capsule – 10 March 2018
■ French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Delhi on a four-day India visit, accompanied by his wife Brigitte Marie-Claude Macron, besides senior ministers from his Cabinet. He was received at the airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a special gesture. Macron would look to boost ties between India and France, especially in the areas of maritime security and counter-terrorism. An agreement on the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, which is being built with French assistance, is also expected to be signed during the visit. Stepping up cooperation in the Indian Ocean region will also be one of the top issues to be discussed during this visit.
■ Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will reach New Delhi on a two -day official visit to India, at the joint invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emanuel Macron to participate at the First Conference of the International Solar Alliance Founding Members.
The founding conference of the International Solar Alliance will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Center in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will be hosting the conference.
■ The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the announcement of a planned summit between the United States and North Korea, saying this breakthrough showed leadership and vision. Guterres has repeatedly called for talks to address the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, which the UN chief has described as the most pressing global security threat. US President Donald Trump agreed to a first face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which could take place by the end of May.
■ An international team of physicists have successfully created a new state of matter termed “Rydberg polaron”, which is a “giant atom” filled it with ordinary atoms. These atoms are held together by a weak bond and is created at very cold temperatures. It has been created by using twin ideas of different fields: Bose Einstein Condensation and Rydberg atoms.
- A BEC (Bose Einstein Condensate) is a liquid-like state of matter that occurs at very low temperatures. It can be perturbed to create excitations which are similar to ripples on a lake. Here, researchers have used a Bose Einstein Condensate of strontium atoms.
- Electrons in an atom move in orbits around the nucleus. A ‘Rydberg atom’ is an atom in which an electron has been jolted out to a very large orbit.
In this work of Rydberg polaron, researchers used laser light on a BEC of strontium atoms so that it strikes on one strontium atom at a time. This excites an electron into a large orbit, forming a Rydberg atom whose orbit is large enough to encircle many other strontium atoms inside it. As the electron moves around many strontium atoms, it generates ripples of the BEC. The Rydberg atom becomes inextricably mixed with these ripples and forms a new super-atom called a ‘Rydberg polaron’.
Use of these Rydberg polarons will be for cosmology in understanding the mysterious ‘dark matter’ which exerts a gravitational force on other matter. Some previous theories of dark matter postulate that it is a cosmic Bose Einstein Condensate, perhaps composed of an as-yet-unknown type of particle.
■ For the first time, scientists have found Earth’s fourth most abundant mineral—calcium silicate perovskite— at South Africa’s famous Cullinan Mine, best known as the source of two of the largest diamonds in the British Crown Jewels. Scientists found the calcium silicate perovskite within less than one kilometre beneath Earth’s crust, CaSiO3 perovskite in diamond indicates the recycling of oceanic crust into the lower mantle.
Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 10 March 2018
■ Cab hailing platform Uber has roped in Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador in India. This is the first time the company has announced a brand ambassador in the Asia Pacific region. Last month, it had named footballer Mohamed Salah as the brand ambassador for its Egypt market. Besides being the face of the brand, Virat will be actively involved in a series of innovative marketing and customer experience initiatives to be rolled out by Uber India.
Note that: One of the world’s most valued startups, Uber has pumped in millions of dollars in the Indian market towards product building as well as rider and driver incentives among other initiatives. India is a key market for Uber, which is locked in an intense battle for market leadership with the homegrown player, Ola.
■ Noted Sufi and Punjabi folk singer Pyarelal Wadali, the younger of the ‘Wadali Brothers’ duo, has died of cardiac arrest on in Amritsar at the age of 75 years. Known for their Punjabi Sufi music, the Wadali Brothers have sung Bollywood songs like ‘Rangrez‘ from ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ and ‘Ik Tu Hi Tu Hi’ from ‘Mausam’.
The Wadali Brothers – comprising Puranchand Wadali and Pyarelal Wadali – had carved a distinct mark for themselves in the genre of Sufi music. Born into the fifth generation of musicians, Pyarelal and Puran Chand Wadali became popular with their Sufi music and were spotted after performing at the Harballabh temple in Jalandhar in 1975.
“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims – 10 March 2018 “
Q1. Which country hosted the World ATM Congress (WATMC-2018)?
- A) Belgium
- B) France
- C) India
- D) Spain
Q2. Which city to host the 2018 National Legislators Conference, to provide a platform to Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assemblies and Members of Legislative Councils across the country to share their experiences?
- A) Jaipur
- B) Shimla
- C) New Delhi
- D) Lucknow
Q3. Microsoft has inked its first-ever renewable energy deal in India for powering its new facility in which city?
- A) New Delhi
- B) Bengaluru
- C) Kolkata
- D) Kochi
Q4. The headquarters of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has shifted from Chennai to which place?
- A) Ballabhgarh
- B) Udaipur
- C) Kanpur
- D) Bhopal
Q5. Which state government has started Asmita Yojana to provide sanitary napkins at subsidised rates?
- A) Maharashtra
- B) Gujarat
- C) Rajasthan
- D) Karnataka
Answer these questions in the comments below. We encourage you to discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post. The idea is to promote healthy discussions on interesting issues to make preparation fun. Have a good day!