UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 12-June-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. SC takes note of issues relating to treatment of Covid patients, dignified handling of bodies.

  2. Reservation not fundamental right

  3. State-run firms need not pay AGR dues: Supreme Court

  4. Germany eyes 'world number one' spot in green hydrogen

  5. Govt. considering universal basic income, says NHRC 

  6. Trump targets ICC with sanctions over Afghanistan war crimes case

  7. First estimation exercise of Indian gaur in Nilgiris in recent years 


SC TAKES NOTE OF ISSUES RELATING TO TREATMENT OF COVID PATIENTS, DIGNIFIED HANDLING OF BODIES

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday took cognizance on its own of reports of improper handling of Covid-19 patients and undignified disposal of the victims' bodies in the country. 


Highlights:

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday registered a suo motu (on its own) case regarding the issues surrounding the treatment of Covid-19 patients and handling of dead bodies of Covid-19 victims in hospitals.

  • Former Union law minister Ashwini Kumar had written to the CJI on June 8 highlighting the undesirable manner in which patients and dead bodies were being handled.

  • Kumar pointed out a news report of a Covid-19 patient being chained to a bed in a hospital in Madhya Pradesh.

  • He also drew the attention of the CJI to an incident from Puducherry where a dead body was being thrown into a pit for burial.

  • Right to die with dignity is a fundamental right and it includes the right to a decent burial or cremation, Kumar had said in his letter.

  • This would be the third case which the top court would be hearing suo-motu in relation to issues stemming out of Covid-19.


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/supreme-court-to-hear-plea-on-treatment-of-covid-19-patients/story-tcQsFCNq7kaReLNwOQ9XHI.html )


RESERVATION NOT FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday once again said that right to reservation is not a fundamental right while rejecting pleas challenging the Centre’s decision to not grant 50% reservation to OBCs in Tamil Nadu medical colleges.


Highlights:

  • The Supreme Court bench said that “right to reservation is not a fundamental right”.

  • The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a bunch of pleas filed by various political parties against the Centre's decision not to grant 50% reservation to OBCs as per Tamil Nadu law in medical seats surrendered by the state in the All India Quota for under graduate, post graduate and dental courses in 2020-21.

  • Ruling AIADMK had alleged that there was no rational basis for not extending the benefit of 50 per cent reservation for OBCs, as envisaged under the State laws of Tamil Nadu, to the State-captured seats in the All India Quota.


Source : India Today (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/reservation-not-fundamental-right-supreme-court-on-obc-quota-in-tamil-nadu-medical-colleges-1687903-2020-06-11 )


STATE-RUN FIRMS NEED NOT PAY AGR DUES: SUPREME COURT

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday provided relief to public sector undertaking who had been given a demand notice for spectrum dues even as it dashed hopes of a breather for telecom companies by asking them to file affidavits on the roadmap and guarantee for payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) related dues to the government.


Highlights:

  • Hearing the case on AGR-related dues of telecom companies, including Vodafone Idea, Tata Teleservice, and Bharti Airtel, the court directed mobile operators to furnish details with respect to the revenue earned by them and their plan of action as to how they intend to clear the AGR dues.

  • The apex court had on 24 October upheld the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) definition of AGR and ordered telecom firms to pay levies based on that definition, along with interest on the principal amount and penalty.

  • The bench also held that the 2019 AGR judgment was wrongfully interpreted to raise demands from the PSUs. It also asked the DoT to consider its bills from public sector companies like Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), GAIL India, GNFC and Oil India.

  • The bench comprising Justices MR Shah and S Abdul Nazeer observing the difference in the licenses of telcos and PSUs asked the government to explain the demands raised against state-owned companies based on the AGR judgement.

  • Justice Mishra slammed DoT for raising demand from various PSUs under the garb of its judgement on AGR and threatened to take action against the concerned officers. 


Source : Livemint (https://www.livemint.com/industry/telecom/agr-case-sc-gives-relief-to-psus-and-hope-to-telcos-11591884991223.html )


GERMANY EYES 'WORLD NUMBER ONE' SPOT IN GREEN HYDROGEN

Why in news?

  • Germany on Wednesday said it aimed to become the world's "number one" in green hydrogen technology, betting the fuel produced by renewable energy sources can both reduce carbon emissions and stimulate Europe's top economy. 


Highlights:

  • "For reasons related to our competitiveness but above all to reach our ambitious climate goals", ministers have agreed to pump nine billion euros ($10.2 billion) of government cash into the technology, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told reporters in Berlin. 

  • Seven billion euros will go on supporting hydrogen's entry into the market in Germany, while a further two billion euros are earmarked for "international partnerships". 

  • Green hydrogen is seen by Berlin as a key link in the chain between renewable energy generation and end users, allowing easy storage and transport of power generated from the sun or wind. 

  • So-called "green" hydrogen is produced by electrolysis -- using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen -- rather than being obtained from fossil sources, as the gas historically has been. 

  • Possible applications for the new fuel include production of climate-neutral steel, storage of energy for the winter, or powering road vehicles as an alternative to battery-electric drive. 

  • By 2030, Germany aims to build five gigawatts of hydrogen-producing capacity nationwide, rising to 10 gigawatts by 2040 at the latest.

  • Ministers also hope to export the technology and know-how to produce green hydrogen to other countries 


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/germany-eyes-world-number-one-spot-in-green-hydrogen/articleshow/76303874.cms )


GOVT. CONSIDERING UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, SAYS NHRC

Why in news?

  • In its report on human rights in India, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has informed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the recommended implementation of a universal basic income was “under examination and active consideration” of the Centre. 


Highlights:

  • As a part of the third round of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which is done every four-and-a-half-years, the NHRC submitted its mid-term report to the UN agency recently.

  • The report, dated “May 2020”, reviewed the implementation of 152 recommendations of the UPR Working Group that the Indian government had accepted in September 2017.

  • One of the recommendations was: “Continue studying the possibility of a universal basic income as a way to further reduce poverty levels with a view to possibly phasing out the existing social protection system, in full consultation with all stakeholders.” 

  • “This matter is under examination and active consideration of the GoI,” the NHRC report noted. 

  • The report stated that there had been a consensus on the need for increasing budgetary allocation for health and nutrition by the Centre and state governments. 

  • With regards to child rights, the report said the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was working on a proposal for a pilot project to eliminate child labour in five “aspirational districts with high incidence of child labour”.

  • The NHRC noted that it had found “gaps in policies as compared to obligations” under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and had made recommendations to address the same.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-actively-considering-universal-basic-income-nhrc-tells-un/article31805107.ece )


TRUMP TARGETS ICC WITH SANCTIONS OVER AFGHANISTAN WAR CRIMES CASE

Why in news?

  • U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an executive order authorising sanctions against individuals involved in an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into whether U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.


Highlights:

  • A senior White House official, without providing details, said the ICC probe is “being pushed forward by an organisation of dubious integrity” and accused Russia of having a role.

  • Mr. Trump has repeatedly assailed The Hague-based ICC set-up to prosecute war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. It has jurisdiction only if a member state is unable or unwilling to prosecute atrocities itself.

  • Afghanistan is a member of the ICC, though Kabul has argued that any war crimes should be prosecuted locally.

  • The U.S. government has never been a member of the court, established in 2002.

  • The government imposed travel restrictions and other sanctions against ICC employees a year ago.

  • The ICC decided to investigate after prosecutors’ preliminary examination in 2017 found reasonable grounds to believe war crimes were committed in Afghanistan and that the ICC has jurisdiction.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/donald-trump-targets-icc-with-sanctions-over-afghanistan-war-crimes-case/article31807047.ece )


FIRST ESTIMATION EXERCISE OF INDIAN GAUR IN NILGIRIS IN RECENT YEARS

Why in news?

  • The first population estimation exercise of the Indian gaur carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division in recent years, which was conducted in February of this year, has revealed that more than an estimated 2,000 Indian gaurs inhabit the entire division. 


Highlights:

  • Worryingly, the exercise has also revealed that the majority of the animals in “conflict-prone” areas in the division live perilously close to human habitations due to habitat loss and fragmentation, exacerbating the probability of having problematic interactions with humans.

  • Officials said that the reasons for this could be due to the easy availability of food in and around human settlements, the lack of threat from predators, and the spread of invasive flora into reserve forests.

  • “Moreover, many of these ‘conflict-prone’ regions are witnessing changing land-use patterns, with what were tea estates being converted into resorts and buildings. 

  • IUCN Status - Vulnerable


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/first-estimation-exercise-of-indian-gaur-in-nilgiris-in-recent-years/article31806928.ece )


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