Major Topic Covered :
False negative coronavirus tests as a concern.
Impact of COVID – 19 on sex workers.
SC rejects plea against PM CARES fund.
SC on free COVID-19 testing.
Floor test is governor’s discretion
FALSE NEGATIVE CORONAVIRUS TESTS AS A CONCERN
Why in news?
There has been concern about the manner in which some COVID-19 patients have apparently relapsed. Only days after testing negative, they have been confirmed positive a second time. In Pune, a woman in her sixties tested negative, then fell critically ill with the infection three or four days later, and subsequently died.
The tests based on detection of genetic material are very sensitive, but yes sometimes are negative. It can be because the swab was not taken right or the test was run badly, or sometimes simply because the virus may shed in different amounts, and was not there in the nose at that time. If the infection is in the lung, then a nose swab may not detect it. To be confirmed negative after being positive… you normally need two negative swabs 24 hours apart to be sure.
The test can be negative if the sample is not obtained or processed correctly or even obtained too early, said a scientist at the National Institute of Virology.
A negative test often does not mean the person does not have the disease, and test results need to be considered in the context of patient characteristics and exposure
Concerns about false negatives arise from a mix of factors:
Quickly created tests from dozens of labs and manufacturers that haven't been extensively vetted by federal health regulators;
A shortage of supplies and material for the tests that may impact results,
Long incubation times for the infection, and
The challenge of getting an adequate sample from a patient.
Source : Indian Express and Bloomberg ( https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/why-false-negative-tests-are-a-concern-coronavirus-vaccine-tests-6359650/ & https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-11/false-negative-coronavirus-test-results-raise-doctors-doubts )
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SEX WORKERS
Why in news?
The Indian government's decision to impose a strict lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of the new coronavirus last month has triggered a mass exodus of migrant workers from cities as economic activity came to a standstill. But for thousands of sex workers living in cities across India, there is nowhere to go.
The loss of income overnight has plunged one of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups into the depths of anxiety and deprivation.
On April 8, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and UNAIDS released a statement highlighting the hardship and discrimination faced by sex workers in this time, urging countries to ensure that their human rights be respected and fulfilled.
The statement read: "... Whenever and wherever possible, sex workers are responsibly self-isolating in response to governments' calls. However, when they are excluded from COVID-19 social protection responses, sex workers are faced with putting their safety, their health and their lives at increased risk just to survive..."
The government announced a $22.5bn relief package for the poor but it is not clear if it will benefit sex workers.
Sex work in India is governed by the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. It is currently illegal to solicit sex sale in public and to organise commercial sex. While there are no official figures, the number of sex workers could be anywhere between 1.25 million and 3 million. Activists believe this to be a conservative estimate.
The core clientele has traditionally been migrant workers, truck drivers and other men who are away from their families. Given that this group is also grappling with the horrific economic effect of the lockdown, sex workers - themselves daily wage earners - are staring at months without business.
The National Commission for Women, a statutory body concerned with advising the government on policy matters affecting women, has decided to look into the issue of sex workers.
SC REJECTS PLEA AGAINST PM CARES FUND
Why in news?
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking quashing of the decision to set up the PM CARES Fund, where people can donate money, to deal with the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde described the PIL filed by lawyer M L Sharma as "misconceived" and dismissed it in a hearing conducted through video conferencing.
Lawyers contention :
The fund has been created without following the schemes enumerated under Articles 266 and 267 (which deal with the contingency and the Consolidated Funds of India) of the Constitution.
The plea had made all the trustees of the fund as well as the prime minister parties to it and had sought a transfer of the donations received so far in the fund to the Consolidated Fund of India, besides a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the setting up of the fund.
"Impugned trust has not either been created by Parliament/state legislator within Article 267. It is neither passed by Parliament nor approved by the President of India. There is no ordinance/gazette notification in this regard," the PIL has said.
On March 28, the Centre set up the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the Covid-19 outbreak and provide relief to those affected.
The prime minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund and the defence, home and finance ministers are its ex-officio trustees.
Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sc-rejects-plea-against-pm-cares-fund/articleshow/75124226.cms )
SC ON FREE COVID – 19 TESTING
Why in news?
On Monday, the two-judge bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat ordered that only people who could not afford Rs 4,500 for the test should be tested free by private laboratories.
The Supreme Court has amended its verdict delivered last week that forced private laboratories to offer free Covid-19 testing to everyone.
In the first instance, the court said people eligible under the Ayushman Bharat scheme wouldn’t have to pay for it. The judges also asked the Centre to notify other categories of economically weaker sections who could be tested without a charge.
The private laboratories may not have to bear the financial burden of the free testing. It allowed the government to come out with guidelines to reimburse the expenditure incurred by private labs on free tests.
The two-judge bench, decided to hear the case after a Delhi-based doctor argued that the burden would discourage private laboratories and reduce the country’s capacity to conduct tests.
Why in news?
Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog and National Informatics Centre (NIC) have jointly launched CollabCAD, a collaborative network, computer enabled software system, providing a total engineering solution from 2D drafting & detailing to 3D product design.
The aim of this initiative is to provide a great platform to students of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) across country to create and modify 3d designs with free flow of creativity and imagination.
This software would also enable students to create data across the network and concurrently access the same design data for storage and visualization.
AIM also launched the Game Development module in partnership with DELL Technologies and Learning Links Foundation. It is an online platform where students can start their learning journey while tinkering from home. Through the platform they can learn to create their own games and also share it with others. This platform envisages to make students transition from ‘game players’ to ‘game makers’
About Atal Innovation Mission :
Atal Innovation Mission housed at NITI Aayog is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. At the school level, AIM is establishing ATLs in all districts across India.
As of today, AIM has selected a total of 14,916 schools across the country spread across 33 different states and union territories, for the establishment of ATLs.
Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1614048 )
FLOOR TEST IS GOVERNOR’s DISCRETION
Why in news?
Supreme Court upholds MP Governor's decision asking Kamal Nath government to hold floor test which led to the fall of Kamal Nath government.
The top court relied on its landmark nine-judge S R Bomai verdict of 1994 and said that governor was right in calling for holding of trust vote.
It said that there is no impediment to a governor asking a chief minister to hold a floor test, if he is of prima facie view that the government has lost majority.
It said that a Governor’s power to call for a floor test is not restricted only before the inception of a State government immediately after elections, but continues throughout its term.
The court clarified that the Governor’s requirement to have a trust vote does not “short-circuit” any disqualification proceedings pending before the Speaker. It said a Governor need not wait for the Speaker’s decision on the resignation of rebel MLAs before calling for a trust vote.
Source : Economic Times ( https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/supreme-court-upholds-mp-governors-decision-asking-kamal-nath-government-to-hold-floor-test/articleshow/75118892.cms )
Why in news?
A controversial website that was in the news for all the wrong reasons last year before being shut down has now gone operational once again. Not only that, this time it seems to have caught the attention of Indian cybercriminals, who are using it to prey on women.
Cybercrime agencies in Maharashtra and the country are currently tracking Deep Nude, a website that uses a simple Artificial Intelligence algorithm to generate nude pictures of clothed people.
The website requires a user to upload any picture and within seconds generates a nude version of the subject of the picture, which are typically of women.
What is more worrying, officials said, is that there are several versions of Deep Nude on the Internet, including an app and a Twitter Handle; one page even seeks donations from users.
“This is a serious crime and we have a team to monitor this and take stringent action,” Superintendent of Police, Maharashtra Cyber department, Balsing Rajput, said.
Experts said that once a nude of any woman was generated, the possibilities for misuse were endless. Already, information about some women being targeted had started trickling in.
Catfish accounts are accounts made and managed by criminal elements using alluring pictures of women to ensnare men into committing acts that set them up for blackmail later.
Typically, elements who use such websites thrive on the fact that the victims are reluctant to register complaints for fear of the stigma attached to it. Officers stress on the importance of reporting such cases.
Recent trends like the Saree Challenge, where women upload their pictures on their social media accounts and tag their friends, creating a chain, present endless opportunities to criminal elements to prey on them using websites like Deep Nude
Why in news?
Online child pornography traffic after the lockdown in the country has gone up by 95% with online data monitoring websites showing an increase in demand for searches like “child porn”, “sexy child” and “teen sex videos.”
Millions of paedophiles have migrated online, making Internet extremely unsafe for children: ICPF
“Traffic from India increased by 95% between March 24 and 26, as compared to average traffic before the lockdown,” the India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) said in a statement citing data from Pornhub, the world’s largest pornography website.
The ICPF was set up in January 2020 and aims to support NGOs with funding resources for curbing exploitation of children. The fund is managed by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s son, Bhuwan Ribhu.
The spike in consumption indicates millions of paedophiles, child rapists and child pornography addicts have migrated online, making the Internet extremely unsafe for children. Without stringent action, this could result in a drastic rise in sexual crimes against children.