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Association of World Election Bodies

Paper: Prelims

Why in the news?

  • Election commission of India (ECI) to host the 4th General Assembly of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) at Bengaluru on 3rd September 2019
  • India will take over as A-WEB’s Chair for the 2019-21 term
  • An International Conference on “Initiatives and Challenges of Social Media and Information Technology in Elections” will also be held on 04th September, 2019

What is A-WEB?

  • The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), established on October 14, 2013, is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide
  • It is Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea
  • At present A-WEB has 115 EMBs as Members & 20 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members
  • Its vision is to foster efficiency and effectiveness in conducting free, fair, transparent and participative elections worldwide
  • It identifies the latest trends, challenges and developments in democratic electoral management and electoral processes and to facilitate appropriate exchange of experience and expertise among members with the objective of strengthening electoral democracy worldwide
  • A-WEB has undertaken election ICT Programmes in various countries like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Fiji, Papua Guinea and Samoa
  • A-WEB also undertakes Election Visitor and Observation Programmes in various countries to study various election management practices and share knowledge with other Member of EMBs

ECI and A-WEB

  • ECI has been very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB
  • It has been A-WEB’s Executive Board Member for two consecutive terms (2013-15 and 2015-17)
  • ECI was unanimously elected as Vice-Chair of A-WEB 2017-19

Governor

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional bodies

Why in news?

The President appointed four new Governors for four states and transferred one

Who is Governor?

  • The governor is the chief executive head of the state. But, like the president, he is a nominal executive head (titular or constitutional head)
  • Usually, there is a governor for each state, but the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 facilitated the appointment of the same person as a governor for two or more states

Appointment of Governor

  • The governor is neither directly elected by the people nor indirectly elected by a specially constituted electoral colleg
  • He is appointed by the president by warrant under his hand and seal, on the advice of the Council of Ministers
  • The Constitution lays down only two qualifications for the appointment of a person as a governor. These are:
    • He should be a citizen of India
    • He should have completed the age of 35 years
  • Additionally, two conventions have also developed in this regard over the years:
    • He should be an outsider, that is, he should not belong to the state where he is appointed, so that he is free from the local politics
    • While appointing the governor, the president is required to consult the chief minister of the state concerned
  • A Governor whose term has expired may be reappointed in the same state or any other state any number of times

Transfer of Governor

  • The President may transfer a Governor appointed to one state to another state for the rest of the term – which is five years, normally

Gaganyaan

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

Why in news?

Russia and India are stepping up efforts in space cooperation with Russia sharing its expertise with ISRO regarding various critical areas of India’s Gaganyaan mission. With prior experience in manned space missions, one such area of cooperation is training of Indian Astronauts. A special unit of ISRO will be established in the embassy in Moscow to facilitate this close cooperation.

What is Gaganyaan Mission?

  • It is ISRO’s first manned space mission to be completed by 2022
  • Gaganyaan is a fully autonomous 3.7-tonne spacecraft designed to carry a 3-member crew to orbit and safely return to Earth, after a mission duration of up to seven days. It will consist of a crew module and a service module together called the orbital module
  • Under the mission, three flights will be sent in orbit. Of the three, there will be two unmanned demonstration flights and one human spaceflight
  • The human flight will consist of 3 astronauts including one woman
  • The spacecraft will be launched strapped to a GSLV Mk III rocket which will inject the spacecraft into an orbit 300–400 km above Earth where it will orbit for the mission duration
  • During the flight, the astronauts will conduct various scientific experiments in microgravity environment
  • The mission is expected to cost about Rs. 10000 crore

Kartarpur corridor

Paper: Prelims, General Studies 2

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

Why in news?

India and Pakistan will hold a round of talks on Kartarpur corridor on september 4. The talks provide a platform to improve bilateral relations in an otherwise tense environment.

Kartarpur corridor:

  • It is a proposed border corridor between India and Pakistan, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib(located in Punjab, India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (Punjab, Pakistan)
  • Under the current plan, the corridor will allow religious devotees from India to visit Kartarpur without a visa
  • Kartarpur was founded by Guru Nanak, the first guru of sikhism, on the right bank of river Ravi. Guru Nanak established the first Sikh commune there, so it holds religious significance for the community

Antimicrobial Resistance(AMR)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

Why in news?

  • Vibrio Cholerae – cholera causing bacteria – strain in fecal samples from Mumbai and Delhi found to be resistant against most commonly used antibiotics
  • Researchers at IISER Pune are studying evolution of AMR in E.coli
  • Multidrug and extensively drug resistant (MDR and XDR) TB cases are in rise in India

What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

Antimicrobials are used against disease causing pathogens as a form of treatment. However, with consistent exposure to antimicrobials, the pathogen naturally evolves and develops resistive mechanisms against actions of the antimicrobials. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe

Causes of AMR?

  • Overuse of antimicrobials e.g. use of 2nd, 3rd line of antibiotics against non resistant bacteria; use of antimicrobials without proper consultation
  • Not completing the antibiotic courses
  • Cultural events such as mass bathings e.g. Kumbh mela
  • Excess use of certain antibiotics in animals
  • Pharmaceutical industry pollution exposes wild strains to antibiotics and cause evolution of pathogen
  • Poor hygiene and sanitation, particularly in healthcare establishments

Why AMR is considered a Global Threat?

  • New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability and death
  • Such situation can cause resurgence of contained diseases and increase chances of epidemics and pandemics
  • AMR increases the duration of treatment, and thus, the cost of treatment, making it unavailable to economically weaker sections

Fight against AMR:

  • In 2015, WHO endorsed a “global action plan on antimicrobial resistance” with 5 strategic objectives:
    • to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance;
    • to strengthen knowledge through surveillance and research;
    • to reduce the incidence of infection;
    • to optimize the use of antimicrobial agents; and
    • develop the economic case for sustainable investment that takes account of the needs of all countries, and increase investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and other interventions
  • Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) – a global partnership to research on AMR and new antimicrobials

Steps taken by India:

  • The National Health Policy 2017 highlights the problem of antimicrobial resistance and calls for effective action to address it
  • The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) identified AMR as one of the top 10 priorities for the ministry’s collaborative work with WHO
  • National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)’s AMR containment programme
  • Delhi Declaration – an inter-ministerial consensus signed in 2017 to combat AMR
  • National Action Plan on AMR (NAP-AMR) 2017-2021 with a multidimensional strategy to combat AMR
  • National Policy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance 2011
  • Since March 2014 a separate Schedule H-1 has been incorporated in Drug and Cosmetic rules to regulate the sale of antimicrobials in the country
  • India’s Red Line campaign demands that prescription-only antibiotics be marked with a red line, to discourage the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned the use of antibiotics and several pharmacologically active substances in fisheries