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Current Affairs 1 December 2020 for UPSC Exam

Contents

  1. World AIDS Day 2020
  2. U.P. religious conversion ordinance
  3. China’s downstream dam on Brahmaputra
  4. Indian peacock softshell turtle

WORLD AIDS DAY 2020

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • The World AIDS Day is observed on 1st December every year all over the world.
  • AIDS is a pandemic disease caused by the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which damages the human immune system.

World AIDS Day 2020

  • The World AIDS Day was founded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was the first ever global health day with a motto of raising public awareness about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
  • Theme for the 2020 World AIDS Day: “Global solidarity, resilient HIV services.”
  • On World AIDS Day 2020, WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 on the HIV response.
  • Slowing progress means the world will be missing the “90-90-90” targets for 2020, which were to ensure that: 90% of people living with HIV are aware of their status, 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are receiving treatment, and 90% of all people receiving treatment have achieved viral suppression.
  • Any slowing down in provision of these services will leave many vulnerable populations at greater risk of HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths and missing these intermediate targets will make it difficult to achieve the target of elimination of AIDS by 2030.
  • In 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, it is a call for more protection and support to these health workers who have long been on the frontline of HIV service delivery.

HIV/AIDS

  • Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • HIV is spread primarily by unprotected sex (including anal and oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
  • Methods of prevention include safe sex, needle exchange programs, treating those who are infected, and pre- & post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • There is no cure or vaccine; however, antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy.

India Against AIDS

  • India has been working tremendously hard to eradicate HIV/AIDS which poses serious health challenges to a large population living in the country.
  • Efforts are now being made to reduce the number of HIV cases to zero and the nation has already achieved a breakthrough to stop HIV prevalence in the last few years.
  • However, there is a long way to go for an “AIDS Free India” as the country still has about 2.5 million people, aged between 15 and 49, estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS, the third largest in the world.

National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)

  • The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), established in 1992 is a division of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that provides leadership to HIV/AIDS control programme in India through 35 HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Societies, and is “the nodal organisation for formulation of policy and implementation of programs for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in India.”.
  • NACO Conducts voluntary blood Donation program.
  • NACO also undertakes HIV estimations biennially (every 2 years) in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Medical Statistics (NIMS).
    In 2010, NACO approved the TeachAIDS curriculum for use in India, an innovation which represented the first time that HIV/AIDS education could be provided in a curriculum which did not need to be coupled with sex education.
  • In 2012, National AIDS Control Organisation, along with other 16 organizations working on HIV/AIDS, ran an event “Hijra Habba” under the program of “Pehchan”.

-Source: The Hindu


U.P. RELIGIOUS CONVERSION ORDINANCE

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

The Uttar Pradesh ordinance criminalizing religious conversion via marriage breaks away from a series of Supreme Court judgments, which hold that faith, the State and courts have no jurisdiction over an adult’s absolute right to choose a life partner.

UP Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance, 2020

  • UP Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance, 2020 makes religious conversion for marriage a non-bailable offence and the onus will be on the defendant to prove that conversion was not for marriage.
  • In case of conversion done by a woman for the sole purpose of marriage, the marriage would be declared null and void.
  • The ordinance also lays down strict action, including cancellation of registration of social organisations conducting mass conversions.

Views of the Supreme Court on Marriage and Conversion

  • According to the Supreme Court – the choice of a life partner, whether by marriage or outside it, is part of an individual’s “personhood and identity”.
  • India is a “free and democratic country” and any interference by the State in an adult’s right to love and marry has a “chilling effect” on freedoms.
  • The absolute right of an individual to choose a life partner is not in the least affected by matters of faith.

Cases:

  1. Lata Singh Case 1994 – The apex court held that India is going through a “crucial transformational period” and the “Constitution will remain strong only if we accept the plurality and diversity of our culture”. Relatives disgruntled by the inter-religious marriage of a loved one could opt to “cut off social relations” rather than resort to violence or harassment.
  2. Hadiya Judgement 2017 – Matters of dress and of food, of ideas and ideologies, of love and partnership are within the central aspects of identity. Neither the State nor the law can dictate a choice of partners or limit the free ability of every person to decide on these matters.
  3. Soni Gerry case, 2018 – The SC warned judges from playing “super-guardians”, succumbing to “any kind of sentiment of the mother or the egotism of the father”.
  4. Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case (Allahabad HC) 2020 – The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty (Article 21).It also held that earlier court rulings upholding the idea of religious conversion for marriage as unacceptable are not good in law.

-Source: The Hindu


CHINA’S DOWNSTREAM DAM ON BRAHMAPUTRA

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

China’s media reported that authorities have given the go-ahead for a Chinese hydropower company to construct the first downstream dam on the lower reaches of the Brahmaputra river, or Yarlung Zangbo as it is known in Tibet, marking a new phase in China’s hydropower exploitation of the river with potential ramifications for India.

Details

  • A Chinese State-owned hydropower company (POWERCHINA) signed “a strategic cooperation agreement” with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government to “implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River” as part of the new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).
  • China in 2015 operationalised its first hydropower project at Zangmu in Tibet, while three other dams at Dagu, Jiexu and Jiacha are being developed, all on the upper and middle reaches of the river.
  • The report said this will be the first time the downstream sections of the river will be tapped.
  • It remains unclear whether technical feasibility studies for the downstream dams will be approved, as POWERCHINA is not the first hydropower company to push for ambitious dams downstream on the Zangbo.
  • India has expressed concerns to China over the four dams on the upper and middle reaches, though Indian officials have said the dams are not likely to impact the quantity of the Brahmaputra’s flows in India greatly because they are only storing water for power generation and the Brahmaputra is not entirely dependent on upstream flows with an estimated 35% of its basin is in India.

-Source: The Hindu


INDIAN PEACOCK SOFTSHELL TURTLE

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

A Peacock soft-shelled turtle has been rescued from a fish market in Assam’s Silchar.

Peacock soft-shelled turtle

  • Indian peacock softshell turtle (Nilssonia hurum) is a species of turtle found in South Asia, and is listed on the IUCN Red List as a vulnerable species.
  • The Indian peacock soft-shell turtle is found (and confined to) in Bangladesh, India (the states of Mizoram, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal), Nepal and Pakistan.
  • In India, it is widespread in the northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent. Type locality in India: Fatehgarh, Ganges, to Barrackpore (about 23 kilometers north Calcutta), West Bengal, India”.
  • They have a large head, downturned snout with low and oval carapace of dark olive green to nearly black, sometimes with a yellow rim.
  • The head and limbs are olive green; the forehead has dark reticulations and large yellow or orange patches or spots, especially behind the eyes and across the snout.
  • The Species is listed under Schedule -I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and listed in the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable and also under Appendix I in CITES.

Click Here to read more about the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

-Source: The Hindu

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