Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

legacyiasacademy@gmail.com

Current Affairs 15 May 2024

  1. India Denies Child Labour Allegations Amid CECA Negotiations with Australia
  2. NHRC-India’s Accreditation Deferred by GANHRI for Second Consecutive Year
  3. WTO Members Celebrate 30th Anniversary of TRIPS Agreement
  4. Housing Issues Take Center Stage in 2024 General Elections
  5. Xenotransplantation
  6. Soil Stabilization Project Implemented Along Nilgiris’ Major Roads in Tamil Nadu
  7. GPT-4o


Context:

The Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has strongly rebutted accusations of child labor raised in a recent report by Australia’s Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth. These allegations come amidst ongoing negotiations between India and Australia for the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), intended to expand upon the existing Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) inked in 2022.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Allegations by the Australian Panel
  1. India’s Legal Framework on Child Labour and Forced Labour
  2. International Labour Organization Conventions on Child Labour

Allegations by the Australian Panel:

  • Concerns about child and forced labor in India were raised in the Australian committee’s report, based on claims by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the State Public Services Federation (SPSF Group).
  • The report recommended that the Australian Government include human rights, labor, and environmental chapters in its trade agreements, aligning with United Nations and International Labour Organization conventions and declarations signed by Australia.
Statistics on Child Labor and Modern Slavery in India:
  • The 2023 Global Slavery Index by Walk Free estimated that there were 11 million people living in modern slavery in India on any given day in 2021, the highest number globally.
  • Census 2011 data indicates that out of the total child population in India aged 5-14 years (259.6 million), 10.1 million (3.9% of the total child population) are engaged in some form of work, either as ‘main worker’ or ‘marginal worker’, with an additional 42.7 million children out of school.
India’s Response:
  • The Indian government has vehemently denied the allegations, emphasizing that existing rules and regulations prohibit child labor and bonded labor.
  • India’s Constitution safeguards labor rights and empowers both central and state governments to enact laws like the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, to protect workers’ rights, including the formation of unions and prevention of harassment.
  • All business entities in India are required to be licensed by local governing bodies and must comply with labor welfare laws prescribed by both union and state governments.
  • Processing units maintain comprehensive records related to processing, quality checks, employee training, and compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

India’s Legal Framework on Child Labour and Forced Labour:

Constitutional Provisions:
  • Article 23: Prohibits trafficking in human beings and forced labor, ensuring protection against exploitation and degrading work conditions.
  • Article 24: Prohibits the employment of children under 14 in factories, mines, or hazardous occupations, aiming to protect children from exploitation and ensure access to education.
  • Article 39: Outlines principles for ensuring equal rights to livelihood, equal pay for equal work, and protection of workers’ health and children’s well-being.
Legislations Against Child Labour:
  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986: Bans employing children under 14 in all work, with exceptions for family businesses and the entertainment industry, and restricts adolescents (14-18) from hazardous occupations.
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015: Considers working children as “in need of care and protection” and outlines various situations warranting such protection.
  • National Policy on Child Labour (1987) and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, focus on the rehabilitation of working children and ensuring free education.
Legislations Against Forced Labour:
  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976: Criminalizes bonded labor and mandates the rehabilitation of freed bonded laborers.
  • Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer, 2021: Provides financial assistance for the rehabilitation of freed bonded labor, shared by Central and State Governments.

International Labour Organization Conventions on Child Labour:

  • Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29): Prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor, including debt bondage. This is ratified in India.
  • Equal Remuneration Convention (No. 100): Ensures equal remuneration for work of equal value, regardless of gender. This is ratified in India.
  • Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138): Stipulates the minimum age for work should not be below the age of compulsory schooling and not less than 15 years, with exceptions for developing countries. This is ratified in India.
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182): Prohibits hazardous work for children below 18 years. This is ratified in India.
  • Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98): Establishes rules for freedom of unionization and collective bargaining, protecting workers from discrimination for union activities. This is not ratified in India.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

 The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), based in Geneva and affiliated with the United Nations, has deferred the accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC-India) for the second consecutive year. This decision, taken during the Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) meeting on May 1, 2024, marks the first time that India’s accreditation has been suspended for two consecutive years (in 2023 and 2024). The decision could potentially impact India’s voting rights at the Human Rights Council and certain bodies within the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
  2. Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)
  3. India’s Accreditation Review

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Establishment and Legal Basis:

  • NHRC is a statutory body established on October 12, 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

Watchdog of Human Rights:

  • NHRC serves as the watchdog of human rights in India, overseeing the protection and promotion of human rights across the country.

Conformity with Paris Principles:

  • NHRC’s establishment aligns with the Paris Principles (1991), which were adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the protection of human rights.

Objectives:

NHRC has several key objectives, including:

  • Strengthening institutional arrangements for addressing human rights issues comprehensively and effectively.
  • Investigating allegations of human rights violations independently of the government, thus emphasizing the government’s commitment to safeguarding human rights.
Composition:
  • NHRC consists of a chairperson and eight other members.
  • The chairperson of NHRC is a retired Chief Justice of India.
  • Among the eight members, four are full-time members, while the other four are deemed members.
  • Full-time members include a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, a retired Chief Justice of a High Court, and two members selected for their experience and knowledge of human rights.
  • Deemed members are the chairpersons of the National Commission for Minorities, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, and the National Commission for Women.
Appointment Process:

The chairperson and members are appointed by the President of India based on the recommendations of a six-member committee. This committee comprises:

  • Prime Minister (as the head)
  • Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  • Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
  • Leaders of the Opposition in both the Houses of Parliament
  • Union Home Minister

Functions and Powers of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Functions:
  • Complaint Investigation: NHRC can inquire into complaints of human rights violations, either on its own initiative or through petitions filed by victims or their representatives. These complaints may involve violations by public servants or negligence in preventing such violations.
  • Intervention in Court Proceedings: The Commission has the authority to intervene in any legal proceedings related to human rights violations pending before a court, subject to the approval of the respective court.
  • Visitations and Recommendations: NHRC can conduct visits to correctional facilities and institutions under state government control where individuals are detained or housed for purposes of treatment, reformation, or protection. During these visits, it examines the living conditions of inmates and offers recommendations for improvement.
  • Human Rights Education: NHRC plays a role in spreading human rights literacy among various segments of society, promoting awareness and understanding of human rights principles.
  • International Treaties and Instruments: The Commission is responsible for studying international treaties and other instruments related to human rights and making recommendations for their effective implementation in India.
Powers:
  • Civil Court Powers: While investigating complaints, NHRC possesses the same powers as a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. This includes the authority to summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them under oath.
  • Compensation: NHRC can grant compensation to victims of police brutality or other forms of human rights violations, providing redress for the harm suffered.
  • Legal Action: When necessary, NHRC has the authority to approach the Supreme Court or the High Court to enforce human rights protections and safeguard the rights of individuals or groups.
  • Suo Motu Cognizance: NHRC can take “suo motu” cognizance of human rights violations, meaning it can initiate investigations and proceedings on its own accord, even without a formal complaint being filed.

Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)

About GANHRI:

  • GANHRI is an organization affiliated with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • It serves as a global network of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), representing 120 NHRIs worldwide.
  • GANHRI aims to promote and protect human rights by uniting, promoting, and strengthening NHRIs in line with the UN Paris Principles.

Accreditation Process by GANHRI:

  • The Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) conducts reviews of NHRIs every five years.
  • The accreditation process ensures compliance with the internationally recognized Paris Principles, focusing on independence, pluralism, and accountability.
  • NHRIs are assessed based on their adherence to the Paris Principles, with ‘A status’ for full compliance and ‘B status’ for partial compliance.
  • Accreditation status impacts a country’s voting rights at the UN Human Rights Council and other UNGA bodies.

India’s Accreditation Status:

  • India’s NHRC attained ‘A status’ accreditation in 1999, reaffirmed in 2006, 2011, and 2017 after a deferred review.
  • However, India’s accreditation status is currently under review due to concerns raised in 2023.

NHRC-India Accreditation Status Review

Background:

  • NHRC’s ratings were suspended in 2023 due to concerns regarding its composition procedure, the involvement of police personnel in human rights investigations, and the absence of gender and minority representation.
  • On May 1, 2024, NHRC’s performance was reassessed to determine its accreditation status.

Observations by SCA:

  • The committee’s latest report is awaited, but the 2023 report highlighted several reasons for recommending the deferral.
  • These reasons included the lack of transparency in member appointments, the presence of police officers in human rights investigations, and the inadequate representation of gender and minority groups on the member panel.

India’s Response:

  • GANHRI urged India to implement structural changes and incorporate suggestions.
  • However, due to the ongoing general elections in India, implementing these changes was not feasible at the time.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) marked the 30th anniversary of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The TRIPS agreement, which was reached in Marrakesh and played a pivotal role in the establishment of the WTO in 1995, has had a profound and enduring impact on global trade and intellectual property rights.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Evolution of the TRIPS Agreement
  2. Challenges Related to TRIPS
  3. Way Forward

Evolution of the TRIPS Agreement:

  • Venetian Patent Statute (1474): Europe’s first codified patent system granting temporary monopolies to inventors.
  • Industrial Revolution and International Standards (19th Century): Technological advancements necessitated harmonized patent laws.
  • Paris Convention (1883): Initiated protection of intellectual work across countries.
  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT): Addressed intellectual property in a limited manner.
  • Uruguay Round (1987-1994): Led to the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO and the TRIPS Agreement, the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.
Role of the TRIPS Agreement in International Collaboration:
  • Establishes minimum IP protection standards across member countries, fostering predictability in international trade and R&D collaboration.
  • Requires disclosure of IP laws and regulations, enhancing transparency in the global IP system.
  • Encourages technology transfer between developed and developing countries, with developed nations obligated to provide mechanisms for technology transfer under certain conditions.
  • Emphasizes balancing rights with obligations to promote social and economic welfare, aligning with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • During public health crises like the late 1990s, TRIPS flexibilities were instrumental in ensuring access to antiretroviral treatments, highlighting its importance in such emergencies.

Challenges Related to TRIPS:

  • Limiting Access: Strong IP rights under TRIPS may restrict access to essential medicines, educational materials, and agricultural technologies in developing countries.
  • Patenting of Genetic Resources: Concerns arise over patenting genetic resources and traditional knowledge from developing countries without fair compensation.
  • Inadequate Provisions: TRIPS’ disclosure provisions regarding the origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge are deemed insufficient.
  • Enforcement Challenges: Enforcing IP rights, especially in areas like copyright infringement and counterfeiting, poses difficulties for many developing nations due to limited resources and legal systems.
  • Emerging Issues: Discussions are needed on data ownership, privacy, e-commerce, and the patentability of data-driven inventions in the context of AI and big data.

Way Forward:

  • Standardization and Capacity Building: Developing common standards and best practices for IP enforcement, coupled with capacity-building initiatives for developing nations, can create a more equitable global IP landscape.
  • Open Collaboration Models: Exploring open-source collaboration and Creative Commons licenses can foster innovation while ensuring accessibility to knowledge.
  • Guidelines for Emerging Technologies: Establishing clear guidelines for IP ownership and rights concerning AI and other emerging technologies will be essential for promoting responsible innovation.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

As India’s 2024 general elections unfold, housing emerges as a crucial issue, with political parties vying for voter support by promising schemes and affordable housing initiatives. The country, home to approximately 1.7 million homeless individuals according to the 2011 Census, grapples with significant housing challenges. Even for those with homes, concerns persist regarding the quality of construction, overcrowding, and inadequate amenities and infrastructure.

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G):
  2. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY- U: Housing for All – Urban)
  3. PMAY Achievements

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G):

Scheme Objective:

  • The primary aim of PMAY-G is to provide pucca houses with essential amenities.

Target Beneficiaries:

  • The scheme caters to individuals who do not own a house and those residing in kutcha houses or severely damaged houses.

Minimum House Size:

  • Currently, houses under the PMAY-G scheme must have a minimum size of 25 sq. mt. with a hygienic cooking space.

Concerned Ministry:

  • The Ministry of Rural Development is responsible for the implementation of PMAY-G.

Cost Sharing:

  • In plain areas, the cost is shared in a 60:40 ratio between the Central and State governments, providing Rs. 1.20 lakh of assistance per unit.
  • In Himalayan states, north-eastern states, and the UT of Jammu & Kashmir, the ratio is 90:10, with up to Rs. 1.30 lakh of assistance per unit.
  • Union Territories, including Ladakh, receive 100% financing from the Centre.

Beneficiary Identification:

  • Beneficiaries are identified using parameters from the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data, verified by Gram Sabhas.

Additional Benefits:

  • Beneficiaries are entitled to 90/95 person-days of unskilled labor under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
  • Assistance for constructing toilets, up to Rs. 12,000, is provided under Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) in collaboration with MGNREGS or other schemes.

Electronic Payments:

  • Payments are made electronically directly to bank accounts or post office accounts linked to Aadhaar.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY- U: Housing for All – Urban)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Programme launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), in Mission mode envisions provision of Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.
  • The Mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals:
    • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource
    • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy
    • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors
    • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction /enhancement.
  • The mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers. A slum is defined as a compact area of at least 300 people or about 60 – 70 households of poorly built congested tenements in unhygienic environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities.
  • Mission will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.
  • “Housing for All” Mission for urban area is being implemented during 2015-2022 and this Mission will provide central assistance to implementing agencies through States and UTs for providing houses to all eligible families/beneficiaries by 2022.
Coverage area

The Mission covers the entire urban area consisting of:

  • Statutory Towns
  • Notified Planning Areas
  • Development Authorities
  • Special Area Development Authorities
  • Industrial Development Authorities or
  • Any such authority under State legislation which is entrusted with the functions of urban planning & regulations

PMAY Achievements:

Under PMAY-U:

  • A total of 118.63 lakh houses have been sanctioned.
  • Out of these, 78.15 lakh houses have been constructed/delivered by December 2023.

Under PMAY-G:

  • States/UTs have been allocated a target of 2.95 crore houses under PMAY-G.
  • More than 2.94 crore houses have been sanctioned for eligible beneficiaries.
  • Over 2.55 crore houses have been completed so far.

Funding:

  • Both rural and urban components of PMAY received Rs. 80,671 crores in the interim budget released in February 2024.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, the first recipient of a modified pig kidney transplant passed away after hisgroundbreaking  xenotransplantation surgery. His death was not linked to the transplant.

Relevance:

GS III- Science and Technology, GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is xenotransplantation?
  2. Why are Pigs Often Used for Xenotransplantation?

What is Xenotransplantation?

  • According to the FDA, xenotransplantation is “any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation or infusion into a human recipient of either
    • live cells, tissues, or organs from a nonhuman animal source, or
    • human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have had ex vivo contact with live nonhuman animal cells, tissues or organs”.
  • Xenotransplantation is seen as an alternative to the clinical transplantation of human organs whose demand around the world exceeds supply by a long distance.
  • Xenotransplantation involving the heart was first tried in humans in the 1980s.
    • A well known case was that of an American baby, Stephanie Fae Beauclair, better known as Baby Fae, who was born with a congenital heart defect, and who received a baboon heart in 1984.
    • The surgery was successful, but Baby Fae died within a month of the transplant after the baboon heart was rejected by her body’s immune system.
    • Even so, Baby Fae managed to survive the xenotransplantation for much longer than in earlier experiments.

Why are Pigs Often Used for Xenotransplantation?

Historical Utilization:

  • Pig heart valves have been employed in human surgeries for over half a century, showcasing the historical use of pigs in medical procedures.

Anatomical and Physiological Resemblance:

  • Pigs exhibit anatomical and physiological similarities to humans, making them suitable candidates for xenotransplantation.
  • These resemblances facilitate compatibility and reduce the risk of rejection in human recipients.

Cost-Effectiveness and Accessibility:

  • The widespread farming of pigs renders them a cost-effective and readily available source for xenotransplantation.
  • Compared to other potential donor species, pigs offer a practical and accessible solution for organ transplantation needs.

Organ Size Variability:

  • Various pig breeds present a diverse range of organ sizes, enabling the selection of organs that closely match the specific requirements of human recipients.
  • This variability allows for customized organ matching, enhancing the success rates of xenotransplantation procedures.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The state highways department of Tamil Nadu has initiated a project titled ‘slope stabilization using soil nailing and hydroseeding method’ along several areas surrounding the Nilgiris’ major roads. This project aims to prevent soil erosion and enhance stability in vulnerable areas, thereby ensuring safer and more resilient road infrastructure in the region.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Soil Nailing Overview
  2. Hydroseeding Explanation

Soil Nailing Overview:

  • Soil nailing is a technique in geotechnical engineering aimed at fortifying specific areas of soil by introducing reinforcing elements.
  • The process involves inserting steel tendons into the soil and grouting them, creating a composite mass akin to a gravity wall.
Methods of Soil Nailing:
  • Drilled and Grouted Soil Nailing: Nails are inserted into pre-drilled holes and filled with grouting materials.
  • Driven Soil Nailing: Primarily for temporary stabilization; fast but lacks corrosion protection for the steel.
  • Drilling Soil Nailing: Utilizes hollow bars, drilled and injected with grout; typically faster than driven nails.
  • Jet Grouted Soil Nailing: Involves creating holes in eroding soil, installing steel bars, and grouting with concrete.
  • Launched Soil Nailing: Steel bars are forcefully nailed into the soil in a single shot using compression by an air mechanism.

Common Applications:

  • Stabilizing slopes and landslides
  • Supporting excavations
  • Repairing existing retaining walls

Hydroseeding Explanation:

  • Hydroseeding is the process of spreading a blend of seeds, fertilizer, organic materials, and water onto soil to encourage grass and plant growth.
  • The resulting vegetation helps bind the topsoil, preventing erosion.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The ChatGPT, OpenAI has brought the capabilities of GPT-4 through its latest model named GPT-4o.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Overview of GPT-40 (“o” for “omni”):

  • GPT-40 offers intelligence equivalent to GPT-4 and significantly enhances its capabilities in text, vision, and audio processing.
Key Features:
  • Natural Human-Machine Interaction: Enhances the naturalness and ease of human-to-machine interaction.
  • Efficient Voice Mode: Intuitively recognizes the voice of the speaker(s) with improved efficiency.
  • Unified Voice, Text, and Vision Reasoning: Unlike previous versions, GPT-40 seamlessly integrates voice, text, and vision reasoning, reducing latency.
  • Vision Capabilities: Allows users to upload photos and documents, initiating conversations based on visual inputs.
  • Memory Feature: Enables real-time information browsing during conversations, enhancing user experience.
  • Multilingual Support: Improved quality and speed across 50 different languages.
  • Emotion Recognition: Capable of detecting user emotions and adapting conversation styles accordingly.
  • Real-time Facial Emotion Analysis: Can analyze a user’s facial expressions in real-time, providing insights into their feelings.

-Source: The Hindu


May 2024
MTWTFSS
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031 
Categories