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PIB – 14 DECEMBER 2021

CONTENTS:

  1. LOKPAL ONLINE
  2. GREEN HYDROGEN
  3. CHILDREN VULNERABLE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASES
  4. NATIONAL HELPLINE AGAINST ATROCITIES

LOKPAL ONLINE

Focus: GS Paper – 2: Transparency & Accountability,Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies, Statutory Bodies

Why in news?

Chairperson, Lokpal of India inaugurated’ a digital Platform for Management of Complaints called ‘LokpalOnline’ here that can be accessed by all citizens of the country and complaints can be filed from anywhere, anytime at  http://lokpalonline.gov.in.

Key Points:

  • It is an end-to-end digital solution for the management of complaints against public servants filed under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
  • This web-based facility will quicken the disposal of complaints in an accountable, transparent and efficient manner with benefits to all stakeholders.
  • It facilitates handling of complaints during the complete lifecycle of the Complaint, right from its filing to the final disposal and this will bring more transparency and efficiency in the complaint handling mechanism.
  • The Portal, hosted on NIC Cloud, has been developed on an Open Source Technology. 
  • Its security audit has been done by an agency empanelled by the CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Important features of this digital platform are following:

  • Convenience to complainants for filing complaint online from anywhere anytime
  • Information to the complainant about action on complaint at every stage through e-mails and SMS
  • Facility to complainant to ascertain status of complaint at anytime
  • Identity of the complaint is kept confidential
  • The CVC, CBI and other inquiry agencies can upload their reports directly on ‘LokpalOnline’ platform.
  • Reminders to inquiry agencies through e-mails and SMS
  • Generation of analytical reports as per requirement.

About Lokpal:

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States.
  • These institutions are statutory bodies without any constitutional status.
  • It is an institution that will inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.
  • Composition – The Lokpal shall consist of a chairperson and up to eight members.
  • The chairperson and at least half of the members have to be current or former judges of the Supreme Court or Chief Justices of High Courts.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Focus: GS Paper – 2: Government Policies & Interventions, GS Paper – 3: Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Growth & Development, Conservation

Why in news?

Bharat Petroleum collaborates with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre for Green Hydrogen production

Key points:

  • It is a collaborationtoscale-up Alkaline Electrolyser technology for Green Hydrogen production.

Significance:

  • Presently, Electrolyser Plants are imported. 
  • This is a first of its kind initiative to support the country’s commitment to achieve renewable energy targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Currently, Hydrogen is made at the Refinery via. Steam Reforming of Natural gas, but this results in high CO2 emission. 
  • Refineries use large quantities of Hydrogen for de-sulfurization to make petrol, diesel and other chemicals.
  • Refiners are setting up large scale electrolysers to produce Green Hydrogen from water and thereby decarbonize Hydrogen production.
  • This is a significant step towards “Atmanirbhar Bharat” in the journey for achieving Net Zero Emissions by 2040.”

About Green Hydrogen:

  • It is hydrogen that is generated entirely by renewable energy.
  • It has significantly lower carbon emissions than grey hydrogen, which is produced by steam reforming of natural gas and represents 95% of the market.
  • It  can act as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future.
  • Due to their high efficiency and zero-or near zero-emissions operation, hydrogen and fuel cells have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emission in many applications.
  • This energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) Targets and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability.

CHILDREN VULNERABLE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASES

Focus: GS Paper – 2: Health, Issues Related to Children, Issues Related to Women

Why in news?

Scientists have found that climate parameters accounted for 9-18% of the total infectious disease cases in a study to probe the association between climate parameters and infectious diseases in children under 16-years-of-age in Varanasi-city in central Indo-Gangetic Plane.

  • A study was undertaken for the first time over the central Indo-Gangetic Plain region DST-Mahamana Center of Excellence in Climate Change Research, BHU, explored the association between climate parameters and infectious diseases in a three-year follow-up prospective cohort of 461 children under 16-years-of-age in Varanasi city.

Key points:

  • Climate change driven by anthropogenic activities may challenge the gains in public health over the past many years, particularly in a country like India that ranks high in the list of climate-vulnerable countries in the world. 
  • Globally, it is estimated that children are to bear most of the burden of disease due to climate change, with the poorest disproportionately affected.
  • The higher risk associated with children is due to the combination of physiological vulnerability as well as the risk of exposure.
  • Accounting for extensive socioeconomic household data and child anthropometric measurements, the researchers established that climate parameters like temperature, humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, and wind speed were significantly associated with the infectious diseases– gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory diseases, vector-borne diseases, and skin diseases, in children in Varanasi.
  • Findings from this study draw the attention of government and policymakers to prioritize effective measures for child health as the present association may increase disease burden in the future under climate-change scenarios in already malnourished pediatric population through multiple pathways.
  • The study further inspires and provides a background for more epidemiological studies to provide evidence for future burden of diseases associated with childhood malady.  

NATIONAL HELPLINE AGAINST ATROCITIES (NHAA)

Focus: GS Paper – 2: Government Policies & Interventions, Issues Related to SCs & STs, Judiciary, Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies

Why in news?

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar has launched a National Helpline Against Atrocities (NHAA) on December 13th, 2021

  • The Helpline is now available round the clock on toll-free number “14566” across the country in Hindi, English and regional language of the State/UTs.

Key points:

  • Helpline number: It will ensure proper implementation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) [PoA] Act, 1989
  • Web-portal: A web based self-service portal, the NHAA will generate informed awareness about the various provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, 1989 and the Protection of Civil Right (PCR) Act.
    • It will ensure that every complaint is registered as FIRs, relief is provided, all registered complaints are investigated and all chargesheets filed are prosecuted in the Courts for decision – all within the given timelines in the Act.
  • Tracking system: Status of the Grievance can be tracked by complainant/NGOs Online.
  • Auto compliance of the Acts: Every provision of the Acts related to victim shall be monitored and compliance shall be ensured by triggering communication/ reminders with State/UT implementing authorities in the form of sending messages / E-mails.
  • Generation of awareness: Any inquiry shall be replied by IVR or operators in Hindi, English and Regional languages.
  •  Feedback system is available

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act:

  • The Act was enacted in 1989 with a prime objective view of preventing atrocities on members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
  • The Act lists various offenses relating to various patterns or behaviors inflicting criminal offenses and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community, which includes denial of economic, democratic, and social rights, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse of the legal process.
  • Under section 18 of the act, provision for anticipatory bail is not available to the offenders.
  • Any public servant, who deliberately neglects his duties under this act, is liable to punishment with imprisonment for up to 6 months.
  • Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 was introduced to make the act more stringent.
    • It recognized more instances of “atrocities” as crimes against SCs and STs.
    • It provided for the establishment of exclusive special courts and special public prosecutors to try offenses under the PoA Act.
    • Act defined the term ‘willful negligence’ in the context of public servants at all levels, starting from the registration of the complaint to dereliction of duty under this Act.
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