CAO The Hindu NOTES – 22nd May, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

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Date:- 22nd May 2018

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KERALA MAY SEEK WHO HELP TO BATTLE NIPAH (GS 2 HEALTH)

Why in news

Health officials in the state of Kerala say ten people have died in confirmed and suspected cases of the deadly Nipah virus.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has declared a third major outbreak of the disease in the country.

The State government is reportedly planning to involve the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the diagnosis and preventive work

About the disease

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. Nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported in that outbreak. In order to stop it, more than a million pigs were euthanized, causing tremendous trade loss for Malaysia

NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals.

There is no vaccine for the virus which has a mortality rate of 70% either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

Nipah virus is also “top of the list” of 10 priority diseases that the WHO has identified as potentials for the next major outbreak.


CAMERA TRAPS RECORD RARE BLACK PANTHER IN ODISHA (GS 3 ENVIRONMENT)

Odisha forest department officials on Monday confirmed the presence of a black panther in the state’s Garjanpahad reserve forest in Sundargarh district after camera traps caught its movement. This is the first instance of camera traps capturing the movement of one, making Odisha the ninth State in India where the elusive and rare big cat has been seen.

Although the presence of Black Panther was reported 26 years ago, no scientific or pictorial records could establish the claim.

The cameras was installed in 2015 after villagers and tribal people reported having seen the animal,

About Black Panther

The melanistic leopard coat varies in colour and the jet black form is called “black panther”.  It is as shy as any normal leopard and very difficult to detect. It is mostly found in densely forested areas of southern India.

The term black panther is most frequently applied to black-coated leopards (Panthera pardus) of Africa and Asia and jaguars (P. onca) of Central and South America

Melanistic leopards or black panther are found in Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Odisha happens to be the only state which has both melanistic tigers and panther.


NHRC NOTICE OVER CHILDREN IN PRISONS (GS 3 SOCIETY)

The NHRC has sent notices to all states and Union territories seeking details of children living in jails with their imprisoned mothers, after the case of such children from Odisha without proper facilities for upbringing came to light.

NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report and has issued notices to the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Prisons of all States and Union Territories seeking reports along with statistics, showing how many children were being kept with their mothers in the jails under their jurisdiction

What are the existing safeguards?

The guidelines set by the apex court also ensure that children aged below three years shall be allowed to kept in crèche and those between 2-3 years, should be looked after in a nursery, run by the prisons authorities, outside the prison premises and that small children should not be kept in sub-jails, unless facilities are ensured for their biological, psychological and social growth.

Though the apex court has formulated guidelines that the cases of women prisoners with children, should be disposed of expeditiously but the reality is different. There are many inmates who have been granted bail by the competent court but they cannot be freed as they are unable to furnish the sureties

About NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission, abbreviated as NHRC of India is an autonomous public body founded on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory base by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).

NHRC and the SHRCs are not envisaged to be a substitute for the judiciary but these are complementary to the courts. The emphasis in a court of law for penalizing the offender whereas the emphasis of the Human Rights Commissions is on rehabilitation and monetary relief to the victims or their dependents, without prejudice to the criminal proceedings against the offenders. The court conducts trial after the offence is committed, the Commissions’ activities include steps to create awareness and to prevent violation of human rights.


‘NO EXCISE CUT TILL OIL BREACHES TARGET’ (GS 3 ECONOMY)

With the prices of petroleum products rising to record level (Petrol and diesel prices in Delhi on Monday hit record highs of Rs. 76.57 and Rs. 67.82 per litre, respectively.), there’s a big demand for the government to intervene in the issue.

Constituents of price

The excise duty on petrol is Rs. 19.48 per litre, which works out to 25.4% of the retail price of petrol in Delhi, the reference market for the country. Whereas the State VAT on the fuel, including VAT on the dealers’ commission, is Rs. 16.28 per litre, which is 21.3% of the retail price. Together, the two taxes make up almost 50% of the retail selling price of petrol. The situation is similar for diesel.

Govt response

The Finance minister has said that they have an internal target for oil prices above which it may cut excise duties on petrol and diesel to ease the burden on consumers, but this level had not yet been breached.

But he did not elaborate on the target, rather commented that states can also play their part by reducing their VAT on fuel.

 What can the Central Government do to reduce cost?

It would be unwise for the government to cut the excise duty as it has subsidised the customer for already a long period.

However the excise duty rates can be made equal for both diesel and petrol (it’s less than for diesel than petrol as of now). It will increase the price of diesel by 2% and reduce the price of petrol by 6%. Hence there will be reduction in distortion.

What can the State Governments do?

VAT Rate – States impose very high VAT on petrol & diesel.

Since VAT rates are ad valorem rates i.e calculated in percentage terms, their value in rupees increases with increase in prices.

Whenever the oil price increases, revenues of states also go up.

Thus, the states should periodically reduce their VAT rates.

Bringing under GST

Taxes on petrol & diesel constitute a major portion of state revenue. So the states insist on keeping diesel and petrol out of GST.

Even with a high GST rate of 32%, the states’ share of the tax would be around Rs.5 /litre which is much below the current Rs 14, litre of petrol & Rs.21 per liter of diesel.

So to reduce the prices, all states should have a uniform GST rate for diesel and petrol.

But the officials had clarified that there is no plan to include petroleum products in the Goods and Services Tax, either.


ARUNACHAL FINDS PLACE ON COMMERCIAL AVIATION MAP (GS 3 TRANSPORT AND CONECTIVITY)

Arunachal Pradesh has been put on the aviation map of the country with the state’s first commercial flight, carrying Chief Minister Prema Khandu and 24 other passengers, landing at Pasighat in the north-east state’s East Siang district, 305 kilometres from state capital Itanagar

Alliance Air, a subsidiary of state-run carrier Air India, will operate flights on the Kolkata-Guwahati-Pasighat route thrice a week — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The airport is on an advance landing ground or ALG, meant to support operations of small aircraft and some military planes.

Udan scheme in Arunachal Pradesh

UDAN or Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik is a scheme meant for the common man who dreams of flying at an affordable price.  Under the Udan scheme eight locations in Arunachal Pradesh have been selected by bidders, out of which Pasighat and Tezu have been selected for fixed wing while Ziro, Daporijo, Itanagar, Tuting, Wallong and Yingkiong have been selected for helicopter services.


 

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