Grievance Appellate Committee Portal
Theme: Government Policies and Intervention
Source: The Hindu
Why in news: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) portal under the IT Rules, 2021 that will allow users to appeal against decisions of social media platforms by filing their complaints on a new portal.
- The IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were amended last year to require social media companies to respect the rights accorded to the citizens under the Indian Constitution (Articles 14, 19 and 21).
- The initial proposal had stemmed from users’ complaints about being de-platformed or being removed from a social media site, without companies giving them an adequate avenue of hearing.
- Three Committees were formed to receive complaints to put these amendments into action.
- The IT Rules already require platforms to have a process for accepting complaints against content and appeals against takedowns from users.
- However, companies’ decisions in response to these appeals, will now ultimately be subject to the GACs’ orders.
- According to experts, this is a case of substantive statutory provisions being formulated through the process of subordinate legislation without any parliamentary debates.
- The MeitY has indicated that it is working on a “Digital India Bill” to give a firmer statutory backing to the IT Rules and other digital lawmaking.
- Grievance Appellate Committee is a faceless dispute resolution mechanism that makes digital platforms – big and small, accountable to
- The GAC was one of the provisions in the recently amended Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
- The portal is an extension of the government’s views, policies and vision about creating easier ways of the grievance redressal of Digital Nagrik.
- Anyone aggrieved by a decision of the grievance officer (of a social media platform) will be allowed to file an appeal to the GAC within a period of 30 days.
- The GAC will have to deal with the appeal and resolve it within a month of the receipt of the appeal.
- GACs can also seek assistance from people who may have adequate expertise and experience in a subject matter while dealing with users’ appeals.
- The GACs will adopt an “online dispute resolution mechanism” where the entire appeal process, from its filing to the final decision, will be done online.
Static Part to be referred: Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) portal; IT Rules, 2021
Proton Beam Therapy
Theme: Bio-Technology; Pharma Sector
Source: The Hindu
Why in news: Cancer patients in India face twin challenges when it comes to accessing proton beam therapy (PBT): there are not enough facilities offering the treatment, and the cost can run into tens of lakhs of rupees.
About Proton Beam Therapy
- Proton Beam therapy is a type of radiation therapy – a treatment that uses high-energy beams to treat tumors.
- Radiation therapy using X-rays has long been used to treat cancers and noncancerous (benign) tumors.
- Photon Beam uses protons rather than x-rays to treat cancer. At high energy, protons can destroy cancer cells.
- It can also be combined with x-ray radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy.
- Like x-ray radiation, proton therapy is a type of external-beam radiation therapy
- The PBT is considered a viable alternative to radiation for treating solid tumors, especially head and neck cancers.
- The photons can destroy cancer cells precisely by targeting tumours, thus saving adjoining organs.
Status of Proton Beam Therapy:
- Currently there are 42 PBT machine installations in the U.S., followed by Europe (35), Japan (26), China (7), Taiwan (3) and South Korea (2) and India has only one.
- Apollo Hospital in Chennai is the only centre in the whole of South and West Asia offering the PBT.
Static Part to be referred: Proton Beam Therapy; Radiation Therapy;
Report on India’s energy transition
Theme: Energy Sector
Source: The Indian Express
Why in news: Karnataka and Gujarat are among the major states making the most progress in transition to clean electricity, according to a new report on India’s energy transition, prepared by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) along with EMBER.
- The report — ‘Indian States’ Energy Transition’ has analysed 16 states, which together account for 90% of India’s annual power requirement.
- The analysis has tracked four dimensions
- Policies and Political Commitments
- Readiness of power ecosystem
- Performance of power System
- Based on this analysis, the report devises a scoring system — States’ Electricity Transition, or SET — which measures performance of different states in the transition to clean electricity.
Findings of the Report:
- Karnataka is the only state among the 16 analysed that scored well across all four dimensions of clean electricity transition
- Karnataka has been an early adopter of renewable energy through proactive policies around open access, solar park development and public awareness.
- The state fared the best in decarbonising its power sector and has the highest share of renewables in its power supply mix (48%).
- The analysis found that Karnataka currently is one of the few states overachieving its Renewable Purchase Obligations targets.
- Maharashtra, with the highest power demand in India, was found to be mid-table, mainly due to slow renewable energy uptake in the state and the inability to shut down older polluting coal power plants. Its renewable energy share (11%) is lower than most other states.
Static Part to be referred: India’s Energy Sector; Decarbonisation; Renewable Purchase Obligations
Theme: Government policies and Intervention; Indian Diaspora
Source: The Indian Express
Why in news: The government unveiled a fellowship to bring Indian-origin researchers to higher educational institutions in the country for a maximum period of two months per year.
About VAIBHAV Fellowship:
- It aims at improving the research ecosystem of India’s Higher Educational Institutions.
- It facilitates academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world through mobility of faculty/researchers from overseas institutions to India.
- The fellowship offers NRI researchers an opportunity to work for a minimum of one month to a maximum of two months a year with a research institution or an academic institution in India.
- The duration of the fellowship is three years with the government offering the researchers an amount of up to Rs 37 lakh for the entire period.
- Researchers from institutions featuring in the top 500 QS World University Rankings will be eligible for the fellowship.
- The call for applications for ‘VAIBHAV Fellowship’ will be notified through the Department of Science and Technology’s website.
Static Part to be referred: VAIBHAV Fellowship; NRI; Indian Diaspora
Methane Global Tracker report
Theme: Environment and Biodiversity;
Source: The Indian Express
Why in news: According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual Methane Global Tracker report, fossil fuel companies emitted 120 million metric tonnes of methane into the atmosphere in 2022, only slightly below the record highs seen in 2019.
Key findings of the Report:
- The energy sector accounts for around 40 percent of the total average methane emissions from human activity.
- The oil and natural gas companies are known to release methane into the atmosphere when natural gas is flared or vented.
- More than 260 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas (mostly composed of methane) is wasted through flaring and methane leaks globally.
- Ultimately, reducing 75% of the wastage of natural gas could lower global temperature rise by nearly 0.1 degree Celsius by mid-century.
- The report stated that emissions can be reduced by over 75 per cent by implementing well-known measures such as leak detection and repair programmes and upgrading leaky equipment.
- The implementation of such measures would cost less than three per cent of the net income received by the oil and gas industry in 2022
- Methane is a greenhouse gas, which is responsible for 30 per cent of the warming since preindustrial times, second only to carbon dioxide.
- A report by the United Nations Environment Programme observed that over a 20-year period, methane is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.
- Methane is roughly 25 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
- It has an important short-term influence on the rate of climate change.
- Methane cuts are among the cheapest options to limit near-term global warming.
About International Energy Agency:
- It is an autonomous Intergovernmental Organisation established in 1974 as per the framework of the OECD.
- Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.
- It mainly focuses on its energy policies which include economic development, energy security and environmental protection. These policies are also known as the 3 E’s of IEA.
Roles and functions:
- Established in the wake of the 1973-1974 oil crisis, to help its members respond to major oil supply disruptions, a role it continues to fulfill today.
- IEA’s mandate has expanded over time to include tracking and analyzing global key energy trends, promoting sound energy policy, and fostering multinational energy technology cooperation.
- The IEA is made up of 30 member countries.
- It also includes eight association countries. Four countries are seeking accession to full membership, Chile, Colombia, Israel and Lithuania.
- A candidate country to the IEA must be a member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- India became an Associate member of IEA in March 2017 but it was in engagement with IEA long before its association with the organization.
- Earlier in 2021, India also inked a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the IEA to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability.
- World Energy Outlook Report.
- World Energy Statistics.
- World Energy Balances.
- Energy Technology Perspectives.
- India Energy Outlook Report.
- Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.
Static Part to be referred: IEA; Methane; Global Warming; Greenhouse Gases; OECD;
Also Read: Daily Current Affairs | Heat wave | 27th Feb
QR-code based Coin Vending Machine
Theme: Economy; Banking Sector
Source: The Hindu
Why in news: RBI recently announced its plan to launch a pilot project to assess the functioning of QR-code based coin vending machines (QCVM).
About QR-Code based Coin Vending Machine (QCVM):
- QCVM is a cashless coin dispensation machine that would dispense coins with the requisite amount being debited from the customer’s account using Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
- It will eliminate the need for physical tendering of banknotes and their authentication.
- It will be launched with an aim to promote the distribution of coins and enhance the accessibility to coins.
- Customers will also have the option to withdraw coins in required quantity and denominations in QCVMs.
- The pilot project is planned to be initially rolled out at 19 locations in 12 cities across the country.
- These vending machines are intended to be installed at public places such as railway stations, shopping malls, and marketplaces to enhance ease and accessibility.
Static Part to be referred: Reserve Bank of India; Unified Payments Interface (UPI); QR-code based coin vending machines (QCVM)
Theme: Indian Constitution
Source: The Hindu
Why in news: The Supreme Court recently stated that legislators facing disqualification under the anti-defection law cannot participate in the floor test.
What is Anti – Defection Law?
- It was introduced in India in 1985 through the 52nd amendment to the Constitution of India.
- This amendment added the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution, which lists out the provisions related to defection.
- It sets the provisions for disqualification of elected members on the grounds of defection to another political party.
- It is to prevent political defections and to strengthen democracy by bringing stability in politics and making members of parliament more responsible and loyal to their parties.
- Any question regarding disqualification arising out of defection is to be decided by the presiding officer of the House.
- The law does not specify a time period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea.
- The decisions of the Speaker or Chairman in anti-defection cases are subject to judicial review.
- However, there can not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
- The presiding officer of a House is empowered to make rules to give effect to the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.
What are the Grounds for Defection?
A member of a House belonging to any political party becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if
- He voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party; or
- He votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party without obtaining prior permission of such party and such act has not been condoned by the party within 15 days.
- An independent member of a House becomes disqualified to remain a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.
- A nominated member of a House becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the House.
Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances.
- The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favor of the merger.
- If a person is elected as the speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha then he could resign from his party and rejoin the party once he is admitted to that post.
- It must be noted here that the provision of the Tenth Schedule pertaining to exemption from disqualification in case of split by one-third members of legislature party has been deleted by the 91st Amendment Act of 2003.
Static Part to be referred: Anti-defection law; Disqualification; Constitutional Amendment; Floor test; Supreme Court; Political Parties; Speaker; Judicial Review
Adopt a Heritage Scheme
Theme: Art and Culture
Source: The Hindu
Why in news: Recently, an archaeologist from the USA criticized Adopt a Heritage Scheme of India.
About Adopt a Heritage Scheme:
- The “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” scheme was launched in 2017 on World Tourism Day
- It is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India.
- The project aims to encourage companies from public sector, private sector, corporate citizens, NGOs, individuals and other stakeholders to become ‘Monument Mitras’.
- They will take up the responsibility of developing and upgrading the basic and advanced tourist amenities at these sites as per their interest and viability in terms of a sustainable investment model under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
- The Monument Mitras are selected by the ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary.
- The oversight committee also has the power to terminate a memorandum of understanding in case of non-compliance or non-performance.
Static Part to be referred: Adopt a Heritage Scheme; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)