Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 11 January 2023

World Hindi Day celebrated

GS Paper - 1 (Culture)

World Hindi Day, also known as Vishwa Hindi Diwas, is celebrated on 10 January every year by Hindi enthusiasts across the world to mark the importance and celebrate Hindi as a language.

Why Hindi Diwas celebrated

  1. Vishwa Hindi Diwas was started to mark the anniversary of the first time Hindi was spoken in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1949.
  2. In the year 1975, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi inaugurated the first World Hindi Conference. Since then, conferences have been organised in different parts of the world.
  3. However, it was on 10 January 2006 when the World Hindi Day was celebrated for the first time.
  4. This decision was announced by the then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh.

Significance

  1. The purpose of this day is to create awareness about the Indian language and promote it as a global language around the world.
  2. It is also used to create awareness about the usage of the Indian language, and about the issues persisting around the usage and promotion of the Hindi language.

How to celebrate?

  1. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs celebrates this day every year (since 2006) by organising events and activities around the usage and promotion of Hindi.
  2. Sometimes, the day is also celebrated by the Indian Postal Department by issuing special stamps to mark the occasion.
  3. Schools and students can celebrate this day by organising debate, discussions, Hindi poetry recitals, literature classes, plays, quizzes, and more in their schools or even localities. Several organistions, including Hindi clubs, can also hold debates and discussions.

World Hindi Day vs Hindi Diwas

  1. While the World Hindi Day is celebrated on 10 January every year, Hindi Diwas is celebrated on 14 September annually.
  2. This day concentrates on promotion and global recognition of the Hindi Language around the world.
  3. On the other hand, Hindi Diwas, which is celebrated in India, focuses on recognition of the Hindi language in India.
  4. However, there have been debates about promoting this language in non-Hindi speaking regions.

 

The NCPCR draft guidelines

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has come up with draft guidelines on the preliminary assessment of whether certain minors are to be tried under law as adults in particular cases, under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The 12-page draft guidelines, prepared after consultation with experts, are open for inputs and comments from the general public till 20 January.

What is preliminary assessment as per the JJ Act?

  1. Earlier, all children under the age of 18 were considered minors by the law, but through an amendment in 2015, a provision was added to the JJ Act for trying a child in conflict with the law as an adult.
  2. Under this, a child in the age group of 16-18 years could be tried as an adult in case of heinous offences. Section 15 (1) of the Act states, that the Juvenile Justice Board shall conduct a preliminary assessment to determine whether to try such a child as an adult or a minor.
  3. The Act directs that the Board shall consider the mental and physical capacity of the child for committing the alleged offence, the ability to understand the consequences of the offence, and the circumstances in which the offence was committed.

Why has the NCPCR come up with draft guidelines now?

  1. On 13 July 2022, the Supreme Court while hearing a case related to the murder of a Class 2 student in Haryana, allegedly by a 16-year-old, said the task of preliminary assessment under the J J Act is a “delicate task”.
  2. It said that the consequences of the assessment on whether the child is to be tried as an adult or a minor are “serious in nature and have a lasting effect for the entire life of the child”.
  3. It said that the assessment requires expertise and directed that appropriate and specific guidelines be put in place.

What do the draft guidelines say?

  1. The draft relying on already existing provisions in the Act says that the preliminary assessment has to determine four aspects:
  2. Physical capacity of the child: To determine the child’s ‘locomotor’ abilities and capacities, particularly with regard to gross motor functions such as walking, running, lifting, throwing…such abilities as would be required to engage in most antisocial activities.
  3. Mental capacity: To determine the child’s ability to make social decisions and judgments. It also directs assessments pertaining to mental health disorders, substance abuse, and life skills deficits.
  4. Circumstances in which the offence was allegedly committed: Psychosocial vulnerabilities of the child. This is to include life events, any trauma, abuse, and mental health problems, stating that the offence behaviour is a cumulative consequence of a lot of other circumstances.
  5. Ability to understand the consequences of the alleged offence: To determine the child’s knowledge or understanding of the alleged offence’s social, interpersonal and legal consequences. These include what others will say or perceive him, how it might affect his personal relationships and the knowledge of relevant laws, respectively.

 

The governor right to delete portions of his address

GS Paper -2 (Polity)

 “Governor” is neither a decorative emblem nor a glorified cipher. His powers are limited but he has an important constitutional role to play in the governance of the state and in strengthening federalism. He is the head of the state and all chief ministers, including the Tamil Nadu chief minister, must remember it.

More about the news

  1. All governors too must remain true to their oath of “preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution”. 
  2. What happened in Chennai was shockingand demonstrates the trust deficit between the governor and the chief minister.
  3. The governor leaving the Houseis not good even for the reputation of Chief Minister M K Stalin, an experienced politician following in the footsteps of his illustrious father and former CM, M Karunanidhi.

Governor right to edit the address:

  1. A good governor must stay above politics and manifestly be seen as impartial and fair.
  2. In 1937, when the Congress won elections in seven provinces, it took office on the condition that the British governors would not interfere in the functioning of its ministries and refrain from exercising “discretion and special powers”.
  3. After independence, India conferred the same special powers on governors.The governor is an integral part of the legislative assembly. He calls its sessions and he dissolves the House.
  4. Under Article 176(2(b), he has the right to address the first session of the House. This address is an integral part of constitutional symbolism and has huge significance.
  5. The Constitution gives no discretion to governors in the matter of convening the session of the assembly.
  6. Article 174 does say that the governor from time to time summons the assembly to meet at such time and place “he thinks fit”. Governors have no business to question the purpose of convening the sessions of the House.

Court views:

  1. A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Nabam Rebia(2016) had observed that the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, J P Rajkhowa, who advanced the session of the assembly without the advice of the chief minister, had exceeded his jurisdiction as he had no discretion in convening the assembly session.
  2. In 2022,the Telangana governorwas denied the opportunity to address the Telangana assembly.
  3. It was subsequently held by Justice B N Banerjee of the Calcutta High Court in Andul Gafoor Habibullah v. Speaker, West Bengal Assembly(1966) that the governor cannot decline to deliver his address and refuse to fulfil his constitutional duty.

Views to support governor choice:

  1. The address under Article 176 is mandatory. However, the HC held that when the governor fails to deliver his address under Article 176 and walks out of the House after laying down the address on the table of the House, this is mere irregularity, not illegality.
  2. It cannot be questioned under Article 212, wherein the validity of the House proceedings cannot be challenged on the ground of mere irregularity in the procedure.
  3. As per settled British convention since 1829, the governor must read the full speech as it is basically the government’s statement about which the office, like that of the British monarch, has no responsibility.
  4. Leading British constitutional law authority Ivor Jennings in Cabinet Governmentsays the king cannot upset the policy prepared by the government.

 

Blackbuck survives challenges

GS Paper -3 (Environment)

A new study conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has shed light on how blackbucks in India havefared in the face of natural and human-induced challenges to their survival.

Blackbuck

  1. The blackbuck is found only in the Indian subcontinent. While males have corkscrew-shaped horns and black-to-dark brown coats, the females are fawn-coloured.
  2. The animals are mainly seen in three broad clusters across India that pertains to the northern, the southern, and the eastern regions.
  3. This geographic separation as well as dense human habitation between the clusters would be expected to make it difficult for them to move from one location to another.

Genetic profiling:

  1. According to IISc, the researchers tracked the animals on foot and in vehicles from a distance to collect the samples. In the lab, they extracted and sequenced the DNA from the faecal samples to study the genetic makeup of blackbuck, and deployed computational tools to map the geographic locations with the genetic data.
  2. The team also used simulations to trace how the three present-day clusters may have evolved from their common ancestor.

High dispersal of males:

  1. The team found that despite all odds, male blackbuck appear to disperse more than expected, thus contributing to gene flow in this species.
  2. Females, on the other hand, appear to stay largely within their native population ranges, which the researchers inferred from unique mitochondrial signatures in each population.
  3. The data also showed an increasing trend in blackbuck population numbers as compared to the recent past. So, it looks like this species has managed to survive in a human dominated landscape.
  4. In future studies, the researchers plan to unravel the blackbuck’s secrets to surviving in the face of human-induced threats to their landscape, by studying changes in their DNA and gut micro-biome.
  5. Such studies could provide better insight into their conservation.

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