Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 23 January 2023

World Economic Forum’s 2023 event ends

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2023, held in the Swiss town of Davos ended – a conference that started in a world possibly fundamentally altered, but whose processes and outcomes remained pretty much business as usual. The theme this year was ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’.

Key takeaways from WEF Davos 2023

On the economy

  1. Most business leaders were upbeat about the economy, with US and the European Union (EU) seemingly beyond the risk of a recession now.
  2. China ending its zero Covid curbs and opening shop again added to the positive outlook.
  3. However, central banks of the major economies cautioned that concerns still remained, and said they would keep interest rates high to ensure inflation is under check.
  4. The richer nations look to focus inwards, protecting their own workersenergy sufficiencysupply lines, etc., concerns were raised that this policy direction would hit developing economies.

On Ukraine

  1. Ukraine kept up its demand for more military aid to fight its war against Russia, and more financial aid to rebuild after the war, saying the reconstruction fund commitments should start coming in now and not after the war ends.
  2. In his address, Zelenskyy made an indirect criticism of the US and Germany dithering over sending tanks to his country.

Climate

  1. Everyone agreed upon the need for green energy and the need for more money to flight climate change.
  2. The World Economic Forum, supported by more than 45 partners launched the Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), a global initiative to fund and grow new and existing public, private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) to help unlock the $3 trillion of financing needed each year to reach net zeroreverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050.
  3. Greta Thunberg and other activists organised a protest, with slogans such as “There is no planet B” and “Fossil fuels have got to go”. Pakistan brought up the issue of a loss and damage fund for the developing countries.

Projects launched

  1. The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that more than 50 “high-impact initiatives” was launched at the event.
  2. Maharashtra Institution for Transformation (MITRA) signed a partnership with the forum on urban transformation to give the state government “strategic and technical direction”, while a thematic centre on healthcare and life sciences is to be set up in Telangana.
  3. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) aims to develop new vaccines for future pandemics.

 

Chargesheets are not public documents: SC

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Supreme Court held that chargesheets are not ‘public documents’ and enabling their free public access violates the provisions of the Criminal Code of Procedure as it compromises the rights of the accused, victim, and the investigation agencies. Before dismissing the PIL seeking directions to the police or investigating agencies like the ED or the CBI, a two-judge bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar also cautioned against the possibility of ‘misuse’.

What is a chargesheet?

  1. A chargesheet, as defined under Section 173 CrPC, is the final report prepared by a police officer or investigative agencies after completing their investigation of a case.
  2. After preparing the chargesheet, the officer-in-charge of the police station forwards it to a Magistrate, who is empowered to take notice of the offences mentioned in it.
  3. The chargesheet should contain details of names, the nature of the information, and offences. Whether the accused is under arrest, in custody, or has been released, whether any action was taken against him, are all important questions that the chargesheet answers.
  4. Further, when the chargesheet relates to offences for which there is sufficient evidence against the accused, the officer forwards it to the Magistrate, complete with all documents. This forms the basis for the prosecution’s case and the charges to be framed.
  5. “The charge-sheet is nothing but a final report of the police officer under s. 173(2) of the CrPC,” the apex court held in its 1991 ruling in K Veeraswami vs UOI & Ors.
  6. chargesheet must be filed against the accused within a prescribed period of 60-90 days, otherwise the arrest is illegal and the accused is entitled to bail.

How is a chargesheet different from an FIR?

  1. The term ‘chargesheet’ has been expressly defined under Section 173 of the CrPC but ‘First Information Report’ or FIR, has not been defined in either the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or the CrPC. Instead, it finds a place under the police regulations/ rules under Section 154 of CrPC, which deals with ‘Information in Cognizable Cases’.
  2. While the chargesheet is the final report filed towards the end of an investigation, an FIR is filed at the ‘first’ instance’ that the police is informed of a cognizable offense or offence for which one can be arrested without a warrant; such as rape, murder, kidnapping.
  3. Further, an FIR does not decide a person’s guilt but a chargesheet is complete with evidence and is often used during the trial to prove the offenses the accused is charged with.
  4. After filing an FIR, the investigation takes place. Only if the police have sufficient evidence can the case be forwarded to the Magistrate, otherwise, the accused is released from custody under Section 169 of the CrPC.
  5. The law laid down by the Supreme Court in 1967 in Abhinandan Jha & Ors vs Dinesh Mishra reiterates this.
  6. Finally, the FIR should be filed at the first instance of receiving knowledge of the occurrence of a cognizable offense.
  7. According to Section 154 (3) of the CrPC, if any person is aggrieved by the refusal of authorities to file FIR, they can send the complaint to the Superintendent of Police, who will either investigate himself or direct it to their subordinate.
  8. A chargesheet is filed by the police or law-enforcement/ investigative agency only after they have gathered sufficient evidence against the accused in respect of the offenses mentioned in the FIR, otherwise, a ‘cancellation report’ or ‘untraced report’ can be filed when due to lack of evidence.

Why is a chargesheet not a ‘public document’?

  1. Chargesheet cannot be made publicly available as it’s not a ‘public document’ under Sections 74 and 76 of the Evidence Act, as argued by the petitioners’.
  2. Section 74 of the Evidence Act defines ‘public documents’ as those which form the acts or records of sovereign authority, official bodies, tribunals, and of public offices either legislative, judicial or executive in any part of India, Commonwealth or a foreign country. It also includes public records “kept in any State of private documents”.
  3. Meanwhile, Section 76 of the Evidence Act mandates every public officer having custody over such documents to provide its copy pursuant to a demand and payment of legal fee, accompanied by a certificate of attestation along with the date, seal, name and designation of the officer.

 

Leopard 2 tank to help Ukraine

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

Germany has not decided whether to allow its Leopard 2 tanks to be sent to Ukraine, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after a U.S.-led meeting of Ukraine’s allies ended with no consensus. With Germany under pressure to authorize sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine from other European nations and also to send some of Germany’s own.

What is a Leopard 2 tank?

  1. The Leopard 2 is one of the world’s leading battle tanks, used by the German Army for decades and by the militaries of more than a dozen other European nations, as well as by the armies of countries as far apart as Canada and Indonesia. It has seen service in conflicts in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Syria.
  2. The tank, which is powered by a diesel engine, features night-vision equipment and a laser range finder that can measure distance to an object, enabling it to better aim at a moving target while traveling over rough terrain.
  3. There are multiple iterations of the Leopard 2 with different features and designs.

How could the tank help Ukraine?

  1. Until now, both Ukraine and Russia have used Soviet-era tanks in battle, and the Leopards would offer a big step forward in capability.
  2. Ukraine’s government has been calling for tanks on top of earlier packages of military aid from allies in the United States and Europe that included aircraft, air defense systems to protect against Russian missile and drone attacks and longer-range artillery.
  3. Supplies of the Leopard 2 would help offset Russia’s superiority in artillery firepower, which aided Moscow in seizing two cities in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province over the summer.
  4. They could be of particular value as the war approaches its second year and Ukraine looks to reclaim lost territory and expects a Russian spring offensive.

What are the advantages of Leopards over other tanks?

  1. Britain has promised to supply Ukraine with 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks, and two U.S. officials said 19 January 2023 that Washington planned to supply nearly 100 Stryker combat vehicles, though it has not committed to sending American-made M1 Abrams tanks, which require constant upkeep and generally run on special fuel.
  2. Military experts said that the chief advantage of the Leopard 2 was the quantity that could be sent to Ukraine and the relative ease of repair and logistics.
  3. In addition, because several European countries use the vehicles, multiple nations could contribute either the tanks themselves, or spare parts, training capacity or logistics, said Alander, an expert in northern European security and German foreign policy.

 

India’s plan to eradicate measles, rubella

GS Paper -3 (Disease)

India had set a target to eliminate measles and rubella (MR) by 2023, having missed the earlier deadline of 2020, due to a variety of reasons, exacerbated by disruptions due to the pandemic. An earlier target that was set for 2015 was also missed. It was in 2019 that India adopted the goal of measles and rubella elimination by 2023, anticipating that the 2020 goal could not be reached.

Why is this target crucial?

  1. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the measles virus is one of the world’s most contagious human viruses that kill more than 1, 00,000 children every year globally, and rubella is a leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects,.
  2. As per the WHO’s statistics, measles and rubella can be prevented by just two doses of a safe and effective vaccine. In the past two decades, the measles vaccine is estimated to have averted more than 30 million deaths globally.
  3. In both diseases, the symptoms are a rash and fever. While measles has a high fatality rate, rubella infection in a pregnant woman will have an impact on the foetus, resulting in birth defects.

What happened in 2022?

  1. From October 2022, an outbreak of measles in Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai, had the authorities worried. As per media reports at least 15 children died among several hundreds who contracted the infection.
  2. Experts aver that this outbreak will contribute to ramping up herd immunity in the population which along with a robust vaccination programme will help achieve the necessary targets.

What has India done to achieve targets?

  1. The pandemic led to poor immunisation rates, during 2010–2013, India conducted a phased measles catch-up immunisation for children aged 9 months–10 years in 14 States, vaccinating approximately 119 million children.
  2. Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014 to ramp up vaccinating the unvaccinated population.
  3. During 2017–2021, India adopted a national strategic plan for measles and rubella elimination, and introduced rubella-containing vaccine (RCV) into the routine immunisation programme,
  4. It also launches a nationwide measles-rubella supplementary immunisation activity (SIA) catch-up campaign.
  5. It also transitioned from outbreak-based surveillance to case-based acute fever and rash surveillance, and more than doubled the number of laboratories in the measles-rubella network.

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