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Daily NEWS Analysis | 12th March | UPSC 2020

Updated on 27 March 2020
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UPSC & State PSC 2021
7 min read 0 views
Updated on 27 March 2020

1. COVID-19 now pandemic,says WHO,India confirms 60 cases.


The World Health Organization has characterised the quickly spreading Coronavirus as a Pandemic.The Director General of WHO Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that after keeping a close watch on the Coronavirus,WHO is concerned about its pace and severity of spreading and thus has decided to put it in pandemic category.

Context


With the spread of Coronavirus to more than 100 countries across the globe,WHO has decided to declare the disease as "Pandemic" now.


The Coronavirus epidemic had begun in China last year. Currently, it has spread across the globe with cases reported in over a 100 countries. Due to health concerns and safety measures, this has resulted in countries coming to a standstill, quarantine areas, schools and shops being closed, losses in trade, scores of deaths, cancellation of events and even free passage between nations.


Normally, an epidemic is scaled to the level of a pandemic when it spreads to a far greater geographical scale and affects a large section of people throughout the world. WHO, while marking the outbreak as a pandemic, has assured that it can still be controlled to a great extent.With early action and detection, it said, the spread of the disease can be controlled and there are high chances of full recovery.


Out of the 80,000 cases reported in China,almost 70% have recovered and have been discharged.Globally, 4,012 deaths and 113,702 cases have been reported.The virus has spread to near about 109 countries outside China making the risk at the global level still very high.Back in India, a total of 60 cases have been reported so far with none of them leading to death.


2. SC comes down on sexual harassment at workplace:


The Supreme Court in a judgement has held that sexual harassment of women at their workplace is almost an insult or abuse to their fundamental rights to live life with equality and dignity.

Context


The Supreme Court came up with an order wherein it has held that any kind of sexual harassment or abuse to women at their workplace is nothing short of an abuse to their fundamental rights of the Constitution.Article 14 and 15 gives women the right to equality and Article 21 of the Constitution gives them the right to live with dignity and practice any profession or business,trade or any occupation.


The orders came after a complaint filed by a senior officer of Punjab and Sind Bank wherein she complained of sexual harassment by senior officers and because of unfair and biased decisions. She had complained that she had been posted from Indore to Jabalpur because she had raised issues around irregularities and corruption.


The court referred to the sexual harassment Act of 2013, for women at workplace which includes prevention ,prohibition and redressal measures. These measures clearly state that its sole purpose is to provide protection to women at their workplace.


An online complaint management system called (She-BOX) is already in work for registering complaints of sexual harassment of women at workplace.It is an initiative by the government of India wherein a single window access is given to every women at the workplace be of any work status and whether working in organised or unorganised public or private sector.After the submission of complaint in She- Box ,it is directly sent to authorities concerned to take appropriate action on it.


3. South central Railway plans a trip from Tirupati to Kashmir:


The IRCTC(Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation) has planned to run a train named 'Bharat Darshan' programme.The train will operate directly from the temple city Tirupati till Kashmir.


Context


In a big move to promote tourism at both the southern and northern end of the country,the IRCTC is planning to start a train which will operate from Tirupati to Kashmir.The idea behind this Bharat Darshan Programme is to promote the places from south to north on tourism front at national level.

The train will originate from Renigunta on May 26 reaching Delhi on May 28.


From there on,it will proceed towards Shri Mata Vaishno Devi katra station and then in buses the tourists will be taken to Srinagar for all the natural sight seeing to view the paradise on earth.The train can accommodate only 800 passengers and has both AC and Non AC coaches.


The move can be considered as one of the initiative of centre to bring back the normalcy in Kashmir and making it an integral part of the country forever.The first step towards this was making Jammu and Kashmir a Union Territory and now with various measures promoting tourism in the state so that people across the globe can witness the raw beauty on Earth and it doesn't remain unconnected and isolated with rest of the world as was happening prior to the abrogation of Article 370.


4. J&K HC not for ban on use of pellet guns, dismisses PIL plea


The J&K High court has dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) which had sought to ban the use of pellet shotguns by security forces against protesters. Siding with the government, the court said that the weapons had to be used in cases of self-defence.


Context:


Ever since instances of stone-pelting came to light from protesters in the Kashmir valley, state forces (both the police and the armed forces) have been using pellet shotguns as a means of non-lethal ammunition to control such protests.


The pellet guns do not kill, however, they have been known to cause injuries to protesters and bystanders, which are sometimes severe. Pellet shotguns have led to facial injuries (including eye injuries) and there has been a demand to ban their use entirely.


Justices Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Ali Mohammad Magrey said in their ruling, “If security persons are attacked by violent mobs, they have to necessarily use force in their self-defence and for protecting public property.”


5. PIB - Ministry of Railways issues status on multiple counts


In replies to queries raised in the Lok Sabha, the Indian railways has announced the status of the department on multiple counts. These include:

I) Private Trains

There are over 100 origin- destination pairs to operate private passenger train services, under the Public-Private partnership model. Such private train services include the currently operational Tejas Express (run by IRCTC) from New Delhi-Lucknow sector).


II) Women Engine drivers in Railways

Currently, there are 1280 women candidates who have been empanelled for Assistant Loco Pilot by the Railway Recruitment Boards - the highest of these were for Uttar Pradesh (216), followed by Kerala (145) and Andhra Pradesh (131).


III) Mission Zero Accident

Mission Zero Accident is a success story as of date, as there have been no deaths in railway accidents this year. In fact, 2018-19, also saw only 16 deaths due to train related accidents.


IV) Strength of Railway Protection Force

Currently the Railway Protection Force (RPF) stands at 61,869 personnel as against 74,830 posts. As far as women on the force are concerned, the Northern zone employs the highest number of women constables at 170, followed by the Eastern zone at 121.


V) Punctuality of trains

In order to ensure punctuality of its services, the Indian railways has begun working on the following measures:

i. Rigorous monitoring at Divisional, Zonal and Railway Board levels.

ii. Standardization of rakes and provision of spare rakes to improve punctuality

iii. Removal of infrastructure bottlenecks in a planned manner.

iv. Integrated Mega Blocks are planned in such a way that all asset maintenance departments can do their work simultaneously.

v. End to end running of some trains with diesel locomotives to stop delays in changing diesel engines to electric engines.

vi. Conversion of conventional rakes of Mail/Express trains (Integral Coach Factory design rakes) into LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) rakes.

vii. Rationalization of Time Table in order to make a group of similar speed trains.

viii. Curtailment of stoppage time at major terminals.

Ix. Provision of Bye-pass at stations to avoid engine reversal.


VI) Dedicated freight corridors


The Ministry of Railways is creating two dedicated freight corridors -

Eastern dedicated freight corridor - from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1856 km)

Western dedicated freight corridor - from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (1504 km).

These will completed in different phases by December 2021.


VII) Wifi at train stations

RailTel Corporation of India will provide Wi-Fi services at 416 railway stations that are currently enabled with such services in a partnership with Google, after May 29, 2020. The PSU has a tie-up with Google till the given date to provide free Wi-Fi services at these stations.


6. PIB - Petrol pumps and gas stations in the country


In a reply to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Dharmendra Pradhan, the minister for petroleum and natural gas shared details around the total number of petrol pumps and gas stations in the country.


There are 60,227 retail outlets for petrol, run by public sector oil marketing companies in the country.


There are 1989 CNG stations, set up under the authorisation of the petroleum and natural gas regulatory board.

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