News: The Supreme Court on October 25 directed the Supervisory Committee to take an immediate and firm decision on the maximum water level that can be maintained at Mullaperiyar dam, amid torrential rain in Kerala.
About Mullaperiyar Dam:
Mullaperiyar is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in the Indian state of Kerala.
It is located 881 m (2,890 ft) above mean sea level, on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats in Thekkady, Idukki District of Kerala, India.
It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick and also reached in an agreement to divert water eastwards to the Madras Presidency area (present-day Tamil Nadu). It has a height of 53.6 m (176 ft) from the foundation, and a length of 365.7 m (1,200 ft).
The Periyar National Park in Thekkady is located around the dam’s reservoir.
The dam is built at the confluence of Mullayar and Periyar rivers.
The dam is located in Kerala on the river Periyar, but is operated and maintained by the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
About Torrential Rain:
The classification of heavy rain has not been standardized throughout the world.
Although there are a few commonly accepted rates of rain that qualify as heavy rain, the rate may vary based on a classification that better suits the climate in that geographic location.
Rain is generally classified as “heavy rain” when falling at a rate of greater than or equal to 7.6mm of water per hour.
Warm air holds more moisture than cooler air, which is why it rains so often in the tropics (for example, the Amazon jungle).
As temperature increases, an air mass can hold exponentially more moisture (water vapor); a warm air mass can hold much more moisture than a cool one.
2. PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT
News: The Delhi police have registered a case under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act against a 40-year-old man for allegedly harassing a 15-year-old girl by sending her indecent text messages.
About POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act:
In order to effectively address the heinous crimes of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children through less ambiguous and more stringent legal provisions, the Ministry of Women and Child Development championed the introduction of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
The Act is gender neutral and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of paramount importance at every stage so as to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.
The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and regards the best interests and well-being of the child as being of paramount importance at every stage, to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.
It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography, and deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority vis-à-vis the child, like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
People who traffic children for sexual purposes are also punishable under the provisions relating to abetment in the Act. The Act prescribes stringent punishment graded as per the gravity of the offence, with a maximum term of rigorous imprisonment for life, and fine.
It defines “child pornography” as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which include photograph, video, digital or computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child, and image created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict a child;’
3. CARBON SINK
News: Ahead of the 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) next month in Glasgow, there have been several bilateral meetings between India and other countries including the U.S. and the European Union.
About Carbon Sink:
A carbon sink is anything that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases – for example, plants, the ocean and soil. In contrast, a carbon source is anything that releases more carbon into the atmosphere than it absorbs – for example, the burning of fossil fuels or volcanic eruptions.
Carbon is essential to all life on Earth – it’s in our DNA, in the food we eat and the air we breathe. The amount of carbon on Earth has never changed but where carbon is located is constantly changing – it flows between the atmosphere and organisms on Earth as it’s released or absorbed. This is known as the carbon cycle – a process that has been perfectly balanced for thousands of years.
Now, increased human activity is upsetting the balance. We’re releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than the Earth’s natural carbon sinks can absorb. Our continued reliance on fossil fuels for energy means billions of tonnes of carbon are released into the atmosphere every year.
The ocean, atmosphere, soil and forests are the world’s largest carbon sinks.
The world’s forests absorb 2.6bn tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Yet despite their vital importance, an area the size of a football pitch is destroyed every second. We work for forests to be used sustainably and protected. There are three important strands to this effort: improving laws, empowering forest communities and fighting illegal logging and trade.
The Earth’s soil absorbs roughly a quarter of all human emissions each year, with a large portion of this stored in peatland or permafrost. But it’s under threat from increasing global demand for food production, chemical pollution and climate change. We’re pushing for a reformed agricultural model. We want to see stronger laws that protect our soil.
The ocean has sucked up about a quarter of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere since we began burning fossil fuels for energy during the Industrial Revolution. Phytoplankton are the main reason the ocean is one of the biggest carbon sinks. These microscopic marine algae and bacteria play a huge role in the world’s carbon cycle – absorbing about as much carbon as all the plants and trees on land combined. But plastic pollution in our ocean means plankton are eating micro plastics which is impacting the rate at which they are trapping carbon in our ocean. We’re using the law to push for an end to plastic pollution.
4. ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT
News: Over two weeks after the Centre directed the imposition of stock limits on edible oils to tame soaring prices, Uttar Pradesh is the only State which has actually followed through and issued a stock limit order.
About Essential Commodities Act:
The Act empowers the central government to control the production, supply, distribution, trade, and commerce in certain commodities.
Regulation of food items: The Act empowers the central government to designate certain commodities (such as food items, fertilizers, and petroleum products) as essential commodities. The central government may regulate or prohibit the production, supply, distribution, trade, and commerce of such essential commodities.
Imposition of stock limit: The Act empowers the central government to regulate the stock of an essential commodity that a person can hold.
The Ordinance provides that any stock limit will not apply to a processor or value chain participant of agricultural produce if stock held by such person is less than the: (i) overall ceiling of installed capacity of processing, or (ii) demand for export in case of an exporter. A value chain participant means a person engaged in production, or in value addition at any stage of processing, packaging, storage, transport, and distribution of agricultural produce.
Applicability to Public Distribution System: Under these systems, food grains are distributed by the government to the eligible persons at subsidised prices.
5. NATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL PRICING AUTHORITY (NPPA)
News: Drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) on Monday said it has fixed the ceiling prices for 12 anti-diabetic generic medicines, including glimepiride tablets, glucose injection and intermediate acting insulin solution.
About National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA):
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India.
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was constituted vide Government of India Resolution dated 29th August, 1997 as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers as an independent Regulator for pricing of drugs and to ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
The NPPA regularly publishes lists of medicines and their maximum ceiling prices.
To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations.
To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals.
To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government.
To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy.
To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.