Why in News
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973 has been imposed in Gurugram, owing to the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Section 144 has often been used to clamp down on telecommunication services and order Internet shutdowns.
About Section 144 CrPC:
This law empowers the magistrate of any state or union territory in India to pass an order prohibiting the gathering of four or more people in a specified area.
It is imposed in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger of some event that has the potential to cause trouble or damage to human life or property.
This order can be passed against a particular individual or general public.
Features of Section 144:
It places restrictions on handling or transporting any kind of weapon in the given jurisdiction. The maximum punishment for such an act is three years.
According to the order under this section, there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed.
Further, there will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order.
It is deemed a punishable offence to obstruct law enforcement agencies from disbanding an unlawful assembly.
It also empowers the authorities to block internet access in the region.
The ultimate purpose of Section 144 is to maintain peace and order in the areas where trouble could erupt to disrupt the regular life.
Duration of Section 144 Order:
No order under this section can remain in force for a period of more than 2 months.
Under the state government’s discretion, it can choose to extend the validity for two more months with the maximum validity extendable to six months.
Once the situation becomes normal, Section 144 levied can be withdrawn
Difference between Section 144 and Curfew:
Section 144 prohibits gathering of four or more people in the concerned area, while during curfew people are instructed to stay indoors for a particular period of time. The government puts a complete restriction on traffic as well.
Markets, schools, colleges and offices remain closed under the curfew and only essential services are allowed to run on prior notice.
Ways and Means Advance GS Paper-3
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to continue with the existing interim Ways and Means Advances (WMA) scheme limit of Rs. 51,560 crore for all States/UTs upto September 2021, given the prevalence of Covid-19.
About Ways and Means Advances: Launch: The WMA scheme was introduced in 1997. Purpose: To meet mismatches in the receipts and payments of the government.
The government can avail immediate cash from the RBI, if required. But it has to return the amount within 90 days. Interest is charged at the existing repo rate.
Section 17(5) of the RBI Act, 1934 authorises the central bank to lend to the Centre and state governments subject to their being repayable “not later than three months from the date of the making of the advance”.
Repo Rate is basically the rate at which RBI lends short-term money to banks.
If the WMA exceeds 90 days, it would be treated as an overdraft (the interest rate on overdrafts is 2 percentage points more than the repo rate).
The limits for WMA (for Centre) are decided by the government and RBI mutually and revised periodically.
A higher limit provides the government flexibility to raise funds from RBI without borrowing them from the market.
There are two types of Ways and Means Advances — normal and special. 1.A Special WMA or Special Drawing Facility is provided against the collateral of the government securities held by the state. 2.After the state has exhausted the limit of SDF, it gets normal WMA.
The interest rate for SDF is one percentage point less than the repo rate.
The number of loans under normal WMA is based on a three-year average of actual revenue and capital expenditure of the state.
The cash flow problems of States have been aggravated by the impact of Covid-19, thus many States are in need of immediate and large financial resources to deal with challenges, including medical testing, screening and providing income and food security to the needy.
WMA can be an alternative to raising longer-tenure funds from the markets, issue of State government securities (State development loans) or borrowing from financial institutions for short-term funding. WMA funding is much cheaper than borrowings from markets.
The Special Drawing Facility (SDF) availed by State Governments/UTs shall continue to be linked to the quantum of their investments in marketable securities issued by the Government of India, including the Auction Treasury Bills (ATBs).
The annual incremental investments in Consolidated Sinking Fund (CSF) and Guarantee Redemption Fund (GRF) shall continue to be eligible for availing of SDF.
SDR is different
Recently, Kerala launched preventive measures after a few cases of brucellosis, a zoonotic infection, have been detected in some dairy animals.
It is a bacterial disease caused by various Brucella species, which mainly infect cattle, swine, goats, sheep and dogs among others.
It also known as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever.
Humans generally acquire the disease through direct contact with infected animals or eating, drinking contaminated animal products or by inhaling airborne agents.
Brucellosis in India causing huge economic losses to dairy industry due to
○ Birth of weak off springs
○ Reduced productivity.
Fever, sweats, malaise,anorexia (psychological disorder in which one eats less due to fear of weight gain), headache and muscle pain.
Treatment and prevention
○ It is usually treated with antibiotics, including rifampin and doxycycline.
○ Avoiding unpasteurised dairy products and taking safety precautions such as wearing rubber gloves, gowns when handling animals or working in a laboratory can help prevent or reduce the risk of getting brucellosis.
○ Other preventive measures include cooking meat properly, vaccinating domestic animals, etc.
FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge
Recently, the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) has announced #FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge to accelerate adoption of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Government
About :Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
It doesn’t mean software is free of cost.
The term “free” indicates that the software does not have constraints on copyrights.
It means that source code of the software is open for all and anyone is free to use, study and modify the code.
It allows other people also to contribute to the development and improvement of the software like a community.
The Free and Open Source Software may also be referred to as Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) or Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS).
FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge
Examples of FOSS include MySQL, Firefox, Linux, etc.
Another category of software is ‘Closed Source Software’.
The software which uses the proprietary and closely guarded code.
Only the original authors have the authority to access, copy, and alter that software.
In this case one does not purchase the software, but only pay to use it.
Exercise VARUNA 2021
The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ is being conducted in the Arabian Sea. From 25th april to 27th April
The Indian and French Navies have been conducting bilateral maritime exercises since 1993. Since 2001, these exercises have been called ‘VARUNA’.
These interactions further underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.
This is the first time that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is participating in the Varuna maritime exercise.
The ‘Varuna’ joint exercise is part of the French carrier strike group’s ‘CLEMENCEAU 21’ deployment, which the French Navy is conducting in the eastern Mediterranean, the Gulf and the Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea).
Its goal is to contribute to the stabilization of these strategic zones and strengthening cooperation with the navies of partner countries, in particular India for the Indian Ocean component.
As part of this deployment, the Carrier Strike Group is also taking part in anti-ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) operations.
The exercise will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, tactical manoeuvres, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations.
Other Indo-French Joint Exercises:
Desert Knight-21 and Garuda (Air exercise)
Varuna (Naval exercise)
Shakti (Army exercise)