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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (5th July)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. L-G bound by ‘aid and advice’ of Delhi govt., says Constitution Bench

  • A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court unanimously held that Lieutenant-Governor is bound by the aid and advice of the Delhi government.

The judgement

  • Lieutenant-Governor is bound by the aid and advice of the Delhi government, except for issues of public order, police and land.
  • In case of difference of opinion, the L-G should straightaway refer the dispute to the President for a final decision without sitting over it or stultifying the governance in the National Capital.
  • It concluded that the governance of Delhi cannot rest upon the whims of one functionary — the Lieutenant-Governor.
  • Real authority to take decisions lie in the elected government. This is the meaning of ‘aid and advice’.
  • There is no independent authority with the LG to take decisions except in matters under Article 239 (every Union territory shall be administered by the President) or those outside the purview of the NCT government.
  • Every trivial difference of opinion between the LG and the NCT government cannot be referred to the President for a decision. The issues referred should be of substantive or national importance.
  • Elected representatives would be reduced to a cipher if ‘any matter’ in Art 239AA (4) is interpreted as every matter of governance.
  • A reference to the President was only an exception and not the general rule.
  • In this context, even in case of differences of opinion, the LG and the NCT government should act with constitutional morality and trust for each other. LG cannot act without applying his mind and refer everything to the President.
  • The NCT government need only to inform the LG of its well-deliberated decisions. The government need not obtain his concurrence in every issue of day-to-day governance.
  • Freeze on government decisions by the LG negates the very concept of collective responsibility. The governance of the National Capital demands a meaningful orchestration of democracy and a collaborative federal architecture.
  • Collective responsibility means the government speaking in one voice to the people whose aspirations the govt reflects.

Background

  • The judgment came on appeals filed by the NCT government against an August 4, 2016, verdict of the Delhi High Court, which had declared that the L-G has complete control of all matters regarding the National Capital Territory of Delhi, and nothing will happen without the concurrence of the L-G.

The question of Statehood

  • SC opined that a mixed balance has to be struck considering the special status of the Delhi and fundamental concerns as Delhi is the National Capital.
  • Delhi as the national capital belongs to the nation as a whole.
  • The Supreme Court followed the 1987 Balakrishnan report to conclude that Delhi is not a State.
  • The report envisaged that Delhi could not have a situation in which the national capital had two governments run by different political parties. Such conflicts may, at times, prejudice the national interest.
  • The report foresaw that if Delhi became a full-fledged State, there would be a constitutional division of sovereign, legislative and executive powers between the Union and the State of Delhi.
  • Parliament would have limited legislative access and that too only in special and emergency situations.
  • The Union would be unable to discharge its special responsibilities in relation to the national capital as well as to the nation itself.
  • The report said the control of the Union over Delhi was vital in the national interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Union Cabinet clears DNA profiling bill

The Union Cabinet has approved The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2018

Background

  1. The government was responding to a PIL in 2012 on the use of DNA profiling for identifying unclaimed bodies, especially to match them with cold cases of missing persons.
  2. The government had informed the Supreme Court that it will introduce a DNA profiling Bill in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

NCRB Report on Such Crimes

  1. The aggregate incidence of such crimes in the country, as per the statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2016, is in excess of 3 lakhs per year.
  2. Of these, only a very small proportion is being subjected to DNA testing at present.
  3. It is expected that the expanded use of this technology in these categories of cases would result not only in speedier justice delivery but also in increased conviction rates, which at present is only around 30% (NCRB Statistics for 2016).

DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 

  1. The primary intended purpose for enactment of the bill is for expanding the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
  2. The utility of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world.
  3. Other aims include Speedier justice delivery and Increased conviction rate.
  4. Bill’s provisions will enable the cross-matching between persons reported missing and unidentified dead bodies found in various parts of the country, and also for establishing the identity of victims in mass disasters.
  5. By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.

Benefits of DNA Profiling

Forensic DNA profiling is of proven value in solving cases involving offenses that are categorized as affecting the human body (such as murder, rape, human trafficking, or grievous hurt), and those against property (including theft, burglary, and dacoity).


Back2Basics

DNA profiling technology

  1. DNA fingerprinting or DNA profiling is a method of isolating and identifying variable elements within the base-pair sequence of DNA.
  2. DNA fingerprinting technology is utilized by police all over the world for fool-proof identification of criminals who leave their traces at the crime scene while committing the crime.
  3. The technology plays a crucial role in solving crimes as it has potential to link a series of crimes by placing the suspects by linking them with the crime scene.

3. Copyright treaties get Cabinet nod

  • The Union Cabinet approved accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty which extends coverage of copyright to the Internet and digital environment.
  • Both the WIPO treaties came into force in 2002 and have 96 contracting partners each.

Significance

  • India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright order and the WIPO treaties will enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad.
  • The approval of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion proposal will enable creative right-holders to enjoy the fruits of their labour, through international copyright system that can be used to secure a return on the investment made in producing and distributing creative works.
  • These treaties would enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad.

WIPO

  • WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation.
  • It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states.
  • Its mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.
  • Its mandate, governing bodies and procedures are set out in the WIPO Convention, which established WIPO in 1967.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT)

  • It is a special agreement under the Berne Convention which deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment.
  • In addition to the rights recognized by the Berne Convention, they are granted certain economic rights.
  • The Treaty also deals with two subject matters to be protected by copyright:
    1. computer programs, whatever the mode or form of their expression; and
    2. compilations of data or other material (databases).

The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)

  • The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) deals with the rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in the digital environment:
    1. performers (actors, singers, musicians, etc.); and
    2. producers of phonograms (persons or legal entities that take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of sounds).

Copyright Act, 1957

  1. The Copyright Act 1957(wef 21 January 1958) (as amended by the Copyright Amendment Act 2012) governs the subject of copyright law in India.
  2. The Copyright Act 1957 was the first post-independence copyright legislation in India and the law has been amended six times since 1957.
  3. The most recent amendment was in the year 2012, through the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012.
  4. The history of copyright law in India can be traced back to its colonial era under the British Empire.
  5. India is a member of most of the important international conventions governing the area of copyright law, including
  • the Berne Convention of 1886 (as modified at Paris in 1971),
  • the Universal Copyright Convention of 1951,
  • the Rome Convention of 1961 and
  • the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

India accessed as a member of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) in July, 2018.

WIPO Copyright Treaty

  1. It is a Special agreement under Berne Convention (for protection of literary and artistic works).
  2. It came in force on March 6, 2002 and has been adopted by 96 contracting parties till date.
  3. It has provisions to extend the protection of copyrights contained therein to the digital environment.
  4. Further it recognises the rights specific to digital environment, of making work available, to address “on-demand” and other interactive modes of access.

WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

  1. It came in force on May 20, 2002 and has 96 contracting parties as its members.
  2. WPPT deals with rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in digital environment –
  • Performers (actors, singers, musicians etc.)
  • Producers of Phonograms (Sound recordings).

The treaty empowers right owners in the negotiations with new digital platforms and distributors.

It recognizes moral rights of the performers for the first time & provides exclusive economic rights to them.

4. Flood of despair: Mumbai’s flooding woes

  • Mumbai is an efficient city in some ways, but this reputation depends on fair weather. It turns into a soggy mess with the arrival of a monsoon.
  • This year the season has begun with the spectacular collapse of a pedestrian bridge on a crucial railway line in Andheri, causing injuries and overall urban paralysis.
  • Not even a year has passed since the ghastly stampede on a foot overbridge at Elphinstone Road station, that took over 20 lives.

 

Thinking lines

  • The recurrent disasters involving infrastructure are proof of the indifference among policymakers to the city’s needs, even as they speak of a ‘global standard’ of living.
  • The city continues to attract a large number of people looking for opportunity
  • Urban managers, led by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, have not invested enough in new infrastructure and have done a shoddy job of maintaining the old.
  • If Maharashtra has to achieve higher rates of economic growth and touch an ambitious 10%, as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis desires, Mumbai’s infrastructure planning should be in the hands of an empowered custodian who can secure the cooperation of all urban agencies.
  • A return to nature is needed to relieve Mumbai of its flooding woes. According to one estimate, the city’s Mithi river, blocked by debris and garbage, has lost about 60% of its catchment to development.

Integrated Flood Management (IFM)

IFM – to maximise the efficient use of the flood plains and minimise loss of property and life; to enhance the benefits of floods and minimise their destruction

IFM measures can be grouped into 4 classes

  • Land-use measures; – aimed at “keeping people away from floods”.
  • Structural measures;- aimed at “keeping flood waters away from the people”.
  • Flood preparedness measures; aimed at “getting people ready for floods”.
  • Flood emergency measures; – aimed at “helping affected people cope with floods”.

Strategies to prevent floods in these two metros

  • Introduce better flood warning systems
  • Modify homes and businesses to help them withstand floods
  • Construct buildings above flood levels
  • Protect wetlands and introduce plant trees strategically
  • Restore rivers to their natural courses
  • Introduce water storage areas, Improve soil conditions, Put up more flood barriers must also be implemented.
  • Municipal bodies of our cities have to come out with consistent and coherent urban policy.

 Way forward

  • A cleaner river connected to functional drainage can aid in the speedy removal of flood waters, and improve the environment.
  • In a 2015 study, the World Bank found that half of the poor did not consider moving out of flood-prone areas, because of the uncertainty of living in a new place with severe social disruptions and reduced access to education and health facilities.
  • What this underscores is the need to make the best use of all available space, densify development where feasible, and improve conditions in situ.
  • It is welcome that a joint safety audit with the IIT will be conducted on public infrastructure, in the wake of the bridge collapse. But such inspections must be regularly carried out and quick remedial steps taken.

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