National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams – 9th July 2018
Master of the roster
Context: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the “master of the roster,” the Supreme Court reaffirmed on Friday, declining to accept former law minister Shanti Bhushan’s suggestion that the CJI consult his collegium colleagues –the top four judges after him in seniority –in allocating cases to various benches.
Describing the CJI as “first among equals,” a bench of justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said although the constitution was silent on the CJI’s role as the master of the roster, his power was based on a healthy practice and “convention aimed at maintaining discipline and decorum.” The judges wrote separate but concurring verdicts.
What is master of the roaster?
- To sum it up in simple terms, it means the head of the administrative side. Be it the Chief Justice of India or Chief Justice of any high court it is he or she who heads the administrative side.
- This includes allocation of matters before a judge as well.
- The power to allocate matters before a Bench or judge is the power that the CJI or CJs have got and it cannot be overridden by a judicial order even if the CJI or CJ is sitting on a Constitution Bench.
- The administrative powers are taken over by the senior most judge of a Supreme Court or High Court only if the CJI/CJ is on leave.
National Health Stack (NHS)
Context: The central government think tank NITI Aayog has unveiled the blue print of National Health Stack (NHS), a shared digital healthcare infrastructure.
The blue print is in line with the implementation of the Centre’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat and other public healthcare programmes in the country.
- The National Health Stack will facilitate collection of comprehensive healthcare data across the country.
- This will allow policy makers to further build their projections around upcoming outcomes, experiment with new services as well as fill the existing gaps in the Indian healthcare industry among others.
- The components include national health electronic registries, a coverage and claims platform, a federated personal health records framework, a national health analytics platform among others.
- It will also provide a mechanism through which every user participating in the system can be uniquely identified.
- allow states to incorporate horizontal and vertical expansion of scheme.
- avoid duplication of efforts
- Enable ease of adoption for those without systems or with dysfunctional systems in place.
- continue using their own state system while integrating with Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission (RSSM) via Application Programming Interface (APIs).
- The stack will embrace health management systems of public health programs and socio-demographic data systems. The registrant may create a virtual health ID to preserve their privacy when interacting with other users or stakeholders in the system.
- Once implemented, it is expected that National Health Stack will significantly “bring down the costs of health protection, converge disparate systems to ensure a cashless and seamlessly integrated experience for the poorest beneficiaries, and promote wellness across the population.
The government’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat aims to provide a coverage of INR 5 Lakh per family annually and benefit more than 10 crore poor families.
Entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic as legal entities
Context: The Uttarakhand High Court declared the “entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic” as legal entities with a distinct persona and corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.
- The Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh observed, “The Corporations, Hindu idols, holy scriptures, rivers have been declared legal entities and thus, in order to protect and promote greater welfare of animals including avian and aquatic, animals are required to be conferred with the status of legal entity/ legal person.
- The animals should be healthy, comfortable, well- nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour without pain, fear and distress. They are entitled to justice.
- The Court was hearing a petition filed by one Mr. Narayan Dutt Bhatt seeking directions for restricting movement of horse carts/tongas from Nepal to India and vice versa through the Champawat District.
- He had essentially demanded that the horses be vaccinated and checked for infections before being allowed into the Indian territory from Nepal. The scope of the petition was, however, enlarged to encompass protection and welfare of all animals.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act
- The PCA Act has been enacted with an object to safeguard the welfare of the animals and evidently to cure some mischief and age old practices, so as to bring into effect some type of reform, based on eco-centric principles, recognising the intrinsic value and worth of animals.
- So far as animals are concerned, “life” means something more than mere survival or existence or instrumental value for human being, but to lead a life with some intrinsic worth, honour and dignity.
Nasscom unveils centre for data, AI
Context: The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), India’s premier software lobby, opened a Center of Excellence (CoE) for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.
“Nasscom also signed a MoU with NITI Aayog to collaboratively foster applied research, accelerating adoption and ethics, privacy and security”.
“With the aim to strengthen the country’s AI ecosystem, the CoE and MoU, both aim to serve as a platform for intelligence-sharing and technology collaboration between stakeholders to build collective capabilities for the industry and country in the cutting-edge areas artificial intelligence”.
Supporting AI strategy
- Nasscom would support the government’s National Strategy for AI and will facilitate collaboration between NITI Aayog and CoEs.
- It will also include NITI Aayog as a knowledge partner. “Leveraging their skilling platform FutureSkills, Nasscom and NITI Aayog will together accelerate innovation and cultivate skilling in India,”
- The CoE initiative is a nationwide programme on innovation, focusing on solutions in smart manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, agriculture, energy, IoT, banking and financial services, retail, telecom, and host of emerging technologies.
- Nasscom has partnered with Intel and IBM as its founding members and technology advisors for augmenting and accelerating the data science and artificial Intelligence ecosystem in the country.
- The center aims to “support SMBs, by fast-tracking their product development, provide market access to enterprises and assist them by co-creating programs along with other industry partners and start-ups to solve complex and real-world business problems”.