December 6

1)The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009

  • it provides for free and compulsory education to every child of age 6 to 14 in a neighbourhood school till the completion of elementary education in all States and UTs except Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Section 29(2)(a) of the RTE Act provides that the academic authority, while laying down the curriculum and the evaluation procedure under sub-section (1), shall take into consideration conformity with the values enshrined in the Constitution (Eg., Article 51-A).
    • Article 51-A (a) of the Constitution of India mentions that it shall be the duty of the every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and the national anthem.
  • “As education is in the concurrent list and a majority of schools are under the jurisdiction of the state governments and UT administrations, it is for them to take necessary action for observance of the above provisions of the RTE Act and the Constitution of India,”
  • So it is not mandatory to sing National Anthem in the govt schools as Ministry of Human Resources and Development has stated.

2) The Rajasthan High Court had relied on a Supreme Court judgment of 2014 banning jallikattu to stop the tonga races.

  • Arguments in support of ban:
    • Horse racing per se is not cruelty, but tonga races on metal roads are cruel towards it.
    • the 2014 judgment and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 were against cruelty shown to all animals, whether bull or horse.
  • Arguments against ban:
    • It is ironical that horses which are biologically equipped for racing can be used for tonga racing and tonga races are held all over the world, including North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand under the name of harness racing
    • the Supreme Court judgment had clearly distinguished bulls as “bovine animals” unfit for running, while horses as “solid-hoofed quadruped, domesticated for riding”.
    • the horse’s anatomy “enables it to make use of speed and can be usefully used for racing, etc, unlike bulls”.
    • the Jallikattu verdict dwelt on specific instances of cruelty shown to bulls like biting and twisting a bull’s tail, poking the bull with knives and sticks, using irritant solutions in the eyes, use of alcoholic liquids and throwing stones. In tonga races, “No act of cruelty whatsoever is meted out to the horse, which is an animal meant to be used in racing,”

3)The Centre has proposed amending a law to empower States and allow industries to pay wages by cheque or by direct credit into bank accounts

  • The present law:
    • states that all payment of wages should be made in cash, with a provision enabling employers to obtain written permission of the worker to pay either by cheque, or by crediting the wages to his or her bank account.
  • The Union Labour ministry has proposed changes to the Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act of 1936
  • Positive:
    • Will reduce complaints: the payment of wages only through cheque or through bank transfer in the bank account of employed persons will reduce the complaints regarding non-payment or less payment of minimum wages,
    • serve the objectives of digital and less cash economy
  • Concern:
    • Contractors are making advance salary payments to workers in old notes after demonetisation

4)India’s growing defence ties with Vietnam:

  • India has agreed to train the southeast nation’s Sukhoi-30 fighter pilots, both India and Vietnam operate Russian Su-30 jets.
  • Cooperation due to the backdrop of the growing assertiveness of China in the region.
  • Bilateral ties recently received a further fillip when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Vietnam in September, on his way to the G-20 Summit in Guangzhou, southeastern China.
  • India already trains Vietnamese sailors in operating Kilo class submarines
  • Agreements:
    • A memorandum of understanding was signed on peacekeeping as well as exchange of delegations. In which “India’s partnership as a reliable player in terms of transfer of technology and building a local defence industry”.
    • A programme for cooperation between the Air Forces was also signed, which covers a cross-section of activities, including training of pilots and exchange of experts

5)Researchers have found a novel route to discover new drug targets and potential drugs for parasites such as Loa loa nematode (roundworm) and Schistosoma mansoni platyhelminthes (flatworm) that cause several diseases.

  • Both these parasites are the cause of major health burden, particularly in African countries.
  • There are limited treatment options and there is the threat of drug resistance.
  • There also little interest in developing drugs for these diseases by pharmaceutical companies as they do not stand to benefit much commercially.
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