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Gujarat elections on Dec. 9 & 14

 

In News:

  • Gujarat will go to polls in two phases on December 9 and 14,
  • With this the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately in Gujarat.
  • Responding to queries on criticism by the Opposition of the “delay” in declaring Gujarat poll dates, Mr. Joti said multiple factors, including flood relief operations, requests from the State administration and statutory/legal time limitations, were taken into account.

 

What is MCC?

  • Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.
  • It  intends to provide a level playing field for all political parties, keep the campaign fair and healthy, avoid clashes and conflicts between parties, and ensure peace and order.
  • The Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately on announcement of the election schedule by the commission for the need of ensuring free and fair elections.
  • It aims to ensure that the ruling party, either at the Centre or in the states, does not misuse its official position to gain an unfair advantage in an election.

 

‘Fish-lizard’ fossil from Kutch is a Jurassic first

 

In News:

  • A near-complete Jurassic-era fossil of an intriguing animal that looks like a mashup of a dolphin and lizard, and lived during the twilight of the dinosaurs, has been unearthed in Kutch, Gujarat.
  • Ichthyosaurs, or ‘fish- lizards’ in Greek, were large reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs.
  • The 5.5 metre-long skeleton is thought to belong to the Ophthalmosauridae family, which likely lived between 165 and 90 million years ago, when the arid Kutch was a sea.
  • This also throws light on the evolution and diversity of ichthyosaurs in the Indo-Madagascan region of the former Gondwanaland and India’s biological connectivity with other continents in the Jurassic.

 

Background:

  • Researchers have earlier discovered evidence of ichthyosaurs in prehistoric India.
  • Many ichthyosaur fossils have been found in North America and Europe, the fossil record in the Southern Hemisphere has mostly been limited to South America and Australia.
  • Remnants were reported from Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu in 2016 but these were only fossils of teeth and part of the vertebra.

 

U.S. sees threat to Pak. stability

 

In News:

  • The United States is worried that emboldened terror outfits could threaten the stability of the government of Pakistan, visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said here.
  • It’s not in anyone’s interest that the government of Pakistan is destabilised.
  • He emphasised that the U.S. wants to work with Pakistan as this is also in the interest of Pakistan and the larger region to eliminate terrorism eliminating from Pakistan

 

Background:

  • Recently the United States has made clear that unless Pakistan isolates the Afghan Taliban’s support bases, which allegedly have roots inside Pakistan, peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan will be impossible.
  • US had made it clear that its relation with Pak is a conditions-based approach. It will be based upon whether Pakistan take action that is necessary to create more reconciliation opportunities in Afghanistan.

 

Judges cannot decide on troop deployment: Centre

 

In News:

  • Judges cannot decide on deployment of troops. It is the fundamental job of the government of the day, and not the judiciary, to decide on the placement of police and armed forces to secure the nation’s borders and maintain law and order internally, the Centre told the Supreme Court .
  • The government’s sharp attack was directed at a recent Calcutta High Court order directing the Centre to retain all 15 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces, deployed in the restive districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal.
  • The maintenance of order and the security of the country, which includes the deployment of police and armed forces, is a fundamental facet of the governance of the country, and is a core governmental function of the executive wing of the State. These matters cannot be the subject matter of judicial review, or adjudication by a court, a petition said.

 

Separation of powers:

  • The doctrine of separation of powers is a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.
  • The constitution makers have also meticulously defined the functions of various organs of the state. Legislative and executive, which acts the two facets of people’s will have all the powers including that of finance.
  • The system of checks and balances is essential for the proper functioning of three organs of the government. Different organs of the state impose checks and balances on the other.

 

No ban on FDC drugs

 

In News:

  • Amidst the reigning confusion, officials of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation have clarified that there is no ban currently on drugs of Fixed Drug Combinations (FDCs) available in the market.
  • There is no ban on FDC drugs at present and all the FDC drugs banned earlier by the Centre are available in the market since Dec 2016,” a senior official at the CDSCO clarified.

 

What is FDC?

  • A combination drug is a fixed-dose combination (FDC) that includes two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) combined in a single dosage form, which is manufactured and distributed in fixed doses.
  • Initially, fixed-dose combination drug products were developed to target a single disease.However, FDCs may also target multiple diseases/conditions

 

Navy to increase watch over Indian Ocean

 

In News:

  • The Navy is institutionalising an experimental concept of round-the-clock surveillance of critical choke points in the Indian Ocean.
  • The plan involves deploying mission-ready ships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points.
  • These ships deployed are ready to meet any eventuality across the spectrum of operations ranging from acts of maritime terrorism and piracy to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions.
  • The new mission-based deployment concept was unveiled in the last Naval Commander’s Conference and was ratified for incremental implementation.
  • Of late, China has increased its presence in Indian Ocean in the name of anti-piracy operations.