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Daily Current Events by Civils360 December 5, 2017

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Air Pollution: Read Here

  • Air quality in Delhi inched towards the very poor-severe range — with air quality index recorded at 390 µg/m3 out of 500. According to a forecast by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the situation is expected to get worse.
  • Mean while, National Green Tribunal pulled up the Delhi government for not filing a comprehensive action plan detailing ways to deal with the condition.
  • The government was also pulled up for not introducing the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme at this point, when the air quality is at alarming levels.

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Universal Healthcare: Read Here

  • The Supreme Court declared that modern society cannot justify excluding persons affected by leprosy or keeping them hidden in homes. The Supreme court took the decision on a PIL filed by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
  • The court asked the Centre to respond in eight weeks to a call to repeal 119 Central and State laws in practice since the 1950s that discriminate against leprosy patients.These laws deny them equal treatment under personal laws.
  • Normally, discriminations occur against leprosy patients in the following way: (i) stigmatization and indignity to persons, (ii) isolate/segregate persons, (iii) deny them access to public services, (iv) impose disqualifications on them under personal laws, and (v) bar them from occupying or standing for public posts or office.

Substance Abuse: Read Here

  • The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it is finalising a National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction to combat the rising menace of drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has also assigned the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre under the AIIMS to conduct a national survey on the extent and pattern of substance use.
  • The court had earlier opined that the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse among children should be made a specific content in the school curriculum under the aegis of New Education Policy proposed by the Centre.

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Finance Commission: Read Here

  • Fifteenth Finance Commission will hold wide-ranging consultations with all stakeholders including various Ministries of the Union government, all State Governments, Local Bodies, Panchayats and Political parties of each State Government to finalise its terms of reference.
  • Commission also recognised that there was also need to undertake analytical papers, analysis from leading research organisations within the country to enrich their work. It also seeks academic inputs and interactions with leading think tanks and domain knowledge experts which would assist the Commission in its work.

Digital Connectivity: Read Here

  • BharatNet project’s deadline has been extended by the government. The project aims to deliver high-speed broadband to all 250,000-odd village panchayats for use by their residents.
  • The pace of work is increasing and telecom companies have started picking gram panchayats last month.However, it may struggle to meet its new deadline- March 2019- as well.
  • This is because of the wide differences in coverage between the states. Only two states (Karnataka and Kerala) and two Union territories (Chandigarh and Puducherry) have made all their village panchayats service-ready.