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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th November 2022

  • IASbaba
  • November 11, 2022
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Atelopus or harlequin frogs

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: Ecologists at Michigan State University (MSU) and collaborators in Ecuador have found 32 species of an amphibian genus — Atelopus or harlequin frogs — still surviving in the wild.

  • Since the 1980s, a fungus called Bd — short for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis — has been killing off members of more than 500 species of amphibians.
  • Humans are responsible for the spread the fungus around the world.
  • The harlequin frog genus was hit exceptionally hard by the fungus.
  • Over the past four decades 80 per cent of its species were driven to extinction.

About Atelopus:

  • Atelopus is a large genus of Bufonidae, commonly known as harlequin frogs or toads, from Central and South America, ranging as far north as Costa Rica and as far south as Bolivia.
  • Atelopus species are small, generally brightly coloured, and diurnal.
  • Most species are associated with mid-to-high elevation streams.
  • This genus has been greatly affected by amphibian declines, and many species are now considered endangered, while others already are extinct.
  • While threatened by habitat loss, pollution, and introduced species, the primary cause of these declines appears to be the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

Source: DownToEarth

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following is not a bird? (2022)

  1. Golden Mahseer
  2. Indian Nightjar
  3. Spoonbill
  4. White Ibis

Q.2) Certain species of which one of the following organisms are well known as cultivators of

fungi? (2022)

  1. Ant
  2. Cockroach
  3. Crab
  4. Spider

Sovereign green bonds

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

Context: Recently the Central government released the Sovereign Green Bonds Framework. The revenue generated from the issuance of sovereign green bonds will be deployed in public sector projects that help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.

About Green Bonds:

  • Green bonds are issued by companies, countries and multilateral organisations to exclusively fund projects that have positive environmental or climate benefits and provide investors with fixed income payments.
  • The projects can include renewable energy, clean transportation and green buildings, among others.

Examples of Green Bonds:

  • The World Bank is a major issuer of green bonds and issued $14.4 billion of green bonds between 2008 and 2020.
  • These funds have been used to support 111 projects around the world, largely in renewable energy and efficiency (33%), clean transportation (27%), and agriculture and land use (15%).
  • By the end of 2020, 24 national governments had issued Sovereign Green, Social and Sustainability bonds totalling a cumulative $111 billion, according to the London-based Climate Bonds Initiative.

About India’s Sovereign Green Bonds Framework:

  • First announced in the Union Budget 2022-23, the proceeds of these green bonds will be issued for mobilising resources for green infrastructure.
  • Aim –
  • To mobilise Rs 16,000 crore through the issuance of green bonds in the current fiscal ending March 2023.
  • Under the framework, the Finance Ministry will, every year, inform the RBI about spending on green projects for which the funds raised through these bonds will be used.

Implementing Agency:

  • The Ministry of Finance has constituted a Green Finance Working Committee (GFWC) including members from relevant line ministries and chaired by the Chief Economic Advisor.
  • The GFWC will meet at least twice a year to support the Ministry of Finance with selection and evaluation of projects and other work related to the Framework.
  • Initial evaluation of the project will be the responsibility of the concerned Ministry/Department in consultation with experts.
  • The allocation of the proceeds will be reviewed in a time-bound manner by the GFWC to ensure that the allocation of proceeds is completed within 24 months from the date of issuance.

Eligible Projects:

  • All eligible green expenditures will include public expenditure undertaken by the government in the form of investment, subsidies, grants-in-aid, or tax foregone (or a combination of all or some of these) or select operational expenditures.
  • R&D expenditures in public sector projects that help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy and enable country to meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also included in the framework.
  • The eligible expenditures will be limited to government expenditures that occurred maximum 12 months prior to issuance of the green bonds.
  • Sectors not included –Nuclear power generation, landfill projects, alcohol/weapons/tobacco/gaming/palm oil industries and hydropower plants larger than 25 MW have been excluded from the framework.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the India economy, what are the advantages of “Inflation-Indexed Bonds (IIBs)”?  (2022)

  1. Government can reduce the coupon rates on its borrowing by way of IIBs.
  2. IIGs provide protection to the investors from uncertainty regarding inflation.
  3. The interest received as well as capital gains on IIBs are not taxable.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – International Relations

Context: The European Union’s financial markets regulator European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said it will withdraw recognition of six Indian clearing bodies or central counterparties (CCPs).

These six CCPs are:

  • Clearing Corporation of India (CCIL),
  • Indian Clearing Corporation Ltd (ICCL),
  • NSE Clearing Ltd (NSCCL),
  • Multi Commodity Exchange Clearing (MCXCCL),
  • India International Clearing Corporation (IFSC) Ltd (IICC) and
  • NSE IFSC Clearing Corporation Ltd (NICCL).

As per the European Market Infrastructure Regulations (EMIR), a CCP in a third country can provide clearing services to European banks only if it is recognized by the ESMA.

Role of these CCPs:

CCPs perform two main functions as the intermediary in a market transaction:

  • clearing and settlement
  • guarantee the terms of a trade.
  • CCP is a system provider, who by way of novation interposes between system participants in the transactions admitted for settlement, thereby becoming the buyer to every seller and the seller to every buyer, for the purpose of effecting settlement of their transactions.
  • A CCP is authorised by the RBI to operate in India under Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

About ESMA:

  • The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is an independent European Union (EU) Authority that contributes to safeguarding the stability of the EU’s financial system by enhancing the protection of investors and promoting stable and orderly financial markets.
  • ESMA is the direct supervisor of specific financial entities:
    • Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs)
    • Securitisation repositories (SRs)
    • Trade Repositories (TRs)
  • These entities form essential parts of the EU’s market infrastructure.

Reason for derecognition:

  • The decision to derecognise Indian CCPs came due to ‘no cooperation arrangements’ between the ESMA and Indian regulators:
    • the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),
    • the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and
    • the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
  • The ESMA wants to supervise these CCPs, which the Indian regulators are not in favour of as they feel that these entities have robust risk management and there is no need for a foreign regulator to inspect them.

Impact of Derecognition:

  • These CCPs will no longer be able to provide services to clearing members and trading venues established in the EU.
  • The derecognition will impact the lenders as they will not be able to provide clearing and settlement facilities to their clients.
  • They will also have to set aside additional capital to trade in the domestic market.
  • Of the total foreign portfolio investors (FPI) registered in India, close to 20 per cent are from Europe.

Source:Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) “Rapid Financing Instrument” and “Rapid Credit Facility” are related to the provisions of lending by which of the following:  (2022)

  1. Asian Development Bank
  2. International Monetary Fund
  3. United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative
  4. World Bank

Q.2) Consider the following statements:

  1. In India, credit rating agencies are regulated by Reserve Bank of India.
  2. The rating agency popularly known as ICRA is a public limited company.
  3. Brickwork Ratings is an Indian credit rating agency.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Flame Lily

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: The commercial cultivation of flame lily had attracted many in Tamil Nadu since the 1980s as a kilogram of the seeds of the flower, with its therapeutic properties, fetched up to ₹8,000 in a pharmaceutical-driven market. That’s no longer the case at present.

About flame lily

  • Flame lily occupies a special place in Tamil literature.
  • The Sangam-era poet, Kapilar, refers to it in his Kurinchipattu that describes the landscape of the mountainous terrain.
  • When the State of Tamil Nadu was formed in 1956, flame lily was named as its official flower.
  • It is also known as: Gloriosa superba/Kanvali kizhangu/Karthigaipoo/Senkanthalpoo
  • It is commonly found in scrubland, forests, thickets and even sand dunes.
  • Both the roots and the seeds are important pharmaceutical ingredients in indigenous Indian and African medicine.
  • They have been part of therapies to treat or manage ailments such as cancer, gout, arthritis, leprosy and dyspepsia.

Source: The Hindu


Pashmina Shawls

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In news: Traders of universally-prized Pashmina shawls are complaining that “obsolete testing methods” such as ‘Light Microscopy’ have resulted in several cases of ‘false positive’ for presence of ‘Shahtoosh’ guard hair.

  • This has led to their export consignments being flagged and wrongful prosecution.
  • Pashmina Exporters and Manufacturers Association have moved a petition before the Delhi High Court, for a direction to improve the existing testing infrastructure by incorporating the modern ‘Scanning Electron Miscrospcopic’ technique and DNA tests.
  • In 2019, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) published an Indian Standard for identification, marking and labelling of Pashmina products to certify their purity.
  • In 2021, the BIS released a revised report titled ‘Identification, Labelling and Marking of Pashmina Products’ that mandated directions for incorporating qualitative and quantitative identification of Shahtoosh guard hair.

About Pashmina:

  • Pashmina is obtained from breeds of mountain goats (capra hircus) found in the Changthang Plateau in Tibet and parts of Ladakh, in the Himalayan region of India.
  • Manufacture of Pashmina is a largely unorganised cottage/handicraft industry providing employment and livelihood to approximately 6 lakh people, most notably to local skilled villagers and artisans in Kashmir.
  • Shahtoosh is the fine undercoat fibre obtained from the Tibetan Antelope, known locally as ‘Chiru’, a species living mainly in the northern parts of the Changthang Plateau in Tibet.
  • As they offer high levels of smoothness and warmth, Shahtoosh shawls became a highly expensive commodity.
  • Unfortunately, due to commercial poaching of the animal, their population declined dramatically.
  • Tibetan Antelope
  • Appendix 1 of CITES (included in 1979) leading to prohibition in sale and trade of Shahtoosh shawls and scarves.
  • IUCN: near threatened
  • Schedule I of the India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act
  • India contributes only about 1% of the world’s Pashmina, but the Pashmina produced in India is considered the best of the lot and occupies a unique position.

Source: The Hindu


Soil carbon sequestration

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: International Crops Research Institute for The Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has published a modelling study that revealed how the right combination of fertilisers, biochar, and irrigation could potentially increase soil carbon by 300%.

  • The study was conducted in some districts of Maharashtra and Odisha with semi-arid climate (annual rainfall 600 -1,100 mm).
  • A new gaming app, ‘Mrida’, has been launched to promote behavioural change among farmers and will be released in English, Marathi and Odiya.

About Carbon sequestration:

  • Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • The carbon sequestration increased by more than 300 per cent in combination with fertiliser, biochar, and irrigation.
  • Biochar is a charcoal-like substance that burns organic material (biomass) from agricultural and forestry wastes in a controlled process called pyrolysis.
  • Biochar has safely reduced contamination and stored carbon.
  • Biochar increased carbon value in the soil by 130-300 per cent over 30 years with little difference in yield.
  • Optimal use of fertilizers increased the carbon and output by up to 30 per cent.
  • Improved nutrients, crop/variety, landform, minimum tillage and residue addition led to a significant increase in soil carbon.
  • Carbon sequestration increased by 100 kg ha per year with the improved practices of landform management, fertilizers and crop varieties over 45 years.
  • Two major types: geologic and biologic
    • Geologic carbon sequestration is the process of storing carbon dioxide (CO2) in underground geologic formations like rocks.
    • Biologic carbon sequestration refers to storage of atmospheric carbon in vegetation, soils, woody products, and aquatic environments.
  • Carbon sequestration occurs both naturally and as a result of anthropogenic activities.
  • The Kyoto Protocol under UNFCCC allows countries to receive credits for their carbon-sequestration activities in the area of land use, land-use change, and forestry.
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS): carbon dioxide is first separated from other gases contained in industrial emissions. It is then compressed and transported to a location that is isolated from the atmosphere for long-term storage.

  • Carbon cycle is as follows:

Significance:

  • Food systems account for nearly one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • In 2015, food-system emissions amounted to 18 Gt CO2 equivalent per year globally, representing 34 per cent of total GHG emissions.
  • Soil carbon is critical for crop yield and climate adaptation or mitigation measures, which are heavily reduced by both intensive agriculture and indiscriminate use of chemicals leading to increased carbon emissions.
  • Carbon sequestering can provide an additional source of income for the farmers.

Source: Down To Earth

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following statements best describes “carbon fertilization”? (2018)

  1. Increased plant growth due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  2. Increased temperature of Earth due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  3. Increased acidity of oceans as a result of increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  4. Adaptation of all living beings on Earth to the climate change brought about by the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Atal New India Challenge (ANIC)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: Atal Innovation Mission of NITI Aayog launched the Women centric challenges under the 2nd edition of Atal New India Challenge (ANIC).

About:

  • ANIC is an initiative by AIM, NITI Aayog.
  • It aims to seek, select, support and nurture technology-based innovations that solve sectoral challenges of national importance and societal relevance through a grant-based mechanism of up to ₹1 crore
  • The Woman centric challenges address the major issues faced by women from all spheres of life including driving women hygiene through innovation, innovations to improve women’s safety, professional networking opportunities for women, innovations that make working mothers’ life better, and easing the life of Rural Women.

Atal Innovation Mission:

  • It is Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • AIM’s objectives are:
  • To develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy.
  • To provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders.
  • To create awareness.
  • To create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country.

Major initiatives:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs-Creating problem solving mindset across schools in India.
  • Atal Incubation Centers-Fostering world class startups and adding a new dimension to the incubator model.
  • Atal New India Challenges(ANIC)-Fostering product innovations and aligning them to the needs of various sectors/ministeries.
  • Mentor India Campaign– A national Mentor network in collaboration with public sector, corporates and institutions, to support all the intiatives of the mission.
  • Atal Community Innovation Center– To stimulate community centric innovation and ideas in the unserved /underserved regions of the country including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.s
  • ARISE-To stimulate innovation and research in the MSME industry.
  • AIM-iCREST – an Incubator Capabilities enhancement program for startups.
  • AIM-PRIME – to promote and support science-based deep-tech start-ups & ventures with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Source Newson air


This is box title

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: Launch of IDRA at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) at Sharm El-Sheikh, along with 30 countries and 20 organisations.

About the IDRA:

  • Launched by Spain and Senegal
  • First announced by Spain at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in 2022.
  • Significance: there is no global convention for land, other than UNCCD, which mostly focuses on desertification.
  • A ‘specific solution’ for the United Nations to the impacts of climate change and aims to move from emergency response to building long-term resilience.
  • The mission of the alliance is to give political impetus to make the land’s resilience to drought and climate change a reality by 2030.
  • Political commitments include a five million Euro (Rs 40.76 crore) seed fund by Spain.
  • Kenya made a commitment to plant five billion trees in the next five years and 10 billion trees in 10 years.
  • The alliance will also collaborate with other platforms, including the initiative launched by the United Nations Secretary-General and the World Meteorological Organization to achieve universal coverage of early warning systems and regional initiatives to reap the maximum benefits of working together on drought resilience.

Challenges of Drought:

  • Drought represents the most serious hazard to livestock and crops in nearly every part of the world.
  • It ranks among the greatest threats to sustainable development, especially in developing countries, but increasingly so in developed nations too.
  • Recent episodes have shown that droughts are hitting more often and harder than before, up nearly by a third since 2000.
  • Climate change is expected to cause more severe droughts in the future.
  • Droughts have increased in frequency by 29 per cent since 2000, with around 55 million people affected every year, according to the latest’ Drought in Numbers’ report compiled by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
  • The 2022 droughts in Europe, United States, Australia, Chile, the Horn and southern Africa, showed that no country or region is immune to their impacts.
  • Drought-generated economic losses from 1998 to 2017 were about $124 billion (Rs 1,011.57 crore) across the world, not to mention the cost of human suffering and lives.

Source: Down to Earth

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2016)

  1. The Agreement was signed by all the member countries of the UN and it will go into effect in 2017.
  2. The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2°C or even 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  3. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context:  Recently, the Supreme Court of India (SCI) discussed an important matter concerning the rights of persons with disabilities where the blanket exclusion of disabled persons from services such as the IPS, IRPF, DANICS, and Lakshadweep Police Service was challenged.

  • As per the Census 2011, there are 26.8 million persons with disabilities in India, making up 2.21 per cent of the total population.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment established the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) to ensure focused attention to policy issues related to persons with disabilities and work towards their empowerment.
  • There has been no mention of disabled persons either in the constitution or the preamble.

About Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016:

  • It is the disability legislation passed by the Indian Parliament to fulfil its obligation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India ratified in 2007.

Features:

Expansion of Disability Criteria:

  • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  • The types of disabilities have been increased from the existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government has been given the power to add more types of disabilities.

Reservation:

  • Benefits such as reservation in higher education, government jobs, reservation in the allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes, etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
  • Reservation in vacancies in government establishments has been increased from 3% to 4% for certain persons or classes of persons with benchmark disabilities.

Inclusive Education:

  • Government-funded educational institutions as well as government-recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities.

Right to Free Education:

  • Every child with a benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.

Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability:

  • Broad-based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability are to be set up to serve as apex policy-making bodies at the Central and State level.

District-level Committees:

  • District-level committees will be constituted by the State Governments to address local concerns of PwDs.

National and State Funds

  • Creation of National and State Funds will be created to provide financial support to persons with disabilities.

Penalty:

  • It provides penalties for offenses committed against persons with disabilities and also violations of the provisions of the new law.

Special Courts:

  • Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning the violation of rights of PwDs.

SC Observations:

First Observation:

  • By referring to V Surendra Mohan v. State of Tamil Nadu (2019) case, the court observed that disabled judge was 100 percent blind. he would be cheated by juniors; people would make him sign all kinds of wrong documents, and therefore, it caused problems.
  • This observation warrants a deeper analytical response since just because someone was cheated in one instance, it does form a valid basis for the deprivation of rights to an entire class of citizens (persons with disabilities).

Second Observation:

  • It was observed that the reserved seats for the disabled were filled up just for the sake of it.
  • Such an observation does not align with ideas of sensitivity and the human dignity of persons with disabilities.

Third Observation:

  • The third observation was, “Sympathy is one aspect, practicality is another aspect”.
  • The petitioners are not seeking sympathy. They are rather making a legal, rights-based approach. It is the recognition of their legal rights that they are fighting for.

Way Forward:

  • Reasonable accommodation is necessary to help persons with disabilities exercise their rights and participate in society equally with others.
  • It’s not about sympathy but Person with Disabilities requires empathy and understanding.
  • The practicality aspect has to be assessed on the basis of the legal test of “undue burden”.
  • Whether providing reasonable accommodation is imposing too much of a burden on the duty bearer, only then can reasonable accommodation be refused for being impractical.

The citizens of the country should not leave any stone unturned to make the lives of the differently abled ones much easier.

Additional Information:

About United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

  • The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in December 2006 and it came into force on in May 2008.
  • Parties to the convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy full equality under the law
  • It is intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.
  • The convention is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Source: Indian Express


Looking upon age of consent for adolescents

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Recently the Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court, while dismissing a case filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, said the Law Commission of India would have to rethink the age criteria, to take into consideration the ground realities.

  • The aspect of consent by a girl of 16 years, but who is below 18 years, would have to be considered, it said, if it is indeed an offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and/or the POCSO Act.

About POCSO Act 2012:

  • This comprehensive law provides for protection of children from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interests of children at every stage of the judicial process through child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial through special courts.

Salient Provisions of the Act:

  • “Children” according to the Act are individuals aged below 18 years. The Act is gender-neutral.
  • Different forms of sexual abuse including but not limited to sexual harassment, pornography, penetrative & non-penetrative assault are defined in the Act.
  • Sexual assault is deemed to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances such as when the child is mentally ill. Also, when the abuse is committed by the person in a position of trust such as a doctor, teacher, policeman, family member.
  • The Act assigns a policeman in the role of child protector during the investigation process. The investigation and trial are to be done in a way to minimise further trauma on the child.
  • Any case under POCSO is mandated to be disposed of within one year from the date of reporting of the offence.
  • The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences and matters related to it.
  • The power to make rules lies with the central government. To monitor the implementation of the Act, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) have been made the designated authority. Both being statutory bodies.
  • Section 42 A of the Act gives POCSO Act overriding powers over other acts.
  • The Act calls for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. A false complaint with intent to defame a person is punishable under the Act.

Drawbacks of the POCSO Act:

  • Under the POCSO Act, 2012, and under several provisions of the IPC, whoever commits a penetrative sexual assault on a child — anyone below 18 years of age — can be “imprisoned for a term which is not less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”
  • Even if the girl is 16 years old, she is considered a “child” under the POCSO Act and hence her consent does not matter, and any sexual intercourse is treated as rape, thus opening it up to stringent punishment.
  • There have been several instances in the past few years when the courts have quashed criminal proceedings of rape and kidnapping, after being convinced that the law was being misused to suit one or the other party.
  • The act also does not recognise consensual sex between pre-adult teenagers, often putting the boy in this case as an accused of rape charges.

Misuse of the act:

  • In its order, and several other courts have passed similar judgments too, the Karnataka High Court said the effect of such criminal prosecution of a minor girl or boy is causing severe distress to all concerned, including the families. Sometimes, disgruntled parents file a case to foil a relationship between two adolescents.
  • In 2019, a study, Why Girls Run Away to Marry – Adolescent Realities and Socio-Legal Responses in India, published by Partners for Law in Development, made a case for the age of consent to be lower than the age of marriage to decriminalise sex among older adolescents to protect them from the misuse of law, sometimes by parents who want to control who their daughters or sons want to marry.
  • The study noted that in many cases, a couple elopes fearing opposition from parents resulting in a situation where families file a case with the police, who then book the boy for rape under the POCSO Act and abduction with the intent to marry under IPC or the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Case study: Vijaylakshmi vs State Rep case 2021

  • The Madras High Court said the definition of ‘child’ under Section 2(d) of the POCSO Act can be redefined as 16 instead of 18.
  • It said that any consensual sex after the age of 16 or bodily contact or allied acts can be excluded from the rigorous provisions of the POCSO Act.
  • The court suggested that the age difference in consensual relationships should not be more than five years to ensure that a girl of an impressionable age is not taken advantage of by “a person who is much older.

Way forward:

  • With the courts and rights activists seeking amendment to the age of consent criteria, the ball lies in the government’s court to look into the issue.
    • In the meantime, adolescents have to be made aware of the stringent provisions of the Act and also the IPC.
  • The Karnataka High Court Bench directed the Principal Secretary of the Education Department to constitute a committee to formulate suitable education material for adolescents on the law on sexual offences and its consequences.
  • Adolescents have to be made aware of the stringent provisions of the Act and also the IPC.
  • There is a compelling need for law reform to revise the age of consent and prevent the criminalisation of older adolescents engaging in factually consensual and non-exploitative acts.
  • Even as activists are calling for a tweak to the POCSO Act, and raising awareness about its terms, a parliamentary committee is looking into the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which seeks to increase the minimum age of marriage for women to 21 years.
    • Rights activists feel instead of helping the community, raising the age may force vulnerable women to remain under the yoke of family and social pressures.

Government should examine the provisions of the POCSO Act which are being misused and amend them. The principles of Right to life and survival and the best interests of all children concern, should be protected.

MUST READ: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Source: The Hindu


State of Law & Order

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 Governance

In News: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) convened a conference in Delhi aimed at improving the quality of policing in the country through an exchange of ideas, which saw the participation of the union home minister, a few State Home Ministers and police chiefs.

Context:

  • West Bengal gave it a miss, and it was an unfortunate development and a reflection of the lack of seriousness in matters of governance affecting public order and crime.
  • Further, Tamil Nadu police has been accused of being slothful and delayed handing over investigation of the incident to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) regarding a case of a blast in Coimbatore, and a possible terror-related plot, the State government.
  • Hence, it is important to conduct an examination of the standard operating procedures in place, the identification of lacunae and the initiation of corrective measures.
  • ‘Police’ is a State subject under schedule VII of the Constitution of India.
  • However, the centre can have a say in the matter such as Training and technology are two areas where the Centre does greatly contribute to sharpening police ability to combat terrorism and other major public disturbances.
  • The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad is a world-class institution that has resources and the professional excellence which are generously available to State police forces.

Historical reference:

  • The first Home Minister of independent India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel placed great value on professional policing, and insisted on an elitist and well-trained corps such as the Indian Police Service (IPS) which worked alongside the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
  • He was under immense pressure to disband both the Indian Civil Service and IP, but as a distinguished and astute visionary, he was steadfast in his belief.
  • Despite all their faults, the two all-India services have been a cementing force and have greatly contributed to establishing nationally accepted standards of governance, especially in the area of law and order.

Concerns:

  • Chief Ministers are often driven by political considerations and gives unprofessional instructions. Hence, It is futile to blame a DGP if he or she does not respond to a situation in a professional manner since the DGP looks up to the Chief Minister for directions.
  • Structural gaps: Despite all that the Supreme Court of India has done to insulate the chief of police from political caprice, the truth is that a DGP is perilously placed vis-à-vis the Chief Minister and his or her party men.
  • Petty squabbling reduces the exchange of ideas and goes to attenuating the police response to difficult situations that require police assistance.
  • Frequent spats between States and the Centre over the use or alleged misuse of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
  • To withdraw consent to the CBI is an insensitive action by a few States and smacks of politics and vindictiveness, which diminishes the fight against public servant graft.
  • Conflict over utilising talent in the IPS between the MHA and some States and on sharing of resources available in the States.
  • Petulance in personnel management has occasionally affected administration in the Centre and States.

Suggestions:

  • It makes sense that the MHA and State Police stop squabbling but explore how best to forge a strong camaraderie.
  • New Delhi is the senior partner in a collaborative relationship that includes the State police as well as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in situations that have demanded large numbers of well-trained policemen.
  • There have also been other outfits such as the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which have also worked in tandem with the State Police.
  • September 22 is celebrated as “Police Reforms Day” because of the Supreme Court’s historic verdict in 2006 directed all states and Union Territories to bring in police reforms.

Way forward:

  • Crime and bureaucratic corruption have inter-State ramifications and only a national agency can bring in a much-needed and wide perspective.
  • We need a political leadership that does not get bogged down in petty differences but promotes a free exchange of talent and resources between New Delhi and the States.
  • The passage of 75 years in a free India has more than established that a country of our proportions and diversity will need objective policing by a highly trained police force.

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Delhi and Air Pollution

Delhi and Air Pollution

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Environment Conservation
  • GS-2: Governance Measures
  • GS-1: Geography

Context: Though all the mega cities in India suffer from the problem of air pollution at alarmingly high levels due to growth in number of personal vehicles, increasing populations and effects of rapid urbanization, but, the problem is specifically more in Delhi as compared to the cities of Mumbai and Kolkata.

Read Complete Details on Delhi and Air Pollution


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to Pashmina shawls, consider the following statements:

  1. India contributes about 10% of the world’s Pashmina.
  2. Pashmina is obtained from mountain goats found in the Nubra valley in Ladakh.

Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Consider the following statements:

  1. India launched the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) at 27th COP of UNFCCC.
  2. Kenya made a commitment to plant five billion trees under the alliance.
  3. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) focusses both on desertification and mitigation of drought.

Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding POCSO act:

  1. The act is gender neutral and defines children as individuals below the age of 16 years.
  2. The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences and matters related to it.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’11th November 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 10th November – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – a

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