Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Deccan Queen express.
2. Schemes/policies for minorities in various States.
Pragyan Conclave 2020.
3. What is Swap Ratio?
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key facts on CARA.
For Mains: Child adoption- guidelines, issues and ways to address them.
Context: The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has invited suggestions and feedback for simplification of the adoption process from all stakeholders, including prospective adoptive parents, specialized adoption agencies, child welfare committees, state adoption resource agencies and the general public.
Adoption in India:
In India, an Indian citizen or a non-resident Indian (NRI) can adopt a child under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 and the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890.
Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents:
- The prospective adoptive parents shall be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable and shall not have any life-threatening medical condition.
- Any prospective adoptive parents, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has biological son or daughter, can adopt a child subject to following, namely: –
- the consent of both the spouses for the adoption shall be required, in case of a married couple;
- a single female can adopt a child of any gender;
- a single male shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child;
- No child shall be given in adoption to a couple unless they have at least two years of stable marital relationship.
- The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents shall not be less than twenty-five years.
- The age criteria for prospective adoptive parents shall not be applicable in case of relative adoptions and adoption by step-parent.
- Couples with three or more children shall not be considered for adoption except in case of special need children.
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
- It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptionsin accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
- CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
- CARA is also mandated to frame regulations on adoption-related matters from time to time as per Section 68 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
- What is Hague convention?
- Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents in India.
- Overview of JJ Act.
How is child adoption regulated in India? What are the reforms necessary to further simplify the process.
Topics Covered: RPA related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: NPR- features, provisions related and data to be collected.
For Mains: Issues and controversies surrounding and ways to address them.
Context: The Union Home Ministry has informed a parliamentary panel that it proposes to collect details on additional questions such as “date and place of birth of parents” in the National Population Register (NPR) to “facilitate back-end data processing and making the data items of date and place of birth complete for all households”.
What is the need for NPR when we have Aadhar?
There was a need to update the NPR to “incorporate the changes due to birth, death and migration”. Aadhaar is individual data, whereas NPR contains family-wise data. Various welfare schemes of the State and Central governments are generally family-based, for which NPR data may be used.
What is National Population Register (NPR)?
It is a Register of usual residents of the country.
It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
Objectives: To create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
Who is a usual resident?
A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
What is the controversy around it?
- Comes in the backdrop of the NRC excluding lakhs of people in Assam.
- It intends to collect a much larger amount of personal data on residents of India.
- There is yet no clarity on the mechanism for protection of this vast amount of data.
Why does the government want so much data?
- Every country must have a comprehensive identity database of its residents with relevant demographic details. It will help the government formulate its policies better and also aid national security.
- It will ease the life of those residing in India by cutting red tape. Not only will it help target government beneficiaries in a better way, but also further cut down paperwork and red tape in a similar manner that Aadhaar has done.
- With NPR data, residents will not have to furnish various proofs of age, address and other details in official work.
- It would also eliminate duplication in voter lists, government insists.
- What is NRC?
- Constitutional provisions related to Citizenship.
- Components of NPR data.
Why are states opposed to the collection of data under NPR. Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
What to study?
For Prelims: Funding, investment and objectives.
For Mains: Significance of the fund.
Context: The NEVF (North East Venture Fund) disbursed over Rs.18 crore to 12 start-ups till date- information given in Parliament.
About North East Venture Fund (NEVF):
- Launched in September 2017.
- Set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi)in association with Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (M-DoNER).
- It is a close ended fund with capital commitment of Rs 100 crore.
- It is the first dedicated venture capital fund for the North Eastern Region.
- Objective: to contribute to the entrepreneurship development of the NER and achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns through long term capital appreciation by way of investments in privately negotiated equity/ equity related investments.
- The investment under this schemer ranges from Rs. 25 lakh to Rs.10 crore per venture, which is long term in nature with investment horizon of 4-5 years.
- Concentrate on such funds constituted by the government.
- Their objectives.
- Who governs them?
Write a note one the North East Venture Fund (NEVF).
Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings and performance of various countries.
For Mains: Concerns over India’s poor performance, reasons and what needs to be done?
Context: Freedom in the World 2020 has been released by America based Freedom House.
Top 5: Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are the top five countries in the free category.
- The report has placed India at 83rd position along with Timor-Leste and Senegal among the bottom five of “free democracies”.
- India witnessed the worst score decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies.
- India’s overall score declined from 75 in 2019 to 71 in 2020, with civil liberties taking the biggest hit.
Freedom House is a US-based watchdog, which has been tracking global political and civil liberties for almost half a century.
Observations made by the report on India:
- India was bogged down by multiple reasons including its Kashmir policy after abrogating Article 370, the National Register of Citizens for Assam, passage of contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and frequent internet shutdowns across the country.
- It notes, the government has taken its Hindu nationalist agenda to a new level with a succession of policies that abrogate the rights of different segments of its Muslim population, threatening the democratic future of a country long seen as a potential bulwark of freedom in Asia and the world.
- A fierce crackdown on protesters opposing the changes, indicated a deterioration of basic freedoms in the world’s largest democracy, says report.
- The report, which treats Kashmir as a separate territory, downgraded the Union territory’s status from “partly free” to “not free” due to the Indian government’s abrupt revocation of Article 370 in August.
- In terms of internet freedom, India fares worse, scoring just 55 and is categorised as “partly free”. As per the report, internet freedom has declined for the fourth year in a row in India.
- It also highlights the spread of fake news and manipulated content, creating political divide. The internet shutdown in Kashmir, has no doubt, contributed to India’s performance in terms of internet freedom.
- Stating that “democracy and pluralism are under assault” across the world, the report highlights the decline of the US and India.
The year 2019 was the 14th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, according to Freedom House. Compared with the previous year, in 2019, individuals in 64 countries experienced deterioration in their political rights and civil liberties while those in just 37 experienced improvements. More than half of the countries that were rated free or not free in 2009 have suffered a net decline in the past decade.
- Various such important reports and who releases them.
- India’s performance in such indices.
- Top 5 and bottom 5 performers.
Why was India ranked poorly in the recently released Freedom in the World 2020 report. Critically comment.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims: ICC- composition, functions and powers.
For Mains: Significance of ICC orders and ICC reforms.
Context: ‘Unanimous’ ICC gives go-ahead to probe Afghanistan alleged war crimes.
Prosecutors have been given the green light to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan – and beyond its borders – linked to Afghan, Taliban and US troops.
The prosecutors alleged in a 2017 report they have enough information to prove U.S. forces “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
It is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.
Funding: Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.
Composition and voting power:
The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party.
Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote. The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.
- The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
- The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Councilor individual states refer situations to the Court.
- It does not have the capacity to arrest suspects and depends on member states for their cooperation.
- Critics of the Court argue that there are insufficient checks and balances on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges and insufficient protection against politicized prosecutions or other abuses.
- The ICC has been accused of bias and as being a tool of Western imperialism, only punishing leaders from small, weak states while ignoring crimes committed by richer and more powerful states.
- ICC cannot mount successful cases without state cooperation is problematic for several reasons. It means that the ICC acts inconsistently in its selection of cases, is prevented from taking on hard cases and loses legitimacy. It also gives the ICC less deterrent value, as potential perpetrators of war crimes know that they can avoid ICC judgment by taking over government and refusing to cooperate.
- Differences between ICJ and ICC.
- Geographical locations of these organisations and overview of surrounding countries.
- Doha accord between US and Taliban.
How does the recent Doha accord between US and the Taliban affect the ongoing probe on war in Afghanistan. Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Employment related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features and coverage of the mission.
For Mains: Need for and significance of the mission.
Context: Based on the Expression of Interest (EOI), a total of 10 proposals have been approved under Mission Solar Charkha till date which is expected to benefit about 13784 artisans/workers.
About Solar Charkha Mission:
- Launched in 2018.
- It is a Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) initiative launched during June 2018.
- The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) would implement the programme.
- It seeks to generate employment in rural areas and contribute to the green economy.
- The mission will entail a subsidy of Rs 550 crore in the initial two years for 50 clusters and every cluster will employ 400 to 2000 artisans.
- The scheme also aims at linking five crore women across the country to the initiative.
- The mission is expected to create one lakh jobs during the first two years.
The objectives of the Scheme are as follows:
- To ensure inclusive growth by generation of employment, especially for women and youth, and sustainable development through solar charkha clusters in rural areas.
- To boost rural economy and help in arresting migration from rural to urban areas.
- To leverage low-cost, innovative technologies and processes for sustenance.
Significance of the mission:
These solar charkhas are to be operated using solar power which is a renewable energy source. It will help in development of Green Economy as it is an environment friendly programme. It will also generate sustainable employment for the artisans.
- Other such missions for employment generation in India.
- Features of such mission.
- Implementing ministries or the nodal agencies.
Write a note on Mission Solar Charkha.
Topics Covered: Nanotechnology related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview and key features of the mission.
For Mains: Significance and relevance of the mission.
Context: The International Conference on Nano Science and Nano Technology (ICONSAT) under the aegis of Nano Mission, Department of Science and Technology (DST) is being held at Kolkata focusing on the recent advances in this frontier research field.
Mission on Nano Science and Technology (Nano Mission):
- Launched in 2007.
- It is as an “umbrella capacity-building programme”.
- The Mission’s programmes will target all scientists, institutions and industry in the country.
- It will also strengthen activities in nano science and technology by promoting basic research, human resource development, research infrastructure development, international collaborations, among others.
- It will be anchored in the Department of Science and Technology and steered by a Nano Mission Council chaired by an eminent scientist.
Outcomes and significance of the mission:
- As a result of the efforts led by the Nano Mission, today, India is amongst the top five nations in the world in terms of scientific publications in nano science and technology (moving from 4th to the 3rd position).
- The Nano Mission itself has resulted in about 5000 research papers and about 900 Ph.Ds and also some useful products like nano hydrogel based eye drops, pesticide removal technology for drinking water, water filters for arsenic and fluoride removal, nanosilver based antimicrobial textile coating, etc.
The Nano Mission has thus helped establish a good eco-system in the country to pursue front-ranking basic research and also to seed and nurture application-oriented R&D, focused on useful technologies and products.
- What is nano technology?
- Recent breakthroughs in nanotechnology.
What is nanotechnology? Why it has become significant these days? Discuss.
Facts for Prelims
Deccan Queen express:
Context: India’s Deccan Queen Express will be upgraded to German design Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches. With the up gradation to LHB coaches, the train will have better safety features and improved travelling experience – better suspension system and better riding comfort.
- Indian Railways’ Deccan Queen, which has been running between Mumbai and Pune since 1930, is the country’s first superfast train.
- Deccan Queen is the first long-distance electric-hauled train, first vestibuled train, first train to have a ‘ladies only’ car and the first train to feature a dining car.
- It is operated by the Central Railway Zone of the Indian Railways.
PIB facts- Schemes/policies for minorities in various States:
- Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme – Provide fellowships in the form of financial assistance.
- Naya Savera – Free Coaching and Allied Scheme – The Scheme aims to provide free coaching to students/candidates belonging to minority communities for qualifying in entrance examinations of technical/ professional courses and Competitive examinations.
- Padho Pardesh – Scheme of interest subsidy to students of minority communities on educational loans for overseas higher studies.
- Nai Udaan – Support for students clearing Prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), State Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff Selection Commission (SSC) etc.
- Nai Roshni – Leadership development of women belonging to minority communities.
- Seekho Aur Kamao – Skill development scheme for youth of 14 – 35 years age group and aiming at improving the employability of existing workers, school dropouts etc.
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) restructured in May 2018 earlier known as MsDP – Implemented for the benefit of the people from all sections of the society in identified Minority Concentration Areas for creation of assets in education, skill and health sectors.
- Jiyo Parsi – Scheme for containing population decline of Parsis in India.
- USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) launched in May 2015.
- Nai Manzil – A scheme for formal school education & skilling of school dropouts launched in Aug. 2015.
- Hamari Dharohar- A scheme to preserve rich heritage of minority communities of India under the overall concept of Indian culture implemented since 2014-15.
Pragyan Conclave 2020:
It is a two-day Indian Army International Seminar, organised recently by Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) at New Delhi.
The seminar provided a platform for deliberations on emerging ideas, perspectives and narratives that define the ‘New Age Warfare’ which is increasingly witnessing a change in its character as well as battlespace with the usage of new ‘means’ to pursue the ‘ends’.
What is Swap Ratio?
Swap ratio is the ratio at which an acquiring company will offer its own shares in exchange for the target company’s shares during a merger or acquisition.
How is it calculated? To calculate the swap ratio, companies analyze financial ratios such as book value, earnings per share, profits after tax, and dividends paid, as well as other factors, such as the reasons for the merger or acquisition. The current market prices of the target and acquiring company’s stock are compared along with their respective financial situations. A ratio is when configured which states the rate at which the target company’s shareholders will receive acquiring company shares of stock for every one share of target company stock they currently hold.
Context: Eight state-owned banks have announced swap ratios for the proposed mergers.