InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.
Table of Contents
GS Paper 2:
1. UP’s Two-child policy.
2. Tribunal law Reforms.
3. Flag Code of India.
GS Paper 3:
1. Bill on cryptocurrency.
2. Four more Indian sites get Ramsar recognition.
3. Drug trafficking in India.
Facts for Prelims:
1. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry, the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
After reviewing over 8,000 suggestions from the public, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has submitted a report and draft Bill of a new population control law (The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021) proposing two-child policy to the State government.
Key suggestions adopted by the commiss:
- Special facilities to all families (irrespective of the BPL category) who have only one child and undertake voluntary sterilisation.
- A person who has more than two children after the law comes into force would be debarred from several benefits such as welfare schemes.
On World Population Day (11th July), the Uttar Pradesh government announced a new population policy for 2021-2030.
- The new policy has provisions to give incentives to those who help in population control.
Highlights of the draft bill on population control:
The new policy aims at:
- Decreasing the total fertility rate from 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026 and 1.7 by 2030.
- Increase modern contraceptive prevalence rate from 31.7% to 45% by 2026 and 52% by 2030.
- Increase male methods of contraception use from 10.8% to 15.1% by 2026 and 16.4% by 2030.
- Decrease maternal mortality rate from 197 to 150 to 98, and infant mortality rate from 43 to 32 to 22, and under 5 infant mortality rate from 47 to 35 to 25.
- To increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion.
- To reduce the newborns’ and maternal mortality rate.
- To provide for care of the elderly, and better management of education, health, and nutrition of adolescents between 11 to 19 years.
- Promotions, increments, concessions in housing schemes and others perks to employees who adhere to population control norms, and have two or less children.
- Public servants who adopt the two-child norm will get two additional increments during the entire service, maternity or as the case may be, paternity leave of 12 months, with full salary and allowances and three percent increase in the employer’s contribution fund under the National Pension Scheme.
- For those who are not government employees and still contribute towards keeping the population in check, will get benefits in like rebates in taxes on water, housing, home loans etc.
- If the parent of a child opts for vasectomy, he/she will be eligible for free medical facilities till the age of 20.
The Uttar Pradesh government plans to set up a state population fund to implement the measures.
- The draft bill also asks the state government to introduce population control as a compulsory subject in all secondary schools.
- The provision of this legislation shall apply to a married couple where the boy is not less than 21 years of age and the girl is not less than 18.
- The policy will be voluntary – it will not be enforced upon anyone.
Need for these measures:
Overpopulation exerts strain on resources. It is therefore necessary and urgent that the provision of basic necessities of human life including affordable food, safe drinking water, decent housing, access to quality education, economic/livelihood opportunities, power/electricity for domestic consumption, and a secure living is accessible to all citizens.
Issues and concerns associated with the Bill:
- Experts have advised caution against any population policy that puts women’s health and well being at risk.
- Given that the burden of contraception and family planning disproportionately falls on women, it is likely that female sterilisation will increase further.
- Stringent population control measures can potentially lead to an increase in these practices and unsafe abortions given the strong son-preference in India, as has been witnessed in a few states in the past.
Do you know about Mission ParivarVikas? Reference: Read here.
- Highlights of the Draft.
- Latest Census data.
Discuss the concerns associated with UP’s draft population policy.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
The Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021 was passed in both houses recently. The law has triggered a fresh stand-off between the legislature and the judiciary over the powers of and limitations on law making.
- As per the Bill, the minimum age criterion is 50 years for appointment of advocates as members of tribunals and the tenure is four-years.
The court found the caps arbitrary. But, the government has argued that the move will bring in a specialised talent pool of advocates to pick from.
- Section 3(1), Sections 3(7), 5 and 7(1) ultra-vires Articles 14, 21 and 50 of the Constitution.
Section 3 (1) bars appointments to tribunals of persons below 50 years of age. This undermines the length/security of tenure and violates both judicial independence and the principle of separation of powers.
Section 3(7) of the impugned Act which mandates the recommendation of a panel of two names by the search-cum selection committee to the Central Government, violates the principles of separation of powers and judicial independence.
- The Bill seeks to provide for uniform terms and conditions of the various members of the Tribunal and abolish certain tribunals, as a part of its bid to rationalize the tribunals.
- It seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
- It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.
- It provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
- It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.
- For state tribunals, there will be a separate search committee.
- The Union government has to ‘preferably’ decide on the recommendations of the search-cum selection committee within 3 months of the date of the recommendation.
- Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.
Abolition of Appellate Tribunals:
Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, Airports Appellate Tribunal, Authority for Advanced Rulings, Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the Plant Varieties Protection Appellate Tribunal are the five tribunals which are sought to be abolished by the Bill and their functions are to be transferred to the existing judicial bodies.
What had the Court ruled and what are the key Issues with the Bill?
The Supreme Court in the case of Madras Bar Association v. Union of India had struck down the provisions requiring a minimum age for appointment as chairperson or members as 50 years and prescribing the tenure of four years.
- It held that such conditions are violative of the principles of separation of powers, independence of judiciary, rule of law and Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
The Bill has sought to undo the judgment of the Apex Court wrt to the following provisions:
- The minimum age requirement of 50 years still finds a place in the Bill.
- The tenure for the Chairperson and the members of the tribunal remains four years.
- The recommendation of two names for each post by the Search-cum-Selection Committee and requiring the decision to be taken by the government preferably within three months.
Do you know the differences between Tribunals and Courts? Reference: read this.
- What are tribunals?
- Constitutional provisions in this regard.
- Composition and functions.
- Overview of the latest ordinance.
Are tribunals a panacea for judicial efficiency? Does tribunalisation of justice undermine the principles set in our constitution? Examine.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
On July 22, 1947, the National flag of India was adopted in its present form (horizontal rectangular tricolour) during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly, 23 days before India’s Independence, and became the official national flag of the Dominion of India on August 15, 1947.
Evolution of National flag:
- Present flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya.
- After undergoing several changes, the Tricolour was adopted as our national flag at a Congress Committee meeting in Karachi in 1931.
Constitutional & Statutory Provisions regarding National Flag of India:
Art 51A(a) – To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
Statutes Governing Use of Flag:
- Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.
- Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act, 1971.
Rules governing the display of the Tricolour:
The Flag Code of 2002 is divided into three parts:
1-a general description of the tricolour
2-rules for display of the flag by governments and government bodies.
3-rules on display of the flag by public and private bodies and educational institutions.
- The National Flag of India shall be made of hand spun and hand woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting.
- The National Flag shall be rectangular in shape. The ratio of the length to the height (width) of the Flag shall be 3:2.
- The Flag shall not be flown at half-mast except on occasions on which the Flag is flown at half-mast on public buildings in accordance with the instructions issued by the Government.
- The Flag shall not be used as a drapery in any form whatsoever, including private funerals except in State funerals or armed forces or other paramilitary forces funerals”.
- The Flag shall not be used as a portion of costume or uniform of any description nor shall it be embroidered or printed upon cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins or any dress material.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan narrated significance of National flag as:
- The “Ashoka Chakra” is the wheel of the law of dharma. Chakra intend to show that there is LIFE IN MOVEMENT and death in stagnation.
- The saffron color denotes renunciation of disinterestedness.
- The white in the center is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct.
- The green shows our relation to the soil, our relation to the plant life here, on which all other life depends.
Do you know about Flag Satyagraha, the Jhanda Satyagraha? It was held in Jabalpur and Nagpur in 1923. Reference:
- When was the flag designed by Venkayya officially accepted by the Indian National Congress?
- Adoption of National Flag by the Constituent Assembly.
- Flag Code of India- overview.
- Manufacturer of the national flag in India.
- About Flag Protests in India.
Discuss the key provisions of Flag Code of India, 2002.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
The proposed legislation on cryptocurrencies has been tabled before the Cabinet and awaiting its approval.
- An inter-ministerial panel on cryptocurrency has recommended that all private cryptocurrencies, except any virtual currencies issued by state, will be prohibited in India.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also raised concerns on the cryptocurrencies traded in the market and conveyed them to the Centre.
- Back in March 2020, the Supreme Court had allowed banks and financial institutions to reinstate services related to cryptocurrencies by setting aside the RBI’s 2018 circular that had prohibited them (Based on the ground of “proportionality”).
Overview of the Bill:
It prohibits all private cryptocurrencies and provides for an official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
The purpose of the law has been described as:
- to create a facilitative framework for an official digital currency issued by the RBI.
- to “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India”.
What are Cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.
Examples: Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.
Why the govt wants to ban cryptocurrencies?
- Sovereign guarantee: Cryptocurrencies pose risks to consumers. They do not have any sovereign guarantee and hence are not legal tender.
- Market volatility: Their speculative nature also makes them highly volatile. For instance, the value of Bitcoin fell from USD 20,000 in December 2017 to USD 3,800 in November 2018.
- Risk in security: A user loses access to their cryptocurrency if they lose their private key (unlike traditional digital banking accounts, this password cannot be reset).
- Malware threats: In some cases, these private keys are stored by technical service providers (cryptocurrency exchanges or wallets), which are prone to malware or hacking.
- Money laundering.
National Informatics Centre (NIC) has set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Blockchain Technology in Bengaluru. Do you know how it works? Reference:
- Various cryptocurrencies.
- Cryptocurrencies launched by various countries.
- What is Blockchain technology?
What are Cryptocurrencies? Why there is a need for regulation? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
Four more Indian sites have been recognised as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention taking the number of such sites in the country to 46.
The new sites include:
- Sultanpur National Park, Haryana: More than 10 globally threatened, including the critically endangered sociable lapwing, and the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Black-bellied Tern birds are found here.
- Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, Haryana: It is a human-made freshwater wetland. It is also the largest in Haryana.
- Thol, Gujarat: It is a Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat lies on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found here. It supports more than 30 threatened waterbird species, such as the critically endangered White-rumped Vulture and Sociable Lapwing, and the vulnerable Sarus Crane, Common Pochard and Lesser White-fronted Goose.
- Wadhwana, Gujarat: It is internationally important for its birdlife as it provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds, including over 80 species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway. Pallas’s fish-Eagle, the vulnerable Common Pochard, and the near-threatened Dalmatian Pelican, Grey-headed Fish-eagle and Ferruginous Duck are some birds found here.
Why wetlands are crucial for a healthy planet?
The health of people on our planet depends on healthy wetlands.
- 40% of the world’s species live or breed in wetlands.
- Wetlands are “nurseries of life” – 40% of animals breed in wetlands.
- Wetlands are “kidneys of the earth” – they clean the environment of pollutants.
- Wetlands “matter for climate change” – they store 30% of land based carbon.
- Wetlands “minimize disaster risks” – they absorb storm surge.
- The Ramsar Convention is an international agreement promoting the conservation of wetlands.
- The Convention was adopted at Ramsar in Iran in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Almost 90% of the UN member states are part of the Convention.
Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
The Montreux Record was established by Recommendation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (1990).
- Sites may be added to and removed from the Record only with the approval of the Contracting Parties in which they lie.
Currently, two wetlands of India are in Montreux record: Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur).
Chilka lake (Odisha)was placed in the record but was later removed from it.
What are Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas? How are they protected? Reference: Read this.
- About Ramsar convention.
- About Montreux record.
- Wetlands in India covered under the convention.
- About Tso Kar basin.
- Important bird species found in the area.
- About the Central Asian Flyway.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
The anti-drug law enforcement agencies are suspecting a steep surge in cross-border trafficking of heroin and crystal methamphetamine with the rapid Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
What’s the issue?
Drugs have been a major source of revenue for the Taliban. With the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy, the Taliban will rely heavily on drug money to maintain control over their cadres.
According to the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime:
- Afghanistan reported a 37% increase in the extent of land used for illicit cultivation of opium poppy during 2020 compared with the previous year.
- The country accounted for 85% of the global opium production last year.
- Despite the improved capabilities of the Afghan specialised units over the years, drug seizures and arrests had minimal impact on the opium-poppy cultivation.
- Afghanistan is also turning out to be a major source for methamphetamine.
- Around 275 million people used drugs globally in the last year. Over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.
- Rise in the use of cannabis during the pandemic has been reported by most countries.
- Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs has also been observed in the same period.
- The latest global estimates say, about 5.5 per cent of the population between 15 and 64 years have used drugs at least once in the past year.
- Over 11 million people globally are estimated to inject drugs – half of them have Hepatitis C.
- Opioids continue to account for the largest burden of disease-linked to drug abuse.
Indian Government has taken several policy and other initiatives to deal with drug trafficking problem:
- The ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’ or a ‘Drugs-Free India Campaign’ was flagged off on 15th August 2020 across 272 districts of the country found to be most vulnerable based on the data available from various sources.
- Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has begun implementation of a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025.
- The government has constituted Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD) in November, 2016.
- The government has constituted a fund called “National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse” to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with combating illicit traffic in Narcotic Drugs; rehabilitating addicts, and educating public against drug abuse, etc.
Did you know that the day June 26 was chosen by the UN General Assembly, on December 7, 1987, as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
- About UNODC.
- Overview of scheme of “Financial Assistance to States for Narcotics Control”.
- Composition of Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD).
- National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse.
- About Narcotics Control Bureau.
- International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and theme this year.
India is vulnerable to narcotic drug trafficking. Critically examine its causes. Also comment on the role of the Government in combating drug problems.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Established in 2004, it is an organisation of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, with the objective of securing Indian cyberspace.
- It is the nodal agency which deals with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing.
- It collects, analyses and disseminates information on cyber incidents, and also issues alerts on cybersecurity incidents.
Articles to be covered tomorrow:
- Vacancies in Judiciary and ways to address them.