Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENTFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 06 December 2021

 

 

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 1:

1. What’s in ART, Surrogacy Bills? (Indian Express Explained).

 

GS Paper 2:

1. How are MPs’ questions allowed, disallowed?

2. Anti- Defection law.

3. Uttarakhand’s Char Dham Act.

4. Sedition law.

5. How is China’s crackdown changing Hong Kong’s identity?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Kyhytysuka sachicarum.


 

What’s in ART, Surrogacy Bills?

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Women related issues.

 

 ART, Surrogacy 

Context:

Lok Sabha recently passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020, which makes provisions for the safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology (ART) services in the country.

 

Overview and key features of the Bill:

  1. It would lead to the creation of a national board to lay down and implement a code of conduct for people working at IVF clinics.
  2. Determines the minimum standards of physical infrastructure, laboratory, diagnostic equipment and expert manpower to be employed by ART clinics and banks.
  3. The bill intends to make genetic testing of the embryo mandatory before implantation for the benefit of the child born through ART.
  4. It also seeks to streamline the cryo-preservation processes for sperm, oocytes and embryos.
  5. It also proposes to constitute a national registry and registration authority to maintain a central database and assist the national board in its functioning.
  6. The bill proposes stringent punishment for those “practising sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes and running agencies/rackets/organisations for such unlawful practices.

 

Need for a legislation in this regard:

The need to regulate the ART services is to protect the affected women and children from exploitation. Registration with the ICMR is a voluntary exercise at the moment because of which many clinics don’t take the trouble and prefer opacity while offering infertility treatment.

 

Significance:

The major benefit of the act would be regulation of the assisted reproductive technology services in the country. Consequently, infertile couples will be more ensured and confident of the ethical practices in ART clinics.

 

What is ART? Why it is in demand?

  • Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), as commonly understood, comprises procedures such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), intra-uterine insemination (IUI), oocyte and sperm donation, cryopreservation and includes surrogacy as well.
  • Social stigma of being childless and lengthy adoption processes have increased the demand for ART in India. It is thus not surprising that the ART industry is expected to grow by a compounded annual growth rate of 10%.

 

Surrogacy vs ART in India:

  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill relates to surrogacy, an infertility treatment, where a third person, a woman, is the surrogate mother. In ART, treatments can be availed by the commissioning couple themselves and it is not always necessary that a third person is involved.
  • Surrogacy is allowed for only Indian married couples. ART procedures are open to married couples, live-in partners, single women, and also foreigners.
  • A 2015 notification prohibits commissioning of surrogacy in India by foreigners or OCI or PIO cardholders, but NRIs holding Indian citizenship can avail surrogacy. Foreigners can visit India under medical tourism to avail ART services.

 

Insta Curious:

Another key bill to safeguard the reproductive rights of women — the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 — was passed by Lok Sabha on August 5, 2019. This one was referred to a Select Committee, which recommended that the ART Bill should be brought first, so that all the highly technical and medical aspects could subsequently be addressed in the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. ART Bill.
  2. Key features.
  3. Benifits.
  4. Surrogacy Bill.
  5. Key Provisions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with the Surrogacy Bill. 

Sources: Indian Express.

How are MPs’ questions allowed, disallowed?

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Functioning of the Parliament.

 

Context:

Over the last few sessions, MPs mainly from the Opposition have often alleged their questions have been disallowed in the Parliament.

Some of the questions that were disallowed include:

  • Whether NRIs were harassed at airports and sent back.
  • Whether the Chinese have crossed the LAC in Ladakh.

Reasons cited by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats for disallowing include lack of time and national security.

 

MPs’ right to question:

In both Houses, elected members enjoy the right to seek information from various ministries and departments in the form of starred questions, unstarred questions, short notice questions and questions to private members.

 

How are questions admitted?

  • Usually, MPs’ questions form a long list, which then go through a rigorous process of clearance.
  • The admissibility of questions in Rajya Sabha is governed by Rules 47-50 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States.
  • Once a question that fulfils the conditions of admissibility is received, the Secretariat sends it to the ministry concerned. Once the facts are received from the ministry, the question is further examined for admissibility.
  • A final list of questions is circulated to ministers, on the basis of which they frame their answers.

 

What are starred, unstarred and other categories of questions?

STARRED QUESTION: The member desires an oral answer from the minister. Such a question is distinguished by the MP with an asterisk. The answer can also be followed by supplementary questions from members.

UNSTARRED QUESTION: The MP seeks a written answer, which is deemed to be laid on the table of the House by the concerned minister.

SHORT NOTICE QUESTION: These are on an urgent matter of public importance, and an oral answer is sought. A notice of less than 10 days is prescribed as the minimum period for asking such a question.

QUESTION TO PRIVATE MEMBER: A question can be addressed to a private member under Rule 40 of Lok Sabha’s Rules of Procedure, or under Rule 48 of Rajya Sabha’s Rules, provided that the question deals with a subject relating to some Bill, resolution or other matter for which that member is responsible.

 

What kind of questions can be asked?

  • In Rajya Sabha, among various norms, the question “shall be pointed, specific and confined to one issue only; it shall not bring in any name or statement not strictly necessary to make the question intelligible; if it contains a statement the member shall make himself responsible for the accuracy of the statement; it shall not contain arguments, inferences, ironical expressions, imputations, epithets or defamatory statements”.
  • In Lok Sabha, questions that are not admitted include: those that are repetitive or have been answered previously; and matters that are pending for judgment before any court of law or under consideration before a Parliamentary Committee.

 

Insta Curious:

In both Houses, the first hour of every sitting is usually devoted to asking and answering of questions, and this is referred to as the Question Hour.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is question hour?
  2. What is zero hour?
  3. What are starred questions?
  4. What are unstarred questions?

 

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Zero hour in parliament.

Sources: Indian Express.

Anti-defection law:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Anti-defection law:

Context:

The Congress Party has written to the Speaker, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly seeking disqualification of 10 of the 12 MLAs that recently deserted the Party to join the All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC).

 

Why the 10th schedule might not apply here?

The 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution commonly referred to as the Anti-defection Act says that disqualification on ground of defection will not apply in case of a split.

  • Where a member of a House claims that he/she and any other members of his/her legislature party constitute the group representing a faction which has arisen as a result of a split in the original political party and such group consists of not less than two-thirds of the members of such legislature party, he/she shall not be disqualified.
  • From the time of such split, the faction shall be deemed to be the political party to which he/she henceforth belongs.

 

Relevance: the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution:

Popularly known as the anti-defection law.

  • It specifies the circumstances under which changing of political parties by legislators invites action under the law.
  • It was added to the Constitution by the 52nd Amendment Act.
  • It includes situations in which an independent MLA, too, joins a party after the election.

 

The law covers three scenarios with respect to shifting of political parties by an MP or an MLA. These include:

  1. When a member elected on the ticket of a political party “voluntarily gives up” membership of such a party or votes in the House against the wishes of the party.
  2. When a legislator who has won his or her seat as an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.

In the above two cases, the legislator loses the seat in the legislature on changing (or joining) a party.

  1. Relates to nominated MPs. In their case, the law gives them six months to join a political party, after being nominated. If they join a party after such time, they stand to lose their seat in the House.

 

Matters related to disqualification:

  • Under the anti-defection law, the power to decide the disqualification of an MP or MLA rests with the presiding officer of the legislature.
  • The law does not specify a time frame in which such a decision has to be made.
  • Last year, the Supreme Court observed that anti-defection cases should be decided by Speakers in three months’ time.

 

However, Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances. Exceptions:

  1. The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger.
  2. On being elected as the presiding officer of the House, if a member, voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office, he won’t be disqualified.

 

Loopholes in the law:

Those against say that voters elect individuals in the election and not parties and hence the Anti-Defection law is infructuous.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the initial attempts at creating the anti-defection law (1969, 1973) did not cover independent legislators joining political parties? Then, when were they included under the law? Have a brief overview about it here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Names of various committees and commissions with regard to Anti Defection law.
  2. Committees vs Commissions.
  3. Decision of presiding officer vs Judicial review.
  4. Merger vs Split of political parties.
  5. Is anti- defection law applicable to the presiding officer?
  6. Relevant Supreme Court cases and verdicts.

 

Mains Link:

Examine the provisions of Anti- defection law. Has this law largely failed to meet its objective? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

Uttarakhand’s Char Dham Act:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government Policies and issues arising out of it.

 

Uttarakhand’s Char Dham Act:

Context:

Uttarakhand government has announced the withdrawal of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act. The decision will lead to the abolition of Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board, which has been facing protests from priests and other stakeholders of four shrines and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

 

Environmental Concerns About the Project:

  • The project may destroy about 690 hectares of forests with 55,000 trees and evacuate an estimated 20 million cubic metres of soil.
  • Ruthless harvesting or uprooting of vegetation in the widening of roads can prove to be perilous for the biodiversity and regional ecology.

 

What is Chardham Project?

  • The project comprises improvement as well as the development of 889 km length of national highways.
  • The project will connect Badrinath Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

chardham

Role in National Security:

This project can act as the strategic feeder roads which connect the India-China border with the Army camps in Dehradun and Meerut where missile bases and heavy machinery are located.

 

Supreme Court views on the project:

Supreme Court (SC), in November 2020, had spoken of the need to balance national security concerns with environmental issues in the context of the Army’s request to expand the CharDham Project (CDP) roads leading to the Indo-China border.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the project.
  2. Important National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the region.
  3. Important rivers flowing through these places.
  4. Difference between National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Chardham Project.

Sources: Indian Express.

It’s time to define limits of sedition, says SC:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Context:

The Assam Police have charged the editor and co-owner of a local news portal in the Barak Valley with sedition (under 124A) for an editorial deemed to promote enmity between the Assamese and Bengali-speaking people of the State.

  • The Barak Valley is dominated by Bengalis and the Brahmaputra Valley by the Assamese speakers.

 

Background:

The sedition law has been indiscriminately used against critics, journalists, social media users, activists and citizens for airing their grievances about the governments COVID-19 management, or even for seeking help to gain medical access, equipment, drugs and oxygen cylinders, especially during the second wave of the pandemic.

 

What is sedition?

Section 124A of the IPC states, “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the government established by law in shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”

 

Need for a proper definition?

The sedition law has been in controversy for far too long. Often the governments are criticized for using the law — Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) — against vocal critics of their policies.

  • Therefore, this Section is seen as a restriction of individuals’ freedom of expression and falls short of the provisions of reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech under Article 19 of the Constitution.

The law has been in debate ever since it was brought into force by the colonial British rulers in 1860s. Several top freedom movement leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were booked under the sedition law.

  1. Mahatma Gandhi described it as the “prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen.”
  2. Nehru had described it as “highly objectionable and obnoxious” which “should have no place in any body of laws that we might pass”. Nehru said, “The sooner we get rid of it the better.”

 

Relevant Supreme Court judgements:

  1. The Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar case (1962):

While dealing with offences under Section 124A of the IPC, a five-judge Supreme Court constitutional bench had, in the Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar case (1962), laid down some guiding principles.

  • The court ruled that comments-however strongly worded-expressing disapprobation of the actions of the government without causing public disorder by acts of violence would not be penal.

 

  1. The Balwant Singh vs State of Punjab (1995) case:

In this case, the Supreme Court had clarified that merely shouting slogans, in this case Khalistan Zindabad, does not amount to sedition. Evidently, the sedition law is being both misunderstood and misused to muzzle dissent.

current affairs

Recent views of Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court, in June 2021, said “it is time to define the limits of sedition”.

  • The observation was made while dealing with the writ petitions filed by two news channels seeking the quashing of FIR and contempt petitions.

 

General observations made by the Court on Sedition:

  • It is time we define the limits of sedition.
  • Provisions of 124A (sedition) and 153 (promoting enmity between classes) of the IPC require interpretation, particularly on the issue of the rights of press and free speech.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know how Mr. K.M. Mushshi’s Amendment had removed ‘Sedition’ from the Constitution And how a SC judgement brought back Sedition Law in India? Read Here

Despite having so many negatives, why do we still have this law? Read here: 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Where is sedition defined?
  2. Section 124A of the IPC is related to?
  3. Section 153 of the IPC is related to?
  4. Relevant Supreme Court judgments.
  5. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with the imposition of Sedition law in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

How is Hong Kong administered?

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Effects of policies of other countries on India.

 

Context:

Hong Kong authorities are pursuing new laws to tighten the city-state’s grip on public discourse critical of its Beijing-aligned government.

 

Need for:

Residents are resorting to self-censorship and many feel that their city’s progressive identity may have been permanently lost.

 

How is Hong Kong ruled?

It is ruled under One Country Two Systems approach.

As per the policy, the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, both former colonies, can have different economic and political systems from that of mainland China, while being part of the People’s Republic of China.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese control on July 1, 1997, and Macau’s sovereignty was transferred on December 20, 1999.

  • The regions would have their own currencies, economic and legal systems, but defence and diplomacy would be decided by Beijing.
  • Their mini-Constitutions would remain valid for 50 years — till 2047 for Hong Kong and 2049 for Macau. It is unclear what will happen after this term.

hong_kong

 

Chinese law in Hong Kong to respond to foreign sanctions:

  • The law is proposed to be introduced through Hong Kong legislation rather than Beijing legislation, by adding it to an annex of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law.

 

What’s the law all about?

  1. Beijing adopted a law in June under which individuals or entities involved in making or implementing discriminatory measures against Chinese citizens or entities could be put on a Chinese government anti-sanctions list.
  2. Under China’s law, such individuals could then be denied entry into China or be expelled.
  3. Their assets in China may be seized or frozen. They could also be restricted from doing business with entities or people in China.

 

Why was such a law introduced?

The law comes as the United States and European Union step up pressure on China over trade, technology, Hong Kong and the far western region of Xinjiang

 

Concerns and issues associated with the law:

Critics have warned that Hong Kong’s adoption of the law could undermine its reputation as a global financial hub.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Hong Kong.
  2. When did it become independent?
  3. About One Country Two Systems approach.
  4. Highlights of the law.

Mains Link:

Discuss the implications of the law.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

Kyhytysuka sachicarum:

  • An international team of researchers has discovered a new marine reptile. The specimen, a metre-long skull, has been named Kyhytysuka sachicarum.
  • The fossil is one of the last surviving ichthyosaurs – ancient animals that look eerily like living swordfish.

Current Affairs

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

1. What is ‘Greater Tipraland’ and why are tribal outfits in Tripura pushing for it?


Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos