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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 15 APRIL 2022

 

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. House panel to review Bill on raising marriage age of women.

2. Human Rights Violations against Uygurs.

3. Biden signs bill making lynching a federal hate crime.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Flex Fuel Vehicles.

2. James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Golan Heights.

2. Tolkappiyam.

3. Vernacular Innovation Program.


Raising legal age of marriage for women

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Parliament and state legislatures- functioning.

 

Raising legal age of marriage for women:

Context:

The Parliamentary Standing Committee tasked to study the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021, which proposes to raise the age of marriage for women to 21 from 18 years, met recently.

  • The Standing Committee was assigned the task of studying the Bill in January 2022 and granted three months to do so but it was granted a three-month extension till June 2022.
  • The Bill has attracted criticism from the civil society.

 

Rationale behind the legislation:

The age of marriage should be uniformly applicable to all religions, caste, creed, overriding any custom or law that seeks to discriminate against women.

 

The Bill would amend:

  1. The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1972.
  2. The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.
  3. The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.
  4. The Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  5. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  6. The Foreign Marriage Act, 1956.

 

current Affairs

 

Task force:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech last year proposed a panel on the “age of a girl entering motherhood” to lower maternal mortality rates and improve nutrition levels.

  • But when the decision to appoint a task force was announced, its terms of reference included examining “the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood” with health and nutritional status of mothers and infants.

 

Important recommendations:

  • The age of marriage should be increased to 21 years.
  • The government should look into increasing access to schools and colleges for girls, including their transportation to these institutes from far-flung areas.
  • Skill and business training has also been recommended, as has sex education in schools.
  • These deliveries must come first, as, unless they are implemented and women are empowered, the law will not be as effective.

 

Criticism:

  • Women’s rights activists have opposed the suggestion and have cited evidence to show that such a move may be used to incarcerate young adults marrying without parents’ consent.
  • Also, this move would lead to criminalisation of a large number of marriages that will take place once the law comes into effect.

 

What the law says?

Currently, the law prescribes that the minimum age of marriage is 21 and 18 years for men and women, respectively.

The minimum age of marriage is distinct from the age of majority, which is gender-neutral.

  1. An individual attains the age of majority at 18 as per the Indian Majority Act, 1875.
  2. For Hindus, Section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets 18 years as the minimum age for the bride and 21 years as the minimum age for the groom. Child marriages are not illegal but can be declared void at the request of the minor in the marriage.
  3. In Islam, the marriage of a minor who has attained puberty is considered valid under personal law.
  4. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 also prescribe 18 and 21 years as the minimum age of consent for marriage for women and men respectively.

 

Why is the law being relooked at?

  • From bringing in gender-neutrality to reduce the risks of early pregnancy among women, there are many arguments in favour of increasing the minimum age of marriage of women.
  • Early pregnancy is associated with increased child mortality rates and affects the health of the mother.
  • Despite laws mandating minimum age and criminalising sexual intercourse with a minor, child marriages are very prevalent in the country.
  • Also, according to a study, children born to adolescent mothers (10-19 years) were 5 percentage points more likely to be stunted (shorter for their age) than those born to young adults (20-24 years).

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Jaya Jailtley committee was constituted for the purpose of?
  2. Legal provisions related to minimum age of marriage for men and women in India.
  3. Key provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  4. Overview of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
  5. Standing vs select vs finance committees.
  6. Who appoints chairperson and members of these committees?
  7. Committees exclusive to only Lok Sabha.
  8. Committees where Speaker is the chairperson.

Mains Link:

Do you think minimum age for marriage for men and women should be raised? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Human Rights Violations against Uygurs:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: India and neighbourhood relations.

 

Context:

The US State Department report, based on accounts by news outlets and NGOs as well as research by diplomats, has singled out China for abuses against ethnic minorities, including Uygurs in Xinjiang.

  • The report said the Chinese government continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang against predominantly Muslim Uygurs among other minority groups.

 

What’s the issue?

Various countries have called on China to “ensure full respect for the rule of law” for the Muslim Uighurs community in Xinjiang.

  • Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uighurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uighur culture.

 

China’s response:

Despite mounting evidence, China denies mistreating the Uyghurs, and goes on to insist it is simply running “vocational training” centres designed to counter extremism.

 

Current Affairs

 

 

Who are Uighurs?

The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia.

The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

  • China recognises the community only as a regional minority and rejects that they are an indigenous group.
  • Currently, the largest population of the Uighur ethnic community lives in the Xinjiang region of China.
  • A significant population of Uighurs also lives in the neighbouring Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Uighur Muslims for decades, under the false accusation by the Chinese government of terrorism and separatism, have suffered from abuses including persecution, forced detention, intense scrutiny, surveillance and even slavery.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about China’s One Country Two Systems policy? Which regions are administered under this policy? Read this

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Uighurs?
  2. Where is Xinjiang?
  3. Who are Han Chinese?
  4. Indian states bordering Xinjiang province.

Mains Link:

Who are Uighurs? Why are they in news? Discuss. 

Sources: the Hindu.

Biden signs bill making lynching a federal hate crime:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

U.S. President Joe Biden has signed a bill into law to make lynching a federal hate crime, more than 100 years after such legislation was first proposed.

  • The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act is named after the Black teenager whose killing in Mississippi in the summer of 1955 became a galvanising moment in the civil rights era.

 

Details:

  • The new law makes it possible to prosecute a crime as a lynching when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime leads to death or serious bodily injury.
  • The law lays out a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and fines.

 

Recent incidents of mob lynching in India:

  • In 2021 in Assam, a 23-year-old student leader was allegedly killed by a mob.
  • In October 2021 a man was allegedly lynched, his limbs cut off and left to die at the Singhu Border, site of the farmers’ protest against the three farm laws.
  • In August 2021, a bangle seller in Indore was reportedly beaten up by a mob for allegedly hiding his identity.
  • The man survived and was sent to judicial custody.
  • In May 2021, a 25-year-old Gurugram man was allegedly lynched when he went out to buy medicines.
  • On December 18 2021, a man was lynched to death by the Sikh Sangat (Sikh devotees) in Shri Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara (Golden Temple) in Amritsar over an alleged attempt to disrespect the holiest book of Sikh religion, Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

 

What is meant by Lynching?

Any act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting (encouraging) such act/acts thereof, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other related grounds.

 

How are these cases handled?

There is “no separate” definition for such incidents under the existing IPC. Lynching incidents can be dealt with under Section 300 and 302 of IPC.

  • Section 302 provides that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine. Offence of murder is a cognisable, non- bailable and non-compoundable offence.

 

SC guidelines:

  • There should be a “separate offence” for lynching and the trial courts must ordinarily award maximum sentence upon conviction of the accused person to set a stern example in cases of mob violence.
  • The state governments will have to designate a senior police officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
  • The state governments need to identify districts, sub-divisions and villageswhere instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past.
  • The nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP about any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues.
  • Every police officer shall ensure to disperse the mob that has a tendency to cause violence in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise.
  • Central and the state governments shall broadcast on radio, television and other media platforms about the serious consequences of mob lynching and mob violence.
  • Despite the measures taken by the State Police, if it comes to the notice of the local police that an incident of lynching or mob violence has taken place, the jurisdictional police station shall immediately lodge an FIR.
  • The State Governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme in the light of the provisions of Section 357A of CrPC.
  • If a police officer or an officer of the district administration fails to fulfill his duty, it will be considered an act of deliberate negligence.

 

Need of the hour:

  • Every time there is a case of honor killing, hate crimes, witch hunting or mob lynching we raise demands for special legislation to deal with these crimes.
  • But, the fact is that these crimes are nothing but murders and the existing provisions under IPC and CrPC are sufficient to deal with such crimes.
  • Coupled with the guidelines laid down in Poonawala’s case, we are sufficiently equipped to deal with mob lynching. However, what we lack is due enforcement of the existing laws and accountability of the enforcement agencies.

 

Attempts by various states in this regard:

  • Manipur government came up first with its Bill against lynching in 2018, incorporating some logical and relevant clauses.
  • Rajasthan government passed a bill against lynching in August 2019.
  • West Bengal too came up with a more stringent Bill against lynching.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know there is something like the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. States which have passed laws against mob lynching.
  2. What is Poonawala’s case?
  3. What are the provisions available against mob lynching under IPC?

Mains Link:

Mob Lynching has become a recurring phenomenon in India which is surging hate violence targeting religious and caste minorities. Explain the causative factors and suggest ways to address it.

Sources: Indian Express.

Flex Fuel Vehicles:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has called for a faster launch of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) to achieve 20 per cent of ethanol blending.

 

What are flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)?

An FFV is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on gasoline and doped petrol with different levels of ethanol blends.

  • FFVs will allow vehicles to use all the blends and also run on unblended fuel.
  • FFVs have compatible engines to run on more than 84 percent ethanol blended petrol.

 

Benefits:

  • FFVs are aimed at reducing the use of polluting fossil fuels and cutting down harmful emissions.
  • Alternative fuel ethanol is Rs 60-62 per litre while petrol costs more than Rs 100 per litre in many parts of the country, so by using ethanol, Indians will save Rs 30-35 per litre.
  • For India, FFVs will present a different advantage as they will allow vehicles to use different blends of ethanol mixed petrol available in different parts of the country.
  • Also, these vehicles are a logical extension of the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme launched by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in January 2003.
  • Since India has surplus produce of corn, sugar and wheat, the mandatory blending of ethanol programme will help farmers in realising higher incomes.
  • For the overall Indian economy, higher usage of ethanol as an automobile fuel will help save import costs as the country meets more than 80 per cent of its crude oil requirements through imports.

 

Disadvantages/challenges of using FFVs:

  1. Customer acceptance will be a major challenge since the cost of ownership and running cost are going to be very high compared with 100 per cent petrol vehicles.
  2. Running cost (due to lower fuel efficiency) will be higher by more than 30 per cent when run with 100 per cent ethanol (E100).
  3. Flex Fuel Engines cost more as ethanol has very different chemical properties than petrol. Ethanol has very low (40 per cent) Calorific value as compared to Gasoline, very High Latent heat of vaporization causing cooling of charge/combustion etc.
  4. Ethanol also acts as a solvent and could wipe out the protective oil film inside the engine thereby could cause wear and tear.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what Cetyl alcohol is? Read about its uses

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About FFVs.
  2. What is ethanol?
  3. About Ethanol blending.

Mains Link:

Discuss the benefits of ethanol blending with traditional fuel.

Sources: the Hindu.

James Webb Space Telescope:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

After launching late last year, NASA’s revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope is finally getting ready to fixate its numerous golden mirrors on distant targets.

  • Firstly, It’ll be looking at Jupiter, the iconic gas giant in our own star system.
  • The JWST will also take a closer look at Jupiter’s moons Io and Ganymede, the latter being the only known moon that has its own magnetosphere.

 

Current Affairs

 

About JSWT:

Launched in December 2021, JWST is a joint venture between the US (Nasa), European (Esa) and Canadian space agencies (CSA).

  • It is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity.
  • Webb was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST) and it was renamed in 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.
  • It will be a large infrared telescope with an approximately 6.5 meter primary mirror.

 

Current Affairs

 

Objectives and functions of the telescope:

  1. It will look deeper into the cosmos – and thus further back in time – than is possible with Hubble.
  2. It will do this with a much bigger mirror (6.5m in diameter versus 2.4m) and instruments that are tuned to the infrared.
  3. Scientists hope this set-up can detect the light from the very first population of stars in the Universe to switch on more than 13.5 billion years ago.

 

Current Affairs

 

 

Orbit:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope orbits around the Earth at an altitude of ~570 km above it.
  • Webb will not actually orbit the Earth, instead it will sit at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point,5 million km away.
  • At the L2 point Webb’s solar shield will block the light from the Sun, Earth, and Moon which will help Webb stay cool, which is very important for an infrared telescope.

 

Insta Curious:

Know more about the Hubble Space Telescope here.

Sources: Indian Express.

 Facts for Prelims:

Golan Heights:

  • The Golan Heights is a rocky plateau with an area of 1,800km² on the border between Israel and Syria in south-western Syria.
  • The Golan Heights were captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 conflict and annexed in 1981 — a move not recognized internationally.

International Recognition of Golan Heights:

  • The European Union said its position on the status of the Golan Heights was unchanged and it did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area.
  • The Arab League, which suspended Syria in 2011 after the start of its civil war has said the move is “completely beyond international law”.
  • Egypt, which made peace with Israel in 1979, said it still considers the Golan as occupied Syrian territory.
  • India has also not recognized Golan heights as Israel territory and has called for the return of Golan Heights to Syria.
  • In 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that the US may recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

 

Tolkappiyam:

  • The Hindi translation of Tolkappiyam and the Kannada translations of 9 works of Classical Tamil literature were recently issued by the Minister of State for Education.
  • Tamil literature goes back to the Sangam Era, named after the assembly (sangam) of poets.
  • Tolkappiyam was authored by Tolkappiyar and is considered the earliest of Tamil literary work.
  • Though it is a work on Tamil grammar, it also provides insights on the political and socio-economic conditions of the time.
  • Some in the Tamil tradition place the text in the mythical second sangam, variously in 1st millennium BCE or earlier.

 

Vernacular Innovation Program:

  • Launched by Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog.
  • It is an initiative to lower the language barrier in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship such that it will systematically decouple creative expressions and languages of transaction.
  • It seeks to enable innovators and entrepreneurs to have access to the innovation ecosystem in 22 scheduled languages.
  • Implementation: AIM has identified and will be training a Vernacular Task Force (VTF) in each of the 22 scheduled languages.
  • It will assist in overcoming linguistic barriers and empowering innovators in the farthest parts of the country.

Need for:

  • According to the 2011 census, 10.4% of Indians speak English, with the majority speaking it as a second, third, or fourth language.
  • Only 0.02 percent of Indians were English Speakers with their first language.
  • AIM aims to boost the local, regional, national, and global innovation pipelines by offering access to learning in one’s language and culture.

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