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. Where no child is left behind
GS Paper 3:
1. The Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
Facts for Prelims:
1. 10 years of POCSO Act
2. Maharastra tops the rise in Pending Criminal cases against lawmakers
3. SC on Forced Conversion
4. The Places of Worship Act, 1991
5. Cultivate One Million Children as Neoteric (new) Innovators
6. Special Assitance to states for capital Investment
7. Green Energy Open Access Portal
8. India’s net zero plan
9. Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary
10. Liquid Crystal Display
11. Sea Vigil-22
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education
Source: The Hindu
Context: As the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 emphasises the need for a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) to achieve universal FLN in all primary schools, it is necessary to explore how we can accomplish this ambitious goal.
Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN): FLN is the ability of children by the time they enter Class III to read with meaning and perform basic math calculations, which serves as the foundation for all future learning.
Global-national-local efforts towards FLN over the years:
|Jomtien Conference (1990): World Declaration on Education for All||● Unni Krishnan v. State Of Andhra Pradesh (1993), the SC ruled that the right to education for children up to age 14 is central and fundamental.|
● The District Primary Education Programme (1994), to universalise and transform the quality of primary education.
● Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (2001), aimed at the universalisation of elementary education.
|● The Shiksha Karmi Project, 1987: To tackle teacher absenteeism in remote villages in Rajasthan.|
● The Bihar Education Project (the 1990s): To give a fillip to the universalisation of primary education.
● The Lok Jumbish or Peoples Movement for Education for All (1992) in Rajasthan.
- Poor education indicators:
- The fact that India ranks 132 out of 191 countries in the 2021 Human Development Index, which measures a country’s health, average income and education, is concerning.
- According to an NCERT survey, 11% of Indian children in Class III do not have fundamental maths skills when compared to the worldwide benchmark competency level.
- Poor governance
- Absence of a systematic way of recruiting good teachers and establishing teacher development institutions.
Government’s recent initiatives:
- The National Education Policy 2020: It proposes a 3-language formula, 2 of which are indigenous to India and states that the medium of instruction should be in the mother tongue until at least Class V.
- The NIPUN Bharat: The Union Ministry of Education launched the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) in 2021 to enable all children at the end of Class III to achieve foundational skills by the year 2026-2027.
- Direct funds to schools, fewer non-teaching tasks and a vibrant community and panchayat connection and parental involvement for accountability.
- The recruitment of teachers, educators and administrators has to become a priority if a difference needs to be created.
- For this, the Central, State and local governments need to transform governance to ensure that everyone delivers their best.
- Sampark Foundation: A civil society initiative, the Foundation uses technology (audio battery-operated sound boxes and innovative teaching learning materials) and has also launched a TV for teacher development.
- Pratham’s Read India campaign and the Azim Premji Foundation are working to improve government schools by providing district/block-level support to schools and teachers.
Conclusion: The time between preschool and Class 3 can be transformative for individuals, and FLN is required to prepare a generation of learners who will secure high rates of economic success and human well-being for India.
Q. To achieve the objective of foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools, we need to especially focus on community connections and parental involvement. Analyse.
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Challenges to internal security
Source: The Indian Express
Context: Many have divided opinions on the Supreme Court’s recent decision to free all six remaining convicts serving life sentences in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
- Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, on the night of May 21, 1991, killing 18 people.
- In the case, the TADA or Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act trial court initially convicted 26 people to death.
- In 1999, a few years after the TADA Act was repealed, the SC upheld the conviction of only 7 (convicting 4 of them to death and the other 3 to life imprisonment), releasing the rest.
- By 2014, the SC commuted the death sentences of all 4 to life imprisonment
- The Tamil Nadu government had recommended the release of all convicts. However, the Governor had not acted upon this recommendation.
- The convicts had spent more than three decades in prison, where their conduct was satisfactory.
- Invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, the recent SC order noted that none of the 6 convicts was a part of the nucleus of the assassination team.
Definition of terrorism:
- According to the TADA, terrorism involves all or any one of the 4 acts –
- Overawing/threatening Government;
- Striking terror in the people;
- Alienating a section of the people;
- Adversely affecting social harmony.
- As per TADA, killing a person bound by oath under the Constitution to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India or any public servant was deemed a disruptive activity.
Grounds on which convicts were released:
- The prosecution’s case was that the assassination was an act to prevent the government from continuing with the implementation of the 1987 India-Sri Lanka Accord.
- The SC said that for an act to qualify under the definition of terrorism, its “intent” is critical.
- It is difficult for the court to conclude that the conspirators intended to overawe/endanger the Government of India or to strike terror in people or any section thereof.
- There is no evidence that any one of the conspirators ever desired the death of any Indian other than Rajiv Gandhi.
- Unfortunately, Rajiv Gandhi was not then a person bound by oath under the Constitution to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, as the Lok Sabha had been dissolved months before the incident.
Q. “All terrorists are criminals but not all criminals are terrorists”, in light of the statement above explain in what way anti-terror laws in the country have led to a period of over-Criminalisation.
Facts for Prelims
10 years of the POCSO Act
Context: Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy launched a report, ‘A Decade of POCSO: Developments, Challenges and Insights from Judicial Data’.
- As per 2020 NCRB data, over 90% of perpetrators are people known to victims
- High pendency of cases
- Low conviction rate ( only around 14% )
- Issue of a higher age of consent thereby minors getting convicted for even consensual acts.
- Tamil Nadu stands ahead of other States in terms of reporting cases and conviction of the accused.
- Need for after-school care: Children whose parents work are usually left on their own after school, and this heightens vulnerability
POCSO Act 2012 was passed to protect children from sexual abuse/assault/harassment or pornography.
Major features of the act :
- Establish Special Courts to try sexual offences involving children in a child-friendly manner.
- Gender neutral law
- Effective reporting, recording of evidence and investigation.
- The National Commission for protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and its states monitor the implementation of the law.
Maharastra tops the rise in Pending Criminal cases against lawmakers
Context: Reports from high courts on the pendency of criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs showed a 21% increase in three years from 4,122 in December 2018 to 4,984 in December 2021.
- Maharastra registered the highest number of cases against sitting and former lawmakers.
Although the constitution doesn’t give any criterion as to what disqualifies a person from contesting elections for the parliament, section 8 of the RPA Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of 2 or more years from contesting elections. However, those whose conviction is pending, continue to contest elections.
Major reforms by SC:
- It directed the completion of trials involving elected representatives within a year.
- Special courts to try cases against politicians.
- Political parties are to publish the details of criminal cases pending against the candidates on their websites, social media and newspaper, within 48 hours of the selection of the candidates.
SC on Forced Conversion
Source: Indian Express
Context: Supreme Court has said that “forced” religious conversions are “very dangerous” and may “affect the security of the nation and freedom of religion and conscience”. It has asked the Central government to step in and make “very serious and sincere efforts” to tackle the issue.
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives one freedom of conscience, to profess, practice, and propagate religion to all citizens. But this doesn’t ensure that one can forcibly convert others. In Rev Stanislaus Case (1977) SC said that the right to propagate (under Art 25) doesn’t mean the right to convert.
In order to restrict religious conversion carried out by force, fraud or inducements, several states have enacted “Freedom of Religion laws” e.g. Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh etc.
The Places of Worship Act, 1991
Source: The Indian Express
Context: The Supreme Court gave the Central government more time to file an affidavit on the challenges to the Places of Worship Act of 1991.
Background: The law has been challenged on the ground that it bars judicial review, which is a basic feature of the Constitution.
About the Act:
- It prohibits the conversion of any place of worship and stipulates that churches, temples, mosques, and other places of worship cannot be altered from as they stood on August 15, 1947.
- Any legal proceeding pending before any court concerning the conversion of the religious character of any place of worship existing on August 15, 1947, shall be terminated and no new legal proceedings shall be initiated.
- However, it allows legal proceedings if the conversion of a place of worship’s religious nature occurred after the cut-off date.
- The Act does not apply to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case or any related litigation, appeal or procedure.
Cultivate One Million Children as Neoteric (new) Innovators
Context: 1.5 Lakh students in India attended NITI Aayog’s mega tinkering activity on the occasion of Children’s day.
Over 10000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) have been established to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young children.
Financial Support: AIM will provide a grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.
Eligibility: Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local bodies or private trusts/society can set up ATL.
AIM (by Niti Aayog) is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee the innovation ecosystem of the country and revolutionise the innovation eco-system – touching upon the entire innovation life cycle through various programs.
Special Assitance to states for capital Investment
Source: The Hindu
Context: Kerela government has sought central assistance through this scheme to pay for capital investment and payment of arrears.
About the Scheme:
Launched for 2022-23, under the Ministry of Finance, the scheme provides state government financial assistance in form of 50 years of interest-free loans for capital investment in new and ongoing projects (except for projects of less than 5 Cr (2 Cr for North East) and repair/maintenance works).
Also, the central government has made it mandatory that the original names of centrally sponsored schemes such as the PM Gati Shakti Master Plan be adhered to.
Green Energy Open Access Portal
Context: Ministry of power and new & renewable energy launched Green Energy Open Access Portal to allow consumers ( load of 100 KW or over ) to access green power from any Renewable generating plant.
India’s net zero plan
Source: The Hindu
Context: India announced its long-term strategy to transition to a “low emissions” pathway at the COP27 ongoing in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
- These steps are in line with India’s “five-decade journey” to net zero or being carbon neutral by 2070 – a commitment made by the PM of India at COP26, Glasgow, last year.
- The LT-LEDS (Long Term-Low Emission Development Strategy) are a requirement from the 2015 Paris Agreement whereby countries must explain how they will achieve near-term NDC targets and work towards achieving net zero around 2050.
- India is expected to triple its nuclear power output over the next decade, as well as become an international hub for creating green hydrogen and increasing the quantity of ethanol in petrol.
- India will also focus on improving energy efficiency through the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme, the National Hydrogen Mission, increasing electrification, enhancing material efficiency and recycling and ways to reduce emissions.
Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary
Source: Indian Express
Context: TN government has notified Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary as the 17th wildlife sanctuary under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, thus connecting Cauvery North, Cauvery South (both TN) with the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (Karnataka).
It will help in the movement of elephants through elephant corridors.
Liquid Crystal Display
Context: A new easier technique of manufacturing liquid crystal displays has been developed, which can reduce the cost of the devices.
Liquid crystal refers to the intermediate status of a substance between solid (crystal) and liquid.
A liquid crystal display (LCD) has liquid crystal material sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Without any voltage applied between transparent electrodes, liquid crystal molecules are aligned in parallel with the glass surface. When voltage is applied, they change their direction and turn vertically to the glass surface.
Source: The Hindu
Context: The third edition of the ‘pan-India’ coastal defence Exercise ‘Sea Vigil-22’ is scheduled to be held soon.
About Sea Vigil exercise:
- The exercise was conceptualised in 2018 to validate various measures that have been instituted towards enhancing maritime security since ‘26/11’.
- It is conducted by the Indian Navy in coordination with the Coast Guard and other Ministries entrusted with the task of maritime activities.
- Sea Vigil-22 will see the activation of the coastal security apparatus across India and will be undertaken along the entire 7,516 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
- The exercise is a warm-up for the Indian Navy’s major Theatre Level Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX), which takes place every two years.
- Sea Vigil and TROPEX will work together to address the broad spectrum of maritime security challenges.