February 10th, 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS 1 Related SOCIAL ISSUES 1. ‘Only 82 trafficking survivors awarded relief in last 8 years’ 2. No tally of govt. buildings to be made accessible B. GS 2 Related INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. ‘People may criticise us, but environment is top priority for Bhutan’ POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. Cases of sexual harassment at workplace: SC rejects plea C. GS 3 Related ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY 1. Cauvery delta to be declared a protected agriculture zone ECONOMY 1. Four-fold jump in Li-ion batteries imports since 2016, govt. tells LS INTERNAL SECURITY 1. Odisha plans projects in Naxal stronghold D. GS 4 Related E. Editorials SECURITY 1. Bodo accord- Searching for a solution ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY 1. Cat conundrum SOCIAL ISSUES 1. Seeking a more progressive abortion law F. Tidbits 1. India-Bangladesh rail link to be ready by 2021 2. Start new businesses with e-forms 3. Punjab village fights drugs with youth power 4. Agro units of cooperative sector to come up in all Rajasthan districts 5. Country’s first ‘darknet’ narcotics operative held G. PRELIMS FACTS 1. Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS 1 Related
- The report titled “UNCOMPENSATE VICTIMS”, released by Sanjog, a technical resource organization that works to combat trafficking and gender-based violence.
- The Section 357-A of Code of Criminal Procedure has provisions to compensate victims who suffered because of a crime.
- In 2012, the government announced ₹1,000 crore Nirbhaya fund to be used to combat sexual violence against persons including children or adults. Part of the Nirbhaya fund is being used in the Victim Compensation Scheme. It is a national scheme to compensate survivors of rape, acid burns, and trafficking among other forms of violence.
- According to NCRB reports, between 2011 and 2018, a total of 35,983 cases of human trafficking were recorded in India.
- However, the response obtained through RTI queries from 25 States and seven Union Territories reveals that between March 2011 and April 2019, only 82 human trafficking victims were awarded compensation.
- This means, only 0.2% of all survivors of human trafficking received the compensation announced by the government in the last eight years.
- The revelation highlights the poor status of compensation awarded to survivors of human trafficking in India. Also notably, among the 82 survivors who were awarded compensation, only 77 received the relief amount.
- Despite the Supreme Court directing NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) to frame a standardized victim compensation scheme, the amount of compensation to victims of trafficking varies from state to state.
- The low number of trafficking survivors who have applied for the victim compensation scheme suggests that there remains a lack of awareness on the part of the victims.
- This might be primarily due to lack of initiative on the part of legal services authority or low investment on part of legal aid that results in very few survivors having access to compensation.
- The current framework to deal with the issue of human trafficking is also a challenge given that from the stage of rescue till rehabilitation, the survivors are in touch with multiple agencies and have to fulfill various procedures and formalities.
- The District and State Legal services authorities’ response to the compensation claims has been slow, and often place the burden of proof on the survivors.
Review meeting of the Accessible India Campaign by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister.
The Accessible India Campaign was launched in December 2015, to make public offices, transport, and websites accessible to persons with disabilities (PwD) by March 2020.
- Worryingly, the minutes of the meeting reveals that the number of buildings of the Central Public Works Department across the country is not known exactly.
- The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under which the CPWD operates, claims that 787 out of 889 buildings had been made accessible so far, while approval for 13 buildings had been received from various Ministries. For the remaining 89 buildings, approval of respective Ministries is still awaited.
- According to the Civil Aviation Ministry, all 35 international airports and 55 domestic airports under the Airports Authority of India have been made accessible by providing ramps and had accessible toilets and provision for audio and Braille commands in lifts.
- Though there has been notable progress on making airports more accessible, all aspects of air travel, including aircraft and buses used to ferry passengers from terminals, needed to be compatible to be truly effective.
- 7,000 wheelchairs have been provided at major stations and 22 stations have an online booking facility for a wheelchair.
- Worryingly, the Ministry of Road Transport states that only 3.6% of buses had been made fully accessible.
- Though the government intends to make at least 50% of the government websites accessible, the exact number of websites is not known exactly.
For more information on this issue: Check CNA dated 14 Dec 2019
B. GS 2 Related
Meeting of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement.
- Bhutan, in spite of deciding to stay out of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement, took part in its meeting as an observer.
- Bhutan claims that its infrastructure does not have the capacity to allow all the truck traffic to travel through Bhutan. It claims that in spite of the apparent benefits and economic potential of the BBIN-MVA, given Bhutan’s current infrastructure it cannot consider the proposal of being part of the agreement.
- Bhutan aspires to be a carbon-negative country, and given the fact that motor vehicles are one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, it is another reason for Bhutan opting out of the agreement.
- Bhutan has also introduced a levy on Indian tourists, being referred to as the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF).
- The decision is based on the country’s environmental carrying capacity. Bhutan has a limited size and its carrying capacity for visitors is limited, given that its road surface area is limited, and it intends to further enhance the 72% land under forest cover.
- The decision will also help redistribute the tourists amongst destinations as the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) will not be charged to those travelling to 11 out of the 20 districts in Central and Eastern Bhutan, while it will be charged for those travelling to the Western tourist destinations.
- Bhutan’s Prime Minister claims that Bhutan’s commitment to sustainability justifies the decision to levy a tourism fee on Indians and stay out of the regional transport pact.
Special leave petition filed in the Supreme Court.
- A special leave petition was filed in the SC highlighting the issue that the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013 does not have any provision mandating protection for victims and witnesses in workplace sexual abuse cases.
- A similar plea was rejected by the Delhi High Court in July 2019, saying that the petition was effectively seeking the creation of a new offence under the head of ‘retaliation’, something which the Act does not provide for. The High Court had held that the courts cannot legislate.
- The Supreme Court has refused to entertain the appeal seeking protection for complainants and witnesses in sexual harassment-at-workplace cases from victimization or retaliation by the accused or organizations involved.
C. GS 3 Related
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister stating the government’s intention to declare the Cauvery Delta region as a Protected Special Agriculture Zone.
Hydrocarbon resources in the region:
- The Central government had stated in 2017 that two areas, Karaikal located in Puducherry and Neduvasal located in Tamil Nadu awarded under DSF (Discovered Small Field) bidding round have an in-place volume of 4,30,000 metric tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas.
- Subsequently, more than 700 wells have been drilled for extraction of oil and gas in Tamil Nadu. Given the possibility of more reserves in the region, there have been exploratory drilling activities in the surrounding regions.
Amendment of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006:
- Recently, the Environment Ministry had issued a notification, amending the EIA rules. It dealt with granting exemption to oil and gas firms involved in exploratory drilling, from seeking environmental clearance.
- The notification would allow companies to carry out hydrocarbon exploration activities without applying for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and holding public consultations.
- Amid fears that the exploratory drilling would lead to the destruction of agricultural fields in the Cauvery delta, affect the fragile ecosystem of the region and have health hazards, there have been protests from environmentalists and farmers in the region.
Agricultural Protection Zoning:
- Agricultural Protection Zoning (APZ) is a practice followed in the United States.
- APZ refers to local zoning codes, which include provisions such as large lot size requirements and use limitations, to separate farming and related activities from other land uses.
- It helps preserve the availability of agricultural lands for farming and thus the agricultural base of the community, by constraining non-agricultural development and land uses in designated areas.
- The Cauvery delta region is an important agricultural region in Tamil Nadu and considered the rice bowl of the state. Also given the fact that the delta region is close to the sea, there is a need to safeguard the region.
- Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has announced that the Cauvery delta region comprising of eight districts would be declared as a Protected Special Agriculture Zone.
- The eight districts include Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Cuddalore, Ariyalur, Karur and Tiruchirapalli.
- The move is aimed towards preventing the implementation of oil exploration projects and other hydrocarbon projects in the Cauvery delta region and will help not only ensure food security of the State but also livelihood opportunities of the farmers and other agriculture-based labourers.
- The state government is also considering allowing only agro-based industries in the river Cauvery fed regions.
- The State government would hold consultations with legal experts, and steps would be taken to enact special legislation to implement the government’s intention.
For more information on this topic: CNA dated Jan 21, 2020
The Ministry of Science and Technology’s response to a query in the Lok Sabha.
- Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are vital for powering a range of devices from cellphones to electric vehicles.
- Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries, with one of the best energy-to-weight ratios, low self-discharge rate, high cycle life and a slow loss of charge when not in use.
- The National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, under the NITI Aayog, to “drive clean, connected, shared, sustainable and holistic mobility initiatives” aims to promote indigenous development of Li-ion batteries.
- Given the fact that the government has announced investments worth $1.4 billion to make India one of the largest manufacturing hubs for electric vehicles by 2040, electric vehicles are expected to account for a significant share in the growth of the Li-ion battery demand in India.
- The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) manufactures Li-ion batteries but the volumes currently being manufactured are limited, and their usage is restricted to only space applications.
- In June 2018, the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and RAASI Solar Power Pvt. Ltd. signed a Memorandum of Agreement for transfer of technology for India’s first lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery project.
- As per the Science Ministry’s admission in the Lok Sabha, India has quadrupled its imports of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and more than tripled its import bill on the Li-ion batteries between 2016 and 2018.
- India is among the largest importers of Li-ion batteries in the world. The major sources of these batteries for India are China, Japan, and South Korea. China dominates the Li-ion battery market.
Developmental work in Naxal strongholds.
- Maoist violence has killed nearly 12,000 in the last two decades and has severely affected developmental works in many regions.
- Recognizing the threat posed by Left Wing Extremism, the government has formulated a dual strategy to solve the problem of Naxalism. It involves using both force and development as a strategy to combat the Naxal influence.
Counter-Insurgency operations and Area Domination:
- Swabhiman Anchal in Odisha’s Malkangiri district is considered a stronghold of the CPI (Maoist).
- The Odisha police claim to have established their domination in 70% of Swabhiman Anchal.
- Along with the Odisha police and their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, paramilitary forces such as the BSF and the CRPF are deployed in the area consisting of 151 villages.
- Swabhiman Anchal had remained outside the ambit of development for years due to its remoteness, poor connectivity, hilly and inhospitable terrain and the presence of Naxalites in the region who opposed any developmental work in the region.
- Avoiding a top-down approach in development, the government is considering taking decisions based on the needs and interests of the locals.
- The State government has planned many development projects to counter the Maoist influence in the region and build goodwill among the residents of the region.
Livelihood programmes and irrigation facilities:
- The administration would be promoting turmeric cultivation by replacing the prohibited cannabis cultivation which has been acting as a source of finance for the Naxalites. Integrated farming would be introduced in the area.
- The administration is contemplating taking up millet cultivation in the region given the suitability of the crop to the region. It is also planning on procuring the surplus produce from villages.
- To help agricultural activities and also ensure water availability, lift irrigation projects have been planned.
- The administration proposed to provide an 11-kV power line exclusively for irrigation projects.
Critical road networks:
- The Odisha government has managed to construct a bridge over the Gurupriya River despite stiff resistance from the extremists, ending its decades-old remoteness.
Forest Rights Act (FRA):
- Implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) has been given priority.
- Approval and sanction of community forest rights (CFR) and individual forest rights (IFR) under the FRA have been prioritized as the prompt sanction of titles under the FRA is seen as a confidence-building measure in Swabhiman Anchal.
- The government will emulate the model of Maharashtra where CFR has been granted in an expeditious manner for making tribals partners in development.
D. GS 4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Check CNA dated Jan 29, 2020 to read about the topic.
- According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, cheetah’s population is ‘vulnerable’ witnessing a decreasing trend with only less than 7,000 of them left in the wild globally.
- A few conservationists fear that India will end up housing the animals in semi-captive conditions, secured open-air zoos rather than allowing them to live free.
- Man-animal conflict is an area of worry.
- The current prey base sustains tigers and leopards. The introduction of a new predator may add pressure to the existing ecosystem.
- Cheetahs are genetically fragile and lose cubs prematurely, affecting the establishment of a viable population.
- India will need to maintain strict protocols to reduce the risk of human injury, livestock predation and stress, and improve identification of prey and non-prey species.
- The plan to bring the cheetah to India should have a minimum requirement of setting up a Grassland Policy.
- India should also focus on the species it has and restore ecology.
Check CNA dated Jan 31, 2020 to read about the topic.
- The Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has announced that the landmark rail line to connect the northeastern region of India with Bangladesh will be ready by the end of 2021.
- The proposed line will link Agartala in Tripura and Akhaura in Bangladesh.
- The Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region would bear the cost of the 5.46-km track on the Indian side, and the cost of the 10.6-km track on the Bangladesh side is being borne by the Ministry of External Affairs.
- Continuing efforts to improve the ease of doing business, the government will soon introduce an integrated electronic form for incorporating new companies, wherein the EPFO and ESIC registration numbers will also be allotted at the same time.
- The incorporation of companies is made through the Corporate Affairs Ministry’s portal MCA21. Currently, the Corporate Affairs Ministry has the electronic form SPICe (Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically) and that would be replaced with SPICe+ offering 10 services.
- The 10 services offered through the new form would help in saving time and efforts for starting a business in India.
- Villages in Mansa district in Punjab are using youth volunteers to run socially relevant campaigns in the villages.
- They run campaigns on single-use plastics, stubble burning, tree planting, road safety, preventive healthcare, and against drugs. The motto of the youth program is ‘mera pind-mera maan’ (my village, my pride).
- Apart from the obvious benefits of cleaner, greener surroundings, it will also notably, prevent idle time and potential drug addiction among the youth.
- A minimum of one agro-processing unit of the cooperative sector will come up in each district of Rajasthan by 2020 with an emphasis on agricultural marketing.
- The agro-processing units would help ensure preservation and processing of agricultural produce for food and medicinal use and help augment farmers’ income.
- The Narcotics Control Bureau, the central anti-narcotics agency, has stated that it has arrested the country’s first ‘darknet’ narcotics operative.
- He was arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
- Darknet refers to the hidden internet platform that is used for narcotics sale, exchange of pornographic content and other illegal activities by using the secret alleys of the onion router (ToR) to stay away from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies.
- Owing to its end-to-end encryption, the darknet is considered very tough to crack when it comes to investigating criminal activities being rendered over it.
- The NCB was part of a global ‘Operation Trance’, launched in December 2019, entailing a joint intelligence-gathering action on international postal, express mail and courier shipments containing psychotropic drugs that are abused as sedatives and painkillers.
- The payment gateways of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins and Litecoin were used by the operators to conceal the transactions from regulatory agencies.
G. PRELIMS FACTS
- The UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1985.
- It is not a legally binding document, but the Declaration can be used as a benchmark for measuring State practice in relation to victims’ rights.
- The Declaration requires that the views and concerns of victims should be allowed and considered at all appropriate stages without prejudice to the accused.
- It sets out basic principles of treatment for crime victims, based on compassion and respect for human dignity.
- The Declaration urges access to judicial and administrative processes, restitution, compensation and assistance for victims.
- India is a signatory.
- “Victims” means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within Member States.
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. Van Vihar National Park is located in which of the following states?
b. Madhya Pradesh
c. Uttar Pradesh
Q2. Which of the following pairs of crop and the largest producing state is wrongly matched?
a. Cotton: Maharashtra
b. Coffee: Karnataka
c. Jute: West Bengal
d. Pulses: Madhya Pradesh
Q3. Which of the following is/are not considered under the Accessible Indian Campaign of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment?
- Built environment accessibility
- Education system accessibility
- Transportation system accessibility
- Financial system accessibility
- Information and communication eco-system accessibility
a. 2, 3 and 4 only
b. 4 and 5 only
c. 1 and 2 only
d. 2 and 4 only
Q4. Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to River Cauvery?
- It has its origin in Kodagu, Karnataka.
- Its tributaries include the Harangi, Kabini, Noyyal and Arkavati.
- The Shivanasamudra Falls is located on the river Cauvery.
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 1 and 3 only
c. 1, 2 and 3
d. 2 and 3 only
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- Analyze the Government’s approach to counter the challenges posed by Left wing extremism in India and its effectiveness. (10 marks, 150 words)
- Discuss the major provisions of the recent accord signed between the government and the Bodo groups. Analyze the significance of the agreement and the possible concerns with respect to the deal. (15 marks, 250 words)
February 10th, 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here
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