One Nation One Election
Chief Election Commissioner recently told that the Election Commission (EC) is ready to hold simultaneous elections on the lines of Prime Minister’s call for ‘One Nation One Election’.
About One Nation One Election
- Ideally ‘One Nation One Election’ should imply that elections to all the three tiers of constitutional institutions take place in a synchronized and co-ordinated fashion. It means that a voter casts his vote for electing members for all tiers of the Government on a single day.
- However, the elections to third tier institutions come in the ambit of the State as per the Constitution. Further, elections to the third tier are directed and controlled by the State Election Commissions and their sheer numbers in the country is significantly large.
- Thus, it would be impractical to synchronize and align election schedules of the third tier with that of Lok Sabha and State Assembly election.
- Accordingly, the term “One nation one election” is defined as structuring the Indian election cycle in a manner that elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies are synchronized together.
- In such a scenario, a voter would normally cast his/her vote for electing members of Lok Sabha and State Assembly on a single day and at the same time.
- It does not mean that voting across the country for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies needs to happen on a single day. This can be conducted in a phase-wise manner as per the existing practice.
Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
Uttarakhand Chief Minister announced an expert panel that would examine the possibility of applying the UCC in the State.
About Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
- The UCC calls for formulation of one law to be made applicable to all religious communities in matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.
- It is intended to replace the system of fragmented personal laws, which currently governs interpersonal relationships and related matters within different religious communities.
- The idea comes from Article 44 (one of the Directive Principles of State Policy) of the Constitution, which provides that the State shall endeavour to secure for all citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.
The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022
Recently, the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 received the assent of the President.
- The Act seeks to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.
Key Features of the Act
- Expands the ambit: The Act expands the type of data that may be collected, persons from whom such data may be collected, and the authority that may authorise such collection.
- Retention of details: The Act requires the details collected to be retained in digital or electronic form for 75 yearsfrom the date of collection. The record may be destroyed in case of persons who have not been previously convicted, and who are released without trial, discharged, or acquitted by the court, after exhausting all legal remedies.
- Resistance to giving details: As per the Act, resistance or refusal to give details will be considered an offence under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. In case of such resistance or refusal, police officers or prison officers may collect details in the manner prescribed under rules made by the state government or the central government.
- Powers of Magistrate: Under the Act, a Magistrate may direct a person to give details for the purpose of an investigation or proceeding under the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure).
- Rule-making power extended to the central government: The Act vested rule-making power only in the state government. The Act extends this power to the central government as well. The central or state government may make rules on various matters like the manner of collecting details.
Wearing Hijab is not Essential Religious Practice Rules Karnataka High Court
- Ruling has come in the backdrop of petition seeking the right to wear hijabs or head scarves along with uniforms inside classrooms.
- According to the Court, wearing of hijab (head scarf) by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practices in Islamic faith and is not protected under right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of Constitution.
- Also, prescription of school uniform does not violate either right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) or right to privacy under Article 21.
- Further, restriction against wearing of hijab in educational institutions is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible.
- What is the essential religious practice test:
- It was evolved by Supreme Court (SC) in ‘Shirur Mutt’ case (1954) to protect only such religious practices which were essential and integral to the religion.
- Court held that term “religion” will cover all rituals and practices “integral” to a religion, and took upon itself the responsibility of determining essential and nonessential practices of a religion.
- This attempt to differentiate essential and non-essential practices was taken up in various judgments.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment highlighted that National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has been dysfunctional for the last four years and has not delivered a single report to Parliament.
Need for NCST
- Low literacy rate: As per Census 2011, literacy rate of Scheduled Tribes (STs) was 59% whereas the overall literacy rate was 73% at all India level.
- Poor health indicators: For example, according to the NFHS 4, the under-5 mortality among the tribal population was 57.2 per 1000 live births compared to 38.5 among others, and the infant mortality rate (IMR) 44.4 per 1000 live births versus others of 32.156.
- High incidence of poverty: According to Global multidimensional poverty index (MPI), 2018, every second personbelonging to the Scheduled Tribes. Corresponding number is only 15 per cent in case of ‘upper’ castes.
- Deprivation: STs are the most deprived sections in India. According to the results of the Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011, nearly 79% of rural adivasi households are considered “deprived”, compared to 61% for all rural households.
- High Displacement rate: Though tribal people constitute 8.6% of country’s population, they account for 40-50% of the overall displaced population due to development projects.
- NCST was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
- By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) w.e.f. 19 February 2004.
SC Enforces a Landmark Ruling on Death Penalty
- Supreme Court, in Chhannu Lal Verma vs. State of Chhattisgarh, held that, before awarding death sentence, a proper psychological/psychiatric evaluation is to be done by courts to assess probability and possibility of reform of the criminal.
- In this case, SC referred to various judgments:
- In Bacchan Singh v/s State of Punjab (1980), SC established the doctrine of “rarest of rare” crime in handing down capital punishment while mandating a comparative analysis of aggravating and mitigating circumstances in connection to the accused.
- In Machi Singh vs State of Punjab (1983), SC elucidated doctrine of “rarest of rare” and set down some guiding principles in the death sentences cases.
(i) Aggravating circumstances included the manner in which crime was committed, motive for committing the crime, severity of crime, and the victim of crime.
(ii) Mitigating circumstances comprised of the possibility of reformation and rehabilitation of an accused, his mental health and his antecedents.
- In 2014, SC ruled that unexplained delay in execution was a ground for commutation of death penalty, and an inmate, his or her kin, or even a publicspirited citizen, could file a writ petition seeking such commutation.
Census New Rules Notified
- Union government has amended Census Rules, 1990, to include “electronic form” and “self-enumeration” in the schedule of questions to be asked during census enumeration.
- It will allow online self-enumeration in the upcoming Census and National Population Register (NPR).
(i) NPR is a Register of usual residents of the country. Its objective is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
- Section 8 of Census Act, 1948, gives powers to the enumerator to ask questions regarding the Census and makes it obligatory for respondents to answer, with certain exceptions.
- Also, “print media, electronic media, social media”, have been added to the list of modes for ensuring wide publicity for the exercise. Earlier list only included radio, audio-visuals and posters.
- Earlier, first phase of Census 2021, and NPR exercise scheduled to be held in 2020 was postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19.
- Population Census is process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining, at a specific time, of all persons in a country or a part of a country.
- Conducted by: Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner under Ministry of Home Affairs.
- A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country.
- This effort culminating in 1872 has been popularly labeled as the first population census of India.
- However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
Proposed Amendments to Cinematograph Act
- Cinematograph Act, 1952 made provision for the certification of cinematograph films for exhibition and regulating exhibitions by means of cinematographs.
- Under it, Central Board of Film Certification(CBFC), a statutory body under Ministry of I&B, regulates the public exhibition of films.
- Key Provisions of Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021
- Empowering government to direct CBFC to reconsider certification it has issued to a film.
- Subdividing the U/A category to U/A 7+, U/A 13+ and U/A 16+ o Adding Section 6AA to curb piracy by introducing penal provisions.
- Concerns raised against the bill:
- Central Government would have the power to revoke or recall certification of films that have already been cleared by CBFC.
- It is against the recommendations of Mudgal Committee (2013) and Shyam Benegal Committee (2016) on film certification.
- Film fraternity held that some provisions stifle creativity by being hindrance to open expression and discussion.
Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
The fifth summit of the regional grouping, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), was held virtually in Colombo.
- BIMSTEC is an inter-regional grouping that seeks to foster regional and economic cooperation among its 7 member nations in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — India, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
- The Bay of Bengal (BoB) region is home to 1.68 billion people, accounting for almost 22 percent of the world population, with a combined GDP of US$ 3.7 trillion.
Major Connectivity Initiatives
- Kaladan Multimodal project: The project envisages connecting Kolkata to Sittwe port in Myanmar, and then Mizoram by river and road.
- IMT Trilateral Highway: It will connect India and Thailand through Myanmar. The highway will run from Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar thereby establishing connectivity between India and Southeast Asian countries.
- Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA): With Bhutan continuing to sit out, other three countries are discussing steps in operationalizing the agreement for the free flow of good and people between them.
Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)
India, Bangladesh, and Nepal have finalized the enabling Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement the BBIN MVA, pending ratification by Bhutan.
About BBIN MVA
- It was launched in 2015 after the failure of agreement on regional MVA among South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 2014 due to concerns associated with Pakistan.
- In 2017, Bhutan opted out temporarily as its parliament didn’t ratify the agreement due to environmental and project sustainability concerns.
- BBIN provides for regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic.
- Each country will bear its own costs arising from implementation of agreement.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
- FATF has retained Pakistan on its terrorism financing “grey list”.
- Pakistan has been on the grey list since June 2018for failing to check money laundering, leading to terror financing.
- Also, UAE has been added to the grey list.
- FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
- Members: 37 (including India) and 2 regional organizations-European Commission and Gulf Co-operation Council.
- FATF issues two lists:
- Black list (as High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action)
- Grey list (referred to as Jurisdictions Under Increased Monitoring)
Village Defence Groups (VDGS) in J&K
- Ministry of Home Affairs has given a nod to formation of VDGs in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
- Members of VDGs will be designated as Village Defence Guards. They will function under the direction of SP/SSP of the concerned district.
- VDGs were earlier known as village defence committees (VDCs).
Exercises in News
- SLINEX (Sri Lanka–India Naval Exercise): The 9th edition of the India-Sri Lanka bilateral maritime exercise SLINEX was held at Visakhapatnam.
- EX-DUSTLIK: The third edition of the India - Uzbekistan exercise was conducted in Uzbekistan.
- LAMITIYE-2022: It is a Joint Military Exercise between the Indian Army and Seychelles Defence Forces.
- Prasthan (Offshore Security exercise): Western Naval Command conducted ‘Prasthan’ in the Offshore Development Area (ODA) off Mumbai.
- • Centre has announced to recapitalise weak Public Sector Banks (PSB) as part of Rs 15000 crore capital infusion.
- • The money will help the banks augment capital to the required level and save it from coming under the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework.
About Bank Recapitalisation
- Bank recapitalization means infusing more capital in state-run banks so that they meet the capital adequacy norms.
- Capital adequacy ratio (CAR) or capital to riskweighted assets ratio (CRAR) is the ratio of regulatory capital funds to risk-weighted assets.
- Primary responsibility of recapitalisation of PSBs often devolves on the Government, being the majority shareholder in these banks.
Government is planning to come out with a revised public-private partnership (PPP) model for BharatNet project.
- BharatNet project is the new brand name of NOFN (National Optic Fibre Network) being implemented in a phased manner to provide broadband connectivity to all the Gram Panchayats (approx. 2.6 lakh) in the country.
- It is being implemented by a special purpose vehicle named Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL), under the Department of Telecommunication (DoT).
- It is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
National Dolphin Day
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change announced that October 5 will be celebrated as National Dolphin Day from this year as part of the conservation campaign for the species and to generate awareness.
About Gangetic Dolphin
- It is an indicator species, whose status provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem and of other species in that ecosystem.
- It is extremely vulnerable to changes in water quality and flow.
- It is among the four freshwater dolphins found in the world – the other three are found in the Yangtze River (China), the ‘bhulan’ of the Indus (Pakistan) and the ‘boto’ of the Amazon River (Latin America).
- It is fluviatile (riverine) in habitat, it may also be found in brackish water though it never enters the sea.
- The Gangetic river species is found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
- Being a mammal, the Ganges River dolphin cannot breathe in water and must surface every 30-120 seconds. Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as ‘Souns/Susu/Sushuk/Seho’.
- Conservation efforts
- The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS), Bhagalpur in Bihar is the only dolphin sanctuary in the country.
- ‘Project Dolphin’ to conserve both freshwater and marine dolphins.
- The government of India declared it the National Aquatic Animal in 2009.
- The Conservation Action Plan for the Ganges River Dolphin 2010-2020, which ‘identified threats to Gangetic Dolphins and impact of river traffic, irrigation canals and depletion of prey-base on Dolphins populations’.
Cheetah Action Plan: Translocation in 2022
- In the backdrop of Indian delegation visiting Namibia, the Cheetah capital of the world, grounds are being prepared for appointing Namibian cheetahs as the country’s goodwill ambassadors for India’s 75th year of Independence.
- Supreme Court lifted its seven-year stay on a proposal to introduce African cheetahs from Namibia into the Indian habitat on an experimental basis.
- In 2013, SC had rejected this owing to lion translocation in the same Kuno-Palpur sanctuary and doubt of lack of prey base for Cheetah.
- Also, an ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India’ was launched to introduce 50 Cheetahs over 5 years.
About Cheetah Reintroduction
- African Cheetahs (IUCN status: Vulnerable), are being considered for reintroduction as Asiatic Cheetah (IUCN: critically endangered) are low in numbers which is known to occur only in Iran now.
- Cheetah is a keystone species of dry forests, scrub forests, and savannahs.
- It was declared extinct in India in 1952 due to overhunting and loss of habitat.
- It is also the world’s fastest land mammal.
Manas National Park
- Assam’s Manas National Park witnesses sharp rise in tiger, rhino population.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tiger Reserve, Elephant Reserve, Biosphere Reserve, National Park and also a Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Located in the Himalayan foothills, it is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
- It spans the Manas River and is bounded to the north by the forests of Bhutan.
- Manas river is a major tributary of Brahmaputra River which passes through the national park.
- Recent death of more than 95 Himalayan griffon vultures (Near Threatened) and a steppe eagle in Assam has been attributed to pesticide poisoning due to carbofuran.
- About Carbofuran:
- It is a pesticide that is widely used to control insects and nematodes on a variety of agricultural crops.
- Its extensive use for agricultural and nonagricultural purposes has been directly responsible for the environmental contamination and human health issues.
Stree Manoraksha Project
- It was launched by Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS).
- It is aimed at extending mental health training to 6000 One-Stop Center (OSC) functionaries across India.
- OSC Scheme (by MoWCD) is being implemented since 2015 to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence and in distress, both in private and public spaces.
- They aid women in medical, legal, and crimerelated matters.
- Launched by Minister of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, it aims to provide women an opportunity to be self-reliant and independent by undertaking selfemployment opportunities.
- Under Samarth, following benefits will be available to women entrepreneurs:
- 20% Seats in free Skill Development Programs will be allocated for Women.
- Special Drive for registration of women-owned MSMEs under Udyam Registration.
- 20% of MSME Business Delegations sent to exhibitions under schemes for Marketing Assistance will be dedicated to women owned MSMEs.
Nari Shakti Puraskar
- This award is conferred on International Women’s Day
- It is an initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to acknowledge the exceptional contribution made by individuals and institutions, to celebrate women as game changers and catalyst of positive change in the society.
- Award is open to all individuals & institutions.
- A person on whom Xenotransplantation was done, succumbed to death in 2 months.
- About Xenotransplantation -
- It involves the transplantation, implantation, or infusion into a human recipient of live cells, tissues, or organs from a nonhuman animal source.
- Pigs are increasingly being used for this, as their organs are anatomically similar to those of humans and are more tuned for genetic engineering.
- Minister of Railways inspected the trial of ‘Kavach’ working system between GullagudaChitgidda Railway stations.
- Kavach is the indigenously developed train collision avoidance system (TCAS).
- It is a set of electronic devices and Radio Frequency Identification devices installed in locomotives, in the signalling system and tracks.
- These communicate with each other using ultrahigh radio frequencies to control the brakes of trains and alert drivers.
- Development and construction in the Kashmir Valley is excavating and destroying its highly fertile alluvial soil deposits called ‘karewas'.
- Karewas are thick lacustrine deposits (deposits in lake) of glacial clay and other materials embedded with moraines.
- These are getting destroyed due to haphazard constructions, Illegal clay mining etc.
- Agricultural: Ideal for cultivation of Kashmir saffron (Zafran), almonds, apples and several other cash crops.
(i) Saffron heritage and cultivation of Kashmir Valley has been recognised as Global Agricultural Heritage Systems of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
(ii) Saffron has received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2020.
- Archaeological: Hold fossils and remnants of many human civilisations and habitations.
GI-Tagged Kashmir Carpets
- First ever Geographical Indication (GI) tagged Kashmir carpets flagged off to Germany.
- Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade granted GI tag to Kashmiri hand knotted carpets in 2016 but the registered carpets were certified from this year.
- Kashmiri carpets are very similar to Iranian carpets, but in Kashmiri carpets weavers use a written set of codes and symbols for design patterns and colors, called Taleem.
- For the first time, Indian Constitution is translated into Santali script ‘OlChiki’.
- 92nd Constitutional Amendment Act 2003 added Santali to Schedule VIII along with the Bodo, Dogri and Maithili languages.
- About Ol Chiki
- Ol Chiki script–the word ol means “write,” and chiki means “script”–was invented by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in 1925 to write Santali.
- About Santals
- Santals community is concentrated in several states including Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand.
- They speak Santali language which belongs to the Munda group of Austro-Asiatic sub-family of languages.
Padma Awards 2022
- Padma Awards, instituted in 1954, are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
- These are given in three categories:
- Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service).
- Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order).
- Padma Shri (distinguished service)
Promotion of Rural and Indigenous/Tribal Games Under Khelo India Scheme (KIS)
- ‘Promotion of rural and indigenous/tribal games’ component of KIS is specifically dedicated to the development and promotion of rural and indigenous/tribal games in the country.
- KIS aims at infusing sports culture and achieving sporting excellence in the country thus allowing the populace to harness the power of sports through its cross-cutting influence.
- It is the flagship Central Sector Scheme of Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.