Social Issue: February 2021 Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly

Current Affairs : Social Issue: February 2021 Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


 
                                                                                                                                                        
6. SOCIAL ISSUES 
6.1. TWO-CHILD POLICY 
Why in news? 
Recently, 3 candidates from the Municipal Corporations of Gujarat were disqualified under the two-child policy in 
place in the state for candidates. 
More about news 
• In 2005, Gujarat amended the Gujarat Local Authorities Act to “prevent a person having more than two 
children to be a member of panchayat, or the councillor of a municipality or municipal corporation”.  
• The rationale behind the two-child policy was said to be the need to “order and stabilise” the growing 
population of the country, beginning with elected representatives, who should lead by example. 
About two-child policy in India 
• Presently, India has no national policy 
mandating specific number of children. 
• The Family Welfare Programme in India is 
voluntary in nature. It enables couples to 
decide the size of their family and adopt 
the family planning methods best suited to 
them according to their choice without 
any compulsion.  
• In December 2020, a PIL was filed in the 
Supreme Court seeking denial of access to 
government jobs, subsidies, right to vote, 
to property and to free shelter to those 
with more than two children. 
o However, Ministry of Health and 
Family welfare has refused to 
implement such a legally enforceable 
two-child policy.  
• Several states, including Assam, 
Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, 
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, already have some form of the two-child norm in place for those running for 
elected government posts or government jobs. 
Why there is a need to have such two-child policy? 
• Health consequences: Mortality rates of mothers increases as the number of children increased. Some experts 
believe that having pregnancies too close together doesn't give the mother time to recover after losing 
nutrients such as iron and foliate after pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is called maternal depletion 
syndrome.  
• Limited resources: India is a young country with over 60% of the Indian population under the age of 35 years. 
Therefore, even if couples decide to have only one or two children, India's population will continue to increase 
until 2051. This would put huge burden on India’s natural resources limiting economic growth. 
• High standard of life: Less number of children results in judicious use of family resources. Such families have 
more resources at their disposal for spending on health and education of children. 
• Lack of awareness: Poor or illiterate section of society may not understand the benefits of small number of 
children. In this predicament, legal enforcement of two child policy may be needed for putting a cap on 
population stabilization.  
What are the Negative Consequences of having such two-child policy? 
• Domestic experience not encouraging: After the 1991 census, several states prohibited those who had more 
than two children from holding any panchayat post.  
Page 2


 
                                                                                                                                                        
6. SOCIAL ISSUES 
6.1. TWO-CHILD POLICY 
Why in news? 
Recently, 3 candidates from the Municipal Corporations of Gujarat were disqualified under the two-child policy in 
place in the state for candidates. 
More about news 
• In 2005, Gujarat amended the Gujarat Local Authorities Act to “prevent a person having more than two 
children to be a member of panchayat, or the councillor of a municipality or municipal corporation”.  
• The rationale behind the two-child policy was said to be the need to “order and stabilise” the growing 
population of the country, beginning with elected representatives, who should lead by example. 
About two-child policy in India 
• Presently, India has no national policy 
mandating specific number of children. 
• The Family Welfare Programme in India is 
voluntary in nature. It enables couples to 
decide the size of their family and adopt 
the family planning methods best suited to 
them according to their choice without 
any compulsion.  
• In December 2020, a PIL was filed in the 
Supreme Court seeking denial of access to 
government jobs, subsidies, right to vote, 
to property and to free shelter to those 
with more than two children. 
o However, Ministry of Health and 
Family welfare has refused to 
implement such a legally enforceable 
two-child policy.  
• Several states, including Assam, 
Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, 
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, already have some form of the two-child norm in place for those running for 
elected government posts or government jobs. 
Why there is a need to have such two-child policy? 
• Health consequences: Mortality rates of mothers increases as the number of children increased. Some experts 
believe that having pregnancies too close together doesn't give the mother time to recover after losing 
nutrients such as iron and foliate after pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is called maternal depletion 
syndrome.  
• Limited resources: India is a young country with over 60% of the Indian population under the age of 35 years. 
Therefore, even if couples decide to have only one or two children, India's population will continue to increase 
until 2051. This would put huge burden on India’s natural resources limiting economic growth. 
• High standard of life: Less number of children results in judicious use of family resources. Such families have 
more resources at their disposal for spending on health and education of children. 
• Lack of awareness: Poor or illiterate section of society may not understand the benefits of small number of 
children. In this predicament, legal enforcement of two child policy may be needed for putting a cap on 
population stabilization.  
What are the Negative Consequences of having such two-child policy? 
• Domestic experience not encouraging: After the 1991 census, several states prohibited those who had more 
than two children from holding any panchayat post.  
 
                                                                                                                                                        
o Instead of better family planning, this had unintended 
consequences like men deserting or divorcing wives if 
they became pregnant a third time, men abandoning or 
disowning their third child, sex-selective and unsafe 
abortions etc. 
• International experience not encouraging: Any coercion to 
have a certain number of children is counter-productive and 
leads to demographic distortions.  
o For example: China's one-child policy led to sex-selective 
abortions and an ageing population with a fast-declining 
workforce. The skewed sex ratio also led to increased 
trafficking of women and forced prostitution. 
• Replacement rate is almost achieved: The fertility rate across 
Indian states has fallen without coercive measures as family 
incomes increased and women were educated.  
o According to the National Health Family Survey-5 (NFHS-
5), women have fewer than two children, on average. 
Therefore, India does not need to go in for coercive family 
planning strategies at this point. 
o Also, there are communities where the TFR is below replacement level. For example, Parsis are 
considered to be on the verge of extinction due to very low TFR. National policy for two-child would have 
dampening effect on the number of these communities. 
• Contravention of violation international laws: India became a signatory to the International Conference on 
Population and Development Declaration in 1994. Thus, India is committed to honour the individual right of 
the couples to decide freely the number of children they want to have. 
o These measures would be contrary to the constitutional Right to Education (Article 21A, Article 45 and 
51A) and Right to Life (Article 21). 
• Exclusion from benefits: Such a policy takes away the basic rights of citizens like contesting election and 
voting. These policies also result in denial of merit.  
o Moreover, such a policy reinforcing the inequality and results in exclusion of marginalized from welfare 
service.  
Way ahead 
• Increase legal age of marriage: This would delay the age of first child birth and more maturity among couple 
may enable them to make informed decision regarding desirable number of children they should have. 
o Government is pondering to increase the legal age of marriage of women to 21 years. This would be a 
positive step for stabilizing the population growth also. 
• Increase the education level of girl child: Longer period of girl child in school would delay the early pregnancy. 
It would also empower them to have control over decision on number of children they want.   
o Moreover, good education would pave the way for effective participation of women in the workforce. 
This would further empower them to have control on their reproductive rights.  
• Involve community leadership: Community leaders including religious leaders, generally, have high 
reputations. Hence, they could be involved for raising awareness about socio-economic and health benefits of 
having less number of children. 
• Change the priority under family planning budget: Currently, family planning programmes account for about 
4% of the National Health Mission budget majority of which goes for incentives to families and service 
providers for sterilization.  
o The budget for family planning should focus on reducing social and cultural taboos in using contraception, 
and behaviour change communication, especially for men. 
 
 
 
 
Related information 
• Fertility: It means the actual bearing of 
children during a woman’s reproductive 
period i.e. roughly from 15 to 45, a period 
of 30 years. 
• Fertility rate: It refers to the number of 
live births during a year per 1,000 female 
populations aged 15-49 years at the 
midpoint of the same year. 
• Total Fertility Rate (TFR): The number of 
children that would be born per woman, 
assuming no female mortality at 
childbearing age and the age-specific 
fertility rates of a specified country and 
reference period. 
• Replacement level fertility: It refers to 
TFR at 2.1 which is the level of fertility at 
which a population exactly replaces itself 
from one generation to the next.   
Page 3


 
                                                                                                                                                        
6. SOCIAL ISSUES 
6.1. TWO-CHILD POLICY 
Why in news? 
Recently, 3 candidates from the Municipal Corporations of Gujarat were disqualified under the two-child policy in 
place in the state for candidates. 
More about news 
• In 2005, Gujarat amended the Gujarat Local Authorities Act to “prevent a person having more than two 
children to be a member of panchayat, or the councillor of a municipality or municipal corporation”.  
• The rationale behind the two-child policy was said to be the need to “order and stabilise” the growing 
population of the country, beginning with elected representatives, who should lead by example. 
About two-child policy in India 
• Presently, India has no national policy 
mandating specific number of children. 
• The Family Welfare Programme in India is 
voluntary in nature. It enables couples to 
decide the size of their family and adopt 
the family planning methods best suited to 
them according to their choice without 
any compulsion.  
• In December 2020, a PIL was filed in the 
Supreme Court seeking denial of access to 
government jobs, subsidies, right to vote, 
to property and to free shelter to those 
with more than two children. 
o However, Ministry of Health and 
Family welfare has refused to 
implement such a legally enforceable 
two-child policy.  
• Several states, including Assam, 
Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, 
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, already have some form of the two-child norm in place for those running for 
elected government posts or government jobs. 
Why there is a need to have such two-child policy? 
• Health consequences: Mortality rates of mothers increases as the number of children increased. Some experts 
believe that having pregnancies too close together doesn't give the mother time to recover after losing 
nutrients such as iron and foliate after pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is called maternal depletion 
syndrome.  
• Limited resources: India is a young country with over 60% of the Indian population under the age of 35 years. 
Therefore, even if couples decide to have only one or two children, India's population will continue to increase 
until 2051. This would put huge burden on India’s natural resources limiting economic growth. 
• High standard of life: Less number of children results in judicious use of family resources. Such families have 
more resources at their disposal for spending on health and education of children. 
• Lack of awareness: Poor or illiterate section of society may not understand the benefits of small number of 
children. In this predicament, legal enforcement of two child policy may be needed for putting a cap on 
population stabilization.  
What are the Negative Consequences of having such two-child policy? 
• Domestic experience not encouraging: After the 1991 census, several states prohibited those who had more 
than two children from holding any panchayat post.  
 
                                                                                                                                                        
o Instead of better family planning, this had unintended 
consequences like men deserting or divorcing wives if 
they became pregnant a third time, men abandoning or 
disowning their third child, sex-selective and unsafe 
abortions etc. 
• International experience not encouraging: Any coercion to 
have a certain number of children is counter-productive and 
leads to demographic distortions.  
o For example: China's one-child policy led to sex-selective 
abortions and an ageing population with a fast-declining 
workforce. The skewed sex ratio also led to increased 
trafficking of women and forced prostitution. 
• Replacement rate is almost achieved: The fertility rate across 
Indian states has fallen without coercive measures as family 
incomes increased and women were educated.  
o According to the National Health Family Survey-5 (NFHS-
5), women have fewer than two children, on average. 
Therefore, India does not need to go in for coercive family 
planning strategies at this point. 
o Also, there are communities where the TFR is below replacement level. For example, Parsis are 
considered to be on the verge of extinction due to very low TFR. National policy for two-child would have 
dampening effect on the number of these communities. 
• Contravention of violation international laws: India became a signatory to the International Conference on 
Population and Development Declaration in 1994. Thus, India is committed to honour the individual right of 
the couples to decide freely the number of children they want to have. 
o These measures would be contrary to the constitutional Right to Education (Article 21A, Article 45 and 
51A) and Right to Life (Article 21). 
• Exclusion from benefits: Such a policy takes away the basic rights of citizens like contesting election and 
voting. These policies also result in denial of merit.  
o Moreover, such a policy reinforcing the inequality and results in exclusion of marginalized from welfare 
service.  
Way ahead 
• Increase legal age of marriage: This would delay the age of first child birth and more maturity among couple 
may enable them to make informed decision regarding desirable number of children they should have. 
o Government is pondering to increase the legal age of marriage of women to 21 years. This would be a 
positive step for stabilizing the population growth also. 
• Increase the education level of girl child: Longer period of girl child in school would delay the early pregnancy. 
It would also empower them to have control over decision on number of children they want.   
o Moreover, good education would pave the way for effective participation of women in the workforce. 
This would further empower them to have control on their reproductive rights.  
• Involve community leadership: Community leaders including religious leaders, generally, have high 
reputations. Hence, they could be involved for raising awareness about socio-economic and health benefits of 
having less number of children. 
• Change the priority under family planning budget: Currently, family planning programmes account for about 
4% of the National Health Mission budget majority of which goes for incentives to families and service 
providers for sterilization.  
o The budget for family planning should focus on reducing social and cultural taboos in using contraception, 
and behaviour change communication, especially for men. 
 
 
 
 
Related information 
• Fertility: It means the actual bearing of 
children during a woman’s reproductive 
period i.e. roughly from 15 to 45, a period 
of 30 years. 
• Fertility rate: It refers to the number of 
live births during a year per 1,000 female 
populations aged 15-49 years at the 
midpoint of the same year. 
• Total Fertility Rate (TFR): The number of 
children that would be born per woman, 
assuming no female mortality at 
childbearing age and the age-specific 
fertility rates of a specified country and 
reference period. 
• Replacement level fertility: It refers to 
TFR at 2.1 which is the level of fertility at 
which a population exactly replaces itself 
from one generation to the next.   
 
                                                                                                                                                        
6.2. PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES (POCSO) ACT, 
2012   
Why in news? 
Recently, the single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) set aside charges of sexual assault under POCSO 
Act against a man accused of molesting a 12 year old girl child.   
More about the news 
• The Bombay HC absolved an accused from the charges under POCSO Act and instead chose to apply Section 
354 of the IPC. 
• The High Court judge held that mere groping without “skin-to-skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual 
assault under the POCSO Act.  
• The phrase “skin-to-skin contact” is not mentioned under the POCSO Act.   
• The Supreme Court has stayed the order as it was “likely to set a dangerous precedent”. 
About POCSO Act, 2012  
• It is a comprehensive law for the protection of 
children (under the age of 18) from the offences of 
sexual assault, sexual harassment and 
pornography.  
o UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 
1989 (ratified by India in 1992) requires 
sexual exploitation and sexual abuse to be 
addressed as heinous crimes. 
• It incorporates child-friendly mechanisms at every 
stage of the judicial process which include 
reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and 
speedy trial of offences through designated  
Special Courts.  
• It also mandates that the investigation in the cases 
is to be completed in two months and trial in 6 
months. For this purpose Fast Track Special Courts 
(FTSCs) are established. 
• It also punishes criminals who are in positions of 
trust of authority like public servants, staff of 
educational institutions, police etc. 
• It does not explicitly recognizes grooming. 
However, experts say that section 11 of the Act can 
be interpreted to recognize and criminalise. 
Grooming involves acts of establishing relationship 
with a child so as to facilitate sexual contact with 
the child. Section 67(b) of the Information 
Technology Act criminalizes grooming. 
• In 2019 the Act was amended to includes following provisions  
o Increases the minimum punishment (including death penalty) for penetrative sexual assault, aggravated 
penetrative sexual assault. 
o Assault resulting in death of child, and assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar 
situations of violence are covered as Aggravated penetrative sexual assault. 
o Defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including 
photograph, video, digital or computergenerated image indistinguishable from an actual child. 
o Storage of pornographic material: Includes two other offences (i) failing to destroy, or delete, or or report 
pornographic material involving a child (ii) transmitting, displaying, distributing such material except for 
the purpose of reporting it. 
 
Related information 
POCSO Rules, 2020 
• Mandatory police verification of staff in any 
institution housing children or coming in regular 
contact with children like schools, care homes, 
sports academies etc. 
• State Governments to formulate a child protection 
policy to be adopted by all institutions, 
organizations, or any other agency working with, or 
coming in contact with children 
• Central Government and State Governments shall 
o Provide periodic training (like sensitization 
workshops etc.) to all persons, coming in contact 
with the children, to sensitize them about child 
safety and protection. 
o Prepare age-appropriate educational material 
and curriculum for children, informing them 
about personal safety, emotional and mental 
wellbeing, reporting mechanisms including 
Childline helpline services (toll free number-
1098) etc. 
• Capacity building for police personnel and forensic 
experts for building their capacities in their 
respective roles on a regular basis 
• Any person who has received any pornographic 
material involving a child or any information 
regarding such pornographic material shall report 
the contents. 
Page 4


 
                                                                                                                                                        
6. SOCIAL ISSUES 
6.1. TWO-CHILD POLICY 
Why in news? 
Recently, 3 candidates from the Municipal Corporations of Gujarat were disqualified under the two-child policy in 
place in the state for candidates. 
More about news 
• In 2005, Gujarat amended the Gujarat Local Authorities Act to “prevent a person having more than two 
children to be a member of panchayat, or the councillor of a municipality or municipal corporation”.  
• The rationale behind the two-child policy was said to be the need to “order and stabilise” the growing 
population of the country, beginning with elected representatives, who should lead by example. 
About two-child policy in India 
• Presently, India has no national policy 
mandating specific number of children. 
• The Family Welfare Programme in India is 
voluntary in nature. It enables couples to 
decide the size of their family and adopt 
the family planning methods best suited to 
them according to their choice without 
any compulsion.  
• In December 2020, a PIL was filed in the 
Supreme Court seeking denial of access to 
government jobs, subsidies, right to vote, 
to property and to free shelter to those 
with more than two children. 
o However, Ministry of Health and 
Family welfare has refused to 
implement such a legally enforceable 
two-child policy.  
• Several states, including Assam, 
Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, 
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, already have some form of the two-child norm in place for those running for 
elected government posts or government jobs. 
Why there is a need to have such two-child policy? 
• Health consequences: Mortality rates of mothers increases as the number of children increased. Some experts 
believe that having pregnancies too close together doesn't give the mother time to recover after losing 
nutrients such as iron and foliate after pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is called maternal depletion 
syndrome.  
• Limited resources: India is a young country with over 60% of the Indian population under the age of 35 years. 
Therefore, even if couples decide to have only one or two children, India's population will continue to increase 
until 2051. This would put huge burden on India’s natural resources limiting economic growth. 
• High standard of life: Less number of children results in judicious use of family resources. Such families have 
more resources at their disposal for spending on health and education of children. 
• Lack of awareness: Poor or illiterate section of society may not understand the benefits of small number of 
children. In this predicament, legal enforcement of two child policy may be needed for putting a cap on 
population stabilization.  
What are the Negative Consequences of having such two-child policy? 
• Domestic experience not encouraging: After the 1991 census, several states prohibited those who had more 
than two children from holding any panchayat post.  
 
                                                                                                                                                        
o Instead of better family planning, this had unintended 
consequences like men deserting or divorcing wives if 
they became pregnant a third time, men abandoning or 
disowning their third child, sex-selective and unsafe 
abortions etc. 
• International experience not encouraging: Any coercion to 
have a certain number of children is counter-productive and 
leads to demographic distortions.  
o For example: China's one-child policy led to sex-selective 
abortions and an ageing population with a fast-declining 
workforce. The skewed sex ratio also led to increased 
trafficking of women and forced prostitution. 
• Replacement rate is almost achieved: The fertility rate across 
Indian states has fallen without coercive measures as family 
incomes increased and women were educated.  
o According to the National Health Family Survey-5 (NFHS-
5), women have fewer than two children, on average. 
Therefore, India does not need to go in for coercive family 
planning strategies at this point. 
o Also, there are communities where the TFR is below replacement level. For example, Parsis are 
considered to be on the verge of extinction due to very low TFR. National policy for two-child would have 
dampening effect on the number of these communities. 
• Contravention of violation international laws: India became a signatory to the International Conference on 
Population and Development Declaration in 1994. Thus, India is committed to honour the individual right of 
the couples to decide freely the number of children they want to have. 
o These measures would be contrary to the constitutional Right to Education (Article 21A, Article 45 and 
51A) and Right to Life (Article 21). 
• Exclusion from benefits: Such a policy takes away the basic rights of citizens like contesting election and 
voting. These policies also result in denial of merit.  
o Moreover, such a policy reinforcing the inequality and results in exclusion of marginalized from welfare 
service.  
Way ahead 
• Increase legal age of marriage: This would delay the age of first child birth and more maturity among couple 
may enable them to make informed decision regarding desirable number of children they should have. 
o Government is pondering to increase the legal age of marriage of women to 21 years. This would be a 
positive step for stabilizing the population growth also. 
• Increase the education level of girl child: Longer period of girl child in school would delay the early pregnancy. 
It would also empower them to have control over decision on number of children they want.   
o Moreover, good education would pave the way for effective participation of women in the workforce. 
This would further empower them to have control on their reproductive rights.  
• Involve community leadership: Community leaders including religious leaders, generally, have high 
reputations. Hence, they could be involved for raising awareness about socio-economic and health benefits of 
having less number of children. 
• Change the priority under family planning budget: Currently, family planning programmes account for about 
4% of the National Health Mission budget majority of which goes for incentives to families and service 
providers for sterilization.  
o The budget for family planning should focus on reducing social and cultural taboos in using contraception, 
and behaviour change communication, especially for men. 
 
 
 
 
Related information 
• Fertility: It means the actual bearing of 
children during a woman’s reproductive 
period i.e. roughly from 15 to 45, a period 
of 30 years. 
• Fertility rate: It refers to the number of 
live births during a year per 1,000 female 
populations aged 15-49 years at the 
midpoint of the same year. 
• Total Fertility Rate (TFR): The number of 
children that would be born per woman, 
assuming no female mortality at 
childbearing age and the age-specific 
fertility rates of a specified country and 
reference period. 
• Replacement level fertility: It refers to 
TFR at 2.1 which is the level of fertility at 
which a population exactly replaces itself 
from one generation to the next.   
 
                                                                                                                                                        
6.2. PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES (POCSO) ACT, 
2012   
Why in news? 
Recently, the single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) set aside charges of sexual assault under POCSO 
Act against a man accused of molesting a 12 year old girl child.   
More about the news 
• The Bombay HC absolved an accused from the charges under POCSO Act and instead chose to apply Section 
354 of the IPC. 
• The High Court judge held that mere groping without “skin-to-skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual 
assault under the POCSO Act.  
• The phrase “skin-to-skin contact” is not mentioned under the POCSO Act.   
• The Supreme Court has stayed the order as it was “likely to set a dangerous precedent”. 
About POCSO Act, 2012  
• It is a comprehensive law for the protection of 
children (under the age of 18) from the offences of 
sexual assault, sexual harassment and 
pornography.  
o UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 
1989 (ratified by India in 1992) requires 
sexual exploitation and sexual abuse to be 
addressed as heinous crimes. 
• It incorporates child-friendly mechanisms at every 
stage of the judicial process which include 
reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and 
speedy trial of offences through designated  
Special Courts.  
• It also mandates that the investigation in the cases 
is to be completed in two months and trial in 6 
months. For this purpose Fast Track Special Courts 
(FTSCs) are established. 
• It also punishes criminals who are in positions of 
trust of authority like public servants, staff of 
educational institutions, police etc. 
• It does not explicitly recognizes grooming. 
However, experts say that section 11 of the Act can 
be interpreted to recognize and criminalise. 
Grooming involves acts of establishing relationship 
with a child so as to facilitate sexual contact with 
the child. Section 67(b) of the Information 
Technology Act criminalizes grooming. 
• In 2019 the Act was amended to includes following provisions  
o Increases the minimum punishment (including death penalty) for penetrative sexual assault, aggravated 
penetrative sexual assault. 
o Assault resulting in death of child, and assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar 
situations of violence are covered as Aggravated penetrative sexual assault. 
o Defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including 
photograph, video, digital or computergenerated image indistinguishable from an actual child. 
o Storage of pornographic material: Includes two other offences (i) failing to destroy, or delete, or or report 
pornographic material involving a child (ii) transmitting, displaying, distributing such material except for 
the purpose of reporting it. 
 
Related information 
POCSO Rules, 2020 
• Mandatory police verification of staff in any 
institution housing children or coming in regular 
contact with children like schools, care homes, 
sports academies etc. 
• State Governments to formulate a child protection 
policy to be adopted by all institutions, 
organizations, or any other agency working with, or 
coming in contact with children 
• Central Government and State Governments shall 
o Provide periodic training (like sensitization 
workshops etc.) to all persons, coming in contact 
with the children, to sensitize them about child 
safety and protection. 
o Prepare age-appropriate educational material 
and curriculum for children, informing them 
about personal safety, emotional and mental 
wellbeing, reporting mechanisms including 
Childline helpline services (toll free number-
1098) etc. 
• Capacity building for police personnel and forensic 
experts for building their capacities in their 
respective roles on a regular basis 
• Any person who has received any pornographic 
material involving a child or any information 
regarding such pornographic material shall report 
the contents. 
 
                                                                                                                                                        
Section 354 IPC vs. POCSO Act, 2012 
Specifics Section 354 IPC POCSO 
Age of the 
victim 
Punishment for the offence irrespective 
of any age of the victim 
For the protection of children 
Gender of 
the victim 
• Female • Gender neutral 
Definition of 
sexual 
assault 
• Definition is generic  
• It makes it a crime to use force 
against a woman, or even threaten to 
use force, if the intention is to 
'outrage her modesty'. 
• The Act for the first time, defines “penetrative sexual 
assault”, “sexual assault” and “sexual harassment” 
• Acts of “sexual assault” are explicitly mentioned such 
as touching various private parts or doing any other act 
which involves physical contact without penetration.  
Burden of 
proof  
Lies on the prosecution. The  accused in 
‘deemed to be innocent until proven 
guilty’ 
Lies on the accused. The accused is ‘deemed to be guilty until 
proven innocent’ 
Punishment Minimum 1 year this may extend to five 
years along with a fine. 
Minimum 3 Years this may extend to 5 years, in addition to a 
fine. 
Impact of POCSO 
Law has not been able to produce expected deterrence. Proportion of child victim in rape cases has increased. 
Higher numbers of bails are granted for crimes committed under POCSO vis-à-vis other crimes.  Conviction rate in 
POCSO cases in 2016 (the latest year for which data is available) was only 28.2%. 89% of the cases of child sexual 
abuse were awaiting justice at the end of 2019. 
Challenges in implementing POCSO Act 
• Proving the age of the child: The POCSO Act is silent on what documents are to be considered for determining 
the age of the child victim. Hence, only the birth certificate, the school certificate or the matriculation 
certificate is considered as the proof (as they are mentioned as a proof under the Juvenile Justice Rules).   
o However, children who are only able to produce other legal documents (such as a passport) have to 
undergo a bone ossification test.  
o This test can give a rough estimate of the age of the child at best. This creates a hurdle in delivery of justice. 
• Police system: Police fall under the jurisdiction of the states. It suffers from various issues like shortage of 
human resource (including skilled human resource), politicization, overburdened with work.  As a result, many 
a time the victim has to face challenges like refusal by police to file the FIR, interrogation in an insensitive way 
etc.  
Page 5


 
                                                                                                                                                        
6. SOCIAL ISSUES 
6.1. TWO-CHILD POLICY 
Why in news? 
Recently, 3 candidates from the Municipal Corporations of Gujarat were disqualified under the two-child policy in 
place in the state for candidates. 
More about news 
• In 2005, Gujarat amended the Gujarat Local Authorities Act to “prevent a person having more than two 
children to be a member of panchayat, or the councillor of a municipality or municipal corporation”.  
• The rationale behind the two-child policy was said to be the need to “order and stabilise” the growing 
population of the country, beginning with elected representatives, who should lead by example. 
About two-child policy in India 
• Presently, India has no national policy 
mandating specific number of children. 
• The Family Welfare Programme in India is 
voluntary in nature. It enables couples to 
decide the size of their family and adopt 
the family planning methods best suited to 
them according to their choice without 
any compulsion.  
• In December 2020, a PIL was filed in the 
Supreme Court seeking denial of access to 
government jobs, subsidies, right to vote, 
to property and to free shelter to those 
with more than two children. 
o However, Ministry of Health and 
Family welfare has refused to 
implement such a legally enforceable 
two-child policy.  
• Several states, including Assam, 
Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, 
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, already have some form of the two-child norm in place for those running for 
elected government posts or government jobs. 
Why there is a need to have such two-child policy? 
• Health consequences: Mortality rates of mothers increases as the number of children increased. Some experts 
believe that having pregnancies too close together doesn't give the mother time to recover after losing 
nutrients such as iron and foliate after pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is called maternal depletion 
syndrome.  
• Limited resources: India is a young country with over 60% of the Indian population under the age of 35 years. 
Therefore, even if couples decide to have only one or two children, India's population will continue to increase 
until 2051. This would put huge burden on India’s natural resources limiting economic growth. 
• High standard of life: Less number of children results in judicious use of family resources. Such families have 
more resources at their disposal for spending on health and education of children. 
• Lack of awareness: Poor or illiterate section of society may not understand the benefits of small number of 
children. In this predicament, legal enforcement of two child policy may be needed for putting a cap on 
population stabilization.  
What are the Negative Consequences of having such two-child policy? 
• Domestic experience not encouraging: After the 1991 census, several states prohibited those who had more 
than two children from holding any panchayat post.  
 
                                                                                                                                                        
o Instead of better family planning, this had unintended 
consequences like men deserting or divorcing wives if 
they became pregnant a third time, men abandoning or 
disowning their third child, sex-selective and unsafe 
abortions etc. 
• International experience not encouraging: Any coercion to 
have a certain number of children is counter-productive and 
leads to demographic distortions.  
o For example: China's one-child policy led to sex-selective 
abortions and an ageing population with a fast-declining 
workforce. The skewed sex ratio also led to increased 
trafficking of women and forced prostitution. 
• Replacement rate is almost achieved: The fertility rate across 
Indian states has fallen without coercive measures as family 
incomes increased and women were educated.  
o According to the National Health Family Survey-5 (NFHS-
5), women have fewer than two children, on average. 
Therefore, India does not need to go in for coercive family 
planning strategies at this point. 
o Also, there are communities where the TFR is below replacement level. For example, Parsis are 
considered to be on the verge of extinction due to very low TFR. National policy for two-child would have 
dampening effect on the number of these communities. 
• Contravention of violation international laws: India became a signatory to the International Conference on 
Population and Development Declaration in 1994. Thus, India is committed to honour the individual right of 
the couples to decide freely the number of children they want to have. 
o These measures would be contrary to the constitutional Right to Education (Article 21A, Article 45 and 
51A) and Right to Life (Article 21). 
• Exclusion from benefits: Such a policy takes away the basic rights of citizens like contesting election and 
voting. These policies also result in denial of merit.  
o Moreover, such a policy reinforcing the inequality and results in exclusion of marginalized from welfare 
service.  
Way ahead 
• Increase legal age of marriage: This would delay the age of first child birth and more maturity among couple 
may enable them to make informed decision regarding desirable number of children they should have. 
o Government is pondering to increase the legal age of marriage of women to 21 years. This would be a 
positive step for stabilizing the population growth also. 
• Increase the education level of girl child: Longer period of girl child in school would delay the early pregnancy. 
It would also empower them to have control over decision on number of children they want.   
o Moreover, good education would pave the way for effective participation of women in the workforce. 
This would further empower them to have control on their reproductive rights.  
• Involve community leadership: Community leaders including religious leaders, generally, have high 
reputations. Hence, they could be involved for raising awareness about socio-economic and health benefits of 
having less number of children. 
• Change the priority under family planning budget: Currently, family planning programmes account for about 
4% of the National Health Mission budget majority of which goes for incentives to families and service 
providers for sterilization.  
o The budget for family planning should focus on reducing social and cultural taboos in using contraception, 
and behaviour change communication, especially for men. 
 
 
 
 
Related information 
• Fertility: It means the actual bearing of 
children during a woman’s reproductive 
period i.e. roughly from 15 to 45, a period 
of 30 years. 
• Fertility rate: It refers to the number of 
live births during a year per 1,000 female 
populations aged 15-49 years at the 
midpoint of the same year. 
• Total Fertility Rate (TFR): The number of 
children that would be born per woman, 
assuming no female mortality at 
childbearing age and the age-specific 
fertility rates of a specified country and 
reference period. 
• Replacement level fertility: It refers to 
TFR at 2.1 which is the level of fertility at 
which a population exactly replaces itself 
from one generation to the next.   
 
                                                                                                                                                        
6.2. PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES (POCSO) ACT, 
2012   
Why in news? 
Recently, the single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) set aside charges of sexual assault under POCSO 
Act against a man accused of molesting a 12 year old girl child.   
More about the news 
• The Bombay HC absolved an accused from the charges under POCSO Act and instead chose to apply Section 
354 of the IPC. 
• The High Court judge held that mere groping without “skin-to-skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual 
assault under the POCSO Act.  
• The phrase “skin-to-skin contact” is not mentioned under the POCSO Act.   
• The Supreme Court has stayed the order as it was “likely to set a dangerous precedent”. 
About POCSO Act, 2012  
• It is a comprehensive law for the protection of 
children (under the age of 18) from the offences of 
sexual assault, sexual harassment and 
pornography.  
o UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 
1989 (ratified by India in 1992) requires 
sexual exploitation and sexual abuse to be 
addressed as heinous crimes. 
• It incorporates child-friendly mechanisms at every 
stage of the judicial process which include 
reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and 
speedy trial of offences through designated  
Special Courts.  
• It also mandates that the investigation in the cases 
is to be completed in two months and trial in 6 
months. For this purpose Fast Track Special Courts 
(FTSCs) are established. 
• It also punishes criminals who are in positions of 
trust of authority like public servants, staff of 
educational institutions, police etc. 
• It does not explicitly recognizes grooming. 
However, experts say that section 11 of the Act can 
be interpreted to recognize and criminalise. 
Grooming involves acts of establishing relationship 
with a child so as to facilitate sexual contact with 
the child. Section 67(b) of the Information 
Technology Act criminalizes grooming. 
• In 2019 the Act was amended to includes following provisions  
o Increases the minimum punishment (including death penalty) for penetrative sexual assault, aggravated 
penetrative sexual assault. 
o Assault resulting in death of child, and assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar 
situations of violence are covered as Aggravated penetrative sexual assault. 
o Defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including 
photograph, video, digital or computergenerated image indistinguishable from an actual child. 
o Storage of pornographic material: Includes two other offences (i) failing to destroy, or delete, or or report 
pornographic material involving a child (ii) transmitting, displaying, distributing such material except for 
the purpose of reporting it. 
 
Related information 
POCSO Rules, 2020 
• Mandatory police verification of staff in any 
institution housing children or coming in regular 
contact with children like schools, care homes, 
sports academies etc. 
• State Governments to formulate a child protection 
policy to be adopted by all institutions, 
organizations, or any other agency working with, or 
coming in contact with children 
• Central Government and State Governments shall 
o Provide periodic training (like sensitization 
workshops etc.) to all persons, coming in contact 
with the children, to sensitize them about child 
safety and protection. 
o Prepare age-appropriate educational material 
and curriculum for children, informing them 
about personal safety, emotional and mental 
wellbeing, reporting mechanisms including 
Childline helpline services (toll free number-
1098) etc. 
• Capacity building for police personnel and forensic 
experts for building their capacities in their 
respective roles on a regular basis 
• Any person who has received any pornographic 
material involving a child or any information 
regarding such pornographic material shall report 
the contents. 
 
                                                                                                                                                        
Section 354 IPC vs. POCSO Act, 2012 
Specifics Section 354 IPC POCSO 
Age of the 
victim 
Punishment for the offence irrespective 
of any age of the victim 
For the protection of children 
Gender of 
the victim 
• Female • Gender neutral 
Definition of 
sexual 
assault 
• Definition is generic  
• It makes it a crime to use force 
against a woman, or even threaten to 
use force, if the intention is to 
'outrage her modesty'. 
• The Act for the first time, defines “penetrative sexual 
assault”, “sexual assault” and “sexual harassment” 
• Acts of “sexual assault” are explicitly mentioned such 
as touching various private parts or doing any other act 
which involves physical contact without penetration.  
Burden of 
proof  
Lies on the prosecution. The  accused in 
‘deemed to be innocent until proven 
guilty’ 
Lies on the accused. The accused is ‘deemed to be guilty until 
proven innocent’ 
Punishment Minimum 1 year this may extend to five 
years along with a fine. 
Minimum 3 Years this may extend to 5 years, in addition to a 
fine. 
Impact of POCSO 
Law has not been able to produce expected deterrence. Proportion of child victim in rape cases has increased. 
Higher numbers of bails are granted for crimes committed under POCSO vis-à-vis other crimes.  Conviction rate in 
POCSO cases in 2016 (the latest year for which data is available) was only 28.2%. 89% of the cases of child sexual 
abuse were awaiting justice at the end of 2019. 
Challenges in implementing POCSO Act 
• Proving the age of the child: The POCSO Act is silent on what documents are to be considered for determining 
the age of the child victim. Hence, only the birth certificate, the school certificate or the matriculation 
certificate is considered as the proof (as they are mentioned as a proof under the Juvenile Justice Rules).   
o However, children who are only able to produce other legal documents (such as a passport) have to 
undergo a bone ossification test.  
o This test can give a rough estimate of the age of the child at best. This creates a hurdle in delivery of justice. 
• Police system: Police fall under the jurisdiction of the states. It suffers from various issues like shortage of 
human resource (including skilled human resource), politicization, overburdened with work.  As a result, many 
a time the victim has to face challenges like refusal by police to file the FIR, interrogation in an insensitive way 
etc.  
 
                                                                                                                                                        
• Forensic samples: Due to poor training they may not collect forensic samples with due diligence. Further, such 
samples often end up getting contaminated, or putrefied due to improper storage. 
• Overburdened judiciary: At present, special courts set up under the law deal with other kinds of criminal and 
civil cases as well. Moreover, frequent adjournments reduce the chances of the victim being able to recollect 
the facts of the incident accurately.   
• Interim compensation: The child victim is entitled to interim compensation to meet their immediate needs. 
However, it is necessary for all stakeholders to understand that interim compensation should not be 
restrictively interpreted to mean only his or her medical needs. It includes every need of the child necessary 
for rehabilitation. 
• Public Prosecutor: Generally, defense lawyers in POCSO cases are specialised, but the same did not hold true 
for the public prosecutors, leading to a "mismatch". 
• National and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights: They are required to monitor and evaluate 
the implementation of the Act in addition to generating public awareness. However, their functioning and 
evaluation procedure is not open to public scrutiny.  
Way ahead 
• Assessment of the impact: There needs to be a nationwide assessment of the impact POCSO Act had since its 
inception. This would pave the way for bringing the required changes in the system.  
• Police reform: Police is the first interface between the victim and the judiciary. Therefore, effective functioning 
and sensitivity in police is a prerequisite in dealing with cases of Child sex abuse.  
• Overhaul of the criminal justice delivery system: The courts set up under this law deal must exclusively deal 
with child sexual abuse matters. Also, there is a need for audit of funds requirement, practices and procedures 
of the 60pecializat courts, set up under this law.  
o There is a need for 60pecialization of the judges, prosecutors and police officers who deal with such 
cases. 
o Train and sensitise all the judicial, government and medical officials who deal with such matters as well 
as effectively ensure privacy of the victims. 
o Bringing changes in evidence law, methods of investigation and strengthening of the forensics 
department of the government to keep pace with the changes in the nature of child sexual abuse crimes. 
o Emerging nature of crimes also need to be looked at, as there are difficulties associated with reporting 
and investigation of these new types of offences. 
o  Improve the compensation and set up a support system as many victims have to forego their education 
due to several reasons. 
• Awareness: Awareness among children and parents need to be enhanced. 
6.3. WATER SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH)  
Why in news? 
Recently, researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) US, have estimated 
the cost of ensuring Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and taking related steps for infection prevention and 
control in India. 
More about news 
• This study was a part of a larger project to determine the cost-effectiveness of WASH interventions to reduce 
healthcare-associated infections among mother and neonates across the Indian healthcare system. 
• According to study, 
o Improving WASH across the public healthcare facilities in India and maintaining this for a year would cost 
$354 million in capital costs and $289 million in recurrent expenses. 
? Most costly interventions were providing clean water, linen reprocessing and sanitation. 
? The least expensive interventions were hand hygiene, medical device reprocessing and 
environmental surface cleaning. 
o Inadequacies in proving WASH and lack of infection prevention and control can lead to healthcare 
associated infections.  
Read More
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