INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. SC FORMS COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE PEGASUS ALLEGATIONS
THE CONTEXT: The Supreme Court-appointed an independent expert technical committee is overseen by a former apex court judge, Justice R.V. Raveendran, to examine allegations that the government used Israeli spyware, Pegasus, to snoop on its own citizens.
- SC stressed that the power of the state to snoop in the name of national security into the “sacred private space” of individuals is not absolute.
- It decided to refuse the Centre’s offer to appoint an expert committee to investigate the allegations because “such a course of action would violate the settled judicial principle against bias, i.e., that ‘justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done.”
- Indiscriminate spying on individuals by the state is not allowed in a democracy. The use of technology for surveillance by the state must be evidence-based.
- A need may arise to encroach into individual privacy to access information vital to prevent violence and terror. However, the state can violate a person’s privacy only if it is “absolutely necessary” to protect national security and interests. The necessity to trespass on individual privacy should be proportional.
- In a democratic country governed by the rule of law, indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed except with sufficient statutory safeguards, by following the procedure established by law under the Constitution.
- Snooping on journalists or creating a fear that the media is being spied on creates a “chilling effect” on journalistic freedom and is an assault on the vital public watchdog role of the press.
- Two principles enunciated by SC in its order: 1. Surveillance, or even the knowledge that one could be spied upon, affects the way individuals exercise their rights, warranting the Court’s intervention. 2. There is no omnibus prohibition on judicial review merely because the spectre of national security is being raised.
2. FOUR YEAR INTEGRATED TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME
THE CONTEXT: Ministry of Education notifies the Four Year ITEP, a dual-major holistic bachelor’s degree offering B.A. B.Ed./ B. Sc. B. Ed. and B.Com. B.Ed. which is one of the major mandates of the National Education Policy 2020 related to Teacher Education.
- As per the NEP, 2020, teacher engagement from the year 2030 onwards will be only through ITEP.
- It will be offered in pilot mode initially in about 50 selected multidisciplinary institutions across the country.
- National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) under the Ministry of Education has devised the curriculum of this course in such a way that it enables a student-teacher to get a degree in education as well as a specialised discipline such as history, mathematics, science, arts, economics, or commerce.
- ITEP will not only impart cutting-edge pedagogy, but will also establish a foundation in early childhood care and education (ECCE), foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN), inclusive education, and an understanding of India and its values/ethos/art/traditions, among others.
- The Year ITEP will be available for all students who choose teaching as a profession after secondary, by choice. This integrated course will benefit students since they will save one year by finishing it in four years rather than the customary five years required by the present B.Ed. plan.
- The commencement of Four Year ITEP will be from the academic session 2022-23. Admission for the same will be carried out by the National Testing Agency (NTA) through the National Common Entrance Test (NCET). This course will be offered by multidisciplinary institutions and will become the minimal degree qualification for schoolteachers.
3. HAR GHAR DASTAK CAMPAIGN
THE CONTEXT: According to the Health Ministry, the “Har Ghar Dastak” (Knock Every Door) campaign is scheduled to start soon in districts with low vaccination rates to enthuse and motivate people towards getting their jab.
- There were more than 10.34 crore people in the country who had missed the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that they were due to take.
- He added that adequate vaccine doses were available in the country, and more than 12 crore unutilized doses were available with the States.
- Innovative strategies to encourage stakeholders to achieve their targets.
THE CONTEXT: Union Minister of MSME launched “SAMBHAV”, a National Level Awareness Programme-2021.
- The mass outreach program will be a one-month long initiative under the Ministry of MSME in which students from different colleges/ITIs from all parts of the country will be encouraged by 130 field offices of the Ministry to take up entrepreneurship.
- During the campaign, the college students will be made aware of the various schemes being implemented by the Ministry of MSME through Audio/Video film presentations.
- Awareness programs will be conducted in more than 1,300 colleges across the country in which 1, 50,000 students are expected to participate.
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
5. KRISHI UDAN 2.0
THE CONTEXT: Union Minister of Civil Aviation released Krishi UDAN 2.0. Krishi UDAN 2.0 lays out the vision of improving value realization through better integration and optimization of Agri-harvesting and air transportation and contributing to Agri-value chain sustainability and resilience under different and dynamic conditions. The scheme proposes to facilitate and incentivize the movement of Agri-produce by air transportation.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF KRISHI UDAN 2.0
- Facilitating and incentivizing movement of Agri-produce by air transportation: Full waiver of Landing, Parking, TNLC and RNFC charges for Indian freighters and P2C at selected Airports of Airport Authority of India. Primarily, focusing on NER, Hilly and tribal regions.
- Strengthening cargo-related infrastructure at airports and off airports: Facilitating the development of a hub and spoke model and a freight grid. Airside transit and transhipment infrastructure will be created at Bagdogra and Guwahati airports, and at Leh, Srinagar, Nagpur, Nashik, Ranchi, and Raipur airports as a part of a focus on NER, Tribal and Hilly Districts.
- Concessions sought from other bodies: Seek support and encourage States to reduce Sales Tax to 1% on ATF for freighters / P2C aircraft as extended in UDAN flights.
- Resources-Pooling through establishing Convergence mechanism: Collaboration with other government departments and regulatory bodies to provide freight forwarders, airlines and other stakeholders with Incentives and concessions to enhance air transportation of Agri-produce.
- Technological convergence: Development of E-KUSHAL (Krishi UDAN for Sustainable Holistic Agri-Logistics). Platform to be developed facilitate information dissemination to all the stakeholders. Furthermore, integration of E-KUSHAL with the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is proposed.
- Total 53 airports are selected for the first phase of Krishi UDAN 2.0. The majority of them are operated by AAI.
- The strategic selection of the airports is primarily focused on the northeast region. Additionally covers North, entire western coast and southern India (including two islands).
- Airports for implementation of KrishiUdan 2.0 are selected with the aim of providing benefit to the entire country Opted airports not only provide access to regional domestic market but also connects them to international gateways of the country.
- Development of E-KUSHAL(Krishi Udaan for Sustainable Holistic Agri-Logistics). Proposed to develop a platform that will facilitate information dissemination to all the stakeholders. This will be a single platform that will provide relevant information at the same time will also assist in coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the scheme. Proposed convergence of E-Kushal with National Agriculture Market (e-NAM).
- Facilitating the development of a hub and spoke model and a freight grid (identified locations for cargo terminals).
6. AGNI -5
THE CONTEXT: A successful launch of the Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile, Agni-5, was carried out on October 27, 2021, at approximately 1950 hrs from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.
- Agni-5 is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy.
- Uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine.
- Successful launch in line with India’s policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’
7. 16TH EAST ASIA SUMMIT
THE CONTEXT: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the 16th East Asia Summit via videoconference.
- The 16th East Asia Summit was hosted by Brunei as EAS and ASEAN Chair.
- It saw the participation of leaders from ASEAN countries and other EAS Participating Countries including Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the USA and India. India has been an active participant in EAS.
- This was Prime Minister’s 7th East Asia Summit.
- In his remarks at the Summit, Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of EAS as the premier leaders-led forum in Indo-Pacific, bringing together nations to discuss important strategic issues.
- Prime Minister highlighted India’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic through vaccines and medical supplies.
- The 16th EAS also discussed important regional and international issues including Indo-Pacific, South China Sea, UNCLOS, terrorism, and situation in Korean Peninsula and Myanmar.
- PM reaffirmed “ASEAN centrality” in the Indo-Pacific and highlighted the synergies between ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
- The EAS leaders adopted three Statements on Mental Health, Economic recovery through Tourism and Sustainable Recovery, which have been co-sponsored by India.
- Overall, the Summit saw a fruitful exchange of views between the Prime Minister and other EAS leaders.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1 Har Ghar Dastak (Knock Every Door) campaign is started by the government for which of the following purpose?
a) To motivate youth to get electoral cards.
b) To motivate people towards getting their COVID-19 vaccine.
c) To motivate people to vaccinate their children.
d) To motivate youth to participate in sports.
ANSWER FOR OCTOBER 27, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Answer: B
- Statement 1 is correct: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank.
- Statement 2 is correct: It is headquartered in Beijing and began its operations in January 2016.
- Statement 3 is incorrect: China is the largest contributor to the Bank, contributing USD 50 billion, half of the initial subscribed capital. India is the second-largest shareholder, contributing USD 8.4 billion.