1

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS (MAY 8 & 9, 2022)

THE ART AND CULTURE

1. DNA SAMPLES FROM RAKHIGARHI BURIAL PITS SENT FOR ANALYSIS

THE CONTEXT: DNA samples collected from two human skeletons unearthed at a necropolis of a Harappan-era city site in Haryana have been sent for scientific examination, the outcome of which might tell about the ancestry and food habits of people who lived in the Rakhigarhi region thousands of years ago.

THE EXPLANATION:

  • The skeletons of two women were found a couple of months ago at mound number 7 (named RGR 7 by the Archaeological Survey of India or (ASI), believed to be nearly 5,000 years old. Pots and other artefacts were also found buried next to them in a pit, part of the funerary rituals back in the Harappan Civilisation era.
  • “Seven mounds (RGR 1-RGR 7) scattered around two villages (Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur) in Hisar district are part of the Rakhigarhi archaeological site. RGR 7 is a cemetery site of the Harappan period when this was a well-organised city. At present RGR 1, RGR 3 and RGR 7 have been taken up for investigation.
  • The Rakhigarhi site, about 150 km north-west of Delhi, since it commenced on February 24, 2022, said the DNA analysis will help answer a lot of questions, anthropological or otherwise.
  • “The outcome of the DNA analysis will help tell about the ancestry of the people who lived at this ancient city, whether they were native or had migrated from elsewhere to settle. Besides, samples taken from the teeth area would tell about their food habits, what kind of food they consumed and other anthropological patterns related to that human settlement which must have been one of the largest, dating from the Harappan Civilisation period.
  • For the collection of DNA samples, experts had done it while wearing special uniform so as to not contaminate the samples. And samples were taken from the teeth region and petrous part of the temporal bone, located at the base of the skull in the ear region.
  • The Rakhigarhi site is one of the “five iconic sites” declared by the Central government in the Union budget 2020-21.The cultural span of the Harappan Civilisation can be broadly subdivided into three periods — early (3300 BC to 2600 BC), mature (2600 BC to 1900 BC), and late (1900 BC to 1700 BC), according to archaeological experts.
  • Five major urban sites — Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Ganweriwala, all three sites now in Pakistan, and Rakhigarhi and Dholavira in India — have been identified as regional centres of the Harappan Civilisation.
  • Archaeological evidence from the Rakhigarhi site spanning seven mounds is spread across nearly 350 hectares, covering at the present villages of Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur in Hisar, according to the ASI.
  • The Rakhigarhi site, “layers of history”, ranging from the early Harappan to the mature Harappan period can be seen, but compared to the previous excavation, where town planning contours had emerged, in the current excavation, “detailed town planning patterns, street designs, including provision for soak pits” as part of a possible drainage system can be seen.
  • ASI officials are banking on the analysis of DNA samples to further unearth the fascinating story of Rakhigarhi, located in the Ghaggar river plain of the seasonal Ghaggar river.
  • The two skeletons were found lying in a supine position with head pointing in the north direction. They were both buried with a plethora of pottery and adorned jewellery like jasper and agate beads and shell bangles. A symbolic miniature copper mirror was found buried along with one of the skeletons.
  • Animal bones were also found at the site.
  • First attempts to archaeologically explore the Rakhigarhi site are said to have been done in the late 1960s.

2. THE SOCIAL ISSUES

THE CONTEXT: A recent World Bank Report has shown that extreme poverty in India more than halved between 2011 and 2019 – from 22.5 per cent to 10.2 per cent. The reduction was higher in rural areas, from 26.3 per cent to 11.6 per cent. The rate of poverty decline between 2015 and 2019 was faster compared to 2011-2015.

THE EXPLANATION:

  • Poverty has reduced significantly because of the current government’s thrust on improving the ease of living of ordinary Indians through schemes such as the Ujjwala Yojana, PM Awas Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission, Jan Dhan and Mission Indradhanush in addition to the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission and improved coverage under the National Food Security Act.
  • While debates on the World Bank’s methodology continue to rage, it is important to understand how poverty in rural areas was reduced at a faster pace. Much of the success can be credited to all government departments, especially their janbhagidari-based thrust on pro-poor public welfare that ensured social support for the endeavour. It will nevertheless be useful to delineate the key factors that contributed to the success.
  • First, the identification of deprived households on the basis of the Socioeconomic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 across welfare programmes helped in creating a constituency for the well-being of the poor, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. The much-delayed SECC 2011 data was released in July 2015. This was critical in accomplishing the objectives of “SabkaSaath, Sabka Vikas”.
  • Since deprivation was the key criterion in identifying beneficiaries, SC and ST communities got higher coverage and the erstwhile backward regions in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan and rural Maharashtra got a larger share of the benefits. This was a game-changer in the efforts to ensure balanced development, socially as well as across regions.
  • Social groups that often used to be left out of government programmes were included and gram sabha validation was taken to ensure that the project reached these groups.
  • Second, the coverage of women under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana and Self Help Groups (SHG) increased from 2.5 crore in 2014 to over 8 crore in 2018 as a result of more than 75 lakh SHGs working closely with over 31 lakh elected panchayati raj representatives, 40 per cent of whom are women.
  • This provided a robust framework to connect with communities and created a social capital that helped every programme. The PRI-SHG partnership catalysed changes that increased the pace of poverty reduction and the use of Aadhaar cleaned up corruption at several levels and ensured that the funds reached those whom it was meant for.
  • Third, Finance Commission transfers were made directly to gram panchayats leading to the creation of basic infrastructure like pucca village roads and drains at a much faster pace in rural areas. The high speed of road construction under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadhak Yojana created greater opportunities for employment in nearby larger villages/census towns/kasbas by improving connectivity and enhancing mobility.
  • Fourth, the social capital of SHGs ensured the availability of credit through banks, micro-finance institutions and MUDRA loans. The NRLM prioritised livelihood diversification and implemented detailed plans for credit disbursement. New businesses, both farm and non-farm livelihoods, were taken up by women’s collectives on a large scale with community resource persons playing crucial hand holding roles, especially with respect to skill development.
  • Fifth, in the two phases of the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in 2018, benefits such as gas and electricity connections, LED bulbs, accident insurance, life insurance, bank accounts and immunisation were provided to 6,3974 villages that were selected because of their high SC and ST populations. The implementation of these schemes was monitored assiduously. The performance of line departments went up manifold due to community-led action. The gains are reflected in the findings of the National Family Health Survey V, 2019-2021.
  • Sixth, the thrust on universal coverage for individual household latrines, LPG connections and pucca houses for those who lived in kuccha houses ensured that no one was left behind. This created the Labarthi Varg.
  • Seventh, this was also a period in which a high amount of public funds were transferred to rural areas, including from the share of states and, in some programmes, through extra-budgetary resources.
  • Eighth, the thrust on a people’s plan campaign, “Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikas” for preparing the Gram Panchayat Development Plans and for ranking villages and panchayats on human development, economic activity and infrastructure, from 2017-18 onwards, laid the foundation for robust community participation involving panchayats and SHGs, especially in ensuring accountability.
  • Ninth, through processes like social and concurrent audits, efforts were made to ensure that resources were fully utilised. Several changes were brought about in programmes like the MGNREGS to create durable and productive assets. This helped marginal and small farmers in improving their homesteads, and diversifying livelihoods.
  • Tenth, the competition among states to improve performance on rural development helped. Irrespective of the party in power, nearly all states and UTs focussed on improving livelihood diversification in rural areas and on improving infrastructure significantly.
  • All these factors contributed to improved ease of living of deprived households and improving their asset base. A lot has been achieved, much remains to be done. The pandemic and the negative terms of trade shock from the Ukraine crisis pose challenges to the gains made in poverty reduction up to 2019.

THE POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

3. PRESIDENT APPOINTED TWO NEW JUDGES

THE CONTEXT: Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala took oath as Supreme Court judges on 09th May.They would be judges 33 and 34, completing the sanctioned judicial strength of the court.

THE EXPLANATION:

  • Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana read out the oath of the constitutional office to the two new judges in a brief, solemn ceremony held in an auditorium of the Supreme Court additional building complex.
  • Other Supreme Court judges were in attendance on the dais. Justice Dhulia was sworn in first followed by Justice Pardiwala. They would be judges 33 and 34, completing the sanctioned judicial strength of the court.
  • Justice Dhulia is the second judge to be elevated from Uttarakhand High Court. The grandson of a freedom fighter who took part in the Quit India Movement, Justice Dhulia, who hails from Madanpur, a remote village in Pauri Garhwal district, was elevated as a judge of the High Court of Uttarakhand in November 2008.
  • He later became the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court on January 10, 2021.
  • Justice Pardiwala would be the sixth member of the Parsi community to become a Supreme Court judge.
  • A fourth generation legal professional in his family, his father, Burjor Cawasji Pardiwala, had briefly served as the Speaker of the Seventh Legislative Assembly of Gujarat besides being a lawyer.
  • The President appointed the two judges on May 7 within only a couple days of the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendation last week.
  • With Justices Dhulia and Pardiwala, the Ramana Collegium has successfully seen to the appointment of a total 11 judges to the Supreme Court since August 2021. A substantial feat considering that his immediate predecessor was not able to appoint even one judge to the Supreme Court.
  • Of the 11 judges, Justice B.V. Nagarathna, is in line to be the first woman Chief Justice of India, albeit for 36 days, in 2027.

THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

4. FUTURE LOOMS DARK FOR 48% OF BIRD SPECIES

THE CONTEXT: According to The State of the World’s Birds  13.5% of 10,994 recognised extant species are currently threatened with extinction.

THE EXPLANATION:

  • Humans eat 14% of the world’s surviving species of birds. However, this is not the only reason why 48% of the extant bird species are undergoing population decline.
  • The State of the World’s Birds, an annual review of environmental resources published on May 5, has attributed the threat to almost half of the 10,994 recognised extant species of birds to the expanding human footprint on the natural world and climate change.
  • The degradation and loss of natural habitats as well as direct over exploitation of many species are the key threats to avian biodiversity.
  • The use of 37% of the surviving bird species as common or exotic pets and 14% as food are examples of direct over exploitation, the report indicates.
  • The review found that 5,245 or about 48% of the existing bird species worldwide were known or suspected to be undergoing population decline. While 4,295 or 39% of the species had stable trends, about 7% or 778 species had increasing population trends. The trend of 37 species was unknown.
  • The study underlines bird watching, a global pastime involving millions of people, as a form of avian conservation but warns of “local negative impacts” of bird feeding valued at $5-6 billion per year and growing by 4% annually.
  • The caution is for some non-provisioned species via trophic cascades, an “ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators and involving reciprocal changes in the relative populations of predator and prey through a food chain, which often results in dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling”.
  • “Avian diversity peaks globally in the tropics and it is there that we also find the highest richness of threatened species. We know a lot less about the fortunes of tropical bird species than we do about temperate ones, but we are now witnessing the first signs of a new wave of extinctions of continentally-distributed bird species, which has followed the historic loss of species on islands like the dodo”.
  • Apart from tropical forests, the threat of natural grasslands has been particularly worrying for North America, Europe and India. “If unique ecosystems like grasslands are to retain their diverse bird life, governments and research groups must prioritise such landscapes and their inhabitants for conservation and ensure that they do not become plantations or woodlands,”.
  • Because birds are highly visible and sensitive indicators of environmental health, we know their loss signals a much wider loss of biodiversity and threat to human health and well-being, he added.
  • The State of the World’s Birds says 13.5% of 10,994 recognised extant species are currently threatened with extinction
  • The degradation and loss of natural habitats, as well as direct overexploitation of many species, are the key threats to avian biodiversity
  • Apart from tropical forests, the threat of natural grasslands has been particularly worrying for North America, Europe, and India

5. IS LA NINA A FAIR-WEATHER FRIEND OF OUR COUNTRY?

THE CONTEXT: In most years, meteorologists consider the La Nina to be a friend of India. The phenomenon associated with below normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, makes the summer monsoon wetter and the winter colder unlike its evil twin, the El Nino, or a warming phenomenon that frequently dries up monsoon rains over India.

THE EXPLANATION:

  • This year, however, the La Nina is being blamed for worsening perhaps the longest spell of heatwaves from March to April in north, west and Central India.
  • Formally known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the La Nina-El Nino phenomenon follows a periodic pattern that roughly lasts three years.
  • During a La Nina winter, a north-south pressure pattern sets up over India and normally this influences the trade winds that bring rains to India. However, because the La Nina didn’t peak, the sea surface temperatures continued to be cold and this drove hot westerly winds and blasts of hot air from the Middle East into Pakistan and India.
  • The north-south pressure pattern has been persisting over India, with La Nina extending its stay over the Pacific. This has definitely impacted the weather over India, which has been seen even during 1998-2000 when La Nina had persisted for three years.
  • While land temperatures over India begin rising in March, they are usually punctuated by western disturbances, or moisture from the Mediterranean region that fall as rain over north and western India. For these currents to make it as far as India, they need a significant difference in temperature between Europe and the latitudes over India. Partly due to La Nina, this temperature difference was absent and so the western disturbances that came to India were weak with hardly any rain.
  • According to a 2021 report by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region’, all India averaged frequency of summer heatwaves is expected to rise to about 2.5 events per season by the mid-21st century, with a further slight rise to about 3.0 events by the end of 21st century under current trajectory of greenhouse gas emission.

THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

6. WHAT IS THE DEBATE AROUND STAR RATINGS FOR FOOD PACKETS MOOTED BY FSSAI? 

THE CONTEXT: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is expected to issue a draft regulation for labels on front of food packets that will inform consumers if a product is high in salt, sugar and fat. It is expected to propose a system under which stars will be assigned to a product, which has earned the ire of public health experts and consumer organisations who say it will be misleading and ineffective. Health experts are demanding that the FSSAI instead recommend the “warning label” system which has proven to have altered consumer behaviour.

THE EXPLANATION:

  • In the past three decades, the country’s disease patterns have shifted. While mortality due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases has declined and India’s population is living longer, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries are increasingly contributing to the overall disease burden. In 2016, NCDs accounted for 55% of premature death and disability in the country.
  • Indians also have a disposition for excessive fat around the stomach and abdomen which leads to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-2021), 47.7% of men and 56.7% of women have high risk waist-to-hip ratio. An increased consumption of packaged and junk food has also led to a double burden of under nutrition and over nutrition among children. Over half of the children and adolescents, whether under-nourished or with normal weight, are at risk of cardiovascular diseases, according to an analysis by the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey in India (2016-2018).
  • Reducing sugar, salt, and fat is among the best ways to prevent and control non-communicable diseases. While the FSSAI requires mandatory disclosure of nutrition information on food packets, this is located on the back of a packet and is difficult to interpret.
  • At a stakeholder’s meeting on February 15, 2022, three important decisions were taken on what would be the content of the draft regulations on front-of-package labelling. These included threshold levels to be used to determine whether a food product was high in sugar, salt and fat; that the implementation will be voluntary for a period of four years before it is made mandatory; and that the health-star rating system would be used as labels on the basis of a study commissioned by the FSSAI and conducted by IIM-Ahmedabad.
  • The food industry agreed with the FSSAI’s decision on the issue of mandatory implementation and use of ratings, and sought more time to study the issue of thresholds. The World Health Organization representative said the thresholds levels were lenient, while the consumer organisations opposed all three decisions.
  • The biggest contention is over the use of a health-star rating system that uses 1/2 a star to five stars to indicate the overall nutrition profile of a product.
  • In a health-star rating system, introduced in 2014 in Australia and New Zealand, a product is assigned a certain number of stars using a calculator designed to assess positive (e.g., fruit, nut, protein content, etc) and risk nutrients in food (calories, saturated fat, total sugar, sodium).
  • Scientists have said that such a system misrepresents nutrition science and the presence of fruit in a fruit drink juice does not offset the impact of added sugar. Experts say that so far there is no evidence of the rating system impacting consumer behaviour. The stars can also lead to a ‘health halo’ because of their positive connotation making it harder to identify harmful products. Over 40 global experts have also called the IIM-Ahmedabad study flawed in design and interpretation.
  • There are many other labelling systems in the world, such as “warning labels” in Chile (which uses black octagonal or stop symbols) and Israel (a red label) for products high in sugar, salt and fat. The ‘Nutri-Score’, used in France, presents a coloured scale of A to E, and the Multiple Traffic Light (MTL), used in the U.K. and other countries depict red (high), amber (medium) or green (low) lights to indicate the risk factors. Global studies have shown a warning label is the only format that has led to a positive impact on food and beverage purchases forcing the industry, for example in Chile, to reformulate their products to remove major amounts of sugar and salt.
  • The FSSAI is expected to make its draft regulations on front-of-package public soliciting comments from all stakeholders. The FSSAI’s scientific panel comprising independent experts will study these comments and make its proposal. Following this, it will go to a scientific committee, the FSSAI and the Health Ministry before the regulations are tabled before Parliament.
  • The debate on front-of-package labelling has once again raised questions on the influence of the industry on the food regulator.
  • Reducing sugar, salt, and fat is among the best ways to prevent and control non-communicable diseases. While the FSSAI requires mandatory disclosure of nutrition information on food packets, this is located on the back of a packet and is difficult to interpret.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is expected to issue a draft regulation for labels on front of food packets that will inform consumers if a product is high in salt, sugar and fat
  • The debate on front-of-package labelling has once again raised questions on the influence of the industry on the food regulator.

THE PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS

QUESTION FOR 8 & 9th MAY 2022

Q. Which of the following pairs is/are correctly matched?

  1. Rakhigarhi– Haryana
  2. Dholavira – Gujarat
  3. Alamgir– Rajasthan

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2 only

c) 2 and 3 only

d) 3 only

ANSWER FOR THE 7TH OF MAY

Answer: A

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct: The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) at national level in India has gone below replacement levels.
  • Statement 2 is incorrect: There are five States — Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) Manipur (2.17) — in India which are above replacement level of fertility of 2.1 as per the national report of the NFHS-5, by the Union Health Ministry.



Ethics Through Current Developments (09-05-2022)

  1. World without diversity would be like a grave READ MORE
  2. Equality – Jurisprudential Interest Reurrected READ MORE



Today’s Important Articles for Sociology (09-05-2022)

  1. Population control: Gains made but onus remains unfairly on women READ MORE
  2. This is how poverty in rural India came down READ MORE
  3. A bold, rights-based stand on marital rape READ MORE
  4. Four lessons from online education that should survive the end of the pandemic READ MORE



Today’s Important Articles for Geography (09-05-2022)

  1. Is La Nina a fair weather friend of our country? READ MORE
  2. Explained: India Heatwaves and the role humidity plays in making them deadly READ MORE



Today’s Important Articles for Pub Ad (09-05-2022)

  1. Third and final round: On the tussle over Delhi’s status READ MORE
  2. 124A & India: Sedition law has seen too many abuses & a very small conviction rate. Time for it to go READ MORE
  3. Reviving the spirit of Centre-state alliance READ MORE
  4. Repeal the sedition law READ MORE
  5. Systemic reforms for justice delivery READ MORE
  6. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act And a Long Way to Justice READ MORE



WSDP Bulletin (09-05-2022)

(Newspapers, PIB and other important sources)

Prelim and Main

  1. Explained | What is the debate around star ratings for food packets mooted by FSSAI? READ MORE
  2. President appointments Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia, JB Pardiwala as Supreme Court judges READ MORE
  3. Tough anteater leaves forest officials antsy READ MORE
  4. DNA samples from Rakhigarhi burial pits sent for analysis READ MORE
  5. Future looms dark for 48% of bird species READ MORE
  6. Explain Speaking: RBI and the US Fed — The contrasting tale of two central banks READ MORE
  7. Explained: What is monkeypox, a smallpox-like disease from Africa that has been reported in the UK? READ MORE

Main Exam    

GS Paper- 1

  1. Is La Nina a fair weather friend of our country? READ MORE
  2. Explained: India Heatwaves and the role humidity plays in making them deadly READ MORE
  3. Population control: Gains made but onus remains unfairly on women READ MORE

GS Paper- 2

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

  1. Third and final round: On the tussle over Delhi’s status READ MORE
  2. 124A & India: Sedition law has seen too many abuses & a very small conviction rate. Time for it to go READ MORE
  3. Reviving the spirit of Centre-state alliance READ MORE
  4. Repeal the sedition law READ MORE
  5. Systemic reforms for justice delivery READ MORE
  6. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act And a Long Way to Justice READ MORE

SOCIAL ISSUES

  1. This is how poverty in rural India came down READ MORE
  2. A bold, rights-based stand on marital rape READ MORE
  3. Four lessons from online education that should survive the end of the pandemic READ MORE

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

  1. Overcoming differences: India’s new push for stronger ties with Europe comes at a crucial time for both READ MORE
  2. India-UK ties and a sustainable global future READ MORE

GS Paper- 3

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  1. How to tackle food inflation – and how not to READ MORE
  2. Diversification push: Punjab needs all the support to promote alternative crops READ MORE
  3. Yes, India needs agrarian reform, but that which is pro-people, not pro-corporate READ MORE

GS Paper- 4

ETHICS EXAMPLES AND CASE STUDY

  1. World without diversity would be like a grave READ MORE
  2. Equality – Jurisprudential Interest Reurrected READ MORE

Questions for the MAIN exam

  1. Europe is willing to end its economic dependence on China and this is a golden opportunity for India to expand its export. In the light of the statement, discuss what policy measures are required for India to expand its trade with European Countries?
  2. ‘The recent world bank shows extreme poverty reduction in India in last decade but the recent developments in international politics posed many challenges and can be shocked for this gain’. Discuss how India can address these challenges?

QUOTATIONS AND CAPTIONS

  • No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.
  • Prioritising expanding credit and preventing non-performing assets is crucial for an inclusive banking policy.
  • RBI’s surprise move to raise repo rate questions over its objective. Its mandate is to target inflation, not shore up rupee.
  • The pandemic and the negative terms of trade shock from the Ukraine crisis pose challenges to the gains made in poverty reduction up to 2019.
  • The existence of religious diversity shows that human beings think differently, and they are alive to their respective situations.
  • For cooperative federalism to survive, empower the moribund Inter-State Council to fulfil its role of mediating Centre-state relations.
  • The PM’s emphasis on the use of local language will indeed increase the confidence of the masses in the justice delivery system and they will feel connected with it.
  • The FTA between India-UK is the most exciting feature of the rapidly developing economic partnership. Reduction in tariffs will facilitate increased competitiveness in industries like auto and pharma.
  • Classes during Covid-19 have highlighted that one-size-fits-all educational approaches fail to address student needs.
  • Criminal law jurisprudence in India functions with the basic postulate of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, where the right to fair trial, the right to be heard and the right to a speedy trial form the basic elements of this postulate.

50-WORD TALK

  • India’s right to question WHO’s excess Covid deaths estimate. Our official numbers aren’t accurate. But to say fatalities are almost 10 times higher is ludicrous. Just as it is to say fewer people died in China. WHO hasn’t covered itself in glory during Covid. This adds to its list of bungles.
  • RBI’s rate increase was a surprise only because it came between two scheduled MPC meetings. RBI was behind the curve on addressing inflation and has caught up. Higher rates will hit consumption and investment. A nudge, if one was needed, for government to focus more on post-pandemic recovery and growth.

Things to Remember:

  • For prelims-related news try to understand the context of the news and relate with its concepts so that it will be easier for you to answer (or eliminate) from given options.
  • Whenever any international place will be in news, you should do map work (marking those areas in maps and exploring other geographical locations nearby including mountains, rivers, etc. same applies to the national places.)
  • For economy-related news (banking, agriculture, etc.) you should focus on terms and how these are related to various economic aspects, for example, if inflation has been mentioned, try to relate with prevailing price rises, shortage of essential supplies, banking rates, etc.
  • For main exam-related topics, you should focus on the various dimensions of the given topic, the most important topics which occur frequently and are important from the mains point of view will be covered in ED.
  • Try to use the given content in your answer. Regular use of this content will bring more enrichment to your writing.



Day-199 | Daily MCQs | UPSC Prelims | INDIAN POLITY

Day 199

To attempt the Quiz, simply click on START Button.




THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE (IDENTIFICATION) BILL, 2022- THE OBJECTIVES AND CONCERNS

THE CONTEXT: The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022, was enacted by Parliament on April 6 to replace the Identification of Prisoners Act of 1920. The new law empowers police and investigating agencies to acquire and keep personally-identifying information on individuals, such as bio-metrics and biological samples. The Bill, which was introduced on March 28, was quickly passed by both houses. However, various segments of society have expressed worry about the implications for privacy rights. This article examines the issue in detail.

Note: on 18th April 2022 the President has given assent to the Bill.

KEY FEATURES OF THE BILL

  • The Bill expands:
  • the type of data that may be collected,
  • the persons from whom such data may be collected, and
  • the authority that may authorize such collection.
  • It also provides for the data to be stored in a central database. Under both the 1920 Act and the 2022 Bill, resistance or refusal to give data will be considered an offence of obstructing a public servant from doing his duty. Table 1 compares provisions of the 2022 Bill with the 1920 Act.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be the central agency to maintain the records. It will share the data with law enforcement agencies. Further, states/UTs may notify agencies to collect, preserve, and share data in their respective jurisdictions.
  • The data collected will be retained in digital or electronic form for 75 years.   Records will be destroyed in case of acquitted persons after all appeals or released without trial.   However, in such cases, a Court or Magistrate may direct the retention of details after recording reasons in writing.

COMPARISON OF KEY PROVISIONS OF THE 1920 ACT AND THE 2022 BILL

WHAT IS THE NEED FOR THE BILL?

CAN YOU BE COMPELLED TO GIVE YOUR MEASUREMENTS?

The scope of consent is one of the most criticized aspects of the Bill. Under Clause 3 of the Bill, a person may be required to give his measurements. The persons discussed under the said clause may be compelled to give their measurements. The proviso to Clause 3 clearly provides that a person may not be obliged to give biological samples until and unless he has been arrested or convicted for an offence against a woman or child or an offence punishable with more than seven years of imprisonment. Therefore, in simple terms, any person who is arrested for an offence that does not involve women or children and is punishable with imprisonment of less than 7 years, then such person can be compelled to provide all other measurements, excluding biological measurements. The scheme of the Bill is such that a person may be compelled to give his measurements. As per Clause 6 (2) of the Bill, in case a person refuses or resists providing the measurements, then he would be deemed to commit an offence under Section 186 IPC.

 WHAT ARE THE ISSUES INVOLVED IN THE BILL?

FAILS THE TEST OF ARTICLE 14:

  • The object of the Bill is to use modern technology and make the criminal justice system more effective.
  • Only those arrested for offences punishable by 7 years or more, or those arrested for offences against a woman or a child may be compelled to give their biological samples,
  • But all arrested persons may be compelled to give measurements other than biological samples.
  • This classification bears no rational nexus to making investigations more efficient.
  • Moreover, there lies no option of consent with the person; hence it is nothing but manifestly arbitrary.

VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 20(3):

  • As per Article 20(3), one cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself.
  • A bare reading of the Bill makes it clear that the measurements of the person may be recorded and be used against him at his trial.
  • Hence, the provisions of the Bill will be hit by Article 20 (3)

VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 21:

  • In order for the Bill to stand the test of judicial review, it must satisfy the fourfold requirement of the doctrine of proportionality laid down in Justice KS Puttaswamy v Union of India.
  • While the Bill has the legitimate aim of improving the investigation, detection, and prevention of crimes, it fails to satisfy the other three requirements, namely, suitability, necessity and balancing.

ABUSE OF POWERS CONFERRED:

  • It may be seen that the Bill provides for a police officer or prison officer above the rank of head constable or head warder to collect measurements, which is excessive and may lead to abuse of power and rampant corruption.

TIME PERIOD FOR WHICH THE DATA IS COLLECTED:

  • The Bill aims to preserve the records of measurements for a period of 75 years from the date of collection of such samples.
  • Hence, it lacks reason and is arbitrary.

AMBIGUOUS DEFINITION:

  • The definition of “measurements” is very “ambiguous and nebulous”. Whether brain mapping and narco analysis will be used as part of “biological samples and their analysis” is not spelt out.

CREATION OF A POLICE STATE:

  • Opposition MPs have said that they are not opposed to police reforms or modernization of police forces but to certain provisions of the Bill.
  • Observing that a head constable can prepare one’s complete identification profile under the new law, they said, whether the government wants to make India a police state”.

NO DATA PROTECTION LAW:

  • The law would be introduced without a data protection law, which India so desperately needs and in the absence of such a law, there is the likelihood of its misuse and abuse.

CONSTITUTIONALITY OF COLLECTING BIOLOGICAL SAMPLES OR OTHER MEASUREMENTS FOR FACILITATING INVESTIGATION

The Supreme Court of India held in State of Bombay vs Kathi Kalu in 1961 that the expression “to be a witness” under Articles 20(3) of the Constitution does not include a person in custody giving his specimen handwriting or signature or impression of his thumb, finger, palm, or foot to the investigating officer. Similarly, it has been held in a slew of cases that taking a blood sample for a DNA test, a hair sample, or a voice sample will not amount to compelling an accused to become a witness against himself. This is because such samples are harmless and do not convey information within the accused’s personal knowledge. As a result, the legality of taking biological samples or other measurements to aid investigation has long been established. The only exceptions are scientific techniques, namely narcoanalysis, polygraphy and brain fingerprinting which the Supreme Court in Selvi vs State of Karnataka (2010) held to be testimonial compulsions (if conducted without consent), and thus prohibited under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.

WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD?

REMOVING THE AMBIGUITIES:

  • Under what circumstances can a cop be allowed or denied access to this database?
  • What are the permissible uses of this database?
  • What punishment happens if a police officer uses this database in violation of extant law?
  • All these issues need clarity, and the government must provide it through rules.

IMPROVE INVESTIGATION:

  • For a civilized and advanced society to be developed and maintained, a civilized and sophisticated police force is quite essential.
  • Therefore, emphasis should be made in this on capacity building, including experts in forensics at the police station level itself.

PROTECTION FOR JUVENILES:

  • Though the Act does not explicitly bar taking measurements of juveniles, the provisions of the (Special Act) Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 regarding the destruction of records of conviction under the Act shall apply.
  • However, it is desirable to include a provision for juveniles in the Act to
  • provide clarity and eliminate any uncertainties

PREVENT POLITICAL WITCH-HUNT:

  • The law should not become a tool for political “witch-hunt”.
  • DNA profiling also should be used purely for serious crimes and for counter-terrorism purposes only.

REASONABLE PERIOD OF DATA STORAGE:

  • The storage time for adult measurements could have been conveniently lowered by ten years, as the likelihood of any person committing a crime after the age of 80 is negligible.
  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB Crime )’s in India–2020 figures, the number of arrested people above the age of 60 is less than 1.5 per cent.

JUDICIAL DETERMINATION:

  • The Act has been challenged in Delhi High Court, and an early judicial pronouncement can address many of the contentious issues.

DATA PROTECTION LAW:

  • Early enactment of a comprehensive data protection law is required.

THE CONCLUSION: No society, including ours, is flawless. Our social consciousness is riddled with deeply entrenched biases and preconceptions. Our police force is a product of its social environment, and as a result, it is far from ideal. That does not preclude us from providing it with the necessary powers and instruments. There is an undeniable necessity to strike a balance between respecting an individual’s privacy while also providing law enforcement with the tools they require to keep us safe.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Critically examine the provisions of the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022.
  2. 2.” For a civilized and advanced society to be developed and maintained, a civilized and sophisticated police force is quite essential”. Examine the statement in the light of issues surrounding the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022.
  3. Can we say that right to privacy should be subjected to the right to safety? Argue.