GS PAPER II NEWS

Child Marriages in India

Why in News

According to the Report of Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), a total of 2,180 child marriage cases were reported in Karnataka as per reports of Childline (1098) from April 2020 to January 2021.

Highlights of the report

  • In December 2020 out of the 1,598 complaints, 365 were related to Child Marriages.
  • In 2020, 579 complaints were received in May by Childline in Karnataka when India was observing the national lockdown imposed by the Central government.
  • The number of complaints eased when lockdown restrictions were relaxed, but were still worrying.
  • As many as 214 complaints were received in August and 111 in September 2020.
  • The number of such complaints for October 2020 was 190 and for November 321.

Number may go up


  • In January 2021, 1,947 complaints were received overall in the Karnataka State, of which 288 were related to child marriages.
  • With another lockdown in place and marriages being allowed in homes, the number of cases might go up.
  • Earlier, when child marriages happened at wedding halls, temples, etc., there were people who would alert the relevant authorities or activists who would be able to reach on time to stop them.
  • But now, with marriages happening at homes, organisations get fewer alerts.
  • According to the founder and executive director of APSA (Association for Promoting Social Action), many child marriages were reported in Bengaluru Urban, too, probably due to the high number of migrants living in the city during the 2020 lockdown.
  • This year, between January and April 2021, APSA had received complaints of 14 child marriage cases.
  • There were various reasons behind the child marriages during the lockdown, ranging from insecurity for the girl, wherein the parents assume their responsibility is over with her marriage, to the fact that they could get away with a simple marriage without calling too many people, resulting in less expenditure.
  • To prevent more such cases, the key is awareness among people.
  • Every district had a committee to tackle child marriages and they had been activated to conduct regular inspections.

Child Marriage in India

  • According to the Indian law, if in a marriage either the woman is below the age of 18 or the man is below the age of 21, then that marriage is considered as ‘Child Marriage’.
  • Most child marriages involve girls, many of whom are in poor socio-economic conditions.
  • The International Center for Research on Women-UNICEF publications have estimated India’s child marriage rate to be 47% from a sample surveys of 1998, while the United Nations reports it to be 30% in 2005.
  • It was outlawed in 1929, under Indian law. After independence and adoption of Indian constitution in 1950, the child marriage act has undergone several revisions.
  • The minimum legal age for marriage, since 1978, has been 18 for women and 21 for men.

Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929

  • The Child Marriage Restraint Act, also called the Sarda Act was a law to restrict the practice of child marriage which was enacted on 1 April 1930.
  • Its goal was to eliminate the dangers placed on young girls who could not handle the stress of married life and avoid early deaths.
  • This Act defined a male child as 21 years (originally 18) or younger, a female child as 18 years (originally 14) or younger, and a minor as a child of either sex 18 years or younger (originally 14).
  • The punishment for a male between 18 and 21 years marrying a child became imprisonment of up to 15 days, a fine of 1,000 rupees, or both.
  • The punishment for a male above 21 years of age became imprisonment of up to three months and a possible fine.
  • The punishment for anyone who performed or directed a child marriage ceremony became imprisonment of up to three months and a possible fine, unless he could prove the marriage, he performed was not a child marriage.
  • The punishment for a parent or guardian of a child taking place in the marriage became imprisonment of up to three months or a possible fine.
  • It was amended in 1940 and 1978 to continue raising the ages of male and female children.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

  • It came into effect on 1 November 2007 to address and fix the shortcomings of the Child Marriage Restraint Act.
  • Children born from child marriages are considered legitimate, and the courts are expected to give parental custody with the children’s best interests in mind.
  • Any male over 18 years of age who enters into a marriage with a minor or anyone who directs or conducts a child marriage ceremony can be punished with up to two years of imprisonment or a fine up to Rs.1 Lakh or both.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)

Why in News

Only 16% registered NGOs have active bank accounts with the State Bank of India’s main branch in Delhi.

Key Points

  • An Assam-based NGO has moved the Gauhati High Court against another amended provision of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) that makes Aadhaar mandatory for opening and operating the account in Delhi.
  • The Gauhati High Court on May 5 sent a notice to the SBI asking it to explain why Aadhaar was necessary to open a bank account.
  • The Supreme Court in 2018 had ruled in K.S. Puttaswamy (Aadhaar) case that the mandatorily linking Aadhaar to a bank account “does not satisfy the test of proportionality”.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)

  • The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, 2010 implemented by the Parliament of India, by the 42nd Act of 2010.
  • It is a consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies.
  • The act also prohibits acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • It is designed to correct shortfalls in the predecessor act of 1976.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020

  • The bill was introduced in 2020 with the following amendments:
  • Prohibition to accept foreign contribution:
  • Under the Act, certain persons are prohibited to accept any foreign contribution. These include: election candidates, editor or publisher of a newspaper, judges, government servants, members of any legislature, and political parties, among others.
  • The public servants (as defined under the Indian Penal Code) also added to this list.
  • Transfer of foreign contribution:
  • Under the Act, foreign contribution cannot be transferred to any other person unless such person is also registered to accept foreign contribution.
  • The Bill amends this to prohibit the transfer of foreign contribution to any other person.
  • The term ‘person’ under the Act includes an individual, an association, or a registered company.
  • Aadhaar for registration:
  • The Act states that a person may accept foreign contribution if they have: obtained a certificate of registration from central government and not registered, but obtained prior permission from the government to accept foreign contribution.
  • FCRA account:
  • Under the Act, a registered person must accept foreign contribution only in a single branch of a scheduled bank specified by them.
  • However, they may open more accounts in other banks for utilisation of the contribution.
  • Restriction in utilisation of foreign contribution:
  • Under the Act, if a person accepting foreign contribution is found guilty of violating any provisions of the Act or the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976, the unutilized or unreceived foreign contribution may be utilized or received, only with the prior approval of the central government.
  • Renewal of license:
  • Under the Act, every person who has been given a certificate of registration must renew the certificate within six months of expiration.
  • Reduction in use of foreign contribution for administrative purposes:
  • Under the Act, a person who receives foreign contribution must use it only for the purpose for which the contribution is received.
  • Further, they must not use more than 50% of the contribution for meeting administrative expenses.
  • The Bill reduces this limit to 20%.
  • Surrender of certificate:
  • The Bill adds a provision allowing the central government to permit a person to surrender their registration certificate.
  • Suspension of registration:
  • Under the Act, the government may suspend the registration of a person for a period not exceeding 180 days.
  • The Bill adds that such suspension may be extended up to an additional 180 days.

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)

Why in News

Bangladesh government has asked foreign envoys in Dhaka “to maintain decency and decorum” after public remarks from China’s Ambassador to the country provoked a sharp response.

Key Points

  • The strongly worded statement from the Foreign Ministry followed remarks by China’s envoy in Dhaka warned Bangladesh to not consider joining the Quad grouping and said doing so would “damage” relations.
  • Obviously, it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four because it will substantially damage our bilateral relationship.
  • As a sovereign country, Bangladesh will determine the course of its foreign policy in the interest of its people and urged foreign envoys in Dhaka to maintain decency and decorum while speaking in public.

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)

  • The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an informal strategic dialogue between the four powerful nations i.e., United States, Japan, Australia and India.
  • It was initiated in 2007 by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, with the support of Vice President Dick Cheney of the US, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India.
  • It maintained by talks between member countries.
  • In 2017, the idea of the Quad was revived and the leaders of Australia, Japan, US, and India agreed to come together again to take on China, particularly in the South China Sea.

Benefit of QUAD for India

  • One of the focus areas of the Quad is maritime security: The expansion of the Malabar exercise, a regular military drill India and the US conduct, to include the Quad could be seen as a sign that India will benefit militarily. While India has traditionally been against militarisation of the Quad, it may soften its stance in the wake of continued Chinese aggression on India’s borders.
  • The other objective of the Quad is to counter China’s economic might. However, there have been few steps taken in this area largely because the members are not in agreement on what constitutes an adequate counter.

GS PAPER III

Retail Inflation

Why in News

Recently the retail inflation of India slowed to a three-month low of 4.29% in April, from 5.52% in March, helped by softer meals costs in addition to a base impact.

Key Points


  • According to the National Statistical Office, industrial output surged by 22.4% in March, lifted by the statistical impact of the year earlier period’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) being significantly lower on account of the national lockdown to contain COVID­19 imposed that month.
  • Retail meals inflation eased to 2.02% in April, from 4.87% in March, with rural India recording a mere 1.45% meals inflation in contrast with virtually 4% in March.
  • Total rural retail inflation was 3.82%, slower than the 4.77% tempo averaged in city areas.
  • According to the IIP, the March manufacturing grew by 25.8% and electrical energy technology by 22.5% over the year-earlier interval, when industrial exercise had collapsed 18.7% within the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • For 2020-21, industrial output shrank by 8.6%, in contrast with a 0.8% contraction in 2019-20.
  • Manufacturing contracted by 9.8% within the year, whereas mining manufacturing shrank 7.8%.
  • Electrical energy appeared to have recovered from the preliminary shock, dipping simply 0.5% over the complete monetary year.
  • Whereas inflation in gas and light-weight elevated in April, indicating that cost-push inflation persists by petroleum costs.
  • There is also decrease in the demand for meals and drinks and different consumption gadgets drove total inflation decrease.

Little room for fee cuts

  • Most economists count on the RBI to stay accommodative, however don’t see a lot room for fee cuts.
  • Because the lockdown base fades away, count on the CPI inflation to bounce again to a mean of 5% within the rest of the primary half, ruling out the potential for additional fee cuts.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a stipulated period of time.
  • The IIP index is computed and published by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) on a monthly basis.
  • It measures the industrial production for the period under review, usually a month, as against the reference period.
  • IIP is a key economic indicator of the manufacturing sector of the economy.
  • Current base year of IIP index is 2011-2012.

Some Economic Terms

  • Inflation:
  • It refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use, such as food, clothing, housing, recreation, transport, consumer staples, etc.
  • It measures the average price change in a basket of commodities and services over time.
  • The opposite and rare fall in the price index of this basket of items is called ‘deflation’.
  • This is measured in percentage.
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI):
  • It is an index measuring retail inflation in the economy by collecting the change in prices of most common goods and services used by consumers.
  • CPI is used to calculate the inflation levels in an economy.
  • This can be further used to compute the cost of living and provides insights as to how much a consumer can spend to be on par with the price change.

Conclusion

  • Focus has returned to inflation in gentle of the current rally in commodity costs in addition to rising enter costs confronted by producers.
  • While the smaller weightage within the CPI basket tempers a part of the affect, WPI inflation is predicted to quicken to above 9% in April, reflecting robust cost-push pressures.

National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage

Why in News

The Cabinet has approved the proposal of Department of Heavy Industry for implementation of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme ‘National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’.

Key Points

  • This proposal was adopted for achieving manufacturing capacity of Fifty (50) Giga Watt Hour (GWh) of ACC and 5 GWh of “Niche” ACC with an outlay of Rs.18,100 crore.

Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage (ACCs)

  • ACCs are the new generation of advanced storage technologies that can store electric energy either as electrochemical or as chemical energy and convert it back to electric energy as and when required.
  • The consumer electronics, electric vehicles, advanced electricity grids, solar rooftop etc. which are major battery consuming sectors are expected to achieve robust growth in the coming years.
  • It is expected that the dominant battery technologies will control some of the world’s largest growth sectors.
  • ACC battery Storage manufacturers will be selected through a transparent competitive bidding process.

National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage

  • The National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage will reduce import dependence.
  • It will also support the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
  • The manufacturing facility would have to be commissioned within a period of two years.
  • The incentive will be disbursed thereafter over a period of five years.
  • The incentive amount will increase with increased specific energy density & cycles and increased local value addition.
  • Each selected ACC battery Storage manufacturer would have to commit to set-up an ACC manufacturing facility of minimum five (5) GWh capacity and ensure a minimum 60% domestic value addition at the Project level within five years.