GS PAPER 2: Fundamental Rights
Prelims Exam: What is Narco Test?
Mains Exam: Significance of Narco Test
Why in News?
Delhi Police will conduct a narco test on Aaftab Poonawalla, the man accused of killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar.
About Narco Test
In a ‘narco’ or narcoanalysis test, a drug called sodium pentothal is injected into the body of the accused, which transports them to a hypnotic or sedated state, in which their imagination is neutralised. In this hypnotic state, the accused is understood as being incapable of lying, and is expected to divulge information that is true.
- Sodium pentothal or sodium thiopental is a fast-acting, short duration anaesthetic, which is used in larger doses to sedate patients during surgery. It belongs to the barbiturate class of drugs that act on the central nervous system as depressants.
- Because the drug is believed to weaken the subject’s resolve to lie, it is sometimes referred to as a “truth serum”, and is said to have been used by intelligence operatives during World War II.
|About polygraph test
Supreme Court Judgements
- In ‘Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr’ (2010), a Supreme Court Bench ruled that no lie detector tests should be administered “except on the basis of consent of the accused”.
- Those who volunteer must have access to a lawyer, and have the physical, emotional, and legal implications of the test explained to them by police and the lawyer.
- Also said that the ‘Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test on an Accused’ published by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000, must be strictly followed. The subject’s consent should be recorded before a judicial magistrate.
- The results of the tests cannot be considered to be “confessions”, but any information or material subsequently discovered with the help of such a voluntarily-taken test can be admitted as evidence.
- The SC cited Article 20 (3) or Right against self-incrimination which states that no accused can be compelled to be a witness against himself.
Previous Narco Test Cases
- The CBI had sought to give these tests to the driver and helper of the truck that hit the vehicle carrying the Unnao rape victim in Uttar Pradesh in July 2019.
- In August 2019, the CBI wanted to conduct polygraph and narcoanalysis tests on a former staffer of Punjab National Bank (PNB), who was in custody in the alleged Rs 7,000-crore fraud involving the absconding jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. The manager, Gokulnath Shetty, declined consent.
- In May 2017, Indrani Mukerjea, who is facing trial for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012, had offered to undergo the lie detector test. The CBI refused, saying they already had sufficient evidence against her.
|Narcotics Control Bureau
Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
GS Paper: 2- Women Empowerment
Prelims exam: Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
Mains exam: Role of NGOs, civil society and SHGs in women empowerment
Why in news?
Elaben Bhatt, a well-known advocate for women’s empowerment and the illustrious creator of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), has died.
About Ela Bhatt
- Elaben was born in a socially active family on September 7, 1933, in Ahmedabad.
- She established SEWA, one of the largest cooperatives working for women, in 1972.
- In the 1980s, she served as a member of both the Indian Planning Commission and the Rajya Sabha.
- Ela Bhatt was a co-founder of the Women’s World Banking and served as its Chairperson.
- She addressed the United Nations General Assembly and also served as an advisor to the World Bank.
- She joined the Elders, a group of world leaders established by Nelson Mandela to promote human rights and peace across the world.
- Elaben served as the Chairperson of Sabarmati Ashram and recently announced his resignation as the Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi-founded Gujarat Vidhyapith.
- Numerous national and international honors, such as the Padma Bhushan, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize, were bestowed upon her.
What is SEWA?
- The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), which was founded in 1972, is the single-largest Central trade union, with more than 2.1 million members in India and its surrounding countries.
- It evolved from the Textile Labor Association (TLA), which Mahatma Gandhi and Anasuya Sarabhai founded in 1920.
- Principle: The poor don’t need charity; they just need a way to break the cycle of poverty and vulnerability.
- The Gandhian ideals of Satya (truth), Ahimsa (nonviolence), Sarvadharma (unity of all faiths and all people), and Khadi are all incorporated (local employment and self-reliance).
- Full employment – Achieve work security, food security, and social security through full employment.
- Self-reliance – Individual and group self-reliance in terms of financial and decision-making abilities.
- Anyone who is self-employed (including women) may join SEWA for a cost of Rs 10 per year.
What is significant about SEWA?
- Women empowerment – By empowering women via skill development and training, it has assisted in helping them recover from personal, and even political or social disasters.
- In the organisation, women from various social and communal origins collaborate.
- Women employment – It helped to advance cooperative textile production, consumption, and marketing, which was a key component of India’s industrialization.
- Labor movement – It also had a significant impact on how trade unionism and the labour movement developed in India.
- Microfinance – In 1974, SEWA Bank was founded to give small loans to underprivileged women. This activity was recognised by the International Labour Organization.
- Influence in policy making – The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act (2008), National Rural Livelihoods Mission (2011), and Street Vendors Act (2014) are recognised as achievements of SEWA’s struggle.
- The SEWA microfinance model is thought to have served as a model for the PM Street Vendors Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM-SVANidhi) program.
What are the major initiatives of SEWA?
- Hansiba – SEWA established the Hansiba apparel brand, working with foreign designers to introduce the ethnic embroidery of Gujarat to the world.
- Anubandh – To connect suppliers with buyers during the pandemic, SEWA introduced Anubandh, an e-commerce platform.
- Digital Beti – By preparing women from rural areas to become entrepreneurs, Digital Beti, a project of SEWA Bharat and Facebook, aims to overcome the digital gender gap in India.
- SEWA runs a cafe in Ahmedabad where it sells pulses, spices, and vegetables grown on its farms along with hot, affordable South Indian and Gujarati meals.
India’s Overall Sex Ratio Improves
GS Paper: 2- Gender Equality, Government policies and interventions
Prelims exam: India’s sex ratio
Mains exam: Initiatives taken by government to improve sex ratio
Why in News?
According to official statistics, India’s overall sex ratio has improved from just 957 females per 1,000 males in 1992–1993, to 1,020 in 2019–21.
What is Sex ratio?
- Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per 1,000 males in the population and is an important social indicator to measure the extent of prevailing equity between males and females in a society at a given point of time.
- Child sex ratio: Child sex ratio is basically defined as the number of females per 1,000 males in the 0-6 age group.
Key findings of the Report
- As per the fifth report of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5, 2019-21), the sex ratio of the total population is 1,020 for the country, with rural at 1,037 and urban at 985.
- National Family Health Survey: It includes in-depth information on important areas of population, health, and family welfare, as well as related areas like demographics, family planning, infant and child mortality, maternal and child health, anaemia and nutrition, morbidity and healthcare, and women’s empowerment.
- The report suggested that the sex ratio is much higher in rural areas than in urban due to the greater share of males in the rural-urban migration flows.
- Numbers also suggested that there are still fewer girls against boys in the below-6 age group.
- According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data, Sex ratio at birth for children born in the past five years, as per NFHS-5, was 929, an improvement from 919 in NFHS-4 (2015-16).
|Apart from the NFHS, the Sample Registration System (SRS) also monitors sex ratio on a continuous basis. According to Sample Registration System (SRS), India’s sex ratio at birth between 2013-15 and 2017-19 has reported a marginal improvement – from 900 to 904.|
Although, according to NFHS India’s overall sex ratio has improved but gender imbalance is still a matter of concern
- The data shows that the sex ratio for population below six years of age is affected both by the sex ratio at birth and differential mortality by sex after birth.
- The sex ratio at birth can be affected by sex-selective abortions targeting the female foetus, deliberate discrimination against the girl child can result in higher mortality rates for girls than for boys.
- Regressive Mentality: The preference of the son is derived from a regressive mindset. For instance, people often associate girls with dowries.
- Misuse of technology: Less expensive technology, such as ultrasound, helps in sex selection.
- Failure in implantation of Law: The Prenatal Conception and Prenatal Determination Act (PC-PNDT), which punishes medical practitioners with imprisonment and hefty fines for disclosing the sex of a child to expectant parents, has not been able to regulate the sex selection.
Initiatives taken by Government
- The Government of India has enacted a comprehensive legislation, the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PC&PNDT) Act in 1994, for prohibition of sex selection, before and after conception and for regulation of prenatal diagnostic techniques.
- Bharat Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan: It is an initiative of the union ministry of women and child development to combat the gender imbalance in India.
- Girl Child Protection Scheme: The Girl Child Protection Scheme is a programme designed to stop gender discrimination by defending the rights of young girls. Additionally, it aims to reduce discriminatory behaviours and practices against girls.
- Aapki Beti, Humari Beti: The lowest sex ratio in India is in Haryana. To combat this issue, the government of Haryana introduced this programme to address this problem. The plan would be put into action in both urban and rural areas. The girl children of Scheduled Caste and Below Poverty Line (BPL) families would be its intended target.
Indian Environment Service
GS PAPER 2: Important aspects of Governance
Prelims Exam: All-India services, special power of Rajya Sabha
Mains Exam: Significance of All India Services
Why in News?
The Supreme Court dismissed a PIL seeking mandamus for the creation of a separate Indian Environment Services as part of All India Services on the lines of Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and Indian Police Services (IPS).
Why there is a need to create Indian Environment Services?
- Recommended by T.S.R Subramanian committee:
- The committee was constituted to review various Acts administered by Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.
- The Committee observed:
- Though India has a strong environmental policy and legislative framework but their implementation is weak.
- Conservation advocates, project proponents and judiciary – none is satisfied with current environmental governance and the policy tools currently deployed in the management of the sector.
- Keeping the observations in mind the committee recommended creation of a new All India Service i.e., Indian Environment Services
- Recommended by NGT also: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) which was established as a specialized body for handling any environmental disputes that involve multi-disciplinary issues had also suggested the formation of a specialised all-India service.
All India Services
The Constitution provides for the creation of All India Services (AIS) common to the Union and the States. The All-India Services Act, 1951 provides that the Central Government may make rules for regulating the recruitment and the conditions of service of persons appointed to the All-India Services. Presently only the IAS, the IPS and the IFS have been constituted as All India Services. Recruitment to these services is made under the corresponding AIS Recruitment Rules and may be done by Direct Recruitment (through Competitive Examinations) and by promotion from the State Service.
Who can create All India Services?
- The constitution under Art 312 has conferred a special power on Rajya Sabha to initiate the creation of All-India Services.
- The Parliament of India can create All India Services if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution supported by two-thirds of the members involved in the voting procedure.
All-India Services Act, 1951
- The All-India Services Act, 1951 is an act that established two All India Services and provides for the creation of three more such services.
- The Act created two All India Services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS).
- It further provides for the creation of three more All India Services, namely, the Indian Engineering Service, the Indian Forest Service, and the Indian Medical Service.
- Of these, only the Indian Forest Service was created under the All-India Services Act, 1951 in 1966.
National Green Tribunal
- The NGT is a statutory body established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010
- It was set up to handle cases and speed up the cases related to environmental issues.
- It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
GS PAPER 3: Biodivesirty
Prelims Exam: About Bamboo & Government initiatives
Mains Exam: Significance of Bamboo for India’s Economic Growth
Why in News?
A study shed light on flowering in Melocanna baccifera, a tropical bamboo species that has long fascinated researchers for its association with the occurrence of ‘bamboo death,’ ‘rat floods’ and famines in northeast India.
- Researchers detected a correlation between the sugar content in the fruit of Melocanna baccifera and the frenzied feeding and population boom in rats during ‘Mautam’, the cyclical, mass bamboo flowering that occurs once in 48 years.
- Researchers observed large variety of animal visitors/predators attracted by the fruit and flowers of Melocanna baccifera bamboo.
- They also reported the highest-ever fruit production in a bamboo clump (456.67 kg).
- Called ‘Muli’ in northeast India, Melocanna baccifera is the largest fruit-producing bamboo and is native to the northeast India-Myanmar region.
- The bamboo produces large fruits which draw animal visitors/predators. Of these, black rats greatly relish the fleshy, berry-like fruit.
- Once the fruits are gone, they start devouring standing crops, causing famines that have claimed thousands of human lives.
- Earlier, it was presumed that ‘high protein in fruits/seeds’ was attracting the rats.
- A Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), study in 2016 that was part of the research found that the fruit actually contains very little protein. The predation is mainly due to the high content of sugars.
- Every year on 18 September the World Bamboo Day is observed across the globe.
- India contributes only 2% of the world’s bamboo supply.
- The Central government by amending the Forest Act of 1927, freed private growers to undertake cultivation of bamboo without any restrictions.
- India is second only to China in terms of bamboo diversity. The North-Eastern States are a storehouse of bamboo diversity.
- Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under bamboo forests, bamboo culture thrives in the North Eastern region.
- It releases 35 per cent more oxygen than trees.
What is Melocanna baccifera?
- Melocanna baccifera is one of two bamboo species belonging to the Melocanna genus.
- It grows up to 10–25 m tall.
- It is native to Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, and Thailand.
- It grows in clumps composed of many well-spaced culms.
- It has a dense appearance due to its branching habit.
- Its Fruit have the size and shape of a pear and are edible.
National Bamboo Mission
To harness the potential of bamboo crop, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is implementing a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme called Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) in which National Bamboo Mission (NBM) is being implemented as a sub scheme.
States covered under it
The National Bamboo Mission will focus on development of Bamboo in limited States where it has social, commercial and economic advantage, particularly in the North Eastern region and States including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Is Bamboo Grass or Tree?
In 2017 an amendment was made to Indian Forest Act, 1927 and bamboo has been removed from the category of tree.