Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban
GS Paper 2: Government policies and interventions
Prelims exam level: Related ministry, objective and achievement
Mains exam Level: Objective and achievement of policy and its impact
Why in news
Recently Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), has launched the revised Swachh Certification Protocols for ODF, ODF+, ODF++, and Water+ certifications under Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban 2.0.
About Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban
• The Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) in 2014, with the vision of ensuring hygiene, waste management and sanitation across the nation, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, to be celebrated in the year 2019.
• SBM (Urban) is being implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MHUA).
• According to the government, by increasing awareness among citizens and consistently improving the availability of sanitation facilities, the first phase of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban was successful in achieving this target and 100% of urban India was declared as Open Defecation Free.
• Through SBM-U, India has scripted for itself a successful sanitation narrative that is a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Clean India.
• Seven years since the Mission was launched,lakhs of citizens, especially women, children and divyangs, have been provided dignity and safety.
• The need of the hour is to sustain these sanitation achievements while steadfastly moving towards new sanitation goals.
• The revamped revised protocol is aligned with SBM-2.0 objectives and is designed to ensure:
o No untreated used water or faecal sludge is discharged into the environment and all used water (including sewerage and septage, greywater and black water) is safely contained, transported, and treated, along with maximum reuse of treated used water, in all cities with less than 1 lakh population.
o To sustain open defecation free status in all statutory towns.
• It contains provisions to encourage cities to have robust infrastructure with reliable Operation & Maintenance (O&M) mechanisms to achieve the goal of clean urban India.Key interventions against each certification are:
o ODF- Robust monitoring mechanism ensured by increasing the number of survey sample size and location types.
o ODF+ – Focus on functionality of CT/PT and innovative O&M business model for their sustainability in the long run.
o ODF++ – Emphasis on mechanized cleaning of septic tanks and sewers. Safe collection & treatment of used water as well as safe management of faecal sludge.
o Water+ – The focus is on collection, transportation, treatment, and reuse of both used water and faecal sludge to prevent environmental pollution.
1. For towns having a population more than 20,000, a minimum of 25% households to be connected to sewerage network.
2. Striving to achieve sustainability.
3. No untreated used water is let out in the environment.
Need of these protocol
• The Revised Swachh Certification Protocols is more functionality-oriented and has been simplified for officials and citizens to understand it better.
• The purpose of the protocol is not only to improve rankings of cities but to motivate cities to achieve the spirit of the Mission.
• In the sanitation sector, the one-size-fits-all approach will fail to adequately address the growing demands and needs of the sector.
• The focus should be on ensuring the operation and maintenance of all toilets so that it can sustain the ODF achievements of the country.
Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0
• The focus of SBM-U 2.0, launched on 1st October 2021, will be on sustaining the sanitation and solid waste management outcomes achieved and accelerating the momentum generated, thus achieving the Mission’s vision of a “Garbage Free” Urban India.
• The implementation of the Mission components will be done in a structured and time-bound manner, with thorough gap analysis of required infrastructure, detailed 5-year action plans, and annual action plans with timelines.
• The Mission will be completely paperless, digital, leveraging digital technology for complete transparency and accountability through GIS-mapped waste management infrastructure, robust user interface, online grievance redressal system, end-to-end online monitoring of projects starting from project creation to fund release, and project progress monitoring on integrated GIS-based platform.
• Enablers such as outcome-based fund release, greater funding support for smaller ULBs and convergence with 15th FC grants for added funding support, structured implementation plan for each component, robust capacity building, communication and advocacy for sustainable behaviour change, intensified thrust on private sector participation, and extensive industry collaboration will help in achieving the Mission’s objectives within the scheduled timelines.
India’s laws on abortions
GS Paper 2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections, Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Prelims exam level: MTP Act
Mains exam Level: Steps taken for women and their health
In a significant step backwards for women’s rights in the U.S., the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade judgement of 1973, which gave women in America the right to have an abortion before the foetus is viable outside the womb or before the 24-28 week mark.
How did abortion laws come about in India?
• In the 1960s, in the wake of a high number of induced abortions taking place, the Union government ordered the constitution of the Shantilal Shah Committee to deliberate on the legalisation of abortion in the country.
• In order to reduce maternal mortality owing to unsafe abortions, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act was brought into force in 1971.
• This law is an exception to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions of 312 and 313 and sets out the rules of how and when a medical abortion can be carried out.
What is the MTP (Amendment) Act, 2021?
• Under the 2021 Act, medical termination of pregnancy is permitted if it is backed by medical opinion and is being sought for at least one of the following reasons —
If the continuation of pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman
If its continuation would result in grave injury to the woman’s physical or mental health (if the pregnancy is a result of rape or failure of contraceptive used by the pregnant woman or her partner to limit the number of children or to prevent pregnancy, the anguish caused by its continuation would be considered to be a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman)
In the case of a substantial risk that if the child was born, it would suffer from serious physical or mental abnormality.
• The pregnancy can be terminated up to 24 weeks of gestational age after the opinion of two registered medical practitioners under these conditions —
If the woman is either a survivor of sexual assault or rape or incest.
If she is a minor.
If her marital status has changed during the ongoing pregnancy (i.e. either widowhood or divorce)
If she has major physical disabilities or is mentally ill
What is IPC Sec 312 and 313?
• Under Section 312 of the IPC, a person who “voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry” is liable for punishment, attracting a jail term of up to three years or fine or both, unless it was done in good faith where the purpose was to save the life of the pregnant woman.
• This section effectively makes unconditional abortion illegal in India.
• Section 313 of the IPC states that a person who causes the miscarriage without the consent of the pregnant woman, whether or not she is in the advanced stages of her pregnancy, shall be punished with life imprisonment or a jail term that could extend to
On the grounds of foetal malformation incompatible with life or if the child is born, it would be seriously handicapped
If the woman is in humanitarian settings or disaster, or emergency situations as declared by the government
• Besides, if the pregnancy has to be terminated beyond the 24-week gestational age, it can only be done on the grounds of foetal abnormalities if a four-member Medical Board, as set up in each State under the Act, gives permission to do so.
• The law also provides that where it is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, abortion can be carried out at any time by a single registered medical practitioner.
• Under the 2021 Act, Unmarried women can also access abortion under the above-mentioned conditions, because it does not mention the requirement of spousal consent. If the woman is a minor, the consent of a guardian is required.
• The Act contains provisions for the protection of the privacy of a woman undergoing an abortion.
The registered medical practitioner cannot “reveal the name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated”, except to a person authorised by the law.
Judicial interventions in cases of abortions
• Despite the fact that existing laws do not permit unconditional abortion in the country, in the landmark 2017 Right to Privacy judgement in the Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India and others, the Supreme Court had held that the decision by a pregnant person on whether to continue a pregnancy or not is part of such a person’s right to privacy as well and, therefore, the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Criticisms against the abortion law
• Shortage of specialized doctors: The MTP Act requires abortion to be performed only by doctors with specialisation in gynaecology or obstetrics. However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s 2019-20 report on Rural Health Statistics indicates that there is a 70% shortage of obstetrician-gynaecologists in rural India.
• Promotes illicit abortions: As the law does not permit abortion at will, critics say that it pushes women to access illicit abortions under unsafe conditions. Statistics put the annual number of unsafe and illegal abortions performed in India at 8,00,000, many of them resulting in maternal mortality.
India’s new VPN rules
GS Paper 3: Cyber Security
Prelims exam level: VPN, CERT-In
Mains exam Level: Cyber security challenges
The story so far: On April 28, India’s cyber security agency passed a rule mandating Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers to record and keeps their customers’ logs for 180 days.
What are the new rules?
CERTIn (Computer Emergency Response Team)
• CERT-IN is an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
• It is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. It strengthens the security-related defense of the Indian Internet domain.
• It was formed in 2004 by the Government of India under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
• Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers shall record and keep their customers’ logs for 180 days.
• These firms shall collect and store customer data for up to five years.
• Any cybercrime recorded must be reported to the CERTIn (Computer Emergency Response Team) within six hours of the crime.
• The new directives, if passed, will be effective from June 28.
Why such move?
• Crime control: For law enforcement agencies, a move like this will make it easier to track criminals who use VPNs to hide their internet footprint.
• Curbing dark-net activities: Users these days are shifting towards the dark and deep web, which are much tougher to police than VPN services.
Who all will be affected by the new rules?
• CERTIn directions are applicable to data centres, virtual private server (VPS) providers, cloud service providers, virtual asset service providers, virtual asset exchange providers, custodian wallet providers and government organizations.
• Firms that provide Internet proxy like services through VPN technologies also come under the ambit of the new rule.
• Corporate entities are not under the scanner.
Background: What is a VPN?
A VPN, which stands for virtual private network, is a service that establishes a secure and private connection to the internet. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel to protect your personal data and communications, hide your IP address, and let you safely use public Wi-Fi networks.
How does a VPN work?
• A VPN works by using encryption protocols to funnel all your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel — a virtual private network —between your computer and a remote VPN server.
• This hides your IP address and secures your data, preventing others from intercepting it.
• When not hooked up to a VPN network, all your internet traffic is potentially exposed to your ISP, the government, advertisers, or other people on your network. That’s why VPN connections boost your privacy and security online.
Why do people use VPN?
• Secure encryption: A VPN connection disguises your data traffic online and protects it from external access. Unencrypted data can be viewed by anyone who has network access and wants to see it. With a VPN, hackers and cyber criminals can’t decipher this data.
• Disguising whereabouts: VPN servers essentially act as your proxies on the internet. Because the demographic location data comes from a server in another country, your actual location cannot be determined.
• Data privacy is held: Most VPN services do not store logs of your activities. Some providers, on the other hand, record your behavior, but do not pass this information on to third parties. This means that any potential record of your user behaviour remains permanently hidden.
• Access to regional content: Regional web content is not always accessible from everywhere. Services and websites often contain content that can only be accessed from certain parts of the world.
• Secure data transfer: If you work remotely, you may need to access important files on your company’s network. For security reasons, this kind of information requires a secure connection. To gain access to the network, a VPN connection is often required
Typhoid: S. Typhi is more drug-resistant
GS Paper 3: Awareness in the Fields of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology, Pharma Sector & Health Science
Prelims exam level: Salmonella Typhi
Mains exam Level: Not Much
Why in News
According to a study, the bacteria causing typhoid fever is becoming increasingly resistant to some of the most important antibiotics for human health.
What has the new study found?
• The bacteria causing typhoid fever is becoming increasingly resistant to some of the most important antibiotics for human health.
• The largest genome analysis of Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) also shows that resistant strains — almost all originating in South Asia — have spread to other countries nearly 200 times since 1990.
• Antibiotics can be used to successfully treat typhoid fever infections, but their effectiveness is threatened by the emergence of resistant S. Typhi strains.
About Salmonella Typhi
• Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) are bacteria which infect the intestinal tract and the blood. The disease is referred to as typhoid fever.
• It’s an anaerobic bacteria.
GS Paper 3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
Prelims exam level: Surya Nutan
Mains exam Level: Not Much
Why in News
Indian Oil Corporation Limited and the Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas have developed a solar cook top to cut down on gas consumption.
A genome is the complete set of genetic information in an organism. It provides all of the information the organism requires to function. In living organisms, the genome is stored in long molecules of DNA called chromosomes.
What is this?
• ‘Surya Nutan’ is a stationary, rechargeable and always kitchen-connected indoor solar cooking system.
• It has been developed by the Indian Oil research and development centre.
• The solar cooking equipment works on a hybrid mode and is capable of running both on solar and an auxiliary energy source simultaneously, which makes it a reliable cooking solution for all weather conditions.
o The cook top can be used even when the sun is not visible for long durations, or for several days during monsoons and extreme cold.
Fulfilling Energy Goals of India
• Surya Nutan can potentially transform the energy security situation of India. The country currently imports 50% of its LPG requirements which can be reduced with large-scale use of this device.
• The device can also reduce India’s CO2 emissions drastically while keeping citizens insulated from the vagaries of the high international fossil fuel prices.
• ‘Surya Nutan’ follows a series of other steps being taken by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in the current global energy crisis, including increasing ethanol blending to 20%, increasing the procurement price of Compressed Bio-Gas under the SATAT Scheme from Rs 45/kg to Rs 54/kg, increasing the area under Exploration and Production to 15% of geographical area from current 7-8% and pursuing Green Hydrogen Mission in refineries.