Uniform Civil Code
Why in News:
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami recently set up a committee to prepare a draft Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for the State. Several leaders of BJP-ruled States have batted for a UCC in India.
What is UCC?
• Article 44 of the Constitution deals with uniform civil code. But it does not define UCC it just states that The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
• Uniform civil code generally means set of laws governing the matter of the personal law related to marriage, maintenance, divorce and property related aspects of every citizen of India, irrespective of gender and religion.
• It is a set of secular civil law that is not governed by any personal law.
• It tends to separate personal laws from religion and to secure national integrity and unity of the nation.
• Uniform civil code origin was way back to British rule during that time the British government submitted their report in 1835 stressing the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian laws relating to crimes and contracts specifically personal laws of Hindu and Muslim will be kept out from the codification.
Need for Uniform Civil Code:
• The Indian society has been fragmented in the name of religious, sects and sex. Even at present also in India there are different personal laws governing rights related to civil laws. The idea behind having uniform civil code is that to treat every person equally with just and fair laws.
• The main aim to have uniform civil code is to have no discrimination and to treat everyone in India equally with the common law concept.
• Uniform civil code will help to promote gender quality and would ensure national unity and integrity, and also it will strengthen the secular fabric.
Challenges in Its Implementation:
• The major challenge is that secularism and freedom of religion gets into conflict with the right to equality.
o Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion and Article 29 lays down the right to conserve distinctive culture. These rights get into conflict with the quality before law enshrined under Article 14 and 15.
• The minorities oppose the implementation of this Article on the grounds of Article 25.
• In 2018, a report by the law commission stated that the uniform civil code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage in the country. The commission said secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.
• Vast cultural diversity in India, bringing uniformity among all such people will be a huge challenge in implementation as the minorities fear that the culture of the majority is being imposed over them.
• The most significant issue is the unawareness of people regarding the objects of UCC, and the reason for such unawareness is the lack of education, fake news, irrational religious beliefs, etc.
• Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India case 1995: In this case, the Supreme Court of India directed the Ministry of Law and Justice to reflect the steps taken and efforts made, by the Government of India, towards securing a “uniform civil code” for the citizens of India.
• Mohd Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano begumm Case 1985: (Popularly known as Shah Bano Case) In this case, the Supreme Court of India held that Muslim women are entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and further ruled that “a uniform civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies” and directed the Government to enact a UCC.
• Shayara Bano v. Union of India: This case judgement is the most important judgement in recent times where Supreme Court quoted the need for uniform civil code. In this case, the constitutional validity of triple talaq, a practice of divorce, in Muslim personal law was declared unconstitutional.
To establish uniform civil code in our country which has diverse religious sectors legislature and courts of India should take some measures:
• Like enacting social reforms, getting public opinion on this aspects.
• They should take initiatives to enact uniform civil code.
• It should be clearly enacted and should contain best elements of different civil laws.
• It should take steps and find out solution without clash of other sections in the Indian constitutions.
• A status quo provisions must be made to understand the enactment of uniformity of civil laws.
Why In News: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has given the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for several capital acquisition projects of the Indian defence forces. This includes the procurement of next-generation Corvettes for the Indian Navy.
What is a Corvette?
• A Corvette is the smallest class of naval ships and it falls below the warship class of a frigate.
• These are highly agile ships and are categorised as missile boats, anti-submarine ships, coastal patrol crafts and fast attack naval vessels.
• The word corvette itself is derived from French and Dutch origin.
• Corvettes date back to the 18th and the 19th century when they were extensively used in the naval warfare that were fought at high seas.
• During World War II, the term Corvette was used to describe vessels which had anti-submarine roles assigned to them.
• Modern Corvettes can go up to 2,000 tons in displacement which helps in keeping them agile.
• In addition to Anti-Submarine role at present, The next-generation Corvettes will be manufactured for various roles like surveillance missions, escort operations, deterrence, surface action group operations, search and attack and coastal defence.
Corvettes & SAGAR initiative
The next-generation generation Corvettes will be constructed based on new in-house design of the Indian Navy using latest technology and would contribute to further the government’s initiative of Security and Growth for all in the region (SAGAR).
What kind of Corvettes does the Indian Navy possess?
• The Indian Navy at present has the Kamorta Class Corvettes, which are also known as Project 28.
• These ships have an anti-submarine role and are manufactured at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata.
• The four Kamorta Class Corvettes that the Indian Navy possesses are named INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt, INS Kiltan and INS Kavaratti.
Plan to link Credit cards with UPI
Context: The Reserve Bank of India has proposed linking credit cards with UPI.
Significance of the move
• The linkage of UPI and credit cards could possibly result in credit card usage zooming up in India given UPI’s widespread adoption.
• The integration opens up avenues to build credit on UPI through credit cards in India, where in the last few years, a number of startups like Slice, Uni, One etc. have emerged.
• The move could be a push to increase adoption by banking on UPI’s large user base.
o So far, UPI could only be linked to debit cards and bank accounts.
• This will provide additional convenience to the users and enhance the scope of digital payments.
Hurdles in implementation
• There are some regulatory areas that would have to be addressed before the linkage happens. For instance, it is not clear how the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) will be applied to UPI transactions done through credit cards.
o The MDR is a fee that a merchant is charged by their issuing bank for accepting payments from their customers via credit and debit cards.
• According to a norm that has been in effect since January 2020, UPI and RuPay attract zero-MDR, meaning that no charges are applied to these transactions, which is a key reason behind the prolific adoption of UPI both by users and merchants.
• The norm has faced pushback from the payments industry, which has argued that it limits the aggregators’ ability to “invest in and maintain the financial infrastructure” of the payment ecosystem that they have built.
• Applicability of zero-MDR on UPI could also be a reason why other card networks such as Visa and Mastercard may not have been onboarded to UPI for credit cards yet.
“UPI has become the most inclusive mode of payment in India with over 26 crore unique users and five crore merchants on the platform. The progress of UPI in recent years has been unparalleled. Many other countries are engaged with us in adopting similar methods in their countries. A move like this could be aimed at boosting credit-led consumption in the country.
Environmental Performance index 2022
Why in news
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Rebuts the Environmental Performance index 2022 released recently.
About Environmental Performance index 2022
• The Environment Performance Index (EPI) is an international ranking system that measures environmental health and sustainability of countries.
• The 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world. Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health, and ecosystem vitality.
• These indicators provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy targets. The EPI offers a scorecard that highlights leaders and laggards in environmental performance and provides practical guidance for countries that aspire to move toward a sustainable future.
• In the recently released Environment Performance Index-2022, India was at the bottom among 180.
• The EPI, a biennial index, was started in 2002 as Environmental Sustainability Index by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network.
• Denmark has topped the ranking followed by UK and Finland
Ranking of South Asian countries
What is the stand of Government of India about EPI
• Government of india in rebuttal said that the Environmental Performance index 2022 released recently has many indicators based on unfounded assumptions. Some of these indicators used for assessing performance are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods.
• The Ministry of Environment does not accept its analysis and conclusions for the following reasons: –
o A new indicator in the Climate Policy objective is Projected GHG Emissions levels in 2050. This is computed based on the average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years instead of modelling that takes into account a longer time period, extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency etc. of respective countries.
o Both forests and wetlands of the country are crucial carbon sinks which have not been factored in while computing the projected GHG emissions trajectory upto 2050 given by EPI 2022.
o Historical data on the lowest emission trajectory has been ignored in the above computation.
o The weight of indicators in which the country was performing well has been reduced and reasons for change in assignment of weights have not been explained in the report.
o The principle of equity is given very low weightage in the form of indicators like GHG emission per capita and GHG Emission intensity trend. The CBDR-RC principle is also barely reflected in the composition of the index.
o India has already achieved the target of 40% of installed electricity capacity from non- fossil fuel based sources.
o The Copernicus air pollutant concentration data based on which DALYs are derived have higher uncertainty in regions with less extensive monitoring networks and emissions inventories. This limitation reduces the chance of accurate assessment of Air Quality.
o The indicators on Water quality, Water use efficiency, Waste Generation per capita which are closely linked to Sustainable Consumption and Production are not included in the Index.
o The Index emphasizes the extent of Protected Areas rather than the quality of protection that they afford. Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Protected areas and eco-sensitive regions is not factored into the computation of Biodiversity Indices.
o Again the index computes the extent of ecosystems but not their condition or productivity. Efforts must be made to include metrics that truly capture ecosystem productivity such that regulatory, provisioning as well as cultural services provided by various ecosystems like forests, wetlands, croplands are assessed and reflected in performance.
o Indicators like Agro biodiversity, soil health, food loss and waste are not included even though they are important for developing countries with large agrarian populations.
New Guinness World Record by NHAI
Why in news
NHAI has created a New Guinness World Record by laying 75 km of bituminous concrete in a single lane on NH53 in 105 hours and 33 minutes.
Where is this road constructed?
• The Amrawati to Akola section is part of NH 53, this is an important east-west corridor which connects major cities like Kolkata, Raipur, Nagpur and Surat.
• NHAI and Raj Path Infracon Pvt. Ltd. were involved in this project.
• Before this, the Guinness World Record for the longest continuously laid bituminous was for building 25.275 km that was achieved in Doha, Qatar in Feb 2019. The task took 10 days to complete.
• National Highways Authority of India was set up by an act of the Parliament, NHAI Act, 1988 “ An Act to provide for the constitution of an Authority for the development, maintenance and management of national highways and for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
• It has been entrusted with the National Highways Development Project, which along with other minor projects, has vested in it 50329 kms of National Highways for development, maintenance and management.
Mandate of NHAI
• NHAI is mandated to implement National Highways Development Project (NHDP) which is India’s largest ever Highways Project in a phased manner.
• The National Highways have a total length of 1,32,499 (approx) km to serve as the arterial network of the country.
• Although National Highways constitute only about 2 percent of the road network, it carries 40 per cent of the total road traffic.
• Rapid expansion of passenger and freight traffic makes it imperative to improve the road network in the country.
• Accordingly, the Government of India launched major initiatives to upgrade and strengthen National Highways through various phases of National Highways Development Project (NHDP).
Why in news
Why in news
The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has launched a “CiSS application” under the Baal Swaraj portal to help in the rehabilitation process of Children in Street Situations (CiSS).
About BAL Swaraj Portal
Baal Swaraj is a portal launched by NCPCR for online tracking and digital real-time monitoring mechanism of children in need of care and protection. The portal has two functions-
• COVID care and
COVID Care link caters to the children who have lost either or both parents due to COVID-19 or otherwise post March 2020.
It follows a six stages framework for the rehabilitation of children.
• The first stage is the collection of the child’s details, which is accomplished through the portal.
• The second stage is Social Investigating Report (SIR) i.e. investigating the child’s background. This is done under the supervision of the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) by the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) by conversing and counselling the child.
• The third stage is formulating an Individual Care Plan (ICP) for the child.
• The fourth stage is the order of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) based on the SIR submitted to the CWC.
• The fifth stage is allocating the schemes and benefits that the beneficiary can avail of.
• In the sixth stage, a checklist is made for the evaluation of the progress i.e. (Follow Ups).
The Standard Operating Procedure for Care and Protection of Children in Street Situations 2.0 categorizes any child under ‘Children in Street Situation’ if the child is living on the streets alone, living on the streets during the day, or living on the streets with the family. The root cause of this phenomenon is the migration of families from rural to urban areas in search of a better standard of living.
Who can contribute or participate on the portal
• This portal, developed by NCPCR, is a first-of-its-kind initiative in India to help children in street situations. The CiSS application is used for receiving data of children in street situations from all the states and union territories.
• It also provides a platform for professionals and organizations to provide any help that they can to children in need.
How the professionals and organizations can help
• Help can be provided in the form of
• Open shelters,
• Counselling services,
• Medical services,
• De-addiction services,
• Education services,
• Legal/paralegal services,
• Student volunteering,
• Identification of hotspot,
• Identification of CiSS or any other assistance.
The organizations and institutions that can utilize the platform are the Non-Government Organization, Civil Society Organization, higher educational or technical institutions, Foundation, Society, or a Trust.
The participants- informants, professionals, or the organizations will be awarded a digital certificate acknowledging their contribution to helping the children in street situations after the assessment of the DCPO.