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13th May 2023

Model Prisons Act, 2023


The Centre announced the Model Prisons Act, 2023, aimed at reforming prison management and transforming inmates into law-abiding citizens who can be rehabilitated into society.

  • The 2023 Act replaces Prisons Act of 1894, the British-era law and marks a significant step towards ensuring a more effective and comprehensive approach to prison management.

The prison population in India is one of the largest in the world, with over 4,50,000 inmates housed in around 1,350 prisons.

  • The Centre has reviewed ‘The Prisons Act, 1894’, ‘The Prisoners Act, 1900’, and ‘The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950’ and incorporated relevant provisions from these Acts in the newly announced ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023’.
  • Issues in the previous act
    • conspicuous omission of the correctional focus in the existing Act
    • no provision for reform and rehabilitation of prisoners in the existing Act

What is in the Act?

  • “Model Prisons Act, 2023" aims to address gaps in the current Prisons Act and provide holistic guidance for prison management.

Prisons in the country and ‘persons detained therein’ are a State subject.

  • Technology in prison management: The new model act includes provisions for the use of technology in prison management, granting parole, furlough, and remission to encourage good conduct, ensuring the physical and mental well-being of prisoners, and focusing on their reformation and rehabilitation.
  • The aim is to provide a guiding document for states to adopt in their jurisdictions and improve prison systems across the country.
  • State Governments and Union Territory Administrations can bene?t from the Act by adopting it in their jurisdictions, with such modi?cations which they may consider necessary, and repeal the existing three Acts in their jurisdictions.
  • Salient Features
    • Security: Provision for security assessment and segregation of prisoners, individual sentence planning, grievance redressal, prison development board, attitudinal change towards prisoners.
    • Accommodation: Provision of separate accommodation for women prisoners, transgender, etc.
    • Technology: Provision for use of technology in prison administration with a view to bring transparency in prison administration.
      • Provision for video conferencing with courts, scienti?c and technological interventions in prisons, etc.
      • Provision of punishment for prisoners and jail sta? for use of prohibited items like mobile phones etc. in jails.
    • Open jail: Provision regarding establishment and management of high security jail, open jail (open and semi open), etc.
    • Protection for society: Provision for protecting the society from the criminal activities of hardened criminals and habitual offenders, etc.
    • Legal aid: Provision for legal aid to prisoners, provision of parole, furlough and premature release etc. to incentivise good conduct.
    • Skill development: Focus on vocational training and skill development of prisoners and their reintegration into the society.

Measures taken by the Government

Right of Prisoners

  • The rights of prisoners are covered under the Prison Act, 1894.
    • Right To Legal Aid
    • Right To Speedy Trial
    • Right Against Solitary Confinement And Protection From Torture
  • Financial assistance for prisoners: In line with one of the announcements of the Union Budget, ‘Support for Poor Prisoners’, the scheme envisages financial support to poor persons.
  • E-Prisons Project: The E-prisons project supplements the Prisoner Information Management system (PIMS) which provides a centralized approach for recording and managing prisoner information and generating different kinds of reports.
  • Model Prison Manual 2016:The manual provides detailed information about the legal services (including free services) available to prison inmates. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an advisory to all States and UTs informing them about the legal aid facility available to under-trial prison inmates.
  • National Legal Services Authority: It has launched a web application to facilitate the under trial prisoners with free legal services. The objective of the above application is to make the legal services system more transparent and useful.
  • Legal Aid and Awareness Scheme: It is aimed at providing legal aid and awareness to prisoners across the country. The scheme includes the establishment of legal aid clinics in prisons, which provide prisoners with free legal advice and representation.
  • Prisons e-Library project: It is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Informatics Centre aimed at providing prisoners with access to digital learning resources.

Courts can hear pleas seeking default bail over non-filing of charge sheets: SC


The Supreme Court, in a rather unusual order, directed trial courts and high courts to decide pending default bail applications in criminal cases without relying on its own judgment (recent Ritu Chhabaria judgment).

  • The April 26 judgment in Ritu Chhabaria versus Union of Indiahad held that central agencies cannot deny accused persons their right to default bail by filing multiple supplementary chargesheets and seeking renewed custody.
  • The judgment held that “the right of default bail under Section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is not merely a statutory right, but a fundamental right that flows from Article 21 of the Constitution” to protect accused persons from the “unfettered and arbitrary power of the State”.

What is Default Bail?

  • Default bail is granted on the default of the police or investigating agency to file its report/complaint within a specific prescribed period of time.
  • According to Section 167(2) CrPC, an accused is entitled to default bail if the investigating agency failed to file a final chargesheet within 60 days from the date of remand.
    • For certain categories of offences, the stipulated period can be extended to 90 days.
  • The relief of default bail is different from bail obtained in normal course under Sections 437438and 439 of the CrPC.

Gaps in PoSH enforcement, must secure women’s work space: SC


Highlighting serious lapses in the implementation of the mandate of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the SC on directed the Centre, states and UTs to verify if all departments had constituted committees under the Act.

What is PoSH Act?

  • The Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013 (POSH Act 2013) is a landmark legislation in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment. 

Definition of sexual harassment:

Under the 2013 law, sexual harassment includes “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behaviour” committed directly or by implication:

  • Physical contact and advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Sexually coloured remarks
  • Showing pornography
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
  • The Act traces its origin from Vishaka Judgment of Supreme Court delivered in year 1997, which defined the term of Sexual Harassment and also laid down guidelines for working women irrespective of their employment in public sector or private sector.
  • The horrible tragedy of 16th December, 2012 (Nirbhaya tragedy), escalated the changes in the Criminal law as well as led to enacting the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013.
  • This Act makes it mandatory for employers to provide a safe and secure work environment to female employees.
    • It also requires employers to set up Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in their organisation to address complaints of sexual harassment. 

What are the issues in the implementation?

There are still several issues in its implementation. Some of these issues are:

  • Lack of awareness about the law among employers and employees
  • Lack of compliance: Even when organizations are aware of the law, there are instances where they fail to comply with its provisions. This is due to a lack of understanding of the requirements of the law or a lack of commitment to implementing the law.
  • Fear of retaliation: Women who report incidents of sexual harassment often fear retaliation from their employers or colleagues.
  • Inadequate redressal mechanisms: Despite the existence of the law, many organizations lack adequate redressal mechanisms to deal with complaints of sexual harassment.
  • Lack of accountability on the part of the organization or a lack of effective enforcement mechanisms.Bottom of Form

RBI tells banks to complete transition from LIBOR


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks and financial institutions to adopt by July 1 a widely accepted Alternative Reference Rate, such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), to complete the transition from the scandal-hit London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and Mumbai Interbank Forward Outright Rate (MIFOR).

  • LIBOR was being used as the benchmark rate for raising funds abroad.
  • It was a key benchmark for setting the interest rates charged on adjustable-rate loans, mortgages and corporate debt.

LIBOR: Why is it being retired?

  • LIBOR is being phased out because of the role it played in worsening the 2008 Financial Crisis, as well as scandals involving LIBOR manipulation among rate-setting banks.
  • In 2012, investigations into the way LIBOR was set uncovered a widespread, long-lasting scheme among multiple banks to manipulate rates for profit.

What’s the alternate?

  • In place of LIBOR, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) serves as the benchmark interest rate for loans and derivatives denominated in dollars.
  • New transactions are now predominantly undertaken using SOFR and the Modified Mumbai Interbank Forward Outright Rate (MMIFOR).
  • SOFR is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by Treasury securities.
  • Accuracy: Unlike LIBOR, SOFR is based on actual transactions — namely, overnight transactions in the Treasury repo market. Thus, SOFR is a more accurate means of measuring the cost of borrowing money. Because these transactions can be observed by anybody, it’s also less easily manipulated.
  • Risk: SOFR is based off of overnight Treasury transactions, it’s considered to be a risk-free rate.
  • Utilization:
    • Finalization of loan cost: Financial institutions utilize SOFR as a benchmark when determining the cost of consumer and business loans.
    • In addition, it is essential in trading derivatives, especially interest-rate swaps, which businesses and other parties use to manage interest-rate risk and speculate on changes in borrowing costs. 

What is Overnight Rate?

  • The benchmark interest rate that depository organizations like banks and credit unions charge one another for lending money for a single night is the Overnight Rate.
  • It is closely related to banking operations and liquidity issues. This rate has different names depending on the country.
    • For example, it is referred to as the Marginal Standing Facility Rate in India.

What is the impact of change in the Overnight Rate?

  • Direct influence on economy (high rate): The Overnight Rate may indirectly affect mortgage rates if it rises. When the Overnight Rate is high, it is expensive for banks to pay off their debts. Thus, they raise the rates on long-term loans to make up for the high Overnight Rates, which in turn directly impact the country’s employment, economic growth, and inflation.
  • Economic expansion (low rate): On the other hand, when the rate is low, banks and other financial organizations can lend and borrow more frequently, promoting economic expansion.
    • Also, lower Overnight Rates suggest that consumers and businesses will have easier access to loans. As a result, the commercial sector expands due to the additional cash business expansion and investor attraction. The purchasing power of consumers likewise rises when commercial activity expands.

Government plans to develop Indian Carbon Market (ICM)


The Union Ministry for Power is going to develop a Carbon Credit Trading Scheme (CCTS) for decarbonisation in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

What is the need?

Decarbonisation is the process of reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities.

  • The government plans to develop the Indian Carbon Market (ICM) where a national framework will be established with the objective to decarbonise the Indian economy by pricing the Green House Gas (GHG) emission through trading of the carbon credit certificates.
  • Even as an Indian Carbon Market (ICM) is being developed to decarbonize the economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are being priced through trading of carbon credit certificates, the CCTS will aim at enhancing India's energy transition efforts by covering potential energy sectors.
  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the Ministry of Power along with the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change are developing the Carbon Credit Trading Scheme.

What is the current system?

  • Currently, India has an energy savings-based market mechanism.

What Indian Carbon Market (ICM) will do?

India’s Climate Goals

As per the updated NDC, India now stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030, from 2005 level and achieve about 50 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. 

  • The new avatar scheme will enhance the energy transition efforts with an increased scope that will cover the potential energy sectors.
  • For these sectors, the GHG emissions intensity benchmark and targets will be developed, which will be aligned with India's emissions trajectory as per climate goals.
    • The trading of carbon credits will take place based on the performance against these sectoral trajectories.
  • Voluntary mechanism: Further, it is envisaged that there will be a development of a voluntary mechanism concurrently, to encourage GHG reduction from non-obligated sectors.
  • The ICM will develop methodologies for the estimation of carbon emissions reductions and removals from various registered projects, and stipulate the required validation, registration, verification, and issuance processes to operationalise the scheme.
  • Monitoring, Reporting, Verification (MRV) guidelines for the emissions scheme will also be developed after consultations.
  • Structure: A comprehensive institutional and governance structure will be set up with specific roles of each party involved in the execution of the ICM.
  • The ICM will mobilise new mitigation opportunities through demand for emission credits by private and public entities.
  • Significance: A well-designed, competitive carbon market mechanism would enable the reduction of GHG emissions at the least cost, both at the level of entity, as well as the overall sector and drive faster adoption of clean technologies, in a growing economy like India.

Short News Article

Science & Technology

National Hadron Beam Treatment Facility


On the occasion of National Technology Day on May 11, 2023, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the National Hadron Beam Treatment Facility at Tata Memorial Centre’s Advanced Centre for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Kharghar. 

About Hardon Beam Treatment

  • Hadron beam treatment is a form of radiation therapy used to treat cancer.
  • Unlike traditional radiation therapy, which uses X-rays or gamma rays to destroy cancer cells, hadron beam treatment uses beams of charged particles called hadrons, such as protons or carbon ions.
  • Advantage:
    • It can deliver high doses of radiation directly to the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
    • It is used for cancers that are difficult to treat with conventional therapy
    • It reduces the risk of long-term side effects on healthy tissue.

Environment (GS-III)

Palak Lake

As part of the mass mobilisation of public participation in the Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE), a nature walk was organized along the Palak Lake.

  • The Palak Wetland Reserve is located in Mizoram, and falls under the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot.

Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot

  • The Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot spans across parts of India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China.
  • Endangered species in the region: Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Javan rhinoceros, and Mekong giant catfish.


Welfare spending has been getting a regular pruning


This year’s Union Budget was criticised by experts over a decline in allocations for welfare schemes in real terms, at a time of post-COVID-19 recovery when welfare spending should have been a priority.

Decline in welfare spending

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan: The Anganwadi programme (ICDS) was merged with POSHAN Abhiyaan and a nutrition scheme for adolescent girls. Even with more components, its allocation went down from 0.13% of GDP in 2014-15 to 0.07% in 2023-24.
  • Mid-day Meal Scheme: Scheme has led to an improvement in class attendance, learning as well as nutritional outcomes. However, the Budget allocation for MDM decreased by 50% as a share of GDP, from 0.08% in 2014-15 to 0.04% in 2023-2024.
  • PM Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): To cover all women and births as per the National Food Security Act (NFSA) mandate, the PMMVY needs around ?14,000 crore, but the PMMVY Budget is yet to cross ?3,000 crore.

Other Issues

  • Migrant workers: MGNREGA expenditure as a share of GDP went from 0.26% in 2014-15 to 0.20% in 2023-24. For NFSA it went to 0.65% this year from 0.94% in 2014-15.
  • Stagnant HDI: India Human Development Index is stagnant at rank of 132 and rising malnutrition levels. It is difficult for India to be a superpower with an uneducated and unhealthy population.
  • Social security: According to the World Social Protection Report by the ILO, only 24.8% of Indians are covered by at least one social security scheme against the Asia-Pacific average of 44%.
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