What's New :
IAS Mains 2024: Complete (GS & Optional) Syllabus Revision & Updation. Get Details
29th May 2024 (10 Topics)

29th May 2024

QUIZ - 29th May 2024

5 Questions

5 Minutes

Mains Issues

Context

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested five individuals in connection with their alleged involvement in international human trafficking and cyber fraud activities. They were allegedly coerced into engaging in various illegal online activities, including credit card fraud, investments in cryptocurrency using fake applications, honey trapping, etc., 

What is Human Trafficking?

  • According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of people through force, fraud, or deception to exploit them for profit.
  • This exploitation includes sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs.

Global Severity: The UNODC's 2019 report reveals that 60% of trafficking occurs within a country. Key statistics include:

  • 90% of sexual trafficking victims are women and girls.
  • In South Asia, 85% of victims are exploited for forced labor.
  • Human trafficking is the third most challenging crime globally, following drugs and weapons in terms of turnover and human misery.

Causes of Human Trafficking

  • Poverty: Trafficking thrives in areas with widespread poverty. Desperate parents might sell their children, believing it will lead to a better life for them.
  • Social Factors: Young women are particularly vulnerable due to social and cultural devaluation, making them easy targets for traffickers.
  • Migration: Individuals seeking better lives are often lured by traffickers with false promises. Once under the traffickers' control, coercive measures are used to exploit them.
  • Climate change, including sudden-onset disasters such as floods and slow-onset events like drought, increased large-scale displacement and migration, further exacerbating vulnerabilities to human trafficking.
  • Other Factors: Permeable borders, corrupt officials, involvement of international criminal groups, limited capacity or commitment of immigration and law enforcement officers.
Reason behind India’s vulnerability to human trafficking
  • Border: In India, West Bengal has long served as a major hubfor both domestic and International human trafficking, largely due to the state's areas of poverty and its porous 2,216.7-kilometre border with Bangladesh. It also shares borders with Nepal and Bhutan.
  • Geographical proximity with opium growing regions: India is placed between the two largest opium growing areas in the world. 
    • To the west is the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan)
    • To the east is the Golden Triangle (Myanmar)
Fact Box: Legal and Constitutional Frameworks to Counter Human Trafficking in India
  • Article 23: Prohibits human trafficking and forced labor (begar).
  • Article 24: Forbids the employment of children below 14 years in hazardous jobs like factories and mines.
  • Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986: This Act aims to implement the Trafficking Convention and prohibit immoral human trafficking. It establishes authorities at the central and state levels to combat trafficking, though it does not specify their roles, functions, or composition.
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013: This amendment replaces Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code with Sections 370 and 370A, providing comprehensive measures to counter human trafficking.
  • Section 370 of the IPC criminalises the import, export, removal, buying, selling or disposal of any person as a slave or accepting, receiving or detaining against the person's will as a slave. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), to replace IPC, has introduced beggary as a form of exploration for trafficking.

However, conviction rate in human trafficking cases stood at 19. 4 per cent in 2022.

PYQ

Q: India’s proximity to two of the world’s biggest illicit opium-growing states has enhanced her internal security concerns. Explain the linkages between drug trafficking and other illicit activities such as gunrunning, money laundering and human trafficking. What countermeasures should be taken to prevent the same? (2018)

Mains Issues

Context

Heavy rains caused by Cyclone Remal have led to landslides in several northeastern states. This highlights the urgent need for India to build resilience against multi-hazard disasters, where one event can trigger another, causing multiple disasters simultaneously. In recent years, India has experienced heavy rainfall that has breached glacial lakes, causing flash floods and subsequent landslides and flooding.

Landslide Vulnerability in India

  • According to the Geological Survey of India (GSI), about 0.42 million square kilometers of India’s land, or 13% of its area, is prone to landslides.
  • This vulnerability spans 15 states and four Union Territories, covering almost all hilly regions.
  • The Northeastern region, with its predominantly hilly terrain, is especially at risk, comprising 0.18 million square kilometers, or 42% of the total vulnerable area.
  • This region is also susceptible to earthquakes, a major trigger for landslides.

Causes of Landslides

  • Rainfall and earthquake: Most landslides in hilly areas are caused by heavy rainfall, though earthquakes can also trigger them.
  • Carrying capacity: The risk has been worsened by inadequate consideration of the terrain's capacity to bear loads.
  • Ineffective regulation: Many hilly regions lack proper building regulations, and when regulations do exist, they are often not effectively enforced.
  • Development activities: New construction, infrastructure development, and even agricultural practices can increase landslide risk.

Government Intervention

  • Organizations: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with the GSI and other agencies, has been working to mitigate and manage landslide risks.
  • National Landslide Risk Management Strategy: In 2019, a National Landslide Risk Management Strategy was finalized. This strategy includes vulnerability mapping, identifying the most vulnerable locations, developing an early warning system, and preparing mountain zone regulations. However, much of this work is still pending implementation.
PYQ

Q. Define the concept of carrying capacity of an ecosystem as relevant to an environment. Explain how understanding this concept is vital while planning for the sustainable development of a region. (2019)

Prelims Articles

Context

Indian Army Major Radhika Sen has been selected to receive a UN award recognising her advocacy for women and girls while serving as a peacekeeper. She served with the Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Major Sen is the second Indian peacekeeper to receive this honor, the first was Major Suman Gawani.

About U.N. Peacekeeping Mission

  • The UN Peacekeeping mission is a collaborative effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.
  • Its goal is to help host countries transition from conflict to peace.
  • The UN's peacekeeping efforts began in 1948, with the deployment of military observers to West Asia to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
  • India has beenamong the largest troop-contributing countries to the N. peacekeeping missions. 
  • In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a U.N. Peacekeeping mission.

Fact Box: MONUSCO

  • The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is a UN peacekeeping force established by the United Nations Security Council through resolutions 1279 (1999) and 1291 (2000).
  • India is one of the largest contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping missions, with significant personnel involved in MONUSCO.
  • Of the 6,063 Indian personnel in UN peacekeeping operations, 1,954 are with MONUSCO, including 32 women.

Prelims Articles

Context

India’s legal framework allows individuals facing criminal charges to contest elections but restricts their right to vote if they are imprisoned. While these statutory rights can be regulated or repealed by law, significant challenges and exceptions exist within the system.

Key-Provisions

  • In India, the right to vote and the right to be elected are statutory rights, not fundamental rights, as affirmed by the Supreme Court.
  • While individuals facing criminal charges can contest elections unless convicted, they are barred from voting if imprisoned, as per Section 62 of the Representation of People Act (RP Act).
  • Conviction triggers disqualification from contesting elections, effective from the date of conviction and extending six years post-release, according to Section 8 of the RP Act.
  • Exceptions exist where the Election Commission can reduce disqualification periods or when convictions are stayed on appeal.

Prelims Articles

Context

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced three key initiatives: the PRAVAAH portal, the Retail Direct Mobile App, and a FinTech Repository. These initiatives aim to facilitate easier interaction between individuals, entities, and the apex bank.

About PRAVAAH Portal

  • The PRAVAAH (Platform for Regulatory Application, Validation, and Authorisation) portal allows individuals and entities to apply online for various regulatory approvals.
  • It is a secure, centralized web-based portal for seeking authorization, licenses, or regulatory approvals from the RBI.
  • Benefits: The portal is designed to improve the efficiency of the RBI's regulatory approval and clearance processes.

Fact Box:

Retail Direct Mobile App

  • The Retail Direct Mobile App provides retail investors with easy access to the platform for transactions in government securities (G-Secs).
  • Background: The retail direct portal was initially launched in November 2021 to help retail investors open Retail Direct Gilt accounts with the RBI under the Retail Direct Scheme.
  • Gilt Accounts: A gilt account is a savings account that holds government securities instead of cash.
  • Functionality: The scheme allows retail investors to buy G-Secs in primary auctions and trade them in the secondary market.

FinTech Repository

  • Purpose: The FinTech Repository will hold information on the Indian fintech sector.
  • Benefits: It aims to provide a better understanding of the sector from a regulatory perspective and help in designing appropriate policy approaches.

Prelims Articles

Context

Recent research confirmed the SASS6 gene's role in microcephaly and neuron development.

What is Microcephaly?

  • Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than normal.
  • Children with microcephaly often have a small brain, poor motor skills, speech difficulties, abnormal facial features, and intellectual disabilities.
  • The condition originates during the peak phase of brain development in the embryo when cells that should become neurons fail to divide normally.
  • It can be diagnosed before birth using ultrasound and MRI.
  • Consanguineous marriages: Marriages between close relatives, such as first cousins, increase the risk of microcephaly. This is because the chance of inheriting two mutated copies of a gene, including the SASS6 gene, is higher.

The Role of the SASS6 Gene

  • The SASS6 gene is crucial for cell division, particularly in forming structures called centrioles, which are essential for this process.
  • Since 2014, this gene has been linked to microcephaly. If one copy of the SASS6 gene is non-functional, the other can partially compensate. However, if both copies are non-functional, the embryo dies before becoming a fetus.
  • This shows the critical role of the SASS6 gene in early development.

Prelims Articles

S.No.

Term

About

1.

Fintech

Fintechs—short for financial technology—are companies that rely primarily on technology to conduct fundamental functions provided by financial services, affecting how users store, save, borrow, invest, move, pay, and protect money. 

2.

Gilt account

A gilt account is designed to hold government securities and is maintained by an entity or an individual with a custodian which could either be a bank or a Primary Dealer or a financial institution that is permitted by the Reserve Bank of India to operate, what is termed as, a Constituents Subsidiary General Ledger Account (CSGL) with the RBI. 

3.

Neurons

Neurons are nerve cells that send messages all over your body to allow you to do everything from breathing to talking, eating, walking, and thinking. 

4.

Statutory rights

Statutory rights are those provided for by any laws passed by Parliament. These rights can be enforced in courts provided for in the law itself, and can also be curtailed or completely removed by bringing in amendments to the law.

Editorials

You must be logged in to get greater insights.

Context

The recent conflict in Gaza has brought Palestine’s renewed application for UN membership into focus. The application is currently stalled at the UN Security Council (UNSC) due to the geopolitical considerations of the U.S., which insists that membership should follow a negotiated solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Palestine’s Quest for UN Membership

  • Historical Attempts: Palestine’s attempts to gain UN membership date back to 2011, when its request was vetoed by the U.S. in the UNSC. Since then, Palestine has held non-member observer status.
  • Recent Developments: In April 2024, after the UNSC failed to agree on Palestine’s request due to a U.S. veto, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voiced support for the Palestinian application. 

Norms and Politics in the UN Membership Process:

  • Admission Criteria and P5 Veto Power: The UN Charter stipulates that membership seekers must be “peace-loving” and capable of fulfilling the obligations of the Charter. However, the political veto power of the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council (UNSC) plays a decisive role, often hindering the admission process.
  • Historical Context and Court Ruling: During the Cold War, the UNSC deadlocked over multiple membership applications. The World Court ruled in 1948 that the UNSC’s recommendation is necessary for the UNGA to approve membership, establishing a precedent that continues to influence membership decisions.

Global Comparisons and India’s Approach:

  • Mongolia’s Precedent: The case of Mongolia, whose membership application was similarly stalled but eventually accepted in 1961 after UNGA intervention, parallels Palestine’s situation.
  • India’s Support: India supported Palestine’s membership bid, consistent with its historical stance of supporting all state applicants. This position aligns with India’s long-standing policy of non-discrimination in UN membership issues, evidenced by its support for Pakistan’s and China’s admissions despite bilateral conflicts.
Challenges and Potential Outcomes:
  • Geopolitical Implications: Bypassing the UNSC for Palestine’s membership could set a precedent affecting Taiwan and Kosovo’s potential applications, making major powers like China and Russia cautious.
  • Possible U.S. Abstention: A less likely scenario involves the U.S. abstaining from a vote, influenced by displeasure with Israel’s actions, which could pave the way for UNGA approval.
  • UNGA Actions Against Israel: If the UNSC deadlock persists, the UNGA might consider measures like excluding Israel from its deliberations, similar to actions taken against apartheid-era South Africa and the Serb Republic of Yugoslavia.
UPSC Mains Questions:

Q. Examine the role of the UN Security Council's veto power in the admission of new members, citing historical precedents and their impacts on international relations.

Editorials

You must be logged in to get greater insights.

Context

India is witnessing an emerging market for clean-energy assets, driven by increased interest from businesses and investors in renewable power projects. However, challenges such as oversupply, valuation issues, and the need for a robust carbon market to support clean energy transitions are critical for achieving climate goals.

Current Scenario in the Clean Energy Market:

  • Buyers' Market for Clean Energy: An oversupply of clean energy assets, such as those from Siemens Energy, Shell, and Renew, is resulting in weaker valuations. Investor interest in greenfield projects indicates a capacity addition of 69GW in 2023-24, surpassing the annual 50GW target for 2030 goals.
  • Financial Risks: The oversupply and lack of secondary demand for renewable assets pose financial risks, potentially leading to unsustainable investments without significant market interest.

Challenges in the Power Sector:

  • Mismatch Between Capacity and Demand: Despite a total installed capacity of 418GW, with a significant portion from thermal and renewable sources, India faces power shortages during peak demand due to over-reliance on coal and inefficiencies in integrating renewable energy.
  • Infrastructure and Policy Issues: The existing power infrastructure, compounded by state-run distributors' inability to charge profitable rates, hinders effective power supply. Political factors and inadequate pricing signals further exacerbate the issue.

Solutions and Policy Implications:

  • Need for a Carbon Market: To bridge the cost gap between renewable and carbon-heavy power plants, establishing a carbon market is essential. Carbon pricing can incentivize private investments in clean energy, promoting a shift away from emissions.
  • Role of Government: The government must play a significant role in funding and directly investing in clean energy projects. Enhanced subsidies and state mandates are necessary to attract private investment and support the transition to a sustainable energy infrastructure.
UPSC Mains Questions:

Q. Discuss the challenges and opportunities in integrating renewable energy sources into India's existing power grid. How can a carbon market support this transition?

Editorials

You must be logged in to get greater insights.

Context

Digital technologies have revolutionized governance, citizen engagement, and electoral processes in India. However, their dual nature poses both opportunities for empowerment and risks of misuse, particularly in the context of misinformation and electoral integrity.

Digital Transformation in Policymaking

  • Tech-Led Governance: Ministries and government departments have embraced digital tools to raise transparency, efficiency, and accountability. Performance dashboards, social media handles, and grievance redressal mechanisms like Twitter Seva have become standard features of governance.
  • Innovative Schemes and Digital Platforms: The success of tech-led governance is visible in various innovative schemes and digital platforms such as Jan Dhan Yojana, Digilocker, UPI, Fastag, GSTN, DBT system, Jeevan Pramaan, and MyGov.

Impact on Elections

  • Upgraded Election Machinery: India’s election machinery has also been upgraded with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines along with Electronic Voting Machines.
  • Rise of Social Media: The rise of social media has had a significant impact on elections. Memes, AI-generated content, and synthetic videos have dominated social media, influencing voter perceptions.

Challenges and Risks

  • Spread of Misinformation and Deepfakes: While technology has empowered political campaigns, it has also amplified the spread of misinformation and deepfakes. AI-generated videos can manipulate speeches, alter facial expressions, and create entirely fabricated scenarios, making it difficult for viewers to discern truth from falsehood.
Way Forward
  • Digital Tools as Shields: As we move ahead, we must aim to ensure that digital tools work as shields rather than weapons. They should be used to enhance transparency, efficiency, and accountability, rather than to spread misinformation and manipulate public opinion.
UPSC Mains Questions

Q. Discuss the role of digital technologies in transforming Indian policymaking and governance. What are the key innovative schemes and digital platforms that have emerged as a result of this transformation?

X

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now