The Ministry of Law and Justice has told the Supreme Court that the court cannot direct Parliament to frame any law and it sought dismissal of PILs (Public Interest Litigation) seeking a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country.
GS II- Polity
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?
- Positive aspects of Uniform Civil Code include
- Challenges in Implementing Uniform Civil Code Include
- Does India not already have a UCC for civil matters?
- How does the idea of UCC relate to the Fundamental Right to religion?
What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?
- The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.
- The constitution has a provision for Uniform Civil Code in Article 44 as a Directive Principle of State Policy which states that “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”
Article 44 is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.
Fundamental Rights are enforceable in a court of law. While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc.
Article 43 mentions “state shall endeavour by suitable legislation”, while the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44. All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.
Positive aspects of Uniform Civil Code include
- UCC will divest religion from social relations and personal laws and will ensure equality in terms of justice to both men and women regardless of the faith they practice.
- There will be uniform laws for all Indians with regard to marriage, inheritance, divorce etc.
- It will help in improving the condition of women in India as Indian society is mostly patriarchal
- Informal bodies like caste panchayats give judgements based on traditional laws. UCC will ensure that legal laws are followed rather than traditional laws.
- It can help in reducing instances of vote bank politics. If all religions are covered under same laws, politicians will have less to offer to communities in exchange of their vote.
Challenges in Implementing Uniform Civil Code Include
- Implementation of UCC might interfere with the principle of secularism, particularly with the provisions of Articles 25 and 26, which guarantee freedom relating to religious practices.
- Conservatism by religious groups, which resist such changes as it interferes with their religious practices.
- It is difficult for the government to come up with a uniform law that is accepted by all religious communities. All religious groups- whether majority or minority have to support the change in personal laws.
- Drafting of UCC is another obstacle. There is no consensus regarding whether it should be a blend of personal laws or should be a new law adhering to the constitutional mandate.
Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?
- Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters — Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act, etc.
- States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and, therefore, in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
- If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List.
- In 2020, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.
How does the idea of a Uniform Civil Code relate to the fundamental right to religion?
- Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture. An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights.
- In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting Uniform Civil Code in the fundamental rights chapter.
- The matter was settled by a vote. By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of Fundamental Rights and therefore the Uniform Civil Code was made less important than freedom of religion.
-Source: The Hindu
Recently, global leaders confirmed USD 2.6 billion in funding toward the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) 2022-2026 Strategy to end polio at the World Health Summit in Berlin.
GS II- Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is Polio?
- Polio in India
- India’s Pulse Polio Programme
- Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India
What is Polio?
- The World Health Organization (WHO) defines polio or poliomyelitis as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.”
- The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g., contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
- Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs.
- In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.
- There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.
- There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains:
- Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)
- Wild Poliovirus type 2 (WPV2)
- Wild Poliovirus type 3 (WPV3)
- Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death.
- However, there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains separate viruses which must each be eradicated individually.
Polio in India
- India received polio-free certification by the WHO in 2014, after three years of zero cases.
- This achievement has been spurred by the successful pulse polio campaign in which all children were administered polio drops.
- The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on 13th January 2011.
India’s Pulse Polio Programme
- With the global initiative of eradication of polio in 1988 following World Health Assembly resolution in 1988, Pulse Polio Immunization programme was launched in India in 1995. Children in the age group of 0-5 years administered polio drops during National and Sub-national immunization rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.
- The Pulse Polio Initiative was started with an objective of achieving hundred per cent coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine.
- It aimed to immunize children through improved social mobilization, plan mop-up operations in areas where poliovirus has almost disappeared and maintain high level of morale among the public.
Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India
- Maintaining community immunity through high quality National and Sub National polio rounds each year.
- An extremely high level of vigilance through surveillance across the country for any importation or circulation of poliovirus and VDPV is being maintained.
- All States and Union Territories in the country have developed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country.
- To reduce risk of importation from neighbouring countries, international border vaccination is being provided through continuous vaccination teams (CVT) to all eligible children round the clock.
- Government of India has issued guidelines for mandatory requirement of polio vaccination to all international travelers before their departure from India to polio affected countries namely: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.
-Source: The Hindu
Online gambling and online games of chance have been banned in Tamil Nadu. At the same time, the other online games will be regulated.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Types of online gaming available in India:
- The requirement for a central law:
- How big is the online gaming market in India?
- Why are States resorting to banning online gaming?
Types of online gaming available in India:
- e-Sports: These are video games that, in the 1990s, were played privately or on consoles in video game stores, but are now played online in a structured manner between professional players, either individually or in teams.
- Fantasy sports: These are games in which the player chooses a team of real-life sports players from a variety of teams and earns points based on how well the players perform in real-life. As an example,
- Casual online games:
- These could be skill-based, with the outcome heavily influenced by mental or physical ability, or chance-based, with the outcome heavily influenced by some randomised activity, such as rolling a die.
- Gambling is defined as a game of chance in which players bet money or anything of monetary value.
The requirement for a central law:
Online gaming so far has been a state subject:
- State governments have said they find it extremely difficult to enforce certain rules like geo-blocking certain apps or websites within the territory of their state.
- Also, there is a concern that rules passed in one state are not applicable in another, which has caused inconsistency in how the online gaming industry is regulated in the country.
- State governments also do not have enough blocking powers like the Centre to issue blocking orders for offshore betting sites.
- Stakeholders have highlighted a number of societal concerns that can arise from the proliferation of online games in the country.
- There have been a number of reported incidents of people losing large sums of money on online games, leading to suicides in various parts of the country.
No regulatory framework
- There is currently no regulatory framework to govern various aspects of online gaming companies such as having a grievance redressal mechanism, implementing player protection measures, protection of data and intellectual property rights, and prohibiting misleading advertisements.
- For online gaming businesses, the inconsistency has led to uncertainty.
- The thinking within the government is to have a nodal agency that will address all issues related to online gaming, including introducing a uniform law to determine what forms of online gaming are legally allowed.
How big is the online gaming market in India?
- The revenue of the Indian mobile gaming industry is expected to exceed $1.5 billion in 2022, and is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2025.
- The industry in the country grew at a CAGR of 38% between 2017-2020, as opposed to 8% in China and 10% in the US.
- It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% to reach Rs 153 billion in revenue by 2024.
- India’s percentage of new paying users (NPUs) in gaming has been the fastest growing in the world for two consecutive years, at 40% in 2020 and reaching 50% in 2021.
Why are States resorting to banning online gaming?
- Online games like rummy and poker are addictive in nature;
- When played with monetary stakes leads to depression, mounting debts and suicides.
- Reportedly, there have been a few instances where youngsters, faced with mounting debts due to losses in online games have committed other crimes like theft and murder.
- Some experts also believe that online games are susceptible to manipulation by the websites operating such games and that there is a possibility that users are not playing such games against other players, but against automatic machines or ‘bots’, wherein there is no fair opportunity for an ordinary user to win the game.
-Source: The Hindu
Prime Minister, in the presence of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, launched ‘Mission LiFE’ (Lifestyle For Environment), a new initiative for sustainable and healthy lifestyle at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About LiFE-Movement
- Vision and Mission of LiFE
- What can be done to fulfil the vision of LiFE?
- “LIFE – Lifestyle for the Environment”, PM Modi had proposed the one-word mass movement “LIFE” at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at Glasgow last November.
- “LIFE”, a global initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be the theme of the India pavilion at the upcoming COP27 at Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt.
The idea promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilisation’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption’.
Aim of LiFE:
- The LiFE Movement aims to utilise the power of collective action and nudge individuals across the world to undertake simple climate-friendly actions in their daily lives.
- The LiFE movement, additionally, also seeks to leverage the strength of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate.
- The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.
- Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviours to be self-sustainable.
- LIFE recognizes that small individual actions can tip the balance in the planet’s favour.
Vision and Mission of LiFE:
Vision of LIFE:
The vision of ‘LIFE’ is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it The people who live such a lifestyle can be called “Pro-Planet people.”
Mission liFE for India:
Mission LiFE borrows from the past, operates in the present and focuses on the future. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the concepts woven into our life. The Circular Economy has been an integral part of our culture and lifestyle.
What can be done to fulfil the vision of LiFE?
Fostering a sense of personal accountability beginning at home:
- This spirit is embodied in behaviours like saving energy at home,
- Cycling and taking public transportation instead of driving, which are mindful choices fostered by LIFE.
- Consuming more plant-based foods while reducing waste;
- Using our influence as consumers and workers to demand climate-friendly products.
Utilizing nudging strategies to promote constructive behaviour
- By using “nudges,” or gentle persuasion strategies to encourage positive behaviour, many of LIFE’s objectives can be met.
- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) uses tried-and-true nudging strategies, such serving smaller plates in cafeterias to discourage food waste;
- Boosting recycling by enhancing the aesthetics of bin lids;
Changing to more environmentally friendly consumption patterns:
- The UNEP estimates that household consumption and lifestyles are responsible for more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Only the widespread adoption of environmentally friendly consumer practises will result in the urgent reductions in global emissions we need.
-Source: The Hindu
Recently, IMD officials said the cyclonic storm set to develop in east-central Bay of Bengal will reach close to the coasts of West Bengal – Bangladesh by October 25.
- The name Sitrang (read Si-trang) has been given by Thailand.
GS-I: Geography (Physical geography – Climatology, Important Geophysical phenomena), GS-III: Disaster Management
Dimensions of the Article:
- What are Tropical Cyclones?
- Conditions for cyclone formation:
- How are Tropical Cyclones Formed?
- Why tropical cyclones don’t form in the eastern tropical oceans?
- Names of Tropical Cyclones
- Structure of the tropical cyclone
- Landfall, what happens when a Cyclone reaches land from the ocean?
- Cyclone Management in India
What are Tropical Cyclones?
- The Tropical Cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to coastal areas bringing about large-scale destruction caused by violent winds, very heavy rainfall and storm surges.
- These are low pressure weather systems in which winds equal or exceed speeds of 62kmph.
- Winds circulate around in anti-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere.
- “Tropical” refers to the geographical origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively over tropical seas.
- “Cyclone” refers to their winds moving in a circle, whirling round their central clear eye, with their winds blowing counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
- The opposite direction of circulation is due to the Coriolis effect.
Tropical Cyclones in India
- Tropical cyclones striking India generally originate in the eastern side of India.
- Bay of Bengal is more prone to cyclone than Arabian Sea because it gets high sea surface temperature, low vertical shear winds and has enough moisture in middle layers of its atmosphere.
- The frequency of cyclones in this region is bi-modal, i.e., Cyclones occur in the months of May–June and October–November.
Conditions for cyclone formation:
- A warm sea surface (temperature in excess of 26o –27o C) and associated warming extending up to a depth of 60m with abundant water vapour.
- High relative humidity in the atmosphere up to a height of about 5,000 metres.
- Atmospheric instability that encourages the formation of cumulus clouds.
- Low vertical wind between the lower and higher levels of the atmosphere that do not allow the heat generated and released by the clouds to get transported from the area.
- The presence of cyclonic vorticity (rate of rotation of air) that initiates and favours rotation of the air cyclonically.
- Location over the ocean, at least 4–5 o latitude away from the equator.
How are Tropical Cyclones Formed?
- Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. Warm water > Evaporation > Rising up of air > Low Pressure area.
- They derive their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately re-condenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation.
- Water takes up heat from the atmosphere to change into vapour.
- When water vapour changes back to liquid form as raindrops, this heat is released to the atmosphere.
- The heat released to the atmosphere warms the air around.
- The air tends to rise and causes a drop in the pressure.
- More air rushes to the centre of the storm.
- This cycle is repeated.
Why tropical cyclones don’t form in the eastern tropical oceans?
- The depth of warm water (26-27°C) should extend for 60-70 m from surface of the ocean/sea, so that deep convection currents within the water do not churn and mix the cooler water below with the warmer water near the surface.
- The above condition occurs only in western tropical oceans because of warm ocean currents (easterly trade winds pushes ocean waters towards west) that flow from east towards west forming a thick layer of water with temperatures greater than 27°C. This supplies enough moisture to the storm.
- The cold currents lower the surface temperatures of the eastern parts of the tropical oceans making them unfit for the breeding of cyclonic storms.
- ONE EXCEPTION: During strong El Nino years, strong hurricanes occur in the eastern Pacific. This is due to the accumulation of warm waters in the eastern Pacific due to weak Walker Cell.
Names of Tropical Cyclones
Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names:
- Cyclones in the Indian Ocean
- Hurricanes in the Atlantic
- Typhoons in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea
- Willy-willies in Western Australia
Structure of the tropical cyclone
Tropical cyclones are compact, circular storms, generally some 320 km (200 miles) in diameter, whose winds swirl around a central region of low atmospheric pressure. The winds are driven by this low-pressure core and by the rotation of Earth, which deflects the path of the wind through a phenomenon known as the Coriolis force. As a result, tropical cyclones rotate in a counter clockwise (or cyclonic) direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in a clockwise (or anticyclonic) direction in the Southern Hemisphere.
- The Eye: A characteristic feature of tropical cyclones is the eye, a central region of clear skies, warm temperatures, and low atmospheric pressure. Typically, atmospheric pressure at the surface of Earth is about 1,000 millibars.
- The Eyewall: The most dangerous and destructive part of a tropical cyclone is the eyewall. Here winds are strongest, rainfall is heaviest, and deep convective clouds rise from close to Earth’s surface to a height of 15,000 metres.
- Rainbands: These bands, commonly called rainbands, spiral into the centre of the storm. In some cases the rainbands are stationary relative to the centre of the moving storm, and in other cases they seem to rotate around the centre.
Landfall, what happens when a Cyclone reaches land from the ocean?
- Tropical cyclones dissipate when they can no longer extract sufficient energy from warm ocean water.
- A storm that moves over land will abruptly lose its fuel source and quickly lose intensity.
- A tropical cyclone can contribute to its own demise by stirring up deeper, cooler ocean waters. tropical cyclone can contribute to its own demise by stirring up deeper, cooler ocean waters.
Cyclone Management in India
India is highly vulnerable to natural disasters especially cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and drought. Natural disasters cause a loss of 2% of GDP every year in India. According to the Home ministry, 8% of total area in India is prone to cyclones. India has a coastline of 7,516 km, of which 5,700 km are prone to cyclones of various degrees.
- Loss due to cyclones: Loss of lives, livelihood opportunities, damage to public and private property and severe damage to infrastructure are the resultant consequences, which can disrupt the process of development
- Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is the nodal agency for early warning of cyclones and floods.
- Natural Disaster Management Authority is mandated to deal with the disaster management in India. It has prepared National Guidelines on Management of Cyclone.
- National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) was launched by Home ministry to upgrade the forecasting, tracking and warning about cyclones in states.
- National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has done a commendable performance in rescuing and managing relief work.
- National Disaster Response Reserve (NDRR)– a fund of 250 crores operated by NDRF for maintaining inventory for an emergency situation.
- In 2016, a blueprint of National Disaster Management Plan was unveiled to tackle disaster. It provides a framework to deal with prevention, mitigation, response and recovery during a disaster. According to the plan, Ministry of earth science will be responsible for disaster management of cyclone. By this plan, India joined the list of countries which follow the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
- Due to increased awareness and tracking of Cyclone, the death toll has been reduced substantially. For example, Very severe cyclone Hudhud and Phailin claimed lives of around 138 and 45 people respectively, which might have been more. It was reduced due to the early warning and relocation of the population from the cyclone-hit areas. Very severe cyclone Ockhi claimed many lives of people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This was due to the unprecedented change in the direction of the cyclone.
- But the destruction of infrastructure due to cyclonic hit is not been reduced which leads to increase in poverty due to the economic weakening of the affected population.