Topic 1 : Daksh ROV
Why in news: Rescue operations continued in Uttarakhand tunnel collapse with the help of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Daksh employed by the Defence Research Development Organisation’s robotics tea
What is ROV Daksh?
- The Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) – Daksh – is a versatile tool used for:
- detecting and managing improvised explosive devices (IEDs),
- surveying nuclear and chemical contamination and
- handling hazardous objects.
- It has ladder climbing abilities and can function for three continuous hours, with the capability to operate over distances exceeding 100 to 500 metres.
- It serves the bomb disposal units (BDU) of army, police, and paramilitary forces, aiding in handling IEDs and other dangerous substances.
- The ROV Daksh features a motorized pan-tilt platform and can be controlled remotely within a 500-meter range.Topic 2 : Unidentified Flying Object (UFO)
Why in news: Flight operations at Imphal’s Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Manipur were affected for several hours after an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) was seen hovering above the airport.
What are UFOs?
- UFOs is the popular term for any apparent aerial phenomenon whose cause cannot be easily or immediately identified by the observer.
- Although the term “UFO” originally referred to unidentified flying objects under investigation, it is now used more casually to describe any type of unidentifiable object.
- These objects need not point to Outer Space origins, they are simply unidentified and could range from being birds, balloons, drone-like objects, a result of natural atmospheric phenomena (ice crystals, moisture), or even foreign adversary systems.
What are UAPs?
- UAP or Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon is seen as a newer, broader term that is used to avoid the confusion and speculative associations that have become attached to UFO.
- It is a mysterious phenomenon (especially an unidentified aerial phenomenon) that is sometimes assumed to be a spaceship from another planet
- It is used especially as an alternative to UFO or unidentified flying object.
- Generally the term refers to objects spotted by pilots or detected by sensors that cannot be immediately explained.
- The term UAP, originally meaning unidentified aerial phenomena, was changed by the National Defense Authorization Act (USA).Topic 3 : Mandatory reporting provision under POCSO
Why in news: Failure to report sexual crimes against minors is a bailable offence, the Himachal Pradesh High Court recently ruled.
- A single-judge bench allowed pre-arrest bail to a hotel manager accused of failing to report an offence committed against a minor, as mandated by Section 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
- He said that since the Act is silent on whether the offence is bailable or not, the nature of the offence must be determined with reference to the Code of Criminal Procedure.”
- The classification of offences under the CrPC clearly states that offences punishable with imprisonment of less than three years are bailable and non-cognizable.
- Section 21 of the POCSO Act prescribes imprisonment of 6 months to a year — thus making it a bailable offence.
POCSO and mandatory reporting
- Section 19 of the POCSO states that anyone having apprehension that an offence under POCSO is likely to be committed or has been committed, shall provide such information to the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or the police.
- The term “any person” also includes a child who may report an offence.
- This reporting provision becomes binding due to Section 21 of the POCSO Act, which prescribes punishment for failing to report the commission of an offence under Section 19. Imprisonment of six months to one year, or a fine, or both is prescribed under Section 21.
- However, that children cannot be held liable for failing to report the commission of a sexual offence.
- Similarly, children making false complaints or giving false information are also exempt from punishment under Section 22 of the Act.
Ruling by Supreme Court:
- In a series of decisions, the Supreme Court has held that failure to report such cases amounts to a serious crime.
- In 2013, a two-judge bench of the SC in Shankar Kisanrao Khade vs. State of Maharashtra ruled that the non-reporting of the crime by anybody, after having come to know that a minor child below the age of 18 years was subjected to any sexual assault, is a serious crime.
- The apex court, in this ruling, put an even greater obligation on certain categories of professionals, such as medical practitioners and those in charge ofeducational institutions to report cases of child sexual abuse to the nearest Juvenile Justice Board, or Special Juvenile Police Unit.
- This created a conundrum for medical practitioners, since their professional ethics require them to maintain the confidentiality of their clients.
Striking a balance
- A three-judge SC bench in 2022 tried to strike a balance between the mandatory reporting provision under POCSO and the confidentiality provision under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
- The bench pointed to cases where minors might approach a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) for a medical termination of pregnancy arising out of consensual sexual activity.
- It recognised that minors or their guardians might be wary of the mandatory-reporting requirement, to avoid entangling themselves with the legal process, and thus approach an unqualified doctor for abortion instead.
- For the limited purposes of providing medical termination of pregnancy under the MTP Act, the registered medical practitioner, only on request of the minor and their guardians, can be exempted from disclosing the minor’s identity and personal details under Section 19(1) of the POCSO Act or in any criminal proceedings.
- Such an interpretation would prevent any conflict between the statutory obligation of the RMP to mandatorily report the offence under the POCSO Act and the rights of privacy and reproductive autonomy of the minor under Article 21 of the Constitution.
About POCSO Act:
- This law provides for protection of children from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interests of children at every stage of the judicial process through child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial through special courts.
- Salient Provisions of the Act:
- “Children” according to the Act are individuals aged below 18 years.
- The Act is gender-neutral.
- Different forms of sexual abuse including but not limited to sexual harassment, pornography, penetrative & non-penetrative assault are defined in the Act.
- Sexual assault is deemed to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances such as when the child is mentally ill.
- Also when the abuse is committed by the person in a position of trust such as a doctor, teacher, policeman, family member.
- The Act assigns a policeman in the role of child protector during the investigation process.
- The investigation and trial are to be done in a way to minimise further trauma on the child.
- Any case under POCSO is mandated to be disposed of within one year from the date of reporting of the offence.
- The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences and matters related to it.
- The power to make rules lies with the central government.
- To monitor the implementation of the Act, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) have been made the designated authority.
- Both are statutory bodies.
- Section 42 A of the Act gives POCSO Act overriding powers over other acts.
- The Act calls for mandatory reporting of sexual offences.
- A false complaint with intent to defame a person is punishable under the Act.
An online complaint management system, POCSO e-box was launched in New Delhi by the Union Ministry of Women and Child development in order to facilitate easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely disposal of the cases under POCSO Act 2012.
- Consent of the child:
- The POCSO Act is silent in this situation and does not provide any specific guidance if the child or teenager refuses to undertake a medical examination but the family or the investigating officer insists.
- However, in order to save the child’s life, emergency care must be started without addressing any concerns about legality or permission.
- Medical evaluation:
- In accordance with Section 27(2) of the POCSO Act, a female physician is required to conduct a medical evaluation of a female child or teenage victim.
- The available medical officer must, nevertheless, offer emergency medical care according to the law.
- In contrast, the Government medical officer on duty is required by the Criminal Law Amendment Act and Section 166A of the Indian Penal Code to examine the rape victim without fail.
- This ambiguous legal situation develops since there are no female doctors accessible.
- Cost of treatment:
- The medical community and institution are legally required to give survivors free medical care under the law.
- The State should be responsible for covering the costs if there are inadequate facilities or if expensive procedures are necessary.
- In the absence of this the hospital could give shoddy medical care or might deny the survivor thorough care.
- Consented sexual intimacy:
- The POCSO Act of 2012 considers sexual contact between two adolescents or between an adolescent and an adult to be unlawful because no exception has been made to the law’s prohibition on sexual contact with anyone under the age of 18.
- This is regardless of consent, the gender, marital status, or age of the victim or the accused.
- To avoid prosecution under the POCSO Behavior of 2012, it is recommended that any consensual sexual act that may be considered penetrative sexual assault should not be a crime when it occurs between two consenting minors.
- Contrarily, the most recent amendment to the Indian Penal Code regarding rape laws in 20138 states clearly that the age of consent for sex has been fixed at 18, and as a result, anyone who engages in consensual sex with a child under the age of 18 can be charged with rape, potentially leading to an increase in rape cases.
- The issue of Child marriage:
- According to the POCSO Act of 2012, child marriage and the consummation of child marriage are both prohibited.
- Even while child marriage is against the law in India under secular law, it is permitted under some personal laws, which makes issues more complicated.
- Training to medical professionals:
- The POCSO Act, 2012 has to be taught to medical, teaching, judicial, legal, and law enforcement institutions immediately.
- The major obstacles are finding information, monitoring it, and raising public awareness.
- Also, there is an urgent need to teach all medical students and primary care physicians the:
- delivery of child-friendly interviews,
- systematic assessments,
- evidence gathering,
- prophylaxis for HIV and STDs,
- family counseling, and
- frequent follow-up.
- Most instances of child sexual abuse go unreported.
- For many family members as well as survivors, recognizing and disclosing child sexual abuse is a very difficult and highly personal choice.
- Both survivors and family members experience feelings of embarrassment and humiliation as a result of the act remorse, rage, frustration, and emotional distress.
- Priority to Child’s Interest:
- A child shouldn’t be subjected to needless suffering only to guarantee a successful prosecution, especially when it may be prevented by connections to the juvenile justice system.
- Training Police Officers:
- Investigative authorities must continually improve their capabilities.
- A module on “offenses against children” should be included in the curriculum of police academies and training programmes, including refresher training programmes.
- Through this students can become familiar with child-related laws, such as the POCSO Act, their goals and procedures, and investigative and forensic techniques.
- Training of other professionals:
- Training for Special Court Judges, Special Public Prosecutors, and Legal Aid Attorneys is also necessary.
- When dealing with and assessing the evidence of a child, the Special Courts employ the same standards and competencies as utilized for adults, which undermines the goals of the POCSO Act.
- Improvement of infrastructure and procedures:
- Infrastructure for Special Courts must be improved, resources must be appointed, and POCSO Act-mandated special procedures must be followed
- Increase the number of Special Courts and equip them with the necessary facilities and personnel.
- A child’s psyche is scarred by sexual abuse, which causes emotional anguish and mental impairment.
- POCSO Act unquestionably includes protections against child pornography and sexual assault.
- The penalties for sexual offenses against children have grown more severe as a result of the change in 2019.
- However, India still needs to do far more to reduce child sex crimes.Topic 4 : Indira Gandhi Peace Prize
Why in news: The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, 2022 was jointly awarded to the Indian Medical Association and the Trained Nurses Association of India as representatives of the COVID-19 warriors in the country.
About the Award:
- The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, is a prestigious award accorded annually by Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
- It is given to individuals or organisations in recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order.
- Ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom.
- The prize carries a cash award of 2.5 million Indian rupees and a citation.
- A written work, in order to be eligible for consideration, should have been published.
- Panel of judges:
- The panel constituted by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust consists of prominent national and international personalities including previous recipients.
- The recipients are chosen from a pool of national and international nominees.Topic 5 : Eklavya Model Residential School
Why in news: The President of India inaugurated an Eklavya Model Residential School at Kuliana, district Mayurbhanj, Odisha recently.
Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)
- Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS) is a scheme for model residential school, specifically for Scheduled Tribes across India.
- It is one of the flagship interventions of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- EMRS started in the year 1997-98 to impart quality education to ST children in remote areas.
- The aim was to enable them to avail of opportunities in high and professional educational courses and get employment in various sectors.
- Key Features:
- The schools focus not only on academic education but on the all-round development of the students.
- Grants were given for construction of schools and recurring expenses to the State Governments under Grants under Article 275 (1) of the Constitution.
- The government gives one time ₹30 lakh grant for establishing the school, thereafter up to ₹30 lakh per school annually.
- Additional cost is borne by state governments.
- In order to give further impetus to EMRS, it has been decided that by the year 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an EMRS.
- Eklavya schools will be on par with Navodaya Vidyalaya and will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
- Admission to these schools will be through selection/competition with suitable provision for preference to children belonging to Primitive Tribal Groups, first generation students, etc.
- Sufficient land would be given by the State Government for the school, play grounds, hostels, residential quarters, etc., free of cost.
- The number of seats for boys and girls will be equal.
- Education will be entirely free.
- Comprehensive physical, mental and socially relevant development of all students.
- Focus differentially on the educational support to be made available to those in Standards XI and XII, and those in standards VI to X, so that their distinctive needs can be met,
- Support the annual running expenses in a manner that offers reasonable remuneration to the staff and upkeep of the facilities.
- Support the construction of infrastructure that provides education, physical, environmental and cultural needs of student life.
Topic 6 : Kailasa Temple
Why in news: India’s Maharashtra is home to one of the world’s most interesting specimens of brilliant architecture, Kailasa Temple.
- Kailasa Temple is a megalith and is carved from a rock cliff.
- The remarkable temples stands in Aurangabad district, and is the largest of the rock-cut temples at the world-famous Ellora Caves.
- It is hailed as the climax of the rock-cut phase of Indian architecture.
- It is also the largest temple of the 34 cave temples at the site, including Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples.
- Kailasa Temple also has traces of paintings that must have been grander in its glorious days.
- Its architecture has defined traces of Pallava and Chalukya style of architecture and it is believed to be commissioned by an erstwhile Rashtrakuta king.
- Its main shrine is also similar to the Virupaksha Temple that was commissioned by the Chalukyas.
- The central shrine is dedicated to Hindu deity Shiva, and houses a shivalingam as well.
- The shrine also has an inspiring Dravidian shikhara and the roof here is supported by 16 pillars that still stand solid.
Topic 7 : Atmospheric Waves Experiment
Why in news: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to launch the Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) to study one of the important drivers of Space weather – the Earth’s weather.
What is Space weather?
- Just like there is weather on the Earth, the environment around the Earth and the other planets remains constantly under the influence of the Sun and its behaviours.
- Solar flares and emissions, along with the kinds of prevailing matter in the Space surroundings.
- Space weather can suffer extreme events.
- These have a direct impact on vital installations on Earth, like satellite-based communication, radio communication, and Space-based aircraft orbits or stations.
- It affects the smooth operations of the navigation and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and power grids.
- Apart from influences from the Sun-bound emissions, Space weather also comes under the impact of terrestrial weather.
What is a gravity wave?
- In the atmosphere, there are a wide variety of waves, travelling both horizontally and vertically.
- Atmospheric Gravity Waves (AWS) are one such kind of vertical wave.
- They are mostly generated when there is an extreme weather event or a sudden disturbance leading to a vertical displacement of stable air.
- Natural phenomena like thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, regional orography and others have the potential to send out a variety of periodic waves, including AGWs, in the lower levels of the atmosphere.
- When the atmosphere is stable, the temperature difference between the rising air and the atmosphere produces a force that pushes this air to its original position.
- The air will continuously rise and sink, thus creating a wave-like pattern.
- AGW is a wave that moves through a stable layer of the atmosphere, wherein the upward-moving region is the most favourable for the formation of cloud patterns or streaks.
- AGWs continue all the way to Space, where they contribute to the Space weather.
The Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE)?
- AWE is a first-of-its-kind NASA experimental attempt aimed at studying the interactions between terrestrial and Space weather.
- It is planned under NASA’s Heliophysics Explorers Program.
- It will study the links between how waves in the lower layers of the atmosphere impact the upper atmosphere, and thus, Space weather.
- AWE will be launched and mounted on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS).
- From the vantage point, it will look down at the Earth and record the colourful light bands, commonly known as airglow.
- The new NASA mission will try to understand the combination of forces that drive the Space weather in the upper atmosphere.
- AWE will measure the airglow at mesopause (about 85 to 87 km above the Earth’s surface), where the atmospheric temperatures dip to minus 100 degrees Celsius.
- At this altitude, it is possible to capture the faint airglow in the infrared bandwidth, which appears the brightest enabling easy detection.
What will NASA’s AWE do?
- AWE will perform focused mapping of the colourful airglows in the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Onboard AWE is an Advanced Mesospheric Temperature Mapper (ATMT), an instrument that will scan or map the mesopause (a region between the mesosphere and thermosphere).
- Using the four identical telescopes comprising an imaging radiometer, scientists hope to obtain the brightness of light at specific wavelengths.
- This information can then be converted into a temperature map, which could reveal the airglow movement and ultimately, give clues on their role in the upper atmosphere and Space weather.Topic 8 : International Film Festival of India
Why in news: The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) commenced with a grand opening ceremony in Panaji, Goa.
- An increased incentive was announced for foreign film productions in India.
- The country will now offer a reimbursement of up to 40% of the expenses incurred with a raised limit of ₹30 crore (nearly $3.6 million).
- Previously, the cap for incentives per production was ₹2.5 crore.
- An additional 5% bonus was also announced for Significant Indian Content (SIC).
About the IFFI:
- The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was founded in 1952.
- It is held annually in the state of Goa.
- The festival aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world to project the excellence of the film art.
- The festival is conducted jointly by:
- the National Film Development Corporation of India (under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) and
- the state Government of Goa.
- Since 2004, starting from the 35th edition, the International Film Festival of India moved to its permanent venue Goa.
- Main Prizes:
- Golden Peacock Award
- Silver Peacock Award
- Special Jury Award and Special Mention
- Special Award
- ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal
- Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award
- Indian Film Personality of the Year Award