1. The significance of the ‘there is no data’ answer
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Adverse impact of data deniability by the state | UPSC
In the modern world and democracies driven by technology, data management and analysis play a key role in analyzing ground situation and accordingly draft schemes and programmes to address needs of the citizens. Data also reflects state of governance and accountability on part of the government. This article highlights the adverse impact of data deficit or when government purposely alters data or hides data.
- Evasion of accountability and responsibility on part of government.
- Impacts Policy making and Governance – False data makes policy making and governance difficult at ground level – for example, number of vaccines needed to fight an epidemic, subsidy schemes for below poverty line (when measuring BPL population itself becomes ambiguous)
- Creates false political narratives of success stories of government – impacts decision making for citizens during election.
- Impacts freedom of Expression – Growing Information Gap between State and Citizens impacts freedom of expression for citizens.
- Power Asymmetry – Data extraction from citizens without providing adequate data from state leads to asymmetry of power between state and citizens – makes citizens vulnerable.
- Power Concentration – Data denial on part of government results in power concentration.
- Prevents insightful Debates – Lack of reliable data prohibits insightful debate from experts on various issue of national and international importance affecting India’s interest.
Thus, there is a need for data driven governance to ensure governance at ground level along with realization of important human rights including fundamental rights of citizens. Data Governance mechanism should also be incorporated as part of Right to Information Act.
2. The Police we need
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance + GS Paper IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude
Sub Theme: Police reform | Values of police department | Behavioral change required in police department | UPSC
The article highlights that India requires a police force that is responsive and respected and not one that is feared, as is the case today. Recently CJI highlighted threat to human rights and bodily integrity are the highest in police stations due to custodial torture and police atrocities.
- The threat to human rights and bodily integrity are the highest in police stations. Custodial torture and other police atrocities are problems that still prevail in our society.
- In spite of constitutional declarations and guarantees, the lack of effective legal representation at the police stations is a huge detriment to arrested/detained persons.
- To keep police excesses in check, dissemination of information about the constitutional right to legal aid and availability of free legal aid services is necessary.
- The installation of display boards and outdoor hoardings in every police station/prison is a step in this direction.
- If we want to remain a society governed by the rule of law, it is imperative for us to bridge the gap of accessibility to justice between the highly privileged and the most vulnerable.
- For all times to come, we must remember that, the realities of socio-economic diversity which prevail in our nation, cannot ever be a reason for denial of rights.
Nature of Human Right Violations by the Police
- Non-Registration of FIR
- Misuse of Power of Arrest
- Misuse of Power to Shoot-to-kill Order
- Torture during police custody
- Custodial Deaths
- Custodial Rape and Sexual Harassment
- Generation of Human Rights Awareness among citizens – part of curriculum, media, awareness steps taken by NGOs and Civil Society.
- Need for Attitudinal Change among Police Officers – need to change colonial mindset
- Focusing more on forensic science to extract information than through torture and fear by locking up in police custody without warrants.
- Improving in service conditions for police personnel – appointing more police officers across the hierarchy – help to reduce duty hours – need for weekly off among staffs on rotation basis – better pay scales to lower police officers
- Institutional Arrangements
- Setting up human rights protection cells in each police station to register cases of human rights violations
- Establishing Monitoring Cells at Police headquarters
- Setting up District Human Right Authorities – coordinated with State Human Rights Commission
- Installing CCTV Cameras in each police stations and in cells – connected and coordinated through central control room at SP office.
- Improving Professionalism
- Exposure to special education during service based on needs and professional demands.
- Qualitative Recruitment to judge professionalism apart from other key skills
- Professional recruitment with scientific methods will inculcate community driven approach. It will help improve existing police-community relations.
- Post Induction Transformation and Modification – Training plays an important role in the evolution, modification, transformation and stabilization of skills. Efforts should be made to reform the behaviour, attitude and responses of police probationers.
- Continuous Monitoring and evaluation of acquired professional standards during and after placements of police officers.
- Close and critical scrutiny of officers placed in fields and observe and note professional deficiency in handling cases as part of record.
- In service training from time to time for updation of skills, technology and professional behaviour.
- Scientific development and research outcomes in the areas of forensic science, investigation and police functioning across the world must be updated with Indian police officers.
- Replacing Old Police Act of 1861.
- Separation of Law Police from Order Police at all level. Law police will look after detection of crime and prosecution of offenders. Order Police will look after prevention of crime and maintenance of order in society.
- Strict Observance of Code of Conduct – along with cultural revolution (suggested by retired IPS officer) – giving up corruption, third degree torture, unnecessary pride etc.
- Effective Functioning of Central Police Board – ensure professional transfer and postings (without any political or corrupt motive)
- System of reward and punishment among police officials based on professional behaviour.
3. NATIONAL MISSION FOR EDIBLE OIL – OIL PALM
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims – oilseed crop
Sub Theme: National Health Protection Mission | UPSC
Despite being the fifth largest oilseed crop producing country in the world, India is also one of the largest importers of vegetable oils. The demand-supply gap in the edible oils has necessitated huge imports accounting for 60 per cent of the country’s requirement. Against this backdrop, PM Modi has recently launched National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).
List of Oilseeds: Nine oilseeds are the primary source of vegetable oils in the country – Soybean, Groundnut, Rape seed and Mustard, Sunflower, Safflower, Sesame, Niger, Castor, linseed.
Area under Oilseeds: 27 Mha (14% of agriculture area). It has remained almost stagnant (with slight variation) both in terms of absolute area as well as percentage of area under agriculture.
Production of Oilseeds: 33 MT (2019-20). The overall production has neither consistently increased nor decreased in the last decade. It has been fluctuating and has remained around 30 MT in the last decade.
Demand-Supply Mismatch of Edible Oils: Domestic requirements: 25 MT; Domestic Production: 10 MT from primary sources (Soybean, Groundnut, Sunflower etc.) and Secondary sources (Palm oil, coconut, rice bran, cotton seeds etc). The remaining 60 per cent of requirement is met through imports. Of imported edible oils, share of palm oil is about 60% followed by soybean oil and sunflower. India has emerged as the largest importer of vegetable oils in the world followed by China & USA.
Import bill: Rs 75,000 crore (2020-21). In the current year, the import bill could go up to Rs 1 lakh crores.
Initiatives to boost oilseeds production:
- National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Oilseeds & Oil Palm: Distribution of quality seeds, improved technologies, Distribution of micronutrients etc.
- Increase in the import duties on Vegetable Oils
- Increase in the MSP on Oilseeds
- Guaranteed procurement through PM-AASHA
- Targeting Rice Fallow Areas (TRFA) for cultivation of Pulses and Oilseeds. Once the Rice is harvested, residual moisture left in the soil is sufficient to grow Pulses and Oilseeds. Introduction of Pulses and Oilseeds in Rice fallows will not only increase production of Pulses and Oilseeds, but it will also lead to doubling farmers income.
Details about National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)
Increase area and Production: Increase area under Palm Oil cultivation from 3 lakh hectares to an additional 6.5 lakh hectares. Production of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) is expected to increase to 11.20 lakh tonnes by 2025-26.
- Price assurance to the farmers to protect them from volatility in the prices of Crude Palm oil
- Assistance to the farmers for buying various inputs such as planting material
- Special emphasis on the North-eastern States and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Funding: Centrally sponsored scheme- to be financed by both Centre and States.
4. Keeping an eye on China’s expanding nuclear stack
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS II – international Relation
Sub Theme: India-China’s Nuclear dynamics | UPSC
Context: India-China’s Nuclear dynamics
Multiple evidences emerged recently to suggest that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is expanding its capacity to store and launch nuclear missiles.
For decades, nuclear weapons did not figure prominently in China’s military planning. The country stayed out of the Cold War arms race, maintaining a minimal deterrent but never building a massive stockpile as America or Russia did. The present expansion of nuclear capability by China is indicating a shift in its nuclear strategy.
Why is Beijing changing strategy now?
- Growing disputes with Western countries over issues like human rights, democratic values, rule of law, and international norms. So, to increase the survivability of its arsenal against a first strike from their nuclear adversaries, China has been expanding its nuclear capabilities
- Recent border issues with India
What are threats to India?
China has refused to enter into any tripartite Arms control agreement with US and Russia. So, there is restrain on China from expanding nuclear capabilities. This may throw a host of challenges to India:
- Border disputes: it is likely to have an impact on the ongoing boundary stand-off between the two countries in Eastern Ladakh. Fixed land-based nuclear capabilities give the Chinese in consolidating their territorial gains in Depsang, Demchok and Gogra-Hotsprings.
- Maritime security: Submarine launched ballistic missiles may give China a leverage in expanding its foot print in Indian ocean, which Indian assumes as its sphere of domain.
- Two front war: Already India has been facing nuclear threat from Pakistan, any shift in nuclear strategy of China lead to potential two front nuclear war at both India’s east and western front.
- Vulnerability of our Nuclear installations: Indian nuclear and conventional assets are already under threat from Chinese cyber-attacks, and these are likely to increase.
- NSG membership: Being a non-signatory of Nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), India do not enjoy the luxury of expanding its nuclear arsenal like China does. Because that may negatively impact the prospects of India’s membership in Nuclear supplier group(NSG), which is important for India’s energy security plans.
The strategic balance between China and India is unlikely to be altered any sooner because of the Chinese nuclear expansion, but New Delhi would be wise to keep a close eye on its neighbour and work on enhancing its own strategic capabilities.
5. Wanchuwa festival
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Art & Culture – Festivals
Sub Theme: Wanchuwa festival| UPSC
- Wanchuwa is one of the important festivals of the Tiwas as it is related with agriculture which is the mainstay of their economy.
- In this festival, the Tiwas pray for a bountiful harvest during this festival and to protect their crops from pest and other natural calamities.
- Tiwas are recognized as a Scheduled tribe within the State of Assam. They were known as Lalungs in the Assamese Buranjis and in Colonial literature.
- Though members of the group prefer to call themselves Tiwa (meaning “the people who were lifted from below”). Some of their neighbours still call them Lalung.
- A striking peculiarity of the Tiwa is their division into two sub-groups, Hill Tiwa and Plains Tiwas, displaying contrasting cultural features.
- Habitation of majority Tiwas tribe is in Karbi-Anglong district of Assam.
6. Indian-Vietnam Joint Naval exercise
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Military Exercise
Sub Theme: Indian-Vietnam Joint Naval exercise | UPSC
Indian-Vietnam Joint Naval exercise
- What: Joint annual naval exercise under strategic partnership
- Where: Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.
- Indian ships participated: Destroyer INS Ranvijay and missile corvette INS Kora