Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 22nd October 2021

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1.  India crosses 100 cr vaccine doses – A case study

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Governance | GS Paper – IV – Case Study
Sub Theme: Pro-active Governance – Vaccination | UPSC

Context – India crosses 100 crore COVID­19 vaccine doses in about 9 months.
Significance –

  • WHO, UNICEF hail vaccine milestone- ‘It is a tremendous achievement’
  • Triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians.Our health­care workers traversed hills and crossed rivers across difficult geographies to vaccinate people. Our youth, social workers, healthcare workers, social and religious leaders, all deserve credit for the fact that India faces minimal vaccine hesitancy.
  • Universal adult vaccination programme – Unlike the established universal immunisation programme, for infants and children, India has neverundertaken any massive universal adult vaccination programme
  • Despite lockdown and interruptions in logistics and supply chains, vaccine manufacturers, the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech,were able to ensure uninterrupted vaccine availability.
    This has been an unprecedented effort in the history of independent India.
  • Success of made in India vaccines showed the trust of people in Indian brands. India today is “Atmanirbhar” in true sense.
  • Highlights the importance of continuous awareness programs from government in order to change the behavioural attitudes.
  • Equitable nature – There was a lot of pressure from different interest groups to give preferential treatment to them in vaccination. But the Government ensured that,  there is no VIP culture in the vaccination drive either.
  • Proactive approach – In early 2020, when COVID­19 was rampaging across the world, it was clear  that this pandemic will have to be eventually fought with the help of vaccines. India started preparing early. Expert groups were constituted which started preparing a road map right from April 2020.

Now what?
1) Efforts should be directed at increasing the pace of second dose vaccination – If over 75% of the eligible adultshave already been vaccinated with one dose, the proportion of adults who are fully vaccinated is only 31%.

2) Ramping up the production supply to meet the domestic as well as foreign demand in low and middle income countries.

 

2.  Need strategic reserves of coal and gas

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy | Mains – GS Paper III – Economy (Infrastructure)
Sub Theme: Strategic Coal Reserves | Coal Shortage | UPSC

Context – India is facing a severe coal shortage.

What are strategic reserves?

A strategic reserve is the reserve of a commodity or items that is held back from normal use by governments, organisations, or businesses in pursuance of a particular strategy or to cope with unexpected events.

For example- Strategic petroleum reserve- According to the agreement on an International Energy Programme (I.E.P.), each International Energy Agency (IEA) country has an obligation to hold emergency oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports.

(IEA- The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organisation established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The IEA was born with the 1973-1974 oil crisis, when industrialised countries found they were not adequately equipped to deal with the oil embargo imposed by major producers that pushed prices to historically high levels.
broad mandate on energy security and energy policy co-operation
The framework was anchored in the IEA treaty called the “Agreement on an International Energy Program,” )

  • In case of a severe oil supply disruption, IEA members may decide to release these stocks to the market as part of a collective action.Strategic petroleum reserves in India:

    Why necessary?

    1) to ensure uninterrupted supply and ensure energy security
    2) To protect strategic interests so that no one can take undue advantage of India’s weakness.
    3) Rising prices
    4) “Many countries have started keeping strategic reserves, because when it comes to a crunch, every country will meet its needs first
    5) Rise in demand due to increase in industrialisation and urbanisation – Coal accounts for more than 70% of India’s power generation

3.  E- Prisons

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity & Governance | Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: E-Prison Project | ICJS | UPSC

 

E-PRISON PROJECT

  • The e-Prisons Project of Ministry of Home Affairs aims at computerization of the functioning of prisons in the countryincluding digitisation and availability of prisoner’s data (convicts, under-trials, detenues etc.) in an electric platform which will be accessible to designated authorities of central and state governments.
  • E-Prisons Project will help in creating centralised standard information database
  • e-Prisons data has been integrated with Police and Court system under the Inter-operable Criminal Justice System.
  • e-Prisons uses data maintained by the States and Union Territories on the National Prisons Information Portal as per protocols notified for e-Prisons.
  • The system can be accessed through the secure National Informatics Centre (NIC) network, exclusively by the authorized officials of Law Enforcement Agencies and Prisons, through Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS).\

 

Components of e-Prison

  • E-Prisons Management Information System (MIS) – Management Information System used at the prisons for their day to day regular activities.
  • National Prisons Information Portal (NPIP) – It is a citizen-centric portal that displays statistical data from the country’s numerous prisons. Visitors can use this portal to schedule visits with their wards inside the prison; grievances about their wards can also be submitted using the portal.
  • Kara Bazaar – Portal for showing and selling things made by convicts in various jails across the country. All of the state prison departments now have access to the necessary technology for onboarding. 

Inter-operable Criminal Justice System

  • Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) aims to integrate the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project with the e-courts and e-prisons databases, as well as with other pillars of the criminal justice system such as Forensics, Prosecution, and Juvenile homes in a phased manner.
  • ICJS is thus a common platform for information exchange and analytics of all the pillars of the criminal justice system comprising of Police, Forensics, Prosecution, Courts & Prisons.
  • Invested under the CCTNS project of the MHA, the ICJS enables a nationwide search on police, prisons & courts databases across all States/ UTs in the country.
  • CCTNSis a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of Govt. of India.
  • CCTNS provide citizen centric police services through a web portal; establishes State and National Database of Crime and Criminal records, provides crime and criminal reports at state and centre, computerizations of police process & interlinks police stations, state and national data centres through a data network.

 

What does the News Highlight?

  • Union Home Ministry has advised the States to update recent photographs of prisoners released on parole/furlough/premature release in the “e-Prisons” and Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) database to generate immediate alerts and facilitate easy tracking in the event of their violating the law.
  • MHA advised States and Union Territories (UT) to review the existing practices and procedures governing grant of parole, furlough and premature release to inmates, as per provisions under the Model Prison Manual, 2016, and guidelines issued by the Home Ministry, the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court.
  • MHA also advised that in order to ensure that the inmates released on parole, furlough and premature release do not violate law, systems must be put in place for monitoring and follow-up of each such case.

 

E-prison, ICJS & CCTNS
Benefits Disadvantages
1. National Database of convicts to track their prison records from the stage of trial.

 

2. Pro-active policing by sharing active information / look out alerts (SMS/email) with police and other agencies.

 

3. Helps to track such convicts who are released on parole, furlough or premature release.

 

4. It will also help to track such prisoners if they further violate any law, involve in criminal activities or violates rules of premature release.

 

5. Recent photographs of convict will help to alert the system in case any inmate absconds or escapes from police or judicial custody

 

6. System can easily monitor under trial prisoner with correct and updated information.

 

7. Inter-linking of Police Station through CCTNS and ICJS will further improve the data availability for e-prison records.

 

8. Better day to day prison management and reporting with its various prison related workflows and modules

 

9. Ease of access to the citizens through its national prisons portal and e-Mulakat (Video Conferencing) system.

 

10. Support to courts through its e-Custody and other information systems for speedy justice delivery.

 

 

Sharing of prisoner records with Law enforcement agencies is a tedious process.

 

Misutilisation of Data – collected through e-prison. It may lead to indefinite surveillance of the convict even after his release. This may hamper his personal life and also his right to privacy under Article 21.

 

INTEGRATION OF DATA COLLECTED WITH OTHER AGENCIES INCLUDING POLICE, PRISON & COURTS – This has the potential to violate rights to privacy (K.S. Puttaswamy Judgment).

 

INCREASED STATE SPONSORED SURVEILLANCE & PROFILING – Above mentioned activities will increase chances of surveillance by various State authorities on certain individuals.

 

 

Conclusion – Despite the concerns, e-prison project through centralised information repository has helped to address the challenges of Prison Administration in India.

 

4.  Konkan Shakti – UK-India joint military exercise

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Security
Sub Theme: Joint Military Exercise | UPSC

Context: United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) gets ready for one of the biggest joint exercises – Konkan Shakti – with Indian armed forces.

Indian Navy would take the major role.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has an added task- it aims to strengthen military as well as cultural ties with India with an intent to ‘demonstrate that democracies that have similar views of the world want to work together to keep peace and stability.

Such exercises demonstrate that democracies that have similar views of the world want to work together to keep peace and stability. That could be in the South China Sea or the western Indian Ocean or the Gulf of Aden or the North Sea.

Location of the exercise: Off the coast of Mumbai.

The exercise would test anti-submarine procedures, where an Indian submarine would pretend to be the enemy and the Indian and Royal Navy ships would try to find it.

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