Ojaank IAS Academy




18 JANUARY 2023 – Current Affairs

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Government Representation in Collegiums

GS Paper- I

Context– Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has wrote to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud to make recommendations on judicial appointments.
Representative of the government in Collegiums:
  • Government representation should be included in the Supreme Court and High Court Collegiums, according to Union Minister Rijiju’s letter.
  • This would be a significant shift from the current system, in which Collegiums are made up entirely of senior judges.
  • Instead of creating a new forum (as NJAC does), the Union Minister’s recent plan changes the existing method of judicial selections to include representatives from the centre.
  • According to opponents, this will severely damage the concept of judicial independence and will upset the delicate balance envisioned by the constitution.
  • While the proposed NJAC included greater and more diverse representation of India’s political leaders, many see the addition of solely a representation of the ruling government as an egregious attack not only on the independence of the judiciary but also on the competitive balance between the ruling party and the opposition.
About Collegium system
  • The provisions of Articles 124 and 217 of the Indian Constitution govern the appointment of judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
  • Following consultation with the Chief Justice of India and other justices, the Supreme Court and high courts.
  • The Supreme Court Collegium is made up of the Chief Justice and four of the Supreme Court’s most senior members.
  • The High Court Collegium is made up of the Chief Justice of the High Court and the two most senior justices on that court.
  • Importantly, the Collegium’s recommendations are binding: while the government can raise concerns and urge the Collegium to reconsider, if the Collegium decides to restate its recommendations, they become binding.
The importance of the system:
  • The collegium system was established to preserve the essential structure of the Constitution by ensuring the independence of the judiciary.
  • It was also intended to guarantee that the Chief Justice of India does not force his or her personal judgement on the nomination of judges, but rather that it is the collective opinion of the entire body.
Issues with the current collegium system:
  • The collegium system provides no norms or criteria for the nomination of Supreme Court judges, which expands the scope of favouritism.
  • There are no criteria in the collegium system for assessing the applicant or conducting a background check to determine the candidate’s reliability.
  • The lack of an administrative body is also cause for concern because it implies that the collegium system members are not accountable for the appointment of any of the judges.
About MoP (Memorandum of Procedure)
  • The Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) is the official handbook on the appointment of judges agreed upon by the government and the judiciary.
  • It is an important instrument that oversees the collegium method of appointing judges.
  • The MoP is the core of the nomination process because the collegium system emerged via a succession of Supreme Court rulings and is not based on law.
  • The MoP was requested to be renegotiated after the Supreme Court, in 2015, overturned the constitutional provision that had established the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
  • Following the repeal of the NJAC Act, the Supreme Court directed the government to finalise the existing MoP by supplementing it in consultation with the Supreme Court collegium, taking into account eligibility criteria, transparency, the establishment of a new secretariat, and a mechanism to handle complaints about proposed candidates.
Way Ahead
  • If implemented, the Minister’s proposal would radically change the institution by putting a government representation in the Collegium itself.
  • While the particular powers of this representative are unknown, the sheer existence of a non-judicial member is likely to affect matters.
  • The situation is crucial and complicated since, on the one hand, the court should function independently, yet the legislative and executive cannot be fully ignored.
Source – The Hindu

Does ChatGPT have an Ethical Problem?

GS Paper- III

Context- Academics and instructors have recently expressed concerns about ethical quandaries related with the possibility of ChatGPT.
  • ChatGPT, as a language model, is incapable of ethical thinking or decision-making. It may thus be utilised for a wide range of applications, some of which may raise ethical considerations.
  • The Ethical AI team at OpenAI aims to guarantee that models are utilised in ways that are consistent with the goals of safety, fairness, and explainability.
  • ChatGPT, OpenAI’s most recent and sophisticated AI chatbot, was made available to users in November 2022 to test its capabilities.
  • Despite the fact that ChatGPT is built to reject obvious requests to produce phishing emails or code for hackers, more experienced hackers frequently mislead the bot into repairing or upgrading dangerous code they have partially developed by framing their request in a harmless manner.
What exactly is ChatGPT?
  • OpenAI has created a huge language model.
  • It was initially launched in 2019 and has since been updated several times.
  • Its architecture is based on the GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer).
  • ChatGPT has been pre-trained on a vast quantity of text material from the internet, allowing it to create text that is comparable to the input it was trained on in style and content.
  • It is an autoregressive model that predicts the next word based on all of the words in the input.
  • It is a transformer model that employs an attention mechanism to assess the significance of each word in the input while anticipating the next one.
  • It is accessible via OpenAI’s GPT-3 API, allowing developers can easily incorporate the model into their own applications.
Importance of ChatGPT
  • ChatGPT can be trained to recognise and respond to natural language input, making it ideal for developing chatbots and other conversational AI applications.
  • ChatGPT can produce coherent, fluent, and natural-sounding text, making it an effective tool for language translation, summarization, and text completion.
  • It can create poetry and other types of writing, making it valuable in businesses like as media, publishing, and advertising.
  • It may be tailored to do specific tasks like sentiment analysis, question answering, and named-entity identification.
  • It may be used to produce product descriptions, customer service replies, and other types of commercial writing, possibly enhancing productivity while decreasing the need for human-generated material.
  • ChatGPT can be utilised by researchers exploring natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Significant concerns
  • ChatGPT, like other AI models, may perpetuate and even exacerbate biases in the data it was trained on. This might result in erroneous and incorrect forecasts or produced text.
  • ChatGPT may produce language that is factually wrong or deceptive, particularly when used to generate news stories, social media postings, or other types of information that may spread quickly online.
  • ChatGPT may be used to produce text including personal information such as names, addresses, or other sensitive information. This can cause privacy problems and even lead to data misuse.
  • ChatGPT may be used to create text for undesirable objectives such as distributing false information, impersonating people, or spreading hate speech.
Ethical quandaries
  • According to the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), the following significant fields will encounter ethical quandaries:
  • Given the implications for the labour market, employability, and civic involvement, ethical reasoning, critical thinking, responsible design techniques, and learning new skills are vital.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies bring new research capacities and procedures, which has repercussions for our concepts of scientific knowledge and explanation as well as a new foundation for decision-making.
  • AI technologies have the potential to improve the cultural and creative industries, but they also carry the risk of concentration of cultural content, data, markets, and income in the hands of a small number of actors, potentially reducing the diversity and pluralism of languages, media, cultural expressions, participation, and equality.
  • The internet has made it possible for people to communicate in new ways.
Way Foreward
  • Although ChatGPT is a powerful tool with several uses, it is critical to consider and address any ethical quandaries that may arise when using the model.
  • It is critical to note that these issues may be avoided by carefully employing the model, providing it with suitable training data, and periodically monitoring the model’s output, all of which OpenAI attempts to do.
Source – The Hindu

Cancer in India: A Status Report

GS Paper- II

Context- According to a recent American Cancer Society report, cancer deaths in the United States have decreased by 33% since 1991.
Important Points
  • Deaths are decreasing: This has resulted in 3.8 million fewer deaths.
  • Early detection, lower smoking rates, and advancements in cancer therapy are the reasons for the drop.
Cancer Types:
  • Between 2012 and 2019, there was a 65% decrease in cervical cancer incidence among women in their early twenties.
  • The first group to be immunised against human papillomavirus (HPV).
Rising cases and deaths:
  • The trend in India is not even somewhat comparable.
  • Despite advances in therapy, cancer incidence and death in the United States continue to climb.
Cancer Types:
  • Cervical and smoking-related cancer rates have also decreased in India.
  • However, the prevalence of lung and breast cancer has risen.
  • Cancer affects one out of every nine Indians at some point in their lives.
  • Lung cancer affects one out of every 68 males.
  • Breast cancer affects one out of every 29 women.
Women v/s men:
  • Cancer is more common in women, with a rate of 103.6 per 100,000 in 2020 compared to 94.1 in males.
  • The most frequent malignancies in males were lung, mouth, prostate, tongue, and stomach; in women, they were breast, cervix, ovary, uterus, and lung.
Why are some cancers on the decline and others continue to rise?
  • In India, the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased from 45 to 10 per 100,000 people in the previous 50 years. Its prevalence has decreased as a result of later marriages, fewer children, improved cleanliness, and immunisation.
  • It is preventable by HPV vaccination, and as vaccinations become more affordable, the government aims to launch a campaign to eradicate it entirely.
  • Tobacco-related malignancies, including oral and esophageal cancers, are also declining.
  • Tobacco use is illegal in the United States, hence it is illegal to smoke.
  • Breast cancer incidence is rising, particularly in metropolitan areas. Its prevalence has risen due to the same factors: later marriage, having the first kid at a later age, not nursing, and a high protein diet.
  • Other than screening, there is no particular management for breast cancer because the aetiology is unclear.
Improvements in Cancer Treatments and their Impact
  • The cure rate for many malignancies is increasing, as are the cases of persons who have totally conquered cancer.
  • The cure rate for pancreatic cancer has increased from 3% to 6% in the last 50 years.
  • It has risen from 60% to 100% for prostate cancer.
  • With better therapies, survival rates for breast cancer have increased from 50% to 90%.
  • Screening for the three most frequent forms of cancer — breast, cervical, and oral — has already begun at the government’s newly renovated health and wellness centres. This, together with other government initiatives, has resulted in individuals arriving at hospitals earlier.
  • Cervical, breast, and oral cancers account for 34% of all malignancies in India, hence screening is recommended.
  • To obtain mortality gains, it must be more concentrated.
  • Dual stain testing is the most effective technique for screening cervical cancer, whereas a low-dose CT scan in smokers is the most effective for screening lung cancer.
  • Breast self-examination cannot be used as a conventional method of screening for breast cancer.
Ahead of the game
  • More screening and treatment facilities are required.
  • More extensive collaboration between screening centres and hospitals is required to minimise cancer mortality in the country.
  • To minimise mortality, it is critical that individuals are detected early and given proper treatment.
  • The government has various programmes that operate separately and in silos. They need to be organised so that once a person is screened, they do reach a hospital.
  • There are many different types of cancer.
Source – The Hindu

Voting Rights of Migrant Workers

GS Paper- II

Context- It is quite concerning that one-third of eligible voters, or 30 crore individuals, do not vote. Among the various causes, including urban indifference and geographical limits, one important factor is internal migrants’ incapacity to vote for a variety of reasons.

What are the electoral commission’s attempts to remedy the issue?

  • To address this issue, the Election Commission constituted a “Committee of Officers on Domestic Migrants” earlier this year. In its 2016 report, the Committee recommended “remote voting” as a remedy.
  • To address this critical issue further, the EC asked representatives from all recognised national and state political parties to explore the necessary legislative, administrative, and statutory adjustments.
  • A technical expert committee was present during the debate. It is crucial to remember that the most recent major voting system decision was the implementation of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in 2010, which was supported by all political parties.
Voting rights of migrant workers
  • Every person has the right to migrate freely and to live in any area of the country, as guaranteed by the Constitution. However, migrant workers, particularly cyclical or short-term migrants, who number in the tens of millions, are among the least represented groups on the vote.
  • The issue of disenfranchisement encountered by migratory workers is one of lack of access to vote rather than willful denial of the right to vote.
  • In a series of rulings, the Supreme Court has definitively construed the right to vote as falling under the purview of Article 19(1). (a).
Issues Concerning Migrant Workers and Voting
  • According to the 2011 Census, there are 450 million internal migrants, a 45 percent increase over the 2001 census. Among them, 26 percent of migration (117 million) happens inside the same state, while 12 percent (54 million) occurs across state lines.
  • The primary reason of the migrant voter problem is that an individual’s inherent right to vote is constrained by a very stringent residence requirement. As a result, it disenfranchises the migratory community.
  • In the survey report, ‘Political inclusion of Seasonal Migrant Workers in India: Perceptions, Realities and Challenges’ by Aajeevika Bureau, it was found that “close to 60 per cent of respondents had missed voting in elections at least once because they were away from home seeking livelihood options”.
What is the way forward?
  • Section 60(c) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 authorises the Election Commission of India to announce “classes” of voters who are unable to vote in person at their constituencies due to physical or social reasons, in agreement with the government. Voters who have been notified are eligible for the ETPB system (Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System). The ETPB system was used by 18 lakh defence personnel across the country for the 2019 general elections.
  • In 2019, a measure was proposed to offer a comparable remote voting option to over 10 million adult NRIs in order to “increase their engagement in nation-building” in the context of a PIL before the Supreme Court. Postal ballots earned more than 28 lakh votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • Senior persons, individuals with impairments, and Covid-affected troops can vote remotely inside their constituency via a postal ballot under the current system. Outside the constituency, postal ballot voting is only available to service voters, those on election duty, and people on preventive detention. The Indian migrant worker, too, ought to be guaranteed the right to vote through some means.
  • The Election Commission has recommended remote voting for migratory workers, using a modified version of the current type of M3 EVMs put at remote polling locations. In reality, the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd. has already created a prototype of a Multi-constituency Remote EVM (RVM), which is a modified version of the present EVM that can handle 72 constituencies in a single remote polling station. Only after the important demonstration will technical information be released.
  • Migrant workers are full citizens of the nation. Social, economic, and structural impediments should not be an impediment to their right to vote. The Indian Election Commission has taken a positive move. However, agreement on migrant voting rights must be reached.
Source – The Hindu

Making The Case for Wealth Tax

GS Paper- III

Context- The debate over efficient, effective, and equitable government expenditure frequently takes us into the domain of limited resources and conflicting demands. India must surely broaden its income collection and base. In this context, it is critical to explore the necessity for a wealth tax to be imposed today.
Why should riches be taxed?
  • The most persuasive rationale derives from evidence of tremendous wealth growth in a few hands. A tiny group of persons has access to a high proportion of economic assets and resources that are virtually untaxed and hence unavailable for public distribution.
  • Wealth, much less income, has little to do with one’s education, merit, or accomplishments; it is mostly based on inheritance and the possibilities that come with being a member of one of India’s favoured groups or castes.
  • According to the World Inequality Database, 2022, the wealthiest 10% of India’s population controls 65% of the country’s wealth, while the poorest 10% hold only 6%.
  • According to an Oxfam assessment, the richest people in India increased their fortune throughout the epidemic. This occurred for a variety of reasons, including vaccination earnings and commodity and asset price fluctuations.
  • However, despite grave financial and economic challenges, India lacks the capacity to convert any of its growing wealth into productive resources that can generate employment opportunities and raise the incomes of millions, thereby driving demand for goods, which is required to counteract an economic drag-down.
What is the government’s stance on the wealthy?
  • One may argue, and this is a popular argument, that wealth should be left to the rich since they know best how to invest. This has not been demonstrated sufficiently, at least in India.
  • In 2019-20, the government reduced the business tax rate from 30% to 22%, a trend that has sustained despite the economic challenges brought by the epidemic. This, however, did not stimulate much private investment.
India’s Wealth Taxation History
  • Wealth tax, unlike goods and services tax or value-added tax, is a direct tax that can take numerous forms, including property tax, inheritance or gift tax, and capital gains tax.
  • In India, capital gains tax exists, although it only applies to transactions and hence has a restricted base.
  • India abolished estate duty in 1985 and now has no inheritance tax. Although the receipt of gifts is subject to income tax in the hands of the beneficiary, there are several exclusions; it is virtually fully exempt if received from inside the family, including self and spouse’s extended relatives.
  • These exclusions greatly reduce the base, as most accumulated wealth is gained through family, which is free from the gift tax. Some exclusions make appropriate given the cultural context of wealth inheritance, but greater criteria may readily be introduced to make it more effective.
Present status of wealth taxation
  • Currently, India does not have a wealth tax, which is a tax applied on all types of property.
  • It did not levy a one-time’solidarity tax’ on wealth in post-covid budgets, which might have raised funds for critical public investment.
  • A number of Latin American nations, notably Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia, have either implemented or are planning to implement a progressive yearly wealth tax applied on annual wealth increases or a one-time covid’solidarity’ tax.
  • The idea of a wealth tax appears to be a good one on paper, but it may have a detrimental influence on domestic and international investment in the country. In India, the direct tax slab for the superrich is already among the highest in the world. Wealth taxes requires serious consideration before implementation.
Source – Indian Express

Supreme Court to hear petitions for Criminalization of Marital Rape

GS Paper- I

Context- On March 14, the Supreme Court will begin considering a series of petitions seeking to ban marital rape.
What exactly is Marital Rape?
  • The act of having sexual relations with one’s spouse without her permission is known as marital rape.
  • Domestic violence and sexual abuse have similar manifestations.
  • It is frequently a chronic kind of violence for the victim that occurs inside abusive relationships.
Status in India
  • Historically seen as a spouse’s right, many nations throughout the world today consider this to be rape.
  • Marital rape is not a criminal offence in India (as protected under IPC section 375).
  • India is one of fifty nations that has not yet made marital rape illegal.
Reasons for disapproval of this concept
  • The unwillingness to classify and prosecute non-consensual sex between married couples has been linked to:
  • Traditional marital perspectives
  • Religious doctrine interpretations
  • Male and female sexuality concepts
  • Cultural expectations of a wife’s subjection to her spouse
  • It is commonly recognised that a husband cannot be held liable for any sexual conduct performed by himself against his lawful wife since they have joint marriage consent.
Why it must be a crime?
  • Physical violence and sexual mutilation are more commonly connected with rape by a spouse, partner, or ex-partner.
  • According to studies, spousal rape might be more emotionally and physically harmful than rape by a stranger.
  • As part of an abusive relationship, marital rape may occur.
  • Furthermore, marital rape is rarely a one-time incident, but rather a recurring occurrence.
  • The victim of marital rape frequently has little choice but to continue living with their husband.
Violation of fundamental rights
  • Marital rape is considered a violation of the freedom of expression provided by Article 14 of the Indian constitution, which gives equal protection under the law to all people.
  • It breaches married women’s right to privacy and bodily integrity, which are parts of their right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 by denying them an effective legal remedy for forced sexual intercourse.
Problems in prosecuting marital rape
  • A lack of public awareness, as well as hesitation or open rejection of authorities to prosecute, is widespread around the world.
  • Furthermore, gender norms that place wives in subordinate roles to their husbands make it more difficult for women to detect rape.
  • Another issue arises as a result of existing societal standards.
Present regulations in India
  • A lack of public awareness, as well as hesitation or open rejection of authorities to prosecute, is widespread around the world.
  • Furthermore, gender norms that place wives in subordinate roles to their husbands make it more difficult for women to detect rape.
  • Another issue arises as a result of existing societal standards.
Arguments against criminalization
  • It is extremely subjective and difficult to assess whether or not permission was obtained.
  • If marital rape is criminalised without proper protections, it, like the present dowry legislation, might be abused by disgruntled wives to harass and punish their husbands.
  • It will raise the load on the judiciary, which could alternatively be used for other essential reasons.
Way forward
  • The legalisation of marital rape recognises the woman’s right to self-determination (i.e., control) over all aspects of her body.
  • In the lack of a definite statute, it is always difficult for the judge to rule on the issue of domestic rape in the absence of sufficient proof.
  • The primary goal of marriage is reproduction, and divorce is occasionally sought on the grounds of non-consummation of marriage.
  • The judge must weigh the rights and obligations of both parties before issuing a final interpretation.
Source – Indian Express

Facts for Prelims

Waterways Network

Context: India’s gaze 35kcr investment by 2047 to build a network of waterways
What exactly is a waterway?

Waterways contain both linear water features like rivers, canals, and streams and water regions like lakes, reservoirs, and docks.

Initiatives to improve the waterway network include:
  • The National Waterways Act of 2016 designated 111 waterways as National Waterways (NW). Thirteen of these are currently operating.
  • CAR-D (Freight Data) Portal for tracking all cargo and cruise activity on National Waterways.
  • PANI (Portal for Asset and Navigation Information) for waterway information


Context: According to a professor at the Indian Space Research Agency (ISRO) and an advisor to its space research programme, the organisation has yet to gain authorisation from the Indian government for the Venus expedition, and as a result, the mission might be delayed until 2031.
Other nations’ missions to Venus:
  • The United States and Europe have also proposed Venus missions for 2031, dubbed VERITAS and EnVision, respectively.
  • ISRO had intended to launch Shukrayaan I in mid-2023, however because to the epidemic, the timing was moved back to December 2024. Manufacturing delays and commercial launch obligations have also hampered other ISRO projects, notably Aditya L1 and Chandrayaan III.

Thiruvalluvar Day

Context: On Thiruvalluvar Day, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Thiruvalluvar and recalled his noble sentiments. He also encouraged young people to read the Kural.
Thiruvalluvar’s bio:
  • Thiruvalluvar, commonly known as Valluvar, was a Tamil saint and poet.
  • The Titular literature is an example of a Titular literature.
  • Tirukkural is broken into three books, each with 133 parts of ten couplets: Aram (virtue), Porul (administration and society), and Kamam (love).

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