Ojaank IAS Academy



Share with

Ending Manual Scavenging in India

GSPaper- I & II

Context- The Supreme Court has ordered the administration to provide a report on the efforts taken to halt manual scavenging.

  • The court requested information on the efforts taken by the government to cease manual scavenging, including rehabilitation, payment of compensation, and family rehabilitation.
  • Even in emergency cases, the court has deemed entering sewers without safety equipment a criminal.
  • Before, according to the Union government’s testimony to the Lok Sabha, no one perished in India through manual scavenging in the previous three years (2019 to 2022).
What is Manual Scavenging?
  • Manual scavenging is the activity of physically cleaning, hauling, disposing of, or otherwise managing human excreta or any other type of dry or wet waste from unsanitary latrines, open sewers, septic tanks, or other similar locations.
  • Manual scavenging is a demeaning behaviour that includes the use of simple and often dangerous instruments like as brooms, buckets, and baskets, which can result in major health risks, injuries, and even death.

Manual scavenging: A Sad Story

  • According to the 2011 Census of India, there were approximately 740,000 homes in India where manual scavenging was still performed.
  • This practise is frequently linked to India’s caste system, in which people from lower castes, such as Dalits, are forced to engage in manual scavenging.
  • Between 2016 and 2019, 482 manual scavengers perished while cleaning sewers and septic tanks across India, according to the National Commission for SafaiKaramcharis.
  • According to the SafaiKaramchariAndolan, an advocacy group striving to end manual scavenging, there are still around 1.8 million manual scavengers in India.
  • Many manual scavengers suffer from a variety of health difficulties, including skin disorders, respiratory problems, and even death, as a result of being exposed to poisonous vapours in septic tanks and sewage systems.
  • From 2019 to 2022, a total of 233 persons perished as a result of accidents while doing hazardous sewage and septic tank cleaning.
  • Haryana had the most deaths (13), followed by Maharashtra (12) and Tamil Nadu (10).
  • Manual scavenging is usually done by persons from lower castes, such as Dalits, perpetuating the cycle of caste-based discrimination and social isolation.
Steps Taken by the Government
  • In an effort to prevent deaths caused by hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks, the government created the NAMASTE scheme, or National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem. The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 was enacted to prohibit manual scavenging.
  • The Prohibition of Work as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act of 2013 was passed to strengthen the ban and allow for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers.
Challenges of stopping manual scavenging
  • Manual scavenging has been linked with specific classes and tribes, resulting in societal prejudice and stigmatisation of those involved.
  • Many are unaware of the health risks involved with manual scavenging, which has led to individuals continuing to engage in this practise.
  • While rules and regulations against manual scavenging have been enacted, their enforcement has been uneven in many locations.
  • Several sections of India lack sufficient sanitation facilities, forcing people to engage in manual scavenging to clear the sewage.
  • Many rehabilitation programmes have not been successfully executed, resulting in people being unable to find alternate means of income.
What more can be done?
  • Ensuring that laws against it are strictly enforced as a disincentive to those who engage in this behaviour.
  • Increasing public awareness of the health risks connected with manual scavenging through campaigns, workshops, and other educational activities.
  • Having good sanitary infrastructure might help to reduce manual scavenging. Building toilets, drainage systems, and sewage treatment facilities are all part of this.
  • Sewer cleaning trucks and robotic devices, for example, can be utilised to replace manual scavenging.
  • Other sources of income, education, and training can all assist to rehabilitate people and enable them to find work in other fields and live a decent life.
  • Those who participate in manual scavenging must face severe penalties such as fines, incarceration, and licence suspension.

Source – The Hindu


“Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island” Project

GS Paper- II

Context- The “Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island” project is being widely criticised for its impact on the island’s forest and coastline ecosystem, as well as indigenous communities.

Additional Information on the Project
  • The Great Nicobar Development Project has the following components: an 8.45-square-kilometer airport, a township (149.60 square kilometres), a container transshipment facility (7.66 square kilometres), and a power plant (0.4 sq km).
  • Infrastructure management: The Indian Navy will be in charge of the port.
  • The airport will serve both military and civilian purposes, as well as tourism.
  • To accommodate visitors, roads, public transportation, water supply and waste management facilities, as well as multiple hotels, have been planned.
Significance of the Project
Defence, Strategic, National Security, and Public importance:
  • The proposed international airport, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, will be “built as a combined military-civil, dual-use airport, under the operational authority of the Indian Navy.”
  • The initiative is for “defence, strategic, national security, and public purpose,” according to the statement.
  • In recent years, increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Bay of Bengal and the Indo-Pacific has added urgency to this requirement.
Economic and strategic importance:
  • The island has significant tourism potential, but the government’s overarching objective is to capitalise on the island’s geographic advantage for economic and strategic reasons.
  • Great Nicobar is located southwest of Colombo and southeast of Port Klang and Singapore.
  • It is located in the East-West international shipping corridor, which transports a substantial portion of the world’s maritime traffic.
  • The projected International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) might become a transit point for cargo ships travelling along this route.
  • By becoming a key participant in cargo transshipment, the projected port will enable Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global marine economies.
Environmental Challenges
  • The project calls for the relocation of 130 square kilometres of forest area and the removal of 8.5 lakh trees.
  • Many environmentalists are concerned about the proposed enormous infrastructure expansion in an environmentally significant and vulnerable region, which includes the destruction of about a million trees.
  • They have warned that the loss of tree cover would not only impair the flora and fauna on the island, but will also result in increased runoff and silt deposits in the ocean, affecting the coral reefs in the region.
  • Coral reefs, which are already threatened by rising waters, are extremely important ecologically.
  • Activists have also raised concerns over the island’s loss of mangroves as a result of the construction project.
Way ahead
  • The Environment Ministry has halted all negotiations on forest clearing for the whole 166.10-square-kilometer project approved by the statutory Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) in which the airport is located.
  • The FAC is an expert group that reviews and approves forest land diversion for projects.

Source – The Hindu


India’s $5 billion Defence Exports Target

GS Paper- II

Context- The Ministry of Defence recently agreed to increase India’s yearly defence export objective to $5 billion by 2024-25.

  • According to a 2022 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) research, Indian defence exports have surged by 334% in the previous five years.
  • India is one of the top 25 exporters of defence equipment to more than 75 nations.
  • India’s defence export value had reached Rs 6,058 crore as of December 2022.
What does India Export?
  • India sells large military platforms such as the indigenous LCA Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopters, and fast patrol boats.
  • It also sells missile systems such as the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers.
  • Aside from these, India exports defence equipment like as SU Avionics, Bharati Radio, Coastal Surveillance Systems, Kavach MoD II Launcher and FCS, Spares for Radar, Electronic System, and Light Engineering Mechanical Components.
Major Export Destinations
  • According to an India Exim Bank study, Mauritius (6.6), Mozambique (5), and Seychelles (2.3) were among the top clients for India’s defence exports between 2017 and 2021.
  • In terms of ammunition, Myanmar has been the largest importer of Indian armaments, accounting for 50% of total imports between 2017 and 2021, followed by Sri Lanka (25%), and Armenia (11%).
Government Initiatives
  • The government’s strong determination to achieve defence self-sufficiency has resulted in a rise in India’s defence exports. Several indigenous projects are being launched.
  • 75% of the defence capital budget for 2023-24 will be spent on domestic purchases.
  • Three positive indigenisation lists totaling 3,738 items, with a prohibition on imports of items on the lists.
  • Development of two defence industrial corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, as well as procedural simplification aimed at increasing defence exports.
  • Initiatives such as streamlined defence industry licencing, relaxing of export rules, and the issuance of no-objection certifications have made conducting business easier.
  • Special incentives have been implemented as part of the foreign trade strategy to stimulate defence exports, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has enabled Lines of Credit for nations interested in importing Indian defence equipment.
  • In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisitions worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of Development.
  • Inadequate design capability in crucial technologies, insufficient R&D investment, and the inability to produce significant subsystems and components all impede indigenous production.
  • The establishment of a manufacturing base requires significant cash and technological investment, as well as a lengthy gestation time. At that point, newer technologies have rendered things obsolete.
  • The overlapping jurisdictions of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Industry Promotion limit India’s capacity to manufacture defence goods.
  • In a few circumstances, increasing indigenization is mostly ascribed to low-end technology.
  • The previous FDI ceiling of 49% was insufficient to entice global industrial firms to establish bases in India.
Way Forward
  • The expansion of the defence sector benefits India not just strategically, but also economically by lowering imports and creating jobs.

Source – The Hindu


Surya Nutan: A Stove of Green Energy Transition

GS Paper- III

Context– The formal unveiling of the Indian Oil Corporation’s patented solar cook-stove by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during India Energy Week 2023 (February 6-8, 2023 in Bengaluru as part of the G-20 schedule of events) must be thoroughly examined from the perspective of India’s national energy story. While Mr. Modi stated that the stove will soon reach three crore families in the coming years, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri described it as a catalyst in speeding the adoption of low-carbon solutions such as biofuels, electric cars, and green hydrogen.


Salient features of Surya Nutan solar cook-stove
  • Surya Nutan is a stationary, rechargeable, and always linked to the kitchen indoor solar cooker.
  • The Indian Oil R&D Centre in Faridabad created and produced this proprietary product.
  • It provides online cooking mode while charging through the Sun, maximising system efficiency and ensuring maximum usage of solar energy.
  • It captures solar energy, transforms it to heat via a specifically designed heating element, stores thermal energy in a scientifically established thermal battery, and then reconverts the energy for use in indoor cooking. The collected energy not only fulfils the daytime cooking demands of a family of four, but also the evening meal.
  • It operates in Hybrid Mode (can use both solar and auxiliary energy sources at the same time), making the Surya Nutan a dependable cooking option in any weather situations.
  • Surya Nutan’s insulation design decreases radiative and conductive heat losses.
  • Surya Nutan’s premium model (Breakfast +Lunch +Dinner) can prepare all meals for a household of four.
  • Originally, the device costs roughly Rs 12,000 for the base model and Rs 23,000 for the top model. But, economies of scale are predicted to significantly cut the cost. With a top model pricing of Rs. 12,000-14,000/- and an annual use of 6-8 LPG cylinders, this device may pay for itself in the first 1-2 years.
  • Surya Nutan incorporates all of the safety features that are essential in any indoor appliance.
  • The stove, which has a one-time purchase cost and requires no maintenance, is being marketed as a replacement for fossil fuels. It lacks a standard battery that must be replaced. In addition, the solar panel has a 25-year lifespan.
  • Surya Nutan is a modular system that may be created in various sizes to meet specific needs.
India’s national energy story
  • The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) developed a solar cooker and state-led hydroelectric power in the 1950s, but failed to address rural energy use.
  • Similar efforts to modify the conventional stove, such as the Hyderabad Engineering Research Labs smokeless chulha, were unsuccessful.
  • With a 50% subsidy incentive, the government began the upgraded chulhasprogramme in the 1980s to minimise fuelwood use and boost women’s health and finances. Nevertheless, the scheme failed because to concerns with construction, maintenance, and corruption. Despite the risks, women continue to rely on chulha.
  • Cooking consumes 80% of the energy consumed by rural Indian households. Notwithstanding the success of the LPG project, 668 million people in India utilise biomass for cooking and lighting. Fuel price increases and subsidy removal push women to use chulha at their own risk.
India Energy Week 2023
  • India Energy Week 2023 is being hosted under India’s G20 Presidency, under the motto “Growth, Cooperation, Transition”, from 6-8 February 2023 in Bengaluru.
  • It gave a once-in-a-lifetime chance to portray India as an engine of global economic growth as well as a generator of global consumption, backed up by a welcoming and investment-friendly climate and a competent population.
  • Opportunities for strategic policy making and knowledge sharing: IEW 2023 provided a once-in-a-lifetime chance for regional, worldwide, and CEO leaders to convene for strategic policy making and technical knowledge exchange.
Why In India?
  • During the next two decades, India is expected to have the highest rise in energy consumption of any country, as its economy continues to expand and generate chances for its people to realise their full potential.
  • By 2050, India’s proportion of global energy consumption will climb from 7% to 14%.
  • According to the IEA, India will account for 25% of the increase in energy consumption from 2020 to 2040.
  • By 2050, India’s demand for oil and gas would have tripled.
  • Gas usage is expected to triple by 2030.
  • Gas’s share in the energy mix will climb from 6.3% currently to 15% by 2030.
  • Do you know “THE PANCHAMRIT” (The five-nectar-element commitments)?
  • Indian By 2030, it plans to increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW.
  • By 2030, India will have met 50% of its energy needs using renewable energy.
  • From now until 2030, India will lower overall estimated carbon emissions by one billion tonnes.
  • By 2030, India’s economy will have reduced its carbon intensity by less than 45 percent.
  • India will reach net zero emissions by the year 2070.
  • Surya Nutan has the potential to significantly improve our energy security, as India currently imports 50% of its LPG demand. It also significantly cuts India’s CO2 emissions and protects our residents from the whims of volatile foreign fossil fuel costs. India’s energy revolution will be crucial in global energy markets. The India Energy Week arrives at a key juncture, with the issues of energy security and environmental sustainability influencing long-term energy transition and decarbonization pathways.

Source – Indian Express


OTT Governance: Measures To Enhance Transparency

GS Paper- II

Context- It has been two years since the government published the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Regulations, which delegated the duty of regulating material on OTT and online platforms to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). India’s strategy may be described as a light-touch co-regulation model, with industry self-regulation and a final monitoring mechanism at the Ministry level.

What exactly is OTT Media?
  • An over-the-top (OTT) media service is a streaming video service that is delivered to viewers directly over the Internet.
  • OTT bypasses the conventional controllers and distributors of such material, such as cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms.
  • The phrase is most commonly associated with subscription-based video-on-demand (SVoD) services that provide film and television programming.
  • They are usually accessed through websites on personal computers, as well as applications on mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets), digital media players, or TVs with built-in Smart TV platforms.
Digital Media Ethics Code Relating to Digital Media and OTT Platforms
  • This Code of Ethics establishes the principles that OTT platforms, online news, and digital media businesses must follow.
  • Platforms must self-categorize material into five age groups and include parental controls and age verification measures.
  • Publishers of news on digital media will be expected to follow the Press Council of India’s Norms of Journalistic Conduct and the Cable Television Networks Regulatory Act’s Programming Code.
  • Publisher will select a Grievance Redressal Officer headquartered in India who will be in charge of resolving any grievances received by it. Any complaints received by the officer must be resolved within 15 days.
  • Publishers may establish a self-regulatory board of up to six members, led by a retired judge or prominent person. The organisation must register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, monitor publisher compliance with the Code of Ethics, and address concerns that are not resolved within 15 days by publishers.
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting must create an oversight system and an Inter-Departmental Committee to hear complaints.
Guidelines Related to social media
  • The Regulations require intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to do due diligence. If the intermediary fails to exercise due diligence, the safe harbour rules will not apply to them.
  • The Guidelines aim to empower users by requiring intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to set up a grievance redressal procedure for accepting and addressing complaints from users or victims.
  • Intermediaries must delete or limit access to content that violates individual privacy and dignity within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.
What are the concerns?
  • OTT Regulations mandate the posting of contact information for grievance redressal processes and officers, however compliance is inadequate and public knowledge is minimal. Despite the fact that the OTT Regulations were notified in 2021, the general public is unaware of them.
  • In many circumstances, either no complaint redressal information is presented or it is published in such a way that it is impossible for a user to detect. In rare circumstances, the information is not provided in the OTT app interface.
The Singapore Model
  • The Infocomm Media Development Authority in Singapore is the common regulator for various media.
  • Apart from establishing a regulatory framework and encouraging industry self-regulation, its approach to media regulation emphasises media literacy promotion through public education.
What needs to be done?
  • There is a need for consistency in the presentation of crucial information on duties, timetables, and contact information for grievance redressal.
  • Regulations should dictate the manner, wording, language, and frequency with which critical information should be shown, and industry groups should be mandated to launch print and electronic media campaigns.
  • Age ratings and content descriptions should be clearly displayed in full-screen mode for a mandated minimum length in the video’s respective languages.
  • Rules should guarantee that film classification/rating is readable and conspicuous in print and electronic media marketing and promotions for OTT content.
Transparency and Accountability in OTT Platform Governance Measures
  • There is a requirement for uniformity in the display of key information such as obligations, deadlines, and contact information for grievance redressal.
  • Rules should govern the method, phrase, language, and frequency with which important information is shown, and industry associations should be required to run print and electronic media campaigns.
  • Age ratings and content descriptors shall be clearly displayed in full-screen mode for a prescribed minimum time in the relevant languages of the video.
  • Regulations should ensure that film classification/rating is visible and legible in OTT content advertisements and promotions in print and electronic media.
Approaches to Enhance OTT Platform Governance Transparency and Accountability
  • The Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC), which consists of officer-nominees from several ministries of the Central government and subject experts, should be broadened and made more representative, with tenure security.
  • The Rules should include a provision for the revelation or posting of an apology/warning/censure on the platform or website.
Infringing entities may face financial fines.
  • In the age of media convergence, a standard set of criteria for content, categorization, age ratings, infractions, and so on should be developed to control material consistently across platforms.

In line with global trends, India’s OTT regulatory strategy seeks to achieve a balance between self-regulation and legal backing. The government’s initiatives to improve media literacy and openness will not only encourage effective self-regulation, but will also empower millions of OTT users. These measures are critical to attaining the goal of boosting India’s worldwide standing and acting as a model for other countries to follow.

Source – Indian Express


Facts for Prelims


BorThekera (Garcinia pedunculata)

Context: A medicinal plant known as Borthekera in Assamese has been discovered to protect against heart disease.

About the plant:
  • It is a South Eastern Asian indigenous evergreen tree.
  • Historically, raw ingestion is prohibited. Sun-dried ripe fruit slices are used to make delicacies such as “tengadiyamasor jol” (sour fish curry).
  • It possesses anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-diabetic, hypolipidemic, nephroprotective, and even neuroprotective effects.
  • It also contains a lot of antioxidants.

Clean plant program

Context: Given the increased demand for foreign planting materials of fruits like as apples, avocados, and blueberries, the Central Government intends to establish ten ‘Clean Plant Centres.’

Objective: Increasing domestic production of certain fruit crops

  • Disease diagnostics, treatments, plant multiplication, and mother plant development are among the services provided.
  • ‘Clean plant programme’ is required: In India, it is now difficult to get disease-free and authentic planting materials for horticulture crops.
  • Furthermore, the procedure of importing plants is time-consuming, as the imported plants must be quarantined for two years.
  • This term will be decreased to six months following the installation of the Clean Plant Center.

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

  • National Horticultural Board is in charge of implementation (NHB)
  • Central government will provide all funding.
  • It will be established as part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program’ (announced in Budget 2023-24)
  • India is the world’s second largest producer of fruit (after China)

India’s first municipal bond index

Context: IBMX, India’s first municipal bond index, was introduced by the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

  • It will monitor the performance of municipal corporation bonds.
  • Its credit ratings are investment-grade (AA category)
  • Municipal bonds issued in accordance with the Securities Exchange Board of India’s Issuance and Listing of Municipal Debt Securities Rules, 2015 are included in the index.
About Municipal Bond:
  • A municipal bond is a form of bond issued by a municipality or local government, such as a city, county, or state.
  • When these groups need to generate funds for projects such as building schools, roads, or other public infrastructure, they can borrow money from investors by issuing bonds.
  • During 2017, the municipal bond market has experienced a threefold increase in fundraising (to about 6000 crores in 2022)
  • The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation issued the first municipal bond in India in 1998.
  • Indore just issued India’s first municipal green bond.

Regulation of Pharma Drugs

Context: To monitor drug quality in the wake of dangerous Indian pharmaceuticals, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will establish a centralized system of drug registration under the Central Drugs Control Standard Organization (CDSCO).

  • The government will also repurpose CDSCO’s web site Sugam, which conducts quality inspections on new pharmaceuticals.
CDSCO’s Background
  • CDSCO (under the MoHFW) is India’s national regulating organisation for cosmetics, medicines, and medical devices. It regulates the quality, safety, and efficacy of medications, including vaccines, under the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Regulations 2019 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.
  • The CDSCO is led by India’s Drug Controller General (DCGI). Whenever there is a disagreement over the quality of a medicine, DCGI functions as an appellate authority.


Share with

हिंदी में देखें




error: Content is protected !!