Ojaank IAS Academy




31 JANUARY 2023 – Current Affairs

Share with


GS Paper- I

Context- By 2035, India hopes to have a $10 trillion economy. To do this, a population census, originally scheduled for 2021 but postponed indefinitely owing to Covid, is required. Such information is required for village or block-level planning in order to promote economic and social growth, improve governance, and raise the openness of public projects and programmes.

What exactly is a census?
  • It is simply the process of gathering, compiling, analysing, evaluating, publishing, and distributing population-related statistical data.
  • It includes demographic, sociological, and economic statistics as of a certain date.
What is the purpose?
  • To collect information for the Central and State Governments’ policy planning and development.
  • The census reveals who we are and where we are headed as a country.
  • It assists the federal government in determining how to allocate funding and aid to states and municipalities.
  • Census data is frequently utilised by national and international agencies, researchers, company owners, and industrialists, among others.
Why conducting a Census has become a prerequisite for economic development?
  • Demographers confront great obstacles in producing population counts at the district level since many states (and districts) lack a complete civil registration system with a complete count of birth and death data. Estimates are sometimes far off the mark, especially for newly established districts and states.
  • The Census data on migration has significant consequences for economic activity and social peace. As India’s economy grows, the migratory pattern is altering in unforeseen ways. The migration trend in India in the current decade is considerably different from what Census 2001 and 2011 data indicate. As a result, it is impossible to make conclusions on migration in India in the lack of up-to-date statistics.
  • Everyone is counted, regardless of geography, class, creed, religion, language, caste, marital status, differently-abled populations, occupation patterns, and so on. Unlike the former, most national-level surveys, such as the NFHS and NSSO, do not contain representative data at the population subgroup level. Only a population census will reveal the existence of other religions and languages, as well as the expansion or extinction of such groups.
How do demographers obtain data in the absence of it?
  • Demographers estimate the yearly population count at the district level using prior Census data for the intercensal or postcensal era in the absence of new data. For example, suppose they use the district-level population growth rate between the 2001 and 2011 Census to estimate the population of a district in India in 2015.
  • When the year of population calculation is within a 10-year range, such demographic exercises provide relatively accurate estimates. Estimates beyond this time period may be inaccurate, particularly at the district level, due to dynamic patterns of population components such as fertility, death, and migration.
  • Many Indian areas are undergoing a quicker demographic transformation, with varied fertility and death rates. As a result, employing the 2001-2011 growth rate for the period following 2021 becomes more of an assumption-based model than a model that represents actual fact. Covid-19 complicates matters further by influencing the country’s fertility and death rates.
Demand for caste census in India
  • Since then, India’s population has more than tripled to 1.21 billion people in 2011.
  • According to experts, the economic condition of the main OBC castes has improved over the last 80 years, whereas other castes have not profited as much.
  • As a result, a new caste census is needed to assess the economic and social well-being of all castes.
History and a Way ahead
  • With the unusual exception of Assam in 1981 and Jammu Kashmir in 1991 owing to socio-political turmoil and separatist movements, India has a long history of holding Censuses without interruption since 1881.
  • It has been a source of pride for India to conduct it on a regular basis at the national and sub-national levels.
  • It must be sustained until India has a foolproof civil registration system in place as well as a dynamic National Population Register.

Managing the Population Of course, census is a massive undertaking. To organise it, the entire government system must be involved. However, it is required since it serves as the foundation for all of the policies and programmes that the government want to undertake. Delaying it has both immediate and long-term negative effects for India. The government and other stakeholders must act quickly to conduct the Census as soon as feasible.

Source – The Hindu

National IPR Policy

GS Paper- III

Context- The 32-page National IPR Policy was announced in May 2016 by the Ministry of Commerce’s then-Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (now known as the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade). The ultimate goal of this paper was to lay forth the government’s holistic strategy for the country’s IPR ecosystem in order to shape a more inventive and creative Bharat.

What exactly is a patent?

A patent is a collection of exclusive rights awarded for an invention, which might be a product or procedure that offers a new way of doing something or a new technological solution to a problem.

Intellectual Property rights (IPR)
  • IPR refers to the legal rights that prevent others from using or copying an individual’s or company’s innovations and inventions (such as inventions, books, music, and symbols) without permission.
  • Patents, copyright, and trademarks, for example, are legal mechanisms that allow people to get recognition or financial advantage from what they innovate or produce.
  • The IP system attempts to establish an environment in which creativity and innovation may flourish by striking the correct balance between the interests of inventors and the larger public interest.
Three important objectives of National IPR policy document
  • The purpose of the Legal and Legislative Framework was to create strong and effective IPR regulations that balance the rights of right holders with the greater public interest.
  • The goal of Administration and Management was to modernise and enhance service-oriented IPR administration, while the goal of Enforcement and Adjudication was to increase the enforcement and adjudicatory procedures for addressing IPR infringements.
Changes in IPR ecosystem so far
  • The IPR ecosystem in this nation has undergone structural and legal changes during the previous six years.
  • As part of tribunal changes, the IPAB was disbanded in April 2021, and its authority was reassigned to high courts.
  • This was followed by the Delhi High Court, perhaps the country’s top IPR court, establishing dedicated IP benches in the IP Division to expedite the resolution of IPR cases.
  • Such efforts, one assumes, are designed to indicate to investors and innovators that India is an IP-savvy, even IP-friendly country that does not jeopardise national interests or public health obligations.
  • This is obvious from the same National IPR Policy, which specifically recognises, among other things, the Indian pharmaceutical sector’s role to providing worldwide access to inexpensive medications and its metamorphosis into the world’s pharmacy.
What are the issues?
  • The country’s patent establishment appears to have sent a quite different message, going on a patent-friendly, rather patentee-friendly, rampage in the pharmaceutical industry, at the expense of public health and national interest.
  • The Indian Patent Office continues to give pharmaceutical innovation businesses evergreening patents on pharmaceuticals used to treat diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other critical ailments.
  • Worse, they are routinely enforced through the courts, at the expense of generic manufacturers’ statutory rights and to the prejudice of patients.
  • The delayed introduction of generic versions of off-patent drugs has a negative impact on the availability of affordable medicines to patients in a lower middle-income country like Bharat, where most middle-class families and below are only a hospital visit away from having to dip into their hard-earned savings.
Way ahead
  • It is critical to understand that IP law, such as the Patents Act, does not exist only to benefit IP property holders.
  • The patent bargain is a scenario in which society is supposed to profit from dynamic innovation-based competition among market participants.
  • The Patents Act clearly defines four stakeholders: society, government, patentees, and their rivals.
  • Under the legislation, each of these stakeholders possesses rights, making them all right owners.
  • To interpret, implement, and enforce the Act only for the advantage of patentees, particularly evergreening patentees, is to abridge and diminish the legitimate rights of other stakeholders, resulting in suboptimal and, at worst, anti-competitive market results.

It is one thing to believe, understandably, that Bharat has to add layers to its IPR ecosystem in order to attract investment. It is quite another thing to equate IPR-sensitivity with a pro-patentee stance at the expense of public health commitments and long-term national interest. Make in India must be reconciled with Atmanirbhar Bharat, and in the case of a confrontation, the latter must triumph in order for Bharat to keep its status as the world’s pharmacy.

Source – The Hindu

How do ruminants contribute to Methane Pollution?

GS Paper- I

Context- Bill Gates has invested in a climate technology startup aimed at reducing methane emissions from cow burps.

What’s the latest?
  • Rumin8 is a firm that is creating a range of nutritional supplements for cows in order to lower the quantity of methane they leak into the environment.
  • The supplement contains red seaweed, which is thought to significantly reduce methane emission in cows.
What is Methane?
  • Methane is a greenhouse gas that is also found in natural gas.
  • Methane comes from a variety of sources, including both anthropogenic and natural sources.
  • Anthropogenic sources account for 60% of total world methane emissions.
  • Landfills, oil and gas systems, agricultural operations, coal mining, wastewater treatment, and some industrial processes are all included.
  • The oil and gas industries are among the major contributors to human-caused methane emissions.
  • These emissions are mostly caused by the combustion of fossil fuels, landfill decomposition, and agriculture.
How do cows and other animals produce methane?
  • Ruminant animals including cows, sheep, goats, and buffaloes mostly expel methane by burping.
  • They have a unique digestive mechanism that allows them to break down and digest food that non-ruminant animals cannot.
  • Ruminant stomachs contain four compartments, one of which, the rumen, allows them to hold partly digested food and ferment it.
  • The animals regurgitate this partially digested and fermented food, chewing it through again to complete the digestive process.
  • However, as grass and other flora ferment in the rumen, methane, a strong greenhouse gas, is produced.
How much do these ruminants contribute to emissions?
  • Given the enormous number of cattle and sheep on dairy farms, these emissions add up to a substantial volume.
  • The ruminant digestive tract is believed to be responsible for 27% of all methane emissions from human activities.
Why is methane such a major issue?
  • Methane is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for 30% of warming since preindustrial times, second only to carbon dioxide.
  • According to a UNEP research, methane is 80 times more effective at warming than carbon dioxide during a 20-year period.
  • It is also the main source of ground-level ozone, a colourless and very unpleasant gas that develops just above the Earth’s surface.
  • According to a 2022 research, ground-level ozone exposure might cause 1 million premature deaths per year.
  • Several studies have found that the amount of methane in the atmosphere has increased considerably in recent years.
Reducing methane emissions
  • Scientists have been working on making these creatures more environmentally friendly and less gassy.
  • According to a 2021 study published in the journal PLUS ONE, adding seaweed to cow diet can lower methane generation in their stomachs by more than 80%.
  • In addition, researchers are looking for gene-modifying ways to reduce methane emissions in these animals.
  • Last year, Scientists in New Zealand announced the launch of the world’s first genetic programme to combat climate change by breeding sheep that produce less methane.
Global cooperation to combat methane pollution
  • GMI is an informal multinational cooperation with members from 45 nations, including the United States and Canada.
  • Last year, India and Canada co-chaired the GMI leadership meeting, which was held digitally.
  • The conference was established to seek worldwide reductions in anthropogenic methane emissions via collaboration between rich and developing nations with transition economies.
  • The forum was founded in 2004, and India has been a member from its formation, serving as Vice-Chairman for the first time in the Steering Leadership with the United States.
CO2 Equivalents

Each greenhouse gas (GHG) has a varied global warming potential (GWP) and stays in the atmosphere for a varying amount of time.

The three primary greenhouse gases (together with water vapour) and their 100-year global warming potential (GWP) in comparison to carbon dioxide are as follows:

1 x – carbon dioxide (CO2)

25 x – methane (CH4) – I.e. Releasing 1 kg of CH4into the atmosphere is about equivalent to releasing 25 kg of CO2

298 x – nitrous oxide (N2O)

  • Water vapour is not thought to be a source of man-made global warming because it only lasts a few days in the atmosphere.
  • Other greenhouse gases have a significantly higher global warming potential (GWP) but are far less abundant. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons are examples (PFCs).
  • SF6, HFCs, and PFCs have a wide range of applications, however they are most typically employed as refrigerants and for fire suppression.
  • Many of these chemicals also deplete the ozone layer in the high atmosphere.
Source – The Hindu

Abortion Law in India

GS Paper-II

Context- Recently, the Delhi and Bombay High Courts, in separate rulings, granted exclusions beyond those provided for in the MTP Act.

  • The Delhi High Court has granted a child who was raped the right to abort her 25-week pregnancy and established rules for police investigating rape and sexual assault cases if the pregnancy surpasses 24 weeks.
  • The Bombay High Court recently went a step further, allowing the termination of a 33-week-old pregnancy due to significant anomalies in the baby.
  • The court also overruled the medical board of the government hospital, which had advised against abortion.
  • The court reasoned that doing so would consign the unborn to a subpar existence and put a “traumatic parenting” on the petitioner’s family.
MTP Act regulations:
  • In doing so, both High Courts went over the 24-week restriction set by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act of 2021.
  • The following are the highlights of the “Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021”:
Abortions before 20 weeks of pregnancy:

Terminating a pregnancy before 20 weeks requires only one doctor’s medical advice.

Abortions up to and including week 24 of pregnancy:
  • Abortion is lawful for women in certain circumstances up to and including week 24 of pregnancy.
  • It would include rape survivors, incest victims, and other vulnerable women (such as differently-abled women and adolescents), among others.
  • For termination of a pregnancy between 20 and 24 weeks of gestation, the opinion of two doctors is necessary.
A state-level medical board will be set up to decide:
  • It would include rape survivors, incest victims, and other vulnerable women (such as differently-abled women and adolescents), among others.
  • For termination of a pregnancy between 20 and 24 weeks of gestation, the opinion of two doctors is necessary.
  • The name and other details of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated should not be disclosed except to a person authorised by any legislation now in force.
  • Because it does not include the necessity of spousal permission, unmarried women can likewise get abortion under the above-mentioned conditions.
  • However, if the lady is a minor, the agreement of a guardian is necessary.
  • Intentionally causing a miscarriage: Intentionally causing a miscarriage is a criminal offence under Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code.
Significance of the MTP Act
  • Personal liberty granted by Article 21 of the Indian constitution is reproductive choice.
  • Because abortion is regarded a crucial component of women’s reproductive health, the laws provide them more reproductive rights and dignity.
  • The Privacy Clause also benefits rape victims and vulnerable victims.
  • Deaths and injuries caused by unsafe abortions are substantially avoidable if services are given lawfully by competent practitioners.
  • If the treatments are done in a hospital, they are done under adequate medical and surgical supervision.
  • If the tablets are taken at home, they must be taken under medical supervision and followed up on.
  • The boards are unnecessary and an infringement of pregnant women’s privacy, further complicating the painstaking process a woman must go through in order to have an abortion.
  • Because the legislation prohibits women from having abortions at will, opponents claim that it forces women to have dangerous abortions.
  • It raises the gestational limit for legal abortion from 20 to 24 weeks for some women.
  • A woman who does not fit into one of these categories would be unable to have an abortion beyond 20 weeks.
  • According to a 2018 Lancet report, 15.6 million abortions were performed in India in 2015.
  • Abortion can only be done by specialists who specialise in gynaecology or obstetrics, according to the Act.
  • However, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s 2019-20 Rural Health Statistics report, there is a 70% lack of obstetrician-gynecologists in rural India.
Abortion legislation across the world:
  • Abortions are either outright prohibited or subject to tight regulations.
  • Abortion rights are frequently restricted, usually based on gestational time constraints.
Countries that have altogether banned abortions:
  • Abortions are outlawed in 24 countries, where approximately 90 million, or 5%, of women of reproductive age live.
  • Senegal, Mauritania, and Egypt are among them in Africa; Laos and the Philippines are in Asia; El Salvador and Honduras are in Central America; while Poland and Malta are in Europe.
  • Women are imprisoned in several of these nations for having abortions due to strict legislation.
Countries that permit abortions, but with significant restrictions:
  • Abortions are legal in almost 50 nations, including Libya, Indonesia, Nigeria, Iran, and Venezuela, if a woman’s health is jeopardised.
  • Others permit it in situations of rape, incest, or foetal abnormalities.
  • Countries where abortions are more easily obtained: Other than gestational limits, there are minimal restrictions in Canada, Australia, and much of Europe.
  • Most European nations allow abortions within gestational time constraints, which are typically 12-14 weeks.
Source – Indian Express

Project 39A Report on Death Penalty

GS Paper-II

Context- A criminal reform advocacy group affiliated with the National Law University in Delhi recently produced a report on the death sentence in India.

Important Takeaways:
  • The Supreme Court of India has ordered a review of the mechanism for giving the death penalty, citing concern about how trial courts and High Courts carry out sentencing with less information.
  • Despite the large frequency of death sentences handed down in trial courts, relatively few are sustained by higher courts.
  • The 1980 framework in Bachan Singh’s case specifies the parameters for judges to employ when deciding between life imprisonment and the death penalty, taking into account both the offence and the accused, with life imprisonment serving as the default.
  • However, there has been significant criticism that death sentences have been imposed in an arbitrary, inconsistent, and crime-cantered manner.
  • The Supreme Court intends to fix flaws and provide judges with thorough sentencing information in death sentence cases.
The Report’s major findings:
  • With 165 death sentences imposed by the end of 2022, this is the largest amount of death sentences imposed in a year in over two decades (since 2000).
  • This movement has been significantly affected by the exceptional sentencing to death of 38 people in Ahmedabad in a single bomb blast case, the highest number of people condemned to death in a single case since 2016.
  • Almost 98.3% of death sentence cases were resolved by trial courts without any materials on the accused’s mitigating circumstances or any state-led evidence on the issue of reform.
  • There are 539 people on death row, a 40% rise since 2015, due to an increase in the number of death sentences delivered by trial courts and fewer cases considered in appeal by higher courts.
  • In the last year, 68 cases were determined by High Courts across India, while 11 cases were decided by the Supreme Court.
  • Only four death sentences were affirmed in the 68 cases resolved by the high courts, while 40 accused in 19 cases were acquitted, 51 accused in 39 cases received reduced penalties, and six cases were remanded to trial courts.
  • Even when death sentences are mitigated, they increasingly end in life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Increasing criminal sentences beyond the realm of presidential remission raises questions about the prison system’s emphasis on reformation and rehabilitation.
  • Sexual assault cases continue to dominate the application of the death penalty, accounting for more than half of all death sentences delivered by trial courts in 2022.
  • Most death row inmates are economically destitute, and their legal counsel is inadequate, resulting in a lack of mitigating information.
  • Judges frequently ignore mitigating elements, and there is little direction on how to allocate weight to aggravating and mitigating factors, i.e., particular circumstances of the accused considered in calculating sentence.
What are the stages of conviction?
A criminal trial has two stages:
  • Guilt stage: As a result, nothing produced or spoken during sentence may be used to overturn or modify the guilt judgement.
  • The sentencing step occurs after the accused has been found guilty of the offence and is when punishment is established.
Death Penalty in India:
  • For millennia, the death sentence has been utilised as a form of punishment in India for crimes ranging from murder to treason.
  • The death sentence was declared the highest punishment for certain offences in the Indian Penal Code of 1860.
  • During the British colonial period in India, the death sentence was utilised only in the most extreme of circumstances.
  • After independence, India continued to apply the death sentence, with the courts having the authority to inflict it.
  • The Supreme Court of India has affirmed the legitimacy of the death sentence, but only in the most exceptional of circumstances.
  • Concerns about the likelihood of murdering innocent people, problems in the criminal justice system, and a lack of proof that it functions as a deterrent to crime have led to efforts in India to abolish the death sentence.
Death Penalty Challenges
  • Inconsistent use of sentencing processes due to a lack of uniformity.
  • Because of faults in the criminal justice system, it is possible to execute innocent persons.
  • Discrimination based on class, religion, or race is documented.
  • Inadequate and ineffective legal counsel for the poor and oppressed.
  • The lack of a national database and effective record keeping contributes to the system’s lack of openness.
  • Inability to discourage crime.
  • International condemnation for abuses of human rights.
Need for Death penalty
  • Victims and their families deserve retribution and justice.
  • Deterrence of future criminal activity through acting as a deterrent to others.
  • Society is protected by the removal of dangerous offenders.
  • Victims and their families have received closure.
  • Human dignity and the worth of human life are protected.
  • Social order must be maintained.
Way Ahead
  • The paths for reducing the death penalty and abolishing it run parallel for a long time.
  • Every debate on death penalty reform emphasises the fundamental unfairness of the system, especially in a culture like ours.
Source – Indian Express

Facts for Prelims

Genetically Engineered Trees

Context: The United States is discussing whether to allow a genetically modified (GE) form of the American chestnut tree to propagate in the wild.

  • The GE version, known as Darling 58, has already been created and field tested in the United States, and it is currently seeking approval from government bodies to be grown in the wild.
  • The population of the American chestnut, a deciduous tree native to North America, was decimated in the first half of the twentieth century by Cryphonectriaparasitica, a fungal disease that destroyed almost four billion trees.
Initiatives by other countries for GE Trees:
  • China permits commercial planting of GE Poplar Trees (insect-resistant)
  • India is working with GE Rubber trees (very resilient to climate stress): this is made feasible by introducing the MnSOD gene (manganese-containing Superoxide Dimutase).
What are GE Trees?
  • A genetically modified tree (GMt, GM tree, genetically engineered tree, GE tree, or transgenic tree) is one whose DNA has been altered via the use of genetic engineering techniques. It can aid in the battle against climate change by sequestering more carbon; increase biofuel production; and aid in the growth of more wood, pulp, and other materials.
  • GE Trees may contaminate other trees as well as animals; however, there have been few scientific investigations on the long-term impact of GE trees.

World Economic Situation and Prospectus 2023 report

Context: This study was created by UNDESA (in collaboration with UNCTAD and five regional UN commissions).

Important observations:
  • COVID-19 lockdowns and the conflict in Ukraine in 2022 had a significant impact on the global economy.
  • Global production growth will slow to 1.9% in 2023 (from 3% in 2022).
  • Concerning South Asia: The economic outlook has “seriously deteriorated” as a result of “high food and energy costs, monetary tightening, and fiscal weaknesses,” with annual GDP growth predicted to slow to 4.8% in 2023 from 5.6% in 2022.
  • On India: Economic growth in India is expected to decline in 2023, as higher interest rates weigh on investment and weaker global growth dampens exports.
  • It advocates reprioritization of government spending, particularly in education, health, and digital infrastructure, as well as increased social protection.

Bharat Parv 2023 inaugurated at Red Fort

Context: The Government of India is organising the six-day mega event “Bharat Parv” as part of the Republic Day celebrations.

Bharat Parv’s bio:
  • Bharat Parv was previously conducted in 2016 and will be held again in 2021.
  • After a two-year hiatus, the physical event is being arranged.
  • The festival would include a Food Festival, Handicraft Mela, folk and tribal dance performances, cultural troupe performances, a Display of Republic Day Tableaux, illumination of the Red Fort, and so on.
  • During the event, Dekho Apna Desh, Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat, G20, and Mission LIFE will be branded and promoted.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has been designated as the event’s nodal Ministry, with highlights including the display of the best Republic Day Parade tableaux at the venue, cultural performances by Zonal Cultural Centres as well as cultural troupes from States/UTs, a pan-India Food Court, and a pan-India Crafts Bazaar.

Share with

Leave a Comment

हिंदी में देखें




error: Content is protected !!