Online Quiz Test

Marriage Laws for Minors

Context

  • When such marriages are considered an offence under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006, the Supreme Court will assess whether minor girls can marry based on custom or personal law.
  • Men who marry teenage girls would be subject to strict regulations dictating imprisonment ranging from two years to life, the Assam Cabinet has announced.

Current status of Marriage Laws

  • For women and men, the legal marriage age is 18 and 21, respectively, and child marriage is a practise that is not permitted. Nevertheless, this varies amongst communities.
  • In India, the Muslim personal law allows people who have reached puberty—that is, when they are 15—to get married while they are still minors.
  • The minimum age for marriage is 18 years for women and 21 years for men, according to the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936, the Special Marriage Act of 1954, and the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872.
  • According to the 2006 PCMA, child marriage is not permitted in India. Marriage before the legal age is forbidden, and those who coerce children into marriage risk punishment.
  • Because the PCMA contains no language stating that it will take precedence over other laws on the subject, there is a contradiction between the Muslim personal law regarding the minimum age of marriage and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

Changes demanded in Legal Age

  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) filed a petition against a recent order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
  • Punjab and Haryana High Court order of June 2022 said a girl, attaining the age of 15 years and above, could be married on the basis of Muslim personal law, irrespective of the provisions of the POCSO Act, 2012.
  • Arguments given by High Court :
  • According to the HC, Muslim personal law will take precedence over the special marriage law.
  • The High Court’s order would not serve as a legal precedent for other courts, according to the Supreme Court.
  • The National Commission for Women (NCW) has petitioned the Supreme Court to equalise the minimum marriage age for Muslim women with that of people of other faiths.
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 aims to alter the PCMA, 2006, by raising the minimum age for women to get married from 18 to 21 years old.
  • The Supreme Court has urged Parliament to decrease the POCSO Act’s and the IPC’s 18-year consent age, which criminalises any teenage consenting sexual behaviour.
  • Many incidents of consensual sexual assault reported in the nation under POCSO and other laws affecting 16–18-year-old adolescents are reported by the victim’s family because they don’t like the way the teenagers are acting.

States where Child Marriages are high

• Child marriage is prevalent in 70 districts in 13 States, including Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

• According to the National Family Health Survey-5 report (NFHS-5), 11.7% of girls in Assam give birth before the age of majority, and 31.8% get married at an illegal age. The respective averages for the country are 23.3% and 6.8%.

The greatest rates of child marriage occur in West Bengal (41.6%) and Bihar (40.8%).

• The percentage of child marriages in Madhya Pradesh decreased from 32.4% in NFHS-4 to 23.1% in NFHS-5.

Impacts of Child Marriage

  • • Poor nutrition and poor maternal and child health may be the results of early parenthood. According to NFHS-5, 59% of Indian females between the ages of 15 and 19 had anaemia.
  • Education:  The national average of women with 10 or more years of schooling is 41% in NFHS-5. Those women who complete their schooling often decide to raise children with better care and nutrition.
  • High Fertility Rate: Due to high childbearing capacity Minor girls are more likely to have a large family than the replacement rate of 2.1.
  • Poverty and Poor Management: Due to early responsibility to manage the family appropriate skill set is not acquired leading to poverty and poor family planning.
  • Less Autonomy and reproductive choices for women: Women exercise fewer decision-making powers in family matters, and have less ability to make reproductive choices due to a patriarchal mindset of family members as per Young Lives, India-NCPCR study. 

Way Forward

  • The Law Commission suggested setting the marriage age for both boys and girls at 18 years old, not 21, in a 2008 study on family law reform. According to this argument, since 18 is the legal voting age, marriage should also be permitted at that age.
  • Why A woman’s legal marriage age ought to be determined by the social framework that best supports her academic development, equips her with a skill set that will make her more marketable, and gives her more authority over decision-making.

SourceThe Hindu

‘Amrit Udyan’

In News

As part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav theme, Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Mughal Gardens were renamed “Amrit Udyan.”

A long history of Mughal Gardens in India

  • The Mughal Gardens (formerly formerly) were inspired by miniature paintings from India and Persia, the gardens surrounding the Taj Mahal, and the Mughal Gardens in Jammu & Kashmir.
  •  Gardens were admired by the Mughals.
  •  In Babur Nama, Babur declares that the Persian char bagh style of garden is his favourite type (literally, four gardens).
  • The char bagh building was designed to be a symbol of the jannat, an earthly utopia in which people live in perfect harmony with all other aspects of nature.
  • There are many Mughal gardens in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

Modern India:  Lutyens’ imprint: Edwin Lutyens had finalised the designs of the Mughal Gardens in 1917, but it was only during the year 1928-1929 that planting was done. 

  •  For the gardens, Lutyens combined two distinct horticulture traditions: the Mughal style and the English flower garden.

Other Developments 

  • Over time, Presidents have contributed to the gardens in their own ways for social or developmental works.
    •  C Rajagopalachari, the first Indian resident of Rashtrapati Bhavan, used a portion to cultivate wheat, 
    • President R Venkatraman added a cactus garden (he just liked cacti) 
    • President APJ Abdul Kalam contributed to the making of Herbal Gardens, Tactile Gardens for the visually handicapped, and others.
Do you Know?

  • Ancient Indian gardens followed four styles: udyan, paramadodvana, vrikshavatika, and nandanavana. 
    • King played chess in the gardens of o Udyan while taking in dancers and jesters’ performances.
    • The grounds at Paramadodvana were set aside for royal couples to enjoy. royal designers created
    • In the kingdom, high-ranking courtiers were to utilise Vrikshavatika. And
    • Lord Krishna, a revered Hindu deity and the god of knowledge, was honoured in Nandanavana Gardens. of love, protection, and compassion.
    • Some of the most famous classical gardens of India can be found at the Taj Mahal, a mausoleum in Agra commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Influence: Many of the gardens of Ancient India followed the influence of Ancient Persian gardens, particularly those designed during the Mughul reign from 1526 to 1720.
      •  It also contains the tomb of Shah Jahan himself.

Source:IE

Polar vortex

In News

The Polar Vortex, which recently brought extremely cold weather to the US, is to blame for the chilly weather in Asia.

About  Polar vortex

  •  The flow of air that keeps the colder air close to the Poles is referred to as a “vortex.”
  •  The polar vortex is a sizable region of cold and low pressure air that surrounds both poles of the planet.
  •  It is constantly present close to the poles, but it is weaker in the summer and stronger in the winter.
    • Causes: The Earth’s rotation and the temperature variations between the Arctic and mid-latitudes keep the polar vortex in place.
    • When those variations in temperatures grow, the polar vortex can shift south. 
      • This happens naturally, but scientists think that as the planet warms, shifts in the polar vortex are likely to become more frequent and pronounced.
    • Impacts: The polar jet stream in the troposphere is encouraged to move northward when the Arctic polar vortex is particularly powerful and steady.
    •  When the vortex weakens, shifts, or splits (right globe), the polar jet stream often becomes extremely wavy, allowing warm air to flood into the Arctic and polar air to sink down into the mid-latitudes. 

Image Courtesy: NOAA

 

World Leprosy Day

In News 

• The date of World Leprosy Day in 2023 is set to be January 29.

About Leprosy Day

  •  The final Sunday in January is designated as World Leprosy Day each year.
  •  It is marked in India on January 30th of each year, which also happens to be the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s passing.
  • He had a strong commitment to the plight of leprosy sufferers.
  •  It attempts to raise awareness about the stigma and discrimination associated with the illness by informing the public that it is a disease that is spread by a particular type of bacteria and that it is easily curable.
    •  The theme of World Leprosy Day 2023 is “Act Now. Stop leprosy.
    •  The theme stresses three main points: 
      • elimination of leprosy is possible
      • immediate action is required, which includes resources and commitment
      • leprosy is preventable and treatable, hence people still suffering from it is a needless thing.

Leprosy 

  • It is a chronic infectious condition brought on by Mycobacterium leprae and is also referred to as Hansen’s disease.
    • The condition has an impact on the eyes, upper respiratory tract mucosal surfaces, skin, and peripheral nerves.
    • It is known to happen at every age, from infancy to old age.
      • High endemic district leprosy case detection campaigns (LCDC).
  • Transmission: It is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contact with untreated cases.
    • The disease is not spread through casual contact with a person who has leprosy like shaking hands or hugging, sharing meals or sitting next to each other.
  • Impacts: If the illness is not addressed, it could result in progressive problems that last a lifetime.
  • Spread: It is reported from all six WHO Regions; the majority of annual new case detections are from South-East Asia.
    • More than 120 nations still experience this neglected tropical disease (NTD), and there are more than 200 000 new cases reported annually.
  • Treatment: It is a curable disease
    • The currently recommended treatment regimen consists of three drugs: dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine. 
    • The combination is referred to as multi-drug therapy (MDT). 
  • WHO response: WHO provides technical support to Member States on leprosy prevention and control. 
    • The Global Leprosy Strategy 2021–2030 “Towards zero leprosy” was developed through a broad consultative process with all major stakeholders during 2019 and 2020.
  • Efforts of India:   The Government is implementing the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) with the goal of making India leprosy free. 
    • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the umbrella of the National Health Mission (NHM). 
    • It is implemented in all the States/UTs.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO), working through the country office in India, supports the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP).
    • Major initiatives under NLEP are as follows:
  • Focused Leprosy Campaign (FLC) for case detection in low-endemic districts.
  • Leprosy Suspect Surveillance Based on ASHA (ABSULS).
  • The annual Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign on January 30.
  • Case detection and surveillance activities, both in urban and rural settings.
  • The convergence of leprosy screening programmes under Ayushman Bharat for persons over 30 and under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) for children (0–18 years).

Source: LM

Abortion Law in India

In News

• Recently, the Delhi and Bombay High Courts granted exemptions outside of what the MTP Act specifies in separate rulings.

More about the news

  • Delhi High Court order:
  • The Delhi High Court has established guidelines for police looking into rape and sexual assault cases where the pregnancy is longer than 24 weeks and permitted a child who had been sexually assaulted to end her 25-week pregnancy.
  • Bombay High Court order:
    • Bombay High Court on recently went a step further and allowed the termination of a 33-week-old pregnancy on account of severe abnormalities in the foetus.
      • The court also went against the recommendations of the government hospital’s medical board which had warned against aborting.
      • The court reasoned that doing so would condemn the foetus to a substandard life and force a “traumatic parenthood” on the petitioner’s family.
  • MTP Act guidelines:
  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021’s top restriction of 24 weeks has been exceeded by both High Courts as a result.

Salient features of the “Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021”:

  • Abortions before 20 weeks of pregnancy:
    • Terminating a pregnancy up to 20 weeks will only require the medical advice of one doctor.
  • Abortions upto or beyond 24 of pregnancy:
    •  Up to 24 weeks, women can obtain an abortion under certain conditions.
    • It would include:
      •  Survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, minors) etc.
    • Opinion of 2 providers is required for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
    • A state-level medical board will be set up to decide: 
      • If pregnancy may be terminated beyond 20 months till 24 months.
      • Such a decision can be taken by the medical board only after 
        • due consideration and 
        • ensuring that the procedure would be safe for the woman.
        • The time frame available to the Medical Board is 3 days.
    •  In circumstances where the Medical Board has identified significant foetal anomalies, the higher gestational limit is not applicable.
  • Anonymity: 
    •  A pregnant woman’s name and other information must not be disclosed to anybody unless they are specifically authorised by a legislation that is now in effect.
  • Marital and age criteria:
  • Unmarried women can also access abortion under the above-mentioned conditions because it does not mention the requirement of spousal consent. 
  • If the woman is a minor, however, the consent of a guardian is required.
  • According to Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, it is unlawful to intentionally cause a miscarriage.
  • Intentionally causing a miscarriage:

Significance of the MTP Act

  • Constitutional right:
    •  Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to make reproductive decisions.
  • Reproductive Rights of a Woman: 
    • The laws provide greater reproductive rights and dignity to women as abortion is considered an important aspect of the reproductive health of women.
  • Right to Privacy: 
    • The rape victims and vulnerable victims are also benefitted from Privacy Clause.
  • Encouragement to Safe Abortion: 
    • Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions are largely preventable provided services are performed legally by trained practitioners.
    • The procedures are performed under proper medical and surgical supervision if done in the hospital setting. 
    • If termination pills are taken at home, it must be under medical supervision and follow up.

Criticisms:

  • No Personal Choice: 
    • The boards are unnecessary and an invasion of privacy of the pregnant women which pushes the laborious process a woman had to undergo in order to get an abortion.
    • As the law does not permit abortion at will, critics say that it pushes women to access illicit abortions under unsafe conditions.
  • Increase in Gestational limit only in certain cases: 
    • It enhances the gestational limit for legal abortion from 20 to 24 weeks only for specific categories of women.
    • A woman who does not fall into these categories would not be able to seek an abortion beyond 20 weeks.
  • Shortage of medical staff:
    • According to a 2018 study in the Lancet, 15.6 million abortions were accessed every year in India as of 2015. 
    • The Act requires abortion to be performed only by doctors with specialisation in gynaecology or obstetrics. 
    • However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s 2019-20 report on Rural Health Statistics indicates that there is a 70% shortage of obstetrician-gynaecologists in rural India.
Abortion laws around the world:

  • Abortions are either banned entirely or permitted with certain restrictions in place. 
  • Very often limits are placed on when an abortion is permitted, generally around gestational time limits. 
  • Countries that have altogether banned abortions:
      •  About 90 million or 5% of women of reproductive age live in 24 countries where abortions are prohibited.
      • These include Senegal, Mauritania, and Egypt in Africa, Laos and the Philippines in Asia, El Salvador and Honduras in Central America, and Poland and Malta in Europe.
      • As per the hardline laws in some of these countries, women are imprisoned for getting abortions.
  • Countries that permit abortions, but with significant restrictions:
    • Around 50 countries — including Libya, Indonesia, Nigeria, Iran and Venezuela — permit abortions if a woman’s health is at risk. 
    • Several others allow it in cases of rape, incest or foetal abnormality.
  • Countries where abortions are more easily accessible:
    • In Canada, Australia and much of Europe there are few restrictions other than gestational limits.
    • Most European countries permit abortions within gestational time limits, which most commonly is about 12-14 weeks. 

 

Project 39A Report on Death Penalty

In News

• The National Law University in Delhi’s criminal reform advocacy group recently published a paper on the death sentence in India.

Key Takeaways:

  • Concerned with the way trial courts and High Courts carry out sentence with scant relevant information, the Supreme Court of India has started a review of the procedure for awarding the death penalty.
  • Though death penalties are frequently imposed by trial courts, extremely few of them are upheld by higher courts.
  • The 1980 framework in Bachan Singh’s case establishes the standards by which judges should weigh the crime and the accused when deciding between life in prison and the death penalty, with life in prison serving as the default.
  • Nevertheless, there is widespread worry that the imposition of death penalties has been capricious, inconsistent, and crime-centered.
  • The Supreme Court wants to fix mistakes and make sure judges in death penalty cases have access to complete sentencing information.

Major findings of the Report:

  • At 165, the number of death sentences imposed by the end of 2022 will be the most in more than 20 years (since 2000).
  • The unusual execution sentence of 38 people in Ahmedabad in connection with a single bomb blast case—the highest number of death sentences since 2016—has had a significant impact on this trend.
  • Trial judges made decisions in over 98.3% of instances involving the death penalty without considering the accused’s mitigating circumstances or any state-sponsored evidence on reform.
  • As a result of more trial courts issuing death sentences and fewer cases being considered on appeal by higher courts, there are now 539 convicts on death row, a 40% rise since 2015.
  • In the previous year, 68 cases were determined by High Courts across India, and 11 cases were decided by the Supreme Court.
  • Only four death sentences—out of the 68 cases reviewed by the high courts—were upheld, while 40 defendants in 19 instances were cleared of all charges, 51 defendants in 39 cases received lighter sentences, and six cases were sent back to lower courts for further consideration.
  • Death sentences have increasingly led to the imposition of life in prison without the possibility of parole, even when they are commuted.
  • Given the prison system’s emphasis on reformation and rehabilitation, punishments for criminal defendants that go outside the purview of executive remission pose questions.
  • Sexual assault cases continue to predominate the application of the death penalty, accounting for more than half of all death sentences handed out by trial courts in 2022.
  • The majority of death row inmates are economically precarious, and their subpar legal representation leaves them with little access to mitigation information.
  • Judges frequently ignore mitigating circumstances, and there is little direction on how to assess aggravating and mitigating circumstances, i.e., how the circumstances of the accused should be taken into consideration when calculating sentence.

What are the stages of conviction?

A criminal trial has two stages:

  • Guilt stage: As a result, nothing presented or stated during the sentencing process can be utilised to overturn or modify the guilty verdict.
  • Sentencing stage: It happens after the accused has been found guilty of the crime and this is the stage where punishment is determined.
Major laws governing Death Penalty:

  • Indian Penal Code (IPC): imposes the death sentence for crimes like treason, homicide, and kidnapping for ransom.
  • Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): It provides the legal procedures for imposing the death penalty.
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act: It imposes death penalty for aggravated sexual assault against children.
  • Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act: It imposes death penalty for drug trafficking.
  • Indian Evidence Act: Regulates the admissibility of evidence in death penalty cases.

Constitution of India: It protects against harsh and unusual punishment and the right to a fair trial.

Court Judgements:

  • Rare of the rarest: Supreme Court has laid down guidelines for the imposition of the death penalty, including the “rarest of rare” principle, which states that the death penalty should only be imposed in exceptional circumstances where the crime is of an extremely heinous nature.
  • Establishing framework: The Supreme Court confirmed the constitutionality of the death sentence in the Bachan Singh case of 1980, and a framework was created for subsequent judges to use while deciding between the death penalty and life in prison.
  • Collecting Information: In the judgments in Santa Singh (1976) and Mohd Mannan (2019) case, the SC has recognised the interdisciplinary nature of such an exercise, and that it requires professionals other than lawyers to collect such information.

 

 

Death Penalty in India:

  • Since ancient times, offences ranging from murder to treason have been punished in India by the death penalty.
  • The death sentence was the harshest penalty available for several crimes under the Indian Penal Code of 1860.
  • Only the most exceptional of circumstances warranted the application of the death penalty in India during the British colonial era.
  • After gaining independence, India kept using the death sentence, with the courts having the authority to do so.
  • The Supreme Court of India maintained the death penalty’s legitimacy but only when absolutely necessary.
  • There have been calls to abolish the death penalty in India due to worries that innocent individuals would be put to death, problems with the criminal justice system, and a lack of proof that it deters crime.
Challenges to Death penalty Need for Death penalty
  • • Inconsistent use of sentencing guidelines due to a lack of standardisation.
  • Possibility of executing innocent people due to flaws in the criminal justice system.
  • Evidence of discrimination based on class, religion, and race.
  • Poor and underprivileged people receive ineffective legal representation.
  • Absence of a national database and proper record keeping leading to lack of transparency in the system.
  • Failure to deter crime.
  • International criticism for human rights violations.
  • • Punishment and justice for the victims’ and their families’ families.
  • Deterrence of future crimes by serving as a deterrent to others.
  • Protection of society by removing dangerous criminals.
  • Closure for victims and their families.
  • Protection of human dignity and respect for the value of human life.
  • Preservation of social order.

Way Ahead

  • • There is a very great space between the paths toward reducing the death penalty and toward its eradication.
  • Every discussion about death sentence reform highlights the inherent injustice of the practice, particularly in a society like ours.

Source: TOI

Reforming UNSC

In News

• Csaba Korosi, president of the UNGA, has said that the UNSC does not accurately reflect contemporary conditions.

More about the news

  • About the UNGA President:
  • Csaba Korosi, a diplomat from Hungary, is the 77th UNGA’s president at the moment.
  • Mr. Korosi recently travelled to India on a bilateral visit.
  • It is his first bilateral trip to a nation since he took office as UN General Assembly President in September 2022.
    • Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN, attacked Ukraine in February 2022. 
    • Russia has vetoed UNSC resolutions on Ukraine. 
    • Russia also voted against a resolution in the UNGA which called on countries not to recognise the four regions of Ukraine that Russia has claimed.
  • Opinion on UNSC reforms:
    • The UNGA President claimed that when one of its permanent members has attacked a neighbour, the UN Security Council does not reflect contemporary circumstances, is paralysed, and cannot carry out its fundamental duty of safeguarding world peace and security.
    • Reasons cited: 
      • According to him, the Security Council cannot discharge its basic function as one of the permanent members of the Security Council attacked its neighbour. 
      • The Security Council should be the body to take action against the aggression. But because of the veto power, the Security Council cannot act.
    • Push for reforms:
      • He stated that there is a push from a growing number of member nations to reform the powerful UN organ.
  • Background:

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

  • About:
    •  It is one of the UN’s six main bodies and works to uphold world peace and security.
    •  It met for the first time on January 17, 1946, in Westminster, London.

Headquarters: New York City.

    • Membership: The Council is composed of 15 Members:
      • Permanent members with veto power: 
        • China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  •  The Security Council has never had more than 50 United Nations Member States as members.
  • UNSC elections:
    • · Five non-permanent members are chosen by the General Assembly each year (out of a total of 10) for a two-year tenure.
    • The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis as follows:
  • Five for the states of Africa and Asia.
  • One for the nations of Eastern Europe.
  • Two for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • Two for States in Western Europe and elsewhere
  • Candidate nations must receive the votes of two-thirds of the Member States that are present and casting ballots in the Assembly in order to be elected to the Council.
  • The UNSC elections have historically taken place in the General Assembly Hall, with a secret ballot used by each of the 193 member nations to cast their vote.

UN Reforms

  • Demand of reform:
    • Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues: 
  • Groupings of membership,
  • the issue of the five permanent members’ veto power,
  • Representation from the region,
  • The size of an expanded Council, its organisational structure, and
  • The connection between the Security Council and General Assembly.
    • Only once in the 77-year history of the UN has the Security Council’s membership been changed.
  • Why?
    • Changing world order:
  • For example, in 1963, the General Assembly opted to add four non-permanent seats to the Council, increasing its size from 11 to 15 members.
  • The world has altered since then. The world’s geopolitical relationships and individual nations’ economic responsibilities have both shifted.
    • Equitable World Order: 
      • There is a need for a more equitable world in order to uphold the principles of democracy at the global level.
    • Inclusivity: 
      • Developing countries like the African countries, need to be made stakeholders in the multilateral institutions and involved in the decision-making process.
    • Mitigation of New Threats: 
      • With rising protectionism, increased incidents of terrorism and the threat of climate change, the multilateral system must become more resilient and responsive.
  • How?
    • Any reform of the Security Council would require the agreement of at least two-thirds of UN member states in a vote in the General Assembly and must be ratified by two-thirds of Member States. 
    • All of the permanent members of the UNSC (which have veto rights) must also agree.
  • Challenges:
    • Lack of Political Will: 
      • Although there is a general agreement towards change in the system, different countries have different perceptions of the requirement for change. 
    • Coffee Club: 
      • It is an informal group comprising 40-odd member states, mostly middle-sized states who oppose bigger regional powers grabbing permanent seats, has been instrumental in holding back reforms to the United Nations Security Council over the past six years.
    • Chinese Opposition: 

China’s status as a permanent member prevents India from joining as a permanent member.

G4

  • The G4 nations, which are made up of Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan, are four states that support one another’s applications for seats on the UN Security Council.
  • The permanent member seats on the Security Council are the G4’s main goal, in contrast to the G7, which shares the economy and long-term political goals.
  • Since the UN’s founding, each of these four nations has been represented among the council’s chosen non-permanent members.

Source: TH

Endorsement Guidelines for Social Media Influencers

Context

  • The Union government only recently published endorsement standards for celebrities and social media influencers.
  • Endorsements are a type of advertising that makes use of well-known figures or celebrities who enjoy a high level of public awareness, respect, and/or recognition.

About

  • The rules are intended to make sure that people are in conformity with the Consumer Protection Act and any related rules or recommendations and that they do not deceive their audiences when promoting goods or services.
  • In addition to celebrities and social media influencers, virtual influencers have become more powerful as a result of the expanding reach of digital platforms and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The likelihood of customers being duped by marketing and dishonest business practises by these people on social media platforms has increased as a result of this.
  • According to a report by the digital media marketing firm iCubesWire Survey, a significant portion of Indian consumers buy products based on recommendations from influencers.
  • The Union government also recently announced the creation of three grievance appellate bodies to handle user complaints against social media and other internet-based platforms.

New Guidelines for Enforcement on Social Media

  • Disclosures:
  • Endorsements must be expressed in plain, uncomplicated language; expressions like “advertisement,” “sponsored,” or “paid promotion” are acceptable. They should refrain from endorsing any thing or service they haven’t used themselves or for which they haven’t done their research.
  • Any celebrity, influencer, or virtual influencer who has access to an audience and can sway their thoughts about a good, service, brand, or experience is required to declare any relevant financial relationships with the advertiser.
  • The endorser must have really used or experienced the goods or service before promoting it. In the event of default, consumers may file a lawsuit.
  • According to new regulations, infringers must pay a fine of Rs 10 lakh, which can increase to Rs 50 lakh for persistent offenders.
  • Penalty:
  • In the event of persistent non-compliance with the rules, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has the authority to prohibit the influencer from recommending items.
  • If there are any violations, the Consumer Protection Act 2019’s penalty for deceptive advertising will be in effect.
  • The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 establishes the framework for safeguarding consumers from deceptive advertising and unfair business practises.

Image Courtesy: TOI

Social media usage in India

• A startling 82.9% of all Internet users in India access social media on their mobile devices. Social media sites in India saw almost 470 million unique users.

• Both urban and rural areas have seen a growth in the number of internet users over time. After China, India has the second-largest online market.

Significance of Social Media

  • Enhanced Outreach:  Social media has emerged as a powerful platform for forming an opinion as well as generating mass support. 
  • Real-Time Engagement: Social media frees engagement from the constraints of place and time. Real-time connections can be made between stakeholders and policymakers.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs used social media sites like Twitter to help locate and evacuate Indian citizens from Libya during the most recent Libyan crisis.
  • Individual Interaction: Social Media platform offers the ability to connect with each and every individual. Such interaction also enables the marginalized to participate in discussions and present their point of view.
  • Promote Creativity and self-expression: Social media provides a platform for users to share their ideas, thoughts, and creativity with the world.

Challenges of Social Media

  • Privacy & Security: The primary challenge posed by social media is privacy. Many people restrain themselves from taking part in a dialogue with a fear of losing their privacy.
  • Access for those with disabilities: There is a need for the formulation and implementation of such guidelines to remove the barriers for differently abled people.
  • Vague Terms of agreements: Most of the social media sites allow the audience to create an account, after accepting terms of agreement, which are often vague. 
  • Lack of regulations: Social media platforms operate with little regulation, which can lead to harmful content, fake news, and hate speech.

Acts against misleading advertisements in India

  • Consumer Protection Act, of 2019: The new guidelines are in alignment with the Consumer Protection Act, of 2019, which was enacted to protect consumers from unfair trade practices and deceptive advertising.
  • In accordance with Section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (Authority) recently announced the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 (Guidelines) (Consumer Protect Act).

Source: TH

Sub-Categorisation of OBC Castes

In News

The President granted the Justice G. Rohini Commission a 14th extension to complete its work on the subcategorization of other backward classes (OBCs).

Background

  • Under Article 340 of the Constitution, the Justice Rohini Commission was established. In 2008, the Supreme Court ordered the national government to exclude the creamy layer (advanced parts) of the OBCs.
  • Other than Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), backward classes were first recognised at the national level by the Kalelkar Commission, which was established in 1953.
  • According to the 1980 Mandal Commission Report, 52% of the population was from the OBC, and 1,257 communities were deemed backward.
  • It suggested raising the current SC/ST-only quotas from 22.5% to 49.5% in order to include the OBCs.

What is the Sub-Categorisation Process?

  • Identification of Dominant Caste: The Commission discovered a handful of caste groups that were displacing many communities from the 27% OBC quota.
  • Division of OBC communities: The commission decided to divide all OBC communities into four broad categories, with the largest quota going to the group that has been historically deprived of OBC quota due to crowding out by dominant OBC groups.

Need for Sub-Categorisation

  • Larger benefits to small Groups: Rich and dominant sections occupy a major chunk of reservations among OBCs.
  • Earlier Recommendations: NCBC recommended sub-categorisation in 2011, which was supported by the standing committee.
  • Supreme Court Intervention: The Court unequivocally repeated its former position that the “Creamy Layer” should be excluded from the scope of reservation policy and that private institutions are also not to be included in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. UOI, 2008 case.
  • Challenges faced in Sub-Categorisation

Lack of data to compare the population of different communities with their representation in employment and admissions.

  • Political Issue: Sub-Categorisation will lead to discontent among dominant OBC groups. Regional parties oppose this as seen in Andhra Pradesh when an attempt to provide sub-quotas for OBCs was stalled by courts on the ground that a religion-based quota is not permitted.
  • Vote-Bank politics over the prioritisation of caste-based categorisation over income-based differentiation to identify reservation beneficiaries.

Reasons for Current Extension

  • The Bihar government is in the middle of its caste-based survey. 
  • The Uttar Pradesh government is conducting a new survey to assess the need for OBC reservation in its local body elections. 
  • States like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are also looking to form panels to implement OBC reservations in local body polls.
  • The Rohini Commission panel said that they are currently finalising the compilation of the report.

National Commission for Backward Classes(NCBC)

  • Following the 102nd amendment to the Indian Constitution in 2018, Article 338B granted NCBC the distinguished distinction of being a constitutional organisation.
  • The Commission is authorised to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under this Constitution or under any other law.

SourceThe Hindu

Dementia

In News

• The Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India produced a research in 2020 estimating that there are approximately 5 million dementia sufferers in India.

Key Points

  • Facts:
  • Worldwide, 47.5 million people have dementia.
  • The number of people living with dementia worldwide is expected to double every 20 years, going up to 135.5 million by 2050. 
  • Dementia is a clinical syndrome brought on by a variety of brain disorders or traumas.
  • About Dementia:
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most typical cause of dementia.
  • It may play a role in as many as 70% of dementia diagnosis.
    • Absent-mindedness,
  • Early Symptoms:
  • having trouble remembering words and names,
  • having trouble remembering new facts,
  • social withdrawal and bewilderment in strange environments.
  • Visual agnosia, which is the inability to recognise visually presented things despite having a normal visual field;
  • Vision in colour and acuity.
  • Problems finding words (anomic aphasia).
    • Marked memory loss and loss of other cognitive skills,
    • reduced vocabulary and less complex speech patterns. 
    • monosyllabic speech, 
    • psychotic symptoms, 
    • behavioral disturbance, 
    • loss of bladder and bowel control, and reduced mobility.
    • According to the WHO, avoiding Alzheimer’s disease is a crucial component of the plan to combat the global dementia epidemic.
  • Advanced Symptoms:
  • Prevention:
  • According to economic estimates, delaying the disease’s onset by just one year might lower its prevalence by 11%, while delaying it for five years could halve it.
  • These drugs cause significant, though transient, clinical improvements in 10-15% of dementia patients.
  • Prevention initiatives typically concentrate on variables that increase the risk of lifestyle-related illnesses, including sedentary behaviour, poor food, smoking, and binge drinking, as well as cardiovascular disease risk.
  • To control the key symptoms of the illness with the intention of halting their effects or delaying the disease’s course in the brain.
  • To control the disease’s functional, neuropsychiatric, and cognitive symptoms.
  • Dementia care:

Source: TH