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Q.1) Union Cabinet has approved an amendment to The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to undo ‘dilution’ of the law by the Supreme Court. In the light of the statement discuss the changes made by Supreme Court to SC/ST act along with the reasons given by it and the recent changes proposed by government to it. (GS-2)

Answer: What is SC judgement:

  1. Public servants could be arrested only with the written permission of their appointing authority, while for private employees, Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
  2. A preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the FIR was registered to check if the case fell within the ambit of the Act, and whether it was frivolous or motivated, the court ruled.

What is the amendment to SC/ST (Amendment) Act?

The bill will make three changes to SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989:

  1. Set aside SC order that an FIR should be lodged only after a preliminary inquiry is conducted by a gazetted officer. It will insert section 18A that states that preliminary enquiry is not needed for FIR and immediate arrest of a person.
  2. Say that no approval of a senior official would be needed for arrests
  3. Say that no provision of section 438 of criminal procedure court would be applicable. Section 438 of CrPC states that only after preliminary enquiries find sufficient ground for lodging of an FIR, this would be done. This was made applicable after SC judgement. Govt wants it to revert back.

Why did the SC recommend those changes?

  1. To protect people against arbitrary arrests under the Act.  
  2. There were “instances of abuse” of the Act by “vested interests” for political or personal reasons.
  3. One could not be arrested without following established procedure, and doing so would violate right of life and liberty.

Why did the govt want to change?

  1. Alleged potential of misuse would not deserve to be considered as a valid, justifiable or permissible ground for reading down stringent provisions of the PoA (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
  2. There were 47,338 cases of crime against members of the SC/ST in 2016. In the face of growing atrocities against SCs/STs, aggrieved persons may now think twice before registering a complaint, as the process is backed by checks which prevent the automatic arrest of an accused.
  3. The changes focus on protecting the liberty of the accused and can dilute the rights of the complainant.
  4. While the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act provided a legal cover to numerous”atrocities” that SCs and STs suffer, in reality, its implementation on the ground remained weak.

 

Q.2) TRAI has recently recommended the auction of spectrum for offering 5G services. How is the 5g technology different to 4g technology and what would be its possible effects on global industries? (GS-3)

Answer:

5g – The basic performance criteria for 5G systems have been set by ITU in their IMT-2020 recommendation. It provides for speeds up to 20 gigabits per second and has only been demonstrated with millimeter waves of 15 gigahertz and higher frequency. The more recent 3GPP standard includes any network using the NR (New Radio) software.

Difference between 5g and 4g:

  1. Frequencies : One fundamental difference is 5G’s use of unique radio frequencies to achieve what 4G networks cannot. The radio spectrum is broken up into bands, each with unique features as you move up into higher frequencies. 4G networks use frequencies below 6 GHz, but 5G will likely use extremely high frequencies in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range.
  2. Wavelength: 5G also uses shorter wavelengths, which means that antennas can be much smaller than existing antennas while still providing precise directional control. Since one base station can utilize even more directional antennas, it means that 5G will support over 1,000 more devices per meter than what’s supported by 4G.
  3. 5G networks will more easily understand the type of data being requested, and will be able to switch into a lower power mode when not in use or when supplying low rates to specific devices, but then switch to a higher powered mode for things like HD video streaming.

 

Feature 4G 5G
Speed 100mbps to 1gbps speed Speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second.

It is almost 1,000 times faster than 4G

Bandwidth 200mbps >1 gbps
technology Unified IP and seamless combination of LAN/ WAN 4G + WWWW
SErvice Dynamic information access, variable devices.

mainly used for voice, multimedia and internet over IP based traffic.

Dynamic information access, variable devices with all capabilities

 

Possible impact of 5g on global industry:

  1. In the age of Internet of Things (IoT) where a world in which not just people but all things are connected, 5G is the technological answer. It makes possible billions of new connections, and making those connections secure and instantaneous.
  2. The 5G Global Value Chain, including network operators, core technology and component suppliers, device OEMs, infrastructure providers, and content and application developers, is expected to grow output to $3.5 trillion in 2035
  3. It offers network operators the potential to offer new services to new categories of users.

 

Q.3) A clampdown on the sale of oxytocin will have severe public health consequences. Critically analyze. (GS-3)   

Answer: Oxytocin:

Oxytocin is a hormone that acts on organs in the body and as a chemical messenger in the brain, controlling key aspects of the reproductive system, including childbirth and lactation, and aspects of human behaviour.

Recently the Union Health Ministry imposed a ban on the retail sale and private manufacture of oxytocin

Why it was banned:

  1. Because of the misuse of the hormone in the dairy industry. Because oxytocin stimulates lactation in cattle, dairy farmers inject the drug indiscriminately to increase milk production. This has spawned several unlicensed facilities that manufacture the drug for veterinary use.
  2. Oxytocin leads to infertility in dairy animals.
  3. It has also been linked to mastitis, a painful inflammation of the udder. Milk consumers worry about exposure to it through dairy products
  4. There are also concerns that oxytocin can enter the food chain through milk that can be harmful for human consumption, though it was not established.

Impact of the ban on health:

  1. The drug is a synthetic version of a human hormone. It is a lifesaver for women. Doctors use it to induce labour in pregnant women and to stem postpartum bleeding. WHO recommends it as the drug of choice in postpartum haemorrhage. 45,000 of Indian women die due to causes related to childbirth each year.
  2. There are a few alternatives to oxytocin like misoprostol, but these are even more difficult to get.

 

Q.4) Tinkering with the RTE Act without sufficient thought will erode a major constitutional achievement. Discuss.(GS-2)

Answer:  RTE Act: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 is the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A. Under this, every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.

The proposed amendments aims to give States the power to detain students who fail an examination in Class 5 or 8.

How would it impact the outcomes:

  1. It would weaken one of the progressive features of the RTE Act, which is to guarantee the continued presence of the child in school during the formative learning phase.
  2. It will allow State Boards to declare a student failed and detain her on the basis of an examination, although Section 30(1) of the RTE Act holds out the assurance that no child shall be required to face any Board examination till completion of elementary education.
  3. The concerns on learning outcomes produced by India’s schooling system are determined not only by a student’s effort but also by the number and quality of teachers, processes for continuous assessment and engagement of parents and the community in encouraging excellence.
  4. In 2016 NITI Aayog found that bringing back detention in elementary schooling would increase the dropout rate, impacting the poor and Dalits the most as they depended on government institutions.
  5. When parents are unable to ensure regular attendance of children due to social circumstances, detaining them for non-performance may not act as an incentive to attend school regularly.
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