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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today
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List of Contents
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus: GS 3 – Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
The recent attack in tekulgada area in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh exposed flaws in India’s internal security management. Hence, there is a need to bring robust reforms in the security architecture that can prevent attacks by Left Wing Extremists in the future.
- Recently a combing operation by local police and central police forces in the Bastar region turned into a grave Maoist attack. The attack took the lives of around 22 security personnel while several others got wounded.
- Combing operations involves searching a place or an area very carefully in order to find something.
- The operation was carried on to find a local Maoist leader (Madvi Hidma) and his syndicates.
- This has highlighted the flaws in India’s internal security management especially in the case of Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
About Left Wing Extremism:
- LWE or Naxal-Maoist insurgency is prevalent in India for decades in the region denoted by the red corridor. The corridor includes states from eastern, southern, and central India.
- The Maoists aim to capture State power through a combination of armed insurgency, mass mobilization, and strategic alliances.
- It is one of the 3 major internal security challenges. The other two being
- a proxy war and terrorism in Kashmir,
- sub-national separatist movements in the Northeast
- The government has been able to contain these but little progress is achieved in the domain of combating Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
- Around 15,000 lives have been lost due to LWE violence over the last three decades.
Rationale behind origin and sustenance of LWE:
- First, the poor nature of governance has resulted in the persistent neglect of tribal populations in LWE regions. This has devoid them of the fruits of development.
- Second, an oppressive/exploitative hierarchy of the state and society has pushed the residents in these regions to the margins of survival.
Flaws in Internal Security Management:
- Operational Challenges:
- Leadership failure was seen in recent attacks. Security personnel left their dead comrades in the grip of Maoists rather than trying to regroup and attack the Maoists.
- Lacunae in the intelligence network were also unearthed as the security personnel got trapped in the plan of Maoists.
- Use of large and diverse forces (CAPF, COBRA commandos, local police) adversely impacted the covert nature of the operation. It made detection easier.
- Strategic Challenges:
- There has been no meaningful policy review of the IS (internal security) challenge. However, LWE was recognized as the most important security challenge by the PM in 2005.
- Further, there has been ignorance of Kargil review committee (1999) recommendations that show a deficiency in higher IS management.
- The committee desired the restructuring of command, control, and leadership functions of paramilitary forces in situations of proxy war and large-scale terrorism.
- Till date, many police officers inducted into leadership positions into paramilitary forces. They have good training to maintain law and order. However, they lack the skill set to manage an insurgent operation which results in grave tragedies like the recent Bastar attack.
- A detailed investigation should be carried out to find out the real reason behind the tragedy.
- There is a need to enhance cooperation between center and state government in the security domain. This will prevent such grave attacks in the future.
- The political leadership of the country must realize its responsibility towards internal security challenges. They must inculcate a will to revamp the capacity of security personnel and usher in the desired reforms.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2 – Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies.
The Lok Adalats (People’s Court) have been functioning in India since the last 38 years. They have successfully solved lakhs of cases that have reduced the judicial burden. However, some experts question their efficacy as they tend to neglect justice for speedier resolution.
- Lok Adalats established to provide quick, accessible and affordable justice to masses. This prevents delay in justice delivery as justice delayed is justice denied.
- It is a type of Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism outside the formal judicial process.
History of Lok Adalats:
- They were popularised by Harivallabh Parikh (a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi) in Rangpur, Gujarat in 1949.
- Later on, the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 passed by Parliament to achieve the constitutional mandate of Article 39A. The article aims to ensure equal justice and free legal aid for everyone.
- The act aimed to
- Provide free and competent legal services to weaker sections of the society
- Organise Lok Adalats that would give people an equal opportunity to seek justice.
Why do people go to Lok Adalats?
- Huge Pendency in Formal Judicial System: As per National Judicial Data Grid there exists enormous pendencies in the formal judicial setup.
- More than 3 crore cases are pending in district and subordinate courts, over 57 lakhs in high courts and above 66000 in supreme court.
- As per a rough estimation, it will take around 320 years to settle the existing backlog.
- Greater Control: As it is a party-driven process, it encourages parties to reach an amicable settlement.
- Speed: Sometimes lakhs of cases are disposed in a single day which is not possible even in other Alternate mechanisms like arbitration, conciliation, etc.
- Flexibility: Lok adalat is not bound by procedural laws like the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
- Affordability: No fees are charged from parties by the Lok Adalat.
- Finality of Awards: The award of Lok Adalat is like a civil court’s decree but can’t be appealed in the formal courts. Hence, cases are not dragged on for years and speedier settlement takes place.
- They are regularly organised to help parties reach a compromise. Core Subject matters of Lok Adalats include motor-accident claims, disputes related to public-utility services, cases related to dishonour of cheques etc.
- As per the estimates of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) – State Adalats disposed of around 52 lakh cases between 2016-20.
- Similarly, the (National Lok Adalats) NLAs have disposed of a total of 2.93 crore cases in the same period.
- E-Lok Adalats were organized at both the national and State level to overcome the pandemic challenge. The first national e-Lok Adalat disposed of around 10.5 lakh cases.
- A fall in performance is witnessed since 2017. NLAs now cover a variety of subjects while earlier they were subject matter-specific. The average cases settled by NLAs in 2015 were around 18 lakhs. It has now reduced to 13.3 lakhs in 2019 as per NALSA’s data.
- Similarly, the efficiency of E-Lok adalats is not at par with physical Lok adalats.
- It is conciliatory in nature. Therefore, it is alleged that justice is sometimes undermined to do speedy disposal as conciliation doesn’t always lead to justice delivery.
- Unequal bargaining power exists between the parties. Strong parties like insurance companies, electricity boards etc. can easily put pressure on a poor person to accept discriminatory awards.
- The Lok Adalats must look beyond swift disposal of cases and focus on just and fair outcomes as justice hurried is justice buried.
- There is a need to take some concrete and innovative steps by the legislature or the judiciary to improve the quality of justice rendered by Adalats.
Revamping of Lok adalat along with initiation of phase 3 of e- courts project can be a game changer in improving the efficiency of the dispute settlement.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2
Synopsis: The new electoral techniques represent the end of democracy in Hong Kong that was never truly democratic.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. Recently the Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and members of its legislature were chosen in an undemocratic way. Adding to that, the Chinese government also made drastic changes to the process of choosing the Chief Executive and members of its legislature. This will further impact Hong Kong’s democracy.
Functioning of Hong Kong’s democracy:
- The term democracy does not denote the western type of democracy in Hong Kong. They follow ‘Democracy with Chinese characteristics.
- Under this concept, democracy stands for more than electoral campaigns, voting, etc.
- In Cantonese(a Sino-Tibetan language), These characters are called manzyu. Man means people and zyu means rule. In simple, People’s rule.
- Manzyu suggests a system in which those who rule(zyu) have to listen and provide for the people(man).
- Under this, Rulers can be more responsive in different ways. Such as listening to protest slogans, reading petitions, and engaging in dialogue with representatives of social groups, etc.
- This makes Hong Kong a hybrid regime. It includes elements of liberal and illiberal institutions.
- Popular protests(Man) have earlier compelled officials(Zyu) to withdraw the public policies.
Power of People(Man) in Hong Kong:
Local officials and opposition in Hong Kong often support the people(Man) to remove the unpopular proposals from the government(Zyu).
- In 2003, China wanted the Hong Kong government to pass a law on national security and sedition. But the people(Man) protests made the proposal to withdraw from the government(zyu).
- In 2012, the government tried to introduce Chinese mainland-style patriotic education into local schools. But the Man-made Zhu to withdraw that too.
- Earlier, Hong Kong citizens have forced one Chief Executive to step down before his term.
But the Future Hong Kong Chief Executive will not face such threat of removal by people(Man) protest. This is because of the new electoral rules. There is less political space for the creation of people(man) movements.
Changes in new electoral rules of Hong Kong:
The new plan reduces the number of directly elected seats in the Legislative Council (Legco) from 35 to 20.
- Firstly, 40 representatives will be chosen by the Election Committee of 1,500 members. They will select the Chief Executive.
- Secondly, The Hong Kong government will pre-screen the individuals who run for the seats in the legislature. They will judge if the person has sufficient patriotic credentials or not.
- Thirdly, When the application is rejected based on patriotism grounds, the person cannot appeal the rejection in Hong Kong’s courts.
- Fourthly, the new rules also banned the protest marches. These were legal earlier and one of the foundational character of Manzyu.
- Fifthly, the popular television show, Headliner has discontinued under the new rules. The iconic show informed the Man(people) about the arbitrary policies of rulers(zyu). For example, it telecasted comic sketches on the policies of the colonial Governor and the Chief Executive policy during 1997.
All these steps indicate the arrival of a more authoritarian and less responsive era in Hong Kong. The citizens of Hong Kong will continue to find ways to voice resistance. But will have to do so in indirect ways. There is significant power contrast between the zyu in Hong Kong and the far more powerful rulers in Beijing.
Source: click here
Syllabus: GS 1
Synopsis: The introduction of 13 members of the transgender community into the Chhattisgarh police is an encouraging step.
13 members of the transgender community selected as constables under the Chhattisgarh police.
This move is truly historic and exciting for this community. The Tamil Nadu police also welcomed a few transgender earlier. Their entry into the law and order system would ensure the empowerment of the transgender community.
- Their community had no legal recognition till the Supreme Court judgment in NALSA vs. Union of India (2014). It ruled that transgender persons have the right to decide their self-identified gender.
- This move may help in changing the opinion of people.
Steps taken for Empowerment of Transgender community
Post the 2014 Supreme Court judgment, the Chhattisgarh government created the Third Gender Welfare Board. It takes various welfare measures in favor of trans people.
- Firstly, all departments were asked to include the third gender as an option in official documents that need mention of gender or sex of a person.
- Secondly, district-level committees were established to recognize members of the transgender community. It will help in the implementation of welfare schemes for their benefit.
- Thirdly, sensitisation workshops were held at State and district levels by the police department and police officers.
- Fourthly, training capsules were prepared for police training institutes with the help of transgender members of the Welfare Board.
- Fifthly, the police permitted the use of their sports ground for practice and also helped the trans-genders in preparing for the written examination. It was the hard work of the transgender people which ensured their success and marked their presence in the department.
Various institutional developments for the empowerment of transgender Community
The recently passed Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 is used for issuing a certificate of transgender identity.
- It has the essence of international conventions like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, and the Yogyakarta Principles, 2006.
- The Act recognizes the legal right to have a self-perceived gender identity. It is in accordance with the principle of the Psychological Test instead of the Biological Test. In employing people, any discrimination against the transgender is against the law.
- The Kerala High Court allowed a petition by a transwoman seeking admission into the National Cadet Corps based on her self-claimed gender identity. The court noted that the NCC Act cannot prevent the operation of the Transgender Persons Act.
The way forward
- It requires more effort to bring about changes in the view of people towards this marginalized community. Implementation of the law must be in letter and spirit to fulfill its objective.
- Society needs to remove its biases and accept transgender people as equal human beings with humility.
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Synopsis: Though the MTP or Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021 act has progressive features. However, it fails miserably in acknowledging the bodily rights of Women.
Overview on The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
- It was considered a progressive law then because it replaced the 100 years IPC (Indian penal code) that considers abortion a crime.
- Section 3 of the act prescribes 20 weeks as the limit to allow for abortion.
- Further, abortion requires the certification from two doctors that,
- The pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the woman or
- Grave injury to her physical or mental health or
- That there was a substantial risk that the child born would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities.
- Along with this, Section 5 gave an exception to the 20-week limit. An abortion can be done whenever it is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.
- The 1971 Act is based on “The Report of the Shantilal H. Shah Committee.
- The committee had set a 20-week limit considering the fact that, abortions done after the 20th week will be hazardous for women due to limitations of technology.
- But in the current situation, the improvement in technology has allowed to carry out abortions safely right up to full term.
Side effects of restricting abortion:
It has pushed women to seek illegal abortions and terminations are carried out in unhygienic and dangerous places.
Even today about 800,000 illegal and unsafe abortions are performed every year in India. Many of them resulting in morbidities and death
Role of Courts:
- The Bombay High Court stated that the court cannot overrule statutory restrictions in Nikita Mehta vs State of Maharashtra. It sparked the debate around the right to abortion in India.
- This led to the increasing number of PIL in the high court and supreme court.
- Later, the court has ignored the statutory provisions in many cases and routinely allowed abortions way past the 20-week limit. For example, Murugan Nayakkar vs Union of India & Ors, abortion was permitted at 31 weeks.
What are the issues in The MTP Amendment Act 2021?
- First, it fails to recognize the absolute right of a woman over her body in taking decisions regarding abortions and reproductive health.
- Second, though the limit has increased from 20 to 24 weeks, this comes with the same conditionality.
- Third, the 24-week limit is not rational given today’s technology where abortions can be done safely up to full term.
- Fourth, the requirement of the pregnant woman to approach a medical board in where she has crossed the 24-week limit is not justified, because,
- One, it is a breach of Privacy as the women have to consult a minimum of three doctors.
- Two, the Act provides for a single board for a State. Millions of abortions took place in India in past the 24 weeks. It is impossible for one board to handle all cases.
- Third, records show that no State has the finances or the human resources to maintain the operation and functioning of these boards.
- Four, the right to seek termination is restricted to “such category of women as may be prescribed by rules” is vague.
Boards are totally unnecessary and an invasion of privacy. Following the trend worldwide, pregnant women should have right to consult their gynaecologist in late-term pregnancies and carry out their abortion under the certificate of their own gynaecologist.