Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 19, 2018


Q.1) In most societies, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is often practised as a part of cultural tradition. In this context discuss the impact of this practice on the health of women. Why FGM is considered as a violation of fundamental and human rights by international organsations like WHO?(GS-1)

In most societies, where Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is practised, it is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation.

Female genital mutilation (FGM):

Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia.

The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and within communities from countries in which FGM is common. UNICEF estimated in 2016 that More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.

Impacts of female genital mutilation on the health of women:

FGM harms girls and women in many ways:

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
  • It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.

Immediate complications can include:

  • severe pain
  •  excessive bleeding (haemorrhage)
  • genital tissue swelling
  •  fever
  • infections e.g., tetanus
  • urinary problems
  •  wound healing problems
  • injury to surrounding genital tissue
  • shock
  •  death

Long-term consequences can include:

  • urinary problems (painful urination, urinary tract infections);
  • vaginal problems (discharge, itching, bacterial vaginosis and other infections);
  • Menstrual problems (painful menstruations, difficulty in passing menstrual blood, etc.);
  • scar tissue and keloid;
  • Sexual problems (pain during intercourse, decreased satisfaction, etc.);
  • increased risk of childbirth complications (difficult delivery, excessive bleeding, caesarean section, need to resuscitate the baby, etc.) and newborn deaths;
  • Psychological problems (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, etc.).

Why this practice consider as violation of fundamental and human rights:

International organizations like WHO strongly urges health professionals not to perform such procedures.In 1997, WHO issued a joint statement against the practice of FGM together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This practice is considered a violation of  basic fundamental and human rights due to the following reasons:

  • FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
  • It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.
  • It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.
  • The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Q.2) Since the time of Kautilya’s Arthashastra, judges delivered judgments in an open court. From then until now , the  visual setting of the justice delivery mechanism hasn’t changed much. In this context critically analyze the recent decision of the Supreme court on live-streaming of court proceedings.(GS-2)

As Kautilya said in the Arthashastra, and during that time, when judges delivered a judgment, they did so in an open court. From then until now, the visual setting of the justice delivery mechanism hasn’t changed much. The Indian legal system is built on the concept of open courts, which means that the proceedings are open to all members of the public.

The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a petition filed by a senior lawyer seeking live streaming of judicial proceedings in the top court on matters of constitutional and national importance.

Arguments in favour:

  • It will enable the legal system to deliver on its promise of empowering the masses.
  • It is important to make those matters that are of great public importance available for all to see. Example: public interest issues such as entry of women to the Sabarimala temple, or the constitutionality of the Aadhaar scheme, and similar other cases should be available for all to watch.
  • To bring transparency.

Strong reasons in favour of allowing live-streaming of court proceedings include:

  • The right to information
  • Access to justice
  • The need to build the right perception,
  • The need to educate common people on how the judiciary functions
  • To avoid multiple versions or wrong projections of facts

Arguments against:

  • Judges are accountable neither to the general public nor to the sovereign. They are accountable only to the rule of law and to the Constitution, as established by law.
  • The individuality of judges is more likely to become a subject of public debate through live-streaming, creating problems of its own
  • Live-streaming may also create practical problems. With live-streaming, there is a strong possibility that lawyers will tend to address not only the judges but also the public watching them.
  • The normalcy of the proceedings may also get hampered
    •Uniqueness of the Indian Supreme Court, its structure and processes, and the underlying problems that impede its effectiveness must be kept in kind

More fundamental reforms need to be implemented. These include:

  • Greater reliance on written briefs and the significance accorded to them,
  • Page limits for briefs,
  • Time limits for oral arguments
  • Greater emphasis on preparation in advance
  • The judiciary must also employ a press officer to liaise with the media, and issue simultaneously one or two page summaries of its judgments to facilitate greater public understanding.
  • Instead of live-streaming, audio and video recordings of court proceedings would reform the administration of justice

Q.3)Write a short note on the following:

a) Cauvery water dispute (GS-2):

b) What is CCTNS project? How will citizens benefit from CCTNS?(GS 2)

Cauvery water dispute (GS 2):

  • The dispute began with Karnataka’s demand of ‘equitable sharing of the waters’ after it expanded farming activities in the Cauvery basin.
  • It claimed that the previous agreements, which happened between erstwhile Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore in 1924, were highly skewed to what is present day Tamil Nadu.
  • Tamil Nadu used to get about 602 TMC of the total water, leaving only about 138 TMC for Karnataka.

Demand by Karnataka:

The CWDT had directed Karnataka to release 192 TMC of Cauvery water in normal monsoon year. Karnataka government wasn’t satisfied with the Tribunal’s order. It moved to the Supreme Court claiming for 312 TMC of water.

Karnataka had recently moved a review petition in the apex court against its three orders on the issue. It said grave miscarriage of justice was caused to it following the three apex court orders of September 20, 27 and 30, 2016. In all these orders, Karnataka was directed to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

SC  recent verdict:

  • The Supreme Court verdict on Cauvery water dispute is out, and it has come as a big relief for Karnataka. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerhead for their ‘due share’ of Cauvery river.
  • The apex court directed the Karnataka government to release 177.25 TMC of water to Tamil Nadu, 14.75 TMC lesser than what was allotted by the tribunal in 2007. Karnataka will now get 284.75 TMC and Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 TMC of Cauvery water.
  • The top court also made it clear that increase in the share of Cauvery water for Karnataka has been done keeping in view the fact that there is an increased demand of drinking water by Bengaluru and also for many industrial activities.

What is CCTNS project? How will citizens benefit from CCTNS?(GS 2)

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level.

This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”.

CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.

The Project will interconnect about 15000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country and digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all Police Stations.

Benefits to citizens:

Full implementation of the project will lead to the creation of a central citizen portal with links to state-level citizen portals. This will take several citizen-friendly services online — such as police verification for purposes including passports, reporting a crime, tracking the progress of a case, reporting of grievances against police officials, access to victim compensation fund, and legal services. A list of proclaimed offenders, sex offenders and most wanted criminals will also be published on the citizen portal.

Investigating officers across the country will be able to access the crime and criminals database, and the police will get alerts, dashboards and other CCTNS features through mobile applications. National-level crime analytics will be published at an increased frequency, and police station staff will be able to directly search for information in other national databases such as UIDAI, NPR and the Transport database.

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