Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Feb 17, 2021

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List of Today’s Factly Articles

  1. “International Criminal Court (ICC)” has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories
  2. ISRO, MapmyIndia to develop India’s “indigenous mapping portal”
  3. What is “Sandes” platform?
  4. Spatial Mark-Resight'(SMR) model to estimate Leopard population
  5. Defence Minister launches “E-Chhawani portal”
  6. 11th edition of “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav”
  7. “Sedition law” can’t be used to criminalise critics: Court

“International Criminal Court (ICC)” has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories

What is the News?
The International Criminal Court has said that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian Territories.

About ICC:

  • It is the world’s first permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). It was created by the 1998 Rome Statute and entered into force on July 1,2002.
  • Furthermore, it was created on the principle of complementarity. It is only intended to complement existing national judicial systems. Therefore, it may exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals.
  • Headquarters: Hague, Netherlands.


The Rome Statute grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes:

  1. Crime of Genocide: Acts committed with intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
  2. Crimes against Humanity: A large-scale attack against any civilian population.
  3. War crimes: These are grave breaches of the Geneva conventions in the context of armed conflict.
  4. Crime of Aggression: It is the use of armed force of a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State.

How is it related to the United Nations?

  • ICC is not part of the UN. It was established by the Rome Statute. This treaty was negotiated within the UN. However, it created an independent judicial body distinct from the UN.

Territorial Jurisdiction:

  • The ICC lacks universal territorial jurisdiction. It may only investigate and prosecute crimes committed within the Member States or by nationals of member states. It also investigates the crimes referred to it, by the United Nations Security Council.

Who are Member Parties of ICC?

  • To become a member of the ICC, States need to become a party to the Rome Statute. As of December 2020, there are 123 ICC member countries.
  • 42 countries including India have not signed the Rome Statute.
  • India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and hence is not a member of the ICC. India did not sign the statute because of reasons such as state sovereignty, national interests, difficulty in collection of evidence, problem to find impartial prosecutors and definition of crime.


  • The Court is funded by contributions from the States Parties. Funds also come from voluntary contributions of governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Limitations of ICC:

  • The ICC court has no retrospective jurisdiction. It can deal only with crimes committed after 1 July 2002 when the 1998 Rome Statute came into force.
  • ICC cannot impose a death sentence; it can impose lengthy terms of imprisonment of up to 30 years of life. However, it depends upon the gravity of the cases.
  • ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement body. Thus, it relies on cooperation with countries worldwide, for support.
  • The Court also has no jurisdiction with respect to any person who was under the age of 18 when the crimes concerned were committed.

Source: Indian Express

ISRO, MapmyIndia to develop India’s “indigenous mapping portal”

What is the News?
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and MapmyIndia announced a collaboration. They will launch an indigenous mapping portal and geospatial service. It will be an Indian alternative to Google Maps.

About collaboration on indigenous mapping portal and geospatial service:

  • MapmyIndia is one of India’s oldest players in the cartography space. It is even older than Google Maps. However, due to lack of access to satellite services, it was not able to provide similar services like Google Maps.
  • The collaboration will enable them to jointly identify and build a holistic geospatial portal.  They will utilize earth observation datasets, ‘NavIC’, Web Services, and APIs (Application Programming Interface) available in MapmyIndia.
  • These organizations will also leverage ‘Bhuvan’, ‘VEDAS’, and ‘MOSDAC’ geoportals for their collaboration.

Geospatial Portals:

Bhuvan Portal:

  • It is the national geo-portal developed and hosted by ISRO. It provides geospatial data, services, and tools for analysis.
  • The portal is used to find and access geographic information (geospatial information) and associated geographic services (display, editing, analysis, etc.) via the Internet.

Visualization of Earth observation Data and Archival System(VEDAS)

  • It is an online geoprocessing platform of ISRO. It uses optical, microwave, thermal, and hyperspectral Earth Observation(EO) data. Its applications are particularly meant for academia, research, and problem-solving.
  • Some areas of application are; Renewable Energy, Coastal & Marine Resources, Hydrology, Climate Studies, Cryosphere, Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Planetary Sciences, and so on.

Meteorological and Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre (MOSDAC)

  • It is a data repository for all the meteorological missions of ISRO. It deals with weather-related information, oceanography, and tropical water cycles.
  • The portal provides a variety of products and services on a wide spectrum of applications. Its applications are weather forecasting, cyclone prediction, and other vital ocean and atmospheric parameters.

Click Here to read about NavIC

 Source: Hindu Businessline

What is “Sandes” platform?

What is the News?

National Informatics Centre(NIC) launched an instant messaging platform called Sandes.

About the Sandes platform:

  • It is an instant messaging platform like WhatsApp. It was previously named Government Instant Messaging System(GIMS).
  • The platform can be used for all kinds of communications by anyone with a mobile number or email id.
  • Initially, the platform was available to only government officers. It is now available for the common public as well.

Why was it launched?

  • The platform built by the government to mitigate potential security risks. It allows the government employees to switch from mainstream social media applications to a secured Sandes platform.
  • The platform is also a part of the government strategy to push for use of India-made software. Thus, it will develop an ecosystem of indigenously developed products.

Features of the platform:

  • The platform has an interface similar to many other apps currently available in the market.
  • The chats on the platform can be backed up to a user’s email. However, there is no option to transfer the chat history between two platforms.
  • It also offers features such as group making, broadcast message, message forwarding, and emojis.
  • It allows a user to mark a message as confidential. It will make the recipient aware that the message should not be shared with others. However, the confidential tag does not change the way the message is sent from one user to another.


  • The app does not allow the user to change their email id or registered phone number. The user will have to re-register as a new user in case they wish to change their registered email id or phone number on the app.

Source: Indian Express

Spatial Mark-Resight'(SMR) model to estimate Leopard population

What is the news?

Scientists from three organizations namely Aaranyak, Panthera, and WWF-India have developed a model called ‘Spatial Mark-Resight'(SMR). It will precisely estimate the population size of leopards.

Why ‘Spatial Mark-Resight'(SMR) model developed?

  • Leopards can be identified like tigers with the help of their unique shape and size of the rosettes (black circular marks). It is present across their body coat.
  • However, like many other wildlife species, leopards also exhibit phenotypic polymorphism (body colour variation determined by gene).
  • Leopards are either rosettes (having black circular marks) or melanistic (full black, commonly called black leopard or Black Panther).
  • The melanism presents a unique challenge in estimating and monitoring the leopard population. Natural marks (rosettes in case of leopard) are absent on these Leopards.
  • This problem is more in the tropical and subtropical moist forests of south and south-east Asia. Here the frequency of melanistic leopards is high and leopards also face the greatest threat.
  • Hence, the SMR model was developed. It will estimate the leopard population in areas having a mix of the rosette and melanistic individuals.

How Spatial-Mark-Resight (SMR) model used?

  • The team used the three years of camera trapping data between 2017 and 2019. Info obtained from Manas National Park(Assam).
  • The camera trapping data used to identify Rosette Leopards individually.  It also prepared the capture history (GPS locations, the individual ID of each unique photo-capture of leopard) information.
  • They then borrowed the capture history information of the rosette leopards and applied the information to the melanistic leopards. It provided an estimate pf the entire population size of leopards.
  • They found that the population density of leopards in Manas is 3.37 per 100 sq km. About 22.6% of images of the leopards were of the melanistic kind.

Significance of the model:

  • The model can help assess the population of leopards across a great part of the species range from where population estimates are scant.
  • This model can also be widely applied for other species that exhibit colour variation in nature.

Click Here to read about Leopard

Source: The Hindu

Defence Minister launches “E-Chhawani portal”

What is the news?

Union Defence Minister has launched the e-Chhawani portal.

About the Portal:

  • The portal aims to provide online municipal services to more than 20 lakh citizens across 62 Cantonment Boards.
  • Developed by: The portal developed jointly by eGov Foundation, Bharat Electronics Limited(BEL), Directorate General Defence Estates(DGDE) and National Informatics Centre(NIC).
  • Features: Through the portal, the residents of cantonment areas will be able to avail basic services such as; the renewal of leases, application for birth & death certificates, water & sewerage connections, trade licences, mobile toilet locators and payment of different types of taxes and fees.

Click here to Read about Cantonment Board

 Source: AIR

11th edition of “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav”

What is the news?

The 11th edition of the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav is being held in West Bengal this year.

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav:

  • Nodal Ministry: It is a festival started by the Ministry of Culture in the year 2015.
  • Objective: It enhances mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures. Thereby it secures stronger unity and integrity of India.
  • Participation of Zonal Centres: The festival witnesses the active participation of Seven Zonal Culture Centres. These zonal centres play a key role in taking the vibrant culture of India to the masses.
  • Significance: The festival is instrumental in showcasing folk and tribal art, dance, music, cuisines & culture of one state in other states. It is reinforcing the cherished goal of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” and at the same time supporting their livelihood.
  • The 10th edition of the festival was held in Madhya Pradesh in October 2019.

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme:

  • It was launched by the Prime Minister in 2016. It will promote engagement amongst the people of different States/UTs to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures. Thereby it is securing stronger unity and integrity of India.
  • The states carry out activities to promote a sustained and structured cultural connect. Activities are taken in the areas of language learning, culture, traditions & music, tourism & cuisine, sports, and sharing of best practices.

Source: The Hindu 

“Sedition law” can’t be used to criminalise critics: Court

What is the news?

Delhi Court has observed that the charges of sedition cannot be invoked to quiet the disquiet (criminalising the critics). The court also held that the government cannot act like restricting criminals while using sedition under IPC.

This observation was made by the court while granting bail to two persons arrested by Delhi police for allegedly committing sedition and spread rumours by posting fake videos on Facebook during ongoing farmers’ protests.

What is Sedition?

  • The concept of sedition was introduced under Section 124A under the Indian Penal Code in 1870. It was drafted by Thomas Macaulay.
  • The section was introduced initially to deal with increasing Wahabi activities between 1863 and 1870. These activities posed a challenge to the colonial government.
  • However, in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, the law was mainly used against Indian political leaders seeking independence from British rule.

Punishment under Sedition:

  • Sedition is a cognisable (No need Court warrant to arrest the person), non-compoundable, and non-bailable offence. The sentence can be between three years to imprisonment for life for sedition.
  • A person charged under this law can’t apply for a government job. They have to live without their passport. Apart from that, they must present themselves in the court as and when required.

Judiciary on Sedition:

  1.  In 1951, the Punjab High Court had ruled Section 124A to be unconstitutional. A similar ruling was passed in 1959 by the Allahabad High Court, which also concluded that it struck at the very root of free speech.
  2. Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar,1962:
    • The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Section 124-A (sedition) on the basis that this power was required by the state to protect itself.
    • However, it said that every citizen has a right to say or write about the government by way of criticism or comment. A citizen can criticize the government to the extent, it does not incite people into violence.
  3. P.Alavi vs State of Kerala,1982:
    The Supreme Court held that sloganeering, criticising of Parliament or Judicial setup does not amount to sedition.
  4. Balwant Singh v State of Punjab,1995:
    • The Supreme Court acquitted persons from charges of sedition for shouting slogans such as “Khalistan Zindabad”.
    • The court held that mere raising of slogans by two individuals alone cannot be sid as sedition. Further, it is also not considered as an attempt aimed to excite hatred or disaffection against the government.

Read more about national security laws in India

Source: The Hindu

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – February 17, 2021

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