- Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts
- Samagra Shiksha Scheme
- INS Vikrant
- Umling La pass – World’s highest motorable road
- Recusal from the Judgement
- Plastic mixed handmade paper
1.Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts
#GS2 #Integrated and Independent Judiciary #Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions #Government Policies and Interventions
Context: Recently, Union Cabinet approves extension of Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts for 2 more years (April 2021-March 2023).
- The scheme was launched on October 2, 2019.
- Approval involves extension of 1023 Fast Track Special Court (FTSCs) including 389 exclusive POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Courts.
- Fast Track Special Courts are devoted courts for swift justice for victims of sexual offences and reinforce the deterrence framework for sexual offenders
- Total expense is of Rs. 1572.86 crore.
- 971.70 crore as Central Share, which is to be funded from Nirbhaya Fund and
- 601.16 crore as State share.
- Out of 31 states and union territories, 28 have started the scheme.
- FTSCs were first suggested by the 11th Finance Commission in 2000 “to significantly bring down, if not abolish, pendency in the district and subordinate courts over the next five years”.
- Following the Finance Commission’s report, Rs 502.90 crore was approved by the Centre to create 1,734 additional courts in different states for five years.
- The union government stopped funding fast-track courts in 2011.
- In 2019, the Union government approved a scheme for setting up 1,023 fast-track special courts (FTSCs) across the country for speedy clearance of pending rape cases under the Indian penal Code (IPC) and crimes under the POCSO Act.
- In July 2019, the Supreme Court advised setting up of a centrally funded special courts in every district with more than 100 FIRs under the POCSO Act in order to deal exclusively with these cases.
- The scheme is aiding the efforts of State/UT Governments for giving time bound justice to victims of sexual crimes including the inaccessible and far – flung areas.
Significance of the scheme:
- Further the commitment of India to champion the cause of safety and security of women and girl child.
- Reduce the number of pending cases of Rape & POCSO Act.
- Deliver swift justice to the victims of sexual crimes and act as a deterrent for sexual offenders.
- Clearing these cases quickly will free up the judicial system from the burden of pending cases.
Performance of Fast Track Courts So Far:
- They have a better clearance rate as compared to the regular courts but the overall performance of FTSCs has not been up to the expectations.
- As per National Crime Records Bureau, rape cases had a pendency rate of 89.5% and the conviction rate of 27.8% at the end of 2019.
- For POCSO cases, pendency rate was 88.8%, and of those disposed of, only 34.9% ended in a conviction.
Problems with FTSCs:
- Fast-track courts function no differently than regular courts.
- The legal procedures are all same which does nothing to enable the cases to move forward faster.
- There are no clear directives on the kind of cases fast-track courts are supposed to hear.
- For Example: The fast-track courts under the Nirbhaya Fund, were not clear whether all cases of gender-based crimes like, ‘eve-teasing’ or domestic violence came under their horizon.
- Delay due to absence of witnesses was seen as one of the key reasons for adjournments, according to a study.
- Frequent appeals in higher courts against the verdict of FTSCs is also one of the main reasons behind the delays.
What can be done?
- Quicker disposal of cases within in timeframe can make FTSCs more effective.
- By increasing human resources of these courts with dedicated judges and staff.
- This will help in hearing cases regularly.
- Reengineering few time-consuming procedures like evidence processing, serving notices makes the system more competent.
- There should be a realistic calculation of the time taken for every hearing and then have an appropriate time table which offers sufficient time to every case.
- Samagra Shiksha Scheme
#GS2 #Government policies and interventions #Issues related to Children and Education
#Issues related to Hunger and poverty
Context: Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved extension of the revised Samagra Shiksha Scheme for 5 more years.
- The extended period is from 1st April 2021 to 31st
- With estimated total financial expense of Rs.2,94,283.04 crore which comprises Union government’s share of Rs.1,85,398.32 crore.
- The scheme covers 1.16 million schools, over 156 million students and 5.7 million Teachers of Government and aided schools.
About Samagra Shiksha Scheme:
- It is an all-inclusive programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12.
- Main objectives of the scheme are
- Universal access to school education
- Promoting equity through the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections, and
- Improving the quality of education across all levels of school education.
- It was launched in 2018 by subsuming three Schemes:
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA),
- Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and
- Teacher Education (TE)
- The scheme considers school education as a continuum and is in line with Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG-4).
- The scheme is in accordance with the recommendations of National Education Policy 2020 to make sure that all children can have quality education with an impartial and inclusive classroom environment which should take care of their diverse background, multilingual needs, different academic abilities and make them active participants in the learning process.
Revised Samagra Shiksha as per the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 includes many interventions like:
- As a part of the revised scheme, the union government plans to pay students their Right to Education (RTE) entitlements in the form of cash transfers.
- The scheme will have an effective convergence architecture with various Ministries/ agencies of the Centre and State Governments.
- The development of vocational education will be done in junction with the Ministry of Skill Development and other Ministries who provides funding in this regard.
- The prevailing infrastructure of schools and ITIs will also be used for out of school children.
- NIPUN Bharat, a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy to guarantee that every child achieves the anticipated learning skills in reading, writing and numeracy at the end of grade III and not later than grade V has been launched under the scheme.
- Detailed training modules under NISHTHA by NCERT to train Secondary teachers and Primary teachers.
- Holistic Progress Card showing improvement of each student in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor areas will be introduced.
- Additional Sports funding of upto Rs. 25000 to schools in case atleast 2 students of that school win a medal in Khelo India school games at the National level.
- Provision for Bagless days, school complexes, internships with local artisans, curriculum and pedagogical reforms etc included.
- Provisions under Vocational education is now also provided to Government aided schools.
- Facility of Classroom / workshop for Vocational Education in schools serving as Hub for other schools in the neighbourhood.
- It is implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme through a single State Implementation Society (SIS) at the State level.
- There is a Governing Council chaired by the Minister of Education and a Project Approval Board lead by Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy at the national level.
Significance of the scheme:
- It is an important step towards implementing the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020.
- It fulfils the goal of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009
- It provides for early Childhood Care and Education.
- It lays emphasis on foundational literacy and numeracy.
- It acts as push on Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive and activity-based Curriculum and Pedagogy to impart 21st century skills to the students
- Bridges Gender Gaps in School Education.
- It makes sure of safe, secure and favourable learning environment and upkeep of standards in schooling provisions.
- It Promotes vocational education.
- INS Vikrant
#GS3 # Indigenization of Technology & Developing New Technology #Defence # Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their Mandate
# Security Challenges & their Management in Border Areas
Context: Sea trials of first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in was recently started.
- The original plans for the ship were given in 1989, the design work began fresh in 1999.
- It was planned for commissioning in 2018 but has been deferred.
- It is likely to be commissioned in 2022.
- At present, India has only one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya (Russian Origin).]
- It has been designed by the Directorate of Naval Design, an undertaking of Indian Navy and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited.
- As per the Navy sources, the IAC is the most complex warship building project to have been indigenously designed and built.
- Around 76% of the material and equipment on board IAC-1 is indigenous.
- The name Vikrant means “courageous”.
- The motto of the ship is “Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah”, which is taken from Rigveda and can be translated as “I defeat those who fight against me”.
Battle competences of IAC:
- The IAC is 262 metres long and 62 metres wide and has a STOBAR (short take off but arrested recovery) configuration with a ski jump capability.
- The carrier would have on board about 35-40 aircraft — a blend of naval fighters, anti-submarine helicopters, and naval UAVs.
- The aircraft component includes the MiG-29K fighters, Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter and the indigenous advanced light helicopters.
- It has the ability to project air power over long distances, including air interdiction, anti-surface warfare , offensive and defensive counter-air, airborne anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning.
- INS Vikrant is armed with four AK-630 close-in weapon systems.
- It also has two 32 cell VLS (Vertical Launch System), capable of firing 64 missiles in total.
- It is armed with the Israel’s Barak 1 (surface to air) missile for short range and the Barak 8 for long range defence against aerial attacks.
- This is the first aircraft carrier designed and built in India.
- An aircraft carrier is one of the most effective marine resource for a nation, which augments a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations.
- Having an aircraft carrier is crucial for a country to be considered a ‘blue water’ navy — one that has the capacity to project a nation’s strength and power across the high seas.
- Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier — India joins this exclusive club now.
- An aircraft carrier mostly leads as the capital ship of a carrier battle group.
- It Adds Combat and Sea Control ability.
- It is also in line with Aatmanirbhar Bharath: More than 50 Indian manufacturers were directly involved in the project, and about 2,000 Indians received direct employment on board IAC-1 every day. Over 40,000 others were employed indirectly.
- Umling La pass – World’s highest motorable road
#GS #Infrastructure #Roads # Security Challenges & their Management in Border Areas
Context: Recently, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has built and finished black topping the world’s highest motorable road at Umling La pass in Ladakh, located at the height of 19,300 ft.
About the Road:
- With this construction, Border Road Organistaion beat the previous record of a road in Bolivia connecting to its volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 ft.
- This 52 km long tactical road is built under ‘Project Himank’ which passes through the Umling La Top connecting the important towns in the Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh.
- It also offers an different route directly connecting Chisumle and Demchok from Leh.
- It will improve the socio-economic state and encourage tourism in Ladakh.
- This road is close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and will enable quick movement of troops and equipment.
Comparing to other Roads:
- The road has been built at an altitude higher than the Mt Everest Base Camps and much above the altitude of Siachen Glacier which is at 17,700 ft.
- As per the Defence ministry, Umling La Pass will be more challenging for drivers than the famous Khardung La Pass as the temperature at this pass can drop down to -40 degrees Celsius during winter season.
- Also, the oxygen level at this height is about 50 per cent less than at normal places, making it very problematic for anyone to stay here for too long.
- The Khardung La Pass in Leh is at an altitude of 17,582 ft.
- Project Himank, started in 1985 is a project of the BRO being implemented in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir.
- Under this project, BRO is in charge for building and maintaining roads and related infrastructure in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)
- This contains some of world’s highest motorable roads across the Khardung La, Tanglang La and Chang La passes.
- This project ensures access to delicate military areas like the world’s highest battleground at the Siachen Glacier and Pangong Tso Lake (at 14500 ft).
- Himank’s work of the Srinagar-to -Leh highway in May 1999 was a critical factor in Operation Vijay letting India to make a timely military response in the Kargil war.
5.Recusal from the Judgement:
#GS2 # Doctrine of Checks & Balances # Doctrine of Separation of Power # Inter-state Water Disputes # Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions
Context: Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana has recused himself from hearing a plea by Andhra Pradesh against Telangana on Krishna River water sharing dispute.
- As per the statement of Chief Justice, he recused from hearing because he hailed from both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- The CJI had, during the hearing of the matter, said that while he cannot hear the case on legal issues, he was willing to enable mediation between the two States.
About the case:
- Andhra Pradesh blamed Telangana of repudiating to follow the decisions taken on river water management in the Apex Council constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act of 2014.
- It said that Telangana also disregarded the directions of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB), constituted under the 2014 Act and directions of the Union government.
- The Andhra government contended that the use of Srisailam Dam’s water by Telangana for power generation has caused massive hardship to its people.
- The supreme court bench, which also have Justice Surya Kant, took note of the submissions of the counsel appearing for Andhra Pradesh that the state wanted adjudication of the case by the apex court bench instead of choosing mediation.
What is Judicial Disqualification or Recusal?
- Judicial disqualification, mentioned to as recusal, is the act of refraining from partaking in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer.
What can be reasons for Recusal:
- Biasness of Judge in favour or against of one party
- Personal interest in the subject matter.
- Having prior personal association with any parties involved.
- Ex parte communications with lawyers or non-lawyers.
- An appeal is filed in the Supreme Court against a judgement of a High Court that may have been carried out by the Supreme Court judge when he was in the High Court.
- However, there are no formal rules on recusals by Judges.
Issues associated with recusal:
- It permits litigants to cherry-pick a bench of their choice, which weakens judicial fairness.
- Dents both independence and raises questions on fairness of the judges.
- There are no formal guidelines to govern when the judges could recuse themselves.
- Recusal may cause impediment and delay the proceedings of the Courts.
6.Plastic mixed handmade paper
#GS3 # Indigenization of Technology & Developing New Technology #Conservation # Issues Relating to Intellectual Property Rights
Context: Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has got Patent registration for its ground-breaking Plastic-mixed Handmade Paper created to cut down plastic hazard from nature.
About the paper:
- The Controller of Patent, Intellectual Property of India have issued the patent certificate to KVIC’s Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute, Jaipur.
- The plastic-mixed handmade paper was designed and created under Project REPLAN (REducing PLAstic from Nature).
- This is the first of its kind project in India, where plastic waste is de-structured, degraded, diluted and used with paper pulp while making handmade paper and thus reduces plastic waste from nature.
- The invention is in line with the Prime Minister Modi’s call for fighting the threat of single-use plastic.
- The technology developed by KVIC uses both high- & low-density waste polythene that not only adds extra strength to the paper but also reduces the cost by up to 34%.
- This patent is a crucial recognition of KVIC’s exceptional innovation which is unprecedented.
- The production of waste-plastic mixed handmade paper is expected to serve the twin purposes of protecting the environment along with creating sustainable employment.
- Around 2640 handmade paper making units in the India under KVIC and State Khadi Boards have the capacity of clearing approx 3000 MT of waste plastic from nature annualy.
- At the same time, it can also generate thousands of new jobs like collection of waste plastic, cleaning and processing.
- It is, therefore, an appropriate model of sustainable development.
- So far KVIC has sold over 13 lakh plastic mixed handmade paper carry bags using nearly 40 MT of waste plastic of Jaipur city while creating revenue of nearly Rs 1.30 crore.