Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 06th July-2021

Topics

  • Draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021.
  • Report on United Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+)
  • FLY ASH UTILISATION
  • Appointment and removal of Chief Minister
  • Project BOLD
  • Europe’s ‘Green Passport’ and its impact on India:

 

 

1.Draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021.

#GS2 #Government Policies #Issues related to women and Children

Context: Recently the Ministry of Women and Child Development released Draft anti-trafficking Bill, the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021.

Background:

  • A previous draft had been introduced in 2018, and had been passed by Lok Sabha despite stiff opposition from both parliamentarians as well as experts. It was later never introduced in Rajya Sabha.
  • According to the United Nations’ human rights experts, it was not in accordance with the international human rights laws.
  • The Bill seemed to combine sex work and migration with trafficking.
  • The bill neglected trafficking for sexual exploitation.
  • The Bill was criticised for addressing trafficking through a criminal law perspective instead of complementing it with a human-rights based and victim-centred approach.
  • Another criticism of the bill has been that the punishment for some of the aggravated offences may not be proportionate when compared to the punishment for the offences of simple trafficking.
  • The bill primarily focused on institutionalisation of rescued victims and leaves out important alternatives such as community based rehabilitation.

Highlights of the Draft Bill:

  • The law extends to all citizens inside as well as outside India,
    • persons who commit offences under this Act beyond India against Indian citizen or affecting the interests of Indian citizens or of India;
    • Persons on any ship or aircraft registered in India wherever it may be or carrying Indian citizens wherever they may be,
    • A foreign national or a stateless person who has his or her residence in India at the time of commission of offence under this Act, and
    • The law will apply to every offence of trafficking in persons with cross-border implications.
  • New Law extends beyond the protection of women and children as victims to now include transgenders as well as any person who may be a victim of trafficking.
  • It also does away with the provision that a victim necessarily needs to be transported from one place to another to be defined as a victim.
  • The scope of the Bill vis a vis offenders will also include defence personnel and government servants, doctors and paramedical staff or anyone in a position of authority.
  • Exploitation has been defined to include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation including pornography, any act of physical exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or forced removal of organs, illegal clinical drug trials or illegal bio-medical research.

Penalty:

  • A minimum of seven years which can go up to an imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh in most cases of child trafficking.
  • In case of the trafficking of more than one child, the penalty is now life imprisonment.
  • In certain cases, even the death penalty can be sought.
    • The draft states, “Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section against a child of less than twelve years of age, or against a woman for the purpose of repeated rape, the person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for twenty years, but which may extend to life, or in case of second or subsequent conviction with death, and with fine which may extend up to thirty lakh rupees.”
  • Property bought via such income as well as used for trafficking can now be forfeited with provisions set in place.
  • New Law designates the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as the national investigating and coordinating agency responsible for prevention and combating of trafficking in persons.
  • Once the law is enacted, the Centre will notify and establish a National Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, for ensuring overall effective implementation of the provisions of this law.
    • This committee will have representation from various ministries with the home secretary as the chairperson and secretary of the women and child development ministry as co-chair.
    • State and district level anti-human trafficking committees will also be constituted.

Significance of new bill:

  • The transgender community, and any other person, has been included which will automatically bring under its scope activity such as organ harvesting.
  • Also, cases such as forced labour, in which people lured with jobs end up in other countries where their passports and documentation is taken away and they are made to work, will also be covered by this new law.

Laws against Human Trafficking in India :

  • Constitution of India
    • Article 23- Protects against exploitation, prohibits traffic in humans and beggar and makes this practice punishable under law.
    • Article 24- Protects children below age 14 from working in factories, mines or other hazardous employment.
  • Indian Penal Code:
    • Section 366A- Inducing any minor girl under the age of eighteen years to go to any such place with intent to forced or seduced illicit intercourse with another person shall be a punishable offence.
    • Section 366B- Importing any girl under twenty-one years with the intent that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person is a punishable offence.
    • Section 374- Punishes any person who for unlawfully compels any person to labour against his will.
  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) penalizes trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
  • India also prohibits bonded and forced labour through the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Abolition) Act 1986, and Juvenile Justice Act.
  • Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act, 1982

International Instruments to fight human trafficking:

  • International Conventions for the Suppression of the Traffic is Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of others, 1949
    • (Signed by India on May 9, 1950).
  • Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children in 2000 as a part of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.
  • Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air. It entered into force on 28th January 2004.
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) is a non-binding declaration that establishes the right of every human to live with dignity and prohibits slavery.
  • Blue Heart Campaign: The Blue Heart Campaign is an international anti-trafficking program started by the UNODC.
  • At regional (South Asia level) India is a signatory of two/instruments, dealing with the sexual exploitation.
    • SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution, 2002; and
    • SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for the promotion of Child welfare in South Asia, 2002

Prevention of Trafficking:

  • The human trafficking can be prevented by several types of intervention. It needs to focus on areas of sensitization and awareness in public and with those vulnerable areas which are responsible for creating such an environment for human trafficking.
  • Role of the State: A compulsory high-quality education, income generation and employment opportunities should be created.
    • Promote high-quality programmes for teachers in government schools.
    • A preventive measure by different nations should be shared among each other to help both the countries in preventing trafficking.
  • NGOs: The community should keep a vigilant watch on the movement of child victims of the area of traffickers.
    • They should educate and ensure to make parents are aware about the safe migration practice.
  • Media: Transmitting the appropriate message to the victim to ensure that they have a backup and are not alone.
    • A programme to make citizens aware of places and institutions to seek help in case if they are victimised.
    • Educate and spread awareness that human trafficking is illegal and inappropriate and that it has negative consequences.

 

  1. Report on United Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20 for School Education in India.

#GS2 #Government Policies and Intervention #Education

Context: Recently, the Union Education Minister released the Report on United Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20 for School Education in India.

Highlights of the Report:

  • In 2019-20, total students in school education from pre-primary to higher secondary have crossed 26.45 crore. This is higher by 42.3 lakh compared to 2018-19.
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio at all levels of school education has improved in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19.
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has improved by nearly 10% in secondary between 2012-13 and 2019-20.
  • GER for secondary has reached nearly 78% in 2019-20, compared to 68.7% in 2012-13.
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has improved by more than 11% in higher secondary between 2012-13 and 2019-20.
  • GER for higher secondary has reached 51.4% in 2019-20, compared to 40.1% in 2012-13.
  • In 2019-20, 96.87 lakh teachers have been engaged in school education. This is higher by about 2.57 lakh compared to 2018-19.
  • The Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) has improved at all levels of school education.

Enrolment of Divyang:

  • To ensure universal accessibility of education for persons with disabilities, all-out efforts have been made. Enrolment of Divyang students has increased by 6.52% over 2018-19.

Enrolment of Girls and Gender Parity Index:

  • In 2019-20, enrolment of girls from primary to higher secondary is more than 12.08 crore. This is an increase by 14.08 lakh compared to 2018-19.
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio of girls at higher secondary level has increased by 13% between 2012-13 and 2019-20. It was 39.4% in 2012-13 and has become 52.4% in 2019-20. The increase is more than that of the boys. GER of boys for higher secondary is 50.5% in 2019-20, it was 40.8% in 2012-13.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2019-20, the GER for girls at both secondary and higher secondary level has increased more than that of the boys.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2019-20, the Gender Parity Index (GPI) at both Secondary and Higher Secondary levels have improved. Improvement of GPI has been most pronounced at the higher secondary level, which has gone up to 1.04 in 2019-20 from 0.97 in 2012-13.
  • Facilities at Schools:
    • Reading rooms: More than 84% schools in India had a library/reading room/ reading corner in 2019-20, an improvement of nearly 4% compared to the previous year. In 2012-13, about 69.2% schools had library/ reading room/ reading corner.
    • Electricity: More than 80% of schools in India in 2019-20 had functional electricity. This is an improvement of more than 6% over the previous year 2018-19.
    • Computers: The number of schools having functional computers increased to 5.2 lakh in 2019-20 from 4.7 lakh in 2018-19.
    • Internet: The number of schools having internet facilities increased to 3.36 lakh in 2019-20 from 2.9 lakh in 2018-19.
    • Hand Wash Facility: More than 90% of schools in India had hand wash facilities in 2019-20. This is a major improvement as this percentage was only 36.3% in 2012-13.
    • Medical Check-Ups: More than 82% of schools conducted medical check-ups of students in 2019-20, an increase of more than 4% compared to the previous year 2018-19.

Key takeaways:

  • While physical infrastructure is steadily improving, the digital infrastructure for schools has a long way to go.
  • With the overwhelming majority of schools have neither computers (61 percent) nor internet access (78 percent), achieving the Centre’s ‘Digital India’ vision when it comes to online education is still some ways off.
  • The vast increase in hand wash facilities is a big step towards the fulfilment of the Modi government’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ push.
  • The Gross Enrolment Ratio improving at all levels of school education in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19 is a plus.
  • While 93 lakh more boys enrolled in education than girls, when it comes to GER, the girls pulled ahead.

United Information System for Education Plus:

  • It is one of the largest Management Information Systems on school education. It was launched in 2018-2019 to speed up data entry, reduce errors, improve data quality and ease its verification.
  • It is an application to collect the school details about factors related to a school and its resources.
  • It is an updated and improved version of UDISE, which was initiated in 2012-13 by the Ministry of Education.
  • It covers more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children.
  • It helps measure the education parameters from classes 1 to 12 in government and private schools across India.

 

 3.FLY ASH UTILISATION

#GS3 #Environment Pollution and Degradation #Government policies

Context: Seeking potential overseas off-takers for the flyash produced by its thermal power plants, NTPC has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) for sale of the residual product to the West Asian and other regions.

  • It will supply the ash from power plants to ports and the total quantum earmarked for export is 14.5 million tonne (MT) per year.

Background:

  • As per the norms set by the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, thermal plants are supposed to utilise 100% of fly ash from the fourth year of operation.

Fly Ash Utilisation:

  • NTPC has collaborated with Cement manufacturers around the country to supply Fly Ash.
  • To facilitate 100% ash utilization by all coal based thermal power plants, a web portal for monitoring of fly ash generation and utilization data of Thermal Power Plants and a mobile based application titled “ASHTRACK” has been launched by the Government that will help to establish a link between fly ash users and power plants executives for obtaining fly ash for its use in various areas.
  • To promote the use of Fly Ash bricks in building construction, NTPC has set up Fly Ash brick manufacturing Plants at its Coal based Thermal Power Plants.
  • These bricks are being utilized in Plants as well as township construction activities exclusively.
  • About 9% of the total Fly Ash produced in NTPCs stations, is being utilized by Fly Ash bricks/blocks and tiles manufacturing units annually.
  • During the year 2020-21, almost 15 NTPC stations supplied Fly Ash to various Road projects and Ash utilization crossed by nearly 20 million tonnes.
  • Over the last five years the fly ash utilisation has grown up by 80% in the country.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) has focused on new construction technologies such as using fly ash bricks that are innovative, and environmentally friendly.
  • Even state governments have come out with their Fly ash utilization policies.
  • Maharashtra has become the first state to adopt Fly Ash Utilisation Policy, paving way for prosperity by generating “wealth from waste”, and environment protection.
  • A web portal for monitoring of fly ash generation and utilization and a mobile based application titled “ASHTRACK” has been launched by the Government.
  • Ash-park has been developed and awareness programme for utilisation of fly ash and its products have been conducted.
  • GST rates on fly ash and its products have been reduced to 5%.

What is Fly Ash?

  • Fly Ash is a byproduct from burning of coal in the thermal power generation.
  • It is called fly ash because it is transported from the combustion chamber by exhaust gases.
  • It is collected from the exhaust gases by electrostatic precipitators or bag filters.
  • An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) is defined as a filtration device that is used to remove fine particles like smoke and fine dust from the flowing gas.
  • It is the commonly used device for air pollution control.
  • Composed of the particulates that are driven out of coal-fired boilers together with the flue gases.
    • Depending upon the source and composition of the coal being burned, the components of fly ash vary considerably, but all fly ash includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3) and calcium oxide (CaO), the main mineral compounds in coal-bearing rock strata.
    • Minor constituents include: arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, hexavalent chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, along with very small concentrations of dioxins and PAH compounds. It also has unburnt carbon.

Properties:

  • Resemble Portland cement but is chemically different.
  • Portland cement is a binding material in the form of a finely ground powder that is manufactured by burning and grinding a mixture of limestone and clay.
  • Its chemical composition includes calcium silicates, calcium aluminate and calcium aluminoferrite.
  • Exhibit cementitious properties.
  • A cementitious material is one that hardens when mixed with water.

Uses:

  • It is used in concrete and cement products, road base, metal recovery, and mineral filler among others.
  • Stabilization of soft soils.
  • Embankments and other structural fills.
  • Agricultural uses: soil amendment, fertilizer, cattle feeders, soil stabilization in stock feed yards, and agricultural stakes.

Harmful Effects:

  • Fly ash is a major source of PM 2.5, fine, pollution particles, in summer it causes air pollution.
  • All the heavy metals found in fly ash nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, etc—are toxic in nature. They are minute, poisonous particles accumulate in the respiratory tract, and cause gradual poisoning.
  • For an equal amount of electricity generated, fly ash contains a hundred times more radiation than nuclear waste secured via dry cask or water storage.
  • The breaching of ash dykes and consequent ash spills occur frequently in India, polluting a large number of water bodies.
  • Effects on environment: The destruction of mangroves, drastic reduction in crop yields, and the pollution of groundwater in the Rann of Kutch from the ash sludge of adjoining Coal power plants has been well documented.

About National Thermal Power Corporation Limited:

  • It is an Indian government-owned electric utility company.
  • It engaged in the business of generation of electricity and allied activities.
  • It is a company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956 and is under the ownership of Ministry of Power, Government of India.
  • The headquarters of the company is situated at New Delhi.
  • It became a Maharatna company in May 2010.
  • NTPC’s core business is the generation and sale of electricity to state-owned power distribution companies and State Electricity Boards in INDIA.
  • The company also undertakes consultancy and turnkey project contracts that involve engineering, project management, construction management, and operation and management of power plants.
  • It is India’s largest power generating company.

 

  1. Appointment and removal of Chief Minister

#GS2 #State Legislature #Executive #Constituional posts

Context: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat has resigned,with the six-month window for him to get elected to the Assembly closing and increasing uncertainties.

What are the issues?

  • The Election Commission (EC) was yet to take a call on holding bypolls for vacant Assembly seats, which would have given Mr. Rawat a way to carry on as Chief Minister.
  • Representation of People’s Act,1951, mandates the Election Commission to fill the vacancies in Parliament and state legislatures through by-polls within six months from the date of their occurrence.
  • As per the Constitution, he had six months, till September 10, to become a member of the Uttarakhand Assembly in order to continue in the post.
  • As per section 151A of Representation of the People Act , 1951, a by-poll is not held in a state if less than a year is left for the member’s term to end, which in the case of Uttarakhand is March 23,2022.

Key constitutional provisions for CMs:

  • As a real executive authority, the Chief Minister is called the head of the government.
    • He is assisted by his council of ministers who are a part of state executive along with Governor and Advocate-General of State.
  • Article 163(1): There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under the Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.
  • Article 164(1): The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed on the advice of the Chief Minister.
  • Article 164(2): The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State.

Who can be a Chief Minister?

  • After general election to the State Legislative Assembly, the party or coalition group which secures majority in this House, elects its leader and communicates his name to the Governor. The Governor then formally appoints him as the Chief Minister and asks him to form his Council of Ministers.
  • When no party gets a clear majority in the State Legislative Assembly, the Governor normally asks the leader of the single largest party to form the government.

What is the term of Chief Minister’s office?

  • The term of Chief Minister is not fixed and he holds his office during the pleasure of the governor.
    • However, in actual practice the Chief Minister remains in office so long as he continues to be the leader of the majority in the State Legislative Assembly.
  • When CM loses his majority support, he has to resign and Governor dismisses him then.
  • The State Legislative Assembly can also remove him by passing a vote of no-confidence against him.

Powers and Functions of the Chief Minister:

  • To Aid and Advice the Governor.
  • The Chief Minister is at the Head of the Council of Ministers.
  • He is the Leader of the House.
  • He has to communicate to the Governor all the decisions of the council of ministers relating to the administration of the states.
  • All the policies are announced by him on the floor of the house.
  • He recommends dissolution of legislative assembly to the Governor.
  • He advises the Governor regarding summoning, proroguing the sessions of State Legislative Assembly from time to time.
  • He chairs the State Planning Board
  • He is a vice-chairperson of the concerned zonal council by rotation, holding that office for a period of one year at a time
  • He is a member of Inter-State Council and National Development Council which are headed by the Prime Minister.

 

  1. Project BOLD

#GS3 #Agricultual resources #Environmental Pollution and degradation

Context: Recently, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched a project named Bamboo Oasis on Lands in Drought (BOLD) from the village NichlaMandwa in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Highlights of the Project:

  • Project BOLD seeks to create bamboo-based green patches in arid and semi-arid land zones.
  • The initiative has been launched as part of KVIC’s “Khadi Bamboo Festival” to celebrate 75 years of independence “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”.
  • Under the project 5000 saplings of special bamboo species – BambusaTulda and BambusaPolymorpha from Assam – have been planted over 16 acres of vacant arid Gram Panchayat land of village NichlaMandwa.
  • KVIC has thus created a world record of planting the highest number of bamboo saplings on a single day at one location.
  • It is the first of its kind exercise in India. It seeks to create bamboo-based green patches in arid and semi-arid land zones.

Reason for Selecting Bamboo:

  • KVIC has judiciously chosen bamboo for developing green patches.
  • It grows very fast and in about three years’ time, they could be harvested.
  • It is also known for conserving water and reducing evaporation of water from the land surface, which is an important feature in arid and drought-prone regions.
  • It is good soil binder owing to its peculiar clump formation and fibrous root system and hence also plays an important role in soil conservation.

Significance:

  • It is a unique scientific exercise serving the combined national objectives of reducing desertification and providing livelihood and multi-disciplinary rural industry support.
  • It will also act as havens of sustainable development and food security.
  • The bamboo plantation program will boost self-employment in the region.
  • It will benefit a large number of women and unemployed youths in the region by connecting them to skill development programs.

Extension:

  • KVIC is set to replicate the Project at Village Dholera in Ahmedabad district in Gujarat and Leh-Ladakh region by August this year.
  • Total 15,000 bamboo saplings will be planted before August 2021.

Bamboo in India:

  • Bamboos are tall treelike grasses.
  • India is second only to China in terms of bamboo diversity.
  • The North-Eastern States are a storehouse of bamboo diversity, home to 58 bamboo varieties.
  • With an amendment in 2017 in the Indian Forest Act 1927, the Bamboo has ceased to be a tree anymore.
  • Earlier, the definition of tree in the law included palm, bamboo, brushwood and cane.
  • The move aims to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve the “twin objectives” of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country.
  • Bamboo grown in the forest areas would continue to be governed by the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.
  • Bamboo is grown on 10 million hectares in India and covers almost 13 per cent of the total forest area.
  • The total production of bamboo is five million tonnes per year.
  • About 8.6 million people depend on bamboo for their livelihood. The value of bamboo in India is estimated at $4.4 billion.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under bamboo forests.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC):

  • It is a statutory body established under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956.
  • The broad objectives of the Khadi Village and Industries Commission encompassing self-reliance and sustainability are:
    • To boost employment in the country.
    • To promote the promotion and sale of Khadi articles
    • To cater to the self-reliance doctrine of the country by empowering underprivileged and rural sections of the society.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

 

  1. Europe’s ‘Green Passport’ and its impact on India:

#GS2 #Government Policies and Interventions #International relations

Context: On July 1, the European Union implemented the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) or the “Green Passport”, which allows ease of intra-European travel for passengers who have taken one of four recognised vaccines.

What is the issue?

  • Covishield and Covaxin, Made in India Vaccines, are not among the vaccines which have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its “vaccine passport” programme that allows free movement of people in and out of Europe.
  • The move led to a sharp protest from India, as well as the African Union, as concerns grow over vaccine passports that discriminate against travellers from developing countries with limited access to vaccines.

What is the ‘green pass’ which will ease travel restrictions across EU?

  • The EU Digital Covid Certificate, which has been created to ensure that restrictions currently in place can be lifted in a coordinated manner, is a digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, or received a negative test result, or recovered from the viral infection. The document is valid across all EU countries.
  • The certificate includes information such as name, date of birth, date of issuance, the name of the vaccine or the details of the negative test result or recovery from Covid-19.
  • National authorities are in charge of the programme and the document can be issued by test centres or health authorities, or directly via an eHealth portal.
  • The certificate contains a digital signature which is verified when the QR code is scanned. Each issuing body has its own digital signature key, all of which are stored in a secure database in each country.
  • The European Commission has designed a gateway through which all the signatures can be verified across the EU.
  • The “green pass” is expected to ease travel restrictions for people travelling to EU countries.
  • It is recognised by all 27 EU countries, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway for passengers within Europe, who are bound not to need separate documentation for intra-EU travel.

Why has Covishield not been included in the list?

  • Serum Institute of India has not applied for Covishield’s approval.
  • Though Vaxzevria has been among the vaccines approved by EMA, Covishield, which is derived from AstraZeneca’s shot, is not on the list.
  • This is because the EMA takes into consideration local manufacturing facilities. Even if the vaccine is the same, different manufacturers of the same product need to submit separate applications for approval from EMA.

How will it impact Indian travellers?

  • None of the three vaccines which have been approved for use in India till date —Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V — feature on the list.
  • The EMA list only includes four vaccines now—Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
  • The EUDCC will impact Indians notionally at present, as only essential travel is allowed into EU countries and special permission has to be taken for those travelling from India.
  • With global concerns over the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, more restrictions are in place for Indians travelling abroad.
  • The European Union has pointed out that the EUDCC is only meant for passengers within the EU.
  • According to the EU, the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield was a “biologically” different product and it hence needs to apply separately for approval/ clearance to be included in the vaccine list of EUDCC.
  • Meanwhile, the road seems harder for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, as unlike Covishield, it has not received recognition from even WHO and is in the process of completing its application there.

What is the WHO’s stand?

  • WHO has held categorically that vaccine passports should not be made mandatory for travel and should be optional, stating that proof of COVID-19 vaccination should not be required as a condition of entry and exit from a country.

Larger concern:

  • With vaccine coverage as a % of population in developing countries still low compared to developed countries, such an initiative could prove to be highly discriminatory.

 

 

 

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