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UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 17th January 2022

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy – UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 17th January 2022

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 17th January 2022

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  • The Marital Rape
  • Suspension of MLAs
  • Mekedatu Dam Project
  • Carbon Footprints of Cryptocurrencies
  • First Pig-to-Human Heart Transplant

1.The Marital Rape

#GS1-Women Issues

Context

  • The Delhi High Court has received a slew of applications seeking to make marital rape a crime.
  • The Union government has responded by saying it is considering a “constructive approach” to criminalising it and has sought input from various stakeholders.
  • The petition aims to change the penal legislation, namely Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (rape) (IPC).

In depth information

  • The patriarchal rhetoric in society has given rise to the basis for “marriage immunity” for rape prosecution.
  • According to this theory, a husband cannot be held liable for rape committed against his legitimate wife since she has agreed to give up herself in this way to her husband by their mutual married consent and contract, which she cannot revoke.
  • In 1976, Australia became the first common law country to implement laws as a result of the second wave of feminism, and many Scandinavian and European countries followed suit, making rape in marriage a criminal offence.
  • Legal Protection Against Marital Harassment:
  • Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, often known as the “marital rape exemption,” exempts violent sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife from the offence of rape if the wife is over the age of 15 years.

Exception: Issues With Marital Rape

  • Against Women’s Fundamental Rights:
  • This exception clause infringes on women’s fundamental rights to equality, freedom of expression, and, most importantly, life and personal liberty.
  • It also denies women control over their own bodies.
  • The Judicial System is in a Bad Way:
  • Low reporting of crimes owing to societal conditioning and low legal information are two factors for the low rate of prosecution in cases of marital rape in India.
  • Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) was collected in an inaccurate manner.
  • Due to the lengthy legal procedure and a lack of admissible proof, out-of-court settlements are common.
  • Recommendation of the Justice J. S. Verma Committee:
  • The Justice J. S. Verma Committee was established in the aftermath of the horrible Nirbhaya gang rape in 2012.
  • While some of its recommendations were incorporated into the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, its most radical proposals, such as those regarding marital rape, were ignored.
  • The Government’s Position: Distancing Effects on Marriage Institutions:
  • The government has previously stated that criminalising marital rape would endanger the institution of marriage and infringe on the right to privacy.
  • Misuse of Legal Provisions:
  • The misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (harassment of a married woman by her husband and in-laws) and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is on the rise.
  • Criminalizing marital rape could make harassing husbands much easier.

Next Steps

  • Multi-stakeholder Approach: Making marital rape illegal will undoubtedly be a symbolic start.
  • On the basis of many factors such as the couple’s sexual history, physical and psychological harm to the victim, a sentencing committee comprised of medical specialists, family counsellors, judges, and police could be formed.
  • Changing Behaviour:
  • Legislative reform should be accompanied by public awareness campaigns that educate the public (citizens, police, judges, and medical personnel) about the importance of consent, timely medical care and rehabilitation, skill development, and employment in assisting victims’ economic independence.

 

2.Suspension of MLAs

#GS2- Polity

Context

  • The one-year ban was “worse than expulsion,” according to a bench consisting of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, because the constituency remains unrepresented.

In depth information

  • MLAs were suspended for misbehaviour in the Assembly over the publication of data about OBCs.
  • Suspension is being challenged primarily on the basis of a rejection of natural justice principles and a violation of established process.
  • The 12 MLAs claim that they were not given a chance to submit their case and that the suspension breached their constitutional right to equality before the law under Article 14.
  • The “Speaker may direct any member who refuses to respect his decision, or whose conduct is, in his judgement, highly disorderly, to remove immediately from the Assembly,” according to Maharashtra Assembly Rule 53.
  • “Absent himself for the balance of the day’s meeting,” the member must say.
  • If a member is ordered to withdraw for the second time in the same session, the Speaker has the authority to order the member to leave “for any duration not exceeding the remainder of the Session.”

What has Maharashtra said in support of its position?

  • Undisciplined and unseemly behaviour:
  • The in-charge secretary of the state’s Parliamentary Affairs Department submitted a counter-affidavit, citing the 12 MLAs’ “undisciplined and unbecoming behaviour,” as well as the fact that the Leader of the Opposition had apologised.
  • As a result, there was no possibility of hearing or receiving written answers from the MLAs who had been found in contempt of the House. It denies that Article 14 has been violated.
  • Article 212:
  • Maharashtra’s counsel contended that the House had acted within its legislative authority, and that courts do not have power to investigate parliamentary procedures under Article 212.
  • “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislature of a State shall not be called into doubt on the ground of any purported irregularity of process,” declares Article 212 (1).
  • Article 194:
  • The state has also cited Article 194 on the House’s powers and privileges, arguing that any member who violates these privileges can be suspended using the House’s inherent powers.
  • It has denied that the Assembly’s ability to suspend a member can only be used under Rule 53.

Arguments According to the Supreme Court:

  • Violation of the Constitution’s Basic Structure:
  • If the suspended MLAs’ constituencies were unrepresented in the Assembly for a full year, the Constitution’s basic structure would be violated.
  • The bench cited Article 190 (4) of the Constitution, which states, “If a member of a House of the Legislature of a State is absent from all sessions thereof for a period of sixty days without permission of the House, the House may proclaim his seat vacant.”
  • “A bye-election for filling any vacancy shall be held within a term of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy,” says Section 151 (A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • This means that, with the exclusions listed in this section, no constituency can go longer than six months without a representation.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that the one-year ban was prima facie unlawful since it exceeded the six-month restriction and amounted to “not punishing the member, but punishing the constituency as a whole.”
  • Supreme Court Intervention:
  • The Supreme Court is anticipated to rule on whether the judiciary has the authority to intervene in House proceedings.
  • Constitutional experts, on the other hand, claim that the court has previously stated that the judiciary can interfere if the House acts in an illegal manner.

Next Steps

  • The Supreme Court is set to rule on whether the judiciary has the authority to intervene in House proceedings.
  • Constitutional experts, on the other hand, claim that the court has previously stated that the judiciary can interfere if the House acts in an illegal manner.

 

3.Mekedatu Dam Project

#GS2-Federalism

Context

  • The ‘Mekedatu march’ has been organised to support the construction of a reservoir on the Cauvery River in Mekedatu, close the Tamil Nadu border.

In depth information

What is the Mekedatu Project?

  • Mekedatu, which means “goat’s leap,” is a steep gorge located near the junction of the Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in the Kanakapura taluk of Karnataka’s Ramanagara district, about 100 kilometres from Bengaluru.
  • Karnataka declared in 2013 that it would build a multi-purpose balancing reservoir.
  • The project’s goal was to help the Bengaluru and Ramanagaradistricts with their drinking water issues.
  • It was also expected to generate hydropower to meet the state’s power demands.

Concerns about the project

  • TN opposed to the project’s approval or environmental clearance shortly after it was announced.
  • It stated the project was in contravention of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final ruling, which could cause damage to the lower riparian state of TN.
  • According to the report, the project will have a significant impact on the natural flow of the Cauvery River and will have a significant impact on irrigation in Tennessee.

What does the Supreme Court and the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal have to say?

  • Apart from the Union Territory of Puducherry, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal issued allocations to all riparian States — Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu — in its final ruling in February 2007.
  • It further stated that Karnataka would provide “tentative monthly deliveries during a regular year” to Tamil Nadu.
  • The States had appealed to the Supreme Court, dissatisfied with the final ruling for several reasons.
  • In February 2018, the court altered the water distribution in its verdict, increasing Karnataka’s share by 14.75 million cubic feet (tmc ft) at the expense of Tamil Nadu.
  • The increased quantity was 4.75 tmc ft, which will be used to meet Bengaluru’s drinking water and household needs.

What is Karnataka’s strategy?

  • Karnataka has set out to pursue the Mekedatu project, buoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision, which it regards as a vindication of its position.
  • The updated Mekedatu dam project, which was originally intended as a hydroelectric project, serves multiple purposes.
  • A approximately 400 MW hydropower facility has also been proposed.
  • As stipulated by the Tribunal and the Supreme Court, the proposed reservoir will regulate the flow to Tamil Nadu on a monthly basis, according to the Karnataka government.
  • This is why Karnataka claims that the project will not harm Tamil Nadu farmers’ interests.

 

4.Carbon Footprints of Cryptocurrencies

#GS3-Computers, Robotics and Nano-Technology

Context

  • Bitcoin prices are soaring these days, and bitcoin mining will follow suit. As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, its environmental impact must be considered.

In depth information

What are Cryptocurrencies and How Do They Work?

  • The cryptocurrency market is a global phenomenon.
  • The global cryptocurrency market was worth $793 million in 2019.
  • According to a report by market research firm Facts and Factors, it is now predicted to reach approximately $5.2 billion by 2026.
  • The global use of bitcoin increased by more than 880 percent in just one year, from July 2020 to June 2021.

Bitcoin’s carbon footprint

  • The rising popularity of Bitcoin has environmentalists concerned, as digital “mining” leaves a significant carbon footprint due to the enormous amount of energy required.
  • According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, Bitcoin has the same carbon footprint as New Zealand.
  • Each year, they release roughly 37 megatons of carbon dioxide into the environment.
  • What exactly is mining?
  • Mining is the process of solving computer challenges in order to verify user transactions, which are then recorded in the blockchain.
  • The works are created, or “minted,” using a procedure known as proof-of-work (PoW), which establishes their unique identity.

What causes cryptocurrency to leave such a trace?

  • Bitcoin, unlike traditional currencies, is a virtual currency that is not formed of paper, plastic, or even metal.
  • Bitcoin is a virtual currency that consumes a lot of electricity because it is created by high-powered computers all around the world.
  • When high-powered computers compete against each other to solve complicated mathematical challenges, Bitcoin is born.
  • This is a high-energy process that frequently uses fossil fuels, mainly coal, which is the dirtiest of all.

Why is it likely that the environmental concerns associated with Cryptocurrencies will grow?

  • Bitcoin is only available in a limited quantity. As more bitcoin is mined, the complicated math problems required for transactions get more difficult to solve, requiring more energy.
  • Mining-related incentives: In the case of Bitcoin, a miner receives a little amount of the cryptocurrency each time they solve the difficult hashing process necessary to create bitcoin (the “PoW”). This means that if Bitcoin’s price rises, so will the motivation to mine the cryptocurrency.

Is the criticism of Bitcoin’s energy use justified?

  • Any serious criticism of Bitcoin must take into account the broader context of energy consumption.
  • Bitcoin’s energy openness puts it in a better position than other, less transparent energy-consuming industries like banking. According to studies, Bitcoin uses less than half the energy produced by the banking and gold industries.
  • Bitcoin, unlike traditional currency or gold, is not just a store of value or a medium of transaction. Given its diverse potential applications, Bitcoin’s relative energy use is productive in compared to other industries.
  • In addition, it is frequently assumed that the energy consumed by miners is either stolen from more profitable uses or resulting in increasing energy consumption.
  • However, because to inefficiencies in the energy market, bitcoin miners are enticed to use non-rival energy that would otherwise be wasted or underutilised, as it is the cheapest. El Salvador, for example, has stated that it will use geothermal energy to power its bitcoin mining.

Conclusion

  • This means that, unlike traditional currencies like gold, Bitcoin is more than just a settlement layer, a store of value, and a medium of trade.
  • Given its diverse potential applications, Bitcoin’s relative energy use is productive in compared to other industries.
  • The prospect of such an endeavour raises hopes for a more long-term bitcoin future.
  • It remains to be seen if this will make much of a difference in the climate catastrophe, given government and industrial inertia.

 

5.First Pig-to-Human Heart Transplant

#GS3- Science & Technology

Context

  • After receiving a genetically engineered pig heart, a 57-year-old patient from Maryland, who was suffering from end-stage heart disease, was given a second chance at life.
  • In the field of medical science, this is a stunning first.

In depth information

  • Pigs are becoming more and more popular as organ transplant recipients. Because their organs are anatomically comparable to those of humans, this is the case.
  • Pigs have been helping with medical studies for a long time.
  • This breakthrough could put an end to the years-long wait for people to obtain a healthy organ and open up a fresh new world of possibilities.

What is Xenotransplantation and how does it work?

It’s the procedure of grafting or transplanting organs or tissues from one species to another.

  • It has been explored by modern medical science for decades, but scientists have struggled to overcome the challenge posed by the immune system’s rejection of a foreign organ, which has resulted in individuals dying.

Process

  • The transplanted heart came from a pig that had three genes removed “that would have led to the rejection of pig organs by humans,” as well as one that would have led to excessive growth of pig heart tissue, according to scientists.
  • Six human genes were also introduced into the pig genome, which would have aided the organ’s adoption by the human body.

The Issue of Organ Scarcity

  • Patients in India require 25,000-30,000 liver transplants each year. However, just approximately 1,500 people receive them.
  • Similarly, about 50,000 people die of cardiac failure each year. Despite this, only approximately 10-15 heart transplants are carried done each year.
  • Organ rejection is one of the most significant barriers to transplantation. Scientists have solved the problem by modifying the organs of pigs genetically.

Attempts at xeno transplantation in the early stages

  • In the 1970s, a flurry of kidney, liver, and heart transplantation from nonhuman primates to humans occurred. The vast majority of them were unsuccessful.
  • This is due to organ rejection, which occurs when our immune system rejects foreign agents. The failure was also due to surgical problems.
  • In 1984, a baboon’s heart was transplanted into a human child. After the transplant, she died 21 days later.
  • Primates fell out of favour in the 1990s due of their vulnerability to virus transmission. Pigs were thrust into the limelight as a result of this.

Initial Attempts

  • Chinese surgeons are said to have transplanted pig cornea into a person in 2017.
  • Experts in the United States implanted a genetically engineered kidney to a brain-dead person in 2020.

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 17th January 2022

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