- Supreme Court and Illegal adoptions
- China and ASEAN
- Production Linked Incentive Schemes
- Defence sector reforms
- Food borne Diseases
- Supreme Court and Illegal adoptions
Context: Supreme Court asked state and Union Territory authorities to take action against NGOs or individuals indulging in illegal adoptions.
Background and Issue:
- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had recently urged the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter of illegal adoption taking place in the backdrop of the pandemic.
- NCPCR urged the court to direct the States and Union Territories to not place any confidential information about children in the public domain which would make them susceptible to trafficking.
- Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act prohibits the disclosure of the identity of children with regard to the name, school, age, address or any information which would reveal the essential details of the child.
- Private individuals and organisations have been actively collecting data on children orphaned during the pandemic while claiming that they want to assist families and children in adoption.
- Social media posts are circulating that the children are up for adoption – which violates the Juvenile Justice Act.
- NCPCR statistics shows that 3,621 children were orphaned, 26,176 children lost either parent and 274 children were abandoned between April 1, 2021 to June 5, 2021.
- The Commission asked the court to direct the States and UTs to create State Juvenile Justice Funds to enable the credit of donations/ contributions/ subscriptions directly in the notified account.
Key Details of Supreme Court directives:
- The Supreme Court has directed state governments and Union Territories to “prevent any NGO from collecting funds in the names of the affected children by disclosing their identity and inviting interested persons to adopt them”
- No adoption of affected children should be permitted contrary to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
- Stringent action shall be taken by the State Governments/Union Territories against agencies/individuals who are responsible for indulging in this illegal activity.
- The court asked the states and UTs to “continue identifying” such children and provide the data on NCPCR website without delay.
- The court also directed State Government/Union Territories to ensure that there is no break in the education of children who have become orphans or lost either one parent during the pandemic.
- It asked the District Child Protection Units (DCPU) to assessment about the suitability and willingness of the guardian to take care of the child and also DCPU should ensure that adequate provisions are made for ration, food, medicine, clothing etc for the affected child.
What is the procedure to be followed with children who have been orphaned?
- If someone has information about a child in need of care, then they must contact one of the four agencies: Childline 1098, or the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC), District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) or the helpline of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
- Following this, the CWC will assess the child and place him or her in the immediate care of a Specialised Adoption Agency.
- When there is a child without a family, the State becomes the guardian.
About JJ Act, 2015:
- Objective: To Comprehensively address children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
- It mandates setting up Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in every district. Both must have at least one-woman member each.
- Also, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) was granted the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
- All Child Care Institutions, whether run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organisations are to be mandatorily registered under the Act within 6 months from the date of commencement of the Act.
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
- It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
- CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
- CARA is also mandated to frame regulations on adoption-related matters from time to time as per Section 68 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
- China and ASEAN
Context: China is hosting Foreign Ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries.
- China’s Foreign Minister will hold bilateral meetings with all the visiting Ministers.
- He would also chair a meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
About Lancang-Mekong Cooperation:
- Lancang-Mekong Cooperation is a multilateral format established in 2016 for cooperation between the riparian states of the Lancang River and Mekong River.
- The Lancang is the part of the Mekong that flows through China. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand are five downstream countries of the Mekong River.
- The central purpose of this, is for China to manage water flow from its hydropower dams with the other riparian states.
- China has built seven megadams on the Lancang-Mekong and according to the US-based NGO International Rivers 20 are under construction or planned in Yunnan, Tibet and Qinghai.
- LMC Special Fund was created in 2016 to aid in small and medium-sized projects by the Lancang-Mekong countries.
Significance of the meet:
- The event marks the 30-year anniversary of relations.
- The country is pushing for closer economic cooperation and aligning COVID-19 recovery efforts.
- It also looks to push back against the recent regional outreach of the Quad grouping.
- China has for long criticised the Quad and called it as “ an Asian NATO”.
- Terming of QUAD as “an Asian NATO” by Beijing has been criticised by the QUAD members.
- Chinese analysts have framed ASEAN as a key space where Chinese and Quad initiatives may come in conflict with each other.
- Chinese analysts believe that Quad members will further rope in ASEAN members to counter China as Southeast Asia is of great significance to the U.S.’ Indo-Pacific Strategy.
- This marks a deepening of a period of increasing Chinese engagement with Southeast Asia, amid intensifying U.S. efforts to build a regional coalition to counter China’s rising power.
- It highlights the importance that Southeast Asia plays in key Chinese economic and strategic interests.
- Wang said China would “urgently implement” the China-Asean “Public Health Cooperation Initiative”, continue to support the Asean “Emergency Medical Materials Reserve”, and strengthen regional public health capacity-building.
- China also pushed for the early implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was signed by China, ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in November last year.
- China also called for considering the lifting of China-ASEAN ties to comprehensive strategic partnership and strive for an early agreement on a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
- China’s economic and diplomatic clout in the region – China-ASEAN trade stands at $684 billion – and help from allies such as Cambodia have also helped override concerns.
- China claims almost the entire South China Sea and is locked in conflict over the ownership of islands with ASEAN members like the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Cooperation with ASEAN members will help in quicker conflict resolution.
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional organization which was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific’s post-colonial states.
- The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
- ASEAN Secretariat – Indonesia, Jakarta.
- Established in 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding fathers.
- Members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
- ASEAN commands far greater influence on Asia-Pacific trade, political, and security issues than its members could achieve individually.
Significance of ASEAN for India:
- Against the backdrop of aggressive moves by China, including the Ladakh standoff, India placed the ASEAN at the centre of India’s Act East policy and held that a cohesive and responsive ASEAN is essential for security and growth for all in the region.
- ASEAN is necessary for the success of the Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) Vision.
- India and ASEAN already has 25 years of Dialogue Partnership, 15 years of Summit Level interaction and 5 years of Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.
- The region is significant for diversification and resilience of supply chains for post-Covid-19 economic recovery.
- It is India’s 4th largest trading partner with about USD 86.9 billion in trade.
- India’s trade with ASEAN stands at approx. 10.6% of India’s overall trade.
- India places ASEAN at the centre of its Indo-Pacific vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region.
- Production Linked Incentive Schemes
Context: Recently, Production Linked Incentive schemes were announced for white goods and Telecom and Network Equipment.
For White Goods:
- To create complete component ecosystems in India.
- To make India an integral part of the Global supply chains
- Duration and funds: Rs. 6,238 crores, From 2021-22 to FY 2028-29
- The PLI Scheme for White Goods shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India for a period of five years to companies engaged in manufacturing of Air Conditioners and LED Lights.
- PLI Scheme is designed to create complete component ecosystem in India and make India an integral part of the global supply chains.
- The scheme will be instrumental in making manufacturing in India globally competitive by removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale and ensuring efficiencies.
- The scheme is expected to attract global investments, generate large scale employment opportunities and enhance exports substantially.
- It will also lead to investments in innovation and research and development and upgradation of technology.
- The Scheme is expected to be instrumental in achieving growth rates that are much higher than existing ones for AC and LED industries, develop complete component eco-systems in India and create global champions manufacturing in India.
- A number of global and domestic companies, including a number of MSMEs are likely to benefit from the Scheme.
- Create additional 4 lakh direct and indirect jobs
For Telecom sector and Network Equipment:
- Department of Telecommunications has notified the PLI Scheme for Telecom and Networking products on 24th February 2021 with financial outlay of Rs. 12,195 Crores with 1000 crore allocated to MSMEs over five years for Telecom and Networking Products.
- To make India a global manufacturing hub for Telecom and networking products
- The core component of this Scheme is to offset the huge import of telecom equipment worth more than Rs. 50 thousand crores and reinforce it with “Made in India” products both for domestic markets and exports.
- It is available to both MSMEs and non MSMEs companies.
- Also available to Domestic and global companies with minimum investment threshold limits for MSMEs above Rs. 10 crore and non MSMEs above Rs. 100 crore.
- PLI Scheme in Telecom and Networking Products will make India a global hub of manufacturing telecom equipment including Core Transmission Equipment, 4G/5GNext Generation Radio Access Network and Wireless Equipment, Access & Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), Internet of Things (IoT) Access Devices, Other Wireless Equipment and Enterprise equipment like Switches, Routers etc.
- It is estimated that full utilisation of the Scheme funds is likely to lead to incremental production of around ?4 Lakh crore with exports of around ? 2 Lakh crore over 5 years.
- It is also expected that Scheme will bring investment of around ? 3,000 crore and generate huge direct and indirect employment.
White goods include large electrical goods used domestically such as refrigerators and washing machines, Air conditioners and LED lights, typically white in colour.
Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes:
- In the Union Budget 2021-22, presented on 1st February 2021, the Finance Minister announced an outlay of INR 1.97 Lakh Crores for the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes for 13 key sectors, to create national manufacturing champions and generate employment opportunities for the country’s youth.
- This means that minimum production in India as a result of PLI Schemes is expected to be over US$ 500 billion in 5 years.
- PLI Schemes are a cornerstone of the Government’s push for achieving an Atma-nirbhar Bharat.
- The objective is to make domestic manufacturing globally competitive and to create global Champions in manufacturing.
- The strategy behind scheme is to offer companies incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in India, over the base year.
- They have been specifically designed to boost domestic manufacturing in sunrise and strategic sectors, curb cheaper imports and reduce import bills, improve cost competitiveness of domestically manufactured goods, and enhance domestic capacity and exports.
- Defence sector reforms
Context: Recently, the Defence Minister released an E-booklet titled ‘20 Reforms in 2020’ highlighting the major reforms undertaken by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2020.
- Chief of Defence Staff & Department of Military Affairs:
- The appointment of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and creation of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) were among the major decisions taken by the Government.
- General Bipin Rawat was appointed as the first CDS who also fulfilled the responsibilities of Secretary, DMA.
- The post of CDS was created to increase efficiency & coordination among the Armed Forces and reduce duplication, while DMA was established to ensure improved civil-military integration.
- AatmaNirbharta(Self Reliance) in Defence:
- To promote ‘Make in India’ in the defence sector, a list of 101 defence items for which there would be an embargo on the import was notified in August 2020, while Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 was unveiled in September 2020.
- Rs 52,000 crore budget was earmarked for indigenously made defence equipment in 2020-21.
- Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) was approved in May 2020 for greater efficiency and productivity.
- Indigenously built Pinaka rocket system cleared test of 45-60 km range.
- Increased Defence Exports:
- The value of total defence exports rose from Rs 1,941 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 9,116 crore in 2019-20. Also, for the first time, India figured in the list of defence equipment exporting nations, as the exports expanded to more than 84 countries.
- Reforming Defence R&D:
- To promote innovation by youth, five Young Scientists Laboratories of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) were launched in 2020.
- DRDO has joined hands with the private sector in design & development and identified 108 Systems & Subsystems for the industry to design, develop and manufacture.
- Digital Transformation:
- Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) started online Pre-Delivery inspection in May 2020 to address security threats.
- The Armed Forces Tribunal began digital hearing for the first time in August 2020.
- Strengthening Border Infrastructure:
- Reforms of processes and workflows within Border Roads Organisation (BRO) enabled it to achieve targets ahead of schedule, in some instances.
- World’s longest Atal tunnel above 10,000 feet, at Rohtang on the Leh-Manali Highway was inaugurated.
- It provides all weather connectivity to the northern borders. Zojila pass, situated on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway.
- Participation of Women in Armed Forces:
- Ten streams of Indian Army were opened for giving Permanent Commission to Short Service Commission (SSC) Women officers.
- Women pilots of Indian Navy were operationalised for the first time.
- Lt Shivangi was the first to qualify as a naval pilot.
- All Sainik Schools were thrown open for girl students from academic session 2020-21.
- Aid to Civil Administration during Covid-19:
- The Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces have mobilised resources to aid the civil administration in the fight against Covid-19.
- DRDO has set up several hospitals to treat Covid patients across the states, passed on technology expertise to the private sector for mass production of covid related medicines and equipment.
- Help beyond Boundaries:
- The Armed Forces extended a helping hand to the countries in distress. Indian Navy mounted eight relief missions during 2020-21.
- Besides evacuating stranded Indians from Iran, Sri Lanka and Maldives under Vande Bharat Mission, Indian Naval ships provided Covid-19 medical relief to five countries.
- INS Airavat provided 270 MT food aid to Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea struck by natural calamities.
- The Indian Coast Guard led the rescue operation to save the Sri Lanka coast from its biggest oil spill.
- Indian Air Force carried out over 800 relief missions during 2020-21.
- Foodborne Diseases
Context: On World Food Safety Day (June 7th) WHO calls for intensified efforts to prevent foodborne diseases.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region has called for intensified whole-of-society efforts to prevent, detect, and manage the risk of foodborne diseases (FBD), which affects 600 million people globally.
- WHO released a handbook to help assess the burden of foodborne diseases and locate data gaps to help strengthen health infrastructure.
- The handbook aims to:
- Estimate the burden of disease for selected foodborne hazards.
- Develop a framework for routine updating of estimates and evaluation of trends.
- Provide a baseline against which food safety interventions can be evaluate.
- More than 600 million people — one in 10 in the world — are affected by foodborne diseases every year.
- The South-East Asia region contributes around 42% of FDB mortality and a quarter of the global burden of food Morbidity.
- The region has in recent years achieved sustained, multi-sectoral progress to enhance food safety. All member States have established a National Codex Committee to advise government on Codex standards, codes of practice and guidelines.
- The region continues to apply a ‘One Health’ approach to food safety, spearheaded by the regional tripartite mechanism, which brings together WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
- WHO’s South-East Asia Region comprises 11 member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives and Myanmar.
- FBD causes considerable socioeconomic impact though strains on health-care systems lost productivity, and harming tourism and trade.
Food borne Diseases:
- Food borne diseases are caused by contamination of food and occur at any stage of the food production, delivery and consumption chain.
- They can result from several forms of environmental contamination including pollution in water, soil or air, as well as unsafe food storage and processing.
- Over 200 diseases are caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances such as heavy metals.
- Diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for more than half of the global burden of foodborne diseases.
- Diarrhoea is often caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, eggs, fresh produce and dairy products contaminated by norovirus, Campylobacter, non-typhoidal Salmonella and pathogenic E coli.
- FBD are costing India almost 15 billion USD annually.
World Food Safety Day:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with Member States and other relevant organizations.
- It was first celebrated in 2019, to strengthen the commitment to scale up food safety made by the Addis Ababa Conference and the Geneva Forum in 2019 .
- Main Objective is to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
- The theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow’, highlights the benefits of safe food production and consumption for people, the planet and economies.
Indian Initiatives for Food Safety:
- State Food Safety Index:
- FSSAI has developed the State Food Safety Index (SFSI) to measure the performance of States on five parameters of food safety.
- The parameters include Human Resources and Institutional Arrangements, Compliance, Food Testing- Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training and Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment.
- Eat Right India Movement:
- It is an initiative of the Government of India and FSSAI to transform the country’s food system in order to ensure safe, healthy and sustainable food for all Indians.
- Eat Right India is aligned to the National Health Policy 2017 with its focus on preventive and promotive healthcare and flagship programmes like Ayushman Bharat, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Anemia Mukt Bharat and Swachh Bharat Mission.
- Eat Right Awards:
- FSSAI has instituted the ‘Eat Right Awards’ to recognize the contribution of food companies and individuals to empower citizens to choose safe and healthy food options, which would help improve their health and well-being.
- It is important to focus on preventive healthcare as it minimises the burden of diseases and helps in tackling the rising burden of diet-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and malnutrition.
- Improving food safety requires sustained investments in several areas, from stronger regulations to better laboratories for the testing of food, more stringent enforcement of the regulations at the ground level and surveillance along with training and capacity-building of food handlers.
- India’s flagship initiative “Eat Right India” needs to be turned into a national movement in order to transform the food ecosystem of the country by ensuring safe, healthy and sustainable food for everyone.