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The Hindu 12 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair







The imprint of state juggernaut – Lead Article



A point to ponder over in the POCSO Bill



Extradition Act



Directed Energy Weapons



No Formalin found in Fish imported to Goa: Minister



Rethinking Water Governance Strategies



Places in News- Idlib and Aden




1. The imprint of state juggernaut - (The Hindu, Page 10)


Mains: GS Paper II – Polity & Governance


Critical Analysis of Budget Session



  • The recent Budget Session of the Parliament was highly productive since 30 bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament. Some of the bills were quite important and accordingly needed the Parliament to deliberate and discuss on various provisions of the Bills. 

  • However, most of the bills were passed without due deliberation and discussion which has in turn undermined the role of the Parliament.



  • The recent passage of important bills without adequate debate and discussion has undermined the role of the Parliament in the following ways:

  • There was no attempt to form the 24 departmentally related standing committees before the session,  to which bills could be referred to for scrutiny and review or form subject committees for the purpose. 

  • Important bills related to Jammu and Kashmir and Triple Talaq were passed without taking into account the view points of the stakeholders.

  • There was an enormous strengthening of the surveillance and investigative instrumentalities of the State through the passage of Unlawful activities prevention Act.

  • Emergence of Institutional hierarchy: Important institutions involved in the promoting transparency and accountability have been demoted to function as per the will and discretion of the executives.




2. A point to ponder over in the POCSO Bill (The Hindu, Page 10)


Mains: GS Paper 2 – Polity & Governance 




Amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019

The Bill amends the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  The Act seeks to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.

Aggravated Sexual Assault:  The Act defines certain actions as “aggravated penetrative sexual assault”.  These include cases when a police officer, a member of the armed forces, or a public servant commits penetrative sexual assault on a child.  It also covers cases where the offender is a relative of the child, or if the assault injures the sexual organs of the child or the child becomes pregnant, among others.  The Bill adds two more grounds to the definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault. These include: (i) assault resulting in the death of child, and (ii) assault committed during a natural calamity.

Higher Punishment: Currently, the punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault is imprisonment between 10 years to life, and a fine. The Bill increases the minimum punishment from ten years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment to death penalty.

Pornographic purposes: Under the Act, a person is guilty of using a child for pornographic purposes if he uses a child in any form of media for the purpose of sexual gratification.

Storage of pornographic material: The Act penalises storage of pornographic material for commercial purposes with a punishment of up to three years, or a fine, or both.  The Bill amends this to provide that the punishment can be imprisonment between three to five years, or a fine, or both. In addition, the Bill adds two other offences for storage of pornographic material involving children.  These include: (i) failing to destroy, or delete, or report pornographic material involving a child, and (ii) transmitting, propagating, or administering such material except for the purpose of reporting it.


Problems related to recent amendments

  1. The introduction of the death penalty under the act may have a catastrophic effect. Often, perpetrators of abuse are family members and having such penalties may discourage the registration of the crime itself. Further, it may threaten the life of the minor as the maximum punishment for murder is also the death sentence.

  1. Justice J.S. Verma Committee was against the imposition of the death penalty in rape cases. The 262nd Report of the Law Commission of India also provides for the abolition of the death penalty except in terror cases.

  2. The problem with the death penalty for such cases is that it diverts attention from the core issues of infrastructural apathy, procedural lapses and trial delays.

  3. It is to be noted that it is the certainty of punishment rather than its severity which has deterrence in real sense. Deterrence has to be supplemented by exhaustive measures including an overhaul of the criminal justice administration.

  1. Even a year-and-a-half after the passage of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which introduced the death penalty for rape of a minor girl, such incidents have not been under check.

  1. As per Supreme court data, 24,212 FIRs were filed across India this year. According to NCRB data of 2016, the conviction rate in POCSO cases is 29.6% while pendency is as high as 89%. The prescribed time period of two months for trial in such cases is hardly complied with.





3. Extradition Act – (The Hindu, Page 4)


Prelims: Polity & Governance


Details about Extradition


Recent context:

A petition had been filed which sought to strike down Section 7(3) of Extradition Act on the grounds that the Section 7(3) of the Extradition Act, 1962 merely called for a "prima facie case" before a person is extradited from India while in the USA, a person is extradited only if the material is “sufficient and appropriate”. Therefore, Indian law is weaker in protecting rights of a person as compared to the U.S.


Delhi Court rejected the petition since it is not required there should be parity between Indian and American laws in protections and privileges of rights and a person in India cannot ask for the application of the American Constitution to them or of any other.


About Extradition:

Extradition may be briefly described as the surrender of an alleged or convicted criminal by one State to another. Extradition plays an important role in the international battle against crime. It owes its existence to the so-called principle of territoriality of criminal law, according to which a State will not apply its penal statutes to acts committed outside its own boundaries except where the protection of special national interests is at stake. ICPO-Interpol has been a forerunner in international efforts to improve and accelerate existing procedure of extradition.


Overview of position in India:

  • In India the extradition of a fugitive from India to a foreign country or vice-versa is governed by the provisions of Indian Extradition Act, 1962. The basis of extradition could be a treaty between India and a foreign country. Under section 3 of this Act, a notification could be issued by the Government of India extending the provisions of the Act to the country/countries notified. 

  • Information regarding the fugitive criminals wanted in foreign countries is received directly from the concerned country or through the the ICPO-Interpol in the form of red notices. The Interpol Wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation immediately passes it on to the concerned police organizations. The red notices received from the General Secretariat are circulated to all the State Police authorities and immigration authorities. Action can be undertaken against the fugitive mainly under the Indian Extradition Act, 1962 & Cr.P.C., 1973.

  • India can make an extradition request to any country. India has several extradition treaties with other countries, and also extradition arrangements with several countries under which extradition is undertaken only under specific cases. While India’s treaty partners have treaty obligations to consider India’s requests, in the absence of a treaty, it is a matter for the foreign country to consider whether the country can agree to India’s extradition request.

  • Similarly, any country can make an extradition request to India. The legal basis for Extradition with States with whom India does not have an Extradition Treaty, it is provided by Indian Extradition Act, 1962.



4. Directed Energy Weapons – (The Hindu, Page 08)


Prelims: Science & Technology


Defence Technology



This article highlights that the DRDO is presently working on the next generation military technologies known as Directed energy Weapons (DEWs).


About Directed Energy Weapons

  • A DEW emits energy in an aimed direction without the means of a projectile. It transfers energy to a target and introduces uneven heat stresses, leading to failure of structural integration of the target and causing its destruction. The DEWs broadly encompass two fields which are: high-energy lasers (HELs); and high power microwaves (HPMs).

  • Some of the examples of DEW include Electrolaser, Pulsed energy Projectile etc. It is to be noted that the DEWs are still at experimental or prototype stage.


Why DEWs?

  • Travels at the speed of light and no complicated calculation for target movement necessary. 

  • Not affected by gravity (no trajectory calculations required). 

  • Can be invisible and silent; attacker remains concealed. 

  • Lower Duration for deployment (reduces exposure of launcher to enemy position)

  • Operation range larger than conventional weapons

  • Recharging of magazine non-existent, only source of energy required


Challenges with DEWs

  • The target has to be in the line of sight of the laser. 

  • Due to divergence of a beam of light, the range gets restricted to a few 100 km and not beyond.

  • Presently, the requirement of energy source is large, but with advancement in superconductivity and nanotechnology, this problem is being worked upon. 

  • Laser light can be deflected, reflected, or absorbed by manipulating physical and chemical properties of materials. Artificial coatings can counter certain specific types of lasers



5. No Formalin found in Fish imported to Goa: Minister - (The Hindu, Page 7)


Prelims: General Science





 Traces of formaldehyde have been found in fish samples from Kerala and Goa.A study has found about 5-20 PPM of this chemical in the fish samples from the two states.


Why formaldehyde is dangerous?

 The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has banned formaldehyde in fresh fish,while the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled the chemical a carcinogen in 2004.


Lack of proper research on the ill-effects of Formaldehyde:

  • The evidence the IARC relied on mainly consists of studies on workers in industries such as printing, textiles and embalming. Such workers inhale formaldehyde fumes, and the studies show high rates of nasopharyngeal and other cancers among them.

  • But there is little evidence that formaldehyde causes cancer when ingested orally. A 1990 study by U.S. researchers estimated that humans consume 11 mg of the chemical through dietary sources every day.

 Despite lack of proper evidence Why is formaldehyde a problem?

  • Fresh fish should not have preservatives, and the presence of formaldehyde points to unscrupulous vendors trying to pass off stale catch as recent.

  • The lack of evidence linking ingested formaldehyde with cancer doesn’t necessarily make the chemical safe. At high doses, it causes gastric irritation.

  • There is lack of data about consumption of formaldehyde laced fish with cancer in India.

  • When certain marine fish are improperly frozen during transit, formaldehyde forms in them naturally. But this formaldehyde binds to the tissue, unlike added formaldehyde, which remains free.

  • And so, measuring free formaldehyde versus bound formaldehyde can be one way of distinguishing a contaminant from a naturally occurring chemical.


Some formaldehyde consumption may be unavoidable for fish- lovers, and it may not be a

health risk either. But the line between safe and unsafe consumption should be drawn by experts, in a transparent manner.



6. Rethinking Water Governance Strategies - (The Hindu, Page 11)


Mains: GS Paper II and Paper III


Managing Water Resources



  • The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has been reporting on the increasing number of over-exploited blocks across India, labeled as the ‘dark’ category blocks.  The recent annual book of CGWB has reported 1,034 units, out of the 6,584 units it monitors, as over-exploited.

  • A recent report by the Central Water Commission and ISRO asserted that India is not yet in “water scarcity condition”, but in a “water-stressed condition”, with reducing per capita water availability.

 Steps for efficient water management

  • Focus upon demand side management of water and not just enhancement of water supply.

  • Ensure adequate access to quality water, more so in urban areas where inequities over space and time are acute.

  • With rapid urbanization, demand cannot be met by groundwater reserves alone. Groundwater meets just 10% of Delhi’s drinking water needs. The rest is met by surface water sources transported from outside Delhi.

  • Water resource departments in States are following conventional approaches to supply augmentation. They should reorient themselves and deploy demand management, conservation, and regulation strategies.

  • Greater responsibility to the states as the water is state subject.

  • Centre and states should work towards an institutional change by building federal governance of water resources.




7. Places in news- Idlib and Aden - (The Hindu, Page 14)


Prelims: Geography of the World


Places in news