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Here are the topics covered for 7th November 2023:
GS-2:Committee on Replacing Criminal Laws
GS-3:India’s Deep Ocean Mission, Unveiling India’s Food Potential, India and Bhutan regional connectivity
Facts for Prelims: Freebies: A Growing Concern, Quadrilateral Security Dialogue
Committee on Replacing Criminal Laws
- The Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs convened after a 10-day extension for members to review draft reports distributed last month.
- The committee successfully adopted three reports related to bills aimed at replacing current criminal laws. It is noteworthy that all ten opposition members intend to submit dissenting opinions.
- The committee faced delays during its previous meeting when several opposition leaders requested additional time to study the reports.
- These reports pertain to replacing the Indian Penal Code (IPC), The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 with new legislations: Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA).
Notes of Dissent:
- Congress MPs have already submitted dissenting notes, with others set to follow suit and expressing strong objections to the provision in Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, which extends the police remand duration to 60 days for offences punishable by 10 years or more and 40 days for lesser offences.
- They argue that such provisions should be invoked in exceptional cases to avoid discouraging magistrates from granting bail.
- Concerns about organized crime provisions in BNS may conflict with existing state laws in places like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka.
- BNS also includes provisions for addressing terrorism, which could lead to unnecessary confusion with the existing Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
- The draft report recommends equalizing punishment for murder and mob lynching. The BNS prescribes a minimum of seven years for mob lynching cases, while murder cases are punishable by life imprisonment or death.
- The committee suggests removing the minimum punishment clause for mob lynching to rectify this disparity.
- The report on BNS suggests retaining Section 377 IPC for cases of “non-consensual carnal intercourse with adults, all acts of carnal intercourse with minors, and acts of bestiality,” as these have no provisions in BNS.
- The committee acknowledges the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 497 of IPC on adultery, emphasizing the importance of protecting the sanctity of marriage, especially for safeguarding the institution of marriage. The recommendation is to make this section gender-neutral.
- The report on BNSS, which replaces CrPc, suggests refraining from using handcuffs on economic offenders, as economic offences vary in severity from minor to serious, making blanket handcuff use unadvisable.
India’s Deep Ocean Mission
- India is preparing for an unprecedented Deep Ocean Mission, focused on exploring and harnessing the untapped potential of the ocean’s depths.
- This endeavour carries significant scientific and economic promise, considering that countries like the USA, Russia, China, France, and Japan have already achieved successful crewed missions in the deep ocean.
Understanding Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)
- The Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) is an ambitious initiative led by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), with the goal of developing cutting-edge technologies and capabilities for deep-sea exploration.
- It’s one of nine missions under the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PMSTIAC).
Key Pillars of the Mission:
- Technological Advancements for Deep-Sea Mining and Crewed Submersibles
- Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services
- Innovations for Deep-Sea Biodiversity Exploration and Conservation
- Survey and Exploration of Deep-Ocean Minerals
- Harvesting Energy and Freshwater from the Ocean
- Establishment of an Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology
Major Advancements in DOM Objectives:
Samudryaan and Matsya6000:
- Under DOM, the flagship deep ocean mission, Samudrayaan, initiated in 2021, aims to conduct a groundbreaking crewed expedition to reach a depth of 6,000 meters in the Central Indian Ocean.
- This journey will be made possible by Matsya6000, a deep-ocean submersible designed to accommodate a crew of three. It’s constructed from a titanium alloy and engineered to withstand pressures of up to 6,000 bar.
Note: Targeting a depth of 6,000 meters is strategically important due to the presence of valuable resources like polymetallic nodules and sulphides, containing essential metals, found between depths of 3,000 to 5,500 meters.)
Varaha – India’s Deep-Ocean Mining System:
- The National Institute of Ocean Technology, an autonomous institute under MoES, successfully conducted deep-sea locomotion trials using ‘Varaha,’ an underwater mining system, at a depth of 5,270 meters in the central Indian Ocean. These trials marked a pivotal moment in deep-sea resource exploration.
Challenges in Deep Ocean Exploration:
Deep ocean exploration faces several challenges, including:
- Oceanic Pressure: The high-pressure conditions exert immense pressure on objects, equivalent to carrying a weight of about 10,000 kg per square meter.
- Equipment Design and Functionality: Equipment needs to be meticulously designed from robust materials to withstand harsh conditions.
- Landing Challenges: The soft and muddy ocean floor makes it exceptionally challenging for heavy vehicles to land or manoeuvre.
- Material Extraction and Power Demands: Extracting materials from the ocean floor requires significant power.
- Limited Visibility: Natural light penetrates only a few tens of meters underwater, making observations challenging.
- Other Compounded Challenges: Factors such as temperature variations, corrosion, and salinity further complicate deep-sea exploration.
(Note: The United Nations has designated 2021-2030 as the ‘Decade of Ocean Science.’)
addressing deep ocean exploration challenges requires:
- Biologically-Inspired Designs: Leveraging nature for innovative engineering solutions.
- Innovative Energy Sources: Developing sustainable power for long missions.
- Multi-Sensor Integration: Combining sensors for improved visibility.
- Environmental Consideration: Minimizing ecological impact through regulations.
The Deep Ocean Mission is a significant step towards unlocking the ocean’s mysteries and tapping into its vast potential.
Unveiling India’s Food Potential
- The second edition of ‘World Food India 2023′ was recently launched in New Delhi, featuring the Indian Prime Minister’s announcement of Seed Capital Assistance to over one lakh Self Help Group (SHG) members.
- The Ministry of Food Processing Industries initiated the first World Food India edition in 2017.
Gateway to the Indian Food Economy
- World Food India 2023 acts as a gateway for collaborations between Indian and foreign investors within the Indian food economy.
- It brings together a unique assembly of manufacturers, producers, food processors, investors, policymakers, and global food organizations.
- The official mascot for World Food India 2023 is MillInd, a probot.
Major walls of the world food India:
Shree Anna (Millets): Leveraging India’s Super Food
- Millets are recognized as a solution to global challenges, including climate change, population growth, and malnutrition. They contribute to food security, nutrition, and sustainability.
- The United Nations has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023).
Exponential Food Processing: Making India a Global Hub
- India is determined to strengthen the enablers supporting its food processing industry.
- A vital enabler is Financing Agri-Food Value Chains, including affordable credit access for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the food processing sector.
The Current State of the Food Processing Sector:
- Emerging ‘Sunrise Sector’: The food processing sector gained recognition as a ‘sunrise sector’ due to its impressive growth. This growth is attributed to government policies that are farmer-centric and industry-friendly.
- Attracting Investments: Over the past nine years, the sector has successfully attracted foreign direct investments surpassing Rs 50,000 crores.
- Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Impact: The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has been instrumental in the sector’s growth, unlocking new dimensions.
- Agri-Infra Fund Projects: Ongoing projects under the Agri-Infra Fund, with a focus on post-harvest infrastructure, represent a substantial investment exceeding Rs 50,000 crores and offer vast potential for the sector.
- Encouraging Fisheries and Animal Husbandry: Investments in processing infrastructure within the fisheries and animal husbandry sector, worth thousands of crores, are actively promoted.
Government Initiatives Paving the Way:
- Agri-Export Policy Creation
- Nationwide Logistics and Infrastructure Development
- District-Level Hubs Establishment
- Mega Food Parks Expansion
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana
- Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme
- World Food India 2023 sets the stage for India to unlock its food potential and create partnerships that will drive growth in the food processing sector, ensuring its contribution to economic development and global food security.
India and Bhutan Regional connectivity
- Bhutan’s 5th King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck met with Prime Minister India in Delhi to discuss various aspects of bilateral cooperation.
- Discussions covered a wide range of topics concerning regional and global issues of mutual interest, strengthening the unique friendship and cooperation between the two nations.
Regional Connectivity Initiatives:
- India and Bhutan have agreed to explore new routes of regional connectivity.
- The nations plan to upgrade border and immigration posts, supporting Bhutan’s vision of establishing a smart city at Gelephu, located on the border between Bhutan and Assam.
- These initiatives aim to enhance transportation links and promote tourism in the region.
Cross-Border Rail Links:
- The final survey for a 58 km cross-border rail link between Gelephu (Bhutan) and Kokrajhar (Assam) has been approved, with India leading its construction.
- The two countries are also exploring the development of a second rail link spanning approximately 18 km, connecting Samtse in Bhutan to Banarhat in the West Bengal tea gardens area.
- Bhutanese trade items will be allowed to transit from Haldibari (West Bengal) to Chilahati (Bangladesh), boosting trade opportunities.
Bhutan’s International Airport and Special Economic Zone:
- Bhutan is planning to construct an international airport at Gelephu, which will facilitate air connectivity, particularly for residents in India’s northeastern states.
- Gelephu’s international airport is part of a broader initiative known as the Sarpang District Special Economic Zone, with the Bhutanese King expected to announce further details.
Strengthening Socio-Economic Ties:
- Prime Minister reaffirmed India’s unwavering commitment to its unique friendship with Bhutan, emphasizing support for Bhutan’s socio-economic development aligned with its government’s priorities and the vision of the Bhutanese King.
Development Assistance and Five-Year Plans:
- India has pledged to support Bhutan’s 13th Five-Year Plan, building on the assistance provided during the 12th Five-Year Plan that concluded in October 2023.
Enhancing Trade and Tourism:
- The Darranga-Samdrup Jongkhar border crossing between Assam and Bhutan is designated as an immigration checkpost, allowing third-country nationals to enter and exit. This step aims to promote tourism and connectivity between the two countries.
- Plans include upgrading an existing land customs station at Dadgiri (Assam) into a modernized “Integrated Check Post,” along with developing facilities on the Bhutanese side at Gelephu, in support of Bhutan’s Special Economic Zone project.
Economic Challenges and Growth Prospects:
- Bhutan is facing economic challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, youth migration for education and employment, low forex reserves, and significant public debt, primarily owed to India.
- The development plans for Gelephu and the special economic zone aim to generate opportunities for employment and tourism, aiding Bhutan’s economic prospects.
Exploring Investment Opportunities:
- King Jigme Khesar’s visit includes meetings with leaders of prominent business houses in Mumbai, focusing on investment and collaborations to bolster Bhutan’s infrastructure and economic development.
- The meeting signifies a commitment to bolstering bilateral ties and driving socio-economic growth. Initiatives like cross-border rail links, immigration check posts, and Gelephu’s international airport aim to boost trade, tourism, and employment.
- Despite economic challenges, these efforts aim to enhance resilience and prosperity. King Jigme Khesar’s visit to Mumbai underscores the commitment to Bhutan’s economic progress.
Facts for prelims:
Freebies: A Growing Concern
- Political parties frequently use the promise of free or highly subsidized goods and services to influence voters.
- According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), freebies refer to public welfare programs provided at no cost, distinct from merit goods like education and healthcare.
- The provision of freebies has negative consequences, including the undermining of macroeconomic stability, resource allocation distortions, and fiscal strain on states burdened with debt.
- It also disrupts spending priorities, exacerbates social inequalities, and hampers progress in renewable energy and environmental sustainability.
- Resource allocation is skewed, impacting the industrial sector’s future.
- The policy of offering freebies raises questions about market behaviour and the ability to address the potential insolvency of subnational entities.
- Many states may struggle to finance the recently announced giveaways, as financial institutions have reported loan write-offs of ₹10 lakh crore in the past five years.
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue
- The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an inter-governmental security forum in the Indo-Pacific region.
- It consists of four member states: Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.
- The Quad was initially established in 2007 under the leadership of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with support from other leaders.
- It was seen as a response to China’s growing economic and military power.
- The Quad ceased in 2008 due to Australia’s withdrawal but was revived in 2017 during ASEAN Summits.
- The revival aimed to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the South China Sea.
- Tensions with China have led to concerns about a new Cold War in the region.
- The Quad emphasizes a rules-based maritime order and a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.
- It has expanded its engagement to include countries like South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam.
- As of 2023, the Quad member countries collectively represent a significant portion of the world’s GDP, both in nominal and purchasing power parity terms.