18 APR | UPSC Current Affairs | GS 2: Silence Period, Precautionary Principle & More

Silence Period

News: Campaigning ends for first Phase of Lok Sabha polls; 48-hour silence period begins.

What is Silence Period?

      • This period usually begins 48 hours before the voting day and ends after polling ends.
      • No active campaigning by the candidates or political parties is allowed, and television or any digital media cannot carry any election-related matter.

Provisions: India, Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 mandates a period of 48 hours until the conclusion of the poll for election silence.

    • In 2016, the commission proposed an amendment to include “print media” in the ban under, as currently, only digital media comes under election silence observance rule.
    • However, the inclusion of print media under the purview of the Act is yet to be done.

Precautionary Principle

News: British environmentalist Norman Myers asserts that the precautionary principle is increasingly recognized as a fundamental guideline for policymakers addressing environmental challenges.

What’s the Precautionary Principle? The precautionary principle says that when there’s a chance something could be harmful, even if we’re not totally sure, authorities must take precautionary measures.

Applying it in the Real World: Policymakers use this principle to make decisions when there’s a risk of harm and not enough evidence to be sure.

    • For example, authorities will not permit the launch of new technology or medication, unless thorough testing proves that the product is safe.

Emergence & Incorporation: It first emerged during the 1970s and has since been enshrined in a number of international treaties on the environment.

        • In 1987 it was incorporated into international law at the International Conference on the Protection of the North Sea.
        • It was incorporated into the 1992 Rio Declaration.
        • It has been also included in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
        • The precautionary principle also is a cornerstone of European Union (EU) environmental law.

Special Olympics  Bharat

News: Special Olympics Bharat (SOB), a National Sports Federation of India is forming district units across Tamil Nadu through elections on April 22.

Definition: Special Olympics Bharat is a National Sports Federation registered under the Indian Trust Act 1882  in 2001.

Accreditation: It is accredited by Special Olympics International to organize Special Olympics Programs in India.

Ministry: It is recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, GoI as a National Sports Federation in Priority Category, for development of Sports for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

    • Intellectual disability is characterized by significantly below-average intellectual functioning (generally regarded as IQ below 70) combined with impairment in carrying out varying aspects of daily life and adapting to the normal social environment.


Social Inclusion: It operates as a social inclusion movement utilizing sports, health, education, and leadership programs.

Empowerment: It focuses on empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities through its initiatives.

Focus on Rural Areas: It is a designated Nodal Agency for all disabilities on account of its national presence and experience, especially in rural areas which account for nearly 75% of the disabled population in India.

Special Olympics International:

    • It aims to provide individuals with intellectual disabilities who are eight years of age or older with year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type summer and winter sports.
    • Inaugurated in 1968, the Special Olympics was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee on February 15, 1988.
    • Headquarters: Washington, D.C.

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

News: The 23rd session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recently took place in New York.

Definition: The Permanent Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council established in 2000.

    • It is one of three UN bodies that is mandated to deal specifically with indigenous peoples’ issues.

Mandate: The Forum has the mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.


    • Provide recommendations on indigenous issues to the Council;
    • Raise awareness and promote the integration of activities related to indigenous issues within the UN system;
    • Prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues.

Composition: The Permanent Forum is comprised of:

    • Sixteen independent experts, who serve for a term of three years as Members and may be re-elected.
    • Eight experts nominated by governments; and eight are nominated directly by indigenous organizations in their regions.

Indigenous territories (ITs):

    • Indigenous territories (IT) are among the most biodiverse areas on the earth.
    • Around 22% of land surface on the earth are ITs and these areas are home to 80% of the remaining biodiversity on the planet.
    • 500 million people, representing 6.2% of the global population, live in these areas.
    • UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples protects indigenous peoples’ rights to their collective biocultural heritage as a whole, including traditional knowledge and resources, territories, and cultural and spiritual values and customary laws.
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