Upsc Current Affairs 22 July 2023: Daily Upsc Current Affairs

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Daily Upsc Current Affairs
(Image Source: Google| Image By- Jagran Tv)Daily Upsc Current Affairs

Daily Upsc Current Affairs 22 July 2023:

1) GS 1: Reservation in ULBs

Context: The Bhakthavatsala Commission’s recent recommendations to implement a 33% quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs), including minorities, in Urban Local Body (ULB) polls in Karnataka have drawn attention to the issue of reservation in local governance. This move comes following a directive from the Supreme Court to address social justice concerns. Additionally, the Banthia Commission’s proposal for 27% OBC reservations in local body elections in Maharashtra has been accepted by the Supreme Court.

Recommendations:

The Bhakthavatsala Commission suggests reserving 33% of seats for OBCs in ULB elections, aiming to provide fair representation to historically disadvantaged communities, which constitute 44% of Karnataka’s population.

To maintain a balanced approach, the commission recommends that the aggregate of all reservations does not exceed 50%.

The proposal also advocates bringing all ULB election wings under the control of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, promoting efficient administrative management.

To ensure greater inclusivity, the commission proposes that the term of office for Mayor and Deputy Mayor in all city corporations, including Bangalore BBMP, be fixed at 30 months.

Furthermore, the recommendation emphasizes providing OBC reservations for the office of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in Bangalore BBMP to enhance OBC community participation in decision-making roles.

The acceptance of the Banthia Commission’s recommendations in Maharashtra reflects the commitment to address social disparities through reservation policies in local body elections.

2) GS 2: India’s Abortion Law

Context: The recent legal challenge to Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Rules, 2003, has brought attention to India’s abortion law. This rule allows the termination of pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks under specific circumstances, and it became the subject of a legal case in the Supreme Court.

India’s Law on Abortion:

The Indian Penal Code, 1860, criminalizes voluntarily causing miscarriage.

As per the amended law in 2021, termination of pregnancies up to 20 weeks requires the opinion of one doctor. For pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks, the opinion of two doctors is necessary.

Section 3B of the MTP Rules identifies seven categories of women eligible for termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks, such as rape survivors, minors, and those experiencing changes in marital status. However, it doesn’t explicitly recognize the situation of unmarried women, raising concerns over their reproductive rights.

Supreme Court’s Order:

The Supreme Court’s order stated that the amended Act covers unmarried women within its ambit by substituting ‘husband’ with ‘partner,’ allowing them the right to a safe abortion.

The court’s decision is based on Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees personal liberty and reproductive choice as fundamental rights.

By ordering the formation of a medical board to assess the safety of the abortion and emphasizing a woman’s right to bodily integrity, the court highlights the importance of individual autonomy in making decisions about reproductive health.

This landmark decision holds significant implications for women’s reproductive rights and ensures greater access to safe abortion services for all eligible women, including unmarried women.

3) GS 3: Balancing Development and Devotion

Context: The Himalayan region, renowned for its spiritual significance and temple towns like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Amarnath, and Vaishno Devi, has faced numerous natural disasters over the years. The surge in tourism and infrastructural development has posed serious environmental challenges, leading to a need for a balanced approach to development and devotion.

The Religious Value of the Himalayas:

The Himalayan region holds immense spiritual and religious value, attracting a vast number of pilgrims undertaking the Char Dham Yatra and visiting various temples and shrines.

The region’s ecological fragility and vulnerability to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and landslides, call for sustainable management of religious tourism.

Challenges and Environmental Impact:

The increasing number of worshippers, coupled with infrastructure development to accommodate them, has disrupted the region’s fragile ecological balance.

Climate change-induced rising temperatures have contributed to more frequent rock falls, posing risks to people and infrastructure.

The environmental impact of tourism includes pollution, biodiversity loss, and waste generation, which further threatens the unique ecosystem of the Himalayas.

Finding Solutions:

Developing better policies to manage environmentally fragile pilgrimage sites is crucial. These policies should involve consultations with religious actors actively participating in local-level management of religious tourism.

The Ministry of Tourism’s National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism can play a pivotal role in promoting sustainable practices, conserving biodiversity, and ensuring economic sustainability.

Adopting a community-based tourism approach ensures that locals benefit from tourism while contributing to conservation efforts.

Effective management of religious gatherings, as exemplified during the Kumbh Mela, can help minimize environmental damage.

Ensuring geologically and ecologically sound development practices is essential to strike a balance between development and conservation.

Collecting efficient and wider data on weather patterns can aid in predicting natural disasters and mitigating their impacts.

Regulating pilgrim numbers based on the carrying capacity of the terrain is essential for preserving the region’s fragile environment.

Awareness programs can educate tourists and pilgrims about the environmental risks and the importance of responsible tourism.

A comprehensive approach, taking into account cultural, ecological, and economic aspects, can pave the way for sustainable development while preserving the religious and natural heritage of the Himalayan region.

4) GS 2: NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index

Context: The NITI Aayog’s release of the India Innovation Index 2021 is a crucial step in evaluating and fostering innovation across states and union territories in India. The index aims to promote a culture of innovation and drive economic growth through creative and inventive solutions.

India Innovation Index:

Prepared by NITI Aayog and the Institute for Competitiveness, the India Innovation Index evaluates the innovation ecosystem of states and UTs.

It ranks states based on their relative performance in supporting innovation, highlighting strengths and weaknesses to empower them for improvement.

The index’s expansion from 36 to 66 indicators in 2021 reflects a comprehensive approach to measure innovation-driven development.

The indicators are categorized into 16 sub-pillars and seven key pillars, encompassing areas such as human capital, investment, knowledge workers, business environment, safety, legal environment, knowledge output, and knowledge diffusion.

The rankings act as a catalyst for states and UTs to enhance their innovation policies and foster a competitive spirit for innovation-driven growth.

Karnataka, Manipur, and Chandigarh topping their respective categories in the 2021 edition demonstrates their commitment to innovation and sustainable development.

The India Innovation Index is a valuable tool for policymakers and stakeholders to prioritize innovation strategies, accelerate economic growth, and address societal challenges through creative solutions.

5) GS 2: Pegasus Battle and Surveillance Reform

Context: The Pegasus Project’s revelations about surveillance threats to India’s democracy have raised significant concerns about the need for surveillance reform. The Pegasus spyware, reportedly used to hack cellphones of journalists, Cabinet Ministers, and holders of constitutional positions, has highlighted the importance of ensuring privacy and oversight in surveillance practices.

Surveillance Laws in India:

Surveillance in India is governed primarily by the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The Indian Telegraph Act allows the government to intercept messages in specific situations concerning the sovereignty, integrity of India, public order, and public safety.

The Information Technology Act,

2000, facilitates government interception or monitoring of electronic communication for the defense of India, sovereignty, integrity, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, and prevention or investigation of cognizable offenses.

Challenges:

The lack of independent oversight provisions in surveillance laws raises concerns about indiscriminate monitoring by state and private actors.

Outdated legislations are not adequately equipped to respond to modern surveillance technologies like Pegasus.

The need for surveillance reform is essential to protect democratic ideals, individual privacy rights, and prevent abuse of surveillance powers.

Supreme Court’s Order:

The Supreme Court’s order recognizing the rights of unmarried women to safe abortions reflects the importance of individual autonomy and reproductive choice.

The court’s emphasis on Article 21 of the Constitution, guaranteeing personal liberty, reinforces the significance of privacy and personal autonomy in making reproductive decisions.

Surveillance reform should align with these principles, providing oversight and transparency in surveillance practices to protect citizens’ privacy and democratic values.

India must address the surveillance industry’s challenges, ensure legislative proposals for comprehensive surveillance reform, and safeguard citizens’ rights in the digital age.

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