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Current Affairs 10 July 2024


  1. Geospatial View on Tribal Maternal Healthcare
  2. Home Ministry extends ban on pro-Khalistan group SFJ
  3. Reduction of tariffs on smartphone components
  4. India to ratify High Seas Treaty
  5. Finance Commission constitutes Advisory Council
  6. The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) tribal group protests against the arrest of its members

Geospatial View on Tribal Maternal Healthcare


Recently, a paper by Vijay Kumar and Tulika Tripathi -‘Timely Access to Public Health Facilities for Pregnancy Care in Tribal Gujarat: A Geospatial Analysis’ examines access to maternal healthcare facilities from a geospatial perspective.


GS-I: Role of Women and Women’s Organization, Population and Associated Issues, Poverty and Developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

GS-II: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. UN report 2023
  2. Why there is need for timely access to healthcare during pregnancy?
  3. Report on Timely Access to Public Health Facilities for Pregnancy Care in Tribal Gujarat:
  4. Steps taken to address Maternal Health Benefits and other issues

UN report 2023:

  • The report highlighted that India accounted for over 17% of global maternal deaths in 2020.
    • This number is the highest share among the 10 countries responsible for 60% of global maternal deaths, stillbirths, and newborn deaths.
    • Significance:
      • The report emphasised the critical need to focus on maternal healthcare to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at improving maternal and child health outcomes and ensuring access to quality healthcare services.

Why there is need for timely access to healthcare during pregnancy?

  • Timely access to healthcare during pregnancy ensures:
    • Healthy delivery
    • To prevent maternal and infant mortality
    • To provide proper care for both mother and infant after birth.
  • Despite multiple healthcare that exists within a state, it is crucial to assess whether these facilities are concentrated in specific regions or distributed equitably across all areas.
    • This ensures accessibility to all people, particularly those on the social and spatial peripheries of society.

Report on Timely Access to Public Health Facilities for Pregnancy Care in Tribal Gujarat:

  • The study focuses on Gujarat’s tribal population, constituting 14.8% of the total population, scattered across 14 districts.
    • The study used GIS data, data from the National Family Health Survey and geocoded health facilities spread across districts with higher concentrations of tribal population.

   Highlights of the report:

  1. Healthcare disparities:
    1. Many rural and tribal residents experience inadequate access to healthcare facilities, as resources are concentrated in urban areas to manage the growing population in smaller urban clusters.
    1. This disparity disproportionately disadvantages women, who are already hindered by limited resources and transportation access when seeking healthcare services.
    1. Transportation constraints:
      1. Key aspects considered in the analysis are about road connectivity and vehicle ownership.
      1.  Social norms and limited resources often prevent women, especially in rural areas, from using motorcycles, and there is limited public transportation available.
    1. Time and Distance:
      1. Ensuring that public healthcare is easily accessible is crucial, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged populations who often face geographical barriers as well. 
      1. For tribal communities, travelling long distances to private hospitals and bearing high transportation costs are not feasible options.

Steps taken to address Maternal Health Benefits and other issues

  • Maternity Benefit Act, 2017 – Doubled the duration of paid maternity leaves and proposed the concept of work from home with the consent of the employer.
  • Creche facilities were made mandatory for Organizations with 50 or more employees under the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017 and National Creche Scheme was introduced.
  • Anganwadi Centers have helped train women in addressing various issues pre and post pregnancy along with the issue of childcare.
  • National Food Security Act, 2013 has accorded pregnant and lactating mothers benefit of Rs. 6000.
  • Several States such as Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh have tried to bridge the gap between the various incentives provided by Centre and the States.

-Source: The Hindu

Home Ministry extends ban on pro-Khalistan group SFJ


The Ministry of Home Affairs recently extended the ban on designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun founded pro-Khalistan group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) for five years for its anti-India activities.

  • The group continues to be involved in anti-national and subversive activities in Punjab and elsewhere disrupting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967

  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) of 1967 is an upgrade on the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act TADA (which lapsed in 1995) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act – POTA (which was repealed in 2004).
  • Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • The National Integration Council appointed a Committee on National Integration and Regionalisation to look into, the aspect of putting reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • The agenda of the NIC limited itself to communalism, casteism and regionalism and not terrorism.
  • However, the provisions of the UAPA Act contravenes the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Bill, 2019

  • The original Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, dealt with “unlawful” acts related to secession; anti-terror provisions were introduced in 2004.
  • It provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things.
Key Provisions of the Amendment
  • The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
  • Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it:
    • commits or participates in acts of terrorism
    • prepares for terrorism
    • promotes terrorism
    • is otherwise involved in terrorism
  • The word “terror” or “terrorist” is not defined.
  • However, a “terrorist act” is defined as any act committed with the intent –
    • to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India
    • to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country
  • The central government may designate an individual as a terrorist through a notification in the official gazette.
  • The Bill empowers the officers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • Under the Act, an investigating officer can seize properties that may be connected with terrorism with prior approval of the Director General of Police.

Issues with UAPA

  • UAPA gives the state authority vague powers to detain and arrest individuals who it believes to be indulged in terrorist activities. Thus, the state gives itself more powers vis-a-vis individual liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • UAPA empowers the ruling government, under the garb of curbing terrorism, to impose indirect restriction on right of dissent which is detrimental for a developing democratic society. The right of dissent is a part and parcel of fundamental right to free speech and expression and therefore, cannot be abridged in any circumstances except for mentioned in Article 19 (2).
  • UAPA can also be thought of to go against the federal structure since it neglects the authority of state police in terrorism cases, given that ‘Police’ is a state subject under 7th schedule of Indian Constitution.

-Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express       

Reduction of tariffs on smartphone components


The Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), an industry body representing mobile and other electronics assembly and manufacturing units, has called for a reduction of tariffs on certain components for smartphones.

  • Reducing input costs for smartphone assembly units is the main reason for these demands.
  • Smartphones were the fifth largest classifiable commodity exported in the financial year 2022–23, compared to 2015–16, when the rank was 178.
  • Now the domestic demand is fulfilled, and hence the need for high component tariffs has dimmed.
  • Cutting tariffs would force domestic component makers to cut their prices and relieve operating expense pressure for assembly units.
  • To increase exports, smartphones have to be competitive vis a vis China and Vietnam. This would require reducing tariffs and most importantly maintaining a stability in the tariff regime.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Semiconductor industry
  2. What are the changes to India’s chip-making scheme?
  3. What are the challenges?

About Semiconductor industry

  • Semiconductors are the thumbnail-sized building blocks of almost every modern electronic device from smartphones to connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • They help give computational power to devices.
  • The global semiconductor industry is currently valued at $500-$600 billion.
  • The basic component of a semiconductor chip is a sliver of silicon, which is etched with billions of microscopic transistors, forming patterns to control the flow of current while following different computational instructions.

Chip-making industry

  • The chip-making process is complex and highly exact, having multiple other steps in the supply chain such as designing software for chips and patenting them through core Intellectual Property (IP) rights.
  • It also involves making chip-fabrication machines; setting up fabs or factories; and ATMP (assembly, testing, marking and packaging).
  • The chip-making industry is a highly-concentrated one, with the big players being Taiwan, South Korea and the U.S. among others.
  • Therefore, the global chip shortage, U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan, and the supply chain blockages owing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have led major economies to enter the chip-making sector with a renewed push.
    • For example, the U.S. announcement of $52.7 billion in government funding for the CHIPS and Science Act and the EU’s Chips Act that will mobilise €43 billion for public and private investments.

What are the changes to India’s chip-making scheme?

  • In December 2021, India announced its roughly $10 billion dollar production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country.
  • It also announced fiscal support for a design-linked initiative (DLI) scheme to drive global and domestic investment related to design software, IP rights etc.
  • According to the Electronics and IT Ministry, semiconductor demand in India would increase to $70-$80 billion by 2026 with the growing demand for digital devices and electronic products.
  • The new changes announced recently to harmonise government incentives for all technology nodes of semiconductors, according to the Minister of State for Electronics.
    • In the previous version of the scheme, the Centre was offering to fund 30% of the project cost for 45nm to 65nm chip production, 40% for 28nm to 45nm, and 50% or half of the funding for chips 28nm or below.
    • The modified scheme provides uniform 50% fiscal support for all nodes. Besides, it will provide 50% of capital expenditure for other steps of the process as well (chip design and ATMP).
    • The modified scheme also emphasised the production of the 45nm chip, which is fairly less time-consuming and economical in terms of production.

What are the challenges?

Chip production is a resource-intensive and expensive process:

  • While the new scheme provides equal funding for all steps of the process, the outlay of the scheme remains $10 billion.
  • Notably, just the setting up of one semiconductor fab requires an investment of anywhere between $3 and $7 billion.

Design and R&D:

  • Analysts, while positive, are concerned that not much of the current scheme outlay would be left to support other elements including display fabs, packaging and testing facilities, and chip design centres.
  • They also argue that the initial funding should focus on areas like design and R&D, for which India already has an established talent pool.

Gallons of ultrapure water:

  • Chip-making also requires gallons of ultrapure water in a single day, which experts say, could be a task for the government to provide to factories, compounded also by the drought conditions which often prevail in large parts of the country.

Drive up consumer demand:

  • Another task for the government is to drive up consumer demand in the semiconductor and linked electronics industry to not end up in a situation where these ventures remain successful only till taxpayers are forced to fund required subsidies.

-Source: The Hindu

India to ratify High Seas Treaty


The Indian Government recently announced that it would soon sign and ratify the High Seas Treaty, a new international legal architecture for maintaining the ecological health of the oceans.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About UN High Seas Treaty
  2. What are High Seas?

About UN High Seas Treaty:

  • The UN High Seas Treaty is the first-ever treaty to protect the world’s oceans outside national boundaries.
  • It is also referred to as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’.
  • The treaty is legally binding and aims to protect marine life in international waters.
  • Its goal is to establish protected areas covering 30% of the seas by 2030, a pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference in 2022.
  • The treaty provides a legal framework for creating marine protected areas (MPAs) to safeguard wildlife and share genetic resources of the high seas.
  • It covers environmental assessments to evaluate potential damage from commercial activities, like deep-sea mining.
  • The treaty establishes a conference of the parties (CoP) that meets periodically to hold member states accountable for governance and biodiversity issues.
  • Signatories of the treaty pledge to share ocean resources.
  • The UN High Seas Treaty is built on the legacy of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the last international agreement on ocean protection signed in 1982. UNCLOS established an area called the high seas.

What are High Seas?

High seas refer to the areas of the oceans that are beyond the national jurisdiction of any country. Here are some key points to note:

  • The high seas begin at the border of countries’ exclusive economic zones beyond 370 km (200 nautical miles) from a country’s coastline and extend up to the outer limits of the continental shelf.
  • All countries have the right to use the high seas for shipping, fishing, and scientific research.
  • The high seas comprise more than 60% of the world’s oceans by surface area.
  • Due to a lack of regulation and monitoring, activities on the high seas are often vulnerable to exploitation, making it important to protect them through international treaties and agreements.

-Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express       

Finance Commission constitutes Advisory Council


The 16th Finance Commission has constituted an Advisory Council whose role will also be to assist the Commission in the preparation of papers/ research studies and to monitor or assess studies commissioned by the Finance Commission


GS2- Governance

  • Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure
  • Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels and Challenges Therein

GS3- Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Finance Commission

About the Finance Commission:

  • The Finance Commission (FC) is constituted by the President of India every fifth year under Article 280 of the Constitution.
  • Finance Commission is a constitutional body.
  • It was formed to define the financial relations between the central government of India and the individual state governments.
  • FC determines the method and formula for distributing the tax proceeds between the Centre and states, and among the states.
  • The Finance Commission also decides the share of taxes and grants to be given to the local bodies in states. This part of tax proceeds is called Finance Commission Grants, which is a part of the Union budget.
  • The Finance Commission (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1951 additionally defines the terms of qualification, appointment and disqualification, the term, eligibility and powers of the Finance Commission.
  • The Finance Commission consists of a chairman and four other members, who are appointed by the President of India.
  • The Union government has established the 16th Finance Commission, chaired by Dr. Arvind Panagariya, tasked with making recommendations for the period from 2026 to 2031.

-Source: Livemint, PIB

The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) tribal group protests against the arrest of its members


The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), an apex group of the Kuki tribes, recently called for a 12-hour shutdown in all the areas inhabited by the Kuki-Zo to protest the arrest of three members from their community.

The arrest was carried out by a combined team of personnel from the CRPF and Assam Rifles in Kangpokpi district.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Who are the Kukis?
  • What led to the Kuki insurgencies in Manipur?

Who are the Kukis?

  • The Kukis are an ethnic group including multiple tribes originally inhabiting the North-Eastern states of India such as Manipur, Mizoram and Assam; parts of Burma (now Myanmar), and Sylhet district and Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh.
  • While Kuki is not a term coined by the ethnic group itself, the tribes associated with it came to be generically called Kuki under colonial rule. 
  • In Manipur, the various Kuki tribes, living mainly in the hills, currently make up 30% of the total 28.5 lakh population of the State.
  • While Churachandpur is their main stronghold, they also have a sizable population in Chandel, Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Senapati districts. 
  • The rest of the population of Manipur is made up mainly of two other ethnic groups — the Meiteis or non-tribal, Vaishnavite Hindus who live in the valley region of Manipur, and the Naga tribes, historically at loggerheads with the Kukis, also living in the hilly areas of the State. 
  • Of the 60 seats in the Manipur Assembly, 40 are held by Meiteis and the rest 20 seats are held by Kukis and Nagas.

What led to the Kuki insurgencies in Manipur? 

  • The Kuki insurgent groups have been under Suspension of Operation (SoO) since 2005, when they signed an agreement for the same with the Indian Army.
  • Later, in 2008, the groups entered a tripartite agreement with the State government of Manipur and the UPA led Central government under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to temporarily suspend their operations and give political dialogue a chance. 
  • Manipur, formerly a princely state including parts of Burma, made the accession into India after Independence, but was only made a full-fledged State in 1972.
  • The resentment over the “forceful” inclusion into India and delay in granting statehood led to the rise of various insurgent movements.
  • The problem was intensified after Manipur was declared a ‘distubed area’ in 1980, under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives sweeping powers to the military and has led to excesses. 

Roots of Kuki militancy

  • The roots of Kuki militancy lie in conflicts of ethnic identity.
    • The demand for self-determination solely for groups belonging to their ethnic fabric, meaning the dream to form a Kukiland which includes Kuki inhabited regions of Myanmar, Manipur, Assam and Mizoram.
    • The inter-community conflicts between the Kukis and the Nagas in Manipur. 
  • The Kuki insurgency in Manipur grew in real terms in the 1980s and after the Kuki-Naga conflicts of the 1990s.
  • This is when the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and its armed wing Kuki National Army (KNA) were formed.
  • The community could not shed internal differences between tribes and take a single line of action.
    • While some militant Kuki outfits demanded Kukiland, including parts which are not in India, some demanded Kukiland within India. 

Present Situation

  • The demand has come to the formulation of an independent district—Kukiland Territorial Council within the purview of the Indian constitution, modelling the Bodoland Territorial Council, which was formed under the sixth schedule of the Constitution, after insurgent groups in Assam signed an agreement with their State government. 
  • The Kuki-Naga conflict was started over securing identity and land as some Kuki inhabited areas coincided with Naga inhabited areas.
  • Wanting to dominate trade and cultural activities in those areas the two communities often engaged in violent standoffs, with villages being torched, civilians killed and so on.
  • Even though clashes have reduced in recent decades, tensions between the two ethnic groups still exist.

-Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express      

July 2024