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Current Affairs 12 August 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill 2023
  2. Earendel
  3. India Web Browser Development Challenge
  4. Lymphatic Filariasis
  5. PUShP portal

Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill 2023


Context:

Three new bills to revamp India’s criminal laws were introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Union Home Minister with the focus on justice instead of punishment.

  • The Indian Evidence Act, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will be replaced by the BharatiyaSakshya Bill, 2023; Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023; and Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023 respectively.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC
  2. Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill 2023
  3. Key Proposed Changes in CrPC
  4. Significance of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill

Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was enacted in 1973, and its enforcement began on April 1, 1974.
  • It serves as the primary legislation governing procedural aspects of administering substantive criminal law in India.
CrPC’s Functionality:
  • Investigation Machinery: Outlines procedures for crime investigation.
  • Apprehension: Establishes methods for apprehending suspected criminals.
  • Evidence Collection: Provides guidelines for collecting evidence.
  • Determination of Guilt: Deals with establishing guilt or innocence of the accused.
  • Punishment Determination: Specifies procedures for determining punishment for the guilty.
  • Additional Aspects: Addresses public nuisance, crime prevention, and support for family members.

Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill 2023:

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill 2023 aims to replace the existing CrPC.

Reason for the Introduction of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill:
  • The conclusion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav on August 15, 2023, marks the beginning of India’s journey from 75 to 100 years of independence, representing the nation’s evolution.
  • In his August 15, 2022 address from the Red Fort, the Indian Prime Minister presented five vows to the nation, including the end of any vestiges of subjugation.
  • The criminal justice system in India has been governed by laws created by the British Parliament from 1860 to 2023.
  • The introduction of these three bills, including the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, aligns with the vow to infuse Indian values into the criminal justice system, thus bringing about a substantial transformation.

Key Proposed Changes in CrPC

Embracing Technology:
  • Emphasis on Electronic Proceedings: Trials, appeals, depositions (including those of public servants and police officers) may be conducted electronically.
  • Video-Conferencing for Accused: Accused individuals can have their statements recorded through video-conferencing.
  • Electronic Documentation: Summons, warrants, documents, police reports, and statements of evidence can be created in electronic form.
Digital Communication Inclusion:
  • Addition of Electronic Communication: “Communication devices” are introduced. People can be required to produce digital evidence-containing devices/documents for inquiries, guided by court or police orders.
Handcuff Usage Rules:
  • Permitted Handcuff Usage: Police can employ handcuffs while arresting a repeat offender who escaped custody or committed organized crimes, terrorism, or state offenses.
Strengthened Safeguards:
  • Revised Safeguard Section: Prominent safeguard Section 41A becomes Section 35, with an additional clause. Arrests need a higher officer’s permission (not below DSP rank) if the offense is punishable under 3 years or if the accused is over 60.
Mercy Petitions Framework:
  • Mercy Petitions Timeframe: Mercy petition filing timeframes in death penalty cases are defined.
  • Process Outline: Jail authorities’ information about a convict’s petition disposal leads to a submission by the convict, legal heir, or relative within 30 days to the Governor.
  • Presidential Petition: If rejected, the President can be petitioned within 60 days, and the President’s decision is final without appeal.
Streamlined Prosecution Sanction:
  • Prosecution Sanction Decision: Government must decide on sanction or rejection within 120 days of request receipt.
  • Default Sanction: Inaction by the government within the stipulated time results in deemed sanction.
  • Exemption from Sanction: Sexual offenses, trafficking, etc., don’t require sanction for prosecution.
  • Arms Regulation in Processions:
  • District Magistrate’s Power: Section 144A empowers the District Magistrate to prevent arms carrying in processions, mass drills, or training to maintain public peace.
Samples without Arrest:
  • Magistrate-Authorized Samples: Magistrates can order individuals to provide signature, handwriting, voice, or finger impression samples for investigation without arrests.
Police Detention Provisions:
  • Preventive Action: Police can detain or remove individuals who resist, refuse, ignore, or disregard given directions.
Trial in Absentia:
  • Applicable in Stringent Laws: Prescribed in anti-terror laws like UAPA, where the burden of proof shifts to the accused to prove innocence, altering the traditional burden on the state.

Significance of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill:

  • Consolidating and Amending Criminal Procedure: The bill aims to streamline and modify criminal procedure laws, establishing clear timelines for time-bound investigations, trials, and judgments.
  • Ensuring Swift Justice: Its implementation promises to expedite the delivery of justice, addressing delays in legal processes and providing timely resolution.
  • Alignment with Digital India Initiative: The legislation aligns with the government’s Digital India initiative, embracing technology to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of legal proceedings.
  • Admissibility of Digital Evidence: The bill allows digital or electronic records to be admissible as evidence, with the same legal standing and enforceability as traditional paper records.
  • Citizen-Centric Approach: It adopts a people-focused approach, enabling victims to receive updates on their cases, including through digital means, promoting transparency and responsiveness.
  • Swift Resolution for Petty Offenses: The proposal introduces summary trials for minor offenses, expediting the handling of such cases for more efficient resolution.
  • Empowering “Zero FIR”: It empowers individuals to file a “Zero FIR” at any police station, enabling the immediate lodging of a complaint, which can later be transferred to the relevant jurisdiction.

-Source: Indian Express


Earendel


Context:

Recently, the James Webb Space Telescope has revealed important details about Earendel, the far away celestial body.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Earendel
  2. Gravitational Lensing
  3. What is NASA’s James Webb Telescope?

Earendel

  • Earendel, a star unveiled in 2022 by the Hubble Space Telescope, holds distinction as the earliest and farthest known star.
  • Its recognition marks a significant astronomical achievement.

Stellar Attributes:

  • Earendel belongs to the massive B-type category, significantly hotter than the Sun and incredibly more luminous.
  • Its luminosity surpasses our Sun by about a million times.

Distance and Location:

  • Positioned in the Sunrise Arc Galaxy, Earendel resides approximately 12.9 billion light-years away.
  • This colossal distance makes it a captivating target of exploration.

Gravitational Lensing’s Role:

  • Both Hubble and Webb telescopes identified Earendel through gravitational lensing.
  • Gravitational lensing is a natural phenomenon caused by massive celestial objects bending spacetime.
  • Earendel’s visibility was magnified due to gravitational lensing caused by galaxy cluster WHL0137-08 situated between the star and our vantage point.

Gravitational Lensing

  • Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive cosmic body, such as a galaxy cluster, distorts spacetime curvature enough to visibly bend light around it.
  • This phenomenon resembles light passing through a lens.

Gravitational Lens:

  • The cosmic body responsible for curving light paths is termed a gravitational lens.
  • It acts as a natural magnifying glass, permitting the observation of otherwise distant and faint entities.

What is NASA’s James Webb Telescope?

  • The telescope has been in the works for years. NASA led its development with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.
  • It was launched aboard a rocket on December 25, 2021, and is currently at a point in space known as the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point, approximately 1.5 million km beyond Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
    • Lagrange Point 2 is one of the five points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system.
  • Named after Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange, the points are in any revolving two-body system like Earth and Sun, marking where the gravitational forces of the two large bodies cancel each other out.
  • Objects placed at these positions are relatively stable and require minimal external energy or fuel to keep themselves there, and so many instruments are positioned here.
  • L2 is a position directly behind Earth in the line joining the Sun and the Earth. It would be shielded from the Sun by the Earth as it goes around the Sun, in sync with the Earth.
What is the mission of the James Webb Space Telescope?

NASA says the James Webb Space Telescope will be “a giant leap forward in our quest to understand the Universe and our origins”, as it will examine every phase of cosmic history: from the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets to the evolution of our own Solar System.

The science goals for the Webb can be grouped into four themes.

  • To look back around 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe.
  • To compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years.
  • To see where stars and planetary systems are being born.
  • To observe the atmospheres of extrasolar planets (beyond our solar system), and perhaps find the building blocks of life elsewhere in the universe. The telescope will also study objects within our own Solar System.

-Source: Indian Express


India Web Browser Development Challenge


Context:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently launched the Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC).

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC)
  2. Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA)

India Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC)

  • MeitY, in partnership with the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) and C-DAC Bangalore, drives the India Web Browser Development Challenge.
  • The challenge aims to inspire tech enthusiasts, innovators, and developers across India to create a native web browser.

Challenge’s Aim:

  • Encourage the creation of a homegrown web browser.
  • The browser should establish its own trust store, employ a root certificate from India’s CCA, and offer advanced functionalities alongside robust security and data privacy features.

Incentive:

  • The government has introduced a cash prize of Rs 3.4 crores for the developers, motivating their active participation.
Eligibility Criteria:
  • Indian Tech Start-ups, MSMEs, Companies, and LLPs registered under the Companies Act 2013 in India can apply.
  • The entity should possess at least 51% shareholding by Indian citizens or persons of Indian origin.
  • The applicant’s entity should not be a subsidiary of any foreign corporation.
  • Individuals can apply with a group of 3 to 7 members, while other entities should apply under the “organization” category.
Desired Browser Attributes:
  • The browser must be compatible with various platforms like iOS, Android, and Desktop.
  • Inclusion of built-in accessibility support is crucial.
  • The browser should facilitate document digital signing using a crypto token.
  • Incorporation of parental control and a web filter for child-friendly browsing is essential.
  • Support for Web3 and compliance with W3C standards are expected.
  • Native support for all official Indian languages should be present.

Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA)

  • The Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) is established under the provisions of the Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act).

Regulatory Mandate:

  • The primary function of the CCA is to license and oversee the operations of Certifying Authorities (CAs).
  • CAs are entities responsible for issuing digital signature certificates used for electronic user authentication.

National Repository of Digital Certificates (NRDC):

  • CCA maintains the National Repository of Digital Certificates (NRDC), housing certificates issued by all CAs across the nation.
  • NRDC plays a pivotal role in managing and ensuring the integrity of digital signatures.

Promotion of Digital Signatures:

  • CCA’s mission is to bolster the expansion of e-Commerce and e-Governance by promoting widespread adoption of digital signatures.
  • Digital signatures play a vital role in ensuring secure and trustworthy electronic transactions and communications.

Appointment and Authority:

  • The Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) is appointed by the Central Government, as per section 17 of the IT Act.

-Source: The Economic Times


Lymphatic Filariasis


Context:

Union Health & Family Welfare Minister recently said India is committed to eradicating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, surpassing the global target by three years.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Lymphatic Filariasis
  2. Drug Treatment

About Lymphatic Filariasis

  • LF, also known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that is considered the second most disabling disease after mental health.
  • It affects the lymphatic system, leading to abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability, and social stigma.
  • The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and specialized tissues essential for maintaining overall fluid balance and health of organs and limbs and is a major component of the body’s immune defense system.
  • Lymphatic filariasis is a vector-borne disease caused by infection with nematode (roundworm) parasites of the family Filarioidea, with three main types of thread-like filarial worms: Wuchereria Bancrofti (90% of cases), Brugia Malayi (most of the remainder of cases), and Brugia Timori.

Drug Treatment:

  • To accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a treatment plan known as IDA, which involves administering a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate, and albendazole for two consecutive years.
  • This is because the adult worm’s life span is only four years, so administering the drugs for two consecutive years will ensure that the worms die naturally without causing any harm to the person.

-Source: Indian Express


PUShP Portal


Context:

Recently,the National Power Committee (NPC) has asked States to provide suggestions for offering incentives to buyers and sellers on the surplus power portal PUSHp.

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. PUShP Portal
  2. Day Ahead Market

PUShP Portal

  • The Ministry of Power introduced the High Price Day Ahead Market (HP-DAM) and Surplus Power Portal (PUShP).
  • The portal aims to enhance power availability during peak demand periods by enabling certain category of sellers to offer power at prices surpassing the Rs 12 per unit ceiling.

Enhancing Power Availability:

  • PUShP facilitates the submission of surplus power availability by power distribution companies (DISCOMs) across various time blocks, days, or months.
  • DISCOMs in need of power can requisition the surplus power indicated on the portal.

Transaction Dynamics:

  • The new buyer acquires the surplus power and pays both variable charge (VC) and fixed cost (FC) as determined by Regulators.
  • Upon reassignment, the original beneficiary relinquishes the right to recall, transferring the entire FC liability to the new beneficiary.

Benefits:

  • Reduces fixed cost burden on DISCOMs.
  • Maximizes utilization of available generation capacity.

Day Ahead Market

  • The Day Ahead Market is a tangible electricity trading marketplace where power delivery occurs within 24 hours of the next day, commencing from midnight.
  • Trading is conducted in 15-minute time blocks, with electricity prices and quantities determined through an auction bidding process.

-Source: Indian Express


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