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Current Affairs 12 June 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Definition of obscenity: POCSO Act
  2. Boycott of Manipur Peace Committee by Kuki Representatives
  3. Ram Prasad Bismil
  4. Proposal to Include Urea under Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) Regime
  5. Imposing daily limits on UPI transactions
  6. Gulabi meenakari handicraft
  7. Captagon pill

Definition of Obscenity: POCSO Act


Context:

Kerala HC recently quashed a case filed under India’s child protection law – the POCSO Act, against a woman accused of subjecting her children to an obscene act.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012
  2. Contention/Criticisms around implementation of POCSO
  3. About POCSO Amendment Act 2019
  4. The Recent Case
  5. Definition of Obscenity

About Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012

  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 was enacted to provide a robust legal framework for the protection of children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process.
  • The framing of the Act seeks to put children first by making it easy to use by including mechanisms for child-friendly reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts.
  • The Act provides for a variety of offences under which an accused can be punished. It recognises forms of penetration other than penile-vaginal penetration and criminalises acts of immodesty against children too. Offences under the act include:
    • Penetrative Sexual Assault: Insertion of penis/object/another body part in child’s vagina/urethra/anus/mouth, or asking the child to do so with them or some other person
    • Sexual Assault: When a person touches the child, or makes the child touch them or someone else
    • Sexual Harassment: passing sexually coloured remark, sexual gesture/noise, repeatedly following, flashing, etc.
    • Child Pornography
    • Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault/ Aggravated Sexual Assault
Salient features of the Act
  • The act is gender-neutral for both children and for the accused.
  • With respect to pornography, the Act criminalises even watching or collection of pornographic content involving children.
  • The Act makes abetment of child sexual abuse an offence.
  • Defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age
  • Provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences, keeping with the best international child protection standards.
  • Police cast in the role of child protectors during the investigative process: The police personnel receiving a report of sexual abuse of a child are given the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child.
  • Provisions for the medical examination of the child in a manner designed to cause as little distress as possible
  • Provision of Special Courts: that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a child-friendly manner.
  • Timely disposal of cases: A case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.
  • Recognition to a wide range of form of sexual abuse against children: as punishable offences.
  • People who traffic children for sexual purposes are also punishable under the provisions relating to abetment in the Act. The Act prescribes stringent punishment graded as per the gravity of the offence, with a maximum term of rigorous imprisonment for life, and fine.
  • Child-friendly process: It also provides for various procedural reforms, making the tiring process of trial in India considerably easier for children. The Act has been criticised as its provisions seem to criminalise consensual sexual intercourse between two people below the age of 18.

Contention/Criticisms around implementation of POCSO

Criticism in Definition of child

  • The Act defines a child as a person under the age of 18 years. However, this definition is a purely biological one, and doesn’t take into account people who live with intellectual and psycho-social disability.
  • A recent case in SC has been filed where a women of biological age 38yrs but mental age 6yrs was raped.
  • The victim’s advocate argues that “failure to consider the mental age will be an attack on the very purpose of act.”
  • SC has reserved the case for judgement and is determined to interpret whether the 2012 act encompasses the mental age or whether only biological age is inclusive in the definition.

Issue with the Mandatory Reporting feature

  • According to the Act, every crime of child sexual abuse should be reported. If a person who has information of any abuse fails to report, they may face imprisonment up to six months or may be fined or both.
  • Many child rights and women rights organisation has criticised this provision. According to experts, this provision takes away agency of choice from children.
  • There may be many survivors who do not want to go through the trauma of criminal justice system, but this provision does not differentiate.
  • Furthermore, mandatory reporting may also hinder access to medical aid, and psycho-social intervention.
  • It contradicts the right to confidentiality for access to medical, and psychological care.

Contradiction with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

  • The POCSO Act was passed to strengthen legal provisions for the protection of children below 18 years of age from sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • Under this Act, if any girl under 18 is seeking abortion the service provider is compelled to register a complaint of sexual assault with the police.
  • However, under the MTP Act, it is not mandatory to report the identity of the person seeking an abortion.
  • Consequently, service providers are hesitant to provide abortion services to girls under 18.

Issue with Legal Aid

  • Section 40 of the Act allows victims to access legal aid. However, that is subject to Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • In other words, the lawyer representing a child can only assist the Public Prosecutor, and file written final arguments if the judge permits.
  • Thus, the interest of the victim often go unrepresented.

Issue with Consent

  • The law presumes all sexual act with children under the age of 18 is sexual offence.
  • Therefore, two adolescent who engage in consensual sexual act will also be punished under this law.
  • This is especially a concern where adolescent is in relationship with someone from different caste, or religion.
  • Parents have filed cases under this Act to ‘punish’ relationships they do not approve of.

About POCSO Amendment Act 2019

  • Increases the minimum punishment (including death penalty) for penetrative sexual assault, aggravated penetrative sexual assault.
  • The earlier amendment allowed the death penalty only in cases of sexual assault of girls below 12 years but now it will be applicable to boys also.
  • Adds assault resulting in death of child, and assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar situations of violence into Aggravated penetrative sexual assault.
  • Tightened the provisions to counter child pornography. While the earlier Act had punishment for storing child pornography for commercial purposes, the amendment includes punishment for possessing pornographic material in any form involving a child, even if the accused persons have failed to delete or destroy or report the same with an intention to share it.
  • The Act defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child including photograph, video, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child.

The Recent Case:

  • In 2020, a women’s rights activist from Kerala posted a video on social media showing her children (aged 8 and 14) painting on her “semi-nude torso.”
  • The video sparked outrage, and the police filed a case against her under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
  • The charges included sexual assault by a relative and using children for pornographic purposes.
  • Additionally, the activist was charged under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 for publishing or transmitting obscene material involving children and the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2015 for depicting children in an obscene or sexually explicit manner.
The Kerala HC’s Verdict:
  • The court dismissed the POCSO charges, stating that the Act applies when a child’s relative commits “sexual assault.”
  • It explained that “sexual assault” under Section 7 of the Act requires “sexual intent” involving touching the child’s private parts or making the child touch one’s own or another person’s private parts.
  • In this case, the essential element of “sexual intent” was missing, and there was no evidence of the children being used for pornography.
  • The court upheld the right to privacy and women’s bodily autonomy, citing previous Supreme Court rulings.
  • Clearing the accused of charges under the IT Act:
  • The court stated that the provisions of the Act apply only when the material depicts children in an obscene, indecent, or sexually explicit manner.

Definition of Obscenity:

  • The Supreme Court (SC) in 1996 ruled that depicting nudity and sexual violence in the film ‘Bandit Queen’ did not amount to obscenity as it aimed to highlight a social reality.
  • In 2014, the SC held that a nude picture cannot be considered obscene unless it arouses feelings or reveals overt sexual desire.
  • The Kerala High Court (HC) asserted that nudity and obscenity are not always synonymous, and it is incorrect to deem nudity as immoral.
  • The court pointed out that ancient temples across the country display murals, statues, and artwork of deities, which are considered artistic and sacred.
  • The court provided examples of men’s body painting traditions during Puli Kali folk festivals and Theyyam rituals in Kerala to highlight cultural practices where nudity is not perceived as sexually explicit but associated with divinity.
  • The court criticized the double standards that allow men to be shirtless while women’s bodies are overly sexualized and viewed primarily for erotic purposes.

-Source: The Hindu


Boycott of Manipur Peace Committee by Kuki Representatives


Context:

A day after the Centre constituted a peace committee in Manipur, most Kuki representatives said they will boycott the panel as it included Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and his supporters. Pointing out that their consent was not taken for including them on the panel, they demanded that the Centre make the situation conducive for talks.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Establishment of Peace Committee in Manipur
  2. What is Manipur’s ethnic composition?
  3. Meitei Community
  4. What is the Meitei argument?
  5. Tribal groups in Manipur are against granting ST status to the Meiteis.
  6. What led to the unrest?

Establishment of Peace Committee in Manipur

  • The Government of India has set up a Peace Committee in Manipur.
  • This committee is part of a series of measures announced by the Union Home Minister during his visit to Manipur.
  • The aim of the committee is to promote peace and address social issues in the state.
Composition of the Committee:
  • The committee is chaired by the Governor of Manipur.
  • It includes the Chief Minister, several ministers from the state government, Members of Parliament (MP), Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), and leaders from different political parties.
  • The committee also consists of former civil servants, educationists, litterateurs, artists, social workers, and representatives of various ethnic groups.
Mandate of the Committee:
  • The primary objective of the committee is to enhance social cohesiveness and mutual understanding among different ethnic groups.
  • It will facilitate constructive communication and dialogue among various stakeholders.
  • The committee aims to promote harmony, peace, and stability in Manipur.

What is Manipur’s ethnic composition?

  • Geography has a lot to do with Manipur’s problems.
  • The State is like a football stadium with the Imphal Valley representing the playfield at the centre and the surrounding hills the galleries.
  • Four highways, two of them lifelines for the State, are the valley’s access points to the world beyond.
  • The valley, which comprises about 10% of Manipur’s landmass, is dominated by the non-tribal Meitei who account for more than 64% of the population of the State and yields 40 of the State’s 60 MLAs.
  • The hills comprising 90% of the geographical area are inhabited by more than 35% recognised tribes but send only 20 MLAs to the Assembly.
  • While a majority of the Meiteis are Hindus followed by Muslims, the 33 recognised tribes, broadly classified into ‘Any Naga tribes’ and ‘Any Kuki tribes’ are largely Christians.

Meitei Community

  • The Meitei people are the predominant ethnic group of Manipur State in India.
  • They speak the Meitei language, which is one of the 22 official languages of India and the sole official language of Manipur State.
  • Most Meiteis live in the Imphal Valley region of Manipur, but there is also a significant population in other Indian states and neighbouring countries.
  • The Meitei ethnic group comprises approximately 53% of Manipur’s population.
  • They are divided into clans, and members of the same clan do not intermarry.
  • Rice cultivation on irrigated fields is the basis of their economy.
  • A majority of Meiteis follow Hinduism, while more than 8% are Muslims.

What is the Meitei argument?

  • Court’s Directive: The Manipur High Court has directed the State government to submit a 10-year-old recommendation to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry for the inclusion of the Meitei community in the ST list within four weeks.
  • Demand for ST Status: The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) has been demanding ST status for the Meitei tribe since 2012.
  • Historical Recognition: The petitioners argued that the Meiteis were recognised as a tribe before the merger of the State with the Union of India in 1949.
  • Need for Preservation: The Meitei tribe believes that the ST status is necessary to preserve their community and save their ancestral land, tradition, culture, and language.
  • Safeguards Against Outsiders: The STDCM believes that the Meiteis need constitutional safeguards against outsiders as they have been kept away from the hills while tribal people can buy land in the Imphal Valley.

Tribal groups in Manipur are against granting ST status to the Meiteis

  • The tribal groups argue that the Meiteis already have demographic and political advantages, and are academically and economically advanced compared to the tribal groups.
  • They fear that granting ST status to the Meiteis would lead to loss of job opportunities and allow them to acquire land in the hills, which would push the tribals out.
  • The All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur has pointed out that the Meitei language is already included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, and many Meiteis have access to benefits associated with SC, OBC, or EWS status.
  • According to Jawaharlal Nehru University lecturer Thongkholal Haokip, the demand for ST status by the Meiteis is seen as a ploy to attenuate the political demands of the Kukis and Nagas, and a strategy by the dominant valley dwellers to make inroads into the hill areas of the State.

What led to the unrest?

  • Pro-government groups in Manipur claim some tribal groups with vested interests are trying to scuttle Chief Minister’s crusade against drugs.
  • The anti-drug drive began with destroying poppy fields and the theory that “illegal settlers” from Myanmar — ethnically related to the Kuki-Zomi people of Manipur — are behind clearing forests and government lands to grow opium and cannabis.
  • The first violent protest on March 10 was against the eviction of the residents of a Kuki village.
  • This made the State government withdraw from the suspension of operations with two Kuki extremist groups accused of inciting the protesters.
  • The large-scale arson and violence claiming the life of at least one person on May 3 and 4 followed a “tribal solidarity rally” against the reported move to include the Meiteis in the ST list.

-Source: The Hindu


Ram Prasad Bismil


Context:

Ram Prasad Bismil was born on June 11, 1897 in a nondescript village in the United Provinces’ (now Uttar Pradesh) Shahjahanpur district.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Early Life and Association with Arya Samaj
  2. The Mainpuri Conspiracy
  3. Founding the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA)
  4. The Kakori Train Action
  5. Death and Legacy

Early Life and Association with Arya Samaj:

  • Ram Prasad Bismil, a revered freedom fighter in India, was known for his revolutionary spirit and poetic depth.
  • Born into a Rajput Tomar family, he learned Hindi from his father and Urdu from a nearby maulvi during his childhood.
  • Bismil attended an English medium school in Shahjahanpur, which exposed him to multiple languages and nurtured his writing and poetic instincts.
  • He joined the influential organization Arya Samaj, becoming a prolific writer and poet under various pen names, including ‘Bismil’ meaning ‘wounded’ or ‘restless.’

The Mainpuri Conspiracy:

  • Disillusioned by the moderate approach of the Congress Party, Bismil decided to pursue India’s freedom through force rather than negotiations.
  • He founded the revolutionary organization Matrivedi and collaborated with fellow revolutionary Genda Lal Dixit.
  • In 1918, Bismil wrote his renowned poem, “Mainpuri ki Pratigya,” which expressed his nationalist sentiments and gained popularity among locals.
  • He carried out several acts of looting government offices in Mainpuri district to raise funds for his organization.

Founding the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA):

  • After spending time underground and engaging in writing, Bismil returned to Shahjahanpur in 1920.
  • Following the suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement by Mahatma Gandhi, Bismil decided to establish his own party.
  • The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was formed, with Bismil as a founding member, along with Ashfaqullah Khan, Sachindra Nath Bakshi, and Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee.
  • Their manifesto, penned by Bismil, advocated for an organized and armed revolution to establish a federal Republic of United States of India.

The Kakori Train Action:

  • The Kakori train robbery in 1925 was a significant action undertaken by the HRA.
  • The revolutionaries aimed to rob the train carrying treasury bags from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow, intending to fund their activities and generate publicity.
  • Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, and others successfully looted the treasury bags but, unfortunately, one passenger lost his life during the incident.
  • The robbery drew both British wrath and mixed reactions from the Indian public.

Death and Legacy:

  • Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, and Rajendranath Lahiri were sentenced to death after a lengthy trial.
  • On December 19, 1927, Bismil was executed at the age of 30.
  • Bismil’s legacy lives on through his extensive body of poetry, which inspired Indians to join the freedom struggle and championed equality and human dignity.
  • He also symbolizes communal harmony due to his close friendship with Ashfaqullah Khan.
  • In his final letter, Bismil called for Hindu-Muslim unity as a lasting tribute to their sacrifice.

-Source: Indian Express


Proposal to Include Urea under Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) Regime


Context:

In its non-price policy recommendations for the Kharif crops 2023-2024 season, the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has recommended that Urea should be brought under the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) regime to address the problem of imbalanced nutrient usage in agriculture.

Relevance:

GS-III: Agriculture, GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Mobilization of Resources)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Why is it necessary to include urea under the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) regime?
  2. About Nutrient-Based Subsidy Regime
  3. Issues Related to NBS

Why is it necessary to include urea under the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) regime?

Limited domestic production:

  • India’s capacity to produce urea fertilizer is constrained due to inadequate natural gas supplies.
  • This has led to a heavy reliance on imports, which incur higher subsidy burdens per tonne compared to domestic urea.

Global raw material prices:

  • The high global prices of raw materials for complex fertilizers further complicate the government’s efforts to control fertilizer subsidies in the medium-term.

Rising demand and subsidy amounts:

  • The government’s efforts to control fertilizer subsidies will face challenges in the medium-term as demand increases, resulting in a potential increase in subsidy amounts.

Imbalance in plant nutrients:

  • Excessive use of urea in agriculture has contributed to a worsening plant nutrient imbalance.
  • Non-urea fertilizers like phosphorus and potassium are already covered under the NBS, where subsidies are linked to their nutrient content.
  • However, urea remains outside this regime, leading to overuse by farmers and neglect of other essential nutrients, ultimately causing soil health degradation.

Direct control over MRP and subsidy:

  • Urea’s exclusion from the NBS allows the government to retain direct control over its maximum retail price (MRP) and subsidy.
  • This pricing discrepancy has encouraged farmers to disproportionately rely on urea, disregarding other vital nutrients required for healthy crop growth.

Price disparities:

  • While the MRP of urea has remained unchanged, the prices of other fertilizers like Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) have increased over time.
  • The freedom given to manufacturers of non-urea fertilizers to set MRPs within reasonable limits, along with fixed per-tonne subsidies based on nutrient content, has contributed to the rising prices of these fertilizers.
  • Consequently, urea sales have significantly outpaced other fertilizers, exacerbating the nutrient imbalance in agriculture.

About Nutrient-Based Subsidy Regime

  • Under the Nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) regime – fertilizers are provided to the farmers at the subsidized rates based on the nutrients (N, P, K & S) contained in these fertilizers.
  • Also, the fertilizers which are fortified with secondary and micronutrients such as molybdenum (Mo) and zinc are given additional subsidy.
  • Under the Nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) regime, the subsidy on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers is announced by the Government on an annual basis for each nutrient on a per kg basis – which are determined taking into account the international and domestic prices of P&K fertilizers, exchange rate, inventory level in the country etc.
  • NBS policy intends to increase the consumption of P&K fertilizers so that optimum balance (N:P:K= 4:2:1 ) of NPK fertilization is achieved.
  • This would improve soil health and as a result the yield from the crops would increase resulting in enhanced income to the farmers.
  • Also, as the government expects rational use of fertilizers, this would also ease off the burden of fertilizer subsidy.
  • It is being implemented from April 2010 by the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.

Issues Related to NBS

  • Urea is left-out in the scheme and hence it remains under price control as NBS has been implemented only in other fertilizers.
  • There is an imbalance as the price of fertilizers (other than urea) — which were decontrolled have gone up from 2.5 to four times during the 2010-2020 decade. However, since 2010, the price of urea has increased only by 11%. This has led to farmers using more urea than before, which has further worsened fertilizer imbalance.
  • Considering that fertilizer subsidy is the second-biggest subsidy after food subsidy, the NBS policy is not only damaging the fiscal health of the economy but also proving detrimental to the soil health of the country.
  • Subsidised urea is getting diverted to bulk buyers/traders or even non-agricultural users such as plywood and animal feed makers. It is being smuggled to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Nepal.

-Source: PIB, Down To Earth


Imposing Daily Limits on UPI Transactions


Context:

With a significant increase in Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions, banks and UPI apps have taken the decision to impose daily limits on UPI transactions. This decision comes in addition to the limits already set by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2021.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Limits Imposed on UPI Transactions
  2. Significance of Limits on UPI Transactions
  3. What is Unified Payments Interface (UPI)?

Limits Imposed on UPI Transactions

Limits by NPCI:
  • Daily limit set by NPCI allows users to make up to 20 transactions or ₹1 lakh in a single day.
  • Certain specific categories of transactions, such as capital markets, collections, insurance, and forward inward remittances, have a higher limit of ₹2 lakh.
  • For UPI-based ASBA  (Application Supported by Blocked Amount system) IPO and retail direct schemes, the transaction limit was increased to ₹5 lakh in December 2021.
  • ASBA facilitates investors to participate in IPOs and invest in the stock market without transferring funds upfront.
Limits by Banks/Apps:
  • Some banks and UPI apps have their own transaction limits.
  • Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of Baroda have set a lower limit of ₹25,000, with PNB’s daily limit being ₹50,000.
  • Google Pay users need to be cautious as exceeding ten transactions in a single day across all UPI apps may breach the daily limit.

Significance of Limits on UPI Transactions

Security and Functionality:

  • Limits play a crucial role in maintaining the security infrastructure of UPI.
  • They help prevent fraudulent activities and mitigate risks associated with high-value transactions.
  • By setting limits, UPI ensures the smooth and seamless functioning of the payment system.

Fraud Prevention:

  • Imposing limits assists in preventing potential fraud and unauthorized transactions.
  • It acts as a safeguard against malicious activities and unauthorized access to funds.

Balancing Customer Convenience:

  • While ensuring security, limits are set to balance customer convenience.
  • They provide a reasonable threshold for daily transactions, allowing users to carry out their routine financial activities without unnecessary restrictions.

Catering to Specific Categories:

  • Setting different limits for specific transaction categories caters to the varying needs of users.
  • Higher limits are established for categories with higher average transaction values, such as capital markets or credit card bill payments.
  • This enables users to carry out larger transactions within the specified limits, promoting flexibility and ease of use.

What is Unified Payments Interface (UPI)?

  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.
  • UPI, which was introduced in 2016, has become one of the most used digital payments platforms in the country.
  • Advantages of UPI Includes – Immediate money transfer through mobile device round the clock 24*7 and 365 days.
  • UPI Enables Single mobile application for accessing different bank accounts with Single Click 2 Factor Authentication – Aligned with the Regulatory guidelines yet provides for a very strong feature of seamless single click payment.
  • It also features Virtual address of the customer for Pull & Push providing for incremental security with the customer not required to enter the details such as Card no, Account number; IFSC etc.
National Payments Corporation of India
  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
  • It is a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013), with an intention to provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.

-Source: The Hindu


Gulabi Meenakari Handicraft


Context:

The Uttar Pradesh state government has decided to gift GI-tagged Gulabi meenakari handicrafts to the visiting delegates from G20 nations.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Gulabi meenakari handicraft:
  2. Geographical Indications (GI) Tag

Gulabi Meenakari Handicraft: A Unique Craft from Varanasi

  • Gulabi Meenakari is a rare and exquisite craft practiced in the lanes of Varanasi, near Gai Ghat, in India.
  • Varanasi is renowned for its exquisite Gulabi Meenakari handicraft, which showcases the skill and creativity of the artisans in the
  • Originating from Persia, this art form involves the coloring of metal surfaces by fusing different colors.
  • The art was brought to Varanasi during the Mughal era in the early 17th century by Persian enamellists.
  • The word “mina” comes from the Persian word “Minoo,” meaning “heaven,” referring to the azure color of the sky.
  • In Varanasi, Gulabi Meenakari is primarily practiced on jewelry and home decor items.
  • The craft utilizes simple tools such as salai (etching tool), kiln, metal palette, mortar and pestle, kalam (enamel application tool), brass dye, small scrubbing brush, forceps, and takala (needle-like tool for applying colors).
Gulabi Meenakari is popularly found in three forms:
  • Ek Rang Khula Meena: Only gold outlines are exposed, and a single transparent color is used.
  • Panch Rangi Meena: Five colors – red, white, green, light blue, and dark blue – are employed.
  • Gulabi Meena: Pink is the dominant color in this form.

Geographical Indications (GI) Tag

Definition and Importance:
  • Geographical Indications of Goods indicate the country or place of origin of a product.
  • They assure consumers of the product’s quality and distinctiveness derived from its specific geographical locality.
  • GI tags are an essential component of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and are protected under international agreements like the Paris Convention and TRIPS.
Administration and Registration:
  • Geographical Indications registration in India is governed by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • The registration and protection are administered by the Geographical Indication Registry under the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade (DIPIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The registration is valid for 10 years, and it can be renewed for further periods of 10 years each.
Significance and Examples:
  • GI tags provide a unique identity and reputation to products based on their geographical origin.
  • The first product in India to receive a GI tag was Darjeeling tea.
  • Karnataka has the highest number of GI tags with 47 registered products, followed by Tamil Nadu with 39.
Ownership and Proprietorship:
  • Any association, organization, or authority established by law can be a registered proprietor of a GI tag.
  • The registered proprietor’s name is entered in the Register of Geographical Indication for the applied product.
  • Protection and Enforcement:
  • Geographical Indications protect the interests of producers and prevent unauthorized use of the product’s name or origin.
  • Enforcement of GI rights helps maintain the quality and reputation of the products associated with their specific geographical regions.
Location of the Geographical Indications Registry:
  • The Geographical Indications Registry is located in Chennai, India.

-Source: Times of India


Captagon Pill


Context:

Recently, after Arab League reinstating Syria as its member, the discussions on the trade of Captagon pills have taken the centre-stage once again.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Captagon Pill
  2. Side Effects

Captagon Pill

  • Captagon is a highly addictive amphetamine-type drug that was originally produced with fenetylline, a synthetic drug belonging to the phenethylamine family.
  • It was commercially sold in several countries until the 1980s but was later banned due to concerns about its addictive nature.
Effects of Amphetamine-Based Drugs:
  • Amphetamine-based drugs, like Captagon, stimulate the central nervous system.
  • They provide a boost of energy, enhance focus, promote wakefulness for extended periods, and induce feelings of euphoria.
  • The effects of these drugs typically last for 7 to 12 hours, with a peak effect occurring one to three hours after oral consumption.
  • They can remain in the blood for approximately 36 hours.

Side Effects:

  • The use of amphetamine-based drugs can lead to various side effects.
  • These drugs can cause loss of appetite, resulting in weight loss.
  • They may also lead to heart problems, including a fast heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and even heart attacks, which can be fatal.
  • High body temperature, skin flushing, memory loss, impaired cognitive function, and the risk of stroke are additional side effects associated with these drugs.

-Source: Indian Express


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