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Current Affairs 16 November 2023

  1. Model Prison Act, 2023
  2. Global Tiger Conservation Initiatives: Reporting and Commitments
  3. Emergency Alert System
  4. GPS Tracker Anklets
  5. Mount Etna
  6. One Station One Product scheme


The Union Home Secretary had sent a letter to all states and Union territories in May, 2023 which consisted of the ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023’. The letter was uploaded recently on the Union Ministry of Home Affair’s website.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Prisons Act, 1894
  2. Need for a New Law
  3. Model Prisons Act, 2023

Prisons Act, 1894

  • Prisons Act, 1894: A pre-independence era Act, nearly 130 years old.
  • Focus: Primarily centered on the custody of criminals and maintaining discipline in prisons.
  • Lack of Rehabilitation Provisions: No provisions for the reform and rehabilitation of prisoners.
Changing Perspective on Prisons:
  • Global Evolution: In recent decades, a global shift in perspective views prisons as reformative and correctional institutions.
  • Transformational Approach: Focus on transforming prisoners into law-abiding citizens.
Constitutional Framework:
  • State Subject: Constitutionally, ‘prisons’ and ‘persons detained therein’ fall under the jurisdiction of the State.
  • Legislative Competence: States have the exclusive authority to legislate on prison management and prisoners’ administration.

Need for a New Law:

  • Rehabilitation Emphasis: Modern understanding sees prisons as institutions emphasizing rehabilitation.
  • Role in Criminal Justice: Efficient prison management’s critical role in the criminal justice system.
  • Government Support: The Government of India recognizes the importance of supporting States/UTs in ensuring effective prison management.
Emphasis on Reform and Rehabilitation:
  • Shift in Purpose: From retributive deterrence to reformative and correctional objectives.
  • Transformation into Law-Abiding Citizens: Prisons seen as places for transforming inmates into law-abiding members of society.
Supporting States/UTs:
  • Government Role: Acknowledging the State’s competence, the central government underscores the significance of supporting States/UTs in prison management.
  • Collaborative Approach: Recognizing the collaborative effort required for effective prison reform and rehabilitation.

Model Prisons Act, 2023

Background and Revision Process
  • Need for Revision: Recognizing the outdated nature of the colonial-era Prison Act, a decision was made to revise it.
  • Central Government Initiative: The Central government tasked the Bureau of Police Research and Development with the revision of the Prisons Act, 1894.
  • Collaborative Approach: Wide-ranging discussions with state prison authorities and correctional experts were held to inform the revision.
Integration of Relevant Acts
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs reviewed not only the Prisons Act, 1894 but also ‘The Prisoners Act, 1900’ and ‘The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950.’
  • Assimilation in Model Prisons Act: Relevant provisions from these acts were assimilated into the new ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023.’
Adoption by States and Union Territories
  • Adoption Flexibility: State Governments and Union Territory Administrations can adopt the Model Prisons Act, 2023 with necessary modifications.
  • Repeal of Existing Acts: The existing three Acts can be repealed in favor of the new model legislation.
Salient Features of Model Prisons Act, 2023
  • Security Assessment and Segregation:
    • Individual sentence planning for prisoners.
  • Grievance Redressal and Attitudinal Change:
    • Establishment of a prison development board.
    • Fostering an attitudinal change towards prisoners.
  • Accommodation for Special Groups:
    • Separate housing for women prisoners, transgender individuals, etc.
  • Technology Integration:
    • Use of technology for transparent prison administration.
    • Video conferencing with courts and technological interventions.
  • Prohibition Measures:
    • Provision for punishment for the use of prohibited items like mobile phones.
  • Different Types of Jails:
    • Establishment and management of high-security jails, open jails, etc.
  • Crime Prevention Measures:
    • Focus on protecting society from hardened criminals and habitual offenders.
  • Legal Aid and Incentives:
    • Provision for legal aid to prisoners.
    • Incentives for good conduct through parole, furlough, and premature release.
  • Rehabilitation and Reintegration:
    • Emphasis on vocational training, skill development, and reintegration into society.

-Source: Indian Express


Countries have reported their tiger population data from 2010 to 2022 to the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) and the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as part of GTRP 2.0, a program designed to guide tiger conservation efforts from 2023 to 2034. The initiative stems from the commitment made by 13 tiger range countries under the St Petersburg Declaration in 2010, where they pledged to reverse the decline in tiger populations and strive to double their numbers by the year 2022.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Tiger Conservation Status Worldwide
  2. Global Tiger Recovery Program 2.0 (2023-34)
  3. Threats to the Global Tiger Population
  4. Suggestions from the Report

Tiger Conservation Status Worldwide

Regional Disparities
  • Positive Outlook in South Asia and Russia:
    • Wild tiger status is good in South Asia and Russia.
  • Challenges in Southeast Asia:
    • Grim situation in Southeast Asia poses challenges to global tiger population recovery.
Overall Population Increase
  • Global Growth:
    • Overall, there is a 60% increase in the global tiger population.
    • Total tiger population reaches 5,870.
  • Concerns in Specific Countries:
    • Decline observed in Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao-PDR, and Vietnam.
    • Situation termed as “grim” in the Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) of Southeast Asia.
Success Factors
  • Effective Measures in South Asia:
    • Success attributed to effective measures in South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal.
    • China and Russia in North East Asia also contribute to positive outcomes.
Country-Specific Achievements
  • India’s Progress:
    • India’s wild tiger population stands at 3,167 in 2022.
  • Nepal’s Triumph:
    • Nepal triples its tiger population, showcasing significant progress.

Global Tiger Recovery Program 2.0 (2023-34)

Program Release
  • Release Date: GTRP 2.0 unveiled on July 29, International Tiger Day 2023.
  • Launch Venue: Released at Thimphu by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan.
  • Initiation: GTRP launched in 2010 by the World Bank under the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI).
  • Objective: Aims to double wild tiger populations by 2022 with commitments from Tiger Range Countries (TRCs).
  • Implementing Body: The Global Tiger Forum (GTF) became the implementing arm for the tiger agenda.
Stakeholders and Collaboration
  • Collaborators: Tiger range countries, Global Tiger Forum, and collaborators like the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
  • Intergovernmental Platform: GTRP 2.0 firmed up by tiger range countries through the intergovernmental platform of the Global Tiger Forum.
Focus Areas
  • Governance Strengthening: Emphasis on enhancing tiger governance.
  • Resource Enhancement: Focus on increasing resources and protection measures.
  • Addressing Contemporary Challenges: Tackling modern challenges like Human-Wildlife Conflict.
  • Differentiated Approach: Retains ongoing actions with new strategies for a more effective approach.

Threats to the Global Tiger Population

Challenging Situation
  • Prey and Tiger Poaching: Widespread prey and tiger poaching contribute to the challenging situation.
  • Lacunae in Conservation: Issues include inadequate patrolling, poor wildlife monitoring, forest loss for commercial needs, proximity to wildlife trade hubs, and rapid infrastructure development leading to fragmentation.
Contributing Factors
  • Poor Monitoring and Investment: Insufficient monitoring and low investment in wildlife conservation contribute to the decline in tiger populations.
  • Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: Habitat loss and fragmentation, coupled with depleting biodiversity due to anthropogenic reasons, pose a significant threat to tiger conservation.
Regional Concerns
  • Southeast Asia Decline: Rapid decline observed in Southeast Asia due to factors like loss of forest, deforestation, infrastructure development, and illegal logging.
  • Emphasis on Prey Population: Report underscores the need for prey population augmentation in certain areas to address habitat degradation.

Suggestions from the Report

Conservation Imperatives
  • Habitat Preservation: Urgent steps required to reverse the current trend of habitat loss.
  • Prey Restoration: Address prey depletion to ensure a demographically and genetically viable tiger population.
  • Anti-Poaching Measures: Implement measures to combat tiger poaching and ensure population sustainability.
Potential Loss Warning
  • Critical Scenario: Failure to address tiger stressors could lead to the loss of a significant portion of the tiger population.
  • Southeast Asia Concern: Particularly critical in Southeast Asia and certain South Asian regions where substantial populations are at risk.
Perspective on Tiger Conservation Landscapes (TCL)
  • Human-Environmental Stress Continuum: TCLs should be viewed within an ongoing human-environmental stress continuum.
  • Human-Induced Modifications: Recognition of ongoing human-induced modifications, including agro-pastoral activities, impacting TCLs.
Need for Robust Policies
  • Policy Framework: The grim situation necessitates a robust policy framework.
  • Political Will: Successful implementation requires political will.
  • Long-Term Resources: Ensuring long-term resource availability is vital for sustained conservation efforts.
Global Population Growth and Challenges
  • Population Growth: Acknowledges a 60% increase, reaching 5,870 individuals globally.
  • Highlighting Challenges: Despite growth, the report underscores the challenges and threats faced by tigers, especially in Southeast Asia, emphasizing the grim situation.

-Source: Down To Earth


A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on November 3, 2023, accompanied by aftershocks, revealing notable deficiencies in emergency alert systems in and around Delhi.


GS III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Emergency Alert Systems in India
  2. Gaps and Challenges in Emergency Alert Systems

Emergency Alert Systems in India

Google’s Android Earthquake Early Warning System
  • Sensor-based Detection:
    • Utilizes sensors in Android smartphones to detect seismic activity.
  • Alerts and Data Sharing:
    • Alerts users about potential earthquakes.
    • Collects and shares data with seismological agencies for improved detection and analysis.
  • Collaboration:
    • Launched in September 2023 in collaboration with NDMA and NCS, Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • Trigger Mechanism:
    • Alerts triggered based on the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) Scale.
    • MMI scale measures the effects of an earthquake at a specific location, providing a range from 1 to 12.
Cell Broadcast Alert System (CBAS)
  • Cutting-edge Technology:
    • Empowers dissemination of critical and time-sensitive disaster management messages to all mobile devices in specified geographical areas.
  • Versatile Applications:
    • Delivers emergency alerts (e.g., Tsunamis, Flash Floods, Earthquakes), public safety messages, evacuation notices, and other critical information.
  • Collaborative Development:
    • Developed in collaboration with DOT, NDMA, and other agencies for generating and disseminating alerts.
Ministry of Earth Science’s National Centre for Seismology (NCS)
  • Monitoring and Reporting:
    • Responsible for monitoring and reporting seismic activity in India and its neighborhood.
  • Observatory Network:
    • Operates a network of seismological observatories nationwide.
  • Real-time Data and Information:
    • Provides real-time earthquake and tsunami data and information.
  • Public Alerts:
    • Maintains the BhooKamp website and mobile app for public earthquake alerts and updates.

Gaps and Challenges in Emergency Alert Systems

Lack of Standardization
  • Inconsistent Information:
    • India lacks a single, standardized emergency alert system, leading to inconsistent and unreliable information for both the public and authorities.
  • Operational Independence:
    • Multiple agencies and platforms operate independently, causing confusion, duplication, and delays in alert generation and dissemination.
Technological Limitations
  • System Failures:
    • During recent tremors around Delhi, the NCS website and app crashed due to a sudden surge in traffic, highlighting significant coordination challenges during emergency situations.
  • Data Accuracy and Timeliness:
    • The existing systems struggle to provide accurate and timely information on the location, magnitude, intensity, and impact of disasters, primarily due to limitations in data collection, analysis, and transmission.
Communication and Awareness
  • Limited Reach:
    • Emergency alert systems face challenges in reaching and informing the masses effectively.
  • Awareness and Preparedness Gap:
    • Lack of awareness and preparedness among the public and authorities hinders the effectiveness of the alert systems.
  • Interpretation Challenges:
    • Many people do not know how to access, interpret, and respond to alerts, often ignoring or dismissing them as false alarms.
  • Educational Campaigns:
    • There is a notable absence of public education and awareness campaigns on disaster risks, mitigation measures, and response mechanisms.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, a prisoner in Jammu and Kashmir was released on bail after he was tagged with a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker anklet on his foot to monitor his movements. This is the first time in the country that a GPS tracker has been put to such use.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. GPS Tracker Anklets: Monitoring Legal Supervision
  2. Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS Tracker Anklets: Monitoring Legal Supervision

  • Wearable Devices: Small devices attached to the ankles of individuals under legal supervision (parole, probation, house arrest, or bail).
  • Types: GPS anklets for the ankle and GPS bracelets for the arm.
  • Tamper-Proof: Designed to be tamper-proof; any attempt to remove or damage triggers an alarm.
  • Battery Life: Several days of battery life; rechargeable by the wearer.
Supervision and Enforcement
  • Curfews and Restrictions: Enforce curfews, travel restrictions, and other court or agency-imposed conditions.
  • Real-time Monitoring: Utilizes GPS technology for real-time monitoring of the wearer’s exact location.
Criminal Justice Benefits
  • Cost Alleviation: Alleviates criminal justice costs by addressing prison overcrowding and redirecting resources to serious offenses.
  • Public Safety and Rehabilitation: Balances public safety and rehabilitation, deterring crime, ensuring law compliance, and fostering offender well-being.
Global Legal Position
  • Precondition for Bail: GPS trackers are a precondition for bail in several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia.
Concerns in India
  • Rights Activists’ Perspective: Viewed as a violation of the fundamental right to privacy and dignity of offenders by rights activists.
  • Supreme Court Ruling: In the case of ‘Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India’ (1978), the Supreme Court ruled that the right to life includes the right to human dignity.
  • Legal and Ethical Issues: Raises legal and ethical concerns due to the absence of clear laws and regulations governing their usage in India.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Satellite Navigation Technology: GPS, a satellite-powered navigation system, is designed for the accurate determination of ground positions.

Ownership and Service Offerings
  • Owned by the United States: The system is under the ownership of the United States government.
  • Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Services: Users benefit from Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services provided by GPS.
User Demographics
  • Utilized by Civilians and the Military: GPS serves both civilian and military users.
  • Global Civilian Access: Civilian users enjoy free and continuous global access to GPS services.
  • Exclusive Military Access: Military services are available to the US and allied armed forces, along with approved Government agencies.
Operational Mechanism

Satellite-Based Navigation System:

  • GPS operates as a navigation system based on a network of satellites.
Primary Objective

Precision in Ground Positioning:

  • The primary purpose of GPS is to provide accurate ground positioning for various applications.
Global Availability

Continuous Accessibility Worldwide:

  • Civilian users can access GPS services continuously on a worldwide basis.
Military Implementation

Dedicated Military Service:

  • Exclusive GPS services cater to the navigation needs of the US and allied armed forces, as well as approved Government agencies.

-Source: Indian Express


The Mount Etna volcano began erupting again on the island of Sicily, sending ash miles into the sky.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Mount Etna
  2. Why do volcanoes erupt?

Mount Etna

  • Location: Active stratovolcano situated on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.
  • Activity Status: Europe’s most active volcano and one of the largest globally.
  • Historical Activity: Recorded volcanic activity dating back to 1500 B.C.
  • Eruption Frequency: Erupted more than 200 times since its recorded history.
Eruption Characteristics

Diverse Styles:

  • Displays various eruption styles, including violent explosions and extensive lava flows.
Comparison with Other Volcanoes

Duration of Activity:

  • While Mount Etna is highly active, some volcanoes have longer eruption periods.


  • Kilauea volcano in Hawaii had a continuous eruption from 1983 to 2018, resuming in 2021 and still ongoing.
  • Dukono in Indonesia has been erupting since August 1933.
  • Santa Maria in Guatemala has been erupting since June 1922.
  • Yasur in Vanuatu started erupting around 1270 (± 110 years) and is still active as of June 2023.

Why do volcanoes erupt?

  • The deeper one goes under the surface of the Earth towards its core, the hotter it gets.
  • The geothermal gradient, the amount that the Earth’s temperature increases with depth, indicates heat flowing from the Earth’s warm interior to its surface.
  • At a certain depth, the heat is such that it melts rocks and creates what geologists call ‘magma’.
  • Magma is lighter than solid rock and hence it rises, collecting in magma chambers.
  • Chambers which have the potential to cause volcanic eruptions are found at a relatively shallow depth, between six to ten km under the surface.
  • As magma builds up in these chambers, it forces its way up through cracks and fissures in Earth’s crust.
  • This is what we call a volcanic eruption. The magma that surfaces on the Earth’s crust is referred to as lava.
Some famous volcanoes
  • Any volcano that has erupted within the Holocene period (in the last 11,650 years) is considered to be “active” by scientists.
  • “Dormant” volcanoes are those active volcanoes which are not in the process of erupting currently, but have the potential to do so in the future.
  • Mauna Loa was a dormant volcano for the last 38 years.
  • “Extinct” volcanoes are ones which scientists predict will never face any further volcanic activity.
    • Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK, is an extinct volcano.

Here are some famous volcanoes in the world.

Krakatoa, Indonesia
  • One of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions ever occurred in Krakatoa in 1883 (VEI 6). The volcano released huge plumes of steam and ash.
  • The explosions were so brutal, they were heard 3,100km away in Perth, Western Australia. According to the Dutch colonial authorities, Krakatoa’s eruption and the consequent tsunamis caused 36,417 deaths, though modern estimates peg the number to be much higher.
Mount Vesuvius, Italy
  • In 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius erupted (VEI 5), in one of the deadliest eruptions in European history, killing as many as 16,000 and destroying the town of Pompeii.
  • According to scientists, the explosion released 100,000 times the thermal energy that was released with the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • It is said to have instantly boiled the blood of all those who were too close to it.
Mount Fuji, Japan
  • A defining image of Japan, Mount Fuji towers over the countryside with its snow-capped peaks and barren surface.
  • It last erupted in 1707-1708 (VEI 5) and had a devastating effect on the local population.
  • The tephra release led to significant agricultural decline, leading to widespread starvation in the Edo (now Tokyo) area.
  • Although this eruption itself did not directly kill a lot of people, its subsequent impact proved deadly.
Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
  • Sometimes referred to as E15, it is one of the many volcanic features of Iceland.
  • In 2010, a relatively small eruption (VEI 4) managed to bring air traffic in Europe to a complete standstill.
  • 20 countries closed their airspace, impacting approximately 10 million travellers.
Kīlauea, Hawaii
  • Adjacent to the Mauna Loa, this is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. It has been erupting intermittently since recorded history, with its eruption lasting from 1983 to 2018 being the longest continuous eruption ever recorded.
  • It is a major tourist attraction, with the earliest hotel built at the edge of the volcano in the 1840s.
Mount St Helens, USA
  • Located in Washington State, Mount St. Helens was a major eruption that occurred on May 18, 1980 (VEI 5), and it remains the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history.
  • It started after an earthquake hit the region, killing 57 and causing property damage over $1 billion.
  • It remains an active volcano and one that is considered to be amongst the riskiest by scientists.

-Source: Indian Express


The “One Station One Product” initiative by the Indian Railways, which provides uniquely designed sale outlets for locals to sell indigenous products, is now operational at 1,037 stations nationwide.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. One Station One Product Scheme
  2. Implementation

One Station One Product Scheme

  • Initiative by Indian Railways: Launched under the Ministry of Railways, this initiative aims to promote ‘Vocal for Local.’
  • Vision: To create uniquely designed sale outlets at railway stations for locals to sell indigenous products nationwide.
  • Design Source: Developed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
  • Promotional Hub: Transform each railway station into a promotional hub showcasing local and indigenous manufacturing products.
  • Welfare Focus: Focuses on the welfare of local artisans, potters, weavers, tribals, etc.


  • Rotational Allotment: Allotment to eligible applicants is done on a rotational basis.
  • Pilot Launch: The scheme’s pilot phase began on March 25, 2022.
  • Temporary Stalls/Kiosks: Eligible applicants are allotted temporary stalls or kiosks for a 15-day period on depositing Rs 1,000 with Railways.
  • Nationwide Outlets: Sale outlets are established at railway stations nationwide, allocated through a tendering process.
  • Zonal Railways’ Role: Zonal railways identify stations, eligible products, and vendors for the scheme.

-Source: Times of India

December 2023