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Current Affairs 30 January 2024

  1. Supreme Court to Address BSF Jurisdiction Expansion Dispute in Punjab
  2. NHRC Urges Implementation of Idate Commission Report for Nomadic and De-Notified Tribes
  3. Pulsar
  4. Nitrogen hypoxia
  5. Western Equine Encephalitis Virus
  6. Dogri Folk Dance


Context:

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the dispute regarding the 2021 notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which expanded the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam. The move was contested by the Punjab government.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the BSF
  2. Centre’s Notification on BSF’s Jurisdiction Extension
  3. Different Issues in the Extension of Jurisdiction
  4. Enhancing Border Management Without Compromising State Jurisdiction: Key Recommendations
  5. Constitutional Viewpoint on Deployment of Armed Forces in States

About the BSF

  • The Border Security Force (BSF) was established in 1965, following the India-Pakistan war.
  • It is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces of India and operates under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • The other Central Armed Police Forces include the Assam Rifles (AR), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), National Security Guards (NSG), and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • The BSF, with a strength of approximately 2.65 lakhs, is deployed along the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • It is responsible for guarding the Indo-Pakistan International Border, Indo-Bangladesh International Border, and the Line of Control (LoC) in coordination with the Indian Army. The BSF also plays a role in anti-Naxal operations.
  • Additionally, the BSF is responsible for defending areas like Sir Creek in the Arabian Sea and the Sundarban delta in the Bay of Bengal, using a modern fleet of watercraft.
  • The BSF also contributes a substantial contingent of trained personnel to UN peacekeeping missions on an annual basis.

Centre’s Notification on BSF’s Jurisdiction Extension

Notification Replacing Previous Order:
  • The Centre has issued a new notification to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF), replacing a 2014 order under the BSF Act, 1968.
  • The previous order covered states like Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya.
  • The new notification also explicitly mentions the two newly created Union Territories, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh, along with Assam, West Bengal, and Punjab.
Violations Under BSF’s Purview:

The BSF is empowered to carry out search and seizure operations for various violations, including:

  • Smuggling of narcotics and other prohibited items.
  • Illegal entry of foreigners.
  • Offenses punishable under other Central Acts, among others.
Handling of Suspects and Detained Individuals:
  • After the BSF detains a suspect or seizes a consignment within its specified area of jurisdiction, it is authorized to conduct “preliminary questioning.”
  • However, the BSF is required to hand over the suspect to the local police within 24 hours.
  • It’s important to note that the BSF does not possess the authority to prosecute crime suspects.
Special Powers of BSF:
  • The BSF Act, 1968, grants the BSF special powers in border states, allowing for the extension of its jurisdiction concerning offenses.
  • The extent of this jurisdiction has evolved over the years; for instance, Gujarat had an 80-kilometer jurisdiction since 1969.
  • Currently, this jurisdiction has been standardized to 50 kilometers.
  • This means that the BSF also has jurisdiction over certain offenses under laws like the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, and Passport Act, 1967.
  • Local police authorities retain their jurisdiction alongside the concurrent jurisdiction granted to the BSF.

Different Issues in the Extension of Jurisdiction

Division of Responsibilities:

  • Public order and policing, which encompass maintaining public peace, safety, and tranquility, are primarily the responsibilities of State Governments, as indicated in Entry 1 and Entry 2 of the State list, respectively.

Concern for National Security:

  • However, when a situation of serious public disorder arises, threatening the security or defense of the State or the country itself (as per Entry 1 of the Union list), it becomes a matter of concern for the Union Government.

Encroachment on State Powers:

  • The extension of jurisdiction by the Union Government without obtaining the concurrence of the state government may be viewed as encroachment on the powers of the states.

Punjab’s Perspective:

  • In the case of Punjab, the state government has asserted that this notification represents the Centre’s encroachment under the guise of security or development.

Policing Roles:

  • Policing in the hinterland, which is not the primary role of a border guarding force like the BSF, could potentially weaken the capacity of the BSF in fulfilling its primary duty of guarding the international border.
Issues Specific to Punjab:
  • For a 50-kilometer jurisdiction, the BSF would have concurrent powers, along with the state police, to handle all cognizable offenses under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • In Punjab, extending the jurisdiction from 15 to 50 kilometers encompasses all major cities, raising concerns about the impact on policing and governance.
  • In contrast, states like Gujarat, with substantial marshland, and Rajasthan, with vast desert areas, may have different considerations due to the geographical layout.

Enhancing Border Management Without Compromising State Jurisdiction: Key Recommendations

  • Collaboration between Central and State Agencies: Foster collaboration between central and state law enforcement agencies for joint border security management.
  • Framework for Information Sharing: Establish a comprehensive framework for information sharing and coordination among various security forces operating at the borders.
  • Joint Task Forces: Create joint task forces comprising both central and state police personnel for specific border regions to enhance effectiveness.
  • Involvement of State Police in Surveillance: Involve units of state police in border surveillance to complement the efforts of central forces, adopting a collaborative model similar to Coast Guard and Indian Navy arrangements.
  • Investment in Surveillance Technologies: Invest in advanced surveillance technologies such as drones, sensors, and communication systems to bolster border monitoring capabilities.
  • Centralized Information-Sharing Platform: Establish a centralized information-sharing platform integrating data from diverse sources for real-time analysis and decision-making.
  • Legal Framework Development: Develop a clear legal framework delineating roles, responsibilities, and jurisdiction of both central and state forces in border areas.
  • Protocols for Cross-Border Incidents: Formulate protocols for addressing cross-border incidents and conducting joint investigations when necessary.
  • Regular Consultations and Meetings: Conduct regular consultations and meetings between central and state authorities to address concerns and challenges related to border management.
  • Continuous Dialogue Platform: Establish a platform for continuous dialogue to adapt strategies based on evolving security dynamics and enhance coordination.
  • Diplomatic Initiatives with Neighbours: Engage in diplomatic initiatives to enhance cooperation with neighbouring countries on border security matters.
  • Joint Initiatives and Coordinated Patrols: Explore joint initiatives, information sharing, and coordinated patrols with neighbouring countries to address transnational security challenges effectively.

Constitutional Viewpoint on Deployment of Armed Forces in States

  • Article 355 of the Indian Constitution empowers the Centre to deploy its armed forces to protect a state against “external aggression and internal disturbance,” even when the concerned state does not request the Centre’s assistance and is unwilling to receive central forces.
  • In situations where a state opposes the deployment of the Union’s armed forces, the appropriate course of action for the Centre is to issue directives to the concerned state under Article 355.
  • If the state fails to comply with the Central government’s directive, the Centre can take further action under Article 356, which deals with the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

-Source: Hindustan Times



Context:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) highlights the significance of implementing the Idate Commission report’s recommendations for Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic, and De-Notified Tribes (NTs, SNTs, and DNTs) in India.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Major Recommendations of the Idate Commission
  2. Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?
  3. What is the history of deprivation faced by these communities?
  4. Policy measures for DNTs

Major Recommendations of the Idate Commission

The Idate Commission, established in 2014 under Bhiku Ramji Idate’s leadership, aimed to compile a comprehensive catalog of Denotified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DNTs) in the state. The major recommendations include:

  • Identification and Inclusion:
    • Assign individuals not identified in the SCs/STs/OBCs list to the OBC category for inclusive welfare measures.
  • Legal Safeguards Enhancement:
    • Enhance legal and constitutional safeguards by incorporating a third schedule into the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. This aims to prevent atrocities and restore a sense of security among community members.
  • Permanent Commission:
    • Advocate the establishment of a permanent commission with legal standing specifically for Denotified, Semi-Nomadic, and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs, SNTs, and NTs).
  • Dedicated Department:
    • Recommend the formation of a dedicated department to address the welfare of these communities, especially in states with significant population concentrations.
  • Thorough Survey:
    • Undertake a comprehensive survey of DNT families to accurately determine their estimated numbers and distribution for informed policymaking.

Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?

These are communities who are the most vulnerable and deprived.

  • Denotified tribes (DNTs): Communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminal’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
  • Nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes:  Communities are defined as those who move from one place to another rather than living at one place all the time.

What is the history of deprivation faced by these communities?

  • This has a long history, first during colonial rule, and then in independent India.
  • The Renke Commission said this is partly because these communities are largely politically ‘quiet’ — they do not place their demands concretely before the government for they lack vocal leadership and also lack the patronage of a national leader.
  • Many commissions and committees constituted since Independence have referred to the problems of these communities. These include
    • Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh),
    • Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee in 1949 (it was based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed),
    • Kaka Kalelkar Commission (also called first OBC Commission) constituted in 1953.
    • In 1965, an Advisory Committee constituted for revision of the SC and ST list under the chairmanship of B N Lokur referred to denotified tribes.
    • The B P Mandal Commission constituted in 1980 also made some recommendations on the issue.

Challenges Faced by Nomadic Tribes

  • The communities lack access to amenities including drinking water, shelter, and sanitary facilities. Additionally lacking are amenities for healthcare and education.
  • Because they were once stigmatised as criminals, the local government and police still treat them as such and torture them.
  • Because they move about a lot, they do not have a permanent residence. As a result, they are not covered by social security, are not given ration cards or adhar cards, etc., and are therefore not eligible for government welfare programmes’ benefits.
  • The caste categorization is not very clear for these communities, in some states some of the communities are included under the SC category, in some other states they are included under OBCs.

Policy measures for DNTs:

  • The Government had constituted National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) to prepare a State-wise list of castes belonging to Denotified and Nomadic Tribes and to suggest appropriate measures in respect of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes that may be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Government.
  • The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.
  • The Idate Commission submitted its report in January 2018. It mentioned that a permanent commission for Denotified, Semi Nomadic, and Nomadic Tribes should have a prominent community leader as its chairperson, and a senior Union government bureaucrat, an anthropologist, and a sociologist as members.
  • A Development and Welfare Board for De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNCs) has been constituted and a Committee has also been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs).
  • The survey work of identification of DNT Communities and placing them in a category of SC/ST/OBC is also under process in NITI Ayog and Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI).

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

In 1967, two astronomers at the University of Cambridge discovered the First Pulsar, later named PSR B1919+21, setting the stage for a journey into the depths of neutron stars and their enigmatic pulsar counterparts.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Pulsars: Rapidly Rotating Neutron Stars
  2. Formation of Pulsars: Stellar Evolution Unveiled
  3. Exploring Pulsar Glitches

Pulsars: Rapidly Rotating Neutron Stars

Pulsars Defined:

  • Pulsars are neutron stars rotating at high speeds, emitting regular pulses of radiation, ranging from seconds to milliseconds.
  • Strong magnetic fields of pulsars accelerate particles along magnetic poles, creating powerful beams of light.

Pulsar Periodicity:

  • Periodicity arises as beams of light cross the Earth’s line of sight, causing the pulsar to appear ‘on’ or ‘off’ as the beams face or move away from Earth.
  • The time between pulses is termed the ‘period’ of the pulsar.
Theories Related to Discovery and Behavior:
  • Link with Neutron Discovery:
    • Discovery tied to James Chadwick’s 1932 finding of neutrons.
    • Neutron stars form when heavy stars collapse into a ball of neutrons after implosion.
  • Pulsars as Rotating Neutron Stars:
    • Pulsar signals’ small, repetitive pattern led to identification as rotating neutron stars.
    • Radio signals emitted near poles form a sweeping cone, akin to a lighthouse beam.
  • Unexpected Glitches:
    • Neutron stars experience rotational slowing over time.
    • Glitches, abrupt changes in rotation rate followed by gradual relaxation, observed in pulsar PSR 0833-45 in 1969.
    • Glitches, observed in over 3,000 pulsars, introduced complexity and prompted further study.
Scientific Intrigue:
  • Glitches, characterized by changes in rotation rate, sparked scientific curiosity, leading to in-depth exploration of underlying mechanisms governing pulsar dynamics.

Formation of Pulsars: Stellar Evolution Unveiled

Supernova Explosion:

  • Pulsars originate from remnants of massive stars, typically with 1.4 to 3.2 times the Sun’s mass, culminating in a supernova explosion.

Neutron Star Creation:

  • Supernova aftermath involves the ejection of outer layers, leading the core to contract under gravity’s pull.
  • Intense gravitational pressure surpasses electron degeneracy, causing electrons and protons to merge into neutrons.

Characteristics of Neutron Stars:

  • Neutron stars result from this process, exhibiting extreme density and a powerful gravitational field (approximately 2 x 10^11 times Earth’s gravity).

Angular Momentum Conservation:

  • During collapse, the star conserves its angular momentum, resulting in a much smaller size and a significant increase in rotational speed.

Pulsar Emission Mechanism:

  • Rapidly rotating neutron stars emit electromagnetic radiation beams along magnetic field lines.
  • If Earth intercepts these beams during the neutron star’s rotation, astronomers detect periodic pulses of radiation, defining the object as a pulsar.

Exploring Pulsar Glitches

Distinct Neutron Star Composition:

  • Neutron stars showcase a distinctive composition, featuring a solid crust and a superfluid core, offering a unique celestial stage for dynamic forces to interact.

Crucial Interplay in Cosmic Dynamics:

  • The interplay between the decelerating crust and the sustained vortex speed in the superfluid core becomes a pivotal factor in understanding glitches’ origins.

Post-Glitch Insights:

  • Observations of post-glitch behavior strongly indicate the existence of a superfluid state within these cosmic entities.

Neutron Star Anatomy:

  • Neutron stars, compact with a mere 20-km width, consist of a solid crust and a core. The core, devoid of solid components, is predominantly occupied by the superfluid.

Perpetual Motion in Superfluids:

  • Superfluids, exemplified by perpetual motion without friction when set in motion, play a critical role in deciphering the behavior of the superfluid core within neutron stars.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, Alabama successfully executed a man who spent decades on death row using a new method called nitrogen hypoxia.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Nitrogen Hypoxia
  2. Key Facts about Nitrogen

Nitrogen Hypoxia:

  • Hypoxia refers to insufficient oxygen in the body.
  • Nitrogen hypoxia involves inhaling lethal concentrations of nitrogen gas, causing asphyxiation.
  • It’s a recent method of capital punishment, replacing traditional methods like lethal injection or electrocution.
  • In this process, a respirator mask is used to administer pure nitrogen, inducing unconsciousness and eventual death.

Key Facts about Nitrogen

  • Nitrogen is a colorless, odorless gas.
  • Constitutes a significant part of the atmosphere.
  • Essential for plant growth and utilized in fertilizers.
  • Plays a vital role in the chemical industry, used in manufacturing fertilizers, nitric acid, nylon, dyes, and explosives.
  • Used to create an unreactive atmosphere, preserving foods and in the electronics industry.
  • Widely employed in annealing stainless steel and as a refrigerant.
  • Liquid nitrogen is utilized to freeze foods rapidly, maintaining their quality.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, the International Health Regulations National Focal Point (IHR NFP) in Argentina alerted the World Health Organization of a human case of Western Equine Encephalitis Virus (WEEV) infection.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Western Equine Encephalitis Virus (WEEV)

Western Equine Encephalitis Virus (WEEV)

Virus Characteristics

  • WEEV is a mosquito-borne infection belonging to the Togaviridae virus family.
  • It possesses a single-stranded RNA genome with a length of approximately 11.5 kilobases.
  • The virus is a recombinant of the eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) and a Sindbis-like virus.

Reservoir and Transmission

  • Passerine birds are believed to be the reservoir of WEEV.
  • Equine species serve as intermediate hosts.
  • Mosquitoes act as vectors, facilitating the transmission of the virus to humans.

Symptoms

  • While many infections are asymptomatic, some cases may result in severe consequences.
  • Approximately 4-5% of cases can lead to inflammation of the brain, causing neurological symptoms and potential sequelae.

Treatment

  • No specific antiviral treatment is available for WEEV.
  • Symptomatic care is essential, particularly for managing neurological symptoms.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, the Union Government of India conferred Padma Shri award to Jammu’s Dogri folk dancer Romalo Ram.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dogri Folk Dance:

  • Dogri folk dance is native to the Duggar region of Jammu.
Performance Dynamics
  • Typically, a group of artists participates in the dance.
  • The main leader performs the dual role of singing and dancing, while others, in a sitting position, contribute beats using Drums and Chimta.
Occasions and Settings
  • Often showcased during functions and social gatherings.
Varieties
  • Different variations exist, involving men and women or exclusively women performing in groups.
  • Performers adorn colorful traditional dresses, enhancing the visual appeal.
Significance
  • Dogra folk dances play a crucial role in worship, ceremonies, and serve as a pastime.
  • Celebratory occasions strongly influence the essence of these folk dances.
Other Dance Forms in Jammu Region
  • Dheku, Phummani, Jagran, Chakki, Chhajja, Kuddha, Hirana, among others, contribute to the vibrant dance culture.
  • Notable folk-drama styles include Bhagtan, Raas, and Chandrauli.

-Source: The Hindu


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