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PIB Summaries 11 February 2022


  1. Deep Ocean Mission
  2. Inadequate fast track Courts and vacancies in Courts
  3. SMILE Scheme

Deep Ocean Mission

Focus: GS I- Physical Geography

Why in News?

National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences is developing a manned submersible with a capacity to carry three human beings to 6000 m ocean depth.

  • The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) of ISRO is involved in developing a titanium alloy human sphere of 2.1 m diameter for the manned submersible.

About Deep Ocean Mission:

Nodal:  Ministry of Earth Sciences

  • Deep Ocean Mission is a mission mode project to support the Blue Economy Initiatives of the Government of India.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is one of the collaborators of the Ministry of Earth Sciences for implementation of Deep Ocean Mission (DOM).
  • Government of India has also launched a ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ for exploration of polymetallic nodules in Central Indian Ocean Basin.
    • Polymetallic nodules contain multiple metals like copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, iron, lead, zinc, alluminum, silver, gold, and platinum etc. in variable constitutions and are precipitate of hot fluids from upwelling hot magma from the deep interior of the oceanic crust.
  • It is a Central Sector Scheme and no separate allocation for States is envisaged.
  • It is proposed to collaborate with non-governmental organizations for research collaboration for various components of Deep Ocean Mission.

The objectives of the mission are as follows:

  • To develop technologies for mining of deep sea resources like Polymetallic nodules from the Central Indian Ocean at a water depth of 5500 m.
  • Design, and develop one working prototype and one final manned Submersible rated for 6000metre water depth along with technologies for underwater vehicle and underwater robotics
  • To provide the future projections or predictions on the trends in sea level along the Indian coast, cyclone intensity and frequency, storm surges, wind waves, biogeochemistry and ecosystem that affect the fishery, at seasonal to decadal time scales for the north Indian Ocean under the climate change scenario. To install deep ocean observations (below 2 km depth) over the Indian Ocean.
  • Inventorization, archival of specimens and development of DNA bank of deep-sea fauna of Northern Indian Ocean through systematic sampling using Remotely Operated Vehicle.
  • Development of technology for isolation of deep-sea piezotolerant and piezophilic microbes, symbionts and screening for novel biomolecules using culture-based and meta genomic approaches.
  • Exploration of formation of life friendly molecules and organismal components in deep sea.
  • To explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal hydrothermal sulphides mineralization along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges.
  • To acquire new all-weather multidisciplinary research vessel for Indian Ocean operations.
  • Detailed engineering design document for high capacity offshore OTEC powered desalination plant
  • Performance assessment of critical components such as deep-sea cold-water conduit and mooring system by demonstration of scaled down components in deep sea.
  • Integrating the ongoing advanced basic and applied research in marine biology, marine ecology and related marine engineering through the establishment of an advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology.
  • Translate research in marine biology and engineering into industrial application and product development through establishment of on-site business incubator facilities.
  • Capacity building with French Institutes. Excellent Indian candidates, stringently selected at a national level, will be deputed to the French institutes to be trained in all areas of marine biosciences.
  • National and International collaboration in education, research and excellence in the field of marine science and ocean science and Ocean Technology.

Inadequate Fast Track Courts and Vacancies in Courts

Focus: GS II- Polity

Why in News?

The judge to population ratio (Judge/per million population) with respect to sanctioned strength of judges is 21.03 as on 31.12.2021.


  • In order to calculate the judge-population ratio for per million populations in a particular year, the Department uses the criterion of using the population as per Census 2011 and as per available information regarding sanctioned strength of Judges in Supreme Court, High Court and District & Subordinate Courts in the particular year.
  • Setting up of subordinate courts including Fast Track Courts (FTCs) and its functioning comes within the domain of the State Governments in consultation with the respective High Courts.
  • In order to provide speedy justice, the 14th Finance Commission had recommended the setting up of 1800 Fast Track Courts (FTCs) during 2015-2020 and had urged State Governments to utilize enhanced fiscal space available through tax devolution (32% to 42%) for dealing with specific natured cases of heinous crimes, civil cases pertaining to women, children, senior citizens, other vulnerable sections of society etc and property related cases pending above 5 years.
  • As per data provided by the High Courts up to December, 2021, total 898 Fast Track Courts are functional in 22 States/UTs.

About Fast-track courts :

  • Fast-track courts (FTCs) are created primarily to deal with the judicial backlog.
  • A ‘special court’ is one which is to deal with special types of cases under a shortened and simplified procedure.
  • Fast-track courts (FTCs) have been around for a long time, with the first ones being established in the year 2000.
  • However, 56% of the States and Union Territories, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, had no FTCs.
  • Judges are appointed on the ad hoc basis.
  • Retired judges or eligible judicial officers who are selected by the High court of the respective states are the head of these courts.
Need for Fast Track courts
  • Clearing the considerable amount of pending cases
  • Expected to reduce the number of undertrials in jails
  • Need for Speedy Trial
  • Judiciary’s commitment to end sexual and gender based violence
Advantages of Fast track courts:
  • Lessening of the general caseload burden
  • Promotes specialization and professionalization
  • Improves judicial efficiency and effectiveness
  • High case clearance rate and speedy trial rate
  • Guarantees consistency and predictability
Issues Faced by FTCs
  • Non-Uniformity in Type of Cases: In a survey of FTCs conducted by National Law University Delhi, it was observed that there is a huge variation in the kinds of cases handled by these courts across States, with certain States primarily allocating rape and sexual offence cases to them and other States allocating various other matters.
  • Infrastructural Issues: Most FTCs were not set up with different infrastructure or facilities, but were often housed in an existing court. Moreover, several States appoint FTCs special judges from the current pool of judges. This substantially increases the workload of the remaining judges.
  • Technological Barrier: Several FTCs lacked technological resources to conduct audio and video recordings of the victims and many of them did not have regular staff.
  • Adhocism: Setting up of FTCs was not based on actual problems of pendency, but was often in response to specific incidents such as securities scams, rape cases and sexual harassment of children.
  • Lack of Coordination: In India, tribunals are managed by different ministries, and fast-track courts and special courts are administered under different judicial bodies, with little coordination or uniformity among them.
  • Other Issues: There are delays in getting reports from the understaffed forensic science laboratories, judges make frivolous adjournments and inadequate staff adversely affect the efficiency of the fast track courts.
PIB Summaries 11 February 2022


SMILE Scheme

Focus: GS II- Government Policies and Interventions

Why in News?

Union Minister for Social Justice &Empowerment  will launch the Central Sector scheme “SMILE: Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise” 

About SMILE Scheme

Nodal: Minister for Social Justice &Empowerment

  • This umbrella scheme, under the aegis of Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, is designed to provide welfare measures to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.
  • The scheme strengthens and expands the reach of the Rights that give the targeted group the necessary legal protection and a promise to a secured life.
  • It keeps in mind the social security that is needed through multiple dimensions of identity, medical care, education, occupational opportunities and shelter.
  • The Ministry has allocated Rs. 365 Crore for the scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

The scheme includes two sub-schemes-

  • Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons
  • Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of engaged in the act of Begging

Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons

It includes the following components-
  • Scholarships for Transgender Students: Scholarships for students studying in IX and till post-graduation to enable them to complete their education.
  • Skill Development and Livelihood: Skill Development and Livelihood under PM-DAKSH scheme of the Department.
  • Composite Medical Health: A comprehensive package in convergence with PM-JAY supporting Gender-Reaffirmation surgeries through selected hospitals
  • Housing in the form of ‘Garima Greh’: Shelter Homes ‘Garima Greh’ where food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, recreational activities, medical support etc. will be provided.
  • Provision of Transgender Protection Cell: Setting up of Transgender Protection in each state to monitor cases of offences and to ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of offences.
  • E-Services (National Portal &Helpline and Advertisement) and other Welfare Measures

Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging’

Its focus is as follows-
  • Survey and identification: Survey and Identification of beneficiaries shall be carried out by the Implementing Agencies.
  • Mobilization: Outreach work will be done to mobilize the persons engaged in begging to avail the services available in the Shelter Homes.
  • Rescue/Shelter Home: The shelter homes will facilitate education for children engaged in the act of Begging and children of persons engaged in the act of Begging.
  • Comprehensive resettlement.


  • Skill development/vocational training will be provided to attain capacity, capability and desirability so that they can sustain and live a life of dignity by engaging in self-employment.
  • Pilot projects initiated on Comprehensive Rehabilitation intercities namely Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Lucknow,  Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna and Ahmedabad.

December 2023