IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


2nd July, 2020


Police reform and the crucial judicial actor


- Two individuals were brutally beaten and killed in the judicial custody by Police in Tamil Nadu.

- Five custodial deaths take place every day in India.

Court role in Police reforms:

- Madras High court is closely monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu and took the suo-moto cognizance of the violence.

- In D K Basu case, court had provided the two rights: Right to life and right to Know.

- These rights made the accused aware of the reasons of his arrest.

- His family members were informed immediately.

- Court sought to curb the power of arrest.

Prakash Singh Case:

-  The Supreme Court issued its judgement in 2006, ordering the centre and states to set up authorities to lay down guidelines for police functioning, evaluate police performance, decide postings and transfers, and receive complaints of police misconduct. 

- The court also required that minimum tenure of service be guaranteed to key police officers to protect them from arbitrary transfers and postings.

- Court gave seven point guidelines:

[1] Constitute a State Security Commission (SSC) to:

(i) Ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police

(ii) Lay down broad policy guideline and

(iii) Evaluate the performance of the state police

[2] Ensure that the DGP is appointed through merit based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years

[3] Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (including Superintendents of Police in-charge of a district and Station House Officers in-charge of a police station) are also provided a minimum tenure of two years Directive Four Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police

[5] Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and make recommendations on postings and transfers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

 [6] Set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody and at district levels to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct.

[7] Set up a National Security Commission (NSC) at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of two years.

Other concern of Judiciary:

- Exhorting police to undertake scientific investigations.

- Provided support for techniques such as narcoanalysis,

- Ensuring video recording of investigations,

- Passing orders for installing closed-circuit television cameras inside police stations.

Reasons behind custodial deaths:

- Increase in custodial death

- Continuing culture of Impunity among the Police officers

- Concept of few bad apples ruining the whole system as observed by the Madras High Court.

-  No following of the Police reforms by the State. Tamil Nadu took 11 years to implement the Supreme Court guidelines in Prakash Singh Case.

- Overburdened Police system with little infrastructure and facilities at place.

- Judicial failure in providing quick justice leading to demand of justice by Police. Recent, killing of the rape accused points in this direction.

- Low accountability in the police system.

- Third degree torture is often seen as a way to get confession or strike fear in the minds of criminal.

Way Forward:

- Penalty at the district level

- Swift implementation of the Prakash Singh verdict by all states.

- Local magistrate who determines bail and face the accused at first hand must be sensitised and trained in protection of human rights.

- Implementing scientific investigation techniques for interrogation than physical torture.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/police-reform-and-the-crucial-judicial-actor/article31966941.ece



Reforming India’s digital policy


- Covid 19 has affected the FDI inflow in the countries.

- According to a report by UNCTAD, FDI in Asian countries can drop by 45%.

Rise of Digital services:

- Digital services are filling the gaps of traditional services.

- More and more digital services are being delivered.

- It has become the preferred mode of transaction in the 21st century.

- In this pandemic, investments in the digital services are at its peak.

- India offers critical advantage in digital service revolution: advantage of the demography, demand of the services and cheap data availability.

Three Pending Reforms:

1. Personal Data Protection Bill:

- The bill will bring out the necessary protection required for data protection thus providing the policy certainty.

- It will clearly mark out the essential data, which has to be stored in India, and non-essential data, which can be traded.

- It will pave the way for growth of data storage companies in India.

- Localisation of data will help in preventing of digital crime leading to more secure environment for digital services.

2. The E-commerce policy:

- Digital tax levied on e-commerce beyond a certain revenue will help government tax such companies who has cornered all the market but pay no taxation.

- It will bring parity between offline and online traders.

3. Amendment in the IT act, which focuses on social media regulation, will help in encouraging these platforms to grow in safe and secure measure.

Challenges of reforms:

- Not accepted by these giant companies

- Challenged by the US trade and commerce chambers

- Companies find a way to evade the policies.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/reforming-indias-digital-policy/article31966951.ece



Convalescent plasma for those not responding to steroids: Health Ministry

Government instruction:

- Convalescent plasma may be considered in COVID-19 patients with moderate disease who are not improving (oxygen requirement is progressively increasing) despite use of steroids.

Plasma Therapy:

- Convalescent Plasma therapy involves transfusing certain components from the blood of people who have recovered from a virus attack into people who are very sick with the virus or people who are at high risk of getting the virus.

- When a pathogen like novel corona virus infects, our immune systems produce antibodies.

- The antibodies span out to identify and mark the invading virus.

- White blood cells attach the identified intruders, and the body gets rid of the infection.

- The therapy, like blood transfusion, harvests the antibody from a recovered patient and ingest into a sick person.

- Helped by the antibody, the immune system mounts robust combat on the virus.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/convalescent-plasma-may-be-considered-in-covid-19-patients-not-responding-to-steroids/article31960382.ece


Bombay HC allows minor rape victim to terminate pregnancy


- The Bombay High Court allowed a 17-year-old rape victim to terminate her 25-week pregnancy, though a medical report had advised her against it.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

- Permit the termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks from the existing 20 weeks.

- Requirement for the opinion of one doctor for the termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation

- The requirement of the opinion of two doctors for the termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.

- Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women, which will be defined in the amendments to the MTP Rules and would include vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, minors), etc.

- Upper gestation limit will not apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by Medical Board.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bombay-hc-allows-minor-rape-victim-to-terminate-pregnancy/article31965296.ece#:~:text=The%20Bombay%20High%20Court%20on,the%20victim%20through%20her%20father.


Migrant food grain scheme reached less than 15% of 8 crores target

Data of Food Ministry:

- Reached less than 15% of targeted migrants.

- Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Telangana had zero percent distribution and seven States had less than 1% distribution.

- Telangana lifted its entire allocation of grain under the Aatmanirbhar scheme from the Central pool, but did not distribute it to any beneficiary at all.

- Andhra Pradesh distributed grain to 600 people in May and 800 in June.

- Rajasthan distributed grain to more than 42 lakh people each month, 95% of its estimated target.

About the Scheme (Aatmanirbhar Food Package):

- Central government had announced the scheme but left it for states to identify the beneficiaries.

- Recently, the extension of Pradhan Mantri  Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) has not led to extension of Aatmanirbhar food package.

- Food grains were provided free of cost at the rate of 5 Kg per month for two months i.e. May and June 2020, to about 8 Crores migrant labour.

- They were not covered under NFSA or State scheme PDS cards.

- The total estimated cost of about Rs. 3500 Crores for implementation of this scheme was fully borne by Government of India.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-lockdown-migrant-foodgrain-scheme-reached-less-than-15-of-8-crore-target/article31965554.ece



India designates nine individuals linked to Khalistani groups as terrorists


- The Union Home Ministry designated nine more individuals as “terrorists” under the amended Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

- The nine persons declared terrorists are linked to separatist Khalistani groups that seek to establish a separate country for the Sikhs.

UAPA act:

- The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), enacted in 1967, was first amended in 2004, 2008 and 2013.

- The 2004 amendment was to ban organisations for terrorist activities, under which 34 outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad were banned.

- Law empower the Centre to label individuals as terrorists (there used to be terrorist organisations so far and individuals were prosecuted for being part of or assisting them).

- The onus of proving that one is not a terrorist is on the individual.

- The law does not specify the process that the Centre will follow to brand someone a terrorist.

- To be denotified as a ‘terrorist’, an individual can make an application to the Centre seeking a review. If his application is rejected, the individual can approach a review committee. If the committee rules in his favour, the terrorist tag is taken away.

- There is no specified time limit for the appointment of a review committee or the time limit in which it is supposed to give its order.

Challenges to the act:

- It violates article 14( Right to equality), article 19 ( right to freedom ) and article 21(right to life).

- Tagging someone terrorist without even the trial is violation of right to reputation.

- Individual is not being given an opportunity to be heard which violates principle of natural justice.

- It is unreasonable, unjust, unfair, excessive, disproportionate and violated the due process.

- A person who is designated a terrorist, even if he is de-notified subsequently, faces a lifelong stigma and this tarnishes his reputation for life.

- Designating a person as a terrorist on a mere belief of the government is arbitrary and excessive.

- It is unclear as to what legitimate aim does the state seek to achieve by declaring a person as a terrorist without even providing an efficacious remedy to challenge his notification.



Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-designates-nine-individuals-linked-to-khalistani-groups-as-terrorists/article31964834.ece



Indian Railways begins process for entry of ‘private trains’

The Indian Railways kick-started the process to allow private players to operate certain trains on its network by inviting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for operation of passenger train services on over 100 routes with 150 modern trains.


- First initiative of private participation in running the railway

- Can attract investment worth Rs. 30000 crores.

- The majority of trains will be manufactured in India and the private entity will be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains, which will be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph.

- The Delhi-Lucknow Tejas is the first train that is not operated by the Indian Railway.

- The “Concession Period” for the project will be 35 years.

- The private entity will pay to Indian Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption, and a share in gross revenue determined through a transparent bidding process.

- These trains will be operated by drivers and guards of the Indian Railways.


- Job generation

- Reduced travel time

- Reduced maintenance of trains

- Enhanced safety features

- Provide world-class experience to travellers

- Reduce supply demand deficit in passenger segment


- Fixation of the fares

- No having dedicated railway line to maintain the timeliness.

- If private trains get preferential treatment on the timetable, the schedule of the Indian Railways trains will suffer.

- Tariffs could also become a problem for more underprivileged sections of society.



Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indian-railways-begins-process-for-entry-of-private-trains/article31965242.ece


SBI unit to set up SPV for aiding NBFCs on liquidity


- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that State Bank of India’s SBICAP unit would set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to assist NBFCs and HFCs to improve their liquidity following the Centre’s approval of a Special Liquidity Scheme (SLS) for the purpose.

About the Process:

- The RBI issued guidelines specifying the norms that would make non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies (HFCs) eligible to avail funds under SLS.

- NBFCs and HFCs looking to avail the funds should not have net non-performing assets of more than 6% as on March 31, 2019.

- Should have made a net profit in at least one of the last two preceding financial years (i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19).

- The CRAR/CAR of NBFCs/HFCs must not be below the regulatory minimum, i.e., 15% and 12%, respectively, as on March 31, 2019.

About the SPV:

- The SPV will purchase short-term papers from eligible NBFCs/HFCs.

- They will utilise the proceeds under the scheme solely for the purpose of extinguishing existing liabilities.

- A special purpose vehicle, also called a special purpose entity (SPE), is a subsidiary created by a parent company to isolate financial risk.

- Its legal status is a separate company.

Special Liquidity scheme:

- The Prime Minister had announced the Special Liquidity Scheme of 30,000 crores rupees to buy investment-grade debt paper from both primary and secondary markets under Atmanirbhar Bharat abhiyan.

- The Scheme will be fully backed by government.

- It will make NBFC and HFC to reduce their debt exposure and engage in fresh lending.

- The proposed scheme would be a one-stop arrangement between the SPV and the NBFCs without having to liquidate their current asset portfolio.

- The scheme would also act as an enabler for the NBFC to get investment grade or better rating for bonds issued.

- The scheme is likely to be easier to operate and also augment the flow of funds from the non-bank sector.

About NBFC:

- A Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities.

- NBFCs lend and make investments and hence their activities are akin to that of banks; however, there are a few differences as given below:

i. NBFC cannot accept demand deposits;

ii. NBFCs do not form part of the payment and settlement system and cannot issue cheques drawn on itself;

iii. Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in case of banks.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/sbi-unit-to-set-up-spv-for-aiding-nbfcs-on-liquidity/article31965193.ece#:~:text=The%20Reserve%20Bank%20of%20India,(SLS)%20for%20the%20purpose.

Prelims Facts:

Central Zoo Authority:

Recently, Environment ministry has reconstituted the central zoo authority. It will have a member from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and a molecular biologist.

- Statutory Body

- Chaired by Environment minister

- Regulates zoos all over the country

- Lays down guidelines and prescribes rules under which animals may be transferred among zoos nationally and internationally.

-  It consists of 10 members and a member-secretary.

Striped Hairstreak:

- Species of Butterfly.

- It was located in Vijaynagar bordering Myanmar.

Elusive Prince:

- Species of Butterfly.

- It was located on periphery of the Namdapha National Park.

Assam Keelback:

- A non-venomous snake from Assam.