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11 Jan, 2023

31 Min Read

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

GS-I : Social issues Child rights

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  • On January 12th, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, which was established in 2007 under the Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Act of 2005, celebrated its 18th Foundation Day.
  • To completely devote this anniversary to children, the Commission conducted a Quiz on the occasion of National Youth Day (Swami Vivekananda Jayanti) to raise awareness about child rights among youngsters. It is a platform for children to advocate for their rights.

About the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child:

  • The Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act of 2005 established the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has administrative jurisdiction over it.
  • A child is defined as someone aged 0 to 18 years old under the statute.
  • It seeks to guarantee that all laws, policies, programmes, and administrative mechanisms are consistent with the Child Rights perspective contained in the Indian Constitution as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • This commission comprises a chairperson and six members, at least two of whom must be women.
  • The Central Government appoints them all for three years.
  • The Chairman's maximum age is 65 years, and members' maximum age is 60 years.
  • The Chairperson and Members' salaries and allowances, as well as other terms and conditions of employment, should be as prescribed by the Central Government.

The National Commission for the Protection of Children's Rights performs the following functions:

  • Examine and review the safeguards in place to protect children's rights, and make recommendations for their successful implementation.
  • Inquire into violations of children's rights and urge that legal action be taken in such circumstances.
  • Examine all elements that limit children's ability to exercise their rights as a result of terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disasters, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, mistreatment, torture and exploitation, pornography, and prostitution, and offer appropriate remedies.
  • Investigate and recommend suitable corrective measures for children in need of particular care and protection, such as children in distress, marginalised and underprivileged children, children without family, and children of prisoners.
  • Study treaties and other international instruments, as well as conduct periodic reviews of existing child rights policies, programmes, and activities, and provide recommendations for their successful implementation in the best interests of children.
  • Conduct and encourage studies on children's rights.
  • Disseminate child rights literacy across society and raise understanding of the safeguards available to defend these rights through publications, the media, seminars, and other available means.
  • Inspect or arrange for the inspection of any juvenile custodial home, or any other place of residence or institution for children under the jurisdiction of the Central Government, any State Government, or any other authority.
  • Inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters concerning: deprivation and violation of children's rights.
  • Non-implementation of legislation aimed at protecting and developing children.
  • Noncompliance with governmental decisions, guidelines, or instructions intended at alleviating sufferings, safeguarding children's welfare, and providing relief to such youngsters.

What are the Constitutional Protections for Children?

  • The right to live with dignity (Article 21), the right to personal liberty (Article 21), the right to privacy (Article 21), the right to equality (Article 14) and/or the right against discrimination (Article 15), and the right against exploitation are all guaranteed by the Constitution to every child (Article 23 & 24).
  • All children aged 6 to 14 have the right to free and obligatory primary education (Article 21 A)
  • The Directive Principles of State Policy, specifically Article 39(f), impose an obligation on the State to provide opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy, free, and dignified way, as well as to protect childhood and youth from exploitation and moral turpitude.

Source: PIB

Uranium Contamination in Groundwater

GS-I : Indian Geography Water crisis

Uranium Contamination in Groundwater

  • The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has produced a study titled "Groundwater yearbook 2021-2022" on the health of groundwater.

Important Findings:

  • In twelve Indian states, uranium levels in groundwater exceed permitted limits.
  • In terms of the percentage of wells with uranium concentrations greater than 30 ppb, Punjab is the worst-affected state.
  • Haryana is the second most contaminated state in terms of uranium in groundwater.
  • Uranium was found in high concentrations in 9.2 per cent of the samples from Uttar Pradesh.
  • Uranium concentrations have been judged to be safe in 13 states.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend a safe limit of 30 ppb.

What is an appropriate upper limit?

  • The Indian Standard IS 10500: 2012 for Drinking Water specification specifies the maximum allowable limits for radioactive residues as alpha and beta emitters, values over which deem the water unfit for consumption.
  • These standards apply to all radioactive elements, including uranium. Individual radioactive elements have not been identified.
  • According to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the maximum permitted limit of Uranium in all drinking water standards is 0.03 mg/l (as per WHO provisional guidelines).

The following are the primary causes of uranium contamination:

  • The amount of uranium found in the rocks of an aquifer.
  • Water-rock interactions result in the extraction of uranium from certain rocks.
  • Conditions of oxidation that increase the solubility of extracted uranium in water.
  • The interaction of extracted uranium with other compounds in groundwater, such as bicarbonate, can increase its solubility even further.
  • Human-caused issues such as groundwater table decline and nitrogen contamination may be exacerbating the situation. This is also due to man-made causes:
  • Irrigation-related over-exploitation of groundwater exacerbates uranium mobilisation.
  • It is most likely one of the causes of uranium and other geogenic pollutants such as arsenic and fluoride.
  • Pollution from nitrates.
  • Falling groundwater table

What should be done?

  • Revision of India's present water quality monitoring programme.
  • Human health concerns in uranium-rich locations are being assessed.
  • Creation of appropriate remediation technology.
  • To overcome this issue, preventive management methods must be implemented.
  • Based on uranium's kidney-harming effects, the Bureau of Indian Standards' Drinking Water Specification now includes a uranium standard.
  • Developing monitoring systems to identify high-risk locations and researching novel methods to prevent or treat uranium contamination.

What is Uranium?

  • Uranium is a mildly radioactive element that remains such due to its lengthy physical half-life (4.468 billion years for uranium-238).
  • Uranium has a biological half-life of roughly 15 days (the average time it takes the human body to clear half of the quantity in the body).
  • It is a naturally occurring element that can be found in trace amounts in every rock, soil, and water.
  • This is the highest-numbered element found in considerable quantities naturally on Earth.
  • It is more abundant than antimony, beryllium, cadmium, gold, mercury, silver, or tungsten.
  • It is roughly as plentiful as tin, arsenic, or molybdenum.

Groundwater Threat:

  • Human-caused degradation, which is frequently coupled with inadequate land, agricultural, and waste management, threatens:
  • Current groundwater utilisation and human and ecosystem health
  • Future generations' benefits are limited.
  • Because much of the groundwater in South Asia is heterogeneous, the situation is exacerbated. Only 30% of South Asia's land cover hosts 70% of groundwater, with the remainder hosted in areas covered by Himalayan rivers.
  • Another issue is water contamination, as much groundwater is contaminated by toxins such as arsenic and fluoride. These pollutants affect more than 400 million individuals. So, in India, there is not only a quantity problem, but also a water quality one.

The Importance of Groundwater:

  • Groundwater has become an increasingly important natural resource in India, meeting the freshwater needs of numerous industries.
  • Groundwater has increasingly emerged as the foundation of India's agricultural and drinking water security.
  • The majority of this was used for irrigation, with the remainder going to towns and villages.
  • Groundwater is the primary source of water for one-fourth of the world's population. India is the world's greatest groundwater user, with approximately 250 cubic kilometres extracted in 2017.

Way Forward

  • There is an urgent need for all parties to respond. Groundwater protection must be ensured in all industries, including agriculture.
  • More research and experiments on the removal of uranium from drinking water using a hybrid membrane approach are required.

Source: Down To Earth

UN Reports on Child Mortality

GS-I : Social issues Issues related to Child

UN Report on Child Mortality

Global studies on child mortality and stillbirths have been released to show if India is doing enough to ensure the health and survival of every kid.

The United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) published two global studies on child mortality (Levels and Trends in Child Mortality) and stillbirths (Never Forgotten)

Findings of the Report:

Rate of child mortality (under-five mortality rate):

  • It is the probability of dying between birth and the age of five expressed per 1,000 live births.
  • In 2021, 5 million children died before reaching the age of five (under-five mortality).
  • Over half of these (2.7 million) happened in children aged one to 59 months, with the balance (2.3 million) occurring in the first month of life (neonatal deaths).
  • The contribution of India to these child deaths was estimated to be roughly 7 lakh under-five deaths, 5.8 lakh newborn deaths (death before first birthday), and 4.4 lakh neonatal deaths.

Report on Stillbirth:

  • It is the death or loss of a baby prior to or during birth.
  • Both miscarriage and stillbirth are terms used to describe pregnancy loss, however, they differ in terms of when the loss happens.
  • Classification by the World Health Organization: A stillbirth occurs when a baby dies after 28 weeks of pregnancy but before or during birth.
  • In 2021, an estimated 1.9 million stillbirths will occur worldwide.
  • The absolute predicted number of stillbirths in India in 2021 (2,86,482) was more than the death rate among children aged 1 to 59 months (2,67,565).

Access to Quality Health Care:

  • For many children around the world, access to and availability of quality health care is a matter of life and death.
  • The majority of child deaths occur within the first five years of life, with half occurring within the first month of life.
  • Premature birth and difficulties during labour are the primary causes of death for these infants.

What Causes So Many Child Deaths?

  • Inadequate granularity and dependability of data: While countries have improved methods for tracking child mortality, data on stillbirths and premature deliveries is limited.
  • This is a challenge because 'preterm babies' are two to four times more likely to die after birth than those delivered after 37 weeks of gestation.
  • Because India has a high rate of preterm deliveries, babies in the country are at a higher risk of problems and death.
  • Preterm birth and stillbirth rates are unacceptably high in India, driving increased neonatal, infant, and child mortality rates. As a result, they require immediate action.

What can be done to reduce the number of stillbirths and premature births?

  • Scaling up established and effective therapies and increasing healthcare quality.
  • The emphasis must be on expanding access to family planning services.
  • Improving antepartum services such as health and nutrition, especially pregnant women’s iron and folic acid intake.
  • Counseling on the significance of a balanced diet and good nutrition.
  • Risk factors must be identified and managed.
  • Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and infections are all disorders that put moms at risk and must be prevented, detected, and managed.
  • Reduce future neurological problems in preterm newborns by assuring Kangaroo mother care and early exclusive breastfeeding initiation.
  • Stillbirths can be avoided by closely monitoring labour and functional referral links, as well as improving the quality of health care services.

Way Forward

  • Preterm births are responsible for one out of every six deaths among children under the age of five, according to research.
  • However, three out of every four deaths caused by preterm delivery complications are avoidable.
  • Preterm birth and stillbirth rates are unacceptably high in India, driving increased neonatal, infant, and child mortality rates.
  • The guidelines for maternal and perinatal fatalities must be effectively enforced.
  • Perinatal mortality must be defined according to the International Classification of Diseases.
  • This classification will aid in standardising the reasons of stillbirth reporting.
  • India must identify hotspot clusters of stillbirths and preterm births in order to implement local and focused interventions.
  • The government promised to invest 5% of GDP in health by 2025 in the National Health Policy of 2017.
  • The government's allocation for health has barely minimally risen.

Source: The New Indian Express

Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2023

GS-II : Governance Human rights

Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2023

  • Human Rights Watch's recently issued World Report 2023 stated that Indian authorities had "intensified and extended" their crackdown on social activist groups and the media.
  • The report examines human rights practices in nearly a hundred nations.
  • It further stated that the present Central government party repressed minorities through abusive and discriminatory measures.

The following are the report's key points on India:

  • Authorities arrested activists, journalists, and other government critics on false and "politically motivated" criminal charges, including terrorism.
  • Authorities encourage discrimination and, in some cases, violence against religious minorities.
  • Many states have demolished the houses and properties of religious minorities without legal authorization or due process.
  • Authorities also "misused" legislation in the name of forced religious conversions "to target Christians, particularly from Dalit and Adivasi communities," according to the report.
  • The release and celebration of the 11 men convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 members of her family.
  • According to the research, the Central Government promotes Hindu majoritarian ideology, prompting officials and followers to engage in discriminatory and, at times, violent activities against religious minorities.
  • In situations of violence against women, it emphasised the government's discriminating attitude toward minority communities.
  • Even three years after Article 370 was repealed, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir continued to limit free expression, peaceful assembly, and other essential rights.
  • The J&K Public Safety Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 were also used by authorities to "arbitrarily" jail journalists and activists.
  • It also alluded to alleged insurgent attacks on minority Hindu and Sikh communities in Kashmir.
  • The report praised the Supreme Court of India for its liberal actions, notably its decision to prohibit the use of the Sedition Act, which has been abused to jail critics of the government and its policies.
  • The Supreme Court's decision to grant abortion rights to all women, regardless of marital status.
  • To safeguard survivors of sexual assault, the court banned the two-finger tests.
  • The report also chastised the Supreme Court of India for its decision on whether Muslim female students in Karnataka can wear a hijab, or headscarf.
  • According to the report, it is the obligation of every government to preserve and promote human rights, to include a human rights framework into their policies, and to work continuously to defend and promote human rights.

What exactly are human rights?

  • Human Rights are rights that all people have, regardless of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or other status.
  • These rights include the right to life and liberty, the freedom from slavery and torture, the freedom of thought and speech, the right to labour and education, and many others.
  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India defines Human Rights as rights to life, liberty, equality, and dignity guaranteed by the Constitution or enshrined in International Covenants and enforceable by Indian courts.

About National Human Rights Commission:

  • The National Human Rights Commission is a statutory agency established in 1993 under the Human Rights Protection Act.
  • It was revised in 2006.
  • The commission serves as the country's human rights monitor.
  • The commission is a five-member body led by a chairman and four members.
  • The chairperson shall be a retired Chief Justice of India, and the members should be serving or retired Supreme Court judges, a serving or retired high court chief justice, and two people with knowledge or practical experience in human rights.

Functions of the Commission:

  • Investigate any infringement of human rights or negligence in preventing such a breach by a public official, either on its own initiative or in response to a petition presented to it or an order of a court.
  • Examine human rights treaties and other international instruments and provide recommendations for their effective implementation.
  • Encourage non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that operate in the field of human rights.
  • The commission presents annual or special reports to the Central Government and the relevant state government.

The Commission's Restrictions:

  • The commission's functions are primarily advisory.
  • No authority to prosecute human rights violations or to grant any redress, including monetary relief, to victims.
  • Recommendations are not legally binding on the government or authority in question.
  • The commission's role, powers, and jurisdiction against violations of human rights by members of the armed forces are restricted.

What exactly is Human Rights Watch?

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organisation that was created in 1978 as "Helsinki Watch" to investigate human rights violations in nations that signed the Helsinki Accords.
  • Its reach has now grown to over 100 nations globally.
  • Its headquarters are located in New York City.
  • The Helsinki Accords (1975) were a key diplomatic agreement made at the conclusion of the inaugural Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki, Finland (now Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
  • They were signed by all European, American, and Canadian governments, primarily to alleviate tensions between the Soviet and Western blocs.
  • The accord obligated the 35 member countries to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Source: The Hindu

Delegated Legislation

GS-II : Indian Polity Separation of Powers between various organs

Delegated Legislation

  • The Supreme Court recently confirmed the constitutionality of the delegated law in the Centre's 2016 demonetization decision by a majority ruling.

What exactly is Delegated Legislation?

  • Because the Parliament cannot deal with every area of the governance system on its own, certain functions are delegated to the bodies created by legislation. This delegation is documented in statutes, which are also known as delegated legislation.
  • This transfer of powers is documented in statutes, which are also known as delegated legislation.
  • The delegated legislation would clarify operational specifics, granting authority to those carrying them out.

The Supreme Court's Opinion on Delegated Legislation:

  • The Supreme Court ruled in Hamdard Dawakhana v Union of India (1959) that transfer of powers was unconstitutional since it was unclear.
  • It ruled that the Centre's ability to designate diseases and conditions under the Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act of 1954 is 'uncanalised,' 'uncontrolled,' and exceeds the allowable limitations of lawful delegation. As a result, it was found unconstitutional.
  • In a 1973 decision, the Supreme Court stated that the concept of delegated legislation arose from the practical necessity and pragmatic needs of a modern welfare state.

Excessive delegation of power issues:

  • The Supreme Court threw down the delegation of powers in Hamdard Dawakhana v Union of India in 1959, holding that it was too broad.

What did the Court rule on?

  • The majority decision ruled that because the delegation of authority is to the Centre, which is already accountable to Parliament, the delegation power cannot be overturned.
  • If the Executive does not act reasonably when exercising its delegated legislative power, it is accountable to Parliament, which are elected representatives of the citizens, and there is a democratic procedure for holding elected representatives accountable who act unreasonably in such circumstances.
  • Delegated Legislation in the Demonetisation Case: Section 26(2) of the RBI Act of 1934 empowers the Central Government to notify the cessation of a specific denomination of money as legal tender.
  • The Central government was given the authority to change the character of legal tender by Parliament, which it did by publishing a gazette notification (legislative basis).
  • This transfer of power to the Centre was challenged on the grounds that Section 26(2) does not contain any policy guidelines on how the Centre may execute its powers, making it arbitrary (and unconstitutional).

Delegated Legislation Criticism:

  • It may result in a lack of accountability/transparency in the law-making process because laws enacted by executive agencies/administrative entities are not subject to the same level of public scrutiny and debate as laws enacted by legislative.
  • It may also result in a concentration of power in the executive and administrative departments of government, undermining the notion of separation of powers.
  • However, many types of delegated legislation, such as ordinances, require legislative approval.


  • It allows for greater adaptation and flexibility in the legislative process. The legislature can respond to changing conditions and developing concerns more swiftly and efficiently by delegating some authority.
  • Delegated authority having additional skills, experience, and knowledge (in domains such as technology, the environment, and so on) are better suitable for formulating a law.

Way Forward

  • By being educated about the laws and regulations proposed and implemented by executive agencies and administrative bodies, citizens can ensure accountability and transparency in delegated legislation.
  • They can also take part in public consultations and feedback sessions, as well as call the government to account through their elected representatives.

Source: The Hindu

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