(29 Mar, 2022)

Determination of Minority in India

For Prelims: National Minorities Commission Act, 1992, Article 29, Article 30, Article 350(B).

For Mains: Determination of Minorities in India and Related Constitutional Provisions, Issues Related to Minorities.

Why in News?

Recently, the Union government has told the Supreme Court (SC) that state governments can now grant minority status to any religious or linguistic community, including Hindus.

  • The SC had sought the Union government’s response in a plea that sought directions for framing of guidelines identifying minorities at the state level.
  • The expression “minorities” appears in some Articles of the Constitution, but is not defined anywhere.

What is the Case?

  • The plea contended that Hindus are in a ‘minority’ in six states and three Union Territories of India but were allegedly not able to avail themselves of the benefits of schemes meant for minorities.
    • Plea Showed as per 2011 census Hindus have become a minority in Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%), and Punjab (38.40%).
  • They should be given minority status in these states in accordance with the principle laid down by the SC in its 2002 TMA Pai Foundation and 2005 Bal Patil Case ruling.
    • TMA Pai Case:
      • The SC had said that for the purposes of Article 30 that deals with the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, religious and linguistic minorities have to be considered state-wise.
    • Bal Patil Case:
      • In 2005, the SC in its judgement in ‘Bal Patil’ referred to the TMA Pai ruling.
      • The legal position clarifies that henceforth the unit for determining status of both linguistic and religious minorities would be ‘state’.
  • The petition claimed that NCMEI (National Commission for Minority Education Institution) Act 2004 gives unbridled power to the Centre and is “manifestly arbitrary, irrational, and offending”.
    • Section 2(f) of NCMEI Act 2004 confers power to the Centre to identify and notify minority communities in India.

What is the Centre's Stand?

  • The Centre said the petitioners’ argument is not correct since states can also “certify institutions as being minority institutions as per the rules of the said state.
  • Parliament and State legislatures have concurrent powers to enact law to provide for the protection of minorities and their interests.
  • Matters such as declaring the followers of Judaism, Bahaism, and Hinduism who are minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur can establish and administer educational institutions of their choice in the said state and laying down guideline(s) for identification of minority at state level may be considered by the concerned state governments.
  • The TMA Pai ruling also “reveals that the SC has nowhere eroded the power of the Central Government to notify a community as a ‘minority’.
    • The Parliament was empowered under Article 246 of the Constitution read with Entry 20, “economic and social planning”, of the Concurrent List to enact laws to promote and protect the interests of minorities.
    • Parliament has the legislative competence and the Central government has the executive competence to notify a community as a minority under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act of 1992.

What are the Constitutional Provisions for Minority?

  • Article 29:
    • It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
    • It grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities.
    • However, the SC held that the scope of this article is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as use of the word ‘section of citizens’ in the Article includes minorities as well as the majority.
  • Article 30:
    • All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
    • The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29).
  • Article 350-B:
    • The 7th Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1956 inserted this article which provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
    • It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

Who are the minorities notified by the Government of India?

  • Currently, only those communities notified under section 2(c) of the NCM Act, 1992, by the central government are regarded as minority.
  • In 1992, with the enactment of the NCM Act, 1992, the MC became a statutory body and was renamed as the NCM.
  • In 1993, the first Statutory National Commission was set up and five religious communities viz. The Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities.
  • In 2014, Jains were also notified as a minority community.

Source: TH

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022

For Prelims: Lok Sabha, Indian Penal Code, preventive detention, National Crime Records Bureau, fundamental rights of citizens, right to privacy, The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022

For Mains: The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 and issues, Judgements & Cases, Fundamental Rights

Why in News?

Recently, the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha.

What are the Provisions of the Bill?

  • Collection of Samples:
    • It would allow the police and prison authorities to collect, store and analyse physical and biological samples, including retina and iris scans.
      • Resistance to or refusal to allow the taking of measurements under this Act shall be deemed to be an offence under section 186 of the Indian Penal Code.
    • It will also seek to apply these provisions to persons held under any preventive detention law.
    • It also authorises for taking measurements of convicts and "other persons" for identification and investigation in criminal matters.
      • It doesn't define the "other persons" implying its ambit beyond convicts, arrested persons, or detainees.
  • Power to Record Measurement:
    • Police personnel up to the rank of Head Constable have been authorised to record the measurements.
    • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be the repository of physical and biological samples, signature and handwriting data that can be preserved for at least 75 years.
      • NCRB has also been empowered to share the records with any other law enforcement agency.

What is the Significance of the Bill?

  • Making Use of Modern Techniques:
    • The bill makes provisions for the use of modern techniques to capture and record appropriate body measurements.
      • The existing law — the Identification of Prisoners Act — dated back to 1920 and allowed taking only fingerprint and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicted persons.
  • Help Investing Agencies:
    • The Bill seeks to expand the ‘‘ambit of persons’’ whose measurements can be taken as this will help the investigating agencies to gather sufficient legally admissible evidence and establish the crime of the accused person.
  • Make the Investigation of Crime More Efficient:
    • The bill provides legal sanction for taking appropriate body measurements of persons who are required to give such measurements and will make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious and will also help in increasing the conviction rate.

What are the issues with the Bill?

  • It has been argued that the Bill was beyond the legislative competence of Parliament as it violated fundamental rights of citizens including the right to privacy.
    • The Bill proposes to collect samples even from protestors engaged in political protests.
  • It violates Article 20 (3) of the Constitution. The Bill implied use of force in collection of biological information, could also lead to narco analysis and brain mapping.
    • Article 20(3) says that 'No person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself'.
  • It also violates human rights provisions as laid out in the United Nations charter.
  • Also, the implied use of force in clause 6(1) to take measurements violates the rights of prisoners laid down in a catena of Supreme Court judgements beginning with A K Gopalan 1950, Kharag Singh 1964, Charles Sobhraj 1978, Sheela Barse 1983, Pramod Kumar Saxena 2008.

What are the Related Initiatives taken by the Government?

  • Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems:
    • It is a project for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance.
  • The Home Ministry is working on the integration of the fingerprint database of the Central Finger Print Bureau (CFPB), and the NIST Fingerprint Image Software (NFIS).
    • NFIS is a technology used by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to match fingerprints.
  • The government is also working on scaling up data collection.
    • While the FBI has over 4 crore fingerprints in its database, the CFPB currently has a database of just over 10 lakh fingerprints.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. ‘Right to Privacy’ is protected under which Article of the Constitution of India?

(a) Article 15
(b) Article 19
(c) Article 21
(d) Article 29

Ans: (c)


  • In Puttaswamy v. Union of India case, 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right by the Supreme Court.
  • Right to Privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Indian Constitution.

Source: TH

PACER Scheme

For Prelims: India’s Antarctic and Arctic Missions, PACER Scheme, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), IndARC, Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART) ACROSS Scheme

For Mains: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology, Polar research

Why in News?

Recently, the Polar Science and Cryosphere (PACER) scheme has been approved for continuation by the Union Cabinet from 2021 to 2026.

What is PACER Scheme?

  • PACER encompasses the following six components.
  • It is implemented through the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR).

What are the Major Works under this Scheme?

What is the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR)?

  • It is an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • Its responsibilities include:
    • Management and upkeep of the Indian Antarctic Research Bases “Maitri” and “Bharati”, and the Indian Arctic base “Himadri”.
    • Management of the Ministry’s research vessel Ocean Research Vehicle (ORV) Sagar Kanya as well as the other research vessels chartered by the Ministry.
      • The ORV Sagar Kanya is a versatile ocean observing platform equipped with technologically advanced scientific equipment and related facilities.
    • Playing a facilitatory role in the scientific research activities being undertaken by several national institutions and organisations in Antarctica, the Arctic and in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean.
    • Playing a lead role in the geoscientific surveys of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and its extended continental shelf beyond 200m, deep-sea drilling in the Arabian Sea basin through the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), exploration for ocean non-living resources such as gas hydrates and multi-metal sulphides in mid-ocean ridges.
  • It is located in the state of Goa.

What are Other Major Initiatives of the Ministry of Earth Sciences?

What are India’s Arctic Missions?

  • India launched its first scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean in 2007.
  • India opened a research base named “Himadri” in Svalbard, Norway in July 2008 to carry out studies in disciplines like Glaciology, Atmospheric sciences & Biological sciences.

What are India’s Antarctic Missions?

  • India officially acceded to the Antarctic Treaty System on 1st August 1983.
  • On 12th September 1983, India became the fifteenth Consultative Member of the Antarctic Treaty.
  • India is expanding its infrastructure development in Antarctica.
  • The newest base commissioned in 2015 is Bharati.
  • India is rebuilding its station, Maitri, to make it bigger and last for at least 30 more years.
  • Dakshin Gangotri, the first Indian base established in 1984, has weakened and become just a supply base.
  • Sagar Nidhi: In 2008, India commissioned the Sagar Nidhi, for research.
    • It is an ice-class vessel, it can cut through the thin ice of 40 cm depth and is the first Indian vessel to navigate Antarctic waters.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. Consider the following countries: (2014)

  1. Denmark
  2. Japan
  3. Russian Federation
  4. United Kingdom
  5. United States of America

Which of the above are the members of the ‘Arctic Council’?

(a) 1, 2 and 3
(b) 2, 3 and 4
(c) 1, 4 and 5
(d) 1, 3 and 5

Ans: (d)


  • The Arctic Council includes Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States as its members.

Source: PIB

Animal Disease Free Zones

For Prelims: Animal Disease Free Zones, Animal Husbandry, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), National Animal Disease Control Programme, Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis, National Livestock Mission Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO), Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.

For Mains: Economics of Animal-Rearing, Increasing Farmers Income

Why in News?

In order to boost exports of value-added meat products, the Government of India has called on stakeholders to work towards the creation of region-specific animal disease-free zones in the country.

What are Animal Disease-Free Zones?

  • Animal Disease-free zone means a clearly defined part of a territory containing an animal subpopulation with a distinct health status with respect to a specific disease for which required surveillance, control and biosecurity measures have been applied for the purpose of international trade.

What is the Need for creating animal disease-free zones?

  • Importance of Animal Husbandry: Animals are the life support system for our rural economy, they provide sustenance in difficult times and are a great source of nutrition, particularly proteins for the rural folk.
    • Animal Husbandry comes under the mixed farming practices.
    • Mixed Farming is an agricultural system in which a farmer conducts different agricultural practices together, such as cultivating cash crops and rearing livestock.
    • The aim is to increase income through different sources and to complement land and labour demands across the year.
  • Agricultural Exports: India is the largest exporter of frozen and bovine meat while achieving significant growth in the export of organic honey and fish produce.
  • Promoting International Trade: According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), zoning is a risk management strategy for achieving the progressive control and eradication of animal diseases, and for providing guarantees for international trade.

What are related Initiatives Taken by the Government?

Way Forward

  • Sikkim Model: The model of Sikkim being declared as an organic state should be emulated all across the states.
  • Improving Quality of Veterinary Services: The implementation and effectiveness of zoning rely on the quality of Veterinary Services.
  • International Standardisation: To benefit from external markets, there are ways of speeding up bilateral recognition of disease-free zones, such as bilateral veterinary agreements or free trade agreements that establish clear areas and procedures to be implemented by trading partner countries.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. Which of the following is the chief characteristic of ‘mixed farming’? (2012)

(a) Cultivation of both cash crops and food crops
(b) Cultivation of two or more crops in the same field
(c) Rearing of animals and cultivation of crops together
(d) None of the above

Ans (c)

Source: PIB

TEJAS Skilling Project

Why in News?

Recently, TEJAS (Training for Emirates Jobs And Skills), a Skill India International Project to train overseas Indias was launched at the Dubai Expo, 2020.

What is the Aim of the Project?

  • Skilling, certification and overseas employment of Indians.
  • Creating pathways to enable the Indian workforce to get equipped for skill and market requirements in the UAE.
  • Creating a 10,000 strong Indian workforce in UAE during the initial phase.

What is the Need of Such Initiatives?

  • Tap the Potential of Youth:
    • The youth are the largest stakeholder in both nation building and image building.
    • The focus is to skill this population and provide the world with a large skilled workforce from India.
  • Tackle the Rising Unemployment:
  • Potential to contribute in the Economy:
    • According to the World Economic Forum report released in January 2021, investment in upskilling could potentially boost the global economy by USD6.5 trillion by 2030, and India's economy by USD570 billion.
    • India had the second-highest additional employment potential through upskilling as it could add 2.3 million jobs by 2030, second only to the US's 2.7 million jobs.
  • Unskilled Labour Force:
    • According to the UNDP’s Human Development Report-2020, only 21.1%of the labour force was skilled in the period 2010-2019 in India.
      • This dismal result is due to lack of cohesion within policy actions, absence of holistic approach and working in silos.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. With reference to Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. It is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  2. It, among other things, will also impart training in soft skills, entrepreneurship, financial and digital literacy.
  3. It aims to align the competencies of the unregulated workforce of the country to the National Skill Qualification Framework.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (c)


  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), GoI launched the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) in the year 2015.
    • The objective of this Skill Certification Scheme was to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

Source: PIB

Herbal Formulation for Tick Infestation

Why in News?

Recently, the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) brought out a Herbal Formulation that has been found to be effective in combating tick infestation among dairy animals.

  • The NIF collaborated with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research--National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana in the form of a Research Programme for field testing of Poly Herbal Medication.

What is Tick Infestation?

  • The Ticks are harmful as blood sucking parasites severely affect productivity of dairy animals and a major economic impediment, welfare concern in dairy farming.
  • Tick-Borne Pathogens (TBP) are a major source of production loss and a welfare concern in livestock across the globe.
  • This causes tick worry, loss of appetite among animals causing reduction in milk production, thereby lessening farmers’ income.
    • These parasites are vectors of systemic protozoan infection, threat to dairy animal health & productivity.
  • Presently, farmers rely on chemical acaricides that are costly, have to be used recurrently due to the nature of parasites.

What is the New Formulation?

  • The NIF has developed, standardised a formulation comprising common herbal ingredients like Neem (Azadirachta indica) and Nagod (Vitex negundo).
    • These medicinal trees are widely known among indigenous communities, a common part of the medicinal system in treatment of various ailments.
  • NIF’s polyherbal medication was found to demonstrate efficacy in field conditions and the development of technology-based on resources available in front of farm fields.
  • The medicines’ successful demonstration will ensure cost-effective health care.

What is the National Innovation Foundation?

  • It is an autonomous body which was set up in 2000 with the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology.
  • It is India's national initiative to strengthen the grassroots technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge.
  • Its mission is to help India become a creative and knowledge-based society by expanding policy and institutional space for grassroots technological innovators.
  • It helps grassroot innovators and outstanding traditional knowledge holders get due recognition, respect and reward for their innovations

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs):

Q. Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF)? (2015)

  1. NIF is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology under the Central Government.
  2. NIF is an initiative to strengthen the highly advanced scientific research in India’s premier scientific institutions in collaboration with highly advanced foreign scientific institutions.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Source: PIB

Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles

Why in News?

The Indian Army has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the supply of Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles to be deployed in Ladakh and Kutch.

  • An RFI is a formal process for gathering information from potential suppliers of a good or service.

What are Articulated All Terrain Vehicles?

  • It is a twin cabin, tracked, amphibious carrier for off road mobility.
  • The special design of this equipment exerts low ground pressure on the soil and a pull-push mode of locomotion between two cabins facilitates mobility over varied terrains like snow, desert and slush.
  • A ballistic protection in the cabin body ensures protection to troops travelling in it from small arms fire.
  • They can reach where wheeled vehicles cannot due to deep snow, slush or marshy terrain and can be very effective for patrolling and rapid deployment in operational situations.

What is the Utility of these vehicles?

  • These vehicles are very useful to move troops or supplies in snow-bound terrains and in marshy/sandy environments.
  • The Indian Army wishes to use these vehicles in the snow-bound areas of Ladakh and in the marshy terrain of the Rann of Kutch.

Source: IE