Current Affairs 29th July 2022

Govt. worried about teen pregnancies #GS2 #SocialIssues

High teenage fertility in some areas remains a cause of concern in India even as the fertility rate has stabilized across the country, the Health Ministry said in its Family Planning Vision-2030 document released earlier this week. It added that participation of men will be encouraged in the family planning program and that lack of access to contraceptives had been identified as a priority challenge area.

Over 118 districts reported high percentage of teenage pregnancies and are mostly concentrated in Bihar (19), West Bengal (15), Assam (13), Maharashtra (13), Jharkhand (10), Andhra Pradesh (7), and Tripura (4).

Additionally, over 44% of the districts in India reported a high percentage of women marrying before they reach the age of 18. These districts were in Bihar (17), West Bengal (8), Jharkhand (7), Assam (4), and two each in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra. Coincidentally, these districts also experience low rates of modern contraceptive use.

India is the second highest population in the world. The country’s population is expected to continue to grow until mid-century (due to population momentum), however, the population growth will decline substantially. India’s population has reached 136.3 crores (1.36 billion) and is expected to reach 147.9 crores (1.47 billion) by 2031 and a further 152.2 crores (1.52 billion) by 2036.

Also, the adolescent population will reach 22.9 crores (229 million) by 2031 and a further 22 crores (220 million) by 2036.

“The youth population in the age group of 15-24 increased from 23.3crore (233 million) in 2011 to 25.2 crore (252 million) in 2021 and will now decline to reach 23.4 crores (234 million) in 2031 and further reach 22.9 crores (229 million) in 2036.

The government said male contraceptive methods were largely limited to condoms. Male sterilization was at 0.3%. “The vision also included a plan to use the private sector for providing modern contraceptives. The private sector contributes 45% share of pills and 40% share of condoms. For other reversible contraceptives like injectables, the share is 30% and 24% for IUCD.

The document notes that although there has been a steady decline in teenage childbearing, from 7.9% in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) to 6.8% (in the NFHS-5), it remains a priority area that requires to be addressed, especially since India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world until 2030. It added that modern contraceptive use among married adolescents and young women, although increasing over time, has been rather low.

Wildlife amendments to ‘save entrepreneurs from harassment’ #GS3 #Environment

The Centre’s proposed amendments to decriminalize certain provisions of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), were to “save law-abiding citizens/entrepreneurs from undue harassment in case of minor non-compliances. In the absence of such a provision, several court cases are filed, that “increase the burden on the judicial system.

Replacing a clause

Earlier this month, the Environment Ministry issued a notification proposing amendments to the Environment Protection Act (EPA), by replacing a clause that provides for imprisoning violators with one that only requires them to pay a fine. This, however, did not apply to violations that caused grave injury or loss of life. The proposed fines, in lieu of imprisonment, are also up to 500 times greater than those currently levied.

Punishment for violators

Currently, the Act says that violators could be punished with five years imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh, or both. Were violations to continue, an additional fine of up to Rs. 5,000 would be levied every day. There is also a provision for jail terms to extend to seven years. Historically, however, no corporate offender has actually been imprisoned under the provisions of the Act.

The Environment Ministry said that it had received “suggestions” to decriminalize existing provisions of the EPA to weed out “fear of imprisonment for simple violations.”

An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment found that Indian courts took between nine to 33 years to clear a backlog of cases for environmental violations. Beginning 2018, close to 45,000 cases were a pending trial, and another 35,000 cases were added in that year.

More than 90 percent of cases were pending trial in five of the seven environmental laws.

The provisions are proposed to be decriminalized with heavier penalties in order to encourage self-regulation in law-abiding citizens and entrepreneurs on the one hand, and imposition of heavier penalties, coupled with provisions of IPC, 1860, to act as a deterrent for violators on the other hand.

Colombo denies reports on Chinese ship #GS2 #IR

Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry denied reports that a Chinese research vessel involved in space and satellite tracking would enter the Hambantota port in August this year, even as India sent a “clear message” that it was monitoring the ship’s progress “carefully”.

On its website, the BRISL said “Yuan Wang 5, which set sail from the Chinese port of Jiangyin on July 13, and passed by Taiwan is now in the East China Sea, and was expected to dock in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port from August 11-17 for ‘replenishment’ while it continues to conduct Space and Satellite control and research activities in the north-western part of the Indian Ocean Region” through August and September.

“The visit of Yuan Wang 5 to Hambantota Port will be an excellent opportunity for Sri Lanka and the regional developing nations to learn and develop their own space programs. “It is not a military vessel. The details of the course of the vessel are available online for anyone to see.

Stern view

India has traditionally taken a stern view of the Chinese military or suspected dual-purpose vessels in the Indian Ocean, and the MEA has protested such visits with Sri Lanka in the past. India’s concerns have been focused on Hambantota in particular. In 2017, Colombo leased the southern port to China Merchant Port Holdings, after Sri Lanka was unable to keep its loan repayment commitments, fanning fears over the potential use of the port for military purposes.

In 2014, Sri Lanka’s decision to allow a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine Changzheng 2 in Colombo became a diplomatic flashpoint, as New Delhi expressed serious concern.