Current Affairs Analysis

14th September 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Community Radio in India; Policy on Community Radio Broadcasting; Uniform Civil Code (UCC); Groundwater reservoirs in India; Jan Soochna Portal; RTI Act, 2005; Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy; Hindi Diwas; Hindi language; ‘Bamboonomics’; 4P1000 Initiative; Maritime communication services; Central Equipment Identity Register’ (CEIR) system; Equipment Identity Register (EIR); etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
September 14, 2019


Polity & Governance

  • Rajasthan launches Jan Soochna Portal
  • 118 new community radio stations to be set up

Government Schemes & Policies

  • New policy coming for Scientific Social Responsibility

Social Issues

  • Government has failed to bring in Uniform Civil Code, says Supreme Court


  • Govt to unveil ‘bamboonomics’ for carbon credit & income boost

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • NGT forms committee to stop illegal groundwater extraction

Science & Technology

  • Minister for Communications launches maritime communication services in India

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Hindi Diwas 2019: 44% of Indians speak the language

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Polity & Governance

Rajasthan launches Jan Soochna Portal

The first-ever public information portal, named Jan Soochna Portal, was launched in Rajasthan to provide information about government authorities and departments suo motu to the public in the true spirit of the Right To Information Act.


  • The Jan Soochna Portal would ensure compliance with Section 4(2) of the RTI Act mandating the public authorities to disclose information in the public domain.

What does the RTI Act do? 


  • Under the RTI Act, 2005, ‘Public Authorities’ are required to make disclosures on various aspects of their structure and functioning.
  • This includes: (i) disclosure on their organisation, functions, and structure, (ii) powers and duties of its officers and employees, and (iii) financial information.
  • If such information is not made available, citizens have the right to request for it from the Authorities under RTI act.
  • The intent of such disclosures is that the public should need minimum recourse through the Act to obtain such information and to promote transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities.

How is the right to information enforced under the Act?

  • The Act has established a three tier structure for enforcing the right to information guaranteed under the Act.
  • Public Authorities designate some of their officers as Public Information Officers. The first request for information goes to Central/State Assistant Public Information Officer and Central/State Public Information Officer, designated by the Public Authorities.
  • These Officers are required to provide information to an RTI applicant within 30 days of the request.
  • Appeals from their decisions go to an Appellate Authority. Appeals against the order of the Appellate Authority go to the State Information Commission or the Central Information Commission.  These Information Commissions consists of a Chief Information Commissioner, and up to 10 Information Commissioners. 
[Ref: The Hindu]


118 new community radio stations to be set up

As many as 118 new community radio stations are in the process of being set up in various parts of the country, including in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts, north-east and Jammu and Kashmir.

118 new Community Radio

About the Community Radio

  • There are three options for expansion of radio network viz. (i) the commercial broadcast model (ii) public service broadcast route and the (iii) community radio.
  • According to UNESCO, Community radio is a type of radio service that caters to the interests of a certain area, broadcasting content that is popular to a local audience, but which may often be overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters.
  • It serves to bring small communities together by filling gap left by national and commercial media, and focuses on the common man’s day-to-day concerns and helps in realizing local aspirations.
  • It is confined to a small geographical area. It depends on low power transmission covering not more than 20-30 km. radius.

Community Radio in India

  • Currently, there are more than 180 community radio stations across India, broadcasting in languages like Bundelkhandi, Garhwali, Awadhi and Santhali — tongues that typically find little or no space on television.

Policy on Community Radio Broadcasting

Community radio

  • The programmes to be broadcasted on community radio should be of immediate relevance to the community such as agricultural, health, educational, environmental, social welfare, community development and cultural programmes.
  • At least 50% of content shall be generated with the participation of the local community, for which the station has been set up.
  • Revenue generated from advertisement and announcements is only utilized for the operational expenses of the Community radio.
  • In the event of national emergency/ war, the Government reserves the right to take over the entire services and networks or suspend the Permission in the interest of national security.

Challenges to Community Radio

  • A high turnover of staff that causes a lack of journalistic and technical skills and thus a consistent demand for training.
  • Community Radio derives its strength from community participation. In practise participation is harder than it seems, because it is labour intensive, requires the right attitude, skills and mobile equipment.
  • Without proper management skills, it is very hard for Community Radio to survive without donor funding, which will always, eventually, dry up.
  • Community Radio is by definition relatively small and often situated in locations where basic services, like a constant supply of electricity, are lacking.
  • In many countries there is still a lack of a clear regulatory framework in which Community Radio operates.

Eligibility to apply for a Community Radio Station

Following types of organisations shall be eligible to apply for Community Radio licences

  • Community based organisations: These would include civil society and voluntary organisations, State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), ICAR institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Registered Societies and Autonomous Bodies and Public Trusts registered under Societies Act or any other such act relevant for the purpose.
  • Educational institutions

Following shall not be eligible to apply for setting up a Community Radio Station

  • Individuals
  • Political parties and their affiliate organisations, including students, women, trade unions and such other wings affiliated to these parties
  • Organisations operating with a motive to earn profit and want to make money out of it
  • Organisations expressly banned by the Union and State Governments

Basic eligibility

  • It should be explicitly constituted as a ‘non-profit’ organisation and should have a proven record of at least three years of service to the local community.
  • The CRS to be operated by it should be designed to serve a specific well-defined local community.
  • It should have an ownership and management structure that is reflective of the community that the CRS seeks to serve.
  • Programmes for broadcast should be relevant to the educational, developmental, social and cultural needs of the community.
  • It must be a Legal Entity i.e. it should be registered (under the registration of Societies Act or any other such act relevant to the purpose).

Other Terms & Conditions

  • The programmes should be of immediate relevance to the community. The emphasis should be on developmental, agricultural, health, educational, environmental, social welfare, community development and cultural programmes.
  • Registration at the time of application should at least be three years old.
  • The programming should reflect the special interests and needs of the local community.
  • At least 50% of content shall be generated with the participation of the local community, for which the station has been set up.
  • Programmes should preferably be in the local language and dialect(s).
  • The Permission Holder shall have to adhere to the provisions of the Programme and Advertising Code as prescribed for All India Radio.
  • The Permission Holder shall preserve all programmes broadcast by the CRS for three months from the date of broadcast.
  • The Permission Holder shall not broadcast any programmes, which relate to news and current affairs and are otherwise political in nature.
  • The Permission Holder shall ensure that due care is taken with respect to religious programmes with a view to avoid: a) Exploitation of religious susceptibilities and b) Committing offence to the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion.
  • CRS shall be expected to cover a range of 5-10 km. For this, a transmitter having maximum Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 100 W would be adequate. However, Requests for higher transmitter power above 100 Watts and upto 250 Watts is subject to approval by the Committee.
  • The maximum height of antenna permitted above the ground for the CRS shall not exceed 30 meters.
  • Universities, Deemed Universities and other educational institutions shall be permitted to locate their transmitters and antennae only within their main campuses.


  • Community radio broadcasting became a possibility for the first time when the Supreme Court declared in 1995 that airwaves were public property, in Ministry of Information and Broadcasting vs the Cricket Association of India.
  • In December 2002, the Government announced a policy for the grant of Community Radio Licenses to educational institutions and organisations.
  • Under the terms of this policy, Community Broadcasting Licenses could be granted to well established educational institutions, recognised by the Central Government or the State Government.
  • The matter was reconsidered and the Government in December 2006 decided to broad base the policy by bringing ‘Non-profit’ organisations like civil society and voluntary organisations etc., under its ambit.
[Ref: The Hindu, Times of India, India Today]


Government Schemes & Policies

New policy coming for Scientific Social Responsibility

India is going to be possibly the first country in the world to implement a Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).


  • A draft SSR policy issued by Department of Science and Technology is made on the lines of earlier policies such as Scientific Policy Resolution 1958, Technology Policy Statement 1983, Science and Technology Policy 2003 and Science Technology and Innovation Policy 2013.

About Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy

  • The aim of the SSR Policy is to harness potential of the scientific community for strengthening linkages between science and society and developing a mechanism for ensuring access to scientific knowledge and transferring benefits of science to meet societal needs.
  • The draft defines SSR as “the ethical obligation of knowledge workers in all fields of science and technology to voluntarily contribute their knowledge and resources to the widest spectrum of stakeholders in society, in a spirit of service and conscious reciprocity”.

Features of SSR

  • Under the proposed policy, individual scientists or knowledge workers will be required to devote at least 10 person-days of SSR per year for exchanging scientific knowledge to society.
  • It also recognizes the need to provide incentives for outreach activities with necessary budgetary support.
  • It has also been proposed to give credit to knowledge workers/scientists for individual SSR activities in their annual performance appraisal and evaluation.
  • No institution would be allowed to outsource or sub-contract their SSR activities and projects.
  • A central agency will be established at DST to implement the SSR. Other ministries would also be encouraged to make their own plans to implement SSR as per their mandate.
[Ref: Down To Earth, The Hindu]


Social Issues

Government has failed to bring in Uniform Civil Code, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said the nation has still not endeavoured to secure for its citizens a Uniform Civil Code.


What is Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

  • A Uniform Civil Code replaces the personal laws, based on the scriptures and customs of various religious communities with a common set of rules governing every citizen of the country.


  • The need for UCC takes in to account of the Article 44 of the Directive Principles which states that the State shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.
  • The codification of personal laws has historically generated protests such as the Hindu Code Bill.
  • The debate on the UCC is centred on the argument to replace individual personal customs and practices of marriage, divorce, adoption and successions with a common code.
  • UCC is needed for Gender justice as the rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim.

Supreme Court of India on Uniform Civil Code

  • The Supreme Court for the first time directed the parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code in 1985 in the case of Mohd Ahmed Khan v Shah Bano Begum. Sarla Mudgal v Union of India 1995 case reiterated the need for the Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code.

Uniform Civil Code,

  • Therefore, the responsibility of securing Uniform Civil Code has been urged by the Supreme Court repeatedly as a matter of urgency.

Arguments in favour of UCC:

  • The personal laws (in light of the triple talaq), especially Muslim Personal Laws, are regressive and disempower women.

Arguments in favour of UCC

  • UCC can promote justice, equality and welfare of women. Personal Law system violates the principle of equality because by it is against secularism and equality by having different personal laws for different religions. But UCC can promote equality and justice by incorporating similar laws for all citizens.
  • It will simplify the cumbersome legal matters governed by personal laws and will promote gender justice by removing the inbuilt gender injustice of personal laws. In the absence of UCC, judges interpret various provisions like maintenance in case of Muslim women according to their prejudices and opinion.
  • Article 25 of the Constitution of India gives power to state to interfere in matters of religion. So, the state can enact provisions for welfare of religious entities by removing the inherent injustice and loopholes of Personal Law System by using UCC.
  • It will promote monogamy among all the citizen of India including Muslim. It will also remove prejudices against women regarding personal laws on divorce and maintenance.

Arguments against UCC:

  • It will defile the India’s religious diversity and violate the fundamental right to practise religion enshrined in Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • The Muslim community opposes the UCC as it violates their personal laws gravely and would thus result in irreversible damage to their religion and the laws therein.
  • The continuing personal law system can handle the potential inequality through the process of gradual harmonization of Indian personal laws.

Suggestions to promote the spirit of uniformity of law

  • A progressive and broadminded outlook is needed among the people to understand the spirit of such code. For this, education, awareness, and sensitization programmes must be taken up.
  • The Uniform Civil Code should act in the best interest of all the religions.
  • A committee of eminent jurists should be considered to maintain uniformity and care must be taken not to hurt the sentiments of any particular community.


  • Prior to the British Raj, East India Company tried to reform local social and religious customs. Lord William Bentinck tried to suppress Sati Practice and passed the Bengal Sati Regulation, 1829.
  • The Lex Loci Report of 1840 emphasised the necessity of uniformity in codification of Indian law but it recommended that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims should be kept outside such codification.
  • Due to varied tradition among various religions in India, it was hard for Britishers in investigating each specific practice of any community, case-by-case.
  • Towards the end of the nineteenth century, favouring local opinion, the recognition of individual customs and traditions increased.
  • Due to discriminated law against women such as Muslim Personal law ,various law reforms were passed which were beneficial to women like the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act of 1856, the Hindu Inheritance (Removal of Disabilities) Act, 1928 etc.
  • The passing of the Hindu Women’s right to Property Act of 1937, also known as the Deshmukh bill, led to the formation of the B. N. Rau committee, which was set up to determine the necessity of common Hindu laws. The committee recommended a civil code of marriage and succession.
  • The Indian Parliament discussed the report of the Hindu law committee during the 1950s. The Hindu code bills were several laws aimed to codify and reform Hindu personal law in India.
  • The then Law Minister, B. R. Ambedkar recommended the adoption of a Uniform Civil Code which ultimately receive criticism. Also, the Hindu bill received criticism on issues concerning monogamy, divorce, abolition of coparcenaries (women inheriting a shared title) and inheritance to daughters.
  • Hence, a lesser version of this bill was passed by the parliament in 1956, in the form of four separate acts, the Hindu Marriage Act, Succession Act, Minority and Guardianship Act and Adoptions and Maintenance Act.
  • It was also decided to add the implementation of a uniform civil code in Article 44 of the Directive principles of the Constitution.
  • However, the Hindu code bill failed to control the prevalent gender discrimination. Since the Act applied only to Hindus, women from the other communities remained subordinated.
  • After the passing of the Hindu Code bill, the personal laws in India had two major areas of application: the common Indian citizens and the Muslim community, whose laws were kept away from any reforms.
  • In 1985 Shah Bano case, the supreme court recommended that a uniform civil code should be set up.
  • The Law Commission of India in its 21st report said that a uniform civil code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage in India.
  • The debate for a uniform civil code, with its diverse implications and concerning secularism, is one of the most controversial issues till date.

Key Facts:

  • Goa is the only state in India which has a uniform civil code. The Goa Family Law is the set of civil laws, originally the Portuguese Civil Code, continued to be implemented after its annexation in 1961.
[Ref: The Hindu]



Govt to unveil ‘bamboonomics’ for carbon credit & income boost

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs launched the Biggest Tribal movement to promote tribal enterprise through Bamboonomics in India.


  • He launched the movement for combating desertification and the climate change at “The Indian Perspective through Bamboonomics” session at ‘COP 14 UNCCD : TRIFED-GIZ’.

Significance of Bamboo in removing carbon


  • Bamboo has a higher carbon sequestration potential compared to other trees and can help restore fertility of degraded land.
  • Sequestration is a natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.

About 4P1000 Initiative

  • Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Of India Limited (TRIFED) also introduced the “The 4P1000 Initiative: The Tribal Perspective through Bamboonomics”.
  • The 4P1000 Initiative: The international initiative “4per1000”, launched by France in 2015 at the COP 21, aims to demonstrate that agriculture, and in particular agricultural soils can play a crucial role in food security and climate change.


  • It is named 4per1000 based on the fact that an annual growth rate of 0.4% in the soil carbon stocks, or 4% per year, in the first 30-40 cm of soil, would significantly reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere related to human activities.

Key Facts

  • At present, China uses 90% of a bamboo plant to make various products. We use only 20%, and that’s why bamboo products are expensive in India.
  • TRIFED is trying to integrate its Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojna (PMVDY) with global environmental intervention termed as TICD (TRIFED’s Initiative to Combat Desertification).
[Ref: PIB]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

NGT forms committee to stop illegal groundwater extraction

Expressing concern over depleting groundwater levels, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set up a committee to formulate steps required to prevent its unauthorised extraction.


Groundwater reservoirs

  • Groundwater is the largest useable source of freshwater on the planet.


  • It is slowly replenished through rainfall – a process known as recharge – and discharges into lakes, rivers or oceans to maintain an overall balance between water in and water out. However, only half of all groundwater supplies are likely to fully replenish within the next 100 years.
  • Groundwater reserves in arid areas (such as Sahara Desert) took far longer (several thousand years in some cases) to respond to alterations in climate than reserves in more humid parts.

Ground water in India


  • Today, India is the largest user of the groundwater in the world with almost 90% being used for drinking water and almost 60-70% for irrigation.
  • Nearly 50% of urban water supply comes from groundwater.
  • The overall contribution of rainfall to the country’s annual ground water resource is 68%.

The groundwater crisis is embedded at two different levels:

  • Groundwater exploitation of aquifers (where groundwater is stored) in different parts of the India and
  • Groundwater contamination that find origins, both in geogenic source such as Arsenic and Fluoride along with anthropogenic sources of contamination primarily due to poor disposal of waste and wastewater

How can the groundwater crisis be mitigated?

It requires a two-fold approach:

  • Large scale community participation
  • Better groundwater governance by implementing smart regulations and legislations

The implementation of a programme called the Aquifer Management Programme by the Government of India is a good initiative to help understand groundwater through aquifers.

[Ref: Down To Earth, FirstPost]


Science & Technology

Minister for Communications launches maritime communication services in India

Union Minister for Communications launched maritime communication services.

maritime communication services

About maritime communication services

  • The new services aim to enable support to those travelling on sailing vessels, cruise liners and ships in India by use of satellite technology and provide access to voice, data and video services.


  • The services will be provided by Nelco Ltd, a Tata Group company.

Launch of web portal for reporting stolen mobiles

  • Union Minister also launched a web portal for reporting stolen mobiles to help trace them.
  • The major objectives of the project include blocking of lost/stolen mobile phones across mobile networks, prevention of mobile devices with duplicate and fake IMEIs and curtail the use of counterfeit mobile devices.

About Central Equipment Identity Register’ (CEIR) system

About Central Equipment Identity Register’ (CEIR) system

  • CEIR has been undertaken by the Department of Telecom for addressing security, theft and other concerns including reprogramming of mobile handsets.
  • CEIR is a massive database of all International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers ever generated in India.
  • Once the phone has been stolen, the user can give his/her IMEI to Department of Telecom (DoT), after which, DoT can execute IMEI-based lawful interception, and block that IMEI for ever.
  • Once IMEI is blocked, then that mobile phone will have no usage, and this will essentially discourage the practice of stealing phones.

What is Equipment Identity Register?

  • Equipment Identity Register (EIR) is a database that contains a record of the all the mobile stations (MS) that are allowed in a network as well as a database of all equipment that is banned, e.g. because it is lost or stolen.

It has three list,

  • White list (mobiles that are permitted to use),
  • Grey list (could be permitted to use under supervision) and
  • Black list (not permitted for use due to lost or stolen).

What is IMEI number?


  • International Mobile Equipment Identity or IMEI is a unique identifier for every mobile phone ever manufactured.
  • It is a 15-digit number that is used to identify the device. It also reveals the manufacturer and model number.
[Ref: Economic Times, India Today]


Key Facts for Prelims

Hindi Diwas 2019: 44% of Indians speak the language

With 52 crore speakers, Hindi remains the most-spoken language in the country.


About Hindi Diwas

hindi-diwas 2019

  • Every year, September 14 is celebrated as Hindi Diwas.
  • On this day in 1950, the Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi, an Indo-Aryan language, written in Devanagari script as one of the official languages of the Republic of India.
  • Stalwarts like Beohar Rajendra Simha, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Kaka Kalelkar, Maithili Sharan Gupt and Seth Govind Das lobbied hard in favour of Hindi to be made the official language of India.
  • September 14, 1949 also marked the 50th birthday of Hindi scholar Beohar Rajendra Simha.
  • Every year on Hindi Diwas, President of India presents the Rajbhasha awards to people for their contribution towards the language.

About Hindi language:

  • The word ‘Hindi’ came from a Persian word ‘Hind’, which means the land of the Indus River.
  • Hindi is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the country.
  • Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world after English, Spanish and Mandarin.
[Ref: PIB, News18]


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