Bill on voter ID-Aadhaar link
(GS-II: RPA Related issues)
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act to bring in key reforms including voluntary linkage of voter ID with Aadhaar.
Need for linking of Aadhaar and Voter ID:
This has been a demand of the Election Commission ever since 2015. The EC had launched the National Electoral Law Purification and Authentication Programme to link the Aadhaar number with the voter ID number. It said the linking will weed out multiple enrolments in the name of one person.
At that time, the programme was stalled as the Supreme Court ordered that the use of Aadhaar will remain optional to avail of welfare schemes.
Following this, the EC modified its proposal and said the linking will be optional.
Other provisions in the Bill:
It will provide registration of new voters on four qualifying dates in place of the existing January 1 of every year.
At present, anyone turning 18 on or before January 1 will be eligible to be registered as a voter. Anyone born after January 1 will have to get enlisted only after a year.
According to the bill, along with January 1, there will be three other qualifying dates – April 1, July 1 and October 1 – in every calendar year.
The amendments also allow the elections to become gender neutral for service voters.
The amendment will help replace the word ‘wife’ with the word ‘spouse’ making the statutes “gender neutral”.
At present, an Armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman officer’s husband is not. With ‘wife’ being replaced by the term ‘spouse’, this will change.
What Are The Issues Raised Over Voter ID-Aadhaar Seeding?
The proposal fails to specify the extent of data sharing between the ECI and UIDAI databases, the methods through which consent will be obtained, and whether consent to link the databases can be revoked.
In the absence of a robust personal data protection law — a Bill in that regard is yet to clear Parliament — any move to allow sharing of data can prove to be problematic. There would be an intrusion to the privacy of the individual.
Goa Liberation Day
(GS-I: Post independence consolidation)
60th Goa Liberation Day was celebrated on 19th December, 2021 in commemoration of the Indian armed forces freeing Goa from Portuguese colonial rule.
Why is this event significant?
Although India attained independence from British rule back in 1947, it would still take Goa – which was a Portuguese colony at the time – 14 more years to be liberated from foreign control. Finally, on December 19, 1961, Indian armed personnel managed to wrest control of Goa from the Portuguese, ending around 450 years of colonial rule.
About Operation Vijay:
Portuguese were the first ones to colonize parts of India and were the last to leave.
The Portuguese invaded Goa in the year 1510.
Operation Vijay began on December 17, 1961, when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ordered the invasion. With a force of almost 30,000, the Indian attack overpowered the ill-prepared Portuguese 3,000 member army.
With minimal blood shed, the attack was successful and was carried forward to retrieve the other Portuguese-controlled areas, Daman and Diu.
At this point on December 18, the Portuguese Governor General Vassalo da Silva gave up control of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu.
(GS-II: Issues related to health)
Nearly 2,000 pet and stray dogs in Amravati city were affected by canine parvovirus virus last month with veterinarians cautioning pet owners against a severe outbreak.
What is Parvovirus?
It is a highly contagious viral disease affecting puppies and dogs.
It affects the intestinal tract of canines with puppies being more susceptible.
Bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, drastic weight loss, dehydration and lethargy are some of the symptoms.
The virus has reported a 90 per cent mortality rate.
This virus was discovered in 1967 and has rapidly become a serious threat to canine health. This is primarily due to the fact that the virus is hard to kill, can live for a long time in the environment, and is shed in large quantities by infected dogs.
How does the virus spread in dogs?
Through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object, including the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs.
What’s causing increase in the number of cases?
The recent rise in cases of Parvovirus in pets is due to the Covid-19 pandemic that compelled many pet owners to avoid timely vaccination of their dogs.
Also, due to the non-implementation of the animal birth control programme, dog vaccination and rabies in the last three years has led to rising parvovirus cases in street dogs in the city.
Parvovirus has no cure and inoculating a puppy or a dog gives them a fighting chance against the infection.
(GS-II: Issues related to health)
The Government of India has told in the Lok Sabha that the Data recorded in the Poshan (Nutrition) Tracker have not been made public in the interest of privacy of women and children.
The objective is to honour the privacy of women and children who are serviced by the Government of India in collaboration with State Governments across the anganwadi systems in the country.
About the Poshan Tracker:
The Poshan Tracker, known as the ICDS-CAS (Integrated Child Development Services-Common Application Software) in its earlier avatar, was set up with the aim of tracking and improving various services delivered at anganwadis and to ensure nutritional management of beneficiaries.
This real-time monitoring system is one of the key pillars of Poshan Abhiyan or Nutrition Mission approved by the Union Cabinet in November 2017 with a financial outlay of ₹9,000 crore for three years.
The Government has spent ₹1,053 crore to develop the tracker.
The tracker is one of the important pillars of the Poshan Abhiyan and helps the Government monitor services delivered at 12.3 lakh anganwadi centres and record nutritional indicators of 9.8 lakh beneficiaries, including children in the age of six months to six years as well as pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Anganwadis provide six services, which include supplementary nutrition in the form of hot-cooked meals and take home ration, immunisation and pre-school education.
What’s the issue?
The parliamentary committee in its report raised several questions on the effective use of the Poshan Tracker.
It sought that key performance indicators be constantly monitored and uploaded on its website and a State-wise progress report be maintained “so that identification of those deprived of the benefits can be made on a real-time basis for timely remedial measures.”
The committee also recommended that the Ministry put in place a monitoring mechanism to ensure there were no gaps in distribution of food packets to anganwadi beneficiaries.
About Poshan Abhiyaan:
The programme seeks to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Launched in 2018 with specific targets to be achieved by 2022.
It aims to reduce:
The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.