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Daily Current Affairs 16/12/2022


  1. Manual scavenging

  2. Uniform civil code

  3. Agni-V missile

  4. Kerala’s University Laws (amendment) Bills

  5. US govt’s EAGLE Act

Manual Scavenging

In a recent statement to Lok Sabha, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) stated that no one had been killed as a result of manual scavenging in the preceding three years (2019 to 2022).

During this time period, a total of 233 people had passed away "due to accidents while undertaking hazardous cleaning of sewer and septic tanks." These accidents had caused their deaths.


The Social Justice and Governance Component of GS-II (Issues related to Poverty, Minorities, Welfare Schemes, Government Policies and Interventions)

The following are the article's dimensions:

  1. Manual Scavenging in India

  2. There is a significant amount of manual scavenging in India.

  3. Provisions currently in place with regard to the Manual Labour

  4. National Action Plan for the abolition of Manual Scavenging

Digging through Rubbish by Hand in India

The removal of human excrement from public streets and dry latrines, as well as the cleaning of septic tanks, gutters, and sewers, are all examples of manual scavenging.

Although India passed a law in 1993 called "The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993," which prohibited the employment of people as manual scavengers, the social stigma and discrimination that were associated with the practise are still prevalent today.

In 2013, the definition of "manual scavenger" was expanded to include people who were employed to clean septic tanks, ditches, or railway tracks. This was a change from the previous definition, which had been narrower. The Act acknowledges that manual scavenging is a "dehumanising practise," and it cites the necessity of "correcting the historical injustice and indignity suffered by the manual scavengers."

There is a significant amount of manual scavenging in India.

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) reports that over the course of the past decade, a total of 631 people have lost their lives across the nation while working to clean septic tanks and sewers.

The number of people who passed away while engaging in manual scavenging was at its highest in 2019 compared to the previous five years. During the process of cleaning sewers and septic tanks, 110 workers were killed.

This represents a 61% increase compared to 2018, which saw 68 cases of deaths that were consistent with this category.

The process of cleaning sewage still requires human involvement, despite the fact that several automated systems have been introduced in recent years.

According to data collected in 2018, there are 29,923 people engaged in manual scavenging in Uttar Pradesh, making it the state in India with the highest number of people doing this type of work.

After such a long period of time, why does manual scavenging continue to be a problem?

There is a persistent unwillingness on the part of state governments to acknowledge that the practise continues under their watch, according to a number of surveys that have been conducted independently.

The cleaning of sewers is frequently contracted out to private companies by municipal organisations. However, a significant number of them are only in business for a short while and do not keep accurate rolls of sanitation workers. These contractors have denied any association with the deceased workers in each and every instance in which workers have been found dead from asphyxiation.

Caste, social class, and income gaps are also major factors in the perpetuation of the practise. It is connected to India's caste system, in which members of what are considered to be lower castes are expected to carry out this work. It is connected to India's caste system, in which members of what are considered to be lower castes are expected to carry out this work.

Provisions already in place under the Manual Labour Prevention of Atrocities Act are as follows:

In 1989, the Prevention of Atrocities Act turned into an integrated guard for sanitation workers. At the time, more than 90% of the people employed as manual scavengers belonged to the Scheduled Caste. This turned out to be a significant turning point in the fight to liberate manual scavengers from their designated traditional occupations.

In 2013, Congress passed the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, which states: The Act from 1993 has been superseded by the Act from 2013, which goes further than simply prohibiting the use of dry latrines. Instead, it makes it illegal to manually clean insanitary latrines, open drains, or pits.

The 'Right to Life' is guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution, and it must be exercised with dignity. This right is available to non-citizens as well as citizens of the United States.

Plan of action for the elimination of manual scavenging at the national level

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry's National Action Plan aims to modernise the existing sewage system and cover non-sewered areas; set up a faecal sludge and septage management system for the mechanised cleaning of septic tanks, transportation, and treatment of faecal sludge; equip the municipalities; and set up Sanitation Response Units with help lines.

A bill titled "The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020" is currently in the legislative process.

This bill will amend the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, in order to comply with the National Action Plan that has been developed by the Ministry.

The bill proposes to completely mechanise the process of cleaning the sewers, as well as provide improved safety measures for workers and compensation in the event that accidents occur.

The proposed legislation would make the law that prohibits manual scavenging more stringent by increasing the amount of the fine as well as the amount of time spent in prison for violators.

The funds for the purchase of the equipment will not be given to the municipalities or the contractors, but rather they will be given directly to the sanitation workers.

Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge

Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge was initiated by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in 243 different cities with the goal of ensuring that no life of a sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again as a result of the problem of 'hazardous cleaning.'

On the occasion of World Toilet Day, the Challenge was introduced into the world.

Aims to promote the use of mechanised cleaning methods for sewers and septic tanks rather than the current practise of "hazardous cleaning."

Representatives from 243 different cities across the United States made a commitment to mechanise the process of cleaning all sewers and septic tanks by the 30th of April in 2021.

The initiative adheres to the fundamental tenets of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U)

The actual on-ground assessment of the participating cities is scheduled to take place in May 2021 and will be carried out by an independent agency. The results of the assessment are scheduled to be announced on August 15, 2021.

Cities will be awarded in three sub-categories: those with a population of more than 10 lakhs, those with a population of 3-10 lakhs, and those with a population of up to 3 lakhs. A total prize pool of 52 crores will be distributed among the winning cities in all categories.

-Source: "The Hindu"

Context of the Uniform Civil Code

Recently, the Law Minister informed the Rajya Sabha that the States are empowered to enact personal laws that decide issues such as succession, marriage, and divorce, in their effort to secure a uniform civil code. This was done in order to secure a uniform legal framework (UCC).


GS II- Polity

The following are the article's dimensions:

  1. What exactly is the Uniform Civil Code, or UCC for short?

  2. The implementation of the uniform civil code presents a number of challenges, including the following: positive aspects of the uniform civil code include

  3. Is it not the case that India already has a UCC in place for civil matters?

  4. What kind of relationship does the concept of UCC have with the fundamental right to practise a religion?

What exactly is the Uniform Civil Code, or UCC for short?

The idea behind India's proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is to replace the personal laws that are currently based on the scriptures and customs of each of the country's major religious communities with a common set of laws that will govern every citizen.

Article 44 of the Constitution of India includes a provision for a Uniform Civil Code as a Directive Principle of State Policy. This provision states that "The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India." This provision is known as the "Uniform Civil Code."

The Directive Principles of State Policy include Article 44 as one of their articles. These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable, which means that no court has the authority to enforce them; however, the principles that are outlined there are essential for effective governance.

In a court of law, you have the ability to exercise your fundamental rights. Although Article 44 includes the phrase "the state shall endeavour," other articles in the chapter titled "Directive Principles" include phrases such as "in particular strive," "shall in particular direct its policy," "shall be obligation of the state," and so on.

Article 43 states that "the state shall endeavour by suitable legislation," but Article 44 does not include the phrase "by suitable legislation." All of this suggests that the duty of the state in other directive principles, such as Article 44, is greater than it is in this particular article.

Some advantages of using a uniform civil code include the following:

The UCC will remove religion from social relations and personal laws, and it will ensure that men and women of all faiths will be treated equally in terms of justice. This will be the case regardless of the religion they practise.

In the future, all Indians will be subject to the same laws regarding marriage, inheritance, divorce, and other similar topics.

Because Indian society is predominantly patriarchal, this will be of assistance in bringing about an improvement in the situation of women in India.

Caste panchayats are examples of informal bodies that make decisions based on traditional legal norms. The UCC is going to make sure that the legal laws, rather than the traditional laws, are followed.

It has the potential to assist in lowering the number of instances of vote-buying politics. If all religions are subject to the same laws, then politicians will have less to offer communities in exchange for their vote because they will have fewer options.

Problems Associated with the Adoption of a Unified Civil Code Include

It is possible that the implementation of UCC will conflict with the principle of secularism, in particular with the provisions of Articles 25 and 26, which guarantee freedom in relation to the performance of religious rites.

The conservatism of religious groups, which oppose such changes because they interfere with the performance of their religious rites and rituals.

It is challenging for the government to draught a standard law that can be supported by all of the world's diverse religious communities. It is required that all religious groups, regardless of whether they are the majority or the minority, support the change in personal laws.

Another difficulty is the drafting of the UCC. There is a lack of agreement on whether or not it should be a new law that adheres to the constitutional mandate, as well as whether or not it should be a blend of personal laws.

Does India not already have a civil law code that is unified across the country?

The majority of Indian laws pertaining to civil matters adhere to a standard format, such as the Indian Contract Act, the Civil Procedure Code, the Sale of Goods Act, the Transfer of Property Act, the Partnership Act, and the Evidence Act.

However, states have made hundreds of amendments, and as a result, even under these secular civil laws, there is diversity in certain matters. Recent events have shown that a number of states are unwilling to comply with the Uniform Motor Vehicles Act of 2019.

If the authors of the Constitution had intended for there to be a Uniform Civil Code, then they would have included the subject of personal laws on the Union List, which would have given Parliament the authority to legislate solely on matters pertaining to personal laws. On the other hand, the Concurrent List does make reference to "personal laws."

In the year 2020, the Law Commission came to the conclusion that a unified civil code was neither achievable nor desirable.

How does the concept of a uniform civil code relate to the basic human right to practise whatever religious tradition one chooses?

Article 25 outlines a person's fundamental right to practise any religion they choose. Article 26(b) defends the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to "manage its own affairs in matters of religion." Article 29 outlines a person's right to maintain their distinctive culture. In accordance with Article 25, the freedom of religion of an individual is subject to "public order, health, and morality," as well as other provisions relating to fundamental rights. On the other hand, the freedom of a group in accordance with Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights.

The Constituent Assembly was split down the middle on the question of whether or not the Uniform Civil Code should be included in the chapter on fundamental rights.

A vote decided the outcome of the situation. The fundamental rights sub-committee that was headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel came to the conclusion that the provision fell outside the scope of fundamental rights and, as a result, the Uniform Civil Code was given a lower priority than the freedom of religion. This decision was reached by a majority vote of 5 to 4.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"

Agni-V Missile Context:

Recent tests of India's nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V, which can strike targets at ranges of up to 5,000 kilometres and represents a significant boost to the country's strategic deterrence, were conducted and completed without incident.


Science and Technology Exam for the GS-III Level (Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology, Defence Technology, Indigenization of Technology)

The following are the article's dimensions:

About Agni Missiles

  1. Agni-V missile

  2. About Agni Missiles

There are five different missiles in the Agni series:

  • Agni I: Range of 700-800 km.

  • Agni II: Range more than 2000 km.

  • Agni III has a range that is greater than 2,500 kilometres.

  • Agni IV is capable of firing from a road mobile launcher and has a range of more than 3,500 kilometres.

  • An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of more than 5,000 kilometres is known as the Agni-V. It is the longest member of the Agni series.

Agni-V missile

The Agni-V is an Indian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that is capable of delivering nuclear warheads. It was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

It is classified information how far the Agni-V missile can travel. It is believed that the missile has a range of over 5,000 kilometres, and that this range can be expanded up to 8,000 kilometres.

It is a missile that is solid-fueled and has three stages.

For the purposes of navigation and guidance, the Agni-V was equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as ring laser gyroscopes and accelerometers. RLG-INS stands for "ring laser gyroscope based inertial navigation system," and it is primarily responsible for directing the Agni-V to its intended destination. Nevertheless, the Agni-V has a secondary guidance system known as the micro inertial navigation system (MINGS) installed as a safety precaution. These have the capability of interacting with satellite navigation systems from India as well as other countries.

It is anticipated that Agni-V will come equipped with Multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), with each missile having the capacity to carry anywhere from two to ten distinct nuclear warheads.

After the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, Israel, and North Korea, India is the eighth country in the world to possess intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The primary objective of India's Agni V programme is to strengthen the country's nuclear deterrence against China.

In the midst of India's ongoing dispute with China over the country's border, a missile was recently test-fired from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island located off the coast of Odisha.

Agni-V is capable of expanding its striking range to encompass almost all of Asia, including the most northern part of China, as well as regions in Europe.


The Hindu is the cited origin.

University Laws (Amendment) Bills in the State of Kerala Context:

The State Assembly of Kerala has approved both of the University Laws (amendment) Bills proposed by the government of Kerala. These bills are intended to change the laws that pertain to the governance of State universities and to remove the Governor from his position as Chancellor of those universities.


GS II: Politics and Administrative Structure

The following are the article's dimensions:

  1. What do the Bills have to say about it?

  2. Why is the state government making changes to the laws governing universities?

  3. Criticisms levelled against the Bill

What do the Bills have to say about it?

The Governor's position as Chancellor will be eliminated as a result of the proposed changes to the statutes of the 14 universities in Kerala that were founded as a result of legislative Acts.

The Governor's role as a watchdog over university administration will be eliminated as a result of the passage of these bills, which will give the government the authority to appoint distinguished academics to the position of Chancellor at a number of different universities.

The bills also include provisions that restrict the term of office of the appointed chancellor to a maximum of five years.

Why is the state government making changes to the laws governing universities?

The Minister for Law, while tabling the Bills, drew attention to the fact that the UGC guidelines, which were previously thought of as obligatory for Central universities and "partially mandatory and partially directive" for State universities, have now been made legally binding for all universities as a result of recent rulings issued by the Supreme Court. The Minister for Law made this point while pointing out that the UGC guidelines were previously considered obligatory for Central universities.

Concerningly, such a precedent pointed towards a scenario in which the legislative powers of the Assembly on all subjects included on the Concurrent List (of the Constitution) could be undermined by a subordinate legislation or an executive order issued by the Centre. This was a scenario that needed to be avoided at all costs.

In addition, the State government has asserted that the rationale behind the Bills is the recommendation made by the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State Relations to refrain from burdening the Governor with positions and powers that are not envisaged by the Constitution and which may lead the office to controversies or public criticism. This recommendation was made in response to the fact that the State government has been claiming that the Punchhi Commission's recommendation is the rationale behind the Bills.

Criticisms levelled against the Bill

The State Government would have more leeway in appointing its own nominees as Vice Chancellors of State Universities if the Bills are passed, as was previously described.

This would result in the Governor and the UGC ceding some of their authority over the administration of universities to the respective state governments.

The opposition is concerned that the State Government will attempt to make state universities into its personal fiefdoms, which will result in a reduction in the amount of autonomy enjoyed by universities.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"

The EAGLE Act of the US Government Context:

Recently, the White House provided its support for the passage of a bill in the United States Congress that aims to do away with the per-country quota on the issuance of green cards. The EAGLE Act of 2022, also known as the Equal Access to Green Card for Legal Employment Act, will soon be put to a vote in the House of Representatives.


GS II: Relationships with Other Countries

The following are the article's dimensions:

  1. Concerning the Green Card.

  2. What exactly is House Resolution 3648, also known as the EAGLE Act of 2022?

  3. How exactly will Indian-Americans benefit from this legislation?

Concerning the Green Card.

Immigrants who have been granted a green card, which is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, are granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States of America.

The card is evidence that the holder has been granted the privilege of residing permanently, and its purpose is to serve in this capacity.


It provides a path to citizenship, and a person who already possesses a green card can sponsor members of their immediate family for the same card.

It offers convenient access to the social security system as well as educational assistance in the United States.

The journey into and out of the country is made much less difficult.

A person who has a green card has the freedom to live anywhere in the United States.

Because one can submit their resume for a diverse range of jobs, there is more leeway in terms of the opportunities for a career.

A person who possesses a card has the ability to participate in the political process of the country in some capacity.

What exactly is House Resolution 3648, also known as the EAGLE Act of 2022?

The purpose of the Act is to remove the "per country" restriction that was previously placed on employment-based immigrant visas (also known as green cards), which will ultimately make it possible for US employers to "focus on hiring immigrants based on merit, not their birthplace."

The legislation proposes that the per-country caps will be eliminated gradually over the course of nine years in order to lessen the impact that this will have on countries with a smaller population and to guarantee that immigrants who are eligible to come from these countries will not be excluded when the Act is put into effect.

Enhancing the quality of the H-1B visa programme for specialty occupations is yet another objective of the EAGLE Act 2022.

Among other things, this could be accomplished by strengthening the requirements for recruitment, enhancing protections for workers in the United States, and increasing transparency.

Important provisions allowing people who have been waiting in the immigrant visa backlog for two years to submit applications for green cards are also included in H.R. 3648. These provisions are included in the bill.

Even though the applications could not be approved until a visa became available, this would enable immigrants who have been granted temporary visas due to their employment to transition off of those visas and provide them with additional flexibility when it came to changing employers or beginning a business.

How exactly will Indian-Americans benefit from this legislation?

Because there is a limit of one million per country, the backlog for employment-based green cards, for which there are 140,000 available, has reached millions.

According to a report that was published by CATO in the year 2020, skilled Indian workers accounted for seventy-five percent of the employment-based backlog in the United States.

Notably, the backlogged Indian workers faced a wait of nine decades before they could get a green card even if they all managed to remain in line even though it was already so long.

The report for 2020 also mentions the possibility that over "200,000 petitions filed for Indians could expire as a result of the workers dying of old age before they receive green cards."

Apart from the law that places restrictions on the number of green cards that can be issued to immigrants from any one birthplace, the reason why Indians have to endure much longer waits is because employers file a significantly higher number of petitions for Indian workers than the law permits.

However, in light of the circumstances that currently exist, even if the per-country cap were lifted, it would still take more than ten years for every immigrant who was sponsored by their employer.

As a result, the per-country limits place Indians in a precarious position, as more recent immigrants must endure potentially indefinite wait times for green cards.

-Original article from the Indian Express


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