Daily Current Affairs: 11th December 2021

Topics covered

  1. Sedition law
  2. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) scheme
  3. International Solar Alliance
  4. Facts for Prelims
  5. Places in News

1. Sedition law

Context: Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday told the Lok Sabha that the Ministry of Home Affairs had no proposal under consideration to scrap Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code that deals with sedition.

What is Sedition law ?

  • Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with sedition, was drafted by Thomas Babington Macaulay and included in the IPC in 1870.
  • The sedition law was used by the British to suppress dissent and imprison freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak who criticised the policies of the colonial administration.
  • After Independence, the constitution framers had devoted considerable time to weigh in on various aspects of this colonial law.
  • One of the most vehement critics of the sedition law was K.M. Munshi who argued that such a draconian law is a threat to democracy in India. He argued that, “as a matter of fact the essence of democracy is criticism of Government.”
  • It was due to his efforts and the persistence of the Sikh leader Bhupinder Singh Mann that the word sedition was omitted from the Constitution.
  • However, Section 124A continued to stay in the IPC.
  • In 1951, Jawaharlal Nehru brought in the first amendment of the Constitution to limit the freedom under Article 19(1)(a) and enacted Article 19(2) to empower the State put curbs in the form of “reasonable restrictions” on right to free speech.
  • It was the Indira Gandhi government that made Section 124A a cognisable offence for the first time in India’s history.
  • In the new Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which came into force in 1974 and repealed the colonial-era 1898 Code of Criminal Procedure, sedition was made a cognisable offence authorising the police to make arrests without a warrant.

What does Section 124 A states?

  • Section 124A IPC states: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which a fine may be added; or, with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which a fine may be added; or, with fine.”

Punishment under Section 124A

  • Sedition is a non-bailable offence. Punishment under the law varies from imprisonment up to three years to a life term and fine.
  • A person charged under this law can’t apply for a government job.
  • They have to live without their passport and must present themselves in the court as and when required

The Landmark Kedar Nath Singh Judgment

  • Kedar Nath Singh, which is considered the most authoritative Judgement of the Supreme Court on the interpretation of the sedition law, a Five Judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 124-A of Indian Panel Code, 1860 and went on to clarify the correct position of the sedition law in India.
  • In this case, Kedar Nath Singh, who was a member of the Forward Communist Party of Bihar, was charged with sedition for making insulting speeches against the ruling Indian National Congress Government.
  • The Apex Court clarified that Section 124-A of Indian Panel Code, 1860 could not be used to stifle free speech, and could only be invoked if it could be proven that the seditious speech in question led to the incitement to violence or would result in public disorder.
  • Since Kedar Nath criticised the Congress party and not the Indian State, and the speech in question did not lead to any incitement to violence, therefore it did not amount to sedition.
  • The Supreme Court also noted that the presence of a pernicious tendency to incite violence is a pre-condition to invoke the sedition clause.

Other important judgements and reports

  • In 1995, the SC, in Balwant Singh vs State of Punjab, held that mere sloganeering which evoked no public response did not amount to sedition.
  • The Law Commission of India, in its consultation paper on sedition, published in August 2018, also observed that while retaining the offence of sedition was essential to protect national integrity, it should not be used as a tool to curb free speech.

2. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) scheme

Context: The Government spent 80% of the funds under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) scheme on media campaigns and must now revisit this strategy and invest in measurable outcomes in health and education for girls, the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women has noted in its report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

About the scheme

  • The Census (2011) data showed a significant declining trend in the Child Sex Ratio1(CSR) between 0-6 years with an all time low of 918.
  • The issue of decline in the CSR is a major indicator of women disempowerment as it reflects both, pre-birth discrimination manifested through gender biased sex selection, and post birth discrimination against girls (in form of their health, nutrition, educational needs).
  • Since coordinated and convergent efforts are needed to ensure survival, protection and empowerment of the girl child, Government launched the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) on 22nd January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
  • It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.


  • Celebrate the Girl Child & Enable her Education
  • The objectives of the Scheme are as under:
    • To prevent gender biased sex selective elimination
    • To ensure survival and protection of the girl child
    • To ensure education and participation of the girl child

Target group

  1. Primary : Young and newly married couples; Pregnant and Lactating mothers; parents
  2. Secondary : Youth, adolescents (girls and boys), in-laws, medical doctors/ practitioners, private hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic centres
  3. Tertiary : Officials, PRIs; frontline workers, women SHGs/Collectives, religious leaders, voluntary organizations, media, medical associations, industry associations, general public as a whole .

Project Implementation

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development would be responsible for budgetary control and administration of the scheme from the Centre.
  • At the State level, the Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development will be responsible for overall direction and implementation of the scheme. 
  • DPO at district level will be nodal officer for the implementation of the Scheme.
  • The scheme will be implemented through ICDS platform/MSK/DLCW at district, block and village level in convergence with Health, Education and Panchayati Raj Ministry.


  • Advocacy and Media Campaign on Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao
    • Under the Scheme, a Nation-wide campaign was launched for celebrating Girl Child and enabling her education.
    • The campaign aims at ensuring that girls are born, nurtured and educated without discrimination to become empowered citizens of this country with equal rights.
    • A 360° media approach is being adopted to create awareness and disseminating information about the issue across the nation.
  • Multi-Sectoral intervention in selected Gender Critical Districts worse on CSR
    • Under the Scheme, the multi-sectoral action in selected 405 districts (including existing 161 districts) covering all States/UTs will focus on schematic intervention and sectoral actions in consultation with M/o H&FW & M/o HRD.
    • Measurable outcomes and indicators will bring together concerned sectors, States and districts for urgent concerted multi-sectoral action to improve the CSR.

Monitorable targets

  • Improve the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) in selected gender critical districts by 2 points in a year. ii
  • Reduce Gender differentials in Under Five Child Mortality Rate from 7 points in 2014(latest available SRS report) to 1.5 points per year
  • At least 1.5 % increase per year of Institutional Deliveries.
  • At least 1% increase per year of 1st Trimester ANC Registration. v)Increase enrolment of girls in secondary education to 82% by 2018-19.
  • Provide functional toilet for girls in every school in selected districts.
  • Improve the Nutrition status of girls – by reducing number of underweight and anemic girls under 5 years of age.
  • Ensure universalization of ICDS, girls’ attendance and equal care monitored, using joint ICDS NHM Mother Child Protection Cards.
  • Promote a protective environment for Girl Children through implementation of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012.
  • Train Elected Representatives/ Grassroot functionaries as Community Champions to mobilize communities to improve CSR and promote Girl’s education.

3. International Solar Alliance

Context: The UN General Assembly has conferred Observer Status on the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a historic decision which India said would help provide for a well-defined cooperation between the alliance and the UN that would benefit global energy growth and development.

About International Solar Alliance

  • The ISA, is an Indian initiative that was launchedby the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30 November 2015 at Paris, France on the side-lines of the COP-21, with 121 solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn as prospective members.
  • The overarching objective of the ISA is to collectively address key common challenges to the scaling up of solar energy in ISA member countries. 
  • It also aims to undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology, mobilize investments needed for massive deployment of solar energy, and pave the way for future technologies adapted to the needs.
  • ISA has been positioned to help create the conditions that would make funding, developing and deploying solar applications on a large scale a reality. ISA is now perceived as key to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.


  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was conceived as a coalition of solar-resource-rich countries (which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn) to address their special energy needs.
  • The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.


  • The Assembly of the ISA is the apex decision-making body which comprises of representatives from each Member Country.
  • The Assembly deliberates matters of substance such as the selection of the Director General, achievement of ISA objectives, its functioning, approval of operating budget and more.
  • This ultimate cohort of the ISA also assesses the implementation and aggregate effect of the Programmes and other activities under the Alliance, in terms of deployment of solar energy, performance, reliability, as well as cost and scale of finance. Thereupon, the Assembly determines the course of coordinated actions to be taken for the development and furtherance of the ISA Programmes.
  • The Assembly convenes annually wherein the ISA Member Country representatives exercise their votes to make all necessary decisions regarding the said matters, in the presence of non-voting participants including observers, prospective member nations, partner organizations and special invitees. The ISA Framework Agreement asserts that the Assembly may also meet under special circumstances.
  • It is headquartered in Gurugram, India.

Objectives of the ISA

  • To collectively address key common challenges to scale up solar energy applications in line with their needs;
  • To mobilize investments of more than USD 1000 billion by 2030;
  • To take coordinated action through programmes and activities launched on a voluntary basis, aimed at better harmonization, aggregation of demand, risk and resources, for promoting solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, R&D, capacity building etc.;
  • Reduce the cost of finance to increase investments in solar energy in member countries by promoting innovative financial mechanisms and mobilizing finance from Institutions;
  • Scale up applications of solar technologies in member countries, and
  • Facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D) activities in solar energy technologies among member countries.
  • Promote a common cyber platform for networking, cooperation and exchange of ideas among member countries;

4. Facts for Prelims

Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs)

  • The Foreigners Tribunals, quasi-judicial bodies unique to only Assam, are assigned to declare an individual foreigner or not and have the authority to provide an opinion regarding arrest, detention, deletion of names from voters’ list, cancellation of ration cards, etc.
  • The Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 was issued by the Central Government under Section 3 of The Foreigners Act, 1946. It is applicable to the whole country.
  • Major amendments in the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 were undertaken in 2013. The last amendment was issued in May, 2019.
  • All these orders are applicable to the whole country and are not specific to any state. 
  • The Foreigners Tribunals under this order have been established only in Assam and in no other state of the country.

5. Places in News


  • Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.
  • The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.
  • Auroville is an experimental township in Viluppuram district, mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, with some parts in the Union Territory of Pondicherry in India.
  • It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa and designed by architect Roger Anger

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