Daily Current Affairs: 27 October 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics covered

  1. National Population Register
  2. UAPA Act
  3. Ayushman Bharat health infrastructure mission
  4. Facts for Prelims
  5. Places in News

1 . National Population Register

Context : The latest form of the National Population Register (NPR) appears to have retained contentious questions such as “mother tongue, place of birth of father and mother and last place of residence”, according to a document compiled by a committee under the Registrar-General of India and shared with the District Census officers.

About National Population Register (NPR)?

  • The NPR is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country. Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country. 
  • It is generated through house­ to­ house enumeration during the “house­listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years.
  • A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more, and intends to reside there for another six months or more
  • NPR was first compiled in 2010 and updated in 2015, the new questions were part of a trial exercise involving 30 lakh respondents in September 2019.
  • While similar data is collected through Census, according to Section 15 of the Census Act, 1948, all individual level information collected in Census are confidential and “only aggregated data are released at various administrative levels.”
  • The NPR already has an electronic database of more than 119 crore residents. Along with Census, NPR will also be updated digitally for the first time. A mobile application for enumerators has been developed where the existing database will be uploaded. Respondents can also self enumerate.

What is the NPR format of 2010?

  • Fifteen identity particulars of the individual members of the household are sought in the 2010 format.
  • These include name, relationship to the head of the household, sex, date of birth, marital status, educational qualification, occupation/activity, names of parents, place of birth (of everybody staying in the household at the time), nationality, present address of usual residence, duration of stay at the present address and permanent residential address.

What does the updated manual of 2020 say?

  • According to “National Population Register 2020”, the respondent will have to specify the “name of State and district” if the place of birth of father and mother is in India and mention the country’s name if not born here.
  • The form will collect details on 14 parameters of all family members. The sub-heads include passport number, relationship to head of the family, whether divorced/widowed or separated, mother tongue, if non-worker, cultivator, labourer, government employee, daily wage earner among others. The form also has a column on Aadhaar, mobile phone, voter ID and driver’s licence number, which are to be provided if available with the respondent.

What is the problem?

  • Several State governments such as Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab have already objected to the implementation of NPR 2020, saying it is a harbinger for a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal migrants.
  • State governments are nervous that the NPR data would be used to target citizens on the basis of their identity and deprive them of their citizenship.
  • The NPR 2020 Manual says “date of birth is one of the important items of information being collected in the NPR”. But in a country where a large part of the population is underprivileged and where people have not been able to formalise their birth due to lack of access to health care, the task of disclosing the exact birth and place of birth, especially of their aged parents and orphans, would prove to be a daunting task
  • The workforce for updation of NPR 2020 has to be provided by the State governments. With more States objecting to the new format and its contentious clauses, the exercise may reach an impasse. Widespread doubts about the intentions behind the NPR may also affect the smooth conduct of the Census.

Difference between Census & NPR

  • The census involves a detailed questionnaire — there were 29 items to be filled up in the 2011 census — aimed at eliciting the particulars of every person, including age, sex, marital status, children, occupation, birthplace, mother tongue, religion, disability and whether they belonged to any Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. 
  • NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars. Once the basic details of the head of the family are taken by the enumerator, an acknowledgement slip will be issued. This slip may be required for enrolment in NPR, whenever that process begins. And, once the details are recorded in every local (village or ward), sub­district (tehsil or taluk), district and State level, there will be a population register at each of these levels. Together, they constitute the National Population Register.
  • The census is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948 while the NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Conflict between NPR & Aadhaar

  • There is a possibility of conflict as both involves gathering of personal particulars, including biometric data. So,it was agreed that the databases of NPR & UIDAI will exist with different objectives, and that each will use the other’s biometric data. 
  • Those already enrolled for Aadhaar need not give their biometric details again during NPR. At the same time, data captured for NPR would be sent to UIDAI for de­duplication.
  • In case of discrepancy between Aadhaar and NPR data, the latter would prevail. 

Legal basis for the NPR

  • While the census is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948, the NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • Section 14A was inserted in the Citizenship Act, 1955, in 2004, providing for the compulsory registration of every citizen of India and the issue of a “national identity card” to him or her. It also said the Central government may maintain a “National Register of Indian Citizens”.
  • The Registrar General India shall act as the “National Registration Authority” (and will function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration). Incidentally, the Registrar General is also the country’s Census Commissioner.

2 . UAPA Act

Context: The J&K police lodged two First Information Reports (FIRs) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) a day after multiple videos allegedly showed students of two medical colleges in Srinagar celebrating the Pakistan cricket team’s victory over India in the T20 World Cup

About Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

  • The Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment (UAPA) Bill is an anti-terror legislation that seeks to designate an individual as a “terrorist.
  • Its main objective is to empower the state for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • The Act assigns absolute power to the central government. It can declare an activity as unlawful, by way of an Official Gazette.
  • The act has the death penalty and life imprisonment as the highest punishments.
  • Under the act, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.
  • It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if the crime is committed on foreign land, outside India.
  • The investigating agency can file a charge sheet within a maximum of 180 days after the arrests. This duration can be extended further after information to the court.

Provisions and Amendments

  • Main objective of the original bill was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India
  • In 2004, the government chose to strengthen The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. It was amended to overcome some of the difficulties in its enforcement and to update it in accordance with international commitments. By inserting specific chapters, the amendment criminalised the raising of funds for a terrorist act, holding of the proceeds of terrorism, membership of a terrorist organisation, support to a terrorist organisation, and the raising of funds for a terrorist organisation. It increased the time available to law-enforcement agencies to file a chargesheet to six months from three.
  • The law was amended in 2008 after the Mumbai attacks, and again in 2012. The definition of “terrorist act” was expanded to include offences that threaten economic security, counterfeiting Indian currency, and procurement of weapons, etc. Additional powers were granted to courts to provide for attachment or forfeiture of property equivalent to the value of the counterfeit Indian currency, or the proceeds of terrorism involved in the offence.
  • In 2019 Act was again amended to designate an individual as a “terrorist”

What is Unlawful Activity as per the Act

  • Section 2(o) of UAPA as it stands today, defines “unlawful activity”
  • Unlawful activity, in relation to an individual or association, means any action taken by such individual or association (whether by committing an act or by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise),—
    • which is intended, or supports any claim, to bring about, on any ground whatsoever, the cession of a part of the territory of India or the secession of a part of the territory of India from the Union, or which incites any individual or group of individuals to bring about such cession or secession; or
    • Which disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; or
    • Which causes or is intended to cause disaffection against India;

Who is designated as a Terrorist under the act

  • Section 15 defines a “terrorist act” as any act committed with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country.
  • Section 35 of UAPA: It seeks to empower the central government to designate an individual a “terrorist” if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror through a notification in the official gazette, and add his name to the schedule 4 0f theact.
    • The government is not required to give an individual an opportunity to be heard before such a designation.
    • At present, in line with the legal presumption of an individual being innocent until proven guilty, an individual who is convicted in a terror case is legally referred to as a terrorist, while those suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are referred to as terror accused. The act does not clarify the standard of proof required to establish that an individual is involved or is likely to be involved in terrorist activities.
  • Insertion to schedule of treaties: The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.  The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).  Act has added another treaty to the list- International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).

What happens when an individual is declared a terrorist?

  • The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms However UAPA act does not provide any such detail.
  • The act also does not require the filing of cases or arresting individuals while designating them as terrorists.
  • The act also seeks to give the central government the power to remove a name from the schedule when an individual makes an application. The procedure for such an application and the process of decision-making will also be decided by the central government.
  • If an application filed by an individual declared a terrorist is rejected by the government, the act gives him the right to seek a review within one month after the application is rejected.
  • Under the act, the central government will set up the review committee consisting of a chairperson (a retired or sitting judge of a High Court) and three other members. The review committee will be empowered to order the government to delete the name of the individual from the schedule that lists “terrorists”, if it considers the order to be flawed.
  • Apart from these two avenues, the individual can also move the courts challenging the government’s order.


  • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.  The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • Prior approval of Director General of Police: The investigating officer has to take prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state for conducting raids, and seizing properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities.
  • Approval for seizure of property by NIA:  If the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property. 

Concerns about the Act

  • The new changes undermine human rights as the central government can brand a person a terrorist without an adjudication by the judiciary and such sweeping power in the hands of the central government is troublesome.
  • If an individual is wrongfully designated it could amount to social exclusion and deprivation of livelihood of the designated individual, which falls within the ambit of right to life and liberty under Art 21 of the Constitution.
  • The updated law though is not anti-federal but has enough teeth to violate the basic human rights of the citizens.

3 . Ayushman Bharat health infrastructure Mission

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday launched the PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, which will seek to address three critical gaps in India’s public health sector: augmenting health facilities for treatment; setting up of Integrated Public Health labs for diagnosis of disease, and expansion of existing research institutions that study pandemics.

About PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission

  • It is the largest pan-India scheme for the creation and improvement of long-term public healthcare infrastructure.
  • It is meant to be implemented in each district of the country.
  • The government will spend Rs 64,180 crore on the scheme from the financial year 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • It is in addition to the National Health Mission.


  • Its objective is to fill gaps in public health infrastructure, especially in critical care facilities and primary care in both urban and rural areas.
  • It will provide support for 17,788 rural health and wellness centres in 10 high-focus states. Further, 11,024 urban health and wellness centres will be established in all the States.
  • Through this, critical care services will be available in all the districts of the country with more than five lakh population through exclusive critical care hospital blocks, while the remaining districts will be covered through referral services.

First component of the mission

  • The first component is to establish comprehensive surveillance of infectious diseases.
  • At the district level, Integrated Public Health laboratories in all 730 districts will be set up.
  • At the state level, five regional branches and 20 metropolitan units of the National Centre for Disease Control.
  • And at the national level, an Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) will be established.

Second component of the mission

  • The second component is the creation of comprehensive diagnostics and treatment facilities.
  • At the district level, 17,788 new rural health and wellness centres will be set up; 11,024 new urban health and wellness centres will be set up; critical care hospital blocks will be established in each of 602 districts, with a population of more than 5 lakh.
  • At the state level, 15 health emergency operation centres will be set up. At the national level, two container-based mobile hospitals will be set up; and critical care hospital blocks in 12 Government of India hospitals will be set up — which will also act as mentor institutions for training and capacity building.

 Third component of the mission 

  • The third component of the mission will be on comprehensive pandemic research.
  • At the district level, strengthening of existing 80 viral diagnostics and research labs will be undertaken.
  • At the state level, 15 new bio-safety level III laboratories will be operationalised.
  • At the national level, four new regional national institutes for virology will be operationalized and a regional research platform (digital) for WHO southeast Asia Region will also be set up.

4 . Fact for Prelims

Pegasus spyware

  • Pegasus is a spyware developed by NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm, that helps spies hack into phones.
  • Pegasus, spyware that can stealthily enter a smartphone and gain access to everything on it, including its camera and microphone.
  • Pegasus is designed to infiltrate devices running Android, Blackberry, iOS and Symbian operating systems and turn them into surveillance devices.
  • In July 2021, Amnesty International, along with 13 media outlets across the globe released a report on how the spyware was used to snoop hundreds of individuals, including Indians.

How it works?

  • Earlier version of Pegasus were installed on smartphones through vulnerabilities in commonly used apps or by spear-phishing, which involves tricking a targeted user into clicking a link or opening a document that secretly installs the software.
  • It can also be installed over a wireless transceiver located near a target, or manually if an agent can steal the target’s phone.
  • Since 2019, Pegasus users have been able to install the software on smartphones with a missed call on WhatsApp, and can even delete the record of the missed call, making it impossible for the the phone’s owner to know anything is amiss.
  • Another way is by simply sending a message to a user’s phone that produces no notification.
  • This means the latest version of this spyware does not require the smartphone user to do anything.
  • All that is required for a successful spyware attack and installation is having a particular vulnerable app or operating system installed on the device. This is known as a zero-click exploit.
  • Once installed, Pegasus can theoretically harvest any data from the device and transmit it back to the attacker.
  • It can steal photos and videos, recordings, location records, communications, web searches, passwords, call logs and social media posts.
  • It also has the capability to activate cameras and microphones for real-time surveillance without the permission or knowledge of the user.

5 . Places in News


  • The Bundestag is the German federal parliament.
  • It is the only federal representative body that is directly elected by the German people.
  • It is comparable to a lower house of legislatures, 


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