Daily Current Affairs : 2nd and 3rd January 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Hate speech
  2. Nuclear Energy as Green Energy
  3. Committee Report on EWS criteria
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Hate Speech

Context : A recent religious conclave held in Haridwar witnessed inflammatory and provocative speeches by proponents of Hindutva, many of them leaders of religious organisations. Reports say many of the speakers called for organised violence against Muslims and hinted at a Myanmar-type ‘cleansing campaign’. There was a threat that if the government resisted the formation of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, there will be an ‘1857-like’ revolt against the state. Political parties and concerned citizens have termed these as ‘hate speech’ and demanded legal action against those involved in the propagation of hate and violence.

What is ‘hate speech’?

  • There is no specific legal definition of ‘hate speech’. Provisions in law criminalise speeches, writings, actions, signs and representations that foment violence and spread disharmony between communities and groups and these are understood to refer to ‘hate speech’.
  • The Law Commission of India, in its 267th Report, says: “Hate speech generally is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like … Thus, hate speech is any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.”
  • In general, hate speech is considered a limitation on free speech that seeks to prevent or bar speech that exposes a person or a group or section of society to hate, violence, ridicule or indignity.

How is it treated in Indian law?

  • Sections 153A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code are generally taken to be the main penal provisions that deal with inflammatory speeches and expressions that seek to punish ‘hate speech’.
  • Under Section 153A, ‘promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony’, is an offence punishable with three years’ imprisonment. It attracts a five-year term if committed in a place of worship, or an assembly engaged in religious worship or religious ceremonies.
  • Section 505 of IPC makes it an offence to making “statements conducing to public mischief”. The statement, publication, report or rumour that is penalised under Section 505(1) should be one that promotes mutiny by the armed forces, or causes such fear or alarm that people are induced to commit an offence against the state or public tranquillity; or is intended to incite or incites any class or community to commit an offence against another class or community. This attracts a jail term of up to three years.
  • Under 505(2), it is an offence to make statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.
  • Under subsection (3), the same offence will attract up to a five-year jail term if it takes place in a place of worship, or in any assembly engaged in religious worship or religious ceremonies.

What has the Law Commission proposed?

  • The Law Commission has proposed that separate offences be added to the IPC to criminalise hate speech quite specifically instead of being subsumed in the existing sections concerning inflammatory acts and speeches. It has proposed that two new sections, Section 153C and Section 505A, be added.
  • Its draft says Section 153C should make it an offence if anyone (a) uses gravely threatening words, spoken or written or signs or visible representations, with the intention to cause fear or alarm; or (b) advocates hatred that causes incitement to violence, on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe. It proposes a two-year jail term for this and/or a fine of ₹5,000 or both.
  • Its draft for Section 505A proposes to criminalise words, or display of writing or signs that are gravely threatening or derogatory, within the hearing or sight of a person, causing fear or alarm or, with intent to provoke the use of unlawful violence against that person or another”. It proposes a prison term of up to one year and/or a fine up to ₹5,000 or both.
  • Similar proposals to add sections to the IPC to punish acts and statements that promote racial discrimination or amount to hate speech have been made by the M.P. Bezbaruah Committee and the T.K. Viswanathan Committee. At present, the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws, which is considering more comprehensive changes to criminal law, is examining the issue of having specific provisions to tackle hate speech

2 . Nuclear Energy as Green Energy

Context : The EU is planning to label energy from nuclear power and natural gas as “green” sources for investment despite internal disagreement over whether they truly qualify as sustainable options.

About the Proposal

  • The proposal, aims to support the 27-nation bloc’s shift towards a carbon-neutral future and gild its credentials as a global standard-setter for fighting climate change.
  • France has led the charge for nuclear power — its main energy source — to be included, despite robust opposition from Austria and scepticism from Germany, which is in the process of shutting all its nuclear plants.
  • Fossil-reliant countries in the EU’s east and south have also defended the use of natural gas, at least as a transitional source, even though it still produces significant greenhouse emissions.
  • If a majority of member states back it, it will become EU law, coming into effect from 2023.

Arguments against considering it as a green energy source

  • The mining, milling and enrichment of uranium into nuclear fuel are extremely energy-intensive and result in the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Estimated “energy recovery time” for a nuclear power plant is about 10 to 18 years, depending on the richness of uranium ores mined for fuel. This means that a nuclear power plant must operate for at least a decade before all the energy consumed to build and fuel the plant has been earned back and the power station begins to produce net energy. By comparison, wind power takes less than a year to yield net energy, and solar or photovoltaic power nets energy in less than three years.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has calculated that collective radiation doses amounting to 12 cancer deaths can be expected for each 20-year term a reactor operates, as a result of radioactive emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle and routine reactor operations. This calculation assumes no unplanned accidents and does not consider radiation releases from high-level nuclear waste “disposal” activities. Nor are nonfatal health impacts related to radiation exposure counted in this tally.
  • Thermal pollution from nuclear power plants adversely affects marine ecosystems.
  • A typical reactor will generate 20 to 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually. There is no known way to safely dispose of this waste, which remains dangerously radioactive for a quarter of a million years. Isolating nuclear waste from people and the environment requires significant energy and resources.

Why it should be considered as a green Energy

  • Nuclear energy protects air quality : Nuclear is a zero-emission clean energy source. It generates power through fission, which is the process of splitting uranium atoms to produce energy. The heat released by fission is used to create steam that spins a turbine to generate electricity without the harmful byproducts emitted by fossil fuels. It also keeps the air clean by removing thousands of tons of harmful air pollutants each year that contribute to acid rain, smog, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Nuclear energy’s land footprint is small : Despite producing massive amounts of carbon-free power, nuclear energy produces more electricity on less land than any other clean-air source.
  • Nuclear energy produces minimal waste : Nuclear fuel is extremely dense. It’s about 1 million times greater than that of other traditional energy sources and because of this, the amount of used nuclear fuel is also not that large. Waste can also be reprocessed and recycled

3 . Committee Report on EWS criteria

Context : ₹8 lakh income ‘reasonable’ cap for EWS quota, Centre tells SC


  • The report is the result of the Supreme Court’s repeated grilling of the government, since October, to explain how it zeroed in on the figure of ‘₹8 lakh’ as the annual income criterion to identify EWS among forward classes of society for grant of 10% reservation in National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) medical admissions under the All India Quota (AIQ) category.
  • The court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by NEET aspirants challenging a July 29 notification of the Centre announcing 27% quota to OBCs and 10% reservation to EWS in AIQ.
  • Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry constituted the committee in accordance with the commitment made to the SC. The panel examined various approaches followed so far in the country for identifying economically weaker sections.
  • The committee members were former Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Member Secretary of Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) VK Malhotra and Principal Economic Adviser to the government Sanjay Sanyal.

Details of the Report

  • A government committee report in the Supreme Court has said that “income” is a “feasible criterion” for defining the “Economically Weaker Sections” (EWS) in society, and the annual family income of ₹8 lakh is a “reasonable” threshold to determine EWS in order to extend reservation in admissions and jobs.
  • The committee did not agree with the notion that the Union government had “mechanically adopted” ₹8 lakh as a number because it was also used for the OBC creamy layer cut-off. It said the income criterion for EWS was “more stringent” than the one for the OBC creamy layer.
  • EWS’s criteria relates to the financial year prior to the year of application whereas the income criterion for the creamy layer in OBC category is applicable to gross annual income for three consecutive years
  • According to the report ₹8 lakh income criterion has worked smoothly to identify and provide Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota benefits to deserving candidates in UPSC exams, NEET-UG and JEE (Mains), separately since 2019
  • There is no evidence of the bunching of EWS candidates at the highest income bracket of ₹5 lakh -8 lakh, the current cut-off of ₹8 lakh is not leading to a major problem of the inclusion of undeserving candidates. Despite the fact that the bulk of the qualifying candidates is below ₹5 lakh, a somewhat higher threshold is needed which ensures that deserving beneficiaries affected by various factors such as income volatility, size of family, high cost of living in certain locations are not excluded,” the report said.
  • The committee also deliberated how the process of review of EWS criteria could be managed in future. It said the traditional approach of ever more detailed multi-dimensional surveys or studies at a frequent interval alone would not be especially useful for the operation of the EWS reservation.


Context : The Delhi-based National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a Union Health Ministry laboratory and a key INSACOG lab, has asked States to temporarily pause sending COVID-19 positive samples to it. Labs have been sending samples to check for the possible presence of the Omicron variant. This is because of the surge of Omicron in Delhi and the highly infectious nature of the variant.

What is INSACOG?

  • INSACOG is a consortium of 10 labs and 18 satellite labs across India tasked with scanning coronavirus samples from swathes of patients and flagging the presence of variants that were known to have spiked transmission internationally.
  • It is also tasked with tracking certain combinations of mutations that become more widespread in India.
  • The institutes involved include the laboratories of the Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Council of Medical Research, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
  • The NCDC is tasked with coordinating collections of samples from the States as well as correlating disease with certain mutations.

What has it found so far?

  • The INSACOG sequenced about 1,00,000 samples as of early December 2021 when this data was last made publicly available. The bulk of its effort has been focussed on identifying international ‘variants of concern’ (VoC) that are marked out by the World Health Organization as being particularly infectious or pathogenic

Beyond identifying patterns, why is genome sequencing useful?

  • The purpose of genome sequencing is to understand the role of certain mutations in increasing the virus’s infectivity. Some mutations have also been linked to immune escape, or the virus’s ability to evade antibodies, and this has consequences for vaccines.
  • Labs across the world, including many in India, have been studying if the vaccines developed so far are effective against such mutant strains of the virus. They do this by extracting viruses from coronavirus positive samples and growing enough of them. Then blood serum from those vaccinated, and thereby containing antibodies, is drawn and using different probes, scientists determine how much of the antibodies thus extracted were required to kill a portion of the cultured viruses.
  • Studies such as this have shown that Omicron, for instance, has evolved to evade antibodies much better than the Alpha or Delta variant. This prompted the push towards booster doses.
  • Genomic sequencing is done by isolating the genetic material (RNA) of the coronavirus samples. RNA consists of millions of nucleotide bases and genomic sequencing is about identifying and comparing the sequence in a given sample to a reference sample.
  • Changes in the sequence are clues to mutations that show that the virus may have undergone distinct changes at some key locations.
  • Genomic sequencing has now evolved to a stage where large sequencers can process even thousands of samples simultaneously.
  • There are several approaches to genome sequencing — whole genome sequencing, next generation sequencing — that have different advantages.

5 . Facts for Prelims


  • The Konyaks are one of the major Naga ethnic groups. In Nagaland, they inhabit the Mon District—also known as ‘The Land of The Anghs’. The Anghs/Wangs are their traditional chiefs whom they hold in high esteem.

All India Parliamentary forum for Tibet

  • Sixty years ago, around 80,000 Tibetans, along with their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, left Lhasa after a failed uprising against the Communist rule and arrived in India.
  • The Tibetan exile administration, called CTA, is based in Dharamshala where the spiritual leader also lives. Around 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.
  • The All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT) was reconstituted during the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had been one of the members of the group during the 1970s when it was started by eminent lawyer and former Minister M.C. Chagla.
  • According to Tibetan sources, the APIPFT was not active after 2011 and was revived in December 2014 under the leadership of former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Shanta Kumar. As many as 33 MPs were part of the core committee of the APIPFT.


  • Exercise Malabar began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992, and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
  • The exercise has been more regular since 2004 with other Asian nations joining in the annual event.
  • Australia rejoined the Malabar 2020 naval exercise. Australia joined the exercise once in 2007 and it drew a sharp response from Beijing.

Maharaja Paramhans Ji

  • Shri Paramhans Dayal Maharaj Ji  was born in Chhapra City at Saran district, Bihar, India. Shri Paramhans Dayal Maharaj Ji is also known as the “First Spiritual Master” of the Shri Paramhans Advait Mat. He initiated the “Second Master”, Shri Swami Swarupanand Ji Maharaj in the early 1900s
  • He was in Jaipur in 1883, where he met the 90 years old Swami Anandpuri Ji, who taught him the Kriya of Pranayama and Yoga.
  • Shri Paramahans Dyal Ji travelled from place to place and carried the message of Sahaj Yoga, Bhakti and service unto humanity to one and all. Shri Paramhans Dayal Ji stayed at Jaipur for a considerable time and started the work of spiritual preachings and of uplifting the people there. The number of followers there was quite large. Being a wandering monk. He covered Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc. to teach ‘Sahajyoga’ and ‘Bhakti’ to the people there.
  • The ashrams (temples) founded by Shri Paramahans Dyal Ji were called Krishana Dwaras. The ashrams in India with the name Sant Mat-a-nuyayi Ashram, Gadwaghat, Varanasi, Brahma Vidyalay and Ashram, Chotka Rajpur, Buxar, Adwait-Swarup Ashram, Paramhans Satyarthi Dham, Rajyog Mandir,Shanti Mohalla,Delhi and Shri Anandpur Satsang Ashram are also related to him.
  • Maharaja Paramhans Ji temple in Pakistan The mandir and ‘samadhi’ of Paramhans Ji in Teri village, Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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