Current Affairs (14th May 2021)
Online Parliamentary Proceedings
- Many countries are operating Parliamentary Proceedings virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic. India should also do this to ensure the voices of all sections of the country are heard.
Response by World:
- Some democracies used conventional ways and continued to meet physically, but with restrictions. Some switched to virtual meetings with the help of technologies that allow remote working.
- The UK has adopted hybrid models. In this, a mix of members is present in the chamber and others participate by video conference. Many states have had to change laws and relax procedures, reset minimum number rules, and rearrange venues.
Response by India:
- The government shows little or no urgency for parliamentary proceedings. It has shown high resistance to suggestions and interferences by Opposition leaders.
- In a shared crisis, one-sided responses are terribly insufficient and even counter- productive.
- Parliament must return as a space for a wider discussion. The government must take the lead and make this happen.
- It is very important for governments to listen, learn and correct errors to find the best way forward.
- The response to a national health crisis needs the participation of all the people’s representatives, across states and party.
- The virus has brought death and distress to every constituency. To battle this, MPs must group ideas and resources, ask questions, and apply the check and balance.
- The House should reopen its doors virtually to ensure that the executive does not remain limited to echo chambers of its own making.
- In India, COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of orphans in the country.
- Negligence for legal procedures of Child adoption creates a ground for Child trafficking of these orphans.
- According to UNICEF, India has over 30 million orphan and abandoned children.
- The Pandemic has left many more children orphaned due to the death of their parents by Covid-19 infection.
- Today, some people are offering such infants for instant adoption without following proper legal safeguards.
- Moreover, some child trafficking rackets are exploiting negligence for legal procedures of adoption and hasty sentimental considerations by people.
Child Adoption laws in India
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) law, 2015:
- It is a secular law, and all persons are free to adopt children.
- It also allows the adoption of Children of relatives.
- Only, those children can be adopted who are declared legally eligible for adoption under the Juvenile Justice Act.
- Adoption Regulations of 2017:
- Rehabilitation of all orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children is regulated by the strict mandatory procedures of the Adoption Regulations.
- Violation of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Adoption Regulations invites punishment up to three years and a fine of ₹1 lakh, or both.
- CARA (The Central Adoption Resource Authority):
- The Juvenile Justice Rules of 2016 and the Adoption Regulations of 2017 provided for the creation of CARA.
- It is a statutory body, and it looks after the regulation, monitoring, and control of all intra-country and inter-country adoptions.
- India became the signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoptions.
- Thus, CARA was designated as the nodal agency to grant a no-objection certificate for all inter-country adoptions.
- India is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It provides a legal mandate of all authorities and courts to offer protection to children.
Procedure for legal Adoption in India
- First, parents willing to adopt children should register on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS).
- Then, specialized adoption agencies will be adjudging the eligibility of prospective adoptive parents living in India based on home study reports.
- If approved, prospective children are offered as per seniority in the adoption list and pre-adoption foster care follows.
- The specialized adoption agency then secures court orders approving the adoption.
- They need to approach authorised adoption agencies in their foreign country of residence for registration under CARINGS.
- Their eligibility is adjudged by authorised foreign adoption agencies through home study reports.
- As per seniority, they are offered profiles of children, and child study reports are finalized.
- CARA then issues a pre-adoption ‘no objection’ certificate for foster care, followed by a court adoption order. No objection certificate from CARA is mandatory for a passport and visa to leave India.
- CARA needs to conduct an outreach program to inform citizens about misuse of illegal adoption.
- Legal process of adoption must be adequately publicized.
- The National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are empowered by law to take effective action against those engaging in illegal activities.
- They need to ensure safety of Children through increased Vigilance.
- Social activists, NGOs and enlightened individuals must report all the incidents that come to their notice.
- Media shaming of those involved in Child trafficking can deter the crime to some extent.
Conflict between Israel-Palestinians
- More than 160 people were wounded when Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque.
- Al-Aqsa mosue complex in Jerusalem’s old City is one of Islam’s most revered location.
- Eviction of some Palestinian families in East Jerusalem: Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it later.
Background of conflict
- The conflict dates back to early 20th century. During World War II, over 3 lakh Jews migrated and resettled in Palestine and demanded a new country.
- in 1947, the United Nations voted to split the Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
- The Jewish residents accepted the agreement and declared independence of Israel in 1948 while Arabs rejected the Agreement.
India’s stance on Israel Palestine conflict:
- India believes in the 2-state solution. It supports the establishment of a sovereign independent and a visible state of Palestine along with maintaining India’s growing relationship with Israel.
- India’s called on both sides to avoid changing the status-quo on the ground.
- With the ongoing lockdown in the state of Karnataka and the weddings being restricted to houses because of tough guidelines, there are fears of child marriages going unnoticed.
- The 2020 lockdown witnessed a slew of child marriages being reported in Karnataka.
- A total of 2,180 child marriage cases were reported in Karnataka as per reports of Childline (1098) from April 2020 to January 2021.
- The other complaints ranged from illegal adoptions, child trafficking and child labour to the need for medical help or shelter.
- The number of complaints eased when lockdown restrictions were relaxed but were still worrying.
Situation in Karnataka:
- The Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) expects the number of child marriages to go up, given that another lockdown is in place and marriages are being allowed in homes.
- Earlier, when child marriages happened at wedding halls, temples, etc., there were people who would alert the relevant authorities or activists who would be able to reach on time to stop the marriage.
- But now, with marriages happening at homes, the authorities would be getting fewer alerts.
Factors at play:
- The increasing number of child marriages could be attributed to the factors ranging from insecurity for the girl, wherein the parents assume their responsibility is over with her marriage, to the fact that they could get away with a simple marriage without calling too many people, resulting in less expenditure.
- The increased financial strain on the poor has also contributed to some families resorting to child marriage.
- There is a need to create awareness among the people on the ills of child marriage.
- People should alert Childline if they come across child marriages.
- The district authorities should constitute a committee to tackle child marriages and they should conduct regular inspections in the most vulnerable areas.
COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic
- The “COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic” report prepared by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
- The panel notes that the catastrophic scale of the COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented with appropriate interventions but the failure at multiple levels led to the catastrophic effect of the pandemic.
- The lack of transparency in reporting the initial cases by China was an important contributing factor to the outbreak.
- Early responses to the outbreak detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 “lacked urgency” as many countries failed to heed the alarm.
- The poor coordination among the global institutions and nations meant the warning signs went unheeded.
- The report also notes with concern that the institutions “failed to protect people”. The panel said the WHO could have declared the situation a Public Health Emergency of International Concern much earlier but failed to do so.
- This resulted in eroding the potential of early actions in such situations. It was only in March after the WHO described it as a pandemic that countries were jolted into action.
- The science-denying leaders in some countries also eroded public trust in health interventions and aided the spread of the pandemic.
- The global alarm system needs to be overhauled to ensure timely alerts which can help initiate appropriate countermeasures.
- The overhauling of the WHO is necessary to make it less cautious and give it more authority to send expert missions into countries immediately without waiting for their approval.
- To tackle the ongoing pandemic, the panel calls on the richest countries to donate a billion vaccine doses to the poorest.
- The WHO and the World Trade Organization should also get major vaccine-producing countries and manufacturers to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfers for vaccines.