PRELIM SNIPPETS – January 13th 2022

1.  A Planetary Pressure-adjusted Human Development Index (HDI)

Why in News?

  • Ever since the UNDP took up computation of the HDI in 1990, there have been Adjustments such as inequality-adjusted HDI. The environment is one such issue now considered to be an essential component to be factored in to measure human development.

Planetary Pressure-Adjusted Human Development Index:

  • The purpose of the planetary pressure adjusted HDI, or PHDI, is to communicate to the larger society the risk involved in continuing with existing practices in our resource use and environmental management, and the retarding effect that environmental stress can perpetuate on development.
  • When planetary pressure is adjusted, the world average of HDI in 2019 came down from 0.737 to 0.683.
  • PHDI of India: In the case of India, the PHDI is 0.626 against an HDI of 0.645 with an Average per capita CO2 emission (production) and material footprints of 2.0 tonnes and 4.6 tonnes, respectively.
  • India gained in global rankings by eight points (131st rank under HDI and 123rd rank under PHDI), and its per capita carbon emission (production) and material footprint are well below the global average.

India’s Twin Challenge:

  • India faces the twin challenges of poverty alleviation and environmental safeguarding.
  • India’s natural resource use is far from efficient, environmental problems are growing, and the onslaught on nature goes on unabated with little concern about its fallout.
  • At the same time, India has 27.9% people under the Multidimensional Poverty Index ranging from 1.10% in Kerala to 52.50% in Bihar, and a sizable section of them directly depend on natural resources for their sustenance.

India’s Performance on SDGs:

  • The SDGs have acquired high priority in the context of the issue of climate change and its impact on society.
  • The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of IPCC 2021 laid stress on limiting global temperature rise at the 1.5° C level and strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to Eradicate Poverty.
  • ‘No poverty’ and ‘Zero hunger’ are the First and second SDGs.
  • According to NITI Aayog (2020-21), out of 100 points set for the grade of Achiever, India scored 60 (Performer grade, score 50-64) for no poverty and 47 (Aspirant grade, score 0-49) for zero hunger, with wide State-level variations.
  • India’s score in the SDGs of 8, 9, and 12 (‘Decent work and economic growth’; ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ and ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, respectively) — considered for working out planetary pressure — are 61 (performer), 55 (performer) and 74 (front runner), respectively.

Way Forward:

  • Nature-based solutions: It is now well established that there are interdependencies of Earth System processes including social processes, and their relationships are non-linear and dialectic.
  • Therefore, the central challenge is to nest human development including social and Economic Systems into the ecosystem, and biosphere building on a systematic approach to nature-based solutions that put people at the core.
  • Integrated perspective and local level involvement: Social and environmental problems cannot be addressed in isolation anymore; an integrated perspective is necessary.
  • This can be conceived and addressed at the local level, for which India has Constitutional Provisions in the form of the 73rd and 74th Amendments.

2. Hate speech in the time of free speech

Why in News?

  • The growing incidence of hate speeches, especially those targeting minorities, in combination with the judicial ambiguity has provided an opportunity to chart legislative Reforms.

Current Legal Provisions to Deal with hate Speech:

  • Not defined in legal framework: Hate speech is neither defined in the Indian legal Framework nor can it be easily reduced to a standard definition due to the myriad forms it can take.
  • The Supreme Court, in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India (2014), described hate speech as “an effort to marginalise individuals based on their membership in a group” and one that “seeks to delegitimise group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their Social Standing and Acceptance within society.”
  • The Indian Penal Code illegalises speeches that are intended to promote enmity or prejudice the maintenance of harmony between different classes.
  • Specifically, sections of the IPC, such as 153A, which penalises promotion of enmity between different groups;
  • 153B, which punishes imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration.
  • 505, which punishes rumours and news intended to promote communal enmity.
  • 295A, which criminalises insults to the religious beliefs of a class by words with deliberate or Malicious Intention.
  • Summing up various legal principles, in Amish Devgan v. Union of India (2020), the Supreme Court held that “hate speech has no redeeming or legitimate purpose other than Hatred towards a particular group”.
  • Lack of established legal standard: Divergent decisions from constitutional courts expose the lack of established legal standards in defining hate speech, especially those propagated via the digital medium.


  • The Law Commission of India, in its 267th report, recommended the insertion of two new provisions to criminalise and punish the propagation of hate speech.
  • The 189th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, in 2015, recommended the incorporation of separate and specific provisions in the Information Technology Act to deal with online hate speech.
  • Specialised legislation for social media: Much of the existing penal provisions deal with hate speech belong to the pre-Internet era.
  • The need of the hour is specialised legislation that will govern hate speech propagated via the Internet and, especially, social media.
  • Recognise hate speech as reasonable restriction to free speech: Taking cue from best International Standards, it is important that specific and durable legislative provisions that combat hate speech, especially that which is propagated online and through social media.
  • Ultimately, this would be possible only when hate speech is recognised as a reasonable restriction to Free Speech.

3. African Swine Fever

Why in News:

  • Recently, Thailand has detected African Swine Fever in a surface swab sample collected at a slaughterhouse.


  • It Is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects and leads to an acute form of hemorrhagic fever in domestic and wild pigs.
  • Other manifestations of the disease include high fever, depression, anorexia, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin, vomiting and diarrhoea among others.
  • It was first detected In Africa in the 1920s.
  • Historically, outbreaks have been reported in Africa and parts of Europe, South America, and the Caribbean.
  • However, more recently (since 2007), the disease has been reported in multiple countries across Africa, Asia and Europe, in both domestic and wild pigs.
  • In 2021, cases were also detected in India.
  • The mortality Is close to 100% and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop its spread is by culling the animals.
  • ASF is not a threat to human beings since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
  • ASF is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and thus, reported to the OIE.
  • Classical swine Fever is also known as hog cholera, is an important disease of pigs.
  • It Is one of the most economically-damaging pandemic viral diseases of pigs in the world.
  • It Is caused by a virus of the genus Pestivirus of the family Flaviviridae, which is closely related to the viruses that cause bovine viral diarrhoea in cattle.
  • Recently, the ICAR-IVRI developed a Cell Culture CSF Vaccine (live attenuated) using the Lapinized Vaccine Virus from foreign strain.

4. Quarterly Employment Survey (QES)

Why in News?

  • The Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment released the results of the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for the Second Quarter of 2021 (July-September).


  • The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) is part of the All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (AQEES).
  • It covers establishments employing 10 or more workers in the organised segment in 9 sectors.
  • These nine sectors are Manufacturing, Construction, Trade, Transport, Education, Health, Accommodation and Restaurant, IT/ BPO and Financial Services.
  • These sectors account for a majority of the total employment in non-farm establishments.
  • It’s objective is to enable the government to frame a “sound national policy on employment.”
  • The ”elease of this survey emanates from India’s ratification of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Employment Policy Convention, 1964.
  • This requires the ratifying countries to implement “an active policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment.”
  • India does not have a National Employment Policy (NEP) yet.

5. Vulnerable Witnesses

Why in News:

  • Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) expanded the meaning of vulnerable witnesses to also include among others sexual assault victims, those with mental illness and people with speech or hearing impairment.


  • Vulnerable witnesses will not be limited to mean only child witnesses. It will also include
  • Age-neutral victims of sexual assault.
  • Gender-neutral victims of sexual assault, under section 377 IPC (Unnatural Offences).
  • Witnesses suffering from mental illness as defined in Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
  • Witnesses with threat perception and any speech or hearing impaired individual or person suffering from any other disability.
  • The SC directed that all High Court’s (HC) adopt and notify a Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre (VWDC) scheme within a period of two months VWDC will provide a safe and barrier-free environment for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses.
  • The SC asked HC’s to ensure that there is one VWDC in each district.
  • These VDWC should be established in close proximity to Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centres.


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