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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU

16-December -2023

1. Cabinet approves Memorandum of Cooperation signed between India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on cooperation in the field of Digitization and Electronic manufacturing

Topic: GS2- International Relations- Bilateral Relations

GS3 – Indian Economy – Effects of liberalization on the economy

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for mains in understanding bilateral relations and effects of liberalization on the economy.

Context:
  • India and Saudi Arabia signed an MoC emphasizing digitization and electronic manufacturing collaboration, incorporating AI, IoT, and blockchain.
  • The framework aims to foster innovation, implement training programs, and strengthen SMEs, aligning with Atmanirbhar Bharat’s objectives.

 Parties Involved:

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of the Republic of India.
  • The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Focus Areas of Cooperation:

  • Collaboration spans Digitization and Electronic Manufacturing.
  • Additional focus on e-Governance, Smart Infrastructure, e-Health, and e-Education.

Technological Emphasis:

  • Embraces cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Robots, Cloud Computing, and Blockchain.

Objectives of the MoC:

  • Strengthen collaboration in Digitization and Electronic Manufacturing.
  • Foster partnerships in research, emphasizing digital innovation.
  • Utilize emerging technologies for mutual benefit.

Framework for Cooperation:

  • Establishes a structured framework for collaboration between India and Saudi Arabia.

Training and Development:

  • Promotes innovative training and development in digitization and electronic manufacturing.
  • Implementation of e-Teaching and e-Learning programs.
  • Facilitates exchange programs to enhance skills.

Capacity Building:

  • Develops joint training programs to enhance capacity building.
  • Provides access to highly skilled Information and Communication Technologies professionals.

SME and Start-up Ecosystem:

  • Strengthens the SME and start-up ecosystem.
  • Information sharing on business accelerators, venture capital, and incubators.
  • Indirectly generates employment opportunities for both countries.

Alignment with National Objectives:

  • Collaboration activities support the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Focus on self-reliance in the areas of digitization and electronic manufacturing.

2. DRDO carries out successful flight trial of Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator, an indigenous high-speed flying-wing UAV

Topic: GS3 – Defence Technology
Context:
  • DRDO achieves success with an indigenous high-speed flying-wing UAV flight trial, showcasing technology maturity and autonomous landing capability. Raksha Mantri commends DRDO, strengthening India’s armed forces with critical technologies.

 Autonomous Flying Wing Technology:

  • DRDO successfully conducted a flight trial of an indigenous high-speed flying-wing UAV in Karnataka.
  • Marks India’s entry into the elite group mastering flying wing technology.

Development and Testing:

  • Developed by DRDOs Aeronautical Development Establishment.
  • Maiden flight in July 2022, followed by six trials, showcasing technology maturity.
  • Achievements in aerodynamics, control systems, simulation, and ground control station.

Aerospace Technology and Materials:

  • Arrowhead wing platform designed with lightweight carbon prepreg composite material.
  • Demonstrates ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in aerospace technology.

Autonomous Landing Capability:

  • Unique capability demonstration with autonomous landing without ground radars/infrastructure/pilot.
  • Uses onboard sensor data fusion and GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) receivers.

3. Fast Track Courts Scheme

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary.

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for mains in context of Judiciary for addressing pending cases.

Context:
  • The Indian government prioritized Fast Track Courts (FTCs) for pending rape cases, aligning with 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
  • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) extended to 2026, achieving over 2,00,000 case disposals.

 Establishment of Fast Track Courts (FTCs):

  • Immediate steps taken by the Government of India to set up FTCs for prompt handling of pending rape cases.
  • High Court Chief Justices and Chief Ministers urged to prioritize the establishment of FTCs.

14th Finance Commission’s Recommendations:

  • Recommended 1800 FTCs during 2015-2020 for speedy trial of heinous cases, civil cases, and long-pending property cases.
  • State Governments, in consultation with High Courts, responsible for setting up FTCs and allocating funds.

Progress on FTCs as of October 31, 2023:

  • State Governments/UTs have set up 848 FTCs as of October 31, 2023.

Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs):

  • Scheme launched in August 2019 for expeditious disposal of rape and POCSO Act cases.
  • Originally approved for two financial years (2019-20 and 2020-21) with a total outlay of ₹767.25 Cr.

Funding Structure:

  • Nirbhaya Fund to provide the central share.
  • Fund-sharing pattern: 60:40 (Centre: State) and 90:10 for North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States/UTs.
  • 100% Central fund for Union Territories without legislature.

Current Functional FTSCs Data (as of October 31, 2023):

  • 758 FTSCs, including 412 exclusive POCSO Courts, functional in 30 States/UTs.
  • These courts have disposed of more than 2,00,000 cases.
Need and challenges for fast track courts.

Need for Fast Track Courts in India:

  • Backlog Reduction: India has a massive backlog of pending cases, exceeding 3 crore (30 million). Fast track courts aim to expedite trials and reduce this backlog, ensuring swifter access to justice.
  • Efficient Justice Delivery: Traditional courts often face delays due to complex procedures and overburdened judges. Fast track courts aim to streamline processes and dedicate resources to specific cases, leading to quicker resolutions.
  • Victim Protection & Deterrence: Speedy trials in sensitive cases like sexual assault and financial crimes can provide closure for victims and deter potential offenders.

Challenges Faced by Fast Track Courts in India:

  • Quality vs. Speed: Balancing speedy trials with thorough investigations and fair hearings remains a challenge. Compromising on evidence or due process can lead to miscarriages of justice.
  • Resource Constraints: Adequate infrastructure, trained personnel, and specialized judges are crucial for effective fast track courts. Limited resources can hinder their optimal functioning.
  • Case Selection & Prioritization: Determining which cases deserve fast track status requires careful consideration to ensure fairness and prioritize cases based on urgency and severity.
  • Witness Protection & Public Awareness: Protecting witnesses and educating the public about fast track procedures are essential for their success.
Practice Question: Critically assess the role of Fast Track Courts in India, highlighting their potential and limitations in addressing the backlog of cases. Suggest specific measures to optimize their functioning and ensure effective justice delivery. (150 words) ( 10 marks)

 

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