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05 March 2024 - Daily Current Affairs

Constitutional Provisions Related to Parliamentary Privileges in India

According to the Constitution of India, Articles 105 and 122 outline the privileges of Parliament, while Articles 194 and 212 pertain to the privileges of state governments.

  • Article 105: Freedom of speech in Parliament. Members are immune from legal proceedings for anything said or voted on in Parliament or its committees.

  • Article 122: Validity of parliamentary proceedings cannot be questioned in court due to alleged procedural irregularities.

  • Article 194: Freedom of speech in State Legislature. Similar immunity for members of the State Legislature as in Article 105.

  • Article 212: Validity of state legislature proceedings cannot be questioned in court due to alleged procedural irregularities.

Classification of Parliamentary Privileges

Parliamentary privileges are intended to:

  • Protect the independence and integrity of the legislative process.

  • Allow lawmakers to speak and act freely without fear of reprisal or legal consequences.

These privileges are classified into two main categories:

1. Individual Privileges:

  • Freedom from arrest: Members cannot be arrested during the session of Parliament and for a period before and after the session.

  • Freedom of speech: Members have immunity from legal proceedings for anything said in Parliament or its committees.

  • Exemption from jury service: Members are exempt from jury service when Parliament is in session.

2. Collective Privileges:

  • Right to publish reports, debates, and proceedings.

  • Right to exclude strangers from its proceedings.

  • Right to make rules to regulate its own procedure.

  • Right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges.

  • Courts cannot inquire into the proceedings of a House.

  • No person can be arrested without the permission of the presiding officer.

2. Cervical Cancer Prevention in India: Key Points

Cervical Cancer Burden:

  • Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in India.

  • Around 500 million women above 15 are at risk.

  • Without intervention, cases and deaths are projected to rise significantly.

Preventive Strategies:

  • HPV vaccination: Protects against HPV strains causing cervical cancer.

  • Cervical cancer screening: Detects precancerous lesions for early intervention.

Global Goals:

  • World Health Organization targets 90% HPV vaccination by 15, 70% cervical screening at 35 & 45, and 90% treatment for pre-cancer and cancer by 2030.

India's Progress:

  • HPV vaccine introduced in 2008, recommended for national program in 2023.

  • National launch awaited, currently available privately at high cost.


  • Limited access to HPV vaccine for all girls.

  • Physician underestimation of cervical cancer risk and HPV vaccine benefits.

  • Misinformation and hesitancy regarding HPV vaccine.


  • FOGSI and IAP collaborating to educate physicians about HPV vaccination.

  • Aiming to create 20,000 HPV physician champions by mid-2024.


  • Ensure every girl is protected by HPV vaccination and every woman by cervical screening.

  • Eliminate cervical cancer in India.

3. India's Three-Stage Nuclear Power Program:

A Closer Look at Stage II and Stage III

India's nuclear power program is a multi-stage initiative with the ambitious goal of achieving self-sufficiency in nuclear fuel production. The program is divided into three distinct stages, each utilizing different reactor technologies and fuel materials. This summary delves deeper into Stages II and III.

Stage II: Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs)

  • Objective:

  • To create more fissile material (Plutonium-239, Pu-239) than consumed, reducing reliance on external fuel sources.

  • Process:

  • Utilizes a combination of Pu-239 (produced in Stage I) and U-238 (abundant isotope) as fuel.

  • Employs fast neutrons to trigger specific fission reactions in Pu-239, releasing energy and breeding more Pu-239 from U-238 through neutron capture.

  • This "breeding" process allows for the creation of more fuel than consumed, potentially addressing limitations of fissile material availability.

Challenges of Stage II:

  • Technical Complexity: FBRs are more intricate to design and operate compared to Stage I's Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). This complexity arises from the use of fast neutrons and liquid sodium coolant, which raises safety concerns.

  • Delays and Cost Overruns: The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), a flagship project, faced numerous delays and budget hikes, raising questions about the program's economic viability.

  • Public Perception: Safety concerns, radioactive waste management issues, and potential proliferation risks associated with Pu-239 create significant hurdles for public acceptance.

Stage III: Thorium Reactors

  • Vision:

  • To leverage India's vast reserves of Thorium-232 (Th-232) for a sustainable, long-term nuclear fuel source.


  • Requires Pu-239 (from Stage II) to initiate the process ("seeding").

  • Th-232 captures neutrons and is converted into fissile Uranium-233 (U-233) over time.

  • U-233 can then be used as fuel, making the reactor self-sustaining and potentially offering greater fuel efficiency and reduced waste compared to traditional uranium fuel cycles.

Challenges of Stage III:

  • Long-term Research and Development: Thorium fuel cycle technology is still under development and requires further research to ensure its commercial viability.

  • Dependence on Stage II:

  • Stage III's success hinges on the successful implementation of Stage II to obtain the initial Pu-239 needed for "seeding" the reactors.

  • Economic Feasibility:

  • The long-term economic viability of Thorium reactors compared to other nuclear and renewable energy options remains to be evaluated.

Overall Assessment:

Stages II and III represent ambitious efforts towards achieving fuel self-sufficiency and sustainable nuclear energy in India. However, significant technical, economic, and social challenges need to be addressed to ensure their successful implementation and public acceptance. Here are some additional key points to consider:

  • Alternatives: Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) offer a potentially faster and more publicly acceptable alternative for nuclear power generation.

  • Renewable Energy Growth:

  • The increasing competitiveness of renewable energy sources poses a challenge to the economic viability of nuclear power, including Stages II and III.

  • Safety Regulations: Ensuring robust and independent safety regulations is crucial for public trust and the program's future.

The success of India's three-stage nuclear power program hinges on its ability to overcome these challenges and navigate a complex energy landscape.

123 Agreement:

  • The 123 Agreement, formally known as the Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, is a bilateral agreement signed in 2008.

  • This agreement allows the US to supply civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India under specific safeguards and non-proliferation conditions.

  • The 123 Agreement was crucial for Stage II as it paved the way for potential future imports of enriched uranium needed for the PFBR and other FBRs. It also opened doors for India to access civilian nuclear technology from the US and other countries.

Stage I: Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs):

  • Stage I utilized PHWRs as the primary reactor technology.

  • These reactors use natural uranium (containing a small amount of fissile U-235) as fuel and heavy water (water molecules with deuterium instead of hydrogen) as the moderator to slow down neutrons and increase the efficiency of the fission process.

  • A byproduct of Stage I is Plutonium-239 (Pu-239), which is then used as fuel in Stage II's FBRs.

Therefore, the 123 Agreement played a role in facilitating Stage II by potentially allowing access to enriched uranium, while Stage I laid the groundwork by generating Pu-239, the key fuel for Stage II.

It's important to note that the passage primarily focuses on the challenges and complexities associated with Stages II and III, highlighting the need for further advancements and addressing public concerns for a successful future of India's nuclear power program.

India's Bail System: A Need for Reform

This article highlights the shortcomings of India's bail system, particularly its impact on undertrial prisoners. Here are the key points:


  • Over 75% of India's prison population consists of undertrials (awaiting trial), not convicts.

  • This overcrowding violates the presumption of innocence and disregards the principle of "bail, not jail."

  • The Supreme Court acknowledges the ineffectiveness of the current bail system.

Reasons for Large-Scale Undertrial Incarceration:

  • Lack of Empirical Data: We lack data on factors contributing to undertrial incarceration, including bail application rates and denial reasons.

  • Socio-Economic and Structural Barriers: The poor and marginalized face greater challenges in accessing bail due to factors like lack of money for bonds or social connections for sureties.

  • Ineffective Safeguards: Existing safeguards against arbitrary arrests often exclude disadvantaged sections, leading to unnecessary detentions.

  • Discretionary Bail Decisions: Judges have wide discretion in bail decisions, with limited transparency in the rationale behind granting or denying bail, potentially impacting marginalized groups disproportionately.

  • Onerous Bail Conditions: Cash bonds, property ownership proofs, and solvency requirements create hurdles for undertrials to meet bail conditions, even when granted bail.

Challenges in Bail Compliance:

  • Even after receiving bail, many undertrials remain incarcerated due to difficulties fulfilling financial or logistical requirements.

Flawed Assumptions:

  • The system assumes everyone has access to financial resources or social connections to secure bail.

  • It relies on the threat of financial loss to ensure court appearances, unfairly impacting the poor.

Need for Reform:

  • A data-driven understanding of the problem is crucial for effective reform.

  • Safeguards against arbitrary arrests need strengthening, particularly for disadvantaged groups.

  • Bail conditions should be more realistic and consider the socio-economic realities of undertrials.

  • Bail decisions should be made with clear justifications and explore alternatives to incarceration.

The Authors' Perspective:

Medha Deo and Mayank Labh, associated with the Fair Trial Programme, advocate for urgent bail reform based on a thorough understanding of the existing issues.

Overall, the article calls for a comprehensive reevaluation of India's bail system to ensure it upholds the principles of justice and protects the rights of undertrials, especially the marginalized and socio-economically disadvantaged.

India Launches Platform to Fight Spam Calls and Enhance Telecom Security

India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched two key initiatives to combat fraudulent calls and improve telecom security:

  • Chakshu Platform: This user-friendly online platform ( empowers citizens to report suspected fraudulent communication received via calls, SMS, or WhatsApp. Users can report scams related to:

  • Bank accounts

  • Payment wallets

  • SIM cards

  • Gas and electricity connections

  • KYC updates

  • Impersonation by government officials or relatives

  • Sextortion

  • Digital Intelligence Platform (DIP): This non-public data-sharing platform facilitates collaboration between various stakeholders, including:

  • Telecom Service Providers

  • Law enforcement agencies

  • Banks and financial institutions

  • Social media platforms

  • Identity document issuing authorities

The DIP aims to streamline information exchange and enhance investigations related to telecom fraud.

Additionally, the DoT expressed support for Caller Name Presentation (CNAP), a feature allowing users to see the name of the caller (if subscribed to the service) for improved identification.

These initiatives mark a significant step towards a safer and more secure telecom environment for Indian citizens.

RBI Announces Faster Online Payments for Merchants

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is introducing a new system to improve online payments for businesses. Here's a breakdown:

  • Problem: Currently, online payments made through internet banking can be slow for merchants because:

  • Different payment aggregators (PAs) handle transactions for various online merchants.

  • Banks need separate integrations with each PA to process payments.

  • This lack of a unified system leads to delays in receiving funds for merchants.

  • Solution: The RBI has tasked NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd. (NBBL) to develop an interoperable system for internet banking.

  • Benefits:

  • This system will allow customers to pay directly from their bank accounts to any merchant using internet banking, regardless of the merchant's payment aggregator.

  • Faster settlement of funds for merchants.

  • Timeline: The RBI expects this interoperable system to be launched within the current calendar year (2024).

This initiative aims to streamline online payments and improve efficiency for both customers and businesses.

Seamless Payment

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