Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act

In News

  • Recently, the Union Government has proposed to introduce 61 amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960.

More about the news

  • About:
    • The draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, (Amendment) Bill-2022 has been prepared by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. 
  • Key provisions of the draft:
    • Imprisonment for killing the animal:
      • The draft proposes a maximum 5-year imprisonment, along with a fine, for killing an animal. For this, a new clause has been proposed.
    • Gruesome cruelty:
      • The Act defines gruesome cruelty as “an act that leads to extreme pain and suffering to the animals which may cause lifelong disability or death”.
      • Gruesome cruelty shall be punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 50,000 which may be extended up to Rs 75,000 or the cost may be decided by judicial magistrate in consultation with the jurisdictional veterinarians whichever is more or with the imprisonment of one year which may extend up to three years or with both
    • Bestiality:
      • The draft includes ‘bestiality’ as a crime under the new category of ‘gruesome cruelty’. 
    • Community animals:
      • In the case of community animals, the local government shall be responsible for their care. 
      • The draft proposals introduce the community animal as – any animal born in a community for which no ownership has been claimed.
        • It excludes wild animals as defined under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (53 of 1972).
  • Five freedoms to animals:
    • The draft also proposes the insertion of a new Section 3A, which provides ‘five freedoms’ to animals.
      • It shall be the duty of every person having charge of an animal to ensure that the animal in his care or under his charge has:
        • Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; 
        • Freedom from discomfort due to environment; 
        • Freedom from pain, injury and diseases; 
        • Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species; and 
        • Freedom from fear and distress.
Constitutional protection for animalsThe Constitution of India establishes a duty on both the State as well as on people to ensure security and conservation of animals at all costs.  Article 48A:According to Article 48A, it is the responsibility of the State to improve the strength of animals and safeguard the wildlife of the country. It shall strive to enhance the population of animals and ensure that they are protected from all attacks. Article 51A(g):According to Article 51A(g), it is the Fundamental Duty of every citizen to protect and improve forests and wildlife and to have compassion for all living creatures. Article 21:Due to the expansive interpretation taken by the courts, the rights of the animals are also protected under Article 21 of the Constitution. Every species has a right to life and security, in accordance with the law of the land, and this right is not merely limited to human beings but is expanded to include within its ambit animals and birds as well. 

Key provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

  • About:
    • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (hereinafter PCA Act, 1960) is the first enacted law for safeguarding the rights and protecting the animals from pain and suffering inflicted by humans. 
  • Some of the main features of the Act are as follows:
    • Definition:
      • The Act has established the definition of animals to include any living creature other than human beings and different forms of animals. 
    • Offences & punishments:
      • In order to protect the animals from lifetime agony and pain, the Act has set forth punishments for offenders who cause unnecessary suffering and cruelty towards animals
      • The Act further discusses different forms of cruelty inflicted on animals, its exceptions and the process of killing a suffering animal, when cruelty has been imposed, to avoid any further suffering for that animal. 
    • Guidelines for experimenting on an animals:
      • The Act underlines the guidelines to be followed while experimenting on an animal for scientific purposes and exhibition of performing animals along with their offences.
    • Animal Welfare Board of India:
      • One of the features that the Act specifies is the establishment of the Animal Welfare Board of India (hereinafter AWBI).

Key provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

  • About:
    • The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 aims to preserve the wildlife species of both fauna and flora and establishes reserved places for their survival. 
    • The Act also lays down restrictions on various animal species to be hunted down.
  • Some of the salient features with respect to safeguarding the interest of animals are:
    • Prohibition of hunting:
      • The Act prohibits the hunting of animals mentioned under Schedule I, II, III and IV.
    • Setting up of following boards:
      • National Board for Wildlife & State Board for Wildlife:
        • It is a statutory body established under the Act that is responsible for advising the government on wildlife conservation, reviewing and approving various projects relating to wildlife, promoting the conservation and development of wildlife. 
        • A separate State Board for Wildlife has also been directed to be set up in each state under the said Act.
      • Central Zoo Authority:
        • It is yet another body incorporated under the Act.
      • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau:
        • It was constituted under the Act to fight the ever-growing crime rates against wildlife in the country

Way Ahead

  • The increasing number of cases of cruelty against animals merely shows the insensitive yet gruesome nature of people. 
  • It is high time when we need to understand that the word is a linkage between many prevalent communities including animals. Without their existence, humans would cease to exist. 
  • Therefore, considering the substantial role played by animals in our lives, we need to sensitise those who wilfully hurt animals. 
  • Proper implementation of laws is the need of the hour in addition to instilling the compassionate feeling in an individual. 

Fixing India’s Malnutrition Problem

In Context

  • Experts have suggested several approaches to address the problem of chronic malnutrition.


  • About:
    • It refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. 
    • It is a chronic problem and a longstanding challenge for the public administration of India.
  • The term malnutrition addresses 3 broad groups of conditions:
    • Undernutrition:
      • It includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age)
      • Together, the stunted and wasted children are considered to be underweight, indicating a lack of proper nutritional intake and inadequate care post-childbirth.
    • Micronutrient-related malnutrition:
      • It includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess; and
    • Overweight:
      • It includes obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers).

Various reports on Malnutrition in India 

  • Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022:
    • India ranked 107 out of 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022.
    • The GHI is an important indicator of nutrition, particularly among children, as it looks at stunting, wasting and mortality among children, and at calorific deficiency across the population. 
  • National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5):
    • India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) from 2019-21 reported that in children below the age of five years, 35.5% were stunted, 19.3% showed wasting, and 32.1% were underweight.
  • The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report:
    • Undernutrition in India is also a gendered problem. 
    • According to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report, in 2016, nearly 51.4 percent of women of reproductive age in India were suffering from anemia.
      • Almost 50 percent of women are facing severe undernutrition and Anaemia.

Measures Taken to Tackle Malnutrition

  • Poshan Abhiyan:
    • It is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to ensure the attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
    • The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition (POSHAN) 2.0 scheme: 
    • It now includes the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, which seeks to work with adolescent girls, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children below three.
  • Integrated Child Development Services:
    • It represents one of the world’s largest and unique programmes for early childhood care and development.
    • The beneficiaries under the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers
    • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is the implementing agency.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme:
    • The Mid-day Meal Scheme is a school meal programme in India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children
    • It covers all school students studying in Classes 1 to 8 of government schools, government-aided schools, special training centres, including madrasas supported under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.
  • National Food Security Mission:
    • It was launched in 2007-08 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
    • It focuses on the sustainable increase in the production of targeted crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement.
  • National Nutrition Mission:
    • It is the government’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • Aim: 
      • To reduce stunting and wasting by 2 percent per year (total 6 per cent until 2022) among children and anemia by 3 percent per year (total 9 per cent until 2022) among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is the nodal ministry for implementation.

Issues with addressing the problem of malnutrition

  • Inadequate funding & implementation:
    • Gaps remain in how the already existing centrally-sponsored schemes are funded and implemented.
    • The budgets being allocated are nowhere near the scale of the funds that are required to improve nutrition in the country.
  • Manpower constraints:
    • Over 50% Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) posts were vacant in Jharkhand, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, pointing to severe manpower constraints in successfully implementing the scheme of such importance. 
  • No routine in social audits:
    • Social audits that are meant to allow for community oversight of the quality of services provided in schools are not carried out routinely.
  • Issues with cash transfers:
    • Cash transfers seem to be a favoured solution for several social sector interventions in India today, and this includes the health and nutrition sectors.
    • But evidence of the impact of cash transfer on child nutrition in India is limited so far. 
    • The effect of cash transfers is also limited in a context where food prices are volatile and inflation depletes the value of cash. 
  • Social Factors:
    • Equally, there are social factors such as ‘son preference’, which sadly continues to be prevalent in India and can influence household-level decisions when responding to the nutrition needs of sons and daughters. 

Suggestions & way ahead

  • Need of a comprehensive programme:
    • A comprehensive programme targeting adolescent girls is required if the intergenerational nature of malnutrition is to be tackled.
  • Cash transfers:
    • Cash transfers can also be used to incentivise behavioural change in terms of seeking greater institutional support. 
    • Food rations through PDS and special supplements for the target group of pregnant and lactating mothers, and infants and young children, are essential.
  • Fixing the pre-existing schemes:
    • Fixing the pre-existing schemes is the obvious answer to addressing India’s multi-dimensional nutrition challenge.
    • Getting the already existing schemes right requires greater involvement of local government and local community groups in the design and delivery of tailored nutrition interventions.
  • Keeping it a top priority:
    • The need of the hour is to make addressing child malnutrition the top priority of the government machinery, and all year around.

Nyingma Sect

In News

  • Recently, the Nyingma sect has identified a boy from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh as the reincarnation of the late Taklung Setrung Rinpoche, a scholar known for his knowledge of Tibetan Tantric school.

Nyingma  Sect

  • About:
    • The Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism is the oldest amongst the four schools and the second largest after Gelugpa sect
    • Nyingma in Tibetan means “ancient” and has roots going back to the 8th century when the indigenous Bon religion was strongly adhered to by Tibetans. 
    • The Nyingma sect is also known as the Red Hat sect because its Lamas wear red robes and hats. 
    • Its teachings are mainly based on those of Padmasambhava, called Guru Rinpoche and Shantarakshita who were brought to Tibet through the rule of the Emperor Trisong Detsen from 742 to 797 CE.
    • Taklung Setrung Rinpoche was a profound scholar renowned for his expertise in Tibetan Tantric school
  • History of Nyingma School:
    • In the 7th century, Buddhism found its way to Tibet when the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo, married the Chinese Princess, Wen Cheng. 
    • The Princess had brought along her Buddha statue which is today preserved at Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. 
    • Later on in the 8th century, when Tibetans preferred their Bon religion, the King, on advice of the scholar-monk Master Shantarakshita, brought the great Padmasambhava to drive away the demons hampering the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet. 
    • By the middle of the 9th century, Buddhism was widely spread in the region. 
    • A large collection of Buddhist scriptures were translated into Tibetan and the Samye Monastery was built around 779 CE. Up to the 11th century, Nyingma was the sole sect of Buddhism in Tibet. 
    • It is the only sect in Tibetan Buddhism that did not assume political power.
  • Teachings of the Nyingma Sect:
    • Buddhist teachings are classified into nine yanas with ‘Dzogchen’ being most important.
      • Dzogchen (Great Perfection) philosophy revolves around pure awareness which can be achieved through meditation and learned from a Dzogchen master. 
    • This Vajrayana tradition involves use of ritual, symbols and tantric practices to achieve nirvana. 
    • Therefore Nyingma stresses on teachings attributed to Padmasambhava, the Dzogchen doctrines as well as Tantric practices.
    • The Nyingma School is also associated with Termas (hidden treasures).
      • When Buddhism was declining during the rule of king Langdarma, Padmasambhava and his disciples hid numerous scriptures, ritual objects and relics in caves and rocks on mountains. 
      • Over time, when they were discovered by Tertons (treasure revealers) either physically or revealed to their mind (Mind Terma), the teachings were compiled into Rinchen Terdzo, a multi-volume book.

Autonomy of Election Commission of India (ECI)

In News

  • Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) held that, “Election Commissioner shouldn’t be a ‘yes-man’”.

Supreme Court’s Stand

  • Present: 
    • The court gave the government 24 hours to produce the file of appointment of former IAS officer Arun Goel as Election Commissioner.
    • The court asked the government how it had appointed Mr. Goel as Election Commissioner when an application questioning the prolonged vacancy was already pending before the Constitution Bench.
  • Problem: 
    • SC is looking at the manner in which you are appointing Election Commissioners and whether the manner of appointment can put in a person who can act independently in his post.
    • Why Centre only considered bureaucrats for Election Commissioners.

Centre’s Stand

  • The Election Commission of India had worked “perfectly fine” all these years. 
  • Elections were held on time and there was no need to question the system of appointment. 
  • The court should only intervene if a challenge had been raised against any specific appointment of Election Commissioner.
  • The independence of the executive was as sacrosanct as the independence of the judiciary.

Election Commission of India

  • About:
    • The Election Commission of India was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950.
    • It is a permanent and independent body responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.
    • Power of superintendence, direction and control of elections to parliament, state legislatures, the office of president of India and the office of vice president of India is vested with the election commission.
    • It is not concerned with the elections to panchayats and municipalities in the states.
      • For this, the Constitution of India provides for a separate State Election Commission.
  • Composition:
    • The Election Commission of India consists of the chief election commissioner and a number of other election commissioners, as fixed by the President.
    • Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner.
    • It currently consists of the Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
  • Constitutional Provisions (Article 324 to Article 329 (Part XV)) 
    • Article 324: Entails the provisions related to the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners.
      • The President of India appoints the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners.
      • President also determines the conditions of service and tenure of office of the election commissioners and the regional commissioners.
      • The Constitution has not prescribed the qualifications (legal, educational, administrative or judicial) of the members of the Election Commission.
    • Article 325: No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special electoral roll on the ground of religion, race, caste or sex.
    • Article 326: Elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
    • Article 327: Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to legislature.
    • Article 328: Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.
    • Article 329: Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.
  • Tenure and Removal: 
    • The chief election commissioner and other election commissioners hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. 
    • They can resign at any time or can also be removed before the expiry of their term. 
    • The process and the grounds for removal of the chief election commissioner are the same as that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
    • He can be removed by the president on the basis of a resolution passed to that effect by both the Houses of Parliament with the special majority, either on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. Thus, he does not hold his office till the pleasure of the president, though he is appointed by him.
  • Independence: 
    • The chief election commissioner is provided with the security of tenure.
    • The service conditions of the chief election commissioner cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
    • Any other election commissioner or a regional commissioner cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the chief election commissioner.
    • Some flaws in safeguarding the independence and impartiality of the election commission are also noted, viz.,
      • The Constitution has not specified the term of the members of the Election Commission.
      • The Constitution has not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.
  • Powers and Functions of the Election Commission:
    • Determining the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies throughout the country on the basis of the Delimitation Commission Act.
    • Preparing and periodically revising electoral rolls and registering all eligible voters. 
    • Notifying the dates and schedules of elections and scrutinising nomination papers. 
    • Granting recognition to political parties and allot election symbols to them.
    • Registering political parties for the purpose of elections and granting them the status of national or state parties on the basis of their poll performance.
    • Acting as a court for settling disputes related to granting of recognition to political parties and allotment of election symbols to them.
    • Appointing officers to inquire into disputes related to electoral arrangements.
    • Determining the code of conduct to be observed by the parties and the candidates at the time of elections.
    • Preparing a roster for publicity of the policies of the political parties on radio and TV in times of elections.
    • Advising the president on matters related to the disqualifications of the members of Parliament.
    • Advising the governor on matters related to the disqualifications of the members of the state legislature. 
    • Cancelling polls in the event of rigging, booth capturing, violence and other irregularities.
    • Supervising the machinery of elections throughout the country to ensure free and fair elections.
    • Advising the president whether elections can be held in a state under the president’s rule in order to extend the period of emergency after one year.


  • No law for the appointment of election commissioners:
    • The court said Article 324 of the Constitution, dealing with the appointment of election commissioners, had envisaged the enactment of a law to provide for the procedure for such appointments, but the government had not done this yet. 
    • Chief Election Commissioners’ terms have fallen from over eight years in the 1950s to less than three hundred days since 2004.
  • Issue of Short tenures of Chief Election Commissioners:
    • Although the CEC’s tenure is six years under ‘The Chief Election Commissioner And Other Election Commissioners (Conditions Of Service) Act, 1991’, no CEC has completed his tenure since 2004.
  • Independence: 
    • Is the independence of the Election Commissioner really there or just in the spirit?
    • Election Commissioners may be honest, but can have definite political leaning which makes them less independent.

Way Ahead

  • The country needs Election Commissioners (ECs) who would not shirk from even taking on the Prime Minister if required, and not just “weak-kneed” yes-men

Assam-Meghalaya Border Dispute

In News

  • The killing of six people in Assam police firing comes ahead of the second phase of talks between the two states to resolve their boundary dispute, and there are concerns its shadow will loom large over the negotiations.


  • Colonial Era: During the British rule, undivided Assam included present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
    • Meghalaya was carved out in 1972.
    • Its boundaries were demarcated as per the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969, but has held a different interpretation of the border since.
  • In 2011, the Meghalaya government had identified 12 areas of difference with Assam, spread over approximately 2,700 sq km.
  • Gopinath Bordoloi committee: Some of these disputes stem from recommendations made by a 1951 committee headed by then Assam chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi.
    • It recommended that Blocks I and II of Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya) be transferred to the Mikir Hill (Karbi Anglong) district of Assam, besides some areas from Meghalaya’s Garo Hills to Goalpara district of Assam.
      • The 1969 Act is based on these recommendations which Meghalaya rejects claiming these areas originally belong to the Khasi–Jaintia Hills. 
      • Assam says Meghalaya does not have the requisite documents to prove these areas historically belonged to Meghalaya.

What is the border dispute?

  • Assam and Meghalaya have a longstanding dispute in 12 stretches of their 884-km shared border.
    • The two states had signed a pact recently resolving the dispute in six out of 12 areas.
  • Both states have recently decided to form regional committees. The second round of discussions for the remaining six phases was to commence by the end of this month. 
  • Disputed areas for resolution identified in the first phase are:
    • Three areas contested between West Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya and Kamrup in Assam.
    • Two between RiBhoi in Meghalaya and Kamrup-Metro.
    • One between East Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya and Cachar in Assam.
  • Both sides submitted reports based on five mutually agreed principles:
    • Historical perspective
    • Ethnicity of local population
    • Contiguity with boundary
    • Peoples’ will 
    • Administrative convenience. 
What are the 12 locations?Upper Tarabari, Gazang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah, Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, Khanduli and Retacherra.

Way Forward

  • The Assam-Meghalaya pact was seen as a major achievement: As Assam’s border disputes with other states in the Northeast have remained unresolved despite multiple rounds of talks.
    • Now, the firing threatens to derail the upcoming talks.  
Inter-state border disputes in IndiaKarnataka-MaharashtraThe dispute is over the Belgaum district.The area came under Karnataka in 1956 when states were reorganized and till then it was under the Bombay presidency.Assam-MizoramThe border dispute between Assam and Mizoram is a legacy of two British-era notifications of 1875 and 1933.The 1875 notification differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar and the other demarcated boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.Assam, on the other hand, wants the boundary demarcated in 1986 (based on the 1933 notification).Haryana-Himachal PradeshThe Parwanoo region has had the spotlight over the border dispute between the two states. It is next to the Panchkula district of Haryana and the state has claimed parts of the land in Himachal Pradesh as its own.Himachal Pradesh-Ladakh Himachal and Ladakh lay claim to Sarchu, an area on the route between Leh and Manali. Sarchu is in between Himachal’s Lahul and Spiti district and Leh district in Ladakh.Arunachal Pradesh-Assam Arunachal’s grievance is that the re-organisation of North Eastern states unilaterally transferred several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities to Assam.

I2U2 Grouping

In News

  • Recently, India and the UAE held talks on food security cooperation under the I2U2.

About I2U2

  • I2U2 stands for:
    • India
    • Israel
    • UAE
    • USA
  • It is also referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’.
  • Aim of I2U2 grouping:
    • Its stated aim is to discuss common areas of mutual interest, to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in respective regions and beyond.
    • Six areas of cooperation have been identified by the countries mutually:
      • Water
      • Energy
      • Transportation
      • Space
      • Health
      • Food security


  • The countries will look to modernise infrastructure, explore low carbon development avenues for industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies
  • It empowers partners and encourages them to work more closely together, which will lead to a more stable region. 
  • The US regards India as a big consumer market as well as a massive producer of high-tech and highly sought-after goods. 


  • The formation of this group is criticised for having the USA’s hidden agenda to “contain” Iran in the geopolitics of West Asia.
  • India never ever got entangled in the intra-regional issues in West Asia and critics want India to refrain from being part of this alliance. 
Abraham AccordsThe Abraham Accords of 2020 had led to Israel formally normalising diplomatic ties with the UAE and two other countries in the region, marking an important shift in the stance of West Asian countries on Israel. 


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