The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 1 March 2024

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The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 1 March 2024

1. e-evidence utilisation and new criminal legislation

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Parliament – Functioning 
For those preparing for the UPSC, this article is essential because it offers insights into impending changes to Indian criminal laws, particularly those that deal with electronic evidence.

● The article addresses the upcoming adoption of three new criminal laws in India, emphasising modifications to the provisions pertaining to electronic evidence and possible difficulties in adjusting to the new legal system.

Enactment Details:

  • Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam are three new criminal laws that will go into effect on July 1, 2024.
  • Section 106(2) of Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, which stipulates a 10-year prison sentence for fatal accidents that go unreported, is not implemented.

Preparation for Transition:

  • State and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are preparing for a smooth transition.
  • Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita amendments pertaining to police and investigation duties.
  • Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita contains a few new offences as well as minor adjustments.

Electronic Evidence and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam:

  • Under Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, underwent minor modifications.
  • Clarity on electronic and digital records, such as emails, server logs, and messages, is provided in the Definitions section.
  • Improved rules regarding the admissibility of electronic records and primary (electronic) evidence.

Clarity on Definitions:

  • The legal definition of “document” includes a wide range of electronic record formats.
  • Examples such as locational evidence, emails, and server logs are highlighted in the illustrations under the definition.

Key Changes in Electronic Evidence Laws:

  • improved definitions for original digital evidence.
  • To improve visibility, phrases like “communication device” and “semiconductor memory” have been added to Section 63.
  • The admissibility of electronic records is covered in Section 63.

Legal Clarity on Electronic Record Admissibility:

  • Law decided that electronic records were admissible based on the ruling of the Supreme Court.
  • For electronic records to be admissible, a certificate under Section 65-B(4) (now Section 63(4) of the BSA) is required.
  • Sections 63 and 65-B alone are regarded as a comprehensive code.

Certificate Requirements:

  • A certificate attested to by an expert and the person in charge of the device must be signed, per Section 63(4).
  • The certificate’s standard format is outlined in the BSA Schedule.
  • Cyberlaboratories have a heavier workload due to expert certification.

Impact on Cyber Laboratories:

  • Due to expert certifications, cyber laboratories are facing an increased workload.
  • Possible pressure on cyberlabs with insufficient infrastructure and personnel.
  • When the integrity of an electronic record is contested in court, expert opinion is required.

Concerns and Recommendations:

  • A push for general awareness about encryption modes and techniques is necessary due to an increase in workload.
  • It is recommended that private organisations that use electronic devices for security be educated about encryption.
  • Before the implementation date, enforcement agencies must set up the necessary infrastructure for the additional responsibilities.

Practice Question: Analyse the significance of India’s upcoming criminal law reforms, paying particular attention to electronic evidence. (10 m / 150 words)

2. Gaining insight into the realm of unpaid waste collectors

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Vulnerable sections 
Examines the difficulties faced by informal waste pickers, the implications of the EPR, and the necessity of sustainable plastic management. This is crucial for UPSC.

● In order to ensure sustainable waste management, the paper emphasises the need to acknowledge informal waste pickers, address issues with Extended Producer Responsibility, and highlight a fair transition in the upcoming Plastic Treaty.


  • International Waste Pickers Day is observed on March 1st to honour the pickers who were killed in Colombia in 1992.
  • In India and throughout the world, informal waste pickers play a crucial but frequently disregarded role in waste management.

Informal Sector in Waste Management:

  • classified as small waste management businesses or unregistered individuals by the International Labour Organisation.
  • primary waste collectors for recyclables, greatly enhancing resource efficiency.
  • Experience exclusion from social security and legal frameworks, marginalisation, and a lack of acknowledgment and representation.

Data on Informal Waste Pickers:

  • According to estimates from around the world, 0.5%–2% of urban workers are employed in the informal waste economy.
  • There are about 1.5 million waste pickers in India’s urban workforce, of which half are female.
  • Work in dangerous jobs without safety gear, deal with health problems, have inconsistent work schedules, low pay, and experience harassment.

Challenges Faced:

  • Problems are exacerbated by a subordinate position in the caste hierarchy.
  • Their vulnerability is increased when the private sector participates in waste management, alienating them.
  • Informal pickers are marginalised by private actors’ use of pricey machinery, which forces them to pick hazardous waste.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):

  • In India, EPR is becoming more popular for managing plastic waste and holding companies responsible for producing commercial waste.
  • In actuality, EPR diverts garbage from the unorganised sector, possibly driving out unorganised waste collectors.
  • Regarding the inclusion of waste pickers and the organisations that represent them, the Indian EPR Guidelines are unclear.

Global Role of Waste Pickers:

  • Up to 60% of plastic is collected worldwide by waste pickers, which is essential for sustainable recycling.
  • In 2016, 27 million metric tonnes of plastic waste were collected by unofficial waste pickers, sparing the environment.
  • A fair transition for waste pickers must be guaranteed by the plastic treaty.

India’s Plastic Waste Challenge:

  • India is producing more plastic waste per person; January 6 is Plastic Overshoot Day.
  • The EPR mechanism does not include the informal workforce that transforms waste; instead, it involves large recycling units.
  • Waste pickers have a wealth of traditional knowledge that could support the application of EPR.


  • In order to incorporate informal waste pickers into the legal system, the formulation of EPRs needs to be reconsidered.
  • It is essential to acknowledge waste pickers’ traditional knowledge and expertise in waste management.

Waste Management in India – And Informal Sector
Waste Management Challenges in India
– Insufficient Collection and Segregation: A lot of places don’t have efficient systems in place for collecting waste, which results in mixed waste and makes processing harder. The practice of separating waste into its dry and wet sources is not common.
Landfill Overburden: over-reliance on poorly managed landfills, which pose risks to public health and the environment.
– Limited Recycling Capacity: The amount of recyclable waste produced cannot be handled by the formal recycling infrastructure.

The Informal Sector: Backbone of Waste Management
– Waste Pickers: People who gather, sort, and sell recyclables from streets, landfills, and homes; these people are frequently marginalised.
– Itinerant Waste Buyers: These individuals go door to door, purchasing recyclables from people and companies.
– Dealers in scrap (Kabadiwalas): Aggregators and distributors of recyclable waste, facilitating the connection between unofficial collectors and recycling sectors.
– Important Contributions: The unorganised sector is essential to:
– removing garbage from landfills
– supplying the recycling sector with raw materials
– sustaining a sizeable population’s way of life

Challenges for the Informal Sector
– Marginalisation and Unfavourable Working Conditions: Waste pickers frequently experience exposure to hazardous materials, a lack of basic amenities, and social stigma.
– Exploitation: Because there are no regulations, informal workers may work in hazardous conditions and receive inadequate pay.
– Limited Recognition: Official policy frameworks do not fully acknowledge or support their contributions to waste management.

Opportunities for Improvement
– Integration: Acknowledging and incorporating the unorganised sector into established waste management frameworks, offering safeguards, and assisting their cooperatives.
– Increased Recycling: Encouraging source segregation and making investments in infrastructure for decentralised waste processing and recycling.
– Support for Policy: Creating all-encompassing policies that acknowledge the vital role played by the unorganised sector and offer them social and financial stability.

PYQ: What are the impediments in disposing the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we remove safely the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2018)
Practice Question: How can social inclusion and the rights of informal waste pickers be safeguarded through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in waste management? (105 meters/250 words)

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