Daily Current Affairs 18th, 19th, 20th & 21st December

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Minority Status specifically to states
  2. Global Refugee Forum
  3. National Broadband mission
  4. Gender Gap Index
  5. Constitutional Comparison of India and Pakistan wrt Minorities and Citizenship
  6. 2+2 with US
  7. Sahitya Akademi Award
  8. GST Council
  9. Joint River Commission
  10. International Convention on Torture
  11. Section 144
  12. Operation Twist
  13. Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize
  14. Pinaka Missile
  15. European Green Deal
  16. Constitutional Comparison of India and Bangladesh wrt Minorities and Citizenship
  17. Facts For Prelims

1 . Minority Status speciafically to States


Context : Supreme Court dismissed a petition to recognize Hindus as minorities in the States where they are low in population.

Constitutional & Legal Provisions Regarding Minorities

  • The Constitution of India doesn’t define minorities but puts forward safeguards for minority communities in India. It recognizes linguistic and cultural minorities. Article 29 provides protection of interests of minorities & Article 30 provides rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
  • Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 defines a minority as “a community notified as such by the Central government”.
  • Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities in India by the Union Government.

About the Current Case

  • The petition asked the court to frame guidelines to “identify and define” religious minorities in every State, especially where Hindus are in a minority, to protect their culture and interests.
  • As per the petititon for the purposes of Articles 29 (protection of the interests of minorities) and 30 (the right of minorities to administer educational institutions) of the Constitution, it was necessary that the religious and linguistic minorities be determined State-wise on the basis of the numeric proportions of various communities in each State
  • Supreme Court observed that religion has no borders and dismissed petition to recognise Hindus as minorities in the States where they are low in population.

Other Supreme Court Decisions

Bal Patil & Anr vs. Union of India & Ors, 2005

  • SC observed that linguistic minorities are to be identified on the basis of their population within a particular state of India. 
  • However, recognizing religious minority status on the basis of their population at the state level would be against the integrity and secular fabric of India.

2 . Global Refugee Forum


Context : The first Global Refugee Forum(GRF),a two-day gathering of United Nations member states has began in Geneva, Switzerland.

Global Refugee forum

  • The Global Refugee forum is jointly hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency and the government of Switzerland.
  • The Global Refugee Forum is guided by the Global Compact on Refugees.
  • It aims to debate and discuss the response of the world’s countries to the global refugee situation.The forum will be held every four years at the Ministerial level. 
  • The forum presents an opportunity for UN member states to announce action plans and pledges towards meeting objectives such as easing the burden on the host country, enhancing refugee self-reliance and supporting conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

Focus areas of First GRF

The first GRF has been organised around the following areas of focus on:-

  • burden and responsibility-sharing
  • education, 
  • jobs and livelihoods, 
  • energy and infrastructure solutions and 
  • protection capacity.

India’s Stand on Refugees

  • India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 or the 1967 Protocol which protects refugee rights.
  • India also does not have a national refugee protection framework. However,it continues to grant asylum to a large number of refugees from neighbouring states.
  • There are some laws that govern refugees, including the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939; Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Passport Act, 1967. 

Global Compact on Refugees

  • The Global Compact on Refugees is a framework for more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation.
  • It provides a blueprint for governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities get the support they need and that refugees can lead productive lives.
  • It constitutes a unique opportunity to transform the way the world responds to refugee situations, benefiting both refugees and the communities that host them.

Its four key objectives are to:

  • Ease the pressures on host countries;
  • Enhance refugee self-reliance;
  • Expand access to third-country solutions;
  • Support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

What does the Global Compact on Refugees include?

The Global Compact on Refugees has four parts:

  • An introduction setting out the background, guiding principles, and objectives of the global compact.
  • The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), as agreed to by Member States in Annex I of the New York Declaration.
  • A Programme of Action setting out concrete measures to help meet the objectives of the compact, including:
    • Arrangements to share burdens and responsibilities through a Global Refugee Forum (every four years), national and regional arrangements for specific situations, and tools for funding, partnerships, and data gathering and sharing.
    • Areas in need of support, from reception and admission, to meeting needs and supporting communities, to solutions.
  • Arrangements for follow-up and review, which will primarily be conducted through the Global Refugee Forum every four years, an annual high-level officials meeting held every two years between forums, and the High Commissioner’s annual report to the General Assembly.

Note

  • The Parliament has passed the Citizenship Amendment Act,2019.The Bill amends the Citizenship Act,1955 to make illegal migrants who belong to certain religious minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for citizenship.
  • It is important to notice here that we should know the difference among refugees,illegal migrants,asylum seekers.

Difference between Refugees, Illegal migrants and Asylum Seekers

  • Refugees : Refugees are specifically defined and protected in international law. Refugees are people outside their country of origin because of feared persecution, conflict, violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order, and who, as a result, require ‘international protection’. Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable, that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as ‘refugees’ with access to assistance from states, UNHCR, and relevant organizations. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they therefore need sanctuary elsewhere. These are people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences.
  • Migrants : A uniform legal definition of the term ‘migrant’ does not exist at the international level. Some policymakers, international organizations, and media outlets understand and use the word ‘migrant’ as an umbrella term to cover both migrants and refugees. ‘Migration’ is often understood to imply a voluntary process, for example,someone who crosses a border in search of better economic opportunities.
  • An asylum-seeker is someone whose request for sanctuary has yet to be processed
  • Mixed Movement : Sometimes in policy discussions, phrases like ‘mixed movements’, ‘mixed flows’ or ‘composite movements’ are used to refer to the phenomenon of refugees and others on the move (including migrants, who may be in situations of vulnerability) travelling side-by-side along the same routes, using the same facilitators. ‘Mixed migration’ has also been used this way, but has sometimes been a source of confusion and is best avoided.

3 . National Broadband Mission


Context : Ministry of Communications launched the National Broadband Mission (NBM).

About National Broadband Mission

  • Its aim is to fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure and bridge the digital divide.
  • The vision of the national broadband mission is to fast-track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion, and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all,

Features of the mission

  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022
  • Facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services
  • Lay incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fibre Cable by 2024
  • Increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of the population by 2024
  • Developing a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI):  It will measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and a conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.
  • Investment from stakeholders of Rs 7 Lakh Crore including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)

BharatNet project(previously known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)

  • It seeks to provide affordable high-speed broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across India.
  • It is funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). The nodal ministry for the project is the Ministry of Communication.

4 . Global Gender Gap Report


Context : India has ranked 112th among 153 countries in the annual Global Gender Gap Index for 2020, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

About the Report

  • Report benchmarks countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.
  • The analysis presented in the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 is based on “a methodology integrating the latest statistics from international organizations and a survey of executives
  • The Report aims to serve “as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics”. Through this annual yardstick, the Report says, “stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context”.
Telling Numbers: India 112th out of 153 countries in gender parity index

Global Gender Gap Index for 2020: Key findings

  • Iceland, Norway, and Finland occupy the top three spots in the Report.  
  • Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to gender parity is at 68.6%, which is an improvement since last edition.
  • The largest gender disparity is in political empowerment. Only 25% of the 35,127 seats in parliaments around the world are occupied by women, and only 21% of the 3,343 ministers are women.
  • Projecting current trends into the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 99.5 years, on average, across the 107 countries covered continuously since the first edition of the Report.
  • At the current pace, gender gaps can potentially be closed in 54 years in Western Europe, 59 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, 71.5 years in South Asia, 95 years in SubSaharan Africa, 107 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 140 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 151 years in North America, and 163 years in East Asia and the Pacific.

5 . Constitutional Comparison of India and Pakistan wrt Minorities and Citizenship


How does the preamble to Pakistan’s Constitution compare with the preamble to India’s?

  • The preamble to the Indian Constitution declares the country as a “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic”, with the terms “socialist” and “secular” having been added by the 42nd Amendment, 1976.
  • On the other hand, as many as 60 Constitutions in the world refer to God including those in Germany, Brazil, Greece and Ireland.
  • Pakistan’s Constitution starts with “In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the merciful”, acknowledges sovereignty of God in respect of the universe, and contains references to Muslims and Islam. When this provision in the Objective Resolution was moved by Liaquat Ali Khan on March 12, 1949, it was opposed by non-Muslim members of Constituent Assembly.
  • Sris Chandra Chattopadhya said, “There is no place for religion in the State… The state religion is a dangerous principle.”

Does Pakistan give citizenship on the basis of religion?

  • Although an Islamic state, Pakistan does not have any religious test for citizenship. Its Citizenship Act, 1951 is similar to India’s Citizenship Act in certain respects may be seen as more liberal.
  • Section 6 lays down that any person who migrated to Pakistan before January 1, 1952 is a citizen.
  • Section 3 gives citizenship on the commencement of the Act (April 13, 1951) to anyone who, or any of whose parents or grandparents, was born in the territories included in Pakistan on March 31, 1973.
  • Pakistan grants citizenship to any person who migrated there before April 13, 1951 (India’s cutoff is July 19, 1948, except in Assam, where it is March 25,1971) from any territory in the subcontinent with the intention of permanently residing there.
  • Like India’s law, Section 7 in Pakistan says that a person who migrated to India after March 1, 1947 shall not be a citizen of Pakistan except if (s)he returned under resettlement or permanent return.
  • While Section 4 in the Pakistan law lays down that every person born in Pakistan after the commencement of the Act shall be a Pakistan citizen by birth, India has added restrictive qualifications by amendments in 1986 (one parent should be an Indian citizen) and 2003 (both parents should be Indian citizens, or one a citizen and the other not an illegal migrant). Section 5 of the Pakistan Act talks of citizenship by descent if one of the parents was a Pakistani citizen at the time of the person’s birth.
  • J&K migrants to Pakistan are deemed to be Pakistan citizens until Kashmir’s relationship with Pakistan is finally determined. British residents were similarly deemed to be citizens. Citizenship can also be given to Commonwealth citizens by the government.

What is different in the way Pakistan and India define freedom of religion?

  • Unlike the preamble to the Constitution of India, Pakistan’s Constitution explicitly lays down in the preamble itself that “adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess, practice freedom of religion and develop their culture” and that “adequate provision shall be made to protect legitimate interests of minorities and backward classes”. Of course, the expression “legitimate interests” in respect of minorities is restrictive.
  • Unlike India, Pakistan gives the right to freedom of religion only to citizens. In India everyone, including foreigners, has freedom of religion and that’s why foreign missionaries have a right to propagate Christianity.
  • Unlike in India, freedom of speech in Pakistan specifically includes freedom of press – but this is subject to “glory of Islam”. Due to this restriction, Pakistan has a regressive blasphemy law with a mandatory death penalty, which runs contrary even to fundamental principles of Islamic criminal law. Its widespread abuse raises questions about Pakistan’s commitment to free speech.

What steps has Pakistan taken to protect the ‘legitimate interests’ of minorities, as provided for?

  • Article 36 says the state shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities including their due representation in the federal and provincial services. While religious minorities do face discrimination, the Constitution makes a provision of reservation for them.
  • In the National Assembly, 10 seats are reserved for them. In Balochistan, though religious minorities constitute just 1.25% of the population, reservation for them is 4.62 %; in Punjab, they are 2.79% and have reservation of 2.16%; in Sindh, they are 8.69% and reservation is 5.36%; in NW Province, they are 2.46% but reservation is just 0.56%.
  • Hindus in West Pakistan (today’s Pakistan) in 1951, after migration to India of about 5 million post-Partition, were just 3.44 per cent. In the 1961 Census, non-Muslim population got reduced to 2.83 per cent in today’s Pakistan. This went up to 3.25 per cent in 1972, 3.30 per cent in 1981, and 3.70 per cent in 1998.

Are there personal laws for religious minorities in Pakistan?

  • Yes. Although there is a provision that laws that are inconsistent with the state religion are to be struck down as unconstitutional, Article 227(3) of Pakistan’s Constitution does exempt personal law of minorities from this provision.
  • In India, any provision of personal law that is inconsistent with the Constitution is null and void. Triple talaq was thus declared invalid in 2017.
  • In 2016, Sindh province, which has the highest number of Hindus in Pakistan, passed legislation outlawing forced conversions. The Punjab Assembly enacted the Sikh Anand Marriage Act in 2018.

6 . 2+2 with USA


Context : The Industrial Security Annex (ISA), signed between India and the U.S. at the second 2+2 dialogue in Washington,

About 2+2 Meeting

  • India and the US will meet for the second 2+2 ministerial dialogue in Washington,US.
  • The 2+2 is a format of dialogue where the defense and foreign ministers or secretaries meet with their counterparts from another country.
  • The 2+2 ministerial dialogue between India and the US was started in 2017.
  • This new mechanism had replaced Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, a 2+2 meeting of the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries.

Issues discussed at the 2+2 dialogue

  • Industrial Security Annex : The key item is the signing of the Industrial Security Annex (ISA),an enabling agreement that will allow US defense manufacturers to do business with Indian private sector companies. Both the countries signed the agreement and it will open the door for U.S. defence companies to partner with the Indian private sector for several multi-billion dollar deals in the pipeline, especially the deal for 114 fighter jets. The ISA is a part of the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which India signed with the U.S. long back. It became critical as India opened up the defence sector to the private sector and the Strategic Partnership policy, which has few big military platforms and is reserved for the Indian private sector. 
  • COMCASA : The two countries reviewed the steps being taken to operationalise the foundational agreement Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) which was signed during the previous 2+2 talks.
  • BECA : Discussions on the last foundational agreement namely Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) are not concluded yet as some differences still remains.

Foundational agreement between US and it’s partners:

COMCASA

  • COMCASA is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA).
  • The agreement was signed in 2018.It came into force immediately and is valid for a period of 10 years.
  • COMCASA allows India to procure specialised equipment for encrypted communications from the U.S. origin military platforms.
  • It also enables greater communications interoperability between the militaries of India and the US.

Other agreements

  • India had already signed the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002 and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement(LEMOA) in 2016.
  • GSOMIA allows the militaries from the two countries to share the intelligence gathered by them.
  • On the other hand,LEMOA allows both countries to have access to each other’s designated military facilities for refueling and replenishment.
  • The remaining one is BECA which is yet to be signed.It will allow India and US to share geospatial and satellite data with each other.
  • With India, three of four foundational agreements are signed. The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) is still under negotiation as both sides try to iron out few reciprocal issues.

7 . Sahitya Akademi Awards


Context : Sahitya Akademi has announced the names of 25 writers as winners for 2019 edition of the Sahitya Akademi Awards.

 About Sahitya Akademi Awards

  • Sahitya Akademi award was established in 1954.
  • It is a literary honour that is conferred annually by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of letters.
  • The award is presented to the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the twenty-four major Indian languages recognized by the Akademi (including English).
  • The Sahitya Akademi award is the second highest literary honour by the Government of India, after Jnanpith award.
  • The award is presented in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh.

Jnanpith Awards

  • The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their outstanding contribution towards literature.
  • The award was Instituted in 1961.
  • It is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English with no posthumous conferral.

8 . GST Council


Context : Finance Minister has chaired the 38th GST Council Meeting in New Delhi.

Highlights of the meeting

  • The GST Council has for the first time used the voting process and has voted to tax lotteries under the highest slab of 28%.
  • The Council has decided to tax woven and non-woven bags at 18%, compared to 12% at present. 
  • It has decided to set up grievance redressal committees at zonal and state level.These committees will address grievances of specific/ general nature of taxpayers at the Zonal/ State level.
  • Several states raised the issue of a delay in the release of compensation that they were promised against any revenue loss from the implementation of GST.

Target of GST Collection

  • The Finance Ministry has set a monthly target of Rs 1.1 lakh crore collection of GST for the remaining four months.The ministry has planned field visits and drives to increase tax collection. 
  • At the beginning of the financial year Government had set a target of Rs 13.35 lakh crore of direct tax collection.So far,it has reached 45% of the set target till October,2019.
  • The state of Uttar Pradesh and UT of J&K were the highest GST collectors so far in the year.

Note : GST and GST Council covered under July Current Affairs


9 . Joint River Commission


Context : Bangladesh has not sent a delegation for the Joint River Commission (JRC) meeting with India that was scheduled to be held in New Delhi. This has also delayed the agreement on sharing of the waters of Feni river.

About Joint River Commission

  • The Joint River Commission came into existence as a result of the Indo-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship,1972.
  • It is among the oldest bilateral mechanisms of India that helps in harnessing the waters of the rivers that both countries share.
  • It was established with a view to maintain liaison in order to ensure the most effective joint efforts in maximizing the benefits from common river systems. 
  • The JRC is headed by the Water Resources Ministers of both the countries.
  • India and Bangladesh share at least 54 rivers.Hence,the JRC is crucial to avoid any disputes arising out of these common water resources.

Feni River Dispute

  • Feni River is a river in southeastern Bangladesh.
  • It is a trans-boundary river with an ongoing dispute about water rights. 
  • The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh.
  • The dispute over the sharing of the Feni River between India and Bangladesh has been long-standing. 
  • The dispute was first taken up between India and Pakistan (before the independence of Bangladesh) in 1958 during a Secretary-level meeting in New Delhi. 
  • In August 2019,India and Bangladesh held a water secretary-level meeting where it was agreed to collect data and prepare water-sharing agreements for seven rivers Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla, Dudhkumar and Feni.

10 . International Convention on Torture


Context : The convention is in new due to CAA

About the Convention

  • The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.
  • The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.
  • It came into force on 26 June 1987, 26 June is now recognized as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, in honor of the Convention.
  • Convention defines the term “torture” as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions.
  • Article 2 prohibits torture, and requires parties to take effective measures to prevent it in any territory under their jurisdiction
  • Article 3 prohibits parties from returning, extraditing, or refouling any person to a state “where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.” The Committee against Torture has held that this danger must be assessed not just for the initial receiving state, but also to states to which the person may be subsequently expelled, returned or extradited
  • India is a signatory of the convention

11 . Houbara Bustard


Context : The government of Pakistan has issued special permits to the Emir of Qatar and nine other members of the royal family to hunt the houbara bustard, an internationally protected bird species.

About Houbara Bustard

  • Bustards are large, terrestrial birds that belong to several species, including some of the largest flying birds.
  • The houbara bustard, which lives in arid climates, comes in two distinct species as recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, one residing in North Africa (Chlamydotis undulata) and the other in Asia (Chlamydotis macqueenii).
  • The population of the Asian houbara bustards extends from northeast Asia, across central Asia, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula to reach the Sinai desert.
  • According to the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), roughly 33,000 Asian houbara bustards and over 22,000 of the North African houbara bustards remain today.
  • After breeding in the spring, the Asian bustards migrate south to spend the winter in Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and nearby Southwest Asia. Some Asian houbara bustards live and breed in the southern part of their ranges including parts of Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
  • According to IFHC, the main reasons for the houbara’s decline are poaching, unregulated hunting, along with degradation of its natural habitat.
  • IUCN Red list Status : Vulnerable

11 . Section 144


Context:-Recently,state governments have issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure(CrPC),1973 after the protests started against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

What is Section 144?

  • Section 144 CrPC, a law retained from the colonial era, empowers a district magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate specially empowered by the state government in this behalf to issue orders to prevent and address urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.
  • The magistrate has to pass a written order which may be directed against a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular place or area, or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.
  • In emergency cases, the magistrate can pass these orders without prior notice to the individual against whom the order is directed.

Powers under Section 144

  • The magistrate can direct any person to abstain from a certain act or to take a certain order with respect to certain property in his possession or under his management. This usually includes restrictions on movement, carrying arms and from assembling unlawfully. It is generally believed that assembly of three or more people is prohibited under Section 144.
  • However, it can be used to restrict even a single individual. Such an order is passed when the magistrate considers that it is likely to prevent, or tends to prevent, obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed, or danger to human life, health or safety, or a disturbance of the public tranquility, or a riot, of an affray.
  • However, no order passed under Section 144 can remain in force for more than two months from the date of the order, unless the state government considers it necessary. Even then, the total period cannot extend to more than six months.

Provisions of Section 144

  • Section 144 also places restrictions on handling or transporting any kind of weapon in the given jurisdiction where Section 144 has been imposed. In case of any violation in this regard, people doing it in any form can be detained. Such acts can invite a punishment of three years. As per the order issued under this section, there cannot be any movement of the public.
  • All educational institutions in the given area will have to remain closed. Holding any public meeting or conducting rallies in the area are banned during the period when Section 144 is in force.
  • In the areas where Section 144 is in force, it is deemed a punishable offence to obstruct law enforcement agencies from disbanding an unlawful assembly.
  • In case of any arising need, Section 144 also empowers the authorities to stop internet access in the region.
  • The ultimate purpose of Section 144 is to maintain peace and order in the areas where trouble could erupt to disrupt the regular life. 144 CrPC prohibits the conducting of some events which are otherwise allowed during regular times.

What is the duration of order under section 144?

  • As per the rules specified for the implementation of Section 144 in a given jurisdiction, no order can remain in force for a period of more than 2 months.
  • Under the state government’s discretion, it can choose to extend the validity for two more months with the maximum validity extendable to six months.
  • Once the situation becomes normal, Section 144 levied can be withdrawn.

Why Section 144 is necessitated?

Section 144 is imposed in a given region in emergency situations or cases of nuisance or perceived danger of some event that has the potential to create a troubled situation or damage to human lives or property. In general we can say Section 144 prohibits public gathering.

Does Section 144 provide for communications blockades too?

  • The rules for suspending telecommunication services, which include voice, mobile internet, SMS, landline, fixed broadband, etc, are the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.
  • These Rules derive their powers from the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, Section 5(2) of which talks about interception of messages in the “interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India”.
  • However, shutdowns in India are not always under the rules laid down, which come with safeguards and procedures. Section 144 CrPC has often been used to clamp down on telecommunication services and order Internet shutdowns.

Court’s observation of section 144

  • In 1961 in Babulal Parate vs State of Maharashtra and Others. A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court refused to strike down the law, saying it is “not correct to say that the remedy of a person aggrieved by an order under the section was illusory”.
  • In Ram Manohar Lohia case in 1967, the Supreme Court held that no democracy can exist if public order is freely allowed to be disturbed by a section of the citizens.
  • In Madhu Limaye vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate case 1970,the court had said that law may be abused but it is not a  reason to strike it down.It further ruled that the restrictions imposed through Section 144 cannot be held to be violative of the right to freedom of speech and expression. The imposition of Section 144 falls under the reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
  • In 2012,the Supreme Court criticised the government for imposing Section 144 against a sleeping crowd in Ramlila Maidan. The court held that such a provision can be used only in grave circumstances for maintenance of public peace. 

Rules Regarding Internet Shutdown

  • Under the 2017 Rules, directions to “suspend the telecom services shall not be issued except by an order made by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of Government of India or by the Secretary to the State Government in-charge of the Home Department in the case of a State Government (hereinafter referred to as the competent authority)…”
  • The Rules also say that in case the confirmation does not come from a competent authority, the orders shall cease to exist within a period of 24 hours. Clear reasons for such orders need to be given in written, and need to be forwarded to a Review Committee by the next working day.

12 . Operation Twist


Context:-The Reserve Bank of India has announced that it will carry out US-style ‘Operation Twist’ to bring down interest rates.

What is Operation Twist?

  • Operation Twist is when the central bank uses the proceeds from the sale of short-term securities to buy long-term government debt papers, leading to easing of interest rates on the long term papers.
  • Operation Twist first appeared in 1961 as a way to strengthen the U.S. dollar and stimulate cash flow into the economy.

What is the RBI’s Operation Twist?

  • Under Operation Twist,RBI will conduct simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMO) for ₹10,000 crore each.
  • It will purchase the longer-term maturities which are government bonds maturing in 2029 and simultaneously sell the shorter duration ones which are short-term bonds maturing in 2020. The RBI will purchase the longer-term maturities, that are trading at a spread of 150 bps (basis points) over the repo rate, so that the yield of these papers will soften and sell the shorter duration ones.
  • The central bank said it will buy ₹10,000 crore of 6.45% government bonds maturing in 2029 and simultaneously sell ₹10,000 crore of short-term bonds maturing in 2020.
  • This simultaneous purchase and sale will bring down interest on long term loans which can lead to increase in economic spending.
  • It may also become a driving factor for long-term economic activity and the addition of new investment stock.

Purpose

  • The intention behind this exercise is to manage the yields. This will address the issue of liquidity.
  • Liquidity was abundant at the shorter end but not so much at the longer end. But by making liquidity available at the long end, the move will help in monetary transmission, bankers said.

Open Market Operations

  • Open market operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI or the central bank of the country.
  • The objective of OMO is to regulate the money supply in the economy. The central bank carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public.
  • When the RBI wants to increase the money supply in the economy, it purchases the government securities from the market and it sells government securities to out liquidity from the system.

13 . Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize


Context:- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Thursday announced the setting up of a Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize while attending the second meeting of the National Committee for the Commemoration Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary 

 What is Gandhi Citizenships Education Prize?

  • The Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize is inspired by the thoughts and life of Gandhi.The award aims to help perpetuate the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The first year’s prize will be dedicated to animal welfare as Mahatma Gandhi always said that the greatness of any country can be evaluated by the way animals are treated.

National Committee for the Commemoration Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary

  • The National Committee for the Commemoration Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary is chaired by President at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Portuguese Prime Minister is the only foreign Prime Minister to be a part of the committee.
  • The committee also includes Vice-President, Prime Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and Chief Ministers apart from Gandhians among others.

14 . PINAKA Missile System


Context : Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) tested updated version of Pinaka Missile System, named Pinaka Mark II rocket from the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, Odisha.

Pinaka Missile System

  • Pinaka is an artillery missile system capable of striking into an enemy territory up to a range of 75 km with high precision.
  • The Pinaka Mk-II rocket is modified as a missile by integrating with the navigation, control and guidance system to improve the accuracy and enhance the range.
  • The missile system has been jointly developed by various Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories.
  • The navigation system of the missile is also aided by the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) also called as NAVIC.

The Name Pinaka

  • Pinaka rocket systems was named after Pinaka, the bow of Lord Shiva. Pinaka was used for the first time in Kargil war.
  • The manufacturing of Pinaka missiles began with the help of Russian technology transfer.The plan was formulated in 1983 and manufacturing began in 1994.
  • Pinaka Mark I was first launched-It is an indigenous multi-barrel unguided rocket launch system for firing of multiple warheads.It was used in the 1999 Kargil conflict.It has a range of 40 km.
  • Pinaka Mark I was later transformed into a short-range precision guided missile and thus renamed as Guided Pinaka – Mark II.

15 . European Green Deal


Context : Annual climate talks ended in Madrid last week with a disappointing outcome. European Union, whose 28 member countries are together the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world after China and the United States, came up with an announcement on additional measures it would on climate change known as European Climate Deal

About European Green Deal

  • Two major decisions are at the heart of the European Green Deal.
    • Achieving climate neutrality
    • Second decision pertains to an increase in its 2030 emission reduction target.

Climate Neutrality

  • The EU has promised to bring a law, binding on all member countries, to ensure it becomes “climate neutral” by 2050. Climate neutrality, sometimes also expressed as a state of net-zero emissions, is achieved when a country’s emissions are balanced by absorptions and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Absorption can be increased by creating more carbon sinks like forests, while removal involves technologies like carbon capture and storage.
  • The EU is now the first major emitter to agree to the 2050 climate neutrality target. It has said it would bring a proposal by March next year on a European law to enshrine this target.

Emission Reduction

  • The second decision pertains to an increase in its 2030 emission reduction target. In its climate action plan declared under the Paris Agreement, the EU was committed to making a 40 per cent reduction in its emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It is now promising to increase this reduction to at least 50 per cent and work towards 55 per cent.Even at 40 per cent, the European Union had the most ambitious emission reduction targets among the developed countries. The US, for example, had agreed to cut emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, but having withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, it is under no obligation to fulfill even that target.

Implementation

  • The Green Deal includes sectoral plans to achieve these two overall targets, and proposals for the policy changes that would be required.
  • For example, it has proposals for making the steel industry carbon-free by 2030, new strategies for transport and energy sectors, a revision of managements of railway and shipping to make them more efficient, and more stringent air pollution emission standards for vehicles.

16 . Constitutional Comparison of India and Bangladesh wrt Minorities and Citizenship


How does the Bangladesh Constitution define the country?

  • The Bangladesh Constitution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on December 4, 1972, refers to its war of liberation as “historic war” and establishes the independent sovereign People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
  • The original preamble mentioned ‘Nationalism, Democracy, Socialism and Secularism’ as fundamental principles.
  • Unlike India’s Constitution, the Bangladesh Constitution’s commitment to socialism is explicitly mentioned.
  • The preamble says the fundamental aim of the state is to realise through democratic process socialist society free from exploitation —a society in which rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms, equality and justice, political, economic and social will be secured to all citizens. The expression “rule of law” is not used in the Indian Constitution.

State Religion

  • In 1977, the military dictator Ziaur Rahman removed the term “secular” from the Constitution.
  • In 1988, President Hussain Muhammad Ershad got Article 2A inserted, which says the state religion of the republic is Islam but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony. The amendment was struck down by the Bangladesh High Court in 2005 and the Supreme Court in 2010.
  • The SC said that in spite of Islam being the state religion, the Constitution remains secular. It observed that the “preamble and the relevant provision of the Constitution in respect of secularism, nationalism and socialism as existed on August 15, 1975 (Mujibur Rahman was assassinated on this day) will revive”.
  • On June 30, 2011, the Constitution was amended and the term “secular” reinserted. The amendment also removed the expression “absolute faith and trust in Allah” from the preamble but retained, above the preamble, the expression “in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful” that had been added in 1997. To accommodate other religions, it also mentions “in the name of our Creator, the merciful”.

How does the idea of a state religion coexist with that of secularism?

  • While Islam is the state religion, other religions have been given “equal status” and “equal rights” by the Constitution and their followers have been given an equal right to freely practise their religions. This seems to be a contradiction as it is not in line with classical secular formulation.
  • Article 8(1) of the Bangladesh Constitution mentions secularism along with nationalism, democracy and socialism as the fundamental principles of state policy.
  • Article 12 was revived by the 15th Amendment and in a way this, unlike the Indian Constitution, explains the essential ingredients of secularism and how it will be achieved. It says the principles of secularism shall be realised by elimination of communalism in all forms, granting of political status in favour of any religion, abuse of religion for political purposes and any discrimination against, or persecution of, persons practising a particular religion. With such a progressive provision, the charge of religious persecution has no legs to stand on as far as the text of the Constitution is concerned, just because Islam is the state religion.
  • Unlike Pakistan’s Constitution, there is no Muslim qualification required for the office of President or other constitutional offices.

How is freedom of religion defined?

  • Article 41 of the Bangladesh Constitution says every citizen “subject to public order and morality” has the right to profess, practice or propagate any religion.
  • In India, Article 25 guarantees religious freedom in a narrower sense — in addition to “public order and morality”, it is also subject to “health” and “other fundamental rights”, and the state can also restrict freedom of religion in respect of any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with religious practices, and can also do so in the name of social reforms. But in another sense, India’s religious freedom is broader as it is not confined to just citizens.
  • Like India’s Article 26, Bangladesh’s Article 41(b) gives every religious community or denomination the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.
  • Like India’s Article 28, Article 41(c) in Bangladesh lays down that no person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction or take part in or to attend any religious ceremony or worship, if that relates to a religion other than his own. The difference is that while India does not permit any religious instruction in any institution that is maintained out of state funds or is recognised by the government, Bangladesh permits religious instruction but only of one’s own religion.
  • Article 28(1) is a replica of India’s Article 15 and prohibits the state from discriminating against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. This includes admission to any educational institution. India’s Article 15 does not mention educational institutions and gives right of access only in respect of places maintained wholly or partly out of state funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. The Bangladesh Constitution prohibits all discrimination based on religion, which weakens the argument of religious persecution there.

What are the laws on citizenship?

  • Article 6 of the Constitution says citizenship in Bangladesh shall be regulated by law and people shall be known as “Bengalees as a nation”.
  • On December 15, 1972, a Presidential Order, Bangladesh Citizenship (Temporary Provisions), conferred citizenship from March 26, 1971 on anyone who, or whose father or grandfather, was born in the territories then comprising Bangladesh and who was a permanent resident on March 25, 1971 and continued to be a resident of Bangladesh.
  • Any person who, for studies or employment, was in territories within a country at war or engaged in military operation (Pakistan), and was being prevented from returning to Bangladesh, would also be citizen.
  • The Bangladesh government, like Pakistan, may grant citizenship to a person who is citizen of Europe, North America or Australia or any other state. But knowledge of Bangla would be necessary. Foreign women married to Bangla men can also get citizenship after two years’ residence. Irrespective of place of birth, if one’s parents are Bangladeshi, citizenship would be given. In 2017, it was provided that anyone who invests $150,000 can get citizenship.

17. Facts for Prelims


Recommended Dietary Allowance

  • o calculate how unsafe the foods tested were, the organisation relied on the concept of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) — a daily ceiling on the amount of salt, fat, carbohydrates and transfats. The RDA is based on scientific consensus and has been agreed upon by expert bodies such as the World Health Organisation, and the National Institute of Nutrition in India. It says that, ideally, no more than 5 gm of salt, 60 gm of fat, 300 gm carbohydrate and 2.2 gm of transfat should be consumed by an adult every day. Further, the RDA from each breakfast, lunch and dinner should be no more than 25%, and that from snacks no more than 10%.

Capitals of South Africa

  • RSA has three capitals — Pretoria, the administrative Capital, Cape Town, a legislative capital, and Blomemfontein, the judicial capital.

NCLAT

  • National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT), with effect from 1st June, 2016.
  • NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by NCLT(s) under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), with effect from 1st December, 2016. NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India under Section 202 and Section 211 of IBC.
  • NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) – as per the amendment brought to Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 by Section 172 of the Finance Act, 2017, with effect from 26th May, 2017.

SSB

  • The SSB is tasked with guarding the 1,751-km long frontier with Nepal and Bhutan. It was raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression.
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