Daily Current Affairs : 2nd July 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Designated Terrorist
  2. Central Zoo Authority
  3. Postal Ballot
  4. Issues with Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Designated Terrorist

Context: India designates nine individuals linked to Khalistani groups as terrorists


  • In 2004 34 outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, were banned for terrorist activities through an amendment to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)
  • In September 2019 through another amendment to UAPA for the first time four individuals were designated as terrorists. The 2019 list includes Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed, his deputy Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who planned and executed the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

About the News

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) designated nine more individuals as “terrorists” under the amended anti-terror law that was passed in 2019
  • The nine persons declared terrorists are linked to separatist Khalistani groups that seek to establish a separate country for the Sikhs.
  • According to the MHA these individuals are involved in various acts of terrorism from across the border and from foreign soil. They have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilising the country, by trying to revive militancy in Punjab through their anti-national activities and through their support to and involvement in the Khalistan Movement
  • These designations are in alignment with laws in European Union (EU) countries, the U.S.A., China, Israel and even Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

About Unlawful Activitire Prevention Act

  • UAPA law is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India
  • The National Integration Council appointed a Committee on National Integration and Regionalisation to look into, the aspect of putting reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • Pursuant to the acceptance of recommendations of the Committee, the Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act, 1963 was enacted to impose, by law, reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • In order to implement the provisions of 1963 Act, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Bill was introduced in the Parliament

Provisions and Amendments

  • Main objective of the original bill was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India
  • In 2004, the government chose to strengthen The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. It was amended to overcome some of the difficulties in its enforcement and to update it in accordance with international commitments. By inserting specific chapters, the amendment criminalised the raising of funds for a terrorist act, holding of the proceeds of terrorism, membership of a terrorist organisation, support to a terrorist organisation, and the raising of funds for a terrorist organisation. It increased the time available to law-enforcement agencies to file a chargesheet to six months from three.
  • The law was amended in 2008 after the Mumbai attacks, and again in 2012. The definition of “terrorist act” was expanded to include offences that threaten economic security, counterfeiting Indian currency, and procurement of weapons, etc. Additional powers were granted to courts to provide for attachment or forfeiture of property equivalent to the value of the counterfeit Indian currency, or the proceeds of terrorism involved in the offence.
  • In 2019 Act was again amended to designate an individual as a “terrorist”

What is Unlawful Activity as per the Act

  • Section 2(o) of UAPA as it stands today, defines “unlawful activity”
  • Unlawful activity, in relation to an individual or association, means any action taken by such individual or association (whether by committing an act or by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise),—
    • which is intended, or supports any claim, to bring about, on any ground whatsoever, the cession of a part of the territory of India or the secession of a part of the territory of India from the Union, or which incites any individual or group of individuals to bring about such cession or secession; or
    • Which disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; or
    • Which causes or is intended to cause disaffection against India;

Who is designated as a Terrorist under the act

  • Section 15 defines a “terrorist act” as any act committed with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country.
  • Section 35 of UAPA: It seeks to empower the central government to designate an individual a “terrorist” if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror through a notification in the official gazette, and add his name to the schedule 4 0f theact.
    • The government is not required to give an individual an opportunity to be heard before such a designation.
    • At present, in line with the legal presumption of an individual being innocent until proven guilty, an individual who is convicted in a terror case is legally referred to as a terrorist, while those suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are referred to as terror accused. The act does not clarify the standard of proof required to establish that an individual is involved or is likely to be involved in terrorist activities.
  • Insertion to schedule of treaties: The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.  The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).  Act has added another treaty to the list- International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).

What happens when an individual is declared a terrorist?

  • The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms However UAPA act does not provide any such detail.
  • The act also does not require the filing of cases or arresting individuals while designating them as terrorists.
  • The act also seeks to give the central government the power to remove a name from the schedule when an individual makes an application. The procedure for such an application and the process of decision-making will also be decided by the central government.
  • If an application filed by an individual declared a terrorist is rejected by the government, the act gives him the right to seek a review within one month after the application is rejected.
  • Under the act, the central government will set up the review committee consisting of a chairperson (a retired or sitting judge of a High Court) and three other members. The review committee will be empowered to order the government to delete the name of the individual from the schedule that lists “terrorists”, if it considers the order to be flawed.
  • Apart from these two avenues, the individual can also move the courts challenging the government’s order.


  • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.  The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • Prior approval of Director General of Police: The investigating officer has to take prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state for conducting raids, and seizing properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities.
  • Approval for seizure of property by NIA:  If the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property. 

Concerns about the Act

  • The new changes undermine human rights as the central government can brand a person a terrorist without an adjudication by the judiciary and such sweeping power in the hands of the central government is troublesome.
  • If an individual is wrongfully designated it could amount to social exclusion and deprivation of livelihood of the designated individual, which falls within the ambit of right to life and liberty under Art 21 of the Constitution.
  • The updated law though is not anti-federal but has enough teeth to violate the basic human rights of the citizens.

2 . Central Zoo Authority

Context: The Environment Ministry has reconstituted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to include an expert from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and a molecular biologist.

About Central Zoo Authority

  • A separate chapter, Chapter IVA contain Section 38 A to 38 J was added to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for establishment of the Central Zoo Authority in India.
  • Accordingly, the Central Zoo Authority was established as a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment & Forests by the Government of India in the year 1992.
  • The Authority consists of a Chairman, ten members and a Member Secretary.
  • Every zoo in the country is required to obtain recognition from the Authority for its operation.


  • The main objective of this Authority is to complement and strengthen the national effort inconservation of the rich biodiversity of the country, particularly the fauna as per the National Zoo Policy, 1998.
  • Other objectives of this Authority include- enforcing minimum standards and norms for upkeep and healthcare of animals in Indian zoos and to control mushrooming of unplanned and ill-conceived zoos.


  • Specify the minimum standards for housing, upkeep and veterinary care of the animals kept in zoos;
  • Evaluate and assess the functioning of the zoos with respect to the prescribed standards or norms;
  • To recognize or derecognize zoos;
  • To identify endangered species of wild animals for purposes of captive breeding and assigning responsibility in this regard to a zoo;
  • To coordinate the acquisition, exchange and loaning of animals for breeding purpose;
  • To ensure maintenance of studbooks of endangered species of wild animals bred in captivity;
  • To identify priorities and themes with regard to display of captive animals in zoos;
  • To coordinate training of zoo personnel in India and outside India;
  • To coordinate research in captive breeding and educational programmes for the purposes of zoos;
  • To provide technical and other assistance to zoos for their proper management and development on scientific lines;
  • To perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act with regard to zoos.

Other Functions

  • Central Zoo Authority regulates the exchange of animals of endangered category listed under Schedule- I and II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 among zoos.
  • Exchange of animals between Indian and foreign zoos is also approved by the Authority before the requisite clearances under EXIM Policy and the CITES permits are issued by the competent authority.
  • The Authority also coordinates and implements programmes on capacity building of zoo personnel, planned conservation breeding programmes and ex-situ research including biotechnological intervention for conservation of species for complementing in-situ conservation efforts in the country.

3 . Postal Ballot

Context: The Election Commission of India has expanded the postal ballot facility to electors over 65 and those infected with or suspected to have COVID-19 in the run-up to the Bihar Assembly elections. This has been done in consultation with the political parties.

About the News

  • Under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 ECI in consultation with the government can provide for any person to be given the postal facility.
  • The ECI had recommended three categories of electors – those 80 years and above, persons with disabilities, and essential services workers – who should be given the facility.

About Postal Ballot

  • Postal voting is a type of voting in elections whereby Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot Papers (ETPB) are distributed to electors and returned by post
  • Postal voting refers only to the means by which the ballots are submitted, not to the method by which the votes are counted.
  • While India has a system in place for postal ballots, it is restricted to certain categories of people.
  • According to the Election Commission (EC) of India, the facility is available to a service voter — that is a voter having a service qualification.
  • According to the provisions of sub–section (8) of Section 20 of Representation of People Act, 1950, service qualification means  –
    • A member of-  armed forces of the Union; or  Armed Police Force of a State, and serving outside that state or employed under the Government of India, in a post outside India.

4 . Issues with Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

Context: According to data provided by the Food Ministry the scheme to provide free rations to eight crore migrants under the Aatmanirbhar package reached less than 15% of its target beneficiaries.

Latest findings:

  • Overall, foodgrains were distributed to 1.21 crore people in May which is only 15% of the estimated eight crore beneficiaries. In June, less than 93 lakh people, approximately 11.6%, received rations.
  • Eleven states and one UT did not distribute even 1 per cent of the quantity they had lifted to the beneficiaries during June. These are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura.

Issues with Free ration distributiion under the Aatmanirbhar package

  • Scheme was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in mid-May to support migrant workers without ration cards, but the Centre had left it to the States to identify such people.
  • Six or seven states, including Goa and Telangana, have written to the Centre and informed that they will not be able to implement the scheme since migrant workers have moved out of their states.
  • Some states have lagged behind in lifting of their share of grains.
  • Though Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) which originally meant to provide additional free foodgrains and pulses to all ration card-holders from April to May has been extended but the Aatmanirbhar food package, which was meant to provide free foodgrains to migrants and those without ration cards in May and June, has not been extended.

5 . Facts for Prelims

Two more species added to India’s list of butterflies

  • Two species of butterflies have been added to India’s expanding list of butterflies. They are-  the Striped Hairstreak and the Elusive Prince.
  • The Striped Hairstreak (Yamamotozephyrus kwangtugenesis) was located in Vijaynagar bordering Myanmar while the Elusive Prince was found in Miao on the periphery of the Namdapha National Park.

Rivers Flowing through Assam

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