Daily Current Affairs: 7th December 2021

Topics Covered

  1.  Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958.
  2. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) 
  3. The NDPS (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  4. Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS)
  5. Facts for Prelims

 1. Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958

Context: The killing of civilians in a botched ambush by the armed forces in Nagaland’s Mon district on Saturday and its violent fallout have put the spotlight on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958. Viewed as a draconian law in Northeast India, a region troubled by extremism, the AFSPA gives the armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.


  • AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
  • They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
  • Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.

About “disturbed area” and power to declare it?

  • A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA.
  • An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
  • The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area. A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette.
  • As per Section 3 , it can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs would usually enforce this Act where necessary, but there have been exceptions where the Centre decided to forego its power and leave the decision to the State governments.

Origin of AFSPA

  • The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the Northeastern States decades ago, which the State governments found difficult to control.
  • The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and it was approved by the President on September 11, 1958. It became known as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.

Currently AFSPA is applicable in following states:

  • Jammu & Kashmir & Ladakh
  • Assam
  • Nagaland
  • Manipur (except Imphal Municipal Area)
  • Three districts of Arunachal Pradesh and its eight police station areas bordering Assam

Why is the law controversial?

  • AFSPA has often been criticised as a “draconian Act” for the unbridled power it gives to the armed forces and the impunity that security personnel enjoy for their actions taken under the law.
  • Under AFSPA, the “armed forces” may shoot to kill or destroy a building on mere suspicion. A non-commissioned officer or anyone of equivalent rank and above may use force based on opinion and suspicion, to arrest without warrant, or to kill.
  • He can fire at anyone carrying anything that may be used as a weapon, with only “such due warning as he may consider necessary”.
  • Once AFSPA is implemented, “no prosecution… shall be instituted except with the previous sanction of the central government, in respect of anything done or purported to be done” under this Act.
  • The Jeevan Reddy Committee formed in 2004 had recommended a complete repeal of the law. “The Act is a symbol of hate, oppression and an instrument of high handedness,” the body said.

How has this Act been received by the people?

  • It has been a controversial one, with human rights groups opposing it as being aggressive.
  • Manipur’s Irom Sharmila has been one if its staunchest opponents, going on a hunger strike in November 2000 and continuing her vigil till August 2016.
  • Her trigger was an incident in the town of Malom in Manipur, where ten people were killed waiting at a bus stop.

What has Supreme Court said about AFSPA?

  • In 2016, the Supreme Court delivered a stinging rebuke to the government over the continuation of AFSPA.
  • The SC judgment clarified that the notion that the Act provides a free hand to security forces is flawed.
  • Ruling on a petition filed by the Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Association (EEVFAM), a representative platform of people in Manipur whose kin have allegedly been killed by security forces, the Court held that due process needs to be followed in civilian complaints reported from areas under the AFSPA and that the Act doesn’t provide blanket immunity to army personnel in anti-insurgency operations.
  • The continuance of the Act in any region for extended periods symbolises, according to the apex court, “failure of the civil administration and the armed forces”.
  • The apex court also ruled that over 1,500 cases of alleged fake encounters in Manipur, over the last 20 years, “must be investigated”.

2. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF)

Context: The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) has so far disbursed ₹48,606 crore to 32 States, according to a response by the Environment Ministry in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

About CAF

  • Whenever forest land is diverted for non-forest purposes, it is mandatory under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 that an equivalent area of non-forest land has to be taken up for compensatory afforestation.
  • In addition to this, funds for raising the forest are also to be imposed on whomsoever is undertaking the diversion.
  • The land chosen for afforestation, if viable, must be in close proximity of reserved or protected forest for ease of management by forest department. 
  • In 2002, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered that a Compensatory Afforestation Fund had to be created in which all the contributions towards compensatory afforestation and net present value of land had to be deposited.
  • This order was made in the case of TN Godhavarman Vs Union of India where the SC observed that a lot of funds received for compensatory afforestation remained unutilised with the states

Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016

  • Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 came into force from 30 September 2018.
  • The Act established a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  • The payments made for compensatory afforestation, net present value and others related to the project will be deposited in the fund.
  • The State Funds will receive 90% of the payments while National Fund will receive remaining 10%.
  • These funds will be regulated by State and National CAMPA.
  • The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Rules were notified in August 2018.
  • All states except Nagaland have set up state CAMPAs following this notification, as of November 2019
  • In April 2019, the Ministry of Environment notified that states which have a forest land of more than 75% of their geographical area need not provide non-forest land for compensatory afforestation. Instead, land can be taken up in states with lesser forest cover.
  • Further, it was also notified that the minimum area of compensatory land should be five hectares if the land is not contiguous to a forest.


  • In April 2004, Ministry of Environment and Forests constituted Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to overlook and manage the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) as directed by the SC.
  • The authority was termed as the ‘custodian’ of the fund.
  • Further in 2009, the government ordered that State CAMPAs had to be set up to boost compensatory afforestation at state level and also manage Green India Fund.

3. The NDPS (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Context: The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was recently introduced in Lok Sabha. It seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated on September 30 this year.

Objective of the Bill

  • Bill was introduced by the Centre to correct a drafting error in the existing Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act that rendered a key provision related to the punishment of those financing illicit trafficking inoperable.


  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (the NDPS Act) was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to narcotic drugs, to make stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operation relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to provide for the forfeiture of property derived from, or used in, illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to implement the provisions of the International Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and for matters connected therewith.
  • The NDPS Act was amended in the years 1989, 2001 and lastly in the year 2014.
  • Prior to the amendment of 2014 in the NDPS Act, clause (viiia) of section 2 of the said Act, contained sub-clauses (i) to (v), wherein the term ‘illicit traffic’ had been defined. This clause was re-lettered as clause (viiib) by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2014, as a new clause (viiia) in section 2 defining ‘essential narcotic drugs’ was inserted.
  • However, inadvertently consequential change was not carried out in section 27A of the NDPS Act, at the time of amendment in section 2 by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Act, 2014.
  • In a recent judgment, Hon’ble High Court of Tripura,  has held that ‘until the appropriate legislative change occurs by amending section 27A of the NDPS Act appropriately, sub-clauses (i) to (v) of clause (viiia) of section 2 of the NDPS Act shall suffer effect of deletion and bringing in sub-clauses (i) to (v) of clause (viiib) of section 2 of the NDPS Act in that place’ and directed to take appropriate steps for amendment as required in section 27A.
  • Hence, with a view to have correct interpretation and implementation of the NDPS Act, it was decided to rectify the anomaly in section 27A of the Act by substituting ‘clause (viiib)’ in place of ‘clause (viiia)’ in section 27A.
  • As Parliament was not in session and urgent legislation was required to be made, the President promulgated the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 (Ord. 8 of 2021) on the 30th September, 2021 for rectifying the said anomaly by substituting in section 27A of the NDPS Act, the reference of “clause (viiib) of section 2″, for “clause (viiia) of section 2″.
  • The amendment does not create any new offence but contains a legislative declaration that reference of clause (viiia) always meant the corresponding renumbered provision in clause (viiib) and the amendment seeks to rectify this anomaly by making changes in section 27A of the said Act in order to carry out the legislative intent of the statute, which has always been to read clause (viiib) in section 27A, and already stood therein.
  • The Bill seeks to replace the aforesaid Ordinance.

4. Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS)

Context: India and Russia signed 28 agreements, including 9 government-to-government agreements and those that spanned areas of defence, space, finance, power, culture, scientific research, education and health among others. The two sides could not conclude the reciprocal logistics support agreement (RELOS).

About RELOS Agreement

  • Logistical exchange agreements are designed to lay down the administrative framework through which partnering countries can enjoy ease of access to use each other’s military facilities like ports, bases, and military installations.
  • Such agreements save “enormous time” and also frees up the need for constant paperwork when one military obtains assistance on matters like refuelling, berthing, use of aviation infrastructure, etc., allowing for a rolling settlement of costs and fees
  • “Military logistics… facilitate replenishment of fuel, rations, and spare parts, as well as berthing and maintenance for each other’s warships, military aircraft, and troops during port visits and joint exercises, on a reciprocal basis,”

Strategic Significance of RELOS Agreement

  • Experts note that it is usually the Indian Navy, “the most outgoing force of the three services”, that stands to benefit the most from an logistical exchange agreement as these impart “enhanced operational turnaround and strengthened interoperability on the high seas” by relying on the infrastructure and assistance of partner countries.
  • A report by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) notes that the RELOS agreement with Russia would grant “access to Russian naval port facilities in the Arctic”, thus enhancing “Indian Navy’s reach and operational experience in Polar waters”.
  • It notes further that given the close Indo-Russian military ties and “the percentage of Russian military hardware in the Indian armed forces” means that the two sides can take advantage, through RELOS, of increased interoperability “in any hostile situation in the future”.
  • India has acquired advance defence systems from Russia, including fighter jets, and is looking to again obtain a nuclear-powered attack submarine on a long-term lease from Moscow.
  • IDSA says that from a geostrategic point of view, while giving Indian Navy better access to northern sea routes and Russian ports in the Arctic, where India is looking to set up an Arctic station. Russia and India are also exploring enhanced energy cooperation in the Arctic region.
  • IDSA also notes that “India’s presence in the (Arctic) region will act as a strategic counterweight to China’s strategic posturing” with Beijing and Moscow sharing “synergy” in the Arctic.
  • The reciprocal arrangement means that Russian naval ships and aircraft will be also to access Indian ports and bases.

Similar Arrangements with other countries

  • India has logistical exchange agreements with six other countries, including Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, partners US, Japan and Australia.
  • Singapore, France and South Korea are the other countries with which similar arrangements have been effected.
  • Following the signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US in 2016, “India has become more comfortable in concluding such arrangements with other countries” and is currently pursuing one with the UK while exploring arrangement with other partners like Vietnam.

5. Facts for Prelims

Physella acuta

  • Physella acuta is a species of small, left-handed or sinistral, air-breathing freshwater snail, an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Physidae. 
  • It is an aquatic pulmonate snail native to North America, notorious for its high invasive potential.

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