INDIA SRI LANKA RELATIONS
WHY IN NEWS?
Due to visit of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajpaksha to India.
India is the first foreign nation to be visited by Rajpaksha after becoming the President.
OUTCOME OF THE VISIT
Both countries affirmed that the security and development of two countries are inseparable.
Gotabaya affirmed that Sri Lanka will do nothing to undermine India’s security interests and promised that his government’s engagement with China will be strictly commercial.
India, in turn, has extended strong support to Gotabaya’s plans to counter the resurgence of terrorism in Lanka and to the new president’s ambitious economic goals.
WHAT MORE COULD BE DONE?
Concerns of the Tamil minority needs to be addressed.
Sri Lanka needs to address Indian concerns on the increasing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka.
India should not interfere in the internal politics of Sri Lanka.
ABOUT SRI LANKA
Located in the Indian Ocean
Separated from India by the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait
Legislative Capital: Sri Jayawardanepura Kotte
Buddhism has been given the foremost place in the Sri Lankan Constitution although it does not identify it as a state religion.
TRANSGENDER PERSONS (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS) BILL, 2019
BACKGROUND: Bill has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament
PROBLEMS WITH THE BILL
The Bill failed to incorporate crucial recommendations of the Parliament Standing Committee and several depositions by the transgender and intersex community.
CERTIFICATION ISSUE: According to the Bill, a transgender person “may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity indicating the gender as ‘transgender’” and a revised certificate may be obtained “if a transgender person undergoes surgery to change gender either as a male or female”. This is in direct violation of NALSA v Union of India that had affirmed the right to self-determination of gender as male, female or transgender without the mandate of any medical certificate or sex-reassignment surgery (SRS).
Despite including identities such as “gender queer” and “persons with intersex variations” in the definition of “transgender”, the Bill has failed to incorporate the rights of such persons, putting them in danger of being excluded by a system which certifies people based on medical examination.
FAILING TO DEFINE DISCRIMINATION: While the Bill seeks to prohibit discrimination, it does not explicitly define what constitutes as discrimination.
It also fails to extend protection to transgender persons who might face sexual abuse as the Indian Penal Code recognises rape in strict terms of men and women as perpetrator and victim, respectively. While the Bill makes “sexual abuse” punishable, it does not define the acts that constitute sexual offences, making it complicated for transgender persons to report such crimes.
On the rights of transgender children, the Bill fails to include “gender non-conforming” children and “children with intersex variations”. It falls short of addressing and penalising surgeries on infants born with intersex variations with the intention of “correcting” their bodies to fit the binary gender
Another major flaw of the Bill is that it does not provide for reservation in education and employment for transgender persons, going against the mandate in NALSA, which had clearly stated that the state must take measures “to treat them as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of admission in educational institutions and for public appointments”.
The Bill does not tackle the question of realisation of civil rights — such as marriage, civil partnership, adoption and property rights, thereby continuing to deprive transgender persons of their fundamental rights and the constitutional guarantee provided by the Supreme Court in NALSA.
India’s national aquatic dolphin.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the Gangetic dolphin as an ENDANGERED SPECIES in India.
According to the WWF, the main threat to the Gangetic dolphin is the creation of dams and irrigation projects.
Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin, 2010-2020, identified threats to these dolphins that include the impact of river traffic, construction of irrigation canals and depletion of their prey-base.
WHY IN NEWS?
Over the last one week, the government has been making a pitch for fundamental duties. In his Constitution Day address to a Joint Session of Parliament last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the importance of constitutional duties, while making a distinction between seva (service) and these duties. On the same occasion, President Ram Nath stressed the difference between rights and duties, while Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu called for fundamental duties to be included in the school curriculum and the list of the duties to be displayed at educational institutions and at other public places.
HOW WERE FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES INCORPORATED IN THE CONSTITUTION?
The Fundamental Duties were incorporated in Part IV-A of the Constitution by the Constitution 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, during Emergency under Indira Gandhi’s government.
Today, there are 11 Fundamental Duties described under Article 51-A, of which 10 were introduced by the 42nd Amendment and the 11th was added by the 86th Amendment in 2002, during Vajpayee’s government.
These are statutory duties, not enforceable by law, but a court may take them into account while adjudicating on a matter.
The concept of Fundamental Duties is taken from the Constitution of Russia.
WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES?
The 11 Fundamental Duties are
To abide by the constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem
* To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom
* To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India — it is one of the preeminent national obligations of all the citizens of India.
* To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so
To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women
* To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture — our cultural heritage is one of the noblest and richest, it is also part of the heritage of the Earth
* To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures
* To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform
* To safeguard public property and to abjure violence
* To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement
* Who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.