Blog

THE HINDU CURRENT AFFAIRS 23RD DECEMBER 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Q.1 Jogi tribal art is related to which of the following states?

A. Maharashtra

B. Jharkhand

C. Rajasthan

D. West Bengal

Answer: C

Q.2 In the context of physical geography term festoon refers to

A. an island arc

B. A local wind

C. A type of submerged coastline

D. A crescent shaped sanddune

Answer: A

Q.3 Which of these species have been reclassified from endangered to vulnerable by IUCN?

A. Giant Panda

B. Pangolin

C. Lion tailed Macquae

D. Gangetic Dolphin

Answer: A

PAN INDIA NRC

NEWS:

In a twist to the raging controversy over the National Register of Citizens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on Sunday that there had been no discussion, no talk on an NRC for India since his government had taken power in 2014.

Mr. Modi’s comments fly in the face of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Lok Sabha on December 9: “We are very clear that NRC will happen in this country.”

ABOUT NRC

What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?

  • National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein.
  • The NRC was published only once in 1951.

FOR ASSAM WHAT WERE THE CONDITIONS:

For a person’s name to be included in the updated NRC list of 2018, he/ she will have to furnish:

Existence of name in the legacy data: The legacy data is the collective list of the NRC data of 1951 and the electoral rolls up to midnight of 24 March 1971.

Proving linkage with the person whose name appears in the legacy data.

The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013.

In order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas, NRC updation was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.

The final draft of the Assam NRC was published on July 30, 2019.

As many as 40 lakh applicants found their names excluded out of the 3.29 crore registered names in the final draft. A total of 36.2 lakh had claimed inclusion in the final draft of Assam NRC.

 

 

CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT

NEWS:

Protest against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act continued on Sunday with the Opposition, the Congress, kicking off an 800-km-long padayatra from Sadiya to Dhubri.

Sadiya is a far east town of Assam and Dhubri is the headquarters of the western-most district, which is located along the India-Bangladesh border.

‘Anti-Assam Act’

“We have been stating it very clearly that Assam will never accept this Act. It is anti-Assam and anti-Northeast.

CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT

WHAT DOES THE ACT CONTAINS?

The ACT seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by seeking to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

The ACT says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrant” for violating provisions under Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 that pertains to foreigners entering and staying in India illegally.

The ACT shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule of the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland and Manipur protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

ACT has reduce the time period required for naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for members of these communities.

 

HUNAR HAAT

NEWS:

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday inaugurated a Hunar Haat at Bandra Kurla Complex in .

ABOUT HUNAR HAAT

What are they?

Hunar Haats are organised by Ministry of Minority Affairs under USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme.

The USTTAD scheme aims at preserving & promoting the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the Minority communities.  This is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry.

Significance of Hunar Haats:

  • Hunar Haats have become a successful mission to provide employment and income generation opportunities with platforms for marketing the products of master artisans, craftsmen and culinary experts belonging to the minority communities.
  • It envisages at boosting the skill of craftsmen, weavers and artisans who are already engaged in the traditional ancestral work.

 

PLASTIC POLLUTION IN MAHARASHTRA BEACHES

NEWS: Beaches in Maharashtra are more polluted with micro plastics and macro plastics than those in Goa and Karnataka, according to a study conducted by a research institute. The study has blamed plastic industries located near the shore and increased tourism activities for the pollution.

The highest abundance of macro and micro plastic contaminants is found on beaches in Maharashtra at the high tide line as compared to Karnataka and Goa,” said the study carried out by Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

The study, titled ‘Assessment of macro and micro plastics along the west coast of India: abundance, distribution, polymer type and toxicity’, was published in Netherlands-based journal ‘Chemosphere’ last week.

National Institute of Oceanography

  • National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is one of the 37 constituent laboratories of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi.
  • It is headquartered at Dona Paula, Goa with regional centres at Kochi, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.
  • The principal focus of research has been on observing and understanding special oceanographic characteristics of the Indian Ocean.
  • It also operates two research vessels RV Sindhu Sankalp (56 m) and RV Sindhu Sadhana (80 m) that are equipped for multidisciplinary oceanographic observations.
  • The institute also provides consultancy on a number of issues including marine environmental protection and coastal zone regulations.

 

NEW SIGNALLING SYSTEM OF RAILWAYS

NEWS: The Railways will roll out its new signalling system from April 2020 onwards. It is expected to make train travel faster and safer, a senior official said.

The implementation will begin with four sections of about 640 route kilometres with an estimated cost of around ₹1,810 crore.

The four sections where the plan will be implemented first are the Renigunta -Yerraguntla section of the South Central Railways, the Vizianagaram-Palasa section of East Coast Railway, the Jhasi-Bina on North Central Railway and the Nagpur-Badnera on Central Railway.

The modernisation of the signalling system will include implementation of technologies such as the automatic train protection system that helps in adhering to permissible speed limits without driver intervention and the 4G-based mobile train radio communication system, which can be used for emergency communications.

Besides a centralised traffic control system similar to the air traffic control system, a remote diagnostic and predictive maintenance system will be implemented.

ABOUT CABINET COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

CCEA has a mandate to review economic trends on a continuous basis, as also the problems and prospects, with a view to evolving a consistent and integrated economic policy framework for the country. It also directs and coordinates all policies and activities in the economic field including foreign investment that require policy decisions at the highest level.

Matters regarding fixation of prices of agricultural products as well as reviewing progress of activities related to rural development including those concerning small and marginal farmers are in CCEA’s competence.

Composition

Prime Minister

Shri Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence

Shri Amit Shah, Minister of Home Affairs

Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways; Minister of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises

Shri D.V.Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance; Minister of Corporate Affairs

Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture &Farmer Welfare, Minister of Rural Development: and Minister of Panchayati Raj.

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology; and Minister of Law and Justice.

Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries.

Dr. Subrahamanayam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs

Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Minister of Commerce &Industry

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel.

 

OTA GAYA

NEWS:

The Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Gaya is being shut down as it is not used to its full potential and the Sikh Light Infantry Regimental Centre, which is strapped for space at Fatehgarh in Uttar Pradesh, will shift there, Army sources said.

“It is not closure. It is relocation,” a senior source said. The OTAs in Chennai and Gaya are under-utilised now because the intake has increased through other schemes like the Technical Entry Scheme (TES).

The OTA, Gaya, was set up in 2011. The officer cadets there will be trained at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

Earlier, the Centre was supposed to build a new regimental Centre for the Sikh Light Infantry. The move is expected to save expenses and enable utilization of readily available infrastructure.

Presently, the Rajput and Sikh Light Infantry Regimental Centres are located at Fatehgarh, and are pressed for space. To address the problem, the Army has acquired 150 acres at Sitapur for a new Sikh Light Regimental Centre.

 

FIRST EDITORIAL: UNDOING FEARS

ISSUE: HOW TO HANDLE POST CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT SCENARIO

WHAT GOVERNMENT CAN DO TO DISPEL THE FEARS RELATED TO CAA?

Government must look for ways to undo the incalculable harm caused by fears set off by the law.

The stated objective is the fast-tracking of applications from minorities from three Muslim-majority neighbourhood countries for citizenship by naturalisation. Can’t this be achieved without violating the Constitution or its secular ideals?

A first step would be to further amend the Act, even by an ordinance, to drop its religion-specific wording, and make it explicit that the benefit would be open to all undocumented migrants who can prove persecution in their home countries.

A general enabling provision should be provided to all communities to allow a relaxation of the minimum residency requirement  to any persecuted people.

This would be non-discriminatory, without obligation to grant citizenship.

Finally, India should enact a refugee law wherein the right to live a life without fear or confinement can be protected

If the fear is that people may seek permanent asylum, the UNHCR can work with them officially for their voluntary repatriation, and without rendering long-term refugees ineligible for applying for citizenship.

Finally, the government must end the process once the National Population Register is updated. It must give up the notion of a citizenship register.

No good will come out of setting off a clamour for inclusion and panic over possible exclusion. That is a pain Indians of all persuasions.

 

SECOND EDITORIAL: SIGNIFICANT REVERSALS

ISSUE: DECISION OF NCLAT IN FAVOR OF CYRUS MISTRY AGAINST TATA’S

WHAT NCLAT HAS RULED?

Three years after Tata Sons Limited voted to remove Cyrus P. Mistry from his post as the Executive Chairman of the Tata Group’s main holding company, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) last week declared his removal “illegal” and ordered his reinstatement.

NCLAT has in no uncertain terms held that Tata Sons’ “affairs have been or are being conducted in a manner ‘prejudicial’ and ‘oppressive’ to members” including Mr. Mistry as also ‘prejudicial’ to the interests of the company and its group companies.

Terming the company effectively a “quasi-partnership-company” — the Tata Group through the Tata Trusts and other Tata entities and family members holds 81% of Tata Sons’ effective shareholding while the SP Group owns 18% — the appellate body stressed the need for the Tata holding firm to operate as a “two-group company” that could provide checks and balances in the running of the businesses.

The NCLAT’s findings lay emphasis on greater transparency and adherence to governance norms especially in the conduct of affairs at the controlling company of a large diversified conglomerate.

WHAT NEXT TATA GROUP CAN DO?

With the Tata Group clear that it plans to challenge the NCLAT verdict, it will be left to the Supreme Court to have the final say on the conclusions of the NCLAT, particularly on the question of whether Tata Sons is in effect a “quasi-partnership”.

 

LEAD ARTICLE: THREE STEP COMMUNAL GAME PLAN

ISSUE: CRITICISM OF NRC-NPR PROCESS

Author highlights that in the wake of widespread protests against the CAA, the Central Government is trying to obfuscate the issue of implementing the NRC.

It is taking advantage of the lack of clarity and the inadequate information available on how the NRC is going to be implemented in the whole country.

While in Parliament  Home Minister, Amit Shah, had  made this clear that first, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would be adopted by Parliament following which the NRC would be taken up.

The Government has put out advertisements in Hindi and Urdu newspapers stating that “The NRC has not been announced yet and if it is done so in future, then rules and regulations should be such that no Indian citizen is troubled.”

WILL NRC EXERCISE BE DONE?

A crucial fact is that the NRC process begins with the compilation of the National Population Register (NPR). This is the first stage of the NRC.

The notification for preparing and updating the NPR (https://goaprintingpress.gov.in/downloads/1920/1920-19-SI-EOG-1.pdf) was issued by the Registrar General of Citizen Registration, on July 31, 2019.

For this, house to house enumeration will be conducted throughout the country (except in Assam) for “collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of the Local Registrar”. This enumeration will be undertaken between the first day of April 2020 and September 30, 2020.

On the basis of the NPR, the local register of Indian citizens will be finalised after due verification. This is the procedure set out under the “Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003”.

So, from April 1, 2020 onwards, the National Register of Citizens process will begin with house to house enumeration for the National Population Register.

Further, there is confusion created by the fact that the updation of the NPR is being done along with the Census enumeration for 2021. It is the Census authorities who undertake both these processes, but they are two separate things. The NPR is directly linked to the NRC.

COMMUNAL GAME PLAN OF BJP

That the game plan of the BJP is to create a communal division in States such as West Bengal is absolutely clear. On the one hand, it claims that the NRC process will eliminate all those who are “Muslim infiltrators” from Bangladesh. On the other hand, by amending the Citizenship Act, Hindu migrants who have come from across the border over the decades will be given citizenship.

HOW IT COULD BE STOPPED?

The work in the NPR gets halted since it is the State government which provides personnel for the enumeration and verification process. Other State Governments should also do so. If the Central Government stands by the announcement that the NRC process has not begun, then it should withdraw the July 31, 2019 notification for the updation of the NPR.

 

SECOND ARTICLE: IRONING OUT THE WRINKLES IN TRADE DISPUTES ADJUDICATION

ISSUE: SLOW DEATH OF WTO TRADE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT MECHANISM?

WHY IT IS BEING SAID THAT IT IS DYING?

With the retirement of two of the remaining three members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body on December 10, and a veto by the United States on fresh appointments, the “crown jewel” of the WTO been rendered dysfunctional.

According to author we should not be much worried about demise of WTO Appellate body.

WHY THERE WILL NOT BE MUCH CONSEQUENCES?

First, because this effectively marks a return to the dispute settlement system under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which, on the whole, proved surprisingly successful in resolving disputes.

Second, most of the disputes at the WTO concern rules that are actually “self-enforcing”, with the Appellate Body only policing its enforcement by domestic authorities.

Finally, many States have conceived “alternative” strategies to overcome difficulties arising out of the absence of a functioning Appellate Body.

While one would be forgiven to think that states under the GATT regime would almost always veto unfavourable reports, a remarkable 71% of panel reports were adopted using the positive consensus rule. Even where panel reports were not adopted by states they served as a basis for the parties to “bilaterally” resolve their disputes in a mutually satisfactory manner. In a vastly changed global economic landscape, the re-emphasis on diplomatic solutions in lieu of judicialised solutions to resolve inter-state trade disputes may not be an entirely bad outcome.

ALTERNATIVE WAYS

States such as Indonesia and Vietnam have, through a no appeal pact, agreed in advance not to appeal the ruling of the panel in the dispute between them, effectively waiving their right of appeal. The European Union (EU), Norway and Canada have agreed on an interim appeal system for resolving any disputes through arbitration using Article 25 of the dispute settlement understanding in a process mirroring that of the Appellate Body with former Appellate Body members appointed as arbitrators.

CONCLUSION

In sum although the fall of the WTO Appellate Body represents a turbulent period in the history of trade disputes adjudication, it by no means spells the end of the WTO. On the contrary it presents an opportunity to the members to rethink and “iron out some of the creases” with the present system.

 

OP-ED PAGE

LEAD ARTICLE: A HINDU CRITIQUE OF HINDUTVA

Author highlights that we need to rescue religion from zealots and rediscover the spirit of religiosity as, to use Rabindranath Tagore’s language, our ‘surplus’.

The kind of Hindutva we see today is against some of the finest aspects of Hinduism.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HINDUTVA AND HINDU WAY OF LIFE

Hindutva is recklessly engaged in an act of ‘othering’ and stigmatising Muslims while Hindu way of life believes in love and empathy.

Majoritarian Hindutva is not merely against Muslims; it is no less hostile to those Hindus who think and live differently — while some would be castigated as ‘leftists’, ‘pseudo secularists’ and ‘urban Naxals’, the rest would be regarded as ‘effeminate idealists’ or ‘Gandhian fools’.

WHAT COULD BE DONE?

We must try to try to evolve a culture of communion between the two communities, and fight together for a better world.

 

CHABAHAR PORT

NEWS: Days after his visit to Washington, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif for a meeting of the 19th India-Iran joint commission, including talks on the Chabahar port, during a visit that could see him dealing with concerns of Indian expatriates over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as well.

Speaking in Delhi, Iran’s Ambassador Ali Chegeni had earlier suggested that India’s adherence to U.S. sanctions was also affecting Chabahar port development plans.

In Washington last week, however, a senior U.S. official made it clear that it would continue its “narrow exemption” to India to develop the Chabahar port, recognising its role as “as a lifeline to Afghanistan in terms for India to be able to export humanitarian supplies and potentially helping Afghanistan diversify its export opportunities.”

ABOUT CHABAHAR PORT

Where is Chabahar port?

Iran’s Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country. The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast.

Why Chabahar port is crucial for India?

The first and foremost significance of the Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.

 

Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.

 

With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.

 

With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted.

 

Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This will in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries.

From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.

 

ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION

NEWS: The 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a statement of “concern” on Sunday, criticising the government over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and the Babri Masjid verdict of the Supreme Court.

In a statement, the general secretariat of the Jeddah-based OIC, which is led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, said it was closely following “recent developments affecting [the] Muslim minority in India.”

ABOUT ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION

OIC is an international organisation founded in 1969 consisting of 57 member states.

World’s second-largest intergovernmental organisation after the UN and is committed to protecting the interests of the Muslim world

Organisation states that it is the collective voice of the Muslims world and works to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

HQ: Jeddah Saudi Arabia.

 

AFGHANISTAN’S PRESIDENT

NEWS:

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani appeared to have secured a second term, preliminary polling results showed on Sunday, but his main rival immediately vowed to challenge the tally.

After months of political limbo and allegations of fraud and corruption in the September 28 poll, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) said Mr. Ghani won 50.64% of the votes.

If it holds, the result is enough for Mr. Ghani to avoid a run-off. He easily beat his top challenger, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who scored 39.52%.

Mr. Abdullah lost to Mr. Ghani in 2014 in a divisive election that saw the U.S. intervene to broker an awkward power-sharing deal between the two rivals.

Observers and candidates have blasted the IEC over its handling of the count and its repeated disregard of the electoral calendar. The Transparent Electoral Foundation of Afghanistan, an independent watchdog, said the IEC needs to share all information about how it reached its numbers and break down data by polling centre.

The election was meant to be the cleanest yet in Afghanistan’s young democracy. A German firm supplied biometric machines to stop people from voting more than once. But allegations of vote stuffing, illegal balloting and other fraud came almost as soon as the polls had closed.

 

UIGHURS

NEWS: Hong Kong riot police pepper sprayed protesters to disperse crowds in the heart of the city’s financial district on Sunday after a largely peaceful rally in support of China’s ethnic Uighurs turned chaotic.

A mixed crowd of young and elderly people, dressed in black and wearing masks to shield their identities, held up signs reading “Free Uyghur, Free Hong Kong” and “Fake ‘autonomy’ in China results in genocide”.

UN experts and activists say at least 1 million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in Xinjiang since 2017 under a campaign that has been condemned by the United States and other countries.

Beijing says it is providing vocational training to help stamp out separatism and to teach new skills. It denies any mistreatment of Uighurs.

ABOUT UIGHURS

The Uighurs are a Muslim ethnic minority mostly based in China’s Xinjiang province. They make up around 45% of the population there.

Xinjiang is officially designated as an autonomous region within China, like Tibet to its south.

Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have submitted reports to the UN committee documenting claims of mass imprisonment, in camps where inmates are forced to swear loyalty to China’s President Xi Jinping.

The World Uyghur Congress said in its report that detainees are held indefinitely without charge, and forced to shout Communist Party slogans.

 

FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE

NEWS: FATF has sought more clarifications and data from Pakistan on actions taken by it against madrasas belonging to the banned outfits, weeks after submitted a report to the Paris-based body detailing steps taken by the country to curb terrorism and money laundering.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which kept Pakistan on the Grey List for an extended period till February 2020, had warned in October that Islamabad would be put on the Black List if it did not comply with the remaining 22 points in a list of 27 questions. Pakistan submitted a report comprising answers to 22 questions to the FATF on December 6.

ABOUT FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE

FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of

 G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.

In 2001 its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing.

HQ: Paris

FATF has included Pakistan in its GREY LIST.

 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
%d bloggers like this: