Q.1 Arrange the following organizations in the chronological order of their formation
- Banga Bhasha Prakiska Sabha
- East India Association
- Indian League
- Madras Mahajan Sabha
Select the correct option given below
Q.2 Philosophical part of the Indian Constitution has been derived from
- Britain and US
- US and Ireland
- France and South Africa
- Ireland and Canada
- Consider the following statements
- Union of India is larger concept than territory of India
- Indian Union is the indestructible union of destructible states.
Which of the above statements is/ are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- None of the Above
CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT BILL 2019
NEWS: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019, with 125 votes in favour and 99 against. The current strength of the Upper House is 240.
The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955, and for the first time, will grant citizenship on the basis of religion to non-Muslim communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.
WHAT DOES THE BILL CONTAINS?
The Bill 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 purpose of the Bill says that it will enable acquisition of Indian citizenship by persons who were forced to seek shelter in India due to persecution or fear of it on grounds of religion and will extend the facility to the class of persons presently facing hardships and difficulties in acquiring citizenship.
The Bill 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 Bill 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 protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).
Citizens of other States require ILP to visit the three States as per the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
NANAVATI MEHTA PANEL
NEWS: The Nanavati-Mehta Commission on Wednesday gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots, in which more than 1,000 people were massacred across the State after a train compartment was torched by a mob, killing 59 pilgrims returning from Ayodhya.
The Commission also absolved the State administration, Ministers and police officers of any complicity, direct or in direct, and also ruled out any conspiracy to organise the large-scale riots. It refused to call the riots a result of any “pre-planned conspiracy” or “orchestrated violence”.
However, the panel, comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice G.T. Nanavati and former Gujarat High Court Judge Justice Akshay Mehta, observed in the report that police at some places were “ineffective in controlling the mob because of their inadequate numbers or because they were not properly armed.”
ABOUT NANVATI MEHTA COMMISSION
The Nanavati–Mehta Commission is the commission of inquiry appointed by the government of Gujarat to probe the Godhra train burning incident of 27 February 2002. Its mandate was later enlarged to include the investigation of the 2002 Gujarat riots. It was appointed on 6 March 2002.
NEWS: India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) marked its ‘Golden Jubilee’ launch on Wednesday by injecting India’s advanced radar imaging satellite RISAT-2BR1 and nine other customer satellites from Japan, Italy, Israel and the U.S. into their intended orbits.
RISAT-2BR1 will be used for agriculture, forestry, disaster management support and national security.
The PSLV, which has a history of successful launches of payloads that include Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission and the space recovery mission, soared into clear blue skies at 3.25 p.m. from the refurbished first launchpad, marking the 50th launch for the vehicle.
The PSLV had helped take payloads into almost all the orbits in space, including the the Geo-Stationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), the moon and mars, and would soon be launching a mission to the Sun, the ISRO chief noted.
The PSLV has failed only twice — the maiden flight of the PSLV D1 in September 1993 and the PSLV C-39 in August 2017.
- PSLV is third generation launch vehicle indigenously designed and developed by ISRO.
- It is one of world’s most reliable and versatile workhorse (launch vehicles) with 39 consecutively successful missions by June 2017.
- It is a four stagelaunch vehicle and first Indian rocket to be equipped with liquid stages.
- It can take up to 1,750 kg of payload to Sun-Synchronous Polar Orbits of 600 km altitude.
- So far PSLV has launched 50 national satellites, 10 satellites built by students from Indian Universities and more than 300 international customer satellites.
NEWS: Ten-foot-high walls made of flex sheet prescribing fundamental duties, a page on fundamental duties in State-run school textbooks and propagation of importance of these duties over social media are among the plans made by the Department of Justice of the Union government for States, including Delhi.
ABOUT FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
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 Atal Bihari 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 idea behind their incorporation was to emphasise the obligation of the citizen in exchange for the Fundamental Rights that he or she enjoys. 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.
It is the one on children’s education that was added in 2002 by the 86th Amendment that provided for the Right to Free and Compulsory Education for children in the age group 6-14, with the insertion of Article 21A. It also cast an obligation on parents to provide such opportunities under Article 51A(K).
NEWS: Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson will meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday to brief him about the Virgin Hyperloop One project that will connect Pune to Mumbai.
The project, first mooted during the previous government’s rule, is estimated to cost $10 billion. Mr. Branson’s visit to Mr. Thackeray comes after the new government decided to review several infrastructure projects, such as the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
He said, “The entire cost of the [hyperloop] project will be borne by the private sector and it will not depend on any funding from the State.”
Hyperloop is a new technology wherein vacuum is used to transport people and cargo at a very high speed.
The technology is yet to be commercially launched and the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project could be one of the first few projects globally
Hyperloop is a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at high speed while being very efficient, thereby drastically reducing travel times over medium-range distances.
AP DISHA BILL
The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the A.P. Disha Bill, 2019 (A.P. Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019) paving the way for awarding the death penalty for the offences of rape and gang-rape and expediting the verdict in trials of such cases to 21 days. The legislation is to be tabled in the ongoing session of the Assembly.
The Cabinet also gave its nod for introduction of the A.P. Special Court for Specified Offences against Women and Children Bill, 2019, for dealing with offences against women and children, including rape and gang-rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, sexual harassment and cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The A.P. Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019, envisages the completion of investigation and trial in seven and 14 working days respectively, where there is adequate conclusive evidence, and reducing the total judgment time to 21 days from the existing four months, government officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The proposed laws seek to amend relevant provisions in the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and to introduce Sections 354-E and 354-F in the IPC for dealing with harassment of women through social media and sexual assault of children respectively.
SURVEY OF BUTTERFLY SPECIES
NEWS: The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department and experts from Kerala and northeastern States will begin the first survey of butterfly species in the Papikonda National Park (PNP) on Thursday.
The four-day survey , from December 12 to 15, is the maiden survey during which the entire national park will be explored, documenting the butterfly species.
The findings and report will be presented at the ‘Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species’ to be held in Gandhinagar in February 2020,
The exercise will offer a picture of the existing biodiversity of the park. The diversity of butterfly species would be considered as a health indicator of the park.
CONTAMINATION IN INDIAN RIVERS
NEWS: Samples taken from two-thirds of the water quality stations spanning India’s major rivers showed contamination by one or more heavy metals, exceeding safe limits set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
The findings are part of a report, which is the third edition of an exercise conducted by the Central Water Commission (CWC) from May 2014 to April 2018
Iron emerged as the most common contaminant with 156 of the sampled sites registering levels of the metal above safe limits. None of the sites registered arsenic levels above the safe limit.
The presence of metals in drinking water is to some extent unavoidable and certain metals, in trace amounts, required for good health. However, when present above safe limits, they are associated with a range of disorders.
Long-term exposure to the above-mentioned heavy metals may result in slowly progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes that mimic Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.
Lead, cadmium, nickel, chromium and copper contamination were more common in non-monsoon periods while iron, lead, chromium and copper exceeded ‘tolerance limits’ in monsoon periods most of the time.
DATA PROTECTION BILL
NEWS: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday referred the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, to a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament amid Opposition protests that it breached Article 14 and freedom of expression and demands that it be referred to the Standing Committee on Information Technology headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
MAIN FEATURES OF THE BILL
The draft bill, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, was prepared by a high-level expert committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna.
The Bill deals with the broad guidelines on the collection, storage, and processing of personal data, the consent of individuals, penalties and compensation, and a code of conduct.
The draft Bill classifies ‘sensitive personal data’ as including passwords, financial data, health data, sex life, sexual orientation, biometric data, genetic data, transgender status, intersex status, caste or tribe, and religious or political belief or affiliation.
The draft Bill says that such sensitive personal data can be processed only with the explicit consent of the person, and this consent needs to be informed, clear, and specific, as defined by the Bill itself.
The draft bill also has a provision for the right to be forgotten, where the person “shall have the right to restrict or prevent continuing disclosure of personal data”.
Personal data is to be stored in India, but can be processed outside with the consent of the person.
The draft Bill also specifies penalties for not following its provisions, including a penalty of ₹5 crore or 2% of turnover, whichever is higher, if no action is taken on a data leak.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CENTRE AUTHORITY BILL 2019
NEWS: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the International Financial Services Centres (IFSC) Authority Bill, 2019 which provides for the establishment of an authority to develop and regulate the financial services market.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lower House that the unified authority would act as a single window of regulation.
She added that all the laws of land, including the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, would apply and would be audited by the CVC and the CAG.
MAIN FEATURES OF THE COMMITTEE
- International Financial Services Centres Authority: The Bill sets up the International Financial Services Centres Authority. It will consist of nine members, appointed by the central government. Members of the Authority will include: (i) the Chairperson, (ii) one member each to be nominated from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), (iii) two members from among officials of the Ministry of Finance, and (iv) two members to be appointed on the recommendation of a Search Committee. Members will have a term of three years, subject to reappointment.
- Functions of the Authority: The Authority will regulate financial products (such as securities, deposits or contracts of insurance), financial services, and financial institutions which have been previously approved by any appropriate regulator (such as RBI or SEBI), in an IFSC. It will follow all processes which are applicable to such financial products, financial services, and financial institutions under their respective laws. The appropriate regulators are listed in a Schedule to the Bill, and includes the RBI, SEBI, IRDAI, and PFRDA. The central government may amend this schedule through a notification.
- Other functions of the Authority include: (i) regulating any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions in an IFSC, which may be notified by the central government, and (ii) recommending any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions to the central government, which may be permitted in an IFSC.
- International Financial Services Centres Authority Fund: The Bill sets up the International Financial Services Centres Authority Fund. The following items will be credited to the Fund: (i) all grants, fees and charges received by the Authority, and (ii) all sums received by the Authority from various sources, as decided by the central government. The Fund will be used for: (i) salaries, allowances and other remuneration of members and employees of the Authority, and (ii) expenses incurred by the Authority. Further, the central government may provide grants to the Authority for the regulation of IFSCs.
- Performance Review Committee: The Authority will constitute a Performance Review Committee to review its functioning. The Review Committee will consist of at least two members of the Authority. It will review whether: (i) the Authority has adhered to the provisions of the applicable laws while exercising powers or performing functions, (ii) the regulations made by the Authority promote transparency and best practices of governance, and (iii) the Authority is managing risks to its functioning in a reasonable manner. The Committee must submit a report of its findings to the Authority at least once every year.
- Transaction in foreign currency: As per the Bill, all transactions of financial services in IFSCs will be in such foreign currency as specified by the Authority, in consultation with the central government.
NEWS: Voters backing Bougainville’s independence from Papua New Guinea have won a landslide referendum victory, according to results released on Wednesday — a major step toward the troubled isles becoming the world’s newest nation.
The historic vote caps a decades-long peace process and a long recovery from a brutal civil war between Bougainville rebels, Papua New Guinea security forces and foreign mercenaries that ended in 1998 and left up to 20,000 people dead — 10% of the population.
FIRST EDITORIAL: STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
ISSUE: DELAY IN APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES IN SUPREME COURT AND HIGH COURT
WHY ISSUE IS IN NEWS?
On December 10, the Supreme Court of India said that 213 names recommended for appointment to various High Courts are pending with the government.
Data show that 38% of all sanctioned posts for High Court judges are lying vacant as of December 1, with the High Courts of some States including Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan functioning at below half their actual capacity.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR APPOINTMENT IF JUDGES?
The Memorandum of Procedure states that appointments should be initiated at least six months before a vacancy arises and six weeks of time is then specified for the State to send the recommendation to the Union Law Minister, after which the brief is to be sent to the Supreme Court collegium in four weeks.
Once the collegium clears the names, the Law Ministry has to put up the recommendation to the Prime Minister in three weeks who will in turn advise the President.
Thereafter no time limit is prescribed and the process, seemingly, comes to a standstill.
The Supreme Court’s recommendation now of a time limit to these appointments is welcome.
As grievous as it is for the government to disrupt the process through delays, it is for the court to take an increasingly firm hand to ensure that the collegium system that it fought so hard to protect, despite flaws, actually functions effectively.
Vacancies in the higher judiciary threaten every aspect of the justice delivery system and it is the courts, and very seldom the government, that always take the blame for any shortfall in justice
SECOND EDITORIAL: STAGGERING SPREAD
ISSUE: RAPID SPREAD OF MEASLES
There has been a spike in measles cases since 2016.
Compared with over 1,32,000 reported cases in 2016, the numbers shot up to over 3,53,000 in 2018.
MAJOR AFFECTED AREAS
Last year, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia, and Ukraine accounted for 45% of all reported cases. The situation worsened in Congo by November, with a nearly four-fold increase in cases (from 65,000 in 2018 to 2,50,000 in 2019) and over 5,100 deaths. The situation in Ukraine is grim. After a 50% drop in the number of cases in 2018 compared with 2017, the trend has now reversed — 58,000 cases by mid-November this year, which is 4,000 more than in 2018.
REASON FOR THIS SPREAD
Vaccine hesitancy has been highlighted for the staggering spread in cases globally. In DR Congo, there is low institutional trust, misinformation, vaccine shortage and even attacks on health-care centres and workers leading to the spread of both measles and Ebola.
The only way to increase vaccine uptake is by educating the public. With 2.3 million children not vaccinated against measles last year, India has much to do to protect its young citizens.
LEAD ARTICLE: DELHI DOGMA FALLACY OF THE RIGHT
ISSUE: CRITICISM OF THE FOREIGN MINISTER’S S JAISHANKAR SPEECH
Author highlights that speech has a heavy self-congratulatory tone aimed at establishing a moral superiority over past governments, as if history began in 2014. To that extent, this is an ideological attempt masquerading as an objective stocktaking of India’s foreign policy.
The speech makes the cardinal mistake of critiquing history from the luxury of the present, removed from the temporal constraints that forced the decisions of the past: this is a methodological error.
While the speech falls short of telling us what the new big ideas of the Narendra Modi government are, it is big on what today’s regime thinks went wrong in the past.
WHY TAKING KASHMIR ISSUE TO UN WAS NOT MISTAKE?
To state, for instance, that taking the Kashmir issue to the UN was a mistake assumes that India could have forcibly liberated the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) from the Pakistani invasion during 1947-48. At a point of time when the Indian (and Pakistani) Army was still commanded by British officers, it might not have been possible for India to forcibly get back the rest of J&K. The next best option at the time was indeed to go to the United Nations, which it did.
WHY NON ALIGNMENT WAS REQUIRED AFTER INDEPENDENCE?
In the early decades of its existence, India was a militarily weak, recently-decolonised state with an array of domestic political and security challenges, with limited resources, and as a result, attempts at carrying out major military campaigns would have been disastrous.
And when faced with the whirlwind of the Cold War, it also, and rightly so, decided to be non-aligned.
The policy of non-alignment was hardly woolly-headed; it was largely an exercise in realism.
Not only that accommodation by a weak power is not weakness, India also benefitted from both the camps.
Would becoming a camp follower have helped India against China in 1962? The answer might lie in the Pakistani experience in 1965 and 1971 despite being an alliance partner of the U.S.
LACK OF CLARITY ON CHINA AND RCEP
The Minister’s speech often lacks clarity about what it seeks to advocate. He rightly states, in the context of India not joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), that “economic autarky and import substitution” are old dogmas, then goes on to argue, that “embracing the new dogma of globalization without a cost-benefit analysis is equally dangerous”.
This is just smart phrasing, and one is unsure why India was unable to get a deal from the other partners especially China (despite the Chennai connect) and where India stands on the RCEP now and what are the long-term implications for the Indian economy of not joining it.
Author concludes by highlighting that his assessment reeks of foreign policy arrogance.
SECOND ARTICLE: THE NOT SO BRIGHT IDEA OF SELLING THE FAMIL SILVER
ISSUE: SALE OF PROFIT MAKING PSU’S BY GOVERNMENT
Author highlights that this sale raises few important questions:
First, should government be not involved in business at all
Second, is this the right way to bring fiscal deficit down
Third, which option, public- or privately-owned, is better for the Government treasury?
Fourth, is about national security and self reliance: can India be under pressure if we do not have full control over petroleum? Why do the United States, China and other superpowers have control over their petroleum reserves?
LOSS OF REVENUE FOR GOVERNMENT
The effective tax rate on profits before tax for the BPCL is about 34%, whereas for the private sector player it is between 25% and 28%. So there will be a loss in tax revenue for the Government after any privatisation.
In summary, financially, we as a nation are worse off by selling such a profitable venture. As the case of the BPCL and several other PSU ‘Navratnas’ show, they have given super normal returns to the public exchequer.
ISSUE OF FISCAL DEFICIT TARGET
Given that revenue collections are not enough, the Government is perhaps planning the sale of well-running PSUs to meet the fiscal deficit target. If the Government does meet its fiscal deficit target by the stake sale of various PSUs including the BPCL this year, how would it meet that target next year?
Note that in spite of the huge one-time dividend from the Reserve Bank of India, we are far from meeting the deficit target. Nothing much will change in terms of the expenditure or revenues in the coming years.
These strategic sales and dividends cannot be repeated every year. We will be back to the same levels of fiscal deficit.
The real way of meeting this target is to cut out wasteful Government expenditure, most of which is on salaries and pensions, and ensuring that the bureaucracy delivers. Unfortunately, the cuts will be in the social sector.
PETROLEUM RESERVES IMPORTANT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
Natural resources, especially oil, are a strategic national resource. The United States maintains such an underground crude oil reserve to mitigate any supply disruptions. Some comparative figures for such reserves are: the U.S. over 600 billion barrels, China 400, South Korea 146, Spain 120 and India 39.1. India does have a target to substantially increase its reserves.
CONCLUSION: Government is killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Financially we are worse off, and strategically the nation finds itself in a vulnerable situation. We need to see through the ideological narrative coming from the developed nations. They embraced free trade when it suited them and are now trying to embrace protectionism. China adopted a market system but does not allow this to cloud its thinking when it comes to strategic national issues; the control then remains with the Government. India too needs to re-think its strategy.
SECOND ARTICLE: TEESTING THE JUDICIAL REFORMS
ISSUE: HUGE PENDENCY OF CASES IN JUDICIARY
The Indian judicial system is plagued with problems of delay and backlog. Currently, 3.5 crore cases are pending across the country’s high courts and district courts.
The long-term consequence of such high pendency is an erosion of faith in the institution of the judiciary.
Justice delivery is the monopoly of the state but delays and the cost of litigation have led to people approaching non-judicial bodies outside the formal court system such as khap panchayats, religious leaders and politicians for dispute resolution.
The problem of judicial delay, however, stubbornly persists.
CAN INCREASING THE NUMBER OF JUDGES SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?
Author says that increasing the number of judges will not solve the problem.
This suggestion conveniently masks the deeper systemic flaws in the judicial system that cause such high pendency.
SUGGESTION BY THE AUTHOR TO CHANGE THIS SITUATION
Some sort of Randomized Control Trials should be conducted before implementing reforms in the judiciary.
Experimental research in the Indian legal system is an idea whose time has come. Judicial reforms are far too important to be implemented without the rigorous backing of such research.
ISSUE: Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act
WHY IN NEWS?
National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ram Madhav, claimed that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2019 was similar to a 1950 law enacted by the Jawaharlal Nehru government to expel illegal immigrants from Assam, but which was not applicable to minorities from East Pakistan.
IS THE STATEMENT ACCURATE?
A review of the old legislation and reports relating to its passage in Parliament in The Hindu shows that the Bill did not explicitly mention the religion of either those to be expelled or those exempted from it. Rather, it was applicable to all “undesirable” foreigners, while protecting refugees and those fleeing because of fear and violence in East Pakistan.
Section 2(b) mentions that the Act would not apply to “any person who on account of civil disturbances or the fear of such disturbances in any area now forming part of Pakistan has been displaced from or left his place of residence in any such area and who has been subsequently residing in Assam”.
The Act, therefore, explicitly mentioned that any person who has fled Pakistan on account of “civil disturbances or the fear of such disturbances” would be exempt, ruling out its application to refugees from the then East Pakistan and who fled the neighbouring country.