THE HINDU DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 14TH FEBRUARY 2020

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Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Bhoodan Movement.
1. It was a voluntary land reform movement, started by Acharya Vinoba Bhave
2. Bhave received first land donation at Pochampalli village in Telangana Region
3. Jayaprakash Narayan give up active politics and joined Bhoodan movement in 1953.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 1 and 3 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

 

Q.2 Which of the following statement about State Human
Rights Commission is correct?
a) The chairperson and members of State Human
Rights Commission are appointed by the President.
b) If any case is already being inquired by the National
Human Rights Commission then the State Human
Rights Commission does not inquire into that case,
whereas if the case is being inquired by any other
statutory commission then the State Human Rights
Commission can inquire into that case.
c) State Human Rights Commission is a constitutional
body
d) To review the constitutional and other legal
safeguards for the protection of human rights.

Q.3 Consider the following statements
1. Gram Sabha is a body consisting of persons
registered in the electoral rolls of a village
comprised within the area of Panchayat at the
village level.
2. There is no uniformity in the organisation of
state legislatures in India.
3. A person must be not less than 25 years of age
to be chosen as a member of the legislative
council.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2, 3
c) 1, 2, 3
d) 1, 2

ANSWERS: D, D,D 

DECRIMINALIZATION OF POLITICS

NEWS: 

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered political parties to publish the entire criminal history of their candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections along with the reasons that goaded them to field suspected criminals over decent people.

The information should be published in a local and a national newspaper as well as the parties’ social media handles. It should mandatorily be published either within 48 hours of the selection of candidates or less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.

A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, in the judgment, ordered political parties to submit compliance reports with the Election Commission of India within 72 hours or risk contempt of court action.

The judgment is applicable to parties both at the Central and State levels.

Detailed information

The published information on the criminal antecedents of a candidate should be detailed and include the nature of the offences, charges framed against him, the court concerned and the case number.

A political party should explain to the public through its published material how the “qualifications or achievements or merit” of a candidate, charged with a crime, impressed it enough to cast aside the smear of his criminal background.

CORONA VIRUS

NEWS: 

The Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more infections using a broader case definition on Thursday, while Japan became the third place outside mainland China to suffer a fatality.

Japan confirmed its first death — a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo — adding to two previous fatalities in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Hubei had previously only allowed infections to be confirmed by RNA tests, which can take days. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information allowing identification of viruses.

But it has also begun using computerised tomography (CT) scans, which give images of the lungs, the Hubei health commission said, to identify cases and isolate them faster.

ABOUT CORONA VIRUS

  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
  • Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

Symptoms:

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Transmission:

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  1. the air by coughing and sneezing.
  2. close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  3. touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
  4. rarely, fecal contamination

SUN TEMPLE RESTORATION

NEWS: 

A plan to restore and preserve the nearly 800-year-old Konark Sun temple in Odisha would be drawn up soon, after a two-day conference of experts at the end of the month, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said.

The 13th century temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, had been filled with sand and sealed by the British authorities in 1903 to stabilise the structure, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official said.

 

An ASI official said the scaffolding at the Sun temple in Konark would be taken down by the end of the month.AFP

 

A scientific study was carried out by the Roorkee-based Central Building Research Institute from 2013 till 2018 to ascertain the temple’s structural stability as well as the status of the filled-in sand, the official said.

Structure stable

The official said the study found that the sand filled in more than 100 years ago had settled, leading to a gap of about 17 feet.

The official, however, added that the structure was found to be stable.

The ASI was in the process of removing the scaffolding erected around the temple for the study, the official said, adding that it would be taken down by the end of the month.

Among the potential choices before the government would be to fill in more sand or to remove all the sand and put in place alternate support for the structure, sources in the Ministry of Culture said.

ABOUT SUN TEMPLE

Sun Temple, Konark

Konark Sun Temple, located in the eastern State of Odisha near the sacred city of Puri, is dedicated to the sun God or Surya. It is a monumental representation of the sun God Surya’s chariot; its 24 wheels are decorated with symbolic designs and it is led by a team of six horses. It is a masterpiece of Odisha’s medieval architecture and one of India’s most famous Brahman sanctuaries.

The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. It marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace, the joy and the rhythm of life all its wondrous variety.

The temple declared a world heritage by UNESCO was built in A.D. 1250, during the reign of the Eastern Ganga King Narasimhadeva-I (A.D. 1238-64). There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the Konark sun temple. Some say the wheels represent the 24 hours in a day and others say the 12 months. The seven horses are said to symbolize the seven days of the week.

Sailors once called this Sun Temple of Konarak, the Black Pagoda because it was supposed to draw ships into the shore and cause shipwrecks.

 

NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL

NEWS:

Expressing displeasure over failure of an official from the Defence Ministry to appear before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the green panel has said that “coercive measures” against the official concerned was necessary.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had earlier summoned the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence to appear before the Bench and furnish a report on a plea seeking scientific disposal of waste generated by weapons, hospitals and other establishments of the armed forces.

.ABOUT NGT:

National Green Tribunal was formed under the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010. Act was enacted under the India’s constitutional provision of Article 21 which assures the citizens of India the right to healthy environment.

Tribunal has been created for effective and expeditious disposal of the cases relating to environmental protection and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.

Tribunal is mandated to make endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals filing within 6 months of the filing of the same.

Chairman of the tribunal must be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or judge of the Supreme Court of India. 

The tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice. 

New Delhi is the principle place of sitting of the tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkatta and Chennai are other four places of sitting of the tribunal.

Present NGT Chairperson is Justice (Retired) Adarsh Kumar Goel.

PULWAMA REPORT

NEWS: 

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General has refused to reply to an RTI query seeking the photocopy of the inquiry report into the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 last year in which around 40 paramilitary personnel were killed and details of alleged connivance, if any, of the officials, saying that the force could only provide information regarding the violation of the human rights and the corruption cases.

However, the CRPF DG, the Central Public Information Officer, refused to reply to any of the queries citing Para- 24 (1) of Chapter 6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, which he said exempted the force from providing any information except the matters concerning the human rights violations and corruption.

Mr. Kapoor has now made an appeal to the First Appellate Authority in this case against the denial of information. He has argued that the death of the CRPF personnel amounted to the violation of their human rights and the fact that explosives in large quantities reached Pulwama showed that it involved high-level corruption. Mr. Kapoor demanded that the said information be immediately made public free-of-cost in the larger public interest.

ABOUT CRPF

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces.

It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India.

The CRPF’s primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency.

It came into existence as the Crown Representative’s Police on 27 July 1939.

After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949.

NATIONAL POPULATION REGISTER

NEWS:

Madhya Pradesh Law Minister P.C. Sharma on Thursday reiterated the Congress government’s resolve against carrying out the National Population Register (NPR) update, even though the enumeration exercise in the State remains scheduled from May.

According a the State government notification dated December 9 and published in the gazette on December 13, a day after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) received the President’s assent to come into force, the update of the NPR will be undertaken along with houselisting exercise from May 1 to June 14, 2020, a plan still in play.

About National Population Register

  • Definition:
    • It is a list of “usual residents of the country”.
    • A “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
  • Legal Provisions:
    • The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
    • It is mandatory for every “usual resident of India” to register in the NPR.
  • Background:
    • The data for the NPR was first collected in 2010 along with the house listing phase of Census 2011.
    • In 2015, this data was further updated by conducting a door-to-door survey.

FUTURE OF EARTH REPORT 2020

NEWS: 

Five global risks that have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that may cascade to create global systemic crisis, have been listed by ‘The Future of Earth, 2020,’ which was released here on Thursday by the South Asia Future Earth Regional Office, Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science.

The report, released by K. Kasturirangan, former Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), lists the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; food crises; and water crises, as the five global risks.

The report was prepared with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and halting global warming below 2 degree Celsius by 2050.

The loss of biodiversity also weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, increasing our vulnerability to food crises, they point out.

Humans have now “significantly altered” 75% of our planet’s land area; about a quarter of species in assessed plant and animal groups are threatened, writes Cornelia Krug, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland, in the chapter on biodiversity.

FIRST EDITORIAL: VISIT OF FOREIGN ENVOYS TO JAMMU AND KASHMIR

WHY IN NEWS?

The Centre’s decision to take another group of envoys on a guided tour of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and the stated hope of the Ministry of External Affairs that these tours will become a regular feature, point to a belief that these visits have been productive.

The delegations have been taken to meet with local groups, and shown a glimpse of ‘normalcy’ in the Kashmir Valley, with shops open, people out on the streets, and boating on the Dal Lake. After these tours, no envoy has come forward with any negative account, which indicates that at least for the moment, the government’s narrative has prevailed.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

The government must recognise that these gains in the immediate present are superficial in the absence of a change in the situation in Kashmir.

It would not have escaped anyone’s attention that these tours are tightly controlled, and the people meeting the foreign guests in the confines of the Raj Bhavan are handpicked by the government. In fact, European delegates who accepted New Delhi’s invitation on this trip had earlier opted out in order to request freer access and meetings with leaders in detention, but the government refused to relent.

KASHMIR NO MORE INTERNAL ISSUE

It is also puzzling how the government, which has repeated often that J&K is an “internal affair”, squares it up with this new policy of conducting tours for the international community.

The truth is, managing India’s image is important, but the government’s primary responsibilities still lie within its borders — responsibilities to the people of J&K, who have yet to see a return to normalcy; to those detained in and outside J&K, including sitting Member of Parliament and octogenarian Farooq Abdullah, against whom little evidence of wrongdoing has been furnished; and to the people of India as a whole, who are yet to see a credible path to the peace and prosperity that was promised when the momentous decision on Article 370 was announced last August.

 

LEAD ARTICLE: BUILDING A NEW WORLD ORDER

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS OF PRESENT WORLD?

SOCIAL INEQUALITY: Social inequalities and the grim problems of stark and continuing poverty are at the epicentre of the new world. The latest Oxfam Report presented at Davos points out that 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people. The emergence of billionaires and oligarchs in different parts of the world coincides with increased poverty among the already poor people, especially children. These realities make observers question the tenability of stakeholder capitalism as a concept.

INTENSIVE ENERGY USE AND DECLINING SUSTAINABILITY: One of the chief characteristics of economic development is the intensification of energy use. There is an unprecedented concentration of high energy density in all economic development strategies. The bulk of the energy continues to be generated from non-renewable sources. The developed world’s, and China’s, central objective is to capture energy-generating resources from across continents and put them to use to push GDP growth to greater heights. In the process, sustainability is becoming a casualty.

UNABATED EXPLOITATION OF DEVELOPING WORLD: Egregious consumption of energy by the developed world has been accompanied by the disposal of residual products (‘e-waste’) on the shores of many African and Asian countries. As a result, the poor in the developing world are, unwittingly, drawn and exposed to toxic, hazardous materials like lead, cadmium and arsenic. Hence, the ‘globalisation’ phenomenon has turned out to be nothing other than exploitation of the developing world, with most countries being treated as a source of cheap labour and critical raw material.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO BUILD NEW WORLD ORDER?

  • Effective welfare safety nets for all;
  • Corruption-free governance;
  • A fundamental right to tuition-free education, including higher education; and
  • A fundamental right to good medical care.
  • Using big data and text analytics, a company’s performance can be measured in terms of all the four ‘P’s (Porfit, People, Planet and Purpose)and a corporate entity can be thus held accountable. Market capitalisation need not be the only way to measure the value of a company.

SECOND EDITORIAL: HAFIZ SAEED 

WHY IN NEWS?

The Pakistani government, which for years tried to protect Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, finally got a conviction and a jail term for the cleric in two terror financing cases.

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and his close aide Malik Zafar Iqbal have been sentenced to five-and-a-half years by an anti-terrorism court, vindicating India’s years-long position that Saeed had been using his organisations to finance terrorist activities.

WHY CHANGE OF HEART?

Pakistan started cracking down on Saeed’s groups in 2018 only after it was threatened to be put on the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body fighting money laundering and terror financing. The government endorsed the UN ban on these organisations in February 2018, just a few days ahead of an FATF meeting. Despite these actions, Pakistan was placed on the grey list.

EDITORIAL’S VIEW

While the conviction is a welcome step, Pakistan has to do more if it wants the international community to take its self-declared resolve to fight terror seriously. This is because Pakistan’s actions in the past against terrorist outfits have hardly been convincing.

Pakistan is evidently under international pressure.

Historically, Pakistan has adopted a dual policy towards terrorism — fight it at home but export it through proxies to its neighbours. Unless it changes this policy and joins the regional drive against terrorism, peace and stability would elude the region.

This remains a critical issue in Indo-Pak ties as well. So, the international community shouldn’t let up its pressure on Pakistan.

Islamabad should be asked to take, not just legal action against terror financing, but also hard measures against terror groups and infrastructure.

OP-ED PAGE

FRIDAY DEBATE: SHOULD WOMEN BE GIVEN COMMAND POSTS IN THE ARMY?

WHY IN NEWS?

Last week, in response to an ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on permanent commission for women officers, the government cited “physical” and “physiological limitations” in granting command positions to women officers in the Indian Army.

To this, the Supreme Court responded that there is a need for administrative will and “change of mindset”.

TILL DATE POSITION OF WOMEN IN ARMY

Till September 2019, permanent commission for women was restricted to only two departments: the Army Education Corps and the Judge Advocate General’s branch. In September, the Defence Ministry announced that it is opening this up to eight other arms and services from April this year, for women already selected for the Short Service Commission. So, permanent commission now is open in 10 departments, or what you call arms and services.

WHY GIVING COMMAND FUNCTION TO WOMEN OFFICERS IS IMPORTANT?

The women’s careers n Amry can be furthered only if they get what are called command assignments or criteria appointments.  The Indian Army is what is called a command-oriented Army. That is, anyone who has to be given further positions up the chain of command has to first be experienced in command at the level of a full Colonel, a unit command. So far, this was denied to women.

VIEWS OF THE ATHORS

Time has come for us to at least experiment, if nothing else, and that experiment needs to be done first with the Services — Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps and Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. In all these there are women who have been commissioned for the last 30 years as Short Service Commissioned officers. Many of them have commanded workshops. Some of them are in a position to be selected.The focus is on the word selected because they have to be selected through their confidential reports, a board of officers, a promotion board, which will determine whether they are fit to command. Only then will they command a unit.

There is very little justification in saying that while women officers can be company commanders, platoon commanders, second in command, [they should be excluded] when it comes to command appointments, commanding a unit, only on the basis that they are women. This argument doesn’t hold water.

WHY WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE THERE IN COMBAT ARMS?

There is some justification in not permitting women in combat roles at this time. There are issues about soldiers and officers living on the front lines. Officers and their men all live together in, say, one bunker along the Line of Control. So, there are issues and if you are going to induct women in Combat Arms, try and shield them from some of these more difficult roles. At this stage, it could only invite more resentment regarding why we are having women in Combat Arms.

CONCLUSION

Soldiers respect professionalism, good leadership, irrespective of whether it is demonstrated by a male or female officer. So time has come to allow women in COMMAND ROLES IN THE INDIAN ARMY.

INDIA OFF DEVELOPING COUNTRY LIST

NEWS:

The U.S. government has changed an administrative rule making it easier for it to impose countervailing duties (CVDs) on goods from India and certain other countries.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has published a notice, amending lists of developing and least-developed countries that are eligible for preferential treatment with respect to CVD investigations.

India was, until February 10, on the developing country list and therefore eligible for these more relaxed standards. It has now been taken off of that list.

The new lists consist of 36 developing countries and 44 least developed countries.

The USTR used the following criteria to determine whether a country was eligible for the 2% de minimis standard: (1) Per capita Gross National Income or GNI (2) share of world trade (3) other factors such as Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) membership or application for membership, EU membership, and Group of Twenty (G20) membership.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained about the WTO’s classification of developing countries.

Mr. Trump is due to visit India on February 24 and 25 and the U.S. and India are trying to finalise a trade package before the U.S. President’s arrival. The timing of the USTR announcement is not linked to the visit, a former trade official told The Hindu.

“The timing is mostly coincidental and mostly related to dynamics at the WTO on developing country treatment,” the official said.

PANEL FOR FISCAL SYSTEM

NEWS: 

The Fifteenth Finance Commission will soon set up a panel to address issues related to fiscal policy for both the Centre and the States, and present a road map for the same, Commission’s Chairman N.K. Singh said.

Mr. Singh added the Commission had also constituted a group on defence and internal security, whose mandate will be ‘to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up.

The panel will be headed by Mr. Singh and have representation from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Reserve Bank of India, the Ministry of Finance, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) panel and some of the States.

Mr. Singh, however, added that there wasn’t a need for a new legal framework as the FRBM already gives a robust legal framework, “except for the fact the States need to align their own FRBM with the new FRBM enacted by the Union Government with the amendments to the earlier one in 2018. Also, we need to ensure there is strict compliance on the issues of off-Budget borrowing, contingent liabilities.

On Thursday, the Advisory Council to the 15th Finance Commission held its sixth meeting, at which many suggestions were given concerning the GST, he said, adding that generally, it was felt the room for improvement in GST was significant.

 

PERSON IN NEWS

RISHI SUNAK:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Rishi Sunak as his new Finance Minister, the government said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr. Sunak, 39, who previously served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the second in command to the Finance Minister, succeeds Pakistan-born Sajid Javid, who has resigned.

Mr. Sunak, a former banker who is married to the daughter of Narayana Murthy, co-founder of IT services company Infosys, is seen by many Conservatives as a safe pair of hands who will easily get on board with Mr. Johnson’s agenda for a post-Brexit Britain.

Seen as a smooth media performer and ultra-loyal member of the Conservative Party, Mr. Sunak has been used by the government to defend their policies in television interviews — a sign of trust from Mr. Johnson, who has a fraught relationship with Britain’s media.

R K PACHAURI

Rajinder K. Pachauri, former Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), died on Thursday. He was 79.

Dr. Pachauri was the founder and chief executive of The Energy Resources Institute (TERI). In 2002, he was elected Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme.

He received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, in 2007.

Dr. Pachauri’s contribution to global sustainable development is unparalleled,” said chairman, TERI, Nitin Desai.

RAJIV BANSAL

The government on Thursday appointed Rajiv Bansal Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India, in which the Centre plans to divest its stake soon.

Mr. Bansal takes over from Ashwani Lohani, whose one-year term ended on Thursday.

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