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THE HINDU NEWS ANALYSIS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS 9th DECEMBER 2019

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Q.1 Consider the following statements about Government of India Act 1919

  1. It introduced Provincial autonomy
  2. It introduced bicameralism and direct election

Which of the above statements is/are correct

A. 1 only

B. 2 only

C. Both 1 and 2

D. None of the above

Q.2 Which of the following is a hot current? 

A. Humboldt Current

B. California Current

C. Labrador Current

D. Brazilian Current

Q.3 Which of the following is not temperate grasslands? 

A. Pampas

B. Prairies

C. Veld

D. Llanos

 

 

THIRD BATTLE OF PANIPAT

NEWS: Rajasthan Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh on Sunday demanded a ban on the screening of Ashutosh Gowariker’s Panipat in north India to avoid a law and order situation, following protest against the film in Bharatpur. 

Mr. Singh alleged that the film portrays Bharatpur king Maharaja Surajmal in an unseemly manner.

ABOUT THIRD BATTLE OF PANIPAT

The Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 between the Marathas and Ahmad Shah Abdali put an end to the Maratha ambition of ruling over India.

SURAJ MAL

Famous Jat Ruler. 

Churaman and Badan Singh succeeded in setting up the Jat state of Bharatpur.

But it was under Suraj Mal that Jat power reached its zenith. He not only provided an efficient system of administration but also greatly extended the territory of the state. His state included territories from Ganga in the east to Chambal in the south and included the Subahs of Agra, Mathura, Meerut and Aligarh.

However, the Jat state suffered a decline after the death of Suraj Mal in 1763.

 

CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT BILL 2019

NEWS: Union Home Minister Amit Shah will introduce the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

If the Bill is passed, it will be the first time that citizenship will be provided on the basis of religion.

Several groups in Assam and other Northeast States are protesting against the legislation as it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord, 1985, according to which all illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion, who entered India after March 24, 1971, were to be detected and deported.

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. 

 

DELAY IN PAYMENT OF MGNREGA WAGES

NEWS: The alleged delay by the Centre in releasing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) wage and material cost arrears of ₹1,000 crore due to Kerala has left about 15 lakh below poverty line (BPL) families in the lurch.

 Payment of wages has been indefinitely held up at a time when the State is trying to overcome the pangs of rural poverty, price hike of essentials, job loss due to economic slow down and such other major ills.

ABOUT MGNREGA

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), also known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) is Indian legislation enacted on August 25, 2005.

The MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage.

 The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments

Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.

Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.

Receipt of wages within fifteen days of work done.

 

KRISHNA RIVER

  1. Second largest east flowing peninsular river
  2. Rises near Mahabaleshwar in Sahyadri, Jor village Satara Maharashtra
  3. 1401km
  4. Koyna, Tungabhadra and Bhima, Panchganga (the Kasari, the Kumbhi, the Tulsi and the Bhogawati. Local tradition believes in an underground stream Saraswati which together with the other four streams make the Panchganga.) are important tributaries
  5. States: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
  6. Bay of Bengal
  7. Important Dams and Reservoirs on Krishna: Almatti Dam, Srisailam Dam, Nagarjuna Sagar

 

DENGUE OUTBREAK IN KERALA

NEWS:  Kerala could be bracing for yet another major dengue epidemic in 2020 going by the current and early disease surveillance trends, public health experts said.

ABOUT DENGUE

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness and, sometimes causing a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. The incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years. Up to 50-100 million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk.

Severe dengue (previously known as dengue haemorrhagic fever) was first recognized in the 1950s during dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand.

The dengue virus (DEN) comprises four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4) which belong to the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue.

National Dengue Day: 16th May

 

TYRE PYROLYSIS

NEWS:

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 270 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 States for employing technology that is polluting and harmful to the health of the workers employed.

Tyre pyrolysis refers to a technique of breaking down used tyres in the absence of oxygen. Shredded tyres, at temperatures between 250º C and 500º C, produce liquid oil and gases.

While this is considered a safer technique than burning tyres, pyrolysis leaves fine carbon matter, pyro-gas and oil as residue and the inadequate management of these by-products poses health risks.

India is also a recipient of used tyres from Australia and the U.K., which are sent for recycling and disposal.

The National Green Tribunal in 2014 prohibited used tyres from being burnt in the open or being used as fuel in brick kilns, because of the toxic emissions.

ABOUT CPCB

Central Pollution Control Board is a statutory organization under Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. 

It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. 

It serves as field formation and also provides technical services to the MOEFCC under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1986. 

It coordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards and guide them and resolves disputes between them. 

CPCB is generally led by the career civil servant. Current acting chairman is S P Singh Parihar.  

 

CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION

NEWS: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has summoned the top brass of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), after a fire on Friday night destroyed its vigilance wing office in the capital.

A stone’s throw from the EPFO’s headquarters, the NBCC building houses several offices, including the Bank of Maharashtra’s zonal office.

However, the fire affected only the sixth floor where the vigilance wing’s office is located. All files and documents pertaining to vigilance inquiries are feared lost.

ABOUT CVC

Central Vigilance Commission is the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.

Vigilance means to ensure clean and prompt administrative action towards achieving efficiency and effectiveness of the employees in particular and the organization in general, as lack of Vigilance leans to waste, losses and economic decline.

The CVC was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam. In 2003, the Parliament enacted CVC Act conferring statutory status on the CVC.

The CVC is not controlled by any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.

Functions

  • The CVC receives complaints on corruption or misuse of office and to recommend appropriate action. Following institutions, bodies, or a person can approach to CVC:
    • Central government
    • Lokpal
    • Whistle blowers
  • It is not an investigating agency. The CVC either gets the investigation done through the CBI or through chief vigilance officers (CVO) in government offices.
  • It is empowered to inquire into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by certain categories of public servants.
  • Its annual report gives the details of the work done by the commission and points to systemic failures which lead to corruption in government departments.

 

 

LEAD ARTICLE: CONSTITUTIONAL JUSTICE IS NON NEGOTIABLE

ISSUE: HYDERABAD ENCOUNTER 

BACKGROUND: Last Friday, in an encounter four accused in the rape and murder of the young veterinarian in Hyderabad were killed by Cyberabad Police. 

Author highlights that  response must be systemic, not episodic.

Public responses that equate judicial outcomes and “justice” to immediate and quick retribution are not universal, nor just. 

Where does this drawing of blood stop? Is retributive justice the way to go in a democratic country that prides itself in its unprecedented historical legacy of resisting violence in fundamentally non-retributive ways?

The ends of justice are not served by wanton killing and retributive blood lust. The course of justice cannot be determined by the grief and grieving of victims’ families.

Justice lies in supporting them in their moment of grief and pain and insisting on due process that brings suspects and accused to trial through a robust, stringent and competent criminal investigation.

This is the challenge before governments and the criminal justice administration, especially the police.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India — “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law” — is fundamental and non-derogable. The police, as officers of government, are bound by the Constitution — there are no exceptions.

The Supreme Court of India, by resurrecting Justice H.R. Khanna’s dissent in Puttaswamy in 2017, has prescribed the interpretation of Article 21: It is non-negotiable, non-derogable, and is not suspended even during conditions of Emergency. We are not living under declaration of Emergency so the duty of care is more onerous on the police. Any argument on the actions being carried out in ‘purported discharge of official duties’ especially involving the death of unarmed persons in custody cannot stand the narrowest test of Article 21.

CONCLUSION

 We now have a fresh case of the murder of four unarmed suspects in custody that must be investigated with police personnel required to stand trial. The pathways of justice are not linear nor without obstacles. But we have, as a people, chosen the route of democracy and the Constitution, so we really have no option but to school ourselves in constitutional morality.

For as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar cautioned in anticipation, constitutional morality must replace public morality. It is not easy, because it is not a natural sentiment. But it is non-negotiable.

 

SECOND ARTICLE: AN ASIAN ENGINE DRIVEN BY INDIA AND CHINA

ISSUE: REDUCING INFLUENCE OF EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN POWERS AND RISE OF INDIA CHINA

The world today is undergoing a fundamental transformation and there are several facets to the emerging uncertainty. 

Trade and technology are at the heart of a new round of competition and contestation. Nationalism and regionalism are on the rise.

There is less multilateralism but greater multi-polarity. Hedging and multi-alignment are the order of the day.

 At the broadest level, the inadequacies of the post-World War II international institutions are showing up because of the complexities and uncertainties characterising global politics and the economy today. The old consensus is fraying and a new consensus is yet to emerge.

The liberal trading order has encountered protectionism in the form of tariff and non-tariff barriers. 

There is a looming danger for developing countries on account of ‘zero-sum’ mercantilism and rising protectionism in western economies. There is no doubt that the U.S.-China trade war has been disruptive.

Today, the momentum in manufacturing activity has weakened to levels unseen since the global financial crises. Investor and business confidence even in emerging markets is at a low ebb.

HOW INDIA AND CHINA CAN HELP? 

India through its knowledge-based, skill-supported and technology-driven society. A liberal FDI regime combined with a youthful demographic profile makes India an attractive destination. 

China can and must play a constructive role globally and within Asia to help the world return to higher growth rates. 

As members of several multilateral institutions, India and China are in a unique position to give shape to their economic destinies. There are suggestions that the era of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)-anchored, Most Favoured Nation (MFN)-based regime is drawing to a close and that the future lies in a web of free trade agreements. However, there is still scope for India and China to work together to strengthen the WTO.

Beyond jointly training Afghan diplomats under the “India-China Plus One” framework, China and India could explore the potential to work together on Asian infrastructure and connectivity development on the basis of equality and an open and transparent model under the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

OPEC and non-OPEC oil and gas producers have come together to prevent a fall in energy prices. This should be a common concern for China and India. As two of the world’s biggest importers of oil and gas, the two nations should have a joint consultative mechanism to protect the interests of consumers

CONCLUSION

We must remember the advice of PM Modi that there is enough room for all Asian countries to prosper together, and that the Asia of rivalry will hold us all back. It is the Asia of cooperation that will shape this century.

 

OP-ED PAGE

LEAD ARTICLE: DEMONIZING THE LEGAL SYSTEM WON’T HELP

ISSUE: HYDERABAD ENCOUNTER 

Ever since the police first turned away the victim’s family when they went to lodge a complaint, they demonstrated no commitment to the rule of law. Finally, they claimed that the accused, who were under heavy police protection, tried to escape and had to be killed.

From protesters on the ground, to the commentary on social media, to MPs in Parliament, the demand for the instant killing of the accused from all corners created the public opinion for the abandonment of the rule of law that appears to have led to the incident.

The argument made by people is that the rule of law is not giving women justice, and that at the very least, laws need to be amended to create a stronger deterrent and provide quicker closure to victims of crimes of sexual violence.

Both arguments are flawed and need to be challenged or, once again, hard cases will lead to bad law. The chargesheeting rates in cases of rape as well as rape and murder are higher than that for all other violent crimes, and the conviction rates are higher too, while the pendency rates are roughly the same as the average for all violent crimes.

The hard truth, after an examination of legal reform recommendations and available judicial data, is this — there is no new law needed; in fact, some of the existing legal provisions are too harsh in ways that harm both men and women, and other important legal provisions are not being. 

The most comprehensive review of the gaps in laws around sexual harassment and sexual violence came in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi rape incident in the form of the Justice Verma Committee Report and its recommendations. (It is worth noting that the report’s recommendations began by acknowledging that existing laws were adequate, but some improvements could be made.) The report’s key recommendations were centred at improving the status of women in non-legal ways as well, but its legal recommendations included a much-needed broadening of the definition of rape. The report also recommended raising the minimum sentence for rape to 10 years.

These changes have had a few worrisome results. One, there has been further criminalisation (with longer sentences) of consenting underage couples, which my investigation for The Hindu in 2014 in Delhi found was very common. Two, laws have removed any discretion in minimum sentencing from the hands of judges. 

What we have now is a situation where there are not any remaining loopholes in laws concerning sexual violence against women; on the other hand, there is no legal protection for adult men from rape, and under the new Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, the sexual abuse of a transgender person carries a maximum sentence of two years only.

When the accused is powerful

There remain instances, particularly when the accused is a powerful person, where the process of exhausting the individual’s pre-trial options, including attempts to quash charges or shift the trial to a friendlier city, makes a mockery of a fast-track case; the trial of former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting an employee, only resumed in October 2019 as Tejpal went up to the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the charges filed in 2013.

WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DONE? 

Police should not ask worried parents to return home without filing an FIR. 

Victims should not face cross-examination about their past sexual histories;

CONCLUSION 

Due process should be followed and existing system should be ensured properly. 

 

LOKPAL

NEWS: Almost six years after the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, was signed into law, several key provisions needed for the anti-corruption ombudsman to function have still not been operationalised.

The process of constituting the Lokpal’s inquiry and prosecution wings has not yet begun, and regulations for how to conduct preliminary investigations have not been made, the Lokpal has said in response to RTI queries.

The movement to ensure accountability through an anti-corruption ombudsman has been long. The term Lokpal was coined in 1963 but it was not until January 2014 that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act came into force. It was more than five years later, in March 2019, that the first chairperson and members of the Lokpal were appointed.

ABOUT LOKPAL

  1. Lokpal also referred as the ombudsman is an institution for dealing with the average citizens complaints about unfair administrative actions. 
  2. The institution of ombudsman was first created in Sweden in 1809.
  3. First ARC (1966-70) recommended for the setting up of two special authorities designated as Lokpal and Lokayukta for the redressal of the citizens grievances. 
  4. Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 seeks to establish the institution of Lokpal at the Center and the Lokayukta at the level of the state. 
  5. Jurisdiction of the Lokpal includes the Prime Minister, Ministers, Member of Parliaments, and Group A B C and D officers and officials of the Central Government. 
  6. Lokpal will consist of chairperson with maximum of 8 members and 50% of them will be judicial members. 
  7. 50% of the members of the Lokpal will come from SC ST minorities and women. 
  8. The selection of the chairperson and other members of the Lokpal shall be through a selection committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India nominated by CJI and an eminent jurist to be nominated on the recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee. 
The Lokpal, however, cannot inquire into any corruption charge against he Prime Minister if the allegations are related to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space, unless a full Bench of the Lokpal, consisting of its chair and all members, considers the initiation of a probe, and at least two-thirds of the members approve it. Such a hearing should be held in camera, and if the complaint is dismissed, the records shall not be published or made available to anyone.

 

 

SAARC

News: Countries in South Asia should take steps to resist terrorism that poses a challenge to prosperity and peace in the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in a letter to the Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Kathmandu.

The latest meeting of the SAARC Foreign Ministers took place in New York on September 26, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, when Indian and Pakistan Ministers S. Jaishankar and Shah Mahmood Qureshi delivered speeches separately.

SAARC

  • SAARC stands for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
  • It is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia.
  • Founded in Dhaka in 1985
  • Secretariat : Kathmandu
  • 8Members:
    • Afghanistan (Joined in 2007)
    • Bhutan
    • Bangladesh
    • India
    • Pakistan
    • Nepal
    • Sri Lanka
    • Maldives

 

HONG KONG PROTESTS

NEWS: Vast crowds of black-clad demonstrators thronged Hong Kong on Sunday in the largest anti-government protests since local elections last month that boosted the pro-democracy movement seeking to curb controls by China.

It was the first time since August that the Civil Human Rights Front — organiser of million-strong marches earlier in the year that paralysed the Asian finance centre — had received authorities’ permission for a rally. It estimated turnout of 8,00,000 while police said 1,83,000.

ABOUT HONG KONG

  1. Special administrative region of China
  2. Eastern side of Pearl River Estuary, South China Sea.
  3. Hong Kong become a colony of the british empire at the end of First Opium War in 1842.
  4. Sovereignty over the territory was transferred to China in 1997.
  5. ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS
  6. The Basic Law is the constitutional document for the HKSAR. It enshrines within a legal document the important concepts of “One Country, Two Systems”, “a high degree of autonomy” and “Hong Kong People administering Hong Kong

 

ROHINGYA ISSUE

NEWS: From democracy champion to defending Myanmar against genocide charges, the shock decision by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to face the UN’s top court risks further damaging her image overseas and deepening the siege mentality at home.

OIC will call on the ICJ tomorrow to announce steps to restrain Myanmar. 

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.

 

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