The Hindu Newspaper 03/07/2020

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With respect to Citizenship of India, consider the following statements

  1. Indian Constitution does not define the term ‘citizen’.
  2. Citizenship is under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

a.  1 only

b.  2 only

c.  Both 1 and 2

d.  Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : c

Citizenship is in the Union List under the Constitution and thus under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.

The Constitution does not define the term ‘citizen’ but gives, in Articles 5 to 11, details of various categories of persons who are entitled to citizenship.

Unlike other provisions of the Constitution, which came into being on January 26, 1950, these articles were enforced on November 26, 1949 itself, when the Constitution was adopted.

2)Quality Unknown: The Invisible Water Crisis is a report released recently by which of the following?

a.  World Bank

b.  UN Water

c.  UN Development Programme

d.  World Health Organisation

Answer : a

3)Arrange the following epoch in chronological order

Miocene

Pliocene

Pleistocene

Holocene

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a.  1-2-4-3

b.  2-1-3-4

c.  1-3-2-4

d.  1-2-3-4

Answer : d

4.Consider the following pair

Telescope – Country

  1. GROWTH – India
  2. Kepler – USA

Which of the pair(s) given above is/are correctly matched?

a.  1 only

b.  2 only

c.  Both 1 and 2

d.  Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : c

GROWTH – India

Kepler – USA

GROWTH : India’s first robotic telescope and the first one designed to observe dynamic or transient events in the universe has started observing the skies.

The telescope is located at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle in Ladakh.

The telescope is a joint project of the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB).

It is fully funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project, administered by Indo US Science and Technology Forum.

News:- MoD approves 33 new fighter jets in deals worth ₹38900 crores:-Amid the tension on the border with China, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved deals worth ₹38900 crores.

News:- Permanent Court of Arbitration :- Established in 1899 to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community.

The PCA was established by the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded at The Hague in 1899 during the first Hague Peace Conference. The Conference had been convened at the initiative of Czar Nicolas II of Russia.

The PCA is not a court in the traditional sense but provides services of arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes that arise out of international agreements between member states, international organizations or private parties.

Structure:– The PCA has a three-part organizational structure consisting of an Administrative Council that oversees its policies and budgets, a panel of independent potential arbitrators known as the Members of the Court, and its Secretariat, known as the International Bureau, headed by the Secretary-General.

News:- India’s trade defiCit with China dips to $48.66 billion:-

India’s trade defiCit with China fell to $48.66 billion in 2019-20 on account of the decline in imports from the neighbouring country, according to government data.
Exports to China in the last financial year stood at $16.6 billion, while imports aggregated at $65.26 billion.

New FDI Policy :- As per the amended FDI policy, a company or an individual from a country that shares a land border with India can invest
in any sector only after getting government approval.

Investment Dipped:- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China in India
dipped to $163.78 million in 2019-20 from $229 million in the previous fiscal, according to the data. India had received $350.22 million in FDI
from the neighbouring country in 2017-18 and $277.25 million in 2016-17.

News:- India’s first plasma bank launched in Capital:- The Delhi government on Thursday inaugurated India’s first plasma bank at ILBS
Hospital in Vasant Kunj.

News:- 10 Parameters of Ease of Doing Business Index:

The six parameters where the department is focusing are:
enforcing contracts (163rd),
resolving insolvency (52nd),
starting a business (136th),
Registering property (154th),
paying taxes (115th) and
trading across borders (68th).

4 other parameters are :

Getting Credit
Protecting Minoritt investors
Getting Electricity connections
Dealing with construction permits

Editorials :-

India’s torture culture needs to end now:

Bakground:- Recently there was Father Son Duo which died in the Police Custody.

There are voices saying that India should have an anti-torture law which will be acting as the saviour of Right to life and liberty of many.

History of Anti-Torture Vocals in India :- Even before India signed the UNCAT, our Supreme Court had brought about glorious jurisprudence highlighting the many problems with the country’s torture culture. In Raghbir Singh v. State of Haryana (1980), the Court was “deeply disturbed by the diabolical recurrence of police torture resulting in a terrible scare in the minds of common citizens that their lives and liberty are under a new peril when the guardians of the law gore human rights to death.”

These sentiments were revisited in Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory of Delhi (1981) and Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra (1987)where the Court condemned cruelty and torture as violative of Article 21.

This interpretation of Article 21 is consistent with the principles contained in the UNCAT. The UNCAT aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

Efforts by Indians to have an Anti-torture Law :-Although India signed the UNCAT in 1997, it is yet to ratify it. In 2010, a weak Prevention of Torture Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha later sent it to a Select Committee for review in alignment with the UNCAT. But the Committee’s recommended law, submitted in 2012, never fructified, as the then UPA government allowed the Bill to lapse.

In 2016, Ashwani Kumar, a senior advocate and former Union Minister of Law, sought the enactment of a torture law via a Supreme Court petition.

By 2017, the Law Commission had submitted its 273rd report and an accompanying draft torture law. But the Supreme Court dismissed the petition on grounds that the government cannot be compelled to make a law by mandamus; treaty ratification was a political decision; and that it was a policy matter.

Even with failings, the Commission’s draft Bill is better than not having one at all. A version based on this draft was circulated to State governments for views, but nothing has come of it, and nothing is likely to, either.

This reluctance is arguably because all governments appear to collectively agree that police brutality is a necessary evil to maintain law and order.

Way Forward:- Only the people can rise up against these practices, just as they are doing in other parts of the world. And by people, I include important stakeholders like the Bar, the media, civil society and student groups. Each of these have relevant roles to play in bringing about the change we want to see. It is merely a matter of who decides to pick up the mantle first.

Editorial 2 :- In an uncertain world, a seat at the UNSC

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2-Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

Context: India won the election for the non-permanent seat in the powerful United Nation Security Council (UNSC).

Background:

  • India’s two-year term will begin on January 1, 2021.
  • India is serving for the eighth time.
  • Composition of UNSC:It is composed of 15 Members.
  • Voting in General assembly: Members have to secure a two-third majority of the member states.

How countries were elected?

  • Non-permanent members in respective regional groups and their sub-groups:
    • Regional endorsements: If there is regional endorsement then all countries, except those with any grievance against the candidates, vote for them and they sail through easily.
    • Difficulty in regional endorsement: The countries have to inscribe their names years in advance and those squatting countries have to be persuaded to vacate the place.
    • For example- Last time, Kazakhstan vacated the place for India and this time Afghanistan.
  • Excitement in Voting in General Assembly:
    • Secret ballot: The two-thirds majority is assured but the competition is to secure all the votes cast.
    • For example-India got 184 out of 192 vote cast and will never know about the eight countries that did not vote for India.
    • African Group: Since there was no endorsement in the African Group, Kenya had to go for a second round against Djibouti.
    • In the Western European and Others Group: Canada lost to Ireland in a contentious contest.
  • Effect of COVID-19:
    • Voting: Ambassadors were allowed to enter the General Assembly Hall one by one instead of the simultaneous voting that usually takes place.
    • Unconventional campaign: It took place through Zoom conversations and the sharing of brochures and pamphlets rather than through meetings around the UN.
    • Saving of money: The win is normally an occasion for celebration by the candidates.
  • Success for India:
    • Role of India: The new Permanent Representative of India, T.S. Tirumurti, produced an impressive multimedia presentation with memories of India’s sterling role in the annals of the UN.
    • He reacted with victory with the belief that India will continue to provide leadership and a new orientation for a reformed multilateral system in the COVID and the post-COVID world.

The win for India Reignited the hope for its quest for permanent membership of the Council but it is difficult to amend the Charter to add new permanent members.

Issues in Reforms in UNSC:

  • Procedure to amend the charter: The debate has thrown up many ideas but none of the proposals has the possibility of securing two-thirds majority of the General Assembly and the votes of the five permanent members.
  • Role of Permanent members: They are sometimes adamant about protecting their privileged positions.
  • Members against the privilege: Majority of the UN members are against the privileges of the permanent members particularly the veto.
  • India’s performance in the Council may earn it respect but it will not lead to its elevation to permanent membership as the opposition to any expansion is not India-specific.

Indi will play a constructive role in UNSC.

India and UNSC:

  • Higher profile: Non-permanent members have a collective veto over every resolution in the Council.
  • Its role in resolutions: Permanent members can prevent adoption of resolutions by themselves but they need at least nine votes to get a resolution passed.
  • Consultation process: India will have an access to the consultations chamber of the UNSC which is closed to non-members of the Council. It is there that hard negotiations take place without any public record characterized by arm-twisting and threats of veto.
  • Pressure of different issues: India will get involved in many issues in which it may not have any direct interest.
  • Proceeding cautiously: As India does not have veto, it has to work cautiously by not offending anyone.

Way Forward

  • India’s mission has earned a reputation that it is next only to the permanent members in influence but its dealing in traditional challenges will depend on the turns and twists in an uncertain world.
  • Counter-terrorism will be one of the highest priorities for India at the UNSC.

Editorial 3:-The Neglected Pillars of Hospital – The cleaning staff

Source – The Hindu

Syllabus – GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Context – COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of cleaning staff and without them doctors, nurses will be left paralyzed.

The services offered by cleaning staff remains precarious and devalued because of the following reasons:

  1. Low caste status– Most cleaners are Dalits who belonged to ‘sweeper castes.’
  2. Low class status– The fact that most of them are contract workers makes them vulnerable to exploitative practices like low wages and absence of social security measures.

Issues they witness in hospitals:

  1. Neglected by Policy makers– Even in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Indians were encouraged to applaud the work done by doctors, nurses, and ‘other health workers’ and nowhere the term cleaning staff was used by policy makers to recognize their efforts.
  2. Absence of basic protective gears– Cleaners do not have gloves as they sweep and mop floors, clean latrines, and wipe delivery tables leave alone a full PPE kit.
  3. Lack of training– Most cleaners have never received any training as:
  • First, cleaning jobs are not considered important enough to warrant special training.
  • Second, anyone of a sweeper caste who took the job of a cleaner is assumed to already know what to do.
  • Third, hospital staff who received infection control training often did not communicate procedures and guidelines in detail to cleaners because they assumed that they were not intelligent enough to understand.

Way Forward – Policy makers must not allow caste prejudices to exacerbate the dangers of COVID-19. Rather, they should take advantage of this moment as an opportunity to train, protect, and improve the working conditions of these essential workers as they do the indispensable work of ensuring the survival of the sick.

News: Explained: The new weapons DAC has approved ‘for defence of borders’

News: Defence Acquisition Council(DAC) chaired by Defence Minister has cleared several proposals worth close to Rs 39,000 crore that will boost the combat capabilities of all three services—Army, Navy and the Air Force.

Facts:

Key Proposals:

                Missiles and Aircraft’s                    Details
     Astra Missile for Navy and Air ForceIt is a Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile      (BVRAAM) developed by DRDOPurpose: It is designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft to engage and destroy supersonic aircraft with a range of over 70 km.
Pinaka Missile system for ArmyIt is an all-weather artillery rocket system developed by DRDO.Purpose: It has the capability of accurately striking against a variety of targets such as exposed enemy troops, armored vehicles, communication centers and air terminal complexes.
Long-Range Land Attack Cruise Missile Systems(LRLACM) for Navy and Air ForcePurpose: It is aimed at enhancing India’s firing range from between 400 km and 500 km of the Brahmos to 1000 km.
MIG-29 from RussiaIt is a twin-engine, multirole fighter jet developed by the Soviets since the 1970s, but has been upgraded since.
Sukhoi Su-30MKIIt is a twinjet multirole air fighter developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF)

News:- Former RBI Governor C. Rangarajan gets Mahalanobis award:- Former Reserve Bank of India Governor C. Rangarajan has been conferred the P.C. Mahalanobis Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to official statistics.

He was given the lifetime achievement award on the Statistics Day on June 29 at a function held in virtual mode.

About NSC:- The Government of India through a resolution dated 1st June, 2005 set up the National Statistical Commission (NSC). The setting up of the NSC followed the decision of the Cabinet to accept the recommendations of the Rangarajan Commission, which reviewed the Indian Statistical System in 2001. The NSC was constituted with effect from 12th July 2006 with a mandate to evolve policies, priorities and standards in statistical matters. The NSC has four Members besides a Chairperson, each having specialization and experience in specified statistical fields.

News:- CPWD removes ban on use of timber in its buildings

The Central Public Works Department this week ended a ban in place since 1993 on the use of timber in its construction projects, saying that the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had asked for the ban to be lifted in order to boost the economy, generate jobs and encourage farmers to plant more trees.

“The MoEFCC has asked to remove the ban:- on use of wood in construction, since it will create demand for wood-based industries that would spur the local economy, particularly in rural areas, create large scale employment and encourage farmers and others to bring degraded areas under tree cover that, in turn, will augment production of a multitude of ecosystem services for the benefit of the country,” 

News:- Hong Kong: China threatens retaliation against UK for offer to Hongkongers:-

China has said it will take countermeasures against the UK should it grant residency to Hongkongers fleeing a harsh new national security law, promising that the UK would “bear all consequences”.

On Thursday, senior Chinese officials said the UK had no right to give residency to Hongkongers in response to Beijing forcing a sweeping anti-sedition law on the territory.

History :- Hong Kong was under U.K. jurisdiction until it was handed over to China in 1997 with a guarantee that Beijing would preserve the city’s
judicial and legislative autonomy for 50 years.

News:- About KVIC:-Khadi and Village Industries Commission:
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body formed in April 1957 (as per an RTI) by the Government of India, under the Act of Parliament, ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’. It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India, which seeks to – “plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.”

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