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The Hindu Newspaper 06th March 2020

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Questions of the Day :-

1)‘Auschwitz’ was in news recently. Where is it located?

a) Germany

b) Czech Republic

c) Poland

d) Italy

2)‘Shantilal Shah Committee’ is associated with

a) Abortion

b) MGNREGA

c) Sedition

d) Traditional Medicines

3)Velutheeyam’ is an alloy of 

a) Tin and Aluminum

b) Aluminum and Copper

c) Silver and Gold

d) Copper and Zinc

 

1)Bimal Julka to be sworn in as CIC :-  Bimal Julka will be sworn in as Chief Information Commissioner by President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.

2)USCIRF hears witnesses on NRC, CAA:- A week after Delhi’s riots, India and Myanmar were the subjects of discussion at a hearing in Washington organised by an independent bipartisan federal government commission, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is a U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998.

3)Afghan war crimes probe to go on: ICC:- Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court will investigate whether war crimes were committed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Afghan military and U.S. forces after an appeals panel said on Thursday the ”truth-seeking” inquiry should go ahead.

About ICC :

The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands. The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

It is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction only when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court.

• Rome Statute adopted: 17 July 1998

• Entered into force : 1 July 2002

4)India among least free democracies, says study :– The Freedom in the World 2020 report ranks India at the 83rd position, along with Timor-Leste and Senegal.

This is near the bottom of the pile among the countries categorised as “Free”, with only Tunisia receiving a lower
score. India’s score fell by four points to 71, the worst decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies this
year.

The report slammed the Internet blackout in Kashmir, terming it the longest shutdown ever imposed by a democracy.

5)‘EC moots linking Aadhaar with voter ID’:- The Law Ministry has informed the Lok Sabha that it has a proposal from the Election Commission (EC) to link Aadhaar with the Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) to prepare an error-free electoral roll.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY :-

An unrest, a slowdown and a health epidemic

Written by Man Mohan Singh, Former Indian Prime Minister.

Central Theme:- India has slid from being a global showcase of liberal democracy to a majoritarian state in economic despair. The Author presented three things happening in India :

i)Social Disharmony

ii)Economic Slowdown

iii) Corona Virus impact.

India faces imminent danger from the trinity of social disharmony, economic slowdown and a global health epidemic. Social unrest and economic ruin are self-inflicted while the health contagion of COVID-19
disease, caused by the novel coronavirus, is an external shock.

Relationship of Social Disharmony and Economic Slowdown :– At a time when our economy is floundering the impact of such social unrest will only exacerbate the economic slowdown. It is now well accepted that the scourge of India’s economy currently is the lack of new investment by the private sector. Investors, industrialists and entrepreneurs are unwilling to undertake new projects and have lost their risk appetite.

Social disruptions and communal tensions only compound their fears and risk aversion. Social harmony, the bedrock of economic development, is now under peril.

No amount of tweaking of tax rates, showering of corporate incentives or goading will propel Indian or foreign
businesses to invest, when the risk of eruption of sudden violence in one’s neighbourhood looms large. Lack of investment means lack of jobs and incomes, which, in turn, means lack of consumption  and demand in the economy.
A lack of demand will only further suppress private investments. This is the vicious cycle that our economy is stuck in.

What Reforms are Needed:- Government must quickly embark on a three point plan. First, it should focus all energies and efforts on containing the COVID-19 threat and prepare adequately.

Two, it should withdraw or amend the Citizenship Act, end the toxic social climate and foster national unity.

Three, it should put together a detailed and meticulous fiscal stimulus plan to boost consumption demand and
revive the economy.

DISCUSSION :- Should the sedition law be scrapped?

Arguments mostly given in Favour of Scrapping : Most cases that are filed would not end in conviction if Section 124A, as read by the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath Singh (1962), is actually applied — often the speech complained about does not result in any actual incitement to violence whatsoever.

Sedition is an offence which existed in our Indian Penal Code (IPC) before we got Independence because the colonial master wished to penalise anybody who was trying to overthrow the state. But the irony is that in independent India, of late, this provision is being used to bully and terrorise citizens. And in the Bidar case, where a parent and the principal of a school were charged with sedition for staging a play critical of the CAA, we saw that it was used — or rather misused — to bully and terrorise small children and a young woman.

Sedition as a concept comes from Elizabethan England, where if you criticised the king and were fomenting a rebellion, it was a crime against the state. When they ruled India, the British feared Wahhabi rebellion.

They brought the [sedition] law in, and it was used against our freedom fighters as well. Remember that both Mahatma Gandhi and [Bal Gangadhar] Tilak were tried under this law and sentenced.

When we became free we thought this law would go.

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