The Hindu Newspaper 11th March 2020

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1) Which of the following is the latest ‘UNESCO World heritage site’ in India?

a) Varanasi

b) Mumbai

c) Jaipur

d) Jodhpur

2)The Democracy Index is published by

a) Economist Intelligence Unit

b) Heritage Foundation

c) United Nations

d) World Economic Forum

3)‘Hormuz Peace Initiative’ is led by

a) Jordan

b) Iran

c) Oman

d) USA

1)Flying squad to locate, neutralise snares laid by poachers:– Following a spurt in the number of poaching cases in the Nilgiris, the Forest department plans to set up a “flying squad” to locate snares and traps laid by poachers to hunt wildlife.

The Nilgiri Mountains form part of the Western Ghats in western Tamil Nadu of Southern India. At least 24 of the Nilgiri Mountains’ peaks are above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), the highest peak being Doddabetta, at 2,637 metres (8,652 ft).

The Nilgiri Hills are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (itself part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.), and form a part of the protected bio-reserves in India.

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an International Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills ranges of South India. The Nilgiri Sub-Cluster is a part of the Western Ghats, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2012.

It includes the Aralam, Mudumalai, Mukurthi, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Silent Valley national parks, as well as the Wayanad and Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuaries.

The reserve encompasses 5,520 km² in the states of Tamil Nadu (2537.6 km²), Karnataka (1527.4 km²) and Kerala (1455.4 km²). It forms an almost complete ring around the Nilgiri Plateau.

2)‘Hindu adoption not valid without consent from wife’:- A Hindu adoption is not valid unless the man takes prior consent from his wife and there is a “ceremony of giving and taking in adoption,” the Supreme Court has held.

The mandate of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956 was that

  1. no adoption was valid unless the two essential conditions of the consent of the wife and
  2. the actual ceremony of adoption were established.

Sections 7 and 11 of the 1956 Act are the consent of the wife before a male Hindu adopts a child and proof of the ceremony of actual giving and taking in adoption.

3) About Rajya Sabha :-

The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India. It currently has a maximum membership of 245, of which 233 are elected by the legislatures of the states and union territories using single transferable votes through Open Ballot while the President can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services.

NOTA is not allowed in the Rajya Sabha Elections.

Members sit for staggered terms lasting six years, with elections every year but almost a third of the 233 designates up for election every two years.

The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and unlike the Lok Sabha, being the lower house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, which is the upper house of Parliament, is not subjected to dissolution.

The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for the allocation of seats to the States and Union Territories in Rajya Sabha.

4)Sir Creek :-

Green Line is Claimed by Pakistan, Red Line is claimed by India

Sir Creek lies just to the west of the Great Rann of Kutch area of India.

Indian military’s Border Security Force (BSF) patrols the Sir Creek up to midstream using floating border posts, amphibious vehicles, and foot travel by the Creek Crocodile Commandos. The coastal area of Sir Creek is manned by the Indian Coast Guard and larger open sea beyond is patrolled by the Indian Navy.

5)Shared economy at $2 bn by end 2020:- The shared economy in India is estimated to be an about $2 billion industry by the end of the current year, according to a recent report by Maple Capital Advisors.

The ‘shared economy’ includes segments such as co-working (Awfis, WeWork India), co-living (Stanza Living,
OYO Life, Oxford Caps), shared mobility (Uber, Ola, Shuttl) and furniture rental (Furlenco, Rentomojo.)

Shared Economy Includes:- 

  1. Coworking,
  2. coliving,
  3. shared mobility,
  4. furniture rentals account for a chunk

As per the report titled ‘Shared Economy — India Story,’ with high mobile penetration, high millennial concentration and an aspirational population, Asia has the highest willingness to use shared assets.


For a universal status of personhood

The Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT), which work as quasi-judicial bodies, were originally created through an executive order made by the Union government in 1964.

Their task was to furnish opinions on whether persons referred to them were “foreigners” or not within the meaning ascribed to the term under the Foreigners Act, 1946. This legislation, which was enacted by the colonial government
with a view to regulating migration into India, defines a foreigner as any person who is not a citizen of India. It also accords to the government a wide-ranging power to control the entry, exit and movement of foreigners to and within the territory of the country.

In Assam, the FTs have played a role unique to the State’s history. Typically, the tribunals there have seen two kinds of cases: those concerning persons against whom a reference has been made by the border police and those whose
names in the electoral roll has a “D”, or “doubtful”, marked against them.

The references made to the FTs in the State have arisen out of a mandate contained in the 1985 Assam Accord.

BURDEN OF PROOF CONCEPT :– Ordinarily, under the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, the burden of proof in any court of law lies on the person who seeks to make a claim or assert a fact.

This would mean that before the FTs, it is the government, which avers that a person is a foreigner, on whom the burden ought to lie. But Section 9 of the Foreigners Act reverses this burden. It places the responsibility on every person referred to an FT by the State to establish before the Tribunal that he or she is, in fact, a citizen of India.

In 1983, the Union government, sensing the oppressive nature of the burden placed, introduced the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act. This law, which overrode the Foreigners Act, subtly shifted the onus to prove citizenship from the individual to the government. But, in July 2005, the Supreme Court, in Sarbananda Sonowal vs Union of India, declared the legislation unconstitutional.

The Problem in India is that even after Furnishing the basic documents like Aadhar and Voter ID the Person in Assam were not able to Prove their citizenship.

Solution for this : Approach taken by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. That is that the burden to establish citizenship might well lie on the individual, as the Foreigners Act stipulates, but once he or she has produced a basic set of documents that, on the face of things, make out a plausible claim, the onus ought to then shift to the State to rebut the evidence provided.


Scoring low

Central Theme : Problems of the Schools ( especially Govt./Public Schools)

It should rank as an irony that as a founder leader of the International Solar Alliance, India has not yet electrified a number of government schools.

Only 56.45% of government schools had electricity and 56.98% a playground, while almost 40% lacked a boundary wall.

Other Problems :- Other depressing insights from the district information database as of end 2019, are:

  • neglect of toilet construction for children with special needs,
  • failure to build toilets for girls in a third of secondary schools
  • and laboratories for higher secondary science students.

The tardy progress on such important facilities, in spite of the projects having been sanctioned, shows the low priority that school education is being accorded.

SOLUTIONS TO THESE PROBLEMS :- One of the first things the NDA government did at the launch of its second term was a ‘100 day programme’ for education, focused in part on training of school teachers and opening of central schools.

It should be possible to bring the same mission-mode approach to infrastructure now, ensuring that no school is left behind.

Solar power can be installed in schools and toilets built for all students in 100 days. Community participation can make sure that the objectives are satisfactorily met. It may be more challenging to find attached playgrounds, but that problem can also be overcome by identifying suitable commons that can be upgraded to accommodate students, while permanent arrangements are made.

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