Q.1 Treaty of Gandamak was signed between
A. British and Nepal
B. British and Afghanistan
C. Britain and Burma
D. Britain and Tibet
Q.2 Policy of Masterly Inactivity is associated with
A. Lord Dalhoiuse
B. Lord Welleselly
C. John Lawrence
D. Warren Hastings
Q.3 Chagos Archipelago is a dispute between
A. Mauritius and UK
B. UK and USA
C. US and Russia
D. UK and Brazil
CREAMY LAYER RESERVATION FOR SC/ST
NEWS: The Centre on Monday asked the Supreme Court to refer to a seven-judge Bench the question whether the creamy layer concept should apply or not to the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes while providing them reservation in promotions.
1)Govt. seeks review of SC/ST creamy layer:-
Two cases will be important in this Regard :
M. Nagraj Case 2006 :- In the 2006 verdict, the Supreme Court imposed three conditions –
- Identification of backwardness,
- Compelling reasons and inadequate representation – for granting quota in promotions to employees from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities.
- The court ruled that if reservation is implemented it must not breach the 50% ceiling or “obliterate the creamy layer”.
What happened post Nagraj :- There was no definition of the expression “backward” and whether it is social backwardness, educational backwardness, economic backwardness or untouchability of which “quantifiable data” was to be collected.
As a result, all promotions made post-Nagraj were struck down on the ground that there was no quantifiable data.
2018 Jarnail Singh Case :- Taking Forward the 2006 Nagraj Judgement , Rohinton F. Nariman in 2018 introduced the concept of Creamy Layer for Sc’s and ST’s which was only there for OBC’s.
The court set aside the requirement to collect quantifiable data that was stipulated by its 2006 verdict in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India as it ignored the reasoning of a nine-judge bench in Indra Sawhney (1992).
But the 5 Judge bench also held that the well-off members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe communities, who are also termed creamy layer, cannot be granted the benefits of reservation in college admissions and government jobs.
The 2018 judgment saidthat when a court applies the creamy layer principle to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, it does not in any manner tinker with the Presidential List under Article 341 or 342 of the Constitution. The caste or group or sub-group named in the list continues exactly as before, Justice Nariman had reasoned.
“It is only those within that group or sub-group, who have come out of untouchability or backwardness by virtue of belongingto the creamy layer, who are excluded from the benefit of reservation,” he had explained.
Now the Centre wants the Review of 2018 Judgement and says SC/ST reservation should not have the concept of Creamy Layer.
- Articles 341 and 342, empower the President of India to draw up a list of these castes and tribes.
- Scheduled castes and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and those castes or tribes as the President may by public notification specify.
- If such a notification is related to a state, then also President will notify the same. However, it can be done after consultation with the governor of the state.
- Any inclusion or exclusion from the presidential notification of any caste, race, or tribe can be done by Parliament by Law.
WHAT IS CREAMY LAYER?
Creamy layer is a term used in Indian politics to refer to the relatively forward and better educated members of the Other Backward Classes, who are not eligible for government-sponsored educational and professional benefit programs.
COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL
NEWS: A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, tabled in the Delhi Assembly on Monday said thousands of crores of loans given to different government bodies in Delhi, including the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) were not yet paid.
The report also noted a “substantial” delay in submission of utilisation certificates by various “grantee institutions” (government bodies) and said as a result, proper utilisation of the grants could not be ensured.
The government bodies have to submit a utilisation certificate, which is essentially a report on how they utilise the funds to central or other authorities which gave them the grants.
• Article 148 provides for the independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
• He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department, guardian of the public purse and controls the entire financial system of the country at both levels – Centre and State.
• Dr B R Ambedkar said that CAG shall be the most important officer under the Constitution of India.
• APPOINTMENT: CAG is appointed by PRESIDENT by a warrant under his hand and seal.
• TENURE: HE holds office for a period of 6 years or 65 years of age whichever is earlier. He can resign any time by addressing his resignation letter to the President.
• REMOVAL: He can be removed from his office by President in the same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court. In other words he can be removed by the President on the resolution passed by both the Houses of Parliament with SPECIAL MAJORITY , either on the ground of PROVED MISBEHAVIOUR OR INCAPACITY.
• INDEPENDENCE: Constitution has made following provisions for securing the Independence of CAG:
• Security of Tenure. He does not hold office during the pleasure of the President, though he may be appointed by him.
• He is not ELIGIBLE FOR FURTHER OFFICE either under Government of India or of any state after he ceases to hold office.
• His salary is equal to that of judge of the Supreme Court and is determined by the Parliament.
• Neither his salary nor his right to leave of absence, pension or retirement age can be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment.
• The administrative expenses of the office of CAG including all salaries, allowances and pension of persons serving in that office are CHARGED UP ON THE CONSOLIDATED FUND OF INDIA. Thus they are not subject to VOTE OF PARLIAMENT.
• The CAG submits three reports to the President– Audit Report on Appropriation Accounts, Audit Report on Finance Accounts and Audit Reports on Public Undertakings. The President lays these reports before both the houses of Parliament. After this the Public Accounts Committee examines them and reports its findings to the Parliament.
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE NEW MOTOR VEHICLES AMENDMENT ACT
NEWS: After implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, from September 1, the national Capital has witnessed a 300% dip in cases of fatal accidents, and the trend applies to other traffic offences too.
There has been a 892% fall in fines in connection with a minor driving a vehicle.
A 1,227% dip has been witnessed in cases of driving without a helmet.
ABOUT MOTOR VEHICLE AMENDMENTS ACT
• Compensation for road accident victims: The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour. The ACT defines golden hour as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
• Compulsory insurance: The ACT requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India. It will be utilised for: (i) treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme, (ii) compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident, (iii) compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident, and (iv) compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government.
• Good samaritans: The ACT defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident. The assistance must have been (i) in good faith, (ii) voluntary, and (iii) without the expectation of any reward. Such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim, caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.
• Recall of vehicles: The ACT allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to: (i) reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or (ii) replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.
• National Transportation Policy: The central government may develop a National Transportation Policy, in consultation with state governments. The Policy will: (i) establish a planning framework for road transport, (ii) develop a framework for grant of permits, and (iii) specify priorities for the transport system, among other things.
• Road Safety Board: The ACT provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification. The Board will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management including: (i) standards of motor vehicles, (ii) registration and licensing of vehicles, (iii) standards for road safety, and (iv) promotion of new vehicle technology.
• Offences and penalties: The ACT increases penalties for several offences under the Act. For example, the maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000. If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to one lakh rupees. The central government may increase fines mentioned under the Act every year by up to 10%.
• Taxi aggregators: The ACT defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services). These aggregators will be issued licenses by state Further, they must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.
NEWS: The special committee formed to deliberate on whether lessons pertaining to Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan should be dropped, retained, or modified in Karnataka school textbooks is learnt to have concluded that they should be retained.
ABOUT TIPU SULTAN
1. Became the ruler of Mysore in 1782 after death of his father Haider Ali in Second Anglo Mysore War.
2. He introduced new calendar, a new system of coinage and news scales of weights and measures.
3. He showed a keen interest in the French Revolution. He planted a Tree of Liberty at Srirangapatnam and became member of the Jacobin club.
4. His organizational skills were excellent
5. His infantry was armed with the muskets and bayonets in the European fashion which were manufactured in Mysore.
6. HE also made an attempt to build modern navy after 1796. For this purpose he built two dockyards the models of the ships were supplied by Sultan himself.
7. He more than anyother 18th century Indian ruler recognizws to the full extent the threat that Englsh posed to the South India as well as to other Indian powers.
8. He tried to set up a trading company on the pattern of European companies.
POSITIVES OF TIPU
1. Vouched for radical economic change
2. Big library
3. Spectacular military successes against British
4. Technological innovations particularly the rocket was pillaged by the West
5. Keen interest in French Revolution
6. Tried to establish and Indian trading company on the lines of European Companies
7. Organization Skills
NEGATIVES (particularly in South Kannada, Kodagu and Malabar)
1. Zeal for conversions
2. Massacre of populations he considered hostile
3. Introduction of Persian as the state language instead of Kannada
ISSUE: VISIT OF SRI LANKAN PRESIDENT TO INDIA
BACKGROUND: The visit last week of Sri Lanka’s new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to India
Mr. Rajapaksa is aware of the problems the relationship has faced, due to both the proximity between India and Sri Lanka, and the interlinked and complicated peoples’ histories.
MAJOR AREAS OF CONCERN
• Pace of reconciliation in the Tamil-majority North and East,
• The welcoming of Chinese investment for major projects including the Hambantota port and Colombo harbour and military engagement,
• Slow pace of clearance for Indian projects
• Suspicion that Indian intelligence agencies play a role in domestic politics
In the hour-long conversation the two leaders had, it seemed apparent that there was some clarity on all issues and a will to build a new future. There was also a recognition that after working together closely against the LTTE, there were new threats, especially in the wake of the Easter Day bombings by an Islamic State-affiliated group that has Indian links.
Editorial highlights that the real progress will be judged on the basis of performance of Rajpaksha government in coming months. his attitude towards the less developed areas of the North and East, where most minorities did not vote for him, will be the real test.
ISSUE: ANALYSIS OF STEPS TAKEN FOR AIDS ELIMINATION
BACKGROUND: World Aids Day is observed on 1st December.
TARGET OF AIDS ELIMINATION
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted by member countries of the United Nations in 2015, set a target of ending the epidemics of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 2030 (SDG 3.3).
The key indicator chosen to track progress in achieving the target for HIV-AIDS is “the number of new HIV infections per 1,000 uninfected population, by sex, age and key populations”.
Another target was target of 90-90-90 by UNAIDS. The “90-90-90” target stated that by 2020, 90% of those living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy and 90% of all people on such therapy will have viral suppression.
WHERE ARE WE AT THE 2020 TARGET?
While much success has been achieved in the past 20 years in the global battle against AIDS, there has been a slowdown in progress which seems to place the targets out of reach.
There has to be a fresh surge of high-level political commitment, financial support, health system thrust, public education, civil society engagement and advocacy by affected groups — all of which were part of the recipe for rapid progress in the early part of this century.
At the end of 2018, while 79% of all persons identified as being infected by HIV were aware of the fact, 62% were on treatment and only 53% had achieved viral suppression — falling short of the 90-90-90 target set for 2020.
There are worryingly high rates of new infection in several parts of the world, especially among young persons. Only 19 countries are on track to reach the 2030 target.
The Indian experience has been more positive but still calls for continued vigilance and committed action. HIV-related deaths declined by 71% between 2005 and 2017. HIV infection now affects 22 out of 10,000 Indians, compared to 38 out of 10,000 in 2001-03.
The strength of India’s well established National AIDS Control Programme, with a cogent combination of prevention and case management strategies, must be preserved.
Success in our efforts to reach the 2030 target calls for resurrecting the combination of political will, professional skill and wide ranging pan-society partnerships that characterised the high tide of the global response in the early part of this century.
The theme of the World AIDS day this year (“Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community) is a timely reminder that community wide coalitions are needed even as highly vulnerable sections of the community are targeted for protection in the next phase of the global response.
ISSUE: TELECOM SECTOR
In the early 1990s, India had merely seven million telephones with a waiting time of seven to eight years to get a connection. The simple reason was that the cost of installing a landline telephone was too high and the required average revenue per user (ARPU) just to break even was ₹1,250 per month, which was too high for most Indians at that time.
However the situation changed with the introduction of wireless telephony.
However today the sector is facing a large number of problems. The troubles of today are rooted in the fast-paced growth of yesterday and regulation that increased tele-density by pushing down ARPUs.
Starting point of the trouble was high licence fees during the 1995 auctions.
Revenue sharing model adopted by the companies in 2001 to avoid high licence fees has come back to haunt them.
The Supreme Court ruled this October that these companies are liable to pay revenue share not just on telecom revenue but all revenues of the company — sales proceeds on handsets, renting of their towers, infrastructure sharing, and even on dividend incomes from any investment. Furthermore, they have to pay huge late-fees and penalties, totalling ₹1.3 lakh crore.
While the court has rightly interpreted the written agreement of 2001, the amounts are enormous that when paid, is likely to bankrupt these players. The industry is already saddled with debt of ₹7 lakh crore. Once again India is faced with the prospect of a telecom monopoly or duopoly.
WHAT GOVERNMENT CAN DO?
Government could offer the operators payment of principal in instalments and waive off interest and penalties. It is critical for the nation to have multiple players compete in telecom services.
The time has come to relook the role of telecom in the country. The Prime Minister has rightly emphasised the role digital connectivity plays in society.
Today, in addition to corporate taxes, the government’s telecom revenue includes Goods and Services Tax, spectrum auction, revenue share as licence fees, amounting to about 30% of customer bill.
The government should not look at the telecom sector primarily as a revenue-earner. The money could be better spent by operators to improve today’s average service-quality.
This would help telecom reach the remotest parts of the country and the service needs to continue to be affordable.
ISSUE: IS NATIONAL REGISTER OF INDIAN CITIZENS (NRIC) MANDATED UNDER LAW?
BACKGROUND: On November 20, 2019 the Union Home Minister, Mr. Amit Shah, said that Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for COMPULSORY REGISTRATION OF EVERY CITIZEN of India and maintenance of NRIC.
Author’s argument is that it is not compulsory.
Section 14A in the Citizenship Act of 1955 provides in sub-section (1) that “The Central Government may compulsorily register every citizen of India and issue national identity card to him”.
The word “may” implies a discretion contingent on other factors that is at odds with the supposed “compulsory” nature envisaged immediately thereafter.
A statute which issues a compulsory command must necessarily use the word “shall” and not the suggestive “may”.
Rule 4 places the responsibility to carry out a census-like exercise on the Central government and not on citizens. This deals with the “Preparation of the National Register of Indian Citizens” which provides that the Central Government shall carry out a “house-to-house enumeration for collection for particulars related to each family and Individual including the citizenship status”. This is a distinctly passive process compared to the gruelling exercise that was forced upon citizens in Assam.
The NRIC scheme, as proposed, would thus be directly in violation of the K.S. Puttaswamy judgment. Furthermore, not acquiring an Aadhaar number does not subject a citizen to the serious penal consequences envisaged in the case of an NRIC, i.e., the loss of citizenship. Can a piece of delegated legislation do so? The short answer is no. Not without violating Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
The NRIC exercise promises to inflict a long period of insecurity on well over a billion people. The individuals most likely to suffer are those at the very margins of poverty, who risk being rendered stateless and worse, being incarcerated in detention camps which are truly a blot on our democracy.
The truth of the matter is that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister are always in search of divisive issues which have little relevance to day-to-day concerns of livelihoods. Their abject failures in economic management are being sought to be covered up by constantly harping on NRIC and citizenship issues.
ISSUE: OPENING OF THE TRADE CORRIDOR BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN THROUGH PUNJAB
Author highlights that India-Pakistan relations have always been viewed through the prism of Kashmir. But, as noted security expert C. Raja Mohan argued, the opening of the Kartarpur corridor has unlocked the possibility of looking at bilateral relations through the prism of Punjab and the idea of punjabiyat.
Author says that it is worth considering whether Punjab can be made central to the India-Pakistan relationship by opening new trade corridors or fortifying existing trade routes running through Punjab. These trade corridors or routes could be developed with an aim to foster a free trade area that brings closer the two Punjabs.
This would allow agricultural products originating in Indian Punjab to get preferential market access in Pakistan, thus benefiting the farmers of Punjab. It would also amplify the size of the markets for producers and consumers of Punjab from Chandigarh to Lahore.
HOW IT COULD BE DONE?
Such an FTA can be drafted, thanks to Article XXIV.11 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), especially created for India and Pakistan.
Paragraph 11 of the article exempts the application of these requirements to a trade deal that India and Pakistan may enter into.The GATT contracting parties recognised that India and Pakistan have long constituted one economic unit and thus should be allowed to enter into special agreements.
Paragraph 11 allows India and Pakistan to do two things. First, the two countries can enter into special trading arrangements pending the establishment of mutual trade relations on a definitive basis, and such an arrangement need not meet the requirements of the entire GATT.
Second, even after the two countries agree upon trade arrangements, they may depart from GATT rules. The only requirement is that these arrangements should in general be consistent with GATT’s objectives — a condition that would not be difficult to satisfy.
WHY SUCH A TRADE?
Liberal internationalists argue that there is a positive correlation between trade and peace. Freer trade fosters better economic relations between countries and boosts ties of interdependence between the private sectors and the governments. This interdependence creates new constituencies which demand and lobby for peace as it serves their interests.
While India should deal resolutely with the Pakistani deep state, it also needs to reach out to the business community, including in Pakistani Punjab, and nurture these peace constituencies, as part of a larger political process. Boosting trade can be one way to cultivate such peace constituencies.
Creating a new trade corridor from Chandigarh to Lahore, and a free trade area across the Radcliffe Line can be the first principal move towards normalising trade interactions.
POST OF THE CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF
WHY IN NEWS?
An implementation committee constituted to finalise the responsibilities of the soon-to-be-created post of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) has submitted its report, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. The government said the post would come within the ambit of the RTI Act.
PM announced for the creation of the post in his independence day speech.
1. KARGIL WAR COMMITTEE
2. GOM also recommended the same
NEED FOR SUCH AN POST
1. Changing nature of the war. Today war extends beyond land, water air and sea to space, cyber, electronic and information.
2. Defence forces felt alienated from decision making
1. More efficiency in the defence planning
2. Improve Civil Military relations
3. Promote an integrated approach to inter service prioritisation and resource allocation as well as pooling of common structures to avoid unnecessary redundancies.
4. Provide coordinated military device to the Defence Minister
5. Would develop national defence strategy
FEARS RELATED TO CDS
1. Would undermine the authority of the three service chiefs over their forces.
2. An all powerful CDS would distort the civil military balance in our democracy.
PURCHASING MANAGERS INDEX
NEWS: Manufacturing activity increased in November from a two-year low in the previous month, driven by a modest increase in the growth of new orders and production, a private sector survey report showed.
The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 51.2 in November, up from 50.6 in October
A reading over 50 indicates an expansion while one below 50 denotes a contraction.
ABOUT PURCHASING MANAGERS INDEX
Purchasing Mangers Indexes is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector.
PMI is based on five major indicators:
1. New Orders
2. Inventory Levels
4. Supplier Deliveries
5. Empolyment Environment
For India, the PMI data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei but compiled and constructed by Markit Economics.