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Day: October 6, 2017

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Low Priority new Items/op-eds

[6 Oct 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

India disputes ILO’s slavery report

The report, released on September 19, does not contain any India-specific findings, barring a mention that 17,000 people were interviewed for the survey. The letter follows a missive from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to the government about documentation by multiple international organisations on slavery in India that can hurt India’s image and exports.

We have written a newscard on the same issue, few days ago. That article had more important facts in comparison to this article.

 

NHRC issues notice on fake encounter charge

The National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and the police on Thursday, after the family of wanted criminal Sumit Gurjar alleged that he was killed in a staged police encounter.

Not every notice issues by the NHRC is important from the UPSC perspective. Only those notices are important which can have any significant affect on government policies.

 

Snow leopard photographed in Arunachal

Scientists have obtained the first evidence of the elusive snow leopard in Arunachal Pradesh. Camera traps have captured images of the big cat at Thembang village’s Community Conserved Area, a community-owned reserve, in West Kameng district.

Important part of the news is given above. No need to go too deep inside the news. Just try to know more about snow leopards.

 

Does India need a bullet train?

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train is a vanity project which has little or no justification on the grounds of economic viability or public service. Even the vanity angle — looking to position India among the ranks of developed countries — is a huge overreach. Only a handful of high-income countries with specific demographics have high-speed rail (HSR), while many have failed in their efforts or have abandoned it after studying it. The main problem is viability, given the huge costs involved.

The Op-Ed talks about the viability of Bullet Train in India. We have done many newscards on the same issue. No need to stick to the same topic, if you have done with all the newscards written by us.


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Wildlife Conservation Efforts Conservation & Mitigation

Ganga Mission plans turtle sanctuary in Allahabad

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Remember the endangered species mentioned in the article

Mains level: Important step taken by the government to protect endangered species. One of its kind project in the recent times.


News

Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad

  1. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will establish a turtle sanctuary in Allahabad
  2. The step can be seen as part of efforts to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from “escalating anthropogenic pressures”
  3. The government had also planned such a sanctuary in Varanasi in 1989 under the Ganga Action Plan-I
  4. However, its future hangs in the balance as the Uttar Pradesh government and the Union Environment Ministry are considering de-notifying it over construction activities along the bank

Particulars of the project

  1. The project at an estimated cost Rs. 1.34 crore would contribute to the sustenance of more than 2,000 aquatic species, including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in the Ganga

Why is Allahabad important for aquatic biodiversity conservation?

  1. The Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles
  2. And the National Aquatic Animal — Gangetic dolphin, the Gharial and numerous migratory and resident birds
Inequality, Prejudice & Intolerance in India

[op-ed snap] The instrumental harms of inequality

Note4Students

Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy

Prelims: Not much

Mains level:  This article talks about the ills of inequality and how it has an overall negative impact on the economy and society.


News

Context

Inequality is reprehensible not only because it is inherently unfair and unjust, but because it can cause harm in a number of domains of everyday living.

Instrumental ills of inequality

  1. Inequality can be harmful for the prospects of an increase in national income.
  • Poor spend the bulk of their income on necessities, the marginal propensity to consume out of income is higher for the poor than it is for the rich.
  • The reduction in the concentration of wealth and income might be expected to increase the share of income going to the poor, which in turn should promote higher levels of consumption and greater effective demand with a concomitant positive impact on income and investment.
  • Increasing inequality inhibits these healthy tendencies in the economy.
  1. Inequality is conducive to a market structure that is monopolistic or oligopolistic. 
  2. Inequality can interfere with the efficiency of an economy.
  • It is interesting to note that economists like Hugh Dalton, Tony Atkinson and Amartya Sen have associated a measure of inequality with the efficiency, or welfare, loss occasioned by inequality.
  • Specifically, if the marginal social value of income is seen to decline as income increases, then it is easy to see that progressive redistributions of income should increase aggregate welfare, and that an equal distribution should maximize it.
  1. Inequality is often both the source and the consequence of economic domination by one group of people over another. 
  • It can lead to polarization and strife around religious divisions.
  • Example- The ghettoization of the Muslim community in Gujarat after the events of 2002, and the attempt at nullification of the community’s economic status.
  1. Inequalities of income and wealth have a way of spilling over into other domains, such as health.
  • Economic inequalities are known to have stress and demoralization effects on workers.
  • It can thus dampen productivity, and so earning potential, and so productivity again in a vicious cycle.
  • Besides, elites in a highly unequal society would have a large say in the budgetary provisions made by a state for social sector spending and its financing through taxation. Thus affecting spending in public health and education.

Conclusion

There are multiple ills of inequalities. The world, however, is not wanting in “Darwinian” champions of the alleged virtues of inequality in securing the preservation and propagation of the fittest.

Wetland Conservation Conservation & Mitigation

Central control out, subjective aspects in: why new wetlands Rules are different

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Wetlands, Ramsar Convention, etc.

Mains level: Wetland are very crucial for coastal areas, the SC’s comment on their conservation has made them more important for the mains paper.


News

SC’s comment on wetland conservation

  1. The Supreme Court has expressed grave concern over the disappearance of the country’s wetlands
  2. It said, “If there are no wetlands left, it will affect agriculture and several other things. It is a very, very important issue”

SC’s observation on funds allocated for wetland conservation

  1. The court has observed that even after Rs 900 crore was spent on works related to wetlands, the activities shown were extremely general in nature
  2. SC has asked the Centre to provide a status report on funds disbursed to states, and the manner of their utilisation

Government’s response on the issue

  1. The government has informed the court that the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, had been notified to replace the earlier set of guidelines that came into effect in 2010

New rules on wetlands conservation

  1. The 2010 Rules specifically included in the definition of wetlands “all inland waters such as lakes, reservoir, tanks, backwaters, lagoon, creeks, estuaries and man-made wetland and the zone of direct influence on wetlands”
  2. These have not been spelt out in the 2017 Rules

Difference between the old and new Rules

  1. The differences between the old and new Rules are also apparent in their applicability
  2. The 2010 Rules listed six points describing protected wetlands; the new Rules have done away with them
  3. And instead state that wetlands are limited to and do not include wetlands under forest and coastal regulation zones
  4. They apply to
    (a) wetlands categorised as “wetlands of international importance” under the Ramsar Convention and
    (b) wetlands as notified by the central government, state government and UT administration
  5. Restriction on activities in wetlands now no longer includes reclamation
  6. The Rules provide no timelines for phasing out solid waste and untreated waste from being dumped into wetlands
  7. The restrictions on “any other activity likely to have an adverse impact on the ecosystem of the wetland”, are not specified in the Rules
Internal Security Architecture Shortcomings – Key Forces, NIA, IB, CCTNS, etc. Security Issues

About 1,000 Chinese troops still near Doklam standoff area

Note4Students

Mains Paper3 | Security challenges and their management in border areas

Prelims: Doklam area

Mains level: This news item gives insights about the current situation in Dok La in the background of initiation of the process of disengagement and post BRICS summit.


News

Context

  1. More than five weeks after India and China stepped back from a standoff at Doklam on the Sikkim border, Indian soldiers remain on high alert with around 1,000 Chinese troops still present on the plateau, a few hundred metres from the faceoff site,.
  2. But, India does not expect another “flashpoint” at the same site between the two countries.

The Continued presence of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Chumbi Valley

  • The presence of PLA was also acknowledged by Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa recently and it has subsequently thinned in the area after the process of “disengagement” began but one PLA battalion remains on the plateau.
  • The deployment is expected to be reduced by two-thirds to brigade-level in the coming weeks.
  • The Chinese have not dismantled any of their tents, temporary construction in the vicinity and they still have road construction equipment and other stores.
  • But everything is under surveillance by the Indian Army.

Post BRICS Conference

  • Indian soldiers returned to their posts at Doka La but their numbers have since been strengthened.
  • The tracks leading to Doka La were improved during the faceoff, leading to enhanced logistics supply lines.
  • Road construction equipment, such as bulldozers and JCBs, have also been kept on location.

 

Social Media: Prospect and Challenges Basic Sciences

Change Law to Punish Hate Speech, Online Hatred: Panel

source:

Note4students:

Mains Paper 3: Role of non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security, Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Challenges to social harmony arising out of use of social media and how deal with hate speech and online hatred


News

Context

  1. The article has given list of some of the recommendations of the expert committee constituted by the centre after the Supreme Court struck down the controversial section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  2. The article might look flooded with names of acts, years, sections and what not. Don’t worry! Just go through the article and read the footnotes where we have made it easier for you to understand the concepts.

 

A brief about the committee-

  1. The committee was headed by former Law Secretary T K Vishwanathan.
  2. The report was submitted to the Union Home Ministry.
  3. Mandate: Study domestic and international cyber laws and propose a legal framework in order to deal with online hate speech and incitement of violence
  4. Recommendations: The Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Information Technology Act should be amended to include stringent provisions

 

Important recommendations of the committee-

  1. No need to re-introduce Section 66A but strengthen IPC instead.
  2. Indian Penal Code, 1860; Prohibiting incitement to hatred: Amend IPC section 153 C to include in communication “spoken or written words, signs, visible representation, information, audio, video, or combination of both, transmitted, retransmitted through any telecommunication service, communication device or computer resource”.
    Punishment: up to 2 years or fine of Rs 5000 or both.
  3. Causing fear alarm or provocation of violence in certain cases: Amend IPC section 505A, punishment of any person or group of persons who intentionally, on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, gender, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe, uses any means of communication to communicate.
    Punishment: up to 1 year or fine of Rs 5000 or both.
  4. Amendment in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: create a post of State Cyber-Crime Coordinator (not below rank of Inspector General of Police) and District Cyber-Crime Cell
  5. Amending the Information Technology Act, 2000: Amending section 78 allows a police officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector to investigate any offence under this Act as young SIs are better equipped and trained in dealing with these crimes.
  6. A renovated section 66A has not been recommended in the IT Act, 2000. This is because the IT Act is basically commercial in nature and hence punishments have been recommended in the IPC.
  7. Important observations: In recommending specific changes the committee said
    i) only that speech should be accounted as relevant which relates to “religion, race, caste, community, sex, gender, place of birth, residence and language.”
    ii) online speech would be criminalised “only both, when it advocates hatred and causes the incitement of an offence”.

 

Way forward:

  1. Section 66A was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on the ground that it violated the basic freedom of expression of the citizens. There is need to balance the liberty of citizens while tackling the issues of hate speech, online harassment-hatred and national security.
  2. The real purpose of the committee would be served only when the Parliament takes actions on these recommendations by keeping in mind the spirit of the 2015 Supreme Court judgement.

Back2basics

  1. Following are the key takeaways:
  2. Names of the acts IPC, CrPC and IT Act are important in general. Try to remember the names of these acts as quoting them in your answers automatically gives and edge to you and might add half a mark.
  3. Three important sections have been listed IPC 153C, IPC 505A and IT Act 78. Only remember these numbers collectively (if you cannot remember separately). You can quote them in your answers to questions like hate speech, fake news, spreading online hatred etc.
  • Don’t get bogged down by the legal language instead try to get the idea behind each recommendation. There are two important recommendations (sec 153C and sec 505A); 153C talks about giving provocation with intent to cause riot and 505A talks about (false and mischievous reports intended to upset public tranquillity. And the committee has recommended amending section 78.
  1. Indian Penal Code, 1860:  It is the main criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  2. Criminal Procedure Code, 1973:  the main legislation on procedure for administration of criminal law in India.
  3. Information Technology Act, 2000:  It is the primary law in India dealing with cybercrime and electronic commerce.

 

Internal Security Architecture Shortcomings – Key Forces, NIA, IB, CCTNS, etc. Security Issues

[op-ed snap] Tri-Service Integration or Consolidation?

source:

Note4students

Mains Paper 3| Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


 

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Apache helicopters, Chief of Defence Staff, Permanent Chiefs of Staff Committee, Four/Five-star officers, Teeth to tail ratio

Mains level: Jointmanship among the three services (Army, Navy & Air-Force), Reforms in Armed forces, Lt General D. B Shekatkar Committee report

News

Context

  1. The article bats for tri-service integration of the armed forces.
  2. It argues that there is a need to avid friction between the three services and also stop the fight for asserting one’s supremacy over the other.
  3. It also talks about the need to avoid duplication of capabilities within the three services.

Understanding the title of the article-

Consolidation– Simply bringing together two or more previously independent entities
Integration- Not just bringing together but also eliminating unnecessary duplication and comprehensive management of the country as whole

 

Background-

  1. Recent statement by the Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat- The supremacy and primacy of Army should be maintained in any tri-service environment. This is because the war will be to ensure territorial integrity of nation on ground.
  2. In addition to this, there have been demands from the three forces for developing their own fleet of air force (helicopters for the army and aircraft carriers for the navy).

Why do we need tri-service integration-

Statement by the Air Marshal S. B. Deo- Ours is a growing country, our budget is limited. We cannot afford duplicating capabilities.

Issue of Chief of Defence Staff-

  1. Any friction between the three forces will cause delay in several important decisions on tri-service integration such as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), specialised commands for cyber, space and Special Forces
  2. One of the recommendations in the report given by Gen. D. B. Shekatkar Committee is appointment of a single point military adviser to the Prime Minister on strategic issues; a Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), a four-star officer equivalent in rank to the three service chiefs.
  3. However, if CoSC comes into picture then there would be more opposition to the creation of post of Chief of Defence Staff.
  4. We need to have a permanent full-fledged five star officer at the post of Chief of Defence Staff and should avoid appointing four star officer as this will further complicate protocol.

 

Conclusion-

  1. Such statements showcase friction amongst the three armed forces and this is detrimental to the joint management of defence of the country.
  2. Although India has been primarily a land power but the threat matrix in the Indian Ocean region is changing with increasing forays by the Chinese navy and building up of regional navies with the help of China. In such a scenario the three forces need to be ready for swift and agile actions in unison with each other.

Back2basics

  1. Apache helicopters (AH-64-E): Multi-role combat helicopters with night-fighting features. Till now Indian Army did not have its own fleet of helicopters, it was using Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopters with the help of the Indian Air Force.
  2. Four Star officer: Officer with rank equivalent to chief of an armed force
  3. Five Star officer: Field Marshal in the Army, Admiral of the Naval fleet and Marshal of the Air Force.
  4. The Ministry of Defence had constituted a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) (Dr.) DB Shekatkar with a mandate to recommend measures for enhancing of Combat Capability & Rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces with an aim to increase “teeth to tail ratio”.
  5. Teeth to Tail ratio- it refers to the amount of military personnel it takes to supply and support (tail) each combat soldier (tooth).
  6. Chief of Defence Staff: The CDS will be a single-point military advisor to the defence ministers on military matters. He should have authority over the three chiefs but the chiefs are over all responsible for the functioning of the three forces.
  7. Kargil Review Committee or K Subrahmanyam Committee: The committee was mandated to analyse Indian intelligence failures during the Kargil War (1999). This was the committee which first gave the idea of the need to have a Chief of Defence Staff.
Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Partners, naturally

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The article effectively explains the positive relations between the two partners.


News

Context

  1. The article is written by the President of the EU on Indo-Europe relationship.

India-EU natural relation

  1. Every year, millions of Europeans come to India
  2. Millions of Indians make the reverse trip to Europe to visit, live, work or study
  3. Both are the two largest democracies in the world
  4. Both share the same values of freedom, equality and tolerance
  5. Work of both go from fighting climate change and terrorism to cooperating on cyber security and digital

14th EU-India Summit

  1. India and EU will work to strengthen their excellent partnership
  2. EU message to India will be that Europe is open for business and will continue to remain so

Why is EU important for India, as an open market?

  1. The EU is the world’s biggest open market and the world’s second largest economy
  2. EU is the largest trading partner for 80 countries, including India
  3. EU’s economy is growing faster than that of the United States and eight million new jobs have been created
  4. EU already trade more than 100 billion euro worth of goods and services every year with India

European Investment Bank in India

  1. The European Investment Bank has now set up an office in New Delhi 
  2. European loans have helped to finance the construction of the Lucknow Metro and solar power schemes across the country

The way forward

  1. EU-India Free Trade Agreement should resume
  2. Europe will support India’s ambitious goals through investment and expertise in green buildings, renewable energy, waste management and air pollution
  3. Indian scientists have received research grants to work with their European counterparts on medical breakthroughs or cutting-edge technologies and will continue in future

Kotak-led panel wants MD, CEO roles split; 6 independent directors on board

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Corporate governance

Mains level: Due to the recent sacking of Cyrus Mistry from Tata, corporate governance has became a hot topic of discussion.


News

SEBI panel on corporate governance

  1. The SEBI panel on corporate governance led by Uday Kotak has proposed some important changes
  2. These changes include splitting the posts of chairman and managing director and amending rules on  on independent directors, disclosures, and accounting and auditing practices
  3. Currently, of the 50 companies on the benchmark Nifty, at least 12, including Reliance Industries, ONGC and Wipro, have the same person occupying both posts

Proposed date of implementation

  1. Listed companies with more than 40% public shareholding should separate the roles of chairperson and MD or CEO from April 1, 2020
  2. Sebi may consider extending the requirement to all listed entities by April 1, 2022

Some related concerns

  1. Some experts said splitting the two roles shouldn’t be made a legal requirement
  2. Why: Splitting of CMD role would mean two power centres instead of one but if enforced into a law, the chairman can just appoint a person who agrees with them as MD
  3. According to some experts, such a thing cannot be forced and should be recommended as best practice rather than be made into a legal provision

Other recommendations

  1. The panel has also made several recommendations to strengthen the role of directors
  2. Companies would need to induct at least six directors, up from the current minimum of three under the Companies Act, with at least one independent woman director
  3. The panel has also recommended increasing the number of board meetings held every year
  4. And an age limit for non-executive directors and capped the number of directorships that an individual can hold

Back2basics

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