[op-ed snap] Deepening insecurity

Mains Paper 2 : International Institutions |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ASAT

Mains level : Relevance of arms race and disproportionate cost of it.


CONTEXT

Indian PM announced that India had carried out a successful anti-satellite missile test (ASAT), Mission Shakti. It might lead to a arms race in the subcontinent.

Reliance on  Deterrence to enhance security

  • After ‘Mission Shakti’ — India’s anti-satellite test — there is a feeling that India needs this form of deterrence for its security.
  • To be visibly strong in order to deter any enemy from attacking is a concern that goes back to pre-historic times.
  • But when this ancient urge is exerted by nations with nuclear weapons, it must be an occasion to revisit the arms race, the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine and their long-term implications.

The emergence of the doctrine of deterrence

  • The doctrine emerged during the Cold War in the mid-20th century when the U.S. and the erstwhile U.S.S.R. had stockpiled so many nuclear weapons that if launched, the weapons could destroy both nations many times over.
  • Since there was eventually a ‘détente’, or a relaxation of hostilities between the two, it is tempting to think that MAD is a valid doctrine that should continue to be applied by all countries with nuclear weapons capability.

HIgh spending on Arms

  • Globally, the annual spend on armaments is now estimated to stand at about $1.7 trillion.
  • Estimates of the total number of nuclear weapons in the world range from 15,000 to 20,000, with each one of these weapons being far more powerful than the bombs dropped by the U.S. on Japan in 1945.
  • The U.S. and Russia still maintain about 1,800 nuclear weapons in a state of high alert, ready for launch within minutes.
  • According to the Global Peace Index, in 2017, the economic impact of violence globally was estimated at about $14.76 trillion, which was 12.4% of global GDP.
  • Since 2012, there has been a 16% increase in the economic impact of violence largely due to the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Does deterrence work?

  • It is vital to note that having competing weapons, in terms of quality and quantity, has not acted as a deterrent either in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or in the Syrian war or the prolonged conflict in Colombia.
  • What did finally end the conflict in Colombia, after almost 50 years, was a protracted process of negotiation between all parties of the conflict.
  • The Global Peace Index also shows that over the last 70 years the per capita GDP growth has been three times higher in more peaceful countries.
  • This is partly why, compared to 10 years ago, 102 nations are spending less on the military as a percentage of their GDP.
  • According to the website of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the failure of the nuclear powers to disarm has heightened the risk that other countries will acquire nuclear weapons.

Mutually assured destruction’s impact

  • Theoretically, MAD is supposed to eliminate the incentive for starting a conflict but it also makes disarming almost impossible.
  • This is partly why, long after the Cold War ended, the U.S. is poised to spend enormous amounts of money over the next 10 years in updating and modernising its nuclear arsenal.
  • The tragic irony of this trend is that nuclear defence actually deepens insecurity in both countries by causing millions of lives to perpetually be at the risk of instantaneous annihilation.

Opposition to MAD Doctrine

  • All through the Cold War and even now, the MAD doctrine has been opposed on both moral and practical grounds by a variety of disarmament and peace groups.
  • The most prominent of these, War Resisters’ International (WRI), which will turn 100 in 2021, has 90 affiliated groups in 40 countries. Such groups ceaselessly serve as a counter to all those who glamorise or justify war or an arms race.
  • Above all, they constantly draw attention to the fact that the only true security lies in dissolving enmity by going to the roots of any conflict.

Conclusion

Once the joy about India’s technological achievements, in the realm of missiles, has settled down, perhaps attention can shift to the much bigger challenge of seeking answers to a key question: what really makes us, the world a whole, more secure?

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SAARC Nations

[op-ed snap]Ensuring access to justice

Mains Paper 2 : Executive & Judiciary |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Basic knowledge of the issues in Judiciary

Mains level : The news-card analyses the issues relating to the single bench of Supreme Court and lawyers fooling people and how to correct this malpractice.


CONTEXT

The Supreme Court should reconsider setting up Benches in different States in keeping with the recommendations of the Law Commissions (125th Report and 229th Report).

Background

  • At an informal meeting, all of the then sitting judges of the Supreme Court advised the then Chief Justice of India to decide against the request of the then Central government to sit in other places in the country under Article 130 of the Constitution.
  • The reason judges decided against it was because we felt that the authority of the Supreme Court would get diluted.

Problem with this reasoning

  • Many High Courts in this country have different Benches for meting out justice without ‘justice’ being ‘diluted’.
  • For example, the Bombay High Court has four Benches — in Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Panaji (Goa) — and the quality of its decisions or status have certainly not been diluted thereby.

The logic behind the number of benches

  • The number of Benches depends on the size of the State,
  • the idea being to facilitate easier access to justice.

Consequences of single Bench

1.Quality Of Lawyers

  • First, the Supreme Court sitting only in Delhi has resulted in excellent lawyers from other High Courts not appearing before the Supreme Court, possibly because it casts too large a monetary burden on their clients, many of whom are impoverished.
  • Second, all lawyers, whatever their calibre or competence, who happen to be in Delhi now appear in the Supreme Court.
  • Some of the good lawyers who were able to leave lucrative practices in the High Courts have settled down in Delhi, but they have established a monopoly, and, as a result, charge unconscionable fees even from charitable concerns — sometimes even when they do not appear at the hearing.
  • This is also true of litigating lawyers at all levels of the judicial system.

2.Reducing to District Court Level

  • The third fallout of the failure to act under Article 130 is that the Supreme Court in Delhi has been flooded with work and been reduced to a District Court instead of a Court of Final Appeal and Constitutional Court as envisaged under the Constitution.

Lawyers fooling people

  • Some of the lawyers specialising in victim compensation cases do not charge any fees for their services and render services free of cost.
  • They generally obtain a blank cheque from the victim which is filled in after credit of the compensation to the bank account of the victim.
  • Some of the lawyers specialising in victim compensation cases thus take huge money as a percentage of compensation amount awarded towards victim compensation.
  • This is illegal, being a champertous agreement.
  • Incidentally, according to a study carried out by a research organisation, Vidhi, in the Delhi High Court, more than 70% of the delays in the disposal of cases are attributable to lawyers, a major reason being sometimes unjust pleas for adjournments.

Way Forward

  • To hound out the corrupt lawyers from the system at all levels so that justice may be truly rendered to the public.
  • First, the Supreme Court should reconsider setting up Benches in different States in keeping with the recommendations of the Law Commissions (125th Report and 229th Report).
  • Second, the Bar Council of India should exercise its powers under the Advocates Act, 1961 more effectively.
  • If not, the disciplinary jurisdiction must be returned to the judiciary as was the position prior to the Advocates Act, 1961 by repealing the 1961 Act.
  • Third, lawyers should be made irrelevant by referring more cases to trained mediators, as the Supreme Court has done in the Ayodhya dispute.

 

Judiciary Institutional Issues

Livestock Census

Mains Paper 3 : Economics Of Animal-Rearing |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Livestock Census

Mains level : Role of livestocks in India’s agricultural sector


  • India has the world’s second largest human population at 121 crore and it leads the world in livestock population at 125.5 crore.
  • The 20th round of the Livestock Census is to be held very soon.

Livestock Census in India

  • The importance of a livestock census was first recognised in 1919, 47 years after human counting was started in 1872.
  • It is held by Animal Husbandry Statistics Division under Min. of Agriculture and Farmers welfare.
  • It is conducted quinquennially (every five years).
  • The ongoing 20th round of the Livestock Census involves about 50,000 enumerators and 10,000 supervisors.

What data is being captured?

  • The current round is counting a larger number of species besides the regular cattle such as mithun, yak, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, dogs, rabbits, elephants and poultry birds.
  • It is counting stray and abandoned animals as well.
  • The data being captured includes the breed of each animal along with sex, age, productivity, use etc.
  • This exercise extends to other animals such as horses, pigs, mules, camels and poultry too.
  • Supplementary data on the owners of livestock are also being collected and compiled. These include information on occupation, income, landholding, education etc. to support holistic planning.

Why count livestock?

  • Livestock is not only an integral part of the agriculture economy supporting the rural livelihood but also a rudimentary element of our socio-cultural milieu.
  • Our cultural heritage endows great importance to owning and rearing livestock as an inseparable part of an inclusive universe.
  • Accurate, reliable data therefore become the sine qua non for planning and development of the sector — and counting sheep or any other animal becomes the foundation for a peaceful growth.

To be held digitally

  • To streamline the process and eliminate error, the ongoing 20th Livestock Census is harnessing the technological innovations of the digital age.
  • There is complete elimination of paper, which has been replaced with tablet computers.
  • The 50,000-odd enumerators are capturing the multiple parameters of the Census data on computer tablets and uploading it to the server after online validation by the supervisor, resulting in real-time compilation and updating.
  • The National Informatics Centre has developed the Android-based mobile application with various features of data entry module.
  • The software is not only enabling simultaneous monitoring of the operations but also developing various analytical reports that are useful for a dynamic planning process for an equally dynamic livestock sector.

Loopholes

  • The feeder livestock is counted by no permanent administrative institution, a process that lacks bare resources.
  • The Census becomes a burden and goes unnoticed as general awareness about it stays low, especially in urban areas.
Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

[pib] Community Radio Stations and SWEEP

Mains Paper 2 : Representation Of People's Act |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SVEEP, Community Radio Stations

Mains level : Ensuring Voters awareness


  • In a first of its kind initiative, the ECI has reached out to over 150 Community Radio stations from across the country to help educate and inform the voters.
  • The main purpose of the workshop was for training and capacity building of Community Radios for voter education and awareness.

Community Radio Stations

  • Community radio is a radio service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting.
  • They serve geographic communities and communities of interest.
  • They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local, specific audience but is often overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters.
  • Community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve.

Why need community radios?

  • Community radio plays an important role in dissemination of information about government schemes and policies to the common people in local languages.
  • India is a land of diversity in terms of language, social practices, dialects and culture, a community radio can be a powerful tool to revive culture and languages that are dying.
  • It can help give voice to the voiceless in the backward community.

About Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP)

  • It is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India.
  • Since 2009, it has been working towards preparing India’s electors and equipping them with basic knowledge related to the electoral process.
  • SVEEP is designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof.
Electoral Reforms In India

Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT)

Mains Paper 3 : Social Media Networks & Internal Security |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CCIT

Mains level : Countering militancy and cross-border terrorism in India


  • In the wake of growing threats and acts of terrorism across the world, India and Bolivia have called for an early finalization of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

  1. CCIT is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens.
  2. The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996.
  3. CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist groups.
  4. The original draft that was tabled in 1996 included following major objectives:
  • To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law
  • To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps
  • To prosecute all terrorists under special laws
  • To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism

International Solar Alliance

Mains Paper 2 : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India |

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Solar Alliance

Mains level: India’s renewable energy commitments and efforts in that direction


News

  • Bolivia has joined the framework agreement establishing International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • India is reaching out to the `Lithium Triangle’ in South America- Argentina, Bolivia and Chile seeking the rare metal Lithium to realize its goal.

About International Solar Alliance

  • The ISA is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization.
  • The alliance is also called International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA).
  • The ISA is to be headquartered in India.
  • The initiative was launched by PM Modi at the India Africa Summit and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015.
Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.