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ISRO Missions and Discoveries

[op-ed of the day] Lady Gaganaut

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Skybot F-850: Robot sent by Russia to dock with the International Space Station.

Mains level : Paper 3-Vyommitra, India's human spaceflight in 2022.

Context

The first gaganaut-Vyomamitra- to head for space in an Indian craft will not be human, but humanoid.

What Vyomamitra would do on spaceflight?

  • Test the technological environment: Vyomamitra unveiled by ISRO will fly two missions to test the technological environment which human gaganauts will inhabit on India’s first demonstration of human spaceflight in 2022.
    • She will test the systems and instruments that they would use.
    • Vyomamitra cannot test the cabin ecosystem,  as she would not be able to breathe the air.
    • Other functions: Vyomamitra is perfectly capable of issuing commands, activating switches and, obviously, communicating with earth.
  • Give company to human travellers: Her prototype has already chatted with people at the Isro event where she was introduced to the public, and future iterations will be able to give company to human travellers at the loneliest frontier.

A shift from sending animals to humanoids

  • Performing roles previously performed by animals: Vyomamitra will be executing the pioneering role which has traditionally been given to animals – testing systems for survivability.
    • Fruit flies and monkeys were the first beings to lift off, riding V2 rockets with devices monitoring their vital signs.
  • Why using humanoid is more useful: Using a humanoid robot is more useful because it can be used to replicate the behavioural and operational responses of a human.
    • Indeed, robots need not remain pioneers testing survivability, or assistants to the human crew, but are expected to crew missions that are too prolonged or too dangerous for a human pilot.

Opportunities and the future of AI-powered humanoid

  • Russian robot in space: As India prepared for human flight, in August 2019, the Russian space agency Roscosmos sent up the anthropomorphic robot Skybot F-850 to dock with the International Space Station.
    • The mission has been halted because of technical issues.
    • Goals beyond survivability testing: If the nation which pioneered human spaceflight with Yuri Gagarin’s mission in 1961 is sending humanoid robots into space, survivability testing is not the only legitimate goal of missions powered by artificial intelligence and robotics.
  • Opportunity to develop new technologies: Humanoid in space also provide opportunities to test and develop these technologies under circumstances that do not prevail on earth.
    • The inputs, goals and skills learned are different and while AI on earth specifically focuses on creating systems which do not think like humans,
  • Human-like AI system need of industry: The space industry would value systems that are human-like, to stand in for crew.

Conclusion

Vyomamitra represents the very first iteration of AI in space, and later generations could prove to be as essential for spaceflight as cryogenic engines.

 

 

BRICS Summits

[op-ed snap] As India prepares to honour Bolsonaro

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- BRICS- challenges and areas of cooperation.

Context

India has invited the Brazilian President to be a guest of honour for Republic Day 2020. It is also a good opportunity for focusing on intra-BRICS partnership and trade.

Future of the BRICS

  • To move towards multi-polarity: This was set up as a move towards greater multi-polarity; hence the spread across three continents and both hemispheres.
    • Infirmities in the group: The BRICS combination accounts for about one-third of global output, but a glance at the GDP t and growth rates will show the infirmities of the group.
    • Differences in GDP: In terms of GDP, China occupies the second position; India the fifth; Brazil the ninth; Russia the 11th; and South Africa the 35th.
    • Differences in growth rate: In terms of growth rates, China grew at 6%; India at 4.5%, Russia 1.7%, Brazil 1.2% and South Africa 0.1%.
    • Both politically and economically, Brazil and South Africa have been the laggards in recent years. But there are certain similarities as well.
  • Similarities in the group: Each country has different economic and political leverage and its own burden of domestic and external issues.
    • Decision-making structure: They all share the benefits of autonomous decision making.
    • Non-affiliation: The members of the group have non-affiliation with any binding alliances.
    • Informal structure: The group’s informal structure is an advantage for coordination among the most influential non-Western countries.
  • Challenges to the survival of the group: The BRICS group can survive only if its members maximise their congruencies to the extent possible. Following are the challenges to the existence of the group-
    • The growing intensity of Sino-Russian ties.
    • The pro-American leanings in Brazil.
    • The socio-economic difficulties of South Africa after nine years under the controversial Jacob Zuma.
    • India’s many difficulties with China, including its abstention from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Achievement of the grouping

  • New Development Bank: The main achievement of BRICS is the New Development Bank, with each country contributing equally to its equity.
    • The bank has so far financed over 40 projects at a cost of $12 billion.
    • The BRICS countries are also developing a joint payments mechanism to reduce foreign trade settlements in U.S. dollars.
  • BASICS: An offshoot of the group, dealing with climate change, is BASIC (BRICS without Russia).
    • BASICS met at the Spain conference last month and reiterated its support to the Paris Agreement.
  • India’s lead role: India is taking the lead role in-
    • Digital health, Digital forensics
    • Film technology.
    • Traditional medicine.
    • Sustainable water management,
    • Internships and fellowships.

Brazil-India relation

  • Visa waiver for Indians: Brazil declared the decision to waive visa requirements for Indian citizens.
  • Potential for investments: There is potential for Brazilian investments in the sectors of space and defence, agricultural equipment, animal husbandry, post-harvest technologies, and bio-fuels.
  • Low two-way trade: The total two-way trade is at a paltry $8 billion, and the prospect of closer economic ties, however desirable, would require considerable optimism.

Conclusion

Both India and Brazil need to further deepen the ties and increase cooperation in various areas of cooperation. BRICS, despite the various challenges, need to focus on congruencies between them and work towards greater cooperation.

.

 

Government Budgets

[op-ed snap] Budgeting for jobs, skilling and economic revival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- Suggestions for revival of the Indian economy, unemployment in rural and urban areas and ways to increase it by investing in various sectors.

Context

With the unemployment rate at 6.1 (2017-18), not just the future of the economy, the future of the country’s youth depends on the Budget.

Unemployment and other indicators of the economy

  • Unemployment in urban youth: The unemployment rate for urban youth in the 15-29 years category is alarmingly high at 22.5%.
    • These figures, however, are just one of the many problems, as pointed out by the Periodic Labour Force Survey.
  • The decline in labour force participation: The Labour Force Participation Rate has come down to 46.5% for the ‘15 years and above’ age category.
    • It is down to 37.7% for the urban youth. Even among those employed, a large fraction gets low wages and are stuck with ‘employment poverty’.
  • The decline in investment: The aggregate investment stands at less than 30% of the GDP, a rate much lower than the 15-year average of 35%.
  • The decline in capacity utilisation: The capacity utilisation in the private sector is down to 70%-75%.

Where the Budget should focus to reduce rural employment?

  • Revive demand: The Budget should also focus on reviving demand to promote growth and employment.
    • PM-KISAN and MGNREGA: Schemes like PM-KISAN and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) are good instruments to boost rural demand.
    • Unutilised fund: a significant proportion of the budgetary allocation for PM-KISAN will go unutilised.
  • Why income transfers through such schemes matter?
    • Spend most of their income: Farmers and landless labourers spend most of their income. This means that income transfers to such groups will immediately increase demand.
    • Consumes a wide range of goods: Further, rural India consumes a wide range of goods and services; so, if allocation and disbursement are raised significantly, most sectors of the economy will benefit.
    • Immediate result: And such transfer will have the immediate payoff.
  • Allocate to irrigation and infrastructure projects
    • How allocation could matter: Rural unemployment can be reduced by raising budgetary allocation for irrigation projects and rural infrastructures like roads, cold storage and logistical chains.
    • These facilities, along with a comprehensive crop insurance scheme, can drastically increase agricultural productivity and farmers’ income.
    • The decrease in wastage and reduction in inflation shocks: Moreover, by integrating farms with mandis, such investments will reduce wastage of fruits and vegetables, thereby leading to a decrease in the frequency of inflationary shocks and their impact.

Where the Budget should focus to reduce urban unemployment?

  • Focus on construction and related activities: In urban areas, construction and related activities are a source of employment for more than five crore people.
    • Second only to agriculture: Across the country, the sector’s employment figures are second only to those of the agriculture sector.
    • Construction as the backbone of other sectors:  These projects, along with infrastructure, support 200-odd sectors, including core sectors like cement and steel.
  • Problems with the construction sector:
    • Construction sector at a halt due to legal disputes: Due to the crisis in the real estate and infrastructure sectors, construction activities have come to a grinding halt.
    • At present, many real-estate projects are caught up in legal disputes-between home-buyers and developers; between lenders and developers; and between developers and law enforcement agencies like the Enforcement Directorate.
    • Unsold inventories: The sector has an unsold inventory of homes, worth several lakh crores.
    • Multiple authority as regulator and problem in liquidation: Multiple authorities -the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA); the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT); and the many consumer courts -have jurisdiction over disputes.
    • Consequently, restructuring and liquidation of bad projects are very difficult, and in turn, is the main source of the problem of NPA faced by the NBFCs.
  • What should be done to increase the demand in the construction sector?
    • Raise the tax exemption limit: To revive demand for housing, the Budget can raise the limit for availing tax exemption on home loans.
    • Use the bailout fund: The ₹25,000-crore fund set up by the centre to bailout 1,600 housing projects should be put to use immediately.
    • The funds should be used to salvage all projects that are 80% complete and not under the liquidation process under the NCLT.
    • Single adjudication authority: Several additional measures can also help. For example, there should be a single adjudication authority.
    • NIP and its significance: The ₹102-lakh-crore National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) programme is a welcome step. If implemented successfully, it will boost the infrastructure investment over the next five years by 2%-2.5% of the GDP annually.

Problems with National Infrastructure Pipeline

  • Problems of 60% investment: The problem is that more than 60% of the planned investment is expected from the private sector and the States.
    • Regulatory certainty a must for the private sector: The government does not seem to realise that for private investment, regulatory certainty is as important as the cost of capital.
    • Regulatory hurdles: Many infrastructure projects are languishing due to regulatory hurdles and contractual disputes between construction companies and government departments.
    • The reason behind the non-availability of private capital: As a result of the regulatory hurdles infrastructure investment has come to be perceived as very risky.
    • This is the major reason behind the non-availability of private capital for infrastructure.
  • Role to be played by the Centre: This is a scenario, where the private sector has very little appetite for risky investments and State finances are shaky due to low GST collection.
    • Responsibility of the Centre: The onus is on the Centre to ensure that the programme does not come a cropper. The budgetary support to infrastructure will have to be much more than the NIP projection at 11% of the GDP.

Way forward to revive the economy

  • Focus on completing the incomplete projects:
    • Bidding a lengthy process: Bidding and contracting for new roads, highways, railway tracks and urban development projects is a lengthy process.
    • This is also the reason why several infrastructure-linked Ministries like those for civil aviation and roads have not been able to spend money allocated to them in the current fiscal year.
    • Completing the projects a priority: Therefore, rather than earmarking budgetary support for new projects, the focus should be on projects that are currently under implementation so as to complete them as soon as possible.
    • Funding should be front-loaded: That is, funding should be front-loaded. In addition to creating employment, timely completion of infrastructure projects will help increase the competitiveness of the economy.
  • Address the distress in SMEs: The distress among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is another area of concern.
    • GST anomaly and stuck money: For many products produced by these enterprises, the GST rates are higher for inputs than the final goods. Due to this anomaly, around ₹20,000 crore gets stuck with the government annually in the form of input tax credits.
    • This has increased cost of doing business for SMEs, which employ over 11 crore people.
  • Fill the vacancies in the Government jobs: According to some estimates, there are more than 22 lakh vacancies in various government departments.
    • Focus on vocational training program: The government needs to provide affordable and good quality vocational training programmes.
    • To stop the demographic dividend from becoming a national burden, there is a need to invest heavily in skilling of the youth.
    • Besides, the Budget should give tax incentives to companies and industrial units to encourage them to provide internships and on-site vocational training opportunities.

 

J&K – The issues around the state

Explained: The Kashmir Pandit tragedy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Kashmiri Pandits and the hurdles in their rehabiliation

 

It is 30 years since the “exodus” from the Valley of its minority Hindu Kashmiri Pandit community.

The run-up: 1980s to 1990

  • Sheikh Abdullah had died in 1982, and the leadership of the National Conference passed on to his son Farooq Abdullah, who won the 1983 election.
  • But within two years, the Centre broke up the NC, and installed dissident Ghulam Mohammed Shah as Chief Minister. This led to huge disaffection and political instability.
  • The Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) stepped up its activities, and the hanging of the militant leader Maqbool Bhat in 1984 added to the sense of foreboding.
  • In 1986, after the Rajiv Gandhi government opened the Babri Masjid locks to enable Hindus to offer prayers there, ripples were felt in Kashmir too.
  • In Anantnag, the constituency of then Congress leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, there was a series of attacks on Hindu temples, and shops and properties of Kashmiri Pandits, blamed on separatist and secessionists.
  • Pandits had begun to be targeted. Eminent persons of the community were being shot dead.

The night of January 19, 1990

  • Matters came to a head on January 19. By then, the Farooq Abdullah government had been dismissed and Governor’s Rule imposed.
  • According to accounts published by many eminent Kashmiri Pandits, there were threatening slogans over loudspeakers from mosques, and on the streets.
  • Speeches were made extolling Pakistan and the supremacy of Islam, and against Hinduism. Finally, the Kashmiri Pandit community decided to leave.

The Gawkadal Massacre

  • On January 20, the first stream began leaving the Valley with hastily packed belongings in whatever transport they could find. A second, larger wave left in March and April, after more Pandits were killed.
  • On January 21, the CRPF gunned down 160 Kashmiri Muslim protesters at the Gawkadal Bridge, which has come to be known as the worst massacre in the long history of the conflict in Kashmir.
  • The two events — the flight of the Pandits and the Gawkadal massacre — took place within 48 hours.

How many Pandits left?

  • According to some estimates, notably by the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), of 75,343 Kashmiri Pandit families in January 1990, more than 70,000 fled between 1990 and 1992 and continued until 2000.
  • The KPSS has placed the number of Kashmiri Pandits killed by militants from 1990 to 2011 at 399, the majority during 1989-90.
  • Some 800 families have remained in the Valley through these three decades.

Role of the administration

  • The other contentious question about the exodus is the role played by the administration, and more specifically that of the J&K Governor, Jagmohan.
  • Newly appointed, he had arrived in Srinagar on January 19.
  • The Kashmiri Muslim view of the exodus is that he encouraged the Pandits to leave the Valley and thus gave a communal colour to what was until then a non-religious Kashmiri cause.
  • The Kashmiri Hindu view is that this is a disingenuous interpretation.
  • They believe that Kashmiri Muslims, with whom they had lived amicably for centuries, drove them out with a vengeance in a frenzy of Islamism that they could not have imagined even months earlier.
  • The truth, many commentators have concluded, may have been somewhere in the middle.

The question of return

  • Those who had means rebuilt their lives elsewhere in the country — Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad have Pandit populations, also Jaipur and Lucknow — or went abroad.
  • The fleeing Pandits did not think they would never return to the Valley. But as the situation in Kashmir spiraled into a full-blown militancy, return began to look remote if not impossible.
  • The longing to return to the Valley did not diminish over the years, though it may have become more an idea than a real ambition.
  • Successive governments have promised that they will help this process, but the situation on the ground in Kashmir has meant this remains only an intention.
  • There is an acute realization in the community that the Valley is no longer the same that they left behind in 1990.
  • In many cases, their properties were either immediately vandalised or sold quickly by the owners to Kashmiri Muslims. Many fell into disrepair.

Corruption Challenges – Lokpal, POCA, etc

Corruption Perception Index 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Corruption Perception Index 2019

Mains level : Menace of corruption in India

The Corruption Perception report for 2019 has been released. It has revealed that a majority of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption.

About CPI

  • The CPI is annually released by Transparency International.
  • It draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

India’s performance

  • India’s ranking in the CPI-2019 has slipped from 78 to 80 compared to the previous year.
  • Its score of 41 out of 100 remains the same.
  • CPI highlighted that unfair and opaque political financing, undue influence in decision-making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups, has resulted in stagnation or decline in the control of corruption.

Global corruption

  • In the Asia Pacific region, the average score is 45, after many consecutive years of an average score of 44, which “illustrates general stagnation” across the region.
  • China has improved its position from 87 to 80 with a score of 41 out of 100, a two-point jump.
  • Despite the presence of high performers like New Zealand (87), Singapore (85), Australia (77), Hong Kong (76) and Japan (73), the Asia Pacific region hasn’t witnessed substantial progress in anti-corruption.
  • In addition, low performers like Afghanistan (16), North Korea (17) and Cambodia (20) continue to highlight serious challenges in the region.
  • The top ranked countries are New Zealand and Denmark, with scores of 87 each, followed by Finland (86), Singapore (85), Sweden (85) and Switzerland (85).

Rohingya Conflict

ICJ ruling on Rohingyas

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ICJ

Mains level : Rhohingya settlement issue

 

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Myanmar must take effective measures to protect its Rohingya Muslims, including protecting evidence relating to allegations of genocide.
  • It is important to note that these directions are “provisional measures” until the ICJ can finally decide if Myanmar has been committing genocide against the Rohingya. The final verdict could take years.

What is the case against Myanmar?

  • Last year, the Republic of the Gambia moved the ICJ against Myanmar over alleged violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  • The Gambia urged the ICJ to direct Myanmar to stop the genocide, ensure that persons committing genocide are punished, and allow the “safe and dignified return of forcibly displaced Rohingya”.
  • The Gambia and Myanmar are parties to the Genocide Convention that allows a party to move the ICJ for violations.
  • Disputes between the Contracting Parties are settled according to Article 9 of the Genocide Convention.

How did Myanmar respond?

  • Myanmar asked the ICJ to remove the case from its list, citing lack of jurisdiction of the court.
  • Myanmar alleged that the proceedings before the court were instituted by the Gambia, not on its own behalf, but rather as a “proxy” and “on behalf of” the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
  • Gambia is a member of the OIC, which includes 53 Muslim-majority nations.
  • Myanmar cited the Gambia’s reliance on OIC documents to allege genocide and said the Gambia did not point to specific violations of the Genocide Convention.
  • The court refused to accept Myanmar’s argument and said the fact that the Gambia “may have sought and obtained the support of other States or international organizations in its endeavour” does not take away from its right to bring a case against Myanmar.

Does the ICJ ruling indict Myanmar?

  • Although a ruling against Myanmar dents its image internationally, the order of provisional measures does not translate into a finding against Myanmar.
  • While granting provisional measures, the court is not required to ascertain whether Myanmar violated the Genocide Convention.
  • The court found that it is sufficient at this stage “to establish prima facie the existence of a dispute between the Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfillment of the Genocide Convention”.
  • Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal appearance before the ICJ to lead the defence of the military, however, shows the great stakes her country had in the case.

Effects of non-compliance for Myanmar

  • For its part, Myanmar has denied that its military or paramilitary has participated in genocide of Rohingya and it is unlikely to alter its position.
  • Provisional measures are essentially a restraining order against a state when a case is pending and can be seen as, at most, a censure.
  • Provisional orders cannot be challenged and are binding upon the state.
  • However, limitations in enforcing decisions of the ICJ are widely acknowledged by law experts.

What are these limitations?

  • As per Article 94 of the Charter of the United Nations, all member states are required to comply with decisions of the ICJ.
  • However, any action by a state can be secured only through consent of the state in international law.
  • When a state fails to comply, the Security Council has the power to impose sanctions against it and ensure compliance when international security and peace are at stake.
  • So far, the Security Council has never taken a coercive measure against any country to get an ICJ ruling implemented.
  • Even with the stepping in of the Security Council, there are several hurdles in enforcement of ICJ decisions.
  • Any one of the five permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers can block the enforcement of an ICJ decision against itself or its ally.

Social Media: Prospect and Challenges

Trolling in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Abuse of women on social media and its implications

 

The Amnesty International India has released a report titled “Troll Patrol India: Exposing Online Abuse Faced by Women Politicians in India”. The report analysed more than 114,000 tweets sent to 95 women politicians in the three months during and after last year’s general elections in India.

Highlights of the report

  • The research found that women are targeted with abuse online not just for their opinions – but also for various identities, such as gender, religion, caste, and marital status.
  • Indian women politicians face substantially higher abuse on Twitter than their counterparts in the U.S. and the U.K.
  • Around 13.8% of the tweets in the study were either “problematic” or “abusive”.
  • Problematic content was defined as tweets that contain hurtful or hostile content, especially if repeated to an individual on multiple occasions, but do not necessarily meet the threshold of abuse.
  • While all women are targeted, Muslim women politicians faced 55% more abuse than others.
  • Women from marginalized castes, unmarried women, and those from non-ruling parties faced a disproportionate share of abuse.

A matter of concern

  • Abusive tweets had content that promote violence against or threaten people based on their race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, age, disability or other categories.
  • They include death threats and rape threats.
  • Problematic tweets contained hurtful or hostile content, often repeated, which could reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes, although they did not meet the threshold of abuse.

Citizenship and Related Issues

Enemy Property in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Enemy Property in India

Mains level : Disposal of such Enemy Property

  • A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister will monitor the disposal of over 9,400 enemy properties, which the government estimates is worth about Rs 1 lakh crore.
  • Two committees headed by senior officials will be set up for the disposal of immovable enemy properties vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India under The Enemy Property Act.

What is “Enemy Property”?

  • In the wake of the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, there was migration of people from India to Pakistan.
  • Under the Defence of India Rules framed under The Defence of India Act, 1962, the Government of India took over the properties and companies of those who took Pakistani nationality.
  • These “enemy properties” were vested by the central government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.
  • The same was done for property left behind by those who went to China after the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
  • The Tashkent Declaration of January 10, 1966 included a clause that said India and Pakistan would discuss the return of the property and assets taken over by either side in connection with the conflict.
  • However, the Government of Pakistan disposed of all such properties in their country in the year 1971 itself.

How did India deal with enemy property?

  • The Enemy Property Act, enacted in 1968, provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.
  • The central government, through the Custodian, is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country.
  • Some movable properties too, are categorised as enemy properties.
  • In 2017, Parliament passed The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which amended The Enemy Property Act, 1968, and The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.

Who is an Enemy?

  • The amended Act expanded the definition of the term “enemy subject”, and “enemy firm” to include the legal heir and successor of an enemy, whether a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy; and the succeeding firm of an enemy firm, irrespective of the nationality of its members or partners.
  • The amended law provided that enemy property shall continue to vest in the Custodian even if the enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm ceases to be an enemy due to death, extinction, winding up of business or change of nationality, or that the legal heir or successor is a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy.
  • The Custodian, with prior approval of the central government, may dispose of enemy properties vested in him in accordance with the provisions of the Act, and the government may issue directions to the Custodian for this purpose.

Why were these amendments brought?

  • The thrust of the amendments was to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars.
  • The amendments denied legal heirs any right over enemy property. The main aim was to negate the effect of a court judgment in this regard.

What did these court orders say?

  • One major judgment was passed in the case of the estate of the erstwhile Raja of Mahmudabad, who owned several large properties in Hazratganj, Sitapur and Nainital.
  • Following Partition, the Raja left for Iraq and stayed there for some years before settling in London.
  • After The Enemy Property Act was enacted in the year 1968, the Raja’s estate was declared enemy property. When the Raja died, his son who stayed in India staked claim to the properties.
  • After a legal battle that lasted over 30 years, an apex court Bench on October 21, 2005, ruled in favour of the son.
  • The verdict opened the floodgates for further pleas in courts across the country in which genuine or purported relatives of persons who had migrated to Pakistan produced deeds of gift claiming they were the rightful owners of enemy properties.
  • On July 2, 2010, the then UPA government promulgated an Ordinance that restrained courts from ordering the government to divest enemy properties from the Custodian.
  • The 2005 SC order was thus rendered ineffective, and the Custodian again took over the Raja’s properties.

Enactment of the Amended Law

  • A Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 22, 2010, and subsequently, a revised Bill was tabled on November 15, 2010. This Bill was thereafter referred to the Standing Committee.
  • However, the said Bill could not be passed during the term of the 15th Lok Sabha, and it lapsed.
  • On January 7, 2016, the President of India promulgated The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016, which was replaced by the Bill that became law in 2017.

Banking Sector Reforms

Specialized Supervisory and Regulatory Cadre (SSRC)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Specialized Supervisory and Regulatory Cadre (SSRC)

Mains level : Governance of RBI

The RBI has decided to recruit 35% of the specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre from the market while the remaining 65% will be recruited via internal promotions.

Specialized Supervisory and Regulatory Cadre (SSRC)

  • The SSRC will comprise officers in Grade B to Executive Director level.
  • In Nov. last year RBI decided to reorganize its regulation and supervision departments.
  • It merged the three regulatory departments (department of bankingnon-banking and cooperative bank) into one and did likewise for the three supervisory departments.
  • As a result, there is only one supervisory department which looks after supervision of banks, NBFCs and cooperative banks and only one regulatory department for these three.
  • The move is aimed at dealing more effectively with potential systemic risk that could come about due to possible supervisory arbitrage and information asymmetry.

NITI Aayog’s Assessment

[pib] National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP)

Mains level : Data Analytics and its applications in governance

 

NITI Aayog has released its vision for the National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP).

National Data and Analytics Platform

  • The platform aims to democratize access to publicly available government data.
  • NDAP will host the latest datasets from various government websites, present them coherently, and provide tools for analytics and visualization.
  • It will spearhead the standardization of formats in which data is presented across sectors and will cater to a wide audience of policymakers, researchers, innovators, data scientists, journalists and citizens.
  • It will follow a user-centric approach and will enable data access in a simple and intuitive portal tailored to the needs of a variety of stakeholders.
  • The development of NDAP will take place over a period of one year. The first version of the platform is expected to be launched in 2021.