TABLE OF CONTENTS
A.GS1 Related B.GS2 Related POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. Census may skip caste count 2. Giving voice sample does not violate privacy, says SC 3. Seventh Economic Census launched in U.T. 4. Justice Kureshi appointment: govt to take a call after Parliament session INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. U.S. formally withdraws from INF arms treaty C.GS3 Related ECONOMY 1. ‘Too much of reforms has led to slowdown’ 2. Elected directors in PSBs will be appointed by board: RBI D. GS4 Related E. Editorials ENVIRONMENT 1. The taproot of conservation justice ECONOMY 1. Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 INTERNAL SECURITY 1. Kashmir Troop Surge F. Tidbits G. Prelims Facts 1. Zero Hour 2. Article 35A 3. Ramon Magsaysay award H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
Census 2021 is unlikely to collect caste wise data. The Census would restrict itself to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes data.
- The 15th Indian Census taken in 2011, attempted to estimate the population based on Socio-Economic and Caste Status for the first time since 1931.
- However, as the enumeration was based on recording the respondents’ declaration, it led to creation of hundreds of thousands of caste/subcaste categories.
- The exercise conducted in 2011, threw up about 40 lakh caste names that were difficult to tabulate.
- A committee formed under former vice-chairman Niti Aayog Arvind Panagariya was constituted to find a way to publish the 2011 Socio-economic and Caste Census data. No tangible release seems to have come from the initiative.
- The 2011 caste data, collected as part of the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), is yet to be released by the Centre.
- As per the National Commission for Backward Classes, there are 2,479 entries in the Central list of the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
- The 2021 Census of India, is the 16th Indian Census.
- The decennial exercise would involve 31 lakh trained enumerators, with data collected digitally using Android based mobile phones.
- It is expected that the Census data would be available by the year 2024-25 as the entire process would be conducted digitally and data crunching would be quicker.
- The Census pre-test will be rolled out across all States and Union Territories and will capture data of nearly 50 lakh population from August 12, 2019 to September 30, 2019.
- Pre-test is a sample exercise which will be conducted to rule out errors during final Census. The result will not be made public.
- In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court held that a judicial magistrate is empowered to order a person to give a sample of his voice for the purpose of investigation.
- The judgment came while answering an issue whether a judicial order compelling a person to give a sample of his voice violates the fundamental right to privacy under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.
- The appeal was filed by Ritesh Sinha against a 2010 order of a magistrate court in Uttar Pradesh allowing police to get his voice sample.
- A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said directing a person to part with his voice sample to police was not a violation of his fundamental right to privacy.
- It was held that it is not a violation of the fundamental right against self-incrimination.
- It was reasoned that a voice sample was given for the reason of comparison with other voices in order to see if they matched and were of the same person.
- A voice sample by itself is not incriminating evidence.
- The Chief Justice compared a voice sample with other impressions like specimen handwriting, or impressions of his fingers, palm or foot collected by police during investigation.
- The 87th Report of the Law Commission of India in 1980 describes a voice print as a “visual recording of voice”. Voiceprints resemble fingerprints, in that each person has a distinctive voice with characteristic features dictated by vocal cavities and articulates.
- The judgment authored by Chief Justice Gogoi said “the fundamental right to privacy cannot be construed as absolute and must bow down to compelling public interest”.
The seventh Economic Census is being conducted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The exercise started with the state of Tripura and has now been kick-started in Puducherry.
7th Economic Census:
- The ministry has partnered with CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Electronics and Information.
- The census would also cover all establishments, including household enterprises, engaged in production or distribution of goods and services.
- Earlier too, collecting data for the survey has been a flagship task of MoSPI, that has overall conducted 6 Economic Censuses during, 1977, 1980, 1990, 1998, 2005 and 2013.
- The survey is conducted to find out the economic activity in a specific area.
- The seventh census would witness the use of Information Technology for data collection. The enumerators and supervisors engaged by the Common Service Centres have been trained to collect data on a mobile application developed for data gathering, validation, report generation and dissemination.
Importance of Economic Census:
- The government gets a complete count of all economic units in the country.
- The census is the only source of information on the significantly large unorganized sector in the country.
- Government relies on statistics, especially related to socio-economic conditions, to plan for future.
- Planning of schemes would become more effective with availability of accurate data.
The Union government informed the Supreme Court that it will take a call on the Collegium recommendation to appoint Bombay High Court judge Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court once the Parliament session is over.
- The issue is about the unexplained delay from the government in taking a call on Justice Kureshi.
- The recommendation was made by the Collegium in accordance with the law laid down in the Second Judges Case and Memorandum of Procedure for judicial appointments and transfers.
- The association alleged that Justice Kureshi’s elevation was singled out for uncertainty while those of other judges, who were recommended along with him, have sailed through.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to place the government’s decision, on Justice Kureshi before the Supreme Court.
- The association has submitted that the delay in the appointment was violative of Articles 14 and 217 of the Constitution and is subversive of the rule of law.
- It said the Supreme court should issue directions to the government to decide on appointments of High Court chief justices within a period of six weeks from the Collegium’s date of recommendation.
Read more about: Appointment of Judges
The United States formally withdrew from a landmark arms control treaty with Russia, claiming it undermines its national security interests.
- In February, Washington had announced that in six months it would suspend its participation in the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty unless Moscow destroyed missiles which the US and its NATO allies alleged that they violate the agreement.
- For its part, Russia denied the US allegations and accused Washington of flouting the treaty itself, before giving notice that it would also pull out of the bilateral agreement.
- Both sides had signalled their intention to pull out of the treaty for months, trading accusations of breaking the terms of the deal.
- Washington has for years accused Russia of developing a new type of missile, the 9M729, which it says violates the treaty — claims that NATO has backed up.
- The missile has a range of about 1,500 kilometres according to NATO, though Moscow says it can only travel 480 kilometres.
- NATO sided with the US on its withdrawal decision, saying in a statement that “Russia bears sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty” and vowed to respond “in a measured and responsible way”.
What is the INF treaty?
- The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.
- It was signed in 1987 by US and Soviet Union leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
- The INF treaty was meant to eliminate the presence of land-based nuclear missiles and medium-range arsenals between 500km to 5,500km from Europe.
- The treaty’s expiration now enables the US to resume development of its own medium-range, land-based arsenal.
- The US military plans to test a land-based cruise missile and a ballistic missile previously banned under the INF treaty.
- It leaves the critics of the Trump administration and proliferation experts worried about the potential for a new arms race.
- The US will now have just one arms control agreement with Russia left.
- But the New Start Treaty, which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads Russia and the US can have to 1,550, is also under threat of dissolution, with US National Security Adviser John Bolton declaring in June that Washington was unlikely to extend it past its 2021 expiration deadline.
- It is feared that the withdrawal [from the INF Treaty] without a follow-on is the invitation for an arms race.
C. GS3 Related
Amitabh Kant, the CEO of policy think-tank NITI Aayog has said that a spate of reforms undertaken by the government has led to the current slowdown in the country. This came as a note of caution as he was advocating a series of policy decisions to revive the economy.
- He opined that one of the reasons for the slowdown is that the country has had too much of reforms — GST, IBC.
- He recommended that the next round of reforms must revolve around sectors like oil and gas, mining, coal; as commercialising coal mining, railways will really drive the growth in India.
- Other set of recommendations by the CEO of NITI Aayog include:
- Bringing about greater levels of liquidity.
- Revival of the private sector, as wealth cannot be created without the private sector.
- Encouraging privately owned Gas grids, gas pipelines, transmission lines.
- Bringing about major structural reforms.
- Talking about the government’s push for electric vehicles in the country, the NITI Aayog CEO said that the government would work to develop India as a hub for manufacture and export of EVs.
- It was also asserted that the NITI Aayog is suggesting measures to ensure that India becomes a global hub for manufacturing and exports.
- Bloomberg NEF released a report on the future of mobility in India and has forecast that India may become the fourth-largest passenger EV market by 2040 with 26 lakh vehicles. China, U.S. and Germany will top the table.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated that the elected directors of public sector banks (PSBs) are to be appointed by the nomination and remuneration committee of the board of the respective banks.
- The RBI has come out with guidelines on ‘fit and proper’ criteria of elected directors in PSBs and said all these banks were required to constitute a nomination and remuneration committee consisting of
- a minimum of three non-executive directors from the board
- out of which not less than one-half will be independent directors and
- should include at least one member from the risk management committee of the board.
- “The non-executive chairperson of the bank may be appointed as a member of the committee but shall not chair such a committee,” the RBI said.
- The RBI said an elected director can be appointed for three years and could be re-elected but cannot hold office for than six years
- Conditions for appointment:
- The candidate should not be holding the position of a Member of Parliament or State Legislature or municipal corporation or municipality or other local bodies
- Candidates engaged in stock broking, or a member of any other board of a bank or financial institution, connected with hire purchase, financing, money lending, investment, leasing and other para banking activities cannot be considered for the appointment.
- The candidate should not be acting as a partner of a chartered accountant’s firm which is currently engaged as a statutory central auditor of any nationalised bank or the State Bank of India.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
- The Forest Rights Act (FRA) is a piece of social legislation which aims to address the historical injustice that our forest-dwelling communities have had to face for nearly 150 years by providing them with security of tenure over land for cultivation and habitation through individual rights.
- It also provides access to a variety of resources through more than a dozen types of community forest rights.
- The FRA also empowers forest-dwelling communities to protect, regenerate, conserve and manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use.
- It has the provision for creating critical wildlife habitats within protected areas which currently is the strongest conservation provision among existing laws of the country.
What the FRA is?
- The FRA very clearly states that forest dwellers who are either Scheduled Tribes or Other Traditional Forest Dwellers are only entitled to claim both individual and community forest rights through a clear process of submitting a claim and after its verification and subsequent approval or rejection. For the rejected cases, an appeal process has been outlined.
- The FRA aims to only confirm tenure and access rights which in some sense the forest dwellers have been exercising de facto but under severe restrictions and control especially by the forest department.
- The FRA does not sanction any fresh clearance of forest, as individual rights over land will only be granted if the forest dweller was in possession of that parcel of land on December 13, 2005.
- It also limits the extent of land that can be granted to the area that was occupied on December 13, 2005 and places an upper limit of four hectares per claimant for individual rights.
Why the FRA is criticized?
- One of the key arguments of the petitioners has been that it is beyond the legislative competence of Parliament to enact the FRA as ‘land’ is a state subject.
- Weak as this is, if this argument of the petitioners is accepted, the Wildlife Protection Act and the entire architecture of forest laws will have to be dismantled as ultra vires as all of them deal with ‘land’, including the Indian Forest Act and the Forest (Conservation) Act.
- Wildlife conservationists fear that the law will make it impossible to create “inviolate spaces”, or areas free of human presence, for the purposes of wildlife conservation
- Few activists ask if this law acting as a land distribution scheme that will lead to the handing over of forests to tribals and forest dwellers
- The FRA has been savagely criticised as a land distribution legislation, which it is not. The FRA, by design, has tremendous potential to strengthen the conservation regime across India by recognising rights of forest dwellers over land and community forest resources, a key factor for conservation to succeed as shown both by research and practice in many countries.
- By democratising forest governance and conservation through the provision of rights and authority to local communities and gram sabhas for conservation and management of forests, the FRA will empower gram sabhas of the forest-dwelling communities to halt the destruction of forests, as especially highlighted in the Niyamgiri case.
- Implementing the FRA in letter and spirit with empathy for forest dwellers will be a decisive step by India to achieve conservation justice.
- The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, has increased penalties for traffic violations manifold and seeks to regulate cab aggregators.
- It will strengthen the public transportation system in the country
What was the need?
- India’s Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has remained in hibernation, unable to meet the needs of a large economy that is witnessing rising travel demand, fast-paced motorization, major shifts in technology and deteriorating road safety.
- Hence it required changes to meet the growing demands.
- The amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural transport, public transport and last-mile connectivity through automation, computerization and online services.
- In the area of road safety, the Bill proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations. Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc.
- Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. Penalty regarding motor vehicles is to be increased by 10 % every year.
- The Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles. This would reduce corruption in the transport department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle.
- Penalty has been provided for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers.
- The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively.
- The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act and standards will be set for motor vehicle testing institutes.
- The Bill also provides for compulsory recall of defective vehicles and power to examine irregularities of vehicle companies.
National Road Safety Board
- The Bill 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 standards of motor vehicles, registration and licensing of vehicles, standards for road safety, and promotion of new vehicle technology.
Motor Vehicle Accident Fund
- The Bill 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 utilized for: treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme, compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident, compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident, and compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government.
- The Bill provides for a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour.
- The Bill defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services).
- The Bill provides guidelines for Aggregators. At present, there are no rules in many states for regulating aggregators, taxis, etc.
Some of the other amendments are less promising.
- A sharp increase in fines has little chance of improving safety.
- Studies show that sustained, zero tolerance enforcement of even small fines reduces violations, while stringent penalties are either not enforced or lead to more bribery.
- Going forward, the Centre must deliver on its promise that the amended Act will help reduce dependence on personal vehicles, and present its National Transport Policy without delay.
- States must be incentivised to provide clean, comfortable and affordable services for all users, including people with disabilities. It is relevant to point out that the National Urban Transport Policy of the UPA failed to achieve this.
- New regulation can certainly shake up the status quo, facilitating transparent investment by any intending operator and removing vested interests, particularly in inter-State and multi-State coach services.
- The center has deployed 38,000 troops to the Kashmir Valley in two batches — 10,000 and 28,000.
Why spike in numbers?
- Inputs have been received by the security and intelligence agencies that after the successful conduct of panchayat elections in the state, terrorist groups have been asked to carry out an attack on forces.
- Sources also said the government has ordered deployment of additional troops after receiving inputs of about a major terrorist attack being planned by Pakistan-based terrorist groups in the Kashmir valley. This has prompted the Centre to tighten security in the Kashmir Valley
- The Centre further said that the troop deployment is taking place to strengthen the counter-insurgency grid and law and order duties in the Kashmir valley.
Policy of Central Govt
- The central government has been unequivocal and outspoken about its intentions to push forward with annulling the special status that Jammu and Kashmir is accorded in the Constitution through Articles 370 and 35A.
- The government is clear that there is nothing to negotiate with anyone in the Valley or about the Valley with anyone. An interlocutor appointed by the Centre is defunct.
- The Centre has been pursuing a policy of undermining the mainstream political parties in the State through administrative measures and political rhetoric.
- True, the governance track record of the People’s Democratic Party and the National Conference falls far short of inspiring; nevertheless, these parties have been integral to the ways in which New Delhi engaged with the Valley.
- Pakistan may be puppeteering the separatist Hurriyat, but New Delhi will have to engage with all stakeholders in resolving the conflict in the Valley.
The strategy of dealing with Kashmir issue by the current Govt is different from that of Vajpayee Govt
- The policy of the first Vajpayee-led BJP government was to strengthen the regional parties, engage the separatists and Pakistan to make progress towards peace.
- This has raised apprehension among the Local residents. They are buying essentials as they are linking the deployment of forces to fear of deterioration in the law and order situation.
The move of deploying troops to stop any activity that disturbs peace in the region is praiseworthy. However, any changes on the constitutional front will require a multi stakeholder approach and consensus.
Nothing here for today!!!
G. Prelims Facts
1. Zero Hour
- Zero Hour is the time when Members of Parliament (MPs) can raise Issues of Urgent Public Importance.
- For raising matters during the Zero Hour, MPs must give the notice before 10 am to the Speaker/ Chairman on the day of the sitting.
- The notice must state the subject they wish to raise in the House. However, Speaker, Lok Sabha / Chairman, Rajya Sabha may allow or decline a Member to raise a matter of importance.
- ‘Zero Hour’ is not mentioned in the Rules of procedure.
- Thus it is an informal device available to members of parliament to raise matters without any notice 10 days in advance. This is because, generally, the matters are of public importance and such matters cannot wait for 10 days.
- While dictionary defines ‘Zero Hour’ as the “the critical moment” or “the moment of decision”, in parliamentary parlance, it is referred as the time gap between the end of Question Hour and the beginning of the regular business.
- The other rationale behind naming it so, can be traced to the fact that it starts at 12 noon.
- Zero hour is an Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedures and has been in existence since 1962.
2. Article 35A
- Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define permanent residents of the state.
- It was inserted through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, which was issued by President Rajendra Prasad under Article 370, on the advice of the Nehru-led Union Government.
- Article 35A lets the J&K Legislature decide the “permanent residents” of the State, prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for its residents.
- It decides who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare.
- The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.
Ravish Kumar an Indian TV anchor, writer, journalist and media personality is among five individuals who were declared winners of the Ramon Magsaysay award.
- The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.
- It is named after Ramon Magsaysay, the third president of the Republic of the Philippines after World War II.
- The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government.
- The award is internationally-recognized as the Nobel Prize counterpart of Asia and is the highest award given to Asian individuals and organizations.
The awards were given in six categories, five of which were discontinued in 2009:
- Government Service (1958–2008)
- Public Service (1958–2008)
- Community Leadership (1958–2008)
- Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts (1958–2008)
- Peace and International Understanding (1958–2008)
- Emergent Leadership (2001– )
- Uncategorized (2009– )
H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Q1. Consider the following statements:
- Deepor Beel is a wetland on the western edge of Guwahati.
- It is listed as a Ramsar Site.
Which of the given statement is/are correct?
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Q2. Consider the following statements:
- Anandamath is a novel by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.
- It is based on Faraizi Revolt.
Which of the given statement is/are correct?
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Q3. The oath of office to the Governor is administered by:
a. The President of India
b. The Chief Justice of the concerned state high court
c. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
d. None of the above
Q4. Which of the following is/are correct about earthquakes?
- An earthquake’s point of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter.
- The epicenter is the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.
Which of the given statement is/are correct?
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- The deployment of troops in the state of Jammu and Kashmir to stop any activity which can disturb peace is a good move and needs to be appreciated but any changes per se on the constitutional aspect will require a multi stakeholder approach and consensus. Analyze the statement and suggest way forward. (15 Marks, 250 Words)
- The spice industries in India will be adversely affected if India opens the gates to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Critically analyse. (10 Marks, 150 Words)
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