TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related GOVERNANCE 1. RTI Bill to be placed in monsoon session 2. Activists oppose draft anti-trafficking Bill C. GS3 Related D. GS4 Related E. Editorials ETHICS INTEGRITY AND APTITUDE 1. Nelson Mandela’s legacy: Global figure with a legacy-of a politics of excellence ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT 1. In need of a better waste management system F. Tidbits 1. Counter-drone strategy for country’s airports is ready 2. 12 new moons discovered around Jupiter 3. Centre increases CVs’ load carrying capacity 4. ‘Neutral Net critical for India’ 5. Govt. doubles duty on over 50 textile items 6. ‘Solar import duty to drive costs, local firms may not gain’ 7. Accept gay relationships, says SC judge 8. Make lynching a separate offence, SC tells Parliament G. Prelims Fact 1. Adopt a Heritage scheme H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
1. RTI Bill to be placed in monsoon session
- The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which proposes to give the Centre the power to set the tenure and salaries of State and Central Information Commissioners, will be introduced in the Lok Sabha in the monsoon session.
- The current law gives Information Commissioners a tenure of five years and salaries which match those of Election Commissioners.
EC vs CIC
- The functions being carried out by the Election Commission of India and the central and state Information Commissions are totally different.
- While the Election Commission is a constitutional body, the Information Commissions are statutory bodies, and their differing mandates mean that their status and service conditions need to be rationalised accordingly.
- The Bill is being opposed by several Opposition political parties and RTI activists, who warn that the amendments will dilute the RTI law and compromise the independence of the Information Commissions.
- This is simply a way of giving the Central government a greater grip on Information Commissioners, who have been giving orders which the government finds inconvenient.
- The Centre usurping the power to decide the tenure and salaries of State Information Commissioners raises key issues of federalism.
- The secrecy around the amendments has prevented any meaningful debate or public engagement with the proposed changes.
- It’s ironic that the process of amending a law meant to bring transparency itself lacks transparency.
2. Activists oppose draft anti-trafficking Bill
- The Union Cabinet approved the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018.
- The Bill which could not be tabled during the Budget session because of continued disruptions deals with trafficking and aggravated forms of trafficking.
- The proposed anti-trafficking Bill is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the Monsoon Session.
- While the former category of crimes carries a jail term of seven to 10 years, the latter carry a punishment of 10 years in jail to life imprisonment.
- Aggravated offences include trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, or where a survivor contracts HIV.
- Activists, as well as sex workers, have appealed to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which drafted the legislation, that the Bill should explicitly state that consenting adult workers will not be penalised under the new law.
- When a law prescribes life imprisonment for trafficking leading to AIDS or begging or injecting of hormones, it will ultimately lead to criminalisation of trans-identities.
- The law would also lead to a multi-fold increase in violence against sex workers.
- If a sex worker is violated, she won’t be able to go to court because she will be immediately understood as exploited, trafficked and sent to rehabilitation.
- Forceful rehabilitation as laid down under the proposed legislation would uproot sex workers and deprive them of their source of livelihood.
- It is against the basic tenets of rehabilitation as it did not distinguish between trafficking and sex work and failed to assure dignity to consenting adult sex workers.
- It would also be a roadblock in HIV prevention.
- Certain clauses in the Bill endanger freedom of expression.
- Section 36, 39 (2) and 41 which pertain to advertisements or material that promote trafficking as well as solicitation through electronic modes lend themselves to misuse.
C. GS3 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
1. Nelson Mandela’s legacy: Global figure with a legacy-of a politics of excellence
Importance of Nelson Mandela
- If we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth today, it is not because we take leave of his time and his struggle but mainly because his politics of excellence and his moral capital are more relevant than ever to all those who continue to believe in the non-violent pursuit of public happiness and in peace-making governance
- He expanded our capacity to rethink politics in terms of empathy, forgiveness, and values
- Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
- Nelson Mandela was a man who cherished the ideal of a free society all his life; an ideal that as he proclaimed at his trial in Pretoria, in April 1964, he hoped to live for, but if need be, die for.
Path of wisdom
- During his lifetime, Mandela dedicated himself to the freedom struggle of the African people, and in doing so, fought against White and Black domination in South Africa.
- But more than anything else, he fought for democracy as a plural society in which all races, languages and opinions could live together in harmony, and with equal opportunity.
- However, what Nelson Mandela, as a political and moral leader, made possible for humanity was to extend and expand our capacity to rethink politics in terms of an ethics of empathy, a politics of forgiveness, and a revolution of values.
- As such, he was not necessarily, as he proclaimed later, “an ordinary man who became a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.” Truly speaking, South Africa’s transition to democracy, under the leadership of Mandela, was a great work of political creativity and moral wisdom.
- The two noted definitions of a human being by Aristotle — that he is a political being and a being endowed with speech, supplement each other in Mandela’s anti-apartheid practice of freedom.
- What Mandela understood through his life experience was that freedom cannot be speechless, while violence is incapable of speech.
- That such an outspokenness (what the Greeks called parrhesia) must be intimately connected with the ideal of freedom seems to be true in the legendary life of Mandela.
- His life experience speaks clearly for itself, the transformation of Mandela and that of the South African society went hand in hand.
- Mandela was born a century ago in a world where outspokenness was not practised among Blacks in South Africa.
- “We were meant to learn through imitation and emulation, not through asking questions,” he wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
- There were many conflicting interpretations in relation to the early stages of Mandela’s life, but all his biographers agree that the important development in his political life began after his arrival in Johannesburg.
- At this point, Mandela put his rural experience in Transkei behind him and made up his mind to engage himself in politics.
- In any case, Mandela’s clandestine travels within and outside South African territory ended in his arrest on August 5, 1962 at Howick.
- At the famous Rivonia trial, Mandela insisted on the ANC’s heritage of non-violence and racial harmony and delivered his historical speech which was received with empathy around the world.
- On June 12, 1964, Judge de Wet pronounced life imprisonment for Mandela and his fellow prisoners. Mandela spent 27 years and six months in captivity, with more than 17 years of this sentence on Robben Island as the prisoner 466/64.
- However, as he wrote later, prison gave him plenty of time “to stand back and look at the entire movement from a distance”.
- He revised his views and values while keeping his moral authority and his capacities for political judgment.
- Nelson Mandela left Victor Verster prison on February 11, 1990, but his march to freedom was not yet over.
- The second memorable moment of his life and that of South African nation was when he became, in 1994, South Africa’s first democratic and Black African President.
- “Madiba”, as Mandela was known by his clan name, accomplished his heroic status by meeting the challenges of his life and those of his time.
- As an activist, as a prisoner or as a leader in government, he remained intensely conscious of his moral and political responsibilities as a man in search for excellence.
- Even after his death, on December 5, 2013, he has remained a global figure with a legacy of a politics of excellence.
1. In need of a better waste management system
- Goa’s glass problem, it needs a better waste management system, not knee-jerk bans
- It is important to debunk these arguments if Goa is to truly become garbage-free by 2020.
- There are three key arguments made in favour of the recent proposal to ban beer bottles in Goa.
- Most bottlers do not collect empty bottles.
- Shards of glass injure people at beaches.
- The staff at waste facilities injure themselves.
Issues pertaining to glass problem
- The fact that most bottle-makers do not collect empty bottles is being used as a reason to ban glass bottles.
- This indicates the government’s unwillingness to force bottlers to do the right thing.
- If one company has a collection facility — and it does — it begs the question of why others can’t have the same.
- Are companies, in an effort to reduce costs, shirking their social responsibilities?
- The government can induce companies to initiate bottle collection schemes and ask companies to include all types of outlets, and consumers, in such schemes. A refundable deposit should be levied on the outlets and on the customers to encourage return of bottles. The deposit charged on the outlets should be the same as that they charge on customers.
Providing better Infrastructure
- If shards of glass are injuring people on the beach, this is a symptom of lack of civic sense and the absence of an effective waste management system.
- One way to prevent such injuries is to prevent drinking in the open, but that may be considered too restrictive in a tourism-driven economy such as Goa.
- Instead, there is need to bring behavioural change and provide better infrastructure to collect waste.
- A proper policing system should be put in place to deter, sensitise and punish people who litter.
Two major reasons for avoidable but hazardous injuries of staff at waste facilities.
- The waste is not segregated at source. Unsegregated waste not only hides sharp material but can also be a source of pathogens. On the other hand, waste segregation enhances the potential of the waste material to be reused and recycled.
- The reason for injury is inadequate protective equipment for personnel. Waste handlers usually do not use gloves and if they are given gloves, these are usually the rubber ones that easily get torn. However, there are special gloves for handling waste which are not just stronger but also provide better grip. Workers in waste collection facilities need to be provided such gloves.
- The question that Goans must ask themselves is whether they are waging a war against waste or battling a mindset.
- If it seeks easy but unsustainable alternatives that will eventually magnify current problems.
- For better waste management system, it seeks a collective solution which could ultimately clear the path to a garbage-free Goa by 2020.
- Aviation security watchdog BCAS has finalised a strategy to neutralise drones near airports, with the government set to unveil a framework to regulate unmanned aircraft systems in the country.
- The counter-drone plan has proposed neutralising drones through a soft kill approach which will include entrapping or jamming drones instead of destroying them.
- A “soft kill” approach instead of a hard kill approach has been suggested because destroying a drone with a payload of explosives or biochemical will result in an attack and serve the purpose of their handlers.
- The strategy deals with drones operating near aerodromes as the body is mandated to ensure aviation security.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs may prepare a separate plan to deal with drone attacks in sensitive zones such as Parliament.
- The BCAS will now conduct a trial to examine effective technology to neutralise drones, following which it will prepare technical specifications.
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation had released draft rules for unmanned aircraft systems in November 2017 and proposed to ban their operation within 5 km radius of an airport and 50 km from an international border.
- It also barred drones within 5 km radius of Vijay Chowk in New Delhi.
- A dozen new moons have been discovered around Jupiter, bringing its total number of moons to 79, the most for any planet in the solar system.
- One of the moons has been called a “real oddball” due to its tiny size.
- The Centre has raised safe limits for axle weight for transport vehicles by 20-25%.
- The revised axle limits will be applicable to new vehicles.
- An advisory would be issued to States to ensure that axle weight limits for heavy vehicles and trucks are enforced strictly.
- The Ministry has also proposed to dispense with fitness certificate for new vehicles and make it mandatory to have vehicle tracking system and FASTags for electronic toll collection for all commercial vehicles in its draft amendment to the Commercial Motor Vehicles Act.
- The amendments also proposed that a driving license and pollution certificates can be carried in physical or digital form.
- The move will help reduce logistics costs by 2% and attempts to bring norms at par with international standards.
- More pre-purchases are expected in fiscals 2019 and 2020.
- It is a good way to control overloading and fleet replacement would start as everyone wants to be competitive.
- Logistics companies see efficiencies improving and the automakers are eyeing growth.
- The timing is perfect as now highways, as well as arterial roads, have improved considerably.
- The implementation of norms will also arrest the tonnage shift in the MHCV segment to a certain extent that was based on vehicle economics
- The decision will be beneficial for transporters and could reduce traffic in the long run, but it will not lead to immediate reduction in tariff.
- Efficiency benefit will only be realised by transporters plying new trucks but there will be no meaningful impact on freight rates as they are determined by the operating economics of the entire fleet of trucks.
- However, long term growth may subside given benefits from higher load capacity.
- The Telecom Commission has approved TRAI’s recommendations on net neutrality.
- Two exceptions have been created — special category of applications, for example, remote surgery and special situations such as a natural disaster.
- TRAI has made specific recommendations on what changes should be included in licensing conditions.
- They have proposed that all the players in this ecosystem should be registered with the DoT which will truly empower people and will fulfil one of the important promises of Digital India viz. ubiquitous and affordable connectivity.
- The Western countries have had technology development but India is going from being completely offline to completely online. So, India is leapfrogging technology and not following the development process as was in other countries.
- A lot is going to depend on the Internet whether it is health, education or agriculture. Therefore, it is particularly important from a developing country’s perspective that the Internet remains non-discriminatory and innovative.
- Operators have criticised TRAI’s proposal for public Wi-Fi, citing security issues.
- The government has doubled import duty on more than 50 textile products — such as jackets, suits and carpets — to 20%, a move that is aimed at promoting domestic manufacturing.
- The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has also raised the ad-valorem rate of duty for certain items.
- It is aligned to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- Imported products that face the new duty include woven fabrics, dresses, trousers, suits and baby garments.
- But the least developed countries including Bangladesh would continue to enjoy duty-free access to Indian markets.
- As per WTO norms, India would not be able to give further incentive to the textile sector.
- The Directorate General of Trade Remedies’ recommendation to impose a 25% safeguard duty on solar component imports is a double-edged sword, according to analysts, as it will spur domestic manufacturers of these components, but will also raise costs for projects planned on cheaper, imported components, by about 15-20%.
- The DGTR, after hearing an application from the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association, recommended a safeguard duty on solar component imports from China and Malaysia.
- Currently, 85-90% of solar modules used in India are imported from China and Malaysia.
Boon or bane?
- The boon is the opportunity it provides the domestic module industry to flourish.
- The bane is the duty could raise capital costs for solar projects based on imported modules by 15-20%.
- The duty would put more than ₹1 lakh crore worth of solar power projects in jeopardy, as firms had committed to ongoing projects of about 27 GW.
- Given that the safeguard duty is applicable only for two years, this is unlikely to lead to any material increase in the domestic solar module/cell manufacturing capacity.
- Justice Chandrachud, who is part of the five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra hearing a plea to strike down Section 377 that criminalises gay sex even if it is between consenting adults, was reacting to arguments that homosexual behaviour leads to spread of HIV.
Justice Chandrachud’s observations
- Public acceptance of people in gay relationships will help meet health concerns and control the spread of HIV.
- Same sex couples living in denial with no access to medical care were more prone to contracting and spreading sexually transmitted diseases.
- The cause of sexually transmitted diseases is not sexual intercourse, but unprotected sexual intercourse.
- A village woman may get the disease from her husband, who is a migrant worker. This way would you now want to make sexual intercourse itself a crime?
- Justice Malhotra asked whether heterosexual people do not transmit HIV.
- Justice Rohinton Nariman said prohibitions have never resolved social issues. If you license prostitution, you control it. If you kick it under the carpet owing to some Victorian-era morality, it will only lead to health concerns.
- Giving a strong indication that the Bench would declare that Section 377 violates the right under Article 21 of the LGBTQ community to sexuality, sexual orientation and choice of sexual partner, Justice Nariman said the whole objective of fundamental rights is to empower the court to strike down laws like Section 377.
- Asking whether the people of India have lost their tolerance for one another, the Supreme Court condemned the recent spate of lynchings as horrendous acts of mobocracy and told Parliament to make lynching a separate offence.
- The judgment, by a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, wonders whether the populace of a great Republic like India has lost the values of tolerance to sustain a diverse culture?
- The recent litany of spiralling mob violence, their horror, the grim and gruesome scenes of lynchings are made worse by the apathy of the bystanders, numbness of mute spectators, inertia of the police and, finally, the grandstanding of the incident by the perpetrators of the crimes on social media.
- It said the primary obligation of the government is to protect all individuals irrespective of race, caste, class or religion.
- Crime knows no religion and neither the perpetrator nor the victim can be viewed through the lens of race, caste, class or religion.
- It directed several preventive, remedial and punitive measures to deal with lynching and mob violence.
- It ordered the Centre and the States to implement the measures and file compliance reports within the next four weeks.
- Lynchings cannot become the order of the day.
- The law is practised in courts and not on the streets.
- The limited role, if any, of a vigilante is to report an incident to the police and not become the law and punisher himself.
- A citizen is accountable to the law, which gives him wings to realise his aspirations. In return, the law demands the citizen to pay it obeisance.
- When vigilantes involve themselves in lynchings or any other brutalities, they put their accountability to the law on the ventilator.
- The court held that it is every person’s duty to protect lives and human rights.
- No act of a citizen is to be adjudged by any kind of community under the guise of protectors of law.
- There cannot be a right higher than the right to live with dignity and further to be treated with humaneness that the law provides.
- No citizen can assault the human dignity of another, for such an action would comatose the majesty of law.
- The government cannot allow self-styled vigilantes to take over from law enforcement agencies.
- Any external forces who assume the role of protectors are criminals, the judgment observed.
Orders to the government
- It ordered the Centre and the States to take immediate steps to stop the dissemination of fake news or stories on social media, which has a tendency to whip up a mob frenzy.
- The court ordered the State governments to have a special task force to procure intelligence on people likely to spread hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news in each district.
- The district-level nodal officers should hold regular meetings with their local intelligence units to identify the existence of the tendencies of vigilantism, mob violence or lynching in the district and take steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material on social media.
- Areas with a five-year history of lynchings should be identified in each district within the next three weeks.
- Nodal officers in districts shall take steps to eradicate a hostile environment against any community or caste.
- The police shall register an FIR under Section 153A (promoting enmity) of the IPC against the suspects.
- If found guilty, a person faces up to five years of imprisonment.
- The trial shall be held in a fast-track court on a day-to-day basis and completed in six months.
- Maximum sentence should be granted to the guilty to make an example of them and serve as a deterrent.
- The judgment directed the Central government to issue appropriate directions/advisories to the States to reflect the gravity of the situation.
- The State governments have been given a month to prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme with due regard paid to the nature of bodily injury, psychological injury and loss of earnings including loss of opportunities of employment and education and expenses incurred on account of legal and medical expenses and so on.
G. Prelims Fact
- The ‘Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India.
- It was launched in September 2017 on World Tourism Day by President Ram Nath Kovind.
- Under it, the government invites entities, including public sector companies, private sector firms as well as individuals, to develop selected monuments and heritage and tourist sites across India.
- Development of these tourist sites calls for providing and maintaining basic amenities, including drinking water, ease of access for the differently abled and senior citizens, standardised signage, cleanliness, public conveniences and illumination, along with advanced amenities such as surveillance systems, night-viewing facilities and tourism facilitation centres.
- The sites/monument are selected on the basis of tourist footfall and visibility and can be adopted by private and public sector companies and individuals — known as Monument Mitras — for an initial period of five years.
- The Monument Mitras are selected by the ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary, on the basis of the bidder’s ‘vision’ for development of all amenities at the heritage site.
- There is no financial bid involved.
- The corporate sector is expected to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for the upkeep of the sites.
- The Monument Mitras, in turn, will get limited visibility on the site premises and on the Incredible India website.
- The oversight committee also has the power to terminate a memorandum of understanding in case of non-compliance or non-performance.
- This is not the first time the government has tried to rope in the corporate sector to help maintain tourist sites and monuments.
- In one such attempt, the government in 2011 formed a National Culture Fund. Since then, 34 projects have been completed under it through public-private partnerships.
- Another similar scheme under the UPA government was ‘Campaign Clean India,’ in which the government had identified 120 monuments/destinations.
- Under this scheme, the India Tourism Development Corporation had adopted Qutab Minar as a pilot project in 2012, while ONGC adopted six monuments — Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Golkonda Fort, Mamallapuram, Red Fort and Taj Mahal — as part of its CSR.
- The government said the scheme would help to increase tourist footfall.
- The project kicked up a storm after reports that private entity Dalmia Bharat, under an MoU, would build infrastructure and maintain the iconic Red Fort.
- Dalmia Bharat has committed ₹25 crore for the purpose.
- The Opposition termed it an attack on the idea of India, alleging that the government was handing over the symbol of India’s independence to private parties.
- Notwithstanding criticism, the government intends to expand the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme.
- Under the scheme, the government has put up a list of over 93 ASI monuments that can be bid for by private and public-sector firms, as well as individuals.
- This is a pretty small list, as the ASI protects 3,686 ancient monuments and archaeological sites, including 36 world heritage sites.
- So far, 31 agencies or Monument Mitras have been approved to adopt 95 monuments/tourist sites.
- However, only four MoUs have been signed. These are between the Ministry of Tourism, the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India and the Government of Jammu & Kashmir for Mt. Stok Kangri, Ladakh; the Ministry of Tourism, the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India and the Uttarakhand government for trail to Gaumukh; the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture, the ASI and Dalmia Bharat for the Red Fort (in Delhi) and the Gandikota Fort (in Andhra Pradesh).
H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Which of the following statement/s is/are incorrect with respect to the Black Rhino?
- It is native to the eastern and southern Africa including Botswana and Kenya.
- Although the rhinoceros is referred to as black, its colours vary from brown to grey.
- The species is classified as Extinct in Wild by IUCN.
- Both a and c
Question 2. Which of the following factors can contribute to Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
- Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy
- Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy
- Exposure to environmental toxins, such as high levels of lead, at a young age
- Low birth weight
- Brain injuries
- i, ii, and iv only
- i, ii, iii and v only
- i, ii, iii, iv and v only
- All of the above
Question 3. Consider the following statements regarding the President of India.
- All executive actions of the Government of India are formally taken in his name.
- He can make rules for more convenient transaction of business of Union Govt.
Which of the above statement(s) is/are incorrect?
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 4. The theory of Separation of Powers is well founded in:
- Federal form of government
- Presidential form of government
- Parliamentary form of government
- All of the above
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- The Resolution of Kashmir Crisis is not guaranteed even if there is a consensus among all the concerned stakeholders involved. Discuss.
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is an excellent opportunity for India to secure its economic and security interests in the region. Elaborate.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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