08 Oct 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
ART AND CULTURE
1. Monuments in North Karnataka proposed as World Heritage Sites
HISTORY
1. Recalling Mysore Lancers’ role in Haifa liberation
B. GS2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Iran Parliament passes counter-terror finance Bill
GOVERNANCE
1. Centre begins work to widen pension cover
C. GS3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. For Kumbh, Ganga gets a Swachh ‘army’
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. Upgraded MiG-29 adds to air power
1. BSF gets fortified watchtowers
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Vaccination begins for Gir lions
ECONOMY
1. India best for investments: PM
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 
1. Oldest friends (India- Russia Relationship) 
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Too easily offended (Section 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code) 
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: ART AND CULTURE

1. Monuments in North Karnataka proposed as World Heritage Sites

Context:

The cluster of monuments and forts of the Deccan Sultanate, spread across Bidar, Vijayapura and Kalaburagi districts in the State, have been nominated by the Union government for inscription as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Details:

  • The dossier was prepared by the Indian Heritage Cities Network (IHCN). It was approved by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI) and the proposal was submitted to UNESCO by the Centre.
  • These are the only cluster of monuments recommended by India this year.
  • The proposed group of monuments —
  1. The Bahmani monuments at Kalaburagi
  2. The Bahmani and the Barid Shahi monuments in Bidar
  3. Vijayapura’s Adil Shahi monuments

 are already in UNESCO’s ‘Tentative List’ under ‘Monuments and Forts of the Deccan Sultanate’ along with the Qutb Shahi monuments of Telangana.

Procedure for selection:

  • Once proposed, a team of UNESCO experts will pay a site visit for evaluation and to assess if the sites meet the criteria of being culturally significant.
  • There are 10 criteria by the UNESCO as per which the proposed monuments should an outstanding example of any architectural style, or be a testimony to a tradition etc.
  • Even fulfilling one of the 10 criteria is sufficient to qualify for inscription as a world heritage site.
  • To be declared as a World Heritage Site, the monuments should be in the ‘Tentative List’.
  • The proposed monuments are in this list since 2014, along with two other group of monuments from Karnataka: the temples of Belur and Halebid, described as sacred ensembles of Hoysalas, and the group of monuments of Srirangapatna.

 

Benefits of being included in the list of World Heritage Sites:

  • If included among the World Heritage Sites, it will help in better maintenance of the monuments.
  • It will result in mapping of the area, receiving of funds and it will bring them on the global tourism map.
  • At present, Hampi and the Pattadakal group of monuments in Karnataka are inscribed as World Heritage cultural sites.

Category: HISTORY

1. Recalling Mysore Lancers’ role in Haifa liberation

Context:

The Bahai community of Bengaluru, along with the Inter-Religious Harmony Movement, organised an event on Sunday to commemorate the liberation of Haifa in Israel from Ottoman Empire in 1918 during World War I.

Details:

  • The battle of Haifa is important for India and Karnataka.
  • The Mysore Lancers, which was created in 1892, played a significant role in defeating the enemies. In fact, it was the Mysore Lancers which led Abdul Baha out of captivity.
  • The battle of Haifa was incidentally the last cavalry battle to have been fought.

B. GS2 Related

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Iran Parliament passes counter-terror finance Bill

Context:

Iran’s parliament on Sunday approved a bill to counter terrorist financing that was strongly opposed by conservatives but seen as vital to salvaging the nuclear deal with European and Asian partners. 

Details:

  • The Bill aims to bring Iran’s laws in line with international standards and allow it to join the UN Terrorism Financing Convention.
  • It is one of the four Bills put forward by the government in recent months in a bid to meet demands by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has given Iran until later this month to tighten its laws against money laundering and terror financing.
  • The issue has become particularly pressing since the United States walked out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran earlier this year and began reimposing sanctions.
  • The other parties to the deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — have sought to salvage the agreement and maintain trade with Iran, but have demanded that it accede to the FATF.

Why is this bill controversial?

  • Joining the UN convention has been controversial because hardliners say it will limit Iran’s ability to support armed groups in the region, such as its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.
  • Economists say greater transparency could cause problems for powerful behind-the-scenes networks, including the Revolutionary Guards military organisation, which is deeply embedded in Iran’s opaque economy. 
  • The opponents of the bill believe that it would not solve the country’s financial problems, and would help its enemies.
  • Iran is alone with North Korea on the blacklist of the FATF, although the Paris-based organisation has suspended counter-measures since June 2017 while Iran works on reforms. 

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Centre begins work to widen pension cover

Context:

The Union government launched an evaluation this week as part of measures to double the number of people covered by its pension scheme from the current 3.09 crore to more than six crore.

Details:

  • The measure is in line with proposals made in the last budget, which, however, did not include additional financial allocation.
  • Now, with an upcoming hearing in the Supreme Court on a petition demanding universal pension coverage and higher allocation, the government hopes its study will throw up some concrete proposals, in time for the next budget.
  • Comprehensive evaluation is being taken up before considering a revamp of the scheme,” a senior official of the Rural Development Ministry, which administers the scheme, told.

Public Interest Litigation petition on care and assistance to the elderly:

  • In its last order on September 12, the Supreme Court had said: “As far as the National Social Assistance Programme is concerned, even though it is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, the contribution made by the Central government is minuscule.” The Centre’s contribution to the monthly pension is ₹200, an amount that has remained unchanged for the last 11 years.
  • The court added that it would like the Union of India to obtain all necessary information from each of the States and not take unnecessary time to obtain information.
  • The court had given a period of three weeks to file a “proper and effective affidavit” on the issue also asking the Centre and states to ascertain the amount of pension and the coverage.
  • Advertisements for agencies to conduct the evaluation were issued just days before the October 9 hearing of a Public Interest Litigation petition on care and assistance to the elderly.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. For Kumbh, Ganga gets a Swachh ‘army’

Context:

Kumbh Mela will be organised by the Uttar Pradesh Government in January 2019.

Details:

  • The January 2019 Kumbh Mela, it will have a special unit to help: a volunteer force of ex-servicemen. The Ganga Task Force (GTF), specially trained by the Ministry of Defence will help with crowd management, spread awareness on keeping the river clean and stop people and industry from polluting the river.
  • Currently, a “battalion” of 300 personnel has been trained and stationed in Allahabad.
  • Plans are afoot to expand the strength to 500 and post them in Kanpur and Varanasi, said Director-General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
  • The NMCG runs the ‘Namami Gange’ mission to clean the Ganga.
  • The NMCG’s thrust is on roping in the private sector to not only set up sewage treatment plants (STPs) but also maintain them.

 

Ganga Task Force (GTF):

  • The GTF is a unit of the Territorial Army deployed in the services of the Ganga with the approval of Ministry of Defence for four years till December 2020.
  • It consists of three companies of over 100 men each to be stationed at Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi, with the battalion headquarters at Allahabad.
  • Their functions will include planting trees to check soil erosion, patrolling sensitive river areas for biodiversity protection, monitoring river pollution, and assisting during floods/natural calamity.
  • The jawans have also been trained by the Central Pollution Control Board to measure the health of the river.
  • In 2015, the government, through an executive order, had cleared the creation of such a force. However, a defined mandate — such as to punish or imprison those found polluting the river — is being fleshed out in a forthcoming ‘Ganga Act,’ which is yet to be ironed out as a Bill and is under discussion.

What is Kumbh Mela?

  • Kumbh Mela is the festival of a sacred pitcher where the piligrims bathe or take dip in the sacred river.
  • It is one of the largest human congregations in the world. It is held in four pilgrimage places on the sacred rivers in Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag.
  • India, known for its heritage and cultural diversity has 13 cultural heritages in the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list. “Kumbh Mela” was the latest addition to the list.
  • Kumbh Mela was inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the 12th session held at Jeju, South Korea.

Category: INTERNAL SECURITY

1. Upgraded MiG-29 adds to air power

Context:

The Indian Air Force’s beast — MiG-29 — has gained in strength and ferocity after an upgrade, giving the force, battling a shortage of fighter aircraft, a much-needed boost.

Details:

  • The Russian-origin aircraft, now capable of effecting mid-air refuelling, is compatible with latest missiles and can launch multi-dimensional attacks.
  • Even in the previous ‘legacy version’, the aircraft played an important role as the IAF stamped its supremacy over the Pakistani force during the Kargil War of 1999.
  • With the upgrade, as compared to the previous ‘legacy version’ of the MiG-29 bought under emergency clause in early 1980s, the fighter jets are capable to give a befitting response.
  • The upgraded MiG-29 also had Multi-Functional Display (MFD) screen.
  • The strategically important Adampur Air Force Station, which is around 100 km from Pakistan and 250 km away from China borders, is now equipped with upgraded MiG-29.
  • The IAF has three squadrons of MiG-29 fighter jets in operation, two of them at the Adampur Air Force Station. One squadron comprises 16-18 aircraft.
  • The force now had a combat aircraft which was flexible and could manoeuvre every situation so that IAF pilots could change their position and strike the enemy.
  • The fighter plane has the capability of taking off vertically, which has “increased the IAF’s power a lot.”
  • The upgraded MiG-29 aircraft could take off within five minutes of spotting a hostile jet trying to enter the Indian airspace and destroy it.
  • With air-to-air refuelling feature, the upgraded MiG-29 can cover larger distance as compared to the previous aircraft and destroy the enemy,” said another IAF officer.

 

Category: INTERNAL SECURITY

1. BSF gets fortified watchtowers

Context:

Nearly 350 watchtowers made of tin and mud and with thatched roofs have been replaced with concrete structures along the International Border with Pakistan in Jammu

Issues along the border:

  • The 740-km Line of Control in Kashmir is under the operational control of the Army and the 192-km International Border in Jammu is manned by the BSF.
  • This year, 13 BSF soldiers had been killed along the border, the highest casualty in the past five years.
  • The BSF recently operationalised the comprehensive integrated border management system (CIBMS) along a 11-km stretch on the border to detect and stop infiltration from Pakistan.
  • Through advanced sensors and radars, the CIBMS has the capability to detect any type of movement on ground, water or below the ground.
  • The CIBMS is a new mode of guarding the border without exposing the jawans to bullets from the other side.

Personnel safety:

  • The new structures would help protect Border Security Force (BSF) personnel from targeted attacks from across the border.
  • The observation towers are located at a height and make the BSF personnel prone to attack from snipers in Pakistan. And the tin structures were not robust enough in case of firing from the other side. The proposal was cleared in 2015 by a high-level committee.

There are plans of shifting to quick reaction teams that will take action as soon as any intrusion occur. Men will then get respite from standing guard in inclement weather and this will be an effective and cheaper way of protecting the border.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Vaccination begins for Gir lions

Read in detail from: 5th October 2018 CNA

 

Category: ECONOMY

1. India best for investments: PM

Context:

Context:

  • Addressing top business leaders and industrial houses at “Destination Uttarakhand: Investors Summit 2018”, The Prime Minister said the country was passing through an era of unprecedented social and economic changes, and expressed confidence that in the coming decades, India would become the engine of world economic growth.
  • The Prime Minister claimed that India is the ideal investment destination in the world today with major social and economic changes sweeping the country.

Demographic dividend:

  • “Fiscal deficit has come down, the rate of inflation has come down. The middle class is growing and the country is full of demographic dividend. “In the past four years, the State and Central governments together have taken over 10,000 measures, which have helped the country improve its position in the ease-of-doing-business rankings by 42 points,” Mr. Modi said, describing the current times as the best for investors in the country.
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was the biggest tax reform in the country post-Independence, which had turned the country into a single market, he said.

 

Infrastructure growth:

  • Highlighting the rapid growth in the infrastructure sector, the Prime Minister said 10,000 km of highways had been built, which was double in comparison with what was done by earlier governments.
  • The aviation sector was growing at a record speed with 100 new airports and helipads coming up across the country.
  • Tier II and III cities were getting air connectivity. With the high-speed rail projects and metro lines in various cities and the Centre’s policy of housing for all, power for all, fuel for all and banking for all, scenario of an ideal investment destination became complete, Mr. Modi said.

The Prime Minister said schemes such as Ayushman Bharat would provide health insurance coverage to a huge population and it would also open up huge opportunities for investors in the health sector.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Oldest friends (India- Russia Relationship)

 

Note to the Students:

  • This particular topic as it reads falls under the domain of GS Paper II, wherein, it can be mapped to multiple subject areas- such as bilateral relations and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests and GS Paper III from a Science and Technology perspective as we briefly touch upon some critical defence equipment over which an agreement has been reached.

Larger Background:

  • India-Russia cooperation is based on the solid foundations of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the USSR, 1993 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation, 2000 Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation and 2010 Joint Statement elevating the Partnership to a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.
  • Cooperation between India and Russia spans across the whole gamut of sectors and rests on the fundamental pillars of political and strategic cooperation, military and security cooperation, cooperation in the spheres of economy, energy, industry, science and technology, and cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

The News:

  • Prime Minister of the Republic of India H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi and President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vladimir V. Putin met for the 19th edition of the Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 4-5, 2018.
  • During this meeting on October 4-5, 2018, the sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.
  • They declared that this relationship is an important factor for global peace and stability and appreciated each other’s respective roles as major powers with common responsibilities for maintaining global peace and stability.
  • This meeting takes place after the informal summit in Sochi on May 21, 2018 which was a unique meeting in international diplomacy, reflecting the deep trust and confidence between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin. The Sochi Summit manifested the role of interaction and cooperation between India and Russia in building a multi-polar world order.

Important Excerpts from the Joint Statement Released by India and Russia:

  1. Developments on the Economic front:
  • The two sides reviewed the progress on the achievement of the goal to increase two-way investment to USD 30 billion by the year 2025 and noted with satisfaction that both countries were on the way to achieving this target.
  • They noted that in 2017 bilateral trade increased by more than 20% and agreed to work towards its further increase and diversification. The Sides expressed their support to promoting bilateral trade in national currencies.
  • The Indian Side invited Russian companies to participate in the development of industrial corridors in India, including in areas of road and rail infrastructure, smart cities, construction of wagons and creation of a joint transportation logistics company.
  • The Russian Side offered its expertise in tax collection based on satellite navigation technologies for the realization of joint projects in India including in the framework of above mentioned industrial corridors.
  • The Russian Side expressed its interest in participating in the international competitive biddings as and when the Ministry of Railways of India decides to execute the railway speed raising projects.
  • They called for the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) through intensified efforts by finalizing pending issues related to Customs authorities, development of road and rail infrastructure and financial facilitation through bilateral discussions as well as discussions with other partner countries at the earliest.
  • India and Russia supported the early launch of the Green Corridor project aimed at the simplification of customs operations in respect of goods being transported between India and Russia. They regarded this as an important step towards enhancing mutual trade.
  • India and Russia agreed to work together to explore joint projects for productive, efficient and economic use of natural resources in each other’s country through application of appropriate technologies while ensuring affordable environment friendly utilization of natural resources.
  • The two sides acknowledged the agriculture sector as an important area for cooperation and committed themselves to eliminating trade barriers, greater production and trade in agricultural products.
  • The two sides agreed to explore opportunities of joint collaboration in precious metals, minerals, natural resources and forest produce, including timber, through joint investments, production, processing and skilled labour.
  • The Russian Side invited the Indian Side to invest in the Russian Far East. The Indian Side welcomed the decision to open an office of the Far East Agency in Mumbai.
  1. b) Developments in the area of Science and Technology:
  • The Sides stressed the importance of the longstanding and mutually beneficial India-Russia cooperation in outer space and welcomed the activity on setting up measurement data collection ground stations of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System NavIC and the Russian Navigation Satellite System GLONASS in the territory of the Russian Federation and the Republic of India respectively.
  • India and Russia agreed to further intensify cooperation in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including human spaceflight programmes, scientific projects, as well as agreed to continue developing cooperation on BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation.
  • Both sides expressed interest in the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the Arctic, inter alia in the sphere of joint scientific research.
  1. b) Developments in the area of Energy:
  • The Sides acknowledged the interest of Russian and Indian companies in cooperation in the field of LNG and welcomed the commencement of supply of LNG under the long-term contract between Gazrpom Group and GAIL India Ltd.
  • The Sides expressed their support to companies from both sides for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development of oil fields in the Russian territory, including in the Arctic shelf of Russia and joint development of projects on the shelf of the Pechora and Okhotsk Seas.
  • Civil nuclear cooperation between India and Russia is an important component of strategic partnership contributing to India’s energy-security and its commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • India and Russia noted the progress achieved in the construction of the remainder of the six power units at Kudankulam NPP as well as the efforts being made in the components manufacturing for localization.
  • India and Russia highlighted the progress achieved in fulfillment of the agreements envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding on trilateral cooperation in implementation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project in Bangladesh.
  • Both sides also decided to further explore possibilities of closer cooperation on hydel and renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, including in order to reduce the negative effects of climate change.
  1. c) Developments in the area of Military-Technical Cooperation:
  • The Russian Side positively evaluated the Indian participation in the Army Games 2018, Army 2018 and Moscow Conference on International Security.
  • India and Russia commended the successful completion of the first ever Tri-Services Exercise INDRA 2017 and committed to continue their Joint Military Exercises – INDRA Navy, INDRA Army and Avia INDRA – in 2018.
  • India and Russia welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System to India.
  • Both India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to enhance military technical cooperation between India and Russia, which has a long history of mutual trust and mutual benefit.
  • Both India and Russia expressed satisfaction at the significant progress made on the ongoing projects of military technical cooperation and recognized the positive shift towards joint research and joint production of military technical equipment between the two countries.
  • They highly evaluated the Military Industrial Conference process as an important mechanism to promote the “Make in India” policy of the Government of India.
  1. c) Developments in the area of International Issues:
  • The two sides declared their support to Afghan government’s efforts towards the realization of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process.
  • The two sides reaffirmed the commitment of India and Russia for a political resolution of the conflict in Syria, through an inclusive Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process which safeguards the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.
  • India and Russia expressed the serious concern about the possibility of an arms race in outer space and of outer space turning into an arena for military confrontation. They reaffirmed that the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), would avert a grave danger for international peace and security.
  • India and Russia underlined common approaches to ensuring security in the use of ICTs and their willingness to strengthen bilateral interagency practical dialogue in furtherance of the intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Security in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies.
  • The two sides confirmed their determination to enhance interaction and coordination of efforts in the regional multilateral fora such as BRICS, G-20, SCO, RIC and East Asia Summits. India expressed its aspiration to broaden cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union.
  • India welcomed the initiative of Russia to create a Larger Eurasian Partnership that stipulates conjugation of national development strategies and multilateral integration projects in the interests of building effective platform of constructive cooperation based on strict observance of the international law, principles of equality, mutual respect and taking in account each other national perspectives.
  • Russia welcomed the participation of India in the counter-terror military exercise “Peace Mission – 2018”. Both Sides consider the goal of developing an economic component of SCO as an important one, including realization of transportation and infrastructure projects aimed at providing interconnection within the SCO Organization and with observers, partner countries, as well as other interested states.
  • They stood for increasing the role of SCO in the international affairs and believe it necessary to expand contacts and cooperation of SCO with the UN and its structures, other international and regional organizations. The Sides agreed to deepen cultural and humanitarian ties within the SCO.

Editorial Analysis:

  • On the 5th of October, 2018, India and Russia announced a number of agreements, including a $5.43 billion S-400 Triumf missile system deal, a space cooperation arrangement to put an Indian in space, and an action plan for a new nuclear plant.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Putin also addressed a business summit, in an attempt to diversify ties and increase bilateral trade.
  • Currently, bilateral trade between the two countries is below $10 billion.
  • It is believed that much of the fresh momentum in bilateral engagement will come from the energy sector.
  • Several billions of dollars worth of investment and energy deals are in the pipeline.

Significance of the S-400 air defence system deal:

  • This deal denotes India’s desire to deepen defence cooperation with Russia. It also denotes that India is prepared to do this despite U.S. warnings that the deal could attract sanctions.
  • The fact that this deal comes just a month after India signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) for better interoperability with the U.S. military, is a sign that India will not be forced or even persuaded into putting all its eggs in one strategic basket.
  • It is believed that more defence deals with Russia will make it increasingly difficult for the U.S. to give India a waiver from sanctions under CAATSA.

Concluding Remarks:

  • It is believed that both on CAATSA and on the U.S.’s proposed sanctions on Iran that go into force on November 4, 2018, India will need to make some tough decisions.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Too easily offended (Section 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code)

 

The News:

●       Recently, a privilege motion was moved against a Defence Analyst, named Abhijit Iyer-Mitra in the Odisha Assembly, demanding action against him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments after he tweeted a video commentary from the Konark temple.

A Note on Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code:

  • The purpose of the Section 153 A is to punish persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc of any particular group or class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion.
  • The jurisdiction of this Section is widened so as to make promotion of disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities punishable. Offence on moral turpitude is also covered in this section.
  • The offence is a cognizable offence and the punishment for the same may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
  • However, the punishment of the offence committed in a place of worship is
    enhanced up to five years and fine.

A look at the ingredients of Section 153-A:

  1. The act of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste, community or any other group. 
  2. Acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different groups or castes or communities, if the acts disturb public tranquility. 
  3. Acts causing fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity among members of any religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community by use of criminal force or violence against them. 

A Note on Section 295 and 295-A of the Indian Penal Code:

  • Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code makes destruction, damage, or defilement of a place of worship or an object held sacred, with intent to insult the religion of a class of persons, punishable with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine , or with both. This section has been enacted to compel people to respect the religious susceptibilities of persons of different religious persuasion or creeds.
  • The object of Section 295-A is to punish deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulating its religion or the religious beliefs. This section only punishes an aggravated form of insult to religion when it is perpetrated with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of a class.

A look at the ingredients of Section 295-A: 

  1. The accused must insult or attempt to insult the religion or religious beliefs of any class of citizens of India. 
  2. The said insult must be with a deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of the said class of citizens. 
  3. The said insult must be by words, either spoken or written, by signs or by visible representation or otherwise. 
  4. The offence under Section 295-A is cognizable and a non-bailable and non-compoundable offence. 
  5. The police have a power under to arrest a person charged under Section 295-A without a warrant.

Editorial Analysis:

  • It is important to note that sending someone to the “safety” of a prison is no answer to questions raised by a prosecution under stringent laws that involve restrictions on free speech on grounds of maintaining public order and tranquillity.
  • In the video post against the backdrop of the Konark temple, Mr. Iyer-Mitra had made some comments which were clearly satirical in nature.
  • In the wake of this, although it is entirely possible that his remarks offended some people, it is incorrect to assume his intent was to sow discord or create religious enmity.
  • The State police of Odisha charged him with outraging or wounding religious feelings. Further, quite surprisingly, the police alleged that his remarks were directed against the “Odiya people”.
  • Experts believe that Mr. Iyer-Mitra’s arrest in New Delhi by a police team from Odisha for his comments and some other tweets is another instance of the rampant misuse of two sections of the Indian Penal Code, which are 153A and 295A on the charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.  

Concluding Remarks:

  • This entire episode raises the flag of a larger concern.
  • This concern revolves around the fact that provisions which ought to be invoked only under serious circumstances, an example of which being: a grave threat to public order and tranquillity, for instance, or, in the case of Section 295A, when a purported insult to religion has been done with malicious and deliberate intent, are being misused in a routine manner.
  • When the onus is on the prosecution to show there was criminal intent either to provoke disharmony or deliberately offend religious sensibilities, it is simply wrong to invoke these sections for everything that someone finds objectionable.
  • It is important to note that irreverence or even bad taste is not a crime.
  • In conclusion, it is important to note that in a mature democracy, the casual resort to criminal prosecution for perceived insults to either a religion or a class of society ought to be actively discouraged.
  • As a matter of fact, the case must serve as yet another prompt to begin the process of reading down Sections 153A and 295A.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

1. Ranna’s ‘Gadhayuddham’

 

  • Gadhayuddham (The Duel of Maces), is a 10th century work by poet Ranna.
  • It is also known as Saahasabhima Vijaya.
  • Of the five known major works accomplished by him, two are available in full and one in part. They are: Ajitha purana, Parashuramacharithe(extinct), Saahasabhima Vijaya , Ranna Kanda and Chakresvaracharite (extinct)
  • Based on a single episode in the Shalya Parva, the ninth book of the Mahabharata, Gadhayuddham depicts the battle between the cousins, Bhima and Duryodhana.
  • Some scholars believe that Gadayuddhamay have been conceived as a play before being completed as a champukavya.

2. Japan-India Maritime Exercise

 

  • Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force ships — Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer and Inazuma, a Guided Missile Destroyer have arrived at Visakhapatnam.
  • They will participate in the third edition of Japan-India Maritime Exercise till October 15 .

2. Gloriosa superba

 

  • Gloriosa superba is Tamil Nadu’s state flower.
  • It is a gold mine waiting to be exploited.
  • The plant, which contains 24 types of alkaloids (nitrogenous organic compounds) and 10 non-alkaloidal medicinal compounds, is widely used in native medicinal compositions and in the treatment of gout and as a pain killer in allopathic medicine.
  • The price for this flower has also gone up from ₹250 a kg 30 years ago to ₹3,430 now.
  • A major problem in the cultivation of this species is pollination. The peculiar structure of the flower impedes pollination rate.
  • Rajendran has come up with a novel method to tackle this by resorting to ‘touch pollination’ or manual pollination of implanting pollen grains.
  • The other problem is the high cost of raising the plant. 

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of the following is the latest addition to UNESCO's intangible 
cultural heritage list?
    1. Vedic Chanting
    2. Kumbh Mela
    3. Ramlila
    4. Koodiyattam

    .

 

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the folloowing statements with respect to Asiatic Lions
 
  1. Its range is restricted to Gir National Park in Gujarat
  2. It is classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements
  1. UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites are those sites with distinctive cultural facets such as geological formations, physical, biological and cultural landscapes.
  2. The temples of Belur and Halebid in Karnataka are inscribed as World Heritage cultural sites.

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements
  1. Gadhayuddham  is a 10th century work by poet Ranna.
  2. It is also known as Vikramarjuna Vijaya.

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
  

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. Cooperation between India and Russia rests on the fundamental pillars of political and strategic cooperation, military and security cooperation.Discuss.
  2. In a mature democracy, the casual resort to criminal prosecution for perceived insults to either a religion or a class of society ought to be actively discouraged.Comment in the context of section 153 A and 295 A.

 

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