26 Sep 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. India ranks 158th in ‘human capital’ score
2. Legislators can practise law, says SC
3. Enact ‘strong law’ to cleanse politics: SC
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Unemployment among educated youth at 16%: study
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Maldives Presidential Election
F. Tidbits
1. SC forms prison reforms panel
2. SC gives U.P. time till Nov. 15 for vision document on Taj
3. NPAs with PSU banks declining: Jaitley
4. IL&FS, 40 group firms knock on NCLT doors seeking relief
5. Apex court wants government to fill SAT vacancies quickly
6. Option on capping exports to U.S. is still open, says Commerce Secretary
7. Hopes rise in India for an end to Maldives visa row
8. CJI Bench to hear plea against Gogoi elevation
9. SC to decide today on live telecast
10. Shortage of forms upsets NRC applicants
11. SC to deliver verdict on quota in promotion
12. SC verdict on Aadhaar today
13. EC should curb religious appeal in polls
14. Centre mulls allowing Naga leader’s return
15. Kerala seeks ₹5,000 cr. as special Central aid
16. Triple talaq ordinance challenged
G. Prelims Fact
1. ‘Parakram Parv’ to be celebrated
2. Haryana okays aid to acid attack victims
3. A virtual visit to Indian Museum
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. India ranks 158th in ‘human capital’ score

 

  • India ranks 158th in the world for its investments in education and health care, according to the first-ever scientific study ranking countries for their levels of investment in human capital.
  • The study is based on analysis of data from government agencies, schools, and health care systems.

Rankings

  • The nation is placed behind Sudan (ranked 157th) and ahead of Namibia (ranked 159th) in the list.
  • The U.S. is ranked 27th, while China is at 44th and Pakistan at 164th.
  • South Asian countries ranking below India in this report include Pakistan (164), Bangladesh (161) and Afghanistan (188).
  • Countries in the region that have fared better than India in terms of human capital include Sri Lanka (102), Nepal (156), Bhutan (133) and Maldives (116).

Significance

  • India is ranked at 158 out of 195 countries in 2016, an improvement from its position of 162 in 1990.
  • The findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP.

Concerns

  • It also shows that India is falling behind in terms of health and education of its workforce, which could potentially have long-term negative effects on the economy.

2. Legislators can practise law, says SC

 

  • The Supreme Court has held that there was no bar on legislators doubling up as lawyers.

Petition

  • The writ petition, filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, had argued that legislators donning the lawyers’ robes is a matter of serious concern to the judiciary.
  • Upadhyay had argued that lawmakers drew their salaries and pensions from the public exchequer and hence could be classified as employees.

Judgement

  • The Bench dismissed the arguments made in the petition that such legal practice by lawmakers was in violation of Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Act, which forbade an advocate to be full-time salaried employee of any person, government, firm, corporation or concern, so long as he continues to practise.
  • More importantly, the Supreme Court said there is no conflict of interest if the MPs are allowed to practise law in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts before the very judges they have power to impeach.
  • The conferment of power on the legislators (MPs) to move an impeachment motion against the judge(s) of constitutional courts does not per se result in conflict of interest or a case of impacting constitutional morality or for that matter institutional integrity.
  • The judgment said lawmakers could not be described as full-time salaried employees of the State. They were elected representatives and occupied a unique position in our democracy.

Significance

  • The judgment by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud comes as a great relief to many sitting MPs of both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, who are practising lawyers in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts.

3. Enact ‘strong law’ to cleanse politics: SC

 

  • The Supreme Court has directed political parties to publish online the pending criminal cases of their candidates and urged Parliament to bring a strong law to cleanse political parties of leaders facing trial for serious crimes.

Observations

  • Supreme Court reproduced the words of the freedom fighter and last Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari, to show how Independent India’s founding fathers apprehended the slow slide of honesty and integrity in politics.
  • Justice Misra reflected that Rajaji had written in his prison diary that “elections and their corruption, injustice and tyranny of wealth, and inefficiency of administration, will make a hell of life as soon as freedom is given to us.”
  • Similarly, the judgment quotes Rajendra Prasad, who said, “A Constitution like a machine is a lifeless thing. It acquires life because of the men who control it and operate it, and India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them.”
  • Finally, it talks about the limitations of a Constitution through the words of B.R. Ambedkar. “A Constitution can provide only the organs of State, the factors on which the working of those organs of the State depend are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. Who can say how the people of India and their parties will behave?”
  • A politician may be disqualified from being a legislator, but he may continue to hold high positions within his party, thus also continuing to play an important public role which he has been deemed unfit for by the law.
  • Convicted politicians may continue to influence law-making by controlling the party and fielding proxy candidates in legislature, the Chief Justice wrote in the judgment.
  • Political parties act as a conduit through which interests and issues of the people are represented in Parliament. They play a central role in the interface between private citizens and public life, Chief Justice Misra noted.
  • The verdict referred to past efforts to usher in transparency within political parties. It quotes the efforts to bring political parties under the Right to Information regime.
  • The judgment refers to observations made by the CIC in Subhash Chandra Agarwal v. INC and others to describe the position of political parties in democracy.
  • Criminalisation of politics and corruption, especially at the entry level of elections, has become a national and economic terror. It is a disease which is self-destructive and becoming immune to antibiotics.
  • Chief Justice Misra said Parliament is obligated to act, as criminalisation in politics is a bitter manifest truth, which is a termite to the citadel of democracy.
  • It noted with anguish that the Election Commission of India has its hands tied, helplessly watching as criminalisation of politics at the entry level is on the rise.
  • It is one thing to take cover under the presumption of innocence of the accused but it is equally imperative that persons who enter public life and participate in law making should be above any kind of serious criminal allegation.
  • Rapid criminalisation of politics cannot be arrested by merely disqualifying tainted legislators but should begin by cleansing political parties, a five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, observed.
  • The court said Parliament should frame a law that makes it obligatory for political parties to remove leaders charged with heinous and grievous crimes, such as rape, murder and kidnapping, to name only a few, and refuse ticket to offenders in both parliamentary and Assembly polls.
  • The Chief Justice said criminals in power are nothing but a liability to this country. Their presence in power strikes at the roots of democracy.
  • The best available people, as is expected by the democratic system, should not have criminal antecedents and the voters have a right to know about their antecedents, assets and other aspects.
  • Citizens in a democracy cannot be compelled to stand as silent, deaf and mute spectators to corruption.

Directions

  • The Bench, also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Rohinton Nariman, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, however, made it clear that the court cannot legislate for Parliament by introducing disqualification to ban candidates facing trial for heinous crimes from contesting elections.
  • The court directed that candidates divulge their criminal past to the Election Commission in block letters.
  • Candidates should make a full disclosure of the criminal cases pending against them to the political parties under whose banner they intend to contest the polls.
  • The parties, in turn, should put up the complete details of their candidates on their websites for public consumption.
  • Further, both the candidate and the political party should declare the criminal antecedents of the former in widely-circulated newspapers.
  • Finally, both the candidate and the political party should give wide publicity to the criminal record of the former by airing it on TV channels, not once, but thrice after the filing of nomination papers.

Elections Commission

  • The Election Commission said it would examine the Supreme Court judgement and based on the findings, would issue necessary instructions for compliance by the parties concerned.

Significance

  • The judgement, which compels political parties to come clean about the criminal elements within their apparatus, is unique as it opens a new vista that the process of breaking crime-politics nexus extends much beyond purity of legislators and encompasses purity of political parties as well.
  • The directions to political parties to go public about the criminal cases against their candidates is a step to foster and nurture an informed citizenry. It is to protect the culture and purity in politics.
  • It ensures that ordinary voters can have an informed choice about who he or she has to vote for in a country which already feels agonised when money and muscle power become the supreme power.
  • Disclosure of antecedents makes the election a fair one and the exercise of the right of voting by the electorate also gets sanctified.

Background

Law Commission Reports

  • The verdict by the five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India referred to the Law Commission reports which pointed out that political parties have been chiefly responsible for criminalisation of politics.
  • The Law Commission of India, in its 244th report, succinctly put it that instead of politicians having suspected links to criminal networks, as was the case earlier, it was persons with extensive criminal backgrounds who began entering politics.
  • The Law Commission said that in the 10 years since 2004, 18% of the candidates contesting either national or State elections had criminal cases against them (11,063 out of 62,847).
  • Though the Representation of the People Act disqualifies a sitting legislator or a candidate on certain grounds, there is nothing regulating the appointments to offices within the party.

1993 Mumbai bomb blasts

  • The presence of criminalisation of politics was felt in its strongest form during the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said in a 100-page judgment.
  • The blasts, the court said, was the result of a collaboration of a diffused network of criminal gangs, police and customs officials and their political patrons and the tremors of the attacks shook the entire nation.

Vohra panel report

  • The court referred to how the N.N. Vohra Committee, which was set up following a public outcry after the blasts, submitted its report in October 1993 after its study of the problem of criminalisation of politics and the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India.
  • The committee had concluded that agencies, including the CBI, IB, RAW, had unanimously expressed their opinion that the criminal network was virtually running a parallel government.
  • The committee report mentioned how money power was first acquired through real estate and then used for building up contacts with bureaucrats and politicians.
  • The money power is used to develop a network of muscle power which is also used by the politicians during elections.

Other reports

  • The judgment also refers to the fact that voices within Parliament also felt the need to end the bane of criminal politics.
  • The 18th Report presented by a parliamentary committee to the Rajya Sabha in March 2007 expressed a strong feeling that politics should be cleansed of persons with established criminal background. It said criminalisation of politics is the bane of society and negation of democracy.
  • The Goswami Committee on Electoral Reforms, as early as in 1990, highlighted the crippling effect of money and muscle power in elections.

  

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Unemployment among educated youth at 16%: study

 

  • With higher growth rates not having translated into more jobs and increases in productivity failing to spur a commensurate rise in wages, the government ought to formulate a National Employment Policy that takes these trends into account, the State of Working India 2018, a new study released by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment, recommends.

The study

  • The study uses government data to show that total employment actually shrank by seven million between 2013 and 2015, and cites private data to posit that an absolute decline has continued in the years since.

Growth vs jobs

  • Confirming the spectre of jobless growth, the study contends that this divergence between growth and jobs had increased over time.
  • If we look back at the 1970s and 80s, when GDP growth was around 3-4%, employment growth was about 2%.
  • Currently, the ratio of GDP growth to employment growth is less than 0.1.
  • That means that a 10% increase in GDP results in a less than 1% increase in employment.

Unemployment

  • Unemployment has risen to more than 5% overall, and the study slices the data to show that in geographic terms, north Indian States are the most severely affected, while in demographic terms, young people with higher education levels suffer an unemployment rate as high as 16%.
  • While wages are rising in almost all sectors, hidden within the positive data is the worrying fact that rural wage growth collapsed in 2014, and has not risen since.
  • In the organised manufacturing sector, though the number of jobs has grown, there has also been an increase in the share of contract work, which offers lower wages and less job security, according to the study.

Productivity

  • Also, of concern is the divergence of productivity and wages in the organised manufacturing sector.
  • Labour productivity in the sector is six times higher than it was 30 years ago; however, managerial and supervisory salaries have only tripled in the same period, while production workers’ wages have grown a measly 1.5 times.

Gender gap

  • Women’s participation in the paid workforce is still low, but the situation is unequal across States.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, only 20 women are in paid employment for every 100 men, while that figure jumps to 50 in Tamil Nadu and 70 in Mizoram and Nagaland.

Caste gap

  • With regard to earnings, the caste gap is actually larger than the gender gap.
  • Dalits and Adivasis are over-represented in low-paying occupations, and severely under-represented in higher-paying ones, the study reveals.
  • They earn only 55-56% of upper caste workers’ earnings, the data shows.

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Maldives Presidential Election

Context

  • The people of Maldives voted for change and brought to power the Opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
  • They came out in huge numbers with the turnout being 89.2% and dealt a decisive blow to Mr. Yameen.
  • The interim results of Sunday’s presidential election in the Maldives have given the joint opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih a victory in the direct contest with the incumbent, Abdulla Yameen.
  • Maldivian voters have ushered in change, with 58% of the voters choosing Mr. Solih.

Background

Why is this election important? What were the circumstances during the election process?

  • The Maldives has been in turmoil since its first democratically-elected leader, Mr. Nasheed, was forced out of office following a police mutiny in 2012.
  • This was followed by the controversial election of Mr. Yameen came under assault.
  • This February, he imposed a 45-day state of emergency fearing an attempt by his political opponents to impeach him.
  • This led him to target his own half-brother and former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and the judiciary.
  • Even on the eve of the polling, the police was used to target the opposition MDP, amid concerns that the campaign had been heavily tilted in favour of Mr. Yameen.
  • Former President Mohammed Nasheed, who was seen as the frontrunner, was disqualified from contesting because of a terrorism conviction.
  • Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was behind bars on the charge of attempting a coup in February this year.
  • Just ahead of the elections too, there had also been many misgivings over the conduct of the election commission, the courts and security forces, with these worries heightened when the headquarters of the main opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, to which Mr. Solih belongs, were raided.
  • Counting procedures were changed at the last minute, which led to some confusion during Sunday’s polling, and many foreign journalists, including from India, were denied visas. in 2013 when the Supreme Court annulled the result.
  • Mr. Yameen was trailing Mr. Nasheed, thereby providing him an opportunity to win in the second round of voting.
  • Mr. Yameen’s presidency saw the Maldives flirting with Islamist radicalism and the democratic underpinnings of the nation came under assault.
  • This February, he imposed a 45-day state of emergency fearing an attempt by his political opponents to impeach him.
  • This led him to target his own half brother and former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and the judiciary.
  • Even on the eve of the polling, the police was used to target the opposition MDP, amid concerns that the campaign had been heavily tilted in favour of Mr. Yameen.
  • Former President Mohammed Nasheed, who was seen as the frontrunner, was disqualified from contesting because of a terrorism conviction.
  • Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was behind bars on the charge of attempting a coup in February this year.
  • Just ahead of the elections too, there had also been many misgivings over the conduct of the election commission, the courts and security forces, with these worries heightened when the headquarters of the main opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, to which Mr. Solih belongs, were raided.
  • Counting procedures were changed at the last minute, which led to some confusion during Sunday’s polling, and many foreign journalists, including from India, were denied visas.

 

Positive aspects of the Election with respect to India

  • There was a turnout of 89.2% . President Yameen conceded defeat and vowed to ensure a smooth transition.
  • New Delhi must stay clear of partisan positioning on the internal politics of the Maldives.
  • The larger agenda must be to partner the Maldives in its stability and development rather than engaging in a tug of war with China

Mr. Yameen also fostered closer ties with China and Saudi Arabia, ignoring India and even pulling the Maldives out of the Commonwealth in 2016.

Tilt towards China

  • The alacrity with which Mr. Yameen embraced China caught India off guard. During his China visit last year, the two nations signed 12 pacts, including a free trade agreement (FTA).
  • Yameen not only fully endorsed China’s ambitious Maritime Silk Road initiative but also made the Maldives the second country in South Asia, after Pakistan, to enter into an FTA with China.
  • The Yameen government pushed the FTA through the nation’s Parliament, the Majlis, stealthily, with the opposition not attending the parliamentary session.
  • The opposition accused the Yameen government of allowing a Chinese ‘land grab’ of Maldivian islands, key infrastructure, and even essential utilities, which not only undermines the independence of the Maldives, but the security of the entire Indian Ocean region.
  • The massive infrastructure growth funded by Chinese debt was a key part of Mr. Yameen’s election campaign but the massive debt trap made it a difficult proposition to be accepted.
  • India’s Ministry of External Affairs said Sunday’s election marked not only the triumph of democratic forces in the Maldives but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law.

Challenges ahead for the Maldives

  • Democratic institutions have been weakened and a fragile democracy can also be susceptible to radical ideologies if not effectively governed.
  • China’s economic presence in the Maldives is a reality that all governments will have to contend with.

Lessons for India

  • Yameen’s ouster has certainly produced a favourable outcome for New Delhi and it should seize the moment to rebuild ties with Male.
  • If there is one lesson out of the Maldives crisis, it is that political elites in India’s neighbours will come and go but if India can stand together with the aspirations of citizens of neighbouring countries, then the prospects of a long-term sustainable relationship will be much brighter.

F. Tidbits

1. SC forms prison reforms panel

 

  • The Supreme Court has formed a Committee on Prison Reforms chaired by former apex court judge, Justice Amitava Roy, to examine the various problems plaguing prisons in the country, from overcrowding to lack of legal advice to convicts to issues of remission and parole.
  • A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur, S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta appointed the Inspector General of Police, Bureau of Police Research and Development, and the Director General (Prisons) Tihar Jail as the panel’s members.

Background

  • The judgment came on a letter from former Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti highlighting the overcrowding in prisons, unnatural deaths of prisoners, gross inadequacy of staff and the lack of trained staff.
  • Justice Lokur however said the Amitava Roy Committee need not confine itself to these four issues but can comprehensively examine and respond to the dire necessity of reforms in prisons.

The panel

  • Issuing a slew of directions, the Bench has directed the committee to examine the extent of overcrowding in prisons and correctional homes and recommend remedial measures, including an examination of the functioning of Under Trial Review Committees, availability of legal aid and advice, grant of remission, parole and furlough.
  • The panel would also probe the reasons for violence in prisons and correctional homes and recommend preventive measures.

2. SC gives U.P. time till Nov. 15 for vision document on Taj

 

  • The Supreme Court has extended till November 15 the time for Uttar Pradesh government to come out with a vision document on protecting the Taj Mahal, and has asked it to consider declaring a portion of the area surrounding the monument as ‘heritage’.
  • It would be difficult to declare the entire city of Agra a heritage city but some portion of it could be brought within its ambit, covering sites like Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort.

3. NPAs with PSU banks declining: Jaitley

 

  • Non-performing assets with public sector banks are on the decline, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, adding that public sector banks are expecting recoveries of loans to the tune of ₹1.8 lakh crore this financial year.
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and NCLT proceedings were having a positive effect on recoveries and prompting promoters to pay their dues before the legal process began.
  • Public sector banks are expecting stronger credit growth this financial year on the back of stronger growth in the economy.
  • Consumption has moved up and there is growth in investment activity, so naturally the banking sector will also grow.
  • The government has launched a Financial Inclusion Index to rank States.

4. IL&FS, 40 group firms knock on NCLT doors seeking relief

 

  • Infrastructure Finance & Leasing Services, which is facing a severe cash crunch, along with 40 other group companies, filed an application with the Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), seeking relief under Section 230 of the Companies Act.

Why?

  • By moving NCLT, IL&FS can get more time to repay creditors.

Background

  • IL&FS and some of its subsidiaries had defaulted on payments on a series of debt instruments this month and IL&FS was planning for a rights issue to raise funds.
  • The company will seek shareholders’ approval for the rights issue.
  • Section 230 of the Companies Act gives power to compromise or make arrangements with creditors.

5. Apex court wants government to fill SAT vacancies quickly

 

  • The Supreme Court wants the government to quickly fill the vacancies at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), which is an important appellate body for filing appeals against orders passed by the capital market, insurance and pension regulators.
  • The apex court highlighted the fact that the tribunal is currently being managed by a sole member even as the regulations clearly state that the Bench should comprise a judicial and technical member.

What the law says

  • Section 15L of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 specifically states, in the proviso to sub-section 2(b), that every Bench constituted shall include at least one Judicial Member and one Technical Member.

Significance

  • This assumes significance as the SAT has remained headless since July when the five-year term of the then presiding officer Justice J.P. Devadhar came to an end.
  • Currently, C. K. G. Nair is the only member at SAT and due to the lack of quorum, the functioning of the appellate has been severely hit.
  • Such delays definitely impact the reputation of capital markets of India and investment climate, as effective dispute redressal is one of the important criterion for choosing an outbound investment.

6. Option on capping exports to U.S. is still open, says Commerce Secretary

 

  • India is not foreclosing the option of capping exports to the U.S., Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan has said.

Why?

  • The effect of any such option would, however, be minimal on the domestic industry as India’s steel and aluminium exports to the U.S. are very small while it is a big exporter to the world.
  • India had the right under the World Trade Organisation rules to implement import tariff increases within a band.
  • India would take advantage of this to protect its interests.
  • India was not as badly affected by the U.S. not granting it eligibility under the generalised system of preferences (GSP), which would allow duty-free entry of 1,937 products from India to the U.S.

Background

  • The U.S. has made several requests relating to market access in India, in exchange for GSP eligibility, including India not extending price caps on medical devices and allow firms to withdraw products from the market if they do not choose to sell at government-determined rates.
  • Capping exports is among the demands raised by the U.S. in exchange for it waiving import duties on steel and aluminium from India.

Concerns

  • Exporters in India have reportedly raised their voices against the GSP ineligibility saying that the U.S. is instead turning to other countries that are eligible for GSP.
  • Businesses in India have been pragmatic by investing in other countries that do still have GSP benefits and are taking advantage of this from those countries.

7. Hopes rise in India for an end to Maldives visa row

 

  • The new government in the Maldives will make resolving all recent issues with India a priority, and the problems of Indian job-holders awaiting work visas will be a key issue, says a senior leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party and member of former President Mohammad Nasheed’s Cabinet.

Background

  • The new government’s actions and any improvement in India-Maldives ties is being keenly watched by two groups of Indians stranded without visas for several months.
  • The first group, of more than 2,000 job-holders, failed to receive work visas after a downturn in ties following India’s criticism of Mr. Yameen’s decision to declare an emergency in February.
  • The other group consists of close to 40 naval and coastguard personnel, stationed in the Addu and Laamu atolls, who operate two helicopters gifted by the Indian government in 2013.
  • Earlier this year, the Yameen government had refused to renew their visas, and asked India to take back the helicopters.
  • The impasse has continued since June, when the visas of the naval team expired.

8. CJI Bench to hear plea against Gogoi elevation

 

  • A Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is scheduled to hear a petition challenging the appointment of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next and 46th Chief Justice of India.

Background

  • The petition filed by advocate R.P. Luthra in person was orally mentioned by him before Chief Justice Misra’s Bench for an urgent hearing.
  • The main contention in the petition is that Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior most judges of the Supreme Court who held a press conference on about the selective allocation of sensitive cases by recent CJIs.

Arguments

  • It is an anti-institutional act and it is no less than a sabotage.
  • It is meant to arouse public furore in the country in the names of certain internal differences in this court.

9. SC to decide today on live telecast

 

  • A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, will pronounce its verdict on a petition to live-stream Supreme Court proceedings.
  • It said live-streaming should be initially limited to constitutional issues heard in the court of the Chief Justice of India.
  • The court said it was ready to go live, while the government proposed a separate TV channel.

Significance

  • The court referred to live-streaming as an extension of the open court system wherein the public can walk in to watch proceedings.
  • The Bench has agreed to the suggestion as a measure to help litigants conveniently follow the proceedings in their cases and assess their lawyers’ performance.

10. Shortage of forms upsets NRC applicants

 

  • Many of the nearly 2,500 centres for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) were short of forms on the first day of the claims, objections and corrections round of the exercise.
  • This phase provides a 60-day window of hope for 40,07,707 of the 32.9 million applicants who were left out of the NRC draft published on July 30.

11. SC to deliver verdict on quota in promotion

 

  • A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will pronounce its verdict on the government push to provide accelerated promotion with consequential seniority for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribe members in public employment.

Background

  • Courtesy a 2006 M. Nagaraj judgement of the Supreme Court, the government cannot introduce quota in promotion for its SC/ST employees unless they prove that the particular Dalit community is backward, is inadequately represented and such a reservation in promotion would not affect the overall efficiency of public administration.
  • The Nagaraj judgement was pronounced by a five-judge Constitution Bench.

What now?

  • Now, the government wants another five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra to refer the 2006 verdict to a larger Bench for a re-examination.

Arguments

  • SC/ST communities have faced centuries of deprivation at the hands of society. They have been deprived of access to temples, schools and the basic facilities of life.
  • The government has also objected to a creamy layer concept among the SC/ST.
  • The government said it wanted a total of 22.5% posts reserved for promotion for SC/STs in public employment. Only this quantum would satisfy their need for adequate representation.

12. SC verdict on Aadhaar today

 

  • A Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, will pronounce its much-awaited judgment on whether the Aadhaar scheme was unconstitutional and a violation of the fundamental right to privacy and personal body autonomy.

Background

  • The five-judge Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan had reserved its judgment in May this year, a culmination of over seven years of various challenges against Aadhaar.
  • In fact, the challenge against Aadhaar had begun even before the Aadhaar law came into existence in 2016.
  • The historic judgment of August 2017, which upheld privacy as a fundamental right, was an off-shoot of the Aadhaar litigation.

Arguments

For

  • In hearings spanning four months, the government and the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) time and again stressed before the Constitution Bench that Aadhaar had covered 99% of the population and was voluntarily accepted as a unique identifier by the people.
  • An Aadhaar card gave the poor the dignity of an identity, the government argued.

Against

  • On the other hand, 27 different petitions submitted that it was an electronic leash which led the gullible citizen towards a totalitarian state.
  • The aggregation of personal data of citizens in a central base is prone to leakage.
  • The record of personal data of every citizen would enable the state in future to profile citizens, track their movements, assess their habits and silently influence their behaviour.
  • Over time, the profiling would enable the state to stifle dissent and influence political decision-making.

13. EC should curb religious appeal in polls

 

  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said it is important that the Election Commission ensures that religious sentiments do not rule the election discourse.
  • As the custodian of the integrity of the electoral process, it is incumbent upon the Election Commission to see to it that religion and religious sentiments and prejudices do not get worked into the election discourse.
  • The former PM also warned that the secular fabric of the country was under threat, saying all constitutional institutions should work to preserve it, especially the judiciary.
  • The judiciary should never lose sight of its primary duty to protect the secular spirit of the Constitution.

14. Centre mulls allowing Naga leader’s return

 

  • The Centre has held meetings to discuss if Khango Konyak, former chairman of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), who was impeached and expelled by the Myanmar-based outfit could be allowed to enter India.

Background

  • In 2015, the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved banning the NSCN-K under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for five years.
  • The NSCN-K had ousted Khango Konyak accusing him of being an Indian agent.
  • He had taken over as chairman of the NSCN-K after the banned group’s leader S.S. Khaplang died in June 2017 in a Yangon hospital after a prolonged illness.

What now?

  • Konyak, it is said, is somewhere along the Myanmar border waiting to hear from the Indian authorities.
  • A meeting was held to discuss whether Konyak should be allowed to come to India as he was associated with a banned group.

Why?

  • Government has to see if he can be of any use to the authorities in terms of disintegrating the NSCN-K.
  • Konyak claims he has a large number of followers in NSCN-K who are ready to desert the outfit and follow him.

15. Kerala seeks ₹5,000 cr. as special Central aid

 

  • Kerala has sought special assistance of ₹5,000 crore as a grant from the Centre, apart from a 10% hike in the allocation under various Centrally-sponsored schemes and an additional assistance of ₹4,796 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), to help it tide over the devastation caused by floods last month.
  • The special assistance of ₹5,000 crore is aimed at reviving the flood-battered economy and rebuilding damaged assets.
  • Vijayan highlighted the demand to raise the State’s market borrowing limit from 3% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to 4.5% this financial year and fix it at 3.5% next year, as part of the resource mobilisation for post-flood reconstruction.
  • Pointing out that the World Bank-Asian Development Bank team had assessed the flood damage at ₹25,000 crore, Mr. Vijayan sought the Prime Minister’s intervention for an additional loan of ₹ 16,000 crore over the next two years, and ₹2,500 crore as assistance to take up housing projects for families displaced by the floods.
  • He also flagged the need to raise another ₹3,000 crore from the Central fund to repair flood-damaged roads.

16. Triple talaq ordinance challenged

 

  • Samastha Kerala Jamiathul, one of the biggest religious organisations of Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics in Kerala, has moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the triple talaq ordinance, saying its only objective is to punish Muslim husbands.
  • The petition urged the court to stay the ordinance, while questioning the haste of the government in promulgating it.

Background

  • The Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018, notified on September 19, makes triple talaq a penal offence.
  • Section 4 imposes a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment when a Muslim man pronounces triple talaq.
  • The offence is cognisable and non-bailable.

G. Prelims Fact

1. ‘Parakram Parv’ to be celebrated

 

  • The armed forces will observe ‘Parakram Parv’ from September 28 to 30 to mark the second anniversary of the surgical strikes against terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC) and to showcase the courage, valour and sacrifice of armed forces.
  • Indian Army conducted surgical strikes in 2016 which had strategic ramifications and were aimed to dissuade inimical adversary from adopting the path of violence and to ensure an environment of peace for the Nation.

2. Haryana okays aid to acid attack victims

 

  • The Haryana Cabinet gave its approval for financial assistance to the women and girl acid attack victims’ scheme under which a monthly pension to survivors would be provided to allow them a continuous source of income throughout their lives.

Provisions

  • Under the scheme, any woman or girl victim facing acid attack on or after May 2, 2011, will be eligible for the benefits of the scheme.
  • The financial assistance will be given on the basis of the percentage of disability.
  • On 40% to 50% disability, it will be 2.5 times of the ‘divyang’ pension.
  • In case of 51% to 60% disability, it will be 3.5 times of the same and where the disability is more than 61%, the financial assistance will be 4.5 times of the pension.

3. A virtual visit to Indian Museum

 

  • Museum enthusiasts can now admire the rare collections of jewels, antiques, fossils, and biological specimens in India’s oldest and biggest museum without stirring out of their homes.

What?

  • Indian Museum in Kolkata, established in 1814, has made some of its prized possessions accessible online.
  • Indian Museum is the eighth oldest museum in the world and the oldest in South Asia.
  • The initiative, titled ‘Online Exhibition: Rare & Precious Antiques from Indian Museum Kolkata Collection,’ has over 40 artefacts, with photographs and captions explaining their significance.
  • These include an emerald bow ring of Shah Jahan, a golden goblet studded with precious stones that belonged to Jehangir, a terracotta vase from Baluchistan dating back to 4,000-3,000 BCE, and a third century crystal casket that is said to have contained the relics of the Buddha.

Significance

  • Until the security is upgraded, the digital interface provides with an opportunity to make more people aware of the collection.
  • The number of footfalls in the Museum has increased.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following:
 

  1. Securities Appellate Tribunal is a statutory body.

  2. It was established under the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.

  3. Its primary function is to hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?

  1. i) and ii) only
  2. ii) and iii) only
  3. i) and iii) only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Which of the statement/s below is/are incorrect?
 
  1. Nonconvertible debentures are unsecured bonds that cannot be converted to company equity or stock.

  2. Nonconvertible debentures usually have higher interest rates than convertible debentures.

Options:

  1. i) only
  2. ii) only
  3. Both i) and ii)
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 3. The inter-state council, provided under article 263, for the coordination between 
states is chaired by:

 

  1. The president

  2. The vice-president

  3. The prime minister

  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. Before elections to the state legislature, regional commissioners are appointed, in 
consultation with the election commission, by:
  1. the governor

  2. the chief election commissioner

  3. the president

  4. the union cabinet

See

Answer
 
 

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. A multi-pronged strategy should be evolved, considering the magnitude of the atrocities and discrimination practices against Scheduled Castes. Discuss.

  2. The socio-cultural awakening in Indian society in the 19th century was a result of interaction with the West. In light of the above statement, discuss the trends that emerged in Indian socio-cultural discourse.

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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