Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 Aug 2017
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Article 35A: Centre’s move for debate stirs hornet’s nest
The Centre’s move seeking “larger debate” over Article 35A of the Constitution, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them, has triggered a political storm with several parties warning against any tinkering of the provision.
What you need to know about Article 35A?
Article 35A is a provision in the Constitution that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define permanent residents of the state. It was added through the Constitution(Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued under Article 370.
The Jammu and Kashmir Constitution was adopted on November 17, 1956. It had defined a Permanent Resident as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been a resident of the state for 10 years, and has lawfully acquired immovable property in the state, the article.
What’s the case now?
Attempts to undo Article 35A of the Indian Constitution would strike a fatal blow to the nationalists in the state. There is an ongoing case in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the Article, which prevents non-J&K state subjects from settling and buying property in the state. However, Kashmiris are apprehensive that such a move would open the sluice gates for a demographic transformation of the Valley.
The J&K government is also concerned at the reluctance of the Union government to file a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court. Against the backdrop of the escalating protests in Kashmir, this issue could potentially be explosive.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Nine High Courts oppose all-India judicial service
Nine High Courts have opposed a proposal to have an all-India service for the lower judiciary, eight have sought changes in the proposed framework and only two have supported the idea. However, most of the High Courts want the administrative control over the subordinate judiciary to remain with the respective High Courts.
The government had given a fresh push to the long-pending proposal to set up the new service to have a separate cadre for the lower judiciary in the country. The idea was first mooted in the 1960s. Seeking to overcome the divergence of views, the government had recently suggested to the Supreme Court various options, including a NEET-like examination, to recruit judges to the lower judiciary. There were vacancies of 4,452 judges in subordinate courts in the country.
Need for an all- India Judicial Service:
The quality of judicial officers in the subordinate judiciary is a matter of concern. The ever continuing decline in their quality will delay delivery of justice, increase pendency of cases, impair quality of judgments, and in turn affect competence of higher judiciary as well.
- The proposal for setting up an AIJS, in the lines of Indian Civil Service, is hanging fire for more than five decades despite there were several proposals and decisions including that of the apex court, in its favour.
- There is widespread hope that AIJS can deal with great many ills Indian judiciary face right now and revitalize it into a far more vibrant constituent of Indian governance and democracy.
- The precise purpose of AIJS is to create a rigorous mechanism for appointment of persons of highest ability, impartiality and integrity to the district courts and to equip the subordinate judiciary in turn to serve as the feeder line for appointment of competent judges to the high courts or eventually the Supreme Court.
Who administers lower judiciary in the country?
In the Indian Constitution the judiciary and executive remained separate but the control of lower judiciary remains vested with the high courts.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
NCRB merged with bureau of police research
The government has merged the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) – which, over the years, has been the principal source of reference by policy makers, police, criminologists, researchers and media – both in India and abroad, with the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).
- NCRB’s functions will now be placed under the Director General of BPR&D, who will oversee all the data collection related to Crime in India, Accidental Deaths and Suicides, Prison Statistics and Fingerprints.
Why was the merger necessary?
It was felt that if the researchers of BPR&D, which conducts its own researches and commissions many to private institutes/bodies to study the crime patterns, policing and other related aspects, and statisticians of NCRB work together, there will be more accurate and research based data collection.
Some are not happy with the decision as both bureaus have different functions. NCRB’s core function is to collect data on crimes related to IPC and other sections, courts, convictions etc which are taken from states and union territories and then analysed. On the other hand, BPRD’s research is not related to crime. It focusses more on research and data collection on how police, central paramilitary forces work, manpower problems, pattern of registration of crime, or influences of police on society etc. therefore, there is no clarity how both these organisations will work together.
The NCRB was established in 1986 with a mandate to empower Indian police with information technology solutions and criminal intelligence to enable them to enforce the law effectively.
- It also compiles data on crimes, prosecutions, traffic related prosecutions, and prisons, suicides etc and its annual report were extensively globally to present India’s crime figures. The primary crime collection bureau also has the database of all the fingerprints in India and also plays a role in capacity building for government’s ambitious project – Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS).
- NCRB’s data on crimes against women, particularly rapes, has shaped government’s policies on safety of women in last few years.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Second phase of measles-rubella vaccination drive launched in eight states, UTs
Aiming to eliminate measles and curb instances of rubella by 2020, the Centre has rolled out the second phase of its measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the country. Nearly 3.4 crore children across eight states and union territories — Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu — will be covered in this stage.
The Union health ministry’s campaign against the two diseases intends to cover approximately 41 crore children in a phased manner, making it the largest-ever worldwide. Under the measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign, all children in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years will be vaccinated in a phased manner across the nation. Following the campaign, MR vaccine will become a part of routine immunization and will replace measles vaccine, currently given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child.
The first phase of the campaign was launched across five states — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Lakshadweep and Puducherry — in February this year. More than 3.3 crore children were vaccinated, reaching out to 97% of the intended age group. The drive was carried out at schools, community centres and medical institutes, covering children between the ages of nine months and 15 years.
About Measles- Rubella:
While measles is a viral infection that can be fatal, congenital rubella syndrome is responsible for irreversible birth defects. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.
According to a study by the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, “1-15% of all infants suspected to have intra-uterine infection were found to have laboratory evidence of CRS (congenital rubella syndrome). About 3-10% of suspected CRS cases are ultimately proven to have confirmed CRS with the aid of laboratory tests. CRS accounts for 10-15% of pediatric cataract. 10-50% of children with congenital anomalies have laboratory evidence of CRS. 10-30% of adolescent females and 12-30% of women in the reproductive age-group are susceptible to rubella infection in India.”
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
India, Iran Call For Early Operationalisation Of Chabahar Port
India and Iran have expressed commitment for early completion and operationalisation of Chabahar Port besides strengthening bilateral ties.
- India has also conveyed it’s readiness to aid Iran in taking up operations in Chabahar Port during the interim period between the actual activation of contract. The Iranian side earlier had requested India to provide up to 150 million dollar credit and had made it a condition for activation of the Chabahar Port contract.
India and Iran had signed a pact for the development of Chabahar port in May 2016. India will develop and operate the Chabahar port. India Ports Global, a recently formed port project investment arm of the shipping ministry and a joint venture between the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and the Kandla port, will invest $85 million in developing two container berths with a length of 640 metres and three multi-cargo berths.
Where is Chabahar port?
Iran’s Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country. The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast and India can bypass Pakistan with the Chabahar port becoming functional.
Why Chabahar port is important for India?
Access to Afghanistan: The first and foremost significance of the Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
Countering Chinese presence: Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.
Iran as military ally: With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.
Boost to imports: With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted.
Sustainable connectivity: Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This is will, in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries.
Humanitarian assistance: From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.
Ease of access: The Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway, setting up road access to four major cities in Afghanistan – Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.
Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Centre extends Assam’s ‘disturbed area’ tag for another month under AFSPA
The Centre has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Assam for one more month, declaring the entire state of Assam as a “disturbed” area due to various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB, and others.
- The Union home ministry has also declared Meghalaya’s border areas adjoining Assam, and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh as “disturbed” under the AFSPA for two more months with effect from August 3.
What is AFSPA?
AFSPA, enacted in 1958, gives powers to the army and state and central police forces to shoot to kill, search houses and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents in areas declared as “disturbed” by the home ministry.
- The Act provides army personnel with safeguards against malicious, vindictive and frivolous prosecution.
- Security forces can “arrest without warrant” a person, who has committed or even “about to commit a cognizable offence” even on “reasonable suspicion”.
What are ‘disturbed’ areas?
The state or central government considers those areas as ‘disturbed’ “by reason of differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
How is a region declared ‘disturbed’?
Section (3) of the Afspa empowers the governor of the state or Union territory to issue an official notification in The Gazette of India, following which the Centre has the authority to send in armed forces for civilian aid. Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months, according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976.”
Sources: the hindu.