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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 28 September 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 28 September 2019


Table of Contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
  2. Framework to sustain India’s 100% ODF status.
  3. UNGA 2019.

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Unitary taxation system for MNEs.
  2. IMD World Digital Competitiveness ranking 2019.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  1. UN Global Climate Action Awards.
  2. Kaizind 2019.
  3. Malabar exercise 2019.
  4. Accretion
  5. Goldschmidtite

 


 

GS Paper 1:

 

Topics covered:

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the Bill, Citizenship Act 1955, Citizenship- acquisition and types available.

For Mains: Issues over the Bill, why NE States oppose to this bill?

 

Context: Citizens backed by various Non-Governmental Organisations across the North-Eastern States are protesting against the government’s bid to reintroduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

  • The proposed legislation was cleared by the Lok Sabha in January, 2019 but not tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

 

WHAT IS THE CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT BILL 2016?

  • It seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship by amending the Citizenship Act of 1955.
  • It seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians —after 6 years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.
  • The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

The Bill, however, does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants. It also does not talk about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc.

 

However, the bill is being criticised for the following reasons:

  1. It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
  2. It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
  3. The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
  4. It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
  5. The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.

 

What is the Citizenship Act 1995?

Under Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen.

  1. Citizenship by descent: Persons born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, but before December 10, 1992, are citizens of India by descent if their father was a citizen of India at the time of their birth.
  2. From December 3, 2004, onwards, persons born outside of India shall not be considered citizens of India unless their birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth.
  3. In Section 8 of the Citizenship Act 1955, if an adult makes a declaration of renunciation of Indian citizenship, he loses Indian citizenship.

 


Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

 

Framework to sustain India’s 100% ODF status

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of ODF status and SBM-G.

For Mains: Significance and challenges in maintaining the status, need for sustained efforts.

 

Context: Union Jal Shakti Ministry’s Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) has launched a 10-year national rural sanitation strategy to sustain India’s 100 per cent Open Defecation Free (ODF).

 

Focus: The framework, to be in place from 2019 to 2029, will ensure that people sustain their usage of toilets. It will also focus on proper implementation of solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) — plastic waste, organic waste, grey water, and faecal sludge — in rural areas.

 

The strategy:

  1. They include the retrofitting of single pit toilets to twin pits or making provisions to empty pits every five years, repair of defunct ones, and construction of soak pits for septic tanks wherever not already present.
  2. A district-level training management unit (TMU) will be set up to provide oversight and support to gram panchayats (GPs) so that they ensure the operation and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
  3. The gram panchayats (GPs) are also supposed to conduct rapid assessment of water and sanitation gaps.
  4. Alternative funding: The government funding is the primary source of financing in the sanitation sector. Alternative self-financing by gradual leveraging of community resources in the form of tariffs for ODF plus activities is also suggested.
  5. It will follow the same 60:40 financing model as being followed till now in Swachh Bharat. It will be finalised after the cabinet’s approval.
  6. The framework also talks about state-specific strategies on menstrual hygiene management, including menstrual waste management, which may be supported under the ODF plus strategy.

 

Need To End Open Defecation:

At the time Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched, India had 450 million people defecating in the open, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) accounted for 59 per cent of the 1.1 billion people in the world practising open defecation. In the absence of toilets, people tend to use open spaces like fields, bushes, forests, banks of water bodies, or other open spaces rather than using a toilet to defecate and relieve themselves.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. Merely building new toilets is not going to change the game. India needs to move beyond that and take steps towards efficient faecal sludge management for a safer environment which does not pose any threat to the health of its people.
  2. Post construction of toilets, the government should establish a monitoring system that makes sure that the latrines are emptied regularly when they fill up and the waste is decomposed safely, and not into nearby rivers or oceans.
  3. In rural areas, focus needs to be laid upon panchayati raj institutions, which can be used as a platform to promote sustainable sanitation practices and creation of public-supported frameworks of organic disposal and utilisation of human waste.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

 

UNGA 2019

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Roles, functions, composition and objectives of UNGA.

For Mains: Significance and the need for reforms.

 

Context: The 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is currently on at the UN headquarters in New York.

 

What is UNGA?

Popularly known as the parliament of the world, where all the 193 UN member states are represented, the UNGA is the deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

 

Roles and functions:

  1. Takes a decision on important matters such as peace and security, discusses various global issues and budgetary matters.
  2. Decides on matters such as the admission of new members.
  3. Decisions are taken through a vote. Admission of new members and budgetary matters require a two-thirds majority, while the decision on other issues are taken by a simple majority.
  4. Each sovereign state gets one vote and the votes are not binding on the membership, except in budgetary matters.
  5. The Assembly has no binding votes or veto powers like the UN Security Council.
  6. The UNGA can express world opinion, promote international cooperation in various fields and make recommendations to the UNSC and elect the Security Council’s non-permanent members.

 

Which countries are not a part of UNGA?

Among the world’s 196 countries, 193 are UN member states and three nations- Palestine, the Vatican City and Taiwan are not a part of the international organization as their country status is not recognized globally due to political and religious reasons.

 

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:

  1. Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States;
  2. Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General;
  3. Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament;
  4. Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it;
  5. Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations;
  6. Initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and international collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and health fields;
  7. Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among countries;
  8. Consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

 

Topics Covered:

  1. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Unitary taxation system for MNEs

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Unitary taxation- need, Significance, challenges and outcomes.

 

Context: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its Trade and Development Report 2019 has recommended for the adoption of a unitary taxation system for the Multi-National Enterprises (MNEs).

 

The proposal:

  • The profits of MNEs are generated collectively at the group level. Hence, unitary taxation should be applied by combining it with a global minimum effective corporate tax rate on all MNE profits.
  • Such an approach would simplify the global taxation system and is expected to increase tax revenues for all countries.

 

Need for and significance:

  • There was a dire need for this change, as the current international corporate taxation norms consider affiliates of MNEs as independent entities and treat taxable transactions between different entities of MNEs as unrelated.
  • The fiscal revenues of a country could be augmented through fair taxation of the digital economy.

 

Concerns:

The tax-motivated illicit financial flows of MNEs are estimated to deprive developing countries of $50 billion to $200 billion a year in terms of the fiscal revenues.

 

Background:

The international tax system needs a paradigm shift. The rules devised over 80 years ago treat the different parts of a multinational enterprise as if they were independent entities, although they also give national tax authorities powers to adjust the accounts of these entities. This creates a perverse incentive for multinationals to create ever more complex groups in order to minimise taxes, exploiting the various definitions of the residence of legal persons and the source of income. While states may attempt to combat these strategies, they also compete to offer tax incentives, many of which facilitate such techniques to undermine other countries’ taxes.

 

About United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):

UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United NationsGeneral Assembly in 1964.

  • It is part of the UN Secretariat.
  • It reports to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, but has its own membership, leadership, and budget.
  • It is also a part of the United Nations Development Group.
  • It supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively. Along with other UN departments and agencies, it also measures the progress made in the Sustainable Development Goals, as set out in Agenda 2030.

 

Reports published by UNCTAD are:

  1. Trade and Development Report
  2. World Investment Report
  3. Technology and Innovation Report
  4. Digital Economy Report

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

IMD World Digital Competitiveness ranking 2019:

 

What is it?

Now in its third year, the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking measures the capacity and readiness of 63 economies to adopt and explore digital technologies as a key driver for economic transformation in business, government and wider society.

  • The ranking is produced by the IMD World Competitiveness Center.
  • To evaluate an economy, WDCR examines three factors: Knowledge, the capacity to understand and learn the new technologies; technology, the competence to develop new digital innovations; and future readiness, the preparedness for the coming developments. 

 

Key performers:

  1. India rose from 48th place in 2018 to 44th rank this year.
  2. US was ranked as the world’s most digitally competitive economy, followed by Singapore in the second place.
  3. Sweden was ranked third on the list, followed by Denmark and Switzerland in the 4th and 5th place, respectively. 
    Others in the list of top-10 most digitally competitive economy include Netherlands in the 6th place, Finland (7th), Hong Kong SAR (8th), Norway (9th) and Republic of Korea (10th).
    The largest jump in the overall ranking was registered by China, moving from 30th to 22nd, and Indonesia, from 62nd to 56th. 

 

Key trends:

  1. Many Asian nations showed significant growth from last year in digital competitiveness, as Hong Kong and South Korea entered the top 10 for the first time, Taiwan moved up to the 13th place and China made a huge jump from the 30th position to the 22nd.
  2. Indonesia also showed massive growth by rising to 56th rank from its 62nd rank in 2018. China showed significant improvement in the knowledge factor.
  3. India also showed significant improvement by jumping up four places. In knowledge factor, India fared best in graduates in sciences and R&D productivity by publication.
  4. India fared best in the technology factor, especially in the telecommunications investment and IT& media stock market capitalization. India has to still, however, work on enforcing contracts, mobile broadband subscribers, wireless broadband and internet users.
  5. In future-readiness, India fared best in world robots distribution and requires to work more on tablet possession.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:

 

UN Global Climate Action Awards:

Context: Winners of the 2019 UN Global Climate Action Awards Announced.

  • The 15 award-winning projects fall within four focus areas: Planetary Health, Climate Neutral Now, Women for Results, and Financing for Climate Friendly Investment. 
  • The Awards are spearheaded by the Momentum for Change initiative at UN Climate Change.
  • The projects are recognized as innovative solutions that not only address climate change, but also help drive forward progress on many other sustainable development goals, for example, innovation, gender equality and economic opportunity.
  • From India, IT major Infosys has won the United Nations Global Climate Action Award (UNGCAA) in the ‘Climate Neutral Now’ category for “Infosys’ Journey to Carbon Neutrality”.
  • The UN Climate Change’s Momentum for Change initiative is implemented with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation. It operates in partnership with World Economic Forum (WEF), donors supporting implementation of UN Climate Change’s Gender Action Plan and Climate Neutral Now.

 

KAZIND-2019: 
It is a joint military exercise between India and Kazakhstan.

  • The latest edition is scheduled to be held in Pithoragarh district, Uttarkhand from 3-15 October 2019.
  • Focus: counter terrorism operation.
  • Conducted alternatively in Kazakhstan and India every year.

 

Malabar Exercise 2019:

  • 23rd edition of Malabar Exercise, the trilateral maritime exercise between navies of India, Japan and the US recently began off the coast of Japan.
  • Malabar 2019 exercise seeks to further strengthen India-Japan-US naval cooperation and enhance interoperability, based on shared values and principles.
  • The exercise involves complex maritime operations in surface, sub-surface and air domains. 

 

Accretion Disc:

What is it? The black hole’s extreme gravity skews light emitted by different regions of the disc, producing the misshapen appearance. This visualization simulates the appearance of a black hole where infalling matter has collected into a thin, hot structure called an accretion disc.

 

Goldschmidtite:

  • It is a new mineral that has been discovered recently inside a diamond unearthed from a mine in South Africa.
  • It has been found in Earth’s Mantle (A part of Interior of the Earth) which covers 80% of earth’s volume.
  • Composition: It has high concentrations of niobium, potassium and the rare earth elements lanthanum and cerium.
  • Features: The found single grain is dark green in colour and opaque.
  • Nomenclature: The mineral has been named after the Norwegian scientist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, who is considered as the founder of Modern Geochemistry.