KAS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS – 3rd March 2020

KAS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS – 3rd March 2020

KAS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS – 3rd March 2020

From Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Rights Issues

(Human rights, Women rights, SC/ST rights, Child rights, etc.), Important Acts)

 

Anti-CAA Protests

In News

Recently, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has filed an application in the Supreme Court against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA)

  1. CAA makes illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who belong to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian religious communities eligible for Indian citizenship. Earlier no illegal immigrants were eligible for Indian citizenship. It is also conspicuous that the act exclude muslims from its purview.
  2. The act reduces the duration of stay in India for the same class of illegal migrants from earlier 11 years to 6 years for acquiring citizenship through naturalisation.
  3. The act exempts the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura (included in the 6th schedule) from its purview.
  4. The act adds violation of any law notified by the central government as a ground for cancellation of OCI registration of OCI card holders.

Why Protests & What is the issue?

  1. In northeastern states, Anti-CAA protests are largely due to xenophobic concerns. Northeastern states fear that offering citizenship to illegal migrants will endanger their culture & traditional ways of life.
  2. In other parts of India, Anti-CAA protesters are concerned about the exclusion of muslims from the purview of the Act. This is against Article 14 which provides for right to equality. They also argue that such exclusion has the potential to make many Indian muslims who are illiterate & do not possess valid documents stateless.
  3. Rhetorics of implementation of National Register of Citizens is another concern. National Register of Citizens aims to create a register of Indian citizens which can possibly be based on documents which prove ancestry of Indian residents. This is a concern as many existing citizens of India do not possess such documents.

Nature of Protests

  1. The protests are mostly initiated by civilian population without much support from political parties.
  2. Protesters have blocked many roads across the country which have resulted in government restrictions on protests. For example Shaheen Bagh protests.
  3. Protests in Delhi has turned into a communal riots when Anti-CAA and Pro-CAA campaigners fought each other.

International Responses

India’s new citizenship act has been condemned or criticized by many nations across the globe. The latest intentional reposes is from office of the High Commissioner for Human rights.

Way Forward

  1. Instead of a CAA with narrow scope, what India need is a comprehensive refugee policy. Currently India relies on an ad hoc approach to refugee issues around its borders.
  2. India must assist neighbouring countries such as Myanmar, Srilanka and Nepal to deal with their minority communities in order to reduce refugee inflow.

 

From Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Rights Issues

(Human rights, Women rights, SC/ST rights, Child rights, etc.), Important Acts)

Sedition laws in India

In News

Recently, Delhi Govt. granted sanction to prosecute Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar under Section 124A of IPC in the JNU sedition case 2016.

IPC Section 124A

  1. Sec 124-A deals with sedition, and was introduced by the British colonial government in 1870.
  2. It defines sedition as the act of bringing hatred or contempt towards the Government of India and prescribes a punishment of imprisonment for life and fine, or imprisonment for 3 years and fine.
  3. The British brought this law to suppress the freedom struggle. But Independent India retained this law and the law is being widely used.

Concerns 

  1. It is an irony to retain a provision that was used extensively to suppress the freedom struggle.
  2. Definition of sedition remains too wide. It offers scope to consider the below as sedition
    1. Strong criticism against government policies and personalities.
    2. Slogans voicing disapprobation of leaders.
    3. Depictions of an unresponsive or insensitive regime.
  1. SC has opined that incitement to violence or tendency to create public disorder are the essential ingredients of the offence of sedition.
  2. Kedar Nath Singh Vs state of Bihar (1962) – SC in 1962 limited its scope to acts that show actual intent or a tendency to create disorder or torment violence. But upheld the section.

Way Forward

  1. Law commission consultation paper 2018 has proposed reconsideration of the section.
  2. Modern democracy does not need a free speech restriction based on political concepts such as disloyalty & disaffection towards the state.

 

PAPER -III – Energy and Power

MAINS

NUCLEAR ENERGY AND INDIA’S ENERGY SECURITY

NUCLEAR ENERGY:

Nuclear energy comes from splitting atoms in a reactor to heat water into steam, turn a turbine and generate electricity. Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions.

Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium.

It could be a major provider of electricity for base load as well as for urban transport in megacities. It can play a role in non-electric applications in district heating, process industries, maritime transport, water desalination, hydrogen production, and for applications in remote areas. It can contribute substantially to security of energy supply and it has the potential to be an almost inexhaustible long-term energy resource through the use of breeder reactors.

Benefits of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy offers many advantages as the emissions-free workhorse of our energy grid. Its unique value cannot be found in any other energy source

Nuclear fights climate change: Nuclear energy provides large amounts of 24/7 carbon-free electricity now, which is irreplaceable in protecting the environment.

Nuclear produces electricity reliably: Around-the-clock electricity is a must for our nation to prosper in the 21st century. Clean, reliable nuclear energy is a crucial in determining the pollution free growth of our nation,

Nuclear generates jobs: Nuclear energy provides more well-paid, long-term jobs and supports local economies with high deposits in state and local tax revenues.

Nuclear protects our Air: Nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and mercury: all things you don’t want in the air you breathe. Nuclear energy provides power 24/7 without a trace of those pollutants.

Nuclear helps to boost International development: Nuclear energy helps developing nations meet sustainable development goals.

Nuclear powers electric vehicles: Electrified transportation promises to reduce carbon emissions. When powered by carbon-free nuclear energy, electric vehicles can reach their full potential.

CHALLENGES:

It is the duty of the Governments to ensure the safety and security of using nuclear power as a source to meet growing energy challenges. Nuclear technology suffers from genuine problems of safety and waste management. Mainly for this reason, the civil application of nuclear energy has become a matter of serious controversy. If nuclear energy is not generated adhering to the highest standards of safety, there is possibility of catastrophic accidents such as Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the deaths owing to improper disposal of Cobalt 60 in New Delhi. The recent nuclear disaster in Japan is a serious case of concern for all those adopting nuclear power generation. However, to stop nuclear power generation for the fear of nuclear accident would be a wrong move and instead they should focus on ensuring the safety of the nuclear power generation (in particular to India). These incidents have influenced many countries to take up safety measures.

Certain steps need to be taken to ensure the safety and security of using nuclear power. This includes:

  • ensure maintenance of the skills base
  • maintain continued effective safety regulation
  • foster progress on facilities for waste disposal and management must be given serious consideration.
  • maintain and reinforce international non-proliferation arrangements.

To encourage confidence among the suppliers of technology and materials, a Nuclear Liability Act has been put in place to limit their liability in line with the international norms. Besides, India has also signed the Convention on supplementary compensation to provide for additional resource for assistance seeking indemnification for loss and injury for a nuclear installation. The costs and risks to public safety are so enormous that government must take an active role in supporting, regulating and monitoring nuclear industry. Also India holds a record which is not much good in the context of nuclear accident.

 

Paper-II -Fundamental rights, fundamental duties and Directive Principles

INTERNET ACCESS AS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT IN INDIA

CONTEXT:

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said access to internet plainly non-negotiable as it flows from the right to information.

ACCESS TO INTERNET:

  1. The Supreme Court has declared access to internet a fundamental right.
  2. The right to Internet access, also known as the right to broadbandor freedom to connect.
  3. A government cannot deprive the citizens of fundamental rights except under certain conditions explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.
  4. It was foreshadowed by a similar announcement last year by the Kerala high court, which ruled that no one should arbitrarily be deprived of web connectivity, and also a Supreme Court ruling in 2017 that accorded privacy the status of a fundamental right under Article 21, which assures everyone the right to life and liberty.
  5. The ruling came on hearing of a plea in connection with Internet blockade in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 — in the view of revoking of Article 370 in the Union Territory.
  6. The ruling is in sync with the United Nations recommendation that every country should make access to Internet a fundamental right.
  7. In of 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a non-binding resolution condemning intentional disruption of internet access by governments. The resolution reaffirmed that “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online”. Recent practice of the UN treaty-based bodies indicates growing interest in ensuring access to the Internet.

WAY FORWARD

  • India is moving to a global economy, transforming the way in which people work, consume information, and entertain themselves.
  • In this context, unequal access to the Internet creates and reproduces socio-economic exclusions.
  • Hence, it is important to recognise the right to Internet access and digital literacy and allow citizens increased access to information, services, and the creation of better livelihood opportunities.

 

PAPER -III – National Income and Per Capita Income,

INDIA’s GDP SLUMP

CONTEXT:

OECD lowers India’s FY21 GDP growth forecast to 5.1% from the earlier projection of 6.2% for 2020.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP):

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. As a broad measure of overall domestic production, it functions as a comprehensive scorecard of the country’s economic health.

REASONS FOR LOW PERFORMANCE OF GDP IN INDIA:

  1. Lack of demand growth: India’s economy grew at its slowest pace in over six years following a sharp deceleration in consumer demand and tepid investment.
  2. Protectionism: US – CHINA trade wars have resulted in breaking supply chain.
  3. GST: GST resulted in added compliance to informal economy.
  4. Lack of Private Investment.
  5. Demonetization; Logistics and cost challenges of replacing all the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes – as per the RBI documents this measure would cost at least Rs 12000 crore as it has to replace over 2300 crore pieces of these currencies, also it impacted the informal sector as it increased unemployment in informal sector.
  6. CORONAVIRUS: Shutdown of factories in China due to n-CoV is expected to negatively impact the electronics industry in India as Indian players currently do not have the capability to manufacture such semiconductors and components in the short term. It also impacts a major set-back to tourism industry.

Way Forward:

India’s growth has been impressive in recent years but this is a country whose development is hampered by endemic structural problems. India requires significant investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture for the rapid growth rates of the last fifteen to twenty years to be sustained. In order to fulfill this it needs to create a robust financial structure that can serve the needs and demands of growing nation.

 

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