IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 19th June 2018
Mass nesting of olive ridleys at Odisha’s Rushikulya
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Animal Conservation; Environment and Biodiversity
- Mass nesting of olive ridleys at Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery.
- Olive ridley eggs incubate on their own by the heat of the sand under which they are buried.
- The hatchlings come out in 45 to 50 days and after that the covering of the eggs decompose and mix with the sand.
Do you know?
- Only two species of marine turtles display a unique mass nesting behavior. This behavior is known as an ‘arribada’.
- Arribada- Spanish term meaning arrival; a mass nesting behavior.
- An arribada is a unique nesting phenomenon common to both the Olive ridley and the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.
This reproductive phenomenon was first observed by the scientific community in 1961. By producing large numbers of offspring most organisms like sea turtles can insure their survival even after predation occurs.
- The Olive ridley is endemic to the Pacific coasts of Mexico, Central America, and India. It is known to be a nocturnal nester.
- The Kemp’s ridley is endemic to the Gulf of Mexico. It ranges from Galveston, Texas to Tampico, Mexico. Kemp’s ridley turtles display unique diurnal arribadas.
- Olive Ridley: IUCN Status-Vulnerable
Animals in news: Fast Recap
- Australian Koalas (IUCN Status: Vulnerable) – an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia
- Walrus (IUCN status: Vulnerable) – a large flippered marine mammal; “keystone species” in the Arctic marine regions
- Rare Butterflies – Black windmill and Siren butterfly spotted in Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh respectively. Frosted duskywing was spotted in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Two marsupial species – tiny black-tailed dusky antechinus and silver-headed antechinus – have been put on Australia’s endangered list.
- Olive Ridley and Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (in today’s news)
India and US: four foundational agreements
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Relations; India and the world
Key focus areas:
- India and US to conclude the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), one of the four foundational agreements that helps the U.S. to intensify its defence cooperation with a partner nation.
- The four foundational agreements are – Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), COMCASA, General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).
- The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) was recently renamed Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), symbolic of the significance U.S. attaches to India in the region.
- Apart from the foundational agreements, the U.S. is also keen on a broad based intelligence-sharing agreement with India as the two countries have vastly expanded their counter-terror cooperation. (needs signing of BECA)
- As part of improving high tech cooperation, India and the U.S. announced the ambitious Defence Technology and Trade Initiative and India was designated a major defence partner. But it has not made any progress.
Important Value Additions:
Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) :
- Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) is fine tuned version of Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) is an agreement on sharing of military logistics between India and the American forces and will facilitate support such as refuelling and berthing facilities for each other’s warships and aircrafts on a reimbursable basis.
- A formal agreement, when inked, will access supplies, spare parts and services from each other’s land facilities, air bases and ports, which can then be reimbursed.
- An agreement in principle on logistics would move India closer to [the] US as a strategic partner
Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA):
- Signing the CISMOA would enable India to get encrypted communications equipment and systems allowing military commanders to communicate with aircraft and ships through a secure network.
Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial intelligence:
- BECA would provide India with topographical and aeronautical data and products, which will aid navigation and targeting.
Do you know?
- COMCASA and BECA are the two foundational agreements that India is yet to sign.
- It has already signed the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).
- The most significant of them is LEMOA, which gives both nations access to each other’s military facilities. But it does not make it automatic or obligatory.
- The U.S. has been engaging India since 2002 on the foundational agreements, but successive governments have been wary of giving in to the U.S. demands.
Operation Hodeidah: Arab coalition reaches out to India for its support
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Relations; India’s Energy Security
- Arab coalition which is fighting to secure the strategic Yemeni port of Hodeidah is planning to reach out to India for its support.
- Operation at Hodeidah – main target is to fight terrorism that is a common enemy of both India and the UAE.
- Arab coalition expects that the operation will force the Houthi rebels in Yemen to sit down for a negotiated settlement of the conflict that has caused a major humanitarian disaster in Yemen.
Do you know?
- In Yemen – the Houthis began as a theological movement preaching peace, but now find themselves at the centre of an international conflict.
- Houthis are Shia rebels.
- Yemen’s port of Hodeidah was under the control of the Houthi rebels who are believed to be drawing support from Iran.
- The Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, claims that the Iranian military has used the port to supply the Houthis with weapons and ammunition.
- Houthis are also being alleged of supporting pirates in the western Indian Ocean region.
India and Italy: to revitalise bilateral ties
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Relations; India and the world
- India and Italy agreed to boost cooperation in counter-terrorism and cybersecurity
- Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation (JCEC) to be held in India – to augment collaboration in areas of mutual benefit
- Italy is partner country at the Tech Summit in India (to be held in Nov 2018) – would boost cooperation in technology and innovation.
- The year also marks the 70th year of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
India and China: China pushes “5 C” approach
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Relations; India and its neighbours
- China’s Ambassador to India suggested a “5 C” approach to bettering India-China ties with more “communication, cooperation, contacts, coordination, and control (and management of differences)”.
- China to import more sugar, non-Basmati rice and high-quality medicines from India to reduce trade imbalance.
- A new bilateral target has been set for $100 billion by 2022.
- India agreed to facilitate the establishment of Bank of China branch in Mumbai.
National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct exams
Part of: GS Prelims – Government schemes and Social/Welfare policies
- HRD minister has proposed to set up National Testing Agency, to relieve the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) of the burden of conducting multiple examinations.
- NTA would act as a robust system for the conduct of examinations. The new body will take over all examinations from the CBSE, except the 10th and 12th board examinations.
- Among the examinations that will be transferred to the NTA are the prestigious Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission to engineering colleges like the IITs and NITs and the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to all medical colleges in the country, except AIIMS and JIPMER, Puducherry.
General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary
General Studies 3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Judiciary versus Economy: Contentions in Judiciary Adjudications
With an expanding economy, the number of legal disputes involving property, contract, labour, tax and corporate laws is bound to increase.
How these disputes are adjudicated by the courts will have direct consequences for the disputants and also shapes the behaviour of individuals and entities involved in production, commerce and banking.
Judicial findings also influence decision-making of government agencies, which are major actors in a developing economy. Yet, the Indian judiciary doesn’t seem to fully appreciate the economic consequences of its judgments.
(The below article provides some case studies highlighting how judiciary has failed in economic reasoning in its adjudication and in turn failed to provide economic justice.)
Case 1: Power Producers Association of India v. Union of India and Ors.
- May 31, 2018 order of the Allahabad High Court ruled that bankruptcy proceedings cannot be started against a power company unless the company is a wilful loan defaulter.
- It did not factor in the issue of viability of the project. As such, the ‘wilfulness’ condition is hard to prove. Nonetheless, the ruling is one of the less problematic ones.
Case 2: Rameshwar and Ors v. State of Haryana and Ors (2018)
- In this case, the dispute involved 688 acres of land for which the then Haryana government had issued an acquisition notification in 2007. As soon as the notification was issued, builders and developers started approaching owners to buy their land.
- Since the official compensation was going to be meagre, many owners sold their land at throwaway prices. Later, the government decided to drop the acquisition plan.
Supreme Court held the State’s decision a fraud, acted out through an unholy nexus between the officials and the builders.
As the owners sold their land under duress and on unconscionable terms, the land should have been restored to them by declaring the deals infructuous. However, the SC handed over the land to the State government.
Case 3: Uddar Gagan Properties Ltd v. Sant Singh & Ors (2016)
- In this case, at dispute were 280 acres of land under acquisition in 2005. The land was illegally transferred to developers through dubious deals approved by the then Haryana government.
- Here too, the SC handed over the land to the official agency that was an active partner in the fraud. Farmers were forced to accept paltry compensations.
- Through such judgments, the judiciary has failed not only to protect the legitimate rights of owners, but also to provide economic justice enshrined in Article 38 of the Constitution.
- Moreover, the court has transferred land, a precious economic resource, from those who own, need and use it to governments who do not need it by their own accord.
It is due to the perverse incentives created by such judgments that government agencies abuse laws and are sitting on a massive stock of unused land, which would have been put to more productive use by its owners.
Judicial intervention in infrastructure projects
- Similarly, several infrastructure projects are being held up due to judicial interventions in the bidding process.
- Courts have failed to realise that the quality of infrastructure assets and the technical capability of contractors to deliver them are serious issues. The mere difference in prices demanded by the bidder may or may not be a decisive factor.
- Court’s intervention has led to delay in project, escalating its cost far more than any possible gains from ruling in favour of the lowest price bidder.
- There are instances where Judiciary didn’t opt for help of experts to assess the construction and maintenance cost rather it went on to interpret a contract and cut into its terms if found not right or reasonable.
Such judicial interventions can undermine the sense of security that comes from signing competitive bidding contracts, thereby discouraging investment.
A public good
The adjudication process can serve as a public good. However, casual and unpredictable adjudication has the opposite effect.
Shivashakti Sugars Limited v. Shree Renuka Sugar Limited and Ors (2017)
- In this landmark judgment, Judiciary admitted the role of economic reasoning in adjudication. It also pushed for the inter-discipline between law and economics to serve the developmental needs of the country.
- In situations where alternative views are possible or wherever discretion is available, the associated judges have argued for the view which subserves the country’s economic interest.
- They have exhorted the courts to avoid outcomes which can have adverse effects on employment, growth of infrastructure, the economy or the revenue of the State.
The way ahead:
Economic analysis of the law and disputes is a welcome move; however courts should not go overboard.
- Treating economic growth and the revenue of the state as public purposes is walking on a slippery slope.
- While adjudicating such cases, judiciary should consider a cost-benefit analysis of a different kind.
Infringement of individual rights should be considered only if it is absolutely necessary.
The situation should be such that public purpose cannot be achieved without putting limitations on individual rights. Moreover, the degree of infringement should be minimum to realise the purpose. It should not cut too deep.
Finally, infringement should follow the proportionality principle — the social benefit must be commensurate with the seriousness of the infringement.
Connecting the dots:
- Judicial intervention in infrastructure projects and bidding process has led to delays and sense of insecurity, discouraging investment. Do you agree? Elucidate.
- Indian judiciary doesn’t seem to fully appreciate the economic consequences of its judgments. Do you agree? Give your opinion illustrating through examples.
General Studies 1:
- Social Issues
General Studies 2:
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018: An analysis- Part II
In April, India made world news with the introduction of the death penalty for child rapists.
It is unfortunate how it takes tragic incidents such as the rape of minors to remind us that the laws of the country need serious reconsideration.
The last time a major overhaul in the rape law was thought of was as a consequence of the Delhi 2012 rape and murder case. Before that, the Vishaka incident was a catalyst for the law on sexual harassment.
The ineffectiveness of reactionary lawmaking can be seen in the recently proposed amendments in the Criminal Law and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, that were a result of the Unnao and the Kathua cases which shook the country’s conscience.
New reforms proposed to the Indian Penal Code, which shall further apply to the POCSO are:
- If a person rapes a minor girl below the age of 12 years then the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment of at least 20 years which, shall be extendable to life imprisonment or death.
Previously the punishment for the same was rigorous imprisonment for at 10 years or life imprisonment, along with fine.
- If a person rapes a girl who is below 16 years, then the punishment is rigorous imprisonment of at least 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
The punishment for this as per the 2013 criminal amendment is rigorous imprisonment, not less than 10 years and which may extend to life imprisonment.
The ordinance has suggested a few more changes, such as time-bound investigations, appeals and prior sanction from the courts for prosecution of government servants.
- The main change it suggests is in introducing the death penalty for the rape of a minor below the age of 12.
Poor implementation of the POCSO Act:
- A major provision in the POCSO is that of setting up a Special Juvenile Police unit in-charge of investigating cases of child abuse. This was conceived of as a protection against the police intimidating children, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Yet, no mention of a special juvenile police unit can be found in many cases.
- Similarly, with various provisions for the security and the care of the victim under the POCSO — such as the statement of a child should be taken at the residence of a child or a place where he or she is comfortable, by a lady police officer — there’s massive oversight when it comes to enforcement.
In the Kathua case, for instance, the name of the victim was highlighted and essentially advertised on all the media channels even though this is strictly prohibited both under the POCSO Act as well as the IPC under section 228 A.
Issues with death penalty:
The prospect of harsh punishments, such as the death penalty, can, in fact, be a threat to the victim. NCRB data reveals that in more than 96 per cent of child sex abuse cases, the perpetrator is a close relative or a member of the family. This is why children often find it difficult to confess. Parents often try to resolve matters of abuse themselves due to the stigma that is associated with such crimes.
Harsher punishments for the perpetrator can quickly become harsher threats for the victim, as the accused may go to any extent to protect themselves. Worried for their own safety, children may choose not to provide testimony.
Reference article: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018: An analysis
For the POCSO Act to be effective in protecting children who are sexually abused, it should go beyond relying on the death penalty as a deterrent.
- It should focus on stricter enforcement of protections for the abused children.
- Punish half-hearted investigations.
- Do away with intimidating procedures.
- Improving the overall sluggishness in the legal system.
Justice is more than a punitive, knee-jerk reaction to the perpetrator of injustice. It’s important to look at the systemic failures that allow child abuse to happen, prevent children who are abused from speaking up. Punishment alone is not a complete solution by any means.
Connecting the dots:
- Introducing death penalty for child rapist is a knee-jerk reaction which may hurt the victims. Way ahead instead must be to check the systemic failures. Comment.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
Q.1) Consider the following statements
- Olive ridley and Kemp ridley are the only two species of marine turtles that display a unique mass nesting behaviour ‘arribada’.
- They are endemic to the Pacific coasts of Mexico, Central America, and India.
Select the correct statements
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2) LEMOA, GSOMIA, COMCASA and BECA are often in news. It deals with –
- Four foundational agreements that helps the U.S. to intensify its defence cooperation with a partner nation.
- Super Computers developed by NASA.
- Trade Agreements that help India and Italy to augment collaboration in areas of mutual benefit.
- 4 approaches suggested for India-China ties.
Q.3) Consider the following statements
- India and the US recently signed Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
- U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) was recently renamed Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM)
Which of the above statement[s] is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.4) The Houthi rebels are from
Heart of the matter
A crisis in plain sight
Falling behind on Digital Skill Road
Roof for all