IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 10th August 2018
New constitution for BCCI
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions
- The Supreme Court has finalised the new Constitution for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
- It rejected the ‘one State-one vote’ recommendation of the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee and altering the cooling-off period for cricket bosses.
- It disagreed with Justice Lodha that cricket could prosper only if the BCCI was represented by every State and Union Territory. Instead, the court restored full BCCI memberships to three associations in Gujarat and Maharashtra each.
Draft on the ‘National Health Stack’ (NHS)
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions
- The draft suggests that health data would be used for marketing.
- It defines the NHS as a national electronic registry usable by both the Centre and the States across public and private sectors.
- One of the components of the proposed project is to store every Indian’s Personal Health Records (PHRs). This will involve medical history, medication and allergies, immunisation status, laboratory test results, radiology images, vital signs, personal stats such as age and weight, demographics, and billing information, and use of multiple health applications.
- Various layers of the National Health Stack will seamlessly link to support national health electronic registries, coverage and claims platform, a federated personal health records framework, a national health analytics platform, as well as other horizontal components.
- The stack will embrace health management systems of public health programmes and socio-demographic data systems.
- The population level base of such an IT system would be individual health records logged through the Health and Wellness Centres in rural areas, and corresponding primary health care in urban areas.
- The National Health Stack rests on the JAM trinity of Jan Dhan accounts, Aadhaar, and mobile numbers.
Crimes against children on rise
Part of: Mains GS Paper I- Social issues
- In terms of cases registered, crimes against children — now in public focus amid revelations of sexual abuse in a shelter home in Muzaffarpur — have risen by 14% between 2014 and 2016, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports for these years show.
- In 2016, the latest year for which figures have been compiled, cases registered under “crimes against children” crossed 1 lakh.
- Recent enhancement of punishment for rape of children aged below 12. The data show trends varying from state to state.
- In Assam, such cases have almost tripled in Assam. Telangana and Bihar too registered a steep rise. In Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, the number of cases has gone down since 2014.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Governance, Constitution, Polity
- Federal Structure
Historical Underpinnings of Article 35A
Constitutionality of Article 35A has been challenged in SC. Article 35A, when it was introduced in 1954, instead of giving the state a “special status”, its purpose was to take autonomy away from Jammu and Kashmir.
Instrument of Accession:
- Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1947 which brought the State into the Union of India gave New Delhi control only over Kashmir’s defence, foreign policy and communications.
- On all other matters, the State government retained powers.
- India’s thin grasp over J&K was further complicated by New Delhi’s international commitment to hold a plebiscite in the State to decide its eventual fate.
- It is because of this weak India-Kashmir constitutional link that;
- Sheikh Abdullah became “Prime Minister” of Kashmir
- The State had its own Constituent Assembly and flag
- The Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction over key issues in the State
- Srinagar tried to send its own trade commissioners to foreign countries
- Only in the areas of defence, foreign affairs and communications was Jammu and Kashmir put on the same footing as the rest of India.
- India’s fundamental rights and directive principles were not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir at all.
The Delhi Agreement
- In 1952 Jawaharlal Nehru invited Abdullah to discuss how India and Jammu and Kashmir could be more closely integrated.
- The result was the 1952 Delhi Agreement which, contrary to popular belief, still fell short of the 1954 Presidential Order.
- The 1952 agreement did not finalise financial integration and required the fundamental rights and citizenship to be granted to the State’s residents via the State Legislature.
- Before the Delhi Agreement could be implemented, the situation was altered radically because of three factors.
- First, any plans for an immediate Plebiscite were abandoned in 1954, which strengthened New Delhi’s hand.
- Second, in 1953, Nehru faced a nationwide campaign from the Hindu right-wing demanding greater integration of Kashmir.
- Third, in August 1953, Abdullah was arrested and replaced by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, who was far more amenable to integration with India.
Presidential Order of 1954 and Birth of Article 35A:
- 1954, New Delhi negotiated a new agreement with Bakshi, which was passed by the Kashmir Constituent Assembly also, and eventually introduced through Presidential Order in May.
- It still left the State with enormous autonomy. All “residuary powers” rested with the State legislature.
- The State government could detain people who did not enjoy the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.
- It also retained its controversial land reforms measures and the final authority over any alteration of the State’s boundaries.
- The Article 35A was introduced as part of a larger Presidential Order package, which made several additions to the Constitution (not just Article 35A).
- The overall gist of this Order was to give the Government of India enormously more powers over the State than it had enjoyed before.
- First time, India’s fundamental rights and directive principles were applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and the State’s finances were integrated with India.
- The Order also extended the Indian Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over certain aspects of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Just as crucially, the Order had come about only after the Jammu and Kashmir government had agreed to it and passed a similar legislation in its own Constituent Assembly, making it clear that rather Jammu and Kashmir has given her powers to India.
- At the time of its introduction, the Order was celebrated in India as a great step towards further integration of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union of India.
- Today the only meaningful “special status” that J&K enjoys is Article 35A.
- The whole project of federal nation-building requires constant negotiation between the nation state and its components.
- The debate over the Article should be seen as part of this larger decades-long process of the State’s integration into India.
- Should Article 35A be removed, it must be removed as an expression of the will of the people, through a political process which includes the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the discussion.
- It has to be remembered that the Article is not some special concession to Jammu and Kashmir but the last fragment of a broken promise that India had made to it decades ago.
Connecting the dots:
- Discuss the historical context behind Article 35A. Also, examine the possible implications of abrogating Article 35A, on the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
TOPIC: Essay, General studies 1 and 2
- Role of Women and women’s organisations, poverty and related issues
- Social empowerment
- Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
- Social Issues
Anti-trafficking legislation in India: Does the anti-trafficking Bill addresses trafficking?
Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, was passed in Lok Sabha.
- On the recommendation of the Justice Verma Committee, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2013.
- Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was substituted with Sections 370 and 370A, which defined trafficking and laid out the punishment for it.
- However, mere criminalisation of trafficking is not enough — several laws have not been implemented in letter and spirit in the absence of a comprehensive legislative framework.
- In the case of trafficking, data show that despite the 2013 law, there has been an increase in the number of victims of human trafficking.
Positive aspects of the Bill:
1. Multipronged approach
- Approaches to prevention, rescue and rehabilitation to create a robust policy framework against trafficking
- It places at its core the rights and welfare of victims of human trafficking.
- There are aggravated forms of trafficking which have been introduced, such as trafficking for the purpose of begging, or bearing a child, or for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage by administering narcotic drugs, hormones, or chemical substances for the purposes of early sexual maturity, and so on. The prosecution under these offences will be made timely and efficient by special public prosecutors.
- Protection to witnesses and confidentiality of victims by recording their statements through video conferencing and by in camera proceedings
- Time-bound trials and repatriation of victims
2.Rescue and Rehabilitation:
- A rehabilitation fund has been introduced for the first time. This will be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of victims.
- Capacity building of victims by providing capital, infrastructure, education and skill development to empower them to access justice and to prevent further trafficking
3.National Anti-Trafficking Bureau:
- The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will coordinate with authorities in foreign countries and international organisations, and facilitate inter-State and trans-border transfer of evidence and materials.
- It will strengthen the intelligence apparatus to improve the collection, collation and dissemination of operational intelligence.
- The Bureau will also coordinate actions and enforcement by various bodies or authorities established under this Bill.
- There will be State and District Anti-Trafficking Committees which will arrange for appropriate training and sensitisation of functionaries of all personnel.
4.Breaking the Network:
- It is crucial to note that trafficking is an organised crime.
- In order to break the organised nexus, at the national and international levels, the Bill proposes attachment and forfeiture of property and to remit the proceeds of crime in the rehabilitation fund.
- It will also freeze bank accounts of those whose funds have been utilised to facilitate trafficking. By doing this, the Bill handicaps the organised trafficking networks.
- The Bureau will also develop and monitor a database on every crime under this Act.
- Systematic surveillance of offenders will, in about three years, not only help prevent trafficking but pre-empt it.
Criticism of the Bill:
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, fails in its fundamental purpose, i.e. it does not address the issue of trafficking.
1.Outlaws legitimate activity
- Offence of “trafficking for the purpose of begging”. Employing or causing someone to beg is already a criminal offence under anti-begging laws.
- Similarly, unauthorised immigration of citizens and foreigners is dealt with under the Passports Act, 1967, and the Foreigners Act, 1946, respectively.
- Illegal migration does not involve elements of ‘trade’ in human beings or trafficking. To term it an “aggravated form of trafficking” is questionable in itself.
- The Bill also states that “whoever solicits or publicises electronically, taking or distributing obscene photographs or videos or providing materials or soliciting or guiding tourists or using agents or any other form which may lead to the trafficking of a person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment.” Means a remote possibility of would be trafficking is sufficient to prosecute persons and shut down websites.
- Such clauses of the Bill have little to do with trafficking and more do to with imposing surveillance and restricting freedoms through punitive overkill.
2.Interplay with existing laws
- Existing laws have not been overruled or repealed. In order to try offences under the Bill, the prosecution will have to first prove the subsections of Section 370, that the victim was received or transferred for the purposes of exploiting her/him by using force, abduction, deception, etc. Only then the provisions of the Bill take effect.
- For the police and the courts, implementing the numerous anti-trafficking laws will be a nightmare. Only persons accused of trafficking will benefit from the legal mess.
- Instead of strengthening the existing anti-trafficking laws, the Bill calls for another law, one that is uncalled-for and sloppily drafted. The Bill clashes with existing laws, which will lead to confusion.
- The term ‘victim’ appears several times in the Bill but is shoddily defined. A victim is one who is ‘rescued’ by the raiding police. So, those rescued by NGOs, parents, friends, and so on are not victims.
- The Bill is silent on many types of trafficking, such as trafficking for supply chains, commercial surrogacy, clinical trials, human organ trade, intergenerational trafficking, orphanage tourism and sex tourism.
- Traffickers get themselves ‘rescued’ by the police so that they can keep an eye on the rescued victims and silence them.
- In the absence of clarity, such traffickers who operate hand in glove with the police will be the first to get themselves ‘rescued’ and claim hefty compensations, rehabilitation, small capital for business, and worse, an absurd immunity for committing serious offences that are punishable.
- No new courts or judges are mentioned to expedite justice. The district courts are neither exclusively dedicated to trafficking cases nor will they address such cases on priority. This move will only undo the gains of the past many decades of evolving more sensitive and specialised courts such as Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act courts, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences courts, and family courts.
- The Bill is well-intentioned and has many positive features, but need a review on many provisions.
- The anti-trafficking Bill aims to solve an institutionalised socio-economic problem with a ‘crime and punishment’ model, relying on police stations, courts and jails.
Connecting the dots:
- Critically examine the features of the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. What are the causes of rise in Human Trafficking in this modern era?
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Which of the following is true regarding draft National Health Stack project.
- The national health registry can only be used by the centre and not states.
- One of the components of the proposed project is to store every Indian’s Personal Health Records (PHRs).
- Individual health records will be logged through the Health and Wellness Centres in rural areas, and corresponding primary health care in urban areas.
Which of the following above statement is/are correct?
- Only 1 and 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Both 2 and 3
- All of the above
Q.2) Which of the following recommendations given by Lodha committee regarding BCCI have been rejected?
- ‘One State-one vote’
- BCCI should be represented by every State and Union Territory.
- No full membership to associations with no state entity.
Choose right option:
- Only 1 and 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Both 2 and 3
- All of the above
Perils of historical amnesia
A welcome retreat
Responding to widespread concern
Dear Prime Minister
Time for economic policy