IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 13th August 2018
Disaster: Kerala Floods
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Disaster Management
- Centre (Home Minister) conducts an aerial survey of flood-ravaged Kerala.
- Announces an immediate relief of ₹100 crore
- Heavy rainfall due to low pressure area developed in the Bay of Bengal.
- Kerala has requested for ₹1,220 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund.
- National Disaster Response Force would be deployed in Kerala.
Important Value Additions:
About National Disaster Response Fund:
- NDRF is defined under the Disaster Management Act, 2005
- It is a fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
- Sources of Financing NDRF – NDRF is financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty, and approved annually through the Finance Bill
- The requirement for funds beyond what is available under the NDRF is met through general budgetary resources.
- NDRF is located in the “Public Accounts” of Government of India under “Reserve Funds not bearing interest”
Do you know?
Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) monitors relief activities for calamities associated with drought, hailstorms, pest attacks and cold wave /frost while rest of the natural calamities are monitored by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
India announces Guru fete – to counter ‘Khalistan rally’
Part of: GS Mains II and III – India and the world; International Relations; Internal Security
- Hours ahead of the pro-Khalistan rally in London, External Affairs Minister announced that all Indian diplomatic missions would celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikh faith Guru Nanak.
- The move is seen as a counter to the pro-Khalistan rally, organised by a U.S.-based group.
- India had issued demarche (a political step or initiative) over the ‘Khalistani rally,’ intended to drum up support for a non-binding referendum on a Sikh homeland in 2020.
Do you know?
- The pro-Khalistan rally, and a counter-rally to support India, took place in Trafalgar Square.
- The Khalistan rally was organised by the Sikhs for Justice and supporters from outfits across the U.K. participated in it.
ISRO set to launch its TV channel
- ISRO to launch its dedicated TV channel
- Cannel to showcase space applications, developments and science issues, targeting young viewers and people in remote areas in their language.
- The move is to commemorate Vikram Sarabhai centenary celebration.
- ISRO’s tributes to Sarabhai start with naming the first Indian moon landing spacecraft of the Chandrayaan-2 mission ‘Vikram’. The mission is planned for early 2019.
About Vikram Sarabhai
- Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space programme, the first ISRO chief and renowned cosmic ray scientist, was born on August 12, 1919.
Navika Sagar Parikrama
Part of: GS Prelims
We have already read about this issue
- INSV Tarini, the naval sail ship with an all-women crew had successfully completed circumnavigating the globe.
- The expedition was named as ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’.
- All-women team of INSV Tarini were felicitated recently.
Person in news: Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul
- Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul passed away
- He was known for his literary works. He documented the migrations of peoples, the unravelling of the British Empire, the ironies of exile and the clash between belief and unbelief in more than a dozen unsparing novels and as many works of non-fiction.
General Studies 2
- Issues arising out of govt. policies and their design and implementation
- Issues relating to poverty and hunger
General Studies 3
- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
General Studies 4
- Determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions;
- Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government
- Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance
Anti-begging Act and Criminal Tribes: Legacy of injustice
The Delhi High Court has strike down as unconstitutional the provisions of the law which sanction punitive action against beggars, including imprisonment.
Criminal Tribes Act:
- The colonial regime believed that there are groups of communities which are criminal by birth, nature, and occupation.
- The Act unleashed a reign of terror, with its systems of surveillance, police reporting, the separation of families, detention camps, and forced labour.
- More than six decades after independent India repealed the Act and the “denotified tribes” still continue to suffer from stigma.
- It was one example of colonial laws that dehumanised communities and ways of life.
- Nomadic and itinerant communities were labelled Criminal Tribes because, due to their movements and lifestyle were difficult to track, surveil, control, and tax.
- Through such laws the regime attempted to destroy these patterns of life, and coerce communities into settlements and subjecting them to forced labour.
Legacy in free India:
- Despite the birth of a Constitution that promised liberty, equality, fraternity, and dignity to all, our lawmakers continued to replicate colonial logic in framing laws for the new republic.
- Individuals were treated as subjects to be controlled and administered, rather than rights-bearing citizens.
- Criminal Tribes Act was replaced by Habitual offenders Act 1952.
- The Begging Act was passed in 1959 by the State of Bombay, and has continued to exist in as many as 20 States and two Union Territories.
What does the Begging Act do?
- Definition of begging in this Act include “soliciting or receiving alms, in a public place whether or not under any pretence such as singing, dancing, fortune telling, performing or offering any article for sale” and “having no visible means of subsistence and wandering about in any public place in such condition or manner, as makes it likely that the person doing so exist soliciting or receiving alms.”
- It gives the police the power to arrest individuals without a warrant and to magistrates the power to commit them to a “certified institution” for years.
- It strips them of their privacy and dignity by compelling them to allow themselves to be fingerprinted.
- The Act also authorises the detention of people “dependant” upon the “beggar” (read: family), and the separation of children over the age of five.
- Certified institutions have absolute power over detainees, including the power of punishment, and the power to exact “manual work”.
Prejudice and Stigmatization:
- It is clear that the purpose of the Act is not only to criminalise the act of begging, but to target those whose nomadic patterns of life do not fit within mainstream.
- It is based on philosophy of the poorhouses of 19th century Europe; first criminalise poverty, and then making it invisible by physically removing “offenders” from public spaces.
- It punishes people for the crime of looking poor. For these people, the constitutional guarantees of pluralism and inclusiveness do not exist.
Instances of using of the Begging Act as a weapon:
- On the eve of Common Wealth Games 2010, Delhi government took beggars off the streets lest their presence embarrass the nation in the eyes of foreigners.
- Such operations are also a regular part of preparing for national events, such as Independence Day and Republic Day.
- Recently, a prominent institution put up spikes outside its Mumbai branch, to deter rough sleeping, though they were removed after public outrage.
The judicial view:
- In its judgment (Harsh Mander v. Union of India and Karnika Sawhney v. Union of India), Delhi HC held that the Begging Act violated Article 14 (equality before law) and Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.
- It also held that under Article 21 of the Constitution, it was the state’s responsibility to provide the basic necessities for survival to all its citizens.
- Poverty was the result of the state’s inability or unwillingness to discharge these obligations. Therefore, the state could not turn around and criminalise the most visible and public manifestation of its own failures.
- It is as significant and important as a judgment delivered by the same court more than nine years ago, when it decriminalised homosexuality (Naz Foundation v. NCT of Delhi).
- Both Naz Foundation and Harsh Mander recognise that our Constitution is a transformative Constitution, which seeks to undo legacies of injustice and lift up all individuals and communities to the plane of equal citizenship.
- Other High Courts should also question such colonial legacies. A court can strike down an unconstitutional law, but it cannot reform society.
- It is the task of the Legislative Assembly and the government to replace this punitive structure with a new set of measures to rehabilitate and integrate the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our society.
Connecting the dots:
Colonial legacies in a democratic and republic country like India, paradox in itself. Elucidate with examples.
TOPIC:General Studies 2
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Refocusing on Africa: New strategy
Prime Minister recently returned from a tour of Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa that included the BRICS Summit in South Africa and outlining of 10 guiding principles for India’s engagement in Africa.
10 guiding principles for India’s engagement in Africa
- Africa will be at the top of India’s priorities.
- India’s development partnership will be guided by Africa’s priorities.
- India will keep her markets open and make it easier and more attractive to trade.
- India’s experience with the digital revolution to support Africa’s development.
- Agriculture; Africa has 60% of the world’s arable land but only 10% of global output.
- India Africa partnership will address the challenges of climate change.
- Cooperation in combating terrorism and extremism; keeping our cyberspace safe and secure; and, supporting the UN in advancing and keeping peace.
- Work with African nations to keep the oceans open and free for the benefit of all.
- Make Africa a nursery for the aspirations of Africa’s youth.
- Work together for a just, representative and democratic global order that has a voice and a role for one-third of humanity that lives in Africa and India.
About India’s refocused Africa strategy:
- Refocused Africa strategy builds on India’s soft power in historical, trade, and cultural links, particularly with the western edge of the Indo-Pacific.
- India aims to secure her foothold on the continent, secure access to resources, build markets for Indian goods and services, and support India’s global ambitions.
- The new strategy is also focused on building alliances and differentiating India from China as a development partner, at a time when several countries in the Indo-Pacific have fallen into a debt trap with China.
- India has tried to differentiate itself by engaging with its diaspora and private sector links to build development partnerships, where India has a comparative advantage in English-language training and research.
- India has also initiated a series of India-Africa forums and is working with Japan on an Asia Africa Growth Corridor.
- India has committed about 150 credit lines worth $10 billion as development fund but with lower disbursement rates than China.
- It is an important gateway to Africa with which India has a strategic partnership.
- Rwanda is the present chair of the influential African Union, where common positions are adopted by the continent.
- It is the third-fastest growing economy in Africa.
- Rwanda has been a linchpin of the West’s engagement in Africa, giving it an outsized voice in the power corridors of Europe and North America.
- Rwanda has signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative with 15 huge investment projects.
To solidify this strategic relationship with Rwanda
- India would open a high commission in Rwanda
- Signed seven MoUs, including in defence
- Provided two credit lines of $100 million each for irrigation works and industrial parks
- Uganda currently chairs the East African Community, a grouping of six countries with a common market and free trade arrangements with other countries.
- Indian diaspora, whose numbers of 50,000 belie their role in nearly two-thirds of the country’s GDP.
India with Uganda:
- Prime minister of India addressed the Ugandan parliament (a first by an Indian prime minister) as well as a business event.
- India committed two credit lines for over $200 million, and announced several capacity-building and training programmes.
- Also extended cooperation on training between Uganda’s military and the Indian Army.
Impediments and way forward:
- India is putting Africa at the top of its priorities and is keen to build partnerships that will liberate its potential rather than constrain its future. Still the questions about the efficacy of tools for implementation remain.
- India’s development partnerships are notorious for their low disbursement rates and slow delivery. Only 4% of Indian grants in 2017-18 were committed to Africa.
- Credit lines to Africa have a 40 per cent disbursement rate, and of the $10 billion in credit promised between 2015-20, only $1.5 billion have been committed through 2019 and an even smaller fraction disbursed.
- India’s new concessional financing scheme, which subsidises private Indian companies bidding on African infrastructure projects, shows no signs of functioning a year after its announcement.
- As India seeks to implement its new strategic partnership with Africa and the is need to convince countries that it can not only commit but also deliver.
Connecting the dots:
- What are the salient features of India’s relationship with East African Countries, evaluate in context of India refocused Africa strategy.
Quotation of the Day:
Fiat justitia ruat caelum
‘Let justice be done even though the heavens fall’.
(Can be used in essays and ethics, where controversies related to Religion versus Constitution or faith versus rule of law strikes in.)
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Which of the following factors act as a ‘Push’ factor for migration at the place of origin?
- Better employment opportunities of that place
- Natural disaster
- Poor living conditions
Select the code from below:
- 1,2 and 3
- 2,3 and 4
- 1,3 and 4
- All of the above
Q.2) Sendai Framework, which was in news recently, is related to:
- Convention on Disaster Risk Reduction
- Convention on Migratory Species
- Convention on Chemical and Biological Weapons
- Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment
Q.3) In India, the Prime Minister is the chairman of which of the following institution/organisations?
- National Integration Council
- Inter-State Council
- National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
- National Board for Wild Life
- NITI Aayog
Select the correct code
- 1, 2 and 5 only
- 1, 3 and 4 only
- 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
- 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Q.4) Consider the following statements:
- Ministry of Home Affairs relief activities for calamities associated with drought, hailstorms, pest attacks and other natural calamities.
- The ministry of Environment and Forest is the nodal ministry for the management of Chemical disaster.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.5) ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ is a voyage of circumnavigation of Globe by an India crew. What is special about it?
- It is first ever attempt to circumnavigate the globe by an Indian crew.
- It is the first time an indigenous ship is being used to circumnavigate the globe.
- This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
- This is the first ever circumnavigation of globe attempted in History.
Q.6) The below given places are frequently in news. Select the incorrect pair/s from the following:
- Trafalgar Square : : Egypt
- Tiananmen Square : : China
- Tahrir Square : : Israel
- Red Square : : Russia
Select the appropriate code
- 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 2 and 4 only
Undoing a legacy of injustice
BCCI revamp: On Lodha panel recommendations
The inexorable wheels of justice
Making data speak
Taking stock at 71
The risk in Imran Khan’s Pakistan