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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 05th February 2019

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  • February 6, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 05th February 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Emission levels rising faster in Indian cities than in China

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology issues; Pollution

In news:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from urbanization (esp. from vehicles) in India rising at a faster than in China.
  • There is a link between population density and emissions from transport.
  • According to a study – In China a 1% increase in urbanisation was linked with a 0.12% increase in CO2 emissions whereas, in India, it translated into 0.24% increase in emissions

Do you know?

  • The experience in most developed countries was that urbanisation led to a reduction in emissions — more urbanisation meant shorter distances between the workplace and home and thereby, a preference for public transport. However this don’t effectively apply to developing countries.
  • In spite of being the 4th largest emitter, India’s per capita emissions are much lower than the world average of 4.2 tonnes.
  • Delhi had the highest commuting emissions per capita — a factor that also contributed to its high level of pollution — and the national capital region had 2.5 times higher commuting emissions than Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.


67% cancer patients in SE Asia die before 70: WHO

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health issue

Key facts:

According to WHO –

  • In 2018, 18.1 million new cases of cancer developed worldwide.
  • 6 million people died from the disease in 2018
  • 70% of the deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries
  • 67% cancer patients in SE Asia die before 70
  • In 2017, just 30% of low-income countries reported having cancer treatment services available.
  • One woman dies of cervical cancer every eight minutes in India.
  • For every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India

Asian Elephant Alliance

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Biodiversity; Conservation of animals

In news:

  • Asian Elephant Alliance to secure 96 out of the 101 existing corridors used by elephants across 12 States in India.
  • The joint venture is aiming at raising £20 million (₹187.16 crore) to secure the 96 remaining elephant corridors, old and new, in the next ten years.

About Asian Elephant Alliance

  • Asian Elephant Alliance, an umbrella of five NGOs, was launched to reverse crisis facing elephants.
  • The initiative aims to stem the crisis facing the world’s remaining Asian elephants – thought to number only 35,000 – 45,000.

Habitat loss, along with ivory poaching, has devastated the population of wild Asian elephants, a distinct species from their African cousins. Survival for these few remaining elephants requires urgent action.

Therefore, a new coalition – the Asian Elephant Alliance – has been formed to tackle the crisis. The member organisations are Elephant Family, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), IUCN Netherlands, Wildlife Trust of India and World Land Trust.


Centre may relax angel tax norms for start-ups

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and issues related to it

In news:

  • Centre decides to set up a five-member working committee to look into the angel tax issue and come up with guidelines soon.
  • Start-ups have come under the scrutiny of tax officials for having raised capital above the fair value of their shares.

Reforms proposed:

  • Start-ups whose aggregate amount of paid-up share capital and share premium after the proposed issue of share does not exceed ₹10 crore are eligible for exemption from the tax.
  • Definition of a start-up will be amended to include companies that have been in operation for up to 10 years rather than the previous limit of seven years.

What is ‘Angel Tax’?

  • The ‘angel tax’ is the tax on share premium paid to acquire new shares in a company that the tax authorities regard as excessive.
  • It is a 30% tax that is levied on the funding received by startups from an external investor. However, this 30% tax is levied when startups receive angel funding at a valuation higher than its ‘fair market value’. It is counted as income to the company and is taxed.
  • Angel tax was introduced in 2012, with the purpose of keeping money laundering in check.

Why is Angel tax problematic?

  • There is no definitive or objective way to measure the ‘fair market value’ of a startup. Investors pay a premium for the idea and the business potential at the angel funding stage. However, tax officials seem to be assessing the value of the startups based on their net asset value at one point. Several startups say that they find it difficult to justify the higher valuation to tax officials.
  • In a May, 2018 notification, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had exempted angel investors from the Angel Tax clause subject to fulfilment of certain terms and conditions, as specified by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). However, despite the exemption notification, there are a host of challenges that startups are still faced with, in order to get this exemption.

‘Urban Naxals’: Term used to silence those who dissent

Context:

  • On August 28, the Pune police raided the homes of five activists – academic and public intellectual Anand Teltumbde, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, retired professor and poet Varavara Rao, human rights lawyer Arun Ferreira, activist Vernon Gonsalves, and human rights activist Gautam Navalakha.
  • Describing them as “Urban Naxals”, the police confiscated their computers and mobile phones and took many of them into custody.

In news:

  • Dalit scholar and rights activist Anand Teltumbde said the “urban maoism” terminology is a “formula” to silence voices of those people who show courage to question the government policies and speak for safeguarding their democratic rights.
  • Abrupt arrests are part of a larger conspiracy against intellectuals and people fighting for democratic rights.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL/SECURITY

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

General studies 3

  • Role of external state and nonstate actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security 
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas

Assam NRC Process: Opaque, Unreasonable and Discriminatory

Context:

  • The below article provides the concerns associated with the ongoing National register of Citizens process in Assam.

Concerns highlighted in the National register of Citizens process

  • Process of adding person to NRC list is too complex and confusing – riddled with legal inconsistencies and errors.
  • Instances of arbitrary rejection of the gram panchayat certificates.
  • Bewildering and opaque rules and an uncaring bureaucracy.
  • Absence of legal-aid by the state
  • Faults on part of the Supreme Court
    • Lack of proper monitoring process
    • Failed to ensure legal clarity over the manner in which the claims of citizenship could be decided
    • Failed to understand the implications of the results, and after effects as well as recourse that should be made available for people who have failed to be recognized as citizens of the State
    • Inability to comprehend the further political and policy actions in case of loss of citizenship

Absence of public compassion

  • Names of several highly impoverished, mostly rural, powerless and poorly lettered residents were dropped from the draft NRC only because of minor differences in the spelling of Bengali names in English in different documents.
  • A person could be excluded from citizenship even if their age differs in different documents.

Tougher on women

  • Women are especially in danger of exclusion from the citizenship register. Reasons – they have no birth certificates, are not sent to school, and are married before they become adults. They live in villages after marriage, which are different from those of their parents. They have no documents to prove that they are indeed the children of the people they claim are their parents.

Opaque processes

  • One more concern is that the process empowers the Assam Police to identify anyone it suspects to be a ‘foreigner’. Police claim in most cases is that the person was unable to show them documents establishing his or her citizenship.
  • All cases referred by the police are heard by Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs). Earlier, retired judges were appointed to these tribunals. However, the current government has appointed many lawyers who have never been judges.
  • There are now FTs in which not a single person has been declared an Indian citizen over several months.
  • Even if an FT confirms a person to be an Indian citizen, another FT and often the same FT can again issue notice to the same person to prove her legitimate citizenship once more.

Conclusion:

A person is never allowed to feel secure that the state has finally accepted that she is an Indian citizen. NRC process is masked by opaque, unreasonable and discriminatory practices.

It is important and essential for the union government to proactively come out with an equitable, predictable and transparent plan on the way forward, for those who will be identified as ‘foreigners’.

Connecting the dots:

  • Is the National Register of Citizens (NRC) update process going to settle the issue of illegal foreigners in Assam? Do you think the ongoing exercise is masked by opaque, unreasonable and discriminatory processes? Examine.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.  
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Rohingya issue and India’s moral obligation

Introduction:

  • The UN had expressed its concern over India sending back Rohingya refugees to Myanmar without the world body’s refugee agency ascertaining if they are voluntarily returning.
  • In January, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called for a report from India on the deportation of a group of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar in October 2018.
  • It has sought clarification from India on the circumstances under which the asylum seekers were sent back.

According to the UN –

  • Conditions are not safe for the Rohingyas to return home.
  • India’s repatriation of the refugees contravenes international principles on refugee law as well as domestic constitutional rights.
  • Attacks on the Rohingyas that led to their fleeing Myanmar is a case of “ethnic cleansing”.

Do you know?

  • There are an estimated 18,000 Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in India, living across different locations.
  • However, around 40,000 Rohingya refugees are believed to be in India.
  • According to 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, “no contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” (PRINCIPLE OF NON-REFOULEMENT)
  • Refugee law is a part of international human rights law.

Indian context:

  • It is often argued that since India is not a party to both 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, the principle of non-refoulement is not binding on India.
  • However, the prohibition of non-refoulement of refugees constitutes a norm of customary international law, which binds even non-parties to the Convention.
  • India lacks a specific legislation to address the problem of refugees, in spite of their increasing inflow.
  • The Foreigners Act, 1946, fails to address the peculiar problems faced by refugees as a class. It also gives unbridled power to the Central government to deport any foreign citizen.
  • Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • Article 51 of the Constitution imposes an obligation on the state to endeavour to promote international peace and security.
  • Article 51(c) talks about promotion of respect for international law and treaty obligations.
  • Therefore, the Constitution conceives of incorporation of international law into the domestic realm.
  • Fundamental rights – While all rights are available to citizens, persons including foreign citizens are entitled to the right to equality and the right to life, among others.

Conclusion:

Thus the argument that the nation has not violated international obligations during the deportation is a mistaken one.

The Rohingya refugees, while under the jurisdiction of the national government, cannot be deprived of the right to life and personal liberty.

The deportation of refugees by India is not only unlawful but breaches a significant moral obligation.

Connecting the dots:

  • India’s reticence on the Rohingya crisis undermines its democracy and global standing. Do you agree? Critically analyse.
  • “Refugee crisis is more of a global security concern than humanitarian crisis”. Comment.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Consider the following statements with regard to Asian Elephant Alliance:

  1. The Alliance aims to secure a safe future for the wild elephants of India, which make up approximately half of the world’s wild Asian elephants.
  2. The Alliance calls for Corporate India and the government to commit a £20m investment in elephant corridors by 2025.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None

Q.2) Consider the below statements with regard to Angel Tax:

  1. It is a term used to refer to the income tax payable on capital raised by unlisted companies via issue of shares.
  2. Since it largely impacts angel investments in startups, it is called angel tax.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None

Q.3) Asian Elephants are

  1. Endangered
  2. Critically Endangered
  3. Extinct
  4. Vulnerable

Q.4) Consider the following statements

  1. Satpura Range is spread over 2 States only
  2. Aravalli Range is the oldest range of Fold Mountains in India
  3. Eastern Ghats are not as high as the Western Ghats

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 2 Only

Q.5) Consider the following statements regarding ‘Refugees’

  1. India has recently signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees
  2. World Refugee Day is celebrated on 20th June
  3. The 1951 Convention the only instrument relevant to the rights of refugees

Select the incorrect code

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. Only 2

Q.6) ‘Rakhine State’ has been in the news for quite some time for large scale exodus of migrants and severe human right violations. In which of the following countries does it exist?

  1. Palestine
  2. Syria
  3. Yemen
  4. Myanmar

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