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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th December 2019

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  • December 20, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th December 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


UNICEF: Ensure Child Rights

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – International Bodies

In News

  • Children’s rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including in peaceful protest, are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • UNCRC is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen.
  • The treaty came into force in 1990.Currently, 196 countries have signed and ratified it (including India) except the United States (signed but not ratified)
  • UNICEF thus urged its member-states to ensure that children can exercise this right in a safe and peaceful manner.

About United Nations International Children’s Education Fund(UNICEF)

  • UNICEF was created in 1946 as International Children’s Emergency Fund (ICEF) by UN relief Rehabilitation Administration to help children affected by World War II
  • UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations in 1953 and is devoted to aiding national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education, and general welfare of children.

Concrete Maturity Meter: To measure the strength of concrete

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Science & Technology

In News

  • The Construction Engineering Research Foundation (PCERF)- a non-profit body- has developed the country’s first indigenous Concrete Maturity Meter that determines the strength of concrete used in construction.
  • The device can help in significantly reducing the margin of error in estimating the strength of a structure 
  • It also helps in cutting project costs (10-12%) as it will be available at 30% to 40% of the cost of the foreign maturity meter(₹3 – ₹5 Lakh) that is in use in the market
  • The method to measure concrete strength is based on the principle that concrete strength is directly related to its hydration (temperature) and age (time)
  • The device can also be directly connected to mobile phones so as to suit the techniques and skills of end users in India

Exercise INDRA 19’: India-Russia Trilateral Exercise

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II- International Affairs; GS-III- Security

In News

  • The air force component of ‘Ex INDRA 19’, a joint exercise between India and Russia, successfully concluded at the Air Force Station in Lohegaon, Pune
  • The exercise provided an opportunity to enhance the IAF’s operational capability, synergise joint operations and improve interoperability with Russian Federation Air Force
  • The INDRA series of exercise began in 2003. It was conducted as a single service exercise alternately between the two countries. However, the first joint Tri Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
  • The 2019 exercise included joint training in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations under the United Nations mandate.

Gandhi prize: Portugal sets up the prize

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Culture

In News

  • Portugal would launch the prize in order to promote Gandhi’s ideals.
  • Every year, the prize would be inspired by Gandhi’s thoughts and quotes.
  • The first edition of the prize would be dedicated to animal welfare. Gandhi said “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated

About National Committee for the Commemoration Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary

  • The National Committee was constituted for commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the national and international, presided by the President of India
  • This Committee includes Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers of all states, representatives from across the political spectrum, Gandhians, thinkers, and eminent persons from all walks of life. 
  • The Committee also has nine international members, including two former Secretaries-General of the United Nations – Mr Kofi Annan and Mr Ban Ki-Moon.
  • Portuguese Prime Minister is the only foreign Prime Minister to be a part of the committee.

National Population Register (NPR): West Bengal Opts out of the exercise

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance, Federalism

In News

  • The objective of the NPR,is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country
  • Usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more
  • The database will contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.
  • It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
  • Unlike the NRC, the NPR will also include foreigners living in India.
  • The NPR is being developed under the principles of the Citizenship Act of 1955, and the Citizenship Rules set out in 2003
  • When was it recently conducted?
    • The data for National Population Register was collected in 2010 alongwith the houselisting phase of Census of India 2011. 
    • It has been decided to update the National Population Register along with the Houselisting phase of Census 2021 during April to September 2020 in all the States/UTs except Assam.
  • Criticism: About the government’s capability to manage and protect this information. 

Operation Twist: RBI’s Open market operations

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Economy

In News

  • RBI will simultaneously buy and sale government securities worth ₹10,000 crore under its open market operations — a move aimed at managing the yields.
  • The RBI will purchase the longer-term maturities, that are trading at a spread of 150 bps (basis points) over the repo rate, and sell the shorter duration ones
  • RBI will buy ₹10,000 crore of 6.45% government bondsmaturing in 2029 so that the yield of these long-term papers will soften
  • It will simultaneously sell ₹10,000 crore of short-term bonds maturing in 2020.
  • Operation Twist is a move taken by U.S. Federal Reserve in 2011-12 to make long-term borrowing cheaper.

Industrial Security Annex (ISA): Signed between India and USA

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- International Affairs

In News

  • ISA signed between India and the U.S. at the second 2+2 dialogue in Washington, will open the door for U.S. defence companies to partner with the Indian private sector.
  • ISA will enable smooth transfer of classified technology and information between private entities of the U.S. and India.
  • The ISA is a part of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which India signed with the U.S. long back
  • The ‘2+2’ dialogue is a meeting between the India Ministers for External Affairs and Defence, and the US Secretaries of State and Defence to focus on “strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation” between the two countries.
  • Other agreements signed during the 2+2 dialogue are
    • Finalisation of Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which will harmonise the two side’s processes for identification, development and execution of projects under the DTTI.
    • Tiger Triumph Exercise: It has been decided to hold the India-U.S. joint tri-services and amphibious exercise ‘Tiger Triumph’ on an annual basis. It was first held in November 2019 as a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise.
    • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI): USA announced its commitment to being the founding member of the CDRI whose headquarters will be located in India.

(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

President Impeachment: US President Trump to be impeached

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th December 2019

Src: BBC

Context:

  • Donald Trump became the third US President to be impeached. The first was Andrew Johnson in 1868 and then Bill Clinton in 1998.
  • The impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump  was initiated on September 2019 when a whistleblower alleged that Trump may have abused the power of the presidency
  • The House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page impeachment report accusing President Donald Trump of trying to enlist Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election and obstructing the congressional inquiry by trying to cover it up.

Why?

  •  A whistleblower alleged that Trump may have abused the power of the presidency by withholding military aid as a means of pressuring newly elected president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to perform two favors: 
  1. To pursue investigations of Joe Biden and his son Hunter,
  2. To investigate a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  • More than a week after Trump had put a hold on the previously approved military aid,400mn 
  •  He made the aforementioned requests in a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, which the whistleblower alleged was intended to help Trump’s re-election bid.

US impeachment process

  • The US House of representative (435 members) needs to pass the impeachment motion by a simple majority, after investigation by judiciary committee
  •  The motion of Impeachment then goes to the Senate (Upper House consisting of 100 members), where a trial presided by Chief Justice takes place with representative from House acting as prosecutors and the President & his attorneys presenting his defence
  • A two-third majority in Senate is necessary to convict and remove the President.
  • If the President is convicted, the Vice-President takes over the White House for remaining period of tenure.)

Indian Impeachment process

  • In India, President can be impeached for violation of the Constitution (Article 61)
  • The motion for impeaching President can be introduced in any House of Parliament.
  • After the investigation, the motion of impeachment must be passed by a two-thirds majority of the total membership of the House by both Houses of the Parliament.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think Donald trump has misused the power?
  • What is the difference between Indian and US President Impeachment process?

POLITY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.

Section 144: Protests  against Citizenship Amendment Act & Section 144

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th December 2019

SRC: ET

Context:

  • As protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act hit the streets in large numbers in several states , state governments sought to tamp down on the demonstrations by issuing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973.

Section 144 CrPC:

  • Section 144 CrPC, a law retained from the colonial era,.
  • It empowers a district magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate specially empowered by the state government in this behalf to issue orders to prevent and address urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.
  • The magistrate has to pass a written directed against a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular place or area, or to the public generally .
  • In emergency cases, the magistrate can pass these orders without prior notice to the individual against whom the order is directed.

Powers under Section 144 CrPC

  • The magistrate can direct any person to abstain from a certain act or to take a certain order with respect to certain property in his possession or under his management. 
  • This usually includes restrictions on movement, carrying arms and from assembling unlawfully. It is generally believed that assembly of three or more people is prohibited under Section 144. 
  • It can be used to restrict even a single individual. 
  • Order passed under Section 144 can remain in force for more than two months from the date of the order

Criticisms:

  • It is too broad and the words of the section are wide enough to give absolute power to a magistrate that may be exercised unjustifiably.
  • An aggrieved individual can approach the High Court by filing a writ petition if his fundamental rights are at stake. However, fears exist that before the High Court intervenes, the rights could already have been infringed
  • Imposition of Section 144 to an entire state has also drawn criticism since the security situation differs from area to area.

SC Judgements:

1961 in Babulal Parate vs State of Maharashtra and Others

  • The Supreme Court refused to strike down the law, saying it is “not correct to say that the remedy of a person aggrieved by an order under the section was illusory”.

1970 (Madhu Limaye vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate)

  • a seven-judge Bench the power of a magistrate under Section 144 “is not an ordinary power flowing from administration but a power used in a judicial manner and which can stand further judicial scrutiny”.
  • It ruled that the restrictions imposed through Section 144 cannot be held to be violative of the right to freedom of speech and expression, which is a fundamental right because it falls under the “reasonable restrictions” under Article 19(2) of the Constitution. The fact that the “law may be abused” is no reason to strike it down

Conclusion:

  • Section 144 is a useful tool to help deal with emergencies. However, absence of any narrow tailoring of wide executive powers with specific objectives, coupled with very limited judicial oversight over the executive branch, makes it ripe for abuse and misuse.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think Section 144 is being misused?
  • Do you think Section 144 curbs Fundamental rights?

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Gandhi Citizenship Education Prize recently in news

  1. It has been instituted by United Nations so as to promote Gandhian Ideals
  2. The first edition of the prize would be dedicated to animal welfare.

Select the correct answer from codes given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Consider the following statements about National Population Register

  1. It is a register of all citizens of India who are above 18 years of age.
  2. It has been decided to update NPR along with the Houselisting phase of Census 2021 during April to September 2020 in all the States/UTs except Assam

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements about United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC)

  1. UNCRC is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children
  2. India is a signatory of the treaty but is yet to ratify it.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) Operation twist recently in news is related to which of the following areas?

  1. Indian Military’s strike across Myanmar border against Naga insurgents
  2. ISRO’s mission to target and destroy spy satellites
  3. RBI’s open market operations to manage bond yields
  4. None of the above

Q.5) Exercise Indra is joint military exercise conducted by which countries?

  1. India and Sri Lanka
  2. India, USA and Japan
  3. India and Russia
  4. None of the above

ANSWERS FOR 19 DEC 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 A
3 C
4 D

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