IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th July 2020
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Polity
- We have come across news articles dealing with political crisis in different states, rebel MLAs defying whip’s order or abstains from attending its legislature party meetings; Rebel MLAs getting disqualification notices from the Speaker.
Do you know?
- Tenth Schedule lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
- A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote.
- This implies that a legislator defying (abstaining or voting against) the party whip on any issue can lose his membership of the House.
- The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
- Any question regarding disqualification arising out of defection is to be decided by the presiding officer of the House.
- Originally, the decision of the presiding officer was final and could not be questioned in any court. However, in 1993 Kihoto Hollohan case, the Supreme Court declared this provision as unconstitutional on the ground that it seeks to take away the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the high courts.
- It held that the presiding officer, while deciding a question under the Tenth Schedule, function as a tribunal. Hence, his decision like that of any other tribunal, is subject to judicial review on the grounds of mala fides, perversity, etc
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and Iran ties; International Relations
According to Government of India –
- Iran had gone silent on Chabahar-Zahedan railway project and India didn’t receive any response from Iran since December 2019.
- The ONGC’s foreign arm OVL is also out of the Farzad-B gas field exploration project.
- Policy changes by the Iranian government, Iran’s precarious finances, and the U.S. sanctions situation – are the reasons for dropping India from the projects.
Do you know?
- The MEA has confirmed that India is no longer involved in the Farzad-B gas field project where ONGC had originally signed an agreement for exploration in 2002, investing approximately $100 million thus far.
- India had proposed to invest $1.6 billion in the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line, and approximately $6 billion in the Farzad-B gas field project.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and its neighbourhood; India-Pak Relations
- India accused Pakistan of not allowing free and unimpeded consular access to death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav.
- Pakistani security officials did not allow the Consular Officers to get Mr. Jadhav’s consent for legal representation. The consent is necessary for filing a review plea against the death sentence.
- India had taken the case to the International Court of Justice which had ordered Pakistan to grant consular access to him.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health issue; Social/Welfare issue
- Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births.
- As per the World Health Organization, maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.
According to data released by the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS)
- Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016.
- The target 3.1 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 1,00,000 live births.
- The southern States performs better compared to other states.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Animal/Wildlife conservation
- Supreme Court to examine the constitutional validity of the Kerala Animals and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act of 1968 that prohibits sacrifice of animals and birds in temples to ‘please’ the deity.
- SC bench highlighted the “dichotomy” in animal protection law that allows killing of animals for food but does not permit “killing of animals for offer to a deity and then consumption”.
- Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 allows killing of animals but prohibits cruelty to animals.
Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960 does not make killing of animals for religious purposes an offence. However the 1968 Kerala State law bans killing of animals and birds for religious sacrifices but not for personal consumption.
India Ideas Summit
- Prime Minister to address a global audience on the subject of U.S. and India as key partners and leaders in a post-COVID-19 world at the India Ideas Summit on July 22.
- The summit will bring together senior officials from the Government of India and the U.S. administration.
- India Ideas Summit is organised by top advocacy group US-India Business Council (USIBC), would be held on July 21-22.
February Delhi Riots and Hate Speech
According to a fact-finding committee constituted by the Delhi Minorities Commission to look into the February riots in north-east Delhi –
- Violence followed an “organised and systematic pattern” and did not have the spontaneity of a riot.
- Violence occurred immediately after a speech by BJP leader Kapil Mishra.
- Following the speech, different groups/mobs quickly fanned out to the local areas, openly carrying various weapons and actions were not taken by the district administration or the police to protect life and property.
- The report added that the attacks were targeted towards the Muslim population.
Do you know?
- The committee is headed by M.R. Shamshad, Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court.
Example of Police Brutality in India
- Police brutality has increased across India and there is urgent need for Police Reforms.
- The tragic and brutal death of Jayaraj and his son Bennix in police custody had raised a storm of protest in Tamil Nadu and across the country.
- Incidents of police brutality during lockdown period – where police were seen torturing innocent people.
- Recent such incident is the Madhya Pradesh’s Guna police assault on Dalit couple.
- Human rights NGO Amnesty India said the force used by the police was excessive and violated international standards.
Do you know?
- The victims of such police actions are mostly migrant workers, daily wage earners, vegetable sellers, street vendors and such other people belonging to the working class.
Topic: General Studies 1, 2:
- Social empowerment
- Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Context: Supreme Court recent judgement about disabled persons in ARYAN RAJ vs. CHANDIGARH ADMINISTRATION case.
What was the case?
- A petition filed by Aryan Raj, a special needs person against the Government College of Arts, Chandigarh.
- The college denied Mr. Raj relaxation in minimum qualifying marks in the Painting and Applied Art course.
- The college insisted that disabled persons too need to meet the general qualifying standard of 40% in the aptitude test, whereas SC/ST candidates were given a relaxation to 35%.
What was the judgement?
- Setting aside the college decision, SC noted that SC/ST require 35% to pass in the aptitude test, the same shall apply so far as the disabled are concerned in future
- The Supreme Court,in a significant decision, confirmed that
- Persons suffering from disabilities are also socially backward
- Disabled are entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and education
- Supreme Court said that it is following the principle laid down in the Delhi High Court’s judgment in Anamol Bhandari case of 2012
- The Delhi High Court had held that people suffering from disabilities are also socially backward, and are therefore, at the very least, entitled to the same benefits as given to SC/ST candidates.
- Delhi High Court noted that Intellectually/mentally challenged persons have certain limitations, which are not there in physically challenged persons.
- Thus, the Court had advised the subject experts to examine the feasibility of creating a course which caters to the specific needs of such persons.
Significance of the Supreme Court judgement
- Recognition of difficulties: The apex court has recognised the travails of the disabled in accessing education or employment, regardless of their social status.
- Disabled will be able to reap the benefits of reservation: Hitherto, candidates with disabilities were often not able to get the benefit of reservation in education and employment because of not meeting the general standards
- Education as enabler of empowerment: The larger principle behind the judgement was that without imparting proper education to those suffering from disabilities, there cannot be any meaningful enforcement of their rights
Is there any criticism of the Judgement?
- The judgement is seen as eliminating the distinction between the disabled and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
- It is seen as an attempt to equate physical/ mental disability with the social disability and experience of untouchability suffered by marginalised sections for centuries
What is overarching legislative framework for protection of Disabled persons?
It is the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. Some of the key features of the act are:
- The Act replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
- It fulfills the obligations to the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory.
- Following reservation benefits have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs
- Reservation in higher education (not less than 5%),
- Reservation in government jobs (not less than 4 %),
- Reservation in allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes (5% allotment)
- Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
- Broad based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability are to be set up to serve as apex policy making bodies at the Central and State level.
- National and State Fund will be created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities.
- The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies and also monitor implementation of the Act.
- Punishments: Whoever intentionally insults or intimidates a person with disability, or sexually exploits a woman or child with disability, shall be punishable with imprisonment between six months to five years and fine.
- Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.
It is vital that the 2016 act & recent SC judgement be fully given effect to so that this significant segment of the population is not left out of social and economic advancement.
Did You Know?
Reservation for disabled is called horizontal reservation which cuts across all vertical categories such as SC, ST, OBC & General
Connecting the dots:
- Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan
- National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC)
- Articles 15(4), 16(4A) and 46
SECURITY/ GOVERNANCE/ SOCIETY
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
- Government policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What was the Twitter hack all about?
- On July 15th, many high-profile accounts started tweeting a message saying any bitcoin sent to a link in the tweet will be sent back doubled
- Among the affected names are former president Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Uber & Apple Twitter handles
- Even when Twitter deleted such tweets, the accounts tweeted again within minutes.
- In the four-odd hours the tweets were live, the Bitcoin wallet promoted in the tweets received over $100,000 via at least 300 transactions.
Image Source: Indian Express
How did the hack happen?
- Early suggestions are the hackers managed to access administration privileges, which allowed them to bypass the passwords of any account they wanted.
- Twitter has said that hack is believed to be a co-ordinated social-engineering attack by persons who successfully targeted some of their employees who had access to internal systems and tools
- “Social-engineering” could mean one of several things.
- It might imply a targeted phishing operation – a common tactic employed by cyber-criminals, who find out which individuals have the keys to a system and then target them with personal emails that trick them into handing over details.
- Or it might mean the perpetrators managed to convince one or several staff members to go rogue, by offering a financial inducement or other means.
- The exact details of how the cyber-attack happened is not yet fully known
What are implications of this security incident?
- It was an unprecedented attack on privacy, trust and security.
- It had huge impact as the tweets had a reach of at least 350 million people.
- Being the platform of choice for some of the most powerful and prominent people in the world, the attack on Twitter will cost its reputation
- This hack shows just how vulnerable social-media platforms are
- It also shows how vulnerable users are to disinformation (who paid in bitcoins)
- 2020 being election year in USA, there are now valid questions about whether Twitter can be relied upon in the lead up to elections
Way Ahead – what steps needs to be taken?
- As social media platforms are also used as warning systems, and for publication of news, they need to be extra careful with security.
- Social media platforms also need to have contingency plans ready
- Social media companies need to spend more on security (there is no law regarding this as of now).
- There is need for comprehensive & strict laws about cyber security
- India is still to come out with a national cybersecurity policy or mandate companies to do such checks
As more people adjust to online activities, there is a need to look at cybersecurity as a necessary spend.
Did You Know?
- Beyond a potential loss of trust, Twitter may now face legal consequences too.
- The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) says organisations such as Twitter have to show “appropriate” levels of security.
- And if data-protection officers judge that Twitter failed to take adequate measures to protect European users, it could be fined.
Connecting the dots:
- Critical analysis of Social Media
- EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Justice B. N. Srikrishna Committee report on data protection regime
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- 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 ‘Anti-Defection Law’
- The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule which laid down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection
- Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party
- Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months
Select the correct statements
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Q.2) Kihoto Hollohan case is associated with:
- Tenth Schedule
- Ninth Schedule
- Eighth Schedule
- Eleventh and Twelfth Schedule
Q.3) Farzad-B gas field project is associated with of the following countries?
ANSWERS FOR 16th July 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
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