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The Hindu 3 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

 

SL. NO.

TOPICS

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

Kashmir parties warn against plan to remove Article 35A

13

2

Explaining the Asian rate cuts wave

10

3

US formally withdraws from INF treaty 

14

4

The taproot of conservation justice

10

5

DU among institutions named for eminance tag

01

 

Title

1. Kashmir parties warn against plan to remove Article 35A (The Hindu Page 13)

Syllabus

Prelims: Polity

Mains: GS Paper II in Polity

Theme

Article 35A

Highlights

INTRODUCTION

  • Article 35A is a unique provision of the Constitution of India. It is a part of the Constitution, but does not figure in the bare Act.It was conceived exclusively for the benefit of the State of Jammu and Kashmir through a Presidential Order issued in 1954. 

  • It empowers the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature to define the State's 'permanent residents' and their special rights and privileges. It was specially devised to save the State subject laws that had already been defined under Maharaja Hari Singh's, the ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

  • Through the 1927 and 1932 notifications, Maharaja Hari Singh imposed a law defining the State subjects and their rights. The law also regulated migrants to the State. Following Independence, the State joined the Union of India through an instrument of accession to India signed by Hari Singh in October 1947.

  • After Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India, Sheikh Abdullah who took over the reins from Hari Singh in 1949 negotiated the State’s political relationship with New Delhi, which led to providing special status through the formulation of Article 370.

  • However, under the 1952 Delhi Agreement between Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru, several provisions of the Constitution were extended to Jammu and Kashmir through the 1954 Presidential Order. 

  • Article 35A, not a part of the original Constitution, was conceived under the 1952 Delhi Agreement entered into by Jammu and Kashmir with India. In other words, it is a byproduct of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

  • Article 370 guarantees special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir it states that ‘such of the other provisions of this Constitution shall apply in relation to that State subject to such exceptions as the President may by order specify. Article 35A is one such exception issued through Presidential Order in 1954 known as Constitutional Order No. 48. 

  • Jammu and Kashmir's Constitution was framed in 1956. It retained Maharaja Hari Singh's definition of permanent residents: All persons born or settled within the State before 1911 or after having lawfully acquired immovable property and resident in the State for not less than ten years prior to that date. 

  • All emigrants from Jammu and Kashmir, including those who migrated to Pakistan, are considered state subjects. The descendants of emigrants are considered state subjects for two generations.

  • The permanent residents law prohibits non-permanent residents from permanent settlement in the State, acquiring immovable property, government jobs, scholarships and other aid.

  • However, the Permanent settlement law was interpreted as discriminatory against the women of Jammu and Kashmir as it disqualified them from the state subject rights, if they married non-permanent residents. 

  • In a landmark judgment in 2002, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court held that women married to non-permanent residents will not lose their rights. The children of such women don't have succession rights.

 

EFFECTS OF ARTICLE 35A

  • A most prominent feature of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, as distinguished from the rest of India, is the provision for the special treatment of 'permanent residents' of Jammu & Kashmir. The permanent residents are such persons as are declared so by any existing law of the State or by any future law enacted by the Legislature of the State.

  • As stated in the Article, any such law may either confer special rights or privileges or impose restrictions upon the permanent residents with respect to employments under the State Government, acquisition of immovable property in the State, settlement in the State and the right to scholarships and other forms of aid as the State Government may provide.

  • Such legislation shall be valid notwithstanding that it is inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights conferred by the Constitution of India upon the other citizens of India.

 

WHY ARTICLE 35A IS BEING DEBATED

  • It was not added to the Constitution through an amendment under Article 368. It was never presented before Parliament, and came into effect immediately.

  • This provision was gender biased and against Article 14 of the Constitution as a permanent resident status is denied to the children of a Kashmiri woman who marries a man from outside Jammu and Kashmir apply to the children of a Kashmiri man marrying a woman from outside the State & this is discriminatory.

 

 

 

Title

2. Explaining the Asian rate cuts wave (The Hindu – Page 10)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Current Events of International Importance

Mains: GS III in Economy

Theme

Global Economic Slowdown

Highlights

Current Context:

  • IMF has been downgrading the expected global growth multiple times since October 2018 and now projects it to be 3.2% in the latest World Economic Outlook update in July 2019.

 

Causes:

  • China is witnessing slower economic growth due to internal reforms undertaken by Chinese government and the tariff war with U.S. Japan has also struggled to lift its economic growth rate. 

  • The slowdown in Asia's two largest economies have led to a decrease in market demands and therefore imports. This has caused slowdown in export-dependent Asian economies such as South Korea, Singapore, and others. In addition, the U.S. trade war has caused major supply chain disruptions for corporates in export driven Asian economies.

 

Response to economic slowdown:

  • The U.S. Federal Reserve it is set to embark on a new round of rate cuts, while many Asian central banks (India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea) have begun to ease monetary policy.

 

Expected Result:

  • This is expected to combat subdued inflationary pressures. 

  • If interest rates in the U.S. decline, emerging economies may experience an increase in capital inflows if their economy showcase ability of higher returns such as competitive interest rates, sustained forex reserves, etc. 

  • Regional currencies may face depreciation in comparison to US Dollar if their lower interest rates does not lead to increase economic growth.

 

Indian Scenario:

  • India has not been well-integrated with the Asian and global supply chains, it has not been as impacted directly by the China-U.S. trade war.

  • India has not been able to effectively act as an alternative production and export platform to China. A position likely to be achieved by smaller East Asian countries.

  • RBI has cut rate multiple times by 25 basis points since October 2018 to a nine-year low in nominal terms. Further RBI has shifted its stance to accomodative. However, India’s real interest rates are still higher than most other countries and may not be competitive for capital inflows.

  • India largely suffers from internal factors rather than external factors for economic slowdown, in-particular the banking crisis. NPA's causing high provisioning requirement which has negatively impacted profits of India's banking system. Similarly, banks have tightend lending to private sector and coupled with high interest rate of actual loans, this has decreased private investment in India.

  • The author has recommended that overseas sovereign bonds is not the right solution for India to combat wconomic slowdown, but rather government should streamline subsidies and revenue expenditures.

 

 

Title

3. US formally withdraws from INF treaty (The Hindu, Page 14)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Current event of international importance

Mains: G.S. II in International Relations

Theme

INF Treaty

Highlights

Current Context:

  • US had earlier alleged that Russia is developing the SSC-8 missile, however this had been denied by Russia. US consider this as a violation of the INF treaty. Russia called the move a ploy to exit the pact as the US wanted to leave anyway in order to develop new missiles.

  • United States & subsequently Russia had announced separately that they would suspend their obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. U.S. has now formally withdrew from the INF treaty.

 

About INF Treaty

  • The 1987 INF Treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

 

Membership

  • INF treaty ban originally applied only to U.S. and Soviet forces, but the treaty's membership expanded in 1991 to include successor states of the former Soviet Union.

  • Today, active states-parties to the treaty total just five countries. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, Russia and the United States are included in the treaty's implementation. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan forgo treaty meetings with the consent of the other states-parties.

 

Global Impact:

  • US withdrawal will allow the US new weapon options in the Pacific to counter China, whereby China currently has no international mechanisms curbing it from developing such weapons. US has announced that it is going to accelerate the development of new cruise and ballistic missiles.

  • US can now reinforce their tactical missiles, both nuclear and conventional, in US military bases in Guam in Pacific Ocean and in Okinawa islands of Japan in the East China Sea.

  • US can propose a fresh arms control dialogue that would now include both Russia and China and this new treaty would then restrict China’s intermediate range missiles capability and weaken it against India, Japan and other powers in Indo-Pacific.

  • European countries were earlier protected from an arms race in intermediate missiles with Russia due to Russian obligations under INF treaty. Russian withdrawal would increase threat to European security. Germany has already said it would use its EU presidency next year to push ahead with an initiative for new forms of arms control.

 

Title

4. The taproot of conservation justice (The Hindu, Page 10)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Governance

Mains: G.S. II in Governance  & Social Justice

Theme

Forest Rights Act, 2006

Highlights

WHAT IS  THE FRA , 2006?

  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA) was passed by the government in 2006 and came into force on December 30, 2007.

  • The main aim of this act was to correct the historical injustice met out to the forest dwellers since time immemorial. 

  •  The Act Grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers. 

 

ELIGIBILITY TO CLAIM RIGHTS 

  • Primarily residing in forests or forest lands and depending on forests and forest land for a livelihood.

  • Further, either the claimant must be a member of the Scheduled Tribes in that area or be a ‘Other traditional forest dweller’ i.e.  must have been residing in the forest for 75 years

 

RIGHTS UNDER THE ACT

  • Title rights- right to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation.

  • Use rights- right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce 

  • Relief and development rights- to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection

  • Forest management rights- to protect , conserve and manage forests, forest produces and wildlife

  • Various community rights - uses or entitlements such as fish and other products of water bodies, grazing of animals.

 

PROCESS OF RECOGNITION OF RIGHTS /SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS.

  • 1. FIRST-TIER: Gram Sabha  

  • It is initiated by the local Gram Sabha, which should have adequate representation from Scheduled Tribes, primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities. 

  • The gram Sabha will receiving claims, consolidating and verifying them and preparing a map delineating the area of each recommended claim.

  • It will then pass a  resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised. 

 
  • 2. SECOND-TIER: Taluka level committee:

  • The resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and then forwarded to the district level committee for final screening and decision.

  • First appeal against the Gram Sabha’s decision on claims can be made to the sub-divisional level committee.

 

3. THIRD-TIER: District Level Committee :

  • The State Government shall constitute a District Level Committee to consider and finally approve the record of forest rights prepared by the Sub-Divisional Level Committee

  • A second appeal can be filed with the district level committee, whose decision over the claims of forest rights would be final and binding

 

4. STATE LEVEL MONITORING COMMITTEE : 

  • The State Government shall constitute a State Level Monitoring Committee to monitor the process of recognition and vesting of forest rights.

  • The Sub-Divisional Level Committee, the District Level Committee and the State Level Monitoring Committee shall consist of officers of the department of Revenue, Forest and Tribal Affairs of the State Government and three members of the Panchayati Raj Institutions at the appropriate level of whom two shall be the Scheduled Tribe members and at least one women.

 

Problems with FRA:

  • Central government should set clear targets and their attainment should be incentivised by fiscal incentives.

  • The up gradation of technology including digitalized mapping, GIS to map area ( in decision making process as well as in monitoring) etc. can speed up the process.

  • Capacity building of Gram Sabha with necessary technical help should be provided by Central government or Civil Society organizations.

  • Reform in Forest Bureaucracy to make them responsive and breaking the contractor forest official nexus is required. Use of ICT in decision making to make process transparent is required.

  • Granting of community Ownership should be prioritized by notifying guidelines on same.

  •  Deficiency within Gram Sabha The Gram Sabha (village assembly) is the first tier of decision-making as per the Act. But in most of the states, the Gram Sabha do not have the desired infrastructure and technical know-how to keep these records. In many tribal areas, Gram Sabha is yet to be constituted.

  • Lack of regular elections in panchayats - In many states the panchayat system is not very strong and in some cases, the panchayat elections are not held regularly. In such areas, the Gram panchayats are not operational up to the desired level necessary for the implementation of the Act.

  • Ambiguity in the formation of Forest Rights Committee - Each village is to elect a committee of 10 15 people from its residents as a Forest Rights Committee , which will do the initial verification of claims and place its recommendations before the Gram Sabha. However, in most of the states Gram panchayat responsible for the formation of Forest Rights Committee comprising of these people are not efficient enough to implement the Act in letter and spirit.

  • A deliberate focus on individual rather than community rightscommunity forest management is the most sustainable and democratic model of forest governance. Still, the administrative machinery is found to be concentrating more on claims for individual user rights rather than community rights. So far, very few claims are filed under community rights and most of them have been neglected.

  • Lack of awareness and Illiteracy - The main target beneficiaries of this act are mostly illiterate and therefore filling and submission of forms regarding the claims becomes very difficult. In this case, many intermediaries with vested interests try to take advantage of the situation. Also, there is severe lack of awareness about the provisions of the act not only among the beneficiaries but also among the officials in charge of implementing it.

  • Lack of land records as proof - As per the provision in Act it is the responsibility of the officials to provide required documents to the individual & communities as proof but it is not taken up by the concerned departments. In the absence of authentic records, actual eligible people have to face serious problems in claiming their rights.

  • Non-recognition of rights in Protected Areas (PA) - In protected areas, the process of settling the claims is extremely slow and also there are efforts to relocate the beneficiaries illegally.

  • Other Traditional Forest Dwellerstheir claims are not recognized in most states, partly due to wrong interpretation that they required to have occupied land for three generation. No documentary evidence is available to prove that they are living in the area for 75 years.

  • Primitive Tribal Groups - The provision for community/habitat right of Primitive Tribal Group, pre-agricultural communities is not appropriately implemented so far. There is lack of clarity on the mechanism for claiming right. Such communities are mostly interested in habitats right as it gives them a permanent settlement.

  • Lack of inter-departmental coordination- The tribal department has been declared as the nodal department for the enactment of this Act, but the records for the forest lands are in possession of either forest department or the revenue department. Involvement of three departments - the tribal welfare department, the revenue department and the forest department makes it difficult to have a good liaison between them.

  • Harassment by forest officials under Indian Forest Act 1927 government has arbitrary power to take over forest land without proper rehabilitation of tribals and other forest dwellers, putting them at the risk of harassment by local forest officials, especially in Naxal affected areas. It also results in large-scale rejection of claims in Naxal affected areas.

  • Attempts to dilute the provisions of the act - Now through various legislations and rules the FRA is sought to be violated by side-stepping the Gram Sabha in the name of ease of doing business and wildlife conservation. The Ministries of Tribal Affairs and Environment have been at loggerheads with each other over the need to acquire land, including forest land, for industries.

  • Diverting forest lands for non-forest purposes- There is apprehension that Land Acquisition Act, Mines and Mineral development Act and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act will make it possible for the government to take away rights given under Forest Rights Act, 2006.

  • Rejection - There are deep procedural flaws in processing of the claims to forest land, and there is a high rejection rate.

  • As of April 2016, only 40% of the claims received across the country had been settled.

  • Of the 44 lakh claims filed before authorities in the different States, 20.5 lakh claims (46.5%) were rejected.

  • In Chhattisgarh, Adivasi communities account for a third of the population.

  • But over half of individual rights and a third of community rights claims were denied.

  • Arbitrary - Claims are being rejected without assigning reasons, or based on wrong interpretation of the provisions, or simply for lack of evidence or ‘absence of GPS survey’.

  • The rejections are not being communicated to the claimants, and their right to appeal is not being explained to them or facilitated for.

  • The mere rejection of claims by the state therefore does not mean that their possession of land is a crime of “encroachment”.

 

 

Title

5. DU among institutions named for eminance tag (The Hindu, Page 01)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Current event of national importance

Mains: G.S. II in Social Issues

Theme

Grant of Institutions of Eminance status 

Highlights

What is the news?

  • IIT Madras and Kharagpur, Delhi University, University of Hyderabad, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and VIT are among the 20 institutions recommended for the grant of Institutions of Eminence status by the University Grants Commission (UGC). 

  • UGC has considered the reports of the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) appointed by Government under the Chairmanship of Shri N Gopalaswami which recommended names of 15 Public institutions and 15 Private institutions to give the status of Institutions of Eminence (IOE). 

  • However, 10 public and 10 private institutions have been selected for IoE status. 

 

Principles for selecting IOE

  • Since the thrust of the scheme is to prepare institutions for the global rankings, no existing institution which has NOT figured in any of the global/national ranks shall be recommended for the IoE status.

  • Only after exhausting the above criterion, if any slot remains vacant, consideration shall be given to 'yet to be established (Greenfield)' proposals. 

  • In case of the private institutions proposed as Institutions of Eminence, there will be no financial support, but they will be entitled for more autonomy as a special category Deemed University.

  • The Greenfield Institutions would get 3 year period to establish and operationalise the institution, and thereafter, EEC will consider giving IoE status to such institutions.

 

 

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