Insights Daily Current Events, 27 October 2015
Paper 3 Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas.
I will continue my fight alone: Sharmila
Disappointed by the absence of supporters at a very crucial stage in her campaign, Irom Sharmila recently said that she would continue her campaign against AFSPA all alone and would not allow it to be sabotaged.
She is the woman crusader who has been on a fast-unto-death since November 2000 demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Manipur.
The High Court in Delhi is hearing an attempt to commit suicide case against her. However, the district and sessions court in Imphal had ordered Ms. Sharmila’s release finding her not guilty of the charge.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act:
It is an Act empowering armed forces to deal effectively in ‘Disturbed Areas’. Any area which is declared ‘Disturbed’ under the disturbed areas act enables armed forces to resort to the provisions of AFSPA.
Who declares an area as disturbed?
- The choice of declaring any area as ‘disturbed’ vests both with state and central government.
Special powers provided to armed forces:
After an area comes under the ambit of AFSPA, any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or another person of equivalent rank can use force for a variety of reasons while still being immune to the prosecution.
- The act was passed on 11 September 1958 by the parliament of India to provide special legal security to the armed forces carrying out operations in the troubled areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura (seven sisters).
- In 1990 the act was extended to the state of Jammu and Kashmir to confront the rising insurgency in the area.
- In Manipur, despite opposition from the Central government, state government withdrew the Act in some parts in Aug, 2004.
The government can declare AFSPA in the following conditions:
- When the local administration fails to deal with local issues and the police proves inefficient to cope with them.
- When the scale of unrest or instability in the state is too large for the police to handle.
Legal provisions of AFSPA:
- In an area declared, “disturbed” an army officer is legally free to carry out following operations:
- Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law” against “assembly of five or more persons” or possession of deadly weapons.
- Destroy any shelter (private or govt.) from which armed attacks are made or likely to be made or attempted to be made.
- Arrest any person without warrant who has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence.
- Enter and search, without warrant, any premises for purpose of arrest or to recover any person, arms, explosives.
- Search and seize any vehicle suspected to be carrying an offender or any person against whom any reasonable suspicion exists that he has or is about to commit an offence.
- Provide legal immunity to the army personnel found involved in any violation or ethical breach i.e., they cannot be sued or prosecuted.
Common people see it as ‘Right to Kill’ Act. Since its inception many Human Rights organizations and civil societies have been opposing it for the following reasons:
- It makes no distinction between a peaceful gathering of five or more people and a berserk mob.
- The law also states that, “no prosecution can be initiated against an officer without the previous sanction of the Central government”.
- The decision of the government to declare a particular area ‘disturbed’ cannot be challenged in a court of law.
In 2005 the Jeevan Reddy Commission said that AFSPA should be repealed and the clauses that are required should be included in other Acts.
sources: the hindu, pib.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
After IAF, Navy opens its doors to women pilots
Following the Air Force, even the Navy has decided to throw open its doors to women fighter pilots. All flying areas in the Navy will be opened for women, except where it requires staying overnight on carriers and ships.
- However, until the infrastructural needs are addressed, they will be shore-based.
- The army and the Navy are also looking at appointing women in combat roles.
These moves are aimed at giving women an almost equal status as long as there are no logistical, infrastructure and training issues. The Defence Ministry had recently announced that the first batch of women fighter pilots would be serving the Indian Air Force by June 2017.
Issue of Permanent Commission:
- In September 2025, in a landmark judgement, the Delhi High Court had granted Permanent Commission for women and had pulled up the Defence Ministry and the Navy for sexist bias and blocking women’s progress.
- However, the defence minister has observed that there was no gender bias in the Navy.
What is a permanent commission?
A permanent commission means a career in the Army/Navy till one retires. A permanent commission also entitles 20 years of service and a pension.
Why women officers are demanding for Permanent Commission?
Due to their limited service span, women officers are not eligible for pension, which requires a minimum 20 years of service. Currently, in the navy women officers are entitled only to short service commissions for a maximum of 14 years.
sources: the hindu, pib, bs.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Increase of Financial Assistance under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN)
To further ease access to financial assistance under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN), the Government has decided to enhance the financial powers delegated to designated Central Government hospitals/institutes from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh for providing financial assistance in cases where emergency surgery is to be conducted.
Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN):
- Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi was set up under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in 1997.
- The scheme provides for financial assistance to patients, living below poverty line who is suffering from major life threatening diseases, to receive medical treatment at any of the super specialty hospitals/institutes or other Govt. hospitals.
- The financial assistance to such patients is released in the form of “one time grant” to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital in which the treatment is being received.
- Under the scheme, Central Government also provides Grant in aid to States/Union Territories (with legislature) to set up state illness fund to the extent of 50% of contribution made by State Govt/Union Territories.
- Financial Assistance is given to patients living in their respective States/UTs under State illness fund up to Rs.1.5 lakhs in an individual case. However, in cases where the quantum of financial assistance is likely to exceed Rs.1.5 lakhs, those are referred to RAN for consideration.
sources: pib, mohfw.