INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 12 February 2020
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Safer Internet Day.
2. Storm Ciara.
3. International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
4. Indian nationals living abroad.
5. UNHCR launches ‘2 Billion Kilometers to Safety’ campaign.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview, rule of Hampi and various associated dynasties.
For Mains: Challenges to it’s protection, concerns and ways to address them.
Context: SC backs move of Karnataka government to demolish restaurants near Hampi site.
The court concluded that the constructions were in violation of the Mysore Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1961.
Previously, the Karnataka High Court had held that the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority was empowered to order the demolition of the illegal buildings.
- It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
- It was a part of the Mauryan Empire back in the third century BC.
- Hampi was the capital city during the four different dynasties altogether in the Vijayanagar city that came into existence in the year 1336 AD.
- The Vijayanagara Empire reached unfathomable heights under the guidance of King Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluva Dynasty.
- ‘Kishkindha Kaand’ in Ramayana has special significance concerning Hampi.
- It is located near the Tungabhadra river.
- By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.
- It has been described by UNESCO as an “austere, grandiose site” of more than 1,600 surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: World History.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Causes, effects and outcomes of the revolution.
Context: Iran celebrates 1979 Islamic Revolution.
About Islamic Revolution:
Also called Islamic Revolution, it was a popular uprising in Iran in 1978–79 that resulted in the toppling of the monarchy on February 11, 1979, and led to the establishment of an Islamic republic.
Reasons advanced for the revolution include:
- A backlash against Western imperialism.
- the 1953 Iranian coup d’état.
- a rise in expectations created by the 1973 oil revenue windfall.
- an overly ambitious economic program.
- anger over a short, sharp economic contraction in 1977–78.
- other shortcomings of the previous regime.
Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic was formed under Khomeini’s rule. The U.S. Embassy in Iran was taken over by a group of Muslim students and 52 U.S. diplomats and citizens were taken hostage on November 4, 1979. This event came to be known as the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to women.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of the guidelines.
For Mains: Loopholes, challenges in implementation and ways to address them.
Context: The Delhi High Court has sought the State government’s stand on a plea by an acid attack survivor, who has alleged that the chemical was easily available despite the Supreme Court’s directions to regulate its sale. She also alleged that the statutory rules which regulate the sale of acid were not being implemented by the authorities.
Need for stricter compliance:
Acid violence is often referred to as “weapon of misogyny”, “result of toxic masculinity” and “weapon of patriarchy” for targeting women who have tried to assert their agency by refusing to pay dowry, asking for their property rights, defying religious norms or social custom, or laughing loudly, refusing to wear hijab, or choosing to wear jeans and most commonly rejecting a love proposal. Acid violence is a premeditated attack born out of a feeling of vengeance intended to put the victim who dares to challenge the attacker.
Till 2013, there was no separate provision in the Indian Penal Code to charge those accused of acid attacks, nor were there rules restricting sale and purchase of acid. But after the Supreme Court directives to regulate the sale of harmful substances like acid, the government declared acid attacks a cognizable offence under Section 326 (A) of the Indian Penal Code with punishment up to 10 years. The Supreme Court ordered strict restrictions on the sale of acid which were seldom followed.
What are the Supreme Court guidelines on this?
These guidelines were an outcome of the 2013 SC ruling.
The ruling came during the hearing of an acid attack case in which a woman, Laxmi, whose face and other body parts were disfigured in an acid attack.
- The victim had filed a PIL asking for the framing of a new law, or amendment to the existing laws such as IPC, Indian Evidence Act and CrPC. The PIL asked for changes in the existing laws to enable dealing with the offence as well as asking for compensation.
- In her PIL, she had also asked for a total ban on the sale of acid at the retail level.
Following this, the court had directed the Centre to frame guidelines in this regard.
Overview of the guidelines:
- Acid should be sold only to people who show a valid identity card.
- Buyers will also have explain why they need the chemical and sales will have to be reported to the police.
- There will also be more compensation for victims.
Present challenges and concerns:
- In clear defiance of the Court’s guidelines, acid is regularly available in India across various pharmacy or grocery shops.
- Although the acid available in markets is diluted, there is complete absence of regulation to determine if the level of dilution confirms to the prescribed safety levels.
- The issue of compliance has been brought to the Court’s notice by a writ petition which is currently pending. Such clear defiance of the Court’s guidelines has resulted in easy availability of acid and is an encouraging factor for prospective perpetrators.
- Besides, acid is allowed to be politicised for the guidelines have not been implemented by several state governments.
Acid attacks are a problem throughout South Asia, with cases also reported in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. There are an estimated 1,000 acid attacks a year in India. The victims, who have to live with terrible disfigurements, are mainly women and are often targeted by jealous partners.
- Acid attacks are not like normal crimes. They are the handiwork of individuals with a perverted mentality. Such people become blind and insensitive so they need to be identified and injurious substances like acid or arms must be kept away from them.
- The government at every level including all the state governments need to answer the question of why acid is still available for sale in the market.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics covered: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
What to study?
For Prelims: Constitutional provisions related to Uniform Civil Code.
For Mains: UCC- need, concerns, challenges and is it suitable for India?
Context: Last week, while hearing a matter relating to properties of a Goan, the Supreme Court described Goa as a “shining example” with a Uniform Civil Code, observed that the founders of the Constitution had “hoped and expected” a Uniform Civil Code for India but there has been no attempt at framing one.
What is uniform civil code?
A generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.
What the constitution says?
Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Since the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them.
India needs a Uniform Civil Code for the following reasons:
- A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
- Another reason why a uniform civil code is needed is gender justice. The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. The practice of triple talaq is a classic example.
- Many practices governed by religious tradition are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
- Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.
Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?
- Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters – Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act etc. States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and therefore in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
- If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List.
Last year, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.
Why is UCC may not desirable at this point?
Secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country. Besides, cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.
The term ‘secularism’ has meaning only if it assures the expression of any form of difference. This diversity, both religious and regional, should not get subsumed under the louder voice of the majority. At the same time, discriminatory practices within a religion should not hide behind the cloak of that faith to gain legitimacy.
How does the idea of a Uniform Civil Code relate to the fundamental right to religion?
Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture.
An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights
In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting Uniform Civil Code in the fundamental rights chapter. The matter was settled by a vote. By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of fundamental rights and therefore the Uniform Civil Code was made less important than freedom of religion.
What is needed now?
Need of the hour is the codification of all personal laws so that prejudices and stereotypes in every one of them would come to light and can be tested on the anvil of fundamental rights of the Constitution. By codification of different personal laws, one can arrive at certain universal principles that prioritise equity rather than imposition of a Uniform Code, which would discourage many from using the law altogether, given that matters of marriage and divorce can also be settled extra-judicially.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: 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.
What to study?
For prelims: Private Member’s Bill- introduction and procedure followed.
For mains: Issues associated and why are they not taken into account seriously.
Context: Four Members of Parliament are ready with Private Member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha offering a way out for the central government to deal with high unemployment.
The four bills are:
- Unemployment Allowance Bill 2019 propose doling out some form of unemployment allowance to jobless citizens.
- Financial Assistance to Unemployed Post-Graduates Bill 2019 restricts the unemployment allowances to unemployed postgraduates only.
- Unemployed Youth (Allowance and Employment Opportunities) Bill 2019 eyes the twin-purpose of generating gainful employment opportunities and payment of unemployment allowance.
- Another Unemployment Allowance Bill proposes unemployment allowances for jobless youth until they get gainful employment.
Unable to tame rising unemployment has been the biggest criticism against the present government in its near six-year tenure. Part of the blame does lie with the central government itself. More than 6.83 lakh posts are lying vacant in the central government.
Who is a Private Member?
Any MP who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member.
Admissibility of a private member’s Bill:
The admissibility is decided by the Chairman for Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.
The procedure is roughly the same for both Houses:
- The Member must give at least a month’s notice before the Bill can be listed for introduction.
- The House secretariat examines it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation before listing.
Is there any exception?
While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.
Has a private member’s bill ever become a law?
As per PRS Legislative, no private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970. To date, Parliament has passed 14 such Bills, six of them in 1956. In the 14th Lok Sabha, of the over 300 private member’s Bills introduced, roughly four per cent were discussed, the remaining 96 per cent lapsed without a single dialogue.
Sources: Indian Express.
Facts for Prelims
Safer Internet Day:
This year, February 11 is being observed as Safer Internet Day (SID).
The SID initiative first began in Europe, but is now recognised in around 150 countries worldwide.
Aim: To increase awareness about emerging online issues, such as cyberbullying, and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns.
- This year, the theme is “Together for a better internet”.
- It is organised by the Insafe/INHOPE network of awareness centres, that is spread across 30 countries and is funded by the Connecting Europe Facility program (CEF) of the EU.
- In India, the New Delhi-based NGO DISC (Developing Internet Safe Community) Foundation is the SID Committee.
- It is a latest storm to hit Northern Europe.
- It is expected to hit Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany.
- In Germany, it is being referred to as ‘Sabine’. The storm has two names because there isn’t yet a pan-European system in place for labeling weather systems.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science:
February 11 was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
It was established by the United Nations to promote equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
- According to a 2018 fact sheet prepared by UNESCO on women in science, just 28.8% of researchers are women.
- It defines researchers as “professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge”. In India, this drops to 13.9%.
- Between 1901 and 2019, 334 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 616 Laureates in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine, of which just 20 have been won by 19 women. The double Laureate is Marie Curie.
- In 2019, the American mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win the Abel Prize, following 16 male mathematicians.
- The Fields Medal so far has also been awarded to only one woman mathematician, the late Maryam Mirzakhani of Iran, as opposed to 59 men since 1936.
Indian nationals living abroad:
- There are over 1.36 crore Indian nationals living abroad, as per the latest data.
- The highest number of Indians abroad are living in the United Arab Emirates, where the 34,20,000 Indians comprise about one-fourth of all Indians abroad.
- The UAE is followed by Saudi Arabia (25,94,947), the US (12,80,000), Kuwait (10,29,861), Oman (7,79,351), Qatar (7,56,062), Nepal (5,00,000), UK (3,51,000), Singapore (3,50,000) and Bahrain (3,23,292).
UNHCR launches ‘2 Billion Kilometers to Safety’ campaign:
- The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has announced a new global campaign urging people worldwide to cover the total distance travelled by refugees each year – 2 billion kilometers – by running, jogging or walking.
- The “2 Billion Kilometers to Safety” campaign vies to encourage people to support refugees by championing individual acts of solidarity.
- The goal is to acknowledge the resilience and strength of refugees.