05 December, 2019

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After Cabinet nod, Citizenship Bill ready for tabling in House

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Wednesday paving the way for its introduction in Parliament on December 9.

Prelims and Mains focus: About the key features of the Bill, its significance and concerns raised against the Bill; Assam accord, NRC

About the Bill

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by seeking to grant citizenship to undocumented non­Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

  • The Bill shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule of the Constitution and States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

  • Citizens of other States require ILP to visit the three States as per the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

  • The exemption means that Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Parsi, Jain and Sikh communities from the three countries will not be able to take up jobs, purchase land or settle down in these areas.


The purpose of the Bill says that it will enable acquisition of Indian citizenship by persons who were forced to seek shelter in India due to persecution or fear of it on grounds of religion and will extend the facility to the class of persons presently facing hardships and difficulties in acquiring citizenship.

The earlier form of the Bill cleared by the Lok Sabha in January did not have these provisions.

Concerns of Northeastern States

Northeastern States erupted in protests against the Bill as it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut­off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was updated as per the accord. The Bill says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrant” for violating provisions under Passport Act, 1920 or the Foreigners Act, 1946 that pertains to foreigners entering and staying in India illegally.

The Bill also proposes to protect the applicants under this category from all pending legal cases.

“On and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, any proceedings pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him,” the Bill says.

The immediate beneficiaries of this amendment would be the non­Muslim people out of the over 19lakh people who were excluded from Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on August 31.

About the Assam Accord 1985 and NRC

Source: The Hindu

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End of reservation for Anglo-­Indians?

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to extend reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for 10 years but a question mark prevailed over whether it has extended reservation for two seats in the Lok Sabha for the Anglo­Indian community.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the provisions relating to the reservation, About Anglo-Indians and their representation in the Parliament

  • Provisions for reservation for SCs/STs and Anglo­ Indians are extended under Article 334 (a) and (b) of the Constitution.

  • Two members of the Anglo Indian community have been nominated in the Lok Sabha since the adoption of the Constitution, under article 334(b).

Meaning and history of Anglo Indians in India

India is the largest democracy of the world. The Parliament of India is comprises of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and President of India. India is ‘Union of State’ that is why the members of Parliament are elected from all corners of the country.

There can be a total of 552 seats (530 states + 20 Union Territories + 2 Anglo Indians) in the Lok Sabha in the country, but only 543 seats are filled from elected members of the different states and Union Territories.

If there is no member is elected from the Anglo Indian community then the President of India is authorised to nominate 2 members of this community for the Lok Sabha.

Now the question arises that after all who are the Anglo Indians, why are they sent to the Parliament and the Legislative Assembly?

Meaning of Anglo Indians in India

The term Anglo Indian is defined as per the article 366 (2) of the Indian constitution; “a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is a native of India.”

The term Anglo Indian was first defined in the Government of India Act, 1935.

The arrival of Anglo-Indians in India was reported when the British were laying rail tracks and telephone lines in India. Due to technological knowledge the people of European society were called in India for the rail track deployment. These people later on married to Indian girls and settled here.

Most of the Anglo-Indian families had relation with Indian railways that is why they still call themselves 'Railway Children'.

The Anglo-Indian community created its organization known as 'The All India Anglo-Indian Association’ in 1876. 'Frank Anthony’ born in Jabalpur was the chairman of this organisation who later became a member of the Constituent Assembly.

It is worth to mention that article 331 was added in the Indian constitution because of his efforts. Frank Anthony was nominated to the Lok Sabha 7 times just because of article 331.

Anglo Indians in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies

Anglo Indian is the only community of India whose representatives are sent to Parliament and Legislative Assemblies through nomination.

Under the article 331; the President of India is authorised to nominate 2 members of the Anglo Indian community if know member of this community is elected among the 543 members for the Lok Sabha.

In the same way the governor of the state is authorised to nominate 1 Anglo Indian in the lower house of the State Legislature (in case of under representation).

According to the 10th schedule of the Constitution, any Anglo-Indian member can take the membership of any party within 6 months of the nomination. After the membership; they are bound to the party whip and they have to work in the house according to the party’s agenda.

Keep in mind that nominated members have all those powers, which are enjoyed by a common MP. But they can’t vote in the election of the President because they are nominated by the President.

India is a country of huge cultural diversity. Here, people of every society and culture get respect and representation. This is probably the reason that from 1951 to 2014, people of the Anglo-Indian community have been sent to the Parliament so that they can represent the people of their community.

Note: Click on the link below for a detailed analysis on reservation


Source: The Hindu

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Some data can be stored abroad without copy in India, Rs 15 cr fine for misuse

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: In a significant departure from the draft Bill, the Personal Data Protection Bill cleared by the Cabinet on Wednesday allows some personal data to be stored and processed abroad with the individual’s consent, without requiring a mirror of the data in India, official sources said.

Prelims and Mains focus: About the key changes made in the Bill and its significance, challenges in implementation

Background: After the public release of a draft Bill by a committee headed by Justice B N SriKrishna in July 2018, India was caught in the middle of a global debate on data localisation at the G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other fora.

Changes made in the draft of the Bill

A previous draft of the Bill required a copy of all personal data to be stored in India — a provision that was criticised by foreign technology companies and civil society stakeholders.

However, the Bill still requires “sensitive” personal data — related to financial, health, sexual orientation, biometric, genetic, transgender status, caste and religious belief — to be stored only in India.

This data can be processed abroad only under certain conditions, including the approval of a Data Protection Agency (DPA).

Moreover, “critical” personal data, as defined by the government from time to time, must be stored and processed only in India. These provisions will impact companies like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp, which currently store most of their India-related data abroad.

In another change, the Bill mandates companies to give the government access to any non-personal data — anonymised data like traffic patterns or demographic information — which many companies use to fund their business model. The previous draft did not specify this.

The Bill also requires social media companies, which are deemed “significant data fiduciaries” (SDF) based on factors such as volume and sensitivity of data as well as their turnover, to develop their own user verification mechanism. While the process can be voluntary for users and can be completely designed by the company, it will decrease the anonymity of users and “prevent trolling.

The Bill includes exemptions for processing data without an individual’s consent for “reasonable purposes”, including security of the state, detection of any unlawful activity or fraud, whistleblowing, medical emergencies, credit scoring, operation of search engines and processing of publicly available data.

While the Bill retains the provisions on a Data Protection Authority (DPA), the penalties listed are: Rs 5 crore or 2 per cent of worldwide turnover for minor violations and Rs 15 crore or 4 per cent of total worldwide turnover for more serious violations. Besides, the company’s executive-in-charge can also face jail term of up to three years.

Govt’s stand

The government will be entitled to give direction to the fiduciary to provide to the government anonymised, personal data and impersonal data for framing policy for better delivery of services and evidence-based policy.

Personal data processed in the interest of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of any offence is exempt. In the interest of sovereignty, national security, preventing communal violence, the govt. exempted some agencies from the law.

This Act will not deter the government from framing any policy for the growth of the digital economy, to the extent that it doesn’t impinge on personal data privacy.

Government sources said they were open to the “widest debate on this Bill”, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament during the ongoing Winter Session.

Source: Indian Express

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Cabinet nod to changes in senior citizens’ law

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: The Union Cabinet Wednesday approved the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019, and the legislation will soon be tabled in Parliament.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the amendments in the bill and its significance

Key highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill seeks to remove the Rs 10,000 ceiling prescribed by the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, for maintenance towards the welfare of parents and the amount can now be decided on a case-to-case basis. It further looks at expanding the definition of ‘parents’ and ‘children’ to include son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws as well as stepchildren.

  • The 2007 Act makes it a legal obligation for children or heirs to provide a monthly maintenance to parents or senior citizens. A senior citizen who is unable to maintain himself from his earnings or properties is entitled to get relief under this Act. If children or relatives fail to provide maintenance, then the senior citizen can seek the assistance of a Tribunal constituted under this Act to enforce the remedy of maintenance.

  • Apart from the definitions of children and senior citizens being expanded, the govt. has included a number of significant changes. For instance, the age of a senior citizen differs from state to state. But according to this Bill, for the purpose of maintenance, we have defined the age of the senior citizen as 65 years.

  • Cases pertaining to senior citizens above the age of 80 years will be expedited on a priority basis by the Tribunals.

  • While the 2007 Bill provides for the institution of old age homes across the country, the Amendment Bill has for the first time mandated that these homes be registered with the government to ensure minimum standards are maintained.

  • The govt has made it mandatory for a nodal officer in each state who will be in charge of old age homes and further mandated constant monitoring of these old age homes.

  • The Bill also has the provision of day care centres which will provide meals and engage senior citizens in activities from morning to evening. The government has also mandated that home care be provided to those who are too old to commute or have a disability through agencies nominated by the state governments.

  • These agencies, as well as NGOs, government and autonomous bodies — engaged in senior citizen care — are all to be registered.

  • The registration will further help to keep a count of the number of senior citizens, and those in need of assistance. Special units for senior citizens will also be established at police stations across the country besides a special helpline.

Source: Indian Express

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Climate­ related disasters on the uptick

Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

News: Worsening heatwaves are taking a heavier toll on rich as well as poor countries, according to an annual ranking, the Global Climate Risk Index, published by environmental think­tank Germanwatch.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the report and its key findings on impact of climate change

Key findings of the report

  • The index rated Japan as the most­affected country in 2018, while Germany was in third position.

  • Both of the industrialised nations were hit hard by heatwaves and drought that year, as was India — in fifth position — which suffered water shortages, crop failures and worst flooding, Germanwatch said in a report.

  • “Recent science has confirmed the long­established link between climate change and the frequency and severity of extreme heat,” it added in a statement.

  • Across Europe, extreme heat spells are now up to 100 times more likely than a century ago, says the report. It noted that the impact of heatwaves on African countries may be under­represented due to a lack of data.

  • Powerful storms also left a trail of destruction in 2018, with the Philippines second in the climate risk index due to large losses when it was battered by top­strength Typhoon Mangkhut.

  • Madagascar was the fourth most weather­affected country as two cyclones killed about 70 people and forced 70,000 to seek refuge.

  • The index results showed that the “signs of climate crisis”, on all continents, could no longer be ignored.

Source: The Hindu

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GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture
Govt. procured only 3% of pulses, oilseeds proposed for this season

Syllabus subtopic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

News: Less than 3% of this season’s sanctioned amount of pulses and oilseeds have actually been procured so far under the once­hyped PM­AASHA scheme, Agriculture Ministry data show.

Prelims and Mains focus: About PM-AASHA, its significance and challenges in its implementation


Arrivals of these crops began in October and will end by February. A total of 37.59 lakh metric tonnes of procurement had been sanctioned under the Centrally­funded scheme.

However, only 1.08 lakh tonnes have been procured so far, according to data placed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. In fact, of the eleven States that opted for the scheme this season, procurement has not even started in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.


The PM­AASHA or Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan, was announced with great fanfare in September 2018, as an effort to ensure that farmers growing pulses, oilseeds and copra actually get the minimum support prices they are promised for their crops each year.

Apart from initiatives to allow cash payment to farmers or procurement by private traders, PM­AASHA’s main feature was a price support scheme whereby Central agencies would procure pulses and oilseeds directly from farmers.

The Centre had budgeted ?15,053 crore over two years to implement the scheme apart from an additional government credit guarantee of ?16,550 crore for agencies undertaking procurement.

The main crops covered under the scheme this season are moong, urad, arhar, groundnut and soyabean.


The late arrival of the monsoon means that harvests and crop arrivals also began slightly later than expected, especially for arhar or tur dal, so procurement is likely to continue, though tapering, until February.

Increasing MSP is not adequate and it is more important that farmers should get full benefit of the announced MSP.

Source: The Hindu

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Centre likely to challenge Uttarakhand forest notice

Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

News: The Union Environment Ministry is likely to challenge a recent notification by the Uttarakhand Forest Department on its definition of a “deemed forest”.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the status of forest cover in India and the steps taken by the government to increase the forest cover


In a notification on November 21, the Uttarakhand government said that in areas recorded as “deemed forest” only tracts 10 hectares and above and having a canopy density of greater than 60%, would be considered forest.

The freedom to define which tracts of forest qualify as forest has been the prerogative of States since 1996.

However, this only applies to forest land that has not already been historically classified as “forest” in revenue records, or categorised so by the government as “protected” or “reserve forest”.

The notification appears to extend this definition even to tracts already recorded as forest in revenue records.

About deemed forests

Deemed forests, which comprise about 1% of India’s forest land, are a controversial subject as they refer to land tracts that appear to be a “forest”, but have not been notified so by the government or in historical records.

Source: The Hindu

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GS-III : Economic Issues Money Market
CCEA okays launch of India’s first debt exchange-traded fund

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

News: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved launch of India’s first fixed income Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) comprising AAA-rated debt securities of state-owned companies.

Prelims and Mains focus: About ETFs and their advantages, key differences between ETFs and mutual funds

About the ETF launched

  • Called Bharat Bond ETF, the fund will comprise a basket of bonds of companies including NHAI, NABARD, PFC and IRFC among others.

  • The fund targets to raise around Rs 10,000 crore. The debt ETF provides a new option to conservative investors to own securities of government-owned companies along with the facility of liquidity as ETF units will be listed on exchanges.

  • Retail investors can buy units of the ETF with a starting investment of Rs 1,000 per unit and it will have maturity of 3 and 10 years. The current yield on 10-year AAA-rated debt paper of state-owned companies is around 7.5-7.6 per cent while that of 3-year similar rated paper is quoting at 6.5-6.6 per cent. Investors can expect a post tax return of around 6.7-6.8 per cent, which is significantly higher than post tax return of around 5.5 per cent on fixed deposits with banks.

  • Each ETF will have fixed maturity date and will track underlying index on risk replication basis. The bond ETF trading on the exchange will help in better price discovery of the underlying bonds.

  • It is the lowest cost mutual fund product in India. Compared to buying units in debt mutual funds, the debt ETF will have a low transaction cost of 0.0005 per cent.

  • Bond ETF will provide safety (underlying bonds are issued by CPSEs and other Government owned entities), liquidity (tradability on exchange) and predictable tax efficient returns.

  • Apart from the interest, investors can make capital gains on their units in the secondary market in a falling interest rate regime. In case the interest rate cycles reverses and turns upward, existing unit holders may have to bear capital losses on their holdings. For bonds that are held till maturity there is no risk of capital loss or gain.

  • As compared to fixed deposits, this instrument is tax efficient as bond ETFs are taxed with the benefit of indexation, which reduces the tax on capital gains for investor.

  • Bharat Bond ETF will provide an additional source of funding for firms to meet their borrowing needs, and thereby helping in deepening the bond market.

  • While there are a number of equity and gold ETFs in the market, there are no debt ETFs, barring the two government securities-based ETF that have not generated much investor interest.

Exchange Traded Fund

Note: To know the difference between ETFs and Mutual Funds click on the link below:


Source: Indian Express

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GS-III : Economic Issues Others
Fiscal double whammy is putting India’s economy in a tight spot

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

News: The government is facing a double whammy. The sharp deceleration in economic growth in nominal terms has shredded its fiscal math, and at the same time, the Centre cannot excuse itself from more spending.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the recent economic slowdown, its implications and ways to address them.


Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7% in nominal terms for the first half of FY20 and economists are worried the full-year figure may not touch even 10%.

Recall that the government had assumed a 12% GDP growth in its budget in February.

In FY19, the nominal growth was 12.3% in the first half and 11.2% for the full year.


A slowing economy by extension will lead to lower growth in tax revenues. After all, as earnings reduce, so does the potential to tax. Gross tax collections are falling for the first time in a decade and analysts expect them to miss the budget target by a mile.

Jefferies India Pvt. Ltd estimates that taxes will fall short of target by ?3.1 trillion. “Indeed, with early indicators even weaker in Oct-Nov, the challenges may well exacerbate,” the brokerage firm said in a note dated 30 November.

Meanwhile, the government has exhausted its options to fill a widening hole. It has tapped the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for extra dividend, held over several states’ share in revenue and delayed payments to several agencies, prized companies could fetch a large chunk. The government is also trying to hawk its land.

Even so, analysts believe that fiscal deficit would slip to 3.8-4% as against the budgeted 3.4% of GDP. Therefore, the government will have to borrow more from the market to plug the widening deficit.

Bond markets are pricing in extra borrowing. It is only the surplus liquidity which is keeping yields under check.

The yield on the 10-year government bond has eased 86 basis points ever since RBI began its rate-cutting cycle in February. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. The drop seems less when seen in the light of a large surplus liquidity and a cumulative policy rate cut of 135 basis points.

This indicates that bond markets have not been able to embrace the fall in policy rates given the concerns over the fiscal deficit.

Beyond the impact on market rates, the government and its agencies are already crowding out the private sector. With total public sector borrowing estimated at 9% of GDP, it leaves precious little of the savings in the economy for the private sector.

Source: Livemint

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