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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

14 Aug, 2020

25 Min Read

Amend Official languages Act,1963

GS-II : Indian Polity

Amend Official languages Act,1963

Context:

Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde suggested that the government should consider amending the Official Languages Act of 1963 to:

  • Include more vernacular languages in governance.
  • Not just confine it to Hindi and English.

Background:

  • The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Union of India challenging the legality of a Delhi High Court judgment to translate the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2020 into all 22 vernacular languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The high court had allowed the plea holding that EIA notification should be translated and published in all the scheduled languages.

Scheduled languages:

  • Scheduled languages are those languages that are listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution and are given official recognition and encouragement by the Central Government.
  • However, all official communication and publication of rules and notifications by the Central Government are in Hindi and English.
  • As per Article 343 of the Constitution, the official language of the Union is Hindi along with English.
  • Further, section 3 of the Official Languages Act states that Hindi and English shall be used for resolutions, general orders, rules, notifications, administrative or other reports made by the Central Government or any of its ministries or departments.

8th Schedule of the Constitution:

  • The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution consists of 22 languages.
  • Of these languages, 14 were initially included in the Constitution.
  • The Sindhi language was added in 1967 by 21st Constitutional Amendment act.
  • Thereafter, three more languages viz., Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were included in 1992 by 71st Constitutional Amendment act.
  • Subsequently, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali were added in 2004 by 92st Constitutional Amendment act.

Source: TH

India and Australia on Cybersecurity

GS-II : International Relations Australia

India and Australia on Cybersecurity

News:

  • There is a huge increase in cybersecurity cooperation between India and Australia.
  • The countries are sharing experiences on protecting critical infrastructure, including 5G networks.
  • In June 2020 both countries signed a Cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology framework agreement along with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).
  • The Cyber security agreement sets out practical actions to enhance digital trade, harness critical technology opportunities and address cybersecurity challenges.
  • As part of this, the two countries have been increasing information sharing and stepping up cooperation.
  • Another area that the two countries were exploring was regulatory space, including Australia’s encryption legislation, and how that could be used to prevent cyber-enabled crime.
  • The categories of threats that the two countries are looking at are criminal groups, financial gain, sophisticated state-based actors and so on.

Source: TH

Transparent Taxation — Honouring the Honest

GS-III : Economic Issues Fiscal Policy

Transparent Taxation — Honouring the Honest

Context:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a “Transparent Taxation — Honouring the Honest” platform that provides faceless assessment, faceless appeal and a taxpayers’ charter.

Reforms:

  • Reduction in corporate tax from 30% to 22% for existing companies and from 25% to 15% for new manufacturing companies.
  • Abolition of the dividend distribution tax.
  • Steps have been taken to bring efficiency and transparency in the functioning of the Income Tax Department, including Document Identification Number (DIN) and pre-filling of income tax returns to make compliance more convenient.

How does it work?

  • With the help of technology, the cases of scrutiny will now be allocated randomly to any official in any part of the country.
  • The document identification numbers will be issued from the central database.
  • A review of orders will also be done by another team at some other place, chosen randomly using data analytics and artificial intelligence.
  • The officials in the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) and the Principal Commissioner of I-T/Chief Commissioner of I-T (TDS) will be the only competent authorities for approving survey actions to gather information for scrutiny and assessment.

Advantages:

  • In the new system, the department would escape unnecessary litigation and the officials would get reprieve from the energy otherwise spent on transfers and postings.
  • It seeks to eliminate corrupt practices by doing away with the territorial jurisdiction of income-tax offices.
  • The platform would instil a sense of fairness and fearlessness in the taxpayers.
  • The efforts are directed at making the tax system seamless, painless and faceless.
  • The new facilities are in consonance with the government’s motto of ‘minimum government, maximum governance.

Source: TH

Abraham Accord

GS-II : International Relations West Asia

UAE, Israel reach an agreement to establish diplomatic ties

Context:

  • The United Arab Emirates has become the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel
  • The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
  • The development caps years of discreet contact between the two countries in commerce and technology.
  • The so-called “Abraham Agreement”, announced by United States President Donald Trump, secures an Israeli commitment to halt further annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to build settlements on lands sought by the Palestinians and embraced a Trump proposal that would allow him to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank while granting Palestinians limited autonomy in other areas.

Advantages of the UAE-Israel deal

  • For the UAE, it further polishes its international campaign to be seen as a beacon of tolerance in West Asia despite being governed by autocratic rulers.
  • Delegations would meet to sign deals on direct flights, security, telecommunications, energy, tourism and health care. The two countries also will partner on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It is believed that opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economics will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations.

Abraham accord:

  • Israel-United Arab Emirates Peace Agreement or the Abraham Accord was agreed to by UAE and Israel.
  • UAE will be the third Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994).
  • It will also be the first Persian Gulf country to sign an accord with Israel. The agreement is expected to be signed by this September in the White House.
  • The name Abraham is to honour the patriarch of three major Abrahamic religions of the world-Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Source: TH

Greater Male Connectivity project

GS-II : International Relations India and its neighborhood

Greater Male Connectivity project

Context:

  • India announces $500 mn package for the Maldives
  • India has announced its support for the implementation of the Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP in the Maldives).
  • The financial package comprises a new Line of Credit (LoC) of USD 400 million and a grant of USD 100 million.
  • New connectivity measures for the Maldives, including air, sea, intra-island and telecommunications, have been announced by India.
  • It is an effort to help Maldives deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Among the initiatives announced is an air connectivity bubble for travel, a direct ferry service, a submarine cable for telecom connectivity and assistance for GMCP.
  • GMCP would be the largest civilian infrastructure project in the Maldives.
  • GMCP will consist of a number of bridges and causeways to connect Male to Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifahu islands.
  • It will take much of the pressure off the main capital island of Male for commercial and residential purposes.

Significance:

  • The President of Maldives, thanking India, termed the assistance, a landmark moment in Maldives-India cooperation.
  • When completed, the project would render the Chinese-built Sinemale Friendship bridge connecting Male to two other islands insignificant in comparison.

Source: TH

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