17 October, 2019

4 Min Read

GS-II : International Relations


The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted legislation-"Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act" supporting "Pro-Democracy" movement in Hong Kong threatening to revoke its special economic status.This step angered China which threatened countermeasures.Lawmakers also approved a measure that would ban the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other

equipment that have been used by security forces to suppress protests .


  • Hong Kong used to be a British colony, got independence in 1997 and became a part of Chinese city.
  • According to the constitutional principle-One Country, Two Systems ( Now It became One Country No Arguments ), the Chinese Communist Government ensured Hong Kong will retain its own currency, legal and parliamentary systems (democratic institutions) and people's existing rights and freedoms for 50 years.
  • However, critical voices have emerged in Hong Kong to protest against actions by the government eroding the rights given to Hong Kong.
  • At the same time, many citizens have expressed dissatisfaction and anger over the neo-liberal economic policies of the Hong Kong government which have been seen as producing new social inequalities in the society.
  • Thus, protests and social movements against the government policies already existed, and the unsolved political and social problems can be seen as the long-term causes for the appearance of the Umbrella Movement.


The protests of 2014 were about getting the universal suffrage that Hong Kong was promised in the Basic Law, the constitution that lays out how the city is to be governed after its return from Britain to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.


  • The "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act" would require the U.S. President to annually review the favourable trade status that Washington grants to Hong Kong.
  • Boosts Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters, and challenges the Chinese government at a time of strained US-China relations, marked by a protracted Trade wars and Protectionist policies by the two nations.
  • The new act is an amendment to a 1992 law that has underpinned US relations with Hong Kong,granting the territory special status as separate from China - in trade, transport and other areas.
  • 1992 law grants the US president special power to issue an executive order suspending Hong Kong’s special status if the president determines that the territory is “not sufficiently autonomous” from Beijing.
  • This Act holds Chinese and Hong Kong government officials accountable for Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy and human rights violations.
  • It also would provide for sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong.
  • US secretary of state Mike Pompeo would have to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to qualify for special US trading consideration that bolsters its status as a world financial centre.


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  • Waqf is the property given in the name of God for religious and charitable purposes. The property is a permanent dedication by a person professing Islam, of any movable or immovable property for any purpose recognised by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable.
  • A waqf can be formed through a deed or instrument, or a property can be deemed waqf if it has been used for religious or charitable purposes for a long period of time.
  • The proceeds are typically used to finance educational institutions, graveyards, mosques and shelter homes.
  • A person creating the waqf cannot take back the property and the waqf would be a continuing entity. A non-Muslim can also create a waqf but the individual must profess Islam and the objective of creating the waqf has to be Islamic.


  • Waqfs in India are governed by the Waqf Act, 1995.
  • A survey commissioner under the Act lists all properties declared as waqf by making local investigation, summoning witnesses and requisitioning public documents.
  • The waqf is managed by a mutawali, who acts as a supervisor.
  • It is similar to a trust established under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, but trusts can be set up for a broader purpose than religious and charitable uses.
  • Waqf cannot be dissolved like a trust.


A Waqf Board is a juristic person with power to acquire and hold property and to transfer any such property. The board can sue and be sued in a court as it is recognised as a legal entity or juristic person.

Each state has a Waqf Board headed by a chairperson, one or two nominees from the state government, Muslim legislators and parliamentarians, Muslim members of the state Bar Council, recognised scholars of Islamic theology and mutawalis of the waqfs with an annual income of Rs 1 lakh and above.


  • To administer the property and take measures for the recovery of lost properties of any waqf
  • To sanction any transfer of immovable property of a waqf by way of sale, gift, mortgage, exchange or lease. However, the sanction shall not be given unless at least two thirds of the members of the Waqf Board vote in favour of such transaction.


According to the Waqf Act, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board has the power to administer the disputed site. In 1945, in a suit before a Faizabad judge between the Sunni and Shia Waqf Boards, it was held that the Babri Masjid is a Sunni Waqf.


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Van Dhan Internship Programme


Union Minister of Tribal Affairs launched the “Van Dhan Internship Programme” organised by TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs here today.


  • Interns will help the tribal population in becoming self reliant and entrepreneurs.
  • He said that all interns are now part of “National Building Team”.
  • Emphasizing on the need of entrepreneurship.

Points to remember:

  • Organised by TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • 18 interns (to be called Minister’s interns) from some of the reputed Institutes of Rural Management/ Management Institutions/ Institutes of Social Work/ Social Services of the country are participating.
  • These Interns will help the tribal population in becoming self reliant and entrepreneurs.
  • They will support the TRIFED activities on livelihood promotion, value addition of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFTs), marketing and credit linkages.
  • They will develop tools and techniques on institutional development including mechanism for determination of a just price or producer price of Minor Forest Products.

About Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:

The initiative aims to promote MFPs-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans.

It mainstreams the tribal community by promoting primary level value addition to MFP at grassroots level.


Implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.

At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to implement at grassroot level.

Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.

Composition: As per the plan, TRIFED will facilitate establishment of MFP-led multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, a cluster of 10 SHGs comprising of 30 tribal MFP gatherers each, in the tribal areas.

Significance of MFP:

  • Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.
  • It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time.
  • This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.

Source: The Hindu

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GS-III : Economic Issues welfare


  • Indian Railways has launched 10 ‘Sewa Service’ trains, to improve last-mile connectivity. These Sewa Service trains will connect small towns with their closest major cities and ease the hassle of travelling for daily passengers.
  • These trains helps divert short distance traffic from roads to the railways.
  • The railways introduced Sewa Service trains to ensure congestion free roads and faster ease of movement for public.


  • These trains will run on the “Hub and Spoke” Model, thereby facilitating passengers to use these trains to reach the “Hub” for availing onward journey to other major stations.
  • These measures are also expected to boost the earnings of the Indian Railways to help in strengthening the economy.
  • Highly beneficial to the common people especially those who come to metro cities for jobs and education.
  • It is a part of ‘sweating of assets’ initiative by the Indian Railways. This was part of strategies of Indian Railways to have better utilization of the rolling stock without any requisition fornew rolling stock.


"Sweating of assets" concept:

"Sweating the assets" is variously defined as cutting costs, virtualizing, or getting "as much use as possible out of what you already possess.


  • Railways has taken transformational steps like Cleanliness campaign in Railway premises across the country, Wi-Fi facility at 5000 Railway stations,Installation of Bio toilets in coaches to clean the tracks, Ayushmann Bharat facility in Railway hospitals across the country.


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