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19 August, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I How an Indian citizen is defined?
GS-II Sacrificing liberty for national security
Privacy rights, wrongs
GS-III Biodiversity in the time of deluge
Negative rate policy Economic Issues
GS-I :
How an Indian citizen is defined?

GS-I : How an Indian citizen is defined?

Context

In the run-up to the publication of the final NRC in Assam, citizenship has become the most talked about topic in the country.

How is citizenship determined?

  • Citizenship signifies the relationship between individual and state.
  • It begins and ends with state and law, and is thus about the state, not people.
  • Citizenship is an idea of exclusion as it excludes non-citizens.

Principles for grant of citizenship

  • There are two well-known principles for grant of citizenship.
  • While jus soli confers citizenship on the basis of place of birth, jus sanguinis gives recognition to blood ties.
  • From the time of the Motilal Nehru Committee (1928), the Indian leadership was in favour of the enlightened concept of jus soli.

Citizenship in India

  • Citizenship is in the Union List under the Constitution and thus under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.
  • The Constitution does not define the term ‘citizen’ but gives, in Articles 5 to 11, details of various categories of persons who are entitled to citizenship.
  • Unlike other provisions of the Constitution, which came into being on January 26, 1950, these articles were enforced on November 26, 1949 itself, when the Constitution was adopted.
  • However, Article 11 itself confers wide powers on Parliament by laying down that “nothing in the foregoing provisions shall derogate from the power of Parliament to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all matters relating to citizenship”.
  • Thus Parliament can go against the citizenship provisions of the Constitution.
  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 was passed and has been amended four times — in 1986, 2003, 2005, and 2015. The Act empowers the government to determine the citizenship of persons in whose case it is in doubt.

Who is, or is not, a citizen of India?

Article 5

  • It provided for citizenship on commencement of the Constitution.
  • All those domiciled and born in India were given citizenship.
  • Even those who were domiciled but not born in India, but either of whose parents was born in India, were considered citizens.

Article 6

Since Independence was preceded by Partition and migration, Article 6 laid down that anyone who migrated to India before July 19, 1949, would automatically become an Indian citizen if either of his parents or grandparents was born in India.

Article 7

Even those who had migrated to Pakistan after March 1, 1947 but subsequently returned on resettlement permits were included within the citizenship net.

Article 8

Any Person of Indian Origin residing outside India who, or either of whose parents or grandparents, was born in India could register himself or herself as an Indian citizen with Indian Diplomatic Mission.

Amendments to the Citizenship Act, 1955

1986 amendment

  • The constitutional provision and the original Citizenship Act gave citizenship on the principle of jus soli to everyone born in India.
  • However, the 1986 amendment to Section 3 was less inclusive as it added the condition that those who were born in India on or after January 26, 1950 but before July 1, 1987, shall be Indian citizen.

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

 

  • The amendment proposes to permit members of six communities - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to continue to live in India if they entered India before December 14, 2014.
  • It also reduces the requirement for citizenship from 11 years out of the preceding 14 years, to just 6 years.
  • Two notifications also exempted these migrants from the Passport Act and Foreigner Act.
  • A large number of organisations in Assam protested against this Bill as it may grant citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindu illegal migrants.

 

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GS-II :
Sacrificing liberty for national security

GS-II: Sacrificing liberty for national security

Context

The amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 empowers the Central government to name any individual a terrorist if it believes him or her to be so.

Background of UAPA

  • UAPA was passed by the Indira Gandhi government to deal with the secessionist Dravidian movement. 
  • Against this backdrop, an unlawful activity was defined as any action taken
  1. To bring about the cession of a part of the territory of India.
  2. To incite any individual or group of individuals to bring about such cession.
  3. To disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

Arguments against the bill:

  • As per Section 35(2), the Central Government shall exercise its power in respect of an organisation or an individual only if it believes that such an organisation or individual is involved in terrorism.
  • There is a close parallel between sedition and unlawful activity. The act almost equates the two. 
  • Ban on organizations vs. individuals
  1. UAPA has now been extended to cases of terrorism too. After TADA and POTA were repealed due to repeated misuse, UAPA was amended in 2004 to bring into its fold cases of terrorism. Organizations such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Hizbul Mujahideen, and the Khalistan Commando Force have been scheduled as banned organizations. 
  2. Most of these bans are not challenged, and judicial tribunals have upheld the imposition of such bans from time to time.
  3. Banning an organization renders its members vulnerable to prosecution. Consequences include loss of property linked to terrorism. The organization itself may challenge the notification in a judicial tribunal.

Defending the amendments

  • The act aims to fight terror. 
  • It strengthens the government’s powers to deal with disaffection and anarchy.
  • The predominant duty of the government is to keep the country united against existential threats. 

Conclusion

Benjamin Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Indians deserve better respect for their liberties than this ill-thought-out law.

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GS-II :
Privacy rights, wrongs

GS-II: Privacy rights, wrongs

Context

Supreme Court has agreed to hear together multiple public interest litigations pending in Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh high courts, calling for the linking of Aadhaar with social media accounts.

Why the linkage

  • Death threats, criminal intimidation, smearing and stalking are commonplace in social media.
  • The mills of rumor and fake news have the capacity to spark violence and conflict.

Challenges to the linkage

  • It could have international implications and inspire litigation in other nations. 
  • Privacy is at stake Supreme Court clarified it and defined it as a “guaranteed fundamental right” in 2017. That SC judgment was hailed by Electronic Frontier Foundation, the pioneering digital civil liberties group.
  • The right to privacy is fundamental and cannot be reduced under normal circumstances.
  • The data security of Aadhaar remains doubtful and it is not mandatory even for banking purposes.

What needs to be taken care of:

  • The balance between the imperatives of privacy and security should be maintained.
  • Right to life is absolute until a death sentence is pronounced, and the right to liberty can be conditional only in a state of unrest or emergency. 
  • The question of striking a balance with an absolute right cannot arise under normal circumstances. 

Way ahead

  • Phone numbers associated with social media accounts can identify owners with complete accuracy since sim cards are issued against identity documents.
  • The technical solution to the problem – AI can identify dubious content by textual analysis and flag it as spam or malware. Twitter proactively swept away Chinese accounts spreading disinformation about the Hong Kong protests. 
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GS-III :
Biodiversity in the time of deluge

GS-III: Biodiversity in the time of deluge

 Context

Floods impact the poorest strata of society the most, causing a loss of lives, livelihood options, and assets. There is a need for assessment of floods from a ‘sustainable development’ perspective.

Causes for floods

  • The root cause of such floods is the high precipitation levels.
  • Anthropogenic factors like unscientific development and over-exploitation of nature aggravate the damages.
  • The global climate has been changing in an unpredictable manner. As per an IPCC report, the Global Green House Gases emissions grew by 70% between 1970 and 2004. Global warming has critical effects on the hydrological cycle.
  • In Kerala, a structural transformation and changing patterns of land use are affecting its environment. A loss in a wetland area will naturally impact the ability to handle floods.

Impact of floods

  • The changing precipitation alters the hydrological systems, resulting in floods and droughts in different regions.
  • Floods wash away topsoil and substantial biodiversity of the area, resulting in a reduced river-water flow, death of earthworms and spread of viral and bacterial diseases among crops.

Way ahead

  • Adequate precautions through dam management and timely public alerts.
  • In construction, it is important to take appropriate decisions on the type and size of the structure, location, materials, and permissible damage it will cause to nature.
  • We need to account for the damage done to natural ecosystems while estimating losses suffered due to natural disasters.

 

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Negative rate policy

GS-III: Negative rate policy

Context

Negative rate policy  once considered only for economies with chronically low inflation such as Europe and Japan is becoming a more attractive option for some other central banks to counter unwelcome rises in their currencies.

Why have some central banks adopted negative rates?

  • To battle the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, many central banks cut interest rates near zero.
  • A decade later, interest rates remain low in most countries due to subdued economic growth.
  • With little room to cut rates further, some major central banks have resorted to unconventional policy measures, including a negative rate policy.
  • The euro area, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Japan have allowed rates to fall slightly below zero.

 How it work?

Under a negative rate policy, financial institutions are required to pay interest for parking excess reserves with the central bank.That way, central banks penalise financial institutions for holding on to cash in hope of prompting them to boost lending.

 What are the pros of negative rates?

  • Lowers borrowing costs.
  • Help weaken a country’s currency rate by making it a less attractive investment than that of other currencies.
  • A weaker currency gives a country’s export a competitive advantage and boosts inflation by pushing up import costs.

 What are the cons?

  • Negative rates put downward pressure on the entire yield curve.
  • Narrow the margin financial institutions earn from lending.
  • If prolonged ultra-low rates hurt the health of financial institutions too much, they could hold off on lending and damage the economy.
  • There are also limits to how deep central banks can push rates into negative territory depositors can avoid being charged negative rates on their bank deposits by choosing to hold physical cash instead.

 

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