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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

20 Jun, 2021

110 Min Read

Delimitation Commission for Jammu & Kashmir

GS-II : Governance Delimitation

Delimitation Commission for Jammu & Kashmir

What is the news?

  • The Delimitation Commission for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has kicked off the exercise by writing to all 20 District Commissioners (DC), seeking basic demographic, topographic information as well as the local administration’s impressions of political aspirations of the district.
  • The Commission was set up in February-March 2020 to delineate Assembly and parliamentary constituencies, and was given a year’s extension last March.
  • It is only after the completion of the delimitation exercise that elections for the Assembly can be held, although District Development Council (DDC) polls were held last year on earlier patterns and based on the 2011 Census.
  • The then State of Jammu and Kashmir was kept out of the delimitation exercise when it was carried out in the rest of country (between 2002-2008), as delimitation of Assembly seats was under the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and its separate Representation of People Act.
  • After becoming a Union Territory, the Delimitation Commission was constituted and asked to mark out Assembly and Parliament seats.
  • The Commission, headed by Justice (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai and comprising two other members, had called for a meeting in February 2021, where only two of its five associate members — Union Minister Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Singh, MP — attended. National Conference leaders Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Hasnain Masoodi, MP, and Mohammad Akbar Lone did not attend.
  • The renewed push by the Centre for talks has raised hopes not only of early Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir but also of an eventual restoration of statehood, which was taken away under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, a reading down of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Why Delimitation is important?

  • To provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
  • Fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
  • To follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.

Constitutional Provisions regarding Delimitation:

  • Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
  • Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census.
  • Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
  • The first delimitation exercise was carried out by the President (with the help of the Election Commission) in 1950-51.
  • The Delimitation Commission Act was enacted in 1952.
  • Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
  • There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.

Delimitation Commission

  • The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
  • Composition: Retired Supreme Court judge, Chief Election Commissioner and Respective State Election Commissioners.
  • Functions:
    1. To determine the number and boundaries of constituencies to make population of all constituencies nearly equal.
    2. To identify seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, wherever their population is relatively large.
    3. In case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.
  • The Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.

Source: TH

Nuclear Programme of India

GS-III : S&T Indigenisation of technology

Nuclear Programme of India

This topic is important for Paper III of UPSC Mains 2021 and UPSC Prelims 2021 also since many questions come directly through AspireIAS notes on Nuclear Programme of India.

In 2018, India commemorated 20 years since it conducted its five nuclear tests, known as Operation Shakti–98, and 10 year since India – U.S Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2008, also called as 123 Agreement. India on November 5, 2018, declared that its nuclear triad, stated in its nuclear doctrine, is operational after indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarine INS Arihant achieved a milestone by conducting its first deterrence patrol.

Nuclear power in India delivers a total capacity of 6.7 GWe (Giga Watt Electricity), contributing about 2% of the country’s electricity supply. India has ambitious plans to increase nuclear power generation capacity to 275 GWe by 2052. At the start of 2018, six reactors were under construction in India, with a combined capacity of 4.4 GWe.

India has a largely indigenous nuclear power programme which is controlled by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), a state-owned corporation founded in 1987. Because India is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty due to its weapons programme, it was, for 34 years, largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant and materials, which hampered its development of civil nuclear energy until 2009.

Due to earlier trade bans and lack of indigenous uranium, India has uniquely been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium.

India’s Nuclear Energy Program

  • India has consciously proceeded to explore the possibility of tapping nuclear energy for the purpose of power generation. In this direction three-stage nuclear power programme was formulated by Homi Bhabha in the 1950s.
  • Atomic Energy Act, 1962 was framed and implemented with the set objectives of using two naturally occurring elements Uranium and Thorium having good potential to be utilized as nuclear fuel in Indian Nuclear Power Reactors.
  • The estimated natural deposits of Uranium are about 70,000 tonnes and Thorium are about 3, 60,000 tonnes in the country.

Three Stage programme

  • Stage one – Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor uses
    • Natural UO2 as fuel matrix,
    • Heavy water as moderator and coolant.
  • In the reactor, the first two plants were of boiling water reactors based on imported technology. Subsequent plants are of PHWR type through indigenous R&D efforts. India achieved complete self- reliance in this technology and this stage of the programme is in the industrial domain.
  • The future plan includes the setting up of VVER type i.e. Russian version of the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) is under progress to augment power generation.
  • MOX fuel (Mixed oxide) is developed and introduced at Tarapur to conserve fuel and to develop new fuel technology.
  • Second stage of nuclear power generation envisages the use of Pu-239 obtained from the first stage reactor operation, as the fuel core in fast breeder reactors (FBR).
  • Third phase of India’s Nuclear Power Generation programme is, breeder reactors using U-233 fuel.
  • India’s vast thorium deposits permit design and operation of U-233 fuelled breeder reactors.

Nuclear Power plants in Operation

Nuclear Power Plants under Construction

Planned Nuclear Power Plants

  • Rawatbhata (Rajasthan)
  • Tarapur (Maharashtra)
  • Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu)
  • Kakrapar (Gujarat)
  • Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu)
  • Narora (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Kaiga (Karnataka)
  • Kakrapar 3&4 (Gujarat)
  • Rawatbhata (Rajasthan)
  • Kudankulam 3&4 (Tamil Nadu)
  • Kalpakkam PFBR (Tamil Nadu)
  • Jaitapur (Maharashtra)
  • Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh)
  • Mithi Virdi (Gujarat)
  • Haripur (West Bengal)
  • Gorakhpur (Haryana)
  • Bhimpur (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Mahi Banswara (Rajasthan)
  • Kaiga (Karnataka)
  • Chutka (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Tarapur (Maharashtra)

Challenges

  • Genuine problems of Nuclear technology includes safety and waste management. Incidents like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima are serious case of concern.
  • Complete phase out of nuclear power generation for the fear of nuclear accident would be a wrong move. If nuclear energy is generated adhering to the highest standards of safety, there is less possibility of catastrophic accidents.
  • Land acquisition and selection of location for Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is also major problem in the country. NPP’s like kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh have met with several delays due to the land acquisition related challenges.
  • As India is not a signatory of NPT and NSG, nuclear supply is severely contained by sanctioned against India. This situation has changed after 2009 waiver and bilateral civil nuclear energy agreements with many countries.
  • Reprocessing and enrichment capacity also required boost in India. For this India needs advanced technology to fully utilise the spent fuel and for enhancing its enrichment capacity.
  • On the front of Infrastructure and Manpower needs, India has worked very hard for development of Industrial infrastructure to manufacture equipment and skill development. Many Universities and institutes provide engineering manpower for NPP.

Suggestions

To ensure the safety and security of using nuclear power there is need to:

  • ensure maintenance of the skills base
  • maintain continued effective safety regulation
  • foster progress on facilities for waste disposal and management must be given serious consideration.
  • maintain and reinforce international non-proliferation arrangements.

Challenges

  • Genuine problems of Nuclear technology includes safety and waste management. Incidents like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima are serious case of concern.
  • Complete phase out of nuclear power generation for the fear of nuclear accident would be a wrong move. If nuclear energy is generated adhering to the highest standards of safety, there is less possibility of catastrophic accidents.
  • Land acquisition and selection of location for Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is also major problem in the country. NPP’s like kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh have met with several delays due to the land acquisition related challenges.
  • As India is not a signatory of NPT and NSG, nuclear supply is severely contained by sanctioned against India. This situation has changed after 2009 waiver and bilateral civil nuclear energy agreements with many countries.
  • Reprocessing and enrichment capacity also required boost in India. For this India needs advanced technology to fully utilise the spent fuel and for enhancing its enrichment capacity.
  • On the front of Infrastructure and Manpower needs, India has worked very hard for development of Industrial infrastructure to manufacture equipment and skill development. Many Universities and institutes provide engineering manpower for NPP.

Suggestions

To ensure the safety and security of using nuclear power there is need to:

  • ensure maintenance of the skills base
  • maintain continued effective safety regulation
  • foster progress on facilities for waste disposal and management must be given serious consideration.
  • maintain and reinforce international non-proliferation arrangements.

Nuclear Tests and Nuclear Doctrine

  • In 2003, India has adopted its Nuclear Doctrine of 'No First Use' i.e. India will use nuclear weapons only in retaliation against a nuclear attack on its Territory.
  • In addition with this in 1965, India with NAM countries proposed five points to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to UN Disarmament commission. These are:
    • Not to transfer Nuclear technology to others
    • No use of nuclear weapons against non nuclear countries
    • UN security cover to non nuclear States
    • Nuclear disarmament
    • Ban on the nuclear test
  • In May 1974, India has conducted its first nuclear test in Pokharan with the codename of "Smiling Buddha".
  • Between 11 and 13 May, 1998, five nuclear tests were conducted as a part of the series of Pokhran-II. These tests were collectively called Operation Shakti–98.
  • According to a 2018 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Pakistan has 140-150 nuclear warheads compared to India’s 130-140 warheads.
  • Pakistan has not stated a “no first use” policy and there is little known about its nuclear doctrine.

India’s Stand on different Nuclear Treaties

  • Limited Ban Treaty: US, UK and USSR in 1963, signed this treaty. It allows nuclear tests only underground thus, prohibits the nuclear experiments on ground, underwater and in outer space. India has also ratified the treaty.
  • Treaty on Outer Space: Signed in 1967, it prohibits countries to test nuclear weapons in orbit or on celestial bodies like moon.
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): Signed in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970, now has 190 member states. It requires countries to give up any present or future plans to build nuclear weapons in return for access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Three main objectives of the treaty are non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.

Why India didn’t sign the NPT?

  • The quest for freedom of action in an uncertain regional strategic environment and an asymmetric international system dominated by superpowers and China drove India to not sign the NPT and hedge, and to conduct the 1974 test.
  • India perceives its nuclear weapons and missile programs as crucial components of its strategic doctrine.
  • India rejects the Treaty on the grounds that it perpetuates—at least in the short-term—an unjust distinction between the five states that are permitted by the treaty to possess nuclear weapons, while requiring all other state parties to the treaty to remain non-nuclear weapon states.
  • One major point raised by India is that the five authorized nuclear weapons states still have stockpiles of warheads and have shown reluctance to disarmament which also angered some non-nuclear-weapon NPT states.
  • For eliminating the last nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapons state requires confidence that the other countries would not acquire nuclear weapons.
  • Moreover, India’s pledge of not to use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by an adversary and a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear test since 1998, established its credibility as a peaceful nuclear power even without joining the treaty.
  • Perceived security threats from Pakistan and Pakistan’s ally China and demonstration of a nuclear weapons capability guaranteed New Delhi’s ability to effectively hedge in an asymmetric international system, and a regional strategic environment where New Delhi felt largely cornered.
  • Maintaining a degree of political autonomy has driven independent India’s foreign policy choices. Major decisions that New Delhi took in the nuclear realm are representative of that. The grand bargain of NPT was certainly going to restrict India’s policy options.
  • Domestic political imperatives also dictated the timing and the rhetoric about the nuclear power.
  • Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) intends to ban all nuclear explosions - everywhere, by everyone. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996 and since then 182 countries have signed the Treaty, most recently Ghana has ratified the treaty on 14 June 2011.
  • The Treaty will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty will ratify it. These States had nuclear facilities at the time the Treaty was negotiated and adopted.
  • As of August 2011, 35 of these States have ratified the Treaty. Nine States still need to do so: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. India, North Korea and Pakistan have not yet signed the Treaty.

Reasons behind India’s rejection to CTBT

  • India has always stood by its demand for a nuclear weapons-free world but various procedural, political, and security concerns have stopped India to join the treaty.
  • India’s relationship with the CTBT has undergone distinct changes. In 1954, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru championed the cause of a nuclear test ban by calling for a "standstill" agreement. In 1993, India was among those that co-sponsored the call for a test ban treaty. However, in 1996, India’s reservations about the Treaty blocked its adoption by the Conference on Disarmament.
  • India, after negotiation was ready to sign the treaty provided United States should presents a schedule for eliminating its nuclear stockpile, a condition the United States rejected.
  • India believed that the universal and complete nuclear disarmament should be the end goal not a mean.
  • India considered, Article XIV, the entry-into-force (EIF) clause of the treaty as a violation of its right to voluntarily withhold participation in an international treaty.
  • The treaty initially made ratification by states, that were to be a part of the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS), mandatory for the treaty’s EIF. Because of this, India withdrew its participation from the IMS.
  • The treaty didn’t talk about the disarmament of the stocks by nuclear weapon states.
  • Further, the treaty is vague on the ban of laboratory testing of nuclear weapons. It means sophisticated technology of developed countries permit them for laboratory testing and ban on field test only affect the developing countries nuclear programme.
  • India’s scientific community believes that accepting the CTBT would hinder India’s strategic nuclear program development and the option to test must be kept open.
  • On the security front, India thought that it faced uncertain dangers from Pakistan, and China, which had conducted nuclear tests even while the CTBT was being negotiated.
  • Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) is a proposed international agreement that would prohibit the production of two main components of nuclear weapons: highly-enriched Uranium and Plutonium.
  • An FMCT would provide new restrictions for the five recognized nuclear weapon states (NWS— United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China), and for the four nations that are not NPT members (Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea).
  • Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is not a treaty and does not impose any legally binding obligations on Partners (members). Rather, it is an informal political understanding among states that seek to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology.
  • The regime was formed in 1987 by the G-7 industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States). There are currently 35 countries that are members (Partners) of the MTCR. India has become the 35th full member MTCR In July 2016.
  • MTCR membership enables India to buy high-end missile technology, strengthen its export control regime and it supports India’s bid to become the member of Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).

India and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • The NSG was created in response to India’s first nuclear test ‘Smiling Buddha’ (Pokharan-I) in 1974. The NSG first met in November 1975 in London, thus popularly referred to as the "London Club".
  • It’s a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • NSG consists of 48 members, include the five nuclear weapon states US, UK, France, China, and Russia. It is not a formal organization, and its guidelines are not binding.
  • A non-NPT state cannot become a member of NSG which keeps India out of the group.
  • India was left outside the international nuclear order, which forced India to develop its own resources for each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle and power generation, including next generation reactors such as fast breeder reactors and thorium breeder reactors.
  • More recently in January 2019, China has again reiterated its previous stand that India’s accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is pre-requisite for its membership to the NSG or else there should be a common guidelines for the membership of the non-NPT states.
  • Rejecting India’s claims for NSG membership, China cited the reasons that there should be no double standards in enforcing the NPT and the international community should stick to multilateralism and promote the three pillars namely non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Except China, all P5 members have endorsed India’s membership of NSG based on India’s non-proliferation record.
  • Pakistan has also applied for the NSG membership while being also a non-signatory to the NPT. But it has a dubious record and its credibility is very much doubtful as a peaceful nuclear state.
  • Membership of the NSG will provide India, greater certainty and a legal foundation for India's nuclear regime and thus greater confidence for those countries investing billions of dollars to set up ambitious nuclear power projects in India.
  • Though India is not a member of NPT and NSG, its track-record in observing the provisions of either body, is impeccable. NSG was able to grant a waiver to India in 2008 on the basis of its past performance, now it should have no objection to admitting the country as a member.
  • Australia Group admitted India as the 43rd member on 19 January 2018. It’s an informal group that keeps a control over exports of substances used in making of chemical weapons.
  • The group membership will help India to raise its stature in the field of non-proliferation, and help in acquiring the critical technologies. It will also strengthen India’s bid to gain NSG membership.
  • Wassenaar Agreement, established in 1996, is a group of countries which subscribe to arms export controls. It seeks to bring about security and stability, by fostering transparent practices in the process of sale and transfer of arms and materials and technologies that can be used to make nuclear weapons.
  • It is a grouping of 42 countries, of which India is the latest entrant on December 8, 2017. With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are signatories of this arrangement.
  • After joining the group India will be able easily access dual use technologies and materials and military equipment that are proscribed for non-participating members. In addition India will also be able to sell its nuclear reactors and other materials and equipment indigenously produced without attracting adverse reactions.

Way Forward

  • In his presidential address at the first International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva in August 1955, Homi J Bhabha, traced the growth of the civilization, correlating it with increase in energy consumption and the development of new energy sources.
  • He emphasized that the acquisition by man of the knowledge of how to release and use atomic energy must be recognized as the third epoch of human history.
  • To maintain pace of development, it is important to build a constant and reliable supply chain of nuclear materials.
  • The fundamentals underlying the possibility of breakthrough growth in India’s civil nuclear programme are strong: political will, bilateral agreements with most supplier countries, an NSG waiver for nuclear trade, domestic human resources and capability developed in the last 30 years of nuclear power operations.
  • While the political will and commitment to nuclear power remains strong, the government in recent months tried hard to secure membership in the NSG, an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful.
  • It is crucial to remember that India does not need NSG membership to import nuclear technology that was already cleared through the exemption given in 2008.

India’s Stand on different Nuclear Treaties

  • Limited Ban Treaty: US, UK and USSR in 1963, signed this treaty. It allows nuclear tests only underground thus, prohibits the nuclear experiments on ground, underwater and in outer space. India has also ratified the treaty.
  • Treaty on Outer Space: Signed in 1967, it prohibits countries to test nuclear weapons in orbit or on celestial bodies like moon.
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): Signed in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970, now has 190 member states. It requires countries to give up any present or future plans to build nuclear weapons in return for access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Three main objectives of the treaty are non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.

Why India didn’t sign the NPT?

  • The quest for freedom of action in an uncertain regional strategic environment and an asymmetric international system dominated by superpowers and China drove India to not sign the NPT and hedge, and to conduct the 1974 test.
  • India perceives its nuclear weapons and missile programs as crucial components of its strategic doctrine.
  • India rejects the Treaty on the grounds that it perpetuates—at least in the short-term—an unjust distinction between the five states that are permitted by the treaty to possess nuclear weapons, while requiring all other state parties to the treaty to remain non-nuclear weapon states.
  • One major point raised by India is that the five authorized nuclear weapons states still have stockpiles of warheads and have shown reluctance to disarmament which also angered some non-nuclear-weapon NPT states.
  • For eliminating the last nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapons state requires confidence that the other countries would not acquire nuclear weapons.
  • Moreover, India’s pledge of not to use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by an adversary and a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear test since 1998, established its credibility as a peaceful nuclear power even without joining the treaty.
  • Perceived security threats from Pakistan and Pakistan’s ally China and demonstration of a nuclear weapons capability guaranteed New Delhi’s ability to effectively hedge in an asymmetric international system, and a regional strategic environment where New Delhi felt largely cornered.
  • Maintaining a degree of political autonomy has driven independent India’s foreign policy choices. Major decisions that New Delhi took in the nuclear realm are representative of that. The grand bargain of NPT was certainly going to restrict India’s policy options.
  • Domestic political imperatives also dictated the timing and the rhetoric about the nuclear power.
  • Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) intends to ban all nuclear explosions - everywhere, by everyone. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996 and since then 182 countries have signed the Treaty, most recently Ghana has ratified the treaty on 14 June 2011.
  • The Treaty will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty will ratify it. These States had nuclear facilities at the time the Treaty was negotiated and adopted.
  • As of August 2011, 35 of these States have ratified the Treaty. Nine States still need to do so: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. India, North Korea and Pakistan have not yet signed the Treaty.

Reasons behind India’s rejection to CTBT

  • India has always stood by its demand for a nuclear weapons-free world but various procedural, political, and security concerns have stopped India to join the treaty.
  • India’s relationship with the CTBT has undergone distinct changes. In 1954, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru championed the cause of a nuclear test ban by calling for a "standstill" agreement. In 1993, India was among those that co-sponsored the call for a test ban treaty. However, in 1996, India’s reservations about the Treaty blocked its adoption by the Conference on Disarmament.
  • India, after negotiation was ready to sign the treaty provided United States should presents a schedule for eliminating its nuclear stockpile, a condition the United States rejected.
  • India believed that the universal and complete nuclear disarmament should be the end goal not a mean.
  • India considered, Article XIV, the entry-into-force (EIF) clause of the treaty as a violation of its right to voluntarily withhold participation in an international treaty.
  • The treaty initially made ratification by states, that were to be a part of the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS), mandatory for the treaty’s EIF. Because of this, India withdrew its participation from the IMS.
  • The treaty didn’t talk about the disarmament of the stocks by nuclear weapon states.
  • Further, the treaty is vague on the ban of laboratory testing of nuclear weapons. It means sophisticated technology of developed countries permit them for laboratory testing and ban on field test only affect the developing countries nuclear programme.
  • India’s scientific community believes that accepting the CTBT would hinder India’s strategic nuclear program development and the option to test must be kept open.
  • On the security front, India thought that it faced uncertain dangers from Pakistan, and China, which had conducted nuclear tests even while the CTBT was being negotiated.
  • Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) is a proposed international agreement that would prohibit the production of two main components of nuclear weapons: highly-enriched Uranium and Plutonium.
  • An FMCT would provide new restrictions for the five recognized nuclear weapon states (NWS— United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China), and for the four nations that are not NPT members (Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea).
  • Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is not a treaty and does not impose any legally binding obligations on Partners (members). Rather, it is an informal political understanding among states that seek to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology.
  • The regime was formed in 1987 by the G-7 industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States). There are currently 35 countries that are members (Partners) of the MTCR. India has become the 35th full member MTCR In July 2016.
  • MTCR membership enables India to buy high-end missile technology, strengthen its export control regime and it supports India’s bid to become the member of Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).

India and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • The NSG was created in response to India’s first nuclear test ‘Smiling Buddha’ (Pokharan-I) in 1974. The NSG first met in November 1975 in London, thus popularly referred to as the "London Club".
  • It’s a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • NSG consists of 48 members, include the five nuclear weapon states US, UK, France, China, and Russia. It is not a formal organization, and its guidelines are not binding.
  • A non-NPT state cannot become a member of NSG which keeps India out of the group.
  • India was left outside the international nuclear order, which forced India to develop its own resources for each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle and power generation, including next generation reactors such as fast breeder reactors and thorium breeder reactors.
  • More recently in January 2019, China has again reiterated its previous stand that India’s accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is pre-requisite for its membership to the NSG or else there should be a common guidelines for the membership of the non-NPT states.
  • Rejecting India’s claims for NSG membership, China cited the reasons that there should be no double standards in enforcing the NPT and the international community should stick to multilateralism and promote the three pillars namely non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Except China, all P5 members have endorsed India’s membership of NSG based on India’s non-proliferation record.
  • Pakistan has also applied for the NSG membership while being also a non-signatory to the NPT. But it has a dubious record and its credibility is very much doubtful as a peaceful nuclear state.
  • Membership of the NSG will provide India, greater certainty and a legal foundation for India's nuclear regime and thus greater confidence for those countries investing billions of dollars to set up ambitious nuclear power projects in India.
  • Though India is not a member of NPT and NSG, its track-record in observing the provisions of either body, is impeccable. NSG was able to grant a waiver to India in 2008 on the basis of its past performance, now it should have no objection to admitting the country as a member.
  • Australia Group admitted India as the 43rd member on 19 January 2018. It’s an informal group that keeps a control over exports of substances used in making of chemical weapons.
  • The group membership will help India to raise its stature in the field of non-proliferation, and help in acquiring the critical technologies. It will also strengthen India’s bid to gain NSG membership.
  • Wassenaar Agreement, established in 1996, is a group of countries which subscribe to arms export controls. It seeks to bring about security and stability, by fostering transparent practices in the process of sale and transfer of arms and materials and technologies that can be used to make nuclear weapons.
  • It is a grouping of 42 countries, of which India is the latest entrant on December 8, 2017. With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are signatories of this arrangement.
  • After joining the group India will be able easily access dual use technologies and materials and military equipment that are proscribed for non-participating members. In addition India will also be able to sell its nuclear reactors and other materials and equipment indigenously produced without attracting adverse reactions.

Way Forward

  • In his presidential address at the first International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva in August 1955, Homi J Bhabha, traced the growth of the civilization, correlating it with increase in energy consumption and the development of new energy sources.
  • He emphasized that the acquisition by man of the knowledge of how to release and use atomic energy must be recognized as the third epoch of human history.
  • To maintain pace of development, it is important to build a constant and reliable supply chain of nuclear materials.
  • The fundamentals underlying the possibility of breakthrough growth in India’s civil nuclear programme are strong: political will, bilateral agreements with most supplier countries, an NSG waiver for nuclear trade, domestic human resources and capability developed in the last 30 years of nuclear power operations.
  • While the political will and commitment to nuclear power remains strong, the government in recent months tried hard to secure membership in the NSG, an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful.
  • It is crucial to remember that India does not need NSG membership to import nuclear technology that was already cleared through the exemption given in 2008.

Source: Aspire IAS Class Notes

Nuclear Arm Race-Compliance Report and Nuclear treaties  

GS-II : International treaties and conventions Nuclear disarmament

Nuclear Arm Race-Compliance Report and Nuclear treaties

Nuclear Treaties

With the voluntarily increasing of Nuclear Weapons in the world, the threat and the irreparable damage of their use brought the consideration of world leaders into it. The leaders of the world have come forward to bring various treaties to curb its proliferation and future use. The IAEA promotes adherence to and implementation of the International legal instruments on Nuclear Safety adopted under its auspices. This includes the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, as well as the two emergency preparedness and response conventions.

Convention on Nuclear Safety:

  • Adopted in Vienna, Austria on June 17 1994, and came into force on October 24, 1996, to commit participating states operating land-based civil nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety by setting international benchmarks to which States would subscribe.
  • The basis of the convention is the Parties' common interests to achieve a higher level of safety to be ensured through regular meetings.
  • It obliges parties to submit reports on the implementation of their obligations for "peer review" at meetings that are normally held at IAEA Headquarters.
  • As of July 2015, there are 78 state parties to the Convention plus the European Atomic Energy Community. The states that have signed the treaty but have not ratified it include Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Uruguay.
  • The Organizational Meeting for the Seventh Review Meeting was held on 15 October 2015.

Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste management:

  • Adopted in Vienna on 5th September 1997 and came into force on 18th June 2001.
  • It is the first legal instrument to address the issue of spent fuel and radioactive waste management safety on a global scale.
  • The convention applies to spent fuel resulting from the operation of civilian applications. It also applies to spent fuel and radioactive waste from military or defence programmes if such materials are transferred permanently to and managed within exclusively civilian programmes, or when declared as spent fuel or radioactive waste for the purpose of the Convention by the Contracting Party concerned.
  • The states that ratify the Convention agree to be governed by the Convention's provisions on the storage of nuclear waste, including transport and the location, design, and operation of storage facilities.
  • The Convention implements meetings of the state parties that review the states' implementation of the Convention.
  • Five review meetings were convened since the Joint Convention entered into force. The fifth review meeting of the Joint Convention was held in May 2015.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT):

  • Adopted on June 12 1968 at UN, New York and came into force on March 5th 1970.
  • The NPT aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and further the goal of disarmament.
  • The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the IAEA, which also plays a central role under the Treaty in areas of technology transfer for peaceful purposes.
  • As of August 2016, 191 states have adhered to the treaty, though North Korea, which acceded in 1985 but never came into compliance, announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003, following the detonation of nuclear devices in violation of core obligations.
  • Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which are thought to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan. In addition, South Sudan, founded in 2011, has not joined.

South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Rarotonga Treaty):

  • Opened for signature on August 6th 1985, came into force on Dec 11, 1986, a permanent nature treaty which will remain in force indefinitely.
  • It was signed by the South Pacific nations of Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Western Samoa on the island of Rarotonga (where the capital of the Cook Islands is located).
  • It formalises a Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone in the South Pacific. The treaty bans the use of testing and possession of Nuclear Weapons within the borders of the zone.
  • There are three protocols to the treaty, which have been signed by the five declared nuclear states, with the exception of Protocol 1 for China and Russia who have no territory in the Zone. – no manufacture, stationing or testing in their territories within the Zone – no use against the Parties to the Treaty, or against territories where Protocol 1 is in force – no testing within the Zone
  • In 1996 France and the United Kingdom signed and ratified the three protocols. The United States signed them the same year but has not ratified them. China signed and ratified protocols 2 and 3 in 1987. Russia has also ratified protocols 2 and 3 with reservations.

Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Treaty of Bangkok):

  • It is a Nuclear Weapons Moratorium Treaty between 10 Southeast Asian Member states under the auspices of the ASEAN.
  • It was opened for signature at the treaty conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on 15 December 1995 and it entered into force on March 28, 1997, and obliges its members not to develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons.
  • The Zone is the area comprising the territories of the states and their respective continental shelves and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ); "Territory" means the land territory, internal waters, territorial sea, archipelagic waters, the seabed and the sub-soil thereof and the airspace above them.
  • The treaty includes a protocol under which the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), namely China, the United States, France, Russia and the United Kingdom (who are also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) undertake to respect the Treaty and do not contribute to a violation of it by State parties. None of the nuclear-weapon states has signed this protocol.

Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT):

  • Also known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, which prohibits all test detonations of nuclear weapons except for those conducted underground.
  • The PTBT was signed by the governments of the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and the United States in Moscow on 5 August 1963 before being opened for signature by other countries.
  • The treaty formally went into effect on 10 October 1963. Since then, 123 other states have become party to the treaty. Ten states have signed but not ratified the treaty.
  • Negotiations initially focused on a comprehensive ban, but this was abandoned due to technical questions surrounding the detection of underground tests and Soviet concerns over the intrusiveness of proposed verification methods.

Conference on Disarmament (CD):

  • A forum established by the International Community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements.
  • Established in 1979, it was the forum used by its member states, currently numbering 65, to negotiate the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • It is not formally a United Nations (UN) Organization, but it is linked so because of the personal representative of the UN Secretary-General. Resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly often request the conference to consider specific disarmament matters. In turn, the conference annually reports its activities to the Assembly.
  • The Conference succeeded the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960), the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1962-68) and the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (1969-78). • In the 1990s, the Conference held intensive efforts over three years to draft the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was submitted by Australia to UNGA on Sep 10 1996.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty:

  • It is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, in all environments by everyone. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but has not entered into force as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty at the time of its adoption.
  • As of August 2016, it has 183 signatories of which 166 have ratified it.
  • Obligations: – Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control. – Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.

Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT):

  • A proposed international treaty to prohibit the further production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. Neither this treaty has been negotiated nor have its terms been defined.
  • Fissile Material is any material which can be used to create a Nuclear Bomb. It includes high enriched uranium and plutonium (except plutonium which is over 80% Pu-238).
  • Plutonium-239 is the isotope most useful for nuclear weapons. Plutonium-239 and 241 are fissile, meaning the nuclei of their atoms can break apart by being bombarded by slow moving thermal neutrons, releasing energy, gamma radiation and more neutrons.

Conclusion: The world has entered a new nuclear age. While the risk of large-scale, world-ending nuclear war has declined, regional instability, the proliferation of weapons and the materials to make them along with emerging threats like cyber and terrorism mean the risk of a single nuclear weapon or device being detonated - by accident, by miscalculation or on purpose - is on the rise. Our current nuclear policies have not adapted to today's security environment. This status quo is not sustainable, and the consequences of inaction are unacceptable. Unless we adapt our policies and forces to deal with new and emerging threats, global security will remain at serious risk.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

BILATERAL

The Agreement obligates India and Pakistan to refrain from undertaking, encouraging, or participating in actions aimed at causing destruction or damage to nuclear installations or facilities in each country.

The Joint Declaration was a treaty in which South and North Korea agreed not to possess, produce, or use nuclear weapons, and prohibited uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing.

The Lahore Declaration was an agreement between India and Pakistan that called for both to reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons, among other confidence-building measures.

SALT refers to two rounds of talks between the US and the USSR on nuclear arms control. SALT I (1969-1972) led to the ABM Treaty.

SALT refers to two rounds of talks between the US and the USSR on nuclear arms control. SALT II lasted from 1972-1979.

The treaty mandates the United States and Russia to mutually decrease and limit strategic nuclear weapons, with each party reserving the right to determine the structure of its strategic offensive arms.

New START is an agreement for nuclear arms reduction between the United States and Russia, establishing a limit on deployed strategic warheads.

START I limited the number of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles and warheads. START II complemented START I by attempting to establish further limits on strategic nuclear weapons for each party.

START II complemented START I by attempting to establish further limits on strategic nuclear weapons for each party.

The INF Treaty is a bilateral agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was the first treaty to reduce nuclear arms instead of establishing an arms ceiling.

The PNE Treaty allows the United States and the USSR to conduct underground peaceful nuclear explosions at any location under their jurisdiction or control.

The ABM Treaty is an agreement between the United States and Soviet to cease construction of a national anti-ballistic missile system to limit the development and deployment of defensive missiles.

The Agreed Framework was an agreement between the United States and North Korea, which called for replacing a North Korean nuclear reactor in exchange for normalizing relations and other incentives.

MULTILATERAL

The CTBT prohibits nuclear weapon test explosions. It has not yet entered into force, since three of the 44 required states have yet to sign it and five to ratify it.

The Convention covers a broad range of acts and possible targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors. It criminalizes the planning, threatening, or carrying out acts of nuclear terrorism.

The PTBT requires parties to abstain from carrying out nuclear explosions in any environment where such explosions cause radioactive debris outside the limits of the State that conducts an explosion.

Source: TH/Web

Nuclear Race

GS-III : S&T Indigenization of Technology

Nuclear Race

  • China is in the middle of significant modernisation and expansion of its nuclear weapon inventory, and India and Pakistan also appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals, according to the Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Year Book 2021.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • This think tank is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  • It was established in 1966 at Stockholm (Sweden).
  • It provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

  • The overall number of warheads in global military stockpiles now appears to be increasing, a worrisome sign that the declining trend that has characterized global nuclear arsenals since the end of the cold war has stalled.
  • Status of India: According to the year book, India possessed an estimated 156 nuclear warheads at the start of 2021 compared to 150 at the start of last year, while Pakistan had 165 warheads, up from 160 in 2020. China’s nuclear arsenal consisted of 350 warheads up from 320 at the start of 2020.
  • The nine nuclear-armed states - the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea - together possessed an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021. Russia and the U.S. together possessed over 90% of global nuclear weapons and have extensive and expensive modernisation programmes underway, SIPRI said.

IISS report

  • A report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London, in May titled ‘Nuclear Deterrence and Stability in South Asia: Perceptions and Realities’ said that chance played an important ameliorative role in the India-Pakistan crisis of February 2019 and the two countries “risk stumbling into using their nuclear weapons through miscalculation or misinterpretation in a future crisis.
  • India and Pakistan are seeking new technologies and capabilities that dangerously undermine each other’s defence under the nuclear threshold.
  • Whatever they learn from past crises, the uncharted territory they are now exploring requires enlightened judgement about their doctrines, their nuclear and conventional capabilities, and their unpredictable implications in future crises,” said the report by Antoine Levesque, Research Fellow at the IISS as the lead author.
  • Listing several Confidence Building Measures and other practical steps in this direction, it concluded that a robust, trusted, the reliable, deniable back channel between the leaderships is the most promising means by which India and Pakistan could achieve greater strategic and nuclear deterrence stability.
  • The five largest suppliers in 2016-20 - the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China - accounted for 76% of the total volume of exports of major arms.

Largest Military Spenders:

  • The growth in total spending in 2020 was largely influenced by expenditure patterns in the United States and China (first and second largest spenders respectively).
  • India’s spending of USD 72.9 billion, an increase of 2.1% in 2020, ranked it as the third highest spender in the world.

Importers of Major Arms:

  • SIPRI identified 164 states as importers of major arms in 2016-20.
  • Country Wise: The five largest arms importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China, which together accounted for 36% of total arms imports.
  • Region wise: The region that received the largest volume of major arms supplies in 2016-20 was Asia and Oceania, accounting for 42% of the global total, followed by the Middle East, which received 33%.

What are the Treaties related to Nuclear Arsenals?

  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
  • The Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests In The Atmosphere, In Outer Space And Under Water, also known as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT).
  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was signed in 1996 but has yet to enter into force.
  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which will enter into force on 22nd January 2021.
  • Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/Indias-Entry-into-NSG

India and Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • The NPT is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of disarmament.
  • It represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
  • Nuclear-weapon states parties under the NPT are defined as those that manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device before January 1, 1967.
  • India did not sign it as the treaty was discriminatory. India argued that treaties like NPT were selectively applicable to only non-nuclear powers and legitimized the monopoly of nuclear power by a few.
  • Consequently India conducted nuclear explosion test in May 1974, all along maintaining that it was committed to peaceful use of atomic energy.
  • In 1998, India again conducted a nuclear explosion tests, and acquired the capacity to use nuclear energy for military purposes.
  • To alleviate the fears of a world community, India formulated a comprehensive nuclear doctrine. The major tenets of this doctrine are:
    • Maintenance of a credible minimum nuclear deterrence.
    • Professes no first use policy.
    • Commitment to global veritable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament leading to a nuclear weapons free world.
  • India has abided by both NPT and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) even though it is a non-signatory. This along with its commitments on nuclear non-proliferation under NSG waiver in 2008 provides India with a strong basis for membership in NSG.

CTBT

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the treaty banning all nuclear explosions - everywhere, by everyone.
  • The Treaty was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996.

Source: TH

National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission, 1993

GS-II : Indian Polity Statutory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission, 1993

What is the news?

  • The Calcutta High Court has directed the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee to examine complaints of post-poll violence in West Bengal.
  • A Bench of five judges directed that the committee “shall examine all the cases, and maybe by visiting the affected areas, and submit a comprehensive report to this court about the present situation”.
  • The court asked the committee to suggest “steps to be taken to ensure confidence of the people that they can peacefully live in their houses and also carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood”. The order, issued on June 18, directed that “the persons prima facie responsible for crime and the officers who maintained calculated silence on the issue be pointed out”.

NHRC and SHRC, 1993

  • Both are Statutory Autonomous bodies established under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • It is the watchdog of Human Rights in India. They are Rights w.r.t. Life, Liberty, Equality & dignity guaranteed by the Constitution or of International Covenants. Accordingly 25 States have constituted SHRCs through official Gazette Notifications.

NHRC

SHRC

  1. Composition of NHRC: Chairman, 4 members and 4 Ex-officio members.
  2. Qualifications for NHRC:
    1. The chairperson should be a Retd. CJI and
    2. Members should be Serving or Retired Judge of SC, a Serving or Retd CJHC and 2 persons having practical experience of Human Rights.
    3. 4 Ex-officio members are Chairmen Of the National Commission of Minorities, SCs, STs, and Women.
  3. Appointment: by Prez on the recommendations of a 6-member Committee: PM as its head, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition in both Houses of Parliament and Home Minister.
  4. Further, a sitting Judge of SC or a sitting Chief Justice of HC can be appointed only after consultation of CJI.
  1. Composition of SHRC: Chairperson & 2 members.
  2. Qualifications for SHRC:
    1. Chairperson should be a Retd. CJHC and
    2. Members should be serving or Retd. Judge of HC or Dist Judge in the State for > 7 years’ experience and having knowledge or practical experience of human rights.
  3. Appointment by Gov (but removal by Prez) on the recommendation of a Committee consisting of CM as its head, Speaker of Legislative Assembly, State Home Minister and Leader of Opposition of Legislative Assembly. If State has LC, then the committee also has Chairman of LC and Leader of Opposition of LC. Further, a sitting JoHC or a sitting Dist Judge can be appointed only after consultation of CJHC of the State concerned.

  • Tenure (of both NHRC & SHRC): 3 years or 70 years whichever is earlier. Not eligible for further Employment under Center or States.
  • Removal (of both NHRC & SHRC) by Prez: (Same as of UPSC, CVC, CIC) Removal is done only by Prez under the following conditions:
    1. If he has gone bankrupt or If, according to Prez, he is of unsound mind or If he is involved in paid employment outside the duties of office.
    2. Prez can also remove her in case of Misbehavior or incapacity (defined in Constitution), Prez refers this matter to SC. SC’s decision is binding on Prez. Then he may remove it. During the course of an enquiry by the SC, Prez can suspend them.
  • The salary, allowances & service conditions are determined by C / S govt & can’t be varied to his disadvantage post appointment.
  • Functions of Both:
    1. To strengthen the institutional arrangements through which human rights could be addressed in their entirety and in a more focused manner.
    2. To inquire into any violation of Human Rights, either suo motu or on a petition presented to it or an order of a Court. SHRC can only enquire into matters related w State List or Concurrent List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. However, if any such case is enquired by NHRC or any other Statutory Commission, then SHRC doesn’t inquire into that case.
    3. To intervene in any proceeding involving allegation of violation of Human rights pending before a Court.
    4. To visit jails or detention places, study the living conditions of inmates and make recommendations.
    5. To review the Constitution and legal safeguards for the protection of HRs and make recommendations.
    6. To review the factors including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of rights and recommend remedial measures.
    7. To spread human rights literacy and encourage the efforts of NGOs working in this direction.
    8. To study treaties and international agreements on Human Rights and make recommendations.
    9. To undertake and promote research in the field of Human Rights.
    10. To undertake such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.
  • Working:
    1. It can't by itself punish the guilty. That is the responsibility of courts. It makes independent and credible enquiry into any case of violation of human rights. Also if any govt officer neglects.
    2. It regulates its own procedure. It has all the powers of a Civil Court and its proceedings have a judicial character. It may call for info or reporty from C & S govts or any subordinate authority.
    3. The NHRC has its own nucleus of working staff for investigation. Besides, it is empowered to utilize the services of any officer or investigating agency of C or S govt. It has also established effective coop with NGOs with 1st hand info about HR violations.
    4. It can only look into the matter of violation within 1 year of its occurrence and not after that.
    5. After enquiry, It may recommend the concerned government or authority
      1. To make payment of compensation or damages to the victim.
      2. The initiation of proceedings or any other action against the guilty public servant.
      3. For the grant of immediate interim relief to the victim.
    6. It may approach the SC or HC concerned for the necessary directions, orders and writs.
    7. It can summon witnesses, question any govt official, demand any official paper, visit any prison for inspection or send it's own team for on the spot inquiry.
  • Criticisms:
    1. It has no power to punish the violators of Human Rights nor can it provide any relief to the victim.
    2. The functions are mainly recommendatory in nature. Not binding. But it should be informed about the action taken on its recommendations within 1 month.
    3. The Commission has a limited role, powers and jurisdiction wrt violation of human rights by the member of Armed forces. In this sphere NHRC may seek a report from Govt and make recommendations. Center has to inform on actions taken within 3 months.
    4. Yet the govt considers cases forwarded by it. It is therefore improper to say that the Commission is powerless. It enjoys great material authority and no govt can ignore its recommendations.
    5. NHRC submits its annual report to Central govt and State govt concerned. SHRC submits to State govt.
  • Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 also provides for the establishment of Human Rights Courts:
    1. Acc to the act, HRC can be est in every district for speedy trial of violation of Human Rights.
    2. These Courts can be set up by the State govt only w the concurrence of concerned CJHC.
    3. For every HRC, State govt specifies a public prosecutor or appoints an advocate (practice > 7 years) as a special public prosecutor.
    4. Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006
      1. NHRC can undertake visits to jails even without intimation to State Govt.
      2. Chairman and members of NHRC resign to Prez, and SHRC resigns to Guv.
      3. NHRC can transfer complaints received by it to SHRCs.

Source: TH

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Dushanbe Meet

GS-II : International organisation SCO

Dushanbe 2021 SCO meet

  • The event of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will bring together leaders from eight SCO member states—India, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is expected to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Dushanbe, Tajikistan next week, which Pakistan’s NSA Moeed Yusuf will attend as well.

Source: TH

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