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29 November, 2019

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GS-II At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora largest in the world: UN report International Relations
UGC proposes to regulate fee charged by deemed universities
U.S. to cut spending on NATO budget, Germany to pay more
Protest against Industrial Relations Code Bill in Lok Sabha
GS-III Nod for defence purchase worth ?22,800 cr.
GS-II : International Relations
At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora largest in the world: UN report

Syllabus subtopic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.

News: India was the leading country of origin of international migrants in 2019 with a 17.5 million strong diaspora, according to new estimates released by the United Nations, which said the number of migrants globally reached an estimated 272 million.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the key findings of the report and its significance, issues related to migration, causes and its impact on the world

 

UN body publishing the report:

  • The International Migrant Stock 2019, a dataset released by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), provides the latest estimates of the number of international migrants by age, sex and origin for all countries and areas of the world.
  • The estimates are based on official national statistics on the foreign-born or the foreign population obtained from population censuses, population registers or nationally representative surveys

 

Key findings of the report:

  • The top 10 countries of origin account for one-third of all international migrants. In 2019, with 17.5 million persons living abroad, India was the leading country of origin of international migrants.

 

  • Migrants from Mexico constituted the second-largest diaspora (11.8 million), followed by China (10.7 million), Russia (10.5 million), Syria (8.2 million), Bangladesh (7.8 million), Pakistan (6.3 million), Ukraine (5.9 million), the Philippines (5.4 million) and Afghanistan (5.1 million).

 

  • India hosted 5.1 million international migrants in 2019, less than 5.2 million in 2015. International migrants as a share of the total population in India was steady at 0.4 per cent from 2010 to 2019.

 

  • The country hosted 207,000 refugees, the report said adding that refugees as a share of international migrants in the country were four per cent. Among the international migrants in the country, the female population was 48.8 per cent and the median age of international migrants was 47.1 years.

 

  • In India, the highest number of international migrants came from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.

 

  • In 2019, regionally, Europe hosted the largest number of international migrants (82 million), followed by Northern America (59 million) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (49 million).

 

  • At the country level, about half of all international migrants reside in just 10 countries, with the United States of America hosting the largest number of international migrants (51 million), equal to about 19 per cent of the world’s total.

 

  • Germany and Saudi Arabia host the second and third largest numbers of migrants (13 million each), followed by Russia (12 million), the United Kingdom (10 million), the United Arab Emirates (9 million), France, Canada and Australia (around 8 million each) and Italy (6 million).

 

  • The share of international migrants in total population varies considerably across geographic regions with the highest proportions recorded in Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) (21.2 per cent) and Northern America (16.0 per cent) and the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean (1.8 per cent), Central and Southern Asia (1.0 per cent) and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (0.8 per cent).

 

  • A majority of international migrants in sub-Saharan Africa (89 per cent), Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (83 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (73 per cent), and Central and Southern Asia (63 per cent) originated from the region in which they reside.

 

  • By contrast, most of the international migrants that lived in Northern America (98 per cent), Oceania (88 per cent) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (59 per cent) were born outside their region of residence.

 

What does it say about refugees and asylum seekers?

  • The report added that forced displacements across international borders continue to rise.

 

  • Between 2010 and 2017, the global number of refugees and asylum seekers increased by about 13 million, accounting for close to a quarter of the increase in the number of all international migrants.

 

  • Northern Africa and Western Asia hosted around 46 per cent of the global number of refugees and asylum seekers, followed by sub-Saharan Africa (21 per cent).

 

Women related data

  • Turning to gender composition, women comprise slightly less than half of all international migrants in 2019. The share of women and girls in the global number of international migrants fell slightly, from 49 per cent in 2000 to 48 per cent in 2019.

 

  • The share of migrant women was highest in Northern America (52 per cent) and Europe (51 per cent), and lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (47 per cent) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (36 per cent).

 

Significance of the report

  • These data are critical for understanding the important role of migrants and migration in the development of both countries of origin and destination.

 

  • Facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people will contribute much to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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GS-II :
UGC proposes to regulate fee charged by deemed universities

Syllabus subtopic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

News: The University Grants Commission (UGC) is set to regulate the fee charged by private deemed universities for professional programmes.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: About the move by UGC, about UGC and its criticisms.

 

 

How will it regulate the fees?

 

  • It is working on a regulation that proposes to set up a high-powered committee to determine the “reasonableness” of the fee charged by private deemed-to-be universities.

 

  • In order to determine the “reasonableness” of the fee charged by private deemed universities, the proposed fee committee (to be set up by UGC) will look into a number of factors, including the cost of educating one student, revenue surplus generated by the institution, salary and allowances to be paid to teaching and non-teaching staff

 

  • According to the draft, UGC’s fee committee will have five members and it will be headed by a former Vice-Chancellor or former head of a regulatory body like the UGC. The other members will include an eminent educationist who had achieved the rank of a professor, a nominee of a statuary national regulatory authority, an expert from the field of accountancy and an officer of the UGC.

 

  • The said committee will be competent to impose a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh for every violation, apart from the excess fee that the institution will be asked to refund to the students.

 

 

Current Scenario:

  • As per the UGC (Fees in professional education imparted by private-aided and unaided institutions deemed to be universities) Regulations, 2019, a deemed university can only charge fee approved by the said committee.

 

  • Most states have fee fixation committees and even laws for fee charged by state private institutions for professional programmes. However, there’s no regulation of fee charged by private deemed universities which come under the union government. Currently, out of the 127 deemed universities, 90 are private institutions.

 

About UGC:

  • The University Grants Commission of India (UGC India) is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance to the UGC Act 1956 under Ministry of Human Resource Development.

 

  • Previously, UGC was formed in 1946 to oversee the work of the three Central Universities of Aligarh, Banaras and, Delhi. In 1947, a Committee was entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with all the then existing Universities.

 

  • After independence, the University Education Commission was set up in 1948 under the Chairmanship of S. Radhakrishnan and it recommended that the UGC be reconstituted on the general model of the University Grants Commission of the United Kingdom.

 

The UGC has two primary responsibilities:

  • providing funds to educational institutions; and
  • coordinating, determining and maintaining standards in institutions of higher education.

 

Its main functions are:

  • promoting and coordinating education in universities,
  • determining and maintaining standards for teaching, examination and research in universities,
  • framing regulations on minimum standards for education,
  • disbursing grants to universities and colleges,
  • liaising between the CG, State governments and higher educational institutions, and
  • advising the CG and State governments on possible policy measures to improve higher education in India.

 

Criticism of UGC

  • The UGC and its regulatory regime have been criticised several times by a number of committees for its restrictive and suffocating processes.

 

  • Several committees including the Professor Yash Pal committee and the National Knowledge Commission of the UPA era and the Hari Gautam committee of Modi regime have recommended a single education regulator to rid higher education of red tape and lethargy.

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GS-II :
U.S. to cut spending on NATO budget, Germany to pay more

Syllabus subtopic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests

News: The U.S. is to cut its contribution to NATO’s operating budget, officials said on Thursday, with Germany increasing payments as the alliance tries to appease President Donald Trump ahead of a summit next week.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about NATO, challenges and its achievements so far, impact of U.S move on world security

 

Background

  • Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticised European members for freeloading on the U.S., singling out Germany —the continent’s economic powerhouse — for lagging behind on an alliance commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.
  • While most of Mr. Trump’s anger has been focused on European national defence budgets, American officials have also grumbled about how much Washington contributes to NATO’s running costs.
  • Washington currently pays 22.1% of the NATO budget — which totalled $2.5 billion in 2019 — and Germany 14.8%, under a formula based on each country’s gross national income.

 

Changes made in the new agreement

  • Under the new formula, cost shares attributed to most European allies and Canada will go up, while the US share will come down.

 

  • Under the new agreement, the U.S. will cut its contribution to 16.35% of the total, Germany’s will rise to the same level and other allies will pay more.

 

 

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO):

  • It is an intergovernmental military alliance.
  • Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
  • Headquarters — Brussels, Belgium.
  • Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.

 

Significance: It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

 

Objectives:

  • Political – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.

 

  • Military – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO’s founding treaty – Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.

 

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GS-II :
Protest against Industrial Relations Code Bill in Lok Sabha

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

News: Union Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Thursday introduced the Industrial Relations Code Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha amid protests from the Opposition members.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: About the Bill, Key features and their significance

 

Context: It was part of the government’s initiative to reform labour laws by combining 44 laws related to labourers into four codes.

 

About the Code

The draft code on Industrial Relations has been prepared after amalgamating and simplifying the relevant provisions of following three Central Labour Acts:

  • The Trade Unions Act, 1926
  • The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946
  • The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

 

Features

  • Setting up of two-member tribunal (in place of one member) and introducing a concept that some of the important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member resulting speedier disposal of cases.

 

  • To impart flexibility to the exit provisions, for which, the threshold for prior approval of appropriate number  has been kept unchanged at 100 employees, but added a provision for changing ‘such number of employees’ through notification.

 

  • The re-skilling fund, is to be utilized for crediting to workers in the manner to be prescribed.

 

  • Definition of Fixed Term Employment and that it would not lead to any notice period and payment of compensation on retrenchment excluded.

 

  • Vesting of powers with the government officers for adjudication of disputes involving penalty as fines thereby lessening the burden on tribunals.
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GS-III :
Nod for defence purchase worth ?22,800 cr.

Syllabus subtopic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

News: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, met on Thursday and approved the procurement of weapons and equipment worth ? 22,800 crore.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the equipments procured and their use in defence, about DAC, DRDO

 

About the equipments to be procured:

  • Among them are six additional P­8I long­range patrol aircraft to be procured from the U.S. for the Navy and additional indigenous Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

 

  • As a follow­up to the successful indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) programme, the DAC revalidated the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of additional AWACS aircraft,. The mission system and sub­systems for these aircraft would be indigenously designed, developed and integrated into the main platform by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

 

  • The IAF now operates three Israeli Phalcon AWACS and three smaller indigenous Netra AEW&C systems mounted on Embraer aircraft. A shortage of these force multipliers was felt during the aerial engagement with the Pakistan Air Force, a day after the Balakot air strike in February.

 

  • These platforms would provide on­board command and control and ‘early warning’, which would assist the IAF in achieving effective air space dominance in the least possible time, the statement said. The new systems are likely to be mounted on Airbus aircraft.

 

 

Indigenous design

The DAC approved the indigenous design, development and manufacture of ‘thermal imaging night sights’ for assault rifles, and these will be made by the “Indian private industry and used by troops deployed on the front line.” It also approved the procurement of twin­engine heavy helicopters for the Coast Guard.

 

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):

What is it? To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement, the government of India in 2001 decided to set up an integrated DAC. It is headed by the Defence Minister.

 

Objective: The objective of the DAC is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces, in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

 

Functions: The DAC is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans. It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license.

 

 

About DRDO

  • DRDO works under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence, Government of India.

 

  • It is working to establish world class science and technology base for India and provides our Defence Services decisive edge by equipping them with internationally competitive systems and solutions.

 

Genesis & Growth

  • DRDO was established in 1958 after combining Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO)

 

  • Starting with 10 laboratories, DRDO has now grown to a network of 52 laboratories which are deeply engaged in developing defence technologies covering various disciplines, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, combat vehicles, engineering systems, instrumentation, missiles, advanced computing and simulation, special materials, naval systems, life sciences, training, information systems and agriculture.

 

  • Presently, the Organisation is backed by over 5000 scientists and about 25,000 other scientific, technical and supporting personnel.

 

  • Several major projects for the development of missiles, armaments, light combat aircrafts, radars, electronic warfare systems etc are on hand and significant achievements have already been made in several such technologies.

 

Mission

  • Design, develop and lead to production state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems, platforms and allied equipment for our Defence Services.

 

  • Provide technological solutions to the Services to optimise combat effectiveness and to promote well-being of the troops.

 

  • Develop infrastructure and committed quality manpower and build strong indigenous technology base.

 

Issues with DRDO

  • The Standing Committee on Defence during 2016-17, expressed concerns over the inadequate budgetary support for the ongoing projects of DRDO.

 

  • The committee notes that out of total defence budget, the share of DRDO was 5.79 per cent in 2011-12, which reduced to 5.34 per cent in 2013-14.

 

  • Government’s lethargic revenue commitments towards DRDO have put major projects involving futuristic technology on hold.

 

  • The DRDO also suffers from inadequate manpower in critical areas to the lack of proper synergy with the armed forces.

 

  • Cost escalation and long delays have damaged the reputation of DRDO.

 

  • Even after 60 years of DRDO formation, India still imports a large share of its defence equipments. In the period 2013-17, India is the world’s largest importer of defence equipment, accounting for 12% of the global total, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

 

  • DRDO's list of successes is short- primarily the Agni and Prithvi missiles. Its list of failures is much longer. The Kaveri Engine is running late by 16 years and the cost has escalated by around 800 per cent.

 

  • DRDO is big on promise and small on delivery. There is no accountability. Nobody is taken to task for time and cost overruns.

 

  • In 2011, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) put a serious question mark on DRDO’s capabilities. "The organisation, which has a history of its projects suffering endemic time and cost overruns, needs to sanction projects and decide on a probable date of completion on the basis of a conservative assessment of technology available and a realistic costing system," its report stated.

 

  • The CAG report also revealed that not all technologies developed by DRDO were suitable for use by the armed forces. The three services have rejected 70 per cent of the products developed at the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, in the last 15 years costing Rs 320 crore because the products did not meet their standard and requirement.

 

  • The technology development agency is also largely responsible for the fact highlighted by General V.K. Singh that 97 per cent of the army's air defence is obsolete.

 

  • DRDO is just tinkering with World War II equipment instead of working on cutting-edge technology.

 

  • Even if systems are acquired from abroad and DRDO is meant to service them, if it fails. This leaves critical gaps in national defence.

 

 

Way Forward

  • DRDO should be restructured in a leaner organisation as suggested by the committee chaired by P. Rama Rao for external review of the agency in February 2007.

 

  • The committee also recommended for setting up a commercial arm of the organisation to make it a profitable entity, besides cutting back on delays in completing projects.

 

  • DRDO former chief V.K. Saraswat has called for the setting up of a Defence Technology Commission as well as a bigger role for DRDO in picking production partners for products developed by the agency.

 

  • DRDO should be able to select a capable partner company from the outset, from the private sector if necessary.

 

  • DRDO has taken some steps in the direction as it is considering long-term contracts with Indian information technology (IT) vendors such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) to build software solutions for defence projects, shifting its strategy of awarding deals to the lowest bidders on short-term projects.

 

  • DRDO’s move to outsource is a right move and will open lot of opportunities benefiting the Indian companies.

 

  • In Its document "DRDO in 2021: HR Perspectives’’, DRDO has envisaged a HR policy which emphasized on free, fair, and fearless Knowledge Sharing, Open book management style and Participative Management. This is a step in right direction.
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