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30 August, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I Status of Policing in India Report 2019
GS-II Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019
National Register of Citizen
GS-III Hurricane Dorian
Revised FDI Norms Economic Issues
GS-I :
Status of Policing in India Report 2019

GS-I: Status of Policing in India Report 2019

Context

A new report titled “Status of Policing in India Report 2019 Police Adequacy and Working Conditions” was released by Common Cause and the Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

Key finding of the report:

  • 28% police personnel believe that pressure from politicians is the biggest hindrance in a crime investigation. The other obstacles cited were related to society, legal systems and internal working systems in police. 
  • 38% personnel reported always facing pressure from politicians in cases of crime involving influential persons. Roughly one third also reported “always” facing pressure from their seniors in the police force. 
  • ???????50 % of police personnel feel that Muslims are likely to be “naturally prone” to committing crimes. 
  • ???????35 % of police personnel think it is natural for a mob to punish the “culprit” in cases of cow slaughter, and 43 % think it is natural for a mob to punish someone accused of rape. 
  • 37 per cent personnel feel that for minor offences, a small punishment should be handed out by the police rather than a legal trial. 

Working Condition :

  • More than one-third of police personnel would be willing to give up their profession if they were given a chance to join another job with the same salaries and perks
  • Three in four personnel said the workload made it difficult for them to do their job well and was affecting their physical and mental health.
  • The survey found that except for Nagaland, the average working hours of police officers were between 11 and 18 hours.
  • An average police officer works for 14 hours a day, six hours more than what the Model Police Act recommends.
  • A quarter of the respondents said they worked for more than 16 hours a day.???????
  • Other than working overtime, every second police personnel reported not getting any weekly off day.

Rule of law ?

  • Every third police personnel surveyed agreed with the statement that for minor offences, a minor punishment handed down to the accused by the police was better than a legal trial.
  • About 20% personnel agreed with the statement that killing dangerous criminals was better than a legal trail.
  • A three-fourths majority believed it was alright for the police to adopt a violent attitude towards criminals.

Minorities at risk

  • One in two police personnel surveyed feel that Muslims are likely to be “naturally prone” to committing crimes.
  • It also found that 35 per cent of police personnel interviewed for the survey think it is natural for a mob to punish the “culprit” in cases of cow slaughter, and 43 per cent think it is natural for a mob to punish someone accused of rape.
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GS-II :
Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019

GS-II: Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019

News

The Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019 is being sent to a Group of Ministers as directed by the Prime Minister’s Office.

E-cigarettes:

  • An electronic cigarette (or e-cig) is a battery-powered vaporizer that mimics tobacco smoking. It works by heating up a nicotine liquid, called “juice.”
  • Nicotine juice (or e-juice) comes in various flavors and nicotine levels. e-liquid is composed of five ingredients vegetable glycerin (a material used in all types of food and personal care products, like toothpaste) and propylene glycol (a solvent most commonly used in fog machines.) propylene glycol is the ingredient that produces thicker clouds of vapour.
  • Proponents of e-cigs argue that the practice is healthier than traditional cigarettes because users are only inhaling water vapour and nicotine.

Why it is hard to regulate them?

As e-cigarettes contain nicotine and not tobacco, they do not fall within the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging and advertisements of tobacco products.

The draft ordinance

  • The draft ordinance was necessitated by the fact that an earlier order by the Centre asking the states to crack down against e-cigarettes could not stand judicial scrutiny.
  • However, a recent order, in which the High Court threw out a petition asking for protection from an ordinance against e-cigarettes, has emboldened the Health Ministry.
  • It now seeks legal backing for a ban (rather than just an advisory) in the form of an ordinance.
  • The ordinance makes any violation of its provisions punishable by imprisonment of one to three years, and a fine of Rs 1-5 lakh.

 

 

Why ordinance?

  • Under the Constitution, health is a state subject, so any move to ban manufacture and sale of a product on health grounds needs to come from the state government.
  • In February, the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation had written to all state drug controllers, saying they should not allow sale, online sale, manufacture, distribution, trade, import or advertisement of ENDS.
  • The Delhi HC stayed the Centre’s circular banning sale and manufacture of ENDS like e-cigarettes and e-hookah with nicotine flavour, saying as the products were not a “drug”.

WHO report on e- cigarettes and effects:

  • As per the report, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) (also known as e-cigarettes) emits nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco products. In addition to dependence, nicotine can have adverse effects on the development of the foetus during pregnancy and may contribute to cardiovascular disease.
  • The WHO report further says that although nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, it may function as a “tumour promoter” and seems to be involved in the biology of malignant disease, as well as of neurodegeneration.
  • Foetal and adolescent nicotine exposure may have long-term consequences for brain development, potentially leading to learning and anxiety disorders.
  • The evidence is sufficient to warn children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age against ENDS use and nicotine.

Way Ahead

The government should also impose appropriate restrictions on the sale and advertisement, online and otherwise, of e-cigarettes, including proper health warnings, in order to plug the existing regulatory vacuum. This should be done with immediate effect, and simultaneously the government should also commission independent scientific research on the benefits and risks posed by these products in the Indian context.

 

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GS-II :
National Register of Citizen

GS-II: NRC

Context

More re-verification notices days before NRC publication.

What is National Register of Citizen?

  • National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein.
  • The NRC was published only once in 1951.

National Register of Citizen in Assam:

  • The issue of its update assumed importance as Assam witnessed large-scale illegal migration from erstwhile East Pakistan and, after 1971, from present-day Bangladesh.
  • This led to the six-year-long Assam movement from 1979 to 1985, for deporting illegal migrants.
  • The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) led the movement that demanded the updating of the NRC and the deportation of all illegal migrants who had entered Assam after 1951.
  • The movement culminated in the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.
  • It set March 25, 1971, as the cut-off date for the deportation of illegal migrants.
  • Since the cut-off date prescribed under articles 5 and 6 of the Constitution was July 19, 1949 - to give force to the new date, an amendment was made to the Citizenship Act, 1955, and a new section was introduced.
  • It was made applicable only to Assam.
  • There had been intermittent demands from AASU and other organisations in Assam for updating the NRC, an Assam based NGO filed a petition at the Supreme Court.
  • In December 2014, a division bench of the apex court ordered that the NRC be updated in a time-bound manner.
  • The NRC of 1951 and the Electoral Roll of 1971 (up to midnight of 24 March 1971) are together called Legacy Data. Persons and their descendants whose names appeared in these documents are certified as Indian citizens.

What is the significance?

  • Assam is the only State that had prepared an NRC in 1951.
  • It has also now become the first State to get the first draft of its own updated NRC.
  • The Register is meant to establish the credentials of a bona fide citizen as distinguished from a foreigner.
  • This is to detect Bangladeshi migrants who may have illegally entered Assam after the midnight of March 24, 1971.
  • This cut-off date was originally agreed to in the 1985 Assam Accord.

What is the Assam Accord?

  • Assam witnessed a range of law and order problems and political turbulence driven by the anti-foreigners movement, in the early 1980s.
  • Responding to this, the Assam Accord (1985) was signed by the Centre and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).
  • Accordingly, those foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship, including the right to vote.
  • The entrants between 1961 and 1971 were to be denied voting rights for ten years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship.
  • Anyone who entered the state without documents after March 24, 1971 will be declared a foreigner and were to be deported.
  • Besides, the Accord had a package for the economic development of Assam.
  • It also had assurance to provide safeguards to protect the cultural, social, and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

Challenges

  • Flawed Process - People who found themselves on the first list that was released on January 1, 2018, didn’t find their names in the second. Even the family of a former President of India did not mention on the list.
  • The parallel processes of NRC, the voters list of the Election Commission, and the Foreigners’ Tribunals with the help of the Assam Border Police, have led to utter chaos, as none of these agencies are sharing information with each other.
  • Though the draft provides a window for re-verification, due to large number of people being excluded from the list, it will be very difficult to physically verify all of them.
  • Since such ‘non citizens’ can resort to judicial relief to substantiate their citizenship claim, it can lead to overburdening of judiciary which already reels under large number of pending cases.
  • There is uncertainty about the future of those left out from the list.
  • Expelling them to Bangladesh is not an option since Dhaka has never accepted that they are its citizens or that there is a problem of illegal immigration. In the absence of a formal agreement, India cannot forcibly push the illegal migrants back into Bangladesh.
  • Moreover, raising this issue can also jeopardise relations with Dhaka. Such an attempt would not only damage bilateral relations but also sully the country’s image internationally.

Way Forward

  • India, as a country which follows the ideology of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, should not be hasty in taking decisions that can disenfranchise her citizens – contradicting its centuries-followed values.
  • The need of the hour is that Union Government should clearly chart out the course of action regarding the fate of excluded people from final NRC data and political parties should refrain from coloring the entire NRC process through electoral prospects that may snowball in to communal violence.

                 

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GS-III :
Hurricane Dorian

GS-I: Hurricane Dorian

News

The hurricane Dorian is to hit the east coast of Florida as a “major” hurricane, in Category 3 or possibly Category 4.

What do the categories mean?

  • Powerful winds are what define a hurricane, so they are named and classified based on how hard their winds are blowing.
  • To qualify as a hurricane, a storm must have sustained winds of 74 mph or more.
  • All hurricanes are dangerous, but some pack more punch than others.
  • So meteorologists try to quantify each storm’s destructive power by using the Saffir-Simpson scale placing it in one of five categories based on sustained wind speed.

Saffir-Simpson scale

Category 1, 74 to 95 mph: These storms’ winds may knock down some trees and power lines and do a bit of damage to buildings.

Category 2, 96 to 110 mph: These storms are likely to uproot many trees, disrupt electric power over wide areas and do significant roof and siding damage.

Category 3, 111 to 129 mph: These are major storms that can take roofs off even well-constructed houses and knock out electric and water systems for days or weeks. Roads will be blocked by falling trees and poles. Dorian is forecast to be at least this strong when it makes landfall.

Category 4, 130 to 156 mph: These major storms do catastrophic damage, felling most trees and power poles and wrecking some buildings. Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward.

Category 5, 157 mph or more: Storms this powerful are rare, and when they strike, they are immensely destructive. Few structures will come through a direct hit unscathed, and a large percentage of frame buildings will be destroyed. Recovery may take weeks or months.

What is the difference between hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon?

  • The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs.
  • In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used.
  • The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.
  • A tropical cyclone is a generic term used by meteorologists to describe a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation.
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GS-III : Economic Issues
Revised FDI Norms

GS-III: Revised  FDI Norms

News

Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for the review of Foreign Direct Investment in various sectors. This will result in making India a more attractive FDI destination, leading to benefits of increased investments, employment and growth.

Revised Norms

  • 100% FDI under automatic route is permitted for sale of coal, for coal mining activities including associated processing infrastructure.
  • The government has allowed 100% FDI through the automatic route for contract manufacturing.
  • It will augment the Make in India initiative and will attract global companies in India looking to establish alternative manufacturing hubs.
  • Easing norms for FDI in Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT): Retail trading through online trade by SBRT, can also be undertaken prior to the opening of brick and mortar stores (it should be opened within 2 years from the date of start of online retail).
  • Online sales will lead to the creation of jobs in logistics, digital payments, customer care, training and product skilling.
  • It has been decided to permit 26% FDI under government route for uploading/ streaming of News & Current Affairs through Digital Media, on the lines of print media.
  • In India, FDI policy provisions have been progressively liberalized across various sectors in recent years to make India an attractive investment destination.
  • Some of the sectors include Defence, Construction Development, Trading, Pharmaceuticals, Power Exchanges, Insurance, Pension, Other Financial Services, Asset reconstruction Companies, Broadcasting and Civil Aviation.
  • Due to these measures, a total FDI into India from 2014-15 to 2018-19 has been $ 286 billion.
  • Despite the dim global picture (UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2019), India continues to remain a preferred and attractive destination for global FDI flows.
  • India seeks to use this potential to attract far more foreign investment which can be achieved inter-alia by further liberalizing and simplifying the FDI policy regime.
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