Polity & Governance
- Temporary structures shouldn’t be allowed on public streets: HC
Government Schemes & Policies
- Majority in North East against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
- National Launch of 10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029)
Issues related to Health & Education
- Treat us for silicosis, not TB: miners in M.P.
- For buoyant revenue, adopt unitary tax system for multinational enterprises: UN report
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Climate activist Greta Thunberg wins Sweden’s ‘alternative Nobel Prize’
Bilateral & International Relations
- Prime Minister met with President of Estonia
- Bilateral meeting of Prime Minister with Prime Minister of New Zealand
Science & Technology
- India jumps 4 places to 44th rank in world digital competitiveness rankings
- After two in two years, an annual interstellar visit now?
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Polity & Governance
Temporary structures shouldn’t be allowed on public streets: HC
In a big relief to citizens, the Karnataka High Court directed all city municipal corporations in the state, including the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), not to give permission mechanically to erect temporary structures on public streets or footpaths to conduct religious festivals and functions.
Verdict of the High court
- While processing the applications seeking permission for temporary structures, the city municipal corporations should do spot inspection to check whether the temporary structure will affect free movement of citizens.
- They must also get the traffic police’s opinion before granting permission for temporary structures to check if movement of vehicles will be affected.
- City municipal corporations should not allow digging of roads or footpaths for temporary structures as right under Article 25 (freedom to free profession, practice and propagation of religion) of the Constitution of India does not extend to public road and footpath.
- The court directed the city municipal corporations to ensure the fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution for free movement of vehicles and people on public streets.
Government Schemes & Policies
Majority in North East against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
Non-Governmental Organisations across the North-Eastern States are protesting against the government’s bid to reintroduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
- The proposed legislation was cleared by the Lok Sabha in January, 2019 but not tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
What is the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016?
- The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955.
- The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
- The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to allow illegal migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian religious communities coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan to not be imprisoned or deported.
- It also appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants.
- The Bill, however, does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants. It also does not talk about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc.
Key Issues and Analysis of the bill:
- The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
- The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences (eg. parking in a no parking zone).
- The bill violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
- It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region. It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
What is the Citizenship Act 1995?
- Under Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen.
- Citizenship by descent: Persons born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, but before December 10, 1992, are citizens of India by descent if their father was a citizen of India at the time of their birth.
- From December 3, 2004, onwards, persons born outside of India shall not be considered citizens of India unless their birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth.
- In the Citizenship Act 1955, if an adult makes a declaration of renunciation of Indian citizenship, he loses Indian citizenship.
What are the guidelines to become an Indian citizenship?
- In India, the Citizenship Act, 1995 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship:
- Every person born in India on or after the 26th January, 1950, shall be a citizen of India by birth provided his / her father is not an enemy or representative of a diplomatic mission.
- A person born outside India on or after Jan 26, 1950 shall be a citizen of India by descent if his/her mother/father is a citizen of India at the time of his birth
- A person can acquire citizenship by registering themselves with prescribed authority. Such categories of persons are:
- Persons of Indian origin residing outside the territories of undivided India
- Those persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily residents in India and have been so resident for 6 months immediately before making application for registration
- Women who are married to citizens of India
- Children of Indian citizens
- Adult citizens of commonwealth country or republic of Ireland
- A foreign citizen not covered by any of the above methods can get Indian citizenship with the following conditions:
- Belongs to a country where the citizens of India are allowed to become subjects or citizens of that country by naturalization.
- Renounces the citizenship of his country and intimated the renunciation to the Government of India.
- Has been residing in India or serving the government for 12 months before the date of making application for naturalization.
- Possess a good character
- Possess working knowledge of Indian Languages
- Intends to reside in India after naturalization.
Incorporation of the territory:
- If a new territory becomes a part of India, the government of India specifies the persons of that territory who shall be citizens of India.
National Launch of 10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029)
The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) launched the 10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029), which focus on sustaining the sanitation behavior change that has been achieved under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) and increasing access to solid and liquid waste management
About 10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029)
- The 10-year strategy focuses on the need for States/UTs to continue their efforts to sustain the gains of the SBM-G through capacity strengthening.
- The framework, to be in place from 2019 to 2029, will ensure that people sustain their usage of toilets.
- It will also focus on proper implementation of solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) — plastic waste, organic waste, grey water, and faecal sludge — in rural areas.
Key features of the strategy:
- They include the retrofitting of single pit toilets to twin pits or making provisions to empty pits every five years, repair of defunct ones, and construction of soak pits for septic tanks wherever not already present.
- A district-level training management unit (TMU) will be set up to provide oversight and support to gram panchayats (GPs) so that they ensure the operation and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
- The gram panchayats (GPs) are also supposed to conduct rapid assessment of water and sanitation gaps.
- Alternative funding: The government funding is the primary source of financing in the sanitation sector. Alternative self-financing by gradual leveraging of community resources in the form of tariffs for ODF plus activities is also suggested.
- It will follow the same 60:40 financing model as being followed till now in Swachh Bharat. It will be finalised after the cabinet’s approval.
- The framework also talks about state-specific strategies on menstrual hygiene management, including menstrual waste management, which may be supported under the ODF plus strategy.
Aim of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin ODF
- Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin seeks to eliminate open defecation in rural areas by 2019 through improving access to sanitation.
- It also seeks to generate awareness to motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices, and encourage the use of appropriate technologies for sanitation.
- SBM-Gramin mainly focuses on ensuring the use of toilets, besides their construction.
- The States and their implementing agencies will be given incentives for meeting performance standards: reducing open defecation, sustaining their open defecation-free status and improving solid and liquid waste management in rural areas.
- Open Defecation Free (ODF) flagship is taken ahead by ODF+ and ODF++.
- ODF+ protocol says that a city, ward or work circle could be declared ODF+ if, “at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well-maintained.
- A city / ward / work circle can be notified/ declared as SBM ODF++ city/ SBM ODF++ ward/ SBM ODF++ work circle if, at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, all community and public toilets are functional and well maintained.
- Cities that have been certified SBM ODF+ at least once shall thereafter be eligible to declare themselves as SBM ODF++ and apply for certification of SBM ODF++ status.
Why Open Defecation + and Open Defecation ++?
- To ensure the sustainability and long term impact of the ODF status.
- The SBM ODF+ and SBM ODF++ protocols build upon the ODF protocol while keeping true to its provisions, so as to provide a platform for cities and towns to improve sanitation sustainability.
What is Greywater and Blackwater?
- Greywater is wastewater from non-toilet plumbing fixtures such as showers, basins and taps.
- Blackwater is water that has been mixed with waste from the toilet.
Issues related to Health & Education
Treat us for silicosis, not TB: miners in M.P.
Miners of Ganj Basoda district in Madhya Pradesh suffering from silicosis decided to organise themselves to press for adequate compensation and appeal to the government for right treatment, instead of being treated for tuberculosis.
What is the issue?
- Miners, which belongs to Saharia tribe, from Ganj Basoda district in Madhya Pradesh have been facing the threat of the
- When miners turn 35, immunity falls and they contract the disease easily. However, the government treat them for TB instead of silicosis.
- Silicosis is the lung disease caused by the breathing of silica dust particles. Over time, it could build up in lungs, cause bloody coughing and breathlessness.
- Silica dust is the major constituent of sand. It is found in most rock beds.
- Silica dust mostly forms while mining, quarrying, tunneling and working with certain metal ores. It is more prevalent among miners who are exposed to dust containing crystallised silica.
Types of silicosis
- Chronic silicosis– This disease occurs due to long term exposure with low amount of silica dust. It causes swelling in the lungs and chest lymph nodes. Its major symptom is trouble in breathing. This is the most common form of silicosis.
- Accelerated silicosis– This disease occurs because of the exposure to larger amount of silica for a long period of time. Its symptoms occur faster than in simple silicosis.
- Acute silicosis– Acute silicosis occurs from short term exposure to very large amount of silica. It results in highly inflamed lungs with fluid which causing severe shortness of breathe and a low blood oxygen level.
Why it is a silent killer?
- The dust particles of silica are aroma less
- Silicosis disease is asymptomatic.
- Silicosis is an incurable disease.
- People with silicosis are at high risk of developing tuberculosis (TB).
- The Saharia are an ethnic group in Madhya Pradesh.
- They may also be located in the hills of the Ganjam district of southern Orissa, as well as in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
- They speak a Munda language that belongs to the Austro-Asiatic language family.
- The Saharia are a tribal people who have had little contact with the outside world. Between 1864 and 1866, the hills region was brought under control by the British expeditionary forces. When the British began collecting taxes, the Saharia rebelled.
- The hills Saharia are divided into five sub-tribes: the Jati, Arsi, Muli, Kindal, and Kumbi. This classification is based primarily on occupation. The Jati are farmers; the Arsi are weavers; the Muli are iron workers; the Kindal are basket makers; and the Kumbi are potters.
- The Saharia farmers use the “slash and burn” method of cultivation along the hill slopes. This has brought them into tremendous conflict with the Forestry Department.
For buoyant revenue, adopt unitary tax system for multinational enterprises: UN report
A new UN report has recommended the adoption of a system of unitary taxation of multinational enterprises (MNEs) of the group as a whole, stating that such an approach would simplify the global tax system and help increase tax revenues for all countries.
Need for adopting system of unitary taxation of multinational enterprises (MNEs)
- The current international corporate tax norms, that consider affiliates of MNEs as independent entities and treat taxable transactions between different entities of MNEs as unrelated, are only facilitating tax-motivated illicit financial flows.
- Tax-motivated illicit financial flows of MNEs are estimated to deprive developing countries of $ 50 billion to $ 200 billion a year in fiscal revenues.
Suggestions of the report
- Unitary taxation should be combined with a global minimum effective corporate tax rate on all MNE profits set at around 20-25 per cent, which is the average of current nominal rates across the world.
- To distribute the revenues from such reformed corporate taxes across countries, it suggests formulatory apportionment, whereby the total taxes of an MNE group are allocated across countries according to an agreed formula.
About United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues.
- It was established in 1964 as a permanent UN intergovernmental body.
- UNCTAD reports to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Councilbut have our own membership, leadership, and budget.
- The primary objective of UNCTAD is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology.
- The conference ordinarily meets once in four years.
- The first UNCTAD conference took place in Geneva in 1964.
- One of the principal achievements of UNCTAD (1964) has been to conceive and implement the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
- Currently, UNCTAD has 195 member states and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- There are non-governmental organizations participating in the activities of UNCTAD.
- It is a member of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG).
- It supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively. Along with other UN departments and agencies, it also measures the progress made in the Sustainable Development Goals, as set out in Agenda 2030.
Reports published by UNCTAD include:
- Trade and Development Report
- World Investment Report
- Technology and Innovation Report
- Digital Economy Report
About United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP)
- The UNGCP were adopted by United Nations General Assembly in 1985 and revised in 2015. The new guidelines call for greater International cooperation.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Climate activist Greta Thunberg wins Sweden’s ‘alternative Nobel Prize’
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was named as one of four winners of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, known as Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize.
- She shares the award with Brazilian indigenous leader of the Yanomami people Davi Kopenawa, a Chinese women’s rights lawyer and a Western Sahara human rights defender.
- She won the award for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action.
- She denounced world leaders for failing to tackle climate change in a speech at the start of a climate summit at the United Nations in New York.
- The Yanomami are the largest relatively isolated tribe in South America.
- They live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela.
- They migrated across the Bering Straits between Asia and America 15,000 years ago, making their way to South America.
- The Yanomami first came into contact with outsiders in the 1940s. This influx of people led to the first epidemics of measles and flu in which many Yanomami died.
The gold rush and genocide
- During the 1980s, the Yanomami suffered immensely when up to 40,000 Brazilian gold-miners invaded their land. The miners destroyed many villages and exposed them to diseases.
- After a long international campaign led by Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, Survival and the CCPY (Pro Yanomami Commission), Yanomami land in Brazil was finally demarcated as the ‘Yanomami Park’ in 1992 and the miners were expelled.
Bilateral & International Relations
Prime Minister met with President of Estonia
Indian Prime Minister met President of the Republic of Estonia on the sidelines of UN General Assembly’s 74th Session.
- Both leaders discussed steps to deepen bilateral cooperation in the domain of e-Governance, Cyber security and Innovation.
- Prime Minister further thanked Estonia for its support to India’s candidature for UNSC non-permanent seat for 2021-2022.
Location of Estonia
- Estonia shares land borders with 2 countries: Latvia, Russia.
- It is also bordered by the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Riga and Gulf of Finland.
Bilateral meeting of Prime Minister with Prime Minister of New Zealand
Prime Minister met Prime Minister of New Zealand on the sidelines of UN General Assembly’s 74th Session in New York.
Highlights of the meeting
- The New Zealand PM informed Indian PM about their New strategic paper “India 2022- Investing in the relationship”, which is a continuation of the NZ Inc. India Strategy 2011.
- New Zealand PM noted that Indian diaspora and students in New Zealand is important bridge between the two nations and contributing to bonds of friendship between the two countries.
- Both countries have strongly condemned and extended support to each other following the Pulwama and Christchurch terror attacks. India had also supported the joint New Zealand French initiative on Christchurch Call of Action.
Location of New Zealand
- New Zealand is island country located in the South Pacific Ocean.
- It is completely surrounded by the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
- The country comprises two main islands, the North and South islands and a number of small islands.
- It also administers the South Pacific island group of Tokelau.
Science & Technology
India jumps 4 places to 44th rank in world digital competitiveness rankings
India has advanced four places to 44th position in terms of digital competitiveness in the world as the country has made improvement in terms of knowledge and future readiness to adopt and explore digital technologies, according to a global report.
Highlights of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2019 (WDCR):
First rank: US (world’s most digitally competitive economy)
- Others in the list of top-10 most digitally competitive economy include Netherlands (6th), Finland (7th), Hong Kong (8th), Norway (9th) and Korea (10th).
- The largest jump in the overall ranking was registered by China (30th to 22nd) and Indonesia (62nd to 56th).
- Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea entered the top-10 for the first time.
- In the case of China, the improvement was mainly in the knowledge factor in which it progressed in the training and education sub-factor and in scientific concentration.
India Specific Highlights
- India rose from 48th place in 2018 to 44th rank in 2019 with the biggest improvement in the technology sub-factor level, holding first position in telecommunications investment.
- It has improved overall in all factors: knowledge, technology and future readiness as compared to the 2018 ranking.
- India also showed significant improvement by jumping up four places. In knowledge factor, India fared best in graduates in sciences and R&D productivity by publication.
- India fared best in the technology factor, especially in the telecommunications investment and IT& media stock market capitalization. India has to still, however, work on enforcing contracts, mobile broadband subscribers, wireless broadband and internet users.
- In future-readiness, India fared best in world robots distribution and requires to work more on tablet possession.
About the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Center Ranking
- The Ranking is produced by the IMD World Competitiveness Center.
- It measures the capacity and readiness of 63 nations to adopt and explore digital technologies as a key driver for economic transformation in business, government and wider society.
- The methodology of the WDC ranking defines digital competitiveness into three main factors: Knowledge, Technology and Future readiness.
- In turn, each of these factors is divided into 3 sub-factors. Altogether, the WDC features 9 such sub-factors.
After two in two years, an annual interstellar visit now?
In October 2017, astronomers spotted the first interstellar object known to pass through the Solar System, and named it ‘Oumuamua’. A new object came into light in 2019, dubbed 2I/Borisov. Researchers will have about a year to observe the object with telescopes.
What is 2I/Borisov?
- 2I/Borisov is the first observed interstellar comet and second observed interstellar interloper, after ʻOumuamua.
- The comet will pass through the ecliptic of the Solar System in December 2019.
Origin of interstellar objects
- The research proposes that interstellar objects could be material ejected from large, newborn planets, orbiting farther away from their suns.
- To test this theory, researched looked at three protoplanetary disks from the Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP), a survey conducted by a consortium of astronomers. DSHARP focuses on images of 20 nearby, bright and large protoplanetary disks.
- Protoplanetary disks are a rotating circumstellar disk of dense gas and dust surrounding a young newly formed star.
- Researchers after looking at such disks, can locate a planet in such disks (interstellar object). If a disk has clear gaps in it, it’s possible to find what type of planet would be there. Then, researchers can simulate the systems to see how much material should be ejected over time.