National Current Affairs – UPSC/IAS Exams- 6th August 2019
Topic: Indian Polity
In News: On 5th of August 2019, the President of India promulgated the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019.The order effectively abrogates the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under the provision of Article 370 – whereby provisions of the Constitution which were applicable to other states were not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
More on the Topic:
- According to the Order, provisions of the Indian Constitution are now applicable in the State.
- This Order comes into force “at once”, and shall “supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954.”
- A separate Bill – the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 – was introduced to bifurcate the State into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature), and Ladakh (without legislature).
- J&K acceded to the Dominion of India after the Instrument of Accession was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947.
- The Article 370 which comes under Part XXI of the Constitution, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions” grants J&K a special autonomous status. Constitutional provisions that are applicable to other Indian states are not applicable to J&K.
- The provision was drafted in 1947 by Sheikh Abdullah, the then prime minister (Chief minister was called so) of J&K appointed by Maharaja Hari Singh and Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Article 370 of the Indian Constitution provided that only Articles 1 and 370 it-self would apply to J&K. The application of other Articles was to be determined by the President in consultation with the government of the state.
- The Constitution Order of 1950 specified the matters on which the Union Parliament would be competent to make laws for J&K, in concurrence with the Instrument of Accession – 38 Subjects from the Union List were added.
- The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 settled the constitutional relationship of J&K and the Union of India. It made the following provisions –
Important provisions of Article 370:
- Indian citizenship and all related benefits (fundamental rights) were extended to the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
- According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
- Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
- Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.
- Under Article 370, the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
- The Jurisdiction of the Parliament of India in relation to Jammu and Kashmir is confined to the matters enumerated in the Union List, and also the concurrent list. There is no State list for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- At the same time, while in relation to the other States, the residuary power of legislation belongs to Parliament, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the residuary powers belong to the Legislature of the State, except certain matters to which Parliament has exclusive powers such as preventing the activities relating to cession or secession, or disrupting the sovereignty or integrity of India.
- The power to make laws related to preventive detention in Jammu and Kashmir belong to the Legislature of J & K and not the Indian Parliament. Thus, no preventive detention law made in India extends to Jammu & Kashmir.
- Part IV (Directive Principles of the State Policy) and Part IVA (Fundamental Duties) of the Constitution are not applicable to J&K.
How can it be repealed?
- Article 370(3) of the Indian constitution permits revocation of the law by presidential order. However, such an order must be introduced before the state’s Constituent Assembly. Since that body was dissolved in 1957, experts have different views on the abrogation of the law, with some believing it needs approval by state lawmakers and others seeing a presidential order as sufficient.
- Article 35A was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order, i.e., The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 – issued by the President of India on 14 May 1954, exercising the powers conferred by the clause (1) of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.
- According to the act woman from J&K who marries a non state subject loses many of her state subject rights. Her husband and children are disbarred from acquiring the state subject status. Ex: Her children cannot inherit her property, But this won’t apply to the Man who marries a non-state subject.
- Non-permanent residents of J&K are not eligible for employment under the State government and are also debarred from contesting elections.
- Meritorious students are denied scholarships and they cannot even seek redress in any court of law.
Why it is the wrong way to an end the special Status:
- The State is being downgraded and divided into two Union Territories. The mechanism that the government used to railroad its rigid ideological position on Jammu and Kashmir through the Rajya Sabha was both hasty and stealthy.
- This move will strain India’s social fabric not only in its impact on Jammu and Kashmir but also in the portents it holds for federalism, parliamentary democracy and diversity.
- The passing of legislation which has a wide and far-reaching implication without prior consultations with stake holders has set a new low in our parliamentary democracy.
The entire exercise of getting Article 370 of the Constitution effectively abrogated has been marked by executive excess.
- The first step was to declare by a presidential decree that the ‘Governor’ — without regard to the fact that he has no Council of Ministers now to aid and advise him — can speak for the State government and give his concurrence to any modification in the way the Constitution of India applies to Jammu and Kashmir. This presumably means the Governor, who is now administering the State under President’s Rule, has given his concurrence on behalf of the State government.
- Second, on the basis of this ‘concurrence’, the latest Presidential Order scraps the previous one of 1954, abrogating the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Third, the fact that the State is under President’s Rule has been used to usher in a new dispensation under which Jammu and Kashmir becomes a Union Territory with a legislature and Ladakh another such territory without a legislature.
- In sum, a purported process to change the constitutional status of a sensitive border State has been achieved without any legislative input or representative contribution from its people.
- The bifurcation of States in the past cannot be cited as a binding precedent as, under Article 3 of the Constitution, the President seeks the views of the legislature of the States concerned, even if concurrence is not mandatory. In the present scenario, J&K has been represented by an unelected Governor appointed by the Centre, while Parliament has ventured to ratify the conversion of a State into two Union Territories without any recommendation from the State.
- The Centre’s abrupt move disenfranchised the people of state on a matter that directly affected their life and sentiments.
- This was done after a massive military build-up and the house arrest of senior political leaders, and the communications shutdown reveals a cynical disregard of democratic norms.
What changes in J & K after Article 370 banned?
|Special powers exercised by J&K||No special powers now|
|Dual citizenship||Single citizenship|
|Separate flag for Jammu & Kashmir||Only Tricoloured Flag|
|Article 360 (Financial Emergency) not applicable||Article 360 will be applicable|
|No reservation for minorities such as Hindus and Sikhs||Minorities will be eligible for 16% reservation|
|Indian citizens from other states cannot buy land or property in J&K||Other State people able to purchase land or property in J&K|
|RTI not applicable||RTI will be applicable|
|Duration of Legislative Assembly for 6 years||Now for 5 years|
|If a woman from J&K marries out of state, she would lose the citizenship of the state||She will still retain all her rights and Indian citizenship.|
|Panchayats did not have any rights||Panchayats will the same rights as in other states|
|Right to Education (RTE) was not applicable||Children in the state will benefit from RTE|
|Part 4 of the Indian Constitution (Directive Principle of State Policy), Fundamental Duties are not applicable in this State||DPSP applicable|
Why are they being abolished?
- The ruling BJP and its right-wing allies have challenged Article 35A which it calls discriminatory, through a series of petitions.
- Prime Minister Modi led his BJP to a landslide win in May on the back of a divisive campaign that ostensibly targeted Muslims, vowing to remove Article 370 and its 35A provision.
- To prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross border terrorism in the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir, a separate Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is being created with the legislature.
- Three of Jammu and Kashmir’s most prominent politicians, Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, and Sajjad Lone are under house arrest amid a massive security-built up in the state.
- As per section 144, in Srinagar district Internet services and mobile services have been suspended, all public gatherings are banned.
Model Mains Question: Kashmir stands today at the cusp of a new phase. Comment in the context of the present changes in Kashmir.
Source: Business standard, Livemint, Wikipedia and Hindu
Topic: Indian Economy
In News: Ministry of Consumer Affairs has released the draft guidelines on e-commerce for consumer protection.
More on the Topic:
- The e-Commerce guidelines for Consumer Protection, 2019 will be applicable on all business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce platforms.
- The e-commerce sector in India has been witnessing an explosive growth fuelled by the increase in the number of online users, growing penetration of smartphones and the rising popularity of social media platforms.
- The e-commerce sector in India is estimated to reach USD 230 billion by 2028 (accounting for 10% of India’s retail).
Key Highlights of the Report:
- Compulsory Return Policy: It is mandatory for e-commerce entities to accept returns in the event the products delivered are defective, wrong or spurious or if they do not have the characteristics or features advertised.
- Seller Details: E-commerce companies will also have to display details about the sellers on their website, especially the type of business furnished by the seller entity.
- Transparent Contract: The draft guidelines propose to increase transparency in contracts signed between e-commerce entities and the sellers, directing them to display terms of their contracts relating to aspects like return, refund, exchange, warranties and guarantees, delivery and shipment, mode of payments and redressing grievances.
- Grievance Redressal: The draft has also sought transparency on the procedure followed to address complaints,directing e-commerce companies to publish contact details of their grievance officers on their websites and setting a one-month timeline for them to redress issues from the time the complaint is registered.
- Fair Pricing Policy: E-commerce platforms will not be allowed to directly or indirectly influence the price of the products and services they offer.
- Unfair Trade Practice: E-commerce platforms cannot adopt any trade practice for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or services or use unfair and deceptive methods and practices that may influence the consumer’s transactional decisions.
- False Reviews: Guidelines aim to restrict sellers from falsely representing themselves as consumers or posting reviews as well as misrepresenting and exaggerating the quality and features of products on their sites.
Source: The Hindu, Wikipedia
Topic: Polity and Governance
In News: The Rajasthan Assembly passed two separate Bills against mob lynching and honour killing, making stringent provisions of punishment and penalties for these offences that were made cognisable and non-bailable.
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- Honour killing will be punishable with death sentence, those convicted of lynching will be punished with life imprisonment and a fine of up to ₹5 lakh.
- With the passage of the Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, Rajasthan has become the second State after Manipur to have a dedicated legislation that criminalises mob lynching as a special offence.
- The Bill provides for appointment of a nodal officer of the rank of Inspector-General of Police to prevent lynchings and establishment of relief camps in safe zones for the victims.
- It defines lynching as an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity.
- The Bill against honour killing, has laid down death penalty or life sentence and a fine up to ₹5 lakh for killing a couple or either of them on the basis that their marriage had dishonoured or brought disrepute to the caste, community or family.
- ((In name of vindicating honour of family/caste/community, there has been increase in illegal intimidation by self-appointed bodies for bringing pressure against Sagotra marriages (Marriages within gotra)/inter-community/inter-caste/inter-religious marriages between two consenting adults). In many cases such bodies tend towards incitement of violence)
Source: The Hindu
Topic: Infrastructure Development
In News: Cabinet has approved Kosi-Mechi interlinking project in Bihar.
More on the Topic:
- The central government has approved the second river interlinking project after the Ken-Betwa project in Madhya Pradesh. Every year floods become a major reason for destruction and interlinking of Kosi and Mechi can provide a little relief to ths problem.
- This project will provide a diversion to the surplus water of Kosi River through existing Hanuman Nagar barrage to Mechi River of Mahananda basin.
- This project involves no displacement of population and there is no diversion of any forest land.
Source: The Hindu
Topic: Environment and Ecology
In News: The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National Institute of Virology (NIV) has found that Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) caused the death of five Asiatic lions in Gir forest, Gujarat.
More on the Topic:
- In the past, CDV has wiped out 30 per cent of the lion population in the Serengeti forests in East Africa. Considering the threat posed by CDV, ICMR has requested the Centre to take immediate steps to save the Asiatic lions, which are heading towards extinction.
- As a precautionary measure, 300 shots of CDV vaccine are being imported from the US. ICMR has also recommended that the Gir lions be placed in two to three different sanctuaries.
- For the first time, NIV has recovered a complete genome of CDV.
- CDV causes a highly contagious and life-threatening disease in dogs. CDV also affects other wild carnivores, including wolves, foxes, raccoons, red pandas, ferrets, hyenas, tigers, and lions.
- Dogs are the primary source of infection and virus transmission.
Source: The Hindu
Topic: Science and Technology
In News: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) laid the foundation stone for the Space Situational Awareness Control Centre in Bengaluru.
More on the Topic:
- ISRO has set up a Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management aimed at protecting high-value space assets from space debris’ close approach and collisions.
- The control centre would host a range of activities related to the protection of Indian space assets from inactive satellites, pieces of orbiting objects, near earth asteroids and adverse space weather conditions.
- It would also assimilate the tracking data of inactive satellites from indigenous observation facilities and generates useful information from bare observations through analysis.
- Space Situational Awareness & Management (SSAM) has become an internationally significant area due to the rise of manmade space debris and the increased collision threat with operational spacecraft.
Source: Business Standard
Topic: Issues related to Human Resource
In News: The next round of recording biometric and family-tree details of Indian citizens under the National Population Register (NPR) will be conducted in September 2020.
More on the Topic:
- It is a Register of usual residents of the country.
- It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
- A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
- The NPR database would contain demographic as well as biometric details.
- As per the provisions of the NPR, a resident identity card (RIC) will be issued to individuals over the age of 18. This will be a chip-embedded smart card containing the demographic and biometric attributes of each individual. The UID number will also be printed on the card.
- The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.
Source: Economic Times