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16 May 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

1. April trade gap hits $19 bn as imports outpace exports

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Effects of liberalization on the economy.
Context
● India’s merchandise trade for April 2024-25 saw a 1.07% rise in exports to $35 billion but a significant 10.3% jump in imports to $54.1 billion, widening the trade deficit to $19.1 billion.

● Concerns arose over high gold and oil import bills, prompting caution from analysts.

 Analysis of the news:

  • India’s merchandise exports for April 2024-25 rose by 1.07% to $35 billion, while imports surged by 10.3% to $54.1 billion.
  • This led to a widening of the trade deficit to $19.1 billion, the highest in four months.

Recent Trends in Exports and Imports:

India’s merchandise exports in FY 2023-24 are estimated to reach US$776.68 billion, slightly exceeding the previous fiscal year’s US$776.40 billion.

● March 2024 saw the highest monthly merchandise exports of US$41.68 billion.

● Total goods imports decreased by 5.66% to US$675.44 billion in FY 2023-24.

● India aims to diversify its export portfolio into electronics, pharmaceuticals, engineering products, and food items.

China emerged as India’s largest trading partner, surpassing the US, with a two-way commerce totaling US$118.4 billion in FY 2023-24.

● Indian exports to China rose by 8.7%, reaching US$16.67 billion, while imports from China increased by 3.24% to US$101.7 billion.

Top sectors driving merchandise export growth included electronic goods, drugs & pharmaceuticals, and engineering goods.

India’s position among the world’s merchandise exporters advanced from 19th to 17th place, with a share increase from 1.70% in 2014 to 1.82% in 2023.

● The government is exploring new markets for various products, including iron ore, engineering items, and agricultural and processed food products.

  •  The increase in the trade deficit was mainly driven by a 32.3% year-on-year surge in gold imports, tripling to $3.11 billion, and a 20.2% rise in oil imports, totaling $2.8 billion.
  • Analysts expressed concerns over these figures, warning of potential pressure on the rupee and current account deficit if oil and gold prices remain high.
  • In April, 14 major import items saw an uptick, including pulses, fruits and vegetables, medicines, and electronics.
  • However, 17 of the top 30 export items experienced contractions, including engineering goods, gems and jewellery, leather, and readymade garments.
  • Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal expressed hope for improved trade prospects, citing positive growth in merchandise exports in the first month of the fiscal year.
  • The Commerce Ministry revised its export estimates for 2023-24 to $778.2 billion, reflecting a slight uptick over the previous estimate and a record figure achieved in 2022-23.
 India’s widening perennial trade deficit:
Reasons for India’s Widening Perennial Trade Deficit:

Imports Dominance: Heavy reliance on imports of crude oil, gold, electronics, and machinery contributes significantly to the trade deficit.

Low Export Competitiveness: Limited competitiveness of Indian exports in global markets due to factors such as high production costs, outdated infrastructure, and bureaucratic hurdles.

Trade Imbalance with China: India’s trade deficit with China remains substantial, driven by a surge in imports of electronics, machinery, and chemicals.

Currency Fluctuations: Exchange rate volatility can impact the cost of imports and exports, exacerbating the trade deficit.

Structural Constraints: Structural issues such as inadequate export diversification, limited value addition, and lack of innovation hinder efforts to address the trade deficit.

Way Forward to Address the Trade Deficit:

Export Promotion: Implement policies to promote export-oriented industries, enhance competitiveness, and diversify export markets.

Infrastructure Development: Invest in modern infrastructure, logistics, and connectivity to reduce transaction costs and improve supply chain efficiency.

Trade Agreements: Negotiate favorable trade agreements to expand market access for Indian goods and services globally.

Manufacturing Boost: Promote domestic manufacturing through initiatives like Make in India to reduce import dependence and boost exports.

Enhanced Export Financing: Provide better access to finance and credit facilities for exporters to facilitate trade growth.

R&D and Innovation: Encourage research, development, and innovation to foster product innovation and value addition in export-oriented industries.

Bilateral Engagement: Strengthen bilateral trade ties with key trading partners and address trade imbalances through dialogue and cooperation.

PYQ: ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbour. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2017)
Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of India’s widening perennial trade deficit. Analyse the factors contributing to this deficit and suggest policy measures to address the challenges posed by it. (250 Words /15 marks)

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 1)

2. Centre grants Indian citizenship to over 300 people under CAA

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity.
Context
The Union government granted citizenship certificates to over 300 people, predominantly Pakistani Hindus, under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.

● This move comes after the implementation of the CAA was enabled by the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024, notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in March.

 Analysis of the news:

  • Over 300 people were granted citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, by the Union government.
The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019:
About:

●  The Act seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist, Jains and Christian (but not Muslim) immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation.

●  They will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in 5 years (11 years earlier).

● The Act (which amends the Citizenship Act 1955) also provides for cancellation of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) registration where the OCI card-holder has violated any provision of the Citizenship Act or any other law in force.

Who is eligible?

The CAA 2019 applies to those who were forced or compelled to seek shelter in India due to persecution on the ground of religion. It aims to protect such people from proceedings of illegal migration.

The cut-off date for citizenship is December 31, 2014, which means the applicant should have entered India on or before that date.

The act will not apply to areas covered by the Constitution’s sixth schedule, which deals with autonomous tribal-dominated regions in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.

●  Additionally, the act will not apply to states that have an inner-line permit regime (Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram).

  • Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla handed certificates to 14 individuals in Delhi.
  • Most applicants were Pakistani Hindus, but the country of origin was not disclosed.
  • Applicants from West Bengal, including Matuas and Namasudras, and those excluded from the National Register of Citizens in Assam, may have applied for citizenship under CAA.
  • The citizenship portal requires applicants to declare their country of origin and submit documents tracing their roots to Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Afghanistan.
  • Many Pakistani Hindus living in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi applied for citizenship.
  • Applicants shared their experiences, expressing relief and hope for better opportunities for their families.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024, were notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 11, enabling the implementation of the CAA after more than four years since its passage in Parliament.
What are the concerns About CAA, 2019?
Constitutional Challenge: Critics argue that it violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality before the law and prohibits discrimination based on religion.

● The CAA’s provision of granting citizenship based on religion is seen as discriminatory.

Potential for Disenfranchisement: The CAA is often linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a proposed nationwide exercise to identify illegal immigrants.

Critics fear that a combination of CAA and a faulty NRC could disenfranchise several citizens who are unable to prove their documentation.

● More than 19.06 lakh people were left out of the final draft of the Assam NRC released in August 2019.

Impact on Assam Accord: In Assam, there is a specific concern regarding the compatibility of the CAA with the Assam Accord, 1985.

● The Accord established criteria for determining citizenship in Assam, including specific cut-off dates for residency.

● The CAA’s provision of a different timeline for granting citizenship could conflict with the provisions of the Assam Accord, leading to legal and political complications.

Secularism and Social Cohesion: The CAA’s focus on religion as a criterion for citizenship eligibility has raised broader concerns about its impact on secularism and social cohesion in India.

● Critics argue that privileging certain religious communities over others undermines the secular principles upon which the Indian state was founded and could exacerbate communal tensions.

Exclusion of few Religious Communities: The exclusion of certain religious communities from the CAA and its subsequent rules, such as Sri Lankan Tamils and Tibetan Buddhists, who faced religious persecution in their home countries, raises concerns.

PYQ:

Q. With reference to India, consider the following statements: (UPSC civil services prelims 2021)

1.     There is only one citizenship and one domicile.

2.     A citizen by birth only can become the Head of State.

3.     A foreigner once granted citizenship cannot be deprived of it under any circumstances.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 2 and 3

Ans: Option A

 

Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, on minority communities seeking refuge in India. Evaluate its socio-political ramifications and the government’s role in implementing and addressing concerns surrounding the legislation.  (150 Words /10 marks)

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 4)

3. Army set to receive next batch of shoulder-fired Igla-S air defence systems

Topic: GS3 – Internal Security

GS3 – Science and Technology

Context
The Indian Army is poised to receive Russian Igla-S air defence systems, addressing long-standing air defence needs.

● These systems, part of Emergency Procurements, will be assembled in India by Adani Defence.

● Additionally, a resolution of payment issues between India and Russia has facilitated progress in defence deals.

 Analysis of the news:

  • The Indian Army is set to receive Russian Igla-S very short range air defence systems (VSHORAD) by the end of May or early June, addressing critical air defence requirements.
  • The procurement, part of Emergency Procurements, involves assembling Igla-S systems in India by Adani Defence Systems And Technologies Limited (ADSTL) under technology transfer from Rosoboronexport.
  • Payments issue between India and Russia, delaying defence deals, has been resolved, as confirmed by multiple sources.
  • Additionally, the Army is expecting the first of two Israeli Hermes-900 Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) assembled by ADSTL in Hyderabad next month.
  • Last year’s contract includes 48 Igla-S launchers, 100 missiles, 48 night sights, and one missile testing station, valued at ₹260 crore, with deliveries scheduled to start by the end of May.
  • The Igla-S missiles will be imported, while sights, launcher, and battery components will be assembled/manufactured in India by Adani Defence.
 Russian Igla-S air defence system:
Igla-S, also known as SA-24 Grinch in the West, is a man-portable air defence system (MANPADS) developed by Russia and entered service with the Russian Army in 2004.

● It is designed to be operated by either an individual or a crew and is capable of bringing down enemy aircraft, low-flying aircraft, cruise missiles, and drones.

Its effective range extends up to 6 km, with a limiting altitude for effective target destruction of 3.5 km.

Igla-S features a heavier and more powerful warhead compared to its predecessors, maximising damage capabilities. It utilises both contact and timed fuzes to increase attack range.

The warhead is a high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) type weighing 2.5 kg, ensuring significant impact upon detonation.

● Guidance for the Igla-S system is achieved through homing via infrared, allowing for accurate targeting of aerial threats.

● Its versatility and effectiveness make it a formidable asset for air defense operations, providing reliable protection against a variety of airborne threats.

● Igla-S is designed to be easily transportable and operable in various combat scenarios, enhancing its utility for both conventional and asymmetric warfare situations.

● With its advanced capabilities and robust design, Igla-S will become a key component of India’s air defence arsenal, ensuring protection against airborne threats for military forces and critical infrastructure.

PYQ: How is S-400 air defence system technically superior to any other system presently available in the world? (150 words) S-400 ? (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2021)
Practice Question:  Examine the significance of the Indian Army’s acquisition of Russian Igla-S air defence systems. Evaluate the implications of indigenous assembly and its impact on India’s defence capabilities.  (150 Words /10 marks)

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 4)

4. On Delhi’s mounting waste crisis

Topic: GS1 – Society – Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Context
● The recent criticism by the Supreme Court of India regarding solid waste management in New Delhi sheds light on the city’s pressing issue of untreated waste, with over 3,800 tonnes daily. Landfill overflow poses threats to public health and the environment, prompting calls for urgent action.

 Status of Delhi’s Solid Waste Management (SWM) System:

  • Delhi’s population is estimated to rise to 2.32 crore in 2024 and 2.85 crore by 2031, generating approximately 13,000 tonnes per day (TPD) of waste, which could escalate to 17,000 TPD by 2031.
  • Three municipal corporations, namely the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Cantonment Board, and New Delhi Municipal Corporation, collect around 90% of the city’s waste.
  • Waste composition typically comprises 50-55% biodegradable wet waste, 35% non-biodegradable wet waste, and 10% inert waste, translating to approximately 7,000 TPD wet waste, 4,800 TPD dry waste, and 2,000 TPD inert waste.

Processing Capacity of SWM in Delhi:

  • Delhi boasts waste-processing facilities across various locations with a collective design capacity of about 9,200 TPD.
  • These facilities include composting units handling approximately 900-1,000 TPD and waste-to-energy projects capable of managing 8,200 TPD.
  • Despite this capacity, the MCD disposes of 3,800 TPD of unprocessed waste in designated landfills, leading to environmental hazards such as methane emissions, leachates, and landfill fires.

Challenges Faced by the MCD:

  • Primary challenges include the lack of waste segregation at the source, inadequate public awareness, irregular waste collection services, illegal dumping, and insufficient coordination among stakeholders.
  • These challenges contribute to the accumulation of unprocessed waste in landfills, impeding effective waste management efforts.

Efforts Required for Waste Separation:

  • Delhi needs to expand its processing capacity to manage increasing waste volumes, with a proposed total design capacity of 18,000 TPD.
  • Biodegradable wet waste should be composted or used for biogas generation, with a targeted processing capacity of 9,000 tonnes.
  • Non-biodegradable dry waste, comprising recyclable and non-recyclable fractions, necessitates recycling facilities and waste-to-energy projects to harness its calorific value.

Decentralisation of Waste Processing:

  • Given land constraints, Delhi should collaborate with neighbouring states to establish composting plants and explore markets for organic compost.
  • Decentralised solutions like Micro-Composting Centres (MCCs) and Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCCs) can effectively manage a portion of the city’s waste at the ward level.
  • Delhi’s SWM system should integrate both centralised and decentralised processing options to ensure comprehensive waste management coverage.

Conclusion:

  • Delhi faces significant challenges in solid waste management due to rising population, inadequate infrastructure, and operational inefficiencies.
  • Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach, including enhanced waste segregation, capacity expansion, decentralised processing, and stakeholder collaboration.
  • By implementing these measures, Delhi can mitigate environmental risks, improve public health, and achieve sustainable waste management outcomes aligned with national objectives.
PYQ: What are the impediments in disposing the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we remove safely the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2018)
Practice Question:  What are the key challenges faced by municipal authorities in managing solid waste in New Delhi, and what strategies can be adopted to address the growing issue of untreated waste in the city? (250 Words /15 marks)

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 10)

5. India Mandates Testing of Ethylene Oxide Residue in Spice Exports to Singapore and Hong Kong

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

GS3 – Science & Technology

Context:
  • India has mandated the testing and sampling of Ethylene Oxide (EtO) residue for all spice shipments to Singapore and Hong Kong, following reports of recall of Indian spice products from these destinations.
  • A techno-scientific committee conducted a root cause analysis and inspection of processing facilities to ensure the safety and quality of Indian spice exports.
Analysis of News:

About Ethylene Oxide:

  • It is a flammable gas with a somewhat sweet odor. It dissolves easily in water.
  • It appears as a clear colorless gas with an ethereal odor.
  • Ethylene oxide is a man-made chemical that is used primarily to make ethylene glycol.
  • Applications: A small amount (less than 1%) is used to control insects in some stored agricultural products and a very small amount is used in hospitals to sterilize medical equipment and supplies.
  • Health impacts: It mainly impacts human central nervous system depression and irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes. Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide in humans can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, and damage to the brain and nervous system.

Ensuring Spice Safety: Stakeholder Consultation and Guidelines:

  • The Spice Board India has taken proactive measures to ensure the safety and quality of spice exports to Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Stakeholder consultations involving over 130 exporters and associations were organized, emphasizing collaboration with entities such as the All India Spices Exporters Forum and the Indian Spice and Foodstuff Exporters’ Association.
  • Additionally, guidelines for EtO treatment have been reiterated to all exporters to uphold stringent standards.

Low Rejection Rates and Export Sample Failures:

  • Government officials highlight that rejection rates of spices are minimal, with export sample failures being rare and one-off occurrences.
  • The rejection rate of spices stands at less than 1 percent of the total quantity exported to major jurisdictions.
  • India’s spice exports amounted to approximately 14.15 million tonnes in FY24, with recalled quantities being negligible in comparison.
  • The sample failure rate for Indian exports remains low, ranging from 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent, significantly lower than the sample failure rate for imports from other countries, which stands at 0.73 percent.

Ethylene Oxide Usage and Chemical Limits:

  • Ethylene Oxide (EtO) is clarified as a fumigant type of product utilized during transportation, and a certain level of pesticide residue is permissible in food management processes.
  • Different countries prescribe varying limits of chemicals allowable in food products, leading to discrepancies in acceptance criteria.
  • It’s crucial to note that these regulations and standards may differ across jurisdictions, contributing to the complexities of international trade.

Hong Kong’s Ban and Product Recall:

  • Hong Kong’s recent ban on four products from Indian manufacturers, including MDH Pvt. and Everest Food Products Pvt., cited the presence of pesticide and ethylene oxide.
  • The banned products encompassed various spice mixes and curry powders, indicating the stringent regulatory measures adopted by destination countries to ensure food safety and quality standards.

Conclusion:

  • India’s proactive steps to address concerns regarding spice safety and quality underscore its commitment to upholding international standards and meeting the requirements of destination countries.
  • Collaboration with stakeholders, reinforcement of guidelines, and transparent communication are crucial in maintaining the integrity of spice exports and ensuring consumer confidence in Indian products.
  • Ongoing vigilance and adherence to regulatory protocols will be essential in navigating the intricacies of global trade and safeguarding the reputation of Indian spice exports.
What is the Scenario of the Indian Spice Market?
Production:

  • India is the world’s largest spice producer. It is also the largest consumer and exporter of spices.
  • The production of different spices has been growing rapidly over the last few years.
  • Production in 2021-22 stood at 10.87 million tonnes. During 2022-23, the export of spices from India stood at USD 3.73 billion from USD 3.46 billion in 2021-22.
  • During 2021-22, the single largest spice exported from India was chilli followed by spice oils and oleoresins, mint products, cumin, and turmeric.

Exports:

  • India is the largest exporter of spice and spice items. During 2022-23, the country exported spices worth USD 3.73 billion.
  • India exported 1.53 million tonnes of spices. From 2017-18 to 2021-22, the total export quantity from India grew at a CAGR of 10.47%.

Varieties:

  • India produces about 75 of the 109 varieties which are listed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
  • The most produced and exported spices are pepper, cardamom, chilli, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, celery, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, nutmeg & mace, curry powder, spice oils and oleoresins.
  • Out of these spices, chilli, cumin, turmeric, ginger and coriander make up about 76% of the total production.
  • The largest spice-producing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Practice Question:  How is India ensuring the safety of spice exports to Singapore and Hong Kong? Discuss the recent measures taken and their significance for maintaining quality standards in international trade. (250 words/15 m)

(Source: Indian Express; Section: Economy; Page: 13)

6. Supreme Court Orders Release of NewsClick Founder-editor, Invalidates Arrest in Terror Case

Topic: GS3 – Internal Security

GS2 – Polity – Judiciary

Context:
  • The Supreme Court, invalidating the arrest of NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha in a terror case, ordered his release, emphasizing the importance of due process even in such grave accusations.
  • The ruling underscores the significance of procedural adherence and safeguards against arbitrary action.
Analysis of News:

Timing of the Arrest:

  • Purkayastha’s arrest occurred at 6:30 am on October 3, 2023, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, with the police alleging involvement in pro-China propaganda.
  • The FIR outlined serious charges under UAPA and the Indian Penal Code, highlighting the gravity of the accusations.

What is Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)?

  • It was first enacted in 1967 to deal with secessionist movements and anti-national activities.
  • It was amended several times, most recently in 2019, to include provisions related to terrorist financing, cyber-terrorism, individual designation, and seizure of property.
  • It empowers the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate and prosecute cases under UAPA across the country.
  • It provides for the death penalty and life imprisonment as the highest punishments for terrorist acts.
  • It allows for the detention of suspects without charge or trial for up to 180 days, and for the denial of bail to the accused unless the court is satisfied that they are not guilty.
  • It defines unlawful activity as any action that supports or incites the cession or secession of any part of India, or that questions or disrespects its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • It defines terrorism as any act that causes or intends to cause death or injury to any person, or damage or destruction to any property, or that threatens the unity, security or economic stability of India or any other country.

Procedural Lapses and Legal Challenges:

  • Purkayastha’s legal team raised concerns regarding procedural lapses, including the absence of prior notice and failure to inform Purkayastha of the arrest grounds.
  • Despite objections to the remand, police custody was granted, raising questions about the legality of the arrest process.

Court’s Scrutiny and Legal Precedents:

  • The Supreme Court scrutinized the remand order, noting discrepancies and subsequent insertions in the document.
  • Rejecting the police’s arguments, the court emphasized the constitutional mandate of informing the arrested individual of the arrest grounds promptly.
  • The ruling in the Pankaj Bansal case regarding money laundering offenses under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) set a precedent for furnishing arrest grounds, applicable to UAPA cases as well.

Significance of Procedural Compliance:

  • The technicality of informing the arrested person of the grounds for arrest holds crucial significance, especially in stringent offenses like those under UAPA.
  • The stringent bail conditions under such laws make procedural compliance imperative to safeguard against unlawful arrests and ensure fair legal proceedings.

Implications for Anti-Terror Laws:

  • The application of procedural guidelines to UAPA cases represents a significant departure, given the usual leniency towards anti-terror laws.
  • Anti-terror legislation often grants extensive powers to the state, warranting heightened scrutiny to prevent misuse and uphold individual rights.

Conclusion:

  • The Supreme Court’s invalidation of Prabir Purkayastha’s arrest underscores the primacy of due process and procedural adherence, even in cases involving national security allegations.
  • The ruling serves as a reminder of the constitutional safeguards against arbitrary state action and the importance of upholding fundamental rights in the legal system.
What Measures should be taken to Reform the UAPA?
  • Amend the Law: Narrow down the definition of “unlawful activity” and “terrorist act” to exclude constitutionally protected activities such as peaceful protests, dissenting opinions, and ideological expressions. The current definitions are vague, broad, and subjective, and can be used to criminalize any act that the government deems undesirable or threatening.
  • Dissent is an indispensable feature of the right to free speech under Article 19(1)(a) as rendered in Maqbool Fida Hussain v. Rajkumar Pandey (2008).
  • Shift the Burden of Proof: Ensure that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution and not on the accused. The UAPA law reverses the normal principle of criminal law by requiring the accused to prove their innocence rather than the prosecution to prove their guilt. This makes it extremely difficult for the accused to get bail or a fair trial.
  • Establish a Review Mechanism: Establish an independent and impartial review mechanism to monitor and challenge the government’s decisions to ban or designate certain associations or individuals as unlawful or terrorist. The current mechanism is inadequate and ineffective, as the government does not have to provide any reasons or evidence for its actions, and the review tribunal is often biased or influenced by the government.
  • Use the Law as the Last Resort: Ensure that the UAPA law is used only as a last resort and not as a first response to deal with security threats or social unrest.
  • The UAPA law should not be used to suppress legitimate dissent, criticism, or opposition, or to harass, intimidate, or silence civil society actors, journalists, academics, or human rights defenders.
  •  The government should respect and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens, and use dialogue, negotiation, and reconciliation as the preferred means to resolve conflicts and grievances.
PYQ: The Indian government has recently strengthened the anti-terrorism laws by amending the unlawful activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA Act. Analyze the changes in the context of prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organizations. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2019)
Practice Question:  What are the key implications of the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the arrest of NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha in a terror case? Discuss the importance of procedural adherence and safeguarding individual rights in such legal proceedings. (250 words/15 m)

(Source: Indian Express; Section: Explained; Page: 14)

 

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