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Daily Current Affairs

28-September-2023

1. Hit jobs on foreign soil not India’s policy: Jaishankar

Topic: GS2 – International relations

Introduction

  • India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, has addressed the ongoing tensions between India and Canada regarding the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.
  • Jaishankar emphasized that the Indian government has informed its Canadian counterpart that it is not the official policy of the Indian government to engage in such acts.

Canada’s Permissive Environment

  • Jaishankar highlighted that Canada maintains a “very permissive” environment concerning secessionist activities.

India’s Response to Allegations

  • India denied its involvement in Nijjar’s death and conveyed to Canada that such actions do not align with India’s official policy.
  • The Indian government expressed its willingness to consider any specific information provided by Canada regarding the case.

Context of Organized Crime

  • Jaishankar provided context by mentioning that Canada has witnessed significant instances of organized crime linked to secessionist forces, particularly supporters of Khalistani movements related to India.
  • India has shared extensive information about organized crime leadership operating from Canada with Canadian authorities.

Extradition Requests

  • India has made several extradition requests to Canada in connection with individuals involved in organized crime and secessionist activities.

Permissive Environment Due to Political Reasons

  • Jaishankar expressed concern that Canada’s permissive stance on these issues might be influenced by political reasons.
  • He cited threats to Indian diplomats, attacks on Indian consulates, and interference in Indian politics, often justified under the pretext of democratic concerns.

Conclusion

  • The tensions between India and Canada revolve around the alleged involvement of India in the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in Canada.
  • India has denied any involvement and expressed concerns about Canada’s permissive environment regarding secessionist activities and organized crime linked to them.
  • The situation underscores the complex dynamics between the two nations concerning issues related to secessionism and organized crime.

2. Manipur government extends AFSPA in hill districts for 6 months

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity

 Context:

  • The Manipur government has extended the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the entire state, except for specific areas.
  • AFSPA’s “disturbed area” status will continue in all hill districts, primarily inhabited by tribal communities. 

Army’s Demand for Re-imposition

  • The Army has advocated for the re-imposition of AFSPA in the valley districts, arguing that its absence has hindered counterinsurgency operations.
  • Ethnic insurgent groups, largely operating from Myanmar, have seen a resurgence during recent ethnic violence.
  • These groups advocate for Manipur’s secession from India.

About AFSPA:

       The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is a controversial law in India that grants special powers to the armed forces when deployed in “disturbed areas.” It was first enacted in 1958 to tackle insurgency and maintain law and order in the northeastern states of India. Over the years, it has been extended to other parts of India facing similar security challenges.

Key features of AFSPA include:

  • Special Powers: AFSPA provides armed forces with broad powers, including the authority to shoot to kill, arrest without a warrant, and conduct searches without consent. These powers are granted to enable the military to combat insurgents effectively.
  • Designation of Disturbed Areas: The law can be enforced in areas declared as “disturbed” by the state or central government. Such areas are often plagued by insurgency, terrorism, or serious law and order problems.
  • Immunity from Prosecution: Under AFSPA, armed forces personnel are immune from prosecution in civilian courts for actions taken in the line of duty. Prosecution can only occur with prior permission from the central government, which is rarely granted.
  • Use of Force: AFSPA allows the use of force, including lethal force, against any person acting in contravention of the law. This has led to allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and excessive use of force.
  • Review and Renewal: The law requires the state government to review the need for AFSPA every six months. If the situation has improved, the law can be withdrawn from specific areas.

Conclusion:

  • AFSPA’s extension in Manipur highlights the ongoing challenges related to insurgency and security in the state.
  • The decision to maintain the Act’s “disturbed area” status in hill districts while withdrawing it from valley districts underscores the complex security situation in different regions of Manipur.

3. Bihar’s second tiger reserve to come up in Kaimur sanctuary.

Topic: GS3 – environmental conservation

Context:

  • Bihar is set to establish its second tiger reserve in Kaimur district by the end of 2023 or early 2024. Currently, the state is home to the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) located in West Champaran district.
  • The Bihar State Forest Department is working on obtaining formal approval from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to declare the Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve. The NTCA had given in-principle approval to the proposal in July, and the department is now preparing the final proposal for formal approval.

Process for establishing Tiger reserve in India:

  • Identification of Suitable Area: The process begins with the identification of a suitable area with a significant tiger population and their habitat. This selection is based on scientific assessments, including tiger population surveys and habitat analysis.
  • Government Approval: The proposal is submitted to the State Government’s Forest Department for approval. If the state government approves the proposal, it is forwarded to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) at the national level for further evaluation.
  • Review by NTCA: The NTCA, which operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, reviews the proposal in detail. The NTCA assesses the scientific basis for the establishment of the reserve, its potential impact on tiger conservation, and the feasibility of implementation.
  • Public Consultation: Public consultations are often conducted to seek the opinions and feedback of local communities, stakeholders, and experts regarding the proposed reserve.
  • Final Proposal: Based on the feedback and recommendations from various stakeholders, a final proposal is prepared, incorporating any necessary modifications.
  • Government Notification: The final proposal is then submitted to the State Government, which issues a formal government notification declaring the establishment of the tiger reserve.

4. India ageing, elderly to make up 20% of population by 2050: UNFPA report

Topic: GS3 – Indian population

Context:

  • India’s elderly population is growing at a rapid rate, with a projected share of over 20% of the total population by 2050, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its 2023 India Ageing Report.

Some more findings of the report:

  • The report highlights that more than 40% of India’s elderly population is in the poorest wealth quintile, and around 18.7% of them live without any income, raising concerns about their quality of life and access to healthcare.
  • The population of individuals aged 80 and above is expected to grow significantly, particularly among widowed and highly dependent elderly women, with a projected 279% growth between 2022 and 2050.
  • Women tend to have higher life expectancy at ages 60 and 80 compared to men, with variations across states and union territories. For example, in Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, women at age 60 have a life expectancy four years longer than men at the same age.
  • The sex ratio among the elderly has been steadily increasing since 1991, with women outnumbering men in survival after 60 years in several regions, such as central India.
  • Poverty among the elderly is often gendered, with older women more likely to be widowed, have no income, and fewer assets, making them fully dependent on family support.
  • The major challenges facing India’s ageing population include the feminisation and ‘ruralisation’ of the elderly population, requiring policies tailored to their specific needs.
  • There is significant inter-state variation in the levels and growth of the elderly population, reflecting differences in demographic transition stages across states.
  • Southern and select northern states have a higher share of the elderly population compared to the national average, and this gap is expected to widen by 2036.
  • States with higher fertility rates, like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, are projected to see an increase in the share of the elderly population, but it will remain lower than the Indian average.
  • The southern and western regions have a higher old-age dependency ratio, while Union Territories and the northeastern region have lower ratios.

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