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Daily Current Affairs

4-October-2023

1. NewsClick founder arrested under UAPA.

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity

Context:

  • Prabir Purkayastha, founder and Editor-in-Chief of NewsClick, has been arrested by the Delhi police in an alleged terror case under UAPA.

Unlawful activities prevention act:

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, often abbreviated as UAPA, is an Indian law aimed at preventing and combating unlawful activities and associations that pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Here are key points about the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:

  • Objective: The primary objective of the UAPA is to empower law enforcement agencies to take preventive measures and stringent action against activities that are considered prejudicial to the security and sovereignty of India.
  • Definition of Unlawful Activities: The act defines “unlawful activities” to include activities that intend to or promote cession of a part of India, disrupt the territorial integrity of India, or threaten the sovereignty of India in any manner.
  • Provisions: The UAPA provides for the declaration of certain organizations as unlawful, allowing the government to ban them. It also empowers authorities to proscribe and take legal action against individuals associated with such organizations.
  • Detention: The act grants the government the authority to detain individuals if they are suspected of being involved in unlawful activities. The detained person can be held for up to 180 days without filing formal charges, and this period can be extended with the government’s approval.
  • Amendments: The UAPA has undergone several amendments over the years, granting more powers to law enforcement agencies. These amendments have been a subject of debate and criticism, with concerns about potential misuse and violation of civil liberties.
  • Punishments: The act prescribes various penalties, including imprisonment, for those found guilty of committing or supporting unlawful activities. Penalties can range from fines to life imprisonment or even the death penalty in severe cases.

2. Madras HC dismisses PIL petition against Kudankulam project

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity

Context:

  • The Madras High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed in 2017.
  • The PIL was against the first concrete pour for units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).
  • The petitioner, environmental activist G. Sundarrajan, argued that norms regarding population growth restriction in the sterilized zone should be followed.

Kudankulam project:

Key points about the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project:

  • Location: The KKNPP is situated on the southeastern coast of India, near the town of Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Reactors: The plant consists of several VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors, also known as PWRs. These reactors are designed to generate electricity through nuclear fission.
  • Capacity: The KKNPP has a total installed capacity of approximately 6,000 megawatts (MW), making it one of India’s largest nuclear power complexes.
  • Collaboration: The KKNPP is the result of a collaboration between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Rosatom, the state-owned Russian nuclear energy corporation.
  • Energy Generation: The primary purpose of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is to generate electricity for various industrial, commercial, and residential purposes. It contributes significantly to India’s energy mix.
  • Controversies: The KKNPP has faced opposition and protests from some local communities and environmental activists, primarily regarding safety concerns and the project’s impact on the region.

3. The shutdown of the Afghan embassy

Topic: GS2 – International relations.

Context:

  • The Embassy of Afghanistan in Delhi has officially closed, marking a shift in Afghanistan-India relations.
  • The embassy represented the deposed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, while the Taliban now controls Afghanistan.

Reasons and impact of embassy closure from Afghanistan:

  • India has not formally recognized the Taliban regime and has no diplomatic relations with them.
  • The embassy’s closure is not expected to severely impact travel and trade between the two countries, as consulates in Hyderabad and Mumbai continue to function.
  • Informal engagement between India and the Taliban has taken place through technical teams and multilateral initiatives.
  • India has not yet indicated a change in its position regarding recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
  • Pressure is mounting on India to reconsider its stance, as other countries, including China, have established ties with the Taliban.
  • The embassy of Afghanistan in Delhi has historical significance, and India has not allowed the Taliban to operate from this diplomatic address.

4. Circular migration: looking at both sides of the debate.

Topic: GS3 – migration

What is circular migration?

  • Circular migration involves repetitive movement of people between their country of origin and a destination country in search of employment opportunities.

Reasons for circular migration:

  • It is common among low-income groups who migrate temporarily for seasonal jobs in different locations.
  • Criteria for defining circular migration include temporary residence in the destination, multiple entries into the destination country, freedom of movement, legal right to stay, protection of migrants’ rights, and a demand for temporary labor.
  • Circular migration is viewed as a balanced migration method that benefits both sending and receiving countries.
  • For sending countries, it brings remittances and foreign capital, which can boost the domestic economy.
  • Receiving countries benefit from filling low-income, low-skill job vacancies but may also face challenges related to cultural conflicts and infrastructure strain.

Impact of circular migration:

  • Circular migration can help address brain drain concerns by promoting brain circulation.
  • In India, internal migration, especially to urban areas, has been largely circular, driven by job opportunities in sectors like construction and services.
  • Circular migrants often face exploitation and unsafe working conditions and may suffer from job precarity, as jobs are seasonal and irregular.
  • Policy efforts are needed to address the rights and well-being of circular migrants, integrate them into destination states, and provide social protections.

5. Manufacturing PMI slips to 5-mo. low

Topic: GS3 – Indian economy

Context:

  • India’s manufacturing activity in September reached a five-month low with a reading of 57.5 on the S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
  • This decline was attributed to a slowdown in new orders compared to August.

About Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI):

  • The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an economic indicator used to gauge the health and performance of a country’s manufacturing or services sector.
  • It is based on a survey of purchasing managers in various industries and is conducted monthly.
  • PMI readings are expressed as a numerical value, typically on a scale from 0 to 100, where values above 50 indicate expansion or growth in the sector, while values below 50 indicate contraction.
  • A PMI above 50 suggests that the economy is performing well, while a PMI below 50 may indicate economic challenges.
  • PMI data provides valuable insights into economic trends, including changes in production levels, employment, new orders, and prices.
  • Central banks, investors, and businesses often use PMI data to make informed decisions about monetary policy, investments, and operations.

6. Crackdown on news portal

Topic: GS3-security

Context:

  • The Delhi Police has sealed the office of news portal News Click, alleging it received money for pro-China propaganda.
  • The FIR against the portal invokes the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)Act (UAPA), the stringent anti-terror law.

About the law:

  • The UAPA was originally enacted in 1967. Indira Gandhi was the prime minister.
  • The law has undergone over half-a-dozen amendments, the last one in 2019.

History:

  • The UAPA originated from a constitutional amendment enacted in 1963 on the recommendation of the National Integration Council (NIC).
  • The amendment allowed Parliament to make laws imposing restrictions on the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, to assemble without arms and to form associations.
  • The 1967 version of the UAPA gave the central government the power to deal with activities directed against the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • Terrorism was not yet covered under the UAPA.
  • Terrorist actions were principally dealt with under the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (‘TADA’) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (‘POTA’) prior to the drafting of UAPA. The constitutional legitimacy of both TADA and POTA has been challenged several times throughout the years.
  • In December 2004, Parliament inserted a chapter dedicated to punishing terrorist activities.
  • Further amendments were made to the UAPA in 2008 and 2009 in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
  • More amendments were made in 2012 and 2019 to expand the scope of the UAPA.
  • Now, the UAPA covers terrorism, money laundering for terror financing and designation of groups as well as individuals as terrorist.

Need: 

  • Aims to prevent illegal activities in India. Its principal goal is to give authorities the power to deal with acts that threaten India’s integrity and sovereignty

Important Provisions:

  • Section 15 of the Act:centre has the authority to designate any person as a ‘terrorist’.
  • Section 22A of the Act: Companies and organisations found to be involved in any type of illegal or terrorist activity would be held liable.
  • Act enables any inspector rank officer of the National Investigation Agency to investigate any type of unlawful activity as provided under Chapters IV and VI of the Act.
  • The Investigating Officer has also been given the authority to conduct raids, and if a seizure is made, he must notify the state’s designated officer within 48 hours after the raid.
  • In the event that any property or cash is suspected of being used for terrorist activities or by a terrorist organization, the investigating agency has the authority to seize the cash or property and deliver it to the designated officer within 48 hours.
  • If a person identified as a terrorist fears that the law may be used against him, he or she has the right to file an appeal with the Home Ministry, which must respond within 45 days.
  • The individual may also appeal to the review committee, which will be composed of retired/current judges and secretaries of the Central Government.
  • If an individual believes he or she has been wronged, he or she may file a complaint with the high court or the Supreme Court.
  • The Act defines a terrorist act as one that occurs within the scope of any of the treaties specified in the Act’s Schedule.
  • Sections 4 and 5 (Dealing with the Tribunal):
  • The Central Government may establish, as and when necessary, a tribunal known as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, consisting of one person chosen by the Central Government.
  • For the purpose of conducting an inquiry under this Act, the Tribunal shall have the same powers as a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, when deciding a case.
  • The Consolidated Fund of India will cover all expenses incurred in connection with the Tribunal.

Scope:

  • It extends to the whole of India.
  • Every individual shall be punished under this Act for any act or omission that is in violation of its provisions and for which he is found guilty in India.
  • Any person who commits an offence punishable under this act outside of India shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this Act as if the act had been done in India.
  • This Act’s provisions also apply to:
    • Citizens of India and those from other countries.
    • People who work for the government.
    • This Act also applies to those aboard ships and planes registered in India.

Criticism:

  • The terror law makes bail difficult.
  • It extends the pre-chargesheet custody period from 90 days to 180 days.
  • The UAPA restricts the right to bail and makes the court depend on police documents to presume guilt of the accused.
  • The conviction rate in the UAPA is dismal. According to the Union home ministry’s data given to Parliament in March this year, 2.2 per cent of cases registered under the UAPA between 2016 and 2019 resulted in conviction by courts.
  • The freedom of the press is another crucial freedom that this legislation restricts, leading to the arrest of prominent journalists for publicly criticising the government’s policies or any other similar topics. UAPA has generated debate over Freedom of Speech and Expression since 2019.
  • Use of Section 39 of the UAPA, which punishes someone for aiding terrorist operations anywhere in the country with a fine or a jail sentence of up to 10 years or both, has become a freshly baked problem.
  • The Freedom of Speech and Expression as guaranteed by Article 19(1) of the Constitution is directly restricted by the amended Section 35 of the Act. According to the clause, Indian government may add any group to the UN charter’s Chapter 7 that it deems to be a terrorist organisation. This gives the government the authority to restrict people’s Freedom of Speech and Expression.

7. Centre bans two Tripura insurgent groups for 5 years

Topic: GS3-Security

Context:

  • Through a gazetted notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs banned Tripura based insurgent groups the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) , as well as their associate organisations for five years “for their involvement in various subversive activities” and “threatening the country’s sovereignty and integrity”.

Details:

  • The aim of the NLFT and the ATTF is the establishment of an independent nation by secession of Tripura from India through an armed struggle in alliance with other armed secessionist organisations of the North-eastern state and to incite the indigenous people of Tripura.
  • The Centre is of the opinion that NLFT and ATTF have been engaging in subversive and violent activities, thereby undermining the authority of the government and spreading terror among people for achieving their objectives.
  • The two groups are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Insurgency in Tripura:

  • The state of Tripura witnessed a surge in terrorist activities in the 1990s.The main reason was the influx of refugees from the newly formed Bangladesh.
  • Influx of refugees fuelled discontent and demographic inversion in Tripura.
  • This led to insurgent activities in the state of Tripura and the formation of the Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti (TUJS) in 1971, followed by the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) in 1981.
  • The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) was formed on March 2, 1989 and its armed wing, the National Holy Army and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), in July 1990, queered the pitch.
  • But today Tripura is one of the successful states in curbing insurgency in the state.

8. World Congress on Disaster Management in Dehradun

Topic: GS3-Environment

Context:

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami informed that the 6th World Congress on Disaster Management will be held from November 28 to December 1 in Dehradun.

About World Congress on Disaster Management

  • The World Congress on disaster Management (WCDM) is a special effort of the Disaster Management Infrastructure and Control Society (DMICS) that aims to bring together academics, policymakers, and practitioners from all around the world to debate difficult problems in disaster risk management.
  • Mission: To develop measures for risk reduction and disaster preparedness by fostering the integration of science, policy, and practises to improve knowledge of hazards.

Significance:

  • WCDM has emerged as the largest global conference on disaster management outside the UN system

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