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21st December – Editorials/Opinions Analyses




Why in news?

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy hinted nthat the South African model of three capitals was best suited in his State and that his government would work towards this.

In South Africa, the administrative capital is in Pretoria, its national legislature

in Cape Town and its judicial capital in Bloemfontein.

Mr. Reddy’s idea seems to stem from the reasoning that a distribution of executive, legislative and judicial governance across Visakhapatnam, Amaravati (the current capital) and Kurnool would allow for “a decentralised development of the State”

How did the idea emerge

Expert committee appointed by the Home Affairs Ministry in 2014 to study alternatives for a new capital headed by K.C. Sivaramakrishnan.  The panel had argued against the need for a greenfield capital city and to instead focus on distributing locations of governance.

The Chief Minister’s idea has got support from the government­ appointed G.N. Rao committee also.


A.P. government led by the Telugu Desam Party had decided to build a grand capital in Amaravati, and had acquired large parcels of land from farmers.

Many farmers, who had agreed to give up fertile land for the expansion of the capital as part of a land pooling scheme and were to have received residential and commercial plots among other forms of compensation, have protested the decision to decentralise capital functions.

Indian states with more than one state capital:

Himachal Pradesh (Shimla and Dharamshala)

Karnataka (Bengaluru and Belgaum)

Maharashtra (Mumbai and Nagpur)


Why need to read: Comparison of Indian concept of secularism with other countries (GS Paper 2)

A look at the laws under which Bangladesh grants citizenship, and what its Constitution says on freedom of religion:

How does the Bangladesh Constitution define the country?

  • The original preamble mentioned ‘Nationalism, Democracy, Socialism and Secularism’ as fundamental principles.
  • Unlike India’s Constitution, the Bangladesh Constitution’s commitment to socialism is explicitly mentioned.
  • The preamble says the fundamental aim of the state is to realise through democratic process socialist society free from exploitation —a society in which rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms, equality and justice, political, economic and social will be secured to all citizens.
  • The expression “rule of law” is not used in the Indian Constitution.

But isn’t Islam the state religion?

  • In 1977, the military dictator Ziaur Rahman removed the term “secular” from the Constitution.
  • In 1988, President Hussain Muhammad Ershad got Article 2A inserted, which says the state religion of the republic is Islam but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony.
  • The amendment was struck down by the Bangladesh High Court in 2005 and the Supreme Court in 2010.
  • On June 30, 2011, the Constitution was amended and the term “secular” reinserted.

How is freedom of religion defined?

  • Article 41 of the Bangladesh Constitution says every citizen “subject to public order and morality” has the right to profess, practice or propagate any religion.
  • In India, Article 25 guarantees religious freedom in a narrower sense — in addition to “public order and morality”, it is also subject to “health” and “other fundamental rights”, and the state can also restrict freedom of religion in respect of any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with religious practices, and can also do so in the name of social reforms.
  • But in another sense, India’s religious freedom is broader as it is not confined to just citizens.
  • Like India’s Article 26, Bangladesh’s Article 41(b) gives every religious community or denomination the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.
  • Like India’s Article 28, Article 41(c) in Bangladesh lays down that no person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction or take part in or to attend any religious ceremony or worship, if that relates to a religion other than his own.
  • Article 28(1) is a replica of India’s Article 15 and prohibits the state from discriminating against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. This includes admission to any educational institution.
  • India’s Article 15 does not mention educational institutions and gives right of access only in respect of places maintained wholly or partly out of state funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
  •  The Bangladesh Constitution prohibits all discrimination based on religion, which weakens the argument of religious persecution there.

What are the laws on citizenship?

  • Article 6 of the Constitution says citizenship in Bangladesh shall be regulated by law and people shall be known as “Bengalees as a nation”.
  • The 1972 Provisions conferred citizenship from March 26, 1971 on anyone who, or whose father or grandfather, was born in the territories then comprising Bangladesh and who was a permanent resident on March 25, 1971 and continued to be a resident.
  • Any person who, for studies or employment, was in territories within a country at war or engaged in military operation (Pakistan), and was being prevented from returning to Bangladesh, would also be citizen.
  • The Bangladesh government, like Pakistan, may grant citizenship to a person who is citizen of Europe, North America or Australia or any other state. But knowledge of Bangla would be necessary.
  • Foreign women married to Bangla men can also get citizenship after two years’ residence. Irrespective of place of birth, if one’s parents are Bangladeshi, citizenship would be given.
  • In 2017, it was provided that anyone who invests $150,000 can get citizenship.

Does Bangladesh grant citizens to non-Bangla-speaking residents?

  • Many Urdu-speaking people who had supported Pakistan in the war became stateless with the creation of Bangladesh as the law did not give citizenship to those who sided with the enemy country.
  • There were some 10 lakh such people in 1972. Under an agreement among India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, 1,780,969 were repatriated to Pakistan, followed by about 1 lakh more subsequently, but 2.5 lakh remained.
  • In 2008, the Supreme Court in M Sadakat Khan case reaffirmed the citizenship of all Urdu-speaking citizens.
  • The 1951 Citizenship Act of Pakistan also remained in force. In 2016, a draft citizenship law was prepared that gave dual citizenship but was criticised for other provisions like termination of citizenship.


Why in news?

European Union, whose 28 member countries are together the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world after China and the United States, came up with an announcement on additional measures it would on climate change.

The two key decisions

1.  “Climate neutrality”. The EU has promised to bring a law, binding on all member countries, to ensure it becomes “climate neutral” by 2050.

What is Climate neutrality?  Sometimes it is expressed as a state of net-zero emissions, is achieved when a country’s emissions are balanced by absorptions and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Absorption can be increased by creating more carbon sinks like forests, while removal involves technologies like carbon capture and storage.

The EU is now the first major emitter to agree to the 2050 climate neutrality target.

2.Emission reduction target: In its climate action plan declared under the Paris Agreement, the EU was committed to making a 40 per cent reduction in its emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It is now promising to increase this reduction to at least 50 per cent and work towards 55 per cent.

The US, for example, had agreed to cut emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, but having withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, it is under no obligation to fulfill even that target.

Most other countries have shifted their baselines to 2005 or even later under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Green Deal includes sectoral plans to achieve these two overall targets

For example, it has proposals for making the steel industry carbon-free by 2030, new strategies for transport and energy sectors, a revision of managements of railway and shipping to make them more efficient, and more stringent air pollution emission standards for vehicles.

Still miles to go

  • The EU, however, has not been fulfilling all its climate obligations.
  • The Kyoto Protocol required the rich and developed countries to provide finance and technology to the developing countries to help them fight climate change.
  • In those respects, there has been little climate money flowing out of the EU, especially for adaptation needs of developing countries, and transfer of new climate-friendly technologies.
  • This is the reason why developing countries, like India and China, have been repeatedly raising the issue of unfulfilled obligations of developed countries in the pre-2020 period, that is covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
May 2024