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28th October Current Affairs

Contents

  1. Now, outsiders can buy land in Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Plea against Electoral Bonds: Urgent SC hearing sought
  3. India much safer against tsunami threat: INCOIS
  4. Gujarat High Court the first to live stream proceedings

NOW, OUTSIDERS CAN BUY LAND IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

People as well as investors outside Jammu and Kashmir can now purchase land in the Union Territory (UT) as the Centre notified new land laws for the region, ending the exclusive rights of locals over the land granted under now abrogated Article 370.

Details

  • Under the newly introduced J&K Development Act, the term “being permanent resident of the State” as a criterion has been “omitted”, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest in the UT.
  • The Centre has been arguing that Article 370 hampered development in the U.T. as investors were unable to purchase land prior to August 5, 2019.
  • The Centre is likely to notify separate land laws for the UT of Ladakh soon.
  • Under a new provision, an Army officer not below the rank of Corps Commander can declare an area as “Strategic Area” within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of the armed forces.
  • Prior to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act Indian citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.

Background

  • The first formal document of Kashmir came out through Kalhana’s Rajatarangini. Both Hindus and Muslims had ruled Kashmir time to time before independence. During Ranjit Singh’s rule, even Sikhs also governed this area.
  • In 1822, Gulab Singh became the King. Ranbir Singh came to power after the death of Gulab Singh in 1857.
  • Hari Singh took the charge of state in 1925. He was the king of Kashmir when the treaty was signed with India.

Accession of J&K to India

  • Jammu and Kashmir was one among the 565 princely states of India on which the British paramountcy lapsed at the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947 under the Partition Plan provided by the Indian Independence Act.
  • The rulers of princely states were given an option to join either India or Pakistan. The ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh did not exercise the option immediately. He instead offered a proposal of standstill agreement to both India and Pakistan, pending the final decision on the state’s accession.
  • Pakistan entered into the standstill agreement but it invaded the Kashmir from north with an army of soldiers and tribesmen carrying modern weapons. In the early hours of 24th October, 1947, thousands of tribal Pathan swept into Kashmir.
  • The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir appealed to India for help. He sent his representative Sheikh Abdullah to Delhi to ask for India’s help.
  • On 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh fled from Srinagar and arrived in Jammu where he signed an ‘Instrument of Accession’ of J&K state.
  • According to the terms of the document, the Indian Jurisdiction would extend to external affairs, communications and defence. After the document was signed, Indian troops were airlifted into the state and fought alongside the Kashmiris.
  • In 1948, Maharaja Hari Singh announced the formation of an interim popular government with Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah as the Prime Minister.
  • Subsequently, the Maharaja signed a proclamation making Yuvraj Karan Singh as Regent.

Delhi Agreement

  • In 1951, the state constituent assembly was elected. It met for the first time in Srinagar on 31st October 1951.
  • In 1952, The Delhi Agreement was signed between Prime Ministers of India and Jammu & Kashmir giving special position to the state under Indian Constitutional framework.
  • On 6th February 1954, the J&K constituent assembly ratified the accession of the state to the Union of India.
  • The President subsequently issued the constitution order under Article 370 of the Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the state with some exceptions and modifications.

Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, provides for reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • The Bill reorganises the state of Jammu and Kashmir into: (i) the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and (ii) the Union Territory of Ladakh without a legislature.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh will comprise Kargil and Leh districts, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will comprise the remaining territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be administered by the President, through an administrator appointed by him known as the Lieutenant Governor.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh will be administered by the President, through a Lieutenant Governor appointed by him.
  • The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir will be the common High Court for the Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.  Further, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have an Advocate General to provide legal advice to the government of the Union Territory. 
  • The Legislative Council of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be abolished.  Upon dissolution, all Bills pending in the Council will lapse.

-Source: The Hindu


PLEA AGAINST ELECTORAL BONDS: URGENT SC HEARING SOUGHT

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

An application has been filed in the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing of a pending petition against the electoral bonds scheme, especially on account of the opening of the sale window for electoral bonds right before the Bihar Assembly elections.

Electoral Bonds Explained

  • On January 2, 2018, the government had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018. It was touted as an alternative to cash donations and to ensure transparency in political funding.
  • As per the provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by an Indian citizen or a company incorporated or established in India.
  • Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 and has secured no less than one per cent votes in the last Lok Sabha elections are eligible to receive electoral bonds.
  • The electoral accounts are issued by the State Bank of India (SBI). The electoral bonds can be purchased in the months of January, April, July and October.
  • Political parties are allotted a verified account by the Election Commission and all the electoral bond transactions are done through this account only.
  • The donors can buy these electoral bonds and transfer them into the accounts of the political parties as a donation. The electoral bonds are available in denominations from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1 crore.
  • The bonds remain valid for 15 days and can be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorised bank within that period only.
  • Every donor has to provide his/her KYC detail to the banks to purchase the electoral bonds. The names of the donors are kept confidential.
  • Before 2017, the electoral bonds scheme was for donation of over Rs 20,000. In 2017, the government capped the donation limit at Rs 2,000.

What is Political Funding?

  • Political Funding implies the methods that political parties use to raise funds to finance their campaign and routine activities.
  • A political party needs money to pitch itself, its objectives, its intended actions to get votes for itself.

Statutory Provisions

  • Section 29B of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) entitles parties to accept voluntary contributions by any person or company, except a Government Company.
  • Section 29C of the RPA mandates political parties to declare donations that exceed 20,000 rupees. Such a declaration is made by making a report and submitting the same to the EC. Failure to do so on time disentitles a party from tax relief under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

-Source: The Hindu


INDIA MUCH SAFER AGAINST TSUNAMI THREAT: INCOIS

Focus: GS-III Disaster Management

Introduction

  • India is much safer against tsunami threat than it was in 2004, thanks to the state-of-the-art tsunami early warning system established at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS).
  • From absolutely no warning capability or for that matter any public knowledge of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, we have reached a stage where we can detect large under sea earthquakes in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10 – 20 minutes after the earthquake occurrence.
  • However, the best of warning systems could fail, if communities are not prepared, if they do not understand the official and natural warning signs of a tsunami, and if they do not take appropriate and timely response.

Details

The focus in recent times has been on enhancing community awareness and response through several capacity building activities, biennial Indian Ocean wide tsunami drills and piloting of the UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready initiative to provide a structured framework to build and measure capacities of coastal communities to respond effectively to tsunamis, through 11 important indicators.

Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS)

  • The Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) was established in 2007 and is based at & operated by INCOIS, Hyderabad.
  • It is an integrated effort of different organizations including the Department of Space (DOS), Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Survey of India (SOI) and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
  • ITEWS comprises a real-time network of seismic stations, tide gauges and a 24X7 operational tsunami warning centre to detect tsunamigenic earthquakes, to monitor tsunamis and to provide timely advisories to vulnerable communities.
  • Indian scientists can detect large undersea earthquakes in Indian Ocean in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10-20 minutes after the earthquake occurs.
  • In 2004, India didn’t have any tsunami warning capability nor any public knowledge of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.
  • India is among the first few centres to introduce quantitative tsunami forecasts.
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (also known as UNESCO-IOC) accredited Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) as Tsunami Service Provider (TSP) for 28 Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries, along with Indonesia and Australia in 2011, for issuing regional warnings.

Recent Focus in Tsunami Warning Capability

  • The focus in recent times has been on enhancing community awareness and response through several capacity building activities, biennial Indian Ocean wide tsunami drills and piloting of the UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready initiative.
  • Tsunami Ready is a community performance-based programme to promote tsunami preparedness through active collaboration of public, community leaders, and national and local emergency management agencies.
  • The main objective of this programme is to improve coastal community’s preparedness for tsunami emergencies, to minimize the loss of life and property and to ensure a structural and systematic approach in building community preparedness through fulfilling the best-practice indicators.
  • Two villages of Odisha- Venkatraipur in Ganjam district and Noliasahi in Jagatsinghpur district are now ‘Tsunami Ready’.
  • INCOIS is establishing a network of 35 stations to estimate the tectonic plate’s movements in real-time and measure the vertical displacements under the sea directly.

INCOIS

  • INCOIS was established in 1999 as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • INCOIS through Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) is the nodal agency to provide tsunami advisories to India.
  • It is coordinating with the Disaster Management Officials (DMOs) for implementation of Tsunami Ready programme in India.
  • It conducts IOWave Tsunami mock exercises biannually to strengthen the readiness to handle the emergency situations with stakeholders.
  • INCOIS also identifies the Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) for the fishermen community.
  • It has also made improvement in overcoming the cloud cover through usage of geostationary satellites and numerical modelling.
  • INCOIS has also partnered with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop a satellite-based message broadcasting services through the indigenous navigational satellite communication system ‘NAVIC’.

-Source: The Hindu


GUJARAT HIGH COURT THE FIRST TO LIVE STREAM PROCEEDINGS

Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

  • In a landmark initiative, the Gujarat High Court became the first to live stream judicial proceedings on YouTube channel.
  • Though it’s on “experimental basis”, the move is being seen as a major measure towards transparency in judicial proceedings.
  • The YouTube link is available on the homepage of the High Court and has been welcomed by lawyers, law students and the public at large besides litigants.

Background

  • All the Courts have been functioning through video conferencing throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and even after that.
  • Advocates, the parties, victims, corpses etc. all are participating in the court proceedings during the course of the hearing through video conferencing.
  • Also, in the model video conferencing rules as prescribed by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, it has been provided that the public will be allowed to view the hearing conducted through video conferencing.
  • The Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathi v Supreme Court of India (2018) has ruled in favour of opening up the apex court through live-streaming.
  • It held that the live streaming proceedings is part of the right to access justice under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • However, the judgment has remained unimplemented.
  • The e-Court Mission Mode Project was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.

Benefits

  • A live stream would help litigants follow the proceedings in their case and also assess their lawyers’ performance. People from far-flung States such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala do not have to travel all the way to the national capital for a day’s hearing.
  • It would keep a check on lawyers’ conduct inside the courtrooms. With the entire country watching them, there would be fewer interruptions, raised voices and adjournments from the lawyers.
  • Live-streaming will bring transparency and access to justice.

Issues Involved

  • The live streaming of the Courts is susceptible to abuses.
  • It can involve national security concerns and can amount to a violation of the fundamental right to privacy in matrimonial disputes and rape cases.
  • The unauthorized reproduction of the live streaming videos is another cause for concern as its regulation will be very difficult at the government’s end.
  • Concerns have also been raised about the commercial aspect of the whole issue. The agreements with broadcasters should be on a non-commercial basis. No one should profit from the arrangement.
  • Infrastructure, specially internet connectivity is also the biggest challenge in implementing the live proceedings of Courts.

-Source: The Hindu

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