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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 3 July 2020

Contents

  1. UNCLOS tribunal: Italian Marines case
  2. DAC approves purchase of jets and upgrades
  3. More than half of India’s Population is now 25 years or older
  4. China warns US, UK of strong steps if they meddle in HK
  5. Govt debates tough China steps without hurting FDI
  6. Central police forces to recruit ‘trans people’

UNCLOS TRIBUNAL: ITALIAN MARINES CASE

Focus: GS-II International Relations, Prelims

Why in news?

  • UNCLOS tribunal ruled that the Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen in the waters off Kerala on February 2021, held “immunity” and would face a trial in Italy, not India.
  • However, UNCLOS Tribunal found merit in India’s counter-claim that the marines on board “Enrica Lexie” had violated the freedom of navigation rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by shooting at fishing boat.
  • Hence, it also ruled that Italy should pay compensation to the victims’ families, the boat owner and crew members.

What had happened?

  • The marines had claimed they mistook the fishermen for “pirates” and that the shooting occurred in international waters.
  • Italy had invoked the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) court in 2015 criticizing the Indian government for detaining the marines without charging them, and of causing their health to deteriorate during the period of delay.

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention.
  • The Tribunal is composed of 21 independent members, elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the field of the law of the sea.
  • The Tribunal has jurisdiction over any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention, and over all matters specifically provided for in any other agreement which confers jurisdiction on the Tribunal.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the international agreement defining the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
  • UNCLOS replaces the older ‘freedom of the seas’ concept, dating from the 17th century: national rights were limited to a specified belt of water extending from a nation’s coastlines according to the ‘cannon shot’ rule.
  • All waters beyond national boundaries were considered international waters: free to all nations, but belonging to none of them.

-Source: The Hindu


DAC APPROVES PURCHASE OF JETS AND UPGRADES

Focus: GS-III Internal security

Why in news?

The defence ministry approved several capital procurement projects that include more than 30 new fighter jets, 300 long-range land-attack cruise missiles and 250 air-to-air missiles.

Details

  • The projects will take at least two to three years, if not more, to translate into actual inductions into the armed forces but they signal the government’s renewed thrust on building military capabilities for the two active borders with China and Pakistan despite budgetary constraints.
  • The defence acquisitions council (DAC), chaired by defence minister approved procurement of more MiG-29s and Sukhoi-30 MKIs from Russia.
  • HAL to license-produce additional Sukhois which will be licensed produced by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics, along with upgraded electronic warfare suites and additional supplies and spares for the fleet.
  • Among the projects approved by the DAC are:
  • Induction of the Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles,
  • Induction of over 300 land-attack cruise missiles (advanced version of the Nirbhay (fearless) missile),
  • Induction of Astra, software-defined radio, Pinaka munitions and the land-attack cruise missiles.

Click Here to read more about the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)

Click Here to read more about the Missile systems in India

-Source: The Hindu, Hindustan Times


MORE THAN HALF OF INDIA’S POPULATION IS 25 YEARS OR OLDER

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Sample Registration System 2018 report shows that: for the first time, more than half of India’s population, irrespective of gender or whether it’s in urban or rural areas, is now 25 years or older.

Highlights

  • As India’s fertility rate goes down steadily along with a rise in life expectancy, the proportion of its young population is shrinking and the median age has been increasing.
  • The report showed that even among rural men, the proportion of those below 25 years of age had fallen to 49.9% from 50.2% in 2017.
  • In all other categories — urban women, urban men and rural women — those under 25 already constituted less than half the population.
  • However, there are still several states, those that continue to have high fertility rates, where this proportion is much higher.
  • Bihar, with the highest fertility rate of 3.2, had the highest proportion of its population below 25 years, 57.2%, followed by UP with the second-highest fertility rate of 2.9.
  • The longer a state has had low fertility rates and relatively high life expectancy, the smaller the proportion of its population below 25 years.
  • Since fertility is lower in urban areas, the proportion of under 25s is less in urban areas than rural. Migration to urban areas could also be playing a part.
  • Higher life expectancy among women and, in some states, declining sex ratios also means in most states, proportion of under-25s among women is lower than men.

-Source: Times of India


CHINA WARNS US, UK OF STRONG STEPS IF THEY MEDDLE IN HK

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

China warned of strong countersteps if the US, Australia and the UK continued taking actions in response to Beijing’s tough national security law in Hong Kong.

Details

U.S. Move

  • China “deplores and firmly opposes” the US parliament’s unanimous passing of a bill that would impose sanctions on entities that help violate Hong Kong’s autonomy and financial institutions that do business with them.
  • China’s move to impose the security law risks reshaping the financial hub’s character 23 years after Beijing took control of the former British colony.
  • The law’s vague language generated confusion about what activities were allowed, adding uncertainty for some businesses that have operations in Hong Kong.

U.K. Move

The UK has offered to upgrade the status of British National (Overseas) passport holders in Hong Kong to offer a path to citizenship.

However, the Chinese government asserts that all BNO passport holders are Chinese citizens.

Australia Move

Australian cabinet is said to be “very actively” considering offering citizens safe haven

Germany Move

German chancellor said there were no plans for any specific measures to allow Hong Kong citizens, but added that the right to asylum in Germany was available to anyone in the world.

-Source: Times of India


GOVT DEBATES TOUGH CHINA STEPS WITHOUT HURTING FDI

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

Centre is said be debating adopting tough measures against China over the border standoff and act against Beijing’s interests in areas that do not add value to India’s economy.

However, there is also the concern that Government needs to ensure that investments critical for accelerating growth should not be derailed.

Details

  • Growth concerns remain a top priority for the economy and any move that affects investments would hamper recovery from the devastating impact of the lockdown.
  • Chinese companies have heavily invested in multiple sectors of the economy and shedding the linkages overnight would be a tough job.
  • Apprehensions have also been triggered by the fact that several companies source raw materials from China and any disruption, particularly in the critical pharmaceutical sector, may impact manufacturing of drugs.
  • India depends on China for 70% of bulk drugs and drug intermediates requirements, according to industry estimates.

-Source: Times of India


CENTRAL POLICE FORCES TO RECRUIT ‘TRANS PEOPLE’

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

In a major gender reform, the home ministry is set to allow induction of transgender people as ‘third gender’ into the central armed police forces.

Details

  • The ministry is at the concluding stage of consultations with central paramilitary forces—BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF and SSB—on incorporating ‘transgender’, along with male and female, in the rules for the recruitment examination for assistant commandants in central forces, starting 2020.
  • The move follows enactment of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, in December that prohibits discrimination of a transgender person in education, employment, healthcare services, accommodation, right to acquire property and other public services and facilities.
  • The department of personnel and training had requested all central ministries and departments to modify examination rules and provide for inclusion of ‘transgender’ as a separate category of gender, in conformity with the Act.
  • The MHA move can be expected to spur recruitment of transgender persons in other areas, including the armed forces and state police organisations.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male.
  • Additionally, the bill states that the person’s gender must not match the assigned gender at birth.
  • Every transgender person in the country must obtain an identity certificate which will be used as the proof of recognition of identity as a transgender person and to avail all the rights under the Bill.
  • The identity certificate would be granted by the District Magistrate on the recommendation of a Screening Committee.
  • The screening committee for recommending the certificate would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person.
  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 prohibits discriminating with transgender people in education, employment, healthcare and other areas.
  • The Bill directs the central and state governments for providing welfare schemes to the Transgender community in these areas.
  • The Bill also provides for the punishment of up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine for offences like compelling a transgender person to beg, denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual abuse, etc.

-Source: Times of India

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