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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 6 August 2020

Contents

  1. Article 370 withdrawal anniversary
  2. EWS quota challenge referred to Constitution Bench
  3. ‘India’s move in J&K illegal’: China
  4. Brus reject resettlement sites proposed
  5. Punjab CM: Madhya Pradesh should not get GI tag

ARTICLE 370 WITHDRAWAL ANNIVERSARY

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Security was tightened across the Kashmir Valley to foil a scheduled meeting and protest marches by the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on the first anniversary of the withdrawal of J&K’s special status.

Valley lockdown on Anniversary

  • Most residents of Srinagar and rural districts in the Kashmir valley stayed indoors on the first anniversary of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, as security forces kept a high profile, clamped restrictions on public movement, blocking many roads with concertina wire, and thwarted a meeting of mainstream political parties.
  • Although no curfew had been enforced at any place in the valley, only people with special passes were permitted to move on the roads.
  • The streets of Srinagar were deserted and the police and Central Reserve Police Force reinforced their presence to implement restrictions, ostensibly because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Recently in News: Regarding unlock of 4G internet in the valley

  • The Supreme Court directed that a special committee led by the Ministry of Home Affairs secretary should be constituted to look into restoration of 4G internet services in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The central government had imposed a complete internet shutdown in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.
  • Later in March 2020, it restored internet services partially, to allow 2G speed for mobile users.
  • After this, several orders were passed from time to time, retaining speed restrictions.

The Supreme Court’s views on internet shut downs

  • The Supreme Court emphasizes that Article 19 of the constitution guarantees the freedom of speech.
  • During the judgement given in Anuradha Bhasin case, the Supreme Court refrained from taking any view on the legality of the government’s imposition of a blanket communication lockdown in J&K.
  • The supreme court held that repeated resort to Section 144 of the CrPC to impose wide restrictions without territorial or temporal limits was unacceptable.

Background: A year since the change

  • On August 5, 2019, the Centre pushed through key constitutional changes to revoke Article 370 that had conferred special status on Jammu and Kashmir and Article 35A that allowed its legislature to define permanent residents for whom government jobs and property ownership were reserved.
  • The state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union territories, J&K and Ladakh.

-Source: Hindustan Times, The Hindu


EWS QUOTA CHALLENGE REFERRED TO CONSTITUTION BENCH

Focus: GS-II Social Justice  

Why in news?

The Supreme Court referred to a five-judge Bench the “substantial question of law” whether grant of 10% reservation to economically weaker sections of the society is unconstitutional and violates the 50% ceiling cap on quota declared by the court itself.

Details of the position on reservation

  • A three-judge Bench said the primary question for the Constitution Bench to decide is whether “economic backwardness” can be the sole criterion for granting quota in government jobs and educational institutions for those who would otherwise have to compete in the general category.
  • The three-judge Bench had refused to stay the implementation of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, which provides the 10% quota.
  • Several petitions had challenged the validity of the Constitutional Amendment, saying the 50% quota limit was part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

The Centre’s point

  • The Centre had argued that it was every State’s prerogative to provide 10% economic reservation in State government jobs and admissions in State-run education institutions.
  • The Centre was clear about its view that the choice to provide reservation to EWS category or not, as per provisions of the newly inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution, is to be decided by the State government concerned.

Background: EWS Reservation 

  • The economic reservation was introduced in the Constitution by amending Articles 15 and 16 and adding clauses empowering the State governments to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.
  • Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of race, religion, caste, sex, or place of birth.
  • However, the government may make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, or for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • The 103rd Amendment Bill seeks to amend Article 15 to additionally permit the government to provide for the advancement of “economically weaker sections”.
  • Further, up to 10% of seats may be reserved for such sections for admission in educational institutions. (Such reservation will not apply to minority educational institutions.)
  • The reservation of up to 10% for “economically weaker sections” in educational institutions and public employment will be in addition to the existing reservation (Even if it breaches the 50% reservation limit rule.)
  • The central government will notify the “economically weaker sections” of citizens on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage.

-Source: The Hindu


‘INDIA’S MOVE IN J&K ILLEGAL’: CHINA

Focus: GS-II International relations

Why in news?

  • China said that “unilateral” changes India made to the status of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir by splitting it into two separate union territories in 2019 were illegal and invalid.
  • The Indian government tersely asked Beijing to keep out of the internal affairs of other countries.

Details

China’s moves

  • China also called on India and Pakistan to resolve the dispute over Kashmir through dialogue and consultations.
  • China said tat it has been following the situation in the Kashmir region closely, and that China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent – “Any unilateral change to the status quo is illegal and invalid.”
  • China said it hopes that the two countries could properly handle differences through dialogue, improve relations and jointly safeguard peace, security and development of both countries and the wider region.

Pakistan’s moves

  • The Pakistan government observed Yaum-e-Istehsal, or a “day of exploitation”, to protest India’s decision last year to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split it into two union territories.
  • Pakistan also released a new political map with absurd claims on entire Jammu Kashmir region and Junagadh.

Click Here to read more about the new absurd Pakistan Map

India’s response

  • India rejected China’s criticism, saying the proposal to form new union territories was an “internal matter” that had no implications for the country’s external borders.
  • India also pointed out that India and China had agreed to maintain peace along their disputed border until a mutually acceptable solution is found.
  • Indian External affairs minister, during a visit to Beijing, explained India’s position, saying the change in administrative status of the region wouldn’t impact the LAC.

-Source: Hindustan Times


BRUS REJECT RESETTLEMENT SITES PROPOSED

Focus: GS-I Social Issues

Why in news?

Three organisations representing the Bru community displaced from Mizoram have rejected the sites proposed by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC).

Background and Details

  • The Joint Movement Committee (JMC) is an umbrella group of non-Brus in Tripura, for their resettlement.
  • The demand for inclusion of four JMC members in the monitoring team for the resettlement of the Brus has been rejected by organizations representing the Bru community.
  • The JMC comprising the Bengali, Mizo, Buddhist Barua and other communities, submitted a memorandum to the Tripura government specifying places for the resettlement of the Brus who fled ethnic violence in Mizoram since 1997.
  • A quadrilateral agreement was signed among the Bru groups, the Centre and the State governments of Mizoram and Tripura.

Why did the Bru reject the JMC resettlement site proposals?

  • The organisations representing the Bru Community rejected the sites suggested because inclusion of four JMC members in the monitoring team for the settlement of Bru internally-displaced people is not applicable since they are not having any connection or involvement in the issue of either repatriation to Mizoram or resettlement in Tripura.
  • According to the Bru, the interference of the Kanchanpur Nagarik Suraksha Mancha and Mizo Convention, prime constituents of JMC, in site selection is unjustified as they are not a part of either the quadrilateral agreement or signatory.

What are the requests of the Bru?

  • The three refugee groups insisted on resettling some 6,500 families in clusters of at least 500 families at each of the sites of their choice.
  • They want to be relocated to sites of their choice because the sites proposed by the JMC, they said, are unconnected by road and electricity and too far from hospitals, schools and other facilities.
  • The Bru groups also demanded the arrest of the JMC leaders for “abusive, derogatory and inflammatory statements” against the Bru community.

Bru

  • Bru (aka Reang) are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura.
  • The Bru community is present in the state of Tripura, and they also have presence in Mizoram and Assam.
  • They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin and is locally referred to as Kau Bru.
  • In 2018, the Union Home Ministry decided to give voting rights to around 30,000 people of the Bru community who had fled from Mizoram to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of inter-community violence.
  • In 2020, a quadripartite agreement was signed among the Centre, state governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives to facilitate permanent settlement of Bru refugees from Mizoram in Tripura.

-Source: The Hindu


PUNJAB CM: MADHYA PRADESH SHOULD NOT GET GI TAG

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

Amid Madhya Pradesh government’s push for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for basmati rice, Punjab Chief Minister has written to the Prime Minister seeking his personal intervention against allowing this in the larger interest of Punjab and other States which are already basmati GI tagged.

The case of Basmati GI Tag

  • Apart from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh and select districts of Jammu and Kashmir have GI tagging for basmati.
  • Madhya Pradesh has sought inclusion of its 13 districts for GI tagging for basmati.

Why shouldn’t MP be allowed to get a GI Tag for Basmati?

  • Any dilution in registration may give advantage to Pakistan (which also produces basmati as per GI tagging) in the international market in terms of basmati characteristics, quality parameters.
  • The Punjab Chief Minister said that GI tagging of Madhya Pradesh basmati would negatively impact the State’s agriculture and India’s basmati exports.

Place of origin for GI tag

  • As per the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 a geographical indication tag can be issued for agricultural goods that are originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
  • GI tag for basmati has been given on the basis of the traditionally grown areas of basmati due to special aroma, quality and taste of the grain, which is indigenous to the region below the foothills of Himalayas in the Indo-Gangetic Plains and basmati of this area has distinct recognition across the world.
  • Madhya Pradesh did not fall under the specialised zone for basmati cultivation.

GI Tag

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country).
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  • GIs have been defined under Article 22 (1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.“
  • The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India, in 2004–2005.
  • GI protection systems restrict the use of the GIs for the purpose of identifying a particular type of product, unless the product and/or its constituent materials and/or its fabrication method originate from a particular area and/or meet certain standards.
  • Sometimes these laws also stipulate that the product must meet certain quality tests that are administered by an association that owns the exclusive right to license or allow the use of the indication.

Geographical Indications Registry (GIR)

  • As per the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, association of persons or producers can apply for GIs for specific products supported by required documents.
  • The Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDT), (under the Dept. of Industrial Policy and Promotion of Ministry of Commerce and Industry) is the ‘Registrar of Geographical indications’.
  • The CGPDT directs and supervises the functioning of the Geographical Indications Registry (GIR).

-Source: The Hindu

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