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Current Affairs 01 December 2021 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. The Iran-US deadlock over nuclear capability
  2. Six lakh Indians renounced citizenship
  3. Amid din in Lok Sabha, Judges Bill is introduced
  4. Barbados – the world’s newest republic

The Iran-US deadlock over nuclear capability

Context:

  • After a gap of five months, Iran, Russia, China and the European countries resumed negotiations in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that had sought to scuttle the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme.
  • As Iran has refused to hold direct talks with the U.S., European officials will shuttle between the Iranian and American delegations, exchanging talking points and seeking common ground.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
  2. History regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal
  3. U.S. pull out of the deal and its implications

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna in 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union.
  • The 2015 JCPOA agreement sought to cut Iran off a possible path to a nuclear bomb in return for lifting of economic sanctions.
  • According to the 2015 deal, Iran had to cut its stockpile of enriched uranium and keep them at a low purity level. Iran was also expected to restrict the number of centrifuges and open all its facilities to the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • Low-enriched uranium, with less than 5% concentration of the fissile isotopes U-235, is used in nuclear power plants. While uranium with 20% and more purity is used in research reactors, uranium with 90% purity is used in bombs. Centrifuges are used to enrich uranium.
  • The above restrictions were meant to ensure that it would take at least one year (the breakout period) to manufacture enough highly enriched uranium and centrifuges to do so if Iran chose to renege on its commitments.
  • The above restrictions were meant to ensure that it would take at least one year (the breakout period) to manufacture enough highly enriched uranium and centrifuges to do so if Iran chose to renege on its commitments.

History regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal

  • In the 1970s, Iran received assistance in its nuclear program from the United States as part of the ‘Atoms for Peace’ program. The Shah of Iran even signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.
  • It all changed when the Iranian revolution threw the country’s nuclear programme into disarray as many talented scientists fled the country. The new regime was openly hostile to the United States and thus ended any hope for assistance from them.
  • In the late 1980s Iran reinstated its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khan network.
  • Although Iran stated that its nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes, Western powers and their allies in the Middle East suspected that this was not the case.
  • Back and forth negotiations between Iran and the western nations took place throughout the 2000s with little progress. Iran even created plants for heavy water and Uranium enrichment which led to economic sanctions from the United States and the European Union.

U.S. pull out of the deal and its implications

  • In 2018, U.S. administration under President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal amid doubts from its allies in the region of the ability of the nuclear deal to address Iran’s growing influence in the region. It also reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.
  • The Trump administration also added that it wanted to negotiate Iran’s ballistic missile programme as part of a new agreement.
  • Iran has since refused to engage with the U.S. administration for a new agreement. It has also resumed its nuclear programme. In fact Iran has substantially stepped up its nuclear activities since 2019. It has installed a substantial number of advanced centrifuges, which can enrich uranium more quickly. Iran has also started enriching uranium to 20% purity or more. The advances made by Iran in its nuclear programme has reduced the current breakout time to as little as a month.

USA-Iran tussle and India

  • USA had decided to withdraw from 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reinstated sanctions on Iran, citing following reasons:
  • It was alleged that Iran was placing restrictions on the work of the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • The deal did not target Iran’s ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities beyond 2025.
  • Iran’s role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
  • Also, analysts point to Tehran’s banking on Paris and Berlin to come up with an alternative arrangement, one that allows Europe and Iran to conduct trade, business and diplomacy, a major cause of concern for US.

Implications of the sanctions

Impact on India Iran relations:

  • Energy trade: In 2017, Iran provided 11.2 percent of India’s crude oil imports, the third largest source after Iraq and Saudi Arabia.. India’s oil imports from Iran fell about 57 per cent year-on year since the sanctions came into effect. This shows impermanence in Oil import arrangement of India-Iran jeopardising the energy security of India.
  • Strategic initiatives with Iran- such as International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), Chabahar port development.

Negative impact on the economy:

  • Rising inflation- Iran is the third-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Now Iran’s supplies may fall by between 200,000 bpd and 1 million bpd. The price of oil has already shot up above the $70 mark in April, 2019.
  • Widening Current Account Deficit- given that the value of imports goes up with crude oil. It will further have effect on the value of Rupee, which may fall further.
  • Impact on Capital Markets- Indian benchmark indices slid by around 1.3%, as investors rushed to sell shares on concerns that rising oil prices could stoke inflation and adversely affect already repressed consumption.
  • Loss of favorable oil import- the substitute crude suppliers — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Nigeria and the US — do not offer the attractive options that Iran does, including 60-day credit, free insurance and buying oil using Indian Rupee rather than spending crucial FOREX reserves.
  • Strategic Autonomy- India envisages to assert it and balance the ties with both US and Iran. However, this seems to be eroding in favour of the US.

Impact on Iran:

  • Fossil fuels contributed more than 53 percent of Iran’s exports in 2017-18, and accounted for close to 15 percent of its Gross Domestic Product.
  • The U.S. has managed to reduce Iran’s oil exports from 2.7 million to 1.6 million barrels a month, according to internal U.S. estimates. 

Bliss for China:

  • The one country that has decided to take the sanctions as an opportunity is China. It has already shown interest in developing transportation and communication infrastructure in Iran.
  • China’s share in the destination for 44 percent of Iranian crude exports, significantly rose from 26 percent in January-June.
  • This is crucial in Beijing’s aim to reshape the global oil market, specifically by greater use of its own currency in oil trade. It fits in conveniently with Iran’s proposed approach to circumventing the sanctions – conducting trade in currencies other than the US Dollar.

-Source: The Hindu


Six lakh Indians renounced citizenship

Context:

More than six lakh Indians renounced citizenship in the past five years, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed the Lok Sabha. In 2021, till September 30, 1,11,287 Indians gave up their citizenship.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Citizenship)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Citizenship in India
  2. Constitutional Provisions about Indian Citizenship
  3. Citizenship Act 1955
  4. Renunciation of Indian Citizenship
  5. Termination
  6. Deprivation

Citizenship in India

  • Citizenship is in the Union List under the Constitution and thus under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.
  • The Constitution does not define the term ‘citizen’ but gives, in Articles 5 to 11, details of various categories of persons who are entitled to citizenship.
  • Unlike other provisions of the Constitution, which came into being on January 26, 1950, these articles were enforced on November 26, 1949 itself, when the Constitution was adopted.

Constitutional Provisions about Indian Citizenship

Article 5

  • It provided for citizenship on the commencement of the Constitution.
  • All those domiciled and born in India were given citizenship.
  • Even those who were domiciled but not born in India, but either of whose parents was born in India, were considered citizens.
  • Anyone who had been an ordinary resident for more than five years, too, was entitled to apply for citizenship.

Article 6

  • Since Independence was preceded by Partition and migration, Article 6 laid down that anyone who migrated to India before July 19, 1949, would automatically become an Indian citizen if either of his parents or grandparents was born in India.
  • But those who entered India after this date needed to register themselves.

Article 7

  • Even those who had migrated to Pakistan after March 1, 1947 but subsequently returned on resettlement permits were included within the citizenship net.
  • The law was more sympathetic to those who migrated from Pakistan and called them refugees than to those who, in a state of confusion, were stranded in Pakistan or went there but decided to return soon.

Article 8

  • Any Person of Indian Origin residing outside India who, or either of whose parents or grandparents, was born in India could register himself or herself as an Indian citizen with Indian Diplomatic Mission.

Citizenship Act 1955

  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 empowers the government to determine the citizenship of persons in whose case it is in doubt. It was passed according to Article 11 – Parliament can go against the citizenship provisions of the Constitution.
  • However, over the decades, Parliament has narrowed down the wider and universal principles of citizenship based on the fact of birth.
  • Moreover, the Foreigners Act places a heavy burden on the individual to prove that he is not a foreigner.

Acquisition of Indian Citizenship according to the Citizenship Act

  • The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship, viz, birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory.

Losing of Indian Citizenship

  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 also lays down the three modes by which an Indian citizen may lose his/her citizenship.
  • It may happen in any of the three ways: renunciation, termination and deprivation.

Renunciation of Indian Citizenship

Voluntary Renunciation

  • If an Indian citizen wishes, who is of full age and capacity, he can relinquish citizenship of India by his will.
  • When a person relinquishes his citizenship, every minor child of that person also loses Indian citizenship. However, when such a child attains the age of 18, he may resume Indian citizenship.

By Termination

  • The Constitution of India provides single citizenship. It means an Indian person can only be a citizen of one country at a time.
  • If a person takes the citizenship of another country, then his Indian citizenship ends automatically. However, this provision does not apply when India is busy in war.

Deprivation by Government

  • The Government of India may terminate the citizenship of an Indian citizen if:
    • The citizen has disrespected the Constitution.
    • Has obtained citizenship by fraud.
    • The citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war.
    • Within 5 years of registration or naturalisation, a citizen has been sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment in any country.
    • The citizen has been living outside India for 7 years continuously.

Termination

  • If a citizen of India voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, he shall cease to be a citizen of India.
  • During the war period, this provision does not apply to a citizen of India, who acquires the citizenship of another country in which India may be engaged voluntarily.

Deprivation

  • Deprivation is a compulsory termination of citizenship of India.
  • A citizen of India by naturalization, registration, domicile and residence, may be deprived of his citizenship by an order of the Central Government if it is satisfied that the Citizen has:
    1. Obtained the citizenship by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact
    2. Shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India
    3. Unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war
    4. Within five years after registration or neutralization, been imprisoned in any country for two years
    5. Ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously

-Source: The Hindu


Amid din in Lok Sabha, Judges Bill is introduced

Context:

Minister of Law and Justice introduced The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2021.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Judiciary)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2021
  2. Salaries and Allowances of High Court and Supreme Court judges
  3. What is meant by independent of judiciary?

High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2021

  • The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2021 clarifies on when Supreme Court and High Court judges are entitled to an additional quantum of pension or family pension on attaining a certain age.
  • According to the bill, in 2009 the two laws were amended to provide that every retired judge or after his death, the family, as the case may be, will be entitled to an additional quantum of pension or family pension.
  • Accordingly, the additional quantum of pension to retired judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court is being sanctioned on completing the age of 80 years, 85 years, 90 years, 95 years and 100 years, as the case may be.
  • The bill seeks to bring clarity from when Supreme Court and high court judges are entitled to an additional quantum of pension or family pension on attaining a certain age.
  • The additional quantum of pension to a retired judge was earlier calculated from the first day of the month in which he completes 80/90/95/100 years the and not from the first day of his entering the age. However, Gauhati HC and Madhya Pradesh HC reiterated that the calculation of pension must start from first day of his entering the age.
  • To clarify the matter and to align the provisions of law to the High Court judgements, the government has brought in this amendment bill.

Salaries and Allowances of High Court and Supreme Court judges

  • The salaries, allowances, privileges, leave and pension of the judges of the Supreme Court are determined from time to time by the Parliament.
  • They cannot be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment except during a financial emergency.
  • Retired Judges of SC and all HCs are entitled to pension which is drawn from Consolidated Fund of India.

What is meant by independent of judiciary?

Judiciary is an important pillar of democracy which adjudicates the disputes and ensures that the government must run according to spirit of the Indian constitution. The Indian constitution protect independence of judiciary through following ways:

  • The judges of higher judiciary are appointed by the president of India in consultation with the members of judiciary itself moreover the collegium gives recommendations regarding appointment of judges.
  • The salary and expenditure of the Supreme Court and Judges are charged from consolidated fund of India.
  • Judges and their conduct cannot be discussed except during the removal.
  • Supreme Court judges are barred from practice after the retirement (High court Judges can practice)
  • Supreme Court can appoint its own staff.
  • Parliament cannot curtail jurisdiction of Supreme Court but can extend it.
  • Security of tenure for judges it means the President of India can remove the judges according the grounds mention in Indian constitution.

-Source: The Hindu


Barbados – the world’s newest republic

Context:

Nearly 400 years after the country became a British colony, Barbados has become the world’s newest republic.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Barbados
  2. What does republic mean?
  3. Difference between Democracy and Republic

About Barbados

  • Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands.
  • It is in the western part of the North Atlantic, east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea.
  • Barbados is outside the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.
  • While it is an Atlantic island, Barbados is closely associated with the Caribbean and is ranked as one of its leading tourist destinations.

 

What does republic mean?

  • A republic is defined as “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.”
  • Many of today’s democracies are also republics, and are even referred to as democratic republics. So, the US and France are considered both democracies and republics—both terms point to the fact that the power of governance rests in the people, and the exercise of that power is done through some sort of electoral representation.
  • The key concept to the word republic is that the leader of this government (or state) is not a hereditary monarch but a president, whether they are elected or installed.
  • This core idea helps explain in part why autocratic governments like North Korea is officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Its citizens vote (or “vote”) on a single candidate.
  • A historical example of a republic is also instructive. The Republic of Venice, a mercantile city-state of the Middle Ages, was led by a doge who was elected by wealthy merchants and served until his death. Neither of these governments would be considered a democracy.

Difference between Democracy and Republic

DemocracyRepublic
In Democracy the people have the power to themselvesIn Republic form of Government, the power belongs to individual citizens
There are 3 major types of democracy namely Direct democracy, Representative Democracy and Constitutional DemocracyThere are 5 types of Republics namely Constitutional Republic, Parliamentary Republic, Presidential Republic, Federal Republic and Theocratic Republic
In a democratic system of Government all laws are made by the majority (representatives/ people)In the Republic form of Government, the laws are made by those who are elected representatives of the people of the land.
A country can have more than 1 type of democracyA country can also have more than 1 type of Republic
It is the will of the majority that has the right to override the existing rightsIn the Republic system of Government, the Constitution protects the rights so no will of people can over-ride any rights.
Democracy majorly focuses on the general will of the peopleRepublic mainly focuses on the Constitution
There are no constraints on the Government in a DemocracyThere are constraints on the Government in a Republic (bound by the Constitution)

-Source: The Hindu

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