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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 28 May 2021

Contents

  1. OHCHR: Israeli strikes in Gaza may be war crimes
  2. India in touch with Dominica on Choksi’s repatriation
  3. SC on Complete registration of unorganized workers
  4. New Insurance FDI rules set

OHCHR: Israeli strikes in Gaza may be war crimes

Context:

  • The UN rights chief said that Israeli forces may have committed war crimes in the latest, 11-day war with the militant group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip, while also pointing that Hamas’ indiscriminate rocketing during the conflict was also a clear violation of the rules of war.
  • The remarks by Michelle Bachelet, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), came as the UN’s top human rights body opened a one-day special session to discuss the plight faced by Palestinians in the fighting.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Organizations, Important Conventions and International Laws)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  2. Objectives of OHCHR
  3. What is a War Crime?
  4. Geneva Conventions
  5. What was said by the OHCHR regarding the recent Israel-Palestine war?

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

  • The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is commonly known as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) or the UN Human Rights Office.
  • OHCHR is a department of the Secretariat of the United Nations that works to promote and protect the human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
  • The office was established by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 1993 in the wake of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights.
  • The office is headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who co-ordinates human rights activities throughout the UN System and acts as the secretariat of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Objectives of OHCHR

The objectives of OHCHR are to:

  1. Promote universal enjoyment of all human rights by giving practical effect to the will and resolve of the world community as expressed by the United Nations
  2. Play the leading role on human rights issues and emphasize the importance of human rights at the international and national levels
  3. Promote international cooperation for human rights
  4. Stimulate and coordinate action for human rights throughout the United Nations system
  5. Promote universal ratification and implementation of international standards
  6. Assist in the development of new norms
  7. Support human rights organs and treaty monitoring bodies
  8. Respond to serious violations of human rights
  9. Undertake preventive human rights action
  10. Promote the establishment of national human rights infrastructures
  11. Undertake human rights field activities and operations
  12. Provide education, information advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights

What is a War Crime?

  • War crimes are those violations of International Humanitarian Law (treaty or customary law) that incur individual criminal responsibility under International law.
  • War crimes carry an individual liability i.e., the person who has committed a war crime cannot take the defence that he was following the orders of his seniors, one is supposed to not indulge in war crimes even on the orders of their superiors.
  • War crimes include torture, rape, destroying property, intentional killing of civilians and prisoner of war, not providing necessary items for the survival of captured people, taking hostages, etc.

Geneva Conventions

  • The Geneva Conventions (1949) and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war.
  • They protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).
  • The first Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
  • The second Geneva Convention protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
  • The third Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of war.
  • The fourth Geneva Convention affords protection to civilians, including in occupied territory.
  • Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions, covers situations of non-international armed conflicts. They include traditional civil wars, internal armed conflicts that spill over into other States or internal conflicts in which a third State or a multinational force intervenes alongside the government.
  • Two Protocols of 1977: Additional to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions were adopted in 1977. They strengthen the protection of victims of international (Protocol I) and non-international (Protocol II) armed conflicts and place limits on the way wars are fought.
  • In 2005, a third Additional Protocol was adopted creating an additional emblem, the Red Crystal, which has the same international status as the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.
  • The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), an international humanitarian organisation, has the mandate to monitor that signatories follow the rules in situations of conflict.

What was said by the OHCHR regarding the recent Israel-Palestine war?

  • Air strikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure.
  • Such strikes raise serious concerns of Israel’s compliance with distinction and proportionality under international humanitarian law. Such attacks may constitute war crimes.
  • Hamas “rockets are indiscriminate and fail to distinguish between military and civilian objects, and their use, thereby, constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law.
  • Unless the root causes of the violence are addressed, it will certainly be a matter of time until the next round of violence commences with further pain and suffering for civilians on all sides.

-Source: The Hindu


India in touch with Dominica on Choksi’s repatriation

Context:

  • India is in contact with the government of Dominica regarding the possibility of repatriating diamantaire Mehul Choksi who is wanted for defrauding banks in India.
  • However, Dominica announced that Mr. Choksi will be sent back to Antigua as the request for repatriation came from the Antiguan authorities.
  • India has friendly ties with both Antigua and Dominica that are members of CARICOM, the regional group of Caribbean island nations.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-I: Geography (Maps), GS-II: International Relations (International Groupings)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Dominica
  2. About Antigua
  3. Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

About Dominica

  • Dominica (officially the Commonwealth of Dominica) is an island country in the Caribbean whose capital is Roseau.
  • It is geographically situated as part of the Windward Islands chain in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea.
  • The island is located near Guadeloupe to the northwest and Martinique to the south-southeast.
  • Dominica has been nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” for its natural environment.
  • It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, and in fact it is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world’s second-largest hot spring, called Boiling Lake.

About Antigua

  • Antigua is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region in the Lesser Antilles with St. John’s as the capital city.
  • Antigua is the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

  • The Caribbean Community (CARICOM or CC) is an organization, established in 1973, of fifteen states and dependencies throughout the Caribbean having primary objectives to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.
  • Its major activities involve:
    • Coordinating economic policies and development planning;
    • Devising and instituting special projects for the less-developed countries within its jurisdiction;
    • Operating as a regional single market for many of its members (Caricom Single Market); and
    • Handling regional trade disputes.
  • CARICOM was established by the English-speaking parts of the Caribbean, and currently includes all the independent anglophone island countries plus Belize, Guyana and Montserrat, as well as all other British Caribbean territories and Bermuda as associate members.
  • Currently CARICOM has 15 full members, 5 associate members and 8 observers.

-Source: The Hindu


SC on Complete registration of unorganized workers

Context:

The Supreme Court asked the Centre and states to complete the registration of unorganised workers, who had to return to their native villages after the Covid-induced national lockdown last year, “as early as possible” so that they “are able to reap the benefit of different” welfare schemes.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Employment), GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Poverty, Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Migrants in India
  2. Causes of internal migration in India
  3. Types of informal employment in India:
  4. SC’s observations on need of registration of unorganized workers
  5. Code on Social Security Bill, 2020:
  6. Way Forwards to improve the condition of unorganized sector workers

Migrants in India

What is Migration?

Human migration involves the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location (geographic region).

Migrants in India

  • The Census defines a migrant as a person residing in a place other than his/her place of birth (Place of Birth definition) or one who has changed his/ her usual place of residence to another place (change in usual place of residence or UPR definition).
  • The number of internal migrants in India was 450 million as per the most recent 2011 census.
  • Seasonal Migrants: Economic Survey of India 2017 estimates that there are 139 million seasonal or circular migrants in the country.

Causes of internal migration in India

  1. Unemployment in hinterland: An increasing number of people do not find sufficient economic opportunities in rural areas and move instead to towns and cities.
  2. Marriage: It is a common driver of internal migration in India, especially among women.
  3. Pull-factor from cities: Due to better employment opportunities, livelihood facilities etc cities of Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata are the largest destinations for internal migrants in India.

Types of informal employment in India:

The Indian Economy is characterized by the existence of a vast majority of informal or unorganized labour employment. The Ministry of Labour, Government of India, has categorized the unorganized labour force under 4 groups in terms of Occupation, nature of employment, especially distressed categories and service categories.

  1. In terms of Occupation: Small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural laborers, share croppers, those engaged in animal husbandry etc. come under this category.
  2. In terms of Nature of Employment: Attached agricultural labourers, bonded labourers, migrant workers, contract and casual labourers come under this.
  3. In terms of Specially distressed categories: Toddy tappers, scavenger, Carriers of head loads, Drivers of animal driven vehicles, Loaders and unloaders come under this category.
  4. In terms of Specially distressed categories: Toddy tappers, scavenger, Carriers of head loads, Drivers of animal driven vehicles, Loaders and unloaders come under this category.

SC’s observations on need of registration of unorganized workers

  • The Supreme Court has asked states and Union territories to keep a record of the returning migrant labourers, including details about their skills, place of their earlier employment, etc so that the administration can extend necessary help to them.
  • The SC said that there should be a common national database for all organised workers situated in different states.
  • The SC highlighted that the process initiated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment for creating a National Database for Unorganised Workers should be completed with collaboration and coordination of the States. It may serve registration for extending different schemes by the States and Center.
  • The SC also said that there should be a suitable mechanism to monitor and supervise whether the benefits of the welfare schemes reach the beneficiaries which may be from grassroot levels to higher authorities with names and places of beneficiaries.
  • In addition, the stranded migrant workers throughout the country should be provided dry ration under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Scheme or any other scheme found suitable by the Centre and the states.

Code on Social Security Bill, 2020:

Click Here to read about the Code on Social Security Bill, 2020

Way Forwards to improve the condition of unorganized sector workers

  • Credit facilities to be made available to make initial investment and for further expansion for the informal workers.
  • The government should evolve a mechanism to listen to the grievances and the grievances should be redressed periodically to the informal labours.
  • More importance must be given to the female in family also to improve the status of female agricultural labours.
  • Normally women agricultural labourers receive lower wage than the men even in doing identical jobs, although there is constitutional backing in the form of equal wage for equal work. The Government must effectively enforce the concerned Act.
  • Co-operation of agricultural labourers in the local self-governing institution must be extended in order to provide representations to this section.
  • In order to eliminate these socio-economic and cultural barriers, female children and women should be educated through formal and non-formal channels. The voluntary agencies have also got a significant role to play in this regard.
  • Vending rights on space to the vendors ultimately increases his/ her accountability on space and its surrounding environment. By this means they would maintain health and hygiene.

-Source: Indian Express


New Insurance Sector FDI rules set

Context:

  • The government expects foreign direct investment to pick up pace in the insurance sector, as most regulations have been amended to give effect to 74 per cent FDI limit.
  • With the government defining the management and control criteria for Indian insurance companies through a gazette notification, the Finance Ministry expects the sector to be a key recipient of foreign capital.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Mobilization of Resources, Capital Market)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the new rules for Increased FDI in Insurance Sector
  2. Benefits of the new rules
  3. About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

About the new rules for Increased FDI in Insurance Sector

  • Parliament had passed the Insurance Amendment Bill 2021 to increase the FDI limit in the insurance sector to 74% from 49%.
  • The Ministry of Finance has notified ‘Indian Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Amendment Rules, 2021’.
  • Management Persons to be Resident Indian Citizens: For an Indian insurance company having foreign investment – majority of its directors, key management persons, and at least one among the chairperson of its Board, its managing director and its chief executive officer – will be a resident Indian citizen.
  • According to the notification Total foreign investment would mean the sum of both direct and indirect foreign investment. Direct investment by a foreigner will be called Foreign Direct Investment, while investment by an Indian company (which is owned or controlled by foreigners) into another Indian entity is considered as Indirect Foreign Investment.

Benefits of the new rules

  • The increase in foreign ownership to 74% can result in inclusion of global best practices in terms of insurance products going forward. It will also help in bringing down the cost of insurance products in India.
  • It is good for Indian Promoters, it will let them keep control of management and board, the additional capital inflow will help them with funds to push for growth.
  • It will benefit small insurance players or the ones where the sponsors don’t have the ability to put in more capital and hence it will benefit in strengthening them and increasing competition across the industry.
  • It is likely to help local private insurers grow fast and expand their presence across India, which has one of the lowest insurance penetration levels globally.

About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or the IRDAI is the apex body responsible for regulating and developing the insurance industry in India.
  • It is an autonomous body established by an act of Parliament known as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. Hence, it is a Statutory Body.
  • The IRDAI is headquartered in Hyderabad in Telangana. Prior to 2001, it was headquartered in New Delhi.
  • Functions of IRDAI:
    1. Its primary purpose is to protect the rights of the policyholders in India.
    2. It gives the registration certificate to insurance companies in the country.
    3. It also engages in the renewal, modification, cancellation, etc. of this registration.
    4. It also creates regulations to protect policyholders’ interests in India.
  • Composition of IRDA
    • The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) Act, 1999 specifies the composition of authority which consists of 10-member team appointed by the government of India which includes.
    • One chairman
    • Five whole time members
    • Four part time members

-Source: Indian Express

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