- Russia to boost Tajik Army with weapons
- PM to roll out academic credit bank
- No Parliamentary Immunity for Vandalism: SC
- ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ 2021
Russia will bolster Central Asian ally Tajikistan’s military with weapons, equipment and training amid a “deteriorating” situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Prelims, GS-II: International Relations (Important Foreign Policies and Political developments), GS-I: Geography (Maps)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Cooperation between Russia, Tajikistan and neighboring countries
- Significance of the Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan etc., region for India
Cooperation between Russia, Tajikistan and neighboring countries
- Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will hold joint military drills near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan, where the Taliban has made huge military gains and claims to control 90% of the country’s borders.
- Russia organized additional supplies of weaponry and equipment to bolster Tajikistan’s Army.
- Russia continues to train qualified Tajik military personnel.
- Russia blamed the worsening security situation in the region around Afghanistan on the “hasty” withdrawal of U.S. forces and said that it was ready to offer “any necessary help to” countries like Tajikistan.
Map of the region:
Significance of the Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan etc., region for India
- Central Asia serves as a land bridge between Asia and Europe, making it geopolitically axial for India.
- The region is rich in natural resources such as petroleum, natural gas, antimony, aluminum, gold, silver, coal and uranium which can be best utilized by Indian energy requirements.
- Central Asia has huge cultivable areas lying barren and without being put to any productive use, offering enormous opportunity for cultivation of pulses.
- India intends expansion of International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. This will act as a vital gateway to access Eurasian markets and optimally operationalize its use, requiring a Central Asian state joining the project as a direct stakeholder.
- India has proposed setting up of ‘India-Central Asia Development Group’ to take forward development partnership between India & Central Asian countries. This group will help India to expand its footprints in the resource-rich region amid China’s massive inroads and to fight terror effectively, including in Afghanistan.
- India has a very wide array of interests in Central Asia covering security, energy, economic opportunities etc., therefore Security, stability and prosperity of Central Asia is imperative for peace and economic development of India.
- Both India and Central Asian Republics (CARs) share many commonalities and perceptions on various regional and world issues and can play a crucial role in providing regional stability.
-Source: The Hindu
PM Narendra Modi will launch the academic bank of credit that will provide multiple entry/exit options for students in higher education, first-year engineering programmes in regional languages and guidelines for internationalization of higher education.
Prelims, GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to education, Government Policies and Initiatives)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Various Initiatives regarding Education launched (or to be launched)
- National Education Policy 2020
Various Initiatives regarding Education launched (or to be launched)
- Academic Bank of Credit- a credit transfer system for students in over 290 top institutions from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards. All institutions in the top 100 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework as well as those who have achieved an A grade under the National Assessment and Accreditation Council will be allowed to participate in the credit transfer system, which will also allow multiple entry and exit options for students.
- Vidya Pravesh- a three-month play-based school preparation module for Grade 1 students
- NISHTHA 2.0- an integrated programme of teacher training designed by NCERT
- SAFAL (Structured Assessment For Analysing Learning Levels)- a competency-based assessment framework for Grades 3, 5 and 8 in CBSE schools
- Indian Sign Language as a Subject at the secondary level.
- National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR) will be a digital infrastructure for Education to support the Centre and States in planning, administering and governing school education as well as to teachers, students and schools for having a seamless digital learning experience.
- National Education Technology Forum (NETF) to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
- The Ministry of Education is also planning to organise eight theme-based webinars on the use of technology in education, multidisciplinary and holistic education, equity and inclusion, Indian knowledge system, languages, arts and culture, among others.
The events were launched to mark the first anniversary of the National Education Policy (NEP). These initiatives are set to improve the government’s report card on the policy’s implementation, which has also been slowed by COVID-19 disruptions.
National Education Policy 2020
- The National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the thirty-four-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
- The policy covers all the 3 stages of education, that is school education, higher education and professional education
- It includes even agricultural education, legal education, medical education, technical education, vocational education, teacher education and the research and innovation.
- Emphasizes on early child care and education and includes it in the Ministry of Education [Ministry of HRD will be called Ministry of Education from now on].
- The policy also tries to focus on certain foundational skills that children should have in the proposed new structure of 5+3+3+4
-Source: The Hindu
Kerala government had appealed to the Supreme Court to withdraw a criminal case against their leaders who destroyed public property and disrupted a Budget speech on the State Assembly floor in 2015, but, the Supreme Court has rejected Kerala government’s plea.
GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Legislature, Constitutional Provisions)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Arguments put forth by the Kerala Government
- Introduction to privileges and immunities enjoyed by legislators
- Individual Rights of Members of the Parliament
- Privileges enjoyed collectively as part of parliament
- Highlights of the Judgement on Immunity for Vandalism
Arguments put forth by the Kerala Government
- The Kerala Government had claimed parliamentary privilege, arguing that the incident occurred inside the Assembly Hall, hence, claiming immunity from criminal prosecution.
- They had argued that the prior sanction of the Speaker was necessary before the registration of an FIR by the police.
Introduction to privileges and immunities enjoyed by legislators
- Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”. When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.
- Article 105 for Parliament and Article 194 for State Assemblies mention freedom of speech in Parliament and Right of Publication of its proceedings.
- The members of Parliament are exempted from any civil or criminal liability for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties.
- The privileges are claimed only when the person is a member of the house. As soon as he ends to be a member, the privileges are said to be called off.
- The privileges given to the members are necessary for exercising constitutional functions. These privileges are essential so that the proceedings and functions can be made in a disciplined and undisturbed manner.
- Under Article 118 Each House of Parliament has the power to make rules and regulates its proceeding and conduct of its business.
- Both Houses had enacted their rule book which is known as Rules of Procedure and Conduct of business in Lok Sabha and Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States respectively.
Individual Rights of Members of the Parliament
Freedom of speech in parliament
- The special freedom of speech and expression provided to a member of the parliament has been guaranteed under Article 105(1) of the Indian constitution. But the freedom is subject to rules and orders which regulates the proceedings of the parliament.
- No member can be taken to task anywhere outside the four walls of the House (e.g., court of law) or cannot be discriminated against for expressing his/her views in the House and its Committees.
- This right is given even to non-members who have a right to speak in the house such as Attorney general.
- Freedom of speech should be in accordance with the constitutional provisions and subject to rules and procedures of the parliament, stated under Article 118 of the Constitution.
- Under Article 121 of the Constitution, the members of the parliament are restricted from discussing the conduct of the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court. But, even if this happens, it is the matter of the parliament and the court cannot interfere.
- No privilege and immunity can be claimed by the member for anything which is said outside the proceedings of the house.
- It is important to note that although a member has the privilege of freedom of speech in Parliament, he/she has no right to publish it outside Parliament.
Freedom from arrest
- The members enjoy freedom from arrest in any civil case 40 days before and after the adjournment of the house and also when the house is in session.
- No member can be arrested from the limits of the parliament without the permission of the house to which he/she belongs so that there is no hindrance in performing their duties.
- If the detention of any members of the parliament is made, the chairman or the speaker should be informed by the concerned authority, the reason for the arrest.
- But, a member can be arrested outside the limits of the house on criminal charges against him under The Preventive Detention act, The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), The National Security Act (NSA) or any such act.
Freedom from appearing as a witness
- The members of the parliament enjoy special privileges and are exempted from attending court as a witness.
- They are given complete liberty to attend the house and perform their duties without any interference from the court.
Privileges enjoyed collectively as part of parliament
Right of Publication of its proceedings
- No person shall be held liable for publishing any reports, discussions etc., of the house under the authority of the member of the house.
- But, any partial report of detached part of proceedings or any publication made with malice intention is disentitled for the protection. Protection is only granted if it reflects the true proceedings of the house.
Right to exclude strangers
- The members of the house have the power and right to exclude strangers who are not members of the house from the proceedings.
- This right is very essential for securing free and fair discussion in the house.
- If any breach is reported then the punishment in the form of admonition, reprimand, or imprisonment can be given.
Punishing for breach of its privileges
- The Indian Parliament has the power to punish any person whether strangers or any member of the house for any breach or contempt of the house. When any breach is committed by the member of the house, he/she is expelled from the house.
- This right has been defined as ‘keystone of parliamentary privilege’ because, without this power, the house can suffer contempt and breach and is very necessary to safeguard its authority and discharge its functions.
The right to regulate the internal affairs of the house
- Each house has a right to regulate its proceedings in the way it deems fit and proper. Each house has its own jurisdiction over the house and no authority from the other house can interfere in regulation of its internal proceedings.
- Under Article 118 of the Constitution, the houses have been empowered to conduct the regulation for proceedings and this cannot be challenged in the court of law on the ground that the house is not in accordance with the rules made under Article 118.
- The Supreme Court has also held that this is general provision and the rule is not binding upon the house. They can deviate or change the rule anytime accordingly.
Highlights of the Judgement on Immunity for Vandalism
- The Supreme Court held that Parliamentary Privileges are Not Gateways of Immunity and that the legislators who indulge in vandalism and general mayhem cannot claim parliamentary privilege and immunity from criminal prosecution.
- Lawmakers possess privileges that are essential for exercising public functions – however, Vandalism is Not an Essential Legislative Action and hence cannot be protected.
- Vandalism on the Assembly floor could not be equated with the right to protest by Opposition legislators and Destruction of public property could not be equated with the exercise of freedom of speech.
- No member of an elected legislature can claim either a privilege or immunity to stand above the sanctions of the criminal law (Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984), which applies equally to all citizens.
- Legislators should act within the parameters of the public trust imposed on them to do their duty and have to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India and had to perform the duty imposed on them by the people who elected them.
-Source: The Hindu
Humanity has again used up all biological resources that our planet regenerates during the entire year by July 29, 2021, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of the Environment)
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is Earth overshoot day?
- Earth Overshoot Day 2021
- What are the reasons for Earth Overshoot Day coming sooner in 2021?
What is Earth overshoot day?
- Earth overshoot day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources (fish and forests, for instance) and services in a given year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year.
- Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year: (Earth’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day.
Earth Overshoot Day 2021
- For the year 2021, we humans have used up all the biological resources that our planet can regenerate in the entire year 2021- by July 29, 2021 itself (From now, whatever we use is excess).
- July 29 is worryingly the same date that the world reached two years ago in 2019. This means that the modest gains accrued from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as far as humanity’s ecological footprint is concerned have been lost.
What are the reasons for Earth Overshoot Day coming sooner in 2021?
- There was a 6.6% increase in the global carbon footprint (a measure of the impact people’s activities have on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced through the burning of fossil fuels and is expressed as a weight of CO2 emissions produced in tonnes) in 2020.
- There was also a 0.5% decrease in ‘global forest biocapacity’ due to a rise in deforestation of the Amazon’s rainforests. Some 1.1 million hectares of rainforest were lost in Brazil alone, which is home to the largest swathe of Amazonian rainforest.
- There is also the prediction that there would be a 43% year-over-year increase in deforestation in 2021.
- Global energy-related CO2 emissions will increase by almost 5% in 2021 compared to 2020 levels as economies try to recover from the impact of Covid-19.
-Source: Down to Earth Magazine