DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |26 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

  • Home
  • DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |26 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS
Shape Image One
DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |26 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

UPSC News Analysis

News

Context: With the deal for Ka-226T utility helicopters with Russia not concluded five years after it was announced and its fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters at the end of their service life, the Army is set to approach the Defence Ministry for a waiver to take the deal forward.
  • In 2015, India and Russia had concluded an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) for at least 200 Ka226T twin-engine utility helicopters estimated to cost over $1 billion with 60 helicopters to be directly
    imported and remaining 140 manufactured locally.
     
Topic in syllabus: : Prelims & Mains – Defence (GS-3)
About Ka-226T:
  • The Ka-226T is a design of Russia’s famed Kamov design bureau. It is a light helicopter, with a maximum take-off weight of over 3.5 tonnes and can carry a payload of up to 1 ton. 
  • The Ka-226 features an interchangeable mission pod, rather than a conventional cabin, allowing the use of various accommodation or equipment configurations. 
  • The Ka-226T uses coaxial rotors—that is, it has two sets of rotors mounted one on top of the other and typically no tail rotor. 
  • Coaxial rotors give a helicopter improvement in lift and payload capacity over conventional choppers. This is especially advantageous in high-altitude environments such as the Himalayas where an aircraft’s performance at take-off tends to diminish due to the lower air density. 
  • The Ka-226T also has a unique, detachable ‘mission’ compartment instead of a conventional cabin. This allows the helicopter to be adapted for different roles such as surveillance and cargo delivery. 
      Ka-226T Helicopter

      News

      Context: Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri on Friday said the allotment of government accommodation was being rationalised and that the government had moved away from an approach of patronage. Mr. Puri was speaking at the launch of a portal for booking and applying for government homes and offices, e-Sampada.
      Topic in syllabus: Prelims & Mains – Defence (GS-3)
      About e-Sampada portal: 
        • To provide ‘One Nation, One System’, the erstwhile four websites (gpra.nic.in, eawas.nic.in, estates.gov.in, holidayhomes.nic.in), and two Mobile Apps (m-Awas & m-Ashoka5) of the Directorate of Estates have been integrated into one, which paves the way for all services on the same platform throughout the country. 
        • It is a single online platform for management of all GoI Estate services on occasion of Good Governance Day. 
        • E-Sampada is developed to simplify processes and bring uniformity in system across India. This will promote ease of living for government officers and departments as all services can be availed online on a single window with a live tracking of applications. 
        • Real time information on utilisation of assets and delivery of service will facilitate optimum utilisation of
          resources. The automated processes will minimise human intervention and will lead to greater transparency. 
        • The portal provides online facility to users across India to lodge complaints, submit documents and appear for virtual hearing. It will reduce administrative cost and will save time and resources by reducing visits to Directorate of Estate.

            Examples related to Ethics (GS-4) in today’s newspaper

            •  A 45 year old Dalit man was beaten up in a village in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh on Friday allegedly by people who objected to his using a hand pump installed by the government, the police said. (Case study | Empathy, Tolerance and Compassion towards the weaker-sections | Indian society-GS1) 
            • There are some examples of crimes done by very young criminals in today’s newspapers:
            • The Andhra Pradesh police have arrested a 20yearold youth for allegedly sending “morphed, obscene” photographs of a girl, a Class 7 student, and threatening to upload them on social media if she did not pay him money. 
            • A 19 year old youth has been arrested for allegedly robbing a woman of over ₹1 lakh and other expensive items in Pul Prahladpur here on December 22, the police said on Friday.
            •  A 22 year old man was arrested for allegedly killing a boy in Maidan Garhi here, the police said
              on Friday. 
            • (Case study can be asked – As a S.P. what steps will you take curb such sensitive cases?) | (Role of Family, Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values.) 

            Important news in short

            • First set of data from Chandrayaan-2 released: ISRO – ‘All experiments are performing well and data received suggest excellent capability to deliver on prelaunch promises’ 
            • The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry on Thursday invited comments from the public on a draft Bill for setting up a university for disability studies and rehabilitation sciences. 
            • With the European Union (EU) and the U.K. clinching a post Brexit trade pact, India should now aggressively pursue free trade agreements (FTAs) separately with both the regions, according to experts. 
            • The management of National Textile Corporation (NTC) has decided to reopen mills in a phased manner. o National Textile C
            • National Textile Corporation is a company owned by the Indian government. It owns 23 working textile mills which produce yarn and fabric. The company was incorporated in April 1968. 

            Editorial Analysis

            [The Hindu & The Indian Express]

            Explained 

            Title:  Reading the new US policy on Tibet: snubs to China on Dalai Lama, rivers 
            Topic in syllabus: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests,
            Indian Diaspora. (GS-2)
            Introduction:
                • The Tibet Policy and Support Act, passed by the US Senate earlier this week, bookends a turbulent year in US-China relations. 
                The earlier version of the act: 
                    • The TSPA is an amended version of the Tibet Policy Act of 2002, which came into existence during the Bush Administration. 
                    • But in an indication of just how important he considered relations with China, President George W Bush distanced himself from this Congressional action, and wrote strong words against it in his signing statement, in which asserted the administration’s right not to implement parts of the act. 
                    US and China relations, today: 
                        • US-China relations have become much more difficult over the last two decades, particularly worsening in the Trump Administration, and more so in 2020 over matters ranging from the pandemic to trade tariffs, and its cross-world coalition-building against Chinese superpower ambitions. 
                        • Earlier this month, the Holding Foreign Companies Accounting Act, targeting Chinese investments in the US, was signed into law. Earlier in the year, President Donald Trump signed into law the Hong Kong Autonomy Act. 
                        • Most US administrations, the Trump Administration included, have broadly maintained a diplomatic balance between relations with China, and support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. 
                        • The State Department has a separate section on Tibet in its annual reports on human rights and religious freedom. But there has been no real push for talks with the Dalai Lama or on the release of political prisoners. 
                        What are the important provisions of the act?
                            • The TSPA makes it US policy to oppose attempts by Beijing to install its own Dalai Lama “in a manner inconsistent with Tibetan Buddhism in which the succession or identification of Tibetan Buddhist lamas, including the Dalai Lama, should occur without interference.”
                            • The Act also makes it US policy to hold senior Chinese officials “responsible for, complicit in, or have directly or indirectly engaged in the identification or installation of a candidate chosen by China as the future 15th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism” to have committed “a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights”, attracting sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. 
                            • The TPSA has introduced provisions aimed at protecting the environment of the Tibetan plateau, calling for greater international cooperation and greater involvement by Tibetans. 
                            • Alleging that China is diverting water resources from Tibet, the TPSA also calls for “a regional framework on water security, or use existing frameworks… to facilitate cooperative agreements among all riparian nations that would promote… arrangements on impounding and diversion of waters that originate on the Tibetan Plateau”. 
                            • While the 2002 Act said the US should establish a “branch office” in Lhasa, the TSPA ups the ante by changing that to a “consulate”. 
                            What China says? 
                                • China had earlier said the TPSA “severely breached international law and basic norms governing international relations, interfered in China’s internal affairs, and sent a wrong message to ‘Tibet independence’ forces”. 
                                India’s stance: 
                                    • If India is pleased at this latest US barb to China, it has not said so openly. India has mostly refrained from playing the Tibet card against China, and like the US, has a one China policy. 
                                    • It was only this year, in the ongoing Ladakh standoff, that it used special forces made up almost entirely of Tibetan exiles to occupy strategic heights in Pangong Tso’s south bank. 

                                    Editorial

                                    Title:  Article 356 and an activist judiciary 
                                    Written by: Faizan Mustafa (Vice-Chancellor, the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University of Law, Hyderabad.)
                                    Topic in syllabus: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora. (GS-2)
                                    Basics
                                    What is Article 356?
                                            • In India, President’s rule is the suspension of state government and imposition of direct Union government rule in a state. 
                                            • Under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, in the event that a state government is unable to function according to Constitutional provisions, the Union government can take direct control of the state
                                              machinery. 
                                            • Subsequently, executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed governor, who has the
                                              authority to appoint other administrators to assist them. 
                                            • In practice, President’s rule has been imposed in a state under any one of the following different circumstances:
                                              • A state legislature is unable to elect a leader as chief minister for a time prescribed by the Governor of that state, at the Will of Governor. 
                                              • Breakdown of a coalition leading to the Chief minister having minority support in the house and the Chief minister fails/will definitely fail to prove otherwise, within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state. 
                                              • Loss of majority in the assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the house. 
                                              • Elections postponed for unavoidable reasons like war, epidemic, pandemic or natural disasters. 
                                              • On the report of the Governor of the state if said state’s Constitutional machinery or legislature fails to abide by Constitutional norms. 
                                              • If approved by both houses, President’s rule can continue for 6 months. 
                                              • It can be extended for a maximum of 3 years with the approval of the Parliament done every 6 months. 
                                              • If the Lok Sabha is dissolved during this time, the rule is valid for 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha provided that this continuance has already been approved by Rajya Sabha. 
                                              • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced a new provision to put a restraint on the power of Parliament to extend the President’s rule in a state. According to this provision, the president’s rule can only be extended over a year every 6 months under the following conditions: 
                                              • There is already a national emergency throughout India, or in the whole or any part of the state. 
                                              • The Election Commission certifies that elections cannot be conducted in the state. 
                                              • President’s rule can be revoked at any time by the President and does not need Parliament’s approval.
                                              Introduction:
                                              • The recent order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court directing the Andhra Pradesh government to come prepared to argue on the ‘breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state’ is shocking as
                                                it opens up the possibility of use or even misuse of Article 356 by the judiciary. 
                                              • Though the Supreme Court of India has stayed the order, we need to go deeper into this observation and look at the controversial provision of Article 356 because of which the High Court could make such an observation. The devil is in the provision itself. 
                                              Background of article 356 & its comparison with other democracies:
                                              • No liberal democratic Constitution in the world has a provision such as Article 356 that gives the central government the power to dismiss a democratically elected State government except the Constitution of Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan borrowed this provision from the Government of India Act, 1935. 
                                              • This provision has been opposed by early freedom fighters in the British rule. thus, Section 93 of the Government of India Act, 1935 was never brought into effect. 
                                              • The provision which we had opposed during our freedom struggle was incorporated in the Constitution strangely in the name of democracy, federalism and stability. 
                                              • On June 11, 1947, it was agreed in the Constituent Assembly that the Governor could use this emergency power. 
                                              What is the contentious provision in the article? (the word “Otherwise” is contentious)
                                              • If the President is satisfied that such a situation has arisen which implies “failure of constitutional machinery”, whether on the basis of a report received from the Governor of the State or otherwise, he may, by proclamation, 
                                              • (a) assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State and all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by the Governor or any body or authority in the State other than the Legislature of the State; 
                                              • (b) declare that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament; 
                                              • (c) make such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the President to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to the objects of the Proclamation, including provisions for suspending in whole or in part the operation of any provisions of this Constitution relating to any body or authority in the State: Provided that nothing in this clause shall authorize the President to assume to himself any of the powers vested in or exercisable by a High Court, or to suspend in whole or in part the operation of any provision of this Constitution relating to High Courts.” 
                                              Let us see how the word “Otherwise” is contentious:
                                              • After several revisions, provision became Article 278 (now Article 356). H.V. Kamath termed it as a surgical operation for a mere cold. He criticised the word ‘otherwise’ and said only god knows what ‘otherwise’ means.
                                              • As the Governor had been made a nominee of the Centre by this time, he asked why the President could not have confidence in his own nominees. 
                                              • ‘Otherwise’ can include anything including a presidential dream of breakdown of constitutional machinery in a state. 
                                              • The Andhra Pradesh High Court could pass such an order due to this very term ‘otherwise’. But for this word which negates the ideals of constitutionalism by giving unlimited powers to the Centre, the High Court could not have overstepped the line as it did.
                                              Misuse of article 356:
                                              • Article 356 has been used/misused more than 125 times though B.R. Ambedkar had assured that it would remain a dead letter. 
                                              • Both on Article 356 and the Governor, experience has proven Ambedkar wrong. In almost all cases it was used for political considerations rather than any genuine breakdown of constitutional machinery in the States. 
                                              • The most notable case of nonuse of Article 356 was the refusal of the P.V. Narasimha Rao government prior to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 as in the draft Constitution, emergency
                                                power could be used to safeguard the ‘legitimate interests of minorities’ and the government was fully aware of a breakdown of constitutional machinery in Uttar Pradesh. 
                                              Plight of the judiciary:
                                              • Judicial activism may be good as a rare exception but an activist judiciary is neither good for the country nor for the judiciary itself as it would encourage the government to appoint committed judges. 
                                              • Sometimes even the collegium’s recommendations on transfer of judges and chief justices today looks more like an executive order transferring IAS officers. 
                                              • Today, when many constitutional experts are of the view that the judiciary is increasingly becoming more executive minded than the executive itself, the observations of the Andhra Pradesh High Court
                                                are a worrisome sign. 
                                              The way forward:
                                              • Ideally, the word ‘otherwise’ should be deleted from Article 356 and the provision be used only
                                                sparingly and to never remove a majority government. 
                                              Share on facebook
                                              Share on twitter
                                              Share on linkedin
                                              Share on whatsapp
                                              Share on email
                                              Share on telegram

                                              Leave a Reply