Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 04 May 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

04 May 2022-Wednesday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

2022 World Press Freedom Index

Why in the news?

Reporters Without Borders published the 20th edition of the World Press Freedom Index on World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) (3rd May) (RSF).

India was ranked 150th out of 180 countries.

What are the World Press Freedom Day Highlights?

The UN General Assembly declared the day in 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.

The day also commemorates the Windhoek Declaration of 1991. (adopted by UNESCO).

Its goal was to “develop a free, independent, and pluralistic press.”

The theme for 2022 is “Journalism Under Siege in the Digital Age.”

What exactly is the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI)?

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders has published it every year since 2002.

RSF is an independent NGO based in Paris that has consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF).

The Organization of French-Speaking Nations (OIF) is a group of 54 French-speaking countries.

The Index ranks countries and regions based on the level of freedom enjoyed by journalists. However, it is not a reliable indicator of journalistic quality.

Scoring Criteria:

The Index’s rankings are based on a score assigned to each country or territory ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best possible score (the highest possible level of press freedom) and 0 being the worst.

Criteria for Evaluation: The score of each country or territory is based on five contextual indicators: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context, and safety.

What are the High Points of the World’s Performance?

The report reveals a two-fold increase in “polarisation” exacerbated by information chaos, that is, media polarisation fueling divisions within countries as well as international polarisation.

Country Rankings:

The Best and Worst Performers:

Norway took first place, followed by Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd), Estonia (4th), and Finland (5th).

North Korea remained at the bottom of the 180-country list.

Russia came in at 155th place.

India’s Neighbors:

 Nepal has risen 30 places in the world rankings to 76th place.

Pakistan was ranked 157th, Sri Lanka was ranked 146th, Bangladesh was ranked 162nd, and Myanmar was ranked 176th. China was ranked 175th overall.

What about India’s performance?

About: Among the 180 countries, India has dropped eight places, from 142nd to 150th in 2022.

Since 2016, when it was ranked 133, India’s position in the index has steadily declined.

The reasons for the drop in ranking are increased “violence against journalists” and a “politically partisan media.”

Reasons for India’s Drop in Ranking:

Governmental pressure:

According to the index, the media in India, one of the nations regarded as more democratic, is under attack from “increasingly authoritarian and/or nationalist governments.”

Faults in the Policy Framework:

 Although the policy framework is theoretically protective, it resorts to using defamation, sedition, contempt of court, and endangering national security against journalists who criticise the government, labelling them as “anti-national.”

India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists:

According to the report, India is also one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

Journalists are subjected to a wide range of physical violence, including police violence, ambushes by political activists, and lethal retaliation by criminal organisations or corrupt local officials.

On the Kashmir issue, the situation remains “dangerous,” and reporters are frequently harassed by police and paramilitaries.

What about press freedom in India?

The supreme law of the land, the Constitution, guarantees freedom of speech and expression in Article 19, which deals with ‘Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.’

The Indian legal system does not expressly protect press freedom, but it is impliedly protected by article 19(1)(a) of the constitution, which states that “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.”

In Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras, the Supreme Court observed in 1950 that press freedom was at the heart of all democratic organisations.

However, press freedom is not absolute. Article 19(2) limits it to matters relating to India’s sovereignty and integrity, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, or morality, or matters relating to contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to an offence.

Transnistria's Role in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Why in the news?

As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its second month, Transnistria, Moldova’s tiny breakaway region, risks being drawn into the conflict.

Transnistria is a de facto state located between Moldova and Ukraine to the west and east, respectively.

What is the history of Transnistria?

Transnistria is referred to as a “remnant of the Soviet Union.” Transnistria, like Moldova, declared independence shortly after the Soviet Union disintegrated.

Transnistria was able to resist Moldovan troops attempting to take over the territory in 1990-1992 due to Russian soldiers stationed in Transnistria.

It has remained independent of Moldovan control since then.

Most countries, however, continue to consider Transnistria to be a part of Moldova. Even Russia does not recognise its independence.

The majority of Transnistrians have dual Russian-Transnistrian citizenship or triple citizenship in Moldova, Transnistria, and Russia.

Its economy is entirely reliant on Russia for subsidies and free gas.

It has its own government (pro-Russian), Parliament, armed forces, constitution, flag, anthem, and so on.

In a 2006 referendum, more than 97 percent of Transnistrians voted in favour of future integration with Russia, and following the annexation of Crimea, the government asked if it could be absorbed into Russia.

What is Transnistria’s Strategic Importance for Russia?

The strategic location of Transnistria is critical to the next phase of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Transnistria is being feared as a staging ground in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, both in the West and in Ukraine.

Russia may use Transnistria to cut off Ukraine’s southwestern corner, resulting in direct Russian intervention inside Moldova.

If Russia gains control of Transnistria, it will be able to establish a Russian-controlled corridor along Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.

If Russia is successful in connecting the Black Sea port of Odessa with Transnistria, the rest of Ukraine will be completely landlocked.

Moldova, for its part, is concerned that Russia will use Transnistria to launch an attack against it, as Russia has long desired to include Moldova in its sphere of influence.

Moldova does not belong to the European Union or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

As a result, there is little chance that NATO will come to its aid, especially since NATO does not admit countries that have border disputes with other countries.

Profitability Office

Why in the news?

The Election Commission recently served a notice on Jharkhand Chief Minister on a reference that he held a “office of profit” by granting himself a mining lease in 2021.

The chief minister is accused of violating a provision of the People’s Representation Act.

What Exactly Is a ‘Office of Profit’?

As members of the legislature, MPs and MLAs hold the government accountable for its actions.

The essence of the office of profit law is that if legislators hold a “office of profit” under the government, they may be susceptible to government influence and may not discharge their constitutional mandate fairly.

The intention is that there should be no conflict between an elected member’s duties and interests.

As a result, the office of profit law merely seeks to enforce a fundamental feature of the Constitution-the principle of separation of powers between the legislature and the executive.

What Exactly Is a ‘Office of Profit’?

About: The law does not clearly define what constitutes a profit-making office, but the definition has evolved over time as a result of interpretations made in various court decisions.

An office of profit has been defined as a position that provides the office-holder with financial gain, advantage, or benefit.

The amount of such profit is insignificant.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1964 that the test for determining whether a person holds a profit-making office is the test of appointment.

This determination takes into account the following factors:
  • Whether or not the government is in charge of appointing officials.
  • Whether the government has the authority to revoke the appointment.
  • Whether or not the government determines remuneration
  • What is the source of payment
  • The authority that comes with a position

What does the Constitution say about holding a “profitable office”?

An MP or an MLA (or an MLC) is prohibited from holding any profit-making office in the central or state governments under Articles 102 (1) and 191 (1) of the Constitution.

The articles state that “a person shall not be deemed to hold a profit-making office under the government of India or the government of any state solely because he is a minister.”

Articles 102 and 191 also protect a legislator who holds a government position if the office in question is immune from disqualification by law.

What are the Supreme Court’s Related Judgments?

In light of three Supreme Court decisions, CM will be disqualified under Section 9A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.

A contract must be made under that section for the supply of goods or the execution of any work undertaken by the government.

In the case of CVK Rao vs Dentu Bhaskara Rao, a Supreme Court constitution bench ruled in 1964 that a mining lease does not constitute a contract of supply of goods.

In the case of Kartar Singh Bhadana vs Hari Singh Nalwa & others, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court made it clear in 2001 that a mining lease does not constitute execution of a work undertaken by the government.

Even if the CM is disqualified by any authority, he can challenge it in the high court, and in that case, the adjudication must be completed within four months, according to a Supreme Court order.

Article 164 (4) allows a minister to serve for six months without being a member.

Other’s News

National Intelligence Grid

The premises of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) in Bengaluru were inaugurated by the Union Minister for Home and Cooperation.

The NATGRID was created to create cutting-edge technology to improve India’s counter-terrorism capabilities.

The NATGRID is an IT platform for accessing information dispersed across the country from data collection agencies.

The NATGRID is envisioned as a robust mechanism for tracking suspects, preventing terrorist attacks with real-time data and access to classified information such as immigration, banking, individual taxpayers, and so on.

The NATGRID will be accessible to 11 central agencies and police departments from all states and union territories.

Organic Aadhaar

Under the National Programme for Organic Production, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) may issue “Organic Aadhaar” to farmers who practise organic farming (NPOP).

Organic Aadhaar is a farmer’s identity for the organic certification process based on his or her Personal Aadhar number and Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN).

[The government has assigned a 14-digit identification number to each plot of land in the country under the ULPIN scheme.]

Connecting to the ULPIN could also be a useful tool for identifying organic land.

The combination of organic Aadhaar and Tracenet will result in a robust system for effectively planning and monitoring policy measures.

[The Tracenet system, which debuted in 2009, provides data on products exported from the country.

The system provides information about the farmer, his land, and the inputs used in the production of the product for products exported from India.]

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