Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 16 Mar 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

16 Mar 2022-Wednesday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Saudi-Iranian Relations

Why in the news?

Saudi Arabia recently executed 81 people, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, for terrorism-related and other capital crimes. As a result, the Iranian government has suspended talks with the country.

Both countries have had strained diplomatic relations for a long time.

Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, which severed diplomatic ties in 2016, will hold direct talks in 2021, hosted by Iraq, as UN-led efforts to end a war in Yemen stall. In Iraq, they held four rounds of talks.

What is the history of the Saudi-Iranian conflict?

Religious Factionalism: Religious differences dating back centuries have soured relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. They each adhere to one of Islam’s two major branches.

Iran is predominantly Shia Muslim, whereas Saudi Arabia considers itself to be the leading Sunni Muslim power.

Leader of the Islamic World: Historically, Saudi Arabia, a monarchy and the birthplace of Islam, saw itself as the Muslim world’s leader.

However, in 1979, the Islamic revolution in Iran created a new type of state in the region – a kind of revolutionary theocracy – with the explicit goal of exporting this model beyond its own borders.

Regional Cold War:

Saudi Arabia and Iran, two powerful neighbours, are fighting for regional dominance.

Uprisings in the Arab world (following the Arab Spring in 2011) caused political unrest throughout the region.

Iran and Saudi Arabia used the upheavals to expand their influence, most notably in Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen, raising mutual suspicions even further.

Furthermore, external powers such as the United States and Israel have played a significant role in exacerbating the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Proxy Wars: 

Although Iran and Saudi Arabia are not directly fighting, they are involved in a number of proxy wars (conflicts in which they support opposing sides and militias) throughout the region.

Consider the Houthi insurgents in Yemen. These groups may gain greater capabilities, causing further instability in the region. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of backing them up.

Flashpoint in 2016: Following Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, many Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.

What are the Potential Consequences of Relationship Normalization?

Resolution of the Israel-Palestine Conflict: Improved Relations Between Israel and Palestine Iran and Saudi Arabia could have a positive impact on Israel and the Palestinian issue.

Oil Market Stabilization: Given the importance of the oil market to their economies, Iran and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in maintaining stable oil prices.

Normalization of relations would ensure consistent oil revenues for all producing countries and greater predictability for Saudi and Iranian economic planners.

India’s Role in the Future: Historically, India has had good diplomatic relations with both countries. The stabilisation of relations between the two countries may have a mixed impact on India.

On the negative side, higher oil prices will have an impact on India’s trade balance.

On the plus side, this could ease investment and connectivity projects throughout the region.

Reciprocity from Iran: Iran still needs to make a diplomatic statement by publicly supporting a cease-fire in Yemen.

US Sanctions Lifting: Clarity on US sanctions against Iran is critical if Iran-Saudi Arabia relations are to be normalised.

UAPA's Bail Provision

Why in the news?

A Delhi court recently granted bail to a former Congress (Political Party) councillor in a case filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 (UAPA) in connection with the 2020 anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, (CAA) protests.

What is the 2019 Citizenship (Amendment) Act?

The CAA grants citizenship to six undocumented non-Muslim communities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians) who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

It exempts members of the six communities from prosecution under the Foreigners Act of 1946 and the Passport Act of 1920.

The two Acts outline the penalties for illegally entering the country and staying on expired visas and permits.

What was the most recent decision?

The court granted bail to the accused despite the prosecution’s argument that there were limitations in Section 43D(5) of the UAPA, a provision that makes bail almost impossible to grant because it leaves little room for judicial reasoning.

The defence argued that Section 43D of the UAPA imposes restrictions but is not an absolute bar to the granting of bail.

What are the UAPA’s bail-related provisions and issues?

The main issue with the UAPA is Section 43(D)(5), which prohibits the release of any accused person on bail if police have filed a chargesheet indicating that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accusation against such person is prima facie true.

The effect of Section 43(D)(5) is that once the police elect to charge an individual under the UAPA, granting bail becomes extremely difficult. Bail is a safeguard and guarantee of the right to liberty guaranteed by the constitution.

This provision leaves very little room for judicial reasoning and makes the granting of bail under UAPA nearly impossible.

The Supreme Court confirmed in 2019 in the case of Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali that courts must accept the state’s case without examining its merits.

However, courts have interpreted this provision differently in recent years, emphasising the right to a speedy trial and raising the bar for the state to book an individual under UAPA.

What exactly is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967?

The UAPA was enacted in 1967 and later strengthened by the government in 2008 and 2012 to be modelled as an anti-terror law.

In August 2019, Parliament approved the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 to designate individuals as terrorists under the Act on certain grounds.

To deal with terrorism-related crimes, it departs from ordinary legal procedures and establishes an exceptional regime in which the accused’s constitutional safeguards are limited.

What are the UAPA’s other related issues?

Terrorist Act Defined Vaguely: The UAPA’s definition of a “terrorist act” differs significantly from the definition advocated by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Context of Counter-Terrorism.

According to the Special Rapporteur, three elements must be present in order for an offence to be classified as a “terrorist act”:

The means employed must be lethal.

The purpose of the act must be to instil fear in the population or to compel a government or international organisation to do or refrain from doing something.

The goal must be to advance an ideological goal.

UAPA, on the other hand, provides an overbroad and ambiguous definition of a “terrorist act” that includes the death or injury of any person, damage to any property, and so on.

Pendency of Trials: Given the state of India’s justice delivery system, the rate of pendency at the level of trial is 95.5 percent on average.

This means that trials are completed in less than 5% of cases each year, indicating the reasons for long years of undertrial detention.

State Overreach: It also includes any act that is “likely to threaten” or “likely to strike terror in people,” granting the government unrestricted authority to label any ordinary citizen or activist a terrorist without the commission of these acts.

As a result, the state grants itself greater powers in relation to the individual liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution.

Undermining Federalism: Some experts believe it is anti-federal because it disregards the authority of state police in terrorism cases, despite the fact that ‘Police’ is a state subject under the 7th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

The Way Forward

The judiciary has a greater role to play here in thoroughly investigating cases of alleged misuse. Judicial review should be used to check for arbitrariness and subjectivity under the law.

Under the right to appeal for the individual against him being designated as a terrorist, the judiciary must adhere to the fundamental principle of fair procedure and be on the lookout for any attempt by the executive to frame the individual by fabricating false evidence.

Officers who are found guilty of misusing or abusing their legal authority must face severe penalties.

The PM-DAKSH Scheme

Why in the News

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment recently informed the Lok Sabha that the funds earmarked for the PM-DAKSH (Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi) Yojana in 2020-21 and 2021-22 are Rs.44.79 crores and Rs.79.48 crores, respectively.

Previously, the Ministry launched the ‘PM-DAKSH’ Portal and ‘PM-DAKSH’ Mobile App to make skill development schemes available to the following target groups: SC (Scheduled Caste), OBC (Other Backward Classes), Economically Backward Classes (EBC), Denotified Tribes, and Sanitation Workers.

What are the most important points?

It is scheduled to go into effect in 2020-21.

This programme provides eligible target groups with skill development training programmes such as Short Term Training Program, Up-Skilling/Reskilling, Entrepreneurship Development Program, and Long Term Training Program.

These training programmes are being carried out through government training institutes, sector skill councils established by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and other credible institutions.

Eligibility:

People from marginalised groups such as SC, OBC, EBC, Denotified tribes, sanitation workers such as waste pickers, manual scavengers, transgenders, and others.

Implementation: It is carried out by three Ministry-affiliated corporations: the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC), and the National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC).

Skill Development Training for Target Groups: Over the last five years, 2,73,152 people from the target groups have received skill development training.

Through these three corporations, a goal of providing skill development training to approximately 50,000 people from the target groups has been set for the years 2021-22.

What is the Scheme’s Importance?

Minimal Economic Assets: Because the majority of people in the target groups have limited financial resources, providing training and enhancing their competencies is critical for economic empowerment/upliftment of these marginalised groups.

Helps Many of the people in the target groups fall into the category of rural artisans, who have become marginalised as a result of the market’s introduction of better technologies.

Empowers Women: Because of their overall domestic compulsions, women are unable to participate in wage employment, which typically entails long working hours and sometimes migration to other cities, there is a need to empower women among the target groups.

What are the Initiatives for Skill Development?

Pradhan Kaushal, Mantri The Vikas Yojana 3.0: The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched it in 2021 in an effort to equip India’s youth with employable skills by making over 300 skill courses available to them.

National Career Service Project: Established in 2015 to provide free online career skills training to job seekers who sign up. It is a Ministry of Labour and Employment initiative.

SANKALP (Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood): Its primary focus is on the district-level skilling ecosystem via convergence and coordination. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme that works with the World Bank.

The Kaushalacharya Awards were created to recognise skill trainers’ contributions and to encourage more trainers to join the Skill India Mission.

SHREYAS (Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills): The scheme will provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to general graduates graduating in April 2019 via the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS). The Ministry of Education launched it.

Atmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM): Launched by MSDE in 2020, it is a portal that assists skilled workers in finding long-term employment opportunities.

The Kaushalacharya Awards were created to recognise skill trainers’ contributions and to encourage more trainers to join the Skill India Mission.

SHREYAS (Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills): The scheme will provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to general graduates graduating in April 2019 via the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS). The Ministry of Education launched it.

Atmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM): Launched by MSDE in 2020, it is a portal that assists skilled workers in finding long-term employment opportunities.

Other’s News

Membership to NATO

Ukraine’s President stated that his country would no longer seek membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Ukraine’s desire to join the organisation has been at the heart of its geopolitical tensions with Russia.

The North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, states that the treaty’s parties seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic region.

The signatories express their belief in the UN Charter’s goals and principles, as well as their desire to live in peace with all people and governments.

They are determined to work together for collective defence and the preservation of peace and security.

NATO membership application procedure

Article 10 of the treaty allows a new member to accede to the treaty with the unanimous agreement of the existing members.

Once NATO member countries reach an agreement on a country’s potential membership, it is asked to begin accession talks with the alliance.

DIRECTIONS – They may then be invited to participate in the Membership Action Plan (MAP). Attaining this level does not guarantee membership.

It is a preparatory mechanism that offers advice, assistance, and practical assistance tailored to the unique needs of applicant countries.

NATO membership application procedure

Article 10 of the treaty allows a new member to accede to the treaty with the unanimous agreement of the existing members.

Once NATO member countries reach an agreement on a country’s potential membership, it is asked to begin accession talks with the alliance.

DIRECTIONS – They may then be invited to participate in the Membership Action Plan (MAP). Attaining this level does not guarantee membership.

It is a preparatory mechanism that offers advice, assistance, and practical assistance tailored to the unique needs of applicant countries.

The applicant country must then submit a formal letter of intent to NATO in the second step of the process. This serves as confirmation of the organization’s obligations and commitments.

The necessary amendments are then made to make the invitees parties to the Washington Treaty, followed by ratification of the constitutional protocols of the applicant countries to facilitate membership.

Acceding to the Treaty – After all NATO members have notified the US government of their acceptance of the applicant, the Secretary General will summon the potential new members to accede to the Treaty.

[The United States government serves as the Washington Treaty’s depository.]

The applicant becomes a member of NATO after the invitee deposits their instruments of accession with the US State Department.

Phool Dei

The harvest festival of Uttarakhand is known as the Phool Dei festival.

The term ‘Dei’ refers to a ceremonial pudding made from jaggery that is the main food in this festival.

Every year during the flowering season (March-April), the Garhwal and Kumaun regions of Uttarakhand celebrate this festival for about a month.

It is observed on the first day of Chaitra, the Hindu month.

After bathing, children, particularly young girls, go into farms, forests, and gardens to collect fresh flowers to offer to local deities as a welcome gesture for the arrival of spring.

According to local belief, leaving flowers on the doorsteps of houses for the gods will bring prosperity and blessings.

On the last day of spring, groups of children known as Phoolyari bring flowers to the households and receive money and sweets in exchange from each family.

The most commonly used flowers are red rhododendron flowers or buransh (Uttarakhand’s state tree), yellow pheonly flowers (Reinwardtia indica), and mustard flowers.

The celebration of Phool Dei instilled in us an affection for and protection of nature, particularly local flowers and trees.

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