Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 23 Apr 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

23 Apr 2022-Saturday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Dispute over Kuril Island

Why in the news?

In the most recent version of a diplomatic Bluebook, Japan described four islands whose ownership it disputes with Russia as illegally occupied.

The use of harsher language highlighted the deterioration of relations between the two countries in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

These islands are known as the Kuril Islands in Russia and Northern Territories in Japan.

Japan is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with South Korea over the Northern Territories. Dokdo islands are referred to as such in South Korea.

What exactly is the Diplomatic Bluebook?

The Diplomatic Bluebook of Japan is an annual report published by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Japan’s foreign policy and international diplomacy.

Since its first issue in September 1957, it has been published every year.

What is the Kuril Islands’ Geographic Location and Importance?

The Kuril Islands run from Japan’s Hokkaido to the southern tip of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, separating the Okhotsk Sea from the North Pacific Ocean.

The chain is part of the Ring of Fire, a belt of geologic instability that circles the Pacific and contains at least 100 volcanoes, 35 of which are still active, as well as numerous hot springs.

Natural resources:

The islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are thought to have offshore oil and gas reserves.

Russia has deployed missile systems in the region, which is of strategic importance. Russia is also planning a submarine project and intends to prevent any military use of the islands by the United States.

Cultural Importance: The Japanese people, particularly conservatives in Hokkaido, have strong emotional attachments to the islands.

What is the Kuril Islands Dispute’s History?


Japan and Russia are at odds over the sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands in the Kuril Islands dispute.

Etorofu island, Kunashiri island, Shikotan island, and Habomai island are all part of the South Kuril Islands.

These islands are claimed by Japan but occupied by Russia as the Soviet Union’s successor state.

Treaty of Shimoda (1855):

 In 1855, Japan and Russia signed the Treaty of Shimoda, which gave Japan control of the four southernmost islands and Russia control of the rest of the chain.

Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1875):

 In the Treaty of Saint Petersburg, signed in 1875, Russia ceded possession of the Kurils to Japan in exchange for uncontested control of Sakhalin Island.

However, at the end of World War II, the Soviet Union seized these islands once more.

Yalta Agreement (1945):

The islands were ceded to the Soviet Union in 1945 as part of the Yalta agreements (which were formalised in the 1951 Treaty of Peace with Japan), and the Japanese population was repatriated and replaced by the Soviets.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed in 1951 between the Allies and Japan, states that Japan must give up “all right, title, and claim to the Kuril Islands,” but it also does not recognise the Soviet Union’s sovereignty over them.

The main combatants in World War II were: Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) Allies (France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China).

Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration (1956):

The dispute over the islands has prevented a peace treaty to end World War II from being signed.

The Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration restored diplomatic ties between Japan and Russia in 1956.

Russia offered to hand over the two islands closest to Japan at the time. However, Japan rejected the offer because the two islands constituted only 7% of the land in question.

What is the current state of affairs?

Despite a series of agreements, the dispute persists, with Japan claiming historical rights to the southernmost islands and repeatedly attempting to persuade the Soviet Union and, since 1991, Russia to return those islands to Japanese sovereignty.

On the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in 2018, the Russian President and the Japanese Prime Minister (PM) met and decided to end the territorial dispute, with the Japanese PM agreeing to negotiate based on the 1956 declaration.

This implied that Japan had given up the two islands in order to maintain peace with Russia.

Russia, on the other hand, stated that the joint declaration signed by Japan and the Soviet Union in 1956 neither mentions a reason for returning Habomai and Shikotan nor specifies which country has sovereignty over the islands.

Furthermore, the Japanese Prime Minister stated in 2019 that the country is not in favour of relinquishing control over the Islands.

Japan also considers the islands to be an inalienable part of its territory.

As a result, Japan stated that it intends to sign the peace treaty once the territorial dispute is resolved.

Phone Surveillance in India

Why in the news?

A political leader recently claimed that the Centre is protecting an Indian Police Service officer who is the subject of a First Information Report (FIR) in Mumbai and is being investigated for allegedly tapping phones.

What is phone tapping, and how is it done in India?

Phone tapping, also known as cell phone tracking/tracing, is an activity in which a user’s phone calls and other activities are monitored using various software.

This procedure is mostly carried out without informing the targeted person of any such activity.

Authorities can do this by requesting that the service provider, which is required by law, record the conversations on the given number and provide them in real time via a connected computer.

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, on the other hand, states that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established by law.”

The phrase ‘personal liberty’ includes the phrase ‘right to privacy.’ A citizen has the right to protect his or her personal privacy, family, education, marriage, motherhood, childbearing, and procreation, among other things.

Who Has Access to Phones?

Police in the states have the authority to wiretap phones.

Central Level: Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Revenue Intelligence Directorate, National Investigation Agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Signal Intelligence Directorate, Delhi Police Commissioner.

What are the laws in India that govern phone tapping?

Indian Telegraph Act of 1885:

Phone tapping can be done by the Centre or states under Section 5(2) of the Act in the event of a public emergency or in the interest of public safety.

The order can be issued if they believe it is necessary for public safety, “India’s sovereignty and integrity, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order, or to prevent incitement to the commission of an offence.”

Exception for the Press

Press messages intended for publication in India by correspondents accredited to the Central Government or a State Government shall not be intercepted or detained unless their transmission is prohibited by this sub-section.

Reasons for tapping must be documented in writing by the competent authority.

Who Is Authorized to Surveillance Phones?

Rule 419A of the Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2007 authorises phone tapping.

The order can be issued by an order made by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of the Central Government.

By the Secretary to the State Government in charge of the Home Department in the case of a State Government.

In an emergency, an order may be issued by an officer not lower than the rank of a Joint Secretary of India who has been authorised by the Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary.

If it is not possible to obtain prior directions in remote areas or for operational reasons, a call can be intercepted with the prior approval of the head or the second senior-most officer of the authorised law enforcement agency at the central level, and by authorised officers not lower than the rank of Inspector General of Police at the state level.

The order must be communicated to the competent authority within three days, and it must be approved or rejected within seven working days.

If the confirmation from the competent authority is not received within the seven-day period, the interception will be terminated.

It should be noted that the Central Government issued the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2021 in 2021.

What are the Barriers to Abuse?

Last but not least:

The law states unequivocally that interception must be ordered only if there are no other options for obtaining the information.

Interception Renewal:

Unless revoked earlier, the interception instructions are valid for a period of no more than 60 days.

They can be renewed once, but only for a total of 180 days.

Reasons Required:

 Any order issued by the competent authority must include reasons, and a copy must be sent to a review committee within seven working days.

The Cabinet Secretary chairs the committee, which includes the Law and Telecom Secretaries.

In states, it is led by the Chief Secretary, who is joined by the Law and Home Secretaries.

The committee is expected to meet at least once every two months to review all requests for interception.

Destruction of Records: According to the rules, records pertaining to such directions must be destroyed every six months unless they are required for functional requirements or are likely to be required.

Service providers are also required to destroy records pertaining to interception instructions within two months of the interception ceasing.

The Way Forward

The relationship between the ‘right to privacy’ and ‘personal liberty’ was clearly observed by the court of law, as were the requirements to tap individuals’ communications.

The need to protect individuals’ rights and maintain privacy is paramount, but when it comes to public emergencies or safety in the public interest, the procedure established by the court must be followed while breaching an individual’s privacy and keeping it secret due to the sensitive nature of the information gathered.

The court has established a fair and just procedure to maintain checks and balances and prevent abuse of power.

Amendment to the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 2021

Why in the news?

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests, and Climate Change recently delivered its report on the proposed Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021.

The standing committee discovered that some species were left out of various wildlife and plant schedules proposed by the Environment Ministry and has recommended a revised schedule listing to include these species.

What exactly is the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972?

The Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 establishes a legal framework for the protection of various species of wild animals and plants, habitat management, and the regulation and control of trade in wild animals, plants, and products derived from them.

The Act also includes schedules of plants and animals that are protected and monitored by the government to varying degrees.

The Act has been amended several times, with the most recent change occurring in 2006.

What are the Bill’s main features?

CITES Implementation Provision: The Bill aims to put the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora into action (CITES). The Bill calls for the central government to appoint a Management Authority to grant export or import permits for specimen trade.

Every person who trades a scheduled specimen must report the transaction to the Management Authority.

The Management Authority may use an identification mark for a specimen, according to CITES.

The Bill forbids anyone from modifying or removing the specimen’s identification mark.

Furthermore, anyone who owns live specimens of scheduled animals must obtain a registration certificate from the Management Authority.

Scientific Authority, which provides advice on issues relating to the impact on the survival of specimens traded.

Schedule Rationalization: The Act currently has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), animals (four), and vermin species (one). The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four: Schedule I for species that will receive the most protection, Schedule II for species that will receive less protection, and Schedule III for plants.

It does away with the schedule for vermin species. Small animals that spread disease and destroy food are referred to as vermin.

It adds a new schedule for specimens listed in the CITES Appendices (scheduled specimens).

Invasive Alien Species:

 The Bills give the central government the authority to regulate or prohibit the importation, trade, possession, or proliferation of invasive alien species.

Invasive alien species are plant or animal species that are not indigenous to India and whose introduction may have a negative impact on wild life or its habitat.

The central government may delegate authority to a police officer to seize and dispose of the invasive species.

Control of Sanctuaries: The Chief Wild Life Warden is tasked by the Act with controlling, managing, and maintaining all sanctuaries in a state.

The state government appoints the Chief Wild Life Warden.

The Bill states that the Chief Warden’s actions must be in accordance with the sanctuary’s management plans.

The management plan for sanctuaries falling under special areas must be prepared in consultation with the Gram Sabha concerned.

A Scheduled Area or an area where the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 applies are examples of special areas.

Scheduled Areas are economically depressed areas with a primarily tribal population that are listed in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.

Conservation Reserves: Under the Act, state governments may designate areas adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries as conservation reserves, with the goal of protecting flora and fauna as well as their habitat.

The Bill also gives the central government the authority to notify a conservation reserve.

Surrender of Captive Animals: Under the Bill, anyone may voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wild Life Warden.

The person who surrendered such items will not be compensated.

The items surrendered become the property of the state government.

Defense India Start-Up Challenge and IDEX

Why is this in the news?

During DefConnect 2.0 in New Delhi, the Ministry of Defence launched Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Prime and the sixth Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC 6).

DefConnect 2.0 is a one-day event that brings together start-ups, large corporations, and members of the armed forces to promote indigenous innovation in the defense sector.

What exactly is the Innovation for Defense Ecosystem (iDEX)?

iDEX, which debuted in 2018, is an ecosystem that encourages innovation and technology development in defense and aerospace by bringing together innovators and entrepreneurs to deliver technologically advanced solutions for modernizing the Indian military.

Primary Goals:

Indigenization is defined as the rapid development of new, indigenous, and innovative technology.

Creates a culture of engagement with innovative startups in order to encourage co-creation.

It provides research and development funding/grants to MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, and academia.

The iDEX-Prime programme aims to assist ever-growing defence start-ups by providing funding for projects requiring more than Rs 1.5 crore up to Rs 10 crore.

The “Defence Innovation Organisation” funds and manages iDEX.

The iDEX portal was created to increase public awareness and visibility of iDEX activities, as well as to enable more efficient running of future challenges through better information management.

Organization for Defense Innovation (DIO)

DIO is a non-profit organisation established under Section 8 of the Companies Act of 2013.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) are funding it (BEL).

It provides iDEX with high-level policy guidance.

What exactly is the Defence India Start-up Challenge?

DISC’s mission is to assist Startups/MSMEs (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises) / Innovators in developing prototypes and/or commercialising products/solutions in the National Defense and Security sectors.

On August 4, 2018, the first Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) was launched in Bengaluru.

The Ministry of Defence launched it in collaboration with the Atal Innovation Mission.

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the country.

What are the Government’s Indigenisation Initiatives?

The Beginning of Negative Indigenisation

New FDI Policy in the Defense Sector Defense Acquisition Procedure 2020 Defence Industrial Corridors

Other’s News

Damascus Gate

Israeli forces have assaulted and arrested Palestinian residents of the Damascus Gate area since the beginning of Ramadan 2022.

For a long time, the Damascus Gate, or Bab al-Amud (‘gate of the pillar,’ has been a flashpoint between Palestinians and Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem.

It is an Ottoman-era plaza that has been in its current configuration since 1537.

It is the largest of the seven open gates leading to the wall of Jerusalem’s Old City, which is located in East Jerusalem.

[The wall was constructed in the 16th century during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.]

Damascus Gate, a social, cultural, and political landmark in Palestine, is one of the few open spaces for residents to congregate.

The Damascus Gate has become a national symbol for Jerusalemites and Palestinians in general, expressing the city’s national identity.

History –

 During the 1967 war, Israel occupied and annexed Palestinian-majority East Jerusalem, in violation of international law.

Israel proclaims Jerusalem to be its “complete and united” capital.

However, the majority of countries around the world do not recognise Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem and consider it to be occupied territory.

Whakaari White Island

A new study has discovered pre-eruption warning signals at Whakaari White Island and other active volcanoes.

Whakaari/White Island is a volcanic island in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, 50 kilometres off the coast of North Island.

Since 1976, it has been New Zealand’s most active volcano.

The convergent plate boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates formed this stratovolcano (composite cone volcano).

Layers of andesite lava flows and pyroclastic deposits make up the structure (tephra).

It is an active volcano located at the northern end of the Taupo-Rotorua Volcanic Zone at the top of a submarine vent.

Te Puia o Whakaari – The Dramatic Volcano is the full Mori name.

Whakaari White Island, with its alien landscape and spectacular hydrothermal features, was a tourist magnet until it was shattered in 2019 by high-pressure steam and gas explosions.

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