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12 March 2024 Daily Current Affairs

1. Citizenship Amendment Rules Notified, Enabling Implementation of CAA

Background

  • The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed by Parliament in December 2019.

  • The Act facilitates citizenship for undocumented immigrants belonging to specific religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

  • Implementation of the Act was stalled due to pending rules.

New Rules Notified

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024, on March 11.

  • This enables the implementation of the CAA.

Who Can Apply?

  • The CAA applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, and Jains from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

  • Applicants must have entered India before December 31, 2014.

Application Process

  • Applications will be submitted online through a dedicated portal and mobile app.

  • Applicants will need to provide six types of documents, including proof of community, date of entry into India, and parental details.

  • An empowered committee at the district level will scrutinize applications, headed by the Director (Census Operations) in each state, with representatives from various government bodies.

Key Points

  • CAA exempts the members of the six communities from any criminal case under Foreigners Act, 1946 and Passport Act, 1920 which specify punishment for entering the country illegally and staying on expired visas and permits.

  • Applicants must take an oath of allegiance.

  • "Most parts of the northeast are exempted from the CAA."

  • It lists the specific exempted areas:

  • Tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura (Sixth Schedule of the Constitution)

  • States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur

There's no mention in the document about the reason behind these exemptions..

Long Wait for Rules

  • The MHA had sought multiple extensions to frame the rules.

  • This notification comes ahead of the upcoming general elections.


2. France’s exceptional women, their imprint on diplomacy


Historic Milestone: France Enshrines Abortion as a Constitutional Right

  • March 4, 2024: France becomes the first country to recognize abortion as a constitutional right.

  • Sends a global message of solidarity to women amid threats to women's rights worldwide.

  • The Philosophical Roots: Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex"

  • Published in 1949, "The Second Sex" is a foundational work for pro-choice advocacy.

  • Challenges societal perceptions of women as mothers, emphasizing the need for freedom of choice.

  • Civil Disobedience and Legal Change: The Manifesto of the 343

  • In 1971, Simone de Beauvoir leads the "Manifesto of the 343" – a petition admitting to abortions.

  • Instrumental in the adoption of the Veil law in 1975, decriminalizing abortion in France.

  • Simone Veil: A Champion of Women's Rights

  • Auschwitz survivor and political leader who pushed for the 1975 law legalizing abortion in France.

  • First female leader of the European Parliament, her legacy continues to inspire global women's rights advocates.

  • Lasting Influence: The Continued Relevance of "The Second Sex"

  • "The Second Sex" remains a foundational text for modern feminism.

  • Recent translation into Hindi provides broader access to Beauvoir's influential work.

  • A Feminist Foreign Policy: France's Ongoing Commitment

  • France champions a feminist foreign policy, promoting gender equality in bilateral efforts and development assistance.

  • Co-chaired the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, a significant international feminist event.

  • Collaborative Potential: France and India's Role in Women's Rights

  • Hopeful for collaboration between France and India to advance women's rights globally.

  • Acknowledges India's historical commitments and recent achievements in the realm of women's rights.

3. India test-fires Agni-V ballistic missile with multiple warhead technology under Mission Divyastra

Technological Breakthrough: Agni-V Missile Test with MIRV Technology

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces the successful test firing of Agni-V ballistic missile with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology.

Mission Divyastra: DRDO's Achievement in Redundancy

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducts the test under Mission Divyastra, showcasing the success of MIRV technology.

MIRV Technology Overview

  • MIRV technology allows a single missile to carry multiple warheads, adding redundancy to India's nuclear weapons program.

Test Details: Location and Parameters

  • The test is carried out at Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha, meeting designed parameters and accomplishing the mission successfully.

India's Nuclear Doctrine and Geo-strategic Role

  • India's nuclear doctrine, based on credible minimum deterrence and a No-First-Use (NFU) policy, forms the core tenets of its strategic approach.

Global Context: China's Nuclear Expansion

  • The successful test enhances India's capability against China, responding to China's rapid expansion and modernization of its nuclear arsenal.

Nuclear Triad and Strategic Milestones

  • Agni series, along with other delivery systems, constitutes the backbone of India's nuclear weapons delivery, completing its nuclear triad.

Previous Demonstrations: ASAT Capability and Mission Shakti

  • The successful test follows India's demonstration of Anti-Satellite (ASAT) capability in March 2019 under Mission Shakti.

Global MIRV Technology Landscape

  • The U.S. pioneered MIRV technology in 1970, followed by the Soviet Union, and China is rapidly modernizing its nuclear arsenal.

SIPRI Report: China's Nuclear Arsenal Growth

  • According to SIPRI Yearbook 2023, China's nuclear arsenal increased from 350 warheads in January 2022 to 410 in January 2023.

  • The SIPRI report is released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) itself. They are the ones who conduct the research, compile the data, and publish the final report.

Future Challenges: Avoiding a Costly Arms Race

  • Experts weigh in on the pace and breadth of China, India, and Pakistan's combined arms efforts, emphasizing the need to avoid a costly arms race.


4. V-Dem Institution Report: -

India's Democratic Decline: The 'Democracy Report 2024' by V-Dem Institute reveals that India, previously downgraded to an "electoral autocracy" in 2018, has further deteriorated on multiple metrics, now classified as "one of the worst autocratizers."

  • Regime Classification: V-Dem categorizes countries into four regime types based on the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI): Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy. India falls into the Electoral Autocracy category.

  • Global Autocratisation Trend: In 2023, 42 countries, housing 35% of the world's population, were undergoing autocratisation, with India accounting for about half of the population in autocratising nations. Democratisation was occurring in only 18 countries, covering 5% of the global population.

  • Democracy Metrics Deterioration: The report notes that almost all components of democracy are worsening in more countries than improving. The sharpest decline is observed in Eastern Europe, South, and Central Asia. Freedom of expression, clean elections, and freedom of association/civil society are the most affected components in autocratising countries.

  • South and Central Asia Regression: The region, including India, witnessed significant regression, with the average Indian experiencing "liberal democracy" levels last seen in 1975 during the state of emergency declared by Indira Gandhi.

  • Autocratisation Process in India: The report highlights the gradual deterioration of freedom of expression, media independence, crackdowns on social media, harassment of critical journalists, attacks on civil society, and suppression of freedom of religion rights under the BJP-led government.

  • Critical Year for Democracy in 2024: The report emphasizes that more than half of the 60 countries going to the polls in 2024, including India, are in periods of democratic decline. The elections in 2024 are deemed critical for the future of democracy globally.

  • Concerns for India's Future: The report suggests that if the BJP and Prime Minister Modi secure a third consecutive term, it could lead to further autocratisation, given the existing substantial democratic decline and persistent crackdown on minority rights and civil society.

  • V-Dem Institute Collaborative Project: The Democracy Report involves 4,200 scholars from 180 countries, relying on 31 million datasets covering 202 countries from 1789 to 2023.


5. Alcohol Addiction Threatens Tribal Village in Karnataka's Western Ghats

Location: Makuta village, inhabited by the Phani Yerava tribe, in Kodagu district, Karnataka.

Background:

  • The village is located in a World Heritage Site with dense forests.

  • In 2021, the Yerava tribe successfully claimed land rights under the Forest Rights Act.

Shifting Livelihood:

  • The Yeravas traditionally collected minor forest produce but now prefer daily labor due to:

  • Difficulty of collecting produce

  • Low and volatile market prices

  • Exploitation by middlemen

Forest Produce Collection:

  • Limited collection of fuelwood, honey, incense, and soap pods for personal use.

Alcohol Abuse:

  • A major concern for the community.

  • Observed by the researcher during a visit.

  • Reasons cited:

  • Learned from other laborers in cities

  • Way to unwind after hard work

Impact of Addiction:

  • Affects health, education (school attendance), and overall well-being.

  • Important documents need to be kept by non-tribal members for safekeeping.

Efforts to Address the Issue:

  • Social Welfare Department is concerned and planning de-addiction drives.

  • Leaders from other tribal communities have lost relatives due to addiction.

Need for Attention:

  • NGOs and tribal leaders believe this issue is neglected in policy decisions.

  • More focus needed on social issues faced by marginalized tribal communities.

Conclusion:

Alcohol addiction poses a serious threat to the well-being of the Phani Yerava tribe. Government intervention and community support are crucial to address this problem.

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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS

Issue Overview: Declining Share of Southern States

  • Background:

  • Southern States in India have experienced a consistent decline in their share of resources transferred from the Centre to the States through successive Finance Commissions.

  • Analyzing Share Trends:

  • Examining shares from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Finance Commission (final report), southern States' share has fallen from 19.785% to 15.800%.

  • Northern and eastern States have also faced declines, while hilly, central, and western States, including Maharashtra, have gained.

  • Impact of Income Distance Criterion:

  • The income distance criterion, with a weight reduction from 50% to 45%, is a major factor contributing to the loss of the southern States.

  • The criterion implies that the farther a State is from the highest income State, the higher its share.

  • Weight Adjustment Proposal:

  • Suggested action by the Sixteenth Finance Commission:

  • Consider reducing the weight of the income distance criterion by 5% to 10% points.

  • Correspondingly increase the weights attached to other criteria for fair distribution.

  • Population Criterion Controversy:

  • The shift from 1971 to 2011 population data has caused some controversy.

  • Introduction of the demographic change criterion seeks to mitigate penalties for States with better fertility rate reduction performance.

  • Divisible Pool Size:

  • The divisible pool size increased to 42% as recommended by the Fourteenth Finance Commission, but the Centre raised cesses and surcharges, reducing the pool size.

  • Suggestion to limit the share of cesses and surcharges to 10% of the Centre’s gross tax revenues.

  • Conclusion:

  • While addressing the declining share issue, it's crucial to retain the income distance criterion but consider reducing its weight.

  • Proposals aim to balance fair distribution and maintain the essence of the income distance criterion.

  • The Sixteenth Finance Commission should explore adjusting weights and setting limits on cesses and surcharges to ensure equitable resource distribution among States.



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