Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 19th November 2020 |

  TOPICS OF THE DAY:
  1. Study highlights online education woes
  2. BRICS Virtual Summit 2020
  3. Lilavati Award 2020
  4. Issue related to Article 32
  5. Bru refugees
  1) Study highlights online education woes: Relevant to: GS2: Polity and Governance, Context: A study was conducted by the Azim Premji University on the efficacy and accessibility of e-learning. Key Findings of the study: More than 60% of the respondents who are enrolled in government schools could not access online education. Children with disabilities found it more difficult to participate in online sessions. Around 75% of the teachers spent, on an average, less than an hour a day on online classes for any grade. Issues/concerns of online education: 90% of the teachers who work with children with disabilities found their students unable to participate online. Almost 70% of the parents surveyed. were of the opinion that online classes were not effective and did not help in their child’s learnings. 90% of parents of government school students surveyed were willing to send their children back to school.   2 )BRICS Virtual Summit 2020: Relevant to: #GS Prelims #Mains GS2: International Relations Context: The 12th BRICS summit was hosted virtually by the Russia. Highlights of the Summit:
  • Indian Prime Minister of India asserted that terrorism is the biggest problem facing the world and emphasised the need to confront the countries that supported and sponsored terror.
  • He acknowledged the Russian support for the BRICS counter-terrorism strategy.
  • He suggested that the National Security Advisers of all BRICS countries meet and discuss a counter- terrorism action plan.
  • He also raised the issue of “credibility and effectiveness” of the institutions that were necessary for global governance.
  • He introduced “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” to the BRICS members.
BRICS:
  • BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • BRICS countries represents 40% of the world population and account for 22% of global GDP.
  • Since 2009, the BRICS nations have met annually at formal summits.
  • BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • Objective: to deepen, broaden and intensify cooperation within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development.
New Development Bank (NDB):
  • It is a multilateral development bank operated by BRICS countries.
  • It has headquarters in Shanghai, China.
  • The bank’s primary focus on lending will be infrastructure projects.
  • The bank will have a starting capital of $50 billion,with capital increased to $100 billion over time.
  • Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will initially contribute $10 billion each to bring the total to $50 billion.
  • Each participant country will be assigned one vote,and no country will have veto power.
  • Countries apart from the BRICS will also be members.
  • The bank will allow new members to join but the share of BRICS countries cannot drop below 55%
  3) Lilavati Award 2020: Union Minister of Education launches Lilavati Award-2020 Relevant to : Mains GS 1: Women Empowerment Key points: Union Minister of Education Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank virtually launched Lilavati Award-2020.
  • It is AICTE’s Innovative education program to empower women.
  • With women empowerment as the theme, the objective of the award is to create awareness about issues like sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, literacy, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skills development, natura l resources and rights among women.
  • These initiatives will inspire the girl students and women to participate and excel.
  • The Minister informed that the award covers multidisciplinary areas such as women’s health, self-defense, sanitation, literacy, entrepreneurship and legal awareness. He said that the program will ensure the participation of women and enable them to hold higher positions in educational institutions.
About All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE):
  • It was set up in November 1945 as a national-level apex advisory body.
  • Its purpose was to conduct a survey on the facilities available for technical education and to promote development in the country in a coordinated and integrated manner.
  • According to the National Policy of Education (1986), AICTE is vested with:
  • Statutory authority for planning, formulation, and maintenance of norms & standards,
  • Quality assurance through accreditation, Funding in priority areas, monitoring, and evaluation, Maintaining parity of certification & awards,
  • The management of technical education in the country.
  4) Issue related to Article 32: Relevant to: GS prelims and Mains GS 2 Context: Recently, Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde observed that it is “trying to discourage” individuals from filing petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution. The observation came during the hearing of a petition seeking the release of journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested with three others while on their way to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, to report on an alleged gangrape and murder. What is Article 32?
  • It is one of the fundamental rights listed in the Constitution deals with the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’, or affirms the right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred in Part III of the Constitution.
  • It states that the Supreme Court “shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part”
  • The Article cannot be suspended except during the period of Emergency.
Significance of Article 32:
  • The Article is included in Part III of the Constitution with other fundamental rights including to Equality, Freedom of Speech and Expression, Life and Personal Liberty, and Freedom of Religion.
  • Only if any of these fundamental rights is violated can a person can approach the Supreme Court directly under Article 32.
  • In the Constituent Assembly debates, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said that without article 32 this Constitution would be a nullity. He further said that “It is the very soul of the Constitution and the very heart of it”
  • Article 32 is one of the greatest safeguards that can be provided for the safety and security of the individual.
  • Since Article 32 gives a person the right to approach the Supreme Court as a remedy if fundamental rights are violated, “it is a right fundamental to all the fundamental rights” guaranteed under the Constitution.
Can High Courts be approached in cases of violation of fundamental rights?
  • Both the High Courts and the Supreme Court can be approached for violation or enactment of fundamental rights through five kinds of writs
  • In civil or criminal matters, the first remedy available to an aggrieved person is that of trial courts, followed by an appeal in the High Court and then the Supreme Court.
  • When it comes to violation of fundamental rights, an individual can approach the High Court under Article 226 or the Supreme Court directly under Article 32. Article 226, however, is not a fundamental right like Article 32.
What have been the Supreme Court’s observations on Article 32?
  • In Romesh Thappar vs State of Madras (1950), the Supreme Court observed that Article 32 provides a “guaranteed” (SC cannot refuse) remedy for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
  • During the Emergency, in Additional District Magistrate, Jabalpur vs S S Shukla (1976), the Supreme Court had said that the citizen loses his right to approach the court under Article 32
Recent trends:
  • In the case of the journalist Siddique Kappan, the court asked why the petitioners could not go to the High Court. It has sought responses from the Centre and the UP government, and will hear the case later this week.
  • In another case invoking Article 32, filed by a Nagpur-based man arrested in three cases for alleged defamatory content against Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and others, the same Bench directed him to approach the High Court first.
  • In another matter, three-judge Bench of SC had issued a contempt notice to the Assistant Secretary of the Maharashtra Assembly who, in a letter to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, had questioned him for approaching the top court against the breach-of-privilege notice. The court had then said that the right to approach the Supreme Court under Article 32 is itself a fundamental right
  • The above instances have been cited by Citizen Activists to criticize the working of Judiciary where access to Justice at apex level is liable to influence and power.
Conclusion: Constitutional experts say that it is eventually at the discretion of the Supreme Court and each individual judge to decide whether an intervention is warranted in a case, which could also be heard by the High Court first.   5) Bru refugees:  Relevant to: GS prelims Context: Leaders of the Mizoram Bru refugees have demanded commencement of their permanent rehabilitation in Tripura in the light of the quadripartite agreement signed in New Delhi in January. Why is it being delayed? The government had selected 12 places including the Kanchanpur subdivision in north Tripura where the Brus have been housed in six makeshift camps since 1997. However, the decision to settle some of the refugees is facing protests from a local forum called Joint Movement. About the Bru-Reang refugee agreement: The agreement, signed in January this year, is between Union Government, Governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives to end the 23-year old Bru-Reang refugee crisis. Highlights of the agreement:
  • Under the agreement , the centre has announced a package of Rs. 600 crore under this agreement. As per the agreement the Bru tribes would be given land to reside in Tripura.
  • A fixed deposit of Rs. 4 lakh will be given to each family as an amount of government aid. They will be able to withdraw this amount after two years.
  • Each of the displaced families will be given 40×30 sq ft residential plots.
  • Apart from them, each family will be given Rs. 5,000 cash per month for two years.
  • The agreement highlights that each displaced family will also be given free ration for two years and aid of Rs. 1.5 lakh to build their houses.
Need for: More than 30,000 Bru tribes who fled Mizoram, are residing in Tripura’s refugee camps. This agreement will bring a permanent solution for the rehabilitation of thousands of Bru-Reang people in Tripura. They will be able to enjoy the benefits of all social-welfare schemes of governments. Who are Brus? The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the northeastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram. In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group. In Mizoram, they have been targeted by groups that do not consider them indigenous to the state.

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