Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy- UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 29th December 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 29-12-2021

 Daily Current Affairs – Topics

  • Missionaries of Charity and FCRA
  • 5G in India
  • SC on Dowry Deaths
  • NITI Aayog -State Health Index
  • Iran nuclear talks

 

 

1.Missionaries of Charity and FCRA

#GS3-Money-Laundering & Its Prevention

Context

  • The Union Home Ministry has declined to renew the Missionaries of Charity’s (MoC) registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which was founded by Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa.

In depth information

Background:

  • According to the MHA, the government terminated or suspended the FCRA licences of more than 6,600 NGOs between 2016 and 2020.
  • The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act is a federal law that regulates foreign contributions (FCRA)
  • The Foreign Contribution Control Act (FCRA) monitors foreign donations and ensures that they do not jeopardise national security.
  • It was first implemented in 1976, but it was updated in 2010 with a plethora of new regulations governing foreign donations.
  • The FCRA applies to all associations, groups, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who want to receive foreign donations.
  • The FCRA requires all such NGOs to register with the government.
  • The registration is valid for five years at first, and it can be renewed if all requirements are met.

Why was the FCRA passed?

  • The FCRA aimed to standardise the acceptance and use of foreign contributions and hospitality by individuals, associations, and businesses.
  • It aimed to prevent such funds from being utilised for activities that were harmful to the national interest.

What was the recent Amendment?

  • In September 2020, the FCRA was updated to add certain new restrictions.
  • According to the government, it did so because it discovered that many recipients were failing to comply with regulations relating to annual returns and account management.
  • Many of the monies received were not used for the stated purposes.
  • Between 2010 and 2019, the yearly influx of foreign contributions nearly doubled, according to the report.
  • 19,000 organisations had their FCRA registrations revoked, and in certain cases, criminal charges were filed.

What has changed in the law

  • NGOs consider at least three main modifications to be excessively restrictive.
  • Fund transfer prohibition: An change to Section 7 of the Act makes it illegal for an organisation to transfer foreign monies it receives to any other person or organisation.

Accounts that are directed and have a single bank account:

  • Another change requires that anyone (or any organisation) who has been granted a certificate or prior approval to receive funds from outside the country create an FCRA bank account at an SBI branch in New Delhi.
  • Funds are used in the following ways: All international funds should be deposited into this account and nowhere else. The receivers, on the other hand, are free to open another FCRA bank account in any of the participating banks.

Information that is shared:

  • Any international remittance will be reported to authorities by the designated bank, together with information about its source and how it was received.
  • The government is also authorised to collect the Aadhaar numbers of all key functionaries of any organisation that asks for FCRA registration or prior approval to receive foreign donations.
  • Another change is that the amount of money that can be spent on administrative expenses has been decreased from 50 percent to 20 percent of total earnings.

What are the objections to these changes?

  • NGOs questioning the law believe the prohibition on transfer is arbitrary and imposes an excessive burden.
  • Non-funding of other organisations:
  • One of the repercussions of this is that recipients are unable to fund other organisations. It is impossible to share foreign aid when it is received as material.
  • Designated bank accounts are irrational:
  • There is no rational link between designating a specific branch of a bank and the goal of safeguarding national interest.
  • It is also inconvenient because the NGOS may be functioning elsewhere due to the Delhi-based bank account.
  • As the Supreme Court noted in the Pegasus Case, “national security” cannot be cited as a motive without enough grounds.

What does the government have to say about it?

  • The revisions were necessary to prevent foreign state and non-state entities from interfering with the politics and internal affairs of the country.
  • Misconduct by NGOs and diversion of foreign funding: Changes are also required to prevent misbehaviour by NGOs and diversion of foreign donations.
  • Fund flow monitoring:
  • Having a single designated bank for receiving foreign cash makes it easier to keep track of the money flow.
  • Ease of use:
  • The government stated that no one needs to travel to Delhi to open an account because it can be done remotely.

Recent Supreme Court rulings:

  • It has questioned why, under the foreign contributions regulations statute, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been responsible with monitoring the influx and subsequent outflow of foreign donations to NGOs.

 

2.5G in India

#GS3-Infrastructure, Sci-tech

Context

  • The Department of Telecommunications announced that Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Pune will be the first cities to receive 5G services next year, in 2022. (DoT).

In depth information

What factors influenced the selection of these cities?

  • Because of their widespread use of telecommunications services, it is easier to persuade more consumers to upgrade from 4G to 5G.
  • Given that 5G services would initially be more expensive, it would be prudent to test the service in places where more consumers will find it affordable.
  • Cities offer a variety of venues for testing various 5G bands, including walled complexes and open spaces.

5G Technology Overview:

  • The fifth-generation mobile network is referred to as 5G. After 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks, it is a new global wireless standard.
  • It allows for the creation of a new type of network that connects nearly everyone and everything, including machines, objects, and gadgets.
  • Internet speeds in the 5G high-band spectrum have been tested to reach 20 Gbps (gigabits per second), although the greatest internet data speed in 4G has been reported at 1 Gbps in most circumstances.

5G primarily operates in three bands, namely the low, mid, and high-frequency spectrums, each of which has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

  • Low-frequency spectrum
  • It has a lot of potential in terms of coverage and internet and data transfer speed, however the maximum speed is just 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).
  • The low band spectrum may not be ideal for specialised needs of the industry, thus Telcos can use and deploy it for commercial cell phone users who may not have specific need for very high speed internet.
  • Spectrum in the mid-band
  • It has faster speeds than the low band, however it has restrictions in terms of coverage area and signal penetration.
  • This band could be utilised by industries and specialised production units to create captive networks that can be tailored to their specific demands.
  • Spectrum with a wide frequency range
  • It has the fastest speed of the three bands, but its coverage and signal penetration intensity are severely limited.
  • Internet speeds in the 5G high-band spectrum have been tested to reach 20 Gbps (gigabits per second), although the greatest internet data speed in 4G has been reported at 1 Gbps in most circumstances.

Benefits

  • It will allow for the creation, testing, and spread of 5G technology system components, as well as cross-sectoral use cases, as well as laying the groundwork for the country’s “6G Technology landscape.”
  • Users will be able to broadcast several camera perspectives during sporting events, as well as play immersive video games with VR headsets and other devices.
  • It will also enable a mesh of connected Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices and services, similar to connected autos, with a zero-fail rate.
  • Healthcare: Using sensor networks, healthcare professionals can track patients and transmit information more quickly than ever before.
  • Public Safety: Thanks to a large network and quick reaction times, public works may respond to events and emergencies in seconds rather than minutes, allowing towns to react quickly and at a lower cost.
  • Autonomous Vehicles:
  • 5G will enable vehicles to connect with one other and with road infrastructure, enhancing safety and alerting drivers to road conditions and performance data.

Challenges

  • There is a lack of clarity in terms of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency ranges.
  • With the Telcos, there is a lack of cash flow and enough capital.

Suggestions

  • 5G would necessitate a fundamental shift in the communication system’s underlying design, and India should be prepared with a resilient, scalable, and intelligent infrastructure capable of handling tremendous traffic growth.
  • To construct 5G networks in a seamless manner, more billions of dollars would be required.
  • India has a unique telecom landscape that is undergoing a multi-generational change. Operators must be able to support a wide range of hybrid technology. For example, 2G-compatible technology that transitions to 4G and then 5G, as well as technology that supports remote rural applications, and so on.

 

3.SC on Dowry Deaths

#GS1- Salient features of Indian Society

Context

  • Dowry death can be presumed if the widow was harassed, mentally and physically near before her death in the marital home, according to the Supreme Court.

In depth information

  • Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code was being interpreted by a bench chaired by the Chief Justice of India (dowry death).
  • The verdict was handed out in the case of a woman who died barely a few months after her marriage in Bihar in 1997. The first several months of her marriage were blighted by dowry harassment.

SC’s Position

  • Cruelty must be demonstrated in the immediate aftermath of death. It should go on indefinitely.
  • The accused’s constant harassment, whether physical or mental, should make the deceased’s life unbearable, maybe forcing her to commit suicide.

System of Dowry

  • The dowry system in India entails payments from the bride’s family to the bridegroom in the form of capital, durable goods, and real estate, among other things, as a condition of marriage.
  • Abuse for dowry demands can take many forms, the most terrible of which being the death of the victim or the death of the dowry.

India’s Dowry Deaths

  • Dowry deaths are the deaths of married women who are murdered or driven to suicide by their husbands and in-laws’ constant harassment and torment.
  • This is primarily due to dowry demands, making women’s homes the most unsafe places to be.
  • Dowry for the following reasons:
  • Economic factors include inheritance laws and the bride’s financial situation. Dowry provided economic and financial security to women in their marriages, at least in principle.
  • Due to the seclusion of the bride’s family after marriage, the system favours dowry as a type of pre-mortem inheritance for the bride.

Factors that contribute to its survival

  • Traditions and historical significance:
  • People have a preconceived impression that the dowry system has been in place for generations and that it is mandatory for the two families to comply.
  • Dowry has a social standing attached with it:
  • many people believe that giving or receiving dowry confers a great deal of prestige and honour in society.
  • Illiteracy:
  • Even though dowry is practised by literates in our society, it is extremely difficult to get them to understand the regulations.
  • Bridegroom extortion:
  • The high desire for a well-paid bridegroom in prestigious companies often motivates brides’ families to pay large dowries, perpetuating such immoral habits.

India’s Legal Situation

  • The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 was enacted to restrict the giving or receiving of dowry.
  • The Dowry Death of a Woman Subjected to Cruelty or Harassment by Her Husband or Any Relative of Her Husband is covered by Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.
  • If the wife commits suicide within seven years of her marriage, the husband or a relative might be prosecuted under section 498-A of the IPC (cruelty).
  • Section 174 of the CrPC was also altered to provide for a post-mortem examination in the event of a woman’s suicide or death within seven years of her marriage.
  • The Evidence Act of 1872 included Section 113A, which established a presumption of cruelty as stated by Section.

Section 304-B Issues

  • Courts have interpreted the phrase “soon before” in Section 304B to mean “immediately before” over the years. According to this understanding, a woman must have been harassed just before she died.
  • There is no requirement to wear a straitjacket:
  • The definition of cruelty or harassment varies by circumstance. Even the definition of cruelty is broad, ranging from physical to verbal to emotional abuse. As a result, no straitjacket equations can be established by this court to define exactly what the expression “soon before” signifies.
  • It is necessary to use a liberal approach:
  • The court went on to say that the word “other than under normal circumstances” in Section requires a broad interpretation as well. In categorising death as homicidal, suicide, or accidental, Section 304B of the IPC does not use a pigeonhole method.

a path forward

  • Women’s dignity, modesty, and safety must be prioritised by everyone. Abusing them only for the sake of dowry or any other financial gain is a disgraceful conduct in and of itself.
  • To avoid such horrible crimes, the government must enact tough regulations and procedures.

 

4.NITI Aayog -State Health Index

#GS2-Health.

Context

  • The fourth edition of Niti Aayog’s state health index for 2019-20 has been issued.
  • The NITI Aayog, the World Bank, and the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry commissioned the “Health Index” as part of a report.

In depth information

In the most recent index, the following states performed well:

  • Kerala has won for the fourth year in a row.
  • Uttar Pradesh is at the bottom of the list.
  • Tamil Nadu is ranked second, while Telangana is ranked third.
  • Mizoram came out on top among smaller states in terms of health, while Nagaland came in worst.
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu were placed first and second, respectively, among union territories, and Andaman and Nicobar was ranked last.

What is the order of the states?

  • The Health Index score is calculated using data from a vast number of variables organised into three categories: health outcomes, governance and information, and key inputs and processes.
  • Parameters like neonatal mortality rate, under-5 mortality rate, and birth sex ratio are examples of health outcomes.
  • Institutional deliveries and average occupancy of top officials in important positions intended for health are examples of governance.

Significance:

  • The Health Index was created as a mechanism to use cooperative and competitive federalism to accelerate the pace at which health results are achieved.
  • It would also be used to “nudge” States and Union Territories (UTs) and Central Ministries to place a considerably larger emphasis on output and outcome-based annual performance measurement than is currently the case.
  • The Index’s annual publication and dynamic availability on the public domain are expected to keep all stakeholders informed about the achievement of Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

5.Iran nuclear talks

#GS2- Indian diaspora.

Context:

  • International discussions to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, have resumed in Vienna.
  • Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are the remaining signatories to the agreement.
  • The negotiations aim to re-engage the US, which left the agreement in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump and began slapping penalties on Iran.

In depth information

Concerning the Iran Nuclear Deal:

  • The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is another name.
  • The JCPOA was the product of years of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 between 2013 and 2015. (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, or the EU).
  • Tehran promised to drastically reduce its stockpiles of centrifuges, enriched uranium, and heavy water, all critical components for nuclear bombs, as part of the agreement.

So, what’s the big deal now?

  • In 2018, Trump withdrew the US from the agreement. He also chose a “maximum pressure” strategy, imposing sanctions and other harsh measures.
  • Iran retaliated by increasing uranium enrichment and centrifuge production while insisting that its nuclear programme was for civilian rather than military goals.
  • Iran stated in January 2020 that it will no longer adhere to the JCPOA’s limitations, following a drone strike on the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Qasem Soleiman.
  • The breakdown of the JCPOA pushes Iran, like North Korea, to the verge of nuclear war, causing tremendous geopolitical instability in the region and beyond.

The Deal’s Importance for India:

  • Removing sanctions might rekindle India’s interest in the Chabahar and Bandar Abbas ports, as well as other regional connectivity projects.
  • This would also assist India in neutralising China’s footprint in Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
  • The re-establishment of links between the United States and Iran will assist India in obtaining low-cost Iranian oil and ensuring energy security.

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