UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 11th February 2022
Topics for the day :
- Haryana Cabinet nod for anti-conversion Bill
- Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)
- RBI holds rates to spur growth
- Nirbhaya Fund
- the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021
Haryana Cabinet nod for anti-conversion Bill
- Haryana Cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft of the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022, which seeks to prohibit religious conversions
- States such as UP,Gujarat and MP etc. have already brought strong laws against forced conversions
More on the news :
- It seeks to prohibit religious conversions made through misrepresentation, force, undue in?uence, coercion, allurement or by fraudulent means or by marriage or for marriage
- Under the bill the burden of proof “lies on the accused”
- It prescribes higher punishment for conversion of minors, women, and members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
- Every individual converting from one religion to another will have to submit a declaration that it was not being done through misrepresentation, use of force, under threat, or undue influence
- The Gujarat High Court had stayed some of the provisions of the gujarat anti conversion legislation in August 2021 – ex.provisions like the one that places the burden of proof on those entering into an inter-faith marriage.
- Article 21 of the constitution guarantees individuals the right to marry a person of one’s choice.
- Article 25, Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion including not following any religion, are also guaranteed. However, no person shall force their religious beliefs onto others and no person should be forced to practice any religion against their wishes.
- Uncertain and Vague Terminology like misrepresentation, force, fraud, allurement presents a serious avenue for misuse.
Supreme court on religious conversions :
- Hadiya case 2017 – SC held that the state and the courts have no jurisdiction over an adult’s absolute right to choose a life partner. This is guaranteed under Article 21
- Sarla Mudgal case – SC held that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefit do not hold ground
Way forward :
- Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights mentions everyone has the right to freedom of religion including changing their faith. Hence ??centre can frame a model law like Model law on contract farming etc.
- People also need to be educated about the provisions and ways of Forceful conversions, Inducement or allurement, etc
Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)
- There is a petition in delhi HC seeking direction to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to ?nd out “anti-national forces” behind the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)
Provisions of the citizenship amendment act :
- The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities – Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
- Those from these communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution in their respective countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and hence not prosecuted under foreigners act and passport act.
- The Act provides that the central government may cancel the registration of OCIs on certain grounds.
- The Act does not apply to tribal areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya because of being included in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution
- Areas that fall under the Inner line limit notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, will be outside the Act
- The amendment relaxes the requirement of naturalization from 11 years to 5 years for applicants belonging to these six religions
Issues with the Act :
- There are apprehensions that the CAA, followed by a country-wide compilation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens’ register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship.
- Issues in the North-East: It contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which states that illegal migrants, irrespective of religion, heading in from Bangladesh after 25th March, 1971, would be deported.
- Against Fundamental Rights: Critics argue that it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution
- Discriminatory in Nature: India has several other refugees that include Tamils from Sri Lanka and Hindu Rohingya from Myanmar. They are not covered under the Act.
- Hampering Bilateral Ties: The Act talks of religious oppression that has happened and is happening in these three countries and affects the relations.
- Difficulty in administration as it will be difficult for the government to differentiate between illegal migrants and those persecuted.
RBI holds rates to spur growth
- The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Thursday kept policy interest rates unchanged and by a 51 majority voted to continue the ‘accommodative’ stance
More on the news :
- Flagging potential downside risks from the “highly contagious Omicron variant”, the MPC noted there had been some loss of momentum in economic activity
- MPC also noted that consumer price in?ation has edged higher since its last meeting
- MPC held that headline inflation would peak in the current quarter within the tolerance band and then moderate this had provided room for policy to remain accommodative.
RBI monetary policy committee :
- The Monetary Policy Committee is a statutory and institutionalized framework under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, for maintaining price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
- The ex-officio chairperson is the Governor of the RBI
- Meeting quorum 4 persons,including the Governor
- Legally required to hold minimum four meetings in a year.In practice, they meet every two months to decide bi-monthly monetary policy updates
- When they vote for the first time, all members, including the Governor, will vote. If tie then Governor can vote again for second time as casting vote
- To ensure transparency / accountability :
- Govt can send message only in writing.
- Committee must publish its minutes of the meeting on the 14th day, and “Monetary Policy report” at every 6 months.
- Inflation target decided by Union Government, after consulting with RBI Governor
- Inflation refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use, such as food, clothing, housing, recreation, transport, consumer staples, etc
- Wholesale Price Index measures the changes in the prices of goods sold and traded in bulk by wholesale businesses to other businesses. Published by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry
- Consumer Price Index measures price changes from the perspective of a retail It is released by the National Statistical Office (NSO). The CPI calculates the difference in the price of commodities and services such as food, medical care, education, electronics etc
- The Delhi government has requested the Centre to disburse over ?11 crore from the Nirbhaya Fund for the illumination of over a thousand dark spots in the Capital.
- Post the nirbhaya Gang rape case, The Government of India had set up a dedicated fund called ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ in 2013 with the focus on implementing the initiatives aimed at improving the security and safety of women in India.
Provisions of the fund :
- It is a non-lapsable corpus fund for the safety and security of women
- Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the administration of the fund.
- While the Women and Child Development Ministry is the nodal agency for expenditure from the Nirbhaya Fund. It examines the programs submitted to it by the states under the Nirbhaya scheme, approves them and recommends to the Department of Economic affairs for allocating funds.
- Under the Nirbhaya Fund, one of the schemes namely “One Stop Centre (OSC) Scheme” is implemented OSCs aim to facilitate women affected by violence with a range of integrated services under one roof such as Police facilitation, medical aid, providing legal and psycho-social counselling and temporary shelter.
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021
- The Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the government will “initiate action against those who write against the sovereignty of the nation” under the Digital Media Ethics Code.
What is the digital media ethics code ?
- The Centre under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011
- It mandates a grievance redressal system for over the top (OTT) and digital portals in the country. This is necessary for the users of social media to raise their grievance against the misuse of social media.
- Significant social media firms have to appoint a chief compliance officer and have a nodal contact person who can be in touch with law enforcement agencies 24/7.
- A grievance officer: Social media platforms will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and dispose of it in 15 days.
- Removal of content: If there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – social media platforms will be required to remove that within 24 hours after a complaint is made.
- A monthly report: They also will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal.
- There will be three levels of regulation for news publishers – self-regulation, a self-regulatory body, headed by a retired judge or an eminent person, and oversight from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, including codes of practices and a grievance committee.
- Social media companies with more than 50 lakh registered users will be considered ‘significant social media intermediaries’, as per the new norms.
What happens in case of non compliance?
- Social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp messenger could face a ban if they do not comply with the new Information Technology rules.
- They also run the risk of losing their status as “intermediaries” and may become liable for criminal action if they do not comply with the revised regulations. That is unavailability of ‘safe harbour’ protection given to intermediaries under Section 79 of the IT Act, under the new rules
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 11th February 2022
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