UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 21st February 2022
Topics for the Day:
- PM welcomes ‘home’ a team of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs
- Guru ravidas and Guru gobind
- India – UAE ties
- What is accreditation, and what is its use ?
- One rank one pension
- Kisan Drones
PM welcomes ‘home’ a team of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs
- The PM spoke about the benefits of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 to a delegation of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs who are seeking citizenship in India
Problems currently :
- Lack of citizenship even to those people who fled Afghanistan and moved to India in the 1990’s
- Lack of a single window clearance regarding all citizenship related formalities
- Ministry of Home Affairs last year declared as invalid long-term visas issued to Hindus and Sikhs after the Taliban reached Kabul and there lacks clarity regarding the VISA process for afghans waiting to visit india.
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.
Difference between refugees and illegal immigrants :
- As of 2020, there are about 2.8 million Afghan refugees abroad
- According to UNHCR A refugee is defined as a person who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
- While foreign nationals who migrate voluntarily and those who enter the country without valid travel or stay documents are treated as illegal immigrants.
Existing framework to deal with illegal immigrants :
The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920:
- The act empowered the government to make rules requiring persons entering India to be in possession of passports.
- It also granted the government the power to remove from India any person who entered without a passport.
Foreigners Act, 1946:
- The act empowered the government to take such steps as are necessary to prevent illegal migrants including the use of force.
- The concept of ‘burden of proof’ lies with the person, and not with the authorities given by this act is still applicable in all States and Union Territories.
- The act empowered the government to establish tribunals which would have powers similar to those of a civil court. Recent amendments (2019) to the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 empowered even district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.
Guru Ravidas and Guru Gobind
- Recently the Prime minister invoked the names of these leaders in order to reinforce the idea of unity in diversity of india.
Guru Ravidas :
- Guru Ravidas was a 14th century saint and reformer of the Bhakti movement in North India.
- It is believed that he was born in Varanasi in a cobbler’s family.
- He gained prominence due to his belief in one God and his unbiased religious poems.
- He dedicated his whole life to the abolition of the caste system and openly despised the notion of a Brahminical society based on a rigid caste system.
- His devotional songs made an instant impact on the Bhakti Movement and around 41 of his poems were included in ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, the religious text of the Sikhs.
- He is believed to be a disciple of the bhakti saint-poet Ramananda and a contemporary of the bhakti saint-poet Kabir.
- One of his famous disciples was the saint, Mirabai.
- Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter.
Guru Gobind Singh :
- He was the 10th Sikh guru. He was born at Patna, Bihar, India.
- He is known for his significant contributions to the Sikh religion, including the introduction of the turban to cover hair.
- He also founded the principles of Khalsa or the Five ‘K’s.
- The Five K’s are kesh (uncut hair), kanga (wooden comb), kara (iron or steel bracelet), kirpan (dagger) and kachera (short breeches).
- These were the five articles of faith that a Khalsa must always adorn.
- He also laid down many other rules for the Khalsa warriors to follow like abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, halal meat, etc. The Khalsa warrior was also duty-bound to protect innocent people from persecution.
- He named Guru Granth Sahib, the religious text of the Khalsas and the Sikhs, as the next Guru of the two communities.
- His literary contributions include the Jaap Sahib, Benti Chaupai, Amrit Savaiye, He also wrote the Zafarnama which was a letter to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb
India – UAE ties
- India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which reduces tariffs for 80 per cent of goods and gives zero duty access to 90 per cent of India’s exports to the UAE.
More on the news :
- The agreement, is expected to come into effect in about 60 days
- It is expected to boost annual bilateral trade to $100 billion within 5 years of its adoption, up from about $60 billion currently
- The agreement covers areas including goods, services, rules of origin, Customs procedures, government procurement, intellectual property rights, and e-commerce.
- India’s labour-intensive and employment-generating industries such as gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, footwear, sports goods, furniture, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and automobiles are expected to gain most.
- Duty free access will be given to more 9% goods such as electronics,chemicals and petrochemicals in 5-10 years.
India UAE economic ties :
- India and the UAE established diplomatic relations in 1972.
- The greater push has been achieved in bilateral relations when the visit of India’s Prime Minister to the UAE in August 2015 marked the beginning of a new strategic partnership between the two countries.
- During the visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India in January 2017 as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, it was agreed that bilateral relations were to be upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
- Bilateral trade between India and the UAE stood at $43.3 billion in 2020-21. Exports from india were $16.7 billion, and imports, driven by oil, were $26.7 billion in 2020-21. However the India-UAE total trade merchandise has been valued at US $52.76 billion for the first nine months of the fiscal year 2021-22.This has made the UAE India’s third largest trading partner.
- The UAE’s investment in India is estimated to be around US $11.67 billion, which makes it the ninth biggest investor in India.
- Many Indian companies have set up manufacturing units either as joint ventures or in Special Economic Zones for cement, building materials, textiles, engineering products, consumer electronics, etc.
- Recently India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have decided to launch a new quadrilateral economic forum.
- UAE hosts a large Indian community which numbers close to 3.5 million. The nation has been a consistent provider of jobs to Indian people.
- India had received over US $83 billion in remittances in 2020 which was one of the highest in the world. Amongst this, a substantial portion came from the UAE
- The UAE is one of India’s key energy providers and remains committed to meeting India’s growing energy India imported US $10.9 billion worth of crude oil from the UAE in 2019-20.
What is accreditation, and what is its use ?
- The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has relaxed the eligibility criteria for accreditation of higher educational institutions
- Earlier only higher education institutions that are at least six years old, or from where at least two batches of students have graduated, could apply for accreditation with NAAC
- Under the new rules, colleges and universities that have completed even one academic year will be eligible to apply for a newly created category of ‘Provisional Accreditation for Colleges’ or PAC.
- The PAC, which will not offer any grading, will be valid for two years, and institutions cannot get it more than two times.
What is accreditation?
- Accreditation is a quality check exercise.
- It checks whether an institution meets certain standards of quality set by the evaluator in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research and financial well-being among others.
- Based on these parameters, the NAAC gives institutions grades ranging from A++ to C. If an institution is graded D, it means it is not accredited.
Benefits of accreditation:
- Apart from recognition, being accredited also helps institutions attract capital as funding agencies look for objective data for providing funding.
- It helps an institution know its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities through an informed review process.
- Accreditation helps students going for higher education abroad as many global higher education authorities insist on recognition and accreditation of the institution where the student has studied.
Paramarsh scheme :
- Earlier to help with the accreditation of colleges the Govt introduced a scheme called Paramarsh
- Under the scheme, some of the best performing institutes were identified to serve as mentors to at least five institutes aspiring to get accredited.
One rank one pension
- There are demands that one rank one pension be implemented on the lines of recommendations made by the Koshiyari Committee on OROP
- Recently the Supreme court also held that the centre’s talk on the OROP policy presented a much “rosier picture” than what is actually given to the Armed force pensioners.
What is one rank one pension :
- OROP means the payment of the same pension to military officers for the same rank for the same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.
Arguments in favour of OROP :
- The shorter period of service of military officers: The defense personnel is made to retire at the age of 33 to 35 years due to the necessity of maintaining a younger army whereas the officer of civil side retires at the age of 60 years
- Low salaries and pensions have lured youth into the far more lucrative corporate sector or civilian arms of government. Hundreds of officers opt out of the services for better financial prospects. This has led to an acute shortage of manpower in the armed forces.
- The disparity between past and present pensioners has grown with every successive Pay Commission. There’s a need to bridge the difference.
- Civil servants are protected under Section 47 of the Disability Act that prevents their termination. However people in the army are not protected under the act,thus they can be discharged from work anytime.
Arguments against OROP :
- Additional fiscal burden of 10000cr every year. Also since OROP is being implemented retrospectively from 1st July, 2014 there are huge arrears.
- Armed force personnel are already provided separate military service pay, field area allowance, counter insurgency allowance etc. They get various benefits, not accorded to their civilian counterparts, such as dedicated army hospitals, army schools, army colleges, subsidized food and beverages etc.
- Similar demands can be made by the CAPF, BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP etc in the future who also serve in risky environments.
- PM Modi flagged off 100 “kisan drones” in different parts of the country for spraying pesticides and other farm materials.
More about Kisan Drones :
- Drones will also be promoted for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients.
- Farmers can use high capacity drones in the coming times to transport their produce like fruits, vegetables and flowers to markets in a minimal time, boosting their income.
Drone Shakti Scheme:
- The Union Budget pushed for promotion of drones through startups and skilling at Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs).
- Startups will be promoted to facilitate ‘Drone Shakti’ for Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS). DrAAS allows enterprises to avail various services from drone companies, removing the need for them to invest in drone hardware or software, pilots, and training programmes.
- Courses for skilling will also be started in selected ITIs across all States.
- Sectors where drones can be employed include photography, agriculture, mining, telecom, insurance, telecom, oil & gas, construction, transport, disaster management, geo-spatial mapping, forest and wildlife, defence and law enforcement to name a few.
Other recent news on Drones :
- Recently, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has banned the import of foreign drones.
- The import of drone components, however, has not been banned and will not require any approvals.
- The import of drones for defense and security purposes will also be allowed subject to approval from the DGFT.
- The move aims to promote made-in-India drones.
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 21st February 2022
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