GS- 2nd Paper
Topic – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019
Lok Sabha passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019
- The Citizenship Act, 1955 regulates who may acquire Indian citizenship and on what grounds.
- A person may become an Indian citizen if they are born in India or have Indian parentage or have resided in the country for a period of time, etc.
- However, illegal migrants are prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship.
- An illegal migrant is a foreigner who:
- Enters the country without valid travel documents, like a passport and visa, or
- Enters with valid documents, but stays beyond the permitted time period.
- Illegal migrants may be imprisoned or deported under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.
- The 1946 and the 1920 Acts empower the central government to regulate the entry, exit and residence of foreigners within India.
- In 2015 and 2016, the central government issued two notifications exempting certain groups of illegal migrants from provisions of the 1946 and the 1920 Acts.
- These groups are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.
- This implies that these groups of illegal migrants will not be deported or imprisoned for being in India without valid documents.
Citizenship Act, 1955 amendment
- In 2016, a Bill was introduced to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.
- The Bill sought to make illegal migrants belonging to these six religions and three countries eligible for citizenship,
- The bill also made some changes in the provisions on registration of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders.
- It was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which submitted its report on January 7, 2019.
- The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019.
- However, it lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
- Subsequently, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is being introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2019.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019
- The 2019 Bill seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
- It exempts certain areas in the North-East from this provision.
- The Bill also makes amendments to provisions related to OCI cardholders.
- A foreigner may register as an OCI under the 1955 Act if they are of Indian origin (e.g., former citizen of India or their descendants) or the spouse of a person of Indian origin.
- This will entitle them to benefits such as the right to travel to India, and to work and study in the country.
- The Bill amends the Act to allow cancellation of OCI registration if the person has violated any law notified by the central government.
Key features of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019
- The Bill adds two additional provisions on citizenship to illegal migrants belonging to these religions from the three countries.
- The bill aims at providing Indian citizenship to 6 minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- The communities are Hindu, Christian, Sikhs, Buddhist and Jain.
- Currently for a person to get Indian citizenship, he should have resided in the country for 11 years.
- The bill intends to amend this as 6 years.
Consequences of acquiring citizenship
The Bill says that on acquiring citizenship:
- Such persons shall be deemed to be citizens of India from the date of their entry into India, and
- All legal proceedings against them in respect of their illegal migration or citizenship will be closed.
- The Bill adds that the provisions on citizenship for illegal migrants will not apply to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
- These tribal areas include Karbi Anglong (in Assam), Garo Hills (in Meghalaya), Chakma District (in Mizoram), and Tripura Tribal Areas District.
- It will also not apply to the areas under the Inner Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
- The Inner Line Permit regulates visit of Indians to Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
Whether differentiating on grounds of religion is a violation of Article 14?
- The Bill provides that illegal migrants who fulfill four conditions will not be treated as illegal migrants under the Act.
- The conditions are:
- They are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians;
- They are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan;
- They entered India on or before December 31, 2014;
- They are not in certain tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, or areas under the “Inner Line” permit, i.e., Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
- Article 14 guarantees equality to all persons, including citizens and foreigners.
- It only permits laws to differentiate between groups of people if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose.
- The question is whether this provision violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution as it provides differential treatment to illegal migrants on the basis of:
- Their country of origin, (b) religion, (c) date of entry into India, and (d) place of residence in India.
- The bill has not mention Muslim community.
- This according Article 14 is a violation of equality before law.
- The article states that the government shall show no discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, race, sex or birth.
- The bill lists the six religions, instead of the term “persecuted minorities”, which clearly excluded Muslims.
- Recently the people of Tamil Eelam presecuted in SriLanka and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are seen fleeing to India and taking refuge here.
- It fails to allow Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims to apply for citizenship, who also face persecution in Pakistan.
- It is not clear why illegal migrants belonging to religious minorities from these countries have been excluded from the Bill.
Wide discretion to government to cancel OCI registration
- The 1955 Act provides that the central government may cancel the registration of OCIs on various grounds.
- The Bill adds one more ground for cancelling registration, that is, if the OCI has violated any law notified by the central government.
- It further states that orders for cancellation of OCI should not be passed till the cardholder is given an opportunity to be heard.
- It may be argued that giving the central government the power to prescribe the list of laws whose violation result in cancellation of OCI registration, may amount to an excessive delegation of powers by the legislature.
- The Bill does not provide any guidance on the nature of laws which the central government may notify.
- Therefore, in the absence of standards, criteria or principles on the types of laws which may be notified by the government, it may be argued that the powers given to the executive may go beyond the permissible limits of valid delegation.
GS- 3rd Paper
Topics– Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Incentive and Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles.
About FAME India scheme
- FAME India scheme is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan.
- Main thrust of FAME is to encourage electric vehicles by providing subsidies.
- FAME-India Scheme is implementing by Department of Heavy Industry in order to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
- It is being implemented in two phases.
- Phase-I [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electric Vehicles in India] from 1st April 2015.
- The Phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electric Vehicles.
- FAME-India Scheme proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport and seeks to encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation.
Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme
- Under Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme, the Government has supported about 500 charging stations to establish electric vehicle charging stations in the country.
- Out of about 500 charging stations sanctioned under Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme about 230 charging stations have been installed.
- Further, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) under the Ministry of Power has deployed 65 public charging stations for EVs in the country.
Key features of Phase-2 of FAME-India Scheme
- FAME 2 scheme aims to boost electric mobility and increase the number of electric vehicles in commercial fleets.
- The government will provide the incentives for electric buses, three-wheelers and four-wheelers to be used for commercial purposes.
- The center will invest in setting up charging stations, with the active participation of public sector units and private players.
- Projects for charging infrastructure will include those needed to extend electrification for running vehicles such as pantograph charging and flash charging.
- FAME 2 will also encourage interlinking of renewable energy sources with charging infrastructure.
- India needs auto industry’s active participation to ease electric mobility transition.
- The auto and battery industries could collaborate to enhance customer awareness and promote domestic manufacturing.
- Government needs to focus on a phased manufacturing plan to promote EVs, provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for phased manufacturing of EVs and batteries.
GS- 2nd Paper
Topic- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Human Rights Day
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) celebrated the Human Rights Day on 10, December.
About Human Rights Day
- Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December every year.
- The date was chosen to honour the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
- It was the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India was established on 12 October, 1993.
- The statute under which it is established is the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 as amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006.
- It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights held in Paris in October 1991,
- It is endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December, 1993.
- The NHRC is an embodiment of India’s concern for the promotion and protection of human rights.
The Human Rights Council
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body created by the United Nations General Assembly resolution on 15 March 2006.
- It has replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- It is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
- It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.
- It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
- The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member Stateswhich are elected by the UN General Assembly.
Composition of NHRC
- The National Human Rights Commission includes a chairperson and seven other members.
- Out of the seven members, three are ex-officio members and four others are selected by the Presidenton the recommendation of a Selection Committee.
- The Chairperson and the members of the NHRC have tenure of five years or the age of 70 years before the completion of his tenure.
- The Chairperson or any other member of this commission can be removed by the President even before the expiry of their full term.
- They can be removed only on the charge of proved misbehaviour or incapacity or both, if it is proved by an inquiry conducted by a judge of the Supreme Court.
Members of NHRC
- A Chairperson- retired Chief Justice of India.
- One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.
- One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court.
- Two Members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.
- Additionally, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions,(1.Minorities 2.SC and ST 3.Women), to serve as ex officio members.
Functions of National Human Rights Commission
Comprehensive powers and functions have been given to the Commission under section12 of the Act.
- To investigate grievancesregarding the violation of human rights either suo moto or after receiving a petition.
- To scrutinize the failure of duties on the part of any public official in preventing the violation of human rights.
- To interfere in any judicial proceedings involving any allegation of violation of human rights.
- To visit any jail or any other institutionunder the control of the State Government to see the living conditions of the inmates and to make recommendations thereon.
- To review the safeguardsprovided under the constitution or any law for the protection of the human rights and to recommend appropriate remedial measures.
- To study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and to make recommendations for their effective implementation.
- To undertake and promote research in the field of human rights.
- To encourage the efforts of the non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights.
- To spread human rights literacyamong various sections of society.
- To review all facts related to the activities of the terrorists which obstruct the way of the protection of human rights and to make recommendations for their effective implementation.
GS- 2nd Paper
Topic– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Measures to prevent Crime against Women
Government has taken for safety of women across the country.
Following are the Measures taken by Government to prevent Crime against Women-
- The Criminal Law (Amendment), Act 2013 was enacted for effective deterrence against sexual offences.
- Further, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 was enacted to prescribe even more stringent penal provisions including death penalty for rape of a girl below the age of 12 years.
- The Act also inter-alia mandates completion of investigation and trials within 2 months each.
Emergency Response Support System–
It provides a pan-India, single, internationally recognized number (112) based system for all emergencies, with computer aided dispatch of field resources to the location of distress.
Safe City Projects
- Using technology to aid smart policing and safety management, Safe City Projects have been sanctioned in first Phase in 8 cities (Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai).
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has launched a cyber-crime portal on 20th September 2018 for citizens to report obscene content.
National Database on Sexual Offenders’ (NDSO)
- MHA has launched the ‘National Database on Sexual Offenders’ (NDSO) on 20th September 2018.
- It facilitates investigation and tracking of sexual offenders across the country by law enforcement agencies.
Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences
- In order to facilitate States/UTs, MHA on 19th February 2019 launched an online analytic tool for police called ‘Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences’.
- It monitor and track time-bound investigation in sexual assault cases in accordance with the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2018.
One Stop Centre (OSC) scheme
- One Stop Centre (OSC) scheme is being implemented across the country since 1st April 2015.
- It is exclusively designed to provide integrated services such as medical aid, police assistance, legal counselling/ court case management, psycho-social counselling and temporary shelter to women affected by violence under one roof.
- As per available information, 728 OSCs have been approved by Government of India, 595 OSCs are operational in the country.