Myanmar Coup

#GS2 #InternationalRelations

The party of Myanmar’s detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi called on Tuesday for her immediate release. 

  • Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup against the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained along with other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. The Army said it had carried out the detentions in response to election fraud. 
  • The power is handed over to the military chief Min Aung Hlaing 
  • Emergency has been imposed in the state of for one year. 
  • “India does care about democracy in Myanmar, but that’s a luxury it knows it will not be able to afford for the time being”

India is a stakeholder

  • Myanmar plays important role in tackling insurgency in Northeast India. Insurgent groups such as ISCN-K, ISCN-IM have operational bases inside Myanmar, since both countries share long border. The Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi cooperated with India in controlling the insurgent activities especially, the Naga insurgency.
  • Myanmar is located between India and Southeast Asian countries. Hence, Myanmar is of strategical importance for connectivity between India and South-East Asian countries. India considers Myanmar as the “gateway to the East” and ASEAN countries. 
  • A stable Myanmar can prevent fleeing of refugees. The recent Rohingya issue had led to many refugees moving to India, putting pressure on the government. 
  • Infrastructure development, economical development projects in the North-Eastern India can be enhanced with co-operation with Myanmar. India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport network, as well as a plan for a Special Economic Zone at the Sittwe deep-water port are some of the projects that is undergoing. 
  • Both the countries are also engaged in defence cooperation. India and Myanmar conducts joint military exercise named India – Myanmar Bilateral Military Exercise (IMBEX). Both the armies had jointly carried out Operation Sunrise twice. Under Operation Sunrise, the India-Myanmar armies jointly target the militant groups that operates in the border states.

 

 

UAPA, NIA

#GS2 #GS3 #Governance #InternalSecurity

The Supreme Court has upheld the bail granted by the Kerala High Court to a man booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with a brutal attack on a college professor. 

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

  • It was passed in 1967 with the objective to prevent unlawful activities in the country (any action to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India) 
  • The Act provides greater power to the central government since the vague provisions Enables the government to define anything as unlawful activity. 
  • UAPA includes serious punishments like death penalty and life imprisonment
  • Both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged under UAPA. Even when the crime is committed on a foreign land, the law is applicable exactly in the same manner.

The UAPA is in a way an extended version of the certain repealed laws: 

  1. TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act), which lapsed in 1995. 
  2. Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which was repealed in 2004.

National Investigation Agency:

  • Central agency established by India to combat terrorist activities in India. 
  • Established with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 as a reaction to the deadly 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
  • HQ: New Delhi 
  • NIA is empowered to deal with the terror-related crimes across states without any special permission from the state governments.

Jurisdiction of the NIA

  • NIA officers enjoy equal powers to other police officers around India when it comes to the investigation of such offences.
  • NIA officers have the authority to investigate scheduled offences committed overseas too. But it is subjected to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
  • The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.

Special Courts

  • Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act enables the Central Government to set up Special Courts.
  • The judge of the Special Court will be appointed by the Central Government based on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court.
  • If necessary, the government can appoint an additional judge or additional judges in the Special Court, on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court.

Special Courts’ jurisdiction:

  • Special Courts have same powers of the court of sessions under the CrPC. 
  • Any dispute related to the jurisdiction of any Special Court will be dealt by the Central Government. The government's decision is final in this regard.
  • The Supreme Court can transfer a case pending before a Special Court to any other Special Court within that State or any other State in some exceptional cases where it is not feasible to conduct a peaceful, fair, impartial and speedy trial.
  • High Courts can transfer a case pending before a Special Court in a State to any other Special Court within that State.

 

 

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

#GS2 #roleofNGOs 

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of sedition cases filed against journalists.

CHRI

  • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is an international non-governmental organisation. 
  • Its objective is to realise human rights across the Commonwealth.
  • The initiative encourage adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Commonwealth Harare Principles and other human rights rules, including the rules in each country that support human rights.
  • HQ: New Delhi, 

Commonwealth Nations

  • The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent, equal sovereign states.
  • One among the world’s oldest political associations of states, the history of  Commom wealth nations can be traced back to the British Empire. 
  • Many countries which were under the British rule later became self-governing while retaining Britain’s monarch as Head of State. They formed the British Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Commonwealth came into existence in 1949. Thereafter, independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific have joined the Commonwealth.
  • Membership is based on free and equal voluntary cooperation. 
  • India is a member of Commonwealth nations. 

 

 

NPR & Census

#GS2 #Governance

The Union Home Ministry has informed a parliamentary panel that “right kind of messaging will be done to tackle the miscommunication and rumours around NPR and Census. 

National Population Register

  • NPR refers to a list of “usual residents of the country”.
  • Anyone who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months is called as “usual resident of the country”.
  • The NPR has been developed under the ambit of Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • Every “usual resident of India” has to compulsorily be registered under NPR.

History

  • NPR was introduced in 2010 together with the Census 2011.
  • It was updated in 2015 through a door-to-door survey.
  • Introduction of Aadhaar has diminished the importance of NPR. 

Significance

  • NPR is conducted at the local, sub-district, district, state and national levels.
  • Both demographic and biometric data will be collected under NPR. 
  • In the 2010, only demographic details were collected. 
  • In 2015, the data was again updated, adding mobile, Aadhaar and ration card numbers of residents.
  • In 2020, the ration card number has been dropped, but other categories were added.

Benefits

  • Streamlining of data across different platforms.
  • It aids in formulation of government policies and improving national security.
  • It will reduce redtapism and paperwork by optimising the targeting of beneficiaries. 
  • It will enable the ‘One Identity Card’ initiative mooted by the government recently. 

Concerns

  • Protection of data privacy is a major concern due to the lack of clarity in data collection mechanism.
  • There are concerns that NPR is a prelude to NRC. 

Census

  • Population Census is the collection, compilation, analyzation/dissemination of demographic, economic and social data of people in a country or a specific part of a country at a particular time. 
  • It provides data on the country’s population and housing at a given point of time.

Significance of Census

  • It gives data on different aspects of the country’s population: size, distribution, socio-economic, demographic data etc. 
  • The information acquired through the census are utilised for administration, planning and policy making, management and evaluation of various programs by the government, NGOs, researchers, commercial and private enterprises, etc.
  • Demarcation of constituencies, allocation of representation to parliament, State legislative Assemblies and the local bodies are based on the census data.
  • Census data can be used to analyse growth and trends of population and make projections. Researchers and demographers make use of this. 
  • It is also significant for industries as they can plan their business for penetration into new areas. 

 

 

Sputnik V

#GS3 #Science&Technology

An interim analysis of a Phase­3 trial of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID­19 shows the vaccine is safe and has 91.6% efficacy. 

About Sputnik V

  • Sputnik V, named after Sputnik-I, the first artificial satellite, developed by the erstwhile Soviet Union, is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved by a state.
  • Prior to this, a Chinese vaccine had been cleared for ‘limited use’. However, it is an adenovirus vector vaccine approved to be administered only on soldiers of the Chinese Army (PLA).
  • Sputnik V is developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute and Russian ministry of defence.
  • The vaccine is based on the DNA of a common cold virus i.e., SARS-CoV-2 type adenovirus. 
  • It uses the weakened virus to deliver small parts of a pathogen and stimulate an immune response.
  • Sputnik is provided in two doses and contains two types of a human adenovirus, each of them containing an S-antigen of the coronavirus, which enter human cells and create an immune response.

 

 

 

PIB

Ethanol Blending

#GS3 #Environment

Government has been promoting use of ethanol as a blend stock with main automotive fuel like petrol in line with the National Policy on Biofuels (NBP) -2018 under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Program.

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme was launched in January, 2003. The programme sought to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency for energy requirements. 

National Policy on Biofuels

In order to promote biofuels in the country, a National Policy on Biofuels was made by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during the year 2009.

Features

  • The Policy categorises biofuels as "Basic Biofuels" viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and "Advanced Biofuels" - Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
  • The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
  • The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
  • Roles and responsibilities of all the concerned Ministries/Departments with respect to biofuels has been captured in the Policy document to synergise efforts.

Expected Benefits

  • Reduce Import Dependency: One crore lit of E10 saves Rs.28 crore of forex at current rates. The ethanol supply year 2017-18 is likely to see a supply of around 150 crore litres of ethanol which will result in savings of over Rs.4000 crore of forex.
  • Cleaner Environment: One crore lit of E-10 saves around 20,000 ton of CO2 emissions. For the ethanol supply year 2017-18, there will be lesser emissions of CO2 to the tune of 30 lakh ton. By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
  • Health benefits: Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.
  • MSW Management: It is estimated that, annually 62 MMT of Municipal Solid Waste gets generated in India. There are technologies available which can convert waste/plastic, MSW to drop in fuels. One ton of such waste has the potential to provide around 20% of drop in fuels.
  • Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas: It is estimated that, one 100klpd bio refinery will require around Rs.800 crore capital investment. At present Oil Marketing Companies are in the process of setting up twelve 2G bio refineries with an investment of around Rs.10,000 crore. Further addition of 2G bio refineries across the Country will spur infrastructural investment in the rural areas.
  • Employment Generation: One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
  • Additional Income to Farmers: By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these wastes if a market is developed for the same. Also, farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Thus, conversion of surplus grains and agricultural biomass can help in price stabilization.

Reasons for Ethanol Blending:

  • According to estimates, a 5% blending can reduce the import of around 1.8 million Barrels of crude oil. 
  • Since the ethanol molecules have oxygen, it lets the engine to completely combust the fuel. 
  • This reduces emissions and environmental pollution.
  • This will boost agricultural economy
  • Reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel
  • Save foreign exchange on account of crude oil import bill
  • The ethanol content will result in the reduction of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) emissions.

 

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