Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- Daughters have equal right to inherit property, says SC
Why in news
The Supreme Court has held that daughters have an equal birthright with sons to inherit joint Hindu family property.
- A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra ruled that a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005.
- The amended Hindu Succession Act gives daughters equal rights to ancestral property and will have a retrospective effect.
- SC agreed with lead arguments made by senior advocate Bishwajit Bhattacharya that the substituted Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 confers the status of ‘coparcener’ to a daughter born before or after the amendment in the same manner as a son.
What is the 2005 law?
- The Mitakshara School of Hindu Law codified as the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governed succession and inheritance of property but only recognised males as legal heirs.
- The law applied to everyone who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion.
- Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and followers of the Arya Samaj, the Brahmo Samaj are also considered Hindus for the purposes of this law.
- In a Hindu Undivided Family, several legal heirs through generations can exist jointly. Traditionally, only male descendants of a common ancestor along with their mothers, wives and unmarried daughters are considered a joint Hindu family.
- Women were recognised as coparceners or joint legal heirs for partition arising from 2005.
- Section 6 of the Act was amended in 2005 to make a daughter of a coparcener also a coparcener by birth, in the same manner as the son.
- The law applies to ancestral property and to intestate succession in personal property — where succession happens as per law and not through a will.
- The 174th Law Commission Report had also recommended this reform in Hindu succession law.
- Even before the 2005 amendment, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had made this change in the law, and Kerala had abolished the Hindu Joint Family System in 1975.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Indian, Afghan officials discuss Loya Jirga
Why in news
Indian and Afghan officials in Delhi and Kabul discussed the outcome of the Loya Jirga, in Afghanistan that advised the release of 400 Taliban militants convicted of serious crimes.
- The two sides discussed:
- The likelihood of intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, Qatar.
- Hopes for a permanent ceasefire, in a briefing two days after the Jirga’s decision.
- Talks are also on for the release of the last of the group of seven Indian hostages still held by the Taliban following their abduction in 2018. Six hostages had been released earlier.
- It is hoped that the release of the Taliban prisoners will include those demanded in exchange for the release of the Indian hostages.
Conditions on which 400 Taliban militants were released:
- The officials have made it clear that the release is conditional and contingent on o A reduction in the level of violence by the Taliban.
- A humanitarian ceasefire for civilians to be transported during the coronavirus pandemic without fear of the Taliban.
- The Taliban is also required to guarantee that none of the men being released will return to combat.
- India-Nepal Talks
Why in News
The ambassadors of India and Nepal are likely to meet in Kathmandu (Nepal) to review projects funded by the Indian government.
- The meeting is likely to take place via videoconference in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
- This meeting will be a part of India- Nepal Joint Oversight Mechanism. The mechanism was established in 2016 to review ongoing bilateral economic and development projects.
- The government of India has allocated 800 crore in budget 2020-21 for projects in Nepal.
- These projects include building roads in the Terai region, helping Nepal in its post-earthquake (2015) reconstruction work, building railway lines, a police training academy, a polytechnic college, an oil pipeline and border check posts.
- Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Nepal for the construction of a sanitation facility at the Pashupatinath Temple,
- This meeting is important in light of recent tensions between India and Nepal. In 2017, Nepal signed up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which sought to create highways, airports and other infrastructure in the country.
- BRI was rejected by India and this move of Nepal was seen as an inclination towards China.
- In 2019, a new political map of India, made after the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, showed Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as part of Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand state.
- India and Nepal have border disputes over Kalapani – Limpiyadhura – Lipulekh trijunction between India-Nepal and China and Susta area (West Champaran district, Bihar).
- Nepal objected strongly against this map and opinionated that the issue should be resolved through negotiations.
- Further, the inauguration of a road up to Lipulekh Pass (for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra) by the Indian government on the border with China sparked more protests from Nepal.
- In retaliation, Nepal released a new map that includes all the disputed territories claimed by India.
- India and Nepal should together strive towards clearing the tensions between the two countries which have historically shared close ties. Nepal’s growing affinity with China can also pose a security concern for India amidst the India-China conflicts.
- As India has adopted a Neighbourhood First Policy, it must work more proactively with Nepal in terms of people to people engagement, bureaucratic engagement as well as political interactions.
- In this context, the Gujral Doctrine which helped in resolving India-Bangladesh dispute can be of much help.
- Depsang Plains
Why in News
Recently, India and China have held talks at the Major General-level to discuss issues concerning the strategic Depsang Plains.
- The talks were held at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and were limited to Depsang to discuss issues of varying claims and also blocking patrols by each other.
About the Meeting:
- This was the first high level talks post Galwan clash of 15 June 2020. Military talks since then have been limited to Corps Commander level.
- The meeting only discussed routine patrolling patterns by both sides as part of border management leaving aside disengagement or deescalation.
- The Depsang Plains along with Pangong Tso are the two major areas of concern in the ongoing standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
- Despite the strategic importance of the Depsang Plains, the series of military talks held so far have focussed on the standoff areas at Galwan, Gogra Hotsprings and Finger area of Pangong Tso.
- Depsang is one of the few places on the LAC where tank manoeuvres are possible.
- During the 1962 war, Chinese troops occupied the Plains. In 2013, Chinese troops came 19 km inside and pitched tents resulting in a 21-day standoff.
- There is a heavy Chinese presence at a crucial area called the Bulge, in the Depsang Plains.
- Chinese troops have blocked the Indian Army patrols from reaching the various patrolling points.
- There has also been a build-up of tanks and armoured vehicles on the Chinese side very close to the LAC.
- It threatens Indian positions at Burtse and Raki Nala inside Indian territory and further DBO by bringing Chinese troops closer to the 255 km long crucial Darbuk-Shyok-DBO road.
- Depsang is also close to the Karakoram Pass, overlooking the very strategic Saltoro Ridge and Siachen glacier.
- While addressing the [email protected] Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the External Affairs Minister of India held that reaching an understanding with China is a huge challenge before Sino-Indian relations.
- Both countries are demographically very unique with the billion-plus populations.
- There is a parallel but differential rise happening at a time when both are neighbours as modern states which puts a huge premium on reaching some kind of equilibrium or understanding between the two.
- Finding a balance or equilibrium is very central and crucial for Indian foreign policy calculation.
- At this moment, it is particularly important to revisit the original aspiration of establishing diplomatic relations 70 years ago and carry forward the spirit of good neighbourliness and friendship, unity and cooperation.
- India and China are amongst the largest economies, demography, markets and militaries of the world. Therefore, it is in the interests of both the countries to align their energies for the growth and development of their people, region and global peace.
Category: INTERNAL SECURITY
- ‘Confidential’ report on Assam Accord released
Why in news
|· The confidential report on Assam Accord was
made public by the All Assam Students’ Union
(a part of the Centre’s high-level committee on the
implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord)
quoting the government’s disinterest in processing
· The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of
Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of
The Government of India and the leaders of Assam
on 15 August 1985. The Accord brought to an
end six years of the Assam movement, an agitation
in the state against undocumented immigrants.
- A high-power committee was constituted by the Centre in July 2019 with 14 members and justice Sharma as its chairman for the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
- It had submitted its report to the Chief Minister of Assam in February 2020.
What is Clause 6 of the Assam Accord?
- As per Clause 6, constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
- It is one of the promises in the Assam Accord, a memorandum of settlement inked between the representatives of the All Assam Students’ Union, the Assam state government and the Government of India.
- The Clause that ended the anti-foreigners’ Assam agitation from 1979-1985.
- The bone of contention since the signing of the Accord was the definition of Assamese people. The committee tried to address this issue
- The report sought to implement the Assam Accord in letter and spirit, and also asked the government for prompt measures to seal the India-Bangladesh border.
- It also suggested reservation of 80-100 percent in Parliament seats from the state, while recommending the creation of an Upper House in Assam.
- NSCN-IM releases details of 2015 pact
Why in news
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM has for the first time released the details of the 2015 framework agreement.
- The NSCN-IM, one of the largest Naga groups, signed a framework agreement in August 2015 to end the decades-old issue.
- Ravi (interlocutor) signed the agreement on behalf of the Centre in the presence of the Prime Minister. The other two signatories were Isak Chishi Swu, who died in 2016 and Thuingaleng Muivah, 86, who is leading the talks.
- An understanding was reached between the two sides not to release this in the public domain for security reasons.
- Having released the details of the agreement, NSCN-IM has accused interlocutor R.N. Ravi of deleting a key word from the original document and sharing the modified version with other Naga groups.
- The Naga talks have hit rough weather as the NSCN-IM has demanded that the interlocutor be removed from the position.
- IAF to get 106 trainer aircraft
Why in news
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister has approved defence procurements worth 8,722.38 crore.
- The defence procurements include 106 HTT-40 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
HTT-40 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA):
- HTT-40 is a training aircraft design and developed by Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) and built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has successfully developed HTT-40 prototypes and certification process is underway.
- It will replace the Indian Air Force’s retired HPT-32 Deepak as a basic trainer.
- SRGM is fitted as the main gun on board Navy and Coast Guard warships from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
- The upgraded version of SRGM has enhanced capability to perform against fast manoeuvring targets such as missiles and fast attack crafts and increase the maximum engagement range.
- The ammunition being procured will have a 70% indigenous content.
- The DAC also approved the procurement of an upgraded version of Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM).
Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM):
- Procurement of 125 mm APFSDS (Armour Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) ammunition for the Army as a ‘design and development case’ has been approved.
- The DAC also granted approvals that are likely to speed up the procurement of AK-203 assault rifles from Russia and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle upgrades.
- Debt revamp to prolong banks’ asset quality uncertainty: Fitch
Why in news
According to Fitch Ratings, a one-time debt restructuring allowed by RBI to help lenders and borrowers amid the COVID-19 pandemic will prolong uncertainty about the banking sector’s asset quality.
- RBI recently announced that it will allow restructuring of corporate and personal loans to ease debt strains on companies and lenders.
- Fitch said it believes that the scheme may be designed to give banks more time to raise capital, which remains challenging in the current environment, to address the impact of the crisis on loan portfolios.
- “The policy could open a window for banks to build capital buffers while putting off full recognition of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on loan portfolios, but is reminiscent of a strategy adopted over 2010-2016 that delayed and exacerbated problems for the banks,” Fitch said.
- RBI has set up a committee to oversee restructuring plans involving creditors with more than 15 billion of debt. o According to Fitch, lending to retail and small- and medium-sized firms is likely to account for a substantial portion of future pandemic-linked asset quality stress.
- Indian banks are burdened with more than $120 billion in bad loans.
- The banking sector is ranked the third-worst among 13 major world economies in asset quality.
- RBI’s experience with loan restructuring in the past hasn’t been encouraging.
- In several instances the restructuring was used for evergreening of loans, a practice in which banks provide additional loans to stressed borrowers, often indirectly, to enable them to repay existing loans.