Daily GS Mains Notes or Mains Content Enrichment for Civil Services
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Govt. mulls Australia’s entry into Malabar drill
Why in news
Inclusion of Australia into the Malabar naval exercise.
- The Malabar exercise began as a bilateral exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992 and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
- Japan and the U.S. have been pressing India for Australia’s inclusion in Malabar. Australia first requested for observer status in the trilateral exercise in April 2017. India has been reluctant to include Australia due to China’s sensitivities.
- The bilateral cooperation between India and Australia has gone up significantly over the years.
- Recently, India and Australia have signed the long-pending Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA) agreement, elevated their partnership to Comprehensive Strategic partnership and have also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
- A meeting at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) discussed the issue of inviting Australia for the trilateral Malabar naval exercise with Japan and the United States.
- There has been the increasing consensus at the official level that Australia should join the naval war games. The final decision has been delayed in view of the ongoing standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- The move to include Australia will bring all Quad countries together and mark a major shift for India’s Indo-Pacific plans. This could point towards the militarization of the Quad coalition.
Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
Why a separate anti-torture law?
Why in news
- The alleged torture of a father-son duo in Sattankulam town in Tamil Nadu has given rise to the demand for a separate law against torture.
- Torture is not defined in the Indian Penal Code, but the definitions of ‘hurt’ and ‘grievous hurt’ are clearly laid down. Voluntarily causing hurt and grievous hurt to extort confession are dealt with in the Indian Penal Code..
- Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, a judicial magistrate inquires into every custodial death.
- Though the definition of ‘hurt’ does not include mental torture, Indian courts through their judgments have included psychic torture, environmental coercion, tiring interrogative prolixity, and overbearing and intimidatory methods, among others, in the ambit of torture.
- The Supreme Court judgment in DK Basu v. State of West Bengal was a turning point in the evolving jurisprudence on custodial torture. The Court’s decision in Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa compels the state to pay compensation in case of custodial torture.
Prevention of Torture Bill:
- A fresh draft of the Prevention of Torture Bill was released in 2017. By proposing for the death penalty for custodial death accused, the proposed quantum of punishment seems too harsh. The 262nd Law Commission Report recommended that the death penalty be abolished except in cases of ‘terrorism-related offences’.
- As opposed to the intention of having a reformative law, the proposed Bill was not a reformative one. It was vague, harsh and retributive in nature.
- There is a need to improve the implementation of the existing laws instead of bringing in a new law. The investigations and the prosecution process are prone to concerns and these aspects need to be reformed. The police need to be trained better. The temptation to use third-degree methods must be replaced with scientific skills.
Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
Mobile app KURMA helps save turtles in India
Why in news
Conservation efforts for Tortoise and freshwater turtles.
- Tortoise and freshwater turtles are among the most trafficked in the country. A report released in 2019 by TRAFFIC, an international wildlife trade monitoring organisation, showed that at least 200 tortoises and
- freshwater turtles fall prey to illicit poaching and smuggling every week, or 11,000 each year.
- 23 of the 29 species of freshwater turtle and tortoise species found in India come under the threatened category in the IUCN Red List and are under severe existential threat due to human activities.
Mobile-based application called KURMA was launched, aimed at turtle conservation.
- The application has been developed by the Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN) in collaboration with the Turtle Survival Alliance-India and Wildlife Conservation Society-India.
- This app provides a digital database to identify species and the location of the nearest rescue centre for turtles across the country.
Levy on digital services is ambiguous, say tax experts
Why in news
Tax on e-commerce.
- Earlier, the government had imposed a 6% equalisation levy on online advertisement services by non-resident entities. Later, the scope was expanded to online sale of goods and provision of services from April 1.
- The Finance Ministry has imposed an equalisation levy of 2% on e-commerce supplies and services from April 1, 2020.
- Digital offerings such as online books/online games/online gaming services would come under the purview of the expanded equalisation levy. This is in line with digital tax enactments by some other economies.
- According to tax experts, the Finance Ministry’s move has led to a lot of ambiguity leading to confusion and increased litigation.
- There are concerns that the way the provisions of the new tax were worded , one could also interpret the same to bring sale of physical goods as also services enjoyed offline within the purview of the equalisation levy.
- This could end up taxing transactions where the medium is only the Internet. Many businesses negotiate supply and service agreements online and use electronic means for confirming contracts but the delivery of goods and/or services was largely offline. This could affect the businesses of such enterprises.
Category: INTERNAL SECURITY
Govt. sends notice to Twitter after recent hacking
Why in news
Cyber attack on the twitter platform.
- Twitter has stated that hackers manipulated employees and accessed tools only available to internal support teams to target 130 high profile twitter accounts. Posts trying to dupe people into sending the hackers Bitcoin were tweeted by the official accounts of some high profile accounts.
- More than $1,00,000 worth of the virtual currency was sent to email addresses mentioned in the tweets, according to Blockchain.com, which monitors crypto transactions.
- India’s cybersecurity nodal agency CERT-In has issued a notice to Twitter asking it for full details of the recent global hack, as it sought complete information on the number of Indian users affected as well as the impact on data.
- The government has also demanded information of the vulnerability exploited by the attackers and the modus operandi of the attack. It also sought details of the remedial actions taken by Twitter to mitigate the impact of the hacking incident.
Concern over Imports of Small Arms
Why in News
Recently, the domestic small arms manufacturers have expressed their concern over continuing imports of small arms by the Government of India.
No Big Orders for Domestic Manufactures:
- In the last few years, several Indian companies have invested in the small arms segment. The government also opened up the ammunition sector to the private sector, given the large requirement of small arms.
- The Government of India has opened up the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 74% and on a case to case basis it is even 100%.
- The Indian companies are capable of making small arms with over 50% indigenous content and can also match the price and timelines.
- However, in dearth of any major order, the Indian companies are now looking for smaller orders from police and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).
- Further, Indian companies are also not considered for deals through Fast Track Procurement (FTP), which is limited to foreign vendors
Small Arms Import:
- Recently, the Indian Army has ordered 72,400 SIG-716 assault rifles from Sig Sauer of the U.S.A for the second time.
- The Army has been attempting to replace the indigenous Indian National Small Arms System (INSAS) rifles with a modern rifle.
- Earlier, in February 2019, the Defence Ministry procured 72,400 SIG-716 assault rifles from Sig Sauer of the U.S.A through Fast Track Procurement (FTP), most of which were for the Army.
- The remaining demand of over 7 lakh rifles was to be met through the licensed manufacture of Russian AK-203 rifles in India through a joint venture with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). However, the final deal has been stuck over the issue of pricing.
- Demand of Domestic Manufactures: They are asking to give domestic companies the same level playing field as foreign companies to showcase their products and support Make in India.