Daily GS Mains Notes or Mains Content Enrichment for Civil Services
Category: SOCIAL ISSUES
Locals mark 6 places for settling Bru refugees
Why in news
Six places have been proposed by the non-Brus of Tripura for settling the displaced Brus from Mizoram.
- Limits have also been placed for the number of families to be accommodated in two subdivisions that have borne the brunt of the 23-year-old refugee crisis.
- There are 7 relief camps among which the Bru families are distributed in these two subdivisions.
- Non-Bru groups have been maintaining that the Brus were difficult to coexist with. The burden was put on the state government by the Bru leaders, to honour a quadripartite agreement in January 2020 for resettling more than 6,500 families in suitable areas.
- The areas proposed by the Joint Movement Committee (comprising Bengali, Mizo and other indigenous communities of the subdivisions of North Tripura district) and those sought by the Bru organisations do not match.
Government Order for PC of Women in Army
Why in News
Recently, the Ministry of Defence has issued the formal Government Sanction Letter for grant of Permanent Commission (PC) to Women Officers in the Indian Army.
- The order specifies grant of PC to Short Service Commissioned (SSC) Women Officers in the remaining 8 streams of the Indian Army.
- These 10 streams include Army Air Defence (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), Intelligence Corps, Judge and Advocate General (JAG) and Army Educational Corps (AEC).
- Before the order, women officers are allowed a PC in the JAG and AEC.
- In anticipation, the Army Headquarters had set in motion a series of preparatory actions for the conduct of the Permanent Commission Selection Board (PCSB) for the eligible women officers.
- Under the SSC scheme, women were commissioned into the Army for a period of 10 years, extendable up to 14 years. Women were estricted to roles in specified streams such as Army Education Corps, Corps of Signals, Intelligence Corps and Corps of Engineers. These specified streams excluded combat arms such as infantry and armoured corps.
- Women officers were kept out of any command appointment and could not qualify for a government pension, which starts only after 20 years of service as an officer.
Permanent Commission for Women
- The Ministry of Defence has taken steps to ensure implementation of the grant of PC to women officers and all three services have allowed permanent recruitment of women in select streams including medical, education, legal, signals, logistics and
- In March 2020, the SC cleared the way for PC to women in Indian Navy as well.
- With the order in force, women officers will now be eligible to occupy all the command appointments, at par with male officers, which would open avenues for further promotions to higher ranks for them.
Rajya Sabha Members Facing Criminal Charges
Why in News
According to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), about 24% of the sitting Rajya Sabha members have declared criminal cases against themselves.
- Data Analysis: Analysis of 229 of the 233 Rajya Sabha seats showed that 54 MPs had declared criminal cases.
- Among the newly-elected representatives 28 or 12% had declared serious criminal cases.
- It also found out from their self-sworn affidavits that have declared assets estimated at over 1 crore.
- Lok Sabha: According to the finding of Association of Democratic Reforms, about 43% of members elected to 17 Lok Sabha are facing criminal charges in court of law, while 84% have self-declared assets worth more than Rs. 1
- This is the highest number of members of parliament facing serious criminal charges like rape, murder and kidnapping, since 2004.
- ADR is an Indian non-governmental organization established in 1999 situated in New Delhi. With National Election Watch (NEW), ADR is striving to bring transparency and accountability in Indian politics and reduce the influence of money and muscle power in elections. Criminalisation of Politics
- Criminalization of politics is the involvement of the candidates with criminal charges in politics through the elections and even getting elected to the Parliament and state legislature. It takes place primarily because of the nexus between the criminals and the politicians.
- Lack of Political Will: Section 8 of the Ac the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections.
- Therefore, in order to curb criminalisation of politics, Parliament needs to bring an amendment in the Act.
- Use of Muscle and Money Power: Candidates with serious criminal records seem to do well despite their bad public image, largely due to their ability to finance their own elections and further fund their respective parties for different election activities.
- Vote Bank: Criminals are being wooed by political parties and given cabinet posts because their muscle and money fetches crucial votes.
- Narrow Self-interests of Voters: Some voters tend to view such candidates through a narrow prism of being able to represent their community interests by hook or by crook.
- Lack of Choices: Sometimes voters are left with no options, as all competing candidates have criminal records.
- Ineffective Democracy, Culture of Violence, Black Money
Measures Taken by the Supreme Court :
- Union of India (UOI) vs. Association for Democratic Reforms, 2002: The Supreme Court held that every candidate, contesting an election has to declare their criminal records, financial records and educational qualifications.
- Ramesh Dalal vs. Union of India, 2005: A sitting Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of State Legislature (MLA) shall also be subject to disqualification from contesting elections if he is convicted and sentenced to not less than 2 years of imprisonment by a court of law.
- Lily Thomas vs. Union of India, 2013: Section 8(4) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951 was declared unconstitutional which allowed MPs and MLAs who were convicted to continue in office till an appeal against such conviction was disposed of.
- People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India, 2013: The Supreme Court asked Election Commission to provide ‘none of the above’ choice to voters to exercise their right to express no confidence in all candidates.
Election Commission’s Recommendations:
- In 1997, Election Commission directed all the Returning Officers (ROs) to reject the nomination papers of any candidate who stands convicted on the day of filing the nomination papers even if his sentence is suspended.
- It recommended that if a person is found guilty by a commission of Inquiry then he shall be disqualified from contesting elections.
- The First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system shall be replaced by the 2-ballot system under which a candidate is declared elected from a territorial constituency on the basis of majority principle.
Various committees (Dinesh Goswami, Inderjeet Committee) on the electoral reforms have recommended for state funding of elections. State funding of elections will curb use of black money to a large extent and thereby will have a significant impact on limiting criminalization of politics.
- There is a need for fixing the governance system and effective regulation of political financing along with bold reforms to break the vicious cycle of criminals and politics.
- It is crucial to make the entire governance machinery more accountable and transparent. Citizens must vote in elections based on character, conduct and capability of the candidates and not based on cash, caste, community and criminal prowess.
Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
China launches ambitious Mars mission
Why in news
China launched the Tianwen-1 Mars rover mission.
It is China’s first fully home-grown Mars mission. It was launched atop Long March-5 carrier rocket.
It consists of an orbiter and a lander/rover duo, a combination of craft that had never before been launched together towards Mars.
- It is especially striking given that it’s China’s first attempt at a full-on Mars mission.
- China did launch a Mars orbiter called Yinghuo-1 in 2011, but the spacecraft accompanied Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission. However, the launch failed, leaving the probes trapped in Earth orbit.
- Tianwen-1 is expected to arrive at the Red Planet in February 2021.
- The lander/rover pair will touch down on the Martian surface two to three months later somewhere within Utopia Planitia. o Utopia Planitia is a large plain in Mars’ Northern Hemisphere.
- NASA’s Viking 2 lander landed there in 1976.
- The solar-powered rover will then spend about 90 Martian days (called sols, and slightly longer than Earth Days), studying its surroundings in detail.
- The orbiter will eventually settle into a polar elliptical orbit.
- The lander apparently will not do any substantive science work, serving as a delivery system for the rover.
Objectives of Tianwen-1:
- To map the morphology and geological structure.
- To investigate the surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution.
- To analyze the surface material composition.
- To measure the ionosphere and the characteristics of the Martian climate and environment at the surface.
- To perceive the physical fields (electromagnetic, gravitational) and internal structure of Mars.