08 October, 2020
- Essay Test Series & QIP
- DNS Mains Answer Writing
- SC: Public places cannot be occupies indefinitely (Polity & Governance)
- Bodoland poll gets Assam Cabinet nod (Polity & Governance)
- (i) Four for One Editorial + (ii) Quad worried about China's 'gross aggression' (International Relations)
- India, Japan finalise text of pact for AI, 5G (International Relations)
- Gig work and its skewed terms Article (Economy)
- Question for the Day
UPSC Current Affairs: SC: public places cannot be occupied indefinitely – Pg 1
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity | Mains – GS Paper II
Sub Theme: SC Judgement on Shaheen Bagh Protests |Right to Protest Vs Right to Commute | UPSC
Context: The Supreme Court has observed that the right to peaceful protest against any legislation exists, but the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone.
Why was a case filed?
- The court was considering an appeal filed by Advocate Amit Sahni seeking to remove the protests against CAA-NRC at Shaheen Bagh, alleging that the protests were blocking the roads, affecting the right of free movement of the public.
- Though the protesters vacated the site in March with the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, the court proceeded to hear the matter on the larger issue of balancing the right to protest with the right to free movement of people.
What did the Court held?
Manner of dissent different in colonial times and present times
- The Court also observed that the mode and manner of dissent against colonial rule cannot be equated with dissent in a self-ruled democracy. The court said that the fundamental right of every citizen to assemble peacefully and protest against the actions or inactions of the State must be respected and encouraged by the State.
- Such kind of occupation of public ways, whether at the site in question or anywhere else for protests is not acceptable and the administration ought to take action to keep the areas clear of encroachments or obstructions.
On Right to Protest v Right to Commute
- Article 19, one of the cornerstones of the Constitution of India, confers upon its citizens two treasured rights, i.e., the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) and the right to assemble peacefully without arms under Article 19(1)(b).
- These rights, in cohesion, enable every citizen to assemble peacefully and protest against the actions or inactions of the State. The same must be respected and encouraged by the State, for the strength of a democracy such as ours lies in the same.
- These rights are subject to reasonable restrictions, which, inter alia, pertain to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India and public order, and to the regulation by the concerned police authorities in this regard.
- Additionally, as was discussed in the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan case, each fundamental right, be it of an individual or of a class, does not exist in isolation and has to be balanced with every other contrasting right. It was in this respect, that in this case, an attempt has been made to reach a solution where the rights of protestors were to be balanced with that of commuters.
- An indeterminable number of people Cannot assemble whenever they choose to protest
- Pulitzer Prize winner, Walter Lippmann, said "In a democracy, the opposition is not only tolerated as constitutional, but must be maintained because it is indispensable". Keeping these words in mind, the Bench held that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner and that too indefinitely.
- The Court held that democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone. The present case was not even one of protests taking place in an undesignated area, but was a blockage of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters.
- Thus, Court held that it cannot accept the plea of the applicants that an indeterminable number of people can assemble whenever they choose to protest.
SC on use of social media
- SC said that we live in the age of technology and the internet where social movements around the world have swiftly integrated digital connectivity into their toolkit, be it for organising, publicity or effective communication. Technology, however works at both ends – one to empower digitally fuelled movements and at the same time also contributes to their apparent weaknesses.
- The ability to scale up quickly, for example, using digital infrastructure has empowered movements to embrace their often-leaderless aspirations and evade usual restrictions of censorship; however, the flip side to this is that social media channels are often fraught with danger and can lead to the creation of highly polarised environments, which often see parallel conversations running with no constructive outcome evident.
In what manner the administration should act is their responsibility and they should not hide behind the court orders or seek support
- SC held that such kind of indefinite occupancy of public places is not acceptable and the administration ought to take action to keep the areas clear of encroachments or obstructions.
- So, in what manner the administration should act is their responsibility and they should not hide behind the court orders or seek its guidance to carry out their administrative functions.
- The courts adjudicate the legality of the actions and are not meant to give shoulder to the administration to fire their guns from.
UPSC Current Affairs: Bodoland poll gets Assam Cabinet nod |Pg 6
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Polity & Governance | Mains: GS Paper-II - Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Bodoland Territorial Council | State Election Commission | UPSC
Context: The Sarbananda Sonowal-led Assam Cabinet has decided to request the State Election Commission to schedule the Bodoland Territorial Council election in December. The elections to 40 seats in the council were to have been held on April 4 but were deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The council has been under the Governor’s rule since its dissolution on April 27. The Cabinet also decided to make Bodo the associate official language in Assam through an ordinance. Let us understand about Bodoland Territorial Council and also about State Election Commission.
Bodoland Territorial Council - BTC
Constitution & its Objectives
- The Bodoland Territorial Council was constituted under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India in the year 2003 after the signing of Memorandum of Settlement on 10th February 2003 between the Government of India, the Government of Assam and Bodo Liberation Tigers, to fulfill economic, educational and linguistic aspiration and the preservation of land-rights, socio-cultural and ethnic identity of the Bodos; and to speed up the infrastructure in BTC area.
- The Council aims at bringing about accelerated progress to one of the most backward region of the state of Assam with special focus on the development of the Bodo people in the field of education, preservation of land rights, linguistic aspiration, culture and its ethnic identity.
- Above all, the BTC has placed emphasis on development of the economic infrastructure of entire area for the uplift of the downtrodden people irrespective of caste, creed and religion living in this part of the country.
Communities Residing in BTC
- Bodos , Assamese , Bengalis, Koch-Rajbongshis, Rabhas, Garos , Adivasis, Muslims and Nepalies, etc.
Powers of BTC In Respect Of Subjects Transferred
- The Council has legislative powers in respect of subjects transferred to it. The BTC also have executive, administrative and financial powers in respect of subjects transferred to it.
The Executive Council
- There is an Executive Council comprising of not more than 14 Executive Members, one whom shall be the Chief and another one the Deputy Chief of the said Executive Council.
- There shall be adequate representation for the non-tribal members in the Executive Council.
- The Chief and the Deputy Chief of the Council shall have the status of equivalent to the Cabinet Minister and the other Executive Members equivalent to the Minister of State of Assam for protocol purposes in the BTC area.
Bodoland Territorial Council Legislative Assembly
- As per Memorandum of Settlement, 40 members are elected to the General Council from 40 constituencies. Besides this 6 Members are nominated by the Governor of Assam from un-represented community out of which two should be women.
- The Bodoland Territorial Council Legislative Assembly consists of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other elected MCLAs of the Bodoland Territorial Council.
The Bodoland Territorial Council prepares two sets of budget –
- Entrusted Budget – mainly expenditure budget pertaining to salary, etc. and development works of transferred subjects under Grant No.78 which is passed in the State Assembly and
- Normal Budget - pertaining mainly to establishment, expenditure and revenue receipts of the Council itself which is placed in the Council Legislative Assembly for approval.
- The entrusted budget particularly for development activities (SOPD Budget) is also placed in the Council Legislative Assembly for discussion and approval.
- SOPD budget is prepared based on state owned priority development (SOPD) allocation made by Government where as budget for Establishment Expenditure is prepared on the basis of requirement supported by the relevant documents.
State Election Commission
Constitution of SEC
- SEC has been constituted under Article 243K and Article 243ZA of the Constitution of India and has been entrusted with the function of conducting free, fair and impartial elections to the local bodies in the state.
- Article 243K & 243ZA provide that the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the Conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and Municipalities shall vest in the State Election Commission consisting of the State Election Commissioner.
- The State Election Commissioner has the status, salary and allowance of a Judge of a High Court and cannot be removed from office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court. State Election Commissioner also participates in the delimitation exercise conducted for their respective area.
Article 243K - Elections to the Panchayats
(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats shall be vested in a State Election Commission consisting of a State Election Commissioner to be appointed by the Governor.
(2) Subject to the provisions of any law made by the Legislature of a State, the conditions of service and tenure of office of the State Election Commissioner shall be such as the Governor may by rule determine: Provided that the State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court and the conditions of service of the State Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
Article 243ZA - Elections to the Municipalities
(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Municipalities shall be vested in the State Election Commission referred to in Article 243K.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature of a State may, by law, make provision with respect to all matters relating to, or in connection with, elections to the Municipalities.
Article 243K ensures independence of State Election Commissioner
Removal Procedure:Though the SEC is appointed by the governor of the respective state, he/she can be removed by the President only in the manner a Judge of a High court is removed which is constitutionally prescribed under Article 217(1)(b).
Conditions of service cannot be varied: Though the conditions of service are determined by the governor with aid and advice of political executive, it cannot be varied or changed arbitrarily by the state to the disadvantage of state election commissioner after his appointment.
Removal of Judge of High Court & Supreme Court
Article 217(1)(b) - A Judge may be removed from his office by the President in the manner provided in clause (4) of article 124 for the removal of a Judge of the Supreme Court.
Article 124(4) - A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
UPSC Current Affairs: Four for one – Editorial + Quad worried about China’s gross aggression |Pg. 8/12
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper-II – International Relations
Sub Theme: | About QUAD Security Dialogue | How India should engage with QUAD? | UPSC
About Quadrilateral Security Dialogue
- The ‘Quadrilateral Group’ is considered as an informal grouping among India, Japan, Australia, and the United States to support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo- Pacific region.
- All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security
- The demand for the group is a causal reaction to China’s emergence as a great power and the fear of China’s growing unilateralism through BRI, expansion in South China Sea, skirmishes on borders, etc. This fear has driven the four powers to consider banding together in form of collective security arrangement.
- The first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) among the 4 countries was first held in 2007 but dis-continued in 2008. It was again revived in an informal meet among US, India, Japan, and Australia held in Manila, Philippines in 2017.
Analysis of the Quad grouping -
- The real answer regarding its effectiveness against China would be No. However, its importance should be analysed in the backdrop of changing Geopolitical dynamics.
- Further the focus should be on How the Quad enhances India’s capabilities and what is India’s expectation from this group.
- Quad can be effective in countering China in the Maritime domain. It can play a balancing role and have a deterrence effect against assertiveness of China in the Indo-pacific region (Visible in the South China Sea)
- Although Quad does not have requisite teeth as of now, but there is no other alternative but to have potential arrangement of this kind between likeminded maritime powers having common strategic interests in Indo-Pacific Region in relation to freedom of navigation (FON), flights and rule-based order.
- However, the biggest challenge that the coalition faces is that the member countries have differing perception of the Indo-pacific region.
- This impacts their prioritization in dealing with challenges in Indo-pacific as well as the areas of focus.
- An important issue for effective maritime security cooperation amongst the navies of Quad is while three of the navies (Australia, US and Japan) operate within NATO military alliance framework, India is not part of any military alliance.
- The centrality of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific has been emphasized by the Quad, hence their inclusion into it is another debatable issue, due to Chinese influence over them. ASEAN nations have failed to take a stand against the Chinese adventurism in the South china Sea.
- Considering the prevailing international strategic scenario, China is reasonably confident that US or any other country will not use military force to dismantle their infrastructure made in SCS.
- It is also increasing its naval capability as part of its comprehensive national power (CNP) to make best use of inaction by other countries in Indo-Pacific.
- In this context it is necessary that Quad strengthens itself beyond Malabar exercises and forum for dialogue and gets some teeth in the form of maritime capacity building of its members, further improvement of interoperability and dominate choke points sensitive to China.
- Quad in its present form may not be effective enough to check Chinese adventurism, but it certainly has potential to become one of the effective instruments to do so, provided the affected countries and the global community also plays its role against common concerns.
UPSC Current Affairs: India, Japan finalise text for AI, 5G |Pg. 12
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper-II – International Relations
Sub Theme: | Indo-Japan Relations | UPSC
Context: External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar held 13th India-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with his Japanese counterpart, H.E. Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu on 7 October 2020 in Tokyo. India and Japan has welcomed the finalisation of the text of a cybersecurity agreement that will promote cooperation in key areas such as 5G network and Artificial Intelligence.
Important Points of Dialogue
- Reaffirming the mutual trust and shared values, India and Japan reviewed the progress made in India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership and discussed convergence in various areas, including maritime security, trade and investment, manufacturing, skill development, connectivity and infrastructure, health and wellness, Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) and UN Reforms.
- Recognizing the increasing role being played by digital technologies, the two ministers highlighted the need for robust and resilient digital and cyber systems and in this context, welcomed the finalization of the text of the cybersecurity agreement. The agreement promotes cooperation in capacity building, research and development, security and resilience in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), among others.
- The two ministers exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest and agreed that the strong and enduring partnership between the two countries will play a pivotal role in overcoming challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They emphasized that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region must be premised on diversified and resilient supply chains; and in this context, welcomed the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative between India, Japan, Australia and other like-minded countries.
- The two ministers concurred that the Indo-Pacific region has acquired greater salience in recent times and underscored the need for India and Japan to work together for the benefit of the region. Reaffirming the similarities in their respective Indo-Pacific visions, that are based on rule of law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Japanese side agreed to be the lead partner in the connectivity pillar of the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) and jointly take both countries’ respective visions for the Indo-Pacific forward.
- The two ministers wished each other the very best and looked forward to the conduct of the next Annual Bilateral Summit in India at a mutually convenient time for the two Prime Ministers.
UPSC Current Affairs: Gig work and its skewed terms|Pg 9
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper-III – Indian Economy
Sub Theme: Gig Economy | Critical Analysis of Labour Codes | UPSC
This article discusses various concerns and challenges with respect to rights and benefits available to Gig Workers in the Labour codes which have been introduced to bring about Labour Reforms in India.
What is Gig Economy?
It refers to the form of economy in which the organizations employ contractual, non-permanent employees instead of permanent employees. The Gig-economy workers range across the spectrum of professions, from the highly paid to below-minimum-wage. This trend is very strong in advanced economies like the US wherein a large number of firms hire contractual workers on a short-term basis. With the rapid adoption of technology, this trend is slowly evolving in Indian Economy.
Gig Economy in India
According to the recent estimates, 13 lakh Indians have joined the Gig Economy in the last half of 2018-19, registering 30% growth compared to the first half of the financial year. Further, it is estimated that out of 21 lakh jobs that will be created in the metros in 2019-20, 14 lakh jobs will be created in Gig Economy. Food and e-commerce companies would account for the major share of job creation in the Gig Economy.
Reasons for the development of Gig Economy
- Rapid growth of the digital communication wherein the workforce is highly mobile, and work can be done from anywhere without any geographical barriers.
- Adoption of Gig Economy reduces the operating costs of the firms since the companies would not be liable to pay pension and other social security benefits.
- Flexibility to the workers wherein they can switch jobs frequently and choose work which suits their area of interest.
- Recent slowdown in the formal employment creation has also boosted the development of Gig Economy.
Protection provided to Gig Workers under Labour Codes
The Labour Codes that seek to introduce Labour Reforms in India have legally acknowledged the presence of Gig Workers in the economy. For example, the Code on Social Security, 2020 provides for the registration of all the Gig workers. It calls upon the Central and State Governments to formulate schemes to ensure social security benefits such as Insurance for the Gig workers. It also empowers the Government to set up Social Security Funds for their benefit. The contribution to these funds may be funded from contributions of Centre, State and aggregator platforms such as Uber, Zomato etc.
Concerns raised in the article
No Guaranteed Benefits: The Industrial workers are automatically guaranteed social security benefits such as Provident Funds, Insurance, Maternity benefits etc. However, such benefits are not automatically extended to Gig Workers. The Central and State Governments are required to come up with schemes to provide these benefits. So, the social security benefits for the Gig Workers depend upon the political will of the Government.
No Guaranteed Contribution by Aggregator Platforms: The Code on Social security mandates the Industries employing workers above a certain threshold level to compulsorily contribute towards social security benefits such as Provident Fund and Insurance. However, as far as Gig Workers is concerned, the language in the code does not provide for compulsory contribution by the aggregator platforms. Hence, it is left open to the Government whether to seek contribution from the aggregator platforms or not.
No legal Rights for Gig Workers: The Industrial workers are given legal rights over the various aspects of work such as Payment of Minimum wages, safe working conditions, right to strike, right to form trade Unions etc. However, such rights have not been recognised in case of Gig workers.