06 November, 2020
- Mizoram Occupying 1.5 of Assam Land (Polity & Governance)
- Do recent indicator hint at real economic revival? - (Economy)
- NPCI allows WhatsApp to offer payment services- (Economy)
- The crucial expertise of CAPFs - Article - (Security)
- All insults not offence under SC/ST Act (Polity & Governance)
- Question for the day (Economy)
UPSC Current Affairs: Mizoram occupying 1.5 km of Assam land, says Minister | Page 04
UPSC Syllabus: | Prelims: Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Boundary Dispute between Assam and Mizoram |UPSC
Context: The Assam government has accused Mizoram of occupying Assam’s land near the 164.6 km inter-State border and this has resulted in economic blockade on Mizoram. The boundary dispute between the two states has resulted in violence in the adjacent districts in Assam and Mizoram.
Claims by Officials of Assam & Mizoram
- So, as per agreement between the two states, status quo was to be maintained in no man’s land in the border area and no construction activity was allowed.
- According to Mizoram officials, the land claimed by Assam is being cultivated for a long time by residents of Mizoram.
- However, officials from Assam said that even though the contested land was historically cultivated by Mizoram residents, on paper it fell within the Singla Forest Reserve that is under Karimganj district’s jurisdiction in Assam.
Background to the Dispute
- The boundary dispute between the two states has been simmering since the formation of Mizoram as a separate state in the 1980s.
- The boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram, 165 km long today, dates back to the colonial era, when Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills, a district of Assam.
- The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
- The notification of 1875 is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873. So, based on this 1873 Act, Mizoram leaders have argued against the demarcation notified in 1933 because according to them the Mizo society was not consulted.
- What adds to the problem is that Assam Government follows the demarcation made in 1933 which that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
- Mizoram is a mountainous region which became the 23rdstate of the Indian Union in February 1987. It was one of the districts of Assam till 1972 when it became a Union Territory.
- After being annexed by the British in 1891, for the first few years, Lushai Hills in the north remained under Assam while the southern half remained under Bengal.
- Both these parts were amalgamated in 1898 into one district called Lushai Hills District under the Chief Commissioner of Assam.
- With the implementation of the North-Eastern Reorganisation Act in 1972, Mizoram became a Union Territory.
- Mizoram was granted statehood on 20 February 1987 as a sequel to the signing of the historic memorandum of settlement between the Government of India and the Mizo National Front in 1986.
About Inner Line Permit & Recent Developments
The Inner Line Permit was established by the British government under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 to safeguard tribals of eastern part of Bengal. The 1873 regulation is also known as Inner Line Regulation (ILR) or Inner Line Permit (ILP).
- The system requires outsiders to obtain a permit from the government to enter the designated territory.
- It can be issued for travel purposes solely.
- The main objective of the ILP system is to provide a special protection of the distinct identity and safeguard for the peaceful existence of the indigenous people of the state where it is applicable.
- System of ILP is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. State of Manipur has been added recently in the Inner Line Permit System in December, 2019.
- Recently, the Meghalaya Assembly has adopted a resolution for implementing the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime in the state, which will impose restrictions on the entry and movement of ‘outsiders’ in the hill state.
- In this regard, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya has urged the Central Government to include Meghalaya in the preamble of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873.
UPSC Current Affairs: Do recent Indicators hint at a real economic revival | Page 07
UPSC Syllabus: Mains– GS Paper 3- Indian Economy
Sub Theme: Debate over Economic Revival | UPSC
The Indian Economy has registered growth rate of -24% in the first quarter of Financial year 2020-21. It has seen contraction for the first time in the last 41 years since 1979. Recently, various high frequency Indicators such as Electricity Consumption, Sale of Automobiles, PMI etc. highlight that that the economic situation in India is slowly improving.
The question here is what is the underlying reason for the improvement in the economic situation? Is the Indian Economy seeing Economic Revival or is it the pent-up demand and Festival season which has led to improvement in high frequency indicators?
Pent-up Demand/ Festival Reason
The lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 has led to both demand and supply side disruption in Indian Economy. A large number of Manufacturing Industries and service-based enterprises such as Travel and Tourism, Restaurants etc. were closed. On one hand, it led to loss of jobs leading to decline in consumption expenditure. On the other hand, closure of Industries led to decline in Investment expenditure. These two factors together led to deceleration in the GDP growth rate to -24% in first quarter of 2020-21.
The lifting of lockdown has to a certain extent led to release of pent-up demand. A large number of people who could not buy goods and services during the lockdown have now started buying them leading to increase in their demand. The pent-up demand has been supported by the festival season as well leading to improvement in the high frequency indicators.
Hence, some of the Industries such as Automobiles, consumer durables, FMCG etc. have seen an improvement in the last month.
The Indian Economy was facing slowdown even before the COVID-19. The COVID-19 has accentuated the economic slowdown. The structural problems which led to economic slowdown have not been addressed so far. Take for instance, prior to COVID-19, the higher NPAs of Banks led to decline in consumption and Investment expenditure. These problems continue to remain even now.
The Government's fiscal stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crores announced during Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package may have led to improvement in the situation. However, it is difficult to say that Indian Economy has addressed the structural problems which led to slowdown in the first place.
Further, even today, a large number of sectors such as Travel, Tourism, Real Estate etc. which are considered to be employment intensive are facing slowdown on account of lower demand. We have not seen the pent-up demand in these sectors due to the fear of COVID-19 among the people.
So far, the Government has been reluctant to undertake higher expenditure due to the apprehension of increase in Fiscal Deficit. Unprecedented times need unprecedented measures.
The Government must not worry about Fiscal deficit. It should undertake higher expenditure on targeted sectors such as Infrastructure and Asset creation which would lead to both investment and consumption expenditure.
Further, the Government presently owes around Rs 5 lakh crores to various private sector companies, PSUs etc. on account of procurement of goods, tax refunds etc. This needs to be cleared at the earliest. Such an action of the Government would enhance liquidity in the economy and enhance growth rates.
UPSC Current Affairs: NPCI allows WhatsApp to offer payment service |Page 14
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims- Indian Economy
Sub Theme: Payment System in India | UPSC
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on 5TH November allowed WhatsApp to start its payments service in the country in a ‘graded’ manner.
- In the first phase, it can expand its payments user base to 20 million.
- It will be available now in 10 Indian regional language versions of WhatsApp.
- All one need is a debit card with a bank that supports UPI to get started.
This shall in effect limit a single, third-party like WhatsApp, or its rivals such as Google Pay or PhonePe, to handle only 30% of overall UPI transactions starting January 2021. As per NPCI, the cap of 30% will be calculated on the basis of the total volume of UPI transactions that were processed in the preceding three months.
National Payments Corporation of India – NPCI
- NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
- NPCI is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.
- NPCI has been incorporated as a “Not for Profit” Company with an intention to provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.
- NPCI is focused on bringing innovations in the retail payment systems through the use of technology for achieving greater efficiency in operations and widening the reach of payment systems.
- The following services have been established by NPCI:
- RuPay Contactless: Allows cardholders to wave their card in front of contactless payment terminals without the need to physically swipe or insert the card into a point-of-sale device.
- Unified Payments Interface: Real-time interbank payment system for sending or receiving money.
- BHIM App: BHIM is a mobile app or payments application that allows users to make instant bank transfers.
- Bharat BillPay: One-stop ecosystem for payment of all bills
- Immediate Payment Service: Real time interbank payment system
- National Financial Switch: Network of ATMs in India.
- BharatQR: A common QR code built for ease of payments
- National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC)- enables customer to use their FASTag as payment mode on any of the toll plazas
Unified Payments Interface (UPI)
- Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is an instant payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an RBI regulated entity. UPI is built over the IMPS infrastructure and allows you to instantly transfer money between any two parties' bank accounts.
- PI-PIN (UPI Personal Identification Number) is a 4-6 digit pass code one create/set during first time registration with this App. You have to enter this UPI-PIN to authorize all bank transactions.
UPSC Current Affairs: The crucial expertise of CAPFs |Page 07
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper 3- Internal Security
Sub Theme: Role of CAPFs | UPSC
When disaster strikes our country in any manner, be it natural or man-made, the government summons the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to carry out the task of overcoming the disaster, by not only carrying out rescue and relief operations, but also mitigating the pains and problems arising out of the disaster.
So let us understand the role of CAPFs in India:
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
It is the largest of the Central Armed Police
Its primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency.
Border Security Force (BSF)
To guard the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders, it is deployed both on the international border and the LOC.
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
It provides security to various Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and other critical infrastructure installations, major airports across the country and provides security during elections and other internal security duties and VVIP protection.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)
It is deployed for guarding duties on the Indo-China border from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu Pass in Arunachal Pradesh covering a total distance of 3488 km
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
It is to guard the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.
It is the oldest paramilitary force of India.
It mainly internal security under the control of the army through the conduct of counter insurgency and border security operations, provision of aid to the civilians in times of emergency, and the provision of communications, medical assistance and education in remote areas.
UPSC Current Affairs: All insults not offence under SC/ST Act |Page 10
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Govt. Policies
Sub Theme: SC and ST ( Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 | UPSC
What does the Judgment say?
- Three Judge Bench of Supreme Court has held that all insults or intimidations to persons belonging to Dalit or tribal communities will not be an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
- An offence is made out under the statute only if such insult or intimidation is on account of the victim belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. The court said the insult should be specifically intended to humiliate the victim for his caste.
- Offence under the Act is not established merely on the fact that the informant complainant is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste.
- According to the SC, the object of the Act is to punish violators who inflict indignities, humiliations and harassment. “It is intended to punish the acts of the upper caste against the vulnerable section of society for the reason that they belong to a particular community.
THE SCHEDULED CASTES AND THE SCHEDULED TRIBES (PREVENTION OF ATROCITIES) ACT, 1989
- The Act prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of such offences
- The PCR Act covered offences of untouchability, but not of atrocities against members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
- So, the government enacted Prevention of Atrocities Act to prevent commission of offences against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and also to provide relief and rehabilitation of victims of such offences.
- The Act punishes anyone who compels or employs a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe to carry human or animal carcasses or for manual scavenging. Further, the Act post amendment also established Special Courts and Exclusive Special Courts for trial of offences punishable under the Act.