27 July, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu
- An Emigration Bill that does not go far enough (Polity & Governance)
- Evaluating India's Options in Afghanistan (International Relations)
- Puri - India's first city to provide Quality Drinking Tap Water (Ethics)
- T.N., U.P. acquired land for Defence Industrial Corridors (Economy)
- Question for the Day
UPSC Current Affairs: An Emigration Bill that does not go far enough | Page 06
UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II: Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Welfare of Emigrants | UPSC
Context: The proposed Emigration Bill of 2021 seems better than the Emigration Act 1983, but more reforms are needed to protect Indian workers abroad. The Bill presents a renewed opportunity to reform the recruitment process for nationals seeking employment abroad.
- A Report released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that India has the highest number of international migrants in the world. It found that last year 18 million Indians were living abroad, followed by Mexico 11 million, Russia 11 million, China 10 million, and Syria 8 million.
- There are two types of international migration from India: first, workers who are categorised as ‘unskilled’ or ‘semi-skilled’ and who migrate mostly to the Gulf countries. Second, the semi-skilled workers, professionals, students who migrate to the advanced capitalist countries.
Challenges for Migrant Indians to settle abroad
- High Cost of International Migration – lack of resources for most unskilled and semi-skilled people
- Loans from institutional & non-institutional sources - to cover cost of migration.
- Gap between the migration expenditure incurred and remittances made by international migrants makes life difficult. This also results in flow of capital outside India
- Increased Debt for Migrant Families – as they are trapped ion the vicious cycle of debts
- Exploitation by Employer – This includes large recruitment charges, contract substitution, deception, retention of passports, non-payment or underpayment of wages, discrimination and other forms of ill-treatment.
- Poor Working Conditions – especially for unskilled & semi-skilled people without proper guarantee or medical benefits.
- Death of Migrant Workers - majority of migrant worker deaths in the Arab Gulf States/West Asia are attributed to heart attacks and respiratory failures, whose causes are unexplained and poorly understood.
The Emigration Act, 1983 – Important Highlights
Emigration Authorities – Protectors of Emigrants –
- protect the emigrants,
- inspect emigrant conveyance which includes a vessel, vehicle, country-craft and an aircraft,
- enquire about emigrant’s residence in foreign countries and their voyage,
- put up check post for illegal emigration
Registration of Recruiting Agents
- Recruiting agents shall register themselves with Protector General of Emigrants
- Registered Recruiting Agents to have a Valid Certificate of Registration
Recruitment by employers to be through recruiting agent or under permit
- Recruiting Agents shall conduct due diligence of prospective employers, sets up a cap on service fees, and establishes a government review of worker travel and employment documents.
The Emigration Bill, 2021 – Important Highlights
Bureau of Emigration Policy and Planning - to formulate effective policies through periodic assessment, undertake consultation with relevant stakeholders and carry out analysis with regard to emigration and allied matters.
Bureau of Emigration Administration
Maintain digitised records of Indian emigrants
Ensure welfare & protection of emigrants –
- skill upgradation and training,
- pre departure orientation,
- counselling to assist emigrants in all stages of migration
- Indian Embassy/ Consulate may establish a Labour and Welfare wing to coordinate all issues related to Indian emigrants.
- The Indian Embassy/ Consulate may establish Emigrants Welfare Committee to oversee, review, direct, aid and address the grievances of Indian emigrants.
Regulating Human Resource Agencies & Recruiters
- give ratings for employers, Human Resources Agencies
- maintain list of blacklisted foreign employers, fraudulent Human Resources AgencieS
- Establish a shared database among concerned stakeholders in the government to maintain a comprehensive approach towards emigration.
- Periodically inspect any register or records maintained by the Human Resources Agencies
- Advise the Nodal Authorities in respect of matters relating to prosecution of illegal Human Resources Agencies.
- Register, suspend or cancel the certificate of Human Resources Agencies
- Provide Accreditation of employers
Helping Indian Emigrants Going Abroad
- prevent illegal emigration, irregularity in recruitment procedures and misuse of visa;
- establish help desks and Sahayata Kendras in India and abroad
- undertake awareness programmes so as to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration
- monitor situations, circumstances and activities affecting overseas Indians
Punishments & Penalties
- For furnishing false information by Human Resource Agencies
- For taking Accreditation by Employers by furnishing false details
- For Emigrants – if it is proved that they are not emigrants or lack certain criteria to work abroad – penalty from Rs 10,000 to 50,000 – competent authority can suspend or cancel passport.
- Charging Fees from Workers by Agencies against international standards - The Bill permits manpower agencies to charge workers’ service fees, and even allows agents to set their own limits. This is against International Labour Organization (ILO) Private Employment Agencies Convention No. 181 and the ILO general principles and operational guidelines for fair recruitment. This is because as per international regulations, it is the employer (and not worker) who should bear recruitment payments including the costs of their visas, air travel, medical exams, and service charges to recruiters.
- Indians Pays high sum of money for job in Gulf - Large-scale surveys by the ILO and the World Bank show that Indian workers pay exorbitant charges for their jobs and that poorer workers pay progressively larger fees
- Makes Families Vulnerable through Loans - The employment charge (reflected as service fee) makes the families of workers vulnerable to indebtedness and exploitation. This is because of non-formal credit taken by most of the workers going abroad for work whose interest rate is too high.
- Authorities can cancel Passport – The Bill permits government authorities to punish workers by cancelling or suspending their passports and imposing fines up to ₹50,000. This can be used against workers migrating through unregistered brokers or via irregular arrangements such as on tourist visas. This runs contrary to the principles of protection and welfare of migrants.
- Recruiters and Agencies could misuse the law in favour of select recruiters.
- Gender Insensitive – The Bill does not also adequately reflect the gender dimensions of labour migration where women have limited agency in recruitment compared to their counterparts and are more likely to be employed in marginalised and informal sectors and/or isolated occupations in which labour, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse are common.
- Limited Scope for Civil Society engagement for workers’ representation.
UPSC Current Affairs: Evaluating India's Options in Afghanistan | Page – 06
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper II – International Relation
Sub Theme: India's Options in Afghanistan | UPSC
US has announced deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan and it is followed by increased violence between Afghan army and Taliban. Taliban is making rapid territorial gains in Afghanistan. In this context, it is imperative for India to not only secure its Interests in the Afghanistan in case of Taliban take over but also to find a long-lasting solution to the Afghan problem. Let us evaluate the options available to India in this regard.
- Talks with Taliban:
India should be accommodative in opening its door to the Taliban leadership. India has already established contacts with the Taliban in Doha. Continued talks with them would allow New Delhi to seek security guarantees from the insurgents in return for continued development assistance
- Keep investing in Afghanistan: India must continue its investments in Afghanistan. Development leads to stability. Even, Taliban has been in favour of India’s supportive role
- India Must continue intelligence sharing and training exercises with Afghan security forces. Militarily strong Afghanistan civilian government will have better bargaining power at the table in Intra Afghan- peace talks with Taliban
- Explore the possibility of the Taliban’s autonomy from Pakistan. Because Taliban has deep ties with Pakistan security establishment and this is one of the reasons for persistence of Taliban despite strong Military efforts of US. So, this factor should not be overlooked
Apart from these Individual efforts, India should also coordinate with other regional powers like Russia, Iran and China to find a sustainable solution to the Afghan problem
Scope for regional cooperation:
There is a convergence of interests between India and three key regional players — China, Russia and Iran — in seeing a political settlement in Afghanistan.
- For China, whose restive Xinjiang province shares a border with Afghanistan, a jihadist-oriented Taliban regime would not serve its internal interests
- Russia fears that instability would spill over into the former Soviet Republics
- For Iran, which is a Shia theocratic country, a Sunni dominated Taliban will continue to remain an ideological, sectarian and strategic challenge
However, there are some challenges for India to forge a regional cooperation with these countries, which need to be addressed
- US sanctions on Iran: India’s plan was to create a direct access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan through Chabahar port. This direct access is critical for India
- To Move supplies to Kabul in larger quantities,
- To Retain its presence in the event of a civil war or
- To Carry out any covert operations if the Taliban take power by force
But India, under pressure from the U.S., slowed down on the Chabahar connectivity projects, which finally prompted Iran to drop India and go ahead.
So, building strategic ties with Iran, irrespective of the U.S.’s policy towards the Islamic Republic, is essential for India’s Afghan bets.
- QUAD turning into Anti-China alliance:
India should talk with China, with the objective of finding a
political settlement and lasting stability in Afghanistan. But, America’s strategic response to China’s rise is its Indo-Pacific strategy and as a part of this strategy, US wants India to play a key role in QUAD. QUAD is in fact seen by China as an Anti-China bloc.
Hence, India should strike the right balance between its continental realities and the U.S.’s pivot to maritime Asia.
India, as one of the countries that would be impacted by the consequences of American withdrawal, has to work with Eurasian powers to protect its interests and stabilise Afghanistan
UPSC Current Affairs: Puri - India's first city to provide Quality Drinking Tap Water | Page 04
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper I +II + III
Sub Theme: Various dimensions of drinking water facility | UPSC
Puri on Monday became the first city in India where people can avail high quality drinking water directly from the tap on 24-hour basis.
Let us analyse the news from different perspectives:
Paper – 1 Perspective
- Urbanisation – drinking water facility is part of any planned urban development.
- Cultural city – Puri cannot be developed as Heritage city without basic drinking water facility.
- Women empowerment – When water comes from improved and more accessible sources, people, especially women, spend less time and effort physically collecting it, meaning they can be productive in other ways. This can also result in greater personal safety by reducing the need to make long or risky journeys to collect water.
- Poverty – absence of clean drinking water is the first sign of poverty. In cause huge out of the pocket expenditure and risk of diseases.
- Supreme Court has ruled in various judgement that pollution-free water is a fundamental right which a welfare state is bound to ensure.
- Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water.
- Potable piped water to children is important as they are more susceptible to water-borne diseases. It also help in building basic WASH infrastructure.
- Vector borne disease – Contaminated water, poor sanitation and open sources of water are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio.
- Better water sources also mean less expenditure on health, as people are less likely to fall ill and incur medical costs, and are better able to remain economically productive.
Paper – 4 Perspective
- Ethical governance – government must fulfil basic rights of citizens, promised by the constitution.
- Compassion – Chief Minister of Odisha visited Puri after cyclone Fani made landfall in Puri. He was deeply shocked to find the condition of Puri and he vowed to develop Puri into a world heritage city.
- Arthashastra urged the ruler to remain compassionate towards his subject. It says about the king, “In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness; in their welfare his welfare”.
- As per ‘social contract’ principles ruler must work in the interest of the ruled, understanding and ameliorating their problems.
- Indian constitution has made India a ‘welfare state’ with the obligation of safeguarding fundamental rights and liberty of citizens.
- Emotional intelligence is required to understand the suffering of people in absence of basic needs like drinking water.
- Morality can be expected only after fulfilment of basic needs.
UPSC Current Affairs: .N., U.P. acquired land for Defence Industrial Corridors | Page 08
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper III – Indian economy
Sub Theme: Defence Industrial Corridors | UPSC
Context: Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have acquired land for the Defence Industrial Corridors (DIC). Tamil Nadu has acquired 283.28 hectares and Uttar Pradesh 196.7 hectares in 2020-21. The DICs are aimed at providing fillip to the defence manufacturing ecosystem. The TNDIC has identified five nodes — Chennai, Coimbatore, Hosur, Salem and Tiruchirappalli. The UPDIC has six identified nodes — Agra, Aligarh, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Kanpur and Lucknow.
Benefits of Defence Industrial Corridors
- Boost Make in India project
- Provide employment opportunities – skilled, semi-skilled & unskilled workers
- Improve economic growth
- Ensure self-reliance – Atmanirbharta – in defence manufacturing
- Reduce foreign dependency of Indian Aerospace & Defence Sector
- Help to make defence manufacturing industry export oriented industry
- Attract domestic & foreign investments
- Improve competition among domestic defence manufacturing firms
- Spur growth of private domestic manufacturers, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Star-ups.