Q1. What is citizenship amendment bill and what issues have been created by it?
Citizenship amendment bill 2016:-
The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 tomake illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years. TheBill relaxes this 11 year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
The Bill provides that theregistration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
Issues it creates:-
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 imagines India as a Hindu homeland, which is a refutation of the constitutional idea of the republic.
Experts see it as a move to endorse Hindus from Bangladesh who migrated to Assam after 1971.
The Billmakes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences
Breaching Assam accord:-
Would breach the clauses of the historic Assam Accord, which states that all illegal foreigners who came to the state after 1971 from Bangladesh, irrespective of their religion, have to be deported.
Discrimination of Muslims:-
Alleged illegal migration from Bangladesh has been at the heart of Assam’s discontent .Not just the Muslim Bengali, but the Hindu Bengali has also been a reason for political mobilisation in the state. But only Hindu Bengalis are being favoured by the bill.
While Hindus and Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians might be naturalised, Muslims will not be offered the same advantage even if they are persecuted
Q2. 15th Finance Commission’s suggestion to use population figures from 2011 census instead of 1971 census for sharing tax revenue among states has triggered opposition from South India. Examine why. Also comment if southern states are unfairly subsidising northern states.
The rise in the demands of autonomy by the southern states have been taken place in the recent years. With the 15thfinance commission’s suggestion to use the population according to 2001 census instead of 1971 census has triggered new insecurities.
Reasons why southern India is opposing :-
Using 2011 census data instead of 1971 census data to decide the allocation of tax revenue to states couldlead to a major disruption of southern finances since southern states have been more successful in bringing down population growth rates after 1971.
If the previous finance commission had used 2011 population figures entirely instead of as a sub-component southern stateswould have received about Rs20,000 crore less over the 5-year period from 2015-2020.
Southern states contribute maximum tax revenues to the centre,but due to this decision money can be diverted to the development of northern states.
Experts point out that it is a poor idea to give weightage to population to assess states fiscal needs by the finance commission.
Thedevelopment needs of an area are not necessarily captured in its population statistics.
Redistribution of pooled taxes has been progressive for years, ensuring poorer states get a larger share, both per person and in absolute terms.The fear among southern states is that the degree of redistribution would increase.
Southern states feel thatdevelopment is not being rewarded with this decision of finance commission.
The usage of the 2011 Census is being opposed for the same reason the usage of 1971 Census was made mandatory– to make sure States that have worked on population control do not lose out on benefits.
The concerns expressed by the States in 1976 which necessitated the freezing of seat allocation on the basis of 1971 population figures would appear to hold good even todayand have to be addressed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
Southern states are unfairly subsiding northern states :-
The states of the South have nearly reached replacement levels of population growth.Yet, population is a prominent criteria for devolution of central taxes.
They alsoget much less funding from the Centre.
Theirfinancial muscle does not translate into political heft.
The vastly differing rates of fertility paired with differences in economic growth will also affect inter-state migration which is already moving at a faster pace for southern states.
However despite concerns made by the southern states India is union of states .Only when federal entities truly support each other does the nation flourish. Also the less developed states contributed to the economy of the nation with natural resources. It is also the duty of states to consider regional imbalances and strive for the development of the nation as a whole.
Q3. Discuss the merits and demerits of recent draft defence production policy.
With the aim of creating up to 30 lakh jobs and a total turnover Rs. 1.7 lakh crore in defence goods, the Union government has prepared its draft Defence Production Policy, 2018.
The vision of the policy is to make India among the top five countries of the world in the aerospace and defence industries, with the active participation of the public and private sectors, fulfilling the objective of self-reliance as well as the demand of other friendly countries
The draft policy says the government’s aim is to achieve a turnover of Rs. 1,70,000 crore (approximately $26 billion) in defence goods and services by 2025,involving additional investment of nearly Rs. 70,000 crore (about $10 billion) creating employment for nearly 2-3 million people.
It also hopes to achieve exports of Rs. 35,000 crore in defence goods and services by 2025
The policy aims to create an environment that encourages a dynamic, robust and competitive defence industry as an important part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative”.
The policy also hopes to reduce current dependence on imports and to achieve self-reliance in development and manufactureof several weapon systems/platforms.
The policy proposes to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) capin niche technology areas to 74% under the automatic route.
The government will list its requirements in terms of platforms and weapon systems for the next decade to help private sector companies understand the opportunities
It will also simplify procedures for private firms to enter defense production, i.e., liberalize the regime by issuing licenses in 30 days and pruning no-go areas to a small ‘negative list’ for licensing
The government will also do away with capacity assessment, except for critical projects
In the area of taxation, the government has proposed rationalization of taxes on import of capital goods for servicesand inputs for defense and aims to prevent inversion of taxes
The policy also plans to export defence goods worth $5 billion to other countries. It also plans on setting up Defence Export Organisation in partnership with the industry and market domestically produced goods overseas.
Q4. Discuss the significance of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act) for India which was recently signed by the US President.
The CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) is a set of regulations handling how data stored in one country can be accessed by an entity in a different country
It will enable the U.S. government to enter into agreements with like-minded states for cross-border data sharing.
With the enactment of the CLOUD Act, an Indian officer for the purposes of an investigation will no longer have to make a request to the U.S. government but canapproach the company directly.
India in the first half of 2017 requested data from Facebook 9,853 times, of which only 54.3% were met. Over the years, requests from Indian law enforcement to American service providers have been on a steady rise.This act makes the process easierand would also limit the activities similar to Cambridge Analytica in future.
Cross-border crimes such as cases of online radicalisationwould require agents to access data that are stored abroad. The act helps enforcement agencies to solve the crime fast.
It reflects agrowing consensus in favour of protecting Internet users around the world and provides a logical solution for governing cross-border access to data.
Introduction of this bipartisan legislation is an importantstep toward enhancing and protecting individual privacy rights, reducing international conflicts of law and keeping us all safer.
Among many commitments, to qualify for an executive agreement,India will need to ensure that its authorities collect, retain, use and share data as per an established procedure.
In addition, Indian laws must provide for electronic data requests to be reviewed by a court or other independent authority.As of now, India falls short of these requirements.
Concerns are raised thatthis will erode privacy protections around the globe.