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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS | 15 March , 2024

Citizenship Comes Under Domain of Centre, State Governments Have No Role in CAA Implementation        

UPSC CSE Mains Question     

Why in the News?  

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s assertion that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, will not be implemented in the state has sparked discussions, as a senior government official emphasized that citizenship is exclusively the domain of the Union government, which means state governments have no significant role in the implementation of the CAA.  

Background  

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, was passed by the Indian Parliament to facilitate citizenship for undocumented individuals from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Christian, and Jain communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. The act has been contentious, leading to widespread protests across the country.

Key Points of the News

  1. Citizenship as a Central Domain:
    • The implementation of the CAA is managed by the central government, underscoring the fact that citizenship issues fall under the Union’s purview, not the states’.
  2. Process and Procedure:
    • The process involves the Postal department and Census officials, along with Central security agencies like the Intelligence Bureau for background checks, highlighting a centralized system that minimizes state involvement.
  3. Online Application System:
    • The introduction of an online application system for citizenship under the CAA indicates a move towards digital governance and efficiency but also raises questions about access and inclusivity.

Important Terms Meaning

  1. CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019):
    • A legislation to grant citizenship to minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
  2. Union Government:
    • The central government of India, responsible for national policy and administration.
  3. Naturalisation:
    • The legal process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country.

Way Forward

The central and state governments must engage in constructive dialogue to address the concerns raised by various stakeholders regarding the CAA. Ensuring transparent and inclusive processes for citizenship applications is essential for upholding the principles of democracy and human rights.

UPSC CSE Prelims Question

1. What is the significance of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, in the context of Indian law?

a. It allows for automatic citizenship to all undocumented migrants.
b. It facilitates citizenship for specific religious minorities from neighboring countries.
c. It removes the need for citizenship by naturalisation.
d. It provides a uniform civil code for all citizens.
Answer: b. It facilitates citizenship for specific religious minorities from neighboring countries.
2. Which of the following agencies is not involved in the implementation process of the CAA, 2019?
a. The Postal Department
b. The Census Office
c. State Government Officials
d. The Intelligence Bureau
Answer: c. State Government Officials

India was the top arms importer in 2019-2023               

 UPSC CSE Mains Question    

 Why in the News?    

The recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) highlights India as the world’s leading arms importer during 2019-2023, with a notable shift in global arms supply dynamics.      

Background

Arms importation and exportation are crucial indicators of global military and defense trends. The SIPRI report sheds light on the changing patterns of arms imports by countries and the rising role of the United States as a dominant arms supplier.

Key Points of the News

  1. India’s Position:
    • India’s rise to become the top arms importer with a 4.7% increase compared to 2014-18 showcases its strategic focus on bolstering defense capabilities.
  2. European Imports Surge:
    • The report also highlights a significant 94% increase in arms imports by European countries, largely influenced by the war in Ukraine.
  3. Changing Suppliers:
    • For the first time since 1960-64, less than half of India’s arms imports were from Russia, indicating a diversification of its arms suppliers.
  4. Global Dynamics:
    • The U.S. has expanded its role as the leading arms exporter, with a 17% growth in exports, contrasting with Russia’s decline.
  5. France’s Rise:
    • France emerged as the second largest arms supplier, with significant exports to India, Qatar, and Egypt.

Important Terms Meaning

  1. Arms Importer:
    • A country that buys military weapons and equipment from other countries.
  2. SIPRI:
    • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a Swedish think tank renowned for its research on conflict, armaments, arms control, and disarmament.
  3. Capital Allocation:
    • The amount of money allocated for the purchase of new military equipment and weapons.   

Way Forward  

For India and other major importers, it’s critical to balance defense needs with diplomatic relations and peace initiatives. Diversifying sources of military procurement can reduce dependency on a single supplier, enhancing strategic autonomy and stability.  

UPSC CSE Prelims Question

1. Who was India's main arms supplier in the period 2019-2023, according to the SIPRI report?

a. United States
b. France
c. Russia
d. China
Answer: c. Russia
2. What percentage of Pakistan's arms imports were supplied by China in 2019-2023?
a. 43%
b. 55%
c. 82%
d.36%
Answer: c. 82%

India’s Nuclear Waste Management: Advances and Challenges         

UPSC CSE Mains Question

  Why in the News?

India’s progress with the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) and the management of nuclear waste, highlighting both technological advancements and environmental challenges.   

Background  

Nuclear power, while a significant energy source, generates nuclear waste, necessitating advanced waste management strategies. India’s engagement in nuclear power production has evolved to address the complex issue of nuclear waste through reprocessing and other methods.  

Key Points of the News

  1. Source of Nuclear Waste:
    • Generated during nuclear fission in reactors, spent fuel contains highly radioactive elements that require careful handling and storage.
  2. Management Techniques:
    • Includes cooling spent fuel in pools, dry cask storage, vitrification, and reprocessing, each with its advantages and challenges.
  3. India’s Approach:
    • Utilizes reprocessing facilities to manage nuclear waste, aiming to extract valuable fissile materials and reduce the volume of high-level waste.
  4. Global Practices:
    • Vary widely, with some countries opting for permanent geological disposal, while others, like India, focus on reprocessing and recycling.

Important Terms Meaning

  1. Nuclear Waste:
    • Material that contains harmful levels of radiation, produced as a byproduct of the reactions that generate nuclear energy.
  2. Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR):
    • A type of reactor that generates more fissile material than it consumes, India’s step towards utilizing its thorium reserves.
  3. Reprocessing:
    • The chemical separation of plutonium and uranium from spent nuclear fuel, allowing for the reuse of these materials in reactors.

Way Forward  

Continued innovation in nuclear waste management technologies is crucial. India and other nuclear-powered nations must focus on developing safe, efficient, and sustainable methods to handle and reduce nuclear waste, mitigating environmental and health risks.  

UPSC CSE Prelims Question

1. Which method is NOT commonly used for managing high-level nuclear waste?

a. Dry cask storage
b. Geological disposal
c. Ocean dumping
d. Reprocessing
Answer: c. Ocean dumping

2. What is the primary purpose of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel?
a. To eliminate all radioactive materials
b. To extract usable fissile materials for reactor fuel
c. To reduce the heat generated by spent fuel
d. To store nuclear waste in a more compact form
Answer: b. To extract usable fissile materials for reactor fuel

China’s Emissions and Efficiency Targets Under Threat After Falling Short in 2023           

UPSC CSE Mains Question     

 Why in the News?     

China has not met its ambitious goals for reducing energy and carbon intensity, casting doubt on its commitment to climate change mitigation and risking its credibility in international climate discussions.  

Background

As the world’s largest carbon emitter and a significant global economic power, China has pledged to reach peak emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2060. These goals include reducing energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon intensity by 18% between 2021 and 2025.

Key Points of the News

  1. Missed Targets:
    • China is significantly behind on its energy and carbon intensity reduction goals, with minimal progress made in 2023.
  2. Policy and Implementation Gaps:
    • Despite the National Development and Reform Commission’s (NDRC) commitment to intensify efforts, the set targets for 2024 are insufficient to bridge the gap.
  3. Energy Security vs. Environmental Goals:
    • China’s emphasis on energy security appears to overshadow its climate commitments, reflecting a lack of political will to address the emissions gap effectively.
  4. International Implications:
    • Failure to meet these targets may damage China’s diplomatic credibility, especially given its history of emphasizing the implementation of commitments while critiquing others for setting unrealistic goals.  

Important Terms Meaning

  1. Energy Intensity:
    • The amount of energy consumption per unit of GDP, a measure of a country’s energy efficiency.
  2. Carbon Intensity:
    • The amount of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP, indicating the greenhouse gas emissions associated with economic activities.
  3. Net Zero:
    • Balancing the amount of emitted greenhouse gases with an equivalent amount of carbon removal or offsetting, to achieve a zero net increase in atmospheric concentrations.

Way Forward  

China needs to implement more aggressive measures across all sectors, focusing on efficiency improvements in industry and construction, and expand financial incentives for green technology adoption. Additionally, enhancing the carbon market could facilitate more significant progress towards these goals.


UPSC CSE Prelims Question

1. What are the targets set by China for reducing energy intensity and carbon intensity between 2021 and 2025?

a. 15% and 20%
b. 10% and 15%
c. 13.5% and 18%
d. 12% and 17%
Answer: c. 13.5% and 18%
2. As of 2023, what percentage did China's energy intensity fall by, missing the 2% target?
a. 1%
b. 0.5%
c. 2.5%
d. 3%
Answer: b. 0.5%

Editorial Analysis(I) –Intra-group caste variances, equality and the Court’s gaze  

  1. Context
    • This editorial by Suhrith Parthasarathy, an advocate practicing at the Madras High Court, critically examines the upcoming judgment by a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India in the case of State of Punjab vs Davinder Singh. The judgment concerns whether state governments can make sub-classifications within Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) for public employment reservations. The editorial explores the implications of this case for affirmative action and the reservation system under the Indian Constitution.
  2. Background
    • Affirmative action and reservations are contentious issues in India, aimed at correcting historical injustices faced by marginalized communities. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case could redefine the extent to which state governments can tailor reservation policies to address intra-group variances within SCs and STs, acknowledging that discrimination and backwardness are not uniformly experienced within these groups.
  3. Important Terminology
    • Affirmative Action: Policies designed to address inequalities and historical discrimination against certain groups by providing preferential treatment in areas like employment and education.
    • Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST): Official designations given to specific indigenous and marginalized communities in India, eligible for certain reservations in education, employment, and politics.
    • Sub-Classification: The process of creating further divisions within a broad category, here referring to distinguishing among SCs and STs based on varying degrees of backwardness.
  4. Detailed Analysis
    • The Constitutional Mandate:
      • The editorial underscores the constitutional promise of equality and the duty of the state to ensure substantive equality for marginalized communities. This involves a nuanced understanding of affirmative action as not merely an exception to the principle of equality but as a means to achieve it. The author suggests that sub-classifications within SCs and STs, aimed at aiding the most backward among them, align with the constitutional vision.
    • Precedents and Legal Challenges:
      • The discussion highlights how previous judgments, particularly E.V. Chinnaiah and Indra Sawhney, have influenced the legal landscape surrounding reservations and sub-classifications. The author points out the contradiction between allowing sub-classifications for OBCs but not for SCs and STs, a distinction that the Supreme Court is now reconsidering.
  5. Significance
    • The editorial highlights a crucial moment for affirmative action in India, where the Supreme Court’s decision could either reinforce or challenge the existing framework of reservations. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing intra-group differences and tailoring policies to ensure that affirmative action truly benefits those most in need.
  6. Concluding Thoughts
    • Parthasarathy’s analysis presents a compelling argument for the necessity of sub-classifications within SCs and STs to achieve true equality. By acknowledging the varied levels of backwardness within these groups, the state can more effectively address the root causes of discrimination and inequality.
  7. Way Forward   
    • The editorial advocates for a legal framework that allows state governments the flexibility to recognize and address intra-group variances. This involves a reevaluation of existing precedents and a more inclusive interpretation of the Constitution’s equality provisions, ultimately paving the way for a more equitable society.

Editorial Analysis (II) –Economic and Religious Intersections in India’s Urban Growth     

  1. Context
    • Tikender Singh Panwar, former Deputy Mayor of Shimla and a member of the Kerala Urban Commission, critiques the shift in urban development priorities in India, as illustrated by the inauguration of the new Parliament building and the Ram temple by the Prime Minister. These events symbolize a potential move towards urbanization driven by religious and political symbolism rather than economic, industrial, and modernist principles that have characterized the past seven decades of urban development in India.
  2. Background
    • Urbanization in India has historically been tied to economic development, with cities serving as hubs of industry, culture, and modernism. However, recent government investments, such as in Ayodhya, suggest a pivot towards urban development that emphasizes religious identity and heritage. This editorial examines the implications of such a shift, contrasting it with the development models of colonial and post-colonial urbanization, which focused on industrial growth and modern infrastructure as means of improving living standards and economic opportunities.
  3. Important Terminology
    • Urbanization: The process by which towns and cities are formed and become larger as more people begin living and working in central areas.
    • Colonial Cities: Cities developed primarily during the colonial era, often characterized by their roles in administrative functions, trade, and transportation.Modernism: A cultural movement embracing human empowerment and rejecting traditionalism; in urban development, it emphasizes innovation, technology, and progress.
    • Revivalism: A movement aiming to re-establish or emphasize cultural, religious, or economic practices from the past within contemporary society.
  4. In-depth Analysis
    • Colonial Versus New Cities:
      • Panwar contrasts the development of colonial cities, which were designed for economic and administrative efficiency, with the proposed new cities like Ayodhya, Kashi, and Pushkar, which focus on religious significance. He questions the sustainability of urban development that prioritizes religious identity over economic and social infrastructure.
    • Investments and Urban Development:
      • The editorial raises concerns about the allocation of resources to religious cities without a clear plan for equitable urban development across India. Panwar criticizes the lack of a justifiable investment plan in regional cities, suggesting that current expenditures on projects like the Central Vista, Sardar Patel statue, and high-speed bullet train prioritize political and religious symbolism over broader social needs.
  5. Significance
    • This editorial challenges the current trajectory of urban development in India, highlighting a critical debate about the role of religion and politics in shaping the future of cities. It questions whether the focus on religious symbolism and heritage might divert resources and attention from pressing social and economic needs, potentially impacting India’s modernization efforts and social equity.
  6. Concluding Thoughts
    • Panwar’s critique offers a poignant reflection on the priorities of urban development in India. He advocates for a balanced approach that considers the economic, social, and cultural needs of the urban population, cautioning against a shift towards urbanization models that emphasize religious identity at the expense of broader developmental objectives.  
  7. Way Forward   
    • The editorial suggests decentralization, democratization, and fostering a dynamic coexistence among citizens as key strategies to counter the current trend of religiously motivated urban development. Panwar calls for a more inclusive urbanization policy that equally prioritizes social infrastructure, economic development, and cultural heritage, ensuring that urban growth benefits all segments of society.
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