IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


22nd January, 2020


MDL, L&T on submarine project list

Defence Acquisition council meeting:

-       Cleared Mazgaon Docks Ltd. (MDL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) as the Indian partners in the Navy’s tender for six advanced submarines under Project-75I worth over Rs. 45,000 crore.

-       Rejected a joint bid by Adani Defence and Aerospace and Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. on technical grounds.

-       Approved deals worth Rs. 5,100 crore, which includes electronic warfare systems for the Army to be developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Indian industry.

-       Approved short-listing of Indian strategic partners (SP).

-       Approved potential original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that would collaborate with the SPs to construct six conventional submarines.

Submarine project under  Strategic Partnership Model:

-       Aims to promote the role of the Indian industry in defence manufacturing and build a defence industrial ecosystem.

-       There are now two Indian SPs and five OEMs in the short-listed pool.

-       The OEMs are Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (South Korea), Naval Group (France), Navantia (Spain), Rosoboron export (Russia) and TKMS (Germany).

About Defence Acquisition Council:

-       Defence Acquisition council was set up by government to expedite the defence procurement process.

-       Defence minister heads DAC.

-       Now, CDS is also a member of DAC.

The functions of the DAC include:

-       In-principle approval of 15 Year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan for Defence Forces;

-       Accord of Acceptance of Necessity to acquisition proposals;

-       Categorization of the acquisition proposals relating to 'Buy', 'Buy & Make' and 'Make';

-       Issues relating to Single vendor clearance;

-       Decision regarding 'offset' provisions in respect of acquisition proposals above Rs. 300 crores;

-       Decisions regarding Transfer of Technology under 'Buy & Make' category of acquisition proposals;

-       Field Trial evaluation.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/mdl-lt-on-submarine-project-list/article30620395.ece


India, Brazil to sign Strategic Action Plan

Visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as the chief guest of the Republic Day celebrations.

Expected announcements:

-       Upgrade their strategic partnership with an “action plan”.

-       The Strategic Partnership action plan will serve as an “umbrella agreement”, for plans between the two countries to increase defence cooperation, technology sharing and a logistics agreement.

-       Signing a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)

-       Two countries hope to take their partnership to “the next level”.

-       Brazil and India will also exchange a Social Security Agreement (SSA), first signed in March 2017, to allow investments in each other’s pension funds to help business processes and encourage the flow of investment.

About India-Brazil bilateral relations:

-       Bilateral relations are based on a common global vision, shared democratic values, and a commitment to foster economic growth of both countries.

-       Bilateral relations were elevated to a Strategic Partnership in 2006.

-       Indian investments in Brazil were around $6 billion and Brazilian investments in India are estimated at $1 billion.


-       India supports full commitment to prevent the climate change policies, while Brazil has been denying the scientific studies for climate change.

-       Brazil’s president is known internationally for other controversial “far-right” beliefs on gender and orientation and rights for indigenous tribes.

-       Brazil has protested against Indian subsidies to sugarcane farmers at WTO.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/india-brazil-to-sign-strategic-action-plan/article30620417.ece

Nepal PM Oli positive of resolving all 'pending issues' with India

Statement from Nepal Prime Minister:

-       Bilateral disputes with India should be dealt with dialogue by the majority governments of both countries.

-       It will include Kathmandu’s political willingness to resolve the row over the Kalapani territorial issue with New Delhi.

-       Our Ministers and respective officials will meet to sort out differences and advance the partnership agenda.

Kalapani Dispute:

-       Nepal’s western boundary with India was marked out in the Treaty of Sugauli between the East India Company and Nepal in 1816.

-       Nepali authorities claims that people living in the low-density area were included in the Census of Nepal until 58 years ago.

-       Nepalese Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pande claimed that the late King Mahendra had “handed over the territory to India”.

-       A committee to study the boundary with India claimed that India had “occupied” an additional 62 sq. km land.

-       Mapped within Uttarakhand is a 372-sq. km area called Kalapani, bordering far-west Nepal and Tibet.

-       Apart from Kalapani, another unresolved issue involves a vast area along the Nepal-Uttar Pradesh border.



Rise of the dispute:

-       Government told journalists that the recently released  map after delineation of J& K  “accurately depicts the Kalapani region as sovereign territory of India”.

-       The Nepal government described India’s decision as “unilateral” and claimed that it will “defend its international border”.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nepal-prime-minister-oli-raises-pending-issues-with-india/article30613906.ece

Iran says it may pull out of nuclear treaty over Europe dispute

Iran argument:

-       Iran has accused the three EU member states of inaction over sanctions the United States re-imposed on it.

-       The European move "has no legal basis" and if they take further measures "Iran's withdrawal from the NPT will be considered.

-       It was stated in the president's letter that if this issue is referred to the Security Council, Iran's withdrawal from the NPT will be discussed but before that we can consider other (options).

Europe Move:

-       Britain, France and Germany launched a process last week charging Iran with failing to observe the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. It could lead to reinstating the international sanctions.

-       Iran has progressively rolled back its commitments to the accord in retaliation.

About NPT:

-       It is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology

-       It seeks to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,

-       It works towards the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament in general and complete disarmament in future.

-       Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel and Pakistan.

-       The treaty is reviewed every five years in meetings called Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

-       The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

-       Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the IAEA.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/iran-says-it-may-pull-out-of-nuclear-treaty-over-europe-dispute/article30607262.ece

Pakistan urges U.S. to get it off Financial Action Task Force grey list

Pakistan has urged the U.S. to support its bid to exit from the grey list of the FATF ahead of a key meeting of the international terror financing watchdog in Beijing, in which it will scrutinise Islamabad’s efforts to adopt stricter laws against terror financing and money laundering.

Pakistan’s status:

-       The FATF in October decided to keep Pakistan on its ‘Grey’ list for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups LeT, JeM and others.

-       If not removed off the list by April, Pakistan may move to a blacklist of countries that face severe economic sanctions, such as Iran.

Pakistan’s approach:

-       Urged the US to review its travel advisories for Pakistan and encourage investments in the country.

-       Pakistan has submitted a 650-page review report to the FATF.

-       US could enhance its engagements with Pakistan while waiting for the removal.

-       Islamabad had taken several concrete steps to meet FATF demands and the time had come for the US to fulfil President Trump’s pledge.

-       Donald Trump had said that he wanted to see Pakistan off the FATF grey list.

About FATF:

-       The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. 

-       The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

-       The FATF has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.



The 36 countries include mostly developed Western nations, but also China, Hong Kong (China), Malaysia and Turkey.

-       Moving out of grey list requires at least 15 out of 36 votes.

-       Resisting to black list requires three votes minimum.

India is a voting member of the FATF and APG, and co-chair of the Joint Group where it is represented by the Director General of India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-urges-us-to-get-it-off-financial-action-task-force-grey-list/article30609697.ece



SC for curbs on powers of Speaker to disqualify

Supreme Court observation:

-       Asked Parliament to amend the Constitution to strip Legislative Assembly Speakers of their exclusive power to decide whether legislators should be disqualified under the anti-defection law.

-       An independent tribunal ought to be appointed instead to determine the fate of an MP or an MLA who has switched sides for money and power.

-       Earlier, in Karnataka MLAs’ disqualification case, the court had held that a Speaker who cannot stay aloof from the pressures and wishes of his political party does not deserve to occupy his chair.

-       It is time Parliament had a rethink on whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such Speaker continues to belong to a particular political party either de jure or de facto.

Power of Speaker:

-       Speaker has power to disqualify members on grounds of defection.

-       He has the power to expunge unparliamentarily language from the proceedings of the house..

-       In extreme disruption he can adjourn the house or call for recess.

-       He is the final interpreter of constitution, rule of procedure and conduct of Lok Sabha, which prevent chaos.

-       The Speaker can suspend the member if he/she breeches the privilege of the house.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/sc-for-curbs-on-powers-of-speaker-to-disqualify/article30620398.ece

SC to hear 144 pleas on CAA today

Petitioner’s arguments:

-       It has sought an immediate stay on the implementation of the CAA.

-       The law welcomes “illegal migrants” into India selectively on the basis of their religion and pointedly excludes Muslims.

-       It has an “unholy nexus” with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise and is against the principles of secularism, right to equality and dignity of life enshrined in the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

-       Act selectively agrees to grant citizenship benefits to illegal migrants from only three countries.

-       The new law does not impose any requirement on illegal migrants to prove their claim of religious persecution or even a reasonable fear of it.

Earlier Court observations:

-       In the previous hearing on December 18, the Supreme Court had refused to stay its implementation.

-       Had highlighted the need for the government to publicise the objectives of the Act.

Provisions of the act:

-       The Act seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, by wanting to grant citizenship to illegal non-Muslims (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.

-       The Act proposes that all such migrants will be eligible for citizenship if they came to India before December 31, 2014.

-       All pending legal cases pertaining to citizenship-related matters against them will stand abated.

-       The Act says the six non-Muslim communities “shall not be treated as illegal migrants” for violating provisions of the Passport Act, 1920, or the Foreigners Act, 1946.

-       The Act reduces the mandatory requirement of continuous stay in India from 12 years to five years for “many persons of Indian origin including persons belonging to the minority community from the neighbouring countries”.

-       The Act says the amendments will not apply to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, which are included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland that are protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/sc-to-hear-144-pleas-on-caa-today/article30620397.ece

Questions on parents in NPR form may be dropped: Paswan

Opposition demands:

-       Government may consider the widespread demand to remove the questions on date and place of birth of a respondent’s parents from the National Population Register.

-       There is no official notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is helming the exercise, on changes to the NPR form.

-       Vast majority of respondents will not be able to produce any proof of date of birth and place of birth of their parents.

Government Arguments:

-       Government would consider acceding to the demand

-       Had repeatedly clarified that the production of documents would not be mandatory.

-       No government can revoke citizenship of a genuine Indian citizen, whether he is a Dalit or from the minority community.

-       There has been no discussion or decision around implementing NRC across the nation, what is the point of having a debate on it.

About NPR:

-       The National Population Register (NPR) is a register of the usual residents of the country.

-       It contains information collected at the local (village/sub-town), sub district, district, state and national level under provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

-       The process of updating NPR will be carried out under the aegis of the Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India.

Usual resident of India:

Is a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more, or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months.

About Registrar General of India:

-       Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs founded it in 1961, for arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/even-i-dont-know-date-of-birth-of-my-parents-says-paswan/article30620478.ece

Respondents can fill in Census data online

Census drive:

-       It will have two phases:

-       ‘Population enumeration’ phase

-       House Listing and Housing Census

-       ‘Population enumeration’ phase:

-       It will be carried out from February 9 to 28, 2021.

-       It will have the facility of online self-enumeration for the public.

-       Respondent could register online and fill in the details and share the reference number with the enumerators when they arrive.

-       It will not be available in the first phase.

-       House Listing and Housing Census

-       It is to be carried out from April 1 to September 30 this year.

-       The National Population Register (NPR) will also be updated simultaneously in the first phase.

-       The information asked would be whether the respondent has access to LPG/PNG connection.

-       If the person owns a radio, transistor or television has access to the Internet; whether they own a laptop, computer, telephone, mobile phone, among other things.

-       2021 would be the first-ever Census to be conducted with a mixed mode approach

-       A mobile app (created in-house by the RGI office)

-       Will have the facility for online self-enumeration for the public during the population enumeration phase.

About Census:

-       The Indian census is the largest administrative and statistical exercise in the world, with more than 30 lakh functionaries and at the cost of about 8700 crore rupees.

-       Confidentiality of data is guaranteed by Census Act, 1948.

-       Same law specifies penalty for BOTH public AND census officials for non-compliance or violation of any provision of the Act.

-       The decennial Census of India has been conducted 15 times as of 2011.

-       It has been undertaken every 10 years, beginning in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo, the first complete census was taken in 1881.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/respondents-can-fill-up-census-data-online/article30620481.ece


It will take decades to complete rail projects: govt.

Railway replies to a parliamentary panel:

-       Even with an annual capital expenditure of about Rs. 1.6 lakh crore for the Railways — which is the highest-ever, it will take decades to complete the sanctioned projects.

-       Public private partnership (PPP) is the only way out.

-       The transporter needs Rs. 50 lakh crores to complete the sanctioned projects till 2030.

-       It does not plan to privatise the Railways.

-       There is a proposal to outsource the commercial and on-board services of a few trains and to permit private players to induct modern rakes to run trains on select routes to improve services.

-       Ongoing projects include 188 new lines, 55 gauge conversion and 255 doubling of existing lines.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/it-will-take-decades-to-complete-rail-projects-govt/article30620389.ece


India, co-builder of Hawaii telescope, wants it shifted out of proposed site

India, a partner in the construction of one of the largest telescope in the world, has said it wants the project to be moved out of the proposed site at Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii.

Indian argument:

-       It want the project to move to an alternate site if all the procedures and permits are in place.

-       Even if construction [in Mauna Kea] were to go ahead, there could be future agitations.


Challenges in the project:

  • The project has been delayed by nearly five years and should have begun operations by 2025.
  • The $2 billion project has been marred by protests for over a decade.
  • The project delay has meant that these manufacturing contracts have also been delayed.

About Thirty Metre Telescope :

-       It is a joint venture (JV) involving five countries.

-       The telescope needs 492 precisely polished mirrors and India is to contribute 83 of them.

-       The TMT will enable scientists to study fainter objects far away from us in the universe, which gives information about early stages of evolution of the universe.

-       It will give us finer details of not-so-far-away objects like undiscovered planets and other objects in the Solar System and planets around other stars.

-       Canada, the United States, China and Japan are the other partners .

-       The level of contribution determines the amount of viewing time, or slots, that the member-countries’ scientists get on the machine.

-       Thus India, in a given year, stands to get 10% of the available slots.

Way Forward:

-       Next best site to locate the telescope is the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) on La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/india-co-builder-of-hawaii-telescope-wants-it-shifted-out-of-proposed-site/article30618654.ece