POLITY & GOVERNANCE
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Governance [Paper-I]: Public Policy and Governance, Imporatant Acts
Lok Sabha passed Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
About the Bill
- The Bill seeks to amend the Arms Act, 1959.
- It seeks to decrease the number of licensed firearms allowed per person and increase penalties for certain offences under the Act. It also introduces new categories of offences.
License for acquiring firearms
- A person can have a maximum of two guns, against the three allowed currently.
- If a person possesses three or more, the extra guns have to be deposited with authorities or authorised gun dealers within 90 days for de-licensing.
- The Bill also increases the duration of the validity of a firearm license from three years to five years.
Ban on firearms
- The Bill prohibits obtaining or procuring un-licensed firearms, and the conversion of one category of firearms to another without a license.
- It allows members of rifle clubs or associations to use any firearm for target practice instead of only point 22 bore rifles or air rifles.
Increase in punishment
- The Act specifies the punishment for
- dealing in un-licensed firearms, including their manufacture, procurement, sale, transfer, conversion
- the shortening or conversion of a firearm without a licence
- import or export of banned firearms
- The Bill increases the punishment for these offences under the act from ‘between three years and seven years, along with a fine’ to ‘between seven years and life imprisonment, along with a fine’.
- The Bill increases the punishment for acquisition, possession or carrying of prohibited ammunition without a license from ‘imprisonment between five and ten years, along with fine’ to ‘imprisonment between seven and 14 years, along with fine’.
- The Act punishes dealing in prohibited firearms (including their manufacture, sale and repair) without a license, with imprisonment between seven years and life imprisonment, along with fine. The Bill increases the minimum punishment from seven years to 10 years.
- The Bill added news offences which includes
- Forcefully taking a firearm from police or armed forces, punishable with imprisonment between 10 years and life imprisonment, along with fine
- Using firearms in a celebratory gunfire which endangers human life or personal safety of others, punishable with imprisonment of up to two years, or fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both
- The Bill defines offences committed by organised crime syndicates and illicit trafficking.
- Possession of firearms or ammunition by a member of a syndicate, in violation of the Act, will be punishable with imprisonment between 10 years and life, along with a fine.
- “Organised crime” refers to continuing unlawful activity by a person, either as a member of a syndicate or on its behalf, by using unlawful means, such as violence or coercion, to gain economic or other benefits.
- The Bill defines illicit trafficking to include the trade, acquisition, sale of firearms or ammunitions into or out of India where the firearms are either not marked as per the Act or violate the provisions of the Act. It is punishable with imprisonment between 10 years and life, along with a fine.
Tracking of firearms
Central government may make rules to track firearms and ammunition from manufacturer to purchaser to detect, investigate, and analyse illicit manufacturing and trafficking.
Need for Amendment
- According to an estimate, India has a total of around 35 lakh gun licences.
- Thirteen lakh people have licences to carry weapons in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, where 3.7 lakh people possess arms licences, most of which were taken on grounds of personal security.
- The trans-border dimensions of illegal arms trafficking are causing threat to internal security and to prevent the usage of illicit firearms so trafficked has also become a prime concern.
- To effectively curb crimes related to or committed by using illegal firearms and to provide effective deterrence against violation of law, there is an urgent need to strengthen the existing legislative framework by making appropriate amendments in the Arms Act, 1959.
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Economy [Paper-II]: Indicators of development – Human Development Index
- India ranked 129 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) according to the Human Development Report (HDR) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
- This is one rank ahead of the 130th position last year.
- The rankings were listed by the report titled “Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, Beyond Today: Inequalities in Human Development in 21st century”.
What is HDI?
HDI measures average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development – Life Expectancy, Education and Per capita income.
- Norway, Switzerland, Ireland occupied the top three positions. Germany is placed fourth along with Hong Kong, and Australia secured the fifth rank on the global ranking.
- Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka (71) and China (85) are higher up the rank scale while Bhutan (134), Bangladesh (135), Myanmar (145), Nepal (147), Pakistan (152) and Afghanistan (170) were ranked lower on the list.
- As per the report, South Asia was the fastest growing region in human development progress witnessing a 46% growth over 1990-2018, followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 43%.
- India’s HDI value increased by 50% (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).
- For inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI), India’s position drops by one position to 130, losing nearly half the progress (.647 to .477) made in the past 30 years. The IHDI indicates percentage loss in HDI due to inequalities.
- Group-based inequalities persist, especially affecting women and girls and no place in the world has gender equality. In the Gender Inequality Index (GII), India is at 122 out of 162 countries. Neighbours China (39), Sri Lanka (86), Bhutan (99), Myanmar (106) were placed above India.
- World is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030 as per the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
- The Report forecasts that it may take 202 years to close the gender gap in economic opportunity — one of the three indicators of the GII.
Increasing Gender Bias
- The report presents a new index indicating how prejudices and social beliefs obstruct gender equality, which shows that only 14% of women and 10% of men worldwide have no gender bias.
- This indicates a backlash to women’s empowerment as these biases have shown a growth especially in areas where more power is involved, including in India.
- Despite lifting 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-15, India still remains home to 28 per cent of the world’s poor.
- Around 661 million of poor people live in Asia and the Pacific, of which India is a part. South Asia, of which India is the largest country, constitutes 41 percent of the world’s poor.
- Between 1990 and 2018, India’s HDI value increased by 50 percent (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for countries in the medium human development group (0.634) and above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).
Changing Nature of Inequality
- As the number of people coming out of poverty is increasing, the world is moving towards another type of poverty.
- According to the Report, the old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the next generation of poverty is based on technology, education and climate.
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Social Justice [Paper-I]: Rights Issues (Human rights, Women rights, SC/ST rights, Child rights)
Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10th December every year.
Why it is celebrated on December 10?
- The day commemorates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 as the shared standard yardstick to protect human rights across the globe.
- The Declaration recognizes that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of mankind are the foundation of justice, freedom and peace in the world.
United Nations’ theme for Human Rights Day 2019 is: “Youth Standing up for Human Rights.”
Why is ‘Youth’ focussed on this day?
According to United Nations,
- Participation of Youth is essential to achieve sustainable development for all.
- They can play a crucial role in positive change and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world.
- Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
- It is a statutory public body constituted on 12th October, 1993. It was established under Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993.
- It was established for the protection and promotion of human rights, which works on rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of an individual.
- It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights held in Paris in October 1991, and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
- Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court H.L. Dattu is the present chairman of the NHRC.
FACTS OF THE DAY
PASHU KISAN CREDIT CARDS
- The First Pashu Kisan credit cards in India were distributed to 101 animal farmers in Bhiwani in Haryana.
- Haryana Government has set a target to issue 10 lakh Pashu Kisan Credit cards by March 2021.
- Under the Scheme, banks give Rs 40783 for a cow and Rs 60249 for a buffalo. The credit amount for goat and sheep each is Rs 4063.
- In the case of a pig, it is Rs 16337 per pig. For Hens, it is Rs 720 per layer and Rs 161 per broiler hen.
- Haryana is the first state to implement this scheme. As many as 101 livestock owners have been handed over cards and can use these to pay for animal feed, etc.
- The credit limit depends on the number of animals a livestock owner has. No collateral is required till credit limit of up to Rs 1.6 lakh.
- This will help livestock farmers meet the expenses without collateral and at a nominal rate of interest.
WORLD’S YOUNGEST PRIME MINISTER
- Finland’s Sanna Marin became the world’s youngest-serving prime minister.
- Marin was born in November 1985, and at 34, is more than five years younger than New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, 39.
WORLD’S LEADING SPORTS TOURISM DESTINATION
- Abu Dhabi has been selected as the world’s leading Sports Tourism Destination at the 26th edition of the World Travel Awards (WTA) held in Muscat.
- This is the seventh time in a row that Abu Dhabi has been selected for this coveted award.
- World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.
- The award is the latest in several prestigious accolades gained by Abu Dhabi in 2019, including being selected as the West Asia’s Leading Business Tourism Destination at the West Asia edition of WTA and Best City Break at the UK’s Selling Travel Agents’ Choice Awards.
- Central Government is developing ‘Gandhi Encyclopedia’ to spread awareness in the society.
- It is an online repository of books, letters and speeches written by Mahatma Gandhi.
- Ministry of Culture has approved a project for development of Gandhipedia for promotion of appropriate Gandhian philosophy and thoughts through social media platforms under 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi commemoration with financial assistance of 5.25 cr.
- Two IITs and the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Kolkata have joined hands to develop Gandhipedia.
- The entire project will be done with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI).