POLITY & GOVERNANCE
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Indian Constitution, Governance [Paper-I]: Indian Constitution and its salient features, Important Acts
- Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, with Rajya Sabha passing it on 11th December, 2019. Lok Sabha passed the Bill on 9th December, 2019.
- On 12th December, 2019, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, turning it into an Act.
The Citizenship Act, 1955
- In India, citizenship is regulated by the Citizenship Act, 1955.
- The Act specifies that citizenship may be acquired in India through five methods – by birth in India, by descent, through registration, by naturalisation (extended residence in India), and by incorporation of territory into India.
Who is an illegal migrant?
- An illegal immigrant is a foreigner who either enters India illegally, i.e., without valid travel documents, like a visa and passport, or enters India legally, but stays beyond the time period permitted in their travel documents.
- An illegal migrant can be prosecuted in India, and deported or imprisoned.
Can illegal migrants acquire citizenship?
- An illegal migrant is prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship.
- In September 2015 and July 2016, the central government exempted certain groups of illegal migrants from being imprisoned or deported.
- These are illegal migrants who came into India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan on or before December 31, 2014, and belong to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian religious communities.
What is Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019?
- CCA 2019 amends The Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants, who entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014, eligible for citizenship of India.
- In order to get this benefit, they must have also been exempted from the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 by the central government.
- Under The Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, as well as for 11 of the previous 14 years.
- CAA 2019 amends the Third Schedule to make applicants belonging to the said communities from the aforesaid countries eligible for citizenship by naturalisation if they can establish their residency in India for five years instead of the existing eleven years.
- On acquiring citizenship, such migrants shall be deemed to be Indian citizens from the date of their entry into India and all legal proceedings regarding their status as illegal migrants or their citizenship will be closed.
- The provisions on citizenship for illegal migrants would not apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under ‘The Inner Line’ notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
- The 1955 Act provides that the central government may cancel the registration of OCIs on various grounds. CAA 2019 adds one more ground for cancelling registration
- The Act amends section 7D so as to empower the Central Government to cancel registration as Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder, after providing a reasonable opportunity of being heard, in case of violation of any provisions of the Citizenship Act or any other law for the time being in force.
Why Central government enacted CAA 2019?
- According to Union Minister for Home Affairs, Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 will give a new ray of hope to persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have migrated to India after facing persecution on the ground of religion in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
- The Act is aimed at giving a dignified life to these people who had suffered religious persecution for decades by granting Indian Citizenship to them, if they fulfil conditions for grant of citizenship.
- Central government cited the provisions from Constitutions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh where they provide for a specific state religion and claimed that these countries have had a history of persecution of religious minorities viz., Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
- Many such persons have fled to India to seek shelter and continued to stay in India even if their travel documents have expired or they have incomplete or no documents.
- Thus, Central governmnet enacted CAA 2019, which contains provisions to grant Citizenship to such refugees on reasonable grounds.
Criticisms against the Act
- Any provision which distinguishes between two groups may violate the standard of equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution, unless one can show a reasonable rationale for doing so.
- Critics argue that the Act provides differential treatment to illegal migrants on the basis of (a) their country of origin, (b) religion, (c) date of entry into India, and (d) place of residence in India.
- Two of India’s neighboring countries, Sri Lanka (Buddhist state religion) and Myanmar (primacy to Buddhism), have had a history of persecution of Tamil Eelams (a linguistic minority in Sri Lanka), and the Rohingya Muslims, respectively.
- There are other religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, such as the Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan (considered non-Muslims in that country), and Atheists in Bangladesh who have faced religious persecution and may have illegally migrated to India.
- These sections are not considered in Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
- For the above reasons, those who are opposing the Act argue that CAA 2019 makes only certain illegal migrants eligible for citizenship.
- This implies that all other illegal migrants will not be able to claim the benefit of citizenship conferred by the Bill, and may continue to be prosecuted as illegal migrants.
[Source: PIB, prsindia.org]
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Nature and scope of Science and Technology
- The prototype of one kilogram (NPK-57) is now available in India and placed at the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.
- The new definition of kilogram has come into effect from May 2019. Few countries have developed the system of realization of unit of mass ‘kg’.
Earlier definition of Kilogram
- The global standards for measurement are set by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), of which India became a member in 1957.
- At BIPM in Sèvres, near Paris, stands a cylinder of platinum-iridium locked in a jar.
- Since 1889, the kilogram has been defined as the mass of this cylinder, called Le Grand K, or International Prototype Kilogram (IPK).
- In India, NPL maintains the National Prototype Kilogram (NPK-57), which is calibrated with IPK.
- The IPK was the last physical artifact used to define any of the fundamental units.
- Scientists have long stressed that the fundamental units should be defined in terms of natural constants. They wanted to create a measurement system that is based entirely on unchanging fundamental properties of nature.
- On November 16, 2018, following a vote at BIPM, representatives of 60 countries agreed that the kilogram should be defined in terms of the Planck constant.
- The Planck constant is a quantity that relates a light particle’s energy to its frequency.
- Using a machine called a Kibble balance, in which the weight of a test mass is offset by an electromagnetic force, the value of the Planck constant was fixed and the kilogram was redefined.
- The new definition for kilogram is in line with the modern definitions for the units of time (second) and distance (metre).
- ‘Second’ is defined as the time it takes for a certain amount of energy to be released as radiation from atoms of Caesium-133.
- ‘Metre’ is defined as the distance travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
- Along with the kilogram, the units of current (ampere), temperature (kelvin), and amount of substance (mole) too took on new definitions. These are also now tied to constants in nature. But unlike the kilogram, their definitions were not based on a physical object.
- The new SI System will be helpful in bringing in accuracy while dealing with international trade, biotechnology, high-tech manufacturing and human health and safety.
[Source: Indian Express, nplindia.in]
FACTS OF THE DAY
- Haryana Police has adopted a unique barcoding software caled Trakea.
- The sofware will ensure that thousands of forensic reports, that form the backbone of the criminal investigation system and subsequent trials in the courts of law, are not tampered with.
- It was developed by a software engineer named Amit Mishra.
- Trakea ensures foolproof security of the samples collected from the scene of crime, and the forensic analysis reports, and is different from traditional methods that the state police force has been following for decades.
- It is aimed at ensuring security and a tamperproof tracking system for forensic reports. It streamlines the functioning of Forensic Science Laboratories.
- As per Haryana Police, it is the country’s first police force to have introduced this unique barcoding for forensic reports.
INNER LINE PERMIT (ILP)
- The Nagaland government has extended the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime to the Dimapur district.
- Dimapur, the commercial hub of the state, was the only district that was not under the ILP regime unlike the rest of Nagaland, which came into being in 1963.
- All non-indigenous people who have entered the district after November 21, 1979, will have to obtain ILP within 90 days from December 9, 2019 according to the notification.
- Those who have settled or have entered before November 21, 1979, and have been staying continuously, will be exempted from the ILP regime “along with his/her direct descendants”.
- ILP regime was also extended to neighbouring Manipur recently with President Ram Nath Kovind signing the order in this effect.
- Besides Nagaland and Manipur, the ILP regime is also applicable to Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.
- The ILP regime is applicable under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
TIME’S 2019 PERSON OF THE YEAR
- Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has inspired a global movement for climate change, has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.
- She is a student climate activist and represents the powerful voice of a young generation that will have to bear the consequences of today’s political failure to stop climate change.
- Her environmental strike became popular worldwide under the hashtag #FridaysForFuture.
- Mahatma Gandhi is the only Indian to be named Time’s Person of the Year, having been given the honour in 1930.
FORBES 2019 LIST OF ‘THE WORLD’S 100 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN’
- The Forbes 2019 list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde in the second spot and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, ranked third.
- Nirmala Sitharaman, a newcomer on the Forbes most powerful women list, is ranked 34th.
- The list also includes three other Indian women – Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, and Renuka Jagtiani.
NATIONAL ENERGY CONSERVATION DAY
- National energy conservation day is celebrated every year by the people all over the India on 14th of December.
- The Energy Conservation Act in India was executed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in the year 2001.
- The Bureau of Energy Efficiency is a statutory body which comes under Ministry of Power, Government of India and helps in the development of policies and strategies in order to reduce the energy use.
- In order to drive mass awareness about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation, BEE observed National Energy Conservation Week from 9th to 14th December, 2019.