December 2019

Daily Current Affairs (22-12-19)

POLITY & GOVERNANCE

WHAT CONNECTS NPR, NRIC AND CENSUS?

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Indian Constitution, Governance [Paper-I]: Indian Constitution and its salient features, Public Policy and Governance

Context

  • West Bengal and Kerala suspended work related to the preparation and update of the National Population Register in their respective States.
  • The NPR, a register of residents of the country with demographic and biometric details, was supposed to be prepared between April 2020 and September 2020 ahead of the Census slated for 2021.

What is National Population Register (NPR)?

  • It is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country.
  • Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country.
  • It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years.
  • A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more, and intends to reside there for another six months or more.

What is the legal basis for the NPR?

  • While the census is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948, the NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • NPR has its base in the rules framed by the Central Government under the Citizenship Act, 1955 in 2003 called the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • Incidentally, these are the same rules which give legal framework for National Register of Indian Citizens as well.

Who prepares the NPR?

  • The preparation of the NPR is carried out under the aegis of the Central Government.
  • The data for NPR was first collected in 2010 alongwith the houselisting phase of Census of India, 2011.
  • On July 31, 2019, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued the gazette notication for starting the information collection for NPR throughout the country (except Assam), between April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.
  • The Registrar General, India acts as the National Registration Authority for NPR and will function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration.

Difference between NPR & Census

  • The census involves a detailed questionnaire aimed at eliciting the particulars of every person, including age, sex, marital status, children, occupation, birthplace, mother tongue, religion, disability and whether they belonged to any Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
  • Census data is based on self-declaration made by the persons without verification.
  • On the other hand, the NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.
  • Census of India covers the entire population in the country. According to recent gazette notification, NPR will cover entire population in the country except in the state of Assam.
  • NPR is carried out as per the 2003 Citizenship Rules. Under these Rules, it is compulsory for a person to share the data for preparation of NPR.
  • Therefore, these Rules have a coercive element, as they penalize non-cooperating persons with fines and penalties.

What is National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC)?

  • NPR is a set of all usual residents of India. From that register, government proposes to create a database of “citizens of India”.
  • It means that the “National Register of Indian Citizens” (NRIC) is a sub-set of the NPR.
  • The NRIC will be prepared at the local, sub-district, district and State levels after verifying the citizenship status of the residents.
  • The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 spells out the rules for operationalising the idea of registering all citizens and issuing national identity cards to them.
  • As per the Rules, the particulars of every family and individual found in the Population Register shall be verified and scrutinized by the Local Registrar.
  • In the process, details of those “whose citizenship is doubtful” will be entered with a comment suggesting further inquiry.

What are the documents that would help establish citizenship?

  • The government is yet to notify a date for generation of the NRIC.
  • It has not yet prescribed rules for the sort of documentary proof that would be required to prove citizenship.
  • According to government, any document that shows date of birth or place of birth, or both, will be sufficient.
  • Those unable to produce documents may produce witnesses or other proof supported by members of the community.

Can States refuse cooperation with the NPR process?

  • House-to-house enumeration is a part of the Census operation. So, it is unlikely that the NPR process can go ahead without State governments agreeing to deploy their staff for the purpose.
  • While the Centre is in charge of the census, the State governments are expected to provide staff whenever required.
  • According to Section 4A of the Census Act, inserted through a 1994 amendment, “Every local authority in a State shall, when so directed by a written order by the Central Government or by an authority appointed by that Government in this behalf, make available to any Director of Census Operations such staff as may be necessary for the performance of any duties in connection with the taking of census.”
  • In any case, it is compulsory on the part of every citizen to assist in the preparation of the National Register of Citizens.
  • However, in practical terms, it may not be possible for the process to be undertaken without the State government’s cooperation at the local level.

What is the relationship between the NRIC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act?

  • There is no direct link between the NRIC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
  • However, remarks by the Union Home Minister that the CAA would be followed by the NRC has given rise to fears that when people are excluded from the final citizenship register, the CAA may help non-Muslims take the CAA route to apply for citizenship, and leave Muslims with no option.

[Source: The Hindu]

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

UN OLYMPIC TRUCE RESOLUTION

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

International Relations [Paper-II]: International Organisations, International Treaties and Forums, their structure and mandate

News

International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach has thanked President Ram Nath Kovind for co-sponsoring the United Nation Olympic Truce Resolution.

About the Resolution

  • The United Nations’ General Assembly passed a resolution urging nations around the world to honor an “Olympic Truce” during the upcoming 2020 games in Tokyo, Japan.
  • The resolution entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” was adopted on December 9, 2019.
  • The truce calls for participants to cease all hostilities for a period stretching from one week prior to the Olympics, which begin on July 24, 2020 until one week after the Paralympic Games, which end on September 6, 2020.
  • The resolution was based on the ancient Greek tradition of “ekecheiria,” a practice dating back to antiquity that was meant to ensure peaceful proceedings and safe passage during Olympic competition.
  • The UN General Assembly restored the tradition in 1993 and has passed similar resolutions ahead of every Olympic cycle since that year.

[Source: Business Standard, olympic.org]

 

GEOGRAPHY

WINTER SOLSTICE

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Geography [Paper-I]: Solar system, Motion of Earth

Why in News?

In 2019, the winter solstice will occur on 22nd December.

What is Winter Solstice?

  • On 22nd December, the Tropic of Capricorn receives direct rays of the sun as the South Pole tilts towards it.
  • As the sun’s rays fall vertically at the Tropic of Capricorn (23­° S), a larger portion of the Southern Hemisphere gets light.
  • Therefore, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere with longer days and shorter nights. The reverse happens in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • This position of the earth is called the Winter Solstice.

Why are the hours of daylight not the same every day?

  • The Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees away from the perpendicular.
  • This tilt, combined with factors such as Earth’s spin and orbit, leads to variations in the duration of Sunlight that any location on the planet receives on different days of the year.
  • The Northern Hemisphere spends half the year tilted in the direction of the Sun, getting direct sunlight during long summer days.
  • During the other half of the year, it tilts away from the Sun, and the days are shorter.
  • Winter Solstice is the day when the North Pole is most tilted away from the Sun.
  • The tilt is also responsible for the different seasons that we see on Earth. Day occurs on the side facing the Sun, and changes to night as Earth continues to spin on its axis.

About Summer Solstice

  • On 21st June, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun.
  • The rays of the sun fall directly on the Tropic of Cancer. As a result, these areas receive more heat.
  • The areas near the poles receive less heat as the rays of the sun are slanting.
  • The North Pole is inclined towards the sun and the places beyond the Arctic Circle experience continuous daylight for about six months.
  • Since a large portion of the Northern Hemisphere is getting light from the sun, it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The longest day and the shortest night at these places occur on 21st June.
  • The reverse happens in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be winter season there and thus the nights are longer than the days.
  • This position of the earth is called the Summer Solstice.

[Source: NCERT, Indian Express]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

MANUAL SCAVENGING
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has informed the Rajya Sabha that there were 282 deaths while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the country from 2016 to 2019.
  • Tamil Nadu has recorded 40 deaths, the highest in number, in these four years. This is followed by Haryana with 31 deaths, and Gujarat and Delhi with 30 deaths each.
  • The deaths have been higher in states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh where there has been rapid and unplanned urbanisation.
  • Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers.
SARVATRA KAVACH
  • Indian Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat felicitated Major Anoop Mishra with prestigious Army Design Bureau (ADB) Excellence Award for indigenously developing ‘Sarvatra Kavach’.
  • Sarvatra Kavach is a bulletproof jacket that can provide protection against various ammunitions, including that of sniper rifles. It provides protection from neck to ankle and upper arms.
PRIME MINISTER OF CUBA
  • Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel named tourism minister Manuel Marrero Cruz as the country’s first prime minister in decades, under a new constitution that seeks to decentralize former leader Fidel Castro’s job.
  • Marrero served as the Cuba’s tourism minister for almost 16 years and was named prime minister for a five-year term.
  • Fidel Castro was the country’s last prime minister. He held the post from 1959 to December 1976, when he took the title of president of the State Council, a title which replaced the posts of president and prime minister.
EChO NETWORK
  • Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India launched EChO Network, a national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India with the specific focus of increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment.
  • EChO Network would develop a national network to catalyse a new generation of Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology.
  • With no precedent for such a network anywhere in the world, EChO Network establishes a new platform to change how science is embedded in our modern society.
  • Through interactive sessions with citizens, industry, academia, and the government, the Network will identify gaps in knowledge regarding selected topics in human and environmental ecosystems.
  • Over time EChO Network intends to create an international distributed institute comprising individuals housed within industry, government, private, and academic sectors, combining their expertise and resources collectively to tackle large scale problems.
  • The initiative has drawn in partners from Government, industry and academia, with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India steering the program under the guidance of Director, EChO Network.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hindustan Unilever Limited, RoundGlass, India Climate Collaborative, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) are the founding partners of the EChO Network.

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