National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 9th January 2019

Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Bill

Topic: Polity and Governance

IN NEWS: The Lok Sabha passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, that seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

More on the Topic:

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who introduced the Bill in the Lok Sabha, said the six communities — Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan — faced “discrimination and religious persecution” and they “have no place to go, except India.”

About the bill:

  • The bill amends the Citizenship Act of 1955.
  • It also appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants.
  • The Bill, however, does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants. It also does not talk about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc.
  • The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences (eg. parking in a no parking zone).


Whether differentiating on grounds of religion is a violation of Article 14

  • The Bill provides that illegal migrants belonging to specified minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan will not be treated as illegal migrants under the Act, making them eligible for Indian citizenship. These minority communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
  • This implies that illegal migrants from these countries who are Muslims, other minorities who do not belong to the above groups (eg. Jews), or Atheists who do not identify with a religious group will not be eligible for citizenship.
  • The question is whether this provision violates the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution because it provides differential treatment to illegal migrants on the basis of their religion.
  • Article 14 guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners. It only permits laws to differentiate between groups of people if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose.
  • The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill does not explain the rationale behind differentiating between illegal migrants on the basis of the religion they belong to.

Wide ground for cancelling OCI registration

  • Under the 1955 Act, an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder’s registration may be cancelled if he violates a law for which he is: (i) sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more, and (ii) within five years of his OCI registration.
  • The Bill adds another ground for cancelling OCI registration, which is violation of any law of the country by an OCI. This means that even offences with: (i) lesser penalties, or (ii) which have been committed after five years of registration could be covered under the Bill.  This makes the earlier provision redundant.
  • This provision also grants the central government wide discretion to cancel OCI registration for a range of violations. This will include serious offences like murder, as well as minor offences like violation of a traffic law (such as parking in a no-parking zone or jumping a red light).  The question is whether minor violations should result in cancellation of OCI registration, which may require an OCI who is staying in India to leave the country.

Assam Accord:

  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill has not been sitting well with the Assamese as it contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported.

Model Mains Question: Critically analyse the citizen amendment bill 2016 in the light of Article 14?

Source:Hindu and PRS

Guidelines for Tokenisation service of the card payment networks


Topic: Indian Economy

IN NEWS: The Reserve of India (RBI) has allowed all card payment networks to offer tokenisation service. However, the central bank has made it clear that no charges should be recovered from the customer for availing this service.

More on the Topic:

  • Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details. The token is then used to perform card transactions in contact-less mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.
  • The RBI has allowed card payment networks to offer card tokenisation services to any token requestor, that is, a third party app provider. A card holder can avail of these services by registering the card on the token requestor’s app and after giving ‘explicit consent’.
  • All extant instructions of Reserve Bank on safety and security of card transactions, including the mandate for additional factor of authentication (AFA) / PIN entry shall be applicable for tokenised card transactions also.
  • This permission extends to all use cases/channels [e.g., Near-Field Communication (NFC) / Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST)-based contact-less transactions, in-app payments, QR code-based payments etc.] or token storage mechanisms (cloud, secure element, trusted execution environment etc.).
  • For the present, this facility shall be offered through mobile phones/tablets only. Its extension to other devices will be examined later based on the experience gained.
  • Adequate safeguards shall be put in place to ensure that PAN cannot be found out from the token and vice versa by anyone except the card network.
  • Moreover, actual card data, token and other relevant details shall be stored in a secure mode and the token requestors are not allowed to store PAN or any other card detail.
  • The ultimate responsibility for the card tokenisation services rendered rests with the authorised card networks

Source:The Hindu

Raisina Dialougue


Topic: International relations

In news: Ministry of External Affairs in partnership with Observer Research Foundation is organizing the 4th edition of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi from 08-10 January 2019. The Raisina Dialogue is India’s flagship annual geopolitical and geostrategic conference.

More on the Topic:

  • This year, the theme of the Dialogue is “A World Reorder: New Geometries; Fluid Partnerships; Uncertain Outcomes”. The discussions will seek to address issues arising from ongoing global transitions and changes to the world order, triggered by unique leaders, innovative partnerships and new technologies.
  • The Dialogue, which has grown steadily in scope and scale since the first edition in 2015, will bring together over 600 delegates from 93 countries, including influential political leaders, strategic thinkers, policy practitioners, technology innovators, business representatives and academics on a common platform where they will offer their vision and propose solutions that will serve us all in the decades ahead.

Model Mains Question: Many people feel left out by globalisation. Analyse the statement in the light of ongoing trade wars and surge of populism in America and Europe.

Source: The Hindu

SC ruling strikes a blow for CBI’s independence


Topic: Polity and Governance

In news:  The Alok Verma divestment case has led the Supreme Court to further protect the tenure of the CBI Director and the independence of the country’s premier investigative agency from interference by political higher-ups.

More on the Topic:

  • Overnight divestment of Verma as CBI Director through orders of the government and the CVC pointed to an interference in the statutory guarantee of a two-year tenure.
  • CBI Director is the “centre of power in an abundantly powerful organisation having jurisdiction to investigate and to prosecute key offences and offenders having great ramifications and consequences on public life.
  • The CBI was an able weapon in the hands of the rule of law to prosecute corruption in public life, among other offences.
  • With this judgment, the Supreme Court has protected the tenure of the CBI Director. It has interpreted Section 4B (2) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946 to expand the meaning of the word ‘transfer’ to include divestment and dispossession of CBI Director.
  • The judgment mandates that the high-power committee of the Prime Minister, the CJI and the Opposition leader, set up under Section 4A (1) of the 1946 Act, should first approve any move by the government to transfer or even divest a CBI Director before the end of his tenure.

Source:The Hindu

DNA technology Bill


Topic: Government Policies

In News: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill that allows regulated use of DNA technology to establish the identity of certain defined categories of persons, including offenders, suspects, and undertrials.

More on the Topic:

  • The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill allows the use of the technology to establish the identity of persons in matters of crime, parentage dispute, emigration or immigration and transplantation of human organs.
  • The Bill provides for establishment of national and regional DNA data banks and each data will maintain the indices, including crime scene index, suspects’ or undertrials’ index and offenders’ index.


  • The Bill was a good step in the criminal justice system but cautioned about a possible scenario where it could be misused by investigative agencies while collecting DNA samples.

Source: The Hindu

Global Report on Trafficking in Persons


Topic: Social Justice

In news: A Global Report on Trafficking in Persons launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides new information on the crime . According to the Report, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation.

More on the Topic:

  • According to the report, while the number of reporting countries did not significantly increase, the total number of victims per country did.
  • From a regional perspective, the increases in the numbers of detected victims have been more pronounced in the Americas and in Asia. These increases can be the result of enhanced national capacities to detect, record and report data on trafficking victims, or to a growth in the incidence of trafficking, that is, that more victims have been trafficked.
  • Over the last ten years, the capacity of national authorities to track and assess patterns and flows of trafficking in persons has improved in many parts of the world.
  • Detected trafficking flows towards richer countries are also more geographically diverse. Affluent countries in Western and Southern Europe as well as in North America detect victims originating from a large number of countries around the world.

The Gender Dimensions :

  • Most of the victims detected across the world are females; mainly adult women, but also increasingly girls. Almost three-quarters of the detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are females, and 35 per cent of the victims trafficked for forced labour are also females, both women and girls.
  • At the same time, more than half of the victims of trafficking for forced labour are men.

Conflict Driven Trafficking:

  • Armed conflicts can increase the vulnerability to trafficking in different ways. This is exacerbated by more people in a desperate situation, lacking access to basic needs. Some armed groups involved in conflict may exploit civilians.
  • Armed groups and other criminals may take the opportunity to traffic victims – including children – for sexual exploitation, sexual slavery, forced marriage, armed combat and various forms of forced labour.
  • Trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation occurs within all conflict areas considered, including sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, South-East Asia and others
  • Recruitment of children for use as armed combatants is widely documented in many of the conflict areas considered.

Policy Status:

  • There has been an overall increase in the detection of victims of trafficking in persons across the world in recent years.
  • This growth can reflect positive and negative developments in the fight against trafficking in persons as it can be a sign of enhanced efforts by authorities to identify victims and/or a larger trafficking problem.
  • Where the number of detected victims has increased after legislative or programmatic action, however, these actions – including amendments to legislation, enforcement of welldesigned action plans, victim protection schemes and national referral mechanisms – have clearly contributed to improving the identification of victims and the effectiveness of criminal justice responses.
  • There remain significant knowledge gaps related to the patterns and flows of trafficking in persons. Many coun – tries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and some parts of East Asia still lack sufficient capacity to record and share data on trafficking in persons. Qualitative research, field studies and the strengthening of national statistical sys – tems on crime and criminal justice can help fill these gap

Source: The Hindu

Digital Payments Panel


Topic: Indian Economy

In news:  A The RBI digital payments panel, to be led by Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani, will suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening digital payments in

More on the Topic:

  • The committee has been asked to review the existing status of digitization of payments, identify gaps in the ecosystem and suggest ways to plug them.
  • According to its terms of reference, the panel has to suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening digital payments, and measures to strengthen safety and security.
  • The committee will undertake cross country analyses with a view to identify best practices that can be adopted in our country to accelerate digitization of the economy and financial inclusion through greater use of digital payments.
  • The panel has also been tasked with the responsibility of increasing customer confidence and trust while they access financial services through digital modes.

Source: Live Mint


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