Who are the 19 lakh excluded from Assam NRC, and what next for them?

Headline : Who are the 19 lakh excluded from Assam NRC, and what next for them?

Details :

In News:

  • The recently published final list of people in updated National Register of Citizen (NRC) has stripped nearly 19 lakh people in the north-eastern state of Assam of their citizenship.

About: NRC

  • The NRC for a state is the list of Indian citizens of that state.
  • It was created in 1951 to determine who was born in Assam and is therefore Indian, and who might be a migrant from neighbouring Bangladesh.
  • It is a list of people who can prove that they came to Assam before 24 March 1971, a day before India’s neighbouring country Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan.
  • Objective: to control unabated migration from Bangladesh.
  • The Register is meant to establish the credentials of a bona fide citizen as distinguished from a foreigner.
  • Assam is the country’s only state to create such a document.
  • The NRC has been updated for the first time.

Background of the NRC updation:

  • The NRC updating exercise started in 2013 under the Supreme court’s watch.
  • The process of NRC update in Assam differs from the rest of the country and is governed by Rule 4A and the corresponding Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • These rules were framed as per the cut-off date of the midnight of March 24, 1971, enshrined in the Assam Accord of 1985.
  • First draft of Assam NRC:
    • In accordance with the top court’s direction, the Registrar-General of India published the list on the night of 31-December-2017 to distinguish Indian citizens living in Assam from those who illegally entered the State.
    • Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.
  • Second draft:
    • In July 2018, a draft was published in which 2.89 crore residents were included as Indian citizens, while 40 lakh were left out.
    • Those who were left out were allowed to file claims for inclusion and citizens could object against anyone who they felt was wrongly included.
  • Excluded in additional list:
    • In June 2019, another 1 lakh, originally among the 2.89 crore included in that draft, were removed after subsequent verification.
  • Claims filed against exclusions:
    • As many as 36 lakh of those excluded filed claims against the exclusion, while four lakh residents did not apply.
  • Final NRC:
    • The latest NRC is the result of all those included and excluded.

What will happen to those 19 lakh people excluded from the NRC?

  • The excluded people will have to appeal against it at Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT), a quasi-judicial court and subsequently in the high court or Supreme Court.
  • The government has given 120 days time to appeal in the court.
  • Those excluded from NRC will have to prove that they or their ancestors were living in Assam on or before March 24, 1971.
  • Various other documents such as birth certificates and land records are admissible, as long as these were issued before the cutoff date.
  • However, if a person looses to prove his/her identity in Foreigners’ Tribunal as well as in higher courts, he or she will face a possible arrest and can be sent to a detention centre (However, the prospects sending a large number of people to detention centres is low).
  • If not deported or detained in a camp, such people would officially be entitled as non-citizens.

Foreigners Tribunal: Foreigners Tribunal (FT) was set up in Assam in 1964 through the Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964. The tribunals have been mandated with identifying the legal status of suspected foreigners in Assam.

Key Challenge:

  • The courts , limited in numbers, will be burdened and get exhaustive as the appeal period is short and cases are far too many which may further clog the process.

What makes deportation so uncertain?

  • For a country to be able to deport a mass of individuals to another country, the second country has to accept that they were its citizens who entered the first country illegally.
  • However, Bangladesh has never officially acknowledged that any of its citizens migrated illegally to Assam.
  • Besides, India has no treaty with Bangladesh that would facilitate their deportation.
  • Also, there have been no visible recent efforts by India to push the matter with Bangladesh.

India’s Policy for “stateless” persons:

  • India has no fixed policy for “stateless” persons.
  • The only aspect which is clear is that “stateless” person will not have voting rights.
  • As of now, nothing is clear about their rights to work, housing and government healthcare and education.
  • In India, being “stateless” is not the same as being a refugee.

Refugees in India:

  • India has refugees from Tibet, Sri Lanka (Tamils) and West Pakistan.
  • Among them, only the refugees from West Pakistan has the right to vote in Lok Sabha elections but not in Assembly polls.
  • For Tibetans, the government allows Indian citizenship with a rider that they move out of Tibetan settlements and forgo refugee benefits.
  • Under the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy, 2014, adopted in part by a few states, refugees are eligible for certain benefits under government schemes for labour, rations, housing and loans.

Road ahead: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provided for granting citizenship to immigrants of six non-Muslim faiths from three countries, including Bangladesh.
  • However, the Bill lapsed, but is expected to be reintroduced.
  • If the Bill passes Parliament, Hindus from Bangladesh would be eligible for citizenship, even if detected as illegal immigrants, while Muslims who illegally entered from Bangladesh would be treated as illegal immigrants.
  • The Bill has faced protests in Assam on the ground that it runs contrary to the NRC’s objective, which is to detect all illegal immigrants.
  • Whatever the fate of the Bill, a very long battle awaits those who are excluded from the NRC but claim to be Indian citizens.

About: Assam Accord, 1985

  • Assam witnessed a range of law and order problems and political turbulence driven by the anti-foreigners movement, in the early 1980s.
  • The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed, signed by the Centre and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).
  • Accordingly, those foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 were to be given full citizenship, including the right to vote while the entrants between 1961 and 1971were to be denied voting rights for ten years but would enjoy all other rights of citizenship.
  • In addition to economic development, the Accord also had assured to safeguards the cultural, social, and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

Section : Polity & Governance

India and Global Innovation Index

Headline : India rises in global innovation ranking

Details :

The News
  • India has jumped five places to rank 52 in the Global Innovation Index 2019 (GII).
  • The GII is a global benchmark that helps policy makers better understand how to stimulate and measure innovative activity, a main driver of economic and social development.
 
News Summary:
  • The latest Global Innovation index rankings were released at an event organised by the Indian Commerce Ministry and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
  • The rankings put India at 52nd in the world.
  • Switzerland is the most innovative economy, followed by Sweden, US, Netherlands and United Kingdom.
  • China, which has invested heavily in research and development, moved up three positions to rank 14.
  • Israel secured the 10th rank, marking the first time an economy from the Northern Africa and Western Asia region broke into the top 10.
India’s GII ranking:
  • India improved its ranking consistently in the recent years, from 88 in 2015 to 57 in 2018 to 52 in 2019.
  • India is now the most innovative economy in the Central and South Asian region.
  • India will continue its efforts to breach the top 50 in the GII soon, with the ultimate aim of reaching the top 10.
Factors that helped India improve its ranking:
  • Strong information and communication technology services exports,
  • Scientific publications
  • Investment by its top three companies in research and development
  • Quality of some of its educational institutions, including some IITs and IIMs
  • The proportion of science and engineering graduates on offer globally
  • State of cluster development, especially the performance of Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai
Major areas where India needs to improve include:
  • Proportion of women with advanced degrees in the workforce.
  • Overall quality of education
  • Access and use of information and communication technologies
  • Student to teacher ratio in secondary level education
What are the strengths of India which has helped in improving its ranking?
  • India’s human capital (graduates in science & engineering)
  • Growth rate of GDP per worker
  • Exports of information and communication technology (ICT) and services
  • Productivity growth
  • Creative goods exports among others
 
Global Innovation Index
  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation and provide the tools that can assist in tailoring policies to promote long-term output growth, improved productivity, and job growth.
  • The global ranking is published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) – a specialized agency of the United Nations – in association with Cornell University and graduate business school INSEAD.
  • GII is published annually since 2007.
  • It is considered a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world. It is being used by them to evaluate progress on a continual basis.
  • GII ranks 126 economies based on 80 indicators, ranging from intellectual property filing rates to R&D, mobile application creation, online creativity, computer software spending, education spending, scientific & technical publications and ease of starting business.
Section : Economics

Ensuring access to justice Editorial 2nd Apr’19 TheHindu

Headline : Ensuring access to justice Editorial 2nd Apr’19 TheHindu

Details :

 Justice system in India is not accessible to many:

  • The justice system in any democracy is set up, under the Constitution to serve the public, and judges are supposed to act without “fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.
  • However, judges through lack of prescience, and many lawyers through their dishonesty in many forms, have stopped access to justice to the people.

 

SC has not favoured having benches at other places as justice might get diluted:

  • The Central government has a few times requested the Supreme Court to sit in other places in the country under Article 130 of the Constitution.
  • However, so far, the Chief Justice of India and the advising judges have not favoured it, as they felt that the authority of the Supreme Court would get diluted.

But High Courts have benches without justice getting diluted:

  • The reasoning that justice might get diluted with SC benches at various places is fallacious.
  • Many High Courts in this country have different Benches for meting out justice without ‘justice’ being ‘diluted’.
    • For example, the Bombay High Court has four Benches — in Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Panaji (Goa) — and the quality of its decisions or status have certainly not been diluted thereby.
  • The number of Benches depends on the size of the State, the idea being to facilitate easier access to justice.

 

Problems of SC sitting only in Delhi:

  1. Many good lawyers not getting to argue in SC:
  • The Supreme Court sitting only in Delhi has resulted in excellent lawyers from other High Courts not appearing before the Supreme Court.
  • One of the major reasons for this is because it puts too large a monetary burden on their clients, many of whom are impoverished.
  1. Many ordinary lawyers are practising in SC while just a few good lawyers are dominating:
  • Some of the good lawyers who have settled down in Delhi they have established a monopoly, and charge huge fees from clients.
  • Also, all lawyers, whatever their calibre or competence, who happen to be in Delhi now appear in the Supreme Court.
  1. SC in Delhi has been reduced to hearing all sorts of frivolous cases:
  • The Supreme Court in Delhi has been flooded with work and been reduced to a District Court instead of a Court of Final Appeal and Constitutional Court as envisaged under the Constitution.

 

Major problem of unethical lawyers leading to denial of justice to people

  • The fault in actually denying access to justice to citizens is majorly the fault of unethical lawyers.
  • Lawyers are mostly dishonest, and often act as dishonest brokers and middle-men between judges and the litigating public.
  • According to a study carried out by a research organisation, Vidhi, in the Delhi High Court, more than 70% of the delays in the disposal of cases are attributable to lawyers, a major reason being sometimes unjust pleas for adjournments.

Examples of unethical practices:

  • Victims cheated out of victim compensation:
    • Some of the lawyers specialising in victim compensation cases do not charge any fees for their services and render services free of cost.
    • They generally obtain a blank cheque from the victim which is filled in after credit of the compensation to the bank account of the victim.
    • Some of the lawyers specialising in victim compensation cases thus take huge money as a percentage of compensation amount awarded towards victim compensation.
    • Such a practice is frustrating the whole purpose of victim compensation.
  • Accident claim cases:
    • Some advocates dealing with Motor Accident Claim Cases under Section 166 (application for compensation) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 agree to conduct the cases without a fee, but in the event of compensation being granted by the court, the advocates get a certain percentage.
    • This is an illegal agreement.

 

Disciplinary jurisdiction over lawyers

Was originally with courts:

  • The disciplinary jurisdiction over lawyers was originally with the courts.
  • As far as the older High Courts are concerned, this is clear from the respective Letters Patents under which the courts were set up.

Later power given to lawyers:

  • This continued till the power was taken away by the Advocates Act, 1961.

But Bar Council has not been effective in disciplining lawyers:

  • The disciplinary powers over lawyers available to Bar Councils both in Delhi and in States are more often than not ineffective.
  • Some are politically motivated and some States do not have disciplinary committees at all.

 

The way forward

  • There is a need to kick out the corrupt lawyers from the system at all levels so that justice may be truly rendered to the public.
  • Certain measures can be considered in this regard:
    • SC benches in states: The Supreme Court should reconsider setting up Benches in different States in keeping with the recommendations of the Law Commissions (125th Report and 229th Report).
    • Disciplinary jurisdiction over lawyers to the courts: The Bar Council of India should exercise its powers under the Advocates Act, 1961 more effectively. If not, the disciplinary jurisdiction must be returned to the judiciary as was the position prior to the Advocates Act, 1961 by repealing the 1961 Act.
    • Greater mediation: Lawyers should be made irrelevant by referring more cases to trained mediators, as the Supreme Court has done in the Ayodhya dispute.

 

Importance:

GS Paper II: Polity & Governance

 

Section : Editorial Analysis

What do you mean by delegated legislation? Give its advantages and disadvantages.

What do you mean by delegated legislation? Give its advantages and disadvantages.

Approach

  • Briefly explain delegated legislation in the introduction.
  • Discuss the positives of such legislation.
  • Then give its disadvantages.
  • Conclude with some suggestions.
Model Answer :

When law making power is delegated to executive by legislation, then it is known as delegated legislation or sub-ordinate legislation. In this case, legislature outlines the broad guidelines but while detailed provisions are added by executive.There is a Committee on Subordinate Legislation also to scrutinize and report to the house.

Delegated legislation has following advantages:

  • Technical expertise and knowledge of the fields like cyber security etc. is required in the current time which is provided by executives.
  • Due to rising number of issues, legislature cannot devote much time to each issue. So delegated legislation is preferred.
  • Certain issues require urgent guidelines like Air Pollution etc. So it is of great help when house is not in session.
  • Also it can consult a large number of stakeholders on issues involving in the law making process.
  • Certain issues like floods etc. require flexibility and interpretation of law.

But it has some disadvantages also:

  • It violates principle of separation of powers as it shifts power from legislature to executive.
  • The law making power is entrusted to legislature by constitution. So sometimes it is seen that legislature is abdicating its responsibility
  • Even bureaucrats are not experts in the fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning etc.
  • It also decreases the control of legislature over executive.

With rising number of issues and paucity of time, delegated legislation is inevitable. But the legislature should give sufficient guidance to the rule making authority as Supreme Court in Raj Narain Singh vs. Chairman P.A. Committee held that legislature can authorize an executive authority to modify the law made, but not the essential features.

Subjects : Governance

National Population Policy 2002

National Population Policy 2002

 long term objective of achieving a stable population by 2045
 To address the unmet needs for contraception, health care infrastructure, and health personnel
 To provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child health care.
 Maternal Mortality Rate: below 100 per lakh birth.
 Infant Mortality Rate: 30 per 1000 live birth.
 Total Fertility rate: 2.1 (Replacement Level of 2010).
 Achieve 80% institutionalized deliveries, to reduce MMR
 Achieve universal immunization of children.
 Promote delayed marriage for girls, not earlier than age 18 and preferably after 20 years of age.
 Compulsory school education, reduce dropout rate.
 Promote small family norm to achieve replacement levels of TFR.
 Convergence in implementation of related social sector programs.

Everything about Umang App (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG)

Umang (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app:

• It is a unified app to serve e-governance through mobile devices.

• It is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD).

• It is to offer services of the central, state, local bodies and various government agencies right on Android and iOS based mobile devices.

• It will provide over a hundred citizen-centric services.

• At the back-end, these services will be catered for by many different departments of the Union and State Governments.

• This integrated approach will add an automatic layer of ‘peer performance pressure’, in the working of these departments.

List of services:

• The Umang app bundles a list of Digital India services, including Aadhaar, DigiLocker and PayGov.

• The app provides citizens with all the major government services provided through app, web, SMS and IVR channels.

• The citizens can use the app to access their income tax filing, LPG cylinder bookings and Provident Fund account.

• Parents can use the Umang app to access CBSE results.

Multilingual support:

• The app has multilingual support with as many as 13 languages and includes a payment-based transaction access.

Social media integration

• The app has social media integration that allows to connect your Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts and enable one-touch login process.

• The interface of the Umang app appears to be convenient for novices.

• The app comes with features like favourites and push notification alerts.

Ethics Case Study

The leader of a prominent social group has been facing trial in a criminal
case. The court is expected to deliver the verdict in two days. Ahead of the
verdict, a large number of members of this group from various parts of
State have flocked en masse to the city where the court is located. They
threaten to go on a rampage if their leader is convicted and jailed. They
have started camping in the city, along many roads and in various public
parks. There are reports that the followers may be stocking up on arms,
petrol and blunt weapons. The rampage threatens to spill into the
neighbouring States also.
You are the Chief Secretary of the State.
i) What are the measures you will take to ensure that there is no disruption of
public order, regardless of the verdict?
ii) What intervention would you consider to prevent any similar mass hysteria
in the future?
(300 words – 25 marks)

This case present ethical issue where a section of society following a cult blindly,
which led to the formation of negative attitude against that State, and which in
turn may guide undesirable behaviour. Change in attitude is beyond the scope of
this question but should be a long term strategy.
Stakeholders:
 Myself i.e. as Chief Secretary
 Administration
 Followers of the cult
 Society at large
In this situation, a civil servant not only apply her administrative skill but also
aptitude, emotional intelligence, foundational values etc. Since followers of cult
gathered includes women, children and many good people came in blind faith,
any violent repressive action would be detrimental. At the same time, those who
are with arms & ammunitions and gathered to violate law & order should be dealt
with sternly, ensuring minimum damage to loss of lives or properties.
Following measures must be taken:
Short-term:
Political measures:
 Talk to prominent leaders of the cult and request them to maintain peace.
 Reach out to all political parties requesting them to not issue any controversial
statements on the case.
Administrative measures:
 Prohibitory orders to be imposed across all relevant districts in the State
(Section 144) to ensure that there is no build up of crowd.
 Sealing of State borders and suspend the rail/road service to ensure cult
supporters from gathering as well as safeguarding passengers and property.
 Suspend mobile Internet services and bulk SMS services to disrupt any
moves to organise and coordinate violence on a large scale.
 Keep the general public aware through regular briefings on the situation
through regular media and social media.
 Coordinate with the administration of the adjacent states to prevent violence
from one state spilling into another, and set up joint control rooms if
necessary.
Security measures:
 Call required number of companies of paramilitary forces to assist the police
forces in maintaining law and order.
 Deploy drones to keep an eye on the situation.
 Search & seizure operation to ensure that no arm & ammunition remains with
followers.
 Preventive detention of elements known to be prone to violence.

Long-term
 Awareness campaigns must be run to ensure people don’t blindly follow any
cult, and so they learn of exploitation of followers happening behind the
scenes.
 In many cases, blind followers of such cults are those belonging to the socially
and economically disadvantaged, looking for an identity. Addressing their
basic grievances may help them from getting induced into these cults
 Proceedings in serious accusations of crime, like that of rape, especially
against leaders of such cults should be expedited as they have ready access
to large number of potential victims. Allowing them to function due to political
reasons will only help increase their charisma and power projections.
 Lessons should be learnt from such incidents and Standard Operating
Procedures (SOP) may be prepared so the administration is more geared up
to tackle such situations in the future.
Due to many political-social-economic issues prevailing in society, these
unethical practices are prominent where people are used as means by cult
personalities to achieve their end goals. Immanuel Kant states that it is immoral
to use another person merely as a means to an end and that people must, under
all circumstances, be treated as ends in themselves.
As Swami Vivekananda said “The awakening of masses must come first then
only can any real good come about for the country”. The state with the assistance
of society can foster and promote the common interest of people, which can bring
justice, honesty, peace etc

Given a choice between the two, an organization should focus more on its culture than its regulations. Do you agree? (150 words – 10 marks)

Yes, I agree. The structure of an organization comprises the rules and
procedures on the basis of which it is created and functions. A good structure is
necessary for better performance, but is not sufficient. Rules and procedures can
be effective only when interpreted and implemented in letter and spirit. This
cannot be mandated by the structure but is influenced by the organizational
culture.
Organisational culture refers to the common understanding among its members regarding the objectives of an organization and their role in achieving them. It is culture that determines the manner in which regulations would be interpreted, implemented or violated. In the absence of a good culture, a structure by itself would have limited value. E.g. the 42nd Constitutional amendment, which
threatened to weaken the very foundations of the Constitution, was brought about
by a negative culture in the Union leadership.
Therefore, if organisations focus on a good culture, the structure would be able to
achieve its intent in letter and spirit.

Accountability without responsibility is like a bird without wings. Comment. (150 words – 10 marks)

Accountability is necessary for better governance but not sufficient. It has some
fundamental limitations which can be overcome only by performing our duties
with a sense of responsibility. Such limitations include:
i) Difficulties in constantly monitoring the various activities of subordinates.
ii) Accountability can consider quantity but not quality. In situations where
discretion is involved, accountability is of limited value.
iii) It is vulnerable to the risk of collusion.
Due to these limitations, accountability remains effective only till supervision is
maintained. It needs to be supplemented by self-regulation, which is driven by a
sense of responsibility. Therefore, to address these issues, it is imperative that
we use our discretion/judgment in deciding how best to perform our duties in a manner that promotes public welfare. This can only come from a sense of
responsibility and devotion towards public welfare.

There are unjust laws, just as there are unjust men. Explain with a suitable example. (150 words – 10 marks)

The words of Mahatma Gandhi were from his struggle in South Africa against the
unjust racial laws. Laws protect the rights of people and regulate the civil
activities. In most of the cases, laws are on the lines of ethical principles. But,
there are also several laws which are clearly unethical. For example laws made
by Nazi state in Germany or laws sanctioning racial discrimination in USA or
South Africa were legitimate and legal but unethical. According to Martin Luther
King one has moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. Also Mahatma Gandhi
was of the opinion that an unjust law in itself is a species of violence. In the
broader scheme of ethical governance, laws may not be the solution to all
problems since what is legally permissible may not be morally defendable. For
example, consider the case of capital punishment. While a State can enact a law
to take away the basic right to life legally, it does not fall on strong moral grounds.
Similarly, laws like AFSPA deprive citizens of basic civil liberties. Other examples
of surrogate advertising, paid news, etc. may be legally admissible but unethical.
Also, enacting and enforcing laws requires idealism and can also be used for
ethical deliberation avoidance. Especially in the scheme of administrative ethics,
laws restrict civil service to quantitative dimension of procedural compliance;
oblivious to the moral issues involved. So, while laws are essential in guiding
mechanisms of governance, they cannot be absolute due to the scope of errors.
Hence, ethical sensibility is above laws in governance and elements of moral
conscience are required to assess actions