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GS 2

Set procedure to vet NRC claims: SC

News:

  1. Recently, the Supreme Court has directed authorities not to take any action against persons left out of the draft Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on July 30.

Important facts:

2. The published draft has put question mark on the legal status of so many individuals.

3. The Bench ordered the government to frame a ‘fair’ standard operating procedure (SOP) to deal with the claims and objections of those who did not find their names in the draft NRC.

4. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, pointed out that the government is developing biometrics so that even if a declared foreigner escapes to another State, he or she would be caught there.

5. Second and final draft of the NRC shows 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore who applied in Assam.

6. From Aug 8, those excluded from the list can approach the Local Registrar or the NRC Sewa Kendras to find out the reasons for their exclusion. Their claims and objections would be heard by Aug 30 to Sep 28.

 

Friends or Seoul-mates?

Article:

  1. Rajiv Kumar, Research Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, analyse India-South Korea relations in the era of U.S. and China power politics.

Important facts:

2. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’ recently visited to India to upgrade India-South Korea relations.

3. Mr Moon launched a foreign initiative called New-Southern Policy last year to step up Seoul’s engagement with India and the ASEAN countries.

4. He also sent a special envoy to India immediately after assuming office.

5. This year, South Korea set up a state-run research centre on India and ASEAN under the Korea National Diplomacy Academy to diversify strategic partnership across the Asian region.

6. Reasons for Seoul’s reshaping diplomatic relations towards India:

  • Recently, South Korea has been heavily impacted by power politics between the U.S and China.
  • The clash between the two countries over the deployment of the U.S. Thaad missile defence system in the Korean Peninsula set off an economic retaliation by China against South Korea, whose economy is highly depended on the Chinese market.
  • The ongoing U.S-China trade war has heightened uncertainty surrounding South Korea’s core economic interests.
  • This has led to Seoul reassessing risks associated with economic turbulence stemming from Chinese policies, which is a threat to the national security of South Korea in some cases.
  • To escape the power politics in Northeast Asia, South Korean policymakers believe that Seoul should diversify its relations with major powers in the region including India.
  • Mr Moon recently said that his government wants to elevate relations with India to the same level as with other major powers in the world- namely, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

7. Way ahead:

  • Both India and South Korea have multiple dimensions to boost up their strategic ties such as:

a) Ensuring freedom of navigation

b) Overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in the Indo-Pacific region.

c) South Korea backing India’s bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group membership especially when New Delhi has faced sustained opposition from China.

d) Exemplified by plans for capacity building programmes in Afghanistan.

 

GS 3

Rajasthan first State to implement biofuel policy

News:

  1.  Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the national policy on biofuels.

Important facts:

2. The policy was unveiled the government recently.

3. Rajasthan will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish a Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in the fields of alternative fuels and energy resources.

4. For further boost up the State Rural Livelihood Development Council would also encourage women’s self help groups to explore the scope of additional income through the supply of biodiesel.

5. The State government would also promote marketing of biofuels and generate awareness about the same.

6. The Policy on biofuels will be beneficial in the following way:

  • The Policy on biofuels seeks to help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner.
  • Reduce the country’s oil imports.
  • It has expanded the scope of raw material for ethanol production.

 

A fundamental error

Article:

  1. Apar Gupta and Ujwala Uppaluri, practicing advocates, highlighted that the Srikrishna report on data protection misinterprets the Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgment.

Important facts:

2. Last year the Supreme Court judgment on the right to privacy imposed upon the government an obligation to make a law safeguarding a person’s informational privacy, commonly referred to as data protection.

3. Consequently, the Union government had tasked a committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna to formulate such a law in July last year.

4. The committee provides set of recommendations and also produced a draft law titled the “The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018.

5. The author highlighted that the Srikrishna report on data protection misinterprets the Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgment .

6. The recommendations do not only undermine the legal principles within it but also reinterpret them. The committee stay away from the below two points:

  • It expressly stated the primacy of the individual as the beneficiary of fundamental rights.
  • It rejected the argument that the right to privacy dissolves in the face of amorphous collective notions of economic development.

7. Its report, titled “A Free and Fair Digital Economy: Protecting Privacy, Empowering Indians”, runs into tremendous difficulties as it attempts to put together a regulatory agenda that reconciles the expansion of the digital economy and state control with the principles of the right to privacy judgment.

8. These difficulties reveal themselves in a misunderstanding of the fundamentals of constitutional law.

9. The state’s purpose under the Constitution, says the report, is “based on two planks”.

  • The state is a facilitator of human progress and is “commanded” by the Directive Principles of State Policy “to serve the common good”.
  • Fundamental Rights, which help protect against a state “prone to excess”.

10. The report attempts to open the right to privacy to allow the state the most convenient means by which to realize its regulatory agenda.

11. According to the author, it is not often that the Supreme Court assembles and pronounces a unanimous judgment without dissent. The promise of such a holding becomes more critical when it concerns the liberty of individuals and an attempt to correct an imbalance of power which exists against them.

12. By re-framing and re-interpreting the right to privacy, the report entrenches the positions of the two entities which already wield the most power over ordinary Indians: corporations and the government.

 

Centre imposes 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells

News:

  1. Recently, the Centre has issued a notification to impose a safeguard duty of 25% on import of solar cells.

 Important facts:

2. The decision by the government follows a long deliberation by the Director General of Trade Remedies, which recommended the safeguard duty structure.

3. The duty will be impose on imports of solar cells from China and Malaysia between July 30, 2018 and July 29, 2019.

4. The duty reduces to 20% for six months from July 30, 2019, and further to 15% in the subsequent half year.

5. The subsequent 20% duty on “solar cells whether or not assembled in modules or panels” will apply on imports from China and Malaysia during the period July 30, 2019, to January 29, 2020.

6. The 15% duty will kick in during the period from January 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020.

7. Reasons to impose duty on solar cells:

  • The move aimed at helping the domestic solar cell manufacturing sector.
  • The move is likely to increase the bid tariffs to 2.9-3.1 per unit for the upcoming bids.

8. However, the decision could affect existing projects dependent on cheap imports.

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