Second Edition of Coastal Defence Exercise Sea Vigil Begins
News: The second edition of the biennial pan-India coastal defence exercise ‘Sea Vigil-21’ has started.
- Exercise Sea Vigil: The inaugural edition of the exercise was conducted in January 2019. The exercise is being undertaken along the entire 7516 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
- Coordinated by: It is coordinated by the Indian Navy and involves all the 13 coastal states and Union Territories along with other maritime stakeholders. It will also include fishing and coastal communities.
- Objective: To provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and thus will help in further strengthening maritime and national security.
- Significance: The exercise is a build-up towards the major Theatre-level exercise TROPEX [Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercise] which the Indian Navy conducts every two years. SEA VIGIL and TROPEX together will cover the entire spectrum of maritime security challenges including the transition from peace to conflict.
BPRD releases data on police Organisations
Source: The Indian Express
News: Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) has released data on police organisations.
- The data shows different aspects of policing in the country like woman police, police expenditure, constabulary ratio, transport facilities, communication facilities, representation of various castes and police training centres.
- Police Population Ratio: According to report, Population Per Police Person is 511.81, that is one policeman for every 511.81 persons and 3.9 policemen for each VIP. Bihar had the worst ratio with one policeman for 867.57 persons.
- VIP Protection: As many as 66,043 policemen were deployed to protect 19,467 Ministers, Members of Parliament, judges, bureaucrats and other personalities in 2019 compared to 63,061 policemen for similar duty in 2018.
- The highest number of persons who received police protection in 2019 were in West Bengal — 3,142 followed by Punjab (2,594), Bihar (2,347), Haryana (1,355) and Jharkhand (1,351).
- The Backward Classes, Dalits and Tribals constitute almost 67% of India’s population but their representation in police forces in the country is only at 51%.
- Scheduled Tribes form 8.6% of the population and have 12% representation in the police forces, placing them at a comparatively better position.
- Dalits represent 14% of all positions in police forces across the country. According to Census 2011, Dalits make up 16.6% of India’s population.
- Other Backward Classes(OBCs) fare the worst on the representation front as, despite their 41% share in the population, they constitute only 25% of the police forces.
- Women continue to be represented poorly.It is reflected in the women population per woman police ratio which stands at 3,026 nationally
- However, their situation has improved considerably over the past five years. Since 2014, when the actual strength of women in police forces stood at around 1.11 lakh, their representation has almost doubled to 2.15 lakh.
- BPR&D: It was established in 1970 with the objective of modernisation of police forces. It functions under the aegis of Union Home Ministry
- BPR&D replaced Police Research and Advisory Council formed in 1966.
- Purpose: It is a nodal national police organisation to study, research and develop on subjects and issues related to policing.
- In 2008, the Government further decided to create the National Police Mission (NPM) under the administrative control of BPR&D
- Headquarters: New Delhi.
How Enforcement Directorate (ED) became so powerful?
News: Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been in news for the attachment of several properties of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, for his alleged involvement in money laundering.
About Enforcement Directorate (ED)
Directorate of Enforcement is a Multi-Disciplinary Organization mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal laws – Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1st May 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in the Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.
How powers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) evolved?
The powers of the Enforcement Directorate has been separated concerning the PMLA (2002) and FEMA (1999);
FERA (The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947) phase:
- The scope of power of ED remained limited since its existence from 1957 till 1973 when FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulations Act) was amended.
- FERA Empowered ED with the power to arrest for FERA violations. It allowed even Enforcement Officer to enter any business premises without a warrant and arrest anyone.
- Even an Assistant EO was empowered to search any vehicle or person without a warrant.
- But even then, the ED’s domain was largely limited to the corporate world.
The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) phase
- Post-liberalisation FERA was repealed in January 2000, as it was seen as a coercive and obsolete law.
- FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) replaced the FERA Under FEMA forex violations were amounted to civil offenses, compoundable after payment of a fine.
- ED lost its power to arrest people or take them into custody.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) Phase
- After the 9/11 attacks, the attention of the world turned to terror financing. After establishment of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), India was under pressure to deal with the issues of terror financing.
- Thus, Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) came into force in 2005. It re-empowered ED with the powers of criminal prosecution.
- Madhu Koda case became the first in the history of the agency to end in conviction.
- With the amendments in 2009 and 2013, the scope of PMLA was widened. It provided more teeth to the ED.
- It has become the only Act in India, under which a statement recorded before an investigating officer is admissible in a court as evidence.
- In 2017, SC struck down a provision under which an arrested accused could be granted bail only if the court was satisfied that the accused was not guilty.
- Between 2005 and 2017, before this ruling, only 2 to 3 persons could secure the bail, out of 120 persons accused by the ED.
What are the provisions related to the attachment of properties?
- It is one of the most coercive and talked about provisions of the PMLA, which empowers ED to attach properties of the accused.
- Under PMLA, on the direction of the ED Director, money generated out of criminal activity (proceeds of crime) can be attached. If the wealth (money) is not available, ED can attach property equivalent to that value.
- The attachment provides for the property to remain out of bounds for the accused until the trial is complete.
- However, if the property is already in use (running businesses or residential houses), attachment doesn’t lead to immediate sealing of property, until the case reaches its logical conclusion.
- For Example, in 2018, the ED attached the Holiday Inn Hotel at Delhi’s IGI airport in connection with the Air India case. But the hotel continues to host guests as usual.
- Also in 2018, the ED had attached 50% of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s bungalow in New Delhi’s Jor Bagh. Which of being still enjoyed by Chidambaram and his family.
- The ED order would be valid for 180 days, during which time it must be confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority under the PMLA. If it is not confirmed, the property would be automatically released from attachment.
Difference between CBI and Enforcement Directorate:
|Central Bureau of Intelligence(CBI)||Enforcement Directorate(ED)|
|(CBI) examines the corruption and high profile cases related to white-collar crimes or crime which is required by the Central or State to CBI to look into||Enforcement Directorate or ED is committed to preventing money laundering offenses.|
|CBI operates under the Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances and Pension||ED is a part of the Ministry of Finance|
The CBI can register a complaint on its own or by request of the Courts.
|Enforcement directorate cannot register a case on its own, it is required by the agencies such as CBI or state police to register an offense based on which the ED Case Information Report is filed by Enforcement Directorate.|
Challenges and issues surrounding Enforcement Directorate:
- Firstly, Critics say that the government has been using the foreign funding law as a tool to silence its critics and Non-government groups that have raised concerns about the social costs of India’s rapid economic development.
- For Ex: critics point out the recent ED raid on Amnesty India.
- Secondly, Conviction of cases: Under PMLA, the agency has conducted over 1,700 raids from March 2011 to January 2020 in connection with 1,569 specific investigations. In the same period though, the ED has managed to secure convictions in only a paltry 9 cases, most of which are relatively-speaking low profile cases.
- Thirdly, ED has insufficient manpower: Anonymous ED sources have through various stories complained about insufficient manpower, the difficulty in establishing evidence of a proper money trail, and poor litigation strategies. For Example, since the PMLA enacted investigation is pending in over 1,000 cases.
- Fourthly, regarding the Question of Independence and misuse: Critics of ED are calling it a tool of political intimidation because of ED’s administrative control of Ministry. For Example, the Panchkula land case created widespread criticisms over the Enforcement Directorate
- Fifthly, ED Lacks Jurisdiction if the convict is out of India. ED’s power to investigate or arrest the convicts at present is limited within the territory of India.
- Lastly, the Funding is inadequate: The powers and the responsibilities of ED requires adequate financing but the previous budgetary allocations are inadequate with respect to the functions of the ED.
Solutions to improve the performance of ED:
- Firstly, increasing the funding of the ED: Increasing the Budgetary allocation of ED will help them to improve the conduct of investigation and consequently the conviction rate.
- Secondly, increasing the Man power: By increasing the man power ED can become more efficient and reduce the pendency of cases. Thereby increasing the credibility of ED as a whole
- Thirdly, considering the autonomous status of ED: This will curb the question over Independence and improve the ED’s image as a reputed agency against economic offenses in our country.
Strengthening the Enforcement Directorate is the need of the hour that will not only strengthen the Indian Economy but also prevent India from various kinds of economic offenses happening in the country.
Operation Trident, Operation Desert Chase and Operation Bandar
Source : Click here
News: Every year, India celebrates December 4 as Navy Day to commemorate Operation Trident.
- Operation Trident: It was an offensive operation launched by the Indian Navy on Pakistan’s port city of Karachi during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.Operation Trident saw the first use of anti-ship missiles in combat in the region.
- Operation Desert Chase: It was the name of the Anti-espionage operation started by Military Intelligence(MI) in early 2019.It successfully culminated in 2020 with the arrest of two civil defence employees that they had been passing on sensitive information to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.
- Operation Bandar: It was the code-name given by Indian Air Force(IAF) to the air strikes conducted by its Mirage-2000 fighters against the major Jaish-e-Mohammed training facility at Balakot in Pakistan in response to the Pulwama terror attack.
Crucial expertise of CAPFs
Context: The diverse experience of security forces has helped greatly in combating COVID-19.
Discuss the role of CAPFs during the pandemic?
- Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) carry out the task of overcoming the disaster, by not only carrying out rescue and relief operations, but also by moderating the pains and problems arising out of the disaster.
- CAPFs comprise the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Assam Rifles and the ITBP.
- Role played by the CAPFs:
- Setting up Quarantine centres: Even before covid-19, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) had already set up its 600-bed quarantine centre in Chawla on the outskirts of New Delhi.
- Quarantine assistance: Out of the 324 Indian passengers in the first batch that arrived in New Delhi from China’s Wuhan, 103 were quarantined at the ITBP Centre.
- Coordinated response: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had roped in specialists from the Safdarjung Hospital to coordinate with ITBP officials.
- Similarly, The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had directed the CAPFs to establish 5,400-bedded quarantine centres with 75 isolation wards, spread over 37 centres across the country.
- Testing and Training: Immigration officials entrusted with conducting COVID-19 tests of the passengers arriving in New Delhi were trained by the NDRF.
- The NDRF has trained over 30,000 personnel in disaster management across the country.
- Role of Disaster Response Forces: The NDRF has been carrying out rescue and relief operations, and is also training the State Disaster Response Forces personnel in all States.
- Relief work: A sum of ₹10 crores was sanctioned for the CRPF by the MHA to carry out relief work for those displaced in the aftermath of the lockdown.
- Expertise and SOPs: The expertise acquired by ITBP personnel and the Standard Operating Procedure prepared by the ITBP came handy for the States and other police forces in establishing their own quarantine centres and COVID-19 hospitals.
- For instance, a 10,000-bed quarantine centre was established in Chhatarpur in New Delhi by the ITBP, where over 10,000 patients have been treated till now, according to ITBP spokesperson.
What steps can be taken?
- There is a need to expand the strength of trained personnel. Personnel can be deployed at quarantines centres after short term courses.
- A proposal mooted by NITI Aayog last year, to conduct a bridge course for dentists to solidify them eligible for the MBBS degree, could be revived, and such doctors could be on stand-by to help in such emergency crises.
It is these CAPF personnel who give an impression of existence of government administration even in the remotest corners of the country. Their versatile experience can be utilised to the nation’s advantage.