Daily Analysis: 2nd September 2020

The Hindu, PIB, IE and Others

Index

A) Economy

1. India’s GDP growth contracts 23.9%: What is the economics behind the math? (IE)

2. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) (TH, pg 15)

B) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

3. Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP) (DTE)

4. Swachhta Pakhwada Campaign (PIB)

5. Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme (ANBS) (PIB)

6. One Nation One Ration Card Scheme (PIB)

7. Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) (PIB)

C) Science and Technology

8. Indian Astronomers discover one of the farthest Star galaxies in the universe (PIB)

D) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations

9. Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) (TH, pg 14)

10. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) (TH, pg 9)

11. National Crime Records Bureau (TH, pg 11)

E) International Relations

12. Hamas says pact reached to calm violence with Israel (TH, pg 14)

13. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) (TH, pg 9)

14. Dispute between Turkey and Greece (TH, pg 14)

F) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments

15. Question Hour and Zero Hour (TH, pg 9)

16. Legal Provisions of Hate Speech in India (TH, pg 7)

G) Miscellaneous

17. Dams in news due to floods (PIB)

18. Online Chess Olympiad- India Wins gold -Armageddon(IE)

A) Economy

1. India’s GDP growth contracts 23.9%: What is the economics behind the math? (IE)

Context: India’s GDP contracted by 24% per cent in first quarter (April, May, June) of 2020 as per the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

Analysis

  • In other words, the total value of goods and services produced in India in April, May and June this year is 24% less than the total value of goods and services produced in India in the same three months last year.
  • As Chart 2 bears out, almost all the major indicators of growth in the economy — be it production of cement or consumption of steel — show deep contraction. Even total telephone subscribers saw a contraction in this quarter.
  • In terms of the gross value added (a proxy for production and incomes) by different sectors of the economy, data show that barring agriculture, where GVA grew by 3.4%, all other sectors of the economy saw their incomes fall.
  • Gross value added = GDP + subsidies on products – taxes on products.

What causes GDP contraction? Why hasn’t the government been able to curb it?

  • In any economy, the total demand for goods and services — that is the GDP — is generated from one of the four engines of growth.
  • The biggest engine is consumption demand from private individuals like you. Let’s call it C, and in the Indian economy, this accounted for 56.4% of all GDP before this quarter.
  • The second biggest engine is the demand generated by private sector businesses. Let’s call it I, and this accounted for 32% of all GDP in India.
  • The third engine is the demand for goods and services generated by the government. Let’s call it G, and it accounted for 11% of India’s GDP.
  • The last engine is the net demand on GDP after we subtract imports from India’s exports. Let’s call it NX.
  • In India’s case, it is the smallest engine and, since India typically imports more than it exports, its effect is negative on the GDP.
  • So total GDP = C + I + G + NX

What has happened to each of the engines in Q1?

  • Private consumption — the biggest engine driving the Indian economy — has fallen by 27%.
  • The second biggest engine — investments by businesses — has fallen even harder — it is half of what it was last year same quarter.
  • So, the two biggest engines, which accounted for over 88% of Indian total GDP, Q1 saw a massive contraction.
  • The NX or the net export demand has turned positive in this Q1 because India’s imports have crashed more than its exports. While on paper, this provides a boost to overall GDP, it also points to an economy where economic activity has plummeted.
  • That brings us to the last engine of growth — the government. As the data shows, government’s expenditure went up by 16% but this was nowhere near enough to compensate for the loss of demand (power) in other sectors (engines) of the economy.

What is the way out?

  • When incomes fall sharply, private individuals cut back consumption. When private consumption falls sharply, businesses stop investing. Since both of these are voluntary decisions, there is no way to force people to spend more and/or coerce businesses to invest more in the current scenario.
  • The same logic holds for exports and imports as well.
  • Under the circumstances, there is only one engine that can boost GDP and that is the government (G). Only when government spend more — either by building roads and bridges and paying salaries or by directly handing out money — can the economy revive in the short to medium term. If the government does not spend adequately enough then the economy will take a long time to recover.

What is holding back the government from spending more?

  • Even before the Covid crisis, government finances were overextended. In other words, it was not only borrowing but borrowing more than what it should have. As a result, today it doesn’t have as much money.
  • It will have to think of some innovative solutions to generate resources. Chart 4 by McKinsey Global Institute provides ways in which an additional 3.5 per cent of the GDP can be raised by the government.

2. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) (TH, pg 15)

Context: The headline seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose from 46 in July to 52 in August, signalling an improvement in operating conditions across the manufacturing sector following four consecutive months of contraction.

Analysis

  • ‘Purchasing Managers’ index’ is considered as an indicator of the economic health and investor sentiments about the manufacturing sector (there is services PMI as well).
  • The PMI is constructed separately for manufacturing and services sector. But the manufacturing sector holds more importance.
  • In a PMI data, a reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while a reading below 50 points shows contraction of economic activities.
  • For India, the PMI Data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei but compiled and constructed by Markit Economics.
  • The variables used to construct India’s PMI are: Output, New Orders, Employment, Input Costs, Output Prices, Backlogs of Work, Export Orders, Quantity of Purchases, Suppliers’ Delivery Times, Stocks of Purchases and Stocks of Finished Goods. 

How PMI is different from IIP

  • In contrast to volume-based production indicator like the IIP, the PMI senses dynamic trends because of the variables it uses for the construction of the index.
  • For example, new orders under PMI show growth oriented positive trends and not just volume of past production that can be traced in an ordinary Index of Industrial Production.
  • Hence, the PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.

B) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

3. Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP) (DTE)

Context: Energy Efficiency Services Limited’s (EESL’s) Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP) is working to eventually replace 25 crore conventional meters with smart meters across India.

Analysis

  • The Ministry of Power has decided to convert all existing and new meters to smart and pre-paid meters within the three years starting from April 1, 2019.
  • In October 2019, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), India’s version of a sovereign wealth fund, formed a joint venture with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) to implement, finance and operate the smart meter rollout programme.
  • EESL, a PSU under the Ministry of Power, is the designated agency to implement the smart metering programme in India to enhance consumer convenience and rationalise electricity consumption.
  • EESL’s proven model of bulk procurement, aggregation of demand, and monetisation of savings will be the approach to roll out smart meters.
  • This roll-out is proposed under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, wherein EESL will undertake all the capital and operational expenditure with zero upfront investment from states and utilities.
  • EESL will therefore, receive a nominal Internal Rate of Return that is reflected in a mutually agreed upon, automated payback structure.
  • Along with enhancing energy production, the nation also needs to cut Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses to below 12% by 2022, and below 10% by 2027; which by various estimates are around 20% at present in India’s case.
  • Enabling India to achieve this imperative is the smart grid, the first step of which, is the creation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure.

What are Smart Meters?

  • A smart meter is a digital one that replaces old analogue meters.
  • Digital meters can transmit energy consumption information back to the utility at much more frequent intervals and can potentially enable monitoring of consumption more accurately, thereby enabling more informed energy choices.
  • Smart meters can help discoms function smoothly, thanks to their ability to remotely “monitor and collect meter readings.”
  • Based on the GPRS technology, these meters will boost efficiency in billing and collection.
  • Smart meters measure and record consumer’s electricity usage at different times of the day and send this information to energy supplier through over-the-air communication technology.
  • Smart meters can also help discoms to:
  • Reduce AT&C losses; Aggregate Technical & Commercial losses are combination of energy loss (Technical loss + Theft + inefficiency in billing) & commercial loss (Default in payment + inefficiency in collection).
  • Improve their financial health,
  • Incentivise energy conservation,
  • Enhance ease of bill payments,
  • Doing away with the paper bills,
  • Reducing meter tampering by consumers, and
  • Ensure billing accuracy by getting rid of manual errors in meter reading through web-based monitoring system.
  • EESL is also implementing smart prepaid meters under its smart metering programme.
  • Smart meters deployed [can] switch to prepaid mode with a remote button click.
  • ‘Smart’ metering also gives consumers the freedom to choose the supplier and rate as per their requirement.
  • Customers will also benefit from accurate bill readings, and real-time understanding of their electricity usage, catalysing a pan-India movement towards energy efficiency.

Smart Pre-paid Meters

  • The whole idea of a prepaid meter is to eliminate theft and prevent tampering.
  • Prepaid meters have been envisaged as one of the ways to turn around discoms by reducing their gap between the cost of power supply and revenue realised by ensuring timely payments from bulk consumers such as local civic bodies and state government departments.
  • Mounting dues of government departments have been a long-standing cause of concern, which is about 85% of the amount that discoms owed to power generators.
  • In cases of prepayment, the carrying costs will come down, leading to reduced requirement of working capital for discoms.
  • The National Electricity Policy, in 2005, had stated that the SERCs should encourage use of pre-paid meters.

Net Metering

  • Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid. 
  • If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use.
  • Typically, a solar power system produces more energy in summer and comparatively less energy in winter.

4. Swachhta Pakhwada Campaign (PIB)

  • It is an environment awareness campaign under Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • Under the campaign a theme wise “Swachh Bharat Fortnight” is being organised by different Ministries.
  • It is a voluntary exercise and objective is to create awareness, target programmes, invite pledges, spending of CSR etc.
  • It has also been followed by private institutions and corporate groups.

5. Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme (ANBS) (PIB)

  • In wake of the situation created by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India in May, 2020 had announced a set of economic measures under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package (ANBP) to help mitigate the problems of the migrant workers across the country.
  • Pursuant to this, with an intent to help maximum number of migrants / stranded migrant persons, and all those who were neither covered under NFSA nor under any other State PDS scheme, all over the country to meet their food-security requirements amidst the crisis situation, the Department of Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, on 15th May 2020 had liberally allocated a total quantity of about 8 LMT of food grains to all States/UTs under the “Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme (ANBS)” for free-of-cost distribution to all migrants / stranded migrant persons at a scale of 5 Kg per person per month for a period of 2 months i.e. 4 LMT each for the months of May and June 2020.
  • The scheme had full in built flexibility to ensure that no deserving person was left out and accordingly, the on-ground responsibilities of identification of eligible migrants / stranded migrants and other needy persons and subsequently distribution of food-grains to them under this scheme was given to State/UT governments and all States/UTs were given complete freedom to issue their own guidelines and SOPs to districts/field level functionaries to identify any person who didn’t possess any central/state scheme ration card or was not able to access food-grains due to crisis.

6. One Nation One Ration Card Scheme (PIB)

Context: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has approved the integration of Ladakh and Lakshadweep with existing national portability cluster of 24 States/UTs under the “One Nation One Ration Card” plan.

Analysis

  • A total of more than 65 Crore beneficiaries (i.e. 80% of total NFSA population) in the following 26 States/UTs, namely – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, are now potentially enabled with an option to lift their subsidised foodgrains through One Nation One Ration Card system.
  • Remaining States/UTs are targeted to be integrated in national portability by March 2021.
  • The ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ plan is an ambitious endeavour of the Government to ensure the delivery of food security entitlements to all beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), irrespective of their physical location anywhere in the country, by implementing nation-wide portability of ration cards under the ongoing central sector scheme on ‘Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS)’ in association with all States/UTs.
  • Through this system, the migratory NFSA beneficiaries who frequently change their place of dwelling in search of temporary employments, etc. are now enabled with an option to lift their entitled quota of foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice anywhere in the country by using their same/existing ration card with biometric/Aadhaar based authentication on an electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) device installed at the FPSs.

What is the one ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system?

  • Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, about 81 crore persons are entitled to buy subsidized foodgrain — rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg, and coarse grains at Re 1/kg — from their designated Fair Price Shops (FPS) of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
  • One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme will allow portability of food security benefits.
  • This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised foodgrains from any ration shop in the country, so long as their ration cards are linked to Aadhaar.
  • A migrant will be allowed to buy a maximum of 50% of the family quota.
  • While Aadhaar linkage is not necessary to access NFSA benefits in a beneficiary’s local registered ration shop, located closest to her home address, it will be necessary to access the portability scheme.
  • Migrants would only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the Centre, which include rice sold at Rs. 3/kg and wheat at Rs. 2/kg.
  • Even if a beneficiary moved to a State where grains were given for free, that person would not be able to access those benefits, as they were funded by the State exchequer.

How will the system of ration card portability work?

  • Ration card portability is aimed at providing intra-state as well as inter-state portability of ration cards.
  • While the Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) portal provides the technological platform for the inter-state portability of ration cards, enabling a migrant worker to buy foodgrains from any FPS across the country, the other portal (Annavitran portal) hosts the data of distribution of foodgrains through E-PoS devices within a state.
  • The Annavitran portal enables a migrant worker or his family to avail the benefits of PDS outside their district but within their state.
  • While a person can buy her share of foodgrains as per her entitlement under the NFSA, wherever she is based, the rest of her family members can purchase subsidised foodgrains from their ration dealer back home.

7. Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) (PIB)

Context: As a first step towards Greening the Indian short-term power Market, pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity has been launched.

Key benefits of GTAM

  • The introduction of GTAM platform would lessen the burden on renewable energy (RE)-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own RPO.
  • This would promote RE merchant capacity addition and help in achieving RE capacity addition targets of the country.
  • GTAM platform will lead to increase in number of participants in renewable energy sector.
  • It will benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement.
  • It will also benefit RE sellers by providing access to pan- India market
  • Green Term Ahead Market contracts will:
  • Allow additional avenues to the RE generators for sale of renewable energy;
  • Enable Obligated entities to procure renewable power at competitive prices to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO); and
  • Provide a platform to environmentally conscious open access consumers and utilities to buy green power.

Key Features of GTAM

  • Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature with clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers, there will not be any difficulty in accounting for RPO.
  • GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO as RPO targets are also segregated.
  • Energy scheduled through GTAM contract shall be considered as deemed RPO compliance of the buyer.

C) Science and Technology

8. Indian Astronomers discover one of the farthest Star galaxies in the universe (PIB)

  • Context: India’s first Multi-Wavelength Space Observatory “AstroSat” has detected extreme-UV light from a galaxy called AUDFs01 located 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.

Analysis

  • India’s AstroSat was able to achieve this unique feat because the background noise in the UVIT detector is much less than one on the Hubble Space Telescope of US based NASA.

AstroSat MISSION

  • AstroSat is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously.
  • One of the unique features of AstroSat mission is that it enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.
  • AstroSat was launched in September 2015 into a 650 km orbit by PSLV-C30 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
  • The minimum useful life of the AstroSat mission is expected to be 5 years.

    The scientific objectives of AstroSat mission are:
  • To understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes;
  • Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars;
  • Study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy;
  • Detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky;
  • Perform a limited deep field survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region.

D) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations

9. Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) (TH, pg 14)

Context: India’s Defence Minister is visiting Moscow from September 3-5, 2020 at the invitation of Defence Minister of Russian Federation to attend the combined meeting of Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member States in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of victory in the World War II. 

Analysis

  • The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a Russia-led military alliance of seven former Soviet states that was created in 2002.
  • The CSTO’s purpose is to ensure the collective defence of any member that faces external aggression.
  • It has been described by political scientists as the Eurasian counterpart of NATO, which has 30 member states (North Macedonia joined NATO in 2020), while the CSTO has just six.
  • Current CSTO members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan.
  • Uzbekistan again became a CSTO member in 2006 but then withdrew its membership in 2012.
  • Afghanistan and Serbia hold observer status in the CSTO.
  • The organization uses a rotating presidency system in which the state leading the CSTO changes every year.
  • Beyond mutual defence, Members also use the organization to counter cyber warfare, narcotics trafficking, the illegal circulation of weapons, transnational crime, and terrorism. 

What Does CSTO Membership Provide?

  • While CSTO membership means that member states are barred from joining other military alliances, limiting, for example, their relationship with NATO, members receive discounts, subsidies, and other incentives to buy Russian arms, facilitating military cooperation.
  • Most importantly, membership presumes certain key security assurances – the most significant of which is deterring military aggression by third countries. In the CSTO, aggression against one signatory is perceived as aggression against all. 
  • In particular, the organization has given Russia the power to block NATO operations in the region and provided a way for Russia to contain Chinese military influence in the region.

10. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) (TH, pg 9)

  • The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights organisation comprising judges and lawyers, said civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s conviction for criminal contempt of court by the Supreme Court seemed to be inconsistent with the freedom of expression law guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that India was a party to.
  • “While some restrictions of freedom of expression are permitted by international standards, a particularly wide scope must be preserved for debate and discussion about such matters as the role of the judiciary, access to justice, and democracy, by members of the public, including through public commentary on the courts”, it stated.
  • Since 1952 the ICJ has performed a unique and prominent role as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) defending human rights and the rule of law worldwide.

11. National Crime Records Bureau (TH, pg 11)

Context: The number of suicide cases and accidental deaths registered an increase across the country last year from the 2018 figures, according to the annual National Crime Records Bureau report.

Analysis

  • The total number of male suicides, the most were of daily wage earners, followed by self-employed persons and the unemployed. Of the total number of female suicides, over half were housewives.
  • The suicide rate in cities (13.9%) was higher compared to the all-India average.

Accidental deaths

  • Accidental deaths in the country increased by 2.3% when compared with that in 2018.
  • The most casualties of 30.9% were reported in the 30-45 age group, followed by 26% in the 18-30 age group.
  • The major causes were ‘traffic accidents’ (43.9%), ‘sudden deaths’ (11.5%), ‘drowning’ (7.9%), ‘poisoning’ (5.1%), ‘falls’ (5.1%) and ‘accidental fire’ (2.6%).
  • Maharashtra reported the highest deaths, amounting to nearly one-sixth of the total figure.
  • The most deaths due to lightning was reported each from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, followed by Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

National Crime Records Bureau

  • NCRB, now under the Home Ministry, was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
  • NCRB developed Crime Criminal Information System (CCIS) in the year 1995, Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA) in 2004, and finally Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & System (CCTNS) in 2009. 
  • National Digital Police Portal allows search for a criminal/suspect on a national data base apart from providing various services to citizens like filing of complaints online and seeking antecedent verification of tenants, domestic helps, drivers etc.
  • NCRB also compiles and publishes annual National Crime Statistics i.e., Crime in India, Accidental Deaths & Suicides, Prison Statistics and Finger Prints. 
  • NCRB has been conferred with “Digital India Awards 2016-Silver Open Data Championship” from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • NCRB has also floated various IT based Public Services like, Vahan Samanvay (online Motor Vehicle Matching), Talash (matching of missing persons and dead bodies).
  • In addition, NCRB also maintains Counterfeit Currency Information and Management System (FICN) and Firearms Coordination System for lost and recovered firearms.

Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal

  • Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has launched Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal to check objectionable online content.
  • The portal will allow citizens to lodge complaints on objectionable online content related to child pornography, child sexual abuse material and sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape.
  • The portal will enable citizens to report complainants in without disclosing their identity.
  • It also allows complainants to upload objectionable content and URL to assist in investigation by state Police.
  • The complaints registered through this portal will be handled by police authorities of respective State/UTs.
  • In this regard, NCRB has been notified as Central Government nodal agency to issue notices under the Information Technology (IT) Act.

Other functions of NCRB

  • To function as a clearing house of information on crime and criminals including those operating at National and International levels so as to assists the investigators.
  • To store, coordinate and disseminate information on inter-state and international criminals from and to respective States, national investigating agencies, courts and prosecutors in India without having to refer to the Police Station records.
  • To collect and process crime statistics at the National level.
  • Executive and develop computer-based systems for the Central Police Organisations.
  • To function as the National storehouse of fingerprint (FP) records of convicted persons including FP records of foreign criminals.

E) International Relations

12. Hamas says pact reached to calm violence with Israel (TH, pg 14)

Context: Gaza’s Hamas rulers said they have reached an agreement through international mediators (led by Egypt, the United Nations and Qatar) to end the latest round of cross-border violence with Israel.

Analysis

  • Under the deal, Hamas would halt the launches of explosives-laden balloons and rocket fire into Israel, while Israel said it will ease a blockade that has been tightened in recent weeks.
  • The Israeli restrictions have worsened living conditions in Gaza at a time when it is coping with COVID-19 outbreak.

Terrorist/Militant organisations in Asia & Africa

Hamas

  • Hamas or the Islamic Resistance Movement, is the militant Islamic Palestinian nationalist movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that is dedicated to the establishment of an independent Islamic state in historical Palestine.

Boko Haram

  • Boko Haram is an Islamic extremist/terror group based in north-eastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.
  • Boko Haram has been fighting for a decade to carve out an Islamic caliphate based in Nigeria.

Al-Shabaab

  • Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, more commonly known as al-Shabaab is a Salafist fundamentalist group based in East Africa.
  • In 2012, it pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
  • Islamist militant group al-Shabab is battling the UN-backed government in Somalia, and has carried out a string of attacks across the region. 

Hezbollah

  • Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim political party and militant group based in Lebanon, where its extensive security apparatus, political organization, and social services network fostered its reputation as “a state within a state.”
  • Founded in the chaos of the fifteen-year Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-backed group is driven by its opposition to Israel and its resistance to Western influence in the Middle East.

Muslim Brotherhood

  • The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest and largest political movement, has been crushed by a fierce wave of state-led repression in recent years.

13. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) (TH, pg 9)

Context: The upgradation of the Quad, a consultative forum of India, Australia, Japan and the United States, to the ministerial level is a good move.

Analysis

  • The first meeting of the four countries at the additional secretary level took place in May 2007, to help with coordination in disaster mitigation during the 2004 tsunami.
  • However, China had issued a strong démarche to all the four countries after the first meeting, interpreting the group as the formation of a nascent alliance against Beijing.
  • The ‘Quad’ format had since then gone dormant until about 2017.
  • On the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Manila (Philippines), senior officials of joint secretary rank met after a decade to revive the consultations.
  • At the meeting, they affirmed their support for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and the centrality of the ASEAN.
  • Since then, officials have met at least twice a year on the sidelines of multilateral fora. These meetings have not yielded any joint statement, but each side had issued a separate press statement. This time there have been no press releases, except for tweets from the official accounts of the ministers.
  • The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) is an informal strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India.
  • The dialogue was initiated in 2007 by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
  • The idea of the Quad was born in 2007, but was shelved when former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd withdrew his country’s participation.
  • The Quad made a comeback in November 2017 with a formal consultation meeting in Manila involving the four countries.

Two-Plus-Two Dialogue Mechanism

  • India has institutionalised the two-plus-two dialogue mechanism with Australia, Japan and U.S.
  • The two-plus-two dialogue involves the discussion among the defence and foreign secretaries/ministers of the two participating countries.

14. Dispute between Turkey and Greece (TH, pg 14)

  • Comprehensively covered in 28th, 25th, and 15th August files.

F) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments

15. Question Hour and Zero Hour (TH, pg 9)

  • Comprehensively covered in 25th August file.

16. Legal Provisions of Hate Speech in India (TH, pg 7)

Context: For years, Facebook has made us believe that it is committed to enforcing its policies against hate speech and misinformation.

  • However, the recent article by The Wall Street Journal has made it clear that Facebook is not only deliberately unequipped in its handling of hate speech, but has also adopted different approaches in its treatment of hate speech in India as compared to other developed nations.

Analysis

  • Responsible speech is the essence of the liberty granted under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Article 19(2) of the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all citizens of India.
  • This article is subjected to certain restrictions, namely, sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
  • Hate speech has not been defined in any law in India.
  • However, legal provisions in certain legislations prohibit select forms of speech as an exception to freedom of speech.

Legislations Around Hate Speech

Presently, in our country the following legislations have bearing on hate speech, namely:

(i) the Indian Penal Code, 1860 

(ii) the Representation of The People Act, 1951

It disqualifies a person from contesting election if he is convicted for indulging in acts amounting to illegitimate use of freedom of speech and expression.

It prohibits promotion of enmity on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language in connection with election as a corrupt electoral practice and prohibits it.

(iii) the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955

It penalises incitement to, and encouragement of untouchability through words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise

(iv) the Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1988

It prohibits religious institution or its manager to allow the use of any premises belonging to, or under the control of, the institution for promoting or attempting to promote disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.

(v) the Cable Television Network Regulation Act, 1995

It prohibits transmission or retransmission of a programme through cable network in contravention to the prescribed programme code or advertisement code.

(vi) the Cinematograph Act, 1952

It empowers the Board of Film Certification to prohibit and regulate the screening of a film.

(vii) the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The Model Code of Conduct given by the Election Commission of India for the guidance of political parties and candidates should be amended to the extent that effect is given to the sub section (3A) of section 123 of the RPA, 1951.

G) Miscellaneous

17. Dams in news due to floods (PIB)

  • Rengali Dam: River Brahmani
  • Gosikhurd Project: River Wainganga
  • Indirasagar, Omkareshwar and Sardar Sarovar Dam: River Narmada
  • Gandhisagar, and Rana Pratap Sagar Dam: River Chambal
18. Online Chess Olympiad- India Wins gold-Armageddon  (IE)

Context: India named joint gold medal winner of the Online Chess Olympiad along with Russia following an internet failure that affected two games.

Analysis

  • Chess Olympiad, is a top-level team tournament in chess, held once in 2 years by FIDE, the International Chess Federation.

‘Armageddon’ in chess – Tie Breaker to decide winner

  • It’s similar to a Super Over in cricket or a penalty shootout in hockey or football.
  • Chess players lose if they fail to hurry through their moves in a time bound manner.

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