News & Editorial Analysis 26 January 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Delimitation Commission
GS II Topic Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies
What exactly is the problem:
The petition sought a declaration that the increase in the number of seats in Jammu & Kashmir from 107 to 114 (including 24 seats in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) is in violation of constitutional provisions such as Articles 14, 81, 82, 170, 330, and 332, as well as statutory provisions such as Section 63 of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
The petition argued that, because Article 170 of the Indian Constitution states that the next delimitation will take place after 2026, why has the UT of Jammu and Kashmir been singled out?
When was the Delimitation Commission established:
On March 6, 2020, the Union Government’s Ministry of Law and Justice (Legislative Department) issued a notification under Section 3 of the Delimitation Act, 2002, establishing a Delimitation Commission, chaired by former Supreme Court judge (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, for the purpose of delimitating Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur.
Provisions of the Constitution:
After each Census, Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act under Article 82.
Every Census, under Article 170, states are divided into territorial constituencies based on the Delimitation Act.
2 – BRICS:
GS II Topic International Relations
The BRICS Media Forum is comprised of the following countries:
The Forum was founded in 2015 by media organisations from the five countries, including The Hindu, CMA Group of Brazil, Sputnik of Russia, Xinhua of China, and Independent Media of South Africa.
“It was conceived and developed so that it can function as an autonomous initiative and set of practical actions done within the wide framework of BRICS cooperation,” according to the Forum’s website.
What are the BRICS countries:
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) group is made up of the five biggest emerging countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
It is home to 42 percent of the world’s population, 23 percent of GDP, 30 percent of the land, and 18 percent of global trade.
In 2001, Goldman Sachs economist ‘Jim O’Neill’ invented the acronym BRIC to denote the developing powers that will be, with the United States, the world’s five greatest economies in the twenty-first century.
BRIC countries began their communication in 2006, and it has continued since 2009 at yearly meetings of chiefs of state and government.
With the addition of South Africa to the group in 2011, the BRICS reached its final makeup, which included a country from Africa.
3 – National Commission For Women
GS II Topic Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies
The following is information about the legal assistance clinic:
Counseling will be provided for walk-in complainants, women in distress will be given legal assistance, advice and information on various schemes of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)/ DSLSA, assistance in mahilajansunwai, free legal aid, hearings in matrimonial cases, and other complaints registered with the Commission will be provided, among other services, under the new legal aid clinic.
The National Commission Act established it in 1992.
It was formed to examine the constitutional and legal protections for women.
It has all of the same authorities as a civil court.
Reports are presented as follows:
Every year, and at such other times as the commission deems appropriate, it submits reports to the central government on the effectiveness of those protections.
Notice given on the spur of the moment:
It investigates complaints and takes Suo Motto action on issues such as violation of women’s rights, non-compliance with legislation, and non-compliance with policy decisions that ensure the welfare of women in society.
The National Commission for Women’s major limitations render it toothless:
The NCW is solely advisory and has no legal authority to enforce its decisions.
As a result of its lack of constitutional status, the Commission has no legal authority to summon police personnel or witnesses.
It has no legal authority to take legal action against Internal Complaint Committees that prevent women facing harassment from redressing their grievances.
The Commission receives relatively little financial assistance to meet its needs.
It lacks the authority to select its own members. The Union government has the right to pick members, resulting in political influence at several levels.
4 – Assam – Meghalaya Border Dispute
GS III Topic Internal Security of India
The six areas of contention are as follows:
Assam’s Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), and Cachar districts, as well as Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, and East Jaintia Hills districts, have Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata, and Ratacherra.
What exactly is the point of contention:
The boundary between Assam and Meghalaya is 885 kilometres long. The Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, was used to cut Meghalaya out of Assam, a statute that it opposed, resulting in disagreements.
There are currently 12 points of contention along their borders. Upper Tarabari, Gazang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah, Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, Khanduli, and Retacherra are among those affected.
The district of Langpih in the West Garo Hills, which borders the Assam district of Kamrup, is a major bone of contention between Assam and Meghalaya.
During the British colonial period, Langpih was part of the Kamrup district, but after independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya.
Assam believes it to be a part of Assam’s Mikir Hills. Meghalaya has raised concerns over Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills, which are now part of the Karbi Anglong region of Assam. According to Meghalaya, they were once part of the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.
Efforts to resolve the conflict:
Border dispute settlement panels have been established in both Assam and Meghalaya.
HimantaBiswaSarma, the Chief Minister of Assam, and Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, have agreed to form two regional committees to resolve the border conflicts in stages.
Sarma has stated that there are five elements to consider when addressing the border dispute. Historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, the mood and sentiments of the individuals affected, and the land’s proximity are all factors to consider.
Border concerns in Assam:
The Northeastern states were created mostly from Assam, which has border issues with numerous other states. The Supreme Court is now hearing Assam’s boundary disputes with Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
The boundary conflicts between Assam and Meghalaya and Mizoram are currently being resolved through negotiations. The recent escalation of the border issue with Mizoram prompted the Centre to intervene.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
Working Hand In Hand To Showcase India
The eight-day Jagannath Yatra train package is being unveiled by the Ministries of Railways and Tourism on January 25, National Tourism Day. Before reaching the Vishnupad temple in Gaya, the route departs from Delhi and passes through Kashi, Baidyanath Dham, Jagannath Puri, Bhubaneshwar, and Konark.
Actions taken thus far:
All of this is related to using Bharat Gaurav Trains to highlight India’s rich cultural heritage and historical background (or theme-based tourist circuit trains). The aforementioned incident is just one of many where a ministry other than the ministry of tourism within the Indian government took the initiative to advertise India’s rich heritage by utilising a “whole of government” method.
Today, the Ministry of Tourism successfully coordinates its initiatives with more than 20 other federal ministries to advance and promote tourism around the country. The Ministries of Tourism and Home Affairs organised the National Conference on Tourist Police in October 2022 with the aim of partnering with the police and teaching them on how to accommodate the demands of both domestic and foreign tourists.
In an effort to cultivate future Indian tourism ambassadors, the Ministry of Tourism has begun forming “Yuva Tourism” clubs in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. In another instance, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is attempting to promote India as a desirable cruise tourism destination by utilising cutting-edge infrastructure.
In India, the middle class is currently investing a larger portion of their discretionary income in new experiences like cruises. In partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, tourism officials have been dispatched to 20 Indian embassies in countries that host some of the largest numbers of foreign travellers to India. Additionally, it is their obligation to encourage the incorporation of national sensibilities and contributions into tourism-related products.
The Ministry of Roadways and the Ministry of Petroleum are taking similar steps to ensure that highways and petrol stations have sanitary infrastructure. The Ministry of Tourism also contributes funds for a number of commercial airline routes, assuring their viability along with the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Status of the Indian tourism industry:
India is placed sixth by the World Travel and Tourism Council in terms of the total amount of travel and tourism’s impact on GDP in 2021. India ranked 54th in 2021 on the Travel & Tourism Development Index of the World Economic Forum.
India had 40 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List as of January 1, 2023: 32 cultural, 7 natural, and 1 mixed. The two most recent ones are Dholavira and Ramappa Temple.
In FY20, the tourist sector added 39 million jobs overall, making up 8% of all jobs in the country. By 2029, 53 million jobs will be supported by it.
Recent projects in the tourism sector:
Integrated Design of Tourist Routes Based on Particular Themes: Project Dekho under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme National PRASHAD Plan for Apna Desh Mission for Green Tourism: Drive for Heritage Enhancement and Spiritual Renewal During Pilgrimage
The Buddhist Conclave approved the heritage project “Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan”.
Construction of Well-Known Tourist Attractions in Amazing India 2.0 Policy of the Union Ministry of Tourism and Other Tourism
However, simply expressing an interest in working together is insufficient; official institutions and mechanisms must be put in place. The new draught National Tourism Policy 2022 was developed in order to accomplish this. The plan was created in response to a situational analysis that considered the impact of COVID-19 and projections for the travel and tourism sector with an emphasis on India at 100.
One of the ideas is for the development of a formal institutional framework that might cooperate with business to carry out concurrent, coordinated actions at the national, state, and local levels of government.
India will be able to host the G-20 presidency, where 20 nations, 11 special invitee nations, and nearly one lakh delegates will participate in 200 sessions spread across more than 50 locations, thanks to this “whole of government” policy. Everyone who visits India for the G-20 summit will return as a brand ambassador and spread the word about the nation’s rich historical, spiritual, and environmental heritage.
A search for information:
Moving on with this, the Ministry of Tourism’s declaration of “Visit India Year 2023” aims to increase India’s share of the global tourism market by promoting a variety of travel-related goods and locations.
According to data, domestic travel is back to its pre-pandemic levels, and in some cases has even increased. This will be demonstrated by the record 1.84 crore domestic tourists who would travel to Jammu and Kashmir in 2022. Pre-pandemic levels of foreign traveller arrivals are anticipated, in a similar vein.
Traveling to India is more than just a tourist attraction. It is a means of self-discovery. India has long been a popular destination for those looking for spiritual enlightenment and self-discovery. Other well-known foreign travellers who visited India over the years and wrote memoirs, travelogues, poetry, and books on their experiences include Megasthenes, Hiuen-Tsang, Marco Polo, and Fa-Hien.
India is a well-liked vacation spot for people trying to get in touch with their inner selves. The fact that India is the birthplace of four major world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism—allows it to claim to be the spiritual hub of the globe. This is the main focus of the Visit India Year 2023.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
External Affairs Ministers Recent Visit To Sri Lanka
S. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, visited Sri Lanka after his trip to the Maldives. His portrayal of the connection between the two nations included happy news, an invitation that had been long awaited, and two unambiguous statements about what India expected from its closest neighbours across the Indian Ocean.
When taken as a whole, the three shed light on Delhi’s viewpoint towards its ties to Colombo.
The day before Jaishankar’s visit on January 20, India sent a note to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stating that India fully supports Sri Lanka’s proposed debt restructure.
India is the first bilateral creditor to do this. Sri Lanka has also asked China and other creditors for similar guarantees. In a statement released on Monday, the IMF said that once the final conditions are met and the requisite assurances have been obtained, “a Fund-supported package for Sri Lanka can be presented to the IMF’s Executive Board for approval and would unleash much-needed finance.” To help it through its economic crisis, Sri Lanka is once again eligible for an IMF Extended Fund Facility of $ 2.9 billion, but as a condition, Colombo’s bilateral creditors must provide funding guarantees for the debt’s sustainability. China, Japan, and India are Sri Lanka’s three biggest bilateral creditors.
According to the creditors’ primary concern, the restructuring plan must serve every creditor fairly. India and China were asked to join the platform by the 22 OECD nations that make up the Paris Club, of which Japan is a member. Although bilateral discussions have already taken place between India, Japan, and Sri Lanka, China has not yet made its intentions clear.
Position of India in regard to Sri Lanka’s financial assistance programme:
India “did not wait on others and elected to do what we believe is right” by contacting the IMF first, the MEA said in Colombo, invoking the Neighbourhood First policy. He hoped that this example would be set by other bilateral creditors. He said that India expected that its early action would not only help Sri Lanka secure its position but would also ensure that all creditors would be treated equitably. He made no mention of any other countries.
They would now be even more acutely aware that Beijing not only did not contribute last year, but that any recovery plan may be derailed by its apparent unwillingness to give the IMF the confidence it seeks. The Sri Lankans were appreciative of New Delhi’s $ 4 billion bailout last year.
China is responsible for 52% of all bilateral debt, with Japan coming in second with 19.5% and India in third with 12%.
India has been clear that its cooperation would be based on the “four pillars” of energy security, food security, currency support for foreign exchange, and Indian investment in Sri Lanka since the end of 2020, when Sri Lanka’s then finance minister Basil Rajapaksa visited India to request help in navigating the crisis, which at the time was swiftly intensifying.
India has been successful in moving forward both new and long-delayed projects in the last year, including the Trinco oil tank complex and the Adani investment in wind farms in northwest Sri Lanka.
The Adani Group is also constructing the West Container Terminal at the Colombo port. However, Colombo continues to receive complaints about the deals’ purported quid pro quo.
First and foremost, Jaishankar made it clear that financial assistance is only a temporary fix and cannot put Sri Lanka’s economy back on track.
India was ready to make the required investment, but Colombo had to first establish the ideal circumstances. India’s interest in the infrastructure, tourism, and energy industries was made clear by Jaishankar.
According to reports, Sri Lanka has far greater potential for renewable energy than it can now consume.
Selling the surplus to India by connecting to their grid via undersea cables is predicted to be a reliable source of income. Additionally, Trincomalee’s oil storage capability might be employed to ensure Sri Lanka and the region’s energy security.
The second message, which India has been giving to Sri Lanka over the past few months, is to pass the 13th amendment to its constitution.
The proposal, which calls for elected provincial councils, was originally put out at India’s engagement in 1987. It is the only concession made in the constitution to the Tamil demand for decentralisation. The amendment attempted to create a provincial council in the Tamil north-east of Sri Lanka, but Sinhala-Buddhist nationalists rejected it vehemently both then and still. For the first time since it could not be an uncommon provision, the entire country was divided into provinces.
Both nations may strengthen their bilateral ties through fostering trade and business, offering support during economic downturns, building ports, and providing net security in the Indian Ocean. There are societal and historical connections between India and Sri Lanka.
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