Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 28th October 2021

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1.  India – Russia relations

UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – International relations
Sub Theme: Historical background, political relations, defence relations | UPSC

INDIA – RUSSIA RELATIONS

About the article

  • India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri referred to Russia as the largest investor in India’s energy sector.
  • Joint venture between India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. and Russia’s Sibur has reduced India’s import dependence of Butyl rubber.
  • Deloitte report has forecasted that India could gain U.S.$11 trillion in economic value over the next 50 years by limiting rising global temperatures and realising its potential to ‘export decarbonization’
  • President Vladimir Putin claimed that Russia is ready to build a dozen reactors in India over the next 20 years.
  • India needs approximately U.S.$500 billions of investments in wind and solar infrastructure, grid expansion, and storage to reach the 450 GW capacity target by 2030.

Historical Background

Before disintegration:

  • Received assistance for industrialization (during 1950s)
  • India got reliable, affordable and good quality military supplies and crucial products like oil and oil products, fertilizers, metals etc.
  • India’s emerging Public Sector (PSUs) was scripted with Soviet help.
  • Support of Soviet Union has been behind India’s space, technological and nuclear advancement.
  • The Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty of 1971 (in the wake of 1971 Indo-Pak war where Russia supported India while the US and China supported Pakistan) supplied the framework to deepen the cooperation.

Post disintegration: 

  • Russian military proves got weakened and it shifted towards capitalism to build its strength.
  • Defence sales to India was more based on profit motives.
  • Closeness of Russia towards China (Putin regime) has led India looking for other defence suppliers (USA).
  • Both Russia and India support the concept of a multi-polar world.
  • India-Russia relations have now been subjected to how these nations perceive western world. This includes defence partnerships, defence grouping, trade balances, support on international platforms etc.

Political Relations

  • The Annual Summit meeting between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation
  • 14 MoUs in the fields of Trade and Investments, defence cooperation, Road Transport and cooperation in oil and gas sectors were signed in 2019
  • Two Inter-Governmental Commissions – one on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), and another on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC- MTC), meet annually.

Defence and Security Relations

Tri-Services exercise –‘INDRA 2017’  and bilateral Russian-Indian naval exercise Indra Navy-2018

The joint military programmes between India and Russia include:

  • BrahMos cruise missile programme
  • 5th generation fighter jet programme
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme
  • Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft
  • KA-226T twin-engine utility helicopters

The military hardware purchased/leased by India from Russia includes:

  • S-400 Triumf
  • Kamov Ka-226 200 to be made in India under the Make in India initiative
  • T-90S Bhishma
  • INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier programme
  • S-400 air defence system
  • Indian Navy’s first submarine, ‘Foxtrot Class’ came from Russia
  • India is dependent on Russia for its nuclear submarine programme
  • INS Vikramaditya, the sole aircraft carrier operated by India, is also Russian in origin
  • Nine of the fourteen conventional submarines operated by India are Russian.

Other areas of cooperation

India-Russia – Trade Relations

  • The two countries intend to increase bilateral investment to US$50 billion and bilateral trade to US$30 billion by 2025
  • In 2019, total bilateral trade between the two countries from January-September, 2019 stood at USD 7.55 billion.

Nuclear Energy

  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) with Russian cooperation.

Space Cooperation

  • Peaceful uses of outer space, including satellite launches, GLONASS navigation system, remote sensing and other societal applications of outer space, Human Spaceflight Programme.

Cultural Relations

  • About 20 Russian Institutions teach Hindi.
  • Indian dance, music, yoga and Ayurveda are among few other interests that people of Russia enjoy
  • Exhibition dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and about his friendship with the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.

Challenges in India Russia Relationships

  1. The rapid expansion of India-US relations:
    • India also signed all the Foundational agreements with the US. Such as LEMOA, COMCASA, BECA.
    • Due to these developments, Russia changed their decades-old policy and start supplying China with weapon systems like Sukhoi 35 and the S-400 missile defence system.
  2. Closer proximity of Russia towards China:
    • No major diplomatic success of RIC due to India’s unresolved issues with China.
    • China-Russian ties are growing due to their shared interest in opposing the US.
  3. The difference in understanding the Indo-Pacific:
  4. Russia opposes the term Indo-Pacific (as it is led by the US interest)
  5. Other reasons include
    • Russia’s increased engagement with Pakistan.
    • Internal Issue in Russia: corruption and State lawlessness.

Way forward

  1.  Developing joint projects in third countries. (Roppur Nuclear plant in Bangladesh)
  2.  Focus on Eurasia including between connectivity and trade transit.
  3.  India must take advantage of Russia’s capacity in helping India to become self-sufficient in Defence and defence exports (E.g. BrahMos missile)
  4.  India needs to balance its relationship between Russia, China and the US.
  5.  India has to utilise the scientific and technological base in Russia for the development of India’s problems.
  6.  Early conclusion of Free Trade Agreement and promotion to alternative routes to trade.

2.  India respects UNCLOS rights.

UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – International Relations
Sub Theme: UNCLOS background, territorial limits, organisations connected to UNCLOS| UPSC

UNCLOS

It is an acronym for the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea. The convention is also sometimes referred to as the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty. UNCLOS, as a law of the sea came into operation and became effective from 16th November 1982.

UNCLOS BACKGROUND

Internal waters

  • Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline.
  • The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource.
  • Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.

Territorial waters

  • Out to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres; 14 miles) from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource.
  • Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters.

Contiguous zone

  • Beyond the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone, in which a state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: customs, taxation, immigration, and pollution; if the infringement started within the state’s territory or territorial waters, or if this infringement is about to occur within the state’s territory or territorial waters.
  • This makes the contiguous zone a hot pursuit area.

Exclusive economic zones (EEZs)

  • These extend 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres; 230 miles) from the baseline.
  • Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. In casual use, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf.
  • The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important.

Continental shelf

  • The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater. A state’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles (370 km) until the natural prolongation ends. However, it may never exceed 350 nautical miles (650 kilometres; 400 miles) from the baseline; or it may never exceed 100 nautical miles (190 kilometres; 120 miles) beyond the 2,500-meter isobath (the line connecting the depth of 2,500 meters).
  • Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others. Coastal states also have exclusive control over living resources “attached” to the continental shelf, but not to creatures living in the water column beyond the exclusive economic zone.

Aside from its provisions defining ocean boundaries, the convention establishes general obligations for safeguarding the marine environment and protecting freedom of scientific research on the high seas, and also creates an innovative legal regime for controlling mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction, through an International Seabed Authority and the common heritage of mankind principle.

Landlocked states are given a right of access to and from the sea, without taxation of traffic through transit states.

Some Organizations connected to UNCLOS 

  • The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) plays a vital role in the operation of UNCLOS. Along with the IMO, organisations like the International Whaling Commission and the International Seabed Authority are vital parties in the functional areas of the nautical law.
  • The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on December 10, 1982. The Convention entered into force on November 16, 1994, and established an international framework for law over “all ocean space, its uses and resources”. The ITLOS is one of four dispute resolution mechanisms listed at Article 287 of the UNCLOS.
  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an intergovernmental body based in Kingston, Jamaica, that was established to organize, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, an area underlying most of the world’s oceans. It is an organization established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

3.  Centre wants to keep birth, death data base.

UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – Governance
Sub Theme:  Birth and death registration in India, Census history and highlights | UPSC

Context: The Centre has proposed amendments to a 1969 law that will enable it to “maintain the database of registered births and deaths at the national level. Presently, the registration of births and deaths is done by the local registrar appointed by the States. It is proposed that the Chief Registrar (appointed by the States) would maintain a unified database at the State level and integrate it with the data at the “national level,” maintained by the Registrar General of India (RGI).

Proposed Uses of the Database   

The database may be used to update the Population Register and the electoral register, and Aadhaar, ration card, passport and driving licence databases, says the proposed amendment to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act (RBD), 1969.

About Birth and Death Registration in India

    • The history of Civil Registration System (CRS) in India dates back to the middle of the 19th century. In 1886 a Central Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act was promulgated to provide for voluntary registration throughout British India.
    • Post-independence, The Registration of Births and Death Act (RBD Act) was enacted in 1969 to promote uniformity and comparability in the registration of Births and Deaths across the country and compilation of vital statistics based thereon.
    • With the enactment of the Act, registration of births, deaths and still births has become mandatory in India. 
    • The Registrar General, India (RGI) at the Central Government level coordinates and unifies the activities of registration throughout the country.
    • However, implementation of the RBD Act is vested with the State Governments.

 

  • The registration of births and deaths in the country is done by the functionaries appointed by the State Governments. 

 

  • Directorate of Census Operations are the sub-ordinate offices of Office of the Registrar General, India and these offices are responsible of monitoring of working of the Act in their concerned State/UT.

The RGI has notified the Directors of Census Operations as Joint Registrar Generals and Joint/Deputy Directors of the Directorates as Assistant Registrar Generals under the RBD act, 1969 to discharge the functions in carrying out the following activities under supervision of the RGI:

  • co-ordination with the State Government on behalf of the RGI
  • Monitoring of implementation of various provisions of the RBD Act, 1969,
  • Publicity on importance of birth and death registration at the local level,
  • Providing assistance to the Chief Registrars for conduct of training to the registration functionaries working under the system of Civil Registration and for preservation and maintenance of legal CR records,
  • Modernization of registration system in the State by way of computerization
  • Monthly meeting with the Chief Registrars,
  • To ensure monthly meetings at district level,
  • Regular inspections of Registration Units under the system of Civil Registration, at least once in a month.

Census – Important Highlights  

 

  • Nature of Exercise – The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population. 
  • Use of Data – The data collected through the census are used for administration, planning and policy making as well as management and evaluation of various programmes by the government, NGOs, researchers, commercial and private enterprises, etc.
  • Confidentiality – All information collected under the Census is confidential and will not be shared with any agency – Government or private.
  • Data on NPR – Certain information collected under the NPR will be published in the local areas for public scrutiny and invitation of objections. This is in the nature of the electoral roll or the telephone directory. After the NPR has been finalised, the database will be used only within the Government.

Conduct of Census

  • The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner under Ministry of Home Affairs.                  
  • Conduct of census in India is guided by the Census Act, 1948.

Census Management and Monitoring System – CMMS

  • With the introduction of Mobile based data collection exercise in Census 2021, a system for real time Monitoring and Management mechanism was envisaged. 
  • This led to the advent of Census Management and Monitoring System (CMMS) in the Office of the Registrar General, India. Later, with the decision to update the National Population Register (NPR), an NPR module was also incorporated in CMMS.

Census – History

1872 CENSUS

  • A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non-synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country. 
  • This effort culminating in 1872 has been popularly labeled as the first population census of India. 1872 Census did not cover all territories possessed or controlled by the British.

1881 CENSUS 

  • However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. W.C. Plowden was the Census Commissioner of India for 1881 Census. 
  • Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten year.

POST INDEPENDENCE

  • The first census of Independent India was conducted in 1951, which was the seventh census in its continuous series.    
  • Mr. M W M Yeatts was appointed as the Census Commissioner for 1951 Census. But he was replaced by Mr. R. A. Gopalaswami due to death of Mr. Yeatts.
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