Sedition Law in India: Retaining, Reforming, or Repealing?
The Law Commission's recommendations seek to strike a balance between retaining the sedition law and preventing its misuse.
The 22nd Law Commission’s recent report on Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has recommended retaining the sedition law while proposing amendments and procedural safeguards to prevent its misuse. This article delves into the significance of the sedition law, the Law Commission’s recommendations, and the arguments surrounding its retention or repeal.
Historical Background: Origin and enactment:
Sedition laws originated in 17th century England and were introduced in India through the IPC in 1870.
Critics argue that the sedition law has its roots in the colonial era when it was used to stifle dissent against British policies. Prominent leaders of the freedom movement were charged with sedition during that time.
Significance of Sedition Law: Reasonable restrictions
The Indian Constitution allows for reasonable restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression (Article 19(2)). Supporters of the sedition law argue that it ensures responsible exercise of this right.
Proponents contend that the sedition law aids in combating anti-national, secessionist, and terrorist elements, protecting the unity and integrity of the nation.
Stability of the state:
Maintaining the elected government’s stability is crucial, and the sedition law is seen as a deterrent against attempts to overthrow the government through violence or illegal means.
Law Commission’s Recommendations: Retaining Section 124A
The Commission argues against repealing Section 124A solely based on the actions of other countries, emphasizing India’s unique realities. It highlights the colonial influence pervasive in the Indian legal system.
Amendments and procedural safeguards:
The Commission suggests adding a preliminary inquiry requirement by a police officer of Inspector rank before registering a First Information Report (FIR) for sedition. Permission from the Central or State Government would be necessary based on the officer’s report. The incorporation of a provision similar to Section 196(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, is proposed for procedural safeguards. Additionally, the amendment would specify that sedition penalizes individuals with a tendency to incite violence or cause public disorder.
The report recommends increasing the maximum jail term for sedition to seven years or life imprisonment, up from the current term of up to three years or life imprisonment.
Arguments for Retention:
Upholding national security: Supporters argue that allegations of misuse should not lead to the repeal of the sedition law, as it plays a vital role in safeguarding the country’s security and integrity.
Preventing subversive forces:
Repealing the sedition law entirely could create a void, allowing subversive elements to exploit the situation and pose a threat to the nation.
Arguments for Repeal: Colonial relic:
Critics view the sedition law as a relic of the colonial era and assert that its rampant use under British rule should not be perpetuated in independent India.
Supreme Court’s stance:
Invoking sedition charges against individuals who do not meet the Supreme Court’s limited interpretation of sedition, as established in the Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar case in 1962, disregards the court’s judgment.
Suppression of dissent:
Critics argue that the sedition law can be misused to suppress legitimate protests and curtail freedom of speech and expression, undermining democratic values.
RBI Governor Launches Financial Inclusion Dashboard ‘Antardrishti’
The 'Antardrishti' financial inclusion dashboard launched by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das holds great promise in facilitating greater financial inclusion in India.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das recently unveiled a new financial inclusion dashboard called ‘Antardrishti.’ The dashboard aims to provide valuable insights and track the progress of financial inclusion by capturing relevant data. This initiative further reinforces the RBI’s commitment to promoting financial inclusion through a collaborative approach involving multiple stakeholders.
Assessing Financial Exclusion at a Local Level
One of the key features of the ‘Antardrishti’ dashboard is its ability to assess the extent of financial exclusion at a local level across the country. By identifying areas with higher levels of financial exclusion, policymakers can focus on implementing targeted measures to address these gaps and promote greater financial inclusivity.
Internal Use and Multi-Stakeholder Approach
Initially designed for internal use within the RBI, the ‘Antardrishti’ dashboard is expected to play a crucial role in facilitating financial inclusion. By adopting a multi-stakeholder approach, the dashboard aims to involve various entities such as government agencies, regulators, and financial institutions in the collective effort to enhance financial inclusion in India.
The Financial Inclusion Index
In 2021, the RBI developed the Financial Inclusion (FI) Index as a comprehensive tool to measure the extent of financial inclusion. The FI-Index integrates information from various sectors, including banking, investments, insurance, postal services, and pensions. It provides a holistic assessment of financial inclusion, assigning a single value ranging from 0 to 100, where 0 represents complete financial exclusion and 100 signifies complete financial inclusion.
Parameters and Dimensions of the FI-Index
The FI-Index comprises three broad parameters with different weightage: Access (35%), Usage (45%), and Quality (20%). Each parameter includes various dimensions that are computed using a range of indicators. By evaluating these dimensions, policymakers can gain insights into the effectiveness of financial inclusion efforts and identify areas that require further attention.
Enhancing Financial Inclusion Policies
The launch of the ‘Antardrishti’ dashboard is another significant step by the Reserve Bank of India to promote financial inclusion. It reinforces the RBI’s commitment to implementing policy initiatives that support financial inclusion. By leveraging the insights provided by the dashboard, policymakers can make informed decisions to enhance financial inclusion measures and bridge the gap between the underserved and mainstream financial systems.
PM Modi Launches Two Schemes for Wetland and Mangrove Conservation on World Environment Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's launch of the Amrit Dharohar and MISHTI schemes on World Environment Day reflects India's commitment to conserving wetlands and mangroves.
On World Environment Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched two schemes, namely Amrit Dharohar and MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes). These schemes are aimed at reviving and conserving India’s wetlands and mangroves, contributing to the campaign for a green future and green economy. This article highlights the objectives and key features of the schemes, along with the government’s efforts towards sustainable development and environmental conservation.
Amrit Dharohar Yojana:
Conserving Ramsar Sites The Amrit Dharohar Yojana focuses on the conservation of existing Ramsar sites in India through active public participation. Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. With this scheme, these sites will become centers of eco-tourism and a source of green jobs, benefiting local communities. The scheme aims to achieve sustainable ecosystem development and will be implemented over the next three years.
Reviving Mangrove Ecosystems The Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) aims to restore and protect the mangrove ecosystem in India. Mangroves play a crucial role in mitigating the threats posed by rising sea levels and cyclones to coastal areas and the livelihoods of communities. The scheme targets the restoration of mangrove cover across nine states in the country. Over the next five years, nearly 540 square kilometers of mangrove area will be comprehensively developed across 11 states and two union territories, starting from the fiscal year 2024.
Objectives of MISHTI Scheme
The MISHTI scheme has several primary objectives, including:
Sharing best practices on plantation techniques, management practices, and conservation measures.
Mobilizing resources through public-private partnerships.
Promoting sustainable development and livelihoods in coastal areas.
Mitigating the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities.
Funding and Implementation
The central government will bear 80% of the project cost, while state governments will contribute the remaining 20%. This partnership approach ensures collective responsibility and effective implementation of the schemes. The involvement of local communities, public participation, and eco-tourism initiatives will contribute to the success of the conservation efforts.
India’s Focus on Green and Clean Energy
Prime Minister Modi emphasized India’s commitment to green and clean energy. Over the past nine years, the country has made unprecedented progress in this area. Initiatives like Mission Green Hydrogen and natural farming practices have been launched to promote sustainable energy sources and reduce dependence on chemical fertilizers, thus protecting soil and water resources.
Progress in Plastic Waste Management
Promoting Sustainable Lifestyles PM Modi highlighted the importance of Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) in promoting a new consciousness about lifestyle changes to combat climate change. This mission aims to encourage individuals to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives, contributing to a cleaner and greener environment.
Mekedatu Project: Karnataka Urges Tamil Nadu’s Support for Balancing Reservoir
The Mekedatu project has gained attention in recent news due to Karnataka's Deputy Chief Minister, D K Shivakumar, advocating for its implementation
The Mekedatu project has recently become a topic of discussion in the news, with Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister, D K Shivakumar, advocating for the construction of a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery River near Kanakapura. Shivakumar, who is also the Karnataka Congress president and an MLA from Kanakapura, emphasized the need for the project’s preparations and highlighted its potential benefits for both Bengaluru and the farmers in Tamil Nadu.
Background of the Mekedatu Project
The Mekedatu project aims to create a balancing reservoir on the Cauvery River in Karnataka. It involves the construction of a reservoir near the town of Kanakapura, which would help regulate water flow and provide drinking water to Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka. Additionally, the project intends to support agricultural activities in the Cauvery basin and ensure water availability for farmers in both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Mekedatu Project: Karnataka Urges Tamil Nadu’s Support for Balancing Reservoir
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Karnataka’s Efforts and Tamil Nadu’s Concerns
Deputy Chief Minister Shivakumar highlighted the Karnataka government’s commitment to the Mekedatu project. He mentioned that during a water march in 2021, the then-Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had allocated ₹1,000 crore for the project. However, the funds have yet to be utilized. Shivakumar assured that the project would not adversely affect Tamil Nadu and emphasized the importance of cooperation between the two states.
Reassurance and Mutual Benefits
Shivakumar stated that the Mekedatu project was not driven by animosity or conflict with Tamil Nadu but rather aimed to benefit both regions. He emphasized that the project’s implementation would provide assistance to all farmers in the Cauvery basin. Additionally, he addressed concerns about water availability by assuring that the project had been approved in the Cauvery Tribunal award and would adhere to water release orders.
Seeking Tamil Nadu’s Support
The Deputy Chief Minister called upon the Tamil Nadu government to be supportive of the Mekedatu project, urging them to consider its potential advantages. Shivakumar emphasized that setting up a power plant in Tamil Nadu would not be detrimental to the state’s interests. He appealed for a harmonious approach, emphasizing the shared heritage and brotherhood between the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Mekedatu Project: History
The Mekedatu project has a history that spans several years, characterized by disputes and discussions between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Here is a brief overview of the project’s history:
Background of the Cauvery River Dispute: The Cauvery River is a major water resource shared between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, along with other states. Disputes over the sharing of Cauvery River water have a long history and have been a contentious issue between the two states for decades.
2007 Proposal and Objections: In 2007, the Karnataka government proposed the construction of a balancing reservoir at Mekedatu, near the confluence of the Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers. The reservoir was intended to regulate water flow and provide drinking water to Bengaluru.
However, Tamil Nadu strongly objected to the project, arguing that it would affect their share of Cauvery water and impact agricultural activities in the state. Tamil Nadu maintained that any new projects on the Cauvery River should be approved by the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.
Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal Award: The Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal, constituted in 1990, issued its final award in 2007. The tribunal allocated the Cauvery River water among the riparian states, including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, while also considering the water needs of other states.
Legal Challenges and Delays: Following the tribunal’s award, both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu filed appeals challenging various aspects of the allocation. The legal battles and appeals led to delays in the implementation of the Mekedatu project.
However, Tamil Nadu has strongly opposed the project, asserting that it would impact their water rights and exacerbate water scarcity in the state. The issue has sparked tensions and disagreements between the governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Railways Expend Over Rs 1 Lakh Crore on Safety Measures between 2017-2018 and 2021-22
Between 2017-2018 and 2021-2022, the railways allocated over Rs 1 lakh crore for safety measures, including track renewal.
The Indian Railways has invested more than Rs 1 lakh crore in safety measures between the fiscal years 2017-2018 and 2021-2022, with a significant focus on track renewal. This information comes in response to claims made by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, who criticized the government over a recent train accident in Balasore, Odisha. The government is set to address a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, which Kharge cited to question the allocation of funds for track renewal. However, official data reveals a steady growth in expenditure on safety-related works, countering the claims of reduced funding.
Expenditure on Track Renewal
According to an official document, the data on track renewal expenditure demonstrates a consistent upward trend. Between 2017-2018 and 2021-2022, the railways’ spending on track renewal increased from Rs 8,884 crore to Rs 16,558 crore. In total, an impressive sum of Rs 58,045 crore was allocated to track renewal during this period. These figures contradict Kharge’s assertion that funding for the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) had been significantly reduced, compromising track renewal work.
The railways’ investment in safety-related works has also witnessed substantial growth. This category encompasses track renewal, bridges, level crossings, railway over and under bridges, and signaling works. Between 2014-2015 and 2023-2024 (Budget Estimate), expenditure on safety-related works increased from Rs 70,274 crore to Rs 1,78,012 crore. This substantial rise in investment demonstrates the government’s commitment to enhancing the safety and security of rail passengers.
Response to the CAG Report
The government has noted that the CAG report on “Derailment in Indian Railways” only covers a three-year period: 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20. Therefore, it provides a limited perspective on the actual expenditure on track renewal and safety-related works. A comprehensive response addressing all the issues raised in the report is being prepared. The government asserts that the actual figures of expenditure on track renewal have increased significantly over the years, indicating a commitment to improving railway safety.
Russian Language Day 2023: Know the history of UN Language Days
Russian Language Day 2023: Every year on June 6, the United Nations celebrates UN Russian Language Day, which was established by UNESCO in 2010.
Russian Language Day 2023
Every year on June 6, the United Nations celebrates UN Russian Language Day, which was established by UNESCO in 2010. This day aligns with the birthday of Alexander Pushkin, a renowned Russian poet known as the founder of modern Russian language. The purpose of this initiative is to promote equal recognition and appreciation for all six official languages of the UN: English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and French.
Why United Nations celebrates Russian Language day?
The initiative of the UN Language Days was launched in February 2010 in order to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity and to promote equal use of all six of the UN’s official working languages throughout the organization. Russian is one of the six official languages of the UN, along with Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Spanish.
The decision to hold language days was made by the Department of Public Information (now the Department of Global Communications) on the eve of International Mother Language Day , celebrated annually on February 21 at the initiative of UNESCO. The purpose of the UN Language Days is to raise awareness of the history, culture and development of each of the six official languages of the UN among the staff of the Organization. Each language is given the opportunity to find its own unique approach and develop its own program of activities for the day, including inviting famous poets and writers and developing informational and thematic materials.
Understanding Green GDP: Balancing Economic Growth with Environmental Sustainability
Green GDP represents a paradigm shift in economic assessment, recognizing the importance of environmental sustainability alongside economic growth.
As the world grapples with the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation, the concept of Green GDP has gained significant attention. Green GDP is an economic indicator that takes into account the environmental costs and benefits associated with economic activities, providing a more comprehensive measure of a nation’s economic growth. This article aims to delve into the concept of Green GDP, its significance, and its relevance to India’s sustainable development goals.
Defining Green GDP
Green GDP, also known as environmentally adjusted GDP or genuine progress indicator (GPI), goes beyond conventional GDP calculations by factoring in the costs of environmental degradation, depletion of natural resources, and pollution. It aims to provide a more accurate representation of economic growth by accounting for the negative impacts on the environment.
Measuring Environmental Costs and Benefits
To calculate Green GDP, various environmental factors are considered, such as the degradation of forests, air and water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and the depletion of non-renewable resources. These factors are assigned economic values to quantify their impact on the overall economy. Additionally, the benefits derived from environmental assets, such as clean air, water, and biodiversity, are also factored into the calculation.
Significance of Green GDP
Green GDP offers a more holistic approach to measuring economic progress, as it takes into account the long-term sustainability of economic activities. It highlights the trade-offs between economic growth and environmental preservation, providing policymakers with valuable insights into the true costs and benefits of development projects. By incorporating environmental considerations, Green GDP encourages the adoption of sustainable practices and the transition to a greener economy.
India, with its ambitious sustainable development goals, has recognized the importance of accounting for environmental impacts in its economic assessments. The country faces numerous environmental challenges, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and climate change. By incorporating Green GDP, India can gain a clearer understanding of the economic costs of environmental degradation and identify areas where corrective measures are required.
The Indian government has taken several initiatives to integrate environmental considerations into its economic planning. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released the “Report on Environmental Accounting in India,” which provides a framework for incorporating environmental dimensions into national accounts. This report serves as a significant step towards calculating Green GDP in India.
Moreover, India has made significant progress in renewable energy deployment, with a strong emphasis on solar and wind power. By transitioning to cleaner energy sources, India aims to reduce its carbon footprint and mitigate the environmental costs associated with fossil fuel-based energy generation. These efforts align with the objectives of Green GDP, as they prioritize sustainable economic growth.
Challenges and Future Outlook
Implementing Green GDP poses certain challenges, including the valuation of environmental factors, data collection, and accounting methodologies. Assigning monetary values to environmental assets and determining the appropriate weightage for different factors require robust frameworks and consensus among stakeholders.
Moving forward, it is crucial for governments, international organizations, and researchers to collaborate and develop standardized methodologies for calculating Green GDP. This will facilitate meaningful comparisons between countries and promote a global shift towards sustainable development.