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Current Affairs – 10-12-2018

Context: The 10th edition of exercise INDRA NAVY will be conducted at Visakhapatnam.

About:

  • INDRA is a navy exercise between Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) and Indian navy.
  • The primary aim of the exercise is to increase inter-operability amongst the two navies, develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
  • Initiated in 2003, INDRA NAVY exercise has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity and level of participation.
  • Exercise INDRA NAVY-18 would help to further strengthen mutual confidence and inter-operability and also enable sharing of best practices between both the navies
  • The exercise will be yet another milestone in strengthening maritime security cooperation between the two navies and will serve to reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the countries.

 

Ex Aviaindra 2018: Ex AVIAINDRA, a service-specific exercise between Indian Air Force and Russian Federation Aerospace Force (RFSAF), is planned at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 10-21 Dec 2018.

 

1st International Conference on Sustainable Water Management

Context: The first International Conference under the aegis of National Hydrology Project, Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation is being organised by Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) during 10-11 December, 2018 at Indian School of Business (ISB), Mohali on the theme ‘Sustainable Water Management’.

The aim of the Conference is to-

  • foster the participation of and dialogue between various stakeholders, including governments, the scientific and academic communities, so as to promote sustainable policies for water management
  • create awareness of water-related problems, motivate commitment at the highest level for their solution and thus promote better management of water resources at local, regional, national and international levels.

Centre amends rules for minorities from three nations

 

News: The Union Home Ministry has notified amendments to the Citizenship Rules, 2009, to include a separate column in the citizenship form for applicants belonging to six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

 

Upcoming Changes:

  • Under the amendments, a separate entry in the form will ask the applicant whether they belong to one of the minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan as in Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs and Christians.
  • The changes have been made by the centre under Section 18 of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

  • The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
  • Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.  The Bill relaxes this 11 year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
  • The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

Key Issues:

  • Whether differentiating on grounds of religion is a violation of Article 14
  • The Bill provides that illegal migrants belonging to specified minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan will not be treated as illegal migrants under the Act, making them eligible for Indian citizenship.  These minority communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.  This implies that illegal migrants from these countries who are Muslims, other minorities who do not belong to the above groups (eg. Jews), or Atheists who do not identify with a religious group will not be eligible for citizenship.  The question is whether this provision violates the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution because it provides differential treatment to illegal migrants on the basis of their religion.
  • Article 14 guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners.  It only permits laws to differentiate between groups of people if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose.The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill does not explain the rationale behind differentiating between illegal migrants on the basis of the religion they belong to.
  • The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law.  This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences (eg. parking in a no parking zone).

Key Features

Definition of illegal migrants

  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship. The Bill amends the Act to provide that the following minority groups will not be treated as illegal migrants: Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.  However, to get this benefit, they must have also been exempted from the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 by the central government.

Citizenship by naturalisation

  • The 1955 Act allows a person to apply for citizenship by naturalisation if he meets certain qualifications. One of these is that the person must have resided in India or served the central government for a certain period of time: (i) for the 12 months immediately preceding the application for citizenship, and (ii) for 11 of the 14 years preceding the 12-month period.  For people belonging to the same six religions and three countries, the Bill relaxes the 11-year requirement to six years.
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