For online IAS classes

For online IAS classes, Click Here, Click here.

Illegal Immigrants

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Why in the news?

  • Supreme Court agreed to examine the question whether illegal immigrants could be considered for refugee status.
  • This question came up during the hearing of petitions by two Rohingya men against the government’s proposal to deport the Rohingyas to their native land, Myanmar.

What is the difference between a refugee, an asylum seeker and an illegal immigrant?

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her home because of war, violence or persecution, often without warning. They are unable to return home unless and until conditions in their native lands are safe for them again. An official entity such as a government or the United Nations Refugee Agency determines whether a person seeking international protection meets the definition of a refugee, based on well-founded fear. 

An immigrant is someone who makes a conscious decision to leave his or her home and move to a foreign country with the intention of settling there. Immigrants often go through a lengthy vetting process to immigrate to a new country. Many become lawful permanent residents and eventually citizens. However, there are certain people who may enter a country and/or  stay there without the required permissions, these are termed illegal immigrants.

An asylum seeker is someone who is also seeking international protection from dangers in his or her home country, but whose claim for refugee status hasn’t been determined legally. Asylum seekers must apply for protection in the country of destination—meaning they must arrive at or cross a border in order to apply. Then, they must be able to prove to authorities there that they meet the criteria to be covered by refugee protections. Not every asylum seeker will be recognized as a refugee.

Rohingyas have been seeking refugee status and several have been camping outside the gates of the UN Human Rights office in New Delhi to get the status.


Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Why in the news?

The Union Government has told the Delhi High Court that a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhar Ordinance does not survive as Parliament has passed the Aadhar Amendment Bill for voluntary use of the biometric ID in private sector.

What is an Ordinance?

  • Ordinance making powers of the President Article 123 of the Constitution grants the President certain law making powers to promulgate Ordinances when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session and hence it is not possible to enact laws in the Parliament. 
  • An Ordinance may relate to any subject that the Parliament has the power to legislate on. Conversely, it has the same limitations as the Parliament to legislate, given the distribution of powers between the Union, State and Concurrent Lists. 
  • An ordinance is described as a legislative power of the President; however, it is issued on the advice of the council of ministers and is hence considered to be a law made by the executive. 
  • Legislature is not in session: The President can only promulgate an Ordinance when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session. 
  • Immediate action is required: The President cannot promulgate an Ordinance unless he is satisfied that there are circumstances that require taking ‘immediate action.   
  • Parliamentary approval during session: Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling or they shall cease to operate.  They will also cease to operate in case resolutions disapproving the Ordinance are passed by both the Houses. 
  • An ordinance has to be converted into legislation within 42 days of commencement of the Parliament session, or else it will lapse. An ordinance can be re-promulgated only thrice. The governor of a state can also issue ordinances under Article 213 of the Constitution of India, when the state legislative assembly is not in session. 
  • However, when ordinances are frequently issued and re-issued, it violates the spirit of the Constitution and result in an ‘ordinance raj’, which is not desirable. In D.C. Wadhwa and others vs State of Bihar and others, 1987, the Supreme Court strongly condemned this practice and called it as a constitutional fraud. In 1970, in its judgment in Rustom Cavasjee Cooper vs Union of India, the apex court has established that judicial intervention is absolutely necessary. So, when the executive abuses its power to issue ordinances, the judiciary could intervene. 
  • In the case of, Krishna Kumar Singh v State of Bihar, seven judge constitution bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had held that re-promulgation of ordinance is a fraud on the Constitution. The Court also held that the satisfaction of the President of India under Article 123 and of the Governor under Article 213 while issuing an Ordinance is not immune from judicial review.

Survey on Healthcare Professionals

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in the news?

  • The recent study on “Size, composition and distribution of human resource for health in India: new estimates using National Sample Survey and Registry data” carried out by the researchers from the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gurugram has revealed that India has an adequate number of health professionals based on the data collected from the registry institutions and the estimated data from the NSSO 2011-2012 to the projected population as of on January 1, 2016.
  • The study addresses the issue of distribution of Human Resource for Health (HRH) in the country.  In India approximately 71% of people living in a rural area whereas 36% of all health workers are deployed in rural areas.
  • The density of the total health workers is estimated to be 29 per 10,000 population based on NSSO and 38 per 10,000 population based on the registration data, which is close to WHO’s minimum threshold of 22.8 health workers per 10,000 population. The study also reports a disparity in the density of doctors and nurses across the country. The number of doctors in Kerala and UTs is high as compared to larger states such as Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Bihar.
  • The study used 2011-12 National Sample Survey data and projected Human Resource for Health (HRH) number for 2016 using census projection and worker participation rate. In addition the survey used 2017 registry data of health professionals (Medical Council of India, India Nursing Council, Dental Council of India and other professional associations).

Basel Committee on Banking Supervision

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: mobilization of resources

Why in the news?

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) has said that India is compliant regarding regulation on large exposures and in some cases the regulations are stricter than the Basel large-exposures framework.

What is the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision?

  • The BCBS is the primary global standard setter for the prudential regulation of banks and provides a forum for cooperation on banking supervisory matters. Its mandate is to strengthen the regulation, supervision and practices of banks worldwide with the purpose of enhancing financial stability.
  • The BCBS does not possess any formal supranational authority. Its decisions do not have legal force. Rather, the BCBS relies on its members’ commitments. Its members are Central Banks of various countries (From India the member is the Reserve Bank of India).

Central Pollution Control Board

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up several companies for not specifying a timeline or a plan to collect the plastic waste that results from their business waste.
  • The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 say companies that use plastic in their processes have a responsibility to ensure that any resulting plastic waste is safely disposed of.

What is the Central Pollution Control Board?

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. 
  • Principal Functions of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, (i) to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States through prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and (ii) to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

What are the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016?

The indiscriminate disposal of plastic has become a major threat to the environment. In particular, the plastic carry bags are the biggest contributors of littered waste and every year, millions of plastic bags end up in the environment vis-a-vis soil, water bodies, water courses, etc and it takes an average of one thousand years to decompose completely. Therefore, to address the issue of scientific plastic waste management, the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 were notified in 2011, which included plastic waste management. The Government has notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, in suppression of the earlier Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. The provisions are as under:

  • Rural areas have been brought in ambit of these Rules since plastic has reached to rural areas also. Responsibility for implementation of the rules is given to Gram Panchayat.
  • First time, responsibility of waste generators is being introduced. Individual and bulk generators like offices, commercial establishments, industries are to segregate the plastic waste at source, handover segregated waste, pay user fee as per bye-laws of the local bodies.
  • Plastic products are left littered after the public events (marriage functions, religious gatherings, public meetings etc) held in open spaces. First time, persons organising such events have been made responsible for management of waste generated from these events.
  • Use of plastic sheet for packaging, wrapping the commodity except those plastic sheet’s thickness, which will impair the functionality of the product are brought under the ambit of these rules. A large number of commodities are being packed/wrapped in to plastic sheets and thereafter such sheets are left for littered. Provisions have been introduced to ensure their collection and channelization to authorised recycling facilities.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility: Earlier, EPR was left to the discretion of the local bodies. First time, the producers (i.e persons engaged in manufacture, or import of carry bags, multi-layered packaging and sheets or like and the persons using these for packaging or wrapping their products) and brand owners have been made responsible for collecting waste generated from their products. They have to approach local bodies for formulation of plan/system for the plastic waste management within the prescribed timeframe.
  • State Pollution Control Board (SPCBs) will not grant/renew registration of plastic bags, or multi-layered packaging unless the producer proposes the action plan endorsed by the concerned State Development Department.
  • Producers to keep a record of their vendors to whom they have supplied raw materials for manufacturing carry bags, plastic sheets, and multi-layered packaging. This is to curb manufacturing of these products in unorganised sector.
  • The entry points of plastic bags/plastic sheets/multi-layered packaging in to commodity supply chain are primarily the retailers and street vendors. They have been assigned the responsibility of not to provide the commodities in plastic bags/plastic sheets/multi-layered packaging which do not conform to these rules. Otherwise, they will have to pay the fine.
  • Plastic carry bag will be available only with shopkeepers/street vendors pre-registered with local bodies on payment of certain registration fee. The amount collected as registration fee by local bodies is to be used for waste management.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been mandated to formulate the guidelines for thermoset plastic (plastic difficult to recycle). In the earlier Rules, there was no specific provision for such type of plastic.
  • Manufacturing and use of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic to be phased in two years.

Coastal Regulation Zone

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has granted environmental and Coastal Regulatory Zone clearances for setting up Missile Testing Facility on the Bay of Bengal coast and Technical Facility at Gullalamoda village in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh.

What is a Coastal Regulation Zone?

Coastal Regulation zone means the coastal water, wetland and shore land strongly influenced by marine waters.

What are Coastal Regulation Zone rules?

  • CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea. The Rules, mandated under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, were first framed in 1991. They sought to restrict certain kinds of activities, like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, or reclamation and bunding, within a certain distance from the coastline. The basic idea is: because areas immediately next to the sea are extremely delicate, home to many marine and aquatic life forms, both animals and plants, and are also threatened by climate change, they need to be protected against unregulated development.
  • In all CRZ Rules, the regulation zone has been defined as the area up to 500 m from the high-tide line. Several kinds of restrictions apply, depending on criteria such as the population of the area, the ecological sensitivity, the distance from the shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.
  • The Environment Ministry in 2014 set up a six-member committee under then Earth Sciences Secretary Shailesh Nayak to give suggestions for a new set of CRZ Rules. The committee submitted its report in 2015. Simultaneously, the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management defined a new high-tide line along India’s entire coastline to remove ambiguities. Separately, the Survey of India defined a hazard line along the coasts — to be used mainly for disaster management planning.
  • Based on these and other inputs, the Environment Ministry issued fresh CRZ Rules in December 2018, which removed certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.

What are the features of the CRZ rules 2018?

  • Allowing FSI as per current norms in CRZ areas: As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. In the CRZ, 2018 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification. This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.
  • Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development: For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:
  1. CRZ-III A – These are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011 since such areas have similar characteristics as urban areas.
  2. CRZ-III B – Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.
  • Tourism infrastructure for basic amenities to be promoted: Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification. However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.
  • CRZ Clearances streamlined: The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.
  • A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated for all Islands: For islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land, in wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions, NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.
  • All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance: Specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.
  • Pollution abatement has been accorded special focus: In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.
  • Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation. 

Prelims Specific

  • Plan Bee is an amplifying system imitating the buzz of a swarm of honey bees to keep wild elephants away from railway tracks developed by the Northeast Frontier Railway. It was awarded the best innovation award in Indian Railways for 2018-19.
  • The Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor between the neighbouring nations of India and Pakistan, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (Pakistan).