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September 2, 2017

SC to hear Rohingya plea for help

  • The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an urgent plea made by two Rohingya Muslim immigrants against the government’s proposed move to deport their 40,000-strong refugee community back to their native Myanmar, where discrimination and possibly summary executions await them.

Protection to life

  • The duo, represented by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, said the Centre’s move to deport them violated the constitutional guarantee that the Indian state should “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.”
  • “The proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional protections of Article 14 (equality), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 51(c) (respect for international law and treaty obligations) of the Constitution… despite these constitutional and statutory requirements, the respondent 1 (Union) has failed to carry out their obligations to ensure protection to the Rohingya community by proposing to deport them to Myanmar,” the petition contended.


Children of refugees will get UNHCR cards in Bengal

  • The West Bengal government will distribute identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Rohigya children lodged in the juvenile justice homes of the State. The UNHCR says some 16,500 Rohingya from Myanmar are registered with it in India.


Govt to take steps to promote use of NavIC

  • Defence Research and Development labs including the premier missile and avionics facility — Research Centre Imarat (RCI) — are being able to develop several critical technologies and components for the defence and aerospace sector but they need the industry support to get into the volumes production considering the needs of the armed forces, said Director B.H.V.S. Narayana Murthy.
  • With the future wars to be based on how networked the weapons systems are, the need for various kinds of sensors, navigational systems, avionics, radars, telemetry, telemetry and so on was immense as the armed forces requirement runs into scores of weapons systems.


Assam issues AFSPA order for State

  • For the first time since 1990, the Assam government issued orders declaring the State a “disturbed area”, imposing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for six months.
  • Such orders were earlier issued by the Union Home Ministry, which recently gave up its power and asked the State government to decide on continuing the enforcement of the AFSPA in the State.
  • Under Section 3 of the Act, it can be invoked in places “where the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
  • Except in the case of Tripura and Manipur, the Centre had been issuing such notifications for Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.

Huge powers

  • The AFSPA gives powers to the Army and Central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of the law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant, and provide cover to the Armed Forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Centre’s sanction.
  • An official explained that the Assam government’s notification will not affect the operation of Central forces or the Army deployed in the State.
  • On August 4, the Home Ministry extended the AFSPA in Assam for 27 days, which expired on August 31.


Switzerland for early India-EFTA pact

  • The early conclusion of the proposed Free Trade Agreement(FTA) between India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as well as an investment protection framework would boost economic ties between the two sides, said Switzerland President Doris Leuthard on Friday.
  • EFTA members include Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Speaking at a business session here, Ms.Leuthard said while Switzerland was aware of the sensitivities of both the sides on the pact, “we want to bring the (FTA) negotiations that have been running between India and EFTA since 2008 to an end.”
  • On the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR), she said India’s IPR regime was in compliance with the global rules and “we shall ensure that the patent, copyrights and trademark rights of any individual or company is respected.” India was ready to address any questions on IPR or concerns on data security, she added.

Data security

  • On the data security issues, Ms. Leuthard said data owners’ rights have to be protected to promote investments. “Internet is evolving at a rapid pace but there is a regulatory gap. How do we close that gap, that needs to be deliberated upon,” she said. Ms. Sitharaman said though the topic was discussed at the World Economic Forum at Davos more discussions were required.
  • She sought greater participation at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to be held in Geneva in December. “Safer Internet for everyone is a way forward…I invite you all,” she said. India-EFTA trade fell to $19 billion in 2016-17 from $21.5 billion in 2015-16. The trade balance was in favour of EFTA members.