Current Affairs > Daily Current affairs

My notes 01-09-2015

Railways on Zero accident mission

  1. Investment on Infrastructure - moe bridges, renewal of tracks, better signalling, accident proof coaches and engines.
  2. Railways is planning to pool up an investment of 8.5 lakh crores through borrowing from LIC, world bank and other multilateral agencies. It will correct the under investment in Railways.
  3. The Railways is also putting in a reformed accounting system to attract the investments.(Bibek Debroy panel Recommendations)



Death penalty - for and against

  1. The death penalty is unjust and inhuman. Its continued use is a stain on a society built on humanitarian values


  1. Miscarriage of justice is, in fact, one of the biggest concerns about the death penalty. 

Studies conducted by Amnesty International and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties have shown that the process of deciding who should be on death row is arbitrary and biased.

14 eminent retired judges wrote to the President, pointing out that the Supreme Court had erroneously given the death penalty to 15 people since 1996, of whom two were hanged. The judges called this “the gravest known miscarriage of justice in the history of crime and punishment in independent India.”


Law commission report


95.7% is the error rate among the trial courts which gave death sentence. Error rate among the Supreme court rulings is 23.2%


Inter state variation in sentencing - Kerala two times the national average and delhi 6 times for murder.


Poor and religious minorities were awarded more death penalities than others . It is 75% sentenced to death among poor and minorities.



  1. Lawmakers in India find it convenient to hold up the death penalty as a symbol of their resolve to tackle crime, and choose to ignore more difficult but more effective solutions like social education and police or judicial reform. The certainty of punishment, not severity, is the real deterrent.



  1. capital punishment is merely revenge masquerading as justice.

When the government is trying to create a just society where there is less violence and murder, it cannot be allowed to commit the same crime against its citizens in the name of justice.


  1. Not in line with global trend -

The world is moving away from using the death penalty. The European Union has made “abolition of death penalty” a prerequisite for membership. The 65th United Nations General Assembly voted in December 2010, for the third time, in favour of abolishing the death penalty and called for a global moratorium on executions. Amnesty International reports that 140 countries — more than two-thirds of the world — do not use the death penalty any more. India needs to recognise this global trend, and act in step with it.


  1. Detterence was a myth - rehabilitation and restoration are lost and venegence through courts is gaining prominence.


  1. Rights of innocent victims
  2. Rarest of the rare crimes
  3. Law commission on death penalty

Questioning the “rarest of rare” doctraine, the panel said that administration of death penalty, even within the “restrictive environment of rarest of rare doctraine”, was constitutionally unsustainable.


“After many lengthy and detailed deliberations, it is the view of the Law Commission that the administration of death penalty, even within the restrictive environment of ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine, is constitutionally unsustainable.


 Continued administration of death penalty asks very difficult constitutional questions… these questions relate to the miscarriage of justice, errors, as well as the plight of the poor and disenfranchised in the criminal justice system,” the report stated.


Pointing out that in the last decade, the Supreme Court had on “numerous occasions expressed concern about arbitrary sentencing” in death penalty cases, the panel said, “There exists no principled method to remove such arbitrariness from capital sentencing. A rigid, standardisation or categorisation of offences which does not take into account the difference between cases is arbitrary in that it treats different cases on the same footing. Anything less categorical, like the Bachan Singh framework itself, has demonstrably and admittedly failed.”


The commission also questioned the mercy petition system, provided for under the Constitution, saying, “The exercise of mercy powers under Articles 72 and 161 have failed in acting as the final safeguard against miscarriage of justice in the imposition of the death sentence.” The report stated that from January 26, 1950 till date, successive Presidents have accepted 306 mercy petitions and rejected 131.


Referring to victims of crimes, the panel said in focusing on death penalty “as the ultimate measure of justice to victims”, the restorative and rehabilitative aspects of justice are lost sight of. It said reliance on the death penalty diverts attention from other problems ailing the criminal justice system such as poor investigation, crime prevention and rights of victims of crime.


It is essential that the state establish effective compensation schemes to rehabilitate victims of crime. At the same time, it is also essential, the panel said, that courts use the power granted to them under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to grant appropriate compensation to victims in suitable cases.


“The voices of victims and witnesses are often silenced by threats and other coercive techniques employed by powerful accused persons. Hence, it is essential that a witness protection scheme also be established.


The need for police reforms for better and more effective investigation and prosecution has also been universally felt for some time now and measures regarding the same need to be taken on a priority basis,” the report stated.

It shall be based on the following

Connectivity - BCIM and CPEC interconnection -

  1. The socio economic underdevelopment of south Asia is caused by history.
  2. The technological development and geographical integration can be a route for shared prosperity , peace in the region.
  3. The Broad Asia- Europe- Africa connectivity was envisioned by Maritime silk road , silk road economic intiative.
  4. India has also initiated its regional cooperation initiative Mausam and spice route centered around age old trade , spiritual, civilisational connections centred around Indian ocean.
  5. The ‘Mausam’ project envisages the re-establishment of India’s ancient maritime routes with its traditional trade partners along the Indian Ocean. It was launched in June 2014. The ‘Spice Route of India’ visualises the India-centered link-up of historic sea routes in Asia, Europe and Africa.
  6. The BCIM corridor of china interconnecting CPEC, with its extensions into Afghanistan and India, and BCIM is not really a novel idea. It is simply a 21st century version of the 16th century road, built by Shershah Suri, the Afghan emperor, connecting what later became the capitals of four countries — Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  7. Bangladesh-China-IndiaMyanmar (BCIM) corridor, which envisages a network of modern road, railway, port and communication and trade connectivities in a region stretching from Kolkata to Kunming in southern China, is one of the richest regions in the world — in terms of natural and human resources and home to nearly 500 million people — it is also one of the least integrated areas, economically as well as socially. Indias North eastern states provide an example.
  8. It can boost up Indias Act east policy, development in North east , can open up oppourtunities, energy security for west Bengal.
  9. CPEC extension westwards can increase Indias connectivity with Iran and can make us realise Iran – Pakistan – India pipeline and it can become vital for energy security of India.
  10. It also increases stability in Pakistan and a stable, prosperous Pakistan is in the interests of India.
  11. Constructive engagement is the way only forward with china and is also necessary for collective prosperity of the region.
  12. Mutually bene- ficial regional cooperation builds trust, and trust in turn helps nations resolve their disputes amicably. Moreover, when two big nations such as India and China cooperate in a regional cooperation framework, it generates confidence among other countries in the neighbourhood. They become crucial stakeholders in making India and China stable and irreversible.
  13.  It may also be noted here that China’s stakes in cooperating with India have become higher because of its slowing economy. Recent months have produced three encouraging signs of an India-China convergence on the issue of regional cooperation. In the joint statement issued after Mr. Modi’s visit to China in May this year, “the two sides welcomed the progress made in promoting cooperation under the framework of the BCIM”. Second, Beijing has expressed its willingness to work with India to explore the synergy between its own “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” plans and India’s “Mausam” project with a view to addressing New Delhi’s strategic concerns and gaining “common benefits”. Third, India has become an important founding member of the Beijing-promoted Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which can fund BCIM, CPEC and other projects.
  14. Hence, the emerging regional cooperation agenda in South Asia, if pursued with sagacity and sincerity, promises to become a win-win game promoting development and security for all. (Sudheendra Kulkarni)




  1. Prime minister sheriff and Prime minister Modi will have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of SCO.
  2. Pakistan has stated that, it will not accept any conditionality s and red lines on dialogue. They shall include all from Kashmir to huriyat leaders to everything.


Ufa meeting


The main components of the Ufa Joint Statement issued on July 10, as presented in the press are: ● The Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India met today on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Ufa. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. The two leaders exchanged views on issues of bilateral and regional interest. ● They agreed that India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues. ● Both leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate this menace from South Asia. [emphasis added] ● They also agreed on the following steps to be taken by the two sides:


Twin objectives - There were two principal objectives expressed in the joint statement. The first objective is ‘to ensure peace and promote development, for which both sides are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues’. The second objective expressed in the joint statement is to cooperate with each other to eliminate the menace of terrorism from South Asia.


The issues

  1. Regulations in India - Mining giant of australia rio tinto is facing legal hurdles after odisha Government scrapped a joint venture with it. It is creating uncertainity and unpredictability.
  2. Nuclear deal - Australia is still insisting on special reporting to Australia on Australia originated nuclear material, as per its laws. India, clearly stated that it will report only as per the prscribed mechanisms of IAEA.

India  is a key partner in Asia - Pacific region

  1. Our economic relationship is also strong — Indian investment in Australia was AU$10.9 billion in 2014, and Australian investment in India was AU$9.8 billion. And our annual trade is worth nearly AU$16 billion .Prime Ministers agreed to conclude a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement by the end of the year.
  2. Economic growth is transforming the Indo-Pacific region, which is becoming the global strategic and economic centre of gravity. Reports predict that by 2050, half of the world’s top 20 economies will be in the Indo-Pacific. Some also predict that India, China, Indonesia and Japan will be in the top five economies in the world with the U.S. India’s own economic growth will be a key driver of energy demand.
  3. Prime Minister Modi’s November 2014 visit to Australia,  formalised a Framework for Security Cooperation, which will include work to facilitate greater defence interaction over time. Exercise AUSINDEX is in this direction. Military modernisation of India presents oppourtunities for australia and India to work together.





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