Why in news?
The Manipur government extended the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the
whole State — except in the jurisdiction of 19 police stations in seven districts of the Imphal valley — for another six months.
About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)
A reincarnation of the British-era legislation that was enacted to quell the protests during the Quit India movement, the AFSPA was issued by way of four ordinances in 1947.
The ordinances were replaced by an Act in 1948 and the present law effective in the Northeast was introduced in Parliament in 1958 by the then Home Minister, G.B. Pant.
It was known initially as the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Act, 1958.
After the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland came into being, the Act was adapted to apply to these States as well.
The AFSPA gives unfettered powers to the armed forces and theCentral armed police forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law and arrest and search any premises without a warrant and with protection from
prosecution and legal suits. The law first came into effect in 1958 to deal with the uprising
in the Naga
The Act was amended in 1972 and the powers to declare an area as “disturbed” were conferred concurrently upon the Central government along with the States.
Tripura revoked the Act in 2015 and Meghalaya was under AFSPA for 27 years, until it was revoked by the MHA from 1st
Currently AFSFA is in some parts of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
Rationale behind imposition of AFSPA
Effective functioning of Security Forces:
Armed Forces are deployed in counter-insurgency / terrorist operations when all other forces available to the State have failed to bring the situation under control.
Armed forces operating in such an environment require certain special powers and protection in the form of an enabling law.
The Act plays a crucial role in maintaining law and order in disturbed areas. Thus, protecting sovereignty and security of the nation.
Boosting morale of Forces:
AFSPA boosts the morale (mental well-being) of the armed forces for ensuring the public order in the disturbed areas as removal of the Act would lead to militants motivating locals to file lawsuits against the army.
What are the Controversies on the Application of the
Human Rights Violations:
The law empowers security personnel, down to non- commissioned officers, to use force and shoot “even to the causing of death” if they are convinced that it is necessary to do so for the “maintenance of public order”.
It also grants soldiers executive powers to enter premises, search, and arrest without a warrant.
The exercise of these extraordinary powers by armed forces has often led to allegations of fake encounters and other human rights violations by security forces in disturbed areas while questioning the indefinite imposition of AFSPA in certain states, such as Nagaland and J&K.
AFSPA violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR), and the Convention against Torture (India is a signatory, but it has not ratified it).
Recommendations of Jeevan Reddy Committee:
In November 2004, the Central government appointed a five- member committee headed by Justice B P Jeevan Reddy toreview the provisions of the act in the northeastern states.
The committee recommended that:
AFSPA should be repealed and appropriate provisions should be
inserted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
The Unlawful Activities Act should be modified to clearly
specify the powers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces
and Grievance cells should be set up in each district where the
armed forces are deployed.
Source: The Hindu
Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export
Products (RoDTEP) scheme
Why in news?
The government extended export benefits under the RoDTEP scheme for one more year till June 2024.
About Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export
Products (RoDTEP) scheme:
It was introduced by the Government as a duty remission scheme on exports and is being implemented from 1st January
It was enforced to repeal and reduce taxes for exported products, thereby encouraging the conditions of exported and increasing the number of exports in the country.
The scheme will be administered by the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
Tax reimbursement under RODTEP:
The Scheme provides a mechanism for reimbursement of taxes, duties and levies, which are currently not being refunded under any other mechanism at the central, state and local level but which are incurred by the export entities in the process of
manufacture and distribution of exported products.
This does not only include the direct cost incurred by theexporter but also the prior stage cumulative indirect taxes on
It is a WTO-compliant scheme and follows the global principle that taxes/duties should not be exported.
RoDTEP replaced the Merchandise Export Incentive Schemes (MIES), in response to the US challenging the Indian export
subsidies under the MEIS at the WTO.
When the WTO dispute panel ruled against India, RoDTEP was framed to ensure that India remains WTO-compliant, while also supporting low-volume exports of commodities from India.
It is applicable to all the sectors involved in the export of goods irrespective of their turnover, provided the country of
manufacturing of the exported goods should be in India. Such an exporter may either be the merchant or manufacturer
However, such goods should have been directly exported by such a person.
Goods exported through e-commerce platforms are also eligible
under this scheme.
Process of Refund:
Rebate under the scheme is provided to eligible exporters as a percentage of the freight on board (FOB) value of exports.
Remission is issued in the form of transferrable e-scrips (type of certificates with some monetary value) maintained in an
electronic credit ledger by the CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs).
e-scrips can be used for paying basic customs duty on the import of goods or may be transferred electronically to another party.
Source: The Hindu
Foreign Contribution Regulations Act
Why in news?
Under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), NGOs and associations registered to receive foreign contributions must now annually declare details of movable and immovable assets created using those contributions.
FCRA was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s
affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organisations.The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and associations so that they functioned in a manner consistent with the values of a sovereign democratic republic.
NGOs that want to receive foreign funds must apply online in a prescribed format with the required documentation.
FCRA registrations are granted to individuals or associations that have definite cultural, economic, educational, religious, and social programs.
Following the application by the NGO, the MHA makes inquiries through the Intelligence Bureau into the antecedents of
the applicant, and accordingly processes the application.
Broadly, the FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to be: registered under the Act,
To open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in State Bank of India, Delhi, and
To utilize those funds only for the purpose for which they havebeen received and as stipulated in the Act.
They are also required to file annual returns, and they must nottransfer the funds to another NGO.
Changes in FCRA Rules:
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2022 changed FCRA rules and increased the number of compoundable offences under the Act from 7 to 12.
The amendment also gave exemption from intimation to the government for contributions less than Rs 10 lakh – the earlier
limit was Rs 1 lakh — received from relatives abroad, and increase in time limit for intimation of opening of bank accounts.
Validity of FCRA Approval:
Once granted, FCRA registration is valid for five years.
NGOs are expected to apply for renewal within six months of the date of expiry of registration.
In case of failure to apply for renewal, the registration is deemed to have expired.
Once expired, the NGO is no longer entitled to receive foreign funds or utilize its existing funds without permission from the
Significance of regulating foreign contributions in India:
Preventing interference in Indian affairs:
The FCRA was enacted to prevent foreign powers from interfering in India’s affairs by regulating foreign donations to
individuals and associations.
Transparency and accountability:
The FCRA ensures transparency and accountability which is important to prevent misuse of funds.
The FCRA also helps in safeguarding national security interests by preventing foreign entities from funding activities that could be detrimental to India’s security.
Promoting social and economic development: Foreign contributions can be an important source of funding for social
and economic development in India.
Challenges of regulating foreign contributions:
The registration and renewal process under the FCRA can take a long time which delays their work and impact their ability to receive funding.
Stringent Compliance Requirements:
The FCRA registration process can be time-consuming and requires extensive documentation, while the rules on the
utilization of funds are also strict.
The government’s discretionary powers to cancel registrations or freeze accounts of NGOs have been misused in some cases to target NGOs critical of the government, leading to accusations of political interference
Ambiguity in the Law:
There is often ambiguity in the interpretation of the FCRA, leading to NGOs being exploited by authorities to target NGOs
and curtail their activities.
Lack of Clarity:
There is a lack of clarity on the compliance requirements for foreign corporations and foundations operating in India leading
to concerns about the transparency of their funding activities and potential influence on Indian civil society.
Source: The Hindu
DADASAHEB PHALKE LIFETIME
Why in news?
Veteran actor Waheeda Rehman to receive Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Indian cinema.
Purpose and Significance
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest honour in the realm of cinema.
It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, a division of the Ministry
of Information and Broadcasting.
The award acknowledges and celebrates individuals who have made an “outstanding contribution to the growth and
development of Indian cinema.”
Components of the Award
The award consists of several components, including a Swarna
Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl, and a cash prize of
₹1,000,000 (approximately US$13,000).
Introduction and Commemoration
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award was first introduced in 1969 by the Government of India.
It was established to honor the memory and contributions of Dadasaheb Phalke, who is widely regarded as “the father of
Dadasaheb Phalke directed India’s first full-length feature film, “Raja Harishchandra,” in 1913.
The first recipient of the award was actress Devika Rani, who was honored at the 17th National Film Awards.
As of 2023, there have been 53 awardees.
Notably, actor Prithviraj Kapoor (1971) and actor Vinod Khanna (2017) are the only posthumous recipients of the award.
There have been instances of siblings receiving the award in different years, such as B. N. Reddy (1974) and B. Nagi Reddy
(1986), and Raj Kapoor (1987) and Shashi Kapoor (2014).
Source – Indian express