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26th May Current Affairs

Palestine issue doesn’t diminish India-Israel relations

(GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping)

In News:

The unresolved Palestine issue could be a factor in India-Israel relationship, but it does not diminish or negate the partnership between the two countries, Israel’s ConsulGeneral in Bengaluru, said.

Historical Background:

The conflict has been ongoing for more than 100 years between Jews and Arabs over a piece of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

It was between 1882 to 1948, when the Jews from around the world gathered in Palestine. This movement came to be known as Aliyahs.

Then in 1917, Ottoman Empire fell after World War 1 and the UK got control over Palestine.

The land was inhabited by a Jewish minority and Arab majority.

The Balfour Declaration was issued after Britain gained control with the aim of establishing a home for the Jews in Palestine. However during that period the Arabs were in majority in Palestine.

Jews favored the idea while the Palestinians rejected it. Almost 6 million Jews lost their lives in the Holocaust which also ignited further demand for a separate Jewish state.

Jews claimed Palestine to be their natural home while the Arabs too did not leave the land and claimed it.

In 1947, the UN voted for Palestine to be split into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming an international city.

That plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by the Arab side and never implemented.

Abraham Accord:

It was signed between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and is mediated by the USA.

It is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years.

As per the agreements, the UAE and Bahrain will establish:

Embassies and exchange ambassadors.

Working together with Israel across a range of sectors, including tourism, trade, healthcare and security.

The Abraham Accords also open the door for Muslims around the world to visit the historic sites in Israel and to peacefully pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.

India-Israel Relations:

Diplomatic Ties:

Though India officially recognised Israel in 1950, the two countries established full diplomatic ties only on 29th January 1992.

India was among 164 United Nations (UN) member states to have diplomatic ties with Israel.

Economic and Commercial Relations:

From USD 200 million in 1992, bilateral merchandise trade stood at USD 4.14 billion (excluding defense) during the period April 2020 – February 2021 with the balance of trade being in India’s favour.

Trade in diamonds constitutes about 50% of bilateral trade.

India is Israel’s third-largest trade partner in Asia and seventh largest globally.

Defense:

India is the largest buyer of military equipment from Israel, which, in turn, is the second-largest defense supplier to India, after Russia.

India has a wide array of Israeli weapon systems over the years, which range from Phalcon AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control Systems) and Heron, Searcher-II and Harop drones to Barak anti-missile defense systems and Spyder quick-reaction anti-aircraft missile systems.

The acquisitions also include a host of Israeli missiles and precision-guided munitions, from Python and Derby air-to-air missiles to Crystal Maze and Spice-2000 bombs.

Cooperation in Agriculture:

In May 2021, “a three-year work program agreement” for development in agriculture cooperation, was signed.

The programme aims to grow existing Centers of Excellence, establish new centers, increase CoE’s value chain, bring the Centers of Excellence into the self-sufficient mode, and encourage private sector companies and collaboration.

Science & Technology:

India and Israel deliberated on widening the scope of India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) at its 8th Governing Body meeting.

I4F is a cooperation between the two countries to promote, facilitate and support joint industrial R&D projects between companies from India and Israel to address the challenges in the agreed ‘Focus Sectors’.

Poll panel moves against nonexistent’ parties

(GS-II: Constitutional bodies, RPA act 1951)

In News:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to initiate graded action against more than 2,100 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) for noncompliance of statutory requirements under the Representation of the People (RP) Act.

Election Commission of India (ECI):

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.

It administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.

Part XV of the Indian constitution deals with elections, and establishes a commission for these matters.

Article 324 to 329 of the constitution deals with powers, function, tenure, eligibility, etc of the commission and the members.

It consists of one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners appointed by the President.

They have a fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of a Supreme Court judge by Parliament.

It grants recognition to political parties & allot election symbols to them along with settling disputes related to it.

The Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post-election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.

It issues the Model Code of Conduct in election for political parties and candidates so that no one indulges in unfair practice or there is no arbitrary abuse of powers by those in power.

It sets limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political parties, and also monitors the same.

Registered Unrecognized Political Parties:

Either newly registered parties or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in the assembly or general elections to become a state party, or those which have never contested elections since being registered are considered unrecognized parties.

They do not enjoy all the benefits extended to the recognised parties.

Recognised Political Party:

A recognised political party shall either be a National party or a State party if it meets certain laid down conditions.

To become a recognised political party:

  • State Party – The registered party has to satisfy any of the 5 conditions:
  • Secure at least 6% of the valid vote & win at least 2 seats in an Assembly General Election
  • Secure at least 6% of the valid vote & win at least 1 seats in a Lok Sabha General Election
  • Win at least 3% of the seats or at least 3 seats, whichever is more, in an Assembly General Election
  • Win at least 1 out of every 25 seats from a state in a Lok Sabha General Election
  • Secure at least 8% of the total valid vote in an Assembly or a Lok Sabha General Election

National Party – The registered party has to satisfy any of the 3 conditions.

  • Secure at least 6% of the valid vote in an Assembly or a Lok Sabha General Election in any four or more states and won at least 4 seats in a Lok Sabha General Election from any State or States
  • Win at least 2% of the total Lok Sabha seats in a Lok Sabha General Election and these seats have to be won from at least 3 states
  • The party is recognized as a State Party in at least four states

The recognition granted by the Commission to the parties determines their right to certain privileges like allocation of the party symbols, provision of time for political broadcasts on the state-owned television and radio stations and access to electoral rolls.

Kerala empowers local bodies to cull wild boars

(GS-III: Local Bodies, Conservation of wild life etc)

In News:

Kerala government has empowered local bodies to cull wild boars that pose a threat to agriculture crops or human life.

The secretaries of the local bodies concerned will act as the delegated officers.

Local Bodies:

Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) was constitutionalized through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 to build democracy at the grassroots level

This act has added a new Part-IX to the Constitution of India.

This part is entitled as ‘The Panchayats’ and consists of provisions from Articles 243 to 243 O.

73rd Constitutional Amendment Act added a new Eleventh Schedule to the Constitution. This schedule contains 29 functional items of the panchayats. It deals with Article 243-G.

Urban Local Governments:

There are eight types of urban local governments in India – Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, Town Area Committee, Cantonment Board, township, port trust, special purpose agency.

At the Central level the subject of ‘urban local government’ is dealt with by the following three Ministries:

The Ministry of Urban Development was created as a separate ministry in 1985 (now Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs).

Ministry of Defense in the case of cantonment boards.

Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of Union Territories.

74th Amendment Act of 1992 added Part IX -A and consists of provisions from articles 243-P to 243-ZG.

It added the 12th Schedule to the Constitution. It contains 18 functional items of Municipalities and deals with Article 243 W.

Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972:

The Act was enacted for the protection of plants and animal species.

It extends to the whole of India. Prior to this legislation, India had only five designated national parks.

The Central Government appoints the Director of Wildlife Preservation and assistant directors and other officers subordinate to the Director.

The State Governments appoint a Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) who heads the Wildlife Wing of the department and exercises complete administrative control over Protected Areas (PAs) within a state.

The state governments are also entitled to appoint Wildlife Wardens in each district.

Prohibition of hunting:

It prohibits the hunting of any wild animal specified in Schedules I, II, III and IV of the act.

Exception: A wild animal listed under these schedules can be hunted/ killed only after getting permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the state if:

It becomes dangerous to human life or to property (including standing crops on any land.

It is disabled or suffering from a disease that is beyond recovery.

It prohibits the uprooting, damage, collection, possession or selling of any specified plant from any forest land or any protected area.

Exception: The CWLW, however, may grant permission for uprooting or collecting a specific plant for the purpose of education, scientific research, preservation in a herbarium or if a person/institution is approved to do so by the central government.

The government can declare an area (including an area within a sanctuary) as a National Park. A Collector is appointed by the central government to administer the area declared as a Sanctuary.

Under Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, States can send a list of wild animals to the Centre requesting it to declare them vermin for selective slaughter.

Wild boar:

Also known as the wild swine

The species is now one of the widest-ranging mammals in the world, as well as the most widespread suiform.

IUCN Red List- least concern

It has become an invasive species in part of its introduced range.

Indian boar, also known as the Andamanese pig or Moupin pig, is a subspecies of wild boar native to India.

They can also be spotted in some of the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuary such as Sariska Tiger Reserve, Bandhavgarh National Park, Corbett National Park and Ranthambore National Park.