8th April Current Affairs
April 8, 2021
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9th April Current Affairs

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)

In News:

People of Indian origin and the Indian diaspora having Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards will not have to carry their old, expired passports for travel to India, as was required earlier, according to a government notification.

Who are OCI cardholders?

Government of India launched the ‘Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme’ by making amendments to Citizenship Act, 1955 in 2005.

On 09 January 2015, the Government of India discontinued the PIO card and merged it with OCI card.

Eligibility:

Government of India allows the following categories of foreign nationals to apply for OCI Card.

Exceptions:

Anyone who is applying for OCI card should hold a valid Passport of another country.

Individuals who do not have citizenship of any other country are not eligible to gain an OCI status.

Individuals whose parents or grandparents hold citizenship of Pakistan and Bangladesh are not eligible to apply.

Benefits for OCI cardholders:

  • Lifelong Visa to visit India multiple times. (special permission needed for research work in India).
  • No need to register with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) for any length of stay.
  • Except for acquisition of agricultural and plantation properties, OCI card holders have similar facilities that are extended to NRIs in economic, financial and educational fields.
  • Same treatment as of NRIs in respect to Inter-country adoption of Indian children.
  • Also treated at par with NRIs regarding – entry fees for national monuments, practice of professions like doctors, dentists, nurses, advocates, architects, Chartered Accountants & Pharmacists.
  • At par with NRIs to participate in All India Pre-medical tests and such.
  • Treated at par with Indian citizens in matters of traffic in airfares in Indian domestic sectors.
  • Same entry fee as for Indians for entry into India’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
  • OCI booklet can be used as identification to avail services. An affidavit can be attached with local address as residential proof.

There are certain restrictions placed on OCI card holders:

  • Do not have right to vote.
  • Do not have right to any public service/government jobs
  • Cannot hold offices of – Prime Minister, President, Vice -President, Judge of Supreme Court and High Court, member of Parliament or Member of state legislative assembly or council.
  • Cannot own agricultural property.

New Development Bank (NDB)

In News:

Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has urged the New Development Bank (NDB) to consider working closely with India’s new development financing institution for funding infrastructure.

Background:

NDB has so far approved 18 projects in India, including emergency loans of $2 billion to support health spending and economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About NDB:

It is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

It was agreed to by BRICS leaders at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa in 2013.

It was established in 2014, at the 6th BRICS Summit at Fortaleza, Brazil.

The bank is set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.

Headquartered in Shanghai, China.

In 2018, the NDB received observer status in the United Nations General Assembly, establishing a firm basis for active and fruitful cooperation with the UN.

Voting:

Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.

Roles and functions:

The Bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

Plea in SC against uniform civil law on divorce and alimony

In News:

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the “blatant attempt” to take away the fundamental right of Muslim women to practise their religion, in the guise of providing a “uniform law” across all faiths.

What’s the issue?

The petitioner has asked the Supreme Court to hear her before deciding whether a uniform civil law for divorce, maintenance and alimony will leave Muslim women like her better-off.

Last December, the Supreme Court agreed to examine advocate A.K. Upadhyay’s plea for a single law covering divorce, maintenance and alimony for all religions.

Upadhyay had argued that laws governing them in certain religions discriminate and marginalise women.

Need for a uniform law:

Existing anomalies, varying from one religion to another, are violative of the right to equality (Article 14 of the Constitution) and right against discrimination (Article 15) on the basis of religion and gender and right to dignity.

Therefore, the laws on divorce, maintenance and alimony should be “gender-neutral and religion-neutral”.

Status of Personal Law in India:

Personal law subjects like marriage, divorce, inheritance come under Concurrent list.

Hindu personal laws have been by and large secularized and modernized by statutory enactments (The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955).

On the other hand, Muslim personal laws are still primarily unmodified and traditional in their content and approach (Eg: Shariat law of 1937).

Apart from it, Christians and Jews are also governed by different personal laws.

Article 142:

Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, i.e., where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner which would befit the facts of the case.

Alimony:

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which applies to all communities lays down the provision for maintenance of wives, children, and parents if they do not earn enough and reasonable means to maintain themselves, or suffer from any physical or mental incapacity. Under this section, even a wife who has not divorced her husband has the right to get maintenance from her husband.