Foreigners‘ Tribunals are a key player in the exercise to identify illegal immigrants in Assam, and in focus now ahead of the July 15 publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC). The Foreigners‘ Tribunals — 100 existing and 200 more to be functional by September 1 — are quasi-judicial bodies meant to ―furnish opinion on the question as to whether a person is or is not a foreigner within the meaning of Foreigners Act, 1946‖. In 1964, the Centre passed the Foreigners‘ (Tribunals) Order under provisions of Section 3 of the Act.
The tribunals get two kinds of cases: those against whom a ―reference‖ has been made by border police, and those whose names in the electoral rolls have a D (Doubtful) against them. The accused has to prove he or she is an Indian. ―Since the onus is on the person, if he or she is absconding and doesn‘t appear before the tribunal, the member can pass an ex parte order as per Foreigners‘ Act.
Previously, under the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983, the onus of proving one‘s nationality or otherwise lay on the complainant. In 2005 (Sarbananda Sonowal vs Union Of India), the Supreme Court struck down the IMDT Act and held that it ―has created the biggest hurdle and is the main impediment or barrier in the identification and deportation of illegal migrants‖.
Rule 3A of the Foreigners‘ (Tribunal) Order, 1964, says that if a Tribunal has passed an ex parte order and if the person has ―sufficient cause‖ for non-appearance, the person has to file an application within 30 days of the order. If that happens, the FT member can set aside the ex parte order and decide the case accordingly. This allows FT members to decline to accept an application if filed after 30 days. The said order may be reviewed by the Foreigners‘ Tribunal if sufficient reasons are shown by the proceedee for his absence or for having no knowledge about the cases, within the absence or for having no knowledge about such order.
Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN):
Nagaland government has decided to set up a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with the aim of preventing fake indigenous inhabitants‘ certificates.
The RIIN will be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state based on ―an extensive survey‖. It will involve official records of indigenous residents from rural and (urban) wards and would be prepared under the supervision of the district administration.
This provisional list will then be published in all villages, wards and on government websites by September 11, 2019. All indigenous inhabitants of the state would be issued a barcoded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate.
The entire exercise will be monitored by the Commissioner of Nagaland. In addition, the state government will designate nodal officers of the rank of a Secretary to the state government. Their role will be to monitor the implementation. However, they will have no say in the adjudication process. Once the RIIN is finalised, no fresh indigenous inhabitant certificates will be issued except to newborn babies born to the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland
The process will be conducted across Nagaland and will be done as part of the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP), which is already in force in Nagaland.
Inner Line Permit:
Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document required by Indian citizens residing outside certain ―protected‖ states while entering them. The ILP is issued by the Government of India and is obligatory for all those who reside outside the protected states. With the ILP, the government aims to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.
ILP‘s origin dates back to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which protected the British Crown‘s interest in tea, oil and elephant trade. It prohibited ―British subjects‖ or Indians from entering into these protected areas.
After Independence, in 1950, the word ―British subjects‖ was replaced by Citizens of India and the focus of the ban on free movement was explained as a bid to protect tribal cultures in north-eastern India. Currently, the Inner Line Permit is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. It can be issued for travel purposes solely.
NCRB and Facial Recognition:
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released a Request for Proposal for an Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) to be used by police officers across the country. NCRB, which manages crime data for police, would like to use automated facial recognition to identify criminals, missing people, and unidentified dead bodies, as well as for ―crime prevention‖.
AFRS works by maintaining a large database with photos and videos of peoples‘ faces. Then, a new image of an unidentified person — often taken from CCTV footage — is compared to the existing database to find a match and identify the person. The artificial intelligence technology used for pattern-finding and matching is called ―neural networks‖. On July 1, the Ministry of Civil Aviation‘s ―DigiYatra‖ using facial recognition for airport entry was trialled in the Hyderabad airport. State governments have also taken their own steps towards facial recognition. Telangana police launched their own system in August 2018.
The NCRB, which manages crime data for police, would like to use automated facial recognition to identify criminals, missing people, and unidentified dead bodies, as well as for ―crime prevention‖. Its Request for Proposal calls for gathering CCTV footage, as well as photos from newspapers, raids, and sketches. The project is aimed at being compatible with other biometrics such as iris and fingerprints. It will be a mobile and web application hosted in NCRB‘s Data Centre in Delhi, but used by all police stations in the country.
NCRB has proposed integrating this facial recognition system with multiple existing databases. The most prominent is the NCRB-managed Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS). Facial recognition has been proposed in the CCTNS program since its origin.
Generic medicines and Drugs and Cosmetics rules:
The Central Government is considering amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 to ensure that registered medical practitioners dispense only generic medicines.
A proposal was recently received by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) committee wherein the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) was apprised that registered medical practitioners can supply different categories of medicines including vaccines to their patients under the exemption provided, with certain conditions, under Schedule K of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. As of now there are no specified types of medicines which can be supplied by doctors to their patients.
It is now proposed that registered medical practitioners shall supply generic medicines only and physicians samples shall be supplied free of cost. Generic medicines are unbranded medicines which are equally safe and having the same efficacy as that of branded medicines in terms of their therapeutic value. The prices of generic medicines are much cheaper than their branded equivalent. However, because the compounds in the generic versions have the same molecular structure as the brand-name version, their quality is essentially the same.
‗Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana‘ is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. Of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendra‘s known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP. BPPI (Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India) has been established under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India, with the support of all the CPSUs.
The Cabinet has approved the introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 that aims to prohibit commercial surrogacy in India. The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in the state and Union Territories. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy, and allow ethical surrogacy. While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited, including sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes, ethical surrogacy for needy couples will be allowed on fulfilment of stipulated conditions.
It will also prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy. There will not be any financial implications, except for the meetings of the National and State Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities, which will be met out of the administrative budgets of respective departments. The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation. The Bill includes contracting a ‗close relative‘ as a surrogate by a heterosexual married couple who have been childless for five years of their marriage.
UNESCO Report on CWDs: The 2019 ―State of the Education Report for India: Children with Disabilities‖ has been released by the UNESCO. The report highlights accomplishments and challenges with regards to the right to education of children with disabilities (CWDs).
There are 78,64,636 children with disability in India constituting 1.7% of the total child population. Three-fourths of the children with disabilities at the age of five years and one-fourth between 5-19 years do not go to any educational institution.
The number of children enrolled in school drops significantly with each successive level of schooling. There are fewer girls with disabilities in schools than boys with disabilities in schools.
A large number of children with disabilities do not go to regular schools but are enrolled at the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). The percentage of children attending schools is the lowest among those with multiple disabilities, mental illnesses and mental retardation.
Significant gaps remain, even though successive government schemes and programs have brought large numbers of children with disabilities into schools. Only 61 percent of CWDs aged between 5 and 19 were attending an educational institution compared to the overall figure of 71 percent when all children are considered.
Around 12 percent of CWDs dropped out of school, which is comparable with the overall percentage of dropouts among all children. 27 percent of CWDs never attended any educational institution, as opposed to the overall figure of 17 percent when the entire child population is taken into account. A review of enrolment figures at NIOS shows a decline for most categories of disabilities between 2009 and 2015.
Swadesh Darshan scheme:
Recognizing the potential of rural tourism in the country, the Tourism Ministry has identified Rural Circuit as one of the thematic circuits identified for development under this scheme and is aimed at leveraging tourism as a force multiplier for revitalizing the rural economy and for giving both domestic and international tourists a glimpse of the rural aspect of the country. It will be 100% centrally fundedfor the project components undertaken for public funding.
To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiativesof Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
Funding of individual project will varyfrom state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate. A National Steering Committee (NSC)will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.