Menace of Forced conversions

In News

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently filed an affidavit regarding the menace of forced conversion.

More about the news

  • Union government to take cognisance of Conversions:
    • Union government told the Supreme Court that it is “cognisant of the menace” of forced conversions and will take “appropriate steps” to deal with it.
  • In conflict with the right to freedom to religion:
    • The government said that “undoubtedly” the right to freedom to religion, and “more importantly the right to conscience of all citizens of the country, is an extremely cherished and valuable rights which ought to be protected by the Executive and the Legislature”.
    • The MHA also added that “the right to freedom of religion does not include a fundamental right to convert people to a particular religion”.
    • It also stated that the “said right certainly does not include the right to convert an individual through fraud, deception, coercion, allurement or other such means”.
  • Laws to curb forced conversions:
    • MHA said some states already had laws to curb forced conversions and added that these were also upheld by the top court.
    • The government submitted that “such enactments are necessary for protecting cherished the rights of vulnerable sections of the society, including women and economically and socially backward classes”.

Significant Supreme Court judgments on conversions

  • Right to spread & not convert:
    • The SC in its previous jugment has held that “the word propagate does not envisage the right to convert a person, rather (it) is in the nature of the positive right to spread one’s religion by exposition of its tenets”. 
    • The court further held that fraudulent or induced conversion impinges upon the right to freedom of conscience of an individual apart from hampering public order and therefore the state was well within its power to regulate/restrict the same.
  • Sarla Mudgal case (1995):
    • In this, the Supreme Court held that conversion to Islam was not valid if done only in order to be able to practise polygamy. 
  • Chandra Sekaran case (1963):
    • In this case, the court observed that a person does not cease to be a Hindu merely because he declares that he has no faith in his religion or stops practising his religion.
Right to Freedom of religion in IndiaThe Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these. In keeping with this idea of religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the StateConstitutional Provisions:Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religionArticle 26:  Freedom to manage religious affairsArticle 27: Freedom to pay taxes for promotion of any particular religionArticle 28: Freedom to attend religious instruction or worship in certain educational institutions

More about the Legislation against Forced Conversions in India

  • About the regulation of Conversions in India:
    • In 1954, Parliament took up for consideration the Indian Conversion (Regulation and Registration) Bill
    • Six years later, another law, the Backward Communities (Religious Protection) Bill, 1960, was proposed to stop conversion.
      • Both were dropped for want of support. 
  • State Laws:
    • Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh passed anti-conversion laws in 1967, 1968 and 1978 respectively.
      • Later, similar laws were passed by the state assemblies of Chhattisgarh (2000), Tamil Nadu (2002), Gujarat (2003), Himachal Pradesh (2006), and Rajasthan (2008). 
      • The laws were intended to stop conversions by force or inducement, or fraudulently. 
      • Permissions:
        • Some of the laws made it mandatory to seek prior permission from local authorities before conversion.
      • Penalties:
        • Penalties for breaching the laws can range from monetary fines to imprisonment, with punishments ranging from one to three years of imprisonment and fines from 5,000 to ?50,000. 
        • Some of the laws provide for stiffer penalties if women, children, or members of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) are being converted. 
    • Offences that the forced conversions attract
      • These laws made forced conversion a cognisable offence under sections 295 A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code, which pertain to malicious and deliberate intention to hurt the religious sentiments of others. 

Way Ahead

  • Errors leading to misuse:
    • While there is reason to suspect that some conversions are merely a sham, the existing anti-conversion laws leave room for error which might result in oppression and misuse by authorities.
  • Motivated by religious dogma:
    • These legislations are largely motivated by religious dogma and at present, they mostly affect religious minorities negatively. 
    • Even though their proposed purpose is to protect the minorities it has a detrimental impact on our society. 
  • Indian secularism:
    • Indian secularism is a unique concept in a way that it has been established by different multicultural groups forever changing its focus to being incredibly flexible and durable. 
    • However, the cultural fragmentation that the existence and application of these laws create is a persisting issue.

Police Commissionerate System

In News

  • Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to introduce the police commissionerate system in Agra, Ghaziabad and Prayagraj after it was implemented in Noida, Varanasi, Lucknow and Kanpur.
    • The three districts would be declared as metropolitan cities as per the rules of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) before implementing the police commissionerate system.

Commissionerate System

  • Empowerment of police under commissionerate system:
    • The commissioner of police under the commissionerate system exercises the powers and duties of a District Magistrate. These powers are also available to any officer under the commissioner who is not below the rank of an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
    • This essentially means that such police officers now have powers of preventive arrestimposing Section 144 of the CrPC Act.
    • The police are also empowered to conduct externment proceedings and issue written orders to remove a person from their jurisdiction of the commissionerate for a maximum of two years.
  • Need to introduce the commissionerate system
    • Various committees constituted to suggest police reforms: They have recommended implementation of a police commissioner system in cities which have witnessed rapid urbanisation and have a population of more than 10 lakhs.
    • 6th report of the National Police Commission: It noted that as compared to police in districts, police in commissionerate in small areas had a better account of themselves.
    • Changing dynamism and growing complexities of security threats: It further pointed out that in urban areas, the changing dynamism and growing complexities of security threats required a swift and prompt response.
    • Solves the issue of lack of understanding: However, in districts where the SPs and DMs do not have an understanding, orders to swiftly act are rarely issued in time which aggravates the situation.
    • Additional powers: Police officers under this commissionerate system will be given additional powers by amending certain sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Police Act, Motor Vehicles Act, National Security Act, State Security Act (externment from districts), Prisoners Act, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, Government Secrets Act etc. 
  • Issues with commissionerate system:
    • Delegation of authority and better integration: Issues like delegation of authority and better integration will have to be addressed.
    • Immense power: This will lead to immense power in the hands of police which already lacks public confidence.
    • Civil administrative officials have an edge: because people are more comfortable in interacting with them as they create balance in society.
    • Works well where literacy ratio is higher: This system works better in states where the literacy ratio is higher and people have wide knowledge about law and their fundamental rights.
  • Structure of commissionerate system:
    • A deputy inspector general of police (DIG) rank or above officer will be appointed as Commissioner of Police (CP).
    • And, CP will be assisted by special commissioner, joint commissioner, additional commissioner and deputy commissioner.
    • According to the commissionerate system implemented in various states, the CP will directly report to the government, in place of DM.
  • How many states have it?
    • Almost all states barring Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, UT of J&K, and some Northeastern states have a commissionerate system.
    • The British brought the system first in Kolkata and followed it in Mumbai and Chennai presidencies.
    • Delhi turned into a commissionerate during the Morarji Desai regime. 

Difference between the Dual System of Control and the Commissionerate System

Commissionerate systemDual system
The commissioner of police under the commissionerate system exercises the powers and duties of a District Magistrate along with policing.Separation of powers of the DM and the police.
Concentration of the power is under the single authority.DM is entrusted with issuing arrest warrants, licenses while the SP has powers and responsibilities to investigate crime and make arrests.
Higher concentration of power.The system is designed to ensure a lower concentration of power and making the police more accountable to the DM at the district level.

China Plus One Strategy

In News

  • Companies contemplating diversifying their dependence on China is a strategy known as “China-Plus-One”.

More about the Strategy

  • China as the ‘World’s factory’:
    • China, known as the ‘World’s factory’ has been the centre of global supply chains in the last few decades owing to following
      • Favourable factors of production and 
      • Astrong business ecosystem. 
    • Beginning:
      • When large manufacturing entities in the U.S. and Europe moved production to China in the 1990s, they knew they got a low manufacturing-cost base and also access to a big market for a large number of products. 
  • Issues during pandemic:
    • During the pandemic, there were a lot of disruptions in many of the economies
    • When the large economies came out of the pandemic, there was a sudden demand.
    • China’s Zero-COVID Policy meant that there was industrial lockout and supply chains were not able to supply consistently. There was also the container shortage.
  • Evolution of China+1 strategy:
    • Zero-COVID policy, supply chain disruption issues, high freight rates and lead times from China – the confluence of all these factors have resulted in a China+1 strategy for many global companies. 
    • As the Chinese economy is shutting itself, global companies are exploring other manufacturing locations. 
  • Alternative supply chain: 
    • Now many MNCs are adding new operations in other developing Asian countries like India, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia, and are welcoming new manufacturing opportunities. 
    • A strategy that is an answer to having efficient supply chain management. 
  • Benefits for India:
    • India is likely to be the next best candidate to benefit from this altered situation owing to its competitive advantage in various industries, favourable factors of production, conducive business environment, and incentivising government policies.

Following are the potential sectors that can benefit from China plus one strategy

  • Textile:
    • Textiles in the second largest employer after agriculture in India. 
    • It is a labour-intensive sector as India has cheap labour comparatively.
    • It Contributes 5% to India’s GDP, 7% of industrial outputs in value terms, 12% of the country’s export earnings. Therefore, it will always be in the focus/priority of the government’s industry benefit list.
    • Other benefits:
      • Abundance of raw material
      • Presence across the entire value chain
      • Second largest manufacturer of textiles and clothing in the world.
  • Metals:
    • India has a competitive advantage in steel and aluminium on account of an adequate supply of raw materials and a growing market for finished goods.
    • The PLI scheme for the specialty steel industry will apply for a 5-yr period from 2023-24 onwards.
      • It is expected to bring in an investment of approximately Rs. 40,000 cr and capacity addition of 25 mn tonnes for specialty steel.
  • Chemicals:
    • With a 35% market share in global exports, China is slowly losing its momentum due to changes in trade dynamics and stringent environment norms. 
    • These changes in China will help India increase its global market share from 3% to 9% as expected in the coming decade.
    • The Indian chemical industry grew by 11.7% CAGR over CY 2015-20 and is valued at around $32 bn. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.4% in the next 5 yrs.
  • Pharmaceuticals:
    • Indian Generic medicines has 20% share in global supply by volume.
    • China and India are the sources of 75-80% of the APIs imported to the US. 
  • Semiconductors:
    • U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan, and the supply chain blockages owing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have led major economies to enter the chip-making sector with a renewed push.
    • Indian government also recently announced the PLI and DLI schemes as major steps towards building a semiconductor ecosystem in the country.

Suggestions & Way Ahead

  • Establishment of the global supply chain:
    • The establishment of the global supply chain was built over a period of time. The experience of some of these companies in India is relatively less. 
  • Understanding the expectations: 
    • There are specific expectations of quality in every country. So, a good bit of time has to be spent in understanding these quality expectations of global customers in different geographies.
  • Balancing domestic supply:
    • Also, Indian firms will have to continue to support global companies even if domestic demand goes up. 
    • It will have to be a long-term separate business that they are committing themselves to.
  • Various initiatives by Indian government:
    • The government also clenched the situation and took further steps in the same direction by introducing PLI schemes for multiple sectors like textiles, electronics, raising import duties on some products, and so on.
      • The PLI scheme is a big push towards manufacturing locally and localising technology, strengthening our own manufacturing. 
    • Before COVID-19 too, the government had taken measures like reducing corporate tax rates, Atmanirbhar Bharat, and others to incentivize domestic production. 

4th India-France Annual Defence Dialogue

In News

  • Recently, India and France discussed defence industrial cooperation with a focus on ‘Make in India’.

Key Points

  • About: 
    • It was the 4th India-France annual defence dialogue chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his visiting French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu.
  • Background: 
    • It comes in a year that has seen an acceleration of the French and Indian armed forces’ endeavours towards even greater interoperability through joint air, navy, and army exercises, such as IMEX 22 in March, Varuna in March-April, and the recently-concluded Garuda in October-November 2022.
  • Focus: 
    • Make in India
    • Means to strengthen maritime cooperation and 
    • Increase the scope and complexity of bilateral exercises. 
  • Minutes and future projects: 
    • Future collaborations and potential co-production opportunities were discussed. 
    • The technical groups from both the countries will meet early next year and take the key cooperation issues forward
    • A wide range of bilateral, regional and defence industrial cooperation issues were discussed during the dialogue.
    • Reviewed the ongoing military-to-military cooperation, which has increased substantially in recent years.
    • They recognised their convergences on a number of “strategic and defence issues and shared the commitment to work together on enhancing cooperation in bilateral, regional and multilateral fora, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region.
    • The discussions ranged from enhancing cooperation in areas of mutual interest to the maritime challenges in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • France: 
    • France is the current chair of Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and both countries cooperate closely in these fora.
    • The French Minister acknowledged India’s indigenous potential and self-reliance. 

India France Relations

  • Strategic Dialogue:
    • France is the first country with which we initiated a Strategic Dialogue after our 1998 nuclear tests when France refused to impose bilateral sanctions on us and displayed a far greater understanding of India’s security compulsions compared to other countries.
  • Trade between two countries:
    • Bilateral trade with France has witnessed a steady rise in the last decade reaching USD 10.75 billion in 2020. The two sides also recognised the importance of fast tracking the discussions on an India-EU trade and investment agreement.
    • Nearly $16 billion worth of agreements at the business summit were signed. There are nearly 1,000 French companies present while over a hundred Indian businesses have established a presence in France.
  • Brexit: 
    • In the past, Indian companies saw the U.K. as the entry point for Europe; now with Brexit approaching, India can also look at France as its entry point for Europe.
  • Defence:
    • An agreement for building six Scorpène submarines in India with French help was signed in 2005.
    • Technology sharing and acquisitions of short-range missiles and radar equipment were concluded.
    • Joint exercises between the air forces (Garuda series) and the armies (Shakti) were instituted in 2003 and 2011, respectively.
    • The government-to-government agreement for 36 Rafale aircrafts has taken place. The ambitious offset target of 50% (nearly Rs.25,000 crore), properly implemented, can help in building up India’s budding aerospace industry.
  • Energy Sector:
    • An agreement was signed about a decade ago for building six EPR (European Pressurized Reactors) nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 9.6 GW for which negotiations have been on-going between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Areva.
    • On green energy: 
      • The International Solar Alliance is set in motion jointly by India and France.
      • France offered an extra $861.5 million by 2022 for solar projects in developing countries.
  • Maritime cooperation:
    • China’s angle: 
      • Like India, France has expressed concern about China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region.
      • French overseas territories in the Indian and the Pacific Oceans provide it with the second-largest exclusive economic zone globally. It has long maintained bases in Reunion Islands and Djibouti and established one in Abu Dhabi in 2009.
    • Strengthening cooperation with France, particularly in the western Indian Ocean Region makes eminent strategic sense even as India develops its presence in Oman (Duqm) and Seychelles (Assumption Island).
    • More synergy between the two navies in the Gulf area where France has a base (in Abu Dhabi) and better mutual understanding of the implications of a Chinese base in Gwadar is important for India.
  • Space:
    • Earlier France assisted India to set up the Sriharikota launch site.
    • Today, it is a relationship of near equals and the ‘vision statement’ refers to world-class joint missions for space situational awareness, high resolution earth observation missions with applications in meteorology, oceanography and cartography.
    • Inter-planetary exploration and space transportation systems are cutting edge science and technology areas that have also been identified.
    • Collaboration for Mission Gaganyaan:
      • Space agencies of India and France inked an agreement for cooperation for the country’s first human space mission Gaganyaan. 
  • Education:
    • The most significant agreement was the focus on youth and student exchanges.
    • Currently, about 2,500 Indians go to France annually to pursue higher education, compared to more than 250,000 from China.
    • The agreement on mutual recognition of academic degrees and the follow-on Knowledge Summit, where 14 MoUs between educational and scientific institutions were signed.
  • Tourism:
    • While there are only about 20 flights a week between India and France, there are four times as many to Germany and 10 times as many to the U.K. So the number of flights between India and France have to be increased.
  • Post-COVID Agenda: 
    • India and France will advance their shared post-COVID agenda through “close collaboration”. 
    • There are immense opportunities for greater collaboration in diverse sectors such as trade and investments, defence and security, health, education, research and innovation, energy and climate change.
  • Environment: 
    • India and France had launched the Indo-French Year of the Environment in January 2021 to strengthen cooperation on these issues and ensure coordination ahead of these multilateral events.
      • Objective: To strengthen Indo-French cooperation in sustainable development, increase the effectiveness of actions in favour of global environment protection and give them greater visibility.
      • The Indo-French Year of the Environment over the period 2021-2022 would be based on five main themes:
        • Environmental protection;
        • Climate change;
        • Biodiversity conservation
        • Sustainable urban development;
        • Development of renewable energies and energy efficiency.
      • It is also a platform for engaging in discussions on critical areas of collaboration relating to the environment and allied areas.


  • This visit reaffirms France’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific and India’s centrality in the French strategy for the region.

Why DBT schemes need to fix the problem of farmers?

In News

  • Recently, some of the economists have suggested the conversion of all agricultural subsidies (Inputs or Output) into direct income support to farmers.
    • The IMF too recently lauded India’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme as a “logistical marvel” that has reached hundreds of millions of people and specifically benefited women, the elderly and farmers. 
What is Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT)? The scheme facilitates the transfer of subsidies to beneficiary’s bank accountsVerification is done through multiple databases like the Agricultural Census, Socio-Economic Caste Census, National Food Security Act, National Population Registry, and HRMS database of State government employees, bank account validation through bank databases and de-duplication through Aadhaar. Agricultural land leasing rights are restricted by Indian lawKerala is the only State to completely prohibit leasing.It is also estimated that 36 per cent of India’s tenant farmers were completely landless and 56 per cent owned less than one hectare

Who are Tenant farmers? / Data on tenant Farmers 

  • Who is a tenant farmer?
    • He is a farmer or farm worker who resides on land owned by a landlord.
    • It is an agricultural production system in which landowners contribute their land and often a measure of operating capital and management, while tenant farmers contribute their labour along with at times varying amounts of capital and management. 
    • Depending on the contract, tenants can make payments to the owner either of a fixed portion of the product, in cash or in a combination. 
    • Farm tenancy agreements are largely oral, unwritten contracts and seldom recorded leases.
  • Trend: There is a steady increase in tenant farmers. 
  • NSO survey: According to the National Statistical Office’s (NSO) ‘Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households’ survey for 2018-19, 17.3 percent out of the total estimated 101.98 million operational holdings in rural India were on leased lands.
    • The share of such leased-in lands in the total area used for agricultural production was 13 per cent.
    • The NSO’s previous surveys for 2012-13 and 2002-03 revealed the shares of leased-in holdings at only 13.7 per cent (11.3 percent of area) and 9.9 per cent (6.5 per cent), respectively.  
  • State-wise tenancy data
    • Highest tenant farmers are in Andhra Pradesh (42.4 per cent) and Odisha (39 per cent).
    • Haryana and Punjab: the share of leased-in area is higher than the percentage of tenant holdings.
      • It means that the tenant farmers in these 2 states operate relatively large holdings, even though they don’t own these lands. 
Related SchemesPradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan)It is a central government scheme.The scheme provides an annual income support of Rs 6,000 to all landholding farmer families in India. Rythu Bandhu scheme This scheme was started by Telangana.It extends financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per acre to all farmers owning land and without any size limit. Rythu Bharosa schemeThis scheme was started by Andhra Pradesh.Here, farmer families are paid Rs 13,500 per year, which includes Rs 6,000 through PM-Kisan and the AP government’s top-up of Rs 7,500. KALIA SchemeThis scheme was started by Odisha.The scheme brings under its umbrella 92% of cultivators of the state and almost all needy landless cultivators, who can avail the benefits of this scheme through Direct Benefit Transfer Mode. 

Limitations of DBT Schemes and Tenancy 

  • Limited reach: Schemes such as PM-Kisan, Rythu Bandhu and YSR Rythu Bharosa do not reach tenant farmers (those who undertake cultivation on leased land).
  • Left-out beneficiaries: The exclusion of tenant farmers from income support and also zero/low-interest loans, crop insurance, disaster compensation and other agri-related schemes is significant because of the rising trend of owners no longer directly cultivating their lands.
  • Crop cultivator rights cards: The CCRC requires the landowner’s signature and cannot be issued without his consent. Most owners are hesitant to sign any document confirming they have given their lands on lease.
    • They fear that any written agreement makes them vulnerable to lawsuits by tenants claiming rights over the land. 

Significance of DBT and Tenancy 

  • Transparency: Direct benefit transfers (DBT) on a per-acre or per-farmer basis is seen as transparent and simple to administer.
  • DBT is crop-neutral: only rice, wheat and sugarcane farmers effectively get minimum support prices now and does not cause distortions in input/output markets.
  • Eliminate delays in transfers: DBT will avoid time delays in transferring of benefits to the beneficiaries.
  • No middlemen: Middlemen will be eliminated to reduce the leakage of funds.
  • Biometric identification: Fake and duplicate beneficiaries will be eliminated through biometric identification (Aadhaar). Since intermediaries are removed, this will help the government reduce the structural cost in the end.

Way forward

  • Agriculture in India is increasingly seeing both tenancy: 
    • Landless/marginal farmers leasing land to cultivate.
    • Reverse tenancy where small landowners leasing out to better-off farmers keen to reap economies of scale.
  • Leasing can help both tenant and reverse-tenant farmers operate consolidated holdings, while allowing owners to take up non-agricultural employment without risking loss of their lands. 
  • DBT by leveraging the JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobiles) trinity and the technological prowess offers to drastically improve the benefit delivery system in the country. 
  • States have to come forward to adopt the Model (Agricultural) Land Leasing Act proposed by NITI Aayog in 2016.
    • This Act would allow for the profitable use of fallow land and provide tenant farmers with access to credit and insurance services. 
  • The government should try to subsume all existing input and output subsidies under a single DBT Scheme and should find an answer to the tenant problem

Kuki-Chin Refugees

In News

The Mizoram Cabinet has approved the setting up of temporary shelters and other amenities for Bangladeshi Kuki-Chin refugees.

  • Mizoram shares a 318 km-long international border with Bangladesh.
    • Mizoram is already sheltering over 30,000 refugees from Myanmar who sought refuge in the state after a military coup in the Southeast Asian nation in February last year.

About Kuki-Chin Refugees

  • The Kuki-Chin people share ethnic ties with the Mizos and they fled their homes following armed conflicts between the Bangladesh army and an ethnic insurgent group Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA).

India’s stand on refugees

  • India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. 
  • All foreign undocumented nationals are governed as per the provisions of The Foreigners Act, of 1946, The Registration of Foreigners Act, of 1939, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, of 19,20, and The Citizenship Act, of 1955.


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