First case under conversion ordinance in U.P. Paper:

Mains: G.S. I & II Social Issues & Polity and Governance, 

Why in news?

 The U.P. Police lodged the first case under the new ordinance against unlawful conversions in Bareilly under sections 3 and 5 of the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. 

Key details 

  • The Uttar Pradesh government passed an ordinance Tuesday to deal with unlawful religious conversions.
  • Most media reports have referred to it as an ordinance against ‘love jihad’ but the UP government claims that it tackles forceful conversion and not just the alleged phenomenon of ‘love jihad’.
  • The idea behind ‘love jihad’ first came up in 1927. In the early 20th century, several Hindu reformers were talking about how Hindu women were being forcibly married to Muslims and converted.
  • If a person intends to convert to another religion, he or she must serve a 60-day notice to the district magistrate. The magistrate will then carry out enquiries to see if the conversion is consensual or if blackmail or deceit is involved.
  • This also does not apply to the Special Marriage Act. People of different faith who wish to marry each other can still follow due procedure under the Special Marriage Act.
  • It makes religious conversion for marriage a non-bailable offence.
  • The onus will be on the defendant to prove that conversion was not for marriage.
  • Violation of the provisions of the law would invite a jail term of not less than one year extendable to five years with a fine of ₹15,000.
  • If a minor woman or a woman from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes communities was converted through the said unlawful means, the jail term would be a minimum of three years and could be extended to 10 years with a fine of ₹25,000.

One-fourth real estate units in Gurugram are stressed: RERA chief Paper:

Mains: G.S. II Polity & Governance, Social Justice

Why in news?

Around 70,000 real estate units – almost one-fourth of the total units being monitored by Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority are stressed for various reasons

Key details

  • Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) is an act passed by the Parliament in 2016 that came into effect fully from 1st May, 2017.
  • It seeks to protect home-buyers as well as help boost investments in the real estate sector by bringing efficiency and transparency in the sale/purchase of real estate.

  • The Act establishes Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in each state for regulation of the real estate sector and also acts as an adjudicating body for speedy dispute resolution.
  • Establishment of state level regulatory authorities- Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA): The Act provides for State governments to establish more than one regulatory authority with the following mandate: Register and maintain a database of real estate projects; publish it on its website for public viewing, Protection of interest of promoters, buyers and real estate agents Development of sustainable and affordable housing, Render advice to the government and ensure compliance with its Regulations and the Act.
  • Establishment of Real Estate Appellate Tribunal- Decisions of RERAs can be appealed in these tribunals.
  • Mandatory Registration: All projects with plot size of minimum 500 sq.mt or eight apartments need to be registered with Regulatory Authorities.
  • Cap on Advance Payments: A promoter cannot accept more than 10% of the cost of the plot, apartment or building as an advance payment or an application fee from a person without first entering into an agreement for sale.

Historic recession Paper:

Mains: G.S. III Indian Economy

Why in news?

The fact that India’s economy entered a technical recession in the July-September period has now been confirmed by NSO data.

Key details

  • Provisional estimates of GDP for the 2nd quarter of the year ending in March 2021 show economic output shrank by 7.5%, following the 23.9% contraction in the 1st
  • Not only has the economy shrunk for a second successive quarter, marking a recession for the first time in independent India’s history, but the overall GDP figure of ₹33,14,167 crore (at 2011-12 prices) reveals output has slid back to the lowest level in 12 quarters.
  • A closer look at both the expenditure side and the gross value added across various industry categories leaves little room for comfort.
  • Private consumption expenditure — the single biggest component propelling GDP with a share exceeding 50% at constant prices and edging toward 60% in current prices — continued to shrink albeit at a slower pace (-11.3%), reflecting both consumer wariness to spend amid the pandemic and the impact of lost jobs and reduced incomes.
  • And, government consumption spending that was hitherto a bulwark and what kept the bottom from falling out in the first quarter when it grew 16%, contracted by 22% revealing the precarious state of public finances.
  • And even though the contractions in gross fixed capital formation, exports and imports all narrowed, it was a puzzling almost fourfold growth in ‘discrepancies’ at ₹56,962 crore that limited the extent of decline in the overall GDP.
  • In the real economy, electricity and other utility services joined agriculture in posting growth, expanding 4.4%, as the post-lockdown resumption of industrial activity lifted power and water consumption.
  • GVA data from the NSO on Friday showed manufacturing rebounding to a marginal 0.6% expansion after a 39% collapse in the preceding quarter.
  • Financial, real estate and professional services, which contribute about a fourth of the GVA, widened contraction from the first quarter, shrinking 8.3%.
  • Clearly, the financial services sector is not in good health and is an ominous portent for the economy given its crucial role in credit intermediation.
  • The economy urgently needs a robust demand stimulus if a protracted slump is to be prevented.

Assassination and it’s aftermath

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II International Relations

Why in news?

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian scientist who led Iran’s nuclear weapons programme until it was disbanded, was assassinated last week.

Key details

  • Suspicion immediately fell on Israel, which has been widely held responsible for assassinating several Iranian nuclear scientists early last decade.
  • Three U.S. intelligence officials have said that Mossad assassinated Fakhrizadeh.
  • Assassinations in which Israeli hands were suspected had stopped after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) imposed strict restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • After Iran, in retaliation for the U.S.’s withdrawal from the agreement and re-imposition of stringent sanctions, began enriching uranium and stockpiling it beyond JCPOA limits, the strategy of targeted assassinations seems to be back.
  • This strategy has assumed urgency with the election of Joe Biden in the U.S., who has expressed his desire to return to the JCPOA if Iran agrees to conform to its parameters.
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif declared that Iran is willing to comply with the agreement if Mr. Biden lifts sanctions.
  • This has raised a red flag in Israeli government circles. Israel has been the most enthusiastic cheerleader for President Donald Trump’s policy of putting “maximum pressure” on Tehran to force it to give up permanently its quest for nuclear enrichment, freeze its ballistic missile programme, and end its support to regional allies perceived as threatening American and Israeli interests.
  • The Benjamin Netanyahu government is apprehensive that Mr. Biden will imperil Israel’s nuclear monopoly in West Asia. It is, therefore, working towards engineering a major confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, while Mr. Trump is still in office.
  • Trump, because of his dislike for former President Barack Obama, may be willing to order air strikes on Iranian nuclear installations in order to pre-empt the U.S.’s return to the nuclear agreement that was the foremost achievement of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy.
  • The assassination of Fakhrizadeh appears to be part of a larger Israeli plan in conjunction with Saudi Arabia to force the U.S. into taking military action against Iran.
  • Netanyahu’s recent semi-clandestine trip to Saudi Arabia to meet with the Crown Prince along with the U.S. Secretary of State was aimed at cementing the anti-Iran front and putting pressure on the Trump administration to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations.
  • Riyadh considers Tehran to be its principal adversary and the primary threat to its leadership aspirations in West Asia.
  • According to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, the late Saudi King Abdullah exhorted Washington in 2008 to “cut off the head of the snake”, a clear reference to Iran, by launching military strikes to destroy Tehran’s nuclear installations.
  • Fakhrizadeh’s assassination creates a win-win situation for Israel. If the Iranian government launches revenge attacks on Israeli targets or those of America’s Arab allies, Mr. Netanyahu would be able to persuade the U.S. to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
  • If Iran shows restraint, Israel would have shown up the Iranian regime as weak while augmenting anti-American feelings in the country that would make it difficult for the Biden administration to resume negotiations with Tehran on reviving JCPOA.
  • Either way, the fallout of the assassination, while benefiting Israel, will add to the instability in the region.


Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Paper:

Mains: G.S. II IR and International Organisations

Why in news?

India on Sunday strongly rejected the criticism of its Kashmir policy by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Key details

  • The MEA hinted at Pakistan that it is using OIC for its campaign against India.
  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states.
  • It is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • It was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on the 25th of September 1969.
  • Headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • India is not a member of the OIC. However, India was invited as a guest of honour at 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Minister in 2019. 2019 is the 50th anniversary of OIC.