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Current Affairs – 16 September 2021

New Security Partnership

The Hindu

GS 2: International Relations

Context:

  • Recently, a meeting of Quad leaders in Washington DC was held and USA announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the U.K., and the USA (AUKUS).
  • As part of this, Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines with help from the U.K. and the USA.

About:

  • There was no divide separating the interests of America’s Atlantic and Pacific partners.
  • The USA would work with other partners — such as the Quad and ASEAN — in the region.
  • This trilateral grouping that was security focused, was different from – but complementary to – arrangements such as the Quad.
  • AUKUS will also involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries, as well as cooperation across emerging technologies (applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities).

18-month plan

  • The nuclear powered submarines will be built in Adelaide, in close cooperation with the U.K. and the U.S..
  • The 18-month project to deliver the first fleet, would help Australia acquire submarines that are quieter than their conventional counterparts but also more capable of being deployed for longer periods and needing to surface less frequently.
  • But Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, or establish a civil nuclear capability. The submarines would be conventionally armed.

Significance:

  • Only a handful of countries, possess nuclear powered submarines, and it is a momentous decision for any nation to acquire this formidable capability.
  • If the new partnership lives up to its promise, it could be a “game changer” for the region.
  • Alongside India’s stated intent to acquire more nuclear-powered submarines, it will amount to a step-change increase in the Quad’s undersea and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
  • Tensions have been high between Australia and an increasingly assertive China, its largest trade partner. Australia banned Chinese telecom giant Huawei in 2108 and Australia called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 last year. China retaliated by imposing tariffs on or capping Australian exports.

Peace and stability

  • The initiative is in response Australia wanting to step up its game with regard to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The partnership was also a “down-payment” the U.K. was making on its decision to engage more deeply with the Indo-Pacific, the partnership was a “fundamental decision…that binds, decisively, Australia to the United States and Great Britain for generations.”
  • AUKUS was “very rare” and a “one off” and that the U.S. sharing this kind of technology on nuclear powered submarines had been done only once before — with the U.K. and almost 70 years ago.

 

28% Jump in Registration of Cases in 2020

The Hindu

GS : Internal Security

Context:

  • According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, there was a 28% increase in the registration of cases in 2020 compared to 2019, primarily owing to the violations of COVID-19 norms across the country.

Highlights of the Report:

  • Crimes against SCs, with a total of 50,291 cases, showed an increase of 9.4%.
  • Simple hurt with 32.9% (16,543) formed the largest chunk, followed by cases under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act with 8.5% (4,273) and cases under criminal intimidation with 7.5% (3,788).
  • In all, 8,272 cases were instituted for offences against STs: an increase of 9.3% over 2019.
  • Simple hurt (2,247) accounted for 27.2%, followed by rape with 13.7% (1,137) and assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty with 10.7% (885).
  • The cases of sedition declined from 93 in 2019 to 73 last year, with Manipur reporting 15 cases, Assam 12, Karnataka eight, Uttar Pradesh seven, Haryana six, Delhi five and Kashmir two cases.
  • A total of 66,01,285 cognisable crimes, comprising more than 42,54 lakh Indian Penal Code (IPC) offences and over 23.46 lakh Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes, were registered in 2020.
  • Effectively, there was a decrease in registration of traditional crime by about two lakh cases.
  • It shows an increase of 14,45,127 (28.0%) in registration of cases over 2019 (51,56,158 cases). Crime rate registered per lakh population has increased from 385.5 in 2019 to 487.8 in 2020.
  • During 2020, registration of cases under IPC has increased by 31.9% whereas SLL crimes have increased by 21.6% over 2019.
  • A major increase was seen in the cases registered under disobedience to the order duly promulgated by public servant, under Section 188 of the IPC, from 29,469 in 2019 to 6,12,179 cases last year; and under ‘other IPC crimes’ from 2,52,268 to 10,62,399 cases.
  • During 2020, more than 55.84 lakh cases were under investigation and over 34.47 lakh of them were disposed of.
  • In nearly 26.12 lakh cases, charge sheets were filed, resulting in a charge-sheeting rate of 75.8%, an increase by 12.50% compared to 2019.
  • During lockdown last year due to COVID-19, cases of crime against women, children and senior citizens, theft, burglary, robbery and dacoity declined.
  • A total of 10,47,216 cases of offences affecting the human body were registered, which accounted for 24.6% of the total IPC crimes last year.
  • “Hurt” as an offence accounted for maximum cases (55.3%), followed by causing death by negligence (12.1%) and assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (8.2%).
  • Cases of murder showed a marginal increase of 1% to 29,193. Various kinds of disputes were found to be the motive in the majority of murder cases, followed by “personal vendetta or enmity” and “gain”.
  • The “kidnapping and abduction” cases declined by 19.3%. While 14,869 were male, 73,721 were female victims. As per the data, 56,591 were minor (8,715 male and 47,876 female) and 31,999 (6,154 male and 25,845 female) adults.
  • A total of 91,458 kidnapped or abducted persons (22,872 male and 68,867 female) were found alive and recovered, while 281 persons were found dead.
  • Of the 71,107 cases of offences against public tranquility, which saw a 12.40% increase over 2019, 51,606 were of rioting.
  • There was 8.30% decline in cases of crime against women. A majority of the cases were related to “cruelty by husband or his relatives” (30.0%), followed by “assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty” (23.0%), “kidnapping & abduction of women” (16.8%) and “rape” (7.5%).
  • The crime rate registered per lakh women population is 56.5 in 2020 in comparison with 62.3 in 2019.
  • A total of 29,768 cases were registered against juveniles during 2020, showing a decrease of 7.8%. The authorities apprehended 35,352 juveniles in 29,768 cases.
  • While 1,45,754 cases of economic offences were registered, showing a decrease of 12%, there was a decline of 27% in cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act from 4,244 to 3,100 cases. However, with 50,035 cases, cybercrimes recorded an 11.80% increase.
  • Human trafficking cases declined from 2,208 to 1,714 cases. The agencies rescued 4,680 victims and arrested 4,966 persons. The number of missing persons decreased by 15%.
  • During 2020, over 3.32 lakh such persons, including 2.24 lakh female and 142 transgender, were traced or recovered.
  • 59,262 children were reported missing last year, a 19.80% dip compared to 2019, while 64,573 (15,832 male, 48,717 female and 24 transgender) were recovered or traced.
  • Last year, 25,65,448 accused persons were charge-sheeted, 8,76,553 were convicted, 1,17,539 were acquitted and 13,755 were discharged.
  • The States reporting high charge-sheeting rate under IPC crimes were Gujarat (97.1%), Kerala (94.9%) and Tamil Nadu (91.7%).

 

Environment-related Offences 

Down to Earth

GS 3: Environment and Conservation

Context:

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)’s latest report has shown that cases under the ‘environment-related offences’ category increased by 78.1% in the country in 2020.

About:

  • This is one of the highest increases in cases in various crime categories, excluding the offences related to the COVID-19 regulations and norms in 2020.
  • Environment-related offences include violations of the Forest Act, the Forest Conservation Act, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, The Environmental (Protection) Act, the Air & the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, Noise Pollution Acts and the National Green Tribunal Act.
  • India, as a whole, reported 61,767 cases in 2020. This was an increase of 78.1%, in comparison to cases in 2019. This excluded 7,154 cases pending since 2019.
  • Four-fifths of the environment-related crimes were registered under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act. There were 49,710 cases of violations of this law, or 80.5% of total environment-related cases in 2020.
  • Violations of noise pollution control laws of both the Union and state governments formed the second-highest number of environment-related cases. These violations accounted for 11.8% of the total cases.

Performance of states:

  • Tamil Nadu reported the country’s highest number of environment-related crimes. In 2020, the state registered 42,756 cases, which was more than three times the number of cases registered in 2019.
  • Rajasthan came second among the states, with 9,543 cases registered in 2020; in 2019, this number was 10,782 cases.
  • Uttar Pradesh (UP) came third with 2,981 cases in 2020. In 2019, the state registered 1,882 cases.
  • There were 2,287 cases filed under the Forest Act and the Forest Conservation Act. UP reported the highest number of cases — 1, 317 — in the country under this law.
  • Under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, there were 672 cases, with UP having the highest number (185) of cases, followed by Rajasthan with 151 cases.
  • Under the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986, the country reported 992 cases, with UP again having the highest number of cases at 841.
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