What is Armed Forces Special Powers Act?

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 was first enacted to fight Naga insurgency; later, its scope was expanded to cover other regions facing insurgency. The law empowers the armed forces to “shoot to kill” and “arrest without warrant on suspicion” in areas declared as ‘disturbed‘. The law gives certain discretionary powers to armed forces and also protects them from judicial prosecution for their actions.

The authority to declare an area in a state as ‘disturbed’ lies with the Governor of the State, and the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Union Government.

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Asian Multilateral Financial Institutions – AIIB, ADB, NDB

While the global multilateral financial institutions have remained dominated by the western countries, the influence of Asian countries in these institutions is growing. Meanwhile, certain financial mechanisms have been built by the Asian Countries to support their economic development and to widen their choices for development financing.

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African Union, regional groupings, and organisations of Africa

Africa is a vast continent of 55 countries, and covers 20% of the earth’s land area. It is the second largest and the second most populous continent, first being Asia. Africa has been the hotspot of colonialism, the legacies of which still mar the continent. Let us have a look at African organisations and associated agreements of trade and cooperation.

African Union

The African Union (AU) is a continental union of all 55 countries on the African continent. It was established in 2002, as the successor to the Organisation of African Unity. It does not include territories held by foreign sovereigns: Spain (Canary islands, etc), France (Reunion, Scattered Islands in Indian Ocean, etc), Portugal and the UK.

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42nd Constitution Amendment 1976 – what was it, and what remains of it?

The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act 1976 was enacted during the National Emergency 1975-77, and is the most controversial constitution amendment in the history of India. It brought so widespread changes in the Constitution of India, that scholars often call it a mini constitution. Most of the provisions of this amendment were later reversed and negated, parly by the 43rd and 44th Constitution amendment acts enacted by the new parliament, and partly by the judgements of the Supreme Court of India.

Let us see the most prominent changes brought by the 42nd amendment.

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Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is responsible for disseminating information about government policies, schemes and programmes through the mediums of mass communication. It oversees the implementation of rules and regulations related to print and digital media, keeping in view the freedom of the press and the right to free speech. The ministry is functionally organised into three wings:

  • The Information Wing is in charge of disseminating information about government schemes, publishing government advertisements, overseeing the press sector and the public media units including Press Information Bureau, Registrar of Newspapers for India, etc.
  • The Broadcasting Wing administers the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990, and also undertakes broadcasting infrastructure development works. It also regulates the content of private satellite channels under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.
  • The Films Wing administers the Cinematograph Act 1952, which regulates the certification and exhibition of films in India. It also promotes good cinema by recognising it with awards, and organises various film festivals.
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Ministry of Labour and Employment

Ministry of Labour and Employment is responsible to protect and safeguard the interests of workers, and to promote a healthy work environment for higher production and productivity. It implements labour laws along with the state governments as labour is a subject in the concurrent list.

Associated Organisations:

Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is tasked to assist the Central Board of Trustees, a statutory body, to administer a compulsory Provident Fund Scheme, a Pension Scheme, and an Insurance scheme for the workforce engaged in the organised sector in India.

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Ministry of Law and Justice

The Ministry of Law and Justice is the oldest limb of the Government of India, dating back to 1833. It has three departments under it.

Departments:

  • Legislative Department : It drafts all principal legislation for the central government.
  • Department of Legal Affairs : It advises various ministries on legal matters.
  • Department of Justice : It is responsible for administrative functions in relation to courts, infrastructure development in Subordinate Judiciary, promotion of access to justice and legal aid to poor. It also plays a role from the government side in selection and appointment of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court.
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