Post-1957, President retains power to scrap Article 370: SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday raised the question whether the President’s power to declare inoperative Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, will not continue to hold the field after the dissolution of the erstwhile State’s Constituent Assembly on January 26, 1957.
Clause (3) of Article 370 gave the President power to notify the Article “inoperative” or modify it. But a proviso had made it “necessary” that such a move would have to be recommended by the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Constituent Assembly.
“A Constituent Assembly is not a permanent body like the Parliament and the Supreme Court. No Constituent Assembly can have an indefinite life… The J&K Constituent Assembly was constituted for a specific purpose — to draft the Constitution of J&K. It became functus officio once the J&K Constitution was framed… This proviso making the Constituent Assembly’s ‘recommendation’ necessary before abrogation has no application. If the proviso ceased to operate, surely the substantive part of Clause 3 in Article 370 will remain,” Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, heading a Constitution Bench, observed orally on the first day of hearing.
CJI Chandrachud was responding to an argument by senior advocate Kapil Sibal that following the dissolution of the J&K Constituent Assembly, Article 370 cannot be revoked, as its concurrence was necessary to do so.
President retains power to scrap Article 370: SC
“Are you saying the President has blanket powers,” asked Mr. Sibal, appearing for Mohammad Akbar Lone and the lead lawyer for the petitioners’ side.
“Can the will of the people of J&K be caged or silenced in this fashion? There has been no representative democracy in J&K in the past five years… In the guise of restoring democracy, we have decimated democracy. The State of J&K historically represented a unique relationship unlike princely states which integrated into the Union. Can that unique relationship between two sovereigns be jettisoned like this,” he asked the court.
Mr. Sibal asked how Parliament could have declared itself the legislature of J&K in place of the J&K Constituent Assembly in order to remove the special status granted under Article 370. “Parliament was a creature of the Constitution. It could not have acted outside the Constitution,” he said. The Governor took on the role of the ‘State government’ after keeping the State Legislative Assembly in suspended animation.
Mr. Sibal said J&K was an “exception” to the amalgamation of princely states into the Union.
Justice B.R. Gavai asked Mr. Sibal why Article 370 was mentioned in the Constitution only as a “temporary” provision. “So, you are saying that though Article 370 was created as a temporary provision, it became permanently engrafted into the Constitution after 1957 with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly,” Justice S.K. Kaul asked Mr. Sibal. “Article 370 was there when India became a Republic. The Article mentions a Constituent Assembly for J&K. However, the Constituent Assembly was not convened until December 1951. It was then left to the people of J&K, through their Constituent Assembly, to decide if Article 370 ought to be abrogated at all. Article 370 was called ‘temporary’ because the Constitution wanted the J&K people to decide their future… Article 370 could have been abrogated only by a vote of confidence in the Constituent Assembly,” he responded.
Facts about the News
President retains power to scrap Article 370
(General Studies- Paper II)
The Supreme Court is questioning whether the President’s power to declare Article 370 of the Constitution inoperative, continues to hold after the dissolution of the J&K Constituent Assembly on January 26, 1957.
- Clause (3) of Article 370 gave the President the power to make Article 370 “inoperative” or modify it, but a proviso required the recommendation of the J&K Constituent Assembly for such a move.
- Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed that the Constituent Assembly served its purpose by drafting the Constitution of J&K and became functus officio after that.
- Functus officio refers to an officer or agency whose mandate has expired, due to either the arrival of an expiry date or an agency having accomplished the purpose for which it was created.
- Senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued that after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, Article 370 cannot be revoked without its concurrence.
- Sibal questioned whether the Parliament had the authority to declare itself the legislature of J&K to abrogate Article 370, stating that the Parliament could not act outside the Constitution.
- He emphasized that J&K was an exception to the amalgamation of princely states into the Union, and its unique relationship was grafted into the Constitution under Article 370.
- Justice B.R. Gavai highlighted to Mr. Sibal that Article 370 was mentioned in the Constitution only as a “temporary” provision.
Jammu and Kashmir- Background and Accession
- Kashmir is said to owe its origin to the legendary rishi (ascetic-scholar) Kashyap, who reclaimed the land from a lake, leading to its name “Kashyapmar,” which later became Kashmir.
- Maurya emperor Ashoka had a connection with Kashmir, and he founded the city of Srinagar and introduced Buddhism to the region.
- In the Mughal era, Kashmir was annexed to the empire under Akbar’s rule.
- The state of Jammu and Kashmir took its modern shape under Ranjit Singh, who established a Sikh confederation and annexed the region in the early 19th century.
- The British East India Company’s influence in India challenged the Sikh empire, leading to the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846, which decided the fate of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The British “sold” the dominion of Jammu and Kashmir to Dogra king Gulab Singh for Rs 75 lakh, and he ruled over the regions of Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Ladakh.
- In 1947, the British divided the Indian subcontinent into two countries – India and Pakistan.
- Jammu and Kashmir ruler Hari Singh initially sought to chart an independent course but later signed the Instrument of Accession with India after Pakistan invaded the region in October 1947.
- Hari Singh sought special privileges for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, similar to a 1927 law that restricted property ownership to locals only.
- The Jawaharlal Nehru government agreed to Hari Singh’s condition and inserted Article 370 in the Constitution, providing special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
– It was granted through the Presidential Order of 1954.
- In 2019, the Narendra Modi government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir through another Presidential Order.
- Article 35A stems from Article 370, having been introduced through a Presidential Order in 1954.
- Article 35A is unique in the sense that it does not appear in the main body of the Constitution but comes up in Appendix I.
- Article 35A empowers the J&K legislature to define the state’s permanent residents and their special rights and privileges.
- Article 35A was not passed as per the amending process given in Article 368, but was inserted on the recommendation of J&K’s Constituent Assembly through a Presidential Order.
About Article 370
- Article 370 of the Indian Constitution grants special autonomy to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It is a temporary provision derived from Part XXI of the Constitution, titled “Temporary, Transitional, and Special Provisions.“
- Article 370 exempted the State from most provisions of the Indian Constitution, except for Article 1 (which defines India’s territory) and Article 370 itself.
- The State of Jammu and Kashmir was allowed to have its own Constitution and enjoyed special privileges not applicable to other states.
- Parliament’s legislative powers were restricted in matters concerning Jammu and Kashmir, except for defense, foreign affairs, finance, and communication.
- Out of 97 items on the Union List, the State had total control over 94, with only defense, foreign affairs, finance, and communication remaining under the central government’s jurisdiction.
- The State government’s approval was required for the implementation of any of the 94 items in which it had control.
- The citizens of Jammu and Kashmir had different laws and rules relating to citizenship, ownership, and Fundamental Rights compared to other Indian citizens.
- Non-permanent residents of the State, who were Indian citizens, were not allowed to purchase property in Jammu and Kashmir due to these special provisions.
Abrogation of Article 370
- Article 370(3) permits deletion by a Presidential Order.
- Such an order, however, is to be preceded by the concurrence of J&K’s Constituent Assembly.
It’s important to note that, Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, 2019. The special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked.
- The State was reorganized into two separate Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
United Naga Council asks State govt. to start update of NRC in Manipur
The influx of people from Myanmar will create a serious demographic crisis; NRC is the only feasible mechanism to curb the unwarranted population, says apex body of Nagas as it slams the Centre for its ‘policy of encouraging’ inflow of people
The United Naga Council, an apex body of Nagas in Manipur, has asked the State government to immediately start the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The BJP-led government in the State headed by Nongthombam Biren Singh has been seeking the Centre’s nod for undertaking the updating exercise like Assam, where 19.06 lakh out of 3.3 crore applicants were left out of the complete draft for the lack of documents to prove their citizenship.
“In the wake of the ever-increasing influx of illegal immigrants, the NRC is the only feasible mechanism to curb the unwarranted population invasion in Manipur. Therefore, the State government should implement the NRC at the earliest,” the UNC said in a statement.
The Naga apex body slammed the Centre for its “policy of encouraging” the inflow of people from Myanmar, pushing Manipur into a serious demographic crisis.
The organisation said it was alarming to learn about the fresh influx of 718 people from Myanmar, as reported by the Assam Rifles on July 23.
The State government should thus initiate stringent steps to curb the menace, the UNC said, while criticising the Centre for not checking the inflow of people from Myanmar.
Manipur is inhabited by three major communities — the Meiteis, the Nagas and the Kuki-Zomis. The Meitei and Naga communities are considered indigenous, while most of the Kuki-Zomi people are said to have settled from Myanmar.
One of the triggers of the Kuki-Meitei clash since May 3 has been the perception that the Kuki-Zomi people and their Chin (Myanmar) cousins have been promoting “narco-terrorism”.
Meanwhile, the Manipur government extended the timeline of the Verification and Identification Committee for identifying “illegal immigrants” from Myanmar staying in the State’s Chandel and Tengnoupal districts to September 30.
The previous deadline was March 31.
As advised by the Union Home Ministry, the State government began collecting the biometric data of people from Myanmar in July. A team of officials of the National Crime Records Bureau, deputed by the Ministry, has been assisting the State government officials in collecting the biometrics at the Foreigners’ Detention Centre at Sajiwa in the Imphal East district.
Officials in Manipur said 718 Myanmar nationals, including 301 children and 208 women, entered the Chandel district on July 22 and 23 due to the clashes between the Myanmar Army and the civil forces.
The Myanmar nationals are now staying in seven villages — Lajang, Bonse, New Samtal, New Lajang, Yangnomphai, Yangnomphai Saw Mill, and Aivomjang — in Chandel district. These villages are along the India-Myanmar border.
Facts about the News
United Naga Council seeks NRC in Manipur
(General Studies- Paper II and III)
The United Naga Council (UNC), an apex body of Nagas in Manipur, has asked the State government to immediately start the exercise to update the NRC in Manipur.
- The BJP-led government in Manipur has been seeking the Centre’s nod for the NRC updating exercise, similar to what was done in Assam.
- The UNC believes that the NRC is necessary to curb the influx of illegal immigrants into Manipur.
- It criticizes the Centre for encouraging the inflow of people from Myanmar, leading to a serious demographic crisis.
- Manipur is inhabited by three major communities – the Meiteis, the Nagas, and the Kuki-Zomis.
- The Meitei and Naga communities are considered indigenous, while most of the Kuki-Zomi people are said to have settled from Myanmar.
- A Kuki-Meitei clash since May 3 has been partly triggered by the perception that the Kuki-Zomi people and their Chin (Myanmar) cousins have been promoting “narco-terrorism.“
- The Manipur government has extended the timeline of the Verification and Identification Committee for identifying “illegal immigrants” from Myanmar staying in certain districts to September 30.
- The State government began collecting biometric data of people from Myanmar in July, with assistance from officials of the National Crime Records Bureau.
- A report by a sub-committee of the Manipur Cabinet revealed that 2,187 illegal immigrants from Myanmar set up settlements in 41 locations in four districts – Tengnoupal, Chandel, Kamjong, and Churachandpur.
What is NRC?
- At its core, the NRC is an official record of those who are legal Indian citizens.
- It includes demographic information about all those individuals who qualify as citizens of India as per the Citizenship Act, 1955.
- The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and since then it has not been updated until recently.
- At present, only Assam has such a register.
NRC in Assam:
- The NRC in Assam is basically a list of Indian citizens living in the state.
- The citizens’ register sets out to identify foreign nationals in the state that borders Bangladesh.
- The process to update the register began following a Supreme Court order in 2013.
Who is a Citizen of India?
- The Citizenship Act, 1955 defines the criteria for Indian citizenship.
- Every person born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, is considered a citizen of India by birth.
- Every person born in India on or after July 1, 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, is also considered a citizen of India by birth if either of their parents is a citizen of India at the time of their birth.
- For those born after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, they will be citizens of India by birth if:
- – Both of their parents are citizens of India, or
- – One of their parents is a citizen of India, and the other parent is not an illegal migrant at the time of their birth.
Coup in Niger
France and the U.S. must push for talks to restore democracy
The ouster of Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 is a blow against political stability in the nascent democracy and efforts to counter fast-spreading Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region. Mr. Bazoum, who became President in 2021 in the West African country’s first peaceful democratic transition since it got independence from the French in 1960, was a symbol of democratic order in an otherwise tumultuous coup-ridden region. He had built strong security partnerships with the U.S. and France, which have troops based in Niger. But pressure was also building on Mr. Bazoum as his rule was struggling to meet people’s expectations. Sections of the military were frustrated with the spread of insurgency in the south and unhappy with his over-reliance on France. The President had also taken steps to curtail the military’s influence — he forced some generals into retirement, sent others abroad and cut back on the perks given to the Presidential Guard. But the public was also growing weary of the administration amid rising jihadist attacks and a cost of living crisis. The Presidential Guard exploited this public resentment when it moved in to oust the President citing the “deteriorating security situation and bad social and economic governance”.
The U.S. and France see Niger, the largest country in West Africa, as a bulwark against Islamist insurgency in the region. Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and several other jihadist groups operate in the Sahel region, with Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali particularly hit. In Mali and Burkina Faso, which saw coups in 2021 and 2022, the putschists ousted UN peacekeepers and French troops, and moved to build closer security ties with Wagner, Russia’s notorious military company. In Niger, supporters of the coup staged demonstrations in the capital Niamey, holding Russian flags and demanding the ouster of French troops. The long French presence and the lack of results in the West’s fight against terrorism seem to have added to the resentment among the militaries and people in the affected countries, which power-hungry generals with a disregard for democratic practices have exploited to seize power. France and the Economic Community of West African States, a regional grouping, have issued an ultimatum to the putschists to restore President Bazoum. But a military intervention would further destabilise the country, helping the insurgents exploit the chaos. Instead, the U.S. and France, which still have influence in Niger, should push for talks between the generals and the presidency, seeking an amicable settlement of the disputes and the restoration of democracy.
Facts about the News
Coup in Niger
(General Studies- Paper II)
President Mohamed Bazoum’s ouster on July 26 is a blow against political stability in Niger and efforts to counter the fast-spreading Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region.
Background and key highlights
- Bazoum became President in 2021, marking Niger’s first peaceful democratic transition since gaining independence from France in 1960.
- He had built strong security partnerships with the U.S. and France, which have troops based in Niger, making him a symbol of democratic order in the coup-ridden region.
- Pressure was mounting on Bazoum as his rule faced challenges in meeting people’s expectations and dealing with the insurgency in the south.
- Sections of the military were frustrated with the security situation and unhappy with his over-reliance on France.
- Bazoum took steps to curtail the military’s influence, which further contributed to public resentment amid rising jihadist attacks and a cost of living crisis.
- The Presidential Guard cited the “deteriorating security situation and bad social and economic governance” when it ousted the President.
- The U.S. and France view Niger as crucial in the fight against Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region.
- In Mali and Burkina Faso, coup leaders ousted UN peacekeepers and French troops and sought closer security ties with Wagner, a Russian military company.
- In Niger, coup supporters demanded the ouster of French troops and expressed resentment towards the long French presence and lack of results in the fight against terrorism.
- France and the Economic Community of West African States have issued an ultimatum to the rebels to restore President Bazoum.
- Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa, situated on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert.
- It is one of the world’s least-developed nations and shares borders with Libya, Algeria, Benin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Chad.
- Before being incorporated into France’s colonial possessions in the early 20th century, the region experienced conflicts between various kingdoms and tribes.
- The country has an area of 1,267,000 km².
- The Sahara Desert covers about 65% of Niger, with most people residing in the southern part of the country.
- Niger has an estimated population of 17.8 million people (as of 2013), and it has the highest total fertility rate globally, with an average of 7.6 children per woman.
- The capital and largest city of Niger is Niamey, and the spoken languages include French (official), Hausa, Zarma, Songhay, Arabic, and several other languages.
- The majority of Niger’s population (95%) is Muslim.
In Image: Niger
Govt. kicks off contractual dispute settlement scheme
The Centre on Wednesday launched a settlement scheme for contractual disputes with vendors or suppliers to the government and its undertakings, setting an October 31 deadline for firms to submit their claims for consideration.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the scheme, termed ‘Vivad se Vishwas II — (Contractual Disputes)’ in this year’s Union Budget and the Department of Expenditure had indicated the guidelines for its operation in an earlier order.
For disputes to be considered for settlement, an arbitral award should have been secured by the aggrieved party by January 31, 2023, with the cut-off date set at April 30 in case of Court orders.
“The scheme will apply to all domestic contractual disputes where one of the parties is either the Government of India or an organisation working under its control,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
For cases involving Court awards, the settlement amount offered to the contractor will be up to 85% of the net amount awarded or upheld by the court, while the same threshold will be “up to” 65% of the net amount in case of arbitral awards.
Facts about the News
Vivad se Vishwas II — (Contractual Disputes) Scheme
(General Studies- Paper II and III)
On August 2, the Centre launched a settlement scheme, termed ‘Vivad se Vishwas II – (Contractual Disputes)’, for resolving contractual disputes with government and government undertakings.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the scheme in this year’s Union Budget.
- The guidelines for its operation were indicated in a previous order issued by the Department of Expenditure in late May.
- The scheme aims to settle disputes where arbitral awards are under challenge in court, offering standardised terms and graded settlement options based on the level of dispute pendency.
- To be eligible for settlement consideration, an arbitral award must have been secured by the aggrieved party by January 31, 2023, or by April 30, 2023, in case of court orders.
- The scheme applies to all domestic contractual disputes involving the Government of India or its controlled organizations as one of the parties.
- For cases involving court awards, the settlement amount offered will be up to 85% of the net amount awarded or upheld by the court.
- For arbitral awards, the threshold will be “up to” 65% of the net amount.
- The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has a dedicated web-page for implementing the scheme, and eligible claims shall be processed only through GeM.
- Ministry of Railways’ contractors can register their claims on the Indian Railways E-Procurement System.
Vivad se Vishwas Scheme I
- MSMEs must make a payment to the government or government undertakings in order to secure government tenders.
- This is known as the performance guarantee security or bid fee.
- Under the Vivad se Vishwas I – Relief for MSMEs, the government undertakings and government will refund performance security, bid security and liquidated damages forfeited/ deducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It will return 95% of the forfeited bid fee or performance security to the MSMEs in case of failure to execute contracts by them during the COVID pandemic. About Government e-Marketplace (GeM)
About Government e-Marketplace (GeM)
- The concept of GeM was recommended by two Groups of Secretaries to the Prime Minister in January 2016.
- They suggested setting up a dedicated e-market for goods and services procured or sold by the Government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), along with reforms to the Directorate General of Supplies & Disposals (DGS&D).
- The Finance Minister announced the establishment of a technology-driven platform for procurement in his Budget speech for FY 2016-17.
- DGS&D, with technical support from the National e-Governance Division (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), developed the GeM portal for procurement of products and services.
- GeM was launched on 9th August 2016 by the Commerce & Industry Minister.
- Its usage was authorized by making necessary changes in the General Financial Rules of the government.
- The GeM portal offers more than 7400 products in about 150 product categories, as well as hiring of transport services.
- GeM is a paperless, cashless, and system-driven e-marketplace, minimizing human interface in the procurement process.
- It facilitates the procurement of common-use goods and services for various Ministries and government agencies.
- In Financial Year 2022-23, Government e-marketplace (GeM) registered its highest ever Gross Merchandise Value of ₹ 2, 01,113 crore.
- A World Bank study in 2020 estimated an average of 9.75% cost savings via GeM and noted a significant increase in participation of sellers.
Table: Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of GeM in ₹ crore in the last 3 completed financial years
India passes law allowing private firms to bid for and mine lithium
India’s Parliament passed a law allowing the government to auction and mine its newly-discovered reserves of lithium, among other minerals, increasing the mining of the critical input for EV batteries.
Under the law, lithium, along with other minerals was removed from a previous list of atomic minerals, which prevented it from being auctioned to private companies.
“Upon removal of these minerals from the list of atomic minerals, exploration and mining of these minerals will be open to private sector,” as per a government statement.
“As a result, exploration and mining of these minerals is expected to increase significantly in the country,” the government said.
Lithium reserves were discovered earlier this year in Jammu and Kashmir, and the government has said it hopes to find more reserves later this year.
Titanium, beryl too
Other minerals that will now be open for mining and auction include titanium, beryl, niobium and zirconium.
These minerals were earlier only allowed to be mined by state-run companies, which meant they were mined in limited quantities, and the involvement of private firms could be a ‘force multiplier’, the government added.
Facts about the News
Law Allowing Auction, Mining of Lithium Reserves
(General Studies- Paper II)
India’s Parliament passed a law allowing the government to auction and mine newly-discovered reserves of critical minerals, including lithium, for electric vehicle batteries.
- The law removed lithium and other minerals from the list of atomic minerals, enabling their auction and mining by private companies.
- The move is expected to increase exploration and mining of these minerals significantly in the country.
- Earlier, these minerals could only be mined by state-run companies, resulting in limited production quantities.
- The law also opens up exploration and mining of other minerals such as titanium, beryl, niobium, and zirconium to private sector involvement.
- The government aims to meet the growing demands of the country by vigorously increasing exploration and production of these minerals.
Significance of Lithium
- Lithium-ion batteries are essential components in wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles, contributing to a green economy.
- A World Bank study indicates that the demand for critical metals like lithium and cobalt is expected to increase by nearly 500% by 2050.
- The global electric vehicle market is projected to reach $823.75 billion by 2030, with India’s market expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.76% by 2028.
- India aims to secure its critical mineral supplies and achieve self-sufficiency in this sector.
- India currently imports all of its lithium from Australia and Argentina and 70% of its Li-ion cell requirement from China and Hong Kong.
- The discovery of lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir could boost India’s domestic battery-manufacturing industry.
- If the size of the mineral reserves in J&K is significant, India could surpass China in terms of its lithium stockpile.
Health Ministry sets deadline for pharma firms’ certification
Facts about the News
WHO-standard good manufacturing practices
(General Studies- Paper III)
The government has set a deadline for the mandatory implementation of revised GMP, bringing them on par with WHO standards.
- Companies with a turnover of over Rs 250 crore must implement revised GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) within six months, while smaller enterprises with turnover below Rs 250 crore have a year to comply.
- Non-compliance will result in license suspension and/or penalties.
Currently, only 2,000 out of 10,500 manufacturing units in India are compliant with global WHO-GMP standards.
- A risk-based inspection of 162 units and 14 testing labs found deficiencies like absence of raw material testing, quality failure investigation, and faulty design of manufacturing and testing areas.
- Implementing revised GMP will lead to 11 specific changes in the manufacturing process, including introducing a pharmaceutical quality system and validation of equipment.
- The companies will need to introduce a computerized system for recording all steps and checks during manufacturing.
- Stability studies as per climate conditions will also be required to ensure quality medicines.
- The move will bring all manufacturing units on par with global standards, making India a quality pharmaceutical hub and ensuring export-quality medicines for both domestic and international markets.
UIDAI is using AI to tackle payment frauds
(General Studies- Paper III)
As more frauds related to the Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS) come to the fore, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has turned to artificial intelligence-based systems.
- UIDAI is using artificial intelligence-based systems to prevent AePS frauds, including fingerprinting and facial recognition technologies.
- The in-house AI/ML technology called FMR-FIR (Finger Minutiae Record – Finger Image Record) modality checks the liveness of a fingerprint to detect cloned fingerprints during Aadhaar authentication.
- AePS frauds have been on the rise, with payment-related frauds increasing from over 700,000 in FY21 to close to 20 million in FY23.
- The AI-based technology can identify whether a fingerprint is from a real or cloned finger, but it has limitations in preventing frauds involving business correspondents.
- Business correspondents in the payment supply chain have been involved in fraudulent activities by misrepresenting transaction amounts and not providing receipts to customers.
- Fingerprint cloning has also been a concern, with cyber criminals conducting financial frauds using vital data and cloned fingerprints available on government websites.
- While technology can help curb some frauds, other measures and awareness are needed to combat the increasing cybercrime in India.
- The UIDAI was initially a division of the Planning Commission, which is today known as the NITI Aayog.
- But in 2015, the government changed the “Allocation of Business Rules” to include UIDAI under the control of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Currently, the Unique Identification Authority of India is a statutory authority established under the provisions of Aadhaar act 2016 by the Govt. of India.
– It is under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
- UIDAI was created with the objective to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as “Aadhaar”, to all residents of India that is
(a) robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and
(b) can be verified and authenticated in an easy, cost-effective way.
- The first UID number was issued on 29 September 2010 to a resident of Nandurbar, Maharashtra.
- The Authority has so far issued more than 111 crore Aadhaar numbers to the residents of India.
SOURCE : THE HINDU