K-Pop Band ‘BTS’ Saved From Military Service For Now

K-Pop Band 'BTS' Saved From Military Service For Now

As South Korea deferred the military service of K-Pop stars ‘BTS’, let us look at the background of the change and a similar case with an EPL footballer.

Crux of the Matter

Revised Army Service
On 1 December 2020, South Korea revised its conscription laws. Earlier, conscription for men was to be done at the age of 28 if not done before. Now, the limit has extended to 30 for people eligible for deferral.

Conscription is compulsory military service.

BTS Rejoices
The revision has also been called ‘BTS Law’, as it has provided major relief from doing military service to the K-Pop band BTS members. 2 of its members (Jin and Suga) are nearing 28, with Jin’s birthday approaching on 4 December.

BTS members have been eligible for deferral since 2018 when they were rewarded for enhancing South Korean “cultural influence”. However, they are ineligible for the exemption that classical musicians or athletes get, and are required to complete a minimum of 21-month conscription.

Chance For BTS To Make More History

  • Their song “Life goes on” became the 1st Korean song to rank 1st on Billboard ‘Hot 100’.
  • Recently nominated for Grammy in best Pop Duo/Group Performance category.
  • Became the 1st K-Pop group to be nominated for Grammy Award.

For the sake of the fairness, we are not talking about exempting them from their duty, but pop musicians and artists like BTS – their careers can blossom in their 20s. We cannot let military duty block their way at the height of their careers

Jeon Yong-gi, Member of Democratic Party

Son Heung-Min And Tottenham
Son Heung-Min of South Korea plays as forward for EPL club Tottenham Hotspur. He completed his military service in South Korea in April-May 2020.

He was exempted from 21-month conscription by winning Gold in the 2018 Asian Games with the national team. However, exempted athletes are still required to complete a 3-week service.

Read more about the compulsory military service in South Korea, here.

  • Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, achieving widespread coverage in mainstream media. The music video is often credited for bringing spotlight to K-Pop on a global level. 
  • A conscientious objector is an individual who refuses to perform military services on the ground of religion or conscience. Zivildienst is alternate military service for such individuals to fulfill their national service in the fields of social work, environmental protection, or public administration. It is practised in Switzerland and Austria.
  • Norway introduced female conscription in 2015, making it the first NATO member to have a legally compulsory national service for both men and women.

Compulsory Military Service In South Korea

Compulsory Military Service In South Korea

As military service of BTS was postponed, let us look at the concept of compulsory military service in South Korea, notable exemptions and the reason for it amidst conflict with its Northern neighbour.

Crux of the Matter

South Korea And BTS
South Korea recently extended the deferral age for conscription from 28 to 30. It has provided relief for K-Pop band BTS as 2 of its members turn 28 soon. They are now required to complete 21-month service at 30, with only athletes and classical musicians being exempted.

Conscription is compulsory military service.

Military Service Law Of South Korea
South Korea has conscription for “able-bodied” males in the age group 18-28 (deferral in special cases). The tenure is:

  • 21 months for Army.
  • 23 months for Navy.
  • 24 months for Air Force.

People are imprisoned for refusing or using unfair means to avoid service. ~20,000 people have been imprisoned to date for such.

Neighbour North Korea
In October 2020, South Korea added the option of serving as workers in prisons as an alternative for conscription. However, it requires a service of 3 years in such a case.

The emphasis on conscription in South Korea mainly occurs due to its neighbour North Korea. NK has an Army strength of more than 1 million and is also engaged in a conflict with SK. The decline in the birth rate in SK for decades has been a further cause of concern.

Famous Exemptions

  • Exemption for its Football team was announced if they reached the Round of 16 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Notably, they reached the semifinals instead and were exempted.

  • A similar exemption was announced for its Baseball team if they reached the semifinals of World Baseball Classic 2006. They reached the semifinals and finished 3rd, thus being exempted.

Exemptions have restricted since due to backlash. Currently, exemptions allowed only for athletes winning certain International medals and classical/folk musicians winning certain awards. Even in such cases, they are required to serve 3-4 weeks. Stars like BTS are allowed to defer but are not exempted from 21-24 months conscription.

  • Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, achieving widespread coverage in mainstream media. The music video is often credited for bringing spotlight to K-Pop on a global level. 
  • conscientious objector is an individual who refuses to perform military services on the ground of religion or conscience. Zivildienst is alternate military service for such individuals to fulfill their national service in the fields of social work, environmental protection, or public administration. It is practised in Switzerland and Austria.
  • Norway introduced female conscription in 2015, making it the first NATO member to have a legally compulsory national service for both men and women.

What’s Actually In The Farm Bills?

What's Actually In The Farm Bills?

With farmer protests continuing against provisions of the new Farm Bills, let us look at some lesser talked details in the bills.

Crux of the Matter

The Farmers (Empowerment And Protection) Agreement On Price Assurance And Farm Services Act, 2020

Section 6 (3a)

  • Applicable on a farming agreement concerning “seed production”.
  • Sponsor obliged to pay at least 2/3rd of the decided amount at delivery time.
  • Remaining amount to be paid after due certification – not later than 30 days of delivery.

Section 8
Prohibits sponsors from

  • Buying, mortgaging, or leasing farmer’s land.
  • Creating a permanent structure on farmer’s land. Allowed only if Sponsor agrees to and funds the removal of a structure at end of the agreement period.

Section 12 (1)

  • Provision for “electronic registry” for facilitating registration of farming agreements.

Section 14 (1)

  • Parties may approach sub-divisional Magistrate if dispute not settled within 30 days.

Section 19

  • No provision for Civil Court to admit any suit where “Sub-Divisional Authority” settles the dispute.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation)

Section 4 (3)

  • Trader required to pay for farmers’ produce on the same day or within 3 working days.
  • Subject to the condition that delivery receipt (mentioning payment amount due) given to farmer on the same day.

Section 6

  • No market fee under the APMC Act or any other law on any farmers, traders, or electronic trading platform for trade outside APMC.

Section 13

  • No legal action against Central/State Govt or any Central/State officer for anything done “in good faith” under the Act.

Read more about the opposition and reactions to the farm bills here.

  • Norman Borlaug was an American agronomist who led initiatives worldwide that contributed to the extensive increases in agricultural production termed the Green Revolution. Borlaug was awarded multiple honors for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous body responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India. It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • Vedic literature provides some of the earliest written records of agriculture in India. Rigveda hymns, for example, describe plowing, fallowing, irrigation, fruit, and vegetable cultivation. Other historical evidence suggests rice and cotton were cultivated in the Indus Valley, and plowing patterns from the Bronze Age have been excavated at Kalibangan in Rajasthan.

What Was J&K’s Roshni Act?

What Was J&K's Roshni Act?

J&K administration has decided to scrap the Roshni Act and take back all the land allocated under the Act. It also declared names of top profile individuals and families, who misused the Act to acquire land. On the other hand, India is planning to digitize land related records to remove problems in matter of land allocation. Let’s understand Roshni Act and also see what digitization has in store for India’s land laws.

Crux of the Matter

Roshni Act
In 2001, the J&K Government implemented the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (vesting of ownership to the occupants) Act. Under this Act, the government decided to transfer the state’s land ownership to the occupants subject to payment of the cost of land, as decided by the government at market rate. 20 lakh kanals (1 kanal = 1/8 acres) land was kept aside to raise ₹25,000 crores, which would be used to fund hydroelectric power projects in the state. Thus, it was also called the Roshni Act. 1990 was the cut off year set by Farooq Abdullah’s government – the occupant must have been residing on the land before 1990.

In 2005, the PDP-Congress Government increased the cutoff year to 2004. Later, the government of Ghulam Nabi Azad further relaxed the cutoff year to 2007. It also made free the transfer of ownership of land to agricultural farmers occupying it, with the only charge being ₹100 per kanal as a documentation fee.

From Corruption To Scrap

  • In 2009, the State Vigilance Commission filed an FIR against govt officials for allegedly conspiring to illegally possess and provide land ownership to people who did not satisfy the criteria.
  • In 2014, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that only ₹76 crores had been realized between 2007-13 from land transfers as against the set target of ₹25,000 crores.
  • In 2015, the State Vigilance Organisation alleged over 20 government officials for misuse of the Act.
  • In 2018, the Governor of J&K Satya Pal Malik repealed the Act and ordered a CBI inquiry.
  • In 2020, the HC ruled the Act unconstitutional and said the state government said it will recover all land given under the Act. Moreover, J&K authorities also released names of several high profile families involved in corruption and misuse of the Act. Names include Haseeb Drabu & family, KK Amla & family, Shahdad family, Gagu Ram family, Nawai Subh, Khidmat trust, Farooq and Omar Abdullah, etc.

Land Digitization Reforms
Land allocation and governance in India are facing problems like internal constraints, local agitations, speculative increase in land prices, corruption, lack of transparency, etc. To remove such a problem government has launched a nationwide GIS-enabled land bank system.

It is developed by the Integration of Industrial Information System (IIS) with state GIS (Geographic Information System). E-land bank consists of a database of industrial clusters/areas across more than 3,300 industrial parks in India covering about 4,75,000 hectares of land more. It will contain information such as drainage, forest; raw material heat maps (horticulture, agricultural, mineral layers), owner’s details, etc.

How Will It Help?
For registration and other purposes, now people won’t have to visit the land Registrar’s office, reducing the scope of corruption. Clear ownership information can help avoid land disputes, and digital databases can bring transparency. With authorised intermediary, all information can be availed from anywhere in the world. Moreover, GIS technology can help estate professionals evaluate and manage a site, figure marketing strategies, etc.

  • In Himachal Pradesh, only an agriculturist belonging to the State can purchase agricultural land there. People from other states require prior permission of the Government of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Common heritage of mankind is a principle of international law that holds that defined territorial areas and elements of humanity’s common heritage (cultural and natural) should be held in trust for future generations and be protected from exploitation by individual nation-states or corporations.
  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is another act implemented in Jammu and Kashmir in which the Indian Armed Forces can arrest someone and search a building to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal), and parts of Arunachal Pradesh too.

Revisiting 26/11 Mumbai Attacks

Revisiting 26/11 Mumbai Attacks

After looking at the imprisonment sentence of Hafiz Saeed, let us revisit the events of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks which Saeed masterminded.

Crux of the Matter

Mumbai Attacks
On 26 November 2008, 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists carried out one of the worst terrorist attacks in history. Hafiz Saeed was the mastermind of the attacks. Terrorist Ajmal Kasab was caught alive, with the rest 9 being killed.

10 LeT terrorists reached Mumbai through Sea route from Pakistan on 26 November 2008 and split into groups.

  • 1st attack: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station at around 9.21 pm. The attack was done by Ajmal Kasab and Ismail Khan, killing 58 people.
    Kasab and Khan then went to Cama Hospital, but their attempt failed as the hospital staff locked all patients’ rooms. They killed 6 police personnel including Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad Chief Hemant Karkare, after which Khan was killed but Kasab was caught alive and arrested.
  • 2nd attack: Nariman House, which housed the Mumbai Chabad House (a Jewish outreach centre). The terrorists killed a Rabbi and his wife and 5 Israeli citizens during a 3-day siege.
  • 3rd attack: At Leopold Cafe, 10 people were killed by the terrorists, who also planted a bomb in a taxi nearby which killed 5 more people. The attacking group then went to the Taj Hotel.
  • Final attacks: Oberoi-Trident Hotel and Taj Mahal Palace, with 30 and 31 people being killed at the respective places in a 3-day siege. Several fires and explosions occurred inside.
  • National Security Guards (NSG) sent by Centre arrived on 27 November at 6.30 am.
    Nariman House and Oberoi Hotel were secured by the troops by 6 pm on 28 November, while Taj Palace was secured by 9 am on 29 November.


  • National Security Guards (NSG) were posted in several big cities.
  • Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigned claiming “moral responsibility”.
  • National Investigation Agency (NIA) was formed in 2009 – an organization to investigate terror cases across the country.
  • David Headley, an American of Pakistan origin, was arrested in the US in 2009 for spying targets in Mumbai for the attacks. He was jailed for 35 years.
  • Kasab was hanged on 21 November 2012 after trial.

  • Boko Haram or Wilayat Gharb Ifriqiyya is a terrorist group located in Nigeria, Northern Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. In the local Hausa dialect, Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden”. In 2014, it kidnaped approximately 276 teenage girls from a boarding school in Borno which led to global outrage and a #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media.
  • In the last three decades, since 1991, 16 convicts have been hanged to death in India including Dhananjoy Chatterjee, Yakub Memon, Ajmal Kasab, and Afzal Guru.
  • During the Nariman House operation, NSG commandos reached onto the roof by fast-roping from helicopters. But before alighting on the Nariman House’s roof, due to the pilot’s mistake the commandos were dropped in the wrong building.