Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 23 October 2019
Table of contents:
GS Paper 2:
- Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act.
- Intensified Mission Indradhanush.
GS Paper 3:
- Global Wealth Report 2019.
- ‘Feed our future’ cinema ad campaign.
- Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).
Facts for prelims:
- Deepotsav Mela.
- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
- India’s highest altitude all-weather bridge.
GS Paper 2:
- Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
What to study?
For Prelims: Powers and functions of EC under RPA.
For Mains: Criticisms wrt to Section 11, can this decision be justified and what’s the way out?
Context: Delhi High Court has sought a response from the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) on a petition challenging the EC’s decision to reduce the disqualification period of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang from six years to 13 months.
This was done in accordance with the Section 11 of Representation of the People Act.
Mr. Tamang was convicted of the charge of misappropriation of public funds. His disqualification period of 6 years, which began on August 10, 2018, was to end on August 10, 2024.
Rationale behind the relief:
It is based on Mr. Tamang’s main argument. According to him, the law prevailing at the time of his offence entailed disqualification only if the sentence was for a term of two years or more; and that the amendment in 2003, under which any conviction under the anti-corruption law would attract the six-year disqualification norm, should not be applied to him.
Section 11 of the RP Act:
The Election Commission may, for reasons to be recorded, remove any disqualification under this Chapter 1 (except under section 8A) or reduce the period of any such disqualification.
What’s the criticism now?
While this may seem to be an innocuous condonation, the fact that condonation was granted just before the fresh state elections were to be held, demonstrates arbitrariness. The only inference from the period condoned, that is, four years 11 months, seems to be for the specific purposes of allowing the candidate to contest the state elections.
Therefore, it is also argued that Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, was unconstitutional since it provided uncanalised, uncontrolled, and arbitrary power to the Election Commission to remove or reduce the disqualification period.
This is morally wrong and a dangerous precedent that may end up reversing the trend towards decriminalising politics.
- Under Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the EC indeed has the power to remove or reduce the disqualification attached to a conviction. However, this has been used rarely, and seldom in a case involving a conviction for corruption.
- Its because Disqualification from contest is a civil disability created by electoral law to keep those convicted by criminal courts from entering elected offices. It is not a second punishment in a criminal sense.
- The EC decision also goes against the grain of a series of legislative and judicial measures to strengthen the legal framework against corruption in recent years.
Need of the hour:
The apex court has already described corruption as a serious malady and one impinging on the economy. In 2013, the protection given to sitting legislators from immediate disqualification was removed.
Now, disqualification should be more strictly applied to those convicted for corruption. Legislators handle public funds, and there is good reason to keep out those guilty of misusing them.
Sources: the Hindu.
- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the programme.
Context: To ensure that not a single child in the country misses out on vaccination, the government will launch the ‘Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0‘ on October 31 with a special focus on improving coverage in areas with “low” immunisation.
- Through ‘IMI 2.0’, the health ministry aims to reach each and every child below the age of two years and all pregnant women still uncovered/partially covered in 271 districts of the country and 652 blocks of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- IMI 2.0 will include four rounds of vaccination, with each round involving a seven-day immunisation drive to be conducted each month.
- The IMI programme is supported by 12 ministries and departments and is being monitored by the cabinet secretary at the national level.
The current national full immunisation coverage rate stands at 87 per cent. According to government data, 260 lakh children are born every year and an estimated 31 lakh out of them would not receive complete rounds of vaccination in the first year of their life due to various reasons.
To strengthen and re-energize the programme and achieve full immunization coverage for all children and pregnant women at a rapid pace, the Government of India launched “Mission Indradhanush” in December 2014.
Goal of Mission Indradhanush: The ultimate goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI):
To further intensify the immunization programme, the government launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) on October 8, 2017.
- Through this programme, Government of India aims to reach each and every child up to two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme/UIP.
- Intensified Mission Indradhanush will cover low performing areas in the selected districts (high priority districts) and urban areas. Special attention will be given to unserved/low coverage pockets in sub-centre and urban slums with migratory population.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings of the report.
For Mains: Factors behind rise I’m wealth, relationship between wealth and savings and economic activity.
Context: The Credit Suisse Group, a Switzerland-based multinational investment bank, has released the 10th edition of its annual Global Wealth Report.
How is wealth defined and calculated?
Wealth is defined in terms of “net worth” of an individual. This, in turn, is calculated by adding up the value of financial assets (such as money) and real assets (such as houses) and then subtracting any debts an individual may have.
- China has overtaken the United States this year to become “the country with most people in the top 10% of global wealth distribution”.
- 44% of total wealth with 0.9%: 47 million people – accounting for merely 0.9% of the world’s adult population – owned $158.3 trillion.
- Bottom half of wealth holders collectively accounted for less than 1% of total global wealth in mid-2019, while the richest 10% own 82% of global wealth and the top 1% alone own 45%.
- Global financial crisis of 2008-09 has hurt those at the bottom of the pyramid more than the wealthiest as inequalities within countries grew in the wake of the GFC. As a result, the top 1% of wealth holders increased their share of world wealth.
- India remains one of the fastest wealth creators in the world, with household wealth in dollar terms growing faster than any other region.
- Wealth per Indian adult is at $14,569 ( ₹10.31 lakh as on 21 October). However, the average number is skewed heavily by a few wealthy individuals.
- India accounts for 2% of the world’s millionaires.
What are the drivers of the wealth of nations?
Overall size of the population: A country with a huge population, in terms of final calculation, this factor reduces the wealth per adult. Also, a big population provides a huge domestic market and this creates more opportunities for economic growth and wealth creation.
Country’s saving behaviour: A higher savings rate translates into higher wealth. Overall, a percentage point rise in the savings rate raises the growth rate of wealth per adult by 0.13% each year on average.
General level of economic activity as represented by aggregate income, aggregate consumption or GDP: The expansion of economic activity increases savings and investment by households and businesses, and raises the value of household-owned assets, both financial and non-financial.
Sources: Indian Express.
- issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions.
What to study?
For Prelims: About the campaign and WFP.
For Mains: Hunger and Malnutrition- challenges, concerns and ways to address them.
Context: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have launched a cinema advertisement campaign ‘Feed Our Future’.
About the campaign:
Objective: To raise awareness and take steps against hunger and malnutrition in India.
Launched in collaboration with UFO Movies.
- The ad shows the reality that millions of people facing across the world.
- The ad shows that the world has to face great loss when children’s voices are silenced due to hunger.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.
The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
The objectives of the World Food Programme are:
- Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.
- Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.
- Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.
- Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.
- Zero Hunger in 2030.
Efforts by India to fight hunger and malnutrition:
India has all the ingredients in place to achieve SDG 2, which is to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture prior to the 2030 targets.
In 2015, India, along with other countries, signed the declaration on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, comprising 17 SDGs. Within this agenda, ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture was set as SDG 2.
NFSA as well as the POSHAN Abhiyan are substantial steps taken by India to put the SDG firmly on the map.
Sources: the Hindu.
- Awareness in space.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: TMT- objectives and significance, location.
Context: About 70% of Indian contribution to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will be in the form of both hardware and software for the telescope. Indian entities are engaged in developing observatory software as well as telescope control system.
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is an astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (ELT).
It is an international project being funded by scientific organisations of Canada, China, India, Japan and USA.
Planned location: Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii in the US state of Hawaii.
Purpose: The TMT is designed for near-ultraviolet to mid-infrared observations, featuring adaptive optics to assist in correcting image blur.
- TMT will enable scientists to study fainter objects far away from us in the Universe, which gives information about early stages of evolution of the Universe.
- It will give us finer details of not-so-far-away objects like undiscovered planets and other objects in the Solar System and planets around other stars.
Facts for prelims:
The Uttar Pradesh government has granted the status of State fair to the Deepotsav Mela to be held in Ayodhya during Deepavali.
The festival, in which over 5.5 lakh lamps will be lit on October 26, will be held at an estimated cost of ₹133 crore.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC):
It is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament (Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956). In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
The Commission has three main objectives which guide its functioning. These are:
- The Social Objective – Providing employment in rural areas.
- The Economic Objective – Providing salable articles.
- The Wider Objective – Creating self-reliance amongst people and building up a strong rural community spirit.
India’s highest altitude all-weather bridge:
Col Chewang Rinchen Setu is India’s highest altitude all-weather permanent bridge.
Located in eastern Ladakh at nearly 45 km from the country’s border with China.
- The bridge is strategically located on the 255-km Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) section of the road between Leh and Karakoram Pass.
- Built on Shyok River.
- The bridge is sandwiched between strategic Karakoram and Chang Chenmo ranges.
- Fastest cruise missile of its class in the world.
- It flies almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8 and has a range of 290 km.
- Jointly developed with Russia and is named after the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva in Russia.
- Range of the BrahMos missile can be extended up to 400 km as certain technical restrictions were lifted after India became a full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime or MTCR in 2016.