Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Table of contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. What is a privilege motion?

2. Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.


GS Paper 3:

1. Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

2. National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT).

3. Project Dolphin.


Facts for prelims:

1. What is StrandHogg?

GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

What is a privilege motion?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: All about Privilege motion and privilege committee.

 Context: Congress moves privilege motion against Smriti Irani for remark on Rahul Gandhi.

For Prelims and Mains:

What is a privilege motion?

Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”. When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

Who can move it? How?

A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.

What are the rules governing privilege?

Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook governs privilege.

It says that a member may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee thereof.

The rules however mandate that any notice should be relating to an incident of recent occurrence and should need the intervention of the House.

What is the role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha Chair?

The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion. The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament. If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under Rule 222, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

What is the privileges committee?

In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths. A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report. The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House.

A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed.

In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, that consists of 10 members.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act

What to study?

For Prelims: What is Public Property Act?

For Mains: Concerns over damages to public properties, need for review of the law and the relevant guidelines.

Context: Despite a law against the destruction of property, incidents of rioting, vandalism, and arson have been common during protests across the country.

And the Supreme Court has recently expressed displeasure over rioting and destruction of public property.

For Prelims:

What the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 says?

It punishes anyone “who commits mischief by doing any act in respect of any public property” with a jail term of up to five years and a fine or both.

Provisions of this law can be coupled with those under the Indian Penal Code.

What is a public property?

Public property under this Act includes “any building, installation or other property used in connection with the production, distribution or supply of water, light, power or energy; any oil installation; any sewage works; any mine or factory; any means of public transportation or of telecommunications, or any building, installation or other property used in connection therewith”.

Value addition for Mains:

Need for review:

The Supreme Court has on several earlier occasions found the law inadequate, and has attempted to fill the gaps through guidelines.

2007: The court took suo motu cognizance of “various instances where there was large scale destruction of public and private properties in the name of agitations, bandhs, hartals and the like”, and set up two Committees headed by former apex court judge Justice K T Thomas and senior advocate Fali Nariman to suggest changes to the law.

2009 case of In Re: Destruction of Public & Private Properties v State of AP and Ors: The Supreme Court issued guidelines based on the recommendations of the two expert Committees.

SC guidelines based on Thomas Committee recommendations:

  • Reverse the burden of proof against protesters.
  • Prosecution should be required to prove that public property had been damaged in direct action called by an organisation, and the accused also participated in such direct action. From that stage the burden can be shifted to the accused to prove his innocence.
  • The law must be amended to give the court the power to draw a presumption that the accused is guilty of destroying public property, and it would then be open to the accused to rebut such presumption.

Based on Nariman Committee’s recommendations:

  • Rioters would be made strictly liable for the damage, and compensation would be collected to “make good” the damage.
  • Where persons, whether jointly or otherwise, are part of a protest which turns violent, results in damage to private or public property, the persons who have caused the damage, or were part of the protest or who have organized it will be deemed to be strictly liable for the damage so caused, which may be assessed by the ordinary courts or by any special procedure created to enforce the right.
  • High Courts should order suo motu action, and set up a machinery to investigate the damage caused and award compensation wherever mass destruction to property takes place due to protests.

Impact of guidelines:

Like the law, the guidelines too, have had a limited impact. This is because the identification of protesters remains difficult, especially in cases where there is no leader who gave the call to protest.

In its verdict in Koshy Jacob vs Union Of India, the court reiterated that the law needed to be updated — but it did not grant the petitioner any compensation since the organisers of the protest were not before the court.

Sources: Indian Express.

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV)

What to study?

For Prelims: What are EVs and FCEVs?

For Mains: Differences and significance.

Context: Supreme Court, last month, directed the government to look into the feasibility of introducing vehicles based on a hydrogen cell technology to deal with air pollution in the National Capital Region.

For Prelims:

How does the hydrogen fuel cell work in electric vehicles?

A fuel-cell electric vehicle is essentially a hybrid electric vehicle wherein, the internal combustion engine is replaced with a fuel-cell stack. The onboard sources of power include hydrogen as well as an advanced battery system.

The fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only byproduct.

Fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process.

And, there are no moving parts in the fuel cell, so they are more efficient and reliable by comparison.

How is it different from an electric vehicle (EV)?

Unlike a battery-electricity vehicle, it does not store energy and, instead, relies on a constant supply of fuel and oxygen — in the same way that an internal combustion engine relies on a constant supply of petrol or diesel, and oxygen.

Advantages of fuel cells:

  • They produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases and none of the air pollutants that cause health problems.
  • If pure hydrogen is used, fuel cells emit only heat and water as a byproduct.
  • They are also energy efficient than traditional combustion technologies.
  • Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles do not need to be plugged in, and most models exceed 300 km of range on a full tank. They are filled up with a nozzle, just like in a petrol or diesel station.


  • The process of making hydrogen needs energy — often from fossil fuel sources. That has raised questions over hydrogen’s green credentials.
  • There are questions of safety hydrogen is more explosive than petrol.
  • Besides, the vehicles are expensive, and fuel dispensing pumps are scarce.

For Mains:


From a long-term viability perspective, FCEVs are billed as vehicles of the future, given that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT)

What to study?

For Prelims: What is NEFT and RTGS? Significance.

Context: RBI has extended the availability of National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) round-the-clock on all the seven days of the week — 24×7 basis — to facilitate beyond the banking hour fund transfer.


The RBI joins an elite club of countries having payment systems which enable round the clock funds transfer and settlement of any value.

So far, Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, and China have such payment system.

What is NEFT?

NEFT is an electronic funds transfer system maintained by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Started in November 2005, the setup was established and maintained by Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT).

NEFT enables bank customers in India to transfer funds between any two NEFT-enabled bank accounts on a one-to-one basis.

It is done via electronic messages.

Unlike Real-time gross settlement (RTGS), fund transfers through the NEFT system do not occur in real-time basis.

What is RTGS?

  • RTGS are specialist funds transfer systems where the transfer of money or securities takes place from one bank to any other bank on a “real time” and on a “gross” basis.
  • Settlement in “real time” means a payment transaction is not subjected to any waiting period, with transactions being settled as soon as they are processed.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Project Dolphin

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Dolphins in India- types and IUCN status, highlights of the census, need for protection.

Context: The government is planning to launch a programme called “Project Dolphin”, along the lines of “Project Tiger” to enhance the population of these dolphins.

For Prelims:

Protection status:

Dolphins have been included in Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972, in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and categorised as ‘Endangered’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

Characteristic features:

The Gangetic river dolphins can only live in freshwater, are blind and catch their prey in a unique manner, using ultrasonic sound waves.

They are distributed across seven states in India: Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

For Mains:

Need for conservation:

The Gangetic river dolphins were officially discovered in 1801 and are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

  • They once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, but are now mostly extinct from many of its early distribution ranges.
  • Today, their numbers have dwindled mainly because of direct killing, habitat fragmentation by dams and barrages and indiscriminate fishing.


Some of the efforts made to preserve and increase the numbers of these dolphins include:

Setting up of the Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin (2010-2020), which has identified threats to Gangetic dolphins and impact of river traffic, irrigation canals and depletion of prey-base on dolphin populations.

The Gangetic dolphins have been included in Schedule -I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which means they have the highest degree of protection against hunting.

They are also one among the 21 species identified under the centrally sponsored scheme, “Development of Wildlife Habitat”.

Sources: Indian Express.

Facts for prelims:

What is StrandHogg?

It is a Malware which allows real-time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and access user data of all kinds.

Threats: It can listen to the conversations, access photo album, read/send messages, make calls, record conversations, get login credentials to various accounts, access private images, files, contact details, call logs and location information without being apparent to the affected users.

Why in News? The Union Home Ministry has alerted States, warning them about the vulnerability of the Android operating system to a bug called ‘StrandHogg’.