INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 30 DECEMBER 2019
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Longest single spacewalk by a woman.
2. Drake Passage.
3. Russia Avangard missile.
4. eBkry portal.
5. M. P. gets its first elephant colony in Bandhavgarh forest.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of IoA.
For Mains: Significance of IoA and challenges it posed.
Context: From 2020, people in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a public holiday on October 26 for the first time. The day, which will be observed as Accession Day, marks the signing of the Instrument of Accession by the last Dogra ruler of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh, with the then Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten.
What happened on October 26?
As per the Indian Independence Act, 1947, British India was divided into India and Pakistan and the roughly 580 princely states that had signed subsidiary alliances with the British had their sovereignty restored to them. In essence, these princely states were given the option to remain independent or to join the Dominion of India or Pakistan.
According to Section 6(a) of the Act, before joining India or Pakistan, these states had to sign an Instrument of Accession, in which they would specify the terms on which they were becoming part of the new dominions.
What is Instrument of Accession of J&K?
It is a legal document executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, on October 26, 1947.
It declared that the state of Jammu and Kashmir accedes to India.
The IoA gave India’s Parliament the power to legislate in respect of J&K only on the matters of defence, external affairs and communications.
Apart from defence, communications and external affairs, the IoA mentions ancillary subjects that include elections to the dominion legislature and offences against laws with respect to any of the said matters.
Using IoA, Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution of India.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: Parliamentary standing committees- roles, need, functions and significance.
Context: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has referred the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, which seeks to streamline the corporate insolvency resolution process, to the standing committee on Finance of which former prime minister Manmohan Singh is a member.
What are the types of committees?
Most committees are ‘standing’ as their existence is uninterrupted and usually reconstituted on an annual basis; some are ‘select’ committees formed for a specific purpose, for instance, to deliberate on a particular bill. Once the Bill is disposed of, that select committee ceases to exist. Some standing committees are departmentally related.
Financial control is a critical tool for Parliament’s authority over the executive; hence finance committees are considered to be particularly powerful. The three financial committees are the Public Accounts Committee, the Estimates Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings.
Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).
Committee reports are usually exhaustive and provide authentic information on matters related to governance. Bills that are referred to committees are returned to the House with significant value addition. Parliament is not bound by the recommendations of committees.
Why have parliamentary committees?
- Parliament is the embodiment of the people’s will. Committees are an instrument of Parliament for its own effective functioning.
- Committees are platforms for threadbare discussion on a proposed law.
- The smaller cohort of lawmakers, assembled on the basis of the proportional strength of individual parties and interests and expertise of individual lawmakers, could have more open, intensive and better-informed discussions.
- Committee meetings are ‘closed door’ and members are not bound by party whips, which allows them the latitude for a more meaningful exchange of views as against discussions in full and open Houses where grandstanding and party positions invariably take precedence.
- Members of Parliament may have great acumen but they would require the assistance of experts in dealing with such situations. It is through committees that such expertise is drawn into lawmaking.
- Executive accountability to the legislature is enforced through questions in Parliament also, which are answered by ministers. However, department standing committees go one step further and hear from senior officials of the government in a closed setting, allowing for more detailed discussions.
- This mechanism also enables parliamentarians to understand the executive processes closely.
How can these committees be made more effective?
- Parliamentary committees don’t have dedicated subject-wise research support available. The knowledge gap is partially bridged by expert testimony from government and other stakeholders. Their work could be made more effective if the committees had full-time, sector-specific research staff.
- The national commission to review the working of the Constitution has recommended that in order to strengthen the committee system, research support should be made available to them.
- Currently, the rules of Parliament don’t require every bill to be referred to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. While this allows the government greater flexibility and the ability to speed up legislative business, it comes at the cost of ineffective scrutiny by the highest law-making body. Mandatory scrutiny of all bills by parliamentary committees would ensure better planning of legislative business.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is Deposit Insurance? How is it regulated?
For Mains: Reforms needed.
Context: FinMin, IRDAI seek insurance for bank deposits above Rs 1 lakh.
The requests comes in the aftermath of the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank scam.
What is deposit insurance? How is it regulated in India?
Deposit insurance is providing insurance protection to the depositor’s money by receiving a premium.
- The government has set up Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) under RBI to protect depositors if a bank fails.
- Every insured bank pays premium amounting to 0.001% of its deposits to DICGC every year.
What happens to depositors’ money when a bank fails?
- When a bank is liquidated, depositors are entitled to receive an insurance amount of ₹1 lakh per individual from the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (DICGC).
- The ₹1 lakh insurance limit includes both principal and interest dues across your savings bank accounts, current accounts, fixed deposits and recurring deposits held with the bank.
What is the procedure for depositors to claim the money from a failed bank?
The DICGC does not deal directly with depositors.
- The RBI (or the Registrar), on directing that a bank be liquidated, appoints an official liquidator to oversee the winding up process.
- Under the DICGC Act, the liquidator is supposed to hand over a list of all the insured depositors (with their dues) to the DICGC within three months of taking charge.
- The DICGC is supposed to pay these dues within two months of receiving this list.
Who are insured by the DICGC?
The corporation covers all commercial and co-operative banks, except in Meghalaya, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Besides, Only primary cooperative societies are not insured by the DICGC.
The DICGC does not include the following types of deposits:
- Deposits of foreign governments.
- Deposits of central/state governments.
- Inter-bank deposits.
- Deposits of the state land development banks with the state co-operative bank.
- Any amount due on account of any deposit received outside India.
- Any amount specifically exempted by the DICGC with previous approval of RBI.
- Enhance the insurance cover and the insured amount.
- Allow private players to provide insurance cover.
- Reduce the time delay in settling claims.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Basics of cyber security.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is Budapest convention?
For Mains: Why India has not signed? Why it should reconsider it’s decision?
Context: The United Nations has approved a Russian-led bid that aims to create a new convention on cybercrime, alarming rights groups and Western powers that fear a bid to restrict online freedom.
The General Assembly approved the resolution sponsored by Russia and backed by China, which would set up a committee of international experts in 2020.
Why the US is worried about this?
A new UN treaty on cybercrime could render the Budapest Convention obsolete, further alarming rights groups.
The Budapest Convention was drafted by the Council of Europe, but other countries have joined, including the United States and Japan.
Russia has opposed the Budapest Convention, arguing that giving investigators access to computer data across borders violates national sovereignty.
What is Budapest convention?
Also known as the Convention on Cybercrime, it is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations.
- It was drawn up by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, with the active participation of the Council of Europe’s observer states Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States.
- It is open for ratification even to states that are not members of the Council of Europe.
As of September 2019, 64 states have ratified the convention.
What it does?
The Budapest Convention provides for the criminalisation of conduct, ranging from illegal access, data and systems interference to computer-related fraud and child pornography, procedural law tools to make investigation of cybercrime and securing of e-evidence in relation to any crime more effective, and international police and judicial cooperation on cybercrime and e-evidence.
India’s concerns over signing of this agreement:
- India did not participate in the negotiation of the Convention and thus is worried about it.
- The Convention — through its Article 32b — allows for transborder access to data and thus infringes on national sovereignty.
- The regime of the Convention is not effective, “the promise of cooperation not firm enough,” or that there are grounds for refusal to cooperate.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings.
For Mains: Concerns expressed, challenges and ways to address them.
Context: The India State of Forest Report 2019 has been released.
- Total tree and forest cover in the country increased by 5,188 square kilometer in the last two years.
- There is an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in the carbon stock of the country as compared to the last assessment of 2017.
- There is a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 sq km (0.45 per cent) in northeast India region. Except Assam and Tripura, all states in the region show decrease in forest cover.
- The loss in the North East is attributed primarily due to the traditional farming practice of Shifting Cultivation.
- The mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10 per cent) as compared to the previous assessment.
- Karnataka tops the country in growing the maximum amount of forest in the last two years.
- Karnataka is followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km).
- Total bamboo bearing area of the country is estimated as 1,60,037 sq km. There is an increase of 3,229 sq km in bamboo bearing area as compared to the previous estimate.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Longest single spacewalk by a woman:
Context: US astronaut Christina Koch has set the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman when she reached, and crossed, 289 days in her current mission.
Koch has already made history once in her stay aboard the ISS. In October, she was part of the first all-female spacewalk, together with Jessica Meir.
The previous record for women was set by another American, Peggy Whitson, in 2016-2017.
It is the body of water between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.
It connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean (Scotia Sea) with the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean and extends into the Southern Ocean.
It is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to any other landmass. There is no significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water through the Passage and around Antarctica.
The passage is named after Sir Francis Drake, who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.
Russia Avangard missile:
It is Russian military’s first Avangard hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
It can fly 27 times the speed of sound.
The missile system is a reentry body carried atop an existing ballistic missile, which has the capability to manoeuvre. It’s manoeuvring capability makes it difficult to predict its trajectory and gives it the ability to protect itself from the air and ballistic missile defences by delivering nuclear warheads to targets
The Avangard missiles have a range of over 6,000 km, weigh approximately 2,000 kg and can withstand temperatures of over 2000 degree celsius.
Context: Union Finance Ministry has recently launched the eBkry e-auction portal.
Objective: To enable online auction by banks of attached assets transparently and cleanly for the improved realization of value.
- It is framework for promoting online auction of assets attached by the banks.
- It is equipped with the property search features and contains navigational links to all PSBs e-auction sites.
- The framework aims to provide single-window access to information on properties.
M.P. gets its first elephant colony in Bandhavgarh forest:
Context: Madhya Pradesh gets its first elephant colony.
Located in Bandhavgarh forest.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve: In 1968, it was notified as a national park and in 1993 was declared a tiger reserve- under the Project Tiger Network.
It resides on the extreme north eastern border of Madhya Pradesh and the northern edges of the Satpura mountain ranges.