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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 17 January 2020

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 17 January 2020

Table of Contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

1. What is National Investigation Agency Act, and why is Chhattisgarh challenging it?

2. Open Acreage Licensing Policy.

3. Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF).

4. Punjab’s new Right to Business Bill.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. GSAT-30.

2. Bru-Reang refugee agreement.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Yada Yada virus.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

What is National Investigation Agency Act, and why is Chhattisgarh challenging it?

What to study?

For Prelims: NIA Act- key features.

For Mains: Need for, concerns and measures to address them.

Context: Chhattisgarh government has moved the Supreme Court against the National Investigation Act, 2008 stating it is violative of the Constitution.

What is NIA Act?

  • The law governs the functioning of India’s premier counter-terror agency. It was passed in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
  • It makes the National Investigation Agency the only truly federal agency in the country, along the lines of the FBI in the United States, more powerful than the CBI.
  • It gives the NIA powers to take suo motu cognisance of terror activities in any part of India and register a case, to enter any state without permission from the state government, and to investigate and arrest people.

Objections by Chhattisgarh:

  • In its petition, the Chhattisgarh government said the Act “ultra vires the Constitution” and “beyond the legislative competence of the Parliament”.
  • According to the state, the 2008 Act allows the Centre to create an agency for investigation, which is a function of the state police. Police’ is an entry in the State List of the Constitution’s 7th Schedule.
  • The Act takes away the state’s power of conducting an investigation through the police, while conferring “unfettered, discretionary and arbitrary powers” on the Centre.

The 2019 NIA Amendment Act:

It expanded the type of offences that the investigative body could investigate and prosecute. The agency can now investigate offences related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism, and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

The amendment also enables the central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for NIA trials.

It also allows an NIA officer to conduct raids, and seize properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities without taking prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state. The investigating officer only requires sanction from the Director General of NIA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.

Open Acreage Licensing Policy

What to study?

For Prelims: OALP, HELP.

For Mains: Need for HELP and its significance.

Context: Government has launched the bidding process offering 11 areas in oil and gas blocks under Open Acreage Licensing Policy Round-V (OALP-V).

What is Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP)?

A critical part of the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy.

Provides uniform licences for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbons, enabling contractors to explore conventional as well as unconventional oil and gas resources.

Revenue- sharing model:

Fields are offered under a revenue-sharing model and throw up marketing and pricing freedom for crude oil and natural gas produced.

How it works?

Under the OALP, once an explorer selects areas after evaluating the National Data Repository (NDR) and submits the EoI, it is to be put up for competitive bidding and the entity offering the maximum share of oil and gas to the government is awarded the block.

 What is NDR?

NDR has been created to provide explorers’ data on the country’s repositories, allowing them to choose fields according to their capabilities. Data received through the National Seismic Programme, an in-depth study of 26 sedimentary basins, are continuously being added to the NDR.

What is HELP?

The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) replacing the erstwhile New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was approved in March 2016.

The main features of HELP are Revenue Sharing Contract, single Licence for exploration and production of conventional as well as unconventional Hydrocarbon resources, marketing & pricing freedom, etc.

Sources: pib.

 

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

Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: the fund- objectives, significance and potential.

Context: TRAI has asked the telecom service providers to deposit all unclaimed money of consumers, including excess charges and security deposit, in the Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF).

Composition:

  • It includes money on account of excess billing revealed in the audit, unclaimed money such as security deposits and plan charges of failed activations.
  • Such unclaimed/nonrefundable amount belonging to consumers would be deposited in the TCEP fund as it will be utilised for the welfare measures of the consumers.

Framework in this regard:

Provided in Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund Regulations of 2007.

  • It offers a basic framework for depositing unclaimed money of consumers by service providers, maintenance of the fund and other aspects.
  • The income from the fund is utilised for programmes and activities relating to consumer education and protection.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Punjab’s new Right to Business Bill

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features.

For Mains: Significance and the need for.

 Context: The Punjab Cabinet has given it’s approval to a Punjab Right to Business Bill, 2020.

 About the Punjab Right to Business Bill, 2020:

It is aimed at ensuring ease of doing business for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.

Under the law, an MSME unit can be set up after ‘In-Principle’ approval from the District Bureau of Enterprise, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, working under the guidance of the State Nodal Agency, headed by the Director, Industries.

Approval time:

Approval for units in approved Industrial Parks will be given in three working days. For new enterprises outside approved Industrial Parks, the decision on the “Certificate of In-Principle Approval” shall be taken by the District Level Nodal Agency within 15 working days, as per the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee.

What is the timeframe for unit owners to comply?

Unit owners will have three and a half years after setting up the unit to obtain seven approvals from three departments: the sanction of building plans; issuance of completion/occupation certificate for buildings; registration of new trade licences under relevant laws.

Why was a law needed, rather than an executive order?

According to the government, the Act will have overriding powers over various Acts of different departments that make approvals necessary before the setting up of small and medium units — this purpose could not have been achieved by an executive order.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

GSAT-30

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: GSAT 30- components and applications, various bands.

Context: The first mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2020, India’s latest telecommunication satellite GSAT-30 was successfully launched recently.

The launch took place from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

The launch vehicle is named Ariane 5 VA-251.

Key facts:

  • GSAT-30 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series and will replace INSAT-4A in orbit.
  • GSAT-30 is configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-3K Bus structure to provide communication services from Geostationary orbit.

GSAT-30 uses two satellite frequencies:

It gives the Indian mainland and islands coverage in the Ku band, and extended coverage in a wider area stretching from Australia to Europe in the lower-frequency C-band.

The Ku and C bands are part of a spectrum of frequencies, ranging from 1 to 40 gigahertz, that are used in satellite communications.

Services:

With a mission life of over 15 years, GSAT-30 will provide DTH [direct-to-home] television Services, connectivity to VSATs [Very Small Aperture Terminals] for ATM, stock exchange, television uplinking and teleport services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications.

What is Arianespace?
It is the world’s first commercial launch service provider and since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited 24 satellites, including Gsat-30, for the Indian space agency.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

Bru-Reang refugee agreement

What to study?

For Prelims: Who are Brus and issues associated.

For Mains: Agreement in this regard and the recent demands for relaxation of the norms in the agreement.

Context: The centre has signed a historic pact for permanent solution of Bru refugees’ issue.

The agreement is between Union Government, Governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives to end the 23-year old Bru-Reang refugee crisis.

Highlights of the agreement:

  1. Under the agreement , the centre has announced a package of Rs. 600 crore under this agreement.
  2. As per the agreement the Bru tribes would be given land to reside in Tripura.
  3. A fixed deposit of Rs. 4 lakh will be given to each family as an amount of government aid. They will be able to withdraw this amount after two years.
  4. Each of the displaced families will be given 40×30 sq ft residential plots.
  5. Apart from them, each family will be given Rs. 5,000 cash per month for two years.
  6. The agreement highlights that each displaced family will also be given free ration for two years and aid of Rs. 1.5 lakh to build their houses.

Significance of the government:

This agreement will bring a permanent solution for the rehabilitation of thousands of Bru-Reang people in Tripura. The government believes that this agreement will bring a bright future for them. Bru-Reang people will be able to enjoy the benefits of all social-welfare schemes of governments.

Background:

More than 30,000 Bru tribes who fled Mizoram, are residing in Tripura’s refugee camps.

Who are Brus?

The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the northeastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram.

In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group. In Mizoram, they have been targeted by groups that do not consider them indigenous to the state.

What’s the issue?

  1. A bout of ethnic violence forced thousands of people from the Bru tribe to leave their homes in Mizoram.
  2. The displaced Bru people from Mizoram have been living in various camps in Tripura since 1997. In 1997, the murder of a Mizo forest guard at the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram’s Mamit district allegedly by Bru militants led to a violent backlash against the community, forcing several thousand people to flee to neighbouring Tripura.
  3. The Bru militancy was a reactionary movement against Mizo nationalist groups who had demanded in the mid-1990s that the Brus be left out of the state’s electoral rolls, contending that the tribe was not indigenous to Mizoram.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


 

Yada Yada virus:

Context: Detected recently in Australian mosquitoes.

What is it?

  • It belonged to a group that includes other alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus and the astern equine encephalitis.
  • Even so, the novel virus poses no threat to human beings, because it is a part of a group of viruses that only infect mosquitoes. Other viruses in the same group include the Tai forest alphavirus and the Agua Salud alphavirus.