Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 12 March 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Suspension of seven Cong. MPs revoked.

2. SC to hear Uttar Pradesh plea on Lucknow banners today.

3. Role of L-G and govt. intertwined: Madras HC.

4. Consumer disputes redressal forum.

5. Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

6. WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What are Additional Tier-1 bonds?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. YUva VIgyani KAryakram.

2. Forcible dispossession of a person’s property is a human rights violation.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Suspension of seven Cong. MPs revoked

Context: The Lok Sabha has passed a resolution revoking the suspension of seven Congress members with immediate effect.

 

This issue was recently covered in detail on: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/03/07/how-an-mp-is-suspended-from-lok-sabha-by-the-speaker/.

 

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Power to suspend MPs vs powers to revoke suspension.
  2. Difference in procedures followed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in this regard.
  3. Appeals with regard to election of MPs.

Mains Link:

The solution to unruly behaviour of MPs in Parliament has to be long-term and consistent with democratic values. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

SC to hear Uttar Pradesh plea on Lucknow banners today

Context: Uttar Pradesh government has challenged in Supreme Court an Allahabad High Court order to the district and police authorities in Lucknow to “forthwith” remove roadside banners displaying the personal details of select persons accused of “vandalism” during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in December 2019.

 

  • The State has also challenged the jurisdiction of the Allahabad Bench of the High Court to suo motu take cognisance of the banners in Lucknow.

What UP state government says?

The State has argued that the HC erred in invoking public interest jurisdiction, saying it was available only to address the problems plaguing the underprivileged lot. The persons whose personal details were displayed on the banners were “capable enough to agitate their grievance, if any, at their own”.

This issue has previously been covered in detail on:https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/03/10/allahabad-high-court-orders-removal-of-controversial-name-and-shame-hoardings/.

 

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Regular vs Constitutional bench of HighCourt vs Constitutional Court.
  2. Jurisdictions of High Court vs Supreme Court.
  3. Appeals against decisions of High Court.
  4. Suo Motu interventions of Courts.
  5. Powers under CrPC to Police and executive to display personal records of a person.

Mains Link:

  1. The placement of personal data of selected persons “reflects colorable exercise of powers” by the government. Critically comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topic covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Role of L-G and govt. intertwined: Madras HC

What to study?

For Prelims: Power of LG of Puducherry, sources of these powers and comparison with LG of Delhi.

For Mains: Tussle over executive powers between LG and state legislature, issues, concerns and what needs to be done?

Context: Madras High Court has set aside its own order restraining the L-G from interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government of the union territory.

Background:

  • Previously, On March 30, 2019, the Madras High Court had said that the L-G does not have the power to interfere in the day-to-day activities of the union territory.
  • LG also have doesn’t the right to seek any government documents from the Puducherry government.

Observations made by the High Court in its latest order:

  1. The role of Puducherry’s Lieutenant Governor and that of an elected government in the Union Territory were intertwined as per law, and therefore they were expected to act in unison and not in division.
  2. In the past judgment on this issues, the single judge had erred in holding that the Puducherry Legislative Assembly enjoys similar powers to that of a State legislature.
  3. A government is “a trustee for the little man who should not have a perception that the running of the government is a gigantic conspiracy”.

What are the powers and sources of LG of Puducherry?

The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 provides for a Legislative Assembly of Pondicherry (as Puducherry was then called), with a Council of Ministers to govern the “Union Territory of Pondicherry”.

The same Act says that the UT will be administered by the President of India through an Administrator (LG).

  • Section 44 of the Act, says the Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister will “aid and advise the Administrator in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory has power to make laws”.
  • The same clause also allows the LG to “act in his discretion” in the matter of lawmaking, even though the Council of Ministers has the task of aiding and advising him.

What happens when there is a difference of opinion?

In case of a difference of opinion between the LG and his Ministers on any matter, the Administrator is bound to refer it to the President for a decision and act according to the decision given by the President.

However, the Administrator can also claim that the matter is urgent, and take immediate action as he deems necessary.

 When prior sanction of the Administrator is required?

Under Section 22 of the Act, prior sanction of the Administrator is required for certain legislative proposals. These include Bills or amendments that the Council of Ministers intends to move in the Legislative Assembly, and which deal with the “constitution and organisation of the court of the Judicial Commissioner”, and “jurisdiction and powers of the court of the Judicial Commissioner with respect to any of the matters in the State List or the Concurrent List”.

It is also obligatory on the part of the UT government to seek the “recommendation” of the LG before moving a Bill or an amendment to provide for “the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax”, “the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken”, and anything that has to do with the Consolidated Fund of the UT.

 Assent of LG?

Once the Assembly has passed a Bill, the LG can either grant or withhold his assent; or reserve it for the consideration of the President. He can also send it back to the Assembly for reconsideration.

 

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Powers of LG of Delhi vs Puducherry.
  2. Legislative powers of states vs UTs.
  3. What happens when there is difference of opinion between LG and legislature?
  4. Jurisdiction of High Courts wrt to various UTs.
  5. Power of Court to review their own orders.

Mains Link:

Lt Governor plays a pivotal role in running the constitutional machinery of the Union Territory of Puducherry. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Consumer disputes redressal forum

What to study?

For Prelims: Dispute redressal mechanism under Consumer Protection Act, various bodies, composition, ambit and appeals.

For Mains: Significance and the need for dispute redressal mechanism.

Context: A district consumer disputes redressal forum in New Delhi has directed e-commerce platform Flipkart to compensate a complainant by paying over ₹11,000 for delivering a defective mobile handset and failing to redress the grievance.

Dispute redressal under Consumer Protection Act, 1986:

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for a 3-tier structure of the National and State Commissions and District Forums for speedy resolution of consumer disputes. They are quasi- judicial bodies.

Composition: Each District Forum is headed by a person who is or has been or is eligible to be appointed as a District Judge and each State Commission is headed by a person who is or has been a Judge of High Court.

Ambit:

The provisions of this Act cover ‘goods’ as well as ‘services’. The goods are those which are manufactured or produced and sold to consumers through wholesalers and retailers. The services are in the nature of transport, telephone, electricity, housing, banking, insurance, medical treatment, etc.

How Grievance redressal is carried out?

A written complaint, can be filed before the District Consumer Forum for pecuniary value of upto Rupees twenty lakh, State Commission for value upto Rupees one crore and the National Commission for value above Rupees one crore, in respect of defects in goods and or deficiency in service.

  • However, no complaint can be filed for alleged deficiency in any service that is rendered free of charge or under a contract of personal service.
  • The remedy under the Consumer Protection Act is an alternative in addition to that already available to the aggrieved persons/consumers by way of civil suit.
  • In the complaint/appeal/petition submitted under the Act, a consumer is not required to pay any court fees but only a nominal fee.

 Appeals:

  1. If a consumer is not satisfied by the decision of a District Forum, he can appeal to the State Commission. Against the order of the State Commission a consumer can come to the National Commission.
  2. In order to help achieve the objects of the Consumer Protection Act, the National Commission has also been conferred with the powers of administrative control over all the State Commissions by calling for periodical returns regarding the institution, disposal and pendency of cases.

As per the latest Consumer Protection Act , 2019  dispute redressal Commissions will be set up at District, State and National level, with pecuniary jurisdiction up to Rs one crore, Rs one crore to Rs 10 crore, and above Rs 10 crore, respectively. In case of unfair contracts, the State Commissions will hear complaints where the value is up to Rs 10 crore, and National Commissions will hear complaints above that value.  These Commissions can declare unfair terms of such contracts to be null and void.

Consumer_Protection

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. National vs State Commissions vs District Dispute redressal Forums, their compositions.
  2. Ambit, jurisdiction of the courts and Appeals.
  3. Need for Court fees.

Mains:

Write a note on consumer dispute redressal mechanism under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

What to study?

For Prelims: Key provisions of the act.

For Mains: Criticisms surrounding, implications of this law and significance.

Context: The Centre has asked states and Union Territories to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, so that Health Ministry advisories are enforceable.

At present, at least 60 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in India.

What is Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897?

It is routinely enforced across the country for dealing with outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera.

It was introduced by colonial government to tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague that had spread in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency in the 1890s.

Why was this act criticised?

Historians have criticised the Act for its potential for abuse.

Using powers conferred by the Act, colonies authorities would search suspected plague cases in homes and among passengers, with forcible segregations, evacuations, and demolitions of infected places.

In 1897, the year the law was enforced, freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak was punished with 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment after his newspapers Kesari and Mahratta admonished imperial authorities for their handling of the plague epidemic.

Provisions of the 1897 Epidemic Diseases Act:

  1. It empowers state governments/UTs to take special measures and formulate regulations for containing the outbreak.
  2. It also empowers state to prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as it shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof.
  3. The state may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any) shall be defrayed.
  4. The State Government may take measures and prescribe regulations for the inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and the segregation, in hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease.
  5. It also provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act. These are according to section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
  6. It also gives legal protection to the implementing officers acting under the Act.

Examples of implementation:

  1. In 2018, the district collector of Gujarat’s Vadodara issued a notification under the Act declaring the Khedkarmsiya village in Waghodia taluka as cholera-affected after 31 persons complained of symptoms of the disease.
  2. In 2015, to deal with malaria and dengue in Chandigarh, the Act was implemented and controlling officers were instructed to ensure the issuance of notices and challans of Rs 500 to offenders.
  3. In 2009, to tackle the swine flu outbreak in Pune, Section 2 powers were used to open screening centres in civic hospitals across the city, and swine flu was declared a notifiable disease.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Previous examples of implementation of this Act, diseases for which it was declared.
  2. A notifiable disease.
  3. Implementing agency, penalty, protection and inspection of people under the act.
  4. Handling of the plague epidemic by British, criticisms by Tilak through his papers.

Mains Link:

Discuss the key provisions of the 1897 Epidemic Diseases Act.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic

What to study?

For Prelims: What is Pandemic? About COVID 19.

For Mains: Implications of this declaration, significance and the way ahead.

Context: As fresh coronavirus cases continue to be reported from different countries, the World Health Organization has finally declared the novel coronavirus a ‘pandemic‘.

WHO said it was deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.

Earlier, on January 30 the WHO declared it was a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”.

What is an outbreak, epidemic and pandemic?

  1. An outbreak is understood to be a sudden rise in the cases of a disease in a particular place.
  2. An epidemic is a large outbreak among a particular population or region (such as the current situation in China).
  3. A pandemic is “the worldwide spread of a new disease”. There is no specific number of countries that a disease must touch for WHO to classify it as a pandemic.

The spread of COVID 19:

The novel coronavirus disease that emerged in Wuhan, China, in the final days of last year, is now in at least 47 countries around the world, spanning every continent except Antarctica. More than 82,000 people have been infected, and over 2,800 are dead.

Affected countries include Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Iran among others.

Previous Pandemics:

In June 2009, the WHO declared a global pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1), commonly known as swine flu.

The WHO has abandoned that system of classification now, even though the term pandemic can still be used “colloquially”.

Implications:

The WHO continues to advise countries “to enact plans based on national risk assessments of local circumstances, taking into consideration the information provided by WHO’s global assessments”.

About Novel Coronavirus disease:

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection. There are many types of coronavirus, some linked to the common cold, but this one is new and was detected toward the end of 2019.

COVID-19 is the official name given to the virus by the World Health Organization. Before WHO officially named the virus, it was also referred to as coronavirus, the novel coronavirus and 2019-nCOV (to indicate the year when the virus was first detected).

Why it is named so?

The coronavirus gets its name from the way it looks: It has a core of genetic material covered by an envelope with protein spikes that resemble a crown. In Latin, a crown is a corona. It’s called a novel coronavirus because it’s new and hasn’t been detected in people before.

What are the symptoms? 

  • COVID-19 is similar to other respiratory illnesses and symptoms include a fever, dry cough, sore throat and headache. There may also be aches and pains, fatigue and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • While most cases are mild, some individuals may experience more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, and may experience pneumonia in both lungs. Those with health issues or underlying conditions may also have a harder time recovering.
  • It may take up to 14 days after exposure for symptoms to appear.

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • COVID-19 is transmitted through liquid droplets or particles when a person coughs or sneezes. These droplets, if containing the virus, can infect a person by entering through the eyes, nose or throat. It’s not believed to be airborne and it’s not known to infect via the skin.
  • However, the virus can survive on some surfaces so if a person sneezes into their hand, shakes your hand and your then rub your eye with your hand, transmission is possible through self-inoculation.

COVID-19_symptoms

What’s the difference between a cold, a flu and COVID- 19?

All three are respiratory illnesses but each is caused by a different virus.

The cold is caused by the rhinovirus, the flu is caused by the influenza virus, and COVID-19 is caused by the novel 2019 coronavirus.

All three can lead to pneumonia if complicated by other health issues or underlying conditions.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. SARS vs MERS vs Common cold vs COVID 19- similarities, spread and differences.
  2. Epidemic vs Pandemic vs Endemic, who declares it?
  3. Previous pandemics and epidemics.

Mains Link:

Why COVID 19 was declared Pandemic by WHO? What are its implications? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 



GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

What are Additional Tier-1 bonds?

What to study?

For Prelims: What are AT- 1 bonds, their key features.

For Mains: Significance and risks associated with these bonds.

Context: The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) has written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to allow fund houses a temporary write down of additional tier 1 bonds of Yes Bank to avoid a huge hit on the net asset value of schemes that hold such bonds.

Implications:

This assumes significance as many fund houses stand to lose thousands of crores if the additional tier 1 bonds are completely written off.

Background:

Under the Based III framework, banks’ regulatory capital is divided into Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital.

Tier 1 capital is subdivided into Common Equity (CET) and Additional Capital (AT1). 

What are Additional Tier-1 bonds?

They are a type of unsecured, perpetual bonds that banks issue to shore up their core capital base to meet the Basel-III norms.

 Key features:

  1. These have higher rates than tier II bonds.
  2. These bonds have no maturity date.
  3. The issuing bank has the option to call back the bonds or repay the principal after a specified period of time.
  4. The attraction for investors is higher yield than secured bonds issued by the same entity.
  5. Individual investors too can hold these bonds, but mostly high net worth individuals (HNIs) opt for such higher risk, higher yield investments.
  6. Given the higher risk, the rating for these bonds is one to four notches lower than the secured bond series of the same bank. For example, while SBI’s tier II bonds are rated AAA by Crisil, its tier I long-term bonds are rated AA+.

However, it has a two-fold risk:

  1. First, the issuing bank has the discretion to skip coupon payment. Under normal circumstances it can pay from profits or revenue reserves in case of losses for the period when the interest needs to be paid.
  2. Second, the bank has to maintain a common equity tier I ratio of 5.5%, failing which the bonds can get written down. In some cases there could be a clause to convert into equity as well.

Given these characteristics, AT1 bonds are also referred to as quasi-equity.

Differences between Common Equity (CET) and Additional Capital (AT1):

Equity and preference capital is classified as CET and perpetual bonds are classified as AT1. Together, CET and AT1 are called Common Equity.

By nature, CET is the equity capital of the bank, where returns are linked to the banks’ performance and therefore the performance of the share price.

However, AT1 bonds are in the nature of debt instruments, which carry a fixed coupon payable annually from past or present profits of the bank. 

How RBI can take over the regulation of any bank?

There is an additional trigger in Indian regulations, called the ‘Point of Non-Viability Trigger’ (PONV).

  • In a situation where a bank faces severe losses leading to erosion of regulatory capital, the RBI can decide if the bank has reached a situation wherein it is no longer viable.
  • The RBI can then activate a PONV trigger and assume executive powers.
  • By doing so, the RBI can do whatever is required to get the bank on track, including superseding the existing management, forcing the bank to raise additional capital and so on.
  • However, activating PONV is followed by a write down of the AT1 bonds, as determined by the RBI. 

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Basel Norms 1 vs 2 vs 3.
  2. CET vs AT1.
  3. Tier 1 vs 2 capital.
  4. ‘Point of Non-Viability Trigger’ (PONV).
  5. Role of RBI during bank crisis.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Basel norms.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


 

YUva VIgyani KAryakram:

Launched by Indian Space Research Organisation.

It is a special programme for School Children, in tune with the Government’s vision “Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan”.

Aim: The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.

Participants: It is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme covering CBSE, ICSE and State syllabus.

Eligibility: Those who have just completed 9th standard will be eligible for the online registration. The selection is based on the 8th Standard academic performance and extracurricular activities. Students belonging to the rural area have been given special weightage in the selection criteria. In case there is tie between the selected candidates, the younger candidates will be given priority.

Why in News?

ISRO has shortlisted 358 high school students from across the country to be part of this programme.

 

Forcible dispossession of a person’s property is a human rights violation:

The Supreme Court has reiterated that forcible dispossession of a person of his private property without due process of law is a violation of human rights.

In a recent judgment, the court stressed that right to property is both a human right and a constitutional right — the latter under Article 300A of the Constitution.

Parliament passes amendment allowing Putin to stay in power:

  • Constitutional changes allowing Vladimir Putin to run for President again in 2024 were passed recently in Russia’s lower house of Parliament.
  • New amendments make way for Putin to potentially stay in power until 2036.
  • Putin is currently required by the Constitution to step down in 2024 when his second sequential and fourth presidential term ends. But the amendment would formally reset his presidential term tally to zero.

The “reset to zero” proposal would mean “removing the restriction for any person, any citizen, including the current president, and allowing them to take part in elections in the future, naturally in open and competitive elections”.