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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 19 March 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Plea against Gogoi’s nomination.

2. What is Article 142?

3. National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 (NCIM).

4. National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019.

5. National Register of Citizens (NRC).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Coalbed methane (CBM).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Open market operations (OMO).

2. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

 

PIB one liner facts.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Women related issues.

Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of IGMPY and PMMVY.

For Mains: Significance and the need for such missions in India.

Context: The scheme was recently announced by the Rajasthan Government on pilot basis in 4 districts.

  • The scheme will be implemented in Udaipur, Pratapgath, Banswara and Dungarpur, where nutrition indicators among children and anaemia levels among mothers are worse than the average for the State.

Key features of the scheme:

  • It is a maternity benefit scheme.
  • Under the scheme ₹6,000 will be offered for the birth of the second child. 
  • The government aims to reach out to 75,000 beneficiaries annually. It estimates an expenditure of ₹45 crore per year.
  • The State scheme will complement the Central government’s Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana which offers ₹5,000 for the birth of the first child.

Why focus on second child?

The government feels that the second child doesn’t receive as much attention as the first child and, therefore, it is important to extend this cash benefit to ensure adequate nutrition for the second child.

About PMMVY:

  • It is a maternity benefit rechristened from erstwhile Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).
  • The scheme is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women.
  • It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Cash assistance under PMMVY vs IGMPY.
  2. Who is eligible and who is not under PMMVY?
  3. Applicability of benefits for the birth of second child under these schemes.
  4. Relevance of National Food Security Act for PMMVY.
  5. States with highest IMR and MMR.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Rajasthan Government ‘s Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Plea against Gogoi’s nomination

What to study?

For Prelims: Nominations to Rajya Sabha- eligibility and appointment.

For Mains: Concerns over nomination of former Judges, ways to address them.

Context: A petition was recently filed in the Supreme Court conveying “widespread disquiet and unease” triggered by the nomination of the former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha.

The petition sought the court’s intervention for extending the post-retirement restrictions imposed on the office of the Lokpal to former judges as well.

What is the demand by the petitioner?

The petition said former judges should be insulated from “post-retirement allurements” like the Lokpal, as faith in the judiciary will dry up.

What’s the issue here?

There is no law or constitutional provision that prohibits such a nomination. Nor is this an unprecedented decision by the government. Still, it is not a common practice that a government nominates or appoints a former Supreme Court judge or even a high court judge to some office within months of her or his retirement.

What are the exceptions currently in place to ensure independence of the judiciary?

Currently, the only bar imposed on a Judge of the Supreme Court who has retired is that he shall not thereafter plead or act in any Court or before any authority.

What has the Law Commission said in this regard?

14th report of the Law Commission of India considered the question of such nominations and appointments before forming a negative opinion.

The report said it is clearly undesirable that Supreme Court Judges should look forward to other Government employment after their retirement.

Explaining the reason for why Supreme Court judges should resist such offers from the government, the Law Commission report says, “The Government is a party in a large number of causes [cases] in the highest Court and the average citizen may well get the impression, that a judge who might look forward to being employed by the Government after his retirement, does not bring to bear on his work that detachment of outlook which is expected of a judge in cases in which Government is a party.”

Therefore, the practice has a tendency to affect the independence of the judges and should be discontinued.

Why Ranjan Gogoi should not have accepted this offer?

Within five months of his retirement as Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the government.

  • Shortly before his retirement from the Supreme Court of India, he delivered several important verdicts with far-reaching political consequences that left the government pleased, including the Ayodhya judgment.
  • Before that, Justice Gogoi dismissed a review of the Rafale fighter aircraft deal without substantially dealing with the grounds on which the original judgment, negating an independent investigation, had been challenged.
  • During his tenure, Justice Gogoi also presided over and pushed through the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, an exercise that has excluded more than 19 lakh people from the final version of the citizenship register, and which has been widely criticised on several grounds.
  • Then there was the Sabarimala temple review. A Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court held that excluding menstruating women from entering the temple was discriminatory, and therefore against “constitutional morality”.

What the 16-point code of conduct for judges says?

Also called the “Restatement of Values of Judicial Life” (adopted at a Chief Justices Conference in May 1997), the code lays the basis of how post-retirement conduct ought to be. For example if a judge after deciding politically sensitive cases involving particular political parties or politicians, soon after retirement seeks and gets a plum post such as a Rajya Sabha nomination by those very politicians or parties, it would obviously raise serious questions about his or her independence as a judge when he or she had decided those cases.

Can this appointment be seen as a way of ensuring cohesion between the judiciary and the legislature?

No. Because, he no longer represents the judiciary, and his contribution will be limited to the expertise and knowledge he can bring to debates in Parliament. Any attempt to create ‘cohesion’ between the two wings would necessarily encroach on the judiciary’s role as a restraining force on the executive and legislature.

Need of the hour:

There is a creeping worry that post-retirement jobs are a result of pre-retirement judgments. Above all, public confidence in the judiciary cannot be shaken through such appointments. The issue needs to be resolved convincingly.

Besides, ethics demand that no retired judge of the highest court accepts a post that will room to criticism and controversy.

Nominated member of the Rajya Sabha:

Under article 80 of the Constitution, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) is composed of not more than 250 members, of whom 12 are nominated by the President of India from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Powers and privileges of Nominated members vs Elected members of Rajya Sabha.
  2. Voting rights of Nominated members in the elections of President and Vice- President.
  3. Can nominated members join a political party?
  4. Selection of districts by nominated members under MPLADS.

Mains Link:

How independence of the judiciary in India is ensured under the constitution. What are the recent threats? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

What is Article 142?

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview and applicability of Article 142.

For Mains: Need for and significance of these powers for the Supreme Court.

Context: In an extraordinary display of its constitutional powers under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court has stripped Manipur Cabinet Minister T. Shyamkumar, who is facing disqualification proceedings for defection, of his office and banned him from entering the Assembly with immediate effect.

What’s the issue?

The apex court took this decision after Speaker Y. Khemchand Singh, even after the one month”s period given by the apex court, failed to decide on the disqualification petition pending against Shyamkumar. Instead, the Speaker sought adjournment for eight weeks on the matter.

What is Article 142?

Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, i.e., where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner which would befit the facts of the case.

Article 142(1) states that “The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe”.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Disqualification of MLAs under 10th
  2. Exceptions under the schedule.
  3. Examples of invocation of Article 142 by the Supreme Court.
  4. Similar powers to High Courts.
  5. Original vs Appellate jurisdictions.
  6. Judicial review of Speaker’s decisions.

Mains Link:

“The Supreme Court’s use of its vast powers under the Article 142 has done tremendous good to many deprived sections. However, it is time to institute checks and balances.” Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 (NCIM)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: NCIM- objectives, composition and functions.

Context: The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 (NCIM) was recently passed in Rajya Sabha.

The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.

Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments have to establish State Medical Councils for Indian System of Medicine at the state level.

 Key features of the Bill include:

  1. Constitution of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine:

The NCISM will consist of 29 members, appointed by the central government.

These posts will have a maximum term of four years.

They will be recommended by a search committee.

The Search Committee will consist of five members including the Cabinet Secretary and three experts nominated by the central government (of which two should have experience in any of the fields of Indian System of Medicine).

  1. Functions of the NCISM include:

Framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine.

Assessing the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure.

Ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils of Indian System of Medicine of the regulations made under the Bill.

Ensuring coordination among the autonomous boards set up under the Bill.

  1. Autonomous boards to be set up:

Board of Ayurveda and the Board of Unani, Siddha, and Sowa-Rigpa.

Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Indian System of Medicine.

Ethics and Medical Registration Board.

  1. Entrance examinations:

There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to under-graduate education in each of the disciplines of the Indian System of Medicine in all medical institutions regulated by the Bill.

The Bill also proposes a National Teachers’ Eligibility Test for postgraduates of each discipline of Indian System of Medicine who wish to take up teaching that particular discipline as a profession.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Boards to be set up under the Bill.
  2. Composition and selection of NCISM members.
  3. Key functions of NCISM.
  4. Autonomous vs Non autonomous bodies.
  5. Statutory vs non statutory bodies.

Mains Link:

Discuss the key features of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 (NCIM).

Sources: pib.

 

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

National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the Bill.

Context: The Bill was recently passed in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bill seeks to repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.

Key features (Note: Have a brief overview.)

Constitution of the National Commission for Homoeopathy: It will consist of 20 members, appointed by the central government and recommended by a Search Committee.

The Search Committee will consist of six members including the Cabinet Secretary and three experts nominated by the central government (of which two will have experience in the homoeopathic field).

Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils for Homoeopathy at the state level.

Functions of the National Commission for Homoeopathy: framing policies for regulating medical institutions and homoeopathic medical professionals, assessing the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure.

Appeal on matters related to professional and ethical misconduct: State Medical Councils will receive complaints relating to professional or ethical misconduct against a registered homoeopathic medical practitioner.  If the medical practitioner is aggrieved of a decision of the State Medical Council, he may appeal to the Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homoeopathy.

Powers: The State Medical Councils and the Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homoeopathy have the power to take disciplinary action against the medical practitioner including imposing a monetary penalty.

Appeals: If the medical practitioner is aggrieved of the decision of the Board, he can approach the NCH to appeal against the decision. Appeal of the decision of the NCH lies with the central government.

Sources: pib.

 

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

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

What to study?

For Prelims: Particulars of NRC.

For Mains: Update of NRC- issues associated including ethical concerns.

Context: Union Home Ministry has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that preparation of NRC is a “necessary exercise for any sovereign country for mere identification of citizens from non-citizens.”

Basis for NRC- observations of Home Ministry:

  • It is the responsibility entrusted with the Central government “to identify/detect illegal migrants and thereafter, follow the due process of law”.
  • The Foreigners Act, 1946, confers upon the government the power to expel foreigners from India. 
  • It vests the Central government with absolute and unfettered discretion, and as there is no provision fettering this discretion in the Constitution, an unrestricted right to expel remains.

Background:

More than a dozen States have vociferously opposed the updating of National Population Register (NPR), slated to begin on April 1 along with the house listing phase of the Census. According to Citizenship Rules 2003, NPR is the first step towards the compilation of the NRC.

Concerns now:

There are fears that the CAA, followed by a country-wide NRC, will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the citizens’ register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship. The government has denied that CAA and NRC are linked.

How it would be carried out?

Details of how such an exercise will be carried out are not yet known.

In the case of Assam, there was a cut-off date — March 25, 1971 — after which all foreigners as per the Assam Accord were to be “detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law”.

Presumably, the Centre will come out with a cut-off for the nationwide NRC, but it will be an arbitrary one.

Why this is worrisome?

Assam’s example: This is an exercise fraught with risks, as the example of Assam shows. The process in the state has been mired in inaccuracies, with low but worrying odds of legal citizens being declared illegal residents in their own country.

Need of the hour:

  • Any such exercise demands a robust process that minimizes data infirmities.
  • This would mean a complete rehaul of the methods used in Assam.
  • Also, those who don’t make it to the list should get adequate legal recourse.

What is NRC?

  • The NRC is the list of Indian citizens and was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951.
  • The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013.
  • In order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas, NRC updation was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Relation between Census and NPR.
  2. NPR vs NRC.
  3. How NRC is related to Assam accord.
  4. Constitutional provisions wrt to grant and revocation of citizenships.
  5. Who carries out Census?

Mains Link:

Discuss why a nationwide NRC exercise may not be feasible.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


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.

In News pib- Coalbed methane (CBM)

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: What is CBM? Potential, uses and challenges.

India’s CBM potential:

  1. India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world, and CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel with significant prospects.
  2. India’s CBM resources are estimated at around 92 trillion cubic feet (TCF), or 2,600 billion cubic metres (BCM).
  3. The country’s coal and CBM reserves are found in 12 states of India, with the Gondwana sediments of eastern India holding the bulk.
  4. The Damodar Koel valley and Son valley are prospective areas for CBM development.

What is coalbed methane (CBM)?

It is an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal deposits or coal seams.

CMB is formed during the process of coalification, the transformation of plant material into coal.

 

CBM can be used:

  1. In Power generation.
  2. As Compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel.
  3. As feedstock for fertilisers.
  4. Industrial uses such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants, and for methanol production.

Challenges and concerns:

  1. Methane is a greenhouse gasemitted through CBM extraction. Global methane emissions from coal mines are projected to account for approximately 8 percent of total global methane emissions.
  2. Disturbance of lands drilled and its effect on wildlife habitats results in ecosystem damage.
  3. CBM production behaviour is complex and difficult to predict in the early stages of recovery.
  4. Another concern is the effect water discharges from CBM development could potentially have on downstream water sources.
  5. Disposal of the highly salinized water that must be removed in order to release the methane creates a challenge, as its introduction into freshwater ecosystems could have adverse effects.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. CBM vs Shale gas.
  2. What is coalification?
  3. Greenhouse gases emitted during CBM extraction?

Mains Link:

What is coalbed methane? How is it extracted and what is its significance? Discuss.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


 

Open market operations (OMO):

  • Open market operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI or the central bank of the country.
  • The objective of OMO is to regulate the money supply in the economy.
  • RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public.

 

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):

What is it? To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement, the government of India in 2001 decided to set up an integrated DAC. It is headed by the Defence Minister.

Objective: The objective of the DAC is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces, in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

Functions: The DAC is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans. It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license.

 


PIB one liner facts


 

  1. Railway Projects are sanctioned Zone-wise and not State-wise, as, Indian Railway’s network is straddled across various State boundaries.
  2. Till 22nd August, 2014, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Railway Sector was restricted only to “Mass Rapid Transport System”. However, FDI has now been opened up/permitted in the following activities/areas of Railway Infrastructure (100% on automatic route) under the extant FDI Policy of Government since 22 August, 2014.
  3. By virtue of Entry 9 and 41 of State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, the respective States are required to implement the provisions relating to reservation for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in their establishments.