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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 March 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Supreme Court dismisses pleas against post-based reservation in Karnataka.

2. World Consumer Day.

3. What is a Country-by-Country (CbC) Report?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC).

2. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

 

PIB one liner facts.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Supreme Court dismisses pleas against post-based reservation in Karnataka

What to study?

For Prelims: A 355, overview of Karnataka law on reservation, key observations made by SC in relevant cases.

For Mains: Significance and implications of the judgment.

Context: The Supreme Court has rejected a bunch of pleas seeking exclusion of creamy layer or better-off individuals among Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities at the entry-level when it comes to the reservation in promotions.

The court observed the pleas were an attempt by the petitioners to challenge the actions of the Karnataka government taken pursuant to a law, which was already held to be valid by the top court in 2019.

Background:

The applications were filed in the BK Pavitra case in which the top court had, in 2019, upheld the constitutional validity of the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservations (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act.

The Supreme Court in its 2019 judgment had held that the Act was a valid exercise of power by the government under Article 16 (4A) which empowers the state to provide reservations to SC/STs in matters of promotion.

What did the Karnataka law say?

The Act enacted by the Karnataka government provides, among other things, for consequential seniority to persons belonging to SC and ST categories promoted under the reservation policy of Karnataka.

Consequential seniority enables reserved category candidates to retain their seniority for subsequent promotions. That is, if an SC/ST candidate is promoted ahead of a general category candidate by reason of reservation in promotion, then the promoted SC/ST candidate will retain that seniority for subsequent promotions and will thus be considered senior to general category candidate who was promoted later.

Why this is significant?

This Supreme Court order is significant because it underlines “a ‘meritorious’ candidate is not merely one who is ‘talented ‘or ‘successful’ but also one whose appointment fulfils the constitutional goals of uplifting members of the SCs and STs and ensuring a diverse and representative administration”.

What is the creamy layer concept?

The ‘means-test and creamy layer’ first finds expression in the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in Indra Sawhney versus Union of India, delivered by a nine-judge Bench on November 16, 1992.

‘Creamy layer’ are “some members of a backward class who are highly advanced socially as well as economically and educationally.

Constitutional basis for special measures- Article 335:

Article 335 recognises that special measures need to be adopted for considering the claims of SCs and STs in order to bring them to a level-playing field.

Need: Centuries of discrimination and prejudice suffered by the SCs and STs in a feudal, caste-oriented societal structure poses real barriers of access to opportunity. The proviso contains a realistic recognition that unless special measures are adopted for the SCs and STs, the mandate of the Constitution for the consideration of their claim to appointment will remain illusory.

Insta Link:

Prelims link:

  1. Article 14, 15 and 355.
  2. Evolution of Creamy later concept.
  3. Different benches of the Supreme Court.
  4. SC’s power to review its own judgments.

Mains Link:

Should the Scheduled caste and scheduled tribes community have reservations in promotions? Critically examine.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

World Consumers Day

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: WCD- significance, theme, features and CPA.

What is it? 15 March is World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. It marks the date in 1962 President John F Kennedy first outlined the definition of Consumer Rights.

The theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2020 is ‘The Sustainable Consumer’.

 Significance of the day:

It is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.

Key facts:

  • WCRD was first observed on 15 March 1983, and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action.
  • Consumers International (CI), which was founded in 1960 organises WCRD. It is the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers and has over 220 member organisations in 115 countries around the world.
  • Consumer Rights Day — India December 24th. On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

What is a Country-by-Country (CbC) Report?

What to study?

For Prelims: What is CbC report?

For Mains: Need for and significance of these reports.

Context: With Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) notifying rules for furnishing “Country-by-Country Report” (CbC) specifying information pertaining to all large multinational enterprises (MNEs), the Finance Ministry has said that Joint Director of Income-tax (Risk Assessment)-1 has been designated as the Income-tax Authority before whom particulars of the parent entity and alternate reporting entity would be notified.

Background:

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has developed an Action Plan called “Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan 13” to ensure that a multinational enterprise would report its profit correctly where it is earned.

What is a Country-by-Country (CbC) Report?

The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action 13 report (Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting) provides a template for multinational enterprises (MNEs) to report annually and for each tax jurisdiction in which they do business the information set out therein. This report is called the Country-by-Country (CbC) Report.

This information enables an enhanced level of assessment of tax risk by both tax administrations.

 What CBC contains?

  • Aggregated country-by-country information relating to the global allocation of income, the taxes paid, and certain other indicators of a multi-national company.
  • A list of all the constituent entities of the multi-national company operating in a particular jurisdiction and the nature of the main business activity of each constituent entity.

What is BEPS?

Base erosion and profit shifting refers to the phenomenon where companies shift their profits to other tax jurisdictions, which usually have lower rates, thereby eroding the tax base in India.

India in July 2019 ratified the international agreement to curb base erosion and profits shifting (BEPS)– Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures.

About the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting:

The Convention is an outcome of the OECD / G20 BEPS Project to tackle base erosion and profit shifting through tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.

Overview and significance of the convention:

  1. The Convention implements two minimum standards relating to prevention of treaty abuse and dispute resolution through Mutual Agreement Procedure.
  2. It will be applied alongside existing tax treaties, modifying their application in order to implement the BEPS measures.
  3. The Convention ensures consistency and certainty in the implementation of the BEPS Project in a multilateral context. The Convention also provides flexibility to exclude a specific tax treaty and to opt out of provisions or parts of provisions through making of reservations.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. OECD- objectives, composition and overview of geographical location of members.
  2. OECD vs WEF.
  3. Difference between signing and ratification.
  4. What is BEPS?

Mains Link:

What are Country-by-Country (CbC) Report? Discuss their significance.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: SFAC- objectives, functions and significance.

Context: Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed an MoU with the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) to have a better sync with their activities for the benefit of farmers.

Key facts:

  • As per the MoU, both organisations will work towards capacity development, outreach programs, awareness programs and workshops of various stakeholders.
  • APEDA will facilitate the certification of organic produce/areas by the FPCs assisted or identified by SFAC.

Significance of this approach:

It is expected that with the approach of joint collaboration with the organizations like SFAC, APEDA will be able to reach to a large farmer base for improving the production base of agri products quantitatively and qualitatively both for maintaining the consistency of supply and establish an image of quality supplier in the international market leading to increase in export volume and value and indirectly contribute to doubling of farmers’ income.

About SFAC:

The Government established Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) as a Society in January 1994 to facilitate agri-business ventures by catalysing private investment through Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme in close association with financial institutions.

The role of State SFACs is to aggressively promote agribusiness project development in their respective States.

Management: The Society is governed by Board of Management which is chaired, ex-officio, by Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare as the President and the Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, is the ex-officio Vice-President.

The main functions of SFAC are:

  1. Promotion of development of small agribusiness through VCA scheme.
  2. Helping formation and growth of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) / Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs).
  3. Improving availability of working capital and development of business activities of FPOs/FPCs through Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme.
  4. Implementation of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Electronic Trading platform.

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority:

  • It is an authority established under an act of Parliament and under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  • It has been mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz. fruits, vegetables, meat products, dairy products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages etc.
  • APEDA has also been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. APEDA- important functions.
  2. What are FPOs?
  3. What is eNAM?
  4. Provisions wrt Cooperatives.

Mains Link:

Discuss the role and significance of Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) in ensuring the welfare of farmers.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.

National Disaster Response Force

What to study?

For Prelims: NDRF- key facts.

For Mains: Significance and the role of NDRF in disaster management in the country.

Context: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has trained more than 15,000 staff deployed at the air and land ports across the country on the protocols to be followed in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.

About NDRF:

The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

Why was it needed?

Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.

ROLE AND MANDATE OF NDRF:

  1. Specialized response during disasters.
  2. Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations.
  3. Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills.
  4. Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills.
  5. Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
  6. Community Capacity Building Programme.
  7. Organize Public Awareness Campaigns.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. NDRF vs SDRF.
  2. Who heads NRDF?
  3. Bodies established under DM Act.

Mains Link:

Discuss the critical role played by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in providing a specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster in the country.

Sources: pib.

 


PIB one liner facts


 

  1. Five projects have been taken up for execution are: Polavaram Irrigation Project (Andhra Pradesh), Saryu Nahar Pariyojana (Uttar Pradesh), Gosikhurd Irrigation Project (Maharashtra), Teesta Barrage Project (West Bengal) & Shahpurkandi Dam Project (Punjab).
  2. National Aquifer Mapping and Management program (NAQUIM): Implemented by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB). It envisages mapping of aquifers and development of Aquifer Management Plans to facilitate sustainable management of Ground Water Resources.
  3. Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has been constituted under Section 3(3) of the ‘Environment (Protection) Act, 1986’ for the purpose of regulation and control of ground water development and management in the Country. CGWA grants ‘No Objection Certificates’ (NOC) for ground water abstraction in 23 States/UTs.
  4. National Water Informatics Centre has been established under National Hydrology Project.
  5. Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG), a sub-scheme under Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, has been universalized from 1.4.2018 for the out-of-school girls age group of 11-14 years for their self-development and empowerment to improve their nutrition and health status.
  6. The Ministry of Minority Affairs implements Naya Savera – Free Coaching and Allied Scheme under which free coaching is provided to students of six centrally notified minority communities namely Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Zoroastrians (Parsis). So as to enable them to qualify in entrance examinations for admission in technical/ professional courses, and various Competitive examinations.
  7. Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme provides financial assistance to students from notified minority communities, to pursue higher education such as M. Phil and Ph. D.
  8. Padho Pardes – A scheme for providing interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies to enable students from minority communities to pursue higher education.
  9. Ministry of Human Resources Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have jointly developed comprehensive School Health Programme (SHP) under Ayushman Bharat to foster the growth, development and educational achievement of school going children by promoting their health and wellbeing. 
  10. As per the latest key world energy statistics published by the IEA in 2019, India is the 3rd largest producer of electricity in the world and it ranks 106th in terms of per capita consumption in 2017.
  11. The National Crisis Management Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
  12. The NDMA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) ensures implementation of the policies on disaster management. It is headed by the Union Home Secretary. It comprises Secretary-level officials in all the key Ministries or Departments, and the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.