Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Issues related to women.
What to study?
For Prelims: Laws in India to deal with domestic violence cases.
For Mains: How is it being managed worldwide under lockdown?
Context: Both the United Nations and the Council of Europe have expressed concern about the increase in domestic violence in various countries during lockdowns due to the coronavirus.
Generally, women and children are at greater risk of abuse within their own homes during this period.
How is the situation worldwide since the announcement of lockdown?
- Since the lockdown, in France, the number of domestic violence reports made to the police had gone up by 36 per cent in Paris, and 32 per cent in the rest of the country, including two murders.
- In the UK, since the lockdown started, the National Domestic Abuse helpline saw a 25 per cent rise in calls and online requests for help.
- In the US, where gun sales have been setting record highs during the pandemic, many have expressed an increased sentiment of alarm about the welfare of women and children.
- In India too, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has flagged the issue of a spike in cases of domestic violence since the enforcement of the national lockdown.
How are countries handling the situation?
- Setup EUR 1 million to fund relief organisations working against domestic abuse, to help them cater to the increased number of requests for help.
- Promised to open up pop-up counselling centres and pay for hotel rooms for domestic violence victims.
- Victims have also been encouraged to seek help at pharmacies discreetly.
- The government has launched an app that enables domestic violence victims to seek help without making a phone call.
- A proposal to allocate EUR 4 million for shelters for victims is also being considered.
The government announced grants of over GBP 1.5 million for Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland over six months to ensure that access to support services is maintained.
Protection of women against domestic violence in India:
What is Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005?
- It is an act to provide for more effective protection of the rights of Women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- Domestic Violence Act 2005 is the first significant attempt in India to recognise domestic abuse as a punishable offence, to extend its provisions to those in live-in relationships, and to provide for emergency relief for the victims, in addition to legal recourse. It extends to the whole of India except the State Jammu & Kashmir.
- It aims to protect women from physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse at home.
Besides, in 1983, domestic Violence was recognised as a specific criminal offence by the introduction of section 498A into the Indian penal code. This section deals with cruelty by husband or his family towards a married woman.
- What is Section 498A?
- Difference between IPC and CrPC?
- Composition of NCW.
- Key provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 2005.
Discuss the key features of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005.
Sources: Indian Express
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
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: Invoking special powers under Article 142, the Supreme Court has deemed all restrictions imposed on people from entering, attending or taking part in court hearings as lawful in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Important observations made by the Court:
- These restrictions were in tune with the social distancing norms and best public health practices advocated to contain the contagion.
- Every individual and institution is expected to cooperate in the implementation of measures designed to reduce the transmission of the virus. The scaling down of conventional operations within the precincts of courts is a measure in that direction.
- This is not a matter of discretion but of duty. It is necessary that courts at all levels respond to the call of social distancing and ensure that court premises do not contribute to the spread of virus.
Rationale behind these observations:
Access to justice is fundamental to preserve the rule of law in the democracy envisaged by the Constitution of India. The challenges occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 have to be addressed while preserving the constitutional commitment to ensuring the delivery of and access to justice to those who seek it. However, public health takes precedence over conventions.
Guidelines by the Supreme Court:
- Judiciary would have to improvise and continue to bank heavily on “videoconferencing technologies” in the wake of this “unprecedented and extraordinary outbreak of a pandemic”.
- High Courts should decide the modalities for the temporary transition to the use of videoconferencing technologies in their respective States.
- District courts in each State would adopt the mode of videoconferencing prescribed by the respective High Courts.
- Helplines would be set up to receive and rectify technical complaints.
- The courts should make available videoconferencing facility for litigants who do not have it or appoint an amicus curiae.
- In no case shall evidence be recorded without the mutual consent of both the parties by videoconferencing. If it is necessary to record evidence in a courtroom, the presiding officer shall ensure that appropriate distance is maintained between any two individuals in the court.
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”.
- Disqualification of MLAs under 10th
- Exceptions under the schedule.
- Examples of invocation of Article 142 by the Supreme Court.
- Similar powers to High Courts.
- Original vs Appellate jurisdictions.
- Judicial review of Speaker’s decisions.
“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: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key facts on MPLADS.
For Mains: Significance, performance analysis and need for monitoring of the scheme, demand for a legal framework.
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved a 30% cut in the salaries of all Members of Parliament and a two-year suspension of the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme so that the amount saved can go to the Consolidated Fund of India to fight COVID-19.
In this regard, it approved an ordinance to amend the Salaries, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, to cut the salaries of MPs by 30%.
Now, the consolidated amount of MPLAD Funds for 2 years – Rs 7,900 crores – will go to Consolidated Fund of India.
About MPLAD scheme:
What is it?
It was launched in December, 1993, to provide a mechanism for the Members of Parliament to recommend works of developmental nature for creation of durable community assets and for provision of basic facilities including community infrastructure, based on locally felt needs.
- The MPLADS is a Plan Scheme fully funded by Government of India. The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is Rs. 5 crore.
- MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 per cent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by S.T. population.
- In order to encourage trusts and societies for the betterment of tribal people, a ceiling of Rs. 75 lakh is stipulated for building assets by trusts and societies subject to conditions prescribed in the scheme guidelines.
Works under the scheme:
Works, developmental in nature, based on locally felt needs and always available for the use of the public at large, are eligible under the scheme. Preference under the scheme is given to works relating to national priorities, such as provision of drinking water, public health, education, sanitation, roads, etc.
Release of Funds:
- Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities.
- The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable.
- The liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.
Execution of works:
The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme. They recommend their choice of works to the concerned district authorities who implement these works by following the established procedures of the concerned state government. The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level.
Recommendation of works:
- The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies.
- The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected.
- Nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.
- How is MPLADS connected to Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana?
- Where can nominated MPs recommend their works?
- Is there any special focus on SC and ST Welfare?
- Difference between grants and loans?
- Implementing agencies.
Critically examine whether MPLADS has helped in bridging the gaps in provisioning of public services?
Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: The proposal and its significance.
Context: Corona bonds could be a possible resolution to alleviate Eurozone financial struggles amid the coronavirus crisis. However, the idea has received mixed responses amongst the EU.
What are corona bonds?
Corona bonds would be a collective debt amongst EU member states, with the aim of providing financial relief to Eurozone countries battered by the coronavirus.
The funds would be mutualised and supplied by the European Investment Bank, with the debt taken collectively by all member states of the European Union.
What’s the issue now?
Not all countries in the European Union (EU) are in favour of this idea. The idea of corona bonds has received reinforcement from nine EU countries, all keen to reach a financial solution as soon as possible.
However, there also remains steep opposition to the idea of corona bonds. The resistance has come most notably from the ‘Frugal Four’. The Frugal Four consists of:
- The Netherlands.
What’s the basis for opposition?
These countries are of the opinion that finance is an individual nation’s responsibility. They believe that each EU member state should keep their finances in order.
Why have corona bonds?
- The advantage of corona bonds is that they would allow European countries to gain essential financial support.
- States could receive economic aid without expanding their national debt.
- If the EU member states were able to show a display of unity, this would likely strengthen confidence amongst Europe.
- A disadvantage of corona bonds is that it would not necessarily enhance debt sustainability.
- The concept would only aid future debt forgiveness, distinguishing between coronavirus related debt and legacy debt.
- The implementation of a common bond amongst EU member states could also potentially take a lot of time. The delay is not ideal for countries who require access to funds immediately.
- Euro zone Vs EU vs European Commission.
- EU- composition, governance and members.
Discuss how the proposed corona bond would help the Europe come out of the economic crisis brought about by the lockdown imposed because of COVID 19.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.
What to study?
For Prelims: RBI’s power to set up such wings.
For Mains: Need for this wing, challenges and concerns and ways to address them.
Context: Reserve Bank of India is planning to set up exclusive wing for banking fraud oversight. Nothing official has been revealed in this regard.
What may be the composition of this wing?
It may have teams for meta-data processing and analysis, artificial intelligence analysis units, as well as pro-active risk assessment cell. Experts from the private sector working in all these domains will be roped in to train the new members in the fraud oversight wing.
Why there is a need for separate wing for fraud oversight?
After the loan fiasco at Punjab National Bank, the RBI had been mulling ways to pro-actively detect such frauds. As part of that plan, the banking regulator had late last year moved to create a separate cadre of its own employees who would work in regulation and oversight sections. With the latest Yes Bank crisis, it has been felt even more necessary to have such a wing at the earliest to protect the consumer interests.
Powers of RBI wrt regulation of banking sector in the country.
Discuss the need for having a separate wing to oversee banking fraud in India.
Sources: Indian Express.
Note: Some articles of today’s Current Affairs will be covered tomorrow.
Insights Current Affairs Analysis (I–CAN) by IAS Topper