Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 15 May 2020

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Economic Stimulus package.

2. Death penalty sentence in trial courts.

3. Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

4. G20

5. Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Dibang Multipurpose Project (MPP).

2. INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES 2020.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Economic Stimulus package

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Measures announced and their significance.

 Context: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has unveiled the second tranche of measures of the government’s “atmanirbhar (self-reliant) campaign”.

Background:

With a view to revive the economy shuttered by the coronavirus lockdown, PM Narendra Modi had announced a Rs 20 lakh crore special economic package.

In its first instalment, FM had announced Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loans for businesses, including MSMEs, as well as Rs 30,000 crore liquidity facility for NBFCs, among other measures.

Key measures announced:

  1. Free food grains will be supplied to all Migrant labourers for 2 months i.e. May and June, 2020.
  2. Technology system to be used to enable Migrants to access PDS (Ration) from any Fair Price Shops in India so as to achieve 100% National portability by March, 2021 under One Nation one Ration Card scheme.
  3. Central Government will launch a scheme for migrant workers and urban poor to provide ease of living at affordable rent.
  4. Government of India will provide Interest subvention of 2% for prompt payees for a period of 12 months to MUDRA Shishu loanees, who have loans below Rs 50,000.
  5. A special scheme will be launched within a month to facilitate easy access to credit to Street vendors. 50 lakh street vendors will be benefitted under this scheme and credit of Rs. 5,000 crore would flow to them.
  6. Rs 70,000 crore boost is given to housing sector and middle-income group (MIG) through extension of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for MIG under PMAY(Urban) up to March 2021.
  7. 6,000 crore of funds under Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA)will be used for Afforestation and Plantation works, including in urban areas. This will create job opportunities.
  8. NABARD will extend additional re-finance support of Rs 30,000 crore for meeting crop loan requirement of Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs. This refinance will be front-loaded and available on tap.
  9. A special drive to be conducted to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. Fisherman and Animal Husbandry Farmers will also be included. This will inject additional liquidity of Rs 2 lakh crore in the farm sector.

economic_stimulus

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is CLSS?
  2. Loads under MUDRA Yojana.
  3. NFSA eligibility.
  4. CAMPA- features, funds and utilisation.
  5. NABARD- objectives and functions.
  6. PM- KISAN- features, eligibility and benefits.

Sources: pib.

 

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

Death Penalty Sentencing in Trial Courts

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Capital punishment, how is it determined, appeals and concerns, measures suggested by various committees.

 Context: It is a report by research organization Project 39A of National Law University, Delhi.

In the study, the organisation analysed 215 judgments from three states, 43 from Delhi, 90 from Maharashtra and 82 from Madhya Pradesh, in which trial courts imposed death sentence between 2000 and 2015.

Key findings of the study:

  • The shock and impact of a crime on the collective conscience of society was a major reason cited by trial courts in Delhi while imposing death sentence on convicts.
  • The study also revealed blatant non-compliance by the trial courts with the sentencing framework laid down by the Supreme Court in its 1980 judgment in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, where a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court was called upon to decide the constitutional validity of the capital punishment.
  • Out of the 43 cases in Delhi in which death sentence was handed down between 2000 and 2015, trial courts invoked the impact of the crime on society’s collective conscience in 31 cases (72%) as grounds to send convicts to death row.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, the said ground was used in 43% cases (35 out of 82) while in Maharashtra the figure stood at 51% (46 of 90 cases).

What is collective conscience?

Collective consciousness (sometimes collective conscience or conscious) is a fundamental sociological concept that refers to the set of shared beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and knowledge that are common to a social group or society.

Evolution of collective conscience:

‘Collective conscience of society’ as a ground to justify death penalty was first used by the Supreme Court in the 1983 judgment of Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab. In that case, the court held that when “collective conscience of society is shocked, it will expect the holders of the judicial power centre to inflict death penalty”.

It was, however, most famously used by the top court in its 2005 judgment in the Parliament attack case in which it awarded capital punishment to convict, Afzal Guru.

Collective conscience found its most recent endorsement in the 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court in the December 2012 Delhi gang rape case of Mukesh v. State of NCT of Delhi.

How should the Courts decide on capital punishment impositions?

In the case of Bachan Singh, the Supreme Court formulated a sentencing framework to be followed for imposing death penalty.

  • It required the weighing of aggravating and mitigating circumstances relating to both the circumstances of the offence and the offender, to decide whether a person should be sentenced to death or given life imprisonment.
  • According to the Bachan Singh judgment, for a case to be eligible for the death sentence, the aggravating circumstances must outweigh the mitigating circumstances.

What the study suggests?

Collective conscience makes its appearance through the individual conscience of the judge. So, when judges use this phrase, it is really to express what is essentially their own viewpoint, or they have taken it upon themselves to determine “collective consciousness”. Both these positions are entirely self-generated.

  • The most glaring aspect highlighted by Project 39A’s report was regarding the non-consideration of mitigating factors while sentencing accused. As per the report, no mitigating circumstances were mentioned in 42% of death penalty cases (18 of 43 cases) in Delhi. The number was 62% (51 of 82 cases) in Madhya Pradesh and 47% (42 of 90 cases) in Maharashtra.
  • The Bachan Singh judgement recognized the age of the accused as a relevant mitigating circumstance.
  • Another most important aspects of the sentencing framework laid down in the Bachan Singh judgement is to consider whether the alternative punishment of life imprisonment can be “unquestionably foreclosed.” Only then can death penalty be imposed.
  • Despite the same, trial courts in the three states discussed life imprisonment as an alternative only in 26.6% cases before imposing death penalty. It was discussed in 8 out of 43 cases in Delhi, 22 out of 82 cases in MP and 27 out of 90 in Maharashtra. In all cases where it was discussed as an alternative, it was dismissed on the ground of brutality of the crime.

 In essence, this study shows:

That the death penalty sentencing framework has completely collapsed. The utter inconsistency, confusion and arbitrariness in the Supreme Court’s death penalty jurisprudence has had a devastating impact on the sentencing process in the trial courts.

 Concerns:

Can the courts allow any kind of public outcry, sense of conscience, sentiment or feeling to even remotely influence their decisions, especially when it is a case of the death sentence? This is even more relevant in the times that we live in, when television and social media bombard us, creating and determining opinion.

Need of the hour:

Our Constitution is based on the principle of justice for the most marginalised, disfranchised, oppressed, unknown, unseen and ignored. This spirit demands that law cannot rely on or be influenced by any delusionary sense or mood of the people. We need in judges a liberal energy and the ability to be creative human beings.

Recommendations by law commission:

The Law Commission in 2015, headed by Justice A P Shah proposed to abolish capital punishments. However, the commission had made the proposal only to non-terrorism cases. According to the commission, India is one among few countries that still carry out executions. The other countries that practice executions include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China. By the end of 2014, 98 countries had abolished death penalty.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Various benches of Supreme Court.
  2. Law commission- composition, objectives and functions.
  3. Appeals against capital punishment.
  4. President’s pardoning powers.

Mains Link:

What is Collective conscience? How it influences the judgments of courts? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: SCO- composition, functions, objectives and India’s engagement with SCO.

Context: External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar recently represented India at SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) foreign minister meet. The meet was attended by foreign ministers through video conferencing.

The foreign ministers at the meet discussed COVID-19 crisis and coordination efforts. They also discussed about social and economic consequences of the crisis and how to tackle it. Apart from COVID-19, the major issue discussed was the situation in Afghanistan.

About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.

It’s creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.

The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

The SCO’s main goals are as follows:

Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Bodies under SCO:

Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.

SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organisation’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues, and also to approve the organisation’s annual budget.

The organisation has two permanent bodies — the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.

The SCO Secretary-General and the Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO RATS are appointed by the Council of Heads of State for a term of three years.

Currently:

SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan;

SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia;

SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Important international institutions and groupings.

G20

What to study?

For Prelims: G20- composition, objectives, functions and programmes.

For Mains: Significance of the group, criticisms wrt its functioning and reforms needed.

Context: Union Commerce and Industry Minister recently attended the 2nd G20 Virtual Trade & Investment Ministers Meeting, held through video-conferencing.

What is the G20?

The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.

The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.

Establishment:

After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.

Presidency:

The group has no permanent staff of its own, so every year in December, a G20 country from a rotating region takes on the presidency.

That country is then responsible for organising the next summit, as well as smaller meetings for the coming year. They can also choose to invite non-member countries along as guests. The first G20 meeting took place in Berlin in 1999, after a financial crisis in East Asia affected many countries around the world.

Full membership of the G20:

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Its relevance in changing times:

As globalization progresses and various issues become more intricately intertwined, the recent G20 summits have focused not only on macroeconomy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.

The G20 has sought to realize an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving these global issues.

What is G20+?

The G20 developing nations, also called G21/G23/G20+ is a bloc of developing nations which was established on August 20, 2003. It is distinct from the G20 major economies.

  • The G20+ originated in September 2003 at the 5th ministerial conference of the WTO held at Cancun, Mexico.
  • Its origins can be traced to the Brasilia Declaration signed by the foreign ministers of India, Brazil and South Africa on 6th June 2003.
  • The declaration stated that the major economies were still practising protectionist policies especially in sectors they were less competitive in and that it was important to see to it that the trade negotiations that took place provided for the reversal of those policies.
  • The G20+ is responsible for 60% of the world population, 26% of the world’s agricultural exports and 70% of its farmers.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. G20 vs G20+ vs G7 vs G8.
  2. Objectives and sub- groups.
  3. Overview of Geographical locations of the member countries.

Mains Link:

Do you think the recent G20 summits have turned into talking shops rather than getting down to brass tacks? Critically analyse.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Important international institutions and groupings.

Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting

Context: Union Health Minister attended the 32nd Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting through videoconferencing.

 About the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting:

  • The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) is the annual meeting of health ministers from across the Commonwealth countries.
  • The meeting reviews activity and events from the previous year and provides a platform for countries to bring issues of health to the attention of their Commonwealth partners and peers.
  • Each CHMM provides a ministerial statement summarising the discussion and priorities for the coming year including setting the theme for the next meeting.
  • CHMM is held every year in Geneva in mid-May. But in 2020, the meeting was via videoconferencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Commonwealth of Nations:

The Commonwealth of Nations, at one time known as British Commonwealth, is an organisation of fifty-three states that were principally below the colonial rule of British Government. They came into existence with the proclamation of sovereignty of the state from the colonial rule of British Empire and were later given self-governance.

It proclaims that the Commonwealth nations are “free and equal.” The insignia of this Commonwealth Association is Queen Elizabeth II who is considered the Supreme of the Commonwealth nations.

The member states of the commonwealth are not legally liable or bound to each other. They are rather united by language, history, culture, likeness of the democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

  • Their values are listed down within the Commonwealth Charter and the hands of harmony towards the member states are extended by the Commonwealth Games held every four years.
  • Former British mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, British Palestine, Sudan, British Somaliland, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Key facts:

  • Former name — British Commonwealth.
  • Composition: intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
  • It operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states.
  • Established in 1949 by the London Declaration.
  • Structure: Head of the Commonwealth — Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth. The position is symbolic.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  :3


 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: All about NDMA and its significance.

Context: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has released fresh guidelines for restarting manufacturing and chemical industries after the lockdown period ends.

It has issued guidelines on Chemical Disasters, 2007, Management of Chemical (Terrorism) Disasters, 2009 and the Strengthening of Safety and Security For Transportation of POL Tankers, 2010.

Concerns:

Due to several weeks of lockdown and the closure of industrial units, it is possible that some of the operators might not have followed the established SOP. As a result, some of the manufacturing facilities, pipelines, valves, etc. may have residual chemicals, which may pose risk. The same is true for the storage facilities with hazardous chemicals and flammable materials.

About NDMA:

On 23 December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). It is headed by the Prime Minister.

State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.

NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters.

It has the following responsibilities:

  1. Lay down policies on disaster management.
  2. Approve the National Plan.
  3. Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan.
  4. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan.
  5. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects.
  6. Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management.
  7. Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation.
  8. Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government.
  9. Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary.
  10. Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


Dibang Multipurpose Project (MPP):

  • It is envisaged as a storage-based hydro-electric project with flood moderation as the key objective.
  • This is the largest ever Hydro Electric Projects to be constructed in India. The dam is 278 metres high and will be the highest dam in India once completed.
  • The Project is located on river Dibang, in Lower Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh.

Why in News? Forest Advisory Committee has once again deferred its decision on Dibang project in Arunachal Pradesh. The project has been delayed for over six years because it required diverting 1,165 hectares of forest in a region of rich biodiversity.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES 2020:

Observed on 15th of May with the theme “Families in Development: Copenhagen & Beijing+25.”

Objective: To promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them.

This year is the 25th anniversary of Copenhagen Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action.

  • At the World Summit for Social Development held at Copenhagen in 1995, Governments reached a new consensus on the need to put people at the centre of development and adopted the Copenhagen Declaration.
  • The Beijing Declarationwas a resolution adopted by the UN at the end of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing. The resolution adopted to promulgate a set of principles concerning the equality of men and women.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper