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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 30 May 2020

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

What are InstaLinks that are provided at the end of each current event?

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine)  from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
  2. HC asks A.P. govt. to reinstate Ramesh Kumar.
  3. What is sedition law?
  4. Telecom regulator moots national numbering plan.

GS Paper 3:

  1. K. moots ‘5G club’.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  1. Fiscal deficit and associated terms.
  2. Core sector.
  3. Rozgar setu.

GS Paper  : 2


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

National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: A brief overview of NJAC act and the key amendments proposed.

For Mains: Why was it struck down? How it affected judicial supremacy? What’s the way out to fill the vacancies?

Context: Questioning the basis of the Supreme Court judgement that quashed the National Judicial Appointments Commission, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has wondered why the prime minister cannot be trusted with appointing fair judges.

Background:

On 16 October 2015, in a 4-1 majority verdict, the Supreme Court held that both the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, and the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014, were unconstitutional as it would undermine the independence of the judiciary.

The majority said the two laws affect the independence of the judiciary, and judicial appointments, among other things, should be protected from executive control.

About NJAC and the Act:

NJAC is a body responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India. NJAC Bill sought to replace the collegium system of appointing the judges of Supreme Court and High Courts with judicial appointments commission wherein the executive will have a say in appointing the judges.

A new article, Article 124A, (which provides for the composition of the NJAC) was to be inserted into the Constitution.

The Bill provided for the procedure to be followed by the NJAC for recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the Supreme Court (SC), and Chief Justice and other Judges of High Courts (HC).

According to the bill the commission will consist of the following members:

  1. Chief Justice of India (Chairperson, ex officio)
  2. Two other senior judges of the Supreme Court next to the Chief Justice of India – ex officio
  3. The Union Minister of Law and Justice, ex-officio
  4. Two eminent persons (to be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister of India and the Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then, the Leader of single largest Opposition Party in Lok Sabha), provided that of the two eminent persons, one person would be from the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or OBC or minority communities or a woman. The eminent persons shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for re-nomination.

How proponents of NJAC defend it?

According to them the enactment of the 99th Amendment was intended at redressing the imbalance created by the verdict of court in second judges case.

For them, NJAC would have been a more broad-minded forum, providing a genuine chance to participate and influence the selection of our higher judiciary — not merely to the Supreme Court and the executive, but also to laypersons (eminent persons) outside the constitutional framework.

 

Why the court struck down NJAC act?

The court has held that the appointment of judges, coupled with primacy of judiciary and the CJI, was part of the basic structure of the Constitution and that the parliament, through NJAC act, violated this basic structure.

 

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Collegium System?
  2. How SC judges are appointed and removed?
  3. How HC judges are appointed and removed?
  4. Constitutional provisions in this regard.

Mains Link:

Write a note on National Judicial Appointments Commission.

Sources: The Hindu

 

 

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

HC asks A.P. govt. to reinstate Ramesh Kumar

What to study?

For Prelims: SEC- composition, functions and powers, Andhra ordinance- features.

For Mains: Implications of HC judgment, significance and way ahead.

Context: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has struck down the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Ordinance and the consequential Government orders.

    • The Court has directed the government to reinstate Mr. Ramesh Kumar with immediate effect.

What’s the issue?

The Andhra Pradesh government through its ordinance and government Orders had cut short the term of the State Election Commissioner (SEC) from five to three years, resulting in the expulsion of the standing EC from the post.

The ordinance also confers powers to the district collectors to disqualify and punish candidates any time after being elected to the local bodies.

 

Why HC struck down the ordinance and government’s order?

The power conferred under Article 213 of the Constitution to promulgate ordinances was not an absolute entrustment, but was conditional on the satisfaction that the circumstances existed for such an action. 

The impugned ordinance was in violation of Article 243-K, which states that a SEC could not be removed, except in the same manner as provided for a High Court judge.

 

About the State Election Commission:

The Constitution of India vests in the State Election Commission, consisting of a State Election Commissioner, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and the Municipalities (Articles 243K, 243ZA).

 

Appointment:

The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.

As per article 243(C3) the Governor, when so requested by the State Election Commission, make available to the State Election Commission such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the SEC by clause (1).

 

The ECI and SECs have a similar mandate; do they also have similar powers?

  • The provisions of Article 243K of the Constitution, which provides for setting up of SECs, are almost identical to those of Article 324related to the EC. In other words, the SECs enjoy the same status as the EC.
  • In 2006, the Supreme Court emphasised the two constitutional authorities enjoy the same powers. In Kishan Singh Tomar vs Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad, the Supreme Court directed that state governments should abide by orders of the SECs during the conduct of the panchayat and municipal elections, just like they follow the instructions of the EC during Assembly and Parliament polls.

 

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Breach of privilege- application, implications and provisions in this regard.
  2. Applicability of impeachment process for various bodies under the Indian Constitution.
  3. Article 243 vs 324, similarities and differences in powers of state election commissions vs Election Commission of India.
  4. Appeals against decisions of Election Commissions.
  5. Elections to Parliament and state legislatures vs Local Bodies.

Mains Link:

Are the State Election Commissions in India as independent as the Election Commission of India? 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 is sedition law?

What to study?

For Prelims: What is Sedition? Overview of sedition law, provisions related.

For Mains: Significance of the law, need for, concerns and criticisms.

Context: Assam MLA granted bail in sedition case.

The MLA was lodged in central Assam’s Nagaon jail more than a month ago on sedition and other charges, including circulation of a provocative video related to COVID-19 quarantine on social media.

He was booked under four sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 124A dealing with sedition and 153A related to promoting or attempting to promote communal disharmony.

What is Sedition?

Sedition, which falls under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, is defined as any action that brings or attempts to bring hatred or contempt towards the government of India and has been illegal in India since 1870. 

Historical Background of Sedition Law:

Sedition laws were enacted in 17th century England when lawmakers believed that only good opinions of the government should survive, as bad opinions were detrimental to the government and monarchy.

This sentiment (and law) was borrowed and inserted into the Section 124A of IPC in 1870, by the British.

British used Sedition law to convict and sentence freedom fighters. It was first used to prosecute Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1897.

Views by Supreme Court:

In 1962, the Supreme Court decided on the constitutionality of Section 124A in Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar.

  • It upheld the constitutionality of sedition, but limited its application to “acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder, or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence”.
  • It distinguished these from “very strong speech” or the use of “vigorous words” strongly critical of the government.

In 1995, the Supreme Court, in Balwant Singh v State of Punjab, held that mere sloganeering which evoked no public response did not amount to sedition.

Why sedition law should be repealed?

Sedition leads to a sort of unauthorised self-censorship, for it produces a chilling effect on free speech. It suppresses what every citizen ought to do in a democracy — raise questions, debate, disagree and challenge the government’s decisions. Sedition systematically destroys the soul of Gandhi’s philosophy that is, right to dissent.

 

Sources: The Hindu

 

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

Telecom regulator moots national numbering plan

What to study?

For Prelims: About TRAI, key recommendations.

For Mains: Need for and significance of these recommendations.

Context: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its recommendations on “ensuring adequate numbering resources for fixed line and mobile services”.

 

Background:

The Telecom Department had asked TRAI to furnish its recommendations on the strategies of National Digital Communications Policy which also talks of “ensuring adequate numbering resources, by developing unified numbering plan for fixed line and mobile services.”

 Key recommendations:

  1. There needs to be no change in dialling plan for fixed-to-fixed, mobile-to-fixed, and mobile-to-mobile calls.
  2. For creation of sufficient numbering space, dial all fixed to mobile calls with the prefix “0”. In the current scheme of things, “0″ is prefixed for calls made from fixed lines to mobiles in another service area.
  3. Need for a revised and new National Numbering Plan (NNP) to free up unutilised capacities, to create space for mobiles services.
  4. All the SIM-based Machine-to-Machine connections using 10-digit mobile numbering series should be shifted to the 13-digit numbering series allocated by Telecom Department for M2M communication at the earliest.

About TRAI:

It is a statutory body set up under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. 

It is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India.

The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.

Important functions:

TRAI regularly issues orders and directions on various subjects such as tariffs, interconnections, quality of service, Direct To Home (DTH) services and mobile number portability.

Composition:

  • It consists of a Chairperson and not more than two full-time members and not more than two part-time members.
  • They are appointed by the Central Government and the duration for which they can hold their office is three years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

 InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who appoints chairperson of TRAI.
  2. Important functions of TRAI.
  3. How is 5G different from 4G?

Sources: The Hindu

 


GS Paper  : 3


Topics Covered:  Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

U.K. moots ‘5G club’

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains:  Comparison of 5G with 4G, what is 5G club? Significance of the grouping.

Context: The British government has approached the US with the prospect of creating a 5G club of 10 democracies, including India, amid growing security concerns related to Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

 

What’s the issue?

  1. This comes just months after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson granted Huawei a limited role in supplying kits for the UK’s 5G networks and capped its market share to 35 per cent. Back then, the UK was one of those who stood out in the face of a US-led drive to ban Huawei from entering the 5G sector.
  2. But by the third week of May, the Johnson government came under increasing pressure from its own Conservative party members, who demanded that Huawei’s equipment should not be allowed in UK’s 5G networks beyond 2023, owing to potential national security concerns.
  3. Following these demands, reports emerged the government was drawing up a plan to phase out Huawei from UK’s 5G networks in the next three years. Last week, a review was launched by the country’s intelligence chiefs, who would look into Huawei’s role in UK’s 5G plans.

 

Proposed D10 club of democratic partners:

It includes G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada – plus Australia, South Korea and India.

It will aim to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.

 

Implications:

  1. The key thrust behind this alliance is to allow more and more 5G equipment and technology providers to come up.
  2. At the same time, ensure that these new entrants belong to like-minded democratic regimes, thus alleviating any security concerns.
  3. The plan to form a democratic alliance in order to marginalise the Chinese tech giant Huawei comes at a time when there is rising global backlash against China for its initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
  4. There is also growing consensus among the British political class regarding resetting relations with Beijing, following the global pandemic and the havoc it has caused in the UK.
  5. Moreover, there has been a concerted effort by the US and several other countries to keep Huawei away from their countries’ 5G networks. These countries have raised concerns regarding potential surveillance and breach of their national security by China using the state-run Huawei.

 

Why this is the right time for 5G in India?

Data consumption: India’s is the second biggest smartphone market in the world, leading to a meteoritic rise of data consumption — from 20 million terabytes in 2017 to 55 million terabytes in 2019. India consumes more than 11 GB/user/month — the highest in the world.

Lower fibre penetration: There is no practical way fibre connectivity can be enhanced quickly. This poses a serious challenge to back-haul capacities of the macro towers.

Industry 4.0: The Fourth Industrial Revolution (aka Industry 4.0) is powered by emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, Edge Computing, which need 5G to be effective. These, and such similar services, are required to raise additional revenue streams for the carriers which are already stressed with financial burdens.

Smart cities: 5G powers the technology driving smart cities. As India moves ahead with its Smart City vision, it must leverage 5G to ensure that the underlying technology remains relevant for a longer time.

 

Way ahead:

Apart from creating a positive environment for 5G’s launch in India, the biggest issue GoI needs to resolve is to help telcos overcome the prevailing financial crisis.  The spectrum policy should focus on incentivising heavy investment in 5G, including support for long-term, exclusive, technology-neutral spectrum licences, instead of trying to look for financial windfall right away. GoI and operators should collaborate to create an ecosystem capable of leveraging 5G technology. A favourable policy will indirectly enable advances in areas including employment, technology and investment.
The shift from 4G to 5G is not incremental in nature, but transformational. Given what it means for the entire ecosystem, skipping it is not a choice India can afford.

 

What underlying technologies make up 5G?

5G is based on OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing), a method of modulating a digital signal across several different channels to reduce interference. 5G uses 5G NR air interface alongside OFDM principles. 5G also uses wider bandwidth technologies such as sub-6 GHz and mmWave.

 

The previous generations of mobile networks are 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.

  1. First generation – 1G
    1980s: 1G delivered analog voice.
  2. Second generation – 2G
    Early 1990s: 2G introduced digital voice (e.g. CDMA- Code Division Multiple Access).
  3. Third generation – 3G
    Early 2000s: 3G brought mobile data (e.g. CDMA2000).
  4. Fourth generation – 4G LTE
    2010s: 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile broadband.

1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G all led to 5G, which is designed to provide more connectivity than was ever available before.

Sources: The Hindu

 


Facts for Prelims:


Fiscal deficit and associated terms:

 

Context: Fiscal deficit at 4.6% for FY20 as revenue sags. Budget estimate was 3.8%.

  • The revenue deficit will be 3.27%.
  • The effective revenue deficit will be 2.36%.

Definitions:

Revenue deficit is the excess of revenue expenditure over revenue receipts. A revenue deficit occurs when actual revenue collected by government falls short of Budget estimates.

Effective revenue deficit is the difference between revenue deficit and grants for creation of capital assets.

Primary deficit is fiscal deficit less interest payments.

 

Core sector:

Context: The lockdown resulted in core sector output contracting 38% in April 2020 compared to the same month in the previous year. This is the second straight month in negative territory for the index of eight core sector industries, after a 9% fall in March 2020.

The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

 

Rozgar Setu:

Madhya Pradesh has announced the launch of the ‘Rozgar Setu’ scheme to help secure employment for skilled workers who have returned.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. NATIONAL CAREER SERVICE (NCS) PROJECT.
  2. Official language of states.
  3. AGNEEPRASTHA.
  4. Inclusion of 23 additional Minor Forest Produce (MFP) items in Minimum Support Price (MSP) list.