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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 12 September 2020

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.

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Let virtual courts stay: law panel.

2. EC revises timeline for candidates.

3. Questions over FCRA nod for PM CARES.

4. Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS).

5. India, China agree on 5-point action plan.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems.

2. Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0.

3. Streets for People Challenge launched.

4. Net Present Value.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Typhoon Haishen.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Let virtual courts stay: law panel:


Context:

Parliamentary Panel on Law and Justice has Submitted its report “Functioning of the Virtual Courts/ Courts Proceedings through Video-Conferencing”.

  • This is the first report to be presented by any parliamentary panel on the impact of the pandemic.

Key recommendations:

  1. Continue virtual courts even in a post-COVID scenario.
  2. Transfer of certain categories of cases, like cases pertaining to traffic challans or other petty offences, from regular court establishments to virtual courts will reduce the pendency of cases.
  3. Infrastructure needs to be upgraded especially in district courts to implement this.
  4. Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology should address data privacy and data security concerns while developing a new platform for India’s judicial system.

What are the challenges present?

  1. The present infrastructure does not support virtual court proceedings.
  2. Almost 50% lawyers, particularly in district courts, do not have any laptop or computer facility.
  3. Many witnesses have said the virtual court hearings, especially during peak hours when many people log into the video-conferencing system, was subject to frequent crashes of the system and said entire proceedings can be vitiated by one glitch.
  4. There were also concerns that virtual courts will compromise privacy of data as well as confidentiality of discussions and court proceedings (For instance, courts in the United States had to deal with Zoom bombing — an unwanted intrusion by hackers and internet trolls into a video conference call).

What are virtual courts?

Virtual Court is a concept aimed at eliminating presence of litigant or lawyer in the court and adjudication of the case online.

  • An e-court or Electronic Court means a location in which matters of law are adjudicated upon, in the presence of qualified Judge(s) and which has a well-developed technical infrastructure.

The eCourts Project:

It was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005” submitted by eCommittee, Supreme Court of India with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.

The eCourts Mission Mode Project, is a Pan-India Project, monitored and funded by Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India for the District Courts across the country.

  • As on date, 16845 district and subordinate courts have been IT enabled.

The project envisages:

  1. To provide efficient & time-bound citizen centric services delivery as detailed in eCourt Project Litigant’s Charter.
  2. To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
  3. To automate the processes to provide transparency in accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
  4. To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who is authorised to appoint other place or places as seat of the Supreme Court?
  2. eCourts Project was launched by?
  3. What is a mission mode project?
  4. About law commission- composition and functions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of virtual courts.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

EC revises timeline for candidates:


Context:

The Election Commission (EC) has decided to revise the timeline for political parties and candidates to publish details of the criminal antecedents of the nominees.

As per the revised guidelines:

The candidates as well as the political parties, regarding candidates nominated by them, will publish the details of criminal antecedents, if any, in newspapers and television in following manner:

  1. First publicity: Within first 4 days of last date of withdrawal.
  2. Second publicity: Within 5th to 8th day of last date of withdrawal
  3. Third publicity: From 9th day till the last day of campaign, i.e. two days prior to date of poll)
  4. This timeline will help the voters in exercising their choices in more informed manner.

What about the uncontested or nominated winning candidates?

Uncontested winner candidates as well as the political parties who nominate them shall also publicise the criminal antecedents, if any, as prescribed for other contesting candidates and political parties.

Significance of the move:

It will now mean that the declaration by candidates with criminal antecedents will have to spread over three rounds of publicity beginning with soon after filing nomination and ending towards the end of campaign period. EC felt in absence of detailed timelines, candidates had the option of clubbing publicity of such records.

Background:

The electoral reform related to publicity of criminal antecedents was set in motion by the Supreme Court (SC) in September, 2018 when it had asked political parties to publicize criminal antecedents of contestants in news media.

Earlier this year, the SC had directed that political parties fielding candidates with criminal records must tell the public why they had chosen them over those with clean records along with detailed information about candidates with criminal cases pending against them, including the nature of the offences.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Revised timeline for timeline for political parties and candidates to publish details of the criminal antecedents of the nominees.
  2. Section 8 of the RP Act.
  3. ECI- composition and functions.
  4. CEC- appointment.
  5. Powers of Election Commission on matters related to election of candidates.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated criminalisation of politics and what the Supreme Court done to address these concerns?

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Questions over FCRA nod for PM CARES:


What’s the issue?

The PM CARES Fund has received an exemption from all provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

  • However, it is alleged that PM CARES does not meet the precondition of being a body established and owned by the government whose accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG).

What the rules say?

In July 2011, the Home Ministry issued an order exempting all bodies established by a Central or State Act which are required to have their accounts audited by the CAG.

  • Earlier this year, on January 30, 2020, it issued a fresh order superseding the previous one, “to exempt organisations (not being a political party), constituted or established by or under a Central Act or a State Act or by any administrative or executive order of the Central Government or any State Government and wholly owned by the respective Government and required to have their accounts compulsorily audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) or any of the agencies of the CAG”.

Why PM CARES Fund cannot be exempted?

  1. It was not set up through a Central or State Act.
  2. It has argued that it is not a public authority under RTI.
  3. The Fund is audited by an independent auditor, not by the CAG.

FCRA:

  • The FCRA is meant to regulate the acceptance and use of foreign contributions and to prevent their use for activities detrimental to national interest.
  • This includes gifts and monetary contributions from foreign sources, whether in Indian or foreign currency.
  • Organisations which wish to receive foreign donations must have a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme, and must register under the Act, and receive a clearance from the government.

Section 50 of the Act allows the Central government to issue orders exempting any organisation (apart from political parties) from the provisions of FCRA if it feels it necessary or expedient in public interest, subject to conditions specified in the order.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a public account?
  2. Who administers PM CARES fund?
  3. Which organisations are exempted from the ambit of RTI act?
  4. What is Consolidated fund of India?
  5. What is a charitable trust?
  6. Section 50 of FCRA is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss why PM CARES fund should be brought within the ambit of RTI act?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS):


Context:

Launched recently.

Key points:

  • Launched on pilot basis for Jammu, Srinagar, and Reasi districts.
  • The system will replace the current portal launched by the government in 2018.
  • This is the first UT that will be linked to the central government system—CPGRAMS.

The mechanism:

  • Deputy Commissioners have been placed at the primary level for receiving, disposing of and monitoring grievances, the J&K administration.
  • All SPs and DCs will be made available at designated times five days a week. They will be available in their offices and anyone can go and meet them.

Significance:

The move comes at a time when a sense of disconnection and alienation has been growing among the people, especially in the Kashmir Valley, which has remained on edge ever since J&K’s special status was revoked last year.

What is the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS).?

Developed by National Informatics Centre (Ministry of Electronics & IT [MeitY]), in association with Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).

The underlying idea was to receive, redress and monitor the grievances of the public.

Launched by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.

Key features:

  • The CPGRAMS provides the facility to lodge a grievance online from any geographical location.
  • It enables the citizen to track online the grievance being followed up with Departments concerned and also enables DARPG to monitor the grievance.
  • The procedure includes designating a senior officer as the Director of Grievances/Grievance officer in every office to ensure that the system remains accessible, simple, quick, fair and responsive, and fixing the time limit for disposal of work relating to public grievances and staff grievances.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is CPGRAMS?
  2. Developed by?
  3. Key features.
  4. First UT to be linked with CPGRAMS in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the key features of CPGRAMS.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

India, China agree on 5-point action plan:


Context:

India and China have agreed on a five-point course of action to disengage and reduce tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The five-point plan is:

  1. following the consensus between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to “not allow differences to become disputes”.
  2. disengaging quickly to ease tensions.
  3. abiding by the existing India-China border protocols and avoiding escalatory action.
  4. continuing the dialogue between the Special Representatives, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Mr. Wang, as well as the other mechanisms.
  5. working towards new confidence-building measures (CBMs).

What are the immediate challenges? What has not been addressed so far?

  1. Nothing has been spoken about returning to the “status quo ante” or positions prior to the stand-off in April.
  2. India has also not categorically called on China to retreat from positions it has aggressed on at Pangong Tso, Depsang and other parts of the LAC.

What needs to be done both by India and China?

  • The immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas. That is necessary to prevent any untoward incident in the future.
  • The final disposition of the troop deployment to their permanent posts and the phasing of the process is to be worked out by the military commanders.

Why do face-offs occur?

They mainly occur in areas along the LAC. The LAC has never been demarcated.

  • Differing perceptions are particularly acute in around two dozen spots across the Western (Ladakh), Middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors of the India-China border.
  • Face-offs occur when patrols encounter each other in the contested zones between overlapping claim lines.
  • Protocols agreed to in 2005 and 2013 detail rules of engagement to prevent such incidents, but have not always been adhered to.

Why has not the LAC been clarified?

India has long proposed an exercise to clarify differing perceptions of the LAC to prevent such incidents. Maps were exchanged in the Middle Sector, but the exercise fell through in the Western Sector where divergence is the greatest.

  • China has since rejected this exercise, viewing it as adding another complication to the on-going boundary negotiations.
  • India’s argument is rather than agree on one LAC, the exercise could help both sides understand the claims of the other, paving the way to regulate activities in contested areas until a final settlement of the boundary dispute.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is LoC and how is it established, geographical extent and significance?
  2. What is LAC?
  3. Where is Nathu la?
  4. Where is Pangong Tso?
  5. Who administers Akashi Chin?
  6. Where is Naku La?
  7. Who controls what in Pangong Tso lake region?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China.

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.

Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems:


Context:

The Results of the second edition of Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems have been released.

About the Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems:

Conducted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

  • The objective is to foster competitiveness and propel States and Union Territories to work proactively towards uplifting the startup ecosystem.

The 2019 framework:

It has 7 broad reform area, consisting of 30 action points ranging from Institutional Support, Easing Compliances, Relaxation in Public Procurement norms, Incubation support, Seed Funding Support, Venture Funding Support, and Awareness & Outreach.

How were the states ranked?

To establish uniformity and ensure standardization in the ranking process, States and UTs have been divided into two groups.

  1. While UTs except Delhi and all States in North East India except Assam are placed in Category ‘Y’.
  2. All other States and UT of Delhi are in Category ‘X’.

For the purposes of Ranking, States are classified into 5 Categories:

  1. Best Performers.
  2. Top Performers.
  3. Leaders
  4. Aspiring Leaders.
  5. Emerging Startup Ecosystems.

Within each category, entities are placed alphabetically.

States Startup Ranking Results 2019:

Category X:

  1. Best Performer:

Gujarat

  1. Top Performers:

Karnataka

Kerala

  1. Leaders:

Bihar

Maharashtra

Odisha

Rajasthan

  1. Aspiring Leaders:

Haryana

Jharkhand

Punjab

Telangana

Uttarakhand

  1. Emerging Startup Ecosystems:

Andhra Pradesh

Assam

Chhattisgarh

Delhi

Himachal Pradesh

Category Y:

  1. Best Performer:

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  1. Leader:

Chandigarh

  1. Aspiring Leader:

Nagaland

  1. Emerging Startup Ecosystems:

Mizoram

Sikkim

Leaders across 7 Reform Areas (Just have a brief overview):

The top scoring States across each reform area have been recognised as a leader.

Institutional Leaders:

  1. Karnataka
  2. Kerala
  3. Odisha

Regulatory Change Champions:

  1. Karnataka
  2. Kerala
  3. Odisha

Procurement Leaders:

  1. Karnataka
  2. Kerala
  3. Telangana

Incubation Hubs:

  1. Gujarat
  2. Karnataka
  3. Kerala

Seeding Innovation Leaders:

  1. Bihar
  2. Kerala
  3. Maharashtra

Scaling Innovations Leaders:

  1. Gujarat
  2. Kerala
  3. Maharashtra

Awareness and Outreach Champions:

  1. Gujarat
  2. Maharashtra
  3. Rajasthan

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems.
  2. Who developed it?
  3. Categorisation of states.
  4. About the Framework.
  5. Key performers in various categories.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0:


Context:

Launched recently by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

What is CSCAF?

  • CSCAF initiative intends to inculcate a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.
  • The objective of CSCAF is to provide a clear roadmap for cities towards combating Climate Change while planning and implementing their actions, including investments.
  • The Climate Centre for Cities under National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is supporting MoHUA in implementation of CSCAF.

The framework has 28 indicators across five categories namely:

  1. Energy and Green Buildings.
  2. Urban Planning, Green Cover & Biodiversity.
  3. Mobility and Air Quality.
  4. Water Management.
  5. Waste Management.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. CSCAF has been launched by?
  2. Implementation. 
  3. Overview of the Framework.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- Roadways.

Streets for People Challenge launched:


What is it?

  • It is the response to the need for making our cities more walkable and pedestrian friendly.
  • The Challenge builds on the advisory issued by MoHUA for the holistic planning for pedestrian-friendly market spaces, earlier this year.

Implementation:

Fit India Mission, under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, along with the India program of the Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP) have partnered with the Smart Cities Mission to support the challenge.

What is the challenge all about? What it seeks to achieve?

  • It supports cities across the country to develop a unified vision of streets for people in consultation with stakeholders and citizens.
  • Adopting a participatory approach, cities will be guided to launch their own design competitions to gather innovative ideas from professionals for quick, innovative, and low-cost tactical solutions.
  • It aims to inspire cities to create walking-friendly and vibrant streets through quick, innovative, and low-cost measures.
  • All cities participating in the challenge shall be encouraged to use the ‘test-learn-scale’ approach to initiate both, flagship and neighbourhood walking interventions.

Interventions under the challenge may include:

Creating pedestrian-friendly streets in high footfall areas, re-imagining under-flyover spaces, re-vitalizing dead neighbourhood spaces, and creating walking links through parks and institutional areas.

streets_people

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Net Present Value (NPV):


Context:

The Union Ministry of Mines had requested the Environment Ministry to exempt it from paying NPV.

  • However, the Environment Ministry has refused saying that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to grant such an exemption as this was mandated by the Supreme Court.

Why exempt?

  • All areas of exploration are not converted into mining. Only about 1% cases are converted to mining. Considering these, payment of NPV is regarded as an avoidable expenditure.
  • Even payment of NPV at a rate of 2% or 5% is one of the major challenges which leads to delay in the exploration/ prospecting activities.

What is NPV?

The Net Present Value (NPV) is a monetary approximation of the value that is lost when a piece of forest land has been razed.

  • This is on the basis of the services and ecological value and there are prescribed formulae for calculating this amount which depends on the location and nature of the forest and the type of industrial enterprise that will replace a particular parcel of forest.
  • It was developed by a committee led by Professor Kanchan Gupta, of the Institute of Economic Growth.

When was it introduced?

To regulate forest diversions, Supreme Court introduced a high ‘net present value’ (NPV) charge on the lands diverted.

InstaLinks:

Prelims and Mains Link:

What is NPV? How is it calculated? When was it introduced?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Typhoon Haishen:

Recently, Japan was hot by this typhoon.

  • It is categorised as a Category 4 stormwhich means well-built framed houses can suffer severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and exterior walls.
  • Haishenwas a name recommended by China and means “sea god” in Chinese.

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