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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 October 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. Jagan’s letter attempts to coerce judiciary, says judges body.

2. NCLAT.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. IFSCA introduces Framework for Regulatory Sandbox.

2. “Ghar Tak Fibre” scheme.

3. Why does air pollution rise in October every year?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Grand ICT Challenge.

2. Country’s first multi-modal logistic park.

3. Asafoetida.

4. Places in News- Fiji.

5. Assam-Mizoram boundary issues.

6. Malabar naval exercise.

7. Pearl River estuary.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Jagan’s letter attempts to coerce judiciary, says judges body:


Context:

The All India Judges Association has passed a resolution condemning Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter against Supreme Court judge Justice N.V. Ramana as a “deliberate attempt to scandalise and coerce the judiciary”.

  • The Association said the “tone, tenor and timing of the letter portrays malafide intent and appears to be orchestrated for hidden agendas”.

What’s the issue?

AP CM’s complaint is with respect to Supreme Court Justice N.V. Ramana’s alleged influencing of posting of cases in the State High Court.

  • The complaint also alleges the hostile attitude of some High Court judges towards the current state government of Andhra Pradesh and their deliberate and unsubstantiated striking down of the state government’s decisions and orders.
  • This amounts to an accusation of misconduct, corruption and the political bias among the judges.

Why is this issue important?

Though there have been previous instances of such allegations against certain judges, the current situation is unprecedented given that the current allegations have been made by a constitutional body, The Chief Minister of a state. This marks an open conflict between the judiciary and a Chief Minister.

But, How are allegations of misconduct against judges dealt with?

There are two broad alternatives when it comes to complaints against sitting judges:

  1. Impeachment.
  2. In-house procedure.

(Note: For details on impeachment process, go through the relevant chapters from Laxmikant text book).

Let’s see what an in-house procedure means?

Since 1997, judges have adopted an ‘in-house procedure’ for inquiring into charges.

Under this, when a complaint is received against a High Court judge:

  1. The CJI should decide on the authenticity of the complaint and decide whether it is frivolous or it involves serious misconduct and impropriety.
  2. The CJI would ask for the concerned judge’s response if he feels the complaint is serious, The CJI may close the matter if he is satisfied with the response.

Suppose, If the CJI feels that a deeper probe is necessary:

  • He forms a three-member committee consisting of only the judiciary members.
  • The composition of this three-member committee depends on the position of the judge against whom the complaint has been filed.
  • The inquiry it holds is of the nature of a fact-finding mission and is not a formal judicial inquiry involving examination of witnesses.
  • The committee can give two kinds of recommendations, one where it deems the misconduct as serious enough to require removal from office, or that it is not serious enough to warrant removal.

Actions taken on the recommendations of the committee:

  • If the committee deems the charges against the judge as genuine, the concerned judge will be urged to resign or seek voluntary retirement.
  • If the judge is unwilling to quit, the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned would be asked to withdraw judicial work from him.
  • The executive i.e, the President and the Prime Minister are informed of the situation and are expected to begin the process of impeachment.
  • If the misconduct does not warrant removal, the judge would be advised accordingly.

Concerns against the manner of the release of the letter in the public domain:

  • The public disclosure of the letter could have compromised the dignity, independence and majesty of the top court and the A.P. High Court.
  • It could amount to scandalising the judiciary in the eyes of the people by sensationalising the issue and could also be deemed an interference with the administration of justice.
  • In such cases the faith of the people in the judiciary and the rule of law are at stake.

Constitutional provisions in this regard:

  • Article 121 and Article 211 of the Indian Constitution expressly bar Parliament and the state legislatures to discuss the conduct of any judge.

Besides, the SC in the Ravichandran Iyer v. Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee (1995) case has held that complaints against sitting judges should be kept confidential.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Appointment of Supreme Court judges.
  2. Removal.
  3. Constitutional provisions to ensure independence of supreme court judges.
  4. Articles 121 and 211- overview.
  5. What is an in-house procedure? How is it conducted?

Mains Link:

What is an in-house procedure? How is it conducted? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal:


Context:

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has dismissed an appeal against Siemens Gamesa Renewable Power Pvt. Ltd over alleged non-payment of settlement dues.

About NCLAT:

Constituted under Companies Act, 2013.

Functions:

It hears appeals against the orders of:

  1. NCLT under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).
  2. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India under Section 202 and Section 211 of IBC.
  3. The Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Composition:

The President of the Tribunal and the chairperson and Judicial Members of the Appellate Tribunal shall be appointed after consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

The Members of the Tribunal and the Technical Members shall be appointed on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of:

  1. Chief Justice of India or his nominee—Chairperson.
  2. A senior Judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice of High Court— Member.
  3. Secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs—Member.
  4. Secretary in the Ministry of Law and Justice—Member.
  5. Secretary in the Department of Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance— Member.

Eligibility:

  1. Chairperson – Should be/been judge of the Supreme Court or should be/been Chief Justice of the High Court.
  2. Judicial Member – Is/has been a judge of a High Court or is a judicial member of a tribunal for 5 years or more.
  3. Technical member– Person with proven ability, integrity and standing having special knowledge and experience of 25 years or more (in specified areas).

Term:

Term of office of chairperson and members is 5 years and they can be reappointed for additional 5 years.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NCLAT and NCLT.
  2. Functions.
  3. Appeals.
  4. Composition.
  5. Eligibility.
  6. Terms.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

IFSCA introduces Framework for Regulatory Sandbox:


Context:

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has introduced a framework for “Regulatory Sandbox”.

Firstly, what is a regulatory sandbox?

It is a safe harbour, where businesses can test innovative products under relaxed regulatory conditions.

  • Typically, participating companies release new products in a controlled environment to a limited number of customers for a limited period of time.

Now, under the new framework released by IFSCA:

  • The Regulatory Sandbox shall operate within the IFSC located at GIFT City.
  • Entities operating in the capital market, banking, insurance and financial services space shall be granted certain facilities and flexibilities to experiment with innovative FinTech solutions in a live environment with a limited set of real customers for a limited time frame.
  • These features shall be fortified with necessary safeguards for investor protection and risk mitigation.

About the International Financial Services Centres Authority:

  • It is a statutory body established in 2020.
  • It works under the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
  • Headquartered in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Roles and functions:

  • Its main function is to develop and regulate the financial products, financial services and financial institutions located/performed in the International Financial Services Centres in India.
  • The Authority is empowered to exercise the powers of RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDA in respect of financial services, financial products and financial institutions performed/located in the international financial services centres in the country.

Composition:

Chairperson, one Member each to be nominated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), two members to be dominated by the Central Government and two other whole-time or full-time or part-time members.

  • They will have a three-year term subject to reappointment.

Can an IFSC be set up in a special economic zone (SEZ)?

The SEZ Act 2005 allows setting up an IFSC in an SEZ or as an SEZ after approval from the central government.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are IFSCs?
  2. Can they be set up in SEZs?
  3. India’s first IFSC.
  4. Services they provide?
  5. What is a regulatory sandbox?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of international financial services centres.

Sources: PIB.

 

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

“Ghar Tak Fibre” scheme:


Context:

As per government data, ‘Ghar Tak Fibre’ scheme is off to a slow start in Bihar, the first state that aims to connect all its 45,945 villages by March 31.

Status:

To connect all villages by March 31, the state would need to dig trenches, lay cables, and provide connectivity to an average of 257 villages daily, or a monthly average of over 7,500 villages.

  • However, nearly a month after the scheme was inaugurated, optical fibre cable has been laid only in 4,347 villages as of October 14, or at the rate of 181 villages per day.

About the scheme:

Launched in September this year.

It aims to connect all the villages with high-speed internet.

Targets: Under the scheme, Bihar has to provide at least five fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections per village, while there should also be at least one WiFi hotspot per village.

Implementation: The project will be jointly executed by the Department of Telecom (DoT), ministry of Electronics & Information Technology and Common Service Centres (CSC).

InstaLinks:

Prelims and Mains Links:

  1. Key features and significance of the scheme.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Pollution related issues.

Why does air pollution rise in October every year?


Context:

Air pollution in Delhi and the whole of the Indo-Gangetic Plains is a complex phenomenon that is dependent on a variety of factors. But, every year in October, Delhi’s air quality starts to dip.

Factors responsible for this:

1. Withdrawal of monsoons:

During monsoons, the prevalent direction of wind is easterly. Once monsoon withdraws, the predominant direction of winds changes to north westerly.

  • During summers, too, the direction of wind is north westerly and storms carry dust from Rajasthan and sometimes Pakistan and Afghanistan.

2. Dip in Temperatures:

As temperature dips, the inversion height — which is the layer beyond which pollutants cannot disperse into the upper layer of the atmosphere – is lowered. The concentration of pollutants in the air increases when this happens.

3. High-speed winds:

They are very effective at dispersing pollutants, but winters bring a dip in wind speed over all as compared to in summers.

4. Farm fires:

A 2015 source-apportionment study on Delhi’s air pollution conducted by IIT-Kanpur also states that 17-26% of all particulate matter in Delhi in winters is because of biomass burning.

5. Dust pollution:

Dry cold weather means dust is prevalent in the entire region, which does not see many rainy days between October and June. Dust pollution contributes to 56% of PM 10 and and the PM2.5 load at 59 t/d, the top contributors being road 38 % of PM 2.5 concentration.

6. Vehicular pollution:

It is the second biggest cause of pollution in winters. According to the IIT Kanpur study, 20 % of PM 2.5 in winters comes from vehicular pollution.

Measures to improve air quality:

  • Improving public transport
  • Limiting the number of polluting vehicles on the road
  • Introducing less polluting fuel
  • Strict emission regulations
  • Improved efficiency for thermal power plants and industries
  • Moving from diesel generators to rooftop solar
  • Increased use of clean renewable energy
  • Electric vehicles
  • Removing dust from roads
  • Regulating construction activities
  • Stopping biomass burning, etc.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


Grand ICT Challenge:

  • It was launched by National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Objective: To create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level.
  • The mission focuses on service delivery rather than mere creation of infrastructure.
  • The best solution will get cash prize of Rs. 50 Lakh and runner ups will get prize of Rs. 20 Lakh each.

ICT

Country’s first multi-modal logistic park:

  • The first-ever multi-modal logistic park will be built in Assam.
  • The park will provide direct connectivity to air, road, rail and waterways to the people.
  • It will be developed under the ambitious BharatmalaPariyojana of the Government of India.

Jogighopa

Asafoetida:

  • Asafoetida, or heeng, is a common ingredient in most Indian kitchens.
  • Heeng is not cultivated in India.
  • India imports Rs 600 crore worth of this pungent flavoured herb every year.
  • It is a perennial plant. The plant stores most of its nutrients inside its deep fleshy roots.
  • Asafoetida is endemic to Iran and Afghanistan, the main global suppliers.
  • It thrives in dry and cold desert conditions.

Why in News?

Scientists at CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource, Palampur (IHBT), are on a mission to grow heeng in the Indian Himalayas. The first sapling has been planted in Himachal Pradesh’s Kwaring village in Lahaul valley last week.

Asafoetida

Places in News- Fiji:

  • It is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand.
  • Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands.

Fiji

Assam-Mizoram boundary issues:

The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933 that demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.

Location:

  • Mizoram borders Assam’s Barak Valley; both border Bangladesh.

mizoram

Malabar naval exercise:

Australia will join the Malabar 2020 naval exercise, consisting of India, Japan and the U.S., to be held next month.

  • Australia had first requested to join more than three years ago.

malabar

Pearl River estuary:

The Pearl River estuary includes Hong Kong, Macau as well as the mainland Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Dongguan.

Why in News?

Chinese pink dolphins are making a comeback in the Pearl river estuary, one of the most heavily industrialised areas on Earth.

estuary


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