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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 27 November 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. President’s powers to pardon- in US, India.

2. One Nation, One Election.

3. HC has taken over executive functions: A.P.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo.

2. What Is The Beautiful ‘Blue Tide’ Spotted Along Juhu, Ratnagiri Beache?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC).

2. Scotland becomes first nation to make sanitary pads, tampons free.

3. SDG Investor Map.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

President’s powers to pardon- in US, India:


Context:

US President Donald Trump recently exercised his powers under the Constitution to pardon Michael Flynn, his former National Security Advisor, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

What is the extent of the US President’s power to pardon?

  • US President has the constitutional right to pardon or commute sentences related to federal crimes.
  • This power is granted without limit and cannot be restricted by Congress.
  • Similarly, Clemency is a broad executive power, and is discretionary- meaning the President is not answerable for his pardons, and does not have to provide a reason for issuing one.

Limitations:

  • This power cannot be exercised in cases of impeachment.
  • The power only applies to federal crimes and not state crimes.

Clemency powers of the Indian President under article 72:

It says that the President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence.

The President can exercise these powers:

  • In all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a court martial;
  • In all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends;
  • In all cases where the sentence is a sentence of death.

Key facts:

  1. This power of pardon shall be exercised by the President on the advice of Council of Ministers.
  2. The constitution does not provide for any mechanism to question the legality of decisions of President or governors exercising mercy jurisdiction.
  3. But the SC in Epuru Sudhakar case has given a small window for judicial review of the pardon powers of President and governors for the purpose of ruling out any arbitrariness.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Pardoning powers of President vs Governors in India.
  2. Applicability of judicial review.
  3. Article 72 is related to?
  4. US President’s power to pardon.

Mains Link:

Present a detailed comparison of pardoning powers of president and Governor in India.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

One Nation, One Election:


Context:

PM recently again pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’, saying it is the need of the country as elections taking place every few months hamper development works.

  • This was suggested at the recently held 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference.
  • He also suggested that only one voter list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections.

What is ‘One Nation, One Election’?

It refers to holding elections to Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats and Urban local bodies simultaneously, once in five year.

But, what are the challenges posed by frequent elections?

  1. Massive expenditure.
  2. Policy paralysis that results from the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct during election time.
  3. Impact on delivery of essential services.
  4. Burden on crucial manpower that is deployed during election time.
  5. Puts pressure on political parties, especially smaller ones, as elections are becoming increasingly expensive.

Benefits of Simultaneous Elections:

  • Governance and consistency: The ruling parties will be able to focus on legislation and governance rather than having to be in campaign mode forever.
  • Reduced Expenditure of Money and Administration.
  • Continuity in policies and programmes.
  • Efficiency of Governance: Populist measures by governments will reduce.
  • The impact of black money on the voters will be reduced as all elections are held at a time.

Impact on Regional parties:

There is always a tendency for voters to vote the same party in power in the state and at the Centre in case the Lok Sabha polls and the state elections are held together.

For simultaneous elections to be implemented, Changes to be made in Constitution and Legislations:

  1. Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament need an amendment.
  2. Article 85 (on dissolution of Lok Sabha by the president).
  3. Article 172 (relating to the duration of state legislatures).

The Representation of People Act, 1951 Act would have to be amended to build in provisions for stability of tenure for both parliament and assemblies. This should include the following crucial elements:

  1. Restructuring the powers and functions of the ECI to facilitate procedures required for simultaneous elections
  2. A definition of simultaneous election can be added to section 2 of the 1951 act.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Model Code of Conduct?
  2. Powers of the Election Commission to conduct elections.
  3. Overview of the Representation of People Act, 1951 Act.
  4. Overview of Articles- 83, 85 and 172.

Mains Link:

Discuss the merits and demerits of the concept of “One nation, One election” for Indian polity.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

HC has taken over executive functions: A.P:


Context:

Andhra Pradesh government recently told the Supreme Court that Andhra Pradesh High Court has “virtually taken over the executive functions of the State”.

Instances in support of this allegation:

A November 2 direction of the High Court to the State to submit before it the construction plans for a guest house proposed in Vishakapatnam.

What’s the issue now?

  • State government says that the High Court had “seriously violated the doctrine of Separation of Powers”.
  • Besides, in doing so, the High Court has completely ignored the warning that the Supreme Court has, time and again, sounded advising the courts to respect the other co-equal organs of the State and to refrain from assuming such powers to itself.

What has the Supreme Court said on the issue?

A 2008 judgment of the Supreme Court said “in the name of judicial activism, judges cannot cross their limits and try to take over functions which belong to another organ of the State”.

Concerns associated with Judicial Activism:

The independence of the judiciary is jeopardised when courts become embroiled in the passions of the day (Observation made by the U.S. Supreme Court).

What is Judicial Activism?

It refers to the court’s decision, based on the judges personal wisdom that do not go rigidly within the text of the statutory passed by the legislature and the use of judicial power broadly to provide remedies to the wide range of social wrongs for ensuring proper justice.

The Doctrine of separation of Power:

The Constitution, under various provisions, has clearly drawn the line between Legislature and the Judiciary to maintain their independence in their respective functioning.

  • Article 121 and 211 forbid the legislature from discussing the conduct of any judge in the discharge of his duties.
  • Articles 122 and 212 prevent the courts from sitting in judgment over the internal proceedings of the legislature.
  • Article 105(2) and 194(2) protect the legislators from the interference of the Courts with regards to his/her freedom of speech and freedom to vote.

Benefits:

  1. Provides a system of checks and balances to the other government branches.
  2. Brings out required innovation in the form of a solution.
  3. Provides judges to use their personal wisdom in cases where the law failed to provide a balance.
  4. It shows the instilled trust placed in the justice system and its judgments.
  5. Checks misuse of public power.
  6. Provides speedy solutions where the legislature gets stuck in the issue of majority.

Disadvantages or concerns associated:

  1. Violates the line drawn by the constitution.
  2. Judicial opinions of the judges become standards for ruling other cases.
  3. Judgment may be influenced by personal or selfish motives.
  4. Repeated interference of courts can erode the faith of the people in the quality, integrity and efficiency of governmental institutions.
  5. Courts limit the functioning of government.

Conclusion:

In Ram Jawaya v. The State of Punjab (1955), the court observed: “Our Constitution does not contemplate assumption, by one organ or part of the state, of functions that essentially belong to another.”

  • This implies that there should be a broad separation of powers in the Constitution among the three organs of the state (legislative, executive, judiciary) and that one organ should not encroach into the domain of another. If this happens, the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset and there will be chaos.

examples

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo:


Context:

3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo (RE-Invest 2020) was inaugurated recently.

  • The summit is organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • The theme for 2020 is ‘Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition’.

How is India performing on this front?

  • India’s renewable power capacity is the 4th largest in the world and is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries.
  • The renewable energy capacity in India is currently 136 Giga Watts, which is about 36% of our total capacity.
  • India’s annual renewable energy capacity addition has been exceeding that of coal based thermal power since 2017.
  • In the last 6 years, India has increased installed renewable energy capacity by two and half times.

Overall, India has shown to the world that investing in renewable energy early on even when it was not affordable has helped in achieving the scale, which is bringing costs down. Sound environmental policies can also be sound economics.

indian_gov

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Pollution and conservation related issues.

What Is The Beautiful ‘Blue Tide’ Spotted Along Mumbai Coastline?


Context:

The tide producing a fluorescent blue hue, popularly known as bioluminescence, recently made an appearance at Mumbai’s Juhu Beach and Devgad Beach in Sindhudurg, along Maharashtra’s coastline.

Background:

Bioluminescence has been an annual occurrence along the west coast since 2016, especially during the months of November and December.

Why is it caused?

The spectacle occurs when phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), commonly known as dinoflagellates, produce light through chemical reactions in proteins. Waves disturb these unicellular microorganisms and makes them release blue light.

  • Main factors for its occurrence could be eutrophication – the reduction of oxygen in the water – which makes the phytoplanktons very dominant.

Why it is dangerous?

The spectacle may be beautiful, but it may also be a signal of danger. Many of the species in this group are toxic. If dinoflagellates reproduce rapidly, they may cause so-called ‘red tides’.

  • During this period all the animals (molluscs, fish, etc.) that feed on dinoflagellates also become toxic due to the accumulation of high amounts of toxins from dinoflagellates.
  • It is dangerous to eat such sea animals because the toxins that are contained in them may have various unpleasant effects: some merely irritate the bowel and cause food poisoning, whereas others, being neurotoxins, may even have an effect on memory.
  • Some species, such as the sea sparkle (Noctiluca scintillans) are not as toxic, but may have other unpleasant effects.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are blue tides?
  2. What are red tides?
  3. What is eutrophication?
  4. What is bioluminescence?

blue_tide

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC):

Context:

The Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) will soon become a National Maritime Domain Awareness (NDMA) centre, with all stakeholders having their presence there.

About IMAC:

  • It is the nodal agency for maritime data fusion.
  • It was set up after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
  • Approved by the Defence Acquisition Council in 2012.
  • Became operational in 2014 and is located in Gurugram.
  • It is the nodal centre of the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence System (NC3I), which was established to link the operational centres and lower echelons of the Navy and the Coast Guard spread across the country’s coastline, including the island territories.

Scotland becomes first nation to make sanitary pads, tampons free:

  • It is the first nation in the world to take a step against period poverty, which refers to the prevalent phenomena of being unable to afford products such as pads or tampons to manage menstrual bleeding.

SDG Investor Map:

  • Launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Invest India.
  • The map lays down 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors, that can help India push the needle forward on Sustainable Development.
  • By mapping the overlaps and gaps between public sector priorities and private sector interest, the SDG Investor Map lays out pathways that can bring together private-sector investment and public sector support.

 


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