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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 6 February 2021

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. Registration of political parties.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

2. What are govt securities?

3. Denmark to create world’s first energy island in the North Sea.

4. 300 felled trees will cost ₹2.2 billion in products, including oxygen.

5. No blanket nod given for surveillance.

 

GS Paper 4:

1. dGovtraws flak for ‘adversarial’ stance.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) scheme.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Registration of political parties:


Context:

As per Association For Democratic Reforms (ADR)’s latest report:

  1. The contribution reports of only 78 (3.39%) of the total 2,301 registered unrecognised political parties are available in the public domain for 2018-19.
  2. The reports of only 82 such parties (3.56%) for 2017-18 are uploaded on the respective State Chief Electoral Officers’ websites.
  3. The number of these parties increased two-fold in the last 10 years, from 1,112 in 2010 to 2,301 in 2019.

What are unrecognised political parties?

Either newly registered parties or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a State party or those which have never contested in elections since being registered are considered unrecognised parties. Such parties don’t enjoy all the benefits extended to the recognised parties.

Unrecognised political parties in India:

There are 2,360 political parties registered with the Election Commission of India and 2,301 or 97.50% of them are unrecognised.

Registration of political parties:

Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

  • A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Election Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

To be eligible for a ‘National Political Party of India:

  1. It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly.
  2. In addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States.
  3. It wins at least two percent seats in the House of the People (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members), and these members are elected from at least three different States.

To be eligible for a ‘State Political Party:

  1. It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in the State at a general election, either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned
  2. In addition, it wins at least two seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.
  3. It wins at least three percent (3%) of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.

Benefits:

  1. If a party is recognised as a State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.
  2. Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.
  3. They also get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
  4. The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Registration of Political Parties.
  2. Recognised vs Unrecognised political parties.
  3. State vs National parties.
  4. Benefits for recognised political parties.
  5. Who is a star campaigner?
  6. Article 324 of the Indian Constitution.
  7. Section 29A of RPA 1951.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):


Context:

To ensure timely settlements of claims under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved the proposal of the department of agriculture for flying drones over 100 districts growing rice and wheat.

  • This is the first remote sensing technology based largest pilot study in the country so far, conducted for crop yield estimation.

About PMFBY:

  • Launched in 2016.
  • Merged schemes include National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
  • It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum.

Coverage:

The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Commercial/Horticultural Crops for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are being conducted under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).

PMFBY to PMFBY 2.0:

Completely Voluntary: It has been decided to make enrolment 100% voluntary for all farmers from 2020 Kharif.

Limit to Central Subsidy: The Cabinet has decided to cap the Centre’s premium subsidy under these schemes for premium rates up to 30% for unirrigated areas/crops and 25% for irrigated areas/crops.

More Flexibility to States: The government has given the flexibility to states/UTs to implement PMFBY and given them the option to select any number of additional risk covers/features like prevented sowing, localised calamity, mid-season adversity, and post-harvest losses.

Penalising the Pendency: In the revamped PMFBY, a provision has been incorporated wherein if states don’t release their share before March 31 for the Kharif season and September 30 for rabi, they would not be allowed to participate in the scheme in subsequent seasons.

Investing in ICE Activities: Insurance companies have to now spend 0.5% of the total premium collected on information, education and communication (IEC) activities.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of PMFBY.
  2. Benefits.
  3. Eligibility.
  4. PMFBY 2.0.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of PMFBY 2.0.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

What are govt securities?


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given small investors direct access to its government securities trading platform.

  • Now, Retail investors can directly open their gilt accounts with RBI, and trade in government securities.

What is the need for the current proposal, then?

  • The g-sec market is dominated by institutional investors such as banks, mutual funds, and insurance companies. These entities trade in lot sizes of Rs 5 crore or more.
  • So, there is no liquidity in the secondary market for small investors who would want to trade in smaller lot sizes. In other words, there is no easy way for them to exit their investments.
  • Thus, currently, direct g-secs trading is not popular among retail investors.

What are G- Secs?

A government security (G-Sec) is a tradeable instrument issued by the central government or state governments.

Key features:

  • It acknowledges the government’s debt obligations.
  • Such securities can be both short term (treasury bills — with original maturities of less than one year) or long term (government bonds or dated securities — with original maturity of one year or more).
  • The central government issues both: treasury bills and bonds or dated securities.
  • State governments issue only bonds or dated securities, which are called the state development loans.
  • Since they are issued by the government, they carry no risk of default, and hence, are called risk-free gilt-edged instruments.
  • FPIs are allowed to participate in the G-Secs market within the quantitative limits prescribed from time to time.

G- Sec prices fluctuate sharply in the secondary markets. Factors affecting their prices:

  1. Demand and supply of the securities.
  2. Changes in interest rates in the economy and other macro-economic factors, such as, liquidity and inflation.
  3. Developments in other markets like money, foreign exchange, credit and capital markets.
  4. Developments in international bond markets, specifically the US Treasuries.
  5. Policy actions by RBI like change in repo rates, cash-reserve ratio and open-market operations.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are G-Secs?
  2. Short and long term securities.
  3. Powers of the Centre and states to issue these instruments.
  4. Role of RBI.
  5. Factors which affect the prices of these securities.

Mains Link:

What are G-Secs? Why are they significant? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- Energy.

Denmark to create world’s first energy island in the North Sea:


Context:

Denmark has approved a plan to build the world’s first energy island in the North Sea.

About the Project:

  • The artificial island, in its initial phase, will be the size of 18 football fields.
  • It will be linked to hundreds of offshore wind turbines and will supply both power to households and green hydrogen for use in shipping, aviation, industry and heavy transport.
  • The island will produce and store enough green energy to cover the electricity needs of three million European households.

Significance:

The move came as the European Union unveiled plans to transform its electricity system to rely mostly on renewable energy within a decade and increase its offshore wind energy capacity 25-fold by 2050.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

300 felled trees will cost ₹2.2 billion in products, including oxygen:


Context:

The Supreme Court recently took judicial notice of its expert committee report, which said the felling of 300 heritage trees to construct five Railway over-bridges in West Bengal will cost India a staggering ₹2,23,50,00,000 (₹2.2 billion).

How was this figure arrived at?

The 10-digit figure was arrived at by the committee after:

  • Calculating the products these trees would produce over 100 years of their natural lifetime.
  • This included oxygen, micro-nutrients, compost and bio-fertiliser, besides the trees being valuable members of the natural environment.

based on this, an individual tree parts with, free of cost, “products” worth ₹74,500 a year.

Suggestions made by the Court:

  1. Frame a new protocol by which road and highway projects ought to be cleared only after checking the feasibility of other modes of transport like waterways and Railways.
  2. In case a road project is inevitable, the value of each tree should be “built into the cost of the project.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

No blanket nod given for surveillance:


Context:

The Central government has told the Delhi High Court that no blanket permission has been granted to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption of any messages or information under the surveillance programmes like the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS), Network Traffic Analysis (NETRA) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID).

Background:

The affidavit came in response to a petition seeking to constitute a permanent, independent oversight body for reviewing lawful interception and monitoring orders or warrants under the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act and the Information Technology Act.

Need for surveillance:

The government defended the need for the CMS, NETRA and NATGRID surveillance systems saying that ”grave threats to the country from terrorism, radicalisation, cybercrime, drug cartels, etc, cannot be understated or ignored” and it was imperative, therefore, to have a robust mechanism ”for speedy collection of actionable intelligence.”

What’s the issue?

The Delhi High Court had sought response of the Centre on a PIL claiming that citizens’ right to privacy was being “endangered” by the execution and operation of surveillance systems.

  • The plea by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) has claimed that these surveillance systems allow central and state law enforcement agencies to intercept and monitor all telecommunications in bulk which is an infringement of the fundamental right to privacy of individuals.

What were the demands by the petitioner?

The petitioner sought constitution of a permanent independent oversight body, judicial or parliamentary, for issuing and reviewing lawful interception and monitoring orders/warrants under the enabling provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NATGRID.
  2. What is NETRA?
  3. Key Provisions of the IT act, 2000.
  4. Overview of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

Mains Link:

Surveillance by the state is an infringement of the fundamental right to privacy of individuals. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 4


 

Govt. draws flak for ‘adversarial’ stance:


  • In an open letter, a group of retired senior civil servants have criticised the Centre’s attitude to the ongoing farm protests as “adversarial and confrontationist”.
  • The Constitutional Conduct Group, which issued the letter, says it believes in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.
  • The group has criticised the government for its attempts to polarise the agitation along regional, communal and other lines. Such an approach, it says, can never lead to a solution.

The letter raised several questions regarding the events of January 26:

  1. Why Delhi Police erected barricades on the agreed route, forcing them into deviations.
  2. Why the police failed to prevent the hoisting of flags at Red Fort and whether action has been taken against those in the Delhi Police, and Home and Defence Ministries for dereliction of duty.
  3. Why the media did not cover the majority of farmers who held a peaceful parade.
  4. Why the police had not immediately intervened when “a few hooligans” attacked protesting farmers at the Singhu border site.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) scheme:

  • It is Haryana’s unique identity card scheme.
  • Any family with a Haryana residential address can enrol for the scheme.
  • The family ID or PPP, an eight-digit alpha numeric ID, is provided to those who are residents of Haryana.
  • A registration ID is provided to those who live in Haryana but have not completed residency requirements.
  • As of now, over 110 services and schemes being delivered to citizens via the Saral platform have been linked to the PPP scheme.

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