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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 27 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. 

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. No postal ballots for NRIs this time: ECI.

2. Karnataka to move SC against T.N. project.

3. India and Pakistan agrees to observe “2003 Ceasefire agreement”.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. India ‘out of recession’.

2. Inflation Targeting.

3. Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Asia Economic Dialogue (AED).

2. INS Utkrosh.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

No postal ballots for NRIs this time: ECI:


Context:

The Election Commission has said that postal ballots facility would not be extended to NRIs for the upcoming elections to the Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and West Bengal Assemblies.

Background:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had written to the Law Ministry on November 27, 2020 with the proposal of extending postal ballots to overseas electors.

EC’s note was further referred to the Ministry of External Affairs. The MEA was of the opinion that a wider meeting of stakeholders should be held.

How the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System works?

  1. Under ETPBS, postal ballot is sent electronically to a service voter.
  2. The voter downloads it and uses a specific envelope to return it to the returning officer of his constituency.
  3. The postal ballot should reach the returning officer by 8 am on the day of the counting. Counting of votes begin with counting of postal ballots at 8 am.

Amendments:

To extend the voting facility to overseas voters, Government needs to only amend the Conduct of Election Rules 1961, and doesn’t require Parliament’s nod.

What is the current process of voting for Indian citizens living abroad?

  • Voting rights for NRIs were introduced only in 2011, through an amendment to the Representation of the People Act 1950.
  • An NRI can vote in the constituency in which her place of residence, as mentioned in the passport, is located.
  • She can only vote in person and will have to produce her passport in original at the polling station for establishing identity.

What is current strength of NRI voters?

According to a UN report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world at 16 million people.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Postal ballot?
  2. Who can cast their votes through postal ballot?
  3. How do NRIs cast their votes?

Mains Link:

Should NRIs be permitted to cast their votes from overseas through postal ballots? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Karnataka to move SC against T.N. project:


Context:

Karnataka is readying itself to wage a legal battle in the Supreme Court against Tamil Nadu’s ambitious Cauvery-Vellaru-Vaigai-Gundar river linking project.

  • The 262 km river-linking project will divert 6,300 cubic feet of surplus water during floods and increase the groundwater levels in the state’s southern districts to meet drinking water needs.

What’s the issue?

Tamil Nadu is trying to utilise surplus 45 Tmcft of water.

Karnataka Government says, “this project is not in accordance with the Interstate River Water Disputes Act.

  • According to the Act, surplus water should also be adjudicated and the tribunal has to decide on it.

Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956:

  • According to its provisions, if a State Government makes a request regarding any water dispute and the Central Government is of opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, then a Water Disputes Tribunal is constituted for the adjudication of the water dispute.
  • The act was amended in 2002, to include the major recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.
  • The amendments mandated a one-year time frame to setup the water disputes tribunal and also a 3-year time frame to give a decision.

Provisions related to interstate river water disputes:

Entry 17 of State List deals with water i.e. water supply, irrigation, canal, drainage, embankments, water storage and water power.

Entry 56 of Union List empowers the Union Government for the regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys to the extent declared by Parliament to be expedient in the public interest.

Article 262: In the case of disputes relating to waters, it provides

  1. Clause 1:Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
  2. Clause 2:Parliament may, by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as mentioned above.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Cauvery river- origin, basin, tributaries and important projects.
  2. Article 262.
  3. Key Provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  4. Overview of Cauvery-Vellaru-Vaigai-Gundar river linking project.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

India and Pakistan agrees to observe “2003 Ceasefire agreement”:


Context:

India and Pakistan have issued a joint statement to strictly observe the 2003 Ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC).

About the 2003 ceasefire agreement:

The ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2003, four years after the Kargil War.

On November 26, 2003 the ceasefire took effect along the entire stretch of the India-Pakistan frontier.

  • It facilitated the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot routes, paving the way for bus and truck services linking the two Kashmirs for the first time in six decades and encouraging cross-LoC contacts, exchanges, travel, and trade.
  • The ceasefire also enabled India to complete the construction of a fence near the LoC to prevent Pakistan’s infiltration of terrorists into Kashmir, a project that it had begun a couple of decades earlier but had to suspend due to Pakistan’s artillery fire.

Will this ceasefire last?

This is not the first time that India and Pakistan have agreed to give peace a chance on the LoC to make the lives of civilians living along the line easy.

  • The 2003 ceasefire agreement remains a milestone as it brought peace along the LoC until 2006. Between 2003 and 2006, not a single bullet was fired by the jawans of India and Pakistan.
  • But since 2006, ceasefire violations became the norm with increasing frequency. Recent years have seen an increasing number of ceasefire violations despite an agreement reached in 2018 to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

What’s the concern?

This puts a question mark on how long the fresh commitment to ceasefire along the LoC can hold especially with summers approaching. As a matter of annual routine, terror infiltration bids from Pakistan increase as summer begins in the Kashmir Valley. Melting of ice on the high mountains offers Pakistan an opportunity to foment terrorism in the Valley.

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

India ‘out of recession’:


Context:

As per the National Statistical office (NSO), India’s economy is out of recession but still a long way from returning to rates of growth seen before the pandemic.

India- Asia’s third biggest economy recorded a rise in gross domestic product of 0.4% in the final three months of 2020, compared with the same period a year earlier.

  • Last year, the country plunged into recession for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, with economists warning that it would struggle to recover from the slump.

Key takeaways from Q3 GDP data:

  1. Manufacturing revival.
  2. Agriculture growth accelerates.
  3. Financial, real estate sectors rebound.
  4. Consumer confidence still low.
  5. Government spending picks up.
  6. Investment demand rises.

What is Recession?

It is a macroeconomic term that refers to a slowdown or a massive contraction in economic activities for a long enough period, or it can be said that when a recessionary phase sustains for long enough, it is called a recession.

Depression:

It is a deep and long-lasting period of negative economic growth, with output falling for at least 12 months and GDP falling by over 10% or it can be referred to as a severe and prolonged recession.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Inflation Targeting:


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India, in the Report on Currency and Finance for FY21, has said the current inflation target of 4% with a +/-2% tolerance band is appropriate for the next five years.

Important observations made:

Trend inflation had fallen from above 9% before flexible-inflation targeting (FIT) to a range of 3.8-4.3 % during FIT, indicating that 4% is the appropriate level of the inflation target.

An inflation rate of 6% is the appropriate upper tolerance limit for the target.

A lower bound above 2% can lead to actual inflation frequently dipping below the tolerance band while a lower bound below 2% will hamper growth, indicating that an inflation rate of 2 % is the appropriate lower tolerance bound.

Outcomes of FIT:

  • During the FIT period, monetary transmission had been full and reasonably swift across the money market but less than complete in the bond markets.
  • While there has been an improvement in transmission to lending and deposit rates of banks, external benchmarks across all categories of loans and deposits could improve transmission further.

Flexible Inflation Targeting Framework:

Now there is a flexible inflation targeting framework in India (after the 2016 amendment to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934).

 Who sets the inflation target in India?

The amended RBI Act provides for the inflation target to be set by the Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once every five years.

Current Inflation Target:

The Central Government has notified 4 per cent Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation as the target for the period from August 5, 2016, to March 31, 2021, with the upper tolerance limit of 6 per cent and the lower tolerance limit of 2 per cent.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is the current inflation target?
  2. Who sets it?
  3. What is the monetary policy committee (MPC)?
  4. Functions.
  5. Composition.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Vivad Se Vishwas scheme:


Context:

The Income Tax Department on Friday extended the deadline for filing declarations and making payment under the direct tax dispute resolution scheme ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ (VsV) till March 31 and April 30.

About the Scheme:

  • The Direct Tax ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ Act, 2020 was enacted on March 17, 2020, with the objective to reduce pending income tax litigation, generate timely revenue for the government and to benefit taxpayers.
  • The scheme aims to end litigation and legacy disputes under the direct taxes category as ₹9.32 lakh crore worth of revenue is blocked in approximately 4.8 lakh appeals pending at various income tax appellate forums.
  • The entities who opt for the scheme have to pay a requisite tax following which all litigation against them are closed by the tax department and penal proceedings dropped.

Significance of the Scheme:

It should be noted that the response to the scheme gains significance given earlier schemes like Kar Vivad Samadhan Scheme, 1998 (KVSS) and Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2016 (DTDRS) did not yield much results.

  • The scheme has reportedly received an overwhelming response with a settlement amount of over Rs 97,000 crore as of February.
  • So far, over 1,25,144 of the 5,10,491 long-pending cases have been settled under the scheme.
  • These comprise 24.5 per cent of the total number of such cases which were pending before the scheme was introduced.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features.
  2. Benefits.
  3. Eligibility.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Asia Economic Dialogue (AED):

  • It is the flagship geo-economics conference of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India.
  • The AED 2021 is jointly convened by the MEA and Pune International Centre (PIC).
  • This is the fifth edition of the AED, and the second one organised by PIC.
  • The theme for this year’s conference is “Post Covid-19 Global Trade and Finance Dynamics”.
  • It is an international geo-economics conference, focusing on trade and finance dynamics in Asia and its extended neighbourhood.

INS Utkrosh:

  • It is an Indian naval air station under the joint-services Andaman and Nicobar Command of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It is located near naval base INS Jarawa, on Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • It is the first naval air station in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

 


Value addition for Mains:


GS Papers 1 and 4:

Same-sex marriages will cause havoc, Central govt. tells HC:

The Centre opposed any changes to the existing laws on marriage to recognise same-sex marriages.

Please note, In 2018, a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court decriminalised consensual homosexual sex in India.

Centre’s arguments:

  1. Living together as partners and having a sexual relationship by same-sex individuals is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children which necessarily presuppose a biological man as a husband, a biological woman as a wife and the children born out of the union between the two.
  2. Any other interpretation except treating the husband as a biological man and the wife as a biological woman will make all statutory provisions unworkable.
  3. Such interference would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country.
  4. Registration of marriage of same-sex persons also results in a violation of existing personal as well as codified law provisions — such as ‘degrees of prohibited relationship’; ‘conditions of marriage’; ‘ceremonial and ritual requirements’ under the personal laws governing the individuals.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. City Innovation Exchange (CiX).
  2. Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021.

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