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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 25 March 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. A-G says no to contempt proceedings.

2. How Supreme Court chooses the Chief Justice of India?

3. Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

4. No digital tax if goods sold via India arm.

5. ‘Double mutant’ virus variant found.

6. National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professionals Bill, 2021.

7. CBSE rolls out assessment framework.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. GRAM UJALA.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project.

2. Tulip garden.

3. UN Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR).

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

A-G says no to contempt proceedings:


Context:

Attorney General of India K.K. Venugopal has denied consent to the initiation of contempt proceedings against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on the basis of a plea that he scandalised the judiciary in an interview.

  • The Attorney General said no specific mentions were made about the Supreme Court or its judges.

What is the law on contempt of courts?

The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 defines civil and criminal contempt, and lays down the powers and procedures by which courts can penalise contempt, as well as the penalties that can be given for the offence of contempt.

  • Contempt of court is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court.

Why is the consent of the Attorney General required to initiate contempt proceedings?

The objective behind requiring the consent of the Attorney General before taking cognizance of a complaint is to save the time of the court.

  • This is necessary because judicial time is squandered if frivolous petitions are made and the court is the first forum for bringing them in.
  • The AG’s consent is meant to be a safeguard against frivolous petitions, as it is deemed that the AG, as an officer of the court, will independently ascertain whether the complaint is indeed valid.

Under what circumstances is the AG’s consent not needed?

The AG’s consent is mandatory when a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against a person.

However, when the court itself initiates a contempt of court case the AG’s consent is not required.

  • This is because the court is exercising its inherent powers under the Constitution to punish for contempt and such Constitutional powers cannot be restricted because the AG declined to grant consent.

What happens if the AG denies consent?

If the AG denies consent, the matter all but ends.

The complainant can, however, separately bring the issue to the notice of the court and urge the court to take suo motu cognizance.

  • Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Powers of SC vs HCs wrt Contempt cases.
  2. Constitutional provisions in this regard.
  3. Changes brought about by Contempt of Courts (Amendment) Act, 2006.
  4. Civil vs Criminal contempt.
  5. Rights under Article 19.
  6. Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss how contempt cases are handled by Supreme Court in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

How Supreme Court chooses the Chief Justice of India?


Context:

Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde has recommended Justice N.V. Ramana, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, as the next top judge.

  • Justice Ramana is now set to take over as the 48th Chief Justice of India from April 24.

Appointment of CJI:

  • The Chief Justice of India is traditionally appointed by the outgoing Chief Justice of India on the day of his (or her) retirement.
  • By convention, the outgoing Chief Justice of India selects the most senior then-sitting Supreme Court judge.

Seniority at the apex court is determined not by age, but by:

  1. The date a judge was appointed to the Supreme Court.
  2. If two judges are elevated to the Supreme Court on the same day:
  3. The one who was sworn in first as a judge would trump another.
  4. If both were sworn in as judges on the same day, the one with more years of high court service would ‘win’ in the seniority stakes.
  5. An appointment from the bench would ‘trump’ in seniority an appointee from the bar.

Is it a part of the Constitution?

The Constitution of India does not have any provision for criteria and procedure for appointing the CJI. Article 124(1) of the Indian Constitution says there “shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a Chief Justice of India”.

  • The closest mention is in Article 126, which deals with the appointment of an acting CJI.
  • In the absence of a constitutional provision, the procedure relies on custom and convention.

What is the procedure?

The procedure to appoint the next CJI is laid out in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) between the government and the judiciary:

  1. The procedure is initiated by the Law Minister seeking the recommendation of the outgoing CJI at the ‘appropriate time’, which is near to the date of retirement of the incumbent CJI.
  2. The CJI sends his recommendation to the Law Ministry; and in the case of any qualms, the CJI can consult the collegium regarding the fitness of an SC judge to be elevated to the post.
  3. After receiving recommendation from the CJI, the law minister forwards it to the Prime Minister who then advises the President on the same.
  4. The President administers the oath of office to the new CJI.

Appointment of the CJI and the appointment of SC judges- key difference:

In the former, the government cannot send the recommendation of the CJI (or the collegium) back to them for reconsideration; while in the latter, the government can do so. However, if the collegium reiterates those names, then the government cannot object any further.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CJI.
  2. Appointment.
  3. Removal.
  4. Articles 124 and 126.
  5. Appointment of the CJI and the appointment of SC judges- key difference.

Mains Link:

Critically analyze the process of selection of supreme court judges in India. How can the process be made more transparent?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020:


Context:

A parliamentary panel has submitted its report on ‘The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020’.

Key recommendations:

  • The government should offer a more clear-cut definition of what constitutes ‘unfair’ trade practice.
  • The government should spell out a practical legal remedy to tackle the issue.
  • Fix a cap on delivery charges levied by e-commerce firms.
  • Provide for penal provisions for violation of rules related to misinformation.
  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution should issue broad guidelines for the fixation of delivery charges charged by the marketplace entities along with a cap on the highest limits of the delivery charges in peak hours of service.
  • The Ministry should also clearly define ‘drip pricing’— wherein the final cost of the product goes up due to additional charges, and provide for protecting consumers against this by including penal provisions for violation.

What’s the issue?

While e-commerce enterprises offer many benefits, the development of the segment has rendered consumers vulnerable to new forms of unfair trade practices, violation of privacy and issues of unattended grievances.

Predatory pricing is one such issue and it may result in competition being wiped out and prove detrimental to consumers in the long run.

  • Predatory pricing is a short-term strategy, adopted by some of the market giants with deep pockets to sustain short-term losses and reduce the prices of their products below the average variable costs.
  • This may lead to wiping out competition from the market and could be detrimental to the consumers in the long run.

What the recent rules specify?

  • The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, notified on July 23, regulate all commercial transactions sold over a digital or electronic network.
  • The e-com rules currently recognise two e-commerce business models, namely, marketplace model and inventory-based model.
  • The rules have separate specified provisions for marketplace- and inventory-based entities.
  • The e-com rules require that all information on the return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment of the goods or services being sold, including their country of origin, be provided on the platform.
  • Such details enable consumers to make an informed decision.

Please note:

  • The Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 are notified under the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • The Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 are mandatory and are not advisories.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  2. Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020’- Rules.
  3. What is predatory pricing?

Mains Link:

The new Consumer Protection Act (CPA) has come into operation replacing the earlier law, which was over three decades old.  What are the fundamental differences between the two Acts and will the new law serve the expectations of the consumer better than its predecessor? Explain.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

No digital tax if goods sold via India arm:


Context:

Through the amendment to Finance Bill 2021, the government has clarified that offshore e-commerce platforms don’t have to pay 2 per cent equalisation levy if they have permanent establishment or they pay any income tax here.

  • However, foreign firms who are not paying any tax will have to pay.

Who has to pay the digital tax?

The digital tax introduced in April 2020, applies only to non-resident companies with annual revenues in excess of Rs 2 crore, and covers online sales of goods and services to Indians.

The “Equalization Levy” in India:

It is a tax aimed at foreign digital companies. It has been in place since 2016.

  • The new amendment, effective from April 1, 2020, expands the equalization levy from online advertising to nearly all online commerce activities done in India by businesses that do not have taxable presence in India through applicability of 2% on its revenues.
  • Specifically, it is levied on consideration receivable by the e-commerce operator for supply or services or facilitation of supply or service to – Person resident in India, Non-resident under specified circumstances such as through sale of data collected from a person resident in India, and Person who buys goods or services through an IP address located in India.

Please Note:

GAFA tax— named after Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon—is a proposed digital tax to be levied on large technology and internet companies. France has decided to introduce the tax (3% tax on revenues from digital activities).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the equalization levy.
  2. Applicability.
  3. Exceptions.
  4. About GAFA tax.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with the implementation of equalization levy.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

‘Double mutant’ virus variant found:


Context:

Genome sequencing of a section of virus samples by a consortium of 10 laboratories across the country, called the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), has revealed a unique “double mutant” coronavirus variant — with a combination of mutations not seen anywhere else in the world.

  • The new variant has been found in at least 200 virus samples from Maharashtra, as well as a handful from Delhi, Punjab and Gujarat.

What’s the concern?

Mutations in the virus per se are not surprising but specific mutations that help the virus evolve to thwart vaccines or the immune system or are linked to a spike in cases or in disease severity are causes of concern.

Why do viruses mutate?

A mutation just means a difference; a letter change in the genome.

  • Mutations in viruses are a natural part of evolution.
  • The pressure on the virus to evolve is increased by the fact that so many millions of people have now been infected.

In the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is an Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.

  • A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Covid 19?
  2. What is mutation?
  3. What is mRNA?
  4. What is RT- PCR test?

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with mutations of Covid- 19 virus.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professionals Bill, 2021:


Context:

National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill passed by Parliament to regulate practice of allied and healthcare professionals.

Key features of the Bill:

  • The Bill seeks to set up a National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions to regulate and standardize the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals.
  • The functions of the proposed National Commission include framing of standards for education and practice, creating and maintaining an online Central Register of all registered professionals, providing basic standards of education, and providing for a uniform entrance and exit examination.
  • Under the legislation, only those enrolled in a State Register or the National Register as a qualified allied and healthcare practitioner would be allowed to practice as an allied and healthcare practitioner.

Definitions:

  1. The Bill defines an ‘allied health professional’ as an associate, technician, or technologist trained to support the diagnosis and treatment of any illness, disease, injury, or impairment.  Such a professional should have obtained a diploma or degree under this Bill.
  2. A ‘healthcare professional’ includes a scientist, therapist, or any other professional who studies, advises, researches, supervises, or provides preventive, curative, rehabilitative, therapeutic, or promotional health services.  Such a professional should have obtained a degree under this Bill.
  3. Allied and healthcare professions that are mentioned in the Bill include professionals working in life sciences,  trauma and burn care, surgical and anaesthesia related technology, physiotherapists, and nutrition science.

Significance:

  • The legislation will increase employment opportunities for the allied and healthcare professionals and provide dignity to their valuable works.
  • Also, there is an immense demand for the qualified healthcare professionals and the legislation will provide necessary impetus in providing affordable healthcare to the people.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the Bill.
  2. About the National Commission.
  3. Functions.
  4. Definitions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Bill.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to education.

CBSE rolls out assessment framework:


Context:

The Central Board of Secondary Education has rolled out a new assessment framework for Classes 6-10 in English, Maths and Science in collaboration with the British Council.

  • It is aligned with the National Education Policy’s vision of achieving a global standard in assessments.

Key facts:

  • The framework will replace the “existing rote learning model and will focus on assessing students based on their competencies needed to solve day-to-day problems.”
  • Under the system, Teachers will be trained to create question papers and other assessment methods that test the actual competency of students in these subjects, rather than their ability to memorise chunks of text.
  • In the first phase, the framework will be implemented in select Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas, CBSE schools in Chandigarh, and a few private schools.
  • By 2024, it will be rolled out to 25,000 CBSE schools across the country, with 1.32 lakh teachers and two crore students.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

Gram Ujala


Context:

Launched recently.

  • Under this program Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), will distribute high quality LED bulbs, at an affordable cost of 10 rupees per bulb in rural areas.

Implementation:

7 watt and 12-watt LED bulbs with 3 years warranty will be given to rural consumers against submission of working Incandescent bulbs.

  • Each household will get up to 5 LEDs.
  • Participating rural households will also have metres installed in their houses to account for usage.

Financing Mechanism:

  • The programme will be financed entirely through carbon credits and will be the first such programme in India.
  • The revenue earned from carbon credits will contribute Rs. 60 per LED bulb piece, with the balance Rs. 10 to be paid by the rural consumer.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project:

The Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project (1,000 MW) is proposed on the Marusudar river, a tributary of the Chenab river, in Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir.

Tulip garden:

  • Also known as the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden, it is a tulip garden in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
  • It is the largest tulip garden in Asia spread over an area of about 30 ha (74 acres).
  • The garden is located in the foothills of the Zaberwan range.

UN Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR):

  • It is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations system.
  • Headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland).
  • Created in 1963 to train and equip young diplomats from newly-independent UN Member States with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate through the diplomatic environment.
  • The institute also assists ministries of finance through its courses on public debt management, finance and trade, and it provides government officials with training in Peacekeeping and conflict prevention.
  • Through its programme on operational satellite applications (UNOSAT), the Institute provides satellite imagery and analysis.
  • Since 2003, UNITAR provides courses to support municipal and regional leaders dealing with complex public policies.

 


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