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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 1 April 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 1:

  1.  1. Plea in SC against uniform civil law on divorce and alimony.

GS Paper 2:

  1.  1. Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS).
  2. 2. What is vaccine wastage, and how can it be prevented?

GS Paper 3:

  1.   1. Inflation targeting.
  2.  2. Panel submits report on farm laws to SC.
  3.  3. Food sector incentive gets Cabinet nod.

Facts for Prelims:

  1. 1. Military farms.
  2. 2. AIM-PRIME.


GS Paper  :  1


Topics Covered: Women related issues.

Plea in SC against uniform civil law on divorce and alimony:


Context:

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the “blatant attempt” to take away the fundamental right of Muslim women to practise their religion, in the guise of providing a “uniform law” across all faiths.

What’s the issue?

The petitioner has asked the Supreme Court to hear her before deciding whether a uniform civil law for divorce, maintenance and alimony will leave Muslim women like her better-off.

  • Last December, the Supreme Court agreed to examine advocate A.K. Upadhyay’s plea for a single law covering divorce, maintenance and alimony for all religions.
  • Upadhyay had argued that laws governing them in certain religions discriminate and marginalise women.

Need for a uniform law:

Existing anomalies, varying from one religion to another, are violative of the right to equality (Article 14 of the Constitution) and right against discrimination (Article 15) on the basis of religion and gender and right to dignity.

  • Therefore, the laws on divorce, maintenance and alimony should be “gender-neutral and religion-neutral”.

Status of Personal Law in India:

Personal law subjects like marriage, divorce, inheritance come under Concurrent list.

  • Hindu personal laws have been by and large secularized and modernized by statutory enactments (The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955).
  • On the other hand, Muslim personal laws are still primarily unmodified and traditional in their content and approach (Eg: Shariat law of 1937).
  • Apart from it, Christians and Jews are also governed by different personal laws.

Article 142:

Article 142 “provide(s) a unique power to the Supreme Court, to do “complete justice” between the parties, i.e., where at times law or statute may not provide a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put a quietus to a dispute in a manner which would befit the facts of the case.

Alimony:

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which applies to all communities lays down the provision for maintenance of wives, children, and parents if they do not earn enough and reasonable means to maintain themselves, or suffer from any physical or mental incapacity. Under this section, even a wife who has not divorced her husband has the right to get maintenance from her husband.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1.  What is Uniform Civil Code?
  2. About Articles 13, 14 and 19.
  3. Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  4. Article 142 is related to?
  5. 7th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for having uniform guidelines on divorce, maintenance and alimony for all religions.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


Topics Covered: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS):


Context:

The government has extended the ₹3-lakh-crore emergency credit line guarantee scheme by another three months till June 30 and also widened its scope to new sectors, including hospitality, travel and tourism.

Details:

  • ECLGS 3.0 would involve extending credit of up to 40% of total credit outstanding across all lending institutions as on February 29, 2020.
  • The tenor of loans granted under ECLGS 3.0 would be 6 years, including a moratorium period of 2 years.

About the scheme:

The scheme was launched as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package announced in May 2020 to mitigate the distress caused by coronavirus-induced lockdown, by providing credit to different sectors, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

  • 100% guarantee coverage is being provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company, whereas Banks and Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) provide loans.
  • The credit will be provided in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.
  • No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from the Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.
  • Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, and at 14% for NBFCs.

Eligibility:

  • Borrowers with credit outstanding up to Rs. 50 crore as on 29th February, 2020, and with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 250 crore are eligible under the Scheme.
  • On 1st August 2020, the government widened the scope of the Rs. 3 lakh crore-ECLGS scheme by doubling the upper ceiling of loans outstanding and including certain loans given to professionals like doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants for business purposes under its ambit.

Benefits of the scheme:

  • The scheme is expected to provide credit to the sector at a low cost, thereby enabling MSMEs to meet their operational liabilities and restart their businesses.
  • By supporting MSMEs to continue functioning during the current unprecedented situation, the Scheme is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1.    Classification of MSMEs- old vs new.
  2.    Contributions of MSMEs to GDP.
  3.    What are NBFCs?
  4.    What is GECL facility?
  5.    What is NCGTC?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is vaccine wastage, and how can it be prevented?


Context:

The Health Ministry has told the States and the Union Territories that there was no value in conserving vaccines for the second dose and directed that prompt supply should be ensured to all government and private hospitals where there was a demand.

Guidelines by the Centre to States:

  1. Maintain vaccine wastage at less than 1% (present national wastage percentage being 6%).

Regularly review wastage across all levels to minimise the same.

  • Ensure timely utilisation of available stocks to avoid expiry of vaccines without usage.
  • Only eligible beneficiaries should be registered and vaccinated under the category of healthcare and frontline workers.

What is Vaccine Wastage?

Vaccine wastage is an expected component of any large vaccination drive. But high vaccine wastage inflates vaccine demand and increases unnecessary procurement.

Different stages where wastage occurs:

  1. Cold chain points.
  2. District vaccine stores.
  3. Vaccination session site.

Ways to prevent wastage:

  • Proper planning.
  • Each vaccine session should serve maximum 100 beneficiaries.
  • Proper training to vaccinators.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


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

Inflation targeting:


Context:

The Centre has decided to retain the inflation target of 4%, with a tolerance band of +/- 2 percentage points for the Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI for the coming five years.

What is inflation targeting?

  • It is a central banking policy that revolves around adjusting monetary policy to achieve a specified annual rate of inflation.
  • The principle of inflation targeting is based on the belief that long-term economic growth is best achieved by maintaining price stability, and price stability is achieved by controlling inflation.

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: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security.

Panel submits report on farm laws to SC:


Context:

A Supreme Court-appointed panel has submitted its report on the three agricultural reform laws in a closed cover. The report will be revealed during the next hearing of the case.

Background:

The three laws which were passed by Parliament in September and are being opposed by farmers’ unions are:

  1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act.
  2. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
  3. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.

On January 12, the Supreme Court suspended the implementation of the three laws and appointed a four-member committee of experts “to listen to the grievances of the farmers on the farm laws and the views of the government and make recommendations”.

What’s the issue?

The laws aim to deregulate India’s enormous agriculture sector.

  • The government says these laws will “liberate” farmers from the tyranny of middlemen.
  • But many farmers fear that they stand to lose more than they could gain from the new regulations and that the main beneficiaries will be agricultural corporations with gargantuan financial firepower.

So what do these new farm laws do?

  1. They make it easier for farmers to bypass government-regulated markets (known locally as mandis) and sell produce directly to private buyers.
  2. They can now enter into contracts with private companies, a practice known in India as contract farming, and sell across state borders.
  3. The new regulations also allow traders to stockpile food. This is a shift away from prohibitions against hoarding, which could make it easier for traders to take advantage of rising prices, such as during a pandemic. Such practices were criminal offences under the old rules.

Concerns of farmers:

More than 86 percent of India’s cultivated farmland is controlled by smallholder farmers who own less than two hectares (five acres) of land each.

  • The new rules remove many of their safeguards. Small farmers fear that they just do not have enough bargaining power to get the kinds of prices they need for a decent standard of living when they negotiate to sell their produce to larger companies.
  • The new laws also do not make written contracts mandatory. So in the case of any violation of their terms, it can be very hard for a farmer to prove that he or she has been aggrieved, giving them little recourse.
  • The new rules do not guarantee any minimum price for any product, and farmers worry that the existing MSP will be abolished at some point.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are APMCs? How they are regulated?
  2. Overview of Model Contract farming act.
  3. The price range fluctuation allowed in the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  4. Stock limit regulation under the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will not be applicable for?
  5. Other key Provisions of the bills.

Mains Link:

Do you think the reforms proposed for agricultural sector under the realm of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan ensure better price realization for farmers? Elucidate.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security.

Food sector incentive gets Cabinet nod:


Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved a production-linked incentive scheme for the food processing industry with an outlay of ₹10,900 crore.

Objectives of the scheme:

  1. Support creation of global food manufacturing champions.
  2. Strengthen select Indian brand of food products for global visibility and wider acceptance in the international markets.
  3. Increase employment opportunities of off-farm jobs.
  4. Ensure remunerative prices of farm produce and higher income to farmers.

Applicability:

  • The scheme would cover ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat foods, processed fruits and vegetables, marine products and mozzarella cheese, organic products, free-range eggs, poultry meat and egg products.
  • The applicants selected for the scheme would be required to invest in plant and machinery in the first two years.

Background:

In all, 13 PLI schemes are being rolled out, including those for automobiles, pharmaceuticals, IT hardware including laptops, mobile phones & telecom equipment, white goods, chemical cells and textiles.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Production linked incentive scheme- when was it announced?
  2. Incentives under the scheme is available to?
  3. What kind of investments will be considered?
  4. Duration of the scheme.
  5. Who will implement it?

Mains Link:

What is the production linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturers? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Military farms:

Military farms have been closed after 132 years of service. The formal closing ceremony was held recently.

What are military farms?

  • The farms were set up with the sole requirement of supplying hygienic cow milk to troops in garrisons across British India. The first military farm was raised on February 1, 1889, at Allahabad.
  • Post-Independence, they flourished with 30,000 heads of cattle in 130 farms all over India. They were even established in Leh and Kargil in the late 1990s.
  • For more than a century, the farms supplied 3.5 crore litres of milk and 25,000 tonnes of hay yearly.

Suggestions for closure:

  • In 2012, the Quarter Master General branch had recommended their closure.
  • In December 2016, the Lt. Gen. D.B. Shekatkar (retd.) committee, which was appointed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.

 

AIM-PRIME:

  • Launched by Atal Innovation Mission in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) & Venture Center.
  • AIM-PRIME (Program for Researchers on Innovations, Market-Readiness & Entrepreneurship) is an initiative to promote and support science-based deep-tech startups & ventures across India.

 


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