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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 18 August 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. Increasing vacancies in courts.

2. Need for a separate security force to protect judiciary, courts.

3. Right to be forgotten.

4. What are Foreigners’ Tribunals?

5. RoDTEP scheme.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. World’s second-largest refurbished gene bank at New Delhi.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. RBI unveils financial inclusion index.


 

Increasing vacancies in courts

GS Paper 2

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

 

Increasing vacancies in courts

Context:

In recent days, the Supreme Court has voiced concern over the Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the large number of vacancies in High Courts and tribunals.

  • The vacancies in High Courts are at a staggering 455, as on August 1.

 

Concern:

The court has noted that the Centre’s delay in making appointments to the High Courts is adversely affecting the adjudication of commercial disputes.

 

Reasons for Vacancies in both higher and lower judiciary:

  1. Systemic defects in the appointment process most certainly contribute to vacancies in the lower judiciary. For example, exams are not conducted frequently enough to fill vacancies as they arise and even when they are, High Courts are often unable to find enough meritorious candidates to fill the vacancies advertised.
  2. A sheer lethargic approach for conducting the appointment process on time is another reason for increasing vacancies.
  3. Unclear recruitment procedures, and difficulties in coordination between the High Court and State Public Service Commission, also frequently give rise to disputes and litigations surrounding recruitment, further stalling the process of recruitment.
  4. Little quantitative and qualitative data on the appointment process exists, and thus no impactful reform has emerged in the area.
  5. Moreover, it is found that the source of the problem often lay in poor infrastructure, from courtrooms to residences for judges.

 

Impacts and implications:

  1. Increase in the pendency of cases.
  2. Any failure to allocate the required human and financial resources leads to the crippling of judicial work in the subordinate courts.
  3. It also amounts to letting down poor litigants and undertrials, who stand to suffer the most due to judicial delay.
  4. Vacancies mean more work for a district’s remaining judges.
  5. Heavier caseloads due to vacancies meant they spent less time considering individual cases raises troubling concerns about the quality of justice dispensed.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. Public Service Commissions should recruit the necessary staff to assist these judges, while State governments should build courts or provide working space for them.
  2. The recruitment of judges to fill vacancies should also begin earnestly.
  3. A smooth and time-bound process of making appointments require a close coordination between the High Courts and the State Public Service Commissions.
  4. This coordination should be facilitated by the respective State Governments and High Courts as best as possible.

 

Insta Curious: 

What differentiates the International Court of Justice from the International Criminal Court and the ad hoc international criminal tribunals? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is collegium?
  2. How are Judges of Supreme Court and high courts appointed?
  3. Appointment of retired judges.
  4. Related constitutional provisions.
  5. Powers and functions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with collegium system for the appointment of judges.

Sources: the Hindu.

Need for a separate security force to protect judiciary, courts:

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

The Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the attacks on judges along with petitions pending since 2019 seeking better protection for the judiciary and in courts.

  • The turning point was the recent murder of a judge in Jharkhand, Uttam Anand, in broad daylight.
  • The court had asked the Centre’s opinion on forming a central security outfit in the manner of the Railway Protection Force to protect courts and judges.

 

Latest updates:

During the latest hearing, Union government has told the Supreme Court that:

  1. It is “not advisable” to form a Central security force to protect the judiciary and court complexes. Security of courts was “better left to the States”.
  2. It is because problems of security vary from State to State. So, the State police would be better equipped to gauge the deployment needs in local courts and take care of logistics of transporting criminals and protecting witnesses, among other crucial functions within court complexes.
  3. Moreover, ‘police’ is a State subject under the Constitution.

 

What did the court say?

Several States had not bothered to file affidavits detailing the security arrangements in place for courts. Others who had filed affidavits presented a “lazy picture” of the security arrangements.

  1. The court allowed the States to file their affidavits in 10 days subject to paying ₹1 lakh each as costs.
  2. The court warned that Chief Secretaries would be summoned in case of non-compliance.

 

Need for:

Independence of the judiciary is an integral part of the basic structure of our Constitution. Judges are entrusted with an onerous job.

  • It is their responsibility to ensure that justice is done.
  • Popular sentiment requires them to act in a manner depicting that justice is not only done, but also appears to be done.
  • They make big decisions that require them to act fearless and impartially. When judges are fearful, it impedes their ability to do their jobs”.
  • Absence of bias is fundamental to judicial integrity.
  • Any influence on the judiciary by either the State or the litigants, adversely impacts the fair administration of justice.
  • An independent judiciary free from any pressures, inducements, enticements or intimidations is the cornerstone of any Constitutional democracy.

 

Concerns/challenges:

Judges face security threats both inside as well as beyond their courtrooms. Their job requires them to routinely deal with antisocial elements. This makes them as well as their family members susceptible to attacks. The recent murder of an Additional District Judge from Jharkhand, Uttam Anand, highlights the vulnerability of judicial officers.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know the differences between legislation and common law? Reference: Read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key Provisions related to the independence of Judiciary.
  2. About 42 Amendment to the Constitution.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of the independence of the judiciary.

Sources: the Hindu.

Right to be forgotten:

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and search engine giant Google to respond to a petition by two businessmen, who have invoked the “right to be forgotten”, and sought the removal of certain articles relating to a criminal case lodged against them, from various online platforms.

  • The petitioners said they have the “right to be forgotten” or a “right to delink” in the context of the facts and circumstances of the case.

 

Need for:

The petition argued that they “had been honourably discharged by the competent courts, yet the alleged articles and wrong information available online against petitioners continue to haunt them”.

 

What is the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context?

  • The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy.
  • In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).

 

 

What does the Personal Data Protection Bill say about this?

Right to privacy is also governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.

The bill exclusively talks about the “Right to be Forgotten.”

  • Broadly, under the Right to be forgotten, users can de-link, limit, delete or correct the disclosure of their personal information held by data fiduciaries.

 

But, what are the issues associated with this provision in the Bill?

The main issue with the provision is that the sensitivity of the personal data and information cannot be determined independently by the person concerned, but will be overseen by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).

  • This means that while the draft bill gives some provisions under which a user can seek that his data be removed, but his or her rights are subject to authorisation by the Adjudicating Officer who works for the DPA.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the right to be forgotten is also known as the right to erasure? Read what EU laws say on this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Right to be forgotten.
  2. What is right to privacy?
  3. Highlights of Personal Data Protection Bill.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the right to be forgotten.

Sources: the Hindu.

What are Foreigners’ Tribunals?

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

Assam government’s Political Department has issued a notification ordering the State police’s Border wing not to forward any case against Gurkhas to the Foreigners’ Tribunals under the Foreigners’ Act of 1946.

 

Background:

The Border wing is tasked with identifying people of doubtful citizenship and serving them notices for a Foreigners’ Tribunal — a quasi-judicial establishment — to take over.

 

How many Gurkhas are there in the state?

  • According to the 2011 census, Assam has more than 5 lakh Gurkhas, most of whom came as members of armed forces under the British administration.
  • About 22,000 Gurkhas were left out of the draft National Register of Citizens published on August 31, 2019.

 

Implications of the latest move:

The cases of some 2,500 Gurkhas are pending in a few of the 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam. All such cases are to be withdrawn.

 

Who is a declared foreigner?

A declared foreigner, or DF, is a person marked by Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the State police’s Border wing marks him or her as an illegal immigrant.

 

What is a Foreigners tribunal?

Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies established as per the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.

Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (or) Retired IAS of ACS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.

 

Who can setup these tribunals?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

  • Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.

 

Who can approach?

The amended order (Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 2019) also empowers individuals to approach the Tribunals.

  • Earlier, only the State administration could move the Tribunal against a suspect.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know the differences between NRC and NPR? Reference: 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act vs Foreigners Tribunal (Order) 1964.
  2. Burden of proof under this order.
  3. Powers to approach the tribunal and kind of cases to be decided by the tribunal.
  4. Composition of the tribunal.
  5. Tribunals vs Courts.
  6. Geographical location of Assam and other NE states.
  7. Refugee vs illegal Migrants.
  8. Fundamental Rights available for Foreigners and other constitutional provisions wrt to Foreigners.
  9. Human Rights vs Fundamental Rights.

Mains Link:

Discuss briefly the laws that are in place to tackle illegal non-citizens in the country. Why was the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 amended? Explain.

Sources: the Hindu.

RoDTEP scheme

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

The Centre has notified the rates and norms for the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme.

  • A budgetary allocation of ₹12,454 crore has been made for 2021-22 under the scheme which covers 8,555 tariff lines, accounting for about 75% of traded items and 65% of India’s exports.

 

About the scheme:

The scheme was announced in 2020 as a replacement for the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), which was not compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

The scheme would refund to exporters the embedded central, state and local duties or taxes that were so far not being rebated or refunded and were, therefore, placing India’s exports at a disadvantage.

 

Key features:

  1. To enable zero rating of exports by ensuring domestic taxes are not exported, all taxes, including those levied by States and even Gram Panchayats, will be refunded under the scheme.
  2. The rebates under RoDTEP is WTO-compliant as per legal advice, range from 0.5% to 4.3% of the Free On Board value of outbound consignments.
  3. The lowest rate is offered on items like chocolates, toffees and sugar confectionary, while yarns and fibres have been granted the highest rate.
  4. Steel, pharma and chemicals have not been included under the scheme because their exports have done well without incentives.

 

Significance:

  • Indian exporters will be able to meet the international standards for exports as affordable testing and certification will be made available to exporters within the country instead of relying on international organizations.
  • Also under it, tax assessment is set to become fully automatic for exporters. Businesses will get access to their refunds for GST via an automatic refund-route.
  • This would increase the economy for the country and working capital for the enterprise.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the RoDTEP scheme had kicked in from January 1, replacing the earlier Merchandise and Services Export Incentive Schemes (MEIS and SEIS) that were in violation of WTO norms? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the scheme.
  2. Benefits.
  3. Eligibility.

Sources: the Hindu.

World’s second-largest refurbished gene bank at New Delhi:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Biotechnology related issues.

 

Context:

The world’s second-largest refurbished state-of-the-art National Gene Bank was inaugurated recently at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Pusa, New Delhi.

 

What are Gene Banks?

People save money in banks, in case of an emergency. Genetic banks serve a similar purpose for farmers and scientists who work to conserve rare plants and animals.

 

Significance:

  1. Researchers or farmers can withdraw samples from these “gene” banks to help rebuild populations of rare plant varieties and animal breeds or to help increase genetic diversity within species.
  2. Gene banks also preserve cells or organisms that host unusual gene variants — genes with special traits. Those genes might later prove useful when some disease epidemic strikes, when the climate changes or when other factors threaten the survival of plants or animals.
  3. Farmers could use the banked deposits — stored cells or tissues — to restore genetic diversity or to introduce traits from other breeds or varieties.

 

About the National Gene Bank:

  • Established in 1996 to preserve the seeds of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for future generations.
  • It has the capacity to preserve about one million germplasm in the form of seeds.
  • It stores different crop groups such as cereals, millets, medicinal and aromatic plants and narcotics, etc.
  • Presently, the National Gene Bank has been protecting 4.52 lakh accessions, of which 2.7 lakh are the Indian germplasm while the rest have been imported from other countries.

NGB has four kinds of facilities to cater to long-term as well as medium-term conservation namely:

  1. Seed Gene bank (- 18°C).
  2. Cryo gene bank (-170°C to -196°C).
  3. In-vitro Gene bank (25°C).
  4. Field Gene bank.

 

Why is there a need for Gene Bank?

It will make the farmers of the country self-reliant and the government has been making every effort in that direction.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) functions under the control of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Look out for similar organizations which function under ICAR. Reference, read this.

Did you know that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway houses the world’s largest collection of seeds? 

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

RBI unveils financial inclusion index:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the formation of a composite Financial Inclusion Index (FI-Index) to capture the extent of financial inclusion across the country.

  • The FI-Index for the period ended March 2021 stood at 53.9 compared with 43.4 for the period ended March 2017.

About the index:

  1. The annual FI-Index will be published in July every year.
  2. The index incorporates details of banking, investments, insurance, postal as well as the pension sector in consultation with the government and respective sectoral regulators.
  3. The index captures information on various aspects of financial inclusion in a single value ranging between 0 and 100, where 0 represents complete financial exclusion and 100 indicates full financial inclusion.
  4. The FI-Index comprises three broad parameters, including access, usage and quality with each of these consisting of various dimensions computed on the basis of on several indicators.
  5. It has been constructed without any ‘base year’.

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