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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 19 November 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. Battle of Rezang La.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Plea in Supreme Court on new Ordinances.

2. No consensus on limiting the Speaker’s powers.

3. ASEAN objects as China wants Myanmar junta to join the summit.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Centre accepts Cairn’s offer on retrospective tax.

2. RBI panel moots law to regulate digital lending.

 

Relevant Facts for Prelims:

1. Zircon hypersonic cruise missile.


Battle of Rezang La:

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Context:

November 18 marks the 59th anniversary of the Battle of Rezang La. A memorial was inaugurated on the occasion.

 

Where is Rezang La?

Rezang La is a mountain pass on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.

It is located between village of Chushul and the Spanggur Lake that stretches across both Indian and Chinese territories.

It had also been the site of a heroic battle on 18 November 1962.

 

About the battle:

  • Troops from the 13 Kumaon Regiment defeated several waves of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 1962.
  • Despite being heavily outnumbered, soldiers of the regiment fought to the last man standing, under freezing temperatures, and with limited ammunition.

 

Significance of the region:

Rezang La is vital for the defence of the crucially important Chushul. Any invader reaching there would have had a free run to Leh.

 

Insta Curious:

All you need to know about the Indo- China border dispute: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Battle of Rezang La.
  2. What is LoC and how is it established, geographical extent and significance?
  3. What is LAC?
  4. Where is Nathu la?
  5. Where is Pangong Tso?
  6. Who administers Akashi Chin?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Rezang La for India.

Sources: the Hindu.

Plea in Supreme Court on new Ordinances:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and issues related.

 

Supreme Court on new Ordinances

Context:

Petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court urging the Supreme Court to quash the Ordinances, which allow the Government to extend the tenures of the chiefs of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) “in a piecemeal fashion” up to a maximum of five years.

 

Issues:

  • The petitioners said the Ordinances would leave the heads of the two top investigative bodies insecure about their tenure and erode their professional independence.
  • Also, no criteria has been provided save for a vague reference to ‘public interest’ which is based on the subjective satisfaction of the Respondents.
  • The Government’s move has also drawn sharp criticism from the Opposition parties, which have accused it of taking the ordinance route despite the Parliament session beginning on November 29.

 

About the Ordinances:

The Union Government has brought in two ordinances allowing the service of the directors of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to be extended beyond their fixed tenure of at least two years up to a maximum of five years.

  • The extension can be given only one year at a time. That is, after a fixed two-year tenure, they may get three annual extensions.

 

On what grounds have these ordinances been challenged?

About a year ago, the ED Director had been given a one-year extension retrospectively following the completion of a two-year fixed tenure. The move was challenged before the Supreme Court, which upheld the government’s decision. However, it said that such a drastic measure should be taken only rarely.

  • The petitioners, who allege that the two ordinances are arbitrary and unconstitutional, cite the judgment, as well as the Apex Court verdict in Vineet Narain vs Union of India (1997) which held that the CBI and the ED chiefs should have a minimum tenure of two years.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CBI and its establishment.
  2. Provisions of DSPE Act.
  3. What is General Consent?
  4. What happens when general consent is withdrawn by states?

Mains Link:

Can withdrawal mean that the CBI can no longer probe any case? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

No consensus on limiting the Speaker’s powers:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

The All-India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC) ended recently with the delegates failing to reach a consensus on whether the Speaker’s powers under the Anti-Defection Law should be limited.

  • However, the participants reiterated an earlier resolution that there should be no disruptions during Question Hour and the President’s and Governor’s address to the House.

 

Recommendations:

C.P. Joshi committee was formed in 2019 to examine the role of the Speaker in cases of disqualification on grounds of defection under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

  • The committee has advocated that the power to disqualify MPs and MLAs under the anti-defection law should also be given to political parties rather than limiting the power only for Lok Sabha and assembly speakers.

 

Need for a review:

The political situation when the anti defection law was formed was different and the law needs to be reviewed factoring in the changes in the political situation.

 

Anti-defection law:

  • In 1985 the Tenth Schedule, popularly known as the anti-defection law, was added to the Constitution by the 52nd Amendment Act.
  • The purpose of the Amendment was to bring stability to governments by deterring MPs and MLAs from changing their political parties on whose ticket they were elected.
  • The penalty for shifting political loyalties is the loss of parliamentary membership and a bar on becoming a minister.

 

When can a member be disqualified?

If a member of a house belonging to a political party:

  1. Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
  2. Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party. However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified.
  3. If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
  4. If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.

 

However, Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances. Exceptions:

  1. The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger.
  2. On being elected as the presiding officer of the House, if a member, voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office, he won’t be disqualified.

 

Decision of the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review:

The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court later, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court.

  • However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.

 

Is there a time limit within which the Presiding Officer should decide?

  • There is no time limit as per the law within which the Presiding Officers should decide on a plea for disqualification.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Names of various committees and commissions with regard to Anti Defection law.
  2. Committees vs Commissions.
  3. Decision of presiding officer vs Judicial review.
  4. Merger vs Split of political parties.
  5. Is anti- defection law applicable to the presiding officer?
  6. Relevant Supreme Court cases and verdicts.

Mains Link:

Examine the provisions of Anti- defection law. Has this law largely failed to meet its objective? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

ASEAN objects as China wants Myanmar junta to join the summit:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Context:

A Chinese envoy has lobbied Southeast Asian nations to let Myanmar’s military ruler attend a regional summit being hosted by China’s President next week but has met stiff opposition from other leaders.

 

What’s the issue?

Myanmar’s standing as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been thrown into the spotlight by a Februay 1 coup, when its military ousted the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking bloody turmoil.

  • Following this, ASEAN leaders blocked Myanmar’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, from an ASEAN summit after he failed to honour pledges to allow an ASEAN envoy to meet lawmakers overthrown in the coup.
  • Later, ASEAN leaders said a non-political figure from Myanmar should be asked to attend. In the end, Myanmar was not represented.

 

What is ASEAN?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional organization which was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific’s post-colonial states.

The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.

ASEAN Secretariat – Indonesia, Jakarta.

 

Genesis:

Established in 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding fathers.

Founding Fathers of ASEAN are: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Ten Members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 

Significance of ASEAN for India:

  1. Against the backdrop of aggressive moves by China, including the Ladakh standoff, India placed the ASEAN at the centre of India’s Act East policy and held that a cohesive and responsive ASEAN is essential for security and growth for all in the region.
  2. ASEAN is necessary for the success of the Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) Vision.
  3. The region is significant for diversification and resilience of supply chains for post-Covid-19 economic recovery.
  4. It is India’s 4th largest trading partner with about USD 86.9 billion in trade.

 

Insta Curious:

India became a Sectoral Partner of ASEAN in 1992. Read here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical location of asean countries.
  2. Total population of asean countries.
  3. Chairmanship of ASEAN.
  4. When and where Asean summits are held?
  5. What are Free-trade agreements (FTAs)?

Mains Link:

Examine the significance of ASEAN for India’s economic, geo-strategic and security imperatives?

Sources: the Hindu.

Centre accepts Cairn’s offer on retrospective tax:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Cairn’s offer on retrospective tax

Context:

Moving quickly towards ending a retrospective tax dispute with a firm that gave India its largest oilfield, the government has accepted Cairn Energy PLC undertakings which would allow for the refund of taxes.

  • The company will now be issued a ₹7,900 crore refund.

 

What’s the issue?

In December 2020, a three-member international arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Netherlands ruled unanimously that the Indian government was “in breach of the guarantee of fair and equitable treatment”, and against the India-UK Bilateral Investment Treaty, and that the breach caused a loss to the British energy company and ordered compensation of $1.2 billion.

  • Cairn had challenged the Indian government seeking taxes over an internal business reorganisation using the 2012 retrospective tax law, under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • In 2014, the Indian tax department had demanded Rs 10,247 crore in taxes.
  • In 2015, Cairn Energy Plc commenced international arbitration proceedings against the Indian government.

 

What next?

Please note that the Indian government’s recent amendment to taxation laws nullifies the tax assessment originally levied against Cairn in January 2016 and orders the refund of ₹7,900 crore which was collected from Cairn in respect of that assessment.

 

What is retrospective taxation?

  • It allows a country to pass a rule on taxing certain products, items or services and deals and charge companies from a time behind the date on which the law is passed.
  • Countries use this route to correct any anomalies in their taxation policies that have, in the past, allowed companies to take advantage of such loopholes.
  • Retrospective Taxation hurts companies that had knowingly or unknowingly interpreted the tax rules differently.

 

Permanent Court of Arbitration:

  1. It was established in 1899 and is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands.
  2. It is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to serve the international community in the field of dispute resolution and to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between States.
  3. All decisions, called “awards” are binding on all the parties in the dispute and have to be carried out without delay.

 

Insta Curious:

How arbitration, mediation and conciliation are different from each other? Reference:

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Arbitration?
  2. Recent Amendments.
  3. About the International Court of Arbitration.
  4. About the Arbitration Council of India.
  5. Appointment of arbitrators under the 1996 Act.
  6. Permanent Court of Arbitration- composition, functions and members.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act.

Sources: the Hindu.

RBI panel moots law to regulate digital lending:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

 

Context:

A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Working Group (WG) on digital lending, including lending through online platforms and mobile apps has submitted its recommendations.

 

Key recommendations:

  1. A separate legislation should be enacted to oversee such lending.
  2. Setup a nodal agency to vet the Digital Lending Apps.
  3. A Self-Regulatory Organisation should be set up for participants in the digital lending ecosystem.
  4. Develop certain baseline technology standards and compliance with those standards as a pre-condition for offering digital lending solutions.
  5. Disbursement of loans should be made directly into the bank accounts of borrowers and servicing of loans should be done only through the bank accounts of the digital lenders.
  6. All data collection must require the prior consent of borrowers and come ‘with verifiable audit trails’ and the data itself ought to be stored locally.

 

Benefits of digital lending:

  • Digital lending has the potential to make access to financial products and services more fair, efficient and inclusive.
  • From a peripheral supporting role a few years ago, FinTech-led innovation is now at the core of the design, pricing and delivery of financial products and services.

 

Need of the hour:

A balanced approach needs to be followed so that the regulatory framework supports innovation while ensuring data security, privacy, confidentiality and consumer protection.

 

What are the issues wrt digital lending apps?

  1. They attract borrowers with promise of loans in a quick and hassle-free manner.
  2. But, Excessive rates of interest and additional hidden charges are demanded from borrowers.
  3. Such platforms adopt unacceptable and high-handed recovery methods.
  4. They misuse agreements to access data on the mobile phones of the borrowers.

Sources: the Hindu.

Relevant Facts for Prelims:

Zircon hypersonic cruise missile:

  • Russia has carried out another succesful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, one the latest additions to the country’s arsenal of weapons called “invincible” by President Vladimir Putin.
  • Hypersonics can travel more than five times the speed of sound and manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.

 


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