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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 09 December 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. World Inequality Report.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Law Commission of India.

2. Nod for Ken-Betwa link project.

3. Poshan Abhiyaan.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Unified payments interface (UPI).

2. PepsiCo patents issue.

3. Chief of Defence Staff.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021.


World Inequality Report:

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Issues related to population and development.

 

Context:

The 2022 World Inequality Report (WIR) has been released.

 

What you need to know about the WIR?

  • Released by the World Inequality Lab, a research center at the Paris School of Economics.
  • The WIR studies different kinds of financial data to find out how a country’s (and the world’s) income and wealth are distributed.

 

Significance of the report– why do we need a study on inequalities?

This is vital information because in most democracies, the wealthy can, and do, transform their economic power into political power, and therefore, the higher the inequality, the greater the likelihood that an affluent minority could end up determining the fate of the majority. Availability of accurate data about levels of inequality can help generate public opinion in favour of policy measures that can mitigate them.

 

Key findings of the 2022 report:

  • The gap between the rich and the poor in terms of share of national income is quite large, and growing rapidly as a result of government policies that favour the affluent elite. The richest 10% of the global population takes home 52% of the global income, whereas the poorest 50% got only 8.5% of it.
  • Global wealth inequities are worse than income inequalities. While the poorest 50% own just 2% of the global wealth, the richest 10% own 76% of all the wealth.
  • Inequality between countries was narrowing while inequality within countries was increasing. While the gap between the average incomes of the richest 10% of countries and the average incomes of the poorest 50% of countries has dropped from 50x to less than 40x, the gap between the average incomes of the top 10% and the bottom 50% of individuals within countries has almost doubled, from 8.5x to 15x.
  • Countries are growing richer, governments are becoming poorer: The share of privately owned wealth in national wealth was rising, while that of public wealth (buildings, universities, roads, hospitals etc) was shrinking.

 

Inequality across the continents:

While Europe was the region with the least amount of inequality (the income share of the top 10% was 36%), inequality was highest in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where the share of the top 10% was 58%.

 

Income inequality in India:

India is one of the world’s most unequal countries, with the top 1% getting 21.7% of the national income.

Top 10% of Indians capture 57% of the national income, while the share of the bottom 50% is only 13%.

While the average national income of the bottom 50% stood at ₹53,610, the top 10% earned more than 20 times more, ₹11,66,520.

 

Inequality in India- Before and after 1947:

Income inequality in India today is worse than it was under British rule. Under the British (1858-1947), the top 10% got about 50% of the national income (lower than today’s 57%).

  • In the decades after India got independence, socialistic economic policies reduced income inequality, bringing the share of the top 10% to 35-40%.
  • But starting from the 1980s, the report states, “deregulation and liberalisation policies have led to one of the most extreme increases in income and wealth inequality observed in the world.”

 

Overall learning from the report:

The report points out that inequality and poverty are not inevitable but mainly the effect of policy choices.

It tracks how inequalities burgeoned around the globe from the 1980s onward – in contrast to the previous three decades – following the liberalisation programmes that were implemented in different countries.

  • It recommends wealth taxes on the super-rich and a robust redistribution regime as policy measures that could arrest, if not reverse, the current trend of rising inequality.

 

Try this Question- UPSC CSE 2021:

Under the Indian constitution concentration of wealth violates:

(a) The right to equality

(b) The Directive Principles of State Policy

(C) The Right to freedom

(d) the Concept of Welfare

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. WIR is released by?
  2. Criteria.
  3. Key findings of the report.
  4. Indian scenario.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with the rising inequality in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

Law Commission of India:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Various statutory and constitutional bodies.

 

Context:

The Government has informed the Supreme Court that appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the 22nd Law Commission of India is under consideration.

 

What’s the issue?

The 22nd Law Commission was constituted by the Government on February 21, 2020. However, no progress has been made in the appointments till date and the short affidavit filed by the Law Ministry in the court does not explain the reasons for the day.

 

The ‘doctrine of separation of power’:

During the hearing, the Government invoked the ‘doctrine of separation of power’, which says that one arm of governance should not encroach into that of another.

 

About the law commission of India:

It is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India.

  • Originally formed in 1955, the commission is reconstituted every three years and so far, 277 reports have been submitted to the government.
  • The last Law Commission, under Justice B.S. Chauhan (retd.), had submitted reports and working papers on key issues such as simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies and a uniform civil code.

 

Composition:

  • Apart from having a full-time chairperson, the commission will have four full-time members, including a member-secretary.
  • Law and Legislative Secretaries in the Law Ministry will be the ex-officio members of the commission.
  • It will also have not more than five part-time members.
  • A retired Supreme Court judge or Chief Justice of a High Court will head the Commission.

 

Roles and functions:

  • The Law Commission shall, on a reference made to it by the Central Government or suo motu, undertake research in law and review of existing laws in India for making reforms and enacting new legislation.
  • It shall also undertake studies and research for bringing reforms in the justice delivery systems for elimination of delay in procedures, speedy disposal of cases, reduction in cost of litigation, etc.

 

Reforms needed:

The Law Commission should be brought under a statute with definite terms on appointments, its functions and powers spelt out.

 

What is the doctrine of Separation of Power?

  • It refers to the model of governance where the executive, legislative and judicial powers are not concentrated in one body but instead divided into different branches.
  • It is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution.

 

Articles in the Constitution facilitating Separation of Powers are as follows:

  • Article 50: State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive. This is for the purpose of ensuring the independence of the judiciary.
  • Article 122 and 212: Validity of proceedings in Parliament and the Legislatures cannot be called into question in any Court. Also, Legislators enjoy certain privileges with regard to speech and anything said in the Parliament cannot be used against them.
  • Judicial conduct of a Judge of the Supreme Court and the High Court cannot be discussed in the Parliament and the State Legislature, according to Article 121 and 211 of the Constitution.
  • Articles 53 and 154 respectively, provide that the executive power of the Union and the State shall be vested with the President and the Governor and they enjoy immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  • Article 361: The President or the Governor shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office.

 

Try this Question:

The power to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court of India is vested in:

  1. the President of India
  2. the Parliament
  3. the Chief Justice of India
  4. the Law Commission

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that prior to independence, the First Law Commission was established in 1834 by the British Government under the Chairmanship of Lord Macaulay?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a PIL?
  2. Who can file?
  3. Powers of Supreme Court vs High Court wrt to PILs.
  4. Articles in the Constitution facilitating Separation of Powers are as follows.

 

Mains Link:

What is the doctrine of Separation of Power? Discuss how it is followed under the Indian Constitution.

Sources: the Hindu.

Nod for Ken-Betwa link project:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and issues related.

 

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the funding and implementation of the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project at a cost of ₹44,605 crore at the 2020-21 price level.

  • The Centre would fund ₹39,317 crore for the project, with ₹36,290 crore as a grant and ₹3,027 crore as a loan.

 

About the Project:

The project involves transferring of water from the Ken river to the Betwa river through the construction of Daudhan dam and a canal linking the two rivers, the Lower Orr Project, Kotha Barrage and the Bina Complex Multipurpose Project.

current affairs

 

Significance of the Project:

  • The project is slated to irrigate 10.62 lakh hectares annually, provide drinking water supply to 62 lakh people and generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW of solar power.
  • The project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved Bundelkhand region, spread across Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The project is expected to boost socio-economic prosperity in the backward Bundelkhand region on account of increased agricultural activities and employment generation.
  • It would also help in arresting distress migration from this region.

 

Concerns associated:

Several obstacles have dogged the project.

  • The project will partly submerge the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and affect the habitat of vultures and jackals.
  • After years of protests, it was finally cleared by the apex wildlife regulator, the National Board for Wildlife, in 2016.

 

Benefits of interlinking:

  1. Enhances water and food security.
  2. Proper utilisation of water.
  3. Boost to agriculture.
  4. Disaster mitigation.
  5. Boost to transportation.

 

Key facts:

  • Ken and Betwa rivers originate in MP and are the tributaries of Yamuna.
  • Ken meets with Yamuna in Banda district of UP and with Betwa in Hamirpur district of UP.
  • Rajghat, Paricha and Matatila dams are over Betwa river.
  • Ken River passes through Panna tiger reserve.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Project.
  2. Ken and Betwa- tributaries and basin states.
  3. About Panna Tiger Reserve.
  4. Biosphere Reserves in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the project.

Sources: the Hindu.

Poshan Abhiyaan:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

The Government has informed the Lok Sabha that State Governments and Union Territories have utilised only 56% of the total funds released under the Poshan Abhiyan or Nutrition Mission in the past three years.

  • Out of a total amount of ₹5,312 crore disbursed by the Centre between financial years 2019 to 2021, a sum of ₹2,985 crore was utilised.
  • The number of “severe acute malnourished” children in the country has become less than 15 lakh.

 

About Poshan Abhiyaan:

  • The programme seeks to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • Launched in 2018 with specific targets to be achieved by 2022.

 

It aims to reduce:

  • Stunting and wasting by 2% a year (total 6% until 2022) among children.
  • Anaemia by 3% a year (total 9%) among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

 

Background:

More than a third of the children under five face stunting and wasting and 40% aged between one and four are anaemic. Over 50% of pregnant and other women were found to be anaemic, said the National Family Health Survey 4 released in 2016.

 

Suggestions made by NITI Aayog:

  • The programme must be stepped up to meet the targets set by the Centre to reduce stunting, wasting and anaemia by 2022.
  • Graduate to a POSHAN-plus strategy which apart from continued strengthening the four pillars of the Abhiyaan also requires renewed focus on other social determinants in addition to addressing the governance challenges of NHM/ICDS delivery mechanisms.
  • Lay as much emphasis on complementary feeding as it does on breastfeeding. This can help avert 60% of the total stunting cases in India.

 

POSHAN 2.0:

  • It is an umbrella scheme covering the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) (Anganwadi Services, Poshan Abhiyan, Scheme For Adolescent Girls, National Creche Scheme).
  • It was announced in Union Budget 2021-22 by merging supplementary nutrition programmes and the POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • It was launched to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach and outcome, with renewed focus on developing practices that nurture health, wellness and immunity to disease and malnutrition in the country.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Poshan or Nutrition Tracker? Why was it setup? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Goals and targets under Poshan Abhiyaan.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of the scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

Unified payments interface (UPI):

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Developments related to Science and Technology.

 

Context:

The UPI facility will soon be extended to feature phone users. At the moment, the unified payments interface (UPI) — the single largest retail payments system in the country in terms of volume of transactions for small-value payments — is available only for smartphones.

 

Need for:

RBI is doing this to further deepen digital payments and make them more inclusive, ease transactions for consumers, facilitate greater participation of retail customers in various segments of financial markets and to enhance the capacity of service providers.

 

What is UPI?

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is an instant real-time payment system, allowing users to transfer money on a real-time basis, across multiple bank accounts without revealing details of one’s bank account to the other party.

  • UPI is currently the biggest among the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) operated systems including National Automated Clearing House (NACH), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS), Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), RuPay etc.
  • The top UPI apps include PhonePe, Paytm, Google Pay, Amazon Pay and BHIM, the latter being the Government offering.

 

What is BHIM?

Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is India’s digital payment application (app) that works through UPI, a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application.

 

The BHIM app has three levels of authentication:

  1. For one, the app binds with a device’s ID and mobile number.
  2. Second a user needs to sync whichever bank account (UPI or non-UPI enabled) in order to the conduct transaction.
  3. Third, when a user sets up the app they are asked to create a pin which is needed to log into the app. The UPI pin, which a user creates with their bank account is needed to go through with the transaction.

 

Insta Curious:

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. Do you know about the services it provides? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who controls ATMs in the country?
  2. What is UPI?
  3. What is National Automated Clearing House (NACH)?
  4. What is National Financial Switch?
  5. Three levels of authentication in BHIM.

Sources: the Hindu.

PepsiCo patents issue:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: IPR related issues.

 

Context:

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Authority has revoked a PVP (Plant Variety Protection) certificate granted to PepsiCo India Holding (PIH) on a potato variety (FL-2027) on various grounds.

This included the following:

  • The grant of the certificate of registration had been based on incorrect information furnished by the applicant.
  • The certificate had been granted to a person not eligible for protection.
  • The grant of the certificate of registration was not in the public interest.

 

What’s the issue?

In 2019, PepsiCo sued some Indian farmers based in Gujarat for cultivating the FC5 potato variety, which has a lower moisture content required to make snacks such as potato chips.

  • Withdrawing the lawsuits the same year, the New York-based company said it wanted to settle the issue amicably.
  • Later, Kavitha Kuruganti, a farmers’ rights activist, petitioned the PPVFR Authority for revocation of intellectual protection granted to PepsiCo’s FC5 potato variety, saying that India’s rules do not allow a patent on seed varieties.

Please note that Section 39 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act,2001 specifically says that a farmer is allowed to grow and sell any variety of crop or even seed as long as they don’t sell branded seed of registered varieties.

 

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001:

  • Enacted by India in 2001 adopting sui generis system.
  • It is in conformity with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978.
  • The legislation recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in a way that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders including private, public sectors and research institutions, as well as resource-constrained farmers.

 

Objectives of the PPV & FR Act, 2001:

  • To establish an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
  • To recognize and protect the rights of farmers in respect of their contributions made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties.
  • To accelerate agricultural development in the country, protect plant breeders’ rights; stimulate investment for research and development both in public & private sector for the development new of plant varieties.
  • Facilitate the growth of seed industry in the country which will ensure the availability of high-quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.

 

Rights under the Act:

Breeders’ Rights: Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety. Breeder can appoint agent/ licensee and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.

Researchers’ Rights: Researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting experiment or research. This includes the use of a variety as an initial source of variety for the purpose of developing another variety but repeated use needs prior permission of the registered breeder.

Farmers’ Rights:

  1. A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety;
  2. Farmers variety can also be registered as an extant variety;
  3. A farmer can save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001;
  4. Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants;
  5. There is also a provision for compensation to the farmers for non-performance of variety under Section 39 (2) of the Act, 2001 and
  6. Farmer shall not be liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under the Act.

 

Try this Question- UPSC CSE 2020:

Consider the following statements:

  1. According to the Indian Patents Act, a biological process to create a seed can be patented in India.
  2. In India, there is no Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
  3. Plant varieties are not eligible to be patented in India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Sources: the Hindu.

Chief of Defence Staff:

GS Paper 3:

Topics covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

 

Context:

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, an Army Brigadier, and 10 others were killed when an Indian Air Force helicopter carrying them crashed into a heavily wooded area of the Coonoor ghat in the Nilgiris in western Tamil Nadu recently.

  • Investigation has begun into the cause of the crash of the Mi-17V5 helicopter, a “trusted” aircraft.

 

About CDS:

  • He will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999.
  • He will be a Four-star General.
  • CDS acts as the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee which will also have three service chiefs as members.
  • His core function will be to foster greater operational synergy between the three service branches of the Indian military and keep inter-service frictions to a minimum.

 

Conditions:

  • Not eligible to hold any Government office after demitting the office of CDS.
  • No private employment without prior approval for a period of five years after demitting the office of CDS.

 

Roles and functions:

  1. CDS will provide “single-point military advice”to the government, inject synergy in planning, procurements and logistics in the armed forces.
  2. It will ensure integration of land-air-sea operations through the eventual setting up of theatre commands.
  3. The CDS will also function as the military advisor to the PM-led Nuclear Command Authority,as also have direct command of tri-Service organizations to handle the new warfare domains of space and cyberspace.
  4. He will function as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister and also as the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
  5. The CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council and Defence Planning Committee.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what Theatre of War & Theatre of Operations are? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CDS.
  2. Roles and functions.
  3. Powers.
  4. What are theatre commands?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of theatre commands.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021:

  • It was passed in Lok Sabha recently.
  • The bill seeks to clarify the process of counting the age of retired judges to determine when they will get enhanced pension.
  • The bill only inserts an explanatory note to make the legislative intent clear about the additional quantum of pension.
  • Additional quantum of pension to retired judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court is being sanctioned on completing the age of 80, 85, 90, 95 and 100 years as the case may be, but there was a confusion about the process of calculating the age.

Learning:

  • The salary payable to a Supreme Court Judge was previously, specified in the Constitution in Article 125(1) and the Second Schedule.
  • However, through the 54th Constitutional-Amendment, Parliament has gained the power to determine the salaries of Supreme Court Judges by law.
  • Parliament also has the authority to determine questions relating to the privileges, allowances, etc., for these Judges.
  • None of these can, however, be varied by Parliament to the disadvantage of a Judge after his appointment to the Court.
  • These matters are now regulated by the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.

Similarly, Parliament also has the authority to determine the salary of the High Court Judges by law.


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