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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 12 MARCH 2022

 

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

Table of Contents:

 

 

GS Paper 2:

1. One Nation, One Election.

2. Char Dham.

3. Lokpal fails to give prosecution sanction to anyone in nearly three years.

4. Model Tenancy Act.

5. Why the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 alone is not sufficient?

6. Iran Nuclear Deal.

7. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

 

Facts for Prelims:

  • Rashtriya Raksha University.

One Nation, One Election:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

 

Context:

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra has said that the Election Commission is ready to hold simultaneous elections or One Nation, One Election’.

  • Earlier this year, on National Voters’ Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address had raised the topics of ‘One Nation, One Election’ and ‘One Nation, One Voters’ list’, and had said that the continuous cycle of election results is affecting development works.

 

What is ‘One Nation, One Election’?

It refers to holding elections to Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats and Urban local bodies simultaneously, once in five year.

 

But, what are the challenges posed by frequent elections?

  1. Massive expenditure.
  2. Policy paralysis that results from the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct during election time.
  3. Impact on delivery of essential services.
  4. Burden on crucial manpower that is deployed during election time.
  5. Puts pressure on political parties, especially smaller ones, as elections are becoming increasingly expensive.

 

Benefits of Simultaneous Elections:

  • Governance and consistency: The ruling parties will be able to focus on legislation and governance rather than having to be in campaign mode forever.
  • Reduced Expenditure of Money and Administration.
  • Continuity in policies and programmes.
  • Efficiency of Governance: Populist measures by governments will reduce.
  • The impact of black money on the voters will be reduced as all elections are held at a time.

 

Impact on Regional parties:

There is always a tendency for voters to vote the same party in power in the state and at the Centre in case the Lok Sabha polls and the state elections are held together.

 

For simultaneous elections to be implemented, Changes to be made in Constitution and Legislations:

  1. Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament need an amendment.
  2. Article 85 (on dissolution of Lok Sabha by the president).
  3. Article 172 (relating to the duration of state legislatures).

 

The Representation of People Act, 1951 Act would have to be amended to build in provisions for stability of tenure for both parliament and assemblies. This should include the following crucial elements:

  1. Restructuring the powers and functions of the ECI to facilitate procedures required for simultaneous elections
  2. A definition of simultaneous election can be added to section 2 of the 1951 act.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Model Code of Conduct?
  2. Powers of the Election Commission to conduct elections.
  3. Overview of the Representation of People Act, 1951 Act.
  4. Overview of Articles- 83, 85 and 172.

Mains Link:

Discuss the merits and demerits of the concept of “One nation, One election” for Indian polity.

Sources: the Hindu.

Char Dham:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Indian culture – salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Context:

The Supreme Court has urged its former Justice AK Sikri to take over as the Chairman of the high-powered committee constituted by it to “consider the cumulative and independent impact of the Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana (Char Dham Highway Development Project) on the entire Himalayan valley”.

 

What’s the issue?

In February 2022, Veteran environmentalist Ravi Chopra has resigned as chairman of the Supreme Court’s High Powered Committee (HPC) on the Char Dham project, saying that his “belief that the HPC could protect this fragile (Himalayan) ecology has been shattered”.

  • In his resignation letter to the secretary general of the Supreme Court on January 27, Chopra referred to the apex court’s December 2021 order that accepted the wider road configuration to meet defence needs, instead of what the HPC had recommended and the SC accepted in its earlier order in September 2020.

 

What has the Court said so far in this matter?

  • In 2018, the project was challenged by an NGO for its potential impact on the Himalayan ecology due to felling trees, cutting hills and dumping excavated material.
  • In 2019, the SC formed the HPC Chopra to examine the issues, and in September 2020, accepted his recommendation on road width etc.
  • In November 2020, the ministry of Defence sought wider roads to meet the requirement of the Army.
  • In December 2021, the SC modified its September 2020 order on the ground that the court could not “interrogate the policy choice of the establishment which is entrusted by law with the defence of the nation”.

 

About Chardham project:

  • The project involves developing and widening nearly 900-km of national highways connecting the holy Hindu pilgrimage sites of; Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri at an estimated cost of Rs.12,000 crores.
  • The highway will be called Char Dham Mahamarg(Char Dham Highway) and the highway construction project will be called Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana(Char Dham Highway Development Project).

 

 

What Are The Environmental Concerns That Were Flagged?

  1. Large-scale construction works in hilly terrain is a recipe for disaster as it leads to a heightened risk of landslides given the felling of trees and loosening of rocks.
  2. The project was being executed bypassing mandatory environment clearances and environment impact assessment (EIA) procedures.
  3. Over 25,000 trees have reportedly been felled to make way for the project as a grave worry for the ecologically sensitive zone.
  4. Since wider carriageways would require more excavation and blasting, the purpose of having an all-weather highway may be compromised since the topography would become that much more sensitive to slippage and landslides.

 

Developments so far wrt the Chardham Project:

  1. The foundation stone for the Char Dham road project was laid by PM Narendra Modi in December 2016.
  2. But the project was challenged on environmental grounds in courts with petitioners alleging irregularities vis-a-vis environmental clearances for the project and that it was being pursued in violation of existing norms.
  3. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) cleared the project in September 2018, but its order was challenged for being passed by a bench different from the one that had heard the matter. Supreme Court stayed the NGT order in October 2018.
  4. In September 2020, it passed an order on a writ petition stating that highways for the Char Dham project should not exceed 5.5m in width as prescribed in a 2018 circular of the Union Road Transport Ministry. But the Defence Ministry had in December that year sought a modification in the order to allow the width to be of 10m.
  5. The top court then asked its high-powered committee (HPC) to look into the contentions raised by the Centre on the width of the highways.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the project.
  2. Important National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the region.
  3. Important rivers flowing through these places.
  4. Difference between National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Chardham Project.

Sources: Indian Express.

Lokpal fails to give prosecution sanction to anyone in nearly three years:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important Statutory Bodies.

 

Context:

The Lokpal has failed to provide prosecution sanction to public servants charged with corruption since its constitution nearly three years ago, according to an RTI reply by the anti-graft ombudsman.

 

Other issues:

The appointments of directors of inquiry and prosecution, the two top personnel for looking into complaints of corruption and processing prosecution of accused public servants, are yet to be made.

 

Who is a director of inquiry?

According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013:

  • There shall be a director of inquiry, not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India.
  • He/she shall be appointed by the Central government for conducting preliminary inquiries referred to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) by the Lokpal.

 

Highlights of the Lokpal Act of 2013:

  1. The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.
  2. The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
  3. The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister. But the armed forces do not come under the ambit of Lokpal.
  4. The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.
  5. The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.
  6. The Act also ensures that public servants who act as whistleblowers are protected.

 

Powers:

  1. The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
  2. As per the Act, the Lokpal can summon or question any public servant if there exists a prima facie case against the person, even before an investigation agency (such as vigilance or CBI) has begun the probe. Any officer of the CBI investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal.
  3. An investigation must be completed within six months. However, the Lokpal or Lokayukta may allow extensions of six months at a time provided the reasons for the need of such extensions are given in writing.
  4. Special courts will be instituted to conduct trials on cases referred by Lokpal.

 

Insta Curious:

Read Briefly about the origin of the concept of Ombudsman

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Lokpal.
  2. Powers.
  3. Functions.
  4. Selection.
  5. Overview of the Lokpal Act of 2013.

Mains Link:

Comment on the changes made to Lokpal Act and its delay in operationalisation.

Sources: the Hindu.

Model Tenancy Act:

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 long-awaited Chandigarh Tenancy Act will now be in queue for enactment by the Parliament.

  • The UT administration has decided to send the proposed Act, based on Centre’s Model Tenancy Act, 2021, to the Union government for approval and enactment.

 

Current Affairs

 

Background:

The Union Cabinet, in June 2021, approved the Model Tenancy Act (MTA).

  • States and Union territories can now adopt the Model Tenancy Act by enacting fresh legislation or they can amend their existing rental laws suitably.

Highlights of the Model Law:

  1. Applicable prospectively and will not affect the existing tenancies.
  2. Written agreement is a must for all new tenancies. The agreement will have to be submitted to the concerned district ‘Rent Authority’.
  3. The law also speaks about roles and responsibilities of landlord and tenants.
  4. No landlord or property manager can withhold any essential supply to the premises occupied by the tenant.
  5. If tenancy has not been renewed, the tenancy shall be deemed to be renewed on a month-to-month basis on the same terms and conditions as were in the expired tenancy agreement, for a maximum period of six months.
  6. Compensation in case of non-vacancy: On the expiry of extended period of six months of agreed tenancy period or the termination of tenancy by order or notice, the tenant shall be a tenant in default and liable to pay compensation of double of the monthly rent for two months and four times of the monthly rent thereafter.
  7. A landowner or property manager may enter a premise in accordance with written notice or notice through electronic medium served to the tenant at least twenty-four hours before the time of entry.

 

Significance:

It is an important piece of legislation that promises to ease the burden on civil courts, unlock rental properties stuck in legal disputes, and prevent future tangles by balancing the interests of tenants and landlords.

 

Need for a law in this regard:

  1. Young, educated job seekers migrating to large metropolises often complain of onerous tenancy conditions and obscene sums of money as security deposits that they are asked to fork out to lease accommodation. In some cities, tenants are asked to pay security deposits amounting to 11 months of rent.
  2. Also, some house owners routinely breach tenants’ right to privacy by visiting the premises unannounced for sundry repair works.
  3. Whimsical rent raises are another problem for tenants, many of whom complain of being squeezed as “captive customers“.
  4. Besides, Tenants are often accused of “squatting” on the rented premises, or trying to grab the property.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents are subjects under the state list of the Indian Constitution (7th Schedule)? Read more here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Model law- Highlights.
  2. Role of states.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and relevance of the Model Tenancy Act.

Sources: the Hindu.

Why the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 alone is not sufficient?

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Why the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 alone is not sufficient?

Context:

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how older persons face unique challenges.

 

Challenges/vulnerabilities faced by them include:

  • Ageist attitudes and stereotypes expose older people to discrimination and negative treatment, which intersect with other forms of stigma based on gender, race and disability.
  • Their diseases and deaths are considered “acceptable” and often mistaken as a part of ageing.
  • Elder abuse has exponentially risen during the pandemic based on the published report of HelpAge India.
  • Misinformation and myths about old age, lack of specific health and policy measures, ageism in society and limited digital literacy contribute to the unique vulnerabilities in older persons.

 

According to the recently released WHO report on ageism:

  1. One in three individuals worldwide share ageist attitudes and stereotypes.
  2. This has led to marginalisation of older persons in society and a serious human rights crisis.
  3. Rights infringements extend to violations of dignity, autonomy, respect, capacity, inclusion and equality.
  4. Social stigma, ageism, elder abuse and rights violations in older persons can lead to adverse health consequences.
  5. They increase the risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, strokes and psychiatric disorders (depression, anxiety, insomnia and dementia).
  6. Research shows that neglecting older people can increase loneliness, infections, falls, mechanical injuries and premature deaths.
  7. Finally, stress and isolation can impact any long-term illness, which is common in old age.

 

Existing legal provisions to safeguard the rights and health of older persons:

  • The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, is the only specific law dedicated to them.
  • In pursuance of the National Policy for Older Persons (NPOP), a National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) was constituted in 1999 under the chairpersonship of the minister for social justice and empowerment to oversee implementation of the policy and advise the government.

 

Issues with the present mechanism:

  • The paper-to-reality translation is far from smooth. Many of these acts and measures are poorly implemented with minimal awareness among service providers and users alike.
  • Recent data from the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) suggests that only one in five older people are aware of the social security and legal measures available for their benefit.
  • Besides, elder abuse is significantly under-reported due to fear of legal hassles and underlying stigma.
  • Not to mention the additional plight that older adults with memory issues and mental health problems face.

 

 

Overview of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007:

  • This Act makes it legally obliging for adult children and heirs to provide for parents by way of a monthly allowance.
  • This Act provides an inexpensive and speedy procedure to claim monthly maintenance for parents and senior citizens.
  • According to this Act, parents could mean biological, adoptive or step-parents.
  • Under this Act, there are also provisions to protect the life and property of such persons (elderly).

 

Is it mandatory for the state to set up old-age homes as per the law?

Section 19 of the law says, the State Government may establish and maintain such number of oldage homes at accessible places, as it may deem necessary, in a phased manner, beginning with at least one in each district.

  • The State Government may also, prescribe a scheme for management of oldage homes.

 

Need of the hour:

  • At the national as well as the international level, we need specific frameworks to protect the rights of older persons.
  • A UN convention can be an apt step and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) is one of the leading advocates.

 

Insta Curious:

The World Health Organization rightly observes, “population ageing is one of humanity’s greatest triumphs”. Why is it so? Read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Indigent senior citizens as per the act?
  2. Role of states as per the act.
  3. Other key features of the Act.
  4. Amendments proposed.

Mains Link:

Ageing has become a major social challenge. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu

Iran Nuclear Deal:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Effects of policies of developed nations.

 

Context:

Talks on the revival of the Iran nuclear deal have become a casualty of the war in Ukraine after an indefinite pause was announced over last-minute Russian demands.

 

What’s the issue?

An agreement on the nuclear deal to bring the US and Iran back into compliance would have led to a swathe of US sanctions on Iran being lifted, including Iranian crude oil exports and petrochemicals, in return for limits on Tehran’s nuclear activity.

  • In the past week, however, Moscow has insisted Washington pledge not to impose sanctions on any trade between Russia and Iran once an agreement is signed.

 

Concerns ahead:

Russia has been a key broker of the painstaking talks in Vienna, which have lasted for almost a year. If the impasse is prolonged there is likely to be a debate over whether Moscow can absolutely use its UN veto on the agreement known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA).

 

Russia and JCPOA:

Russia’s most important role in JCPOA implementation would be as the importer of Iran’s excess enriched uranium stockpile, which would be transported to Russia via ship and exchanged for natural uranium.

 

 

About the Iran Nuclear Deal:

  • Also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • The JCPOA was the result of prolonged negotiations from 2013 and 2015 between Iran and P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, or the EU).
  • Under the deal, Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.

 

Significance of the deal for India:

  • Removing sanctions may revive India’s interest in the Chabahar port, Bandar Abbas port, and other plans for regional connectivity.
  • This would further help India to neutralize the Chinese presence in Gwadar port, Pakistan.
  • Restoration of ties between the US and Iran will help India to procure cheap Iranian oil and aid in energy security.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard about the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)? Is India a member of this treaty? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is JCPOA? Signatories.
  2. Iran and its neighbours.
  3. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  4. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Mains Link:

Write a note on JCPOA.

Sources: the Hindu.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions.

 

Context:

The government of Madhya Pradesh in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) proposed two inexpensive and ingenious ideas to encourage women to cook balanced meals.

These are:

  1. The ‘7 days 7 plots’ programme:

Here, women from the village are taught how to grow different vegetables in their own gardens, seven to be exact, one for each day of the week.

  • By the end of the week, the first plot is ready to be harvested again. This way, families get to eat fresh, affordable vegetables that they can consume for longer and in greater quantity, as against buying from the market, and so reduce sickness.
  • This scheme is an adjunct to the Tejaswini Rural Women Empowerment Programme implemented by the UN-affiliated IFAD in MP.

 

  1. Tiranga Thali:

To encourage a more balanced meal, the project introduced the concept of the “Tiranga Thali”, where each plate contains ingredients of the three colours from the Indian flag. Saffron — all pulses like yellow split peas, pigeon peas, and split red lentils representing proteins; white — rice, milk and roti representing carbohydrates; and green — leafy vegetables representing vitamins and minerals.

 

About IFAD:

  1. It is a specialized United Nations agency created in 1977 engaged in providing grants and loans with low interest for allied projects.
  2. The IFAD works with rural people allowing them to enhance their food security, improve nutrition and raise their incomes.
  3. It also helps people to expand their businesses.
  4. The organization is an outcome of the World Food Conference of 1974.
  5. It is headquartered in Rome and headed by a President.
  6. It has 177 member countries.
  7. IFAD brings out the Rural Development Report every year.

 

The objectives of the IFAD are three-fold:

  1. To increase the productive capacity of poor people.
  2. To increase benefits for them from market participation.
  3. To strengthen the environmental sustainability & climate resilience of their economic activities.

 

Insta Curious:

How roles and functions of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) differ from IFAD? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About IFAD.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Reports.

Mains Link:

Discuss about the roles and functions of IFAD.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Rashtriya Raksha University:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently dedicated to the nation the building of Rashtriya Raksha University near Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

  • Rashtriya Raksha University- an institution of National Importance is established by the Indian Parliament Act.
  • The University aims to become an academic-research-training ecosystem for national security and police.

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