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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 26 August 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

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Review plea on PMLA

2. Disqualification Proceedings

3. Joint River Commission meeting

 

GS Paper 3:

1. ‘One Nation One Fertiliser’

2. Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022

 

GS Paper 4:

1. Role of media in curbing misinformation

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Anang Tal lake declared monument of national importance

2. Chola Era Idols

3. Labour Codes empower workers: PM

4. e-SHRAM Portal

5. Right of Way Rules Amended for Faster 5G Roll-out

6. ANPR cameras

7. African nations offer India lithium as repayment for aid

8. India poised to become next global SaaS capital

9. Gene CSA6 

10. Nepal suspends Gorkha recruitment for Indian Army

11. Yudh Abhyas joint exercise


 

Disqualification Proceedings under Office of profit

GS paper 2

Syllabus: State legislature-Structure, functioning and conduct of business, powers and privileges etc

 

Source: The Hindu

Context:

      • The Election Commission of India (ECI) is understood to have conveyed its decision in the office-of-profit allegation against Jharkhand CM to the Governor.
        • The matter was referred to the ECI after complaint to the Governor about CM Soren allocating a mining lease to himself while holding the portfolio of Mines Minister in 2021

What is an ‘office of profit’?

      • If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed an “office of profit”.
      • Disqualification: A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.

What are the basic criteria to disqualify an MP or MLA?

      • Article 102 and 191: Basic disqualification criteria for an MP are laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191.
      • Grounds for disqualification under Constitution: They can be disqualified for:
        • Holding an office of profit under the government of India or state government
        • Being of unsound mind
        • Being an undischarged insolvent
        • Not being an Indian citizen or for acquiring citizenship of another country.
      • The Supreme Court ruling in 1964: Factors which are considered for determination of whether a person holds an office of profit include:
        • Whether the government is the appointing authority
        • Whether the government has the power to terminate the appointment
        • Whether the government determines the remuneration
        • What is the source of remuneration
        • Power that comes with the position

SC judgments:

 

Insta Links:

Office of Profit

 

Mains Links:

Q. On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified under the Representation of People Act, 1951? Also, mention the remedies available to such a person against his disqualification. (UPSC 2019)

 

Prelims Links:

  • Article 102 and 191
  • Office of Profit

Which of the following is/are grounds for disqualification of an MP/MLA under the constitution:

    1. When an MP/MLA holds office where the government has the power to terminate the appointment.
    2. When he is being an undischarged insolvent.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Justification:

Refer to the article above

India and Bangladesh discuss Ganga, Teesta and Kushiyara in the Joint River Commission meeting.

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global grouping, India and its neighbourhood

 

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

Context:

      • India and Bangladesh discussed a wide range of issues related to the major common rivers such as the Ganga, Teesta and several smaller rivers during the 38th meeting of the Joint River Commission (JRC).

 

Common rivers between India and Bangladesh:

Key Highlights:

      • Kushiyara river: JRC finalized the text of the MoU on Interim Water Sharing of Kushiyara river.
      • Water intake point on Feni river: Finalization of the design and location of water intake point on Feni river to meet drinking water needs of Sabroom town in Tripura.
      • The two sides also discussed:
          • Exchange of flood-related data and information
          • River-bank protection works
          • Common basin management
          • The River Interlinking Project of India.
      • Ganges water sharing treaty: Both sides agreed to conduct the feasibility study for optimum utilization of water received by Bangladesh under the provision of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty, 1996.

 

Ganga Water Treaty 1996:

It is an agreement to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage(on the river Ganga) near the mutual border between India and Bangladesh.

 

Insta Links:

Teesta river dispute

Land Boundary Agreement

 

Mains Link:

Q. Project ‘Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian Government to improve relationships with its neighbours. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss. (UPSC 2015)

 

Prelims links:

Teesta river dispute

Land boundary agreement

Ganga and its tributaries

Rivers between India and Bangladesh

With reference to the Teesta river, consider the following statements:

    1. Teesta river is a tributary of the Ganga river.
    2. It originates in the Himalayas in Sikkim And flows to the south through Assam before entering Bangladesh.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c

Justification:

      • Teesta river is a tributary of the Brahmaputra (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh), flowing through India and Bangladesh.
      • It originates in the Himalayas near Chunthang, Sikkim And flows to the south through West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.

Review plea on PMLA

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Important aspects of governance/ Internal Security

 

Source: Indian Express

Direction: If you are giving Mains this time, be thorough with the provisions of PMLA, has it been able to curb money laundering? What changes are required?

Context:  SC has agreed to reconsider its verdict upholding two key provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act:

  • Not sharing a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) with the accused
  • Stringent bail provisions that reverse the presumption of innocence of an accused

ECIR is the first official document recorded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) before beginning its investigation, similar to what FIR is with police. SC in its last month’s judgement had said that ECIR cannot be equated with an FIR.

Background: The review petition, filed by parliamentarian Karti Chidambaram questioned the findings of the Supreme Court bench in its July 27 (last month) verdict.

  • Last month’s verdict had given the government and the ED enforcement Directorate unbridled powers of summons, arrest, and raids and made bail nearly impossible.
  • It has also shifted the burden of proof of innocence onto the accused rather than the prosecution.

About the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA):

PMLA was enacted in 2002 and it came into force in 2005 as a response to India’s global commitment (including the Vienna Convention) to:

  • Curb the menace of money laundering (the process of converting black money into white)
  • To provide for confiscation and seizure of property derived from money laundering.
  • To deal with any other issue connected with money laundering in India.

PMLA (Amendment) Act, 2012:

  • Adds the concept of ‘reporting entity’ which would include a banking company, financial institution, intermediary etc.
  • PMLA, 2002 levied a fine up to Rs 5 lakh, but the amendment act has removed this upper limit.
  • It has provided for provisional attachment and confiscation of property of any person involved in such activities.

PMLA (Amendment) Act, 2019:

  • It provided extensive power to ED for summons, arrests and raids, and makes bail provisions difficult while shifting the burden of proof of innocence onto the accused rather than prosecution. (see infographics)

Money laundering is the process of concealing the origin of money, obtained from illicit activities such as drug trafficking, corruption, embezzlement, etc.

Money laundering is the process of concealing the origin of money, obtained from illicit activities such as drug trafficking, corruption, embezzlement, etc.

IntraLinks:

PMLA

 

Mains Link:

Q. Critically examine the efficacy of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in holding those engaging in money laundering activities accountable before the law.

 

Prelims Link:

Linkt it with provisions of PMLA, what are International conventions related to it, know about Vienna convention, FATF.

‘One Nation One Fertiliser’

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Agriculture

 

Source: Indian Express

 Context: To bring about uniformity in fertiliser brands across the country, the government issued an order directing all companies to sell their products under a single brand name of ‘Bharat’.

About the order:

      • All fertiliser bags, whether containing urea or di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) or muriate of potash (MOP) or NPK will sport the brand name ‘Bharat Urea’, ‘Bharat DAP’, ‘Bharat MOP’ and ‘Bharat NPK’ irrespective of the company that manufacturers (private or public)
      • A single brand name and the logo of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojana (PMBJP) will have to be displayed on the bag.
        • The central government grants subsidies annually to the fertiliser companies und PMBJP

 

Government’s argument for introducing this scheme :

      • The maximum retail price of urea is currently fixed by the government, which compensates companies for the higher cost of manufacturing or imports incurred by them.
        • Companies cannot avail subsidy if they sell at MRPs higher than indicated by the government.
      • Through the Fertiliser (Movement) Control Order, 1973 the government also decides where they can sell.
      • Taking Credit: When the government is spending vast sums of money on fertiliser subsidies, deciding where and at what price companies can sell, they would want to take credit and send that message to farmers.

 

Drawbacks of the scheme:

      • It will disincentivisefertiliser companies from undertaking marketing and brand promotion activities.
      • Currently, in case of any bag or batch of fertilisers not meeting the required standards, the blame is put on the company. But now, that may be passed on fully to the government.

 

Insta Links

Reforming the fertilizer sector

Mains Links

Q. Discuss the Fertilizer woes in Indian agriculture. Do you think Indian farmers can reduce urea use by half by 2022? Comment.

 

Prelims Link

In the ‘Index of Eight Core Industries’, which one of the following is given the highest weight?

(a) Coal production

(b) Electricity generation

(c) Fertilizer production

(d) Steel production

Answer: B

Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.

/ Aug 26 CA, Today's Article

Government notifies Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022

GS paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, the impact of technology on environment etc

 

Source: PIB

Context:

      • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change published the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 to ensure environmentally sound management of waste batteries and replace the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001.

 

Batteries covered under the new rules:

      • Electric Vehicle batteries
      • Portable batteries
      • Automotive batteries
      • Industrial batteries

 

Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022:

      • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): Producers (including importers) of batteries are responsible for the collection and recycling/refurbishment of waste batteries and the use of recovered materials from waste into new batteries.
      • Mechanism of centralized online portal: For the exchange of EPR certificates between producers and recyclers/refurbishers to fulfil the obligations of producers.
      • Industries and entrepreneurship: Setting up of new industries and entrepreneurship in collection and recycling/refurbishment of waste batteries.
      • Mandatory minimum percentage of recovery of materials from waste batteries: It will bring new technologies and investment in the recycling and refurbishment industry and create new business opportunities.
      • Use of a certain amount of recycled materials for new batteries: It will reduce the dependency on new raw materials and save natural resources
      • Online registration & reporting, auditing, and a committee: To monitor and implement rules and to take measures required for removal of difficulties.
      • Polluter Pays Principle: Environmental compensation will be imposed for non-fulfilment of Extended Producer Responsibility targets, responsibilities and obligations set out in the rules.
      • Utilization of funds: The funds collected under environmental compensation shall be utilized in collection and refurbishing or recycling of uncollected and non-recycled waste batteries.

 

Basel Convention: It Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

Insta Links:

E-Waste Management Rules

 

Mains Link:

Q. Critically analyze the battery waste management Rules, 2022.

 

Prelims Links:

  • Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022
  • Types of batteries
  • Basel Convention

Which of the following is/are covered under battery waste management Rules, 2022?

  1. Electric Vehicle batteries
  2. Portable batteries
  3. Automotive batteries

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1 and 2 only

b. 1 only

c. 2 and 3 only

d. 1, 2 and 3

 Ans: (d)

Justification:

Refer to the article above

Role of media in curbing misinformation

GS Paper 4

 

Context: Google to roll out the anti-disinformation campaign in some EU countries

The campaign is designed to build resilience to anti-refugee narratives, in partnership with local NGOs, fact-checkers, academics, and disinformation experts.

Google’s Jigsaw subsidiary will launch a campaign next week to tackle disinformation in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic about Ukrainian refugees based on research by psychologists at two British universities. Psychologists from the universities of Cambridge and Bristol have produced 90-second clips designed to “inoculate” people against harmful content on social media.

The campaign is designed to build resilience to anti-refugee narratives, in partnership with local non-government organisations, fact-checkers, academics, and disinformation experts.

The spread of misleading and fake information in the United States and Europe through social media networks has led to various governments pushing for new laws to stem disinformation campaigns.

/ Aug 26 CA, Today's Article

 


Facts For Prelims


Anang Tal lake declared a monument of national importance

It dates back to 1,060 AD. Anang Tal is situated to the north of Jog Maya temple and approximately 500 metres to the northwest of Qutub Complex. It was built by the 11th Century Tomar king Anang Pal Tomar.

Monuments of National Importance: Under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act,1958. The Central Government is authorised to maintain, protect and promote the monuments.

 

Chola Era Idols

Source: Indian Express

Context: Tamil Nadu Idol Wing CID initiates steps to bring back 6 stolen Chola-era idols from the US. The idol belongs to Nareeswara Siv Temple (Veeracholapuram, Kallakurichi) and was built by Rajendra Chola I.

The return is possible under Mutual Legal Assitance in Criminal Matters between the US and India and ‘The Antiquities and Art Treasure Act (1972) (it makes the export of such item without licensing a criminal offence)

About Rajendra I (1012-1044 A.D.)

      • He was the son of Rajaraja Chola (985-1014 AD)
      • Rajendra I conducted the most striking military exploit after his accession in 1023 by his expedition to northern India and Southeast Asia.
      • He established many educational institutes in his empire, and for this, he got the title Pandita Chola.
      • He contributed to art, religion and literature including Gangaikondacholapuram Temple (after his victory over Pala’s Mahipala-I)

 

 Labour Codes empower workers: PM

Source: The Hindu

Context: The PM inaugurated the two-day National Labour Conference, a meeting of Labour Ministers and Labour Secretaries from Union Territories and States in Tirupati.

About the labour codes:

The new set of regulations consolidates 44 labour laws under 4 categories of Code.

      • The Code on Wages, 2019: It aims to regulate wage and bonus payments and provide equal remuneration to employees performing work of a similar nature in every industry, trade, business, or manufacturer.
      • The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2020: It seeks to regulate the health and safety conditions of workers in establishments with 10 or more workers and in all mines and docks.
      • The Code on Social Security, 2020: It consolidates nine laws related to social security and maternity benefits.
      • The Code on Industrial Relations, 2020: It seeks to consolidate three labour laws and improve the business environment in the country largely by reducing the labour compliance burden of industries.

 

Related News:

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS): It aims to provide Rs 3 lakh crore worth of collateral-free, government-guaranteed loans to micro, small and medium enterprises(MSMEs) across India.


 

e-SHRAM Portal

Context: SC has directed states to register unorganized workers on the portal within 6 weeks.

About

      • E-Shram portal was one of the key initiatives aimed at bringing the workforce (creating a national database), particularly the unorganised sector, into the ambit of social security.
      • Currently, about 28 crore workers from nearly 400 fields have been registered on the portal.
      • Developed by: Ministry of Labour and Employment

 

 Right of Way Rules Amended for Faster 5G Roll-out

Source: PIB

Context: Ministry of Communications, Electronics & IT and the Ministry of Railways has released amendment in the Indian Telegraph Right of Way (RoW) Rules, 2016 to facilitate faster and easier deployment of Telecom Infrastructure.

        • Ministry has released the 5G RoW application ‘form’ on GatiShakti Sanchar Portal to enable a faster 5G roll-out in India.

Right of way is the legal right, established by a grant from a landowner or long usage, to pass along a specific route through property belonging to another.

The “GatiShakti Sancharportal was launched recently for Centralised Right of Way (RoW) approvals. (under the ministry of communication)

PM Gati Shakti Scheme: It was launched in 2021, with the aim of coordinated planning and execution of infrastructure projects to bring down logistics costs.

Note: This is an old graphic ( Ravi Shankar Prasad has been replaced by Ashwini Vaishnav)

 

ANPR cameras

Source: Hindustan times

Context: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will install is planning to remove all the toll plazas on the national highways and rely on Automatic Number Plate Reader(ANPR) cameras.

About ANPR Cameras:

ANPR cameras will read the vehicle number plates and automatically deduct toll fees from the bank accounts of the vehicle owners.

Issues: Only those that have come after 2019 will be registered by the cameras. The government plans to come up with a scheme to replace older number plates.

      • Other issues are when things are written on number plates, beyond the nine-digit registration number, such as ‘govt of India/Delhi’ and names of Gods etc

Current Status:

Currently, about 97% of the total toll collection happens through FASTags — the remaining 3% pay higher than normal toll rates for not using FASTags.

 

 

African nations offer India lithium as repayment for aid

Source: Live Mint

Context:  India has been approached by several African countries with offers to service part of their development loans by giving access to Indian companies in their mining operations and allowing exports of highly prized lithium and cobalt.

The government has asked domestic metal and mining companies to place their interest in raw materials and other minerals that they require for manufacturing so that these could be sourced from countries where Indian lines of credit have been extended.

India extends development assistance through concessional LoC under the Indian Development and Economic Assistance Scheme (IDEAS). 

Africa has rich deposits of oil, gas and lithium, which has become the most sought-after mineral by countries building their electric mobility infrastructure using lithium-ion batteries. 

  

India poised to become the next global SaaS capital

Source: Live Mint

Direction: A direct Qn was asked on SaaS in this year’s prelims.

Context: The study by CII and EY, titled — India: The next global SaaS capital — cited India is home to about 100-plus unicorns and is rapidly emerging as a hub for SaaS start-ups.

 What is SaaS?

Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as service ( freeing up the need of installing and maintaining software). It is also called Web-based Software.

 Status:

      • India now has 18 SaaS unicorns with the country being the third largest SaaS ecosystem globally, after the USA and China.
      • By 2025, the Indian SaaS market will become 7 to 10% of the global SaaS market (from the current 2-4% presently)

What more is needed?

      • Need to build a robust talent pool
      • Driving greater awareness for SaaS products

Factors driving SaaS in India:

      • Driven by Small and Medium Businesses with a focus on large enterprises.
      • India follows a digital-first approach and offers innovative pricing models.
      • Large consumer base in India

With reference to “Software as a Service (SaaS)”, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)

  1. SaaS buyers can customise the user interface and can change data fields.
  2. SaaS users can access their data through their mobile devices.
  3. Outlook, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail are forms of SaaS.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D

All three statements are correct. SaaS allows each user to access programs via the Internet. Outlook, Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail are forms of SaaS

 

Gene CSA6 

Source: PIB

Direction: Go through once. No need to remember.

Context: A gene called CSA6 has been identified in Candida albicans a fungal species infamous for causing high rates of morbidity and mortality under certain immuno-compromised conditions such as AIDS or during cancer treatment.

      • Candida normally lives on human skin and inside the body, such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina, without causing problems, however, under immuno-compromised conditions, it becomes a life-threatening systemic infection.

Significance: It could hold the key to preventing fungal infection Candidiasis.

 

 

Nepal suspends Gorkha recruitment for Indian Army

Direction: Just go through once.

Source: Indian Express

Context: Nepal has stalled the recruitment of Gorkhas in the Indian Army under the Agnipath scheme, as it feels that it does not conform with provisions of the tripartite agreement signed by Nepal, India and Britain on November 9, 1947

Other concerns: There are concerns about the future of Gorkha recruits when they retire after four years, and the impact of these out-of-job young men — all in their twenties — on society.

Background:

Recruitment of Gorkhas from Nepal began in the British Indian army after the Treaty of Sagauli was signed in 1816 between the government of Nepal and the British East India Company.

      • It became a tripartite arrangement in November 1947 after India became independent and Gorkhas in Nepal were given a choice to serve in the Indian Army or go to the UK.
      • India currently has 43 Gorkha battalions serving in seven regiments
      • Apart from India, the UK also recruit soldiers from Gorkhas.

Who are Gorkhas?

The name “Gurkha” comes from the hill town of Gorkha from which the Nepalese kingdom had expanded. It has been dominated by four ethnic groups- Gurungs and Magars from central Nepal, the Rais and Limbus from the east.

Related News:

Indian Army Chief, Gen Manoj Pande will receive the ‘Honorary General’ rank in Nepal Army. The practice of Army chiefs of the two countries being the Honorary General of the other side on a reciprocal basis is as old as Gorkha recruitment in the Indian Army.

 

Yudh Abhyas joint exercise

Source: The Hindu

Direction: Don’t overthink such exercises. Go through it once.

Context: Citing border pacts, China objects to India-U.S. drills

The upcoming fifteenth edition of the “Yudh Abhyas” joint exercise is expected to take place next month in a high-altitude area in Uttarakhand less than 100 km from the LAC.

Argument:

      • China’s View: As per agreements signed by China and India in 1993 and 1996, neither side is allowed to conduct military exercises against the other in areas near the Line of Actual Control.
      • India’s View:  India-US exercises are “completely different” from the situation at the LAC, and denied that they were “targeting” China or were violative of previous agreements.

 About Yudh Abhyas’s joint exercise

It is one of the longest-running joint military training and defence cooperation ( started in 2004 under the US Army Pacific Partnership Program) between India and the US.

The exercise is hosted alternately between both countries.

 Other India-US exercises:  Exercise Vajra Prahar (Special Forces’ Exercise), Exercise Tiger Triumph (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief exercise), Cope India (Air Force), Malabar Exercise (naval exercise between QUAD countries), Red Flag (US’ multilateral air exercise).


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