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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 20 September 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. From Lodha to Ramana

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. “CM da Haisi”

2. Turns Seaweed into 100% Dissolvable, Low-Cost Packaging

3. Data/Fact Points

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Ambedkar Circuit

2. Climate Change altering Indian Monsoon

3. Global Registry of Fossil Fuels

4. Death penalty

5. ECI seeks restrictions on cash donations to political parties

6. MHA notification of Convicts Biometrics

7. Swachh Sujal Pradesh

8. Indian Swachhata League

9. CICA

10. Changes in IBC

11. Market-Based Economic Dispatch (MBED) Mechanism

12. PM PRANAM scheme

13. Significance of India’s bans on broken rice export

14. Liveliness of fingerprints

15. Merge Software Upgrade

16. Mapping


 

From Lodha to Ramana

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Structure, organization and functioning of judiciary, appointment and removal of judges etc

 

Directions: Don’t focus on the contribution of individual Chief justices (unless you have law optional). Just notice the trend and evolution of the Indian Judiciary. Points from another related article in Indian Express by Fali S Nariman have been included in it.

Source: The Hindu

 

Context:

  • Over 75 years, the Indian Supreme Court has already had 49 Chief Justices.
    • Justice Y. Chandrachud, in the 1980s, had an exceptionally long tenure of over seven years, while at the other extreme, Justice K.N. Singh occupied the office for a mere 17 days.

 

Role of Judiciary:

  • Fundamental rights: Its primary responsibility is to ensure that the fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed under the Constitution are not diluted, or eroded by the state.

 

Judiciary manifest its superior nature through:

  • Kesavananda Bharati(1973): The Court assumed the power of judicial review over constitutional amendments.
  • Judicial appointments: It assumed the power of judicial appointments to itself and the High Courts.
  • Article 21: It expanded the fundamental right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • PIL: It ensures the right to approach courts through public interest litigation.

 

Powers of CJI besides normal judicial duties:

  • Appointment of judges: Selecting judges for appointment to the higher judiciary
  • Number and composition of benches: Deciding the number and composition of benches adjudicate on different kinds of cases

‘Doctrine of Basic Structure’ was propounded by the Indian Judiciary on 24th April 1973 in the Keshavananda Bharati case to put a limitation on the amending powers of the Parliament so that the ‘basic structure of the basic law of the land’ cannot be amended in the exercise of its ‘constituent power’ under the Constitution.

 

The decision constitutes a high watermark in the assertion of the Court’s judicial power in the teeth of a determined majoritarian regime. Much later, in 2007, a different Bench of nine judges in I.R. Coelho vs. State of Tamil Nadu, in a unanimous decision, authoritatively upheld the narrow majority view (of 7:6) in Kesavananda Bharati and gave it permanent constitutional validity.

Three periods:

From 1950 to 1971:

  • The Chief Justice had complete authority over judicial appointments
  • The recommendation of the Chief Justice would always be followed, even to the extent of powers of a veto.

Between 1971 and 1993:

  • Committed judges: The Executive insisted on appointing ‘committed judges’ to the Supreme Court.
  • Prerogative: The executive exercising prerogative in appointing Chief Justices.
  • The first judge’s case(1981): The opinion of the CJI would not be binding on the government.
  • Second Judges case(1993): Judiciary practically wrested the power of appointments back from the executive.

From 2014 to 2022:

  • Justice Lodha: He revived the dormant trend of direct appointments from the Bar to the Bench in the Supreme Court.
  • Justice H.L. Dattu: The fourth judge’s case, concerning the validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act.
  • Justice T.S. Thakur: He set the National Judicial Data Grid rolling, which today connects all levels of the judicial system and provides a surfeit of information to litigants.
  • Justice J.S. Khehar:
    • Landmark judgments: including the Right to Privacy and Triple Talaq
    • Revived debates on the lack of transparency and fairness in managing the roster in the Supreme Court.
    • Conviction and subsequent imprisonment of a High Court judge.
  • Justice Dipak Misra:
    • Press conference: held by his four fellow judges, condemning the CJI’s internal administrative decisions.
    • Impeachment: motion was proceeded against him.
    • Constitutional benches: Set up the maximum number of constitutional benches as CJI.
  • Justice Ranjan Gogoi:
    • Sat in the hearing of a sexual harassment complaint made by an employee of the Supreme Court against himself.
    • Secrecy issues: Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) matter, the Rafale dispute, the electoral bonds issue
    • Habeas corpus: petitions wake of the abrogation of Article 370.
    • Ayodhya dispute
  • Justice Sharad A. Bobde:
    • Preferential treatment to certain matters: for example, in the bail matters of journalists Siddique Kappan versus Arnab Goswami
    • Stayed the controversial farm laws.
    • Ad-hoc judges: Issuing guidelines on the appointment of ad-hoc judges to tackle judicial pendency
    • Standoff within the collegium(over the appointment of a judge to SC)
  • Justice N.V. Ramana:
    • Certain bail orders and stays (e.g., sedition)
    • Pegasus inquiry
    • The decision on the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
    • Significantly large number of appointments in the higher judiciary, including appointing many women judges.
    • No constitutional Benches were formed.

The future:

Justice U.U. Lalit:

  • Taken initiatives in the formation of benches and certain initial orders that he has given, e.g., Kappan and Setalvad cases
  • Granting bail to individuals where the original indictment itself was without basis.

Conclusion:

  • A dynamic and thoughtful leadership: Supported by puisne judges, should be able to ensure that the challenges and responsibilities are met appropriately.
  • True custodian: Supreme Court should live up to hope of being the true custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights

 

Insta Links:

CJI

 

Mains Links:

Q. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgment on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to the appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (UPSC 2017)

 

Prelims Links:

  • CJI
  • Appointment of CJI
  • National Judicial Data Grid rolling
  • Kesavananda Bharati(1973)
  • Article 21
  • First Judges case
  • Second Judges case
  • Third Judges case
  • NJAC

Other than the Fundamental Rights, which of the following parts of the Constitution of India reflect/reflect the principles and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1918)? (UPSC 2020)

    1. Preamble
    2. Directive Principles of State Policy
    3. Fundamental Duties

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

a. 1 and 2 only

b. 2 only

c. 1 and 3 only

d. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Justification:

  • Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
    • The Preamble of India also speaks about “EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity”.
  • Article 22 of UDHR asserts that economic, social and cultural rights are indispensable for human dignity and the development of the human personality.
    • Similar concepts are also present in the DPSP of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights mentions duties.
    • A similar concept was inserted in the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976 under Part IV-A of the Constitution (Article 51A).
/ judiciary, Polity, Sep 20 CA, Today's Article

 

Content for Mains Enrichment


“CM da Haisi”

Source: Business Standard 

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has launched a web portal to enable people to redress their grievances and provide a platform to raise corruption-related issues.

Three phone numbers, including two meant for the anti-corruption cell, have been made available on the portal ‘CM da Haisi’ (Let’s inform the CM).

This will further enable us to bring transparency and accountability to governance and the delivery of public services. 

Turns Seaweed into 100% Dissolvable, Low-Cost Packaging

After quitting her job at Google, Neha Jain launched Zerocircle, a startup that converts seaweed into low-cost, eco-friendly plastic alternatives for packaging and more.

Seaweed is considered a potential resource for making bioplastics because it comes with a low water footprint and land footprint.

Zerocircle uses largely red, brown, and green seaweed, which amounts to about 12,000 species.

After collecting the seaweed, it is dried and turned into a powder, which is then turned into the final material. With this, they make handbags, bags for clothes, film for food, and more plastic alternatives.

 

 

Data/Fact Points

Most Indian villages do not have any waste management infrastructure, a study released by the non-profit Pratham Education Foundation.

Public waste bins were observed in only 36 per cent of the 700 villages across 15 states that were covered in the study. Just 29 per cent had a community waste collection vehicle, while less than half the villages had access to a sanitation worker or Safai Karamchari. These trends were observed across all states and districts.

 


Facts for Prelims


Ambedkar Circuit

Source: Times of India

Context: A tourism circuit connecting ‘Panch Teerth’ (five key sites associated with B R Ambedkar) will be drawn up by the government in order to improve connectivity, enhance tourism and brand the locations.

Other similar circuits: Ramayana and Buddhist Circuits

 

 

Climate Change altering Indian Monsoon

Source: The Hindu

Context: As per recent studies, there has been a markable impact of climate change on the Indian Monsoon.

Changes:

  • Increasing fluctuation in monsoon – long dry periods and short spells of heavy rains. Monsoon is becoming less frequent and more intense.
  • Shift in low pressure and depression zones south of their position: This has resulted in excessive rainfall in states such as MP, GJ, and RJ and parts of MH and other areas such as WB, Jharkhand and Bihar didn’t receive normal rains.
  • Impact: Increasing Pest attacks, change in productivity in agriculture, increasing water scarcity, increasing disasters and diseases.

 

 

 Global Registry of Fossil Fuels

Source: ALJAZEERA 

Context: Climate campaigners have launched the world’s first registry of fossil fuel reserves, production and emissions.

The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels is the first large-scale public database to track what is yet to be burned.

 Carbon Tracker, a nonprofit think tank that researches the energy transition’s effect on financial markets, and the Global Energy Monitor, which tracks a range of global energy projects, jointly developed the registry.

These organizations hope the registry will empower groups to hold governments accountable in a range of scenarios, for example, when issuing licenses for fossil fuel extraction.

The inventory includes data from more than 50,000 oil, gas and coal fields in 89 countries, covering 75 per cent of global production.

With the Registry, it will be much easier to include expected future emissions into the analysis, and thus identify and prioritize the companies with the greatest risk of harbouring assets likely to become stranded.

 

 

Death penalty

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • The Supreme Court referred to a Constitution Bench on the question of how to provide accused in death penalty cases a “meaningful, real and effective” hearing of their mitigating circumstances before a trial judge.

Key Highlights:

  • Valuable right: A three-judge Bench led by the Chief Justice of India said the presentation of mitigating factors by an accused to avoid the “extreme penalty of death” was a “valuable right”.

 Section 354 (3) of the CrPC, 1973: The courts are required to state reasons in writing for awarding the maximum penalty.

Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980):

  • The doctrine of “rarest of rare: This verdict established the doctrine of “rarest of rare” crime in handing down capital punishment while mandating a comparative analysis of aggravating and mitigating circumstances in connection to the accused.

 

Machi Singh vs State of Punjab (1983):

  • Guiding principles for death sentence: In this case, the Supreme Court elucidated the doctrine of “rarest of rare” and set down some guiding principles in death sentence cases.
  • The aggravating circumstances included:
    • The manner in which the crime was committed
    • The motive for committing the crime
    • The severity of the crime
    • The victim of the crime.
  • The mitigating circumstances consisted of:
    • The possibility of reformation and rehabilitation of an accused
    • His/her mental health and his antecedents.

 

ECI seeks restrictions on cash donations to political parties

 Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • The Election Commission has proposed reducing anonymous political donations to ₹2,000 from ₹20,000 and capping cash donations at 20% or at a maximum of ₹20 crores to cleanse election funding of black money.

 

Aim:

  • Transparency: Reforms and transparency in donations received by political parties
  • Equal playfield: Expenditure incurred by candidates who want to fight elections.
  • Reported: All donations above ₹2,000 shall be reported, thereby enhancing transparency in funding

 

Other recommendations:

  • Digital transactions: The EC has sought to make digital transactions or account payee cheque transfers mandatory for all expenses above ₹2,000 to a single entity/person.
  • Amendment to Rule 89 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961: A candidate would have to maintain a separate account for receipt and payments related to elections and the same has to be transparently disclosed to authorities, as an account of election expenditure.
  • RP Act and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010: The EC has also sought “electoral reforms” to ensure that no foreign donations creep into the funds of the parties as stipulated under these laws.

 

Present rule:

  • Political parties have to disclose all donations above ₹20,000 through their contribution report that is submitted to the EC.

 

MHA notification of Convicts Biometrics

 Directions: See another article on authentication of biometrics below.

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has notified the rules governing The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 that would enable police and central investigating agencies to collect, store and analyze physical and biological samples including retina and iris scans of arrested persons.

Key Highlights:

  • Procedure: The rules do not mention the procedure to be adopted for convicted persons.
  • Serious offence or court order: The measurements of persons detained under various preventive detention laws shall not be taken unless clubbed with a serious offence or ordered by a court.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB): under the MHA will direct States on how to collect and store the information.
  • Sections 53 and 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: The rules say that the record of measurements shall be stored and preserved in a secure and encrypted format as specified in the Standard Operating Procedures by the NCRB from “time to time.
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Information Technology Act, 2000: Unauthorized access, distribution or sharing of data collected under the Act shall be punishable as per the laws.

Measurements” includes:

  • Finger-impressions
  • Palm-print and Foot-print
  • Photographs
  • Iris and retina scan
  • Physical, biological samples and their analysis
  • Behavioural attributes including signatures, handwriting or any other examination

  

Swachh Sujal Pradesh

Source: Newsonair.gov.in

Context: Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands have got India’s 1st Swachh Sujal Pradesh certification (by Jal Shakti Ministry).

The certification is provided for ensuring 3 things:

  • Safe and secure drinking water supply,
  • ODF Plus status,
  • awareness about cleanliness and convergence of schemes.

All the villages of A&N islands have received Har Ghar Jal Certification.

 

 

Indian Swachhata League

Source: PIB

Context: SBM-Urban 2.0’s maiden edition of ‘Indian Swachhata League’ has mobilized half a million youths and celebrities toward making cities clean, green, and garbage free.

 

About Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0

  • SBM-U 2.0, announced in Budget 2021-22, is the continuation of SBM-U’s first phase (launched from 2014 to 2019). The government is trying to tap safe containment, transportation, disposal of faecal sludge, and septage from toilets.
  • Aim: It envisions to
    • make all cities ‘Garbage Free’
    • ensure grey and black water management in all cities other than those covered under AMRUT
    • make all urban local bodies as ODF+
    • make those with a population of less than 1 lakh as ODF++
  • Timeline: over five years from 2021 to 2026
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA)

 

CICA

Source: Economic Times

Direction: Not so important. Just glance through it once.

Context: Kazakhstan has invited Indian PM to the CICA summit  (Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia)

  • It is a forum aimed at enhancing cooperation through elaborating multilateral approaches toward promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
  • Confidence building in Economic, environmental, human, new challenges and threats, military etc.

About CICA

It was founded in 1999 and is a multi-national forum of countries having a part of its territory in Asia. India is among its 27 members.

 

  

Changes in IBC

Context: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) with the aim to hasten the changes and maximize recovery.

 

Key changes:

  • If there is no resolution plan, creditors can sell assets separately.
  • The performance-based pay structure for Resolution professionals.
    • The primary role of the Resolution Professional is to ensure the revival of the corporate debtor.

 

About IBC

  • It was introduced in 2016 to tackle bad loans and solve insolvencies.
    • In accounting, insolvency is the state of being unable to pay the debts, of a person or company, at maturity; those in a state of insolvency are said to be insolvent.
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment)bill, 2021
    • It proposed the Pre-packaged Insolvency Resolution Process (PIRP), also called ‘pre-packs’ as an insolvency resolution mechanism for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

 

 

Market-Based Economic Dispatch (MBED) Mechanism

Source: Indian Express

Context: In order to move towards a “One Nation, One Grid, One frequency, One Price” framework, the Ministry of Power has proposed a centralized power model using MBED.

  • Under MBED, the entire annual electricity consumption will be operated using a central market operator (currently India follows a decentralized power procurement and distribution system).

 

Benefits: It will help in reducing power purchase costs, provide more flexibility and promotion of renewable energy.

 

Issues:

  • But it may lead to the loss of autonomy of states (power is a Concurrent subject and the responsibility for distribution and supply of power to rural and urban consumers rests with the states).
  • It may make the discoms entirely dependent on the centralised mechanism.

 

Background:

Increasing losses of DISCOMS: As per a recent study by the RBI, a bailout of discoms in 18 large states is likely to impose a burden equivalent to around 2.3 per cent of the GSDP of these states.

  

PM PRANAM scheme

Source: Indian Express

Context: PM PRANAM (Promotion of Alternate Nutrients for Agriculture Management Yojana) has been planned to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers by incentivising states

 

Features of the scheme:

  • No separate budget: The scheme will not have a separate budget and will be financed by the “savings of existing fertiliser subsidy” under schemes run by the Department of fertilisers.
  • 50% subsidy savings will be passed on as a grant to the state that saves the money
    • 70% of the grant provided under the scheme can be used for asset creation (adoption of alternate fertilisers at the village, block and district levels)
    • 30% grant money can be used for incentivising farmers, panchayats, FPOs and self-help groups that are involved in the reduction of fertiliser use and awareness generation.
  • Data available on a fertiliser Ministry dashboard, iFMS (Integrated fertilisers Management System), will be used for this purpose

 

Status of Fertilizer use and subsidy:

  • The total requirement of four fertilisers — Urea, DAP (Di-ammonium Phosphate), MOP (Muriate of potash), and NPKS (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) — increased by 21% between 2017-2018 and 2021-2022.
  • The subsidy burden on chemical fertilisers is expected to increase to Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2022-2023, which is 39% higher than the previous year’s figure of Rs 1.62 lakh crore.
  • The Kharif season (June-October) accounts for nearly half the year’s production of foodgrains, one-third of pulses and approximately two-thirds of oilseeds. A sizable amount of fertiliser is required for this season.

 

 

Significance of India’s bans on broken rice export

Source: Indian Express 

Direction: This is from the Explained article in yesterday’s The Hindu. Link it with the previous article on Rice and this FFP on Broken rice 

Context: India has banned the export of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent duty on exports of various grades of rice, except basmati. 

Reasons for ban:

  • There has been lower rice production this year due to deficient rainfall in some areas.
  • High food inflation
  • For use in Ethanol blending: In the 2018-19 Ethanol Supply Year (ESY), the government allowed the FCI to sell surplus rice to ethanol plants for fuel production.
  • Broken rice is also used as Poultry feed.

About:

  • India is the world’s largest exporter of rice: India accounted for 41% of the total rice exports in the world in 2021 larger than the next four exporters (Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and United States) combined.
  • In descending order, China, Senegal, Vietnam, Djibouti and Indonesia are the biggest importers of India’s broken rice. Hence, these countries would be impacted by the ban.
  • Previously, in May India banned the export of Wheat.

  

Liveliness of fingerprints

Source: Economic Times

Context: UIDAI has introduced a new security layer for the Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS) to prevent the use of fake fingerprints to fraudulently withdraw money.

 

Liveness detection in biometrics is the ability of a system to detect if a fingerprint or face (or other biometrics) is real (from a live person present at the point of capture) or fake (from a spoof artefact or lifeless body part). The ‘liveness’ detection is based on (see diagram)

AePS  (by National Payment Cooperation of India) is a bank-led model which allows online interoperable financial inclusion transactions at PoS (MicroATM) through the Business correspondent of any bank using the Aadhaar authentication. AePS allows you to do six types of transactions.

  • Cash Deposit
  • Cash Withdrawal
  • Balance Enquiry
  • Mini Statement
  • Aadhaar to Aadhaar Fund Transfer
  • Authentication
  • BHIM Aadhaar Pay

The only inputs required for a customer to do a transaction under this scenario are Bank Name, Aadhaar Number and Fingerprint captured during enrollment.

 

Merge Software Upgrade

Source: Indian Express

Context: It is a software upgrade to cut down energy consumption in the validation of the Ethereum (a cryptocurrency) blockchain and make it more secure.

 

‘The Merge,’ will cast aside the need for crypto miners and gigantic mining farms, who had previously driven the blockchain under a mechanism called ‘proof-of-work’ (PoW). Instead, it has now shifted to a ‘proof-of-stake’ (PoS) mechanism that assigns ‘validators’ randomly to approve transactions and earn a small reward.

  • The transition will cut Ethereum’s energy consumption by 99.95%.
  • Ethereum’s website admitted that the crypto’s total annualised power consumption nearly matches that of Finland while its carbon footprint is comparable to Switzerland.

 

Will Bitcoin switch to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism?

Highly unlikely!  As they work differently.

Also, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, explicitly stressed the importance of the “proof-of-work” mechanism to secure the blockchain.

  • Switching to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism would violate the principles of decentralisation outlined in the Bitcoin white paper.
  • It would also represent losses in the millions of dollars for individual miners and companies trying to solve the puzzles that would reward them with BTC. 

Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality. Ether is the native cryptocurrency of the platform. Among cryptocurrencies, ether is second only to bitcoin in market capitalization. Ethereum was conceived in 2013 by programmer Vitalik Buterin.

What’s next for Ethereum?

Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin had said that post ‘The Merge’, the network will undergo further upgrades which he called the “surge,” “verge,” “purge,” and “splurge”.

 

Mapping

Mnemonics to remember countries: (randomly sourced from the Internet)

Bordering Baltic Sea: SELLurRGD&PF (read it as SELL your RecurrinG Deposit & PF):

  • S- Sweden, E- Estonia, L- Latvia, L- Lithuania, R- Russia, G- G Germany, D- Denmark, P- Poland, F- Finland

ASEAN countries:

  • Those who pass MBBS watch PTV and buy LIC policy. MBBS PTV LIC M- Malaysia B- Brunei B- Burma S- Singapore P- Philippines T- Thailand V- Vietnam L- Laos I- Indonesia C- Cambodia


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