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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 13 February 2023

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 ina 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. Article 105 of Constitution: The limits to free speech in Parliament, and what Supreme Court has ruled
  2. India’s urban centres are ailing due to lack of funds

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. How is the government ramping up border infrastructure?

 

GS Paper 4:

  1. Examples to be used in Ethics Answers: Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Gurgaon Domestic help torture, Journalist Shashikant Warishe murder

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME) 

  1. Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA)

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP) 

  1. 200th birth anniversary of Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883)
  2. The suitability of a candidate cleared by Collegium can’t be subject to judicial review(JR)
  3. With 3 crore enrolments, Swayam tops other eLearning platforms
  4. Market Access Initiative (MAI)
  5. Millet International Initiative for Research and Awareness (MIIRA)
  6. Diyodar meteorite

 

Article 105 of Constitution: The limits to free speech in Parliament, and what Supreme Court has ruled

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Parliament — Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these

 

Source: IE

 Context: Some opposition leaders are protesting the removal of parts of their speech on the motion of thanks on the President’s address during the current session of Parliament.

Debate on Parliamentary privileges – The principle found a place in the GoI Act 1919
Article 105 of the Indian ConstitutionRules of Lok Sabha and Rajya SabhaException and apex court rulings
●        It deals with the powers, and privileges of the Houses of Parliament (collective), its members (individual) and committees. It has the following provisions –

●        There shall be freedom of speech in Parliament

●        MPs are exempted from any legal action for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties in Parliament.

●        This immunity extends to certain non-members as well – the Attorney General of India or a Minister who may not be an MP but speaks in the House.

●        This article guarantees that MPs can carry out their duties without interruption or fear, upholds the dignity and authority of the Parliament and supports its democratic operation.

●        Instead of the court, the Speaker of the House will deal with instances where a Member goes beyond the bounds of permissible free expression.

●        The two Houses have identical rules, with one exception.

●        In RS, MPs cannot make a personal charge against a Member.

●        The implementation of the rule book is in the hands of the Chairman of RS and the Speaker of LS.

●        The rules of procedure give the two presiding officers discretion in removing words from the recorded proceedings of the House which are “defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified”.

●        The LS Secretariat has brought out a volume of ‘Unparliamentary Expressions’.

●        This discretion is required because MPs have constitutional protection from legal proceedings.

 

●        Exception: In accordance with Article 121 of the Indian Constitution, no judge’s conduct may be discussed in Parliament unless it is part of a motion that asks the President to remove the judge.

●        SC’s rulings:

○        Members will be allowed to take part in parliamentary debates without fear according to Article 105, which also offers the most protection against civil and criminal prosecutions.

○        But such immunity must be on their speech or vote in Parliament.

 

Concerns:

  • A disconnect between the speeches in the parliamentary record and the publicly available version online.
  • It also means that every individual (including MPs) who shared the speech as was delivered by an MP on the floor of the House is in breach of the privilege of Parliament.

 

Conclusion: The Parliament is the “platform to fix the accountability of the Executive” and criticism of the government amounts neither to an allegation against an individual Member nor to an attack on the dignity of the House/s.

 

Insta Links:

Privilege of MPs does not extend to criminal cases, Rajya Sabha Chairman

 

Mains Links: 

Q. “Once a speaker, Always a speaker’! Do you think the practice should be adopted to impart objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha? What could be its implications for the robust functioning of parliamentary business in India? (UPSC 2020)

 

Prelims Links: UPSC 2017

One of the implications of equality in society is the absence of

    1. Privileges
    2. Restraints
    3. Competition
    4. Ideology

 

Ans: 1

India’s urban centres are ailing due to lack of funds

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels and Challenges Therein

 

Source: IE 

Context: To make Indian cities smarter, the health of municipal finances must be improved.

 

Background: The WB suggests that India will need to invest approximately $840 billion in urban infrastructure over the next 15 years.

 

The health of municipal finances in India:

  • Urban local bodies’ (ULBs) own revenue is only 47% of their total revenue and the property tax accounts for approximately 29% of it.
    • As per the RBI, at least 141 municipal corporations (in FY21) saw a sharp decline in revenue (by more than 25%) or a significant increase in expenditure (by over 75%).
    • There was a decline in projected growth in property tax.
  • GST implementation and the pandemic added to these revenue losses.
  • Disbursal of external grants from the state and Centre is a concern. The CAG’s performance audit (2020) noted a saving of Rs 5,000 crore due to the non-disbursal of grants in Karnataka.

 

Impact of shortfall in revenue:

  • Cuts in essential services – for example, sewerage services were affected.
  • Delayed salary and pension disbursements. For example, 18,000 primary school teachers under the DMC are yet to receive their past few month’s salaries.

 

Way ahead – A multi-pronged strategy to bridge the gap:

  • Many ULBs and municipal corporations need a fiscal stimulus.
  • Additional funding needs to be explored. For example,
    • A revolving fund along with an overdraft facility when revenues and fiscal transfers are delayed.
    • Green bonds along with a joint corpus funded by the Centre and states.
  • Rationalisation of property tax. Updating existing databases, reassessing properties using digital tools and imposing taxes on non-compliers and defaulters.
  • Concessions (free water and electricity) will need to be rationalised.
  • Expenditure efficiency needs to be boosted by pushing for outsourcing (for garbage services) and exploring PPP models (hybrid annuity models) and participatory budgeting.
  • Performance-linked incentives. For example, the Centre’s incentives to states to cover aspects like framing building bylaws, pushing for public transport, etc.
  • Innovative financing mechanisms can be pursued. For example, asset monetisation, financing from carbon credit generation, etc.
  • A push for user charges (levies like betterment, impact fees and tax increment financing should be explored) for public service delivery.
  • States and the Centre must ensure that disbursements are made on time.

 

Some best practices:

  • Municipal bonds: Municipal corporations have raised over Rs 6,250 crore since 2017.
  • Tamil Nadu’s municipalities are utilising pooled finance and aggregating funds to raise funds from the market for multiple projects.
  • Maharashtra seeks to implement land value capture in a range of forms, with municipalities charging property owners for a specific project.
  • Gujarat offers an interesting example in land pooling systems – any increase in land value due to public investment or civic initiatives is taxed.

 

Conclusion: Unlocking smart cities will require rethinking urban financing.

 

Insta Links:

Municipal Mess – From MCD to BMC, paralysis of urban local bodies undermines local governance and democracy

How is the government ramping up border infrastructure?

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

 

Source: TH

  

Context: According to India’s External Affairs Minister, the government’s recent border infrastructure projects focus on the north and east along India’s 3,488 km border with China (or LAC).

 

Background:

  • Reports claim that Indian forces have lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points along the LAC since 2020.
  • The timing is crucial because of the upcoming meetings of the G-20 Foreign Ministers and the Foreign Ministers of the SCO

 

About the projects:

  • Ramping up infrastructure in Ladakh, HP, UK, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Many of these projects which have been in the pipeline for several decades have been expedited.
    • For example, the length of roads constructed in the China border areas (6,806 km between 2014 to 2022) is almost double the length constructed from 2008-2014.
  • Projects connecting India to “friendly” neighbouring states such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar.
    • Improving cross-border connectivity via highways, bridges, inland waterways, railroads, electricity lines and fuel pipelines.
    • Modernising and constructing integrated check posts (ICPs) at all the border crossings to smooth trade.
    • Funding and constructing infrastructure projects. For example,

 

Need for ramping up the border infrastructure:

  • Strategic reasons: Successive skirmishes with the Chinese PLA in Chumar in 2014, Doklam in 2017, and the Galwan clashes in 2020.
  • Border preparedness: To update the quality of structures, the technology involved and their maintenance.

 

Insta Links:

Major upgrade for India infrastructure along LAC

  

Mains Links:

Q. Analyse internal security threats and transborder crimes along Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan borders including the Line of Control (LoC). Also, discuss the role played by various security forces in this regard. (UPSC 2020)

Examples to be used in Ethics Answers: Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Gurgaon Domestic help torture, Journalist Shashikant Warishe murder

GS Paper 4

 

Source: TH, IE, IE

 

Example 1: Justice S. Abdul Nazeer

Context: He is a retired Supreme Court judge who recently became the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. 

Ethical learnings from his life:

  • Hard work and determination: He started his life in difficult circumstances, even scavenging for fish to supplement his family’s income.
    • He went on to become a successful lawyer and judge, demonstrating the importance of hard work and determination.
  • Perseverance: He compared it to the “duck syndrome,” with him paddling hard under the water to keep himself afloat.
  • Respect for elders and sacrifices of parents: Justice Nazeer has spoken about the sacrifices of his mother for the family and has shown respect for his elders.
  • Openness to diversity and inclusive mindset: Justice Nazeer has learned Sanskrit, demonstrates a diversity of interests and has an open mind.
    • This teaches us the importance of being open to different cultures, traditions and perspectives.
  • Ethical decision-making: As a judge, Justice Nazeer stood for what is right and placed the nation first.

Ethical Issues with his appointment as Governor (after he retired from being SC judge):

  • Potential to raise questions about the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers between the branches of government
  • It undermines the impartiality of the judiciary and erodes the public’s trust in the justice system.
  • Gives an image of the quid pro quo between executive and judiciary

 

Counterview: However, It is important to note that the appointment of judges as governors is not uncommon in India and in many other countries. In such cases, the individual must maintain their impartiality and avoid any actions that could be perceived as compromising the independence of the judiciary. 

 

Example 2: Recently a Gurgaon couple have been arrested for brutally torturing their 17-year-old domestic help.

  • Union Minister of Tribal Affairs has said Such barbaric acts in a civilised society are not only unfortunate but also a question of humanity”. 

Ethical issues concerned in the case:

  • Human Rights Violation: The minor girl was subjected to torture, physical abuse, and exploitation by her employers.
  • Child Abuse
  • Failure of the System: The minor girl was rescued only after someone tipped off the authorities
  • Discrimination based on Caste and Tribe: The girl is from a Scheduled Tribe.
  • Inadequate Support and Protection Mechanisms

 

Example 3: Journalist Shashikant Warishe

Shashikant Warishe, a 48-year-old journalist from the Rajapur area of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra, died after being mowed down by a person against whom Warishe had written an article.

Ethical issues related to the case:

  • Freedom of speech and expression: The journalist Shashikant Warishe was killed because of the articles he wrote (being critical of the government’s proposed Ratnagiri refinery project).
  • Violence against journalists
  • Environmental concerns: Warishe was covering the issues about pollution and land acquisition from the proposed refinery, which highlights the importance of responsible reporting on environmental issues.
  • Human rights violations
  • Responsibility of the government: It is the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of journalists and to hold those who violate their rights accountable.

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) 

Source: IE

The Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) held the first National Lok Adalat in Delhi’s trial courts this year. This year, the DSLSA included people from disenfranchised communities, trans people, and acid attack survivors as associate members, who help a judge settle cases.

 

  • The Lok Adalat is an alternative dispute resolution forum where cases pending in court or at the pre-litigation stage can be settled amicably.
  • Previously in December 2022, after the Bombay HC order, the Maharashtra government had allowed police recruitment applications for third-gender candidates.

  

Usage of the example: It can be used for showing the judiciary as an inclusive platform to make marginalized communities visible and break away from negative stereotypes

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


200th birth anniversary of Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883)

Source: ET

Context: PM inaugurated celebrations commemorating the 200th birth anniversary of social reformer and Arya Samaj founder Dayanand Saraswati

  

 

Other notable contributions:

  • Book: Satyarth Prakash (Text on the philosophy of the Vedas)
  • He was the first to give the call for Swaraj as “India for Indians” in 1876, a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.
  • Subsequently, former President of India, S. Radhakrishnan, called him one of the “makers of Modern India”, as did Sri Aurobindo.

Impact: These contributions have had a lasting impact on Indian society and continue to be relevant even today.

In recent times, the government has been committed to celebrating social reformers and important personalities. E.g.

  • The government declared the birth anniversary of Birsa Muda as the Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas.
  • The National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas is celebrated every year on October 31to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

 

The suitability of a candidate cleared by Collegium can’t be subject to judicial review(JR)

 Source: TH

 Reasons cited by the SC:

Judicial Review of the Collegium decision violates the law as declared, as it would amount to evaluating and substituting the decision of the Collegium, with an individual or personal opinion on the suitability and merits of the person

 

About JR:

Judicial review in India refers to the power of the Indian courts (SC or HC) to review and potentially invalidate laws and governmental actions that conflict with the Constitution of India.

  • The power of judicial review in India is derived from the principle of the rule of law and the idea that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
  • In India, the power of judicial review is exercised through writ petitions
  • Article 13 expressively provides for the doctrine of JR
  • Indian Constitution provides for ‘Procedure established by law’ (narrower JR power) against the American Constitution which provides for ‘Due process of Law’ (broader interpretation of JR)

 

With 3 crore enrolments, Swayam tops other eLearning platforms

Source: TOI

Context: With 2.4 crore enrolling for courses which yield credits, the government-run SWAYAM Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) has outperformed any other e-Learning platform 

About SWAYAM:

  • Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM), was launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Human Resource Developmentto provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses.
  • This covers all higher education subjects and skill sector courses.
  • It is a repository of more than 300 high-quality Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) that are developed by academicians from top-ranked institutions and are offered free of cost

 

Other initiatives:

  • SWAYAM Prabha (provide 32 High-Quality Educational Channels through DTH)
  • E-Pathshala (for E-textbooks)
  • Education 4.0 India initiative (To address learning gaps and make education accessible to all)
  • PM eVIDYA ( for convergence of all efforts related to digital/online/on-air education) DIKSHA (school curriculum-based engaging learning materials to students, teachers, and parents)

 

Market Access Initiative (MAI)

Source: PIB

 Context: Recently inaugurated the first edition of “Upnext India 2023” (Reverse Buyer Seller) meet

  • It is organized by AEPC and supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry under the Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme

 

What is MAI?

It is an Export Promotion Scheme. The scheme aims to act as a catalyst to promote India’s exports on a sustained basis.

  • The scheme is formulated on the basis of the product and country focus approach. It will evolve specific markets and specific products through market studies/surveys. 

What is Reverse Buyer Seller Meet? 

Reverse Buyer Seller Meet is to provide an opportunity for prospective importers (Buyers) to interact with their Indian counterparts (sellers) about the requirements, instead of sellers going to buyers to sell their products.

About Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC)

Incorporated in 1978, AEPC is the official body of apparel exporters in India that provides assistance to Indian exporters as well as importers/international buyers who choose India as their preferred sourcing destination for garments.

 

Millet International Initiative for Research and Awareness (MIIRA )

Source: IE 

Context: India (during its G20 Presidency) is planning to propose the launch of a global initiative (MIIRA) to encourage the consumption and production of millet 

Objectives:

  • It will coordinate millet research programmes at the international level.
  • It is in line with the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets and the Centre’s plan to make India a global hub for millets.
  • For MIIRA to take off, India will contribute the “seed money” while each G20 member will later have to contribute to its budget in the form of a membership fee

Government initiatives:

  • To make India a global hub for Shree Anna, the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabadwill be supported as the Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level
  • Agriculture Ministry (in 2018) declared millets and the two pseudo millets — buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth (chaulai) — as ‘Nutri Cereals’ for their “high nutritive value”

 

Diyodar meteorite

Source: TH

 Context:  On August 17, 2022, a meteorite fell over two villages in Banaskantha, Gujarat in India. Analysis of the meteorite has revealed it to be a “rare, unique specimen” of aubrite.

  • The pieces that fell have been dubbed the Diyodar meteorite

 

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