IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 16th November 2018
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Can judges legislate?
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian Polity; Separation of powers
Principle of separation of powers
- In Ram Jawaya v. The State of Punjab (1955), the court observed: the three organs or part of the state should not encroach into the domain of another. If this happens, the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset and there will be chaos.
- In Union of India v. Deoki Nandan Aggarwal (1991), the court observed that the power to legislate has not been conferred on the courts. Making laws is the function of the legislature.
- In Suresh Seth v. Commissioner, Indore Municipal Corporation (2005), the court observed: “Under our Constitutional scheme, Parliament and Legislative Assemblies exercise sovereign power to enact laws.”
However, in many recent judgments, the Supreme Court has become hyper-activist in making laws.
- In Arun Gopal v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court fixed timings for bursting Diwali fireworks and prohibited the use of non-green fireworks, although there are no laws to that effect.
- In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (2018), the court annulled the statutory Rule 115(21) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, when it directed that no BS-4 vehicle should be sold after March 30, 2020, and that only BS-6 vehicles can be sold after that date.
- In Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra (2018), the court amended the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, by annulling Section 18 which said that no anticipatory bail will be granted to persons accused under the Act; by requiring a preliminary enquiry; and by prohibiting arrest under the Act except with permission in writing by the appropriate authority.
- In Rajesh Sharma v. The State of Uttar Pradesh (2017), the court felt that Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code was being misused. So it amended that Section by requiring complaints under that provision to be sent to a Family Welfare Committee constituted by the District Legal Services Authority, although there is no such requirement in Section 498A.
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered that no 15-year-old petrol-driven or 10-year-old diesel-driven vehicle will ply in Delhi, and the Supreme Court has directed impounding such vehicles, though neither the NGT nor the Supreme Court are legislative bodies.
Against the principle of separation of powers
If judges are free to make laws of their choices, not only would that go against the principle of separation of powers, it could also lead to uncertainty in the law and chaos as every judge will start drafting his own laws according to his whims and fancies.
13th East Asia Summit in Singapore
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and the world; international relations
- PM Modi called for enhancing multilateral cooperation and economic and cultural ties among member-nations.
- He reiterated India’s commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region; strengthening maritime cooperation and commitment to a balanced RCEP.
About East Asia Summit (EAS)
- The EAS consists of 10 ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the U.S.
- The East Asia Summit is an annual meeting of national leaders from the East Asian region and adjoining countries. (established in the year 2005)
- EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN. The EAS was formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.
- The host of the 2018 East Asian Summit is also the Chairperson of ASEAN, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong.
- Fitch retains rating for India at ‘BBB-’
- Fitch Ratings retained India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-’, the lowest investment grade rating, although maintaining its stable outlook.
- Trade deficit rises to $17.13 bn
- India’s merchandise trade deficit widened due to higher oil import bill.
- Barnard’s star b
- Astronomers have discovered a frozen planet with a mass more than three times that of the Earth, orbiting the closest solitary star to the Sun.
- The potentially rocky planet, known as Barnard’s star b, is a ‘super-Earth’ and orbits around its host star once every 233 days.
- At nearly six light-years away Barnard’s star is the next closest star to the Sun after the Alpha Centauri triple system.
- Barnard’s star b is the second closest known exoplanet to our Sun. The closest — Proxima b — lies just over four light-years from Earth and orbits around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.
- Alpha Centauri
- It is the closest star system to the Solar System at a distance of 4.37 light-years\
- Centauri B together with a small and faint red dwarf, Alpha Centauri C (also named Proxima Centauri.
- Proxima Centauri
- Proxima Centauri or Alpha Centauri C, is a red dwarf, a small low-mass star, about 4.25 lightyears (1.30 pc) from the Sun in the constellation of Centaurus.
- It was discovered in 1915 by the Scottish astronomer Robert Innes, the Director of the Union Observatory in South Africa, and is the nearest-known star to the Sun.
- International Centre for Interdisciplinary Solutions on AMR in Denmark
- International research centre to open in Denmark in 2019 which focuses on the fight against resistance to antibiotics.
- The International Centre for Interdisciplinary Solutions on AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance), financed by Denmark and private investors, will open in 2019 and is expected to employ up to 500 people.
TOPIC:General studies 2
- Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger
Setting a proper diet plan: Malnutrition in India
- Recently, three girls died of starvation resulting from prolonged malnutrition in the national capital Delhi, which is a high per capita income State.
- Such paradox of situation is visible in many parts of the country.
- Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the nutrition condition of India is a serious concern.
- India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries, with hunger levels categorised as “serious”, in the Global Hunger Index 2018.
- India’s child malnourishment level is not only the highest in the world but varies considerably across States.
- As per the National Family Health Survey-2016, the proportion of stunted (low height for age) children under five is significantly higher (38.4%) than global (22.9%) averages.
- The underweight (low weight for age) children rate (35.7%) is a lot higher than the global average (13.5%) too.
- India is home to over 53.3 million stunted, 49.6 million underweight and 29.2 million wasted (low weight for height) children under five.
Economic growth is not an “only” solution
- There is no doubt that the low income and Empowered-Action-Group (EAG) States face major challenges to improve malnutrition, but, two EAG States, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, have performed better on this front compared to Gujarat and Maharashtra where per capita income is almost double.
- The development path prevalent in Gujarat is more about growth, development, investment, which has not been able to translate as better nutritional status in the State.
- Odisha, which is a low income State, has a better network of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), public health facility/workforce per lakh population and educational attainment among women, which have translated into a better nutritional status when compared with Gujarat.
- Similarly, tribals, rural, poor and illiterate mothers’ children are badly off in so-called developed States of Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab.
- These groups are also affected in poorer States of U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
- Around two-thirds of stunted/underweight children are from 200 districts of both less developed and developed States.
Contradiction: agrarian plenty and malnutrition
- Estimates show that the malnutrition continues to be high in agricultural surplus States like Haryana (34% stunting and 29.5% underweight). Malnutrition in some of its agriculturally-developed districts (Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak as well as in Gurugram) is even higher than the average of Odisha.
- Recently, Madhya Pradesh has registered double-digit growth in food grain production making it one of the wheat granaries of India, but acute malnutrition is still critical in most of its districts with a high proportion of underweight (42.8%) and stunted children (41.9%).
A solution: diversity in food intake
- With the increase in diversity in food intake, measured through Food Intake Index using 19 food items in all 640 districts, malnutrition (stunted/underweight) status declines.
- Only 12% of children are likely to be stunted and underweight in areas where diversity in food intake is high, while around 50% children are stunted if they consume less than three food items.
- A majority of children across districts in Tamil Nadu consume a reasonably highly diversified food, leading to lower percentage of stunted/underweight children across districts.
- Children in a majority of districts in West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and Karnataka consume mediocre level of food items and malnutrition is relatively lower than in Rajasthan, U.P., Jharkhand, M.P., Gujarat, Bihar and Haryana (children in many of their districts consume less diversified food).
- The diversified food intake is very low in a majority of Indian districts; just 28% of children consumed over five items of the total 19 food items.
The way forward
- An inclusive and holistic approach, including controlling/regulating food price, strengthening the public distribution system (PDS) and income support policies for making food cheaper are important steps.
- The ICDS was a high impact nutrition intervention, but its universal availability and quality are questionable due to poor functioning.
- The government must broaden the ICDS programme by ensuring diversity in food items in worst-hit districts.
- Faster economic growth has enormous benefits, but it is by no means sufficient and sustainable if millions of children remain undernourished, as it not only impacts early childhood health and imposes disease burden but also affects education, wages and productivity when they grow up, which will impact India’s growth.
- The launch of the National Nutrition Mission as a strategy to fight maternal and child malnutrition is a welcome step towards achieving the targets of underweight and stunted children under five years from 35.7% to 20.7% and from 38.4% to 25% respectively by 2022.
Connecting the dots:
- Despite being fastest growing economy and one of the leading producers of food grains, India is home to highest number of malnourished children. Critically analyse.
TOPIC:General studies 3
- Indian Economy and various Issues
Full disclosure: Credit rating agencies
- From recent the IL&FS crisis, it is evident that credit rating agencies failed to warn investors about the forthcoming risk.
- The SEBI has issued guidelines to credit rating agencies to improve the quality of their disclosures.
Do you know?
- Credit rating is an assessment of the probability of default on payment of interest and principal on a debt instrument.
- These debt instruments can be in the form of Bond, Commercial Papers or treasury bills, etc.
Credit Rating Agencies
- A credit rating agency is an entity which assesses the ability and willingness of the issuer company for timely payment of interest and principal on a debt instrument.
- The rating is assigned to a security or an instrument. The Credit rating agencies are regulated by SEBI.
- Based on the new norms issued by the SEBI, the credit rating agencies will have to inform investors about the liquidity situation of the companies such as their cash balance, liquidity coverage ratio, access to emergency credit lines, asset-liability mismatch etc.
- Further, rating agencies will have to disclose their own historical rating track record by informing clients about how often their rating of an entity has changed over a period of time.
Concerns to be addressed
- A lot of the problems with the credit rating industry have to do with structural issues rather than the lack of formal rules.
- The “issuer-pays” model where the entity that issues the instrument also pays the ratings agency for its services often leads to a situation of conflict of interest.
- The credit rating market in India has high barriers to entry leading to lack of competition and hence adversely affects the interests of the investors.
- Better disclosures can increase the amount of information available to investors, but without a sufficient number of alternative credit rating providers, quality standards in ratings will not improve.
- Another severe problem plaguing the industry is rating shopping and the loyalty of credit rating agencies in general. In other words, it favours Borrowers over investors.
- While rating agencies already make at least some of these disclosures one way or the other, mandating the formal disclosure of these facts is still welcome. The ready availability of information can help investors make better decisions.
- The Credit rating agencies have to come up with lucrative business models which put the interests of the investors above the interests of borrowers.
- Such a change requires a policy framework that allows easier entry and innovation in the credit rating industry.
Connecting the dots:
- What is Credit Rating? Why Credit rating agencies failed to predict IL&FS crisis? Critically analyse.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Consider the following statements about East Asia Summit:
- The East Asia Summit is the premier leaders-led forum in the Asia-Pacific.
- India is a founding member of the East Asia Summit.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2) Which of the following are the elements of ‘Basic Structure’ of Constitution
- Judicial review
- Freedom and dignity of the individual
- Unity and integrity of the nation
- Effective access to justice
- Separation of powers between the three organs of the state
Select the correct code given below:
- 1, 3, and 4 only
- 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
- 1 and 3 only
- All of the above
Q.3) Separation of powers among the three branches of the government, this feature was borrowed from –
- British Constitution
- United States Constitution
- Canadian Constitution
- Government of India Act 1935
Q.4) India is a member of –
- East Asia Summit
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- None of the above
Q.5) Light year is a unit to measure
Q.6) Consider the following statements about ‘Proxima Centauri’
- It is the closest star to the Sun
- It is orbited by the Earth-sized temperate world Proxima b, discovered in 2016 and the closest exoplanet to the solar system
Select the correct statements
- 1 Only
- 2 Only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.7) Which of the following statements is/are correct?
- Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to the Solar System
- It consists of three stars: the pair Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B together with a small and faint red dwarf named Proxima Centauri
Select the correct code
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Searching for an elusive peace
The oil & rupee problem
The impact of World War I on India
Tackling India’s open defecation problem
A concert of Indo-Pacific democracies