Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 11th December 2018
Land acquisition law challenged in court
Part of: GS Mains II and III – Social Issue; Land acquisition and Land Reforms; Governance; Government schemes and policies
- The Supreme Court decided to examine a plea challenging the legality of amendments brought in by Tamil Nadu and four other States (Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand), which allow authorities to bypass the need to take farmers’ consent before their land is acquired for large infrastructure projects.
- The petition filed by activist Medha Patkar said the States allow land acquisition without participation of representative local bodies like gram sabha in social impact assessment studies, without expert appraisal processes, public hearings, objections, and safeguard provisions to ensure food security. (violates the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013)
In yesterday’s article we read few provisions under LAAR Act 2013
- It compels a social and environmental impact assessment as a precondition for any acquisition.
- It also acknowledges a need for a system of rehabilitation and resettlement for those whose livelihoods are likely to be affected by the transfer of land.
- The law provided for greatly enhanced compensation, consent of those whose land was sought to be acquired, and detailed rehabilitation and resettlement provisions (including employment, land for land, and other beneficial schemes). In other words, it changed the relationship between the state and the individual by empowering the latter against the former.
- It mandates that 70% of the affected land owners should consent to the acquisition of land for a public private participation project.
- It also included a retrospective clause. Section 24 of the new Act provided that under certain circumstances, acquired land could be returned to affected families.
Do you know?
- The 2013 Act replaced its colonial predecessor of 1894 and was intended to uphold the farmers’ right to dignity and life.
- The amendments brought in by above mentioned states violate the “core spirit” of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013. (LAAR Act)
Gilets Jaunes movement/Yellow Vest movement
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Affairs
- The yellow vests movement (Gilets Jaunes movement) is a citizens’ protest movement began in early November 2018 against a planned rise in the tax on diesel and petrol, which French President Emmanuel Macron insisted would aid the country’s transition to green energy.
- The movement was named “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) because protesters wear the fluorescent yellow high-vis jackets that all motorists must by law carry in their cars.
- But what began as a fuel tax protest has now morphed into a wider anti-government movement.
Do you know?
- Unlike previous French protest movements, it sprang up online through petitions and was organised by ordinary working people posting videos on social media, without a set leader, trade union or political party behind it.
Who are the protesters and what are their grievances?
- Protesters have largely come from peripheral towns, cities and rural areas across France and include many women and single mothers.
- Most of the protesters have jobs, including as secretaries, IT workers, factory workers, delivery workers and care workers.
- All say their low incomes mean they cannot make ends meet at the end of the month.
The movement is predominantly against a tax system perceived as unfair and unjust, but there are numerous grievances and differences of opinion.
Most want to scrap the fuel taxes, hold a review of the tax system, raise the minimum wage and roll back Macron’s tax cuts for the wealthy and his pro-business economic programme. But some also want parliament dissolved and Macron to resign.
Grigorovich-class frigates in 3 years
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Defence; International relations
- The first of the four Admiral Grigorovich-class guided missile stealth frigates is likely to be inducted into the Indian Navy in the next three years.
- Rear Admiral Dinesh K. Tripathi says two will be built in Russia and two in Goa.
- The 4,000-odd tonne frigates can be armed with Brahmos cruise missile system, array of weapon system that include artillery guns, strike missile and radar-controlled air defence systems with provisions for torpedo tubes.
Do you know?
Russia-India defence cooperation
- INDRA-NAVY-18 – bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Federation Navy.
- Two Sindhughosh-class submarines, reportedly Sindhukesari and Sindhuraj, are undergoing medium refit at a shipyard in Russia.
- A second Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) may be leased to India by the Russian Federation Navy.
- India already operates a leased Akula-class SSN, INS Chakra, which is based at Eastern Naval Command.
We read recently about ‘Cope India 2018’
- ‘Cope India 2018’ – U.S. and India joint air exercises
Kaiga n-power unit creates world record
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Infrastructure; Energy
- The Kaiga nuclear power plant, which is located in western Karnataka, has created a world record for the longest uninterrupted operation of 941 days.
- It broke the earlier record of 940 days by the Heysham plant in the United Kingdom.
- While the Kaiga (KGS-1) is a Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), Heysham-2 Unit-8 is an Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (AGR).
- The achievement demonstrates that the nation’s capability in nuclear power generation technology of PHWR had fully matured and proved the excellence in design, construction, safety, quality and operation and maintenance practices of the Corportion.
About Kaiga nuclear power plant
- The KGS-1, located 56 km from Karwar, has been generating electricity continuously since May 13, 2016.
- It is an indigenously-built PHWR run by domestic fuel (uranium). It began commercial operations on November 16, 2000, and has produced 500 cr. units of power so far.
- In June this year, KGS-1 had set a national record for continuous operation of 766 days.
- According to official sources, KGS-1 will be shutdown for maintenance on December 30.
Nuclear reactors undergo mandatory checks and have to get clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to continue operations.
Centre rejects minority religion status to Lingayats
- The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) reiterated its earlier stand that the Lingayat/Veerashaiva community is considered as “a religious sect of Hindus.”
- It communicated to Karnataka that it was not possible to accede to the State’s recommendation to grant minority religion status to Lingayat/Veerashaiva community.
- MMA noted that Lingayats have always been classified under Hindu sect ever since 1871 census.
Do you know?
- The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
- Five religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities by the Union Government.
Person in news: Mushirul Hasan
- Mushirul Hasan, who passed away on December 10, was one of India’s most distinguished historians and educationists.
- He served on a host of national bodies — including the UGC and the ICHR — as an articulate member — and worked with the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund.
- He was Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, where he was Professor of History for most of his professional life. And he was Director-General of the National Archives to which he lent distinction.
- Major work – history of India’s Muslims under colonialism
- He rescued Muslims from stereotypes. Hasan believed social, cultural ethos guided them along tolerant road unless forced by exigencies.
Bird sanctuary in news: Mangalajodi bird sanctuary
- Mangalajodi bird sanctuary is located in Odisha (on the banks of the Chilika Lake)
- Migratory birds – Pacific black duck – were spotted
TOPIC:General studies 2 and 3
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Resignation of RBI Governor and its impact on Indian Economy
- In a surprising move, Reserve Bank of India’s Governor Urjit Patel resigned citing personal reasons.
- His resignation comes against the backdrop of increasing tensions between the Finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India.
- N.S. Vishwanathan (senior most among the four Deputy Governors) gets interim charge.
- Mr. Vishwanathan was appointed as Deputy Governor in July 2016.
- In recent months, the government and the RBI have been at loggerheads over whether the RBI has been too hawkish in its stance towards lenders and the economy given a drop in the inflation rate and signs of slower growth, as well as in the face of defaults by a major lender.
Patel is fifth RBI Governor in free India to resign
- Urjit Patel is the fifth RBI Governor in independent India to have resigned from his post before his term was over.
- The first RBI Governor to do so was Benegal Rama Rau who was Governor from 1949 to 1957.
- Experts say Rau resigned because of his differences with then Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari.
- KR Puri, RN Malhotra and Bimal Jalan were the other RBI Governors who resigned from their post.
- However, the precedent for an RBI Governor resigning was set before Independence, when the first Governor, Sir Osborn Smith resigned in 1937 due to differences with the Finance Member of the Viceroy’s Council.
How does his resignation impact the Economy?
- Economists have cautioned that it will cause jitters in the stock market and uncertainty over the central bank’s policies regarding non-monetary policy issues such as Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) norms, and diluting the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code rules for power sector companies.
- India’s currency and stocks are set to slide. Market to fall quite significantly.
- Indian market is being driven more by global factors than what’s been happening here. Economists suspect things may get pretty bad in future.
- Economists also say that there is uncertainty on the other issues that come under the RBI Governor’s purview. (macroprudential regulations, liquidity infusions etc)
- Investors, especially institutional, would look at the development as a corroboration of the growing rift between the central bank and the government — a sign not healthy to the financial markets.
- It will raise concerns of not only foreign investors, but also domestic investors, especially at a time when liquidity remains tight.
- Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service reacted to the resignation of Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, saying that any government attempt to curtail the central bank’s independence will be credit negative.
- The ratings agency said independence of central bank is an important consideration of its assessment of a country’s institutional strength.
Connecting the dots:
- An independent central bank augurs well for a democratic politico-economy. However, there should be a mechanism to make RBI and its governor accountable to the Parliament. Do you agree? Critically examine.
TOPIC:General studies 3
- Disaster and disaster management.
Global lessons from natural calamities: Disaster Risk Insurance
As India is vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and cyclones, DISASTER RISK INSURANCE programme can play a key role.
The real cost of floods across Kerala in August may never be really known.
- Hundreds dead, thousands displaced, millions lost.
- The scale of damage from any natural disaster can never really be measured because of the long-term ecological and psychological effects.
- The spread of diseases, such as cholera, malaria, and leptospirosis, may impact flood-hit communities beyond the crisis for years to come.
- Tourism has been hit.
We react every time there is a disaster. We band together and raise funds, help victims and volunteer time to clean up and rebuild.
However, the task before us should be to move from a reactive stance to proactively prepare for natural disasters (through Disaster Risk Insurance).
- Impact of disaster has increased due to large urban migration.
- India alone is projected to have seven megacities—defined by a population of more than 10 million—by 2030, according to World Economic Forum.
- This confluence of climate change, natural disasters, and human density could lead to more Kerala-like images.
- It becomes very difficult to rebuild societies in the event of any natural catastrophe and to minimize any long-term impact by reducing the gap between economic losses and available funding, known as the protection gap.
Do you know?
- The cost of recovery and reconstruction in Kerala has been put at ₹31,000 crore, according to a UN report.
- However, the annual allocation by both state and central authorities to Kerala’s disaster relief fund is a mere ₹214 crore.
- Taking into consideration of additional funds from the central government’s National Disaster Response Fund; commercial and private insurance claims – the current estimate is believed to be no more than ₹2,500 crore.
- That means, in this scenario, the protection gap is upwards of ₹25,000 crore.
- The GST Council has now been asked to examine the feasibility of a disaster levy to finance disaster-related reconstruction. But it is not sure whether a state levy will sufficiently incentivize states to improve their disaster risk management.
- Therefore the way ahead is to transfer disaster risks over to the insurers or reinsurers.
Disaster Risk Insurance Benefits:
- Immediate payouts can be made through parametric solutions based on the amount of rainfall or the intensity of a drought, for example.
- Governments would be transparency over funding.
- Immediate payouts to citizens.
There are numerous examples for Kerala—and India—to follow. For example,
- America’s National Flood Insurance Program
- the Caribbean’s 16-country hurricane, earthquake and rainfall risk insurance fund
- Mexico’s FONDEN programme
- China’s provincial Guangdong and Heilongjiang governments have purchased insurance against natural disasters as a means of fiscal budget protection—the idea being that a disaster will hit multiple areas of a budget beyond the core.
All these are comprehensive disaster-risk financing strategy comprising reserve funding, reinsurance and catastrophe bonds.
Several of these programmes have responded with timely payouts following recent natural disasters.
Disaster Insurance Programmes are especially relevant in India’s developing environment of competitive federalism, where state governments are expected to rely less on federal assistance, especially when it comes to funding post-disaster reconstruction.
Insurance purchased on the government account will serve to plug the gap in reconstruction financing. (immediate relief, rehabilitation, restoration and rebuilding of infrastructure)
States can pay for insurance premiums from the disaster relief fund allocations. This will not only promote greater financial autonomy at the state level, but also has the advantage of requiring no additional budgeting by New Delhi.
Connecting the dots:
- Examine the significance of State-sponsored Disaster Risk Insurance programmes in disaster management. Take suitable examples.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Gilets Jaunes movement or Yellow Vest movement is associated with which among the following country –
Q.2) Consider the following exercises and choose the correct pair/s:
- INDRA-NAVY : : India-Russia
- Cope India : : India-China
- Yudh Abhyas : : India-US
Choose correct answer:
- 1 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.3) Kaiga nuclear power plant, which recently created a world record for the longest uninterrupted operation of 941 days is located in –
- Tamil Nadu
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