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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th November 2019

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  • November 14, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th November 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


RTI Act

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Governance

In News

  • A five-judge Constitution Bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi declared that the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a ‘public authority’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
  • In practical terms, this means that citizens can file RTI applications to the SC, and the CPIO (Chief Public Information Officer) of the court cannot deny information saying it is held by the CJI’s office and not the registry
  • The bench held that Increased transparency under RTI was no threat to judicial independence
  • The Bench, however, agreed, that the right to know under RTI was not absolute. The right to know of a citizen ought to be balanced with the right to privacy of individual judges
  • Personal information of judges should only be divulged under RTI if such disclosure served the larger public interest.
  • The Bench also upheld the Delhi High Court judgment of 2010 that the CJI does not hold information on the personal assets of fellow judges in a fiduciary capacity
  • The judgment had far-reaching implications by setting an example for other bodies which resist transparency ex: Political Parties,a number of schools, trusts and public-private partnershipsincluding Delhi’s power distribution companies and dairy major Mother Dairy,

SWACHH – NIRMAL TAT ABHIYAAN

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III –Environment

In News

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)is undertaking a mass cleanliness-cum-awareness drive in 50 identified beaches under the “Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan”, from 11th -17thNovember, 2019.
  • Objective is to make beaches clean and create awareness amongst about the importance of coastal ecosystems.
  • Environment Education Division of the Ministry and Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) under the aegis of MoEF&CC will be responsible for the overall coordination for the drive in 50 beaches. 
  • The cleaning drives in all beaches are being undertaken, involving school/college students of Eco-clubs, district administration, institutions, volunteers, local communities and other stakeholders.
  • Collected waste will be processed as per extant Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • The identified beaches are in 10 coastal States/Union Territories (UTs) namely Gujarat, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.

JAL JEEVAN MISSION (JJM)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Governance

In News

  • The Union Jal Shakti Minister speaking at the regional review of Jal Jeevan Mission in Southern States at Hyderabad,said that the Centre would give 50 per cent of funds for Jal Jeevan Mission and it would be implemented with community participation
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims at providing Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in rural areas by 2024.
  • 14.60 crores rural households of the country will be provided with FHTCs.
  • The provisional cost estimate for this mission is Rs 3.60 lakh Crores.
  • Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation is the implementing Department for the mission. 
  • This Mission will also focus on integrated demand and supply side management of water at the local level, including creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse in agriculture.
  • The Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
  • Besides using funds available under various Schemes, the Government will also explore possibility of using additional funds available under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for this purpose.

BRICS meet

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II –International groupings

In News

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Brazil for the 11th Brics Summit which has the theme ‘Economic Growth for an Innovative Future’. 
  • This is PM Modi’s second visit to Brazil and his first visit after the new administration led by the President Bolsonaro assumed office on January 1, 2019. Modi will hold talks with Bolsonaro on ways to deepen the India-Brazil strategic partnership
  • Brazil may push India for opening its market for agricultural and meat products.
  • Brazil’s decision to allow visa-free travel to Indian tourists and businesspersons may also figure prominently in the meeting at which Mr. Modi is expected to invite Mr. Bolsonaro as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in January 2020
  • In this year’s summit, discussions will primarily revolve around “economic growth for an innovative future” and focus on “cooperation on digital economy” and “fight against transnational crime”.
  • This year’s summit is significant for India as the joint working group on counter-terrorism has decided to constitute five sub-working groups on counterterrorism in areas like terrorist financing, use of the internet for terrorist purposes, countering radicalisation, issue of foreign terrorist fighters and capacity-building. 
  • A Brics memorandum of understanding between trade and investment promotion agencies is expected to be signed

Do You Know?

  • Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, coined the Bric concept in 2001. South Africa was admitted by the other Bric leaders in December 2010, adding the “S” to the original grouping.
  • BRICS brings together five major emerging economies comprising 42 per cent of the world’s population, having 23 per cent of the global GDP, around 17 per cent of the share in world trade, 26.6% of the world land area and 13.24 per cent of World Bank voting power

Diabetes

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Health

In News

  • World Diabetes Day is the primary global awareness campaign focusing on diabetes mellitus and is held on 14 November each year
  • There are currently more than 420 million diabetic adults in the world, up from 180 million in 1980, WHO statistics show. This number could swell to 629 million by 2045
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death and a major cause of debilitating complications like heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations.
  • The disease is divided into two types.
    • There is no known way to prevent type one, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
    • Most people living with diabetes have type 2, which is associated with obesity and other lifestyle factors and emerges in adults and increasingly among children.
  • About 65 million people with type 2 diabetes need insulin, but only half of them are able to access it, largely due to high prices.  All people with type 1 diabetes need insulin to survive.
  • WHOhas launched pre-qualification initiative for insulinthat would cut prices and dramatically increase insulin access for diabetics
  • The initiative involves the evaluation of insulin developed by manufacturers to ensure their quality, safety, efficacy and affordability.
  • Today, three companies control most of the global insulin market, and they have control over the price setting. Pre-qualifying products from additional companies will hopefully help to level the playing field and ensure a steadier supply of quality insulin in all countries

Climate change is harming health of children

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Health

In News

  • According to a major new report published in The Lancet, Climate change is already damaging the health of the world’s children and is set to endanger the well-being of an entire generation, unless the world meets the target to limit warming to well below 2°C
  • The report notes that as temperatures rise, infants will bear the greatest burden of malnutrition and rising food prices.
  • Average yield potential of maize and rice has declined almost 2% in India since the 1960s, with malnutrition already responsible for two-thirds of the deaths of children under five years. 
  • Also, children will suffer most from the rise in infectious diseases — with climatic suitability for the Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera rising 3% a year in India since the early 1980s, the study warns.
  • Diarrhoeal infections, a major cause of child mortality, will spread into new areas, whilst deadly heat waves could soon become the norm
  • The public health gains achieved over the past 50 years, through various government initiatives, could soon be reversed by the changing climate

(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

Chief Justice of India’s office under RTI

Context:

  • The Supreme Court ruled that the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
  •  A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, upheld a Delhi High Court ruling of 2010,
  • Dismissed three appeals filed by the Secretary General and the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court.

Origin of the case:

  • RTI activist filed a PIL “Whether all Supreme Court judges had declared their assets and liabilities to the CJI following a resolution passed in 1997
  • CPIO of the Supreme Court said the office of the CJI was not a public authority under the RTI Act,
  • The matter reached the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), directed disclosure of information.
  • The Supreme Court approached the Delhi High Court against the CIC order. 
  • Delhi High Court  on 2009 Judgment “the office of the Chief Justice of India is a public authority under the RTI Act and is covered by its provisions”.
  • The Supreme Court then approached a larger Bench comprising then Chief Justice of Delhi High Court  2010 held that the previous, judgment was “both proper and valid and needs no interference”.
  • The Supreme Court in 2010 petitioned itself challenging the Delhi High Court order.

SC judgement 2019:

  • The outcome is that the office of the CJI will now entertain RTI applications. Under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, information means “any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force”.
  • The Supreme Court held that RTI cannot be used as a tool of surveillance and that judicial independence has to be kept in mind while dealing with transparency.
  • Right to Privacy is an important aspect and has to be balanced with transparency while deciding to give out information from the office of the Chief Justice of India.
  • The judiciary cannot function in total insulation as judges enjoy a constitutional post and discharge public duty.

Earlier judgements:

  • Supreme Court itself in 2011: “Officials need to furnish only such information which already exists and is held by the public authority and not collate or create information”; and, “the nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties”.
  • On December 16, 2015 (RBI versus Jayantilal N Mistry and Others), the Supreme Court noted: “It had long since come to our attention that the Public Information Officers under the guise of one of the exceptions given under Section 8 of RTI Act, have evaded the general public from getting their hands on the rightful information that they are entitled to.”

CBI out of RTI

  • CBI is exempt from RTI.
  • In 2005, the CBI was under it. The agency later moved for exemption
  • Administrative Reforms Commission chaired by Moily had earlier recommended exemption of the armed forces from the RTI Act, but had not made such a recommendation for the CBI.
  • While the CBI demanded exemption only for units in intelligence gathering, exemption was granted in 2011 to the agency as a whole. 
  • Litigation challenging the decision to exempt the CBI is pending with the Supreme Court.

Conclusion:

  • The verdict underlines the balance Supreme Court needs between transparency and protecting its independence. 
  • The step is significant as it opens the doors to RTI requests that will test the frontiers of what has been a rather opaque system. 

POLITY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

President’s Rule in Maharashtra

Context:

  • Owing to the inabilities of the political parties to form a government after the results of the Assembly election were declared on October 24, Article 356 has been invoked and the President’s Rule has been imposed in Maharashtra. 
  • This is the third time the state has come under the Central rule, since May 1, 1960 — the day when present-day Maharashtra came into existence.
  • The first one was in February 1980 when the Indira Gandhi government dismissed the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) government headed by Sharad Pawar
  • the second imposition of President’s rule after 34 years in 2014 when Prithviraj Chavan resigned as Chief Minister following the withdrawal of support by ally NCP to the Congress-led government.

President’s Rule:

  • President’s Rule implies the suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct rule of the Centre. 
  • This is achieved through the invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. 
  • Under Article 356, this move can be taken “(1) If the President, on receipt of the report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution…”

1994 Bommai case:

Following its landmark judgment in the 1994 Bommai case, the Supreme Court of India has restricted arbitrary impositions of president’s rule.

  • S. R. Bommai v. Union of India 1994  was a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India, where the Court discussed at length provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution of India and related issues. 
  • This case had huge impact on Centre-State Relations. 
  • The judgement attempted to curb blatant misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution of India, which allowed President’s rule to be imposed over state governments
  • The dismissal was on grounds that the Bommai government had lost majority following large-scale defections engineered by several party leaders of the day. 
  • Then Governor P. Venkatasubbaiah refused to give Bommai an opportunity to test his majority in the Assembly despite the latter presenting him with a copy of the resolution passed by the Janata Dal Legislature Party.

1994 Bommai Judgment:

  • The verdict concluded that the power of the President to dismiss a State government is not absolute. 
  • The verdict said the President should exercise the power only after his proclamation (imposing his/her rule) is approved by both Houses of Parliament. Till then, the Court said, the President can only suspend the Legislative Assembly by suspending the provisions of Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly. 
  • “The dissolution of Legislative Assembly is not a matter of course. It should be resorted to only where it is found necessary for achieving the purposes of the Proclamation,” the Court said.

If Presidential proclamation is not approved by the Parliament:

  • “In case both Houses of Parliament disapprove or do not approve the Proclamation, the Proclamation lapses at the end of the two-month period. 
  • In such a case, the government which was dismissed revives. 
  • Also the Court made it amply clear that a Presidential Proclamation under Article 356 is  subject to judicial review.

Proclamation

  • A proclamation of President’s Rule can be revoked through a subsequent proclamation in case the leader of a party produces letters of support from a majority of members of the Assembly, and stakes his claim to form a government. The revocation does not need the approval of Parliament.
  • So, this is not the end of the road for any formation in Maharashtra. In fact, all players now have time to work out their alliances and head to Raj Bhavan to stake their claim to form a government.
  • Any proclamation under Article 356 —which stands for six months — has to be approved by both Houses in the Parliament session following it. This six-month time-frame can be extended in phases, up to three years.

First Impact  of judgment:

  • The A.B. Vajpayee government in 1999 was forced reinstate a government it dismissed. The Rabri Devi government, which was sacked on February 12, 1999 was reinstated on March 8, 1999 when it became clear that the Central government would suffer a defeat in the Rajya Sabha over the issue.

President’s rule since 2014:

Jammu & Kashmir: The erstwhile state is the latest to have gone into President’s Rule under BJP-ruled NDA. Not only in the run-up to the abrogation of Article 370 from the hill state, but the Central Rulewas also imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in June 2017.

It was after the resignation of the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti when BJP withdrew support to the PDP-led government. Before that in 2015, after failure in government formation following a fractured verdict in Assembly elections, Central Rule was imposed.

Arunachal Pradesh: The north-eastern state witnessed 26 days of President’s Rule in 2016 after 21 Congress MLAs joined hands with 11 BJP and two Independent MLAs, reducing the government into a minority. However, the matter was challenged in the apex court and it, in aold move, reinstated the Congress government.

Uttarakhand: The hill state saw President’s Rule twice in 2016 — for 25 days and 19 days separately. First, it happened after a split in the state Congress and then again in May that year.

Connecting the dots:

  • Article 356 gave wide powers to the central government to assert its authority over a state if civil unrest occurs, and the state government does not have the means to end it. Substantiate.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Which of the following are the possible impacts of Climate Change?

  1. Decline in average yield potential of maize and rice 
  2. Rise in infectious diseases
  3. High frequency of deadly heat waves

Select the correct answer from the codes given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.2) Arrange the following international institutions/groupings in the chronological order of their founding year

  1. SAARC
  2. BRICS
  3. BIMSTEC
  4. ASEAN
  5. IBSA

Select the correct answer from the codes given below

  1. 4-1-3-2-5
  2. 4-1-3-5-2
  3. 1-4-2-5-3
  4. 4-3-1-5-2

Q.3) Consider the following statementsabout Diabetes

  1. It is the seventh leading cause of death and a major cause of debilitating complications like heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations.
  2. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationhas launched pre-qualification initiative for insulin that would cut prices and dramatically increase insulin access for diabetics

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) Consider the following statements about Jal Jeevan Mission

  1. Itaims at providing Functional Household Tap Connections in rural areas by 2024.
  2. It also includes creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse in agriculture

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.5) Consider the following statements about Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan

  1. Itsobjective is to make beaches clean and create awareness amongst about the importance of coastal ecosystems 
  2. It is being implemented by NITI-Aayog in collaboration with Ministry of Jal Shakti

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWERS FOR 13 Nov 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 B
4 C

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