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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th September 2021

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  • September 28, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Employment 

Context All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey was recently released by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

Major findings of the report

  • In the first quarter of this fiscal (April-June 2021) 27% of the establishments surveyed reported COVID-19-related retrenchment (reduction). 
  • However, the overall employment numbers had increased by 29% from the base year of 2013-14.
    • Overall, employment stood at 3.08 crore in the first quarter, an increase from 2.37 crore as reported in the Sixth Economic Census (2013-2014). 
  • Top employment sectors: IT/BPO sector (152%), followed by health (77%), transport (68%).
  • There was a decline in employment in trade (25%) and accommodation and restaurants (13%).
  • Trend in female employment: The number of female workers showed a decline too, from 31% in the Sixth Economic Survey to 29%.


Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India

Part of: Prelims and GS-I- Population and Census

Context The Union government had recently told the Supreme Court that the caste data enumerated in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 was “unusable”, but in 2016, the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India had informed the Standing Committee on Rural Development that 98.87% of the data on individual caste and religion was “error free”.

What is the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India?

  • Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, was founded in 1961 by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Role: Arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India. 
  • The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.

What is the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC)?

  • Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), which collected the first figures on caste since 1931, is the largest exercise of the enumeration of caste. 
  • SECC supplies data to differentiate the socio-economic status of households based on housing, educational status, landholding, differently abled, occupation, possession of assets, SC/ST households, incomes etc.
  • The Census thus provides a portrait of the Indian population, while the SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.

Article 30(2) of Indian Constitution

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Fundamental Rights

Context The Supreme Court held in a judgment that the right of an institution, whether run by a majority or minority community, to get government aid is not a fundamental right. 

  • Both have to equally follow the rules and conditions of the aid.

Key takeaways 

  • Whether it is an institution run by the majority or the minority, all conditions that have relevance to the proper utilisation of the grant-in-aid by an educational institution can be imposed. 
  • The Bench said if the government made a policy call to withdraw aid, an institution cannot question the decision as a “matter of right”. An institution is free to choose to accept the grant with the conditions or go its own way.

About Article 30(2)

  • It states that The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language

DRDO tests Akash Prime missile

Part of: Prelims and GS – III – Defence and Security

Context The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested a new version of the Akash surface-to-air missile Akash Prime from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha.

  • In comparison to the existing Akash System, Akash Prime is equipped with an indigenous active Radio Frequency (RF) seeker for improved accuracy. 
  • Other improvements also ensure more reliable performance under low temperature environment at higher altitudes,
  • It can intercept aerial targets mimicking enemy aircraft.

Defence Research and Development Organisation

  • DRDO works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence.
  • It is working to establish a world class science and technology base for India and provides Defence Services decisive edge by equipping them with internationally competitive systems and solutions.
  • It was established in 1958 after combining Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
  • It is responsible for carrying out Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

Dark energy

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Sci and Tech; Space

Context Recently, an international team of researchers made the first recognized direct detection of dark energy.

XENON1T experiment and key findings-

  • The XENON1T experiment is the world’s most sensitive dark matter experiment and was operated deep underground at the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy.
  • The finding also suggests that experiments like XENON1T, which are designed to detect dark matter, could also be used to detect dark energy.

What is Dark energy?

  • Dark energy is an unknown form of energy that affects the universe on the largest scales. 
  • The first observational evidence for its existence came from measurements of supernovae, which showed that the universe does not expand at a constant rate and rather, the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

What is dark matter?

  • First, it is dark, meaning that it is not in the form of stars and planets that we see. 
  • Observations show that there is far too little visible matter in the universe to make up the 27% required by the observations. 
  • Second, it is not in the form of dark clouds of normal matter, matter made up of particles called baryons. 
  • Third, dark matter is not antimatter, because we do not see the unique gamma rays that are produced when antimatter annihilates with matter. 

Are Both Dark matter and Dark energy the same?

  • About 27% of the universe is dark matter and 68% is dark energy. 
  • While dark matter attracts and holds galaxies together, dark energy repels and causes the expansion of the universe.
  • Despite both components being invisible, we know a lot more about dark matter, since its existence was suggested as early as the 1920s, while dark energy wasn’t discovered until 1998.

Miscellaneous

Places in news: Marib and Taiwan Strait

  • Marib: Sixty-seven Yemeni rebels and pro-government troops have been killed as fighting intensifies for the key city of Marib. 
    • This city is rich in oil.
  • Taiwan Strait: A British warship was sailing through the Taiwan Strait recently, a move that challenges Beijing’s claim to the sensitive waterway and marks a rare voyage by a non-U.S. military vessel.
    • Canadian, French and Australian warships have all made voyages through the Taiwan Strait in recent years, sparking protests from China.
    • The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia. 
    • The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north.


(News from PIB)


Indo-US Health Dialogue 2021

Part of: GS-Prelims ad GS-II: India and other countries

In News: The two-day Dialogue will be leveraged as a platform to deliberate upon multiple ongoing collaborations in the health sector between the two countries. 

  • The issues planned for deliberations in this round also encompass areas of concern pertaining to strengthening of epidemiological research and surveillance, vaccine development, One Health, zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, health systems and health policies etc.
  • An MoU between the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Republic of India and the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States of America, in the field of health sector has been finalized, with major areas of cooperation covering issues like Health Safety and Security; Communicable Diseases & Non-Communicable Diseases; Health Systems; and Health Policy.
  • There is a need to focus on these emerging areas to prevent and control infectious diseases relying on well-designed and validated scientific approaches and collaboration between countries to aid in advance scientific discovery and management of global health threats. 
  • Public and private sector should work together and combine its strengths in fighting the inequities of the health systems through innovations.

News Source: PIB


Azaadi@75: Swachh Survekshan 2022 Launched

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

In News: Launch of the seventh consecutive edition of Swachh Survekshan (SS), the world’s largest urban cleanliness survey conducted by Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U).

  • Designed with ‘People First’ as its driving philosophy, Swachh Survekshan 2022 is curated towards capturing the initiatives of cities for the overall welfare and well-being of frontline sanitation workers. 
  • Incorporated specific indicators that drive cities to improve working conditions and livelihood opportunities for these frontline soldiers in urban India’s sanitation journey.

About Swachh Survekshan (SS)

  • It was Commissioned by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • It has been a vehicle for creating a Janandolan (people’s movement).
  • Districts are ranked based on their performance on key quality and quantitative parameters.
  • The weights to different elements of the SSG 2021 are as below:
  • Direct Observation of sanitation at public places – 30%
  • Citizen’s Feedback – 35%
  • Service Level Progress on sanitation related parameters – 35%

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-3: Indian Economy & Challenges
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Cartelisation: CCI Penalty on Beer Companies

Context: Recently, the Competition Commission of India found that three beer companies — United Breweries Ltd (UBL), Carlsberg India Pvt Ltd (CIPL) and Anheuser Busch InBev India (AB InBev)— had colluded to fix beer prices for a full decade — between 2009 and 2018.

As a result, the CCI slapped a penalty of Rs 873 crore on the companies as well as the All India Brewers Association (AIBA) and 11 individuals for cartelisation in the sale and supply of beer in 10 states and Union Territories.

  • AB InBev received a 100% relief from the penalty because its officials helped the CCI investigation into the functioning of the cartel.
  • Oddly enough, the companies blamed government rules, which require them to seek approvals from state authorities for any price revisions, as the main reason for forming a cartel.

What is a cartel?

  • Cartels can be difficult to define. According to CCI, a “Cartel includes an association of producers, sellers, distributors, traders or service providers who, by agreement amongst themselves, limit, control or attempt to control the production, distribution, sale or price of, or, trade in goods or provision of services”.
  • The International Competition Network (ICN), which is a global body dedicated to enforcing competition law, has a simpler definition. The three common components of a cartel are:
    • an agreement;
    • between competitors;
    • to restrict competition.
  • The agreement that forms a cartel need not be formal or written. Cartels almost invariably involve secrecy. 

How do cartels work?

According to ICN, four categories of conduct are commonly identified across jurisdictions (countries). These are:

  • price-fixing;
  • output restrictions;
  • market allocation and
  • bid-rigging

Overall, participants in hard-core cartels agree to insulate themselves from the rigours of a competitive marketplace, substituting cooperation for competition.

How do cartels hurt?

  • Directly hurt the consumers as cartel raises the price above the competitive level and reduces output.
    • In other words, by artificially holding back the supply or raising prices in a coordinated manner, companies either force some consumers out of the market by making the commodity (say, beer) more scarce or by earning profits that free competition would not have allowed.
  • Consumer’s helplessness and lack of power to bargain for better prices ensure transfer of wealth to the cartel operators.
  • Due to the explicit agreement of non-competition and profit guarantees among cartels, any incentive to improve one’s product is removed. Therefore, cartelisation undermines innovations and the overall economic efficiency

How to stop the spread of cartelisation?

  • Cartels are not easy to detect and identify. However, there has to be strong deterrence to those cartels that are found guilty. Typically, this takes the form of a monetary penalty that exceeds the gains amassed by the cartel.
  • The penalty has to be high enough so as to offset any gain realised by the cartel. 
  • Along with penalties, leniency has to be provided (like 100% relief for AB InBev) to firms in order to incentivise whistleblowers exposing cartels and their functions

Connecting the dots:


SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-1: Issues relating to Women and Children
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Mandatory Registration of Marriages

Context: Recently, Rajasthan amended the Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2009, which provides for mandatory registration of marriages, including child marriages.

What is the new amendment about?

  • The amendment provides that if the bride hasn’t completed 18 years of age and/or the groom hasn’t completed 21 years of age, then their parents or their guardians should register the marriage within 30 days.
  • It was alleged by opposition that it justifies child marriage for the state giving certificates to minor kids.
  • But the government argues that the bill doesn’t make the marriage legal and the District Collector can take action against them.
  • According to the National Family Health Survey-4 data collected in 2015-16, 16.2% of the girls aged 15 to 19 years were married before the age of 18 in the State, 

Many claim that registration of child marriages will encourage/legitimise child marriage. Is this true?

  • Registration of child marriages is not meant to legitimise them. Every minor still has the right to get his or her marriage annulled upon becoming major.
  • The government has contended that the amended provisions will only streamline the registration process, without changing the status of nuptial ties of minors.
  • The registration signals that marriage has taken place, secures a status for the girl especially the legal rights of the underage party
  • It may even help in prosecution of those solemnising child marriages and implement provisions relating to maintenance and residence of the girl whose marriage is invalidated later. 
  • Also, by a Supreme Court order in in Seema vs. Ashwini Kumar, 2006, all marriages including child marriages have to be registered, and this is not a new development. SC has stated that the reason for ‘registering’ a child marriage, or any marriage, is to ensure the rights of the bride. 
  • Supreme Court observed that even though registration itself could not be proof of a valid marriage as such, it would have great evidentiary value in the matters of custody of children, right of children born from the wedlock of the two persons whose marriage is registered and the age of parties to the marriage.
  • Therefore, registration does offer advantage to the girl as it secures her matrimonial rights making it possible for her to claim these rights in a court of law

Legality of Child Marriage in India

  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 is enacted for the prohibition of solemnisation of child marriages. 
  • A male who has not completed 21 years of age and a female who has not completed 18 years of age is a ‘child’ for the purpose of this Act.
  • Under the law, child marriages are not void, but only voidable at the instance of one of the parties, who may approach the court for nullifying the marriage within two years of attaining majority.

Conclusion

As a fallout of this controversy, Parliament ought to consider the Law Commission’s recommendation to amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, to make child marriages below 16 years void, and those solemnised when either party was between 16 and 18, voidable.

Connecting the dots:


(Sansad TV- Perspective)


Sep 20: Indianisation of Judiciaryhttps://youtu.be/umbLO0QH54Q 

POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Judiciary

Indianisation of Judiciary

Context: India has the oldest judiciary system in the world. Our legal and judicial history dates back to 5000 years. In fact no other judicial system has a more ancient and acclaimed pedigree like Bharat-Varsh. Chief Justice of India N V Ramana has called the Indianisation of the country’s legal system the need of the hour. According to him it is crucial to make the justice delivery system more accessible and effective. 

What does he mean by Indianisation of the country’s legal system?

Courts need to be litigant-centric while simplification of justice delivery should be the pressing concern. Very often our justice delivery poses many barriers for the common people. The working and the style of courts do not sit well with the complexities of India. Our systems, practice, rules being colonial in origin, it may not be best suited to the needs of the Indian population.

The need of the hour is the ‘Indianisation’ of our legal system to make it more ‘litigant-centric’. 

  • Indianisation means the localization of the justice delivery system – the need to adapt to the practical realities of our society. 
  • Being litigant-centric means – as the common man is the ultimate beneficiary, and the focal point of any justice delivery system is “the litigant — the justice seeker”.

Earlier recommendations include that of – 

  • Malimath Committee Report (2000) on reforms in the Criminal Justice System of India (CJS): The Committee suggested that a Schedule to the Code be brought out in all regional languages so that the accused knows his/her rights, as well as how to enforce them and whom to approach when there is a denial of those rights.
  • Law Commission, 1958: The All India Judicial Services (AIJS) was first proposed by the 14th report of the Law Commission in 1958.

The common man should not be scared of courts

  • Colonial system of judiciary established more or less from the master-servant point of view and not from the public’s point of view.
  • Language is an issue: Parties from a rural place fighting a family dispute are usually made to feel out of place in the Court. They do not understand the arguments or pleadings which are mostly in English, a language alien to them. 
  • Lengthy Days: These days judgments have become lengthy, which further complicates the position of litigants. As of today, there are more than 4.5 crore cases pending in the judiciary.
  • More money: For the parties to understand the implications of a judgment, they are forced to spend more money. Even after spending money justice is not guaranteed.
  • State of Justice Delivery: The lack of timely judgement has led to erosion of trust. Justice delivery should be more transparent, accessible and effective. Procedural barriers often undermine access to justice.
  • Unapproachable courts and Judges: While approaching the Court, the common man should not feel scared of the Judges and courts. He should be able to speak the truth. It is the duty of lawyers and judges to create an environment which is comforting for the litigants and other stakeholders.
  • Unavailability of Judges: Currently India has only 19.78 judges per million people.
  • Representation of Women in Higher Judiciary is very Low: 
    • The first-ever woman judge (Justice Fatheema Beevi) in the Supreme Court (SC) was appointed in 1989, 39 years after the apex court came into existence. Since then, only 10 women have become judges in the apex court.
    • In High Courts, women judges account for only 11%.
    • In five HCs (Patna, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Uttarakhand high courts), no woman served as a judge.

The Way Forward

  • Simplification and Localisation of the Rules: The executive has to match these efforts by way of simplifying the corresponding rules. Most importantly, the executive and the legislature should function in unison in realising the Constitutional aspirations. It is only in this situation that the judiciary will not be compelled to step in as a lawmaker and only be left with the duty of applying and interpreting the laws. There is a need to dispel the notion that it the court’s responsibility to make the law.
  • Enable People to Decode Justice System: There is a need to strengthen the legal outreach programmes along with improving the judicial infrastructure. The top court has decided to launch a country-wide legal awareness mission in the coming week. Lack of proper infrastructure and funds curtail the activities of legal services institutions, reducing the number of beneficiaries.
  • Alternate dispute mechanisms like mediation and conciliation would go a long way in reducing pendency, unnecessary litigation and save resources. The notion that ordinary people want black robed judges, well-dressed lawyers in fine courtrooms as settings to resolve their disputes is incorrect. People with problems, like people with pains, want relief and they want it as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

(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.

Q.1 Marib city, recently seen in news, is located in Which of the following countries? 

  1. Syria
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Russia
  4. Yemen 

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding XENON1T experiment:

  1. The XENON1T experiment is the world’s most sensitive dark matter experiment.
  2. It was operated deep underground at the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy.

Select the correct statements:

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

Q.3 In which part of the Indian Constitution, the Fundamental Rights are provided?

  1. Part II
  2. Part III
  3. Part V
  4. Part IV

ANSWERS FOR 27th Sept 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 B
3 B

Must Read

On QUAD:

The Hindu

On PM KUSUM:

The Hindu

On Dysfunctional Parliament:

Hindustan Times

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