fbpx

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

  • IASbaba
  • December 28, 2021
  • 0
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Counter Terrorism Committee of UNSC

Part of: Prelims and GS-II -International relations

Context India will chair the Counter-Terrorism Committee of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in January 2022 after 10 years.

Key takeaways 

  • The Counter-Terrorism Committee was established by Security Council resolution 1373 adopted unanimously on 28 September 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
  • The Committee was tasked with monitoring implementation of resolution 1373 which requested countries to implement a number of measures aimed at enhancing their legal and institutional ability to counter terrorist activities at home and around the world.  
  • This includes:
    • taking steps to criminalize the financing of terrorism
    • freezing any funds related to persons involved in acts of terrorism
    • deny all forms of financial support for terrorist groups
    • suppress the provision of safe haven
    • sustenance or support for terrorists and share information with other governments on any groups practicing or planning terrorist acts.
  • Besides, the Committee monitors steps taken to cooperate with other governments in the investigation, detection, arrest, extradition and prosecution of those involved in terror acts and criminalizes active and passive assistance for terrorism.

Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)

Part of: Prelims and GS-II and III – Polity, law, fundamental rights, NGOs; Economy 

Context The Union Home Ministry said that it had refused to renew the FCRA registration of Missionaries of Charity (MoC), a Catholic religious congregation set up by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, as “some adverse inputs were noticed”. 

What is FCRA?

  • It is a law enacted by Parliament to regulate foreign contribution (especially monetary donation) provided by certain individuals or associations to NGOs and others within India.
  • FCRA Act was originally passed in 1976 and majorly modified in 2010.
  • The government has used the act over the years to freeze bank accounts of certain NGOs who it found were affecting India’s national interest for wrong purposes.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs

Do you know?

  • As per the FCRA Act 2010, all NGOs are required to be registered under the Act to receive foreign funding.
  • According to terms stipulated in the FCRA, an organisation cannot receive foreign funding unless it is registered under the 2010 Act, except when it gets government approval for a specific project.
  • Under the FCRA Act, registered NGOs can receive foreign contribution for five purposes — social, educational, religious, economic and cultural.

Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV)

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Conservation; Economy

Context  Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways advised the Automobile Manufacturers in India to start manufacturing Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) and Flex Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEV) complying with BS-6 Norms in a time bound manner within a period of six months.

Key takeaways 

  • In line with the government’s policy on promoting ethanol as a transport fuel, Flex Fuel Vehicles are capable of running on a combination of 100% Petrol or 100% bio-ethanol and their blends, along with strong Hybrid Electric technology in case of FFV-SHEVs.
  • Significance: This move will drastically reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions from vehicles, helping India to comply with its commitment made at COP26 to reduce the total projected carbon emissions by One Billion Tonnes by 2030.
  • In order to accelerate the introduction of Flex Fuel vehicles, the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has included automobile & auto components and auto components of flex fuel engines.

What are flex-fuel engines?

  • A ‘flex-fuel engine’ is an internal combustion engine that can run on more than one type of fuel and also a mixture.
  • Typically, a blend of petrol and ethanol or methanol is used, and the engine is capable of automatically adjusting for any ratio. 
  • Flex-fuel engines are capable of running on 100 percent petrol or ethanol and are already available in countries such as Brazil, USA and Canada.

World’s oldest family tree created using DNA

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Sci and tech

Context Recently, scientists have compiled the world’s oldest family tree from human bones interred at a 5,700-year-old tomb in the Cotswolds, UK.

  • The Neolithic tomb, or “cairn”, at Hazleton North in Gloucestershire has two L-shaped chambers, one facing north and the other south.

Key takeaways 

  • The tomb dates to an important period just after farming was introduced to Britain by people.
  • Analysis of DNA from the tomb’s occupants revealed the people buried there were from five continuous generations of one extended family.
  • Most of those found in the tomb were descended from four women who all had children with the same man.
  • The first-generation women probably held a socially significant place in the memories of this community. 
  • While the tomb reveals evidence of polygyny – men having children with multiple women – it also shows that polyandry was also widespread (women having children with multiple men).
  • Significance: The work will help researchers understand family dynamics among these Stone Age people and learn more about their culture.

(News from PIB)


State Health Index

Part of: Prelims

Context: NITI Aayog Releases Fourth Edition of State Health Index 

The report, titled “Healthy States, Progressive India”, ranks states and Union Territories on their year-on-year incremental performance in health outcomes as well as their overall status. 

  • Objective through this index is to not just look at the states’ historical performance but also their incremental performance. 
  • The index encourages healthy competition and cross-learning among States and UTs.
  • The reports aim to nudge states/UTs towards building robust health systems and improving service delivery.

Round IV of the report focuses on measuring and highlighting the overall performance and incremental improvement of states and UTs over the period 2018–19 to 2019–20.

  • The State Health Index is annual tool to assess the performance of states and UTs. 
  • It is a weighted composite index based on 24 indicators grouped under the domains of ‘Health Outcomes’, ‘Governance and Information’, and ‘Key Inputs/Processes’. 
  • Each domain has been assigned weights based on its importance with higher score for outcome indicators.
  • To ensure comparison among similar entities, the ranking is categorized as ‘Larger States’, ‘Smaller States’ and ‘Union Territories’.

Results:

  • Among the ‘Larger States’, in terms of annual incremental performance, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Telangana are the top three ranking states.
  • Among ‘Smaller States’, Mizoram and Meghalaya registered the maximum annual incremental progress.
  • Among UTs, Delhi, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, showed the best incremental performance.

News Source: PIB


Year End Review-2021: Ministry of Women and Child Development

Part of: Prelims

  • Bill on prohibition of Child Marriage (amendment) Act, 2021 introduced in lok sabha for raising the age of marriage of women from 18 to 21 years
  • Sex ratio at birth (srb) improved by 19 points at national level, from 918 in 2014-15 to 937 in 2020-21
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: The scheme is being implemented across India and covering 640 districts (as per Census 2011) across the country.
  • POSHAN Tracker: To promote the nutritional status of women and children, a transparent and enabling environment is being created that nurtures health, wellness and immunity. Poshan Tracker application has been built on latest technology for ensuring real-time monitoring of supplementary nutrition and providing information for prompt supervision and management of services.  
  • Over 2 crore beneficiaries benefitted under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana scheme for pregnant women and lactating mothers. The Scheme envisages providing cash incentive amounting to INR 5,000/- in three installments directly to the Bank/Post Office Account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother (PW&LM) in DBT Mode during pregnancy and lactation. It is a measure for women empowerment through wage compensation and promotion of health seeking behavior.
  • Web portal for PM Cares For Children Scheme launched for registration and identification of beneficiaries to support children orphaned due to Covid pandemic
  • Over 54 lakh women provided assistance under One Stop Centre Scheme
  • Childline (1098) services started at bus stands in addition to railway stations
  • Decision to distribute 100% fortified rice to states/UTs under Supplementary Nutrition Programme to address malnutrition among women and children
  • Amendment In Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act to strengthen implementation and monitoring mechanism under the act. Among others, the JJ Amendment Act, 2021 empowers the District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to effectively coordinate and monitor the functions of the agencies responsible for implementation of JJ Act, 2015 and decides the cases of adoption under the provisions of the Act and also introduces eligibility conditions for appointment of the members of Child Welfare Committee.
  • Simplification of adoption procedure for children adopted under the Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act, 1956 by persons who desire to relocate the child abroad
  • Registered overseas citizens of India granted parity with non-resident Indians in the matter of adoption

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

RBL Bank stock crash

Context: Shares of private lender RBL Bank recently plunged as much as 23 per cent.

  • The trigger for this has been the Reserve Bank of India on Friday appointing Yogesh K Dayal, Chief General Manager, RBI, as an Additional Director on the board of the bank for a period of two years till December 23, 2023 or till further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • This was followed by the lender’s MD and CEO Vishwavir Ahuja going on leave six months ahead of the end of his tenure. 
  • The bank’s board has appointed Rajeev Ahuja, currently the Executive Director, as interim MD & CEO of the bank with immediate effect.

What’s the issue?

  • The RBI has appointed an additional director on the bank’s board using powers under Section 36 AB of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. 
    • This Section states that “if RBI is of opinion that in the interest of banking policy or in the public interest or in the interests of the banking company or its depositors it is necessary so to do, it may, from time to time by order in writing, appoint one or more persons to hold office as additional directors of the banking company.”
  • The banking regulator appointing directors using this provision is perceived as negative by the markets and stakeholders as its points towards concerns and issues that could affect the depositors safety and possibly the lender’s solvency. 
  • The other way to look at it would be that the regulator is being proactive in preventing any possible issues that may arise in the functioning of the bank.

What has been the reaction by stakeholders?

  • While the bank’s new head Rajeev Ahuja claimed that the bank and its management have the full support of the RBI, bank unions expressed concerns. 
  • In the background of the problems encountered by private Banks like Yes Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank last year, bank Union has urged upon RBI to immediately intervene in the matter in the interest of the depositors and consider necessary steps including merger of this bank with a public sector bank. 

How are the bank’s financials?

  • The operating profit of the bank has been increasing in the recent years, but the bulk of these earned profits have been adjusted towards provision for bad loans and with the result the net profit has remained very meagre
  • The bank had a deposit base of Rs 75,588 crore in the quarter ended September 2021 and advances of Rs 58,046 crore. 
  • The bank’s gross non-performing assets rose to Rs 3,130.93 crore or 5.4 per cent of gross advances as on September 30, 2021 from 3.34 per cent a year ago.
  • RBL Bank said the financials of the bank remain robust with healthy capital adequacy of 16.3 per cent, high levels of liquidity as reflected through liquidity coverage ratio of 155 per cent, stable net NPA of 2.14 per cent and leverage ratio of 10.0 per cent, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021. 
  • The bank’s net profit fell to Rs 31 crore in the quarter ended September 2021 from Rs 144 crore a year ago largely due to a 5 per cent shrinkage in retail loans and also hit by a reversal in interest income from segments like microfinance. 
  • The RBI had imposed a fine of Rs 2 crore on RBL Bank for flouting board composition norms and rules related to the opening of bank accounts earlier this year.

Connecting the dots:


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Fundamental Rights
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

Right to be Forgotten

Context: Recently, the Centre told the Delhi High Court that the “right to be forgotten” is part of the fundamental right to privacy, but added it has no significant role to play in the matter. 

  • Petitions across courts have been seeking enforcement of this “right” — a legal principle that is not yet backed by statute in India.

What is the right to be forgotten?

  • It allows a person to seek deletion of private information from the Internet
  • The concept has found recognition in some jurisdictions abroad, particularly the European Union. 
  • While the right is not recognised by law in India, courts in recent months have held it to be an intrinsic part of the right to privacy
  • At least eight petitions are pending before Delhi High Court seeking removal of private information from the Internet, court records of previous convictions and proceedings, and news reports of past events. Only a few have been able to get that relief from courts so far.

Which countries have such laws?

  • The EU in 2018 adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Article 17 of which provides for the right to erasure of certain categories of personal data — 
    • that which is considered no longer necessary
    • that for which consent has been withdrawn or processing of which has been objected to, 
    • personal data unlawfully processed, 
    • data where there is a legal obligation for erasure. 
  • However, the regulations limit the right to erasure in certain circumstances, including 
    • for reasons of public interest in the area of public health
    • for archiving purposes “in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance” 
    • for “establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.”
  • Russia in 2015 enacted a law that allows users to force a search engine to remove links to personal information on grounds of irrelevancy, inaccuracy and violation of law. 
  • The right to be forgotten is also recognised to some extent in Turkey and Siberia, while courts in Spain and England have ruled on the subject.

What is the position in India?

  • In a brief reply in one of the petitions earlier this week, the Centre told the Delhi High Court that the right to privacy has been recognised as a fundamental right in the K S Puttaswamy judgment (2017) and that the ‘right to be forgotten’ is evolving in India. 
  • The government said the Personal Data Protection Bill (a Joint Parliamentary Committee’s report on which was tabled on December 16), contains provisions to the doctrine of the ‘right to be forgotten’.

How have courts ruled on this?

  • In May 2019, Justice Pratibha M Singh of the Delhi High Court, dealing with a civil suit seeking removal of certain news reports on MeToo allegations against the managing director of a media house, said the “right to be forgotten” and “right to be left alone” are inherent aspects of the right to privacy, and restrained republication of these news reports.
  • In January 2017, the Karnataka High Court ordered its registry to ensure that any Internet search engine does not reflect a woman’s name in an order passed in 2015. 
  • In November 2020, the Orissa High Court, ruling in a case relating to videos uploaded on Facebook by a rape accused, opined that “allowing such objectionable photos and videos to remain on a social media platform, without the consent of a woman, is a direct affront on a woman’s modesty and, more importantly, her right to privacy”. It did not, however, pass an order on removal of the videos.

What are the ongoing cases in the Delhi High Court about?

  • Some of the petitioners have sought removal of orders in cases in which they have been acquitted or already served their sentences. 
  • There is also an actor’s plea for removal of videos, photos and articles related to a drink driving incident. In August, the court in August had allowed an actor’s plea for removal of explicit videos from YouTube and other platforms.
  • Lawyers for the petitioners acknowledge that in the absence of statutory backing, the relief being sought is likely to clash with the public’s right to know and the functioning of online platforms such as Google and Twitter.

Connecting the dots:


(Sansad TV: Perspective)


Dec 24: All India Judicial Service – https://youtu.be/fcEnpj7hvqI 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2: Judiciary
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

All India Judicial Service

Context: All India Judicial Service is a proposal to centralise the recruitment of judges at the level of additional district judges and district judges for all states. In the same way that the Union Public Service Commission conducts a central recruitment process and assigns successful candidates to cadres, the All India Judicial Service seeks to establish a national-level recruitment process for lower judiciary. 

  • To improve India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, as efficient dispute resolution is one of the key indices in determining the rank.
  • AIJS is considered by the government as a step in the direction of ensuring an efficient lower judiciary.
  • The government has countered the opposition by states, saying that if a central mechanism can work for administrative services — IAS officers learn the language required for their cadre — it can work for judicial services too.

Status of the Proposal

Amid reports of the Centre renewing attempts to build consensus with state governments and High Courts on setting of the All India Judicial Service, the government informed Parliament during its just concluded Winter Session that only 2 states – Haryana and Mizoram, and two high courts, Tripura High Court and Sikkim High Court, are in favour of creating the AIJS. 

  • Eight states- Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Punjab have opposed the idea
  • Five states have sought changes in the government’s proposal
  • 13 states did not respond. 

What is the opposition to the AIJS?

  • A centralised recruitment process is seen as an affront to federalism and an encroachment on the powers of states granted by the Constitution. This is the main contention of several states, which have also argued that central recruitment would not be able to address the unique concerns that individual states may have.
  • Language and representation are key concerns highlighted by states. Judicial business is conducted in regional languages, which could be affected by central recruitment.
  • Reservations based on caste, and even for rural candidates or linguistic minorities in the state, might get diluted in a central test.
  • The opposition is also based on the constitutional concept of the separation of powers. A central test could give the executive a foot in the door for the appointment of district judges, and dilute the say that High Courts have in the process.
  • Additionally, legal experts have argued that the creation of AIJS will not address the structural issues plaguing the lower judiciary.
  • The issue of different scales of pay and remuneration has been addressed by the Supreme Court in the 1993 All India Judges Association case by bringing in uniformity across states.
  • Experts argue that increasing pay across the board and ensuring that a fraction of High Court judges are picked from the lower judiciary, may help better than a central exam to attract quality talent.

How are district judges currently recruited?

  • Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution of India deal with the appointment of district judges, and place it in the domain of the states.
  • The selection process is conducted by the State Public Service Commissions and the concerned High Court, since High Courts exercise jurisdiction over the subordinate judiciary in the state. Panels of High Court judges interview candidates after the exam and select them for appointment.
  • All judges of the lower judiciary up to the level of district judge are selected through the Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam. PCS(J) is commonly referred to as the judicial services exam.

Timelines of proposal for All India Judicial Service

  • The idea of a centralised judicial service was first mooted in the Law Commission’s 1958 ‘Report on Reforms on Judicial Administration’.
  • The idea was to ensure an efficient subordinate judiciary, to address structural issues such as varying pay and remuneration across states, to fill vacancies faster, and to ensure standard training across states.
  • A statutory or constitutional body such as the UPSC to conduct a standard, centralised exam to recruit and train judges was discussed.
  • The idea was proposed again in the Law Commission Report of 1978, which discussed delays and arrears of cases in the lower courts.
  • In 2006, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 15th Report backed the idea of a pan-Indian judicial service, and also prepared a draft Bill.
  • In 1992, the Supreme Court in All India Judges’ Assn. (1) v. Union of India directed the Centre to set up an AIJS. In a 1993 review of the judgment, however, the court left the Centre at liberty to take the initiative on the issue.
  • In 2017, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the issue of appointment of district judges, and mooted a “Central Selection Mechanism”.
  • Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who was appointed amicus curiae by the court, recommended conducting a common examination instead of separate state exams. Based on the merit list, High Courts would then hold interviews and appoint judges.

Can you answer the following question?

  1. Will All India Judicial Service strengthen the overall justice delivery system? Examine.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Counter Terrorism Committee of UNSC:

  1. India will chair the Counter-Terrorism Committee of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in January 2022 after 10 years.
  2. The Counter-Terrorism Committee was established by Security Council resolution 1373 adopted unanimously on 28 September 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.2 Which of the following is incorrect about flex-fuel engines?

  1. It is an internal combustion engine that can run on more than one type of fuel and also a mixture.
  2. Typically, a blend of petrol and ethanol or methanol is used
  3. The engine is capable of automatically adjusting for any ratio. 
  4. Flex-fuel engines are still in the experimental stage and are not available in any country.

Q.3 Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) comes under which of the following Ministry?

  1. Ministry of External affairs
  2. Ministry of Home affairs
  3. Ministry of Finance
  4. Ministry of Commerce

ANSWERS FOR 28th Dec 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 D
3 B

Must Read

On setting of panel for AFSPA by Nagaland:  

The Hindu

On plastic waste:

The Hindu

On the prospects of Indo-Pak relations in 2022:

Indian Express

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....