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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th July 2022

  • IASbaba
  • July 6, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Environment Protection Act (EPA)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment
  • Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

In News: The Environment Ministry proposes to soften the provisions of punishment for the violations of Environment Protection Act (EPA)

  • It proposes to replace a clause that provides for imprisoning violators with one that only requires them to pay a fine.
  • This does not apply to violations that cause grave injury or loss of life.
  • The proposed fines, in lieu of imprisonment, are also 5-500 times greater than those currently levied.

Existing Provisions

  • The Act currently says that violators will be punishable with imprisonment up to five years or with a fine up to ₹1 lakh, or with both.
  • Were violations to continue, an additional fine of up to ₹5,000 for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction would be levied.
  • There’s also a provision for jail terms to extend to seven years.

The two major changes proposed are

  • Appointing an “adjudication officer” who would decide on a penalty in cases of environmental violations
  • In case of serious violations which lead to grievous injury or loss of life, they shall be covered under the provision of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • The amendments also propose the creation of an “Environmental Protection Fund’’ in which the amount of penalty will be remitted

Reasons for proposed amendments

  • An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment found that Indian courts took between 9-33 years to clear a backlog of cases for environmental violations.
  • Beginning 2018, close to 45,000 cases were pending trial and another 35,000 cases were added in that year.
  • Ministry stated that the rationale governing the amendments is that it had received suggestions to decriminalise existing provisions of the EPA to weed out fear of imprisonment for simple violations.

The Environment (Protection) Act (EPA)

  • EPA was enacted in 1986 with the objective of providing the protection and improvement of the environment.
  • The Central government is also empowered to:
  • Plan and execute a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.
  • Lay down standards for the quality of environment in its various aspects.
  • Lay down standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources.
  • The restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall/ shall not be carried out subject to certain safeguards.
  • The Central Government may appoint officers under this Act for various purposes and entrust them with the corresponding powers and functions.
  • The central government as per the Act has the power to direct:
  • The closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process
  • The stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service
  • Restriction on Pollutant Discharge: No individual or organisation shall discharge/emit or permit to discharge/emit any environmental pollutant in excess of the prescribed standards.
  • Compliance with Procedural Safeguards: No individual shall handle or shall be caused to handle any hazardous substance except in accordance with the procedure and without complying with the safeguards, as prescribed.
  • Powers of Entry and Inspection: Any person empowered by the Central Government shall have a right to enter (with the assistance deemed necessary) at any place:
  • Establishment of Environmental Laboratories: The Central Government, as per the Act, is entitled to recognize any laboratory or institute as environmental laboratories to carry out the functions entrusted to such a laboratory.
  • Penalties for Offences: Non-compliance or Contravention to any of the provisions of the Act is considered as an offence.
  • Any offences under the EPA are punishable with the imprisonment of upto five years or a fine upto one lakh rupees or both.
  • Cognizance of offences: No Court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act except on a complaint made by:
  • The Central Government or any authority on behalf of the former

Source: The Hindu

Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following has been constituted under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986? (2022)

  1. Central Water Commission
  2. Central Ground Water Board
  3. Central Ground Water Authority
  4. National Water Development Agency

State Ranking Index for NFSA

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution released the 1st edition of ‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’ during the conference of Food Ministers of States/UTs on ‘Food Nutrition and Security in India’

  • The State ranking Index for NFSA attempts to document the status and progress of implementation of NFSA and various reform initiatives across the country, post consultation with states.
  • It highlights the reforms undertaken by States and UTs and create a cross-learning environment and scale-up reform measures by all states and union territories.
  • The Index is built on three key pillars which covers the end-to-end implementation of NFSA through TPDS. These pillars are:
  • NFSA— Coverage, targeting and provisions of the Act,
  • Delivery platform, and
  • Nutrition initiatives.
  • Odisha topped the index, it is followed by Uttar Pradesh at the 2nd spot and Andhra Pradesh at 3rd amongst the General Category States.
  • Among the Special Category states/UTs, Tripura stood first followed by Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim respectively.
  • Among the 3 UTs where Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) – Cash is operational, Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman and Diu is the top ranked UT.

Sowing of Rice

  • In the conference the Centre has asked the States to increase the sowing of paddy in the wake of reports that there is a decrease in its sowing.
  • The Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution said the international demand for both rice and wheat has increased and asked the States to increase the sowing of paddy in this kharif season.
  • The Centre’s data says that paddy has been sown on 43.45 lakh hectares till July 1, which is 05% less than last year’s sowing of 59.56 lakh hectares during the same period of 2021.
  • Minister also stated the States should increase the sowing as wheat’s demand has increased globally.

Source: Pib.Gov

Downtoearth.org


Appointment of Judges

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity & Governance – Judiciary)

In News: Pointing out that the problem of pendency of cases is “intensifying” due to lack of sufficient number of judges, Chief Justice of India again points out the delay in appointment of judges

Pendency of cases in India

  • Reasons for this include growth of the Indian economy, population, rising awareness about rights etc.
  • In the absence of infrastructure and sufficient number of judges commensurate with the increasing workload, the problem is intensifying.
  • Thus there is a need for transforming and upgrading the judicial infrastructure in India, as well as filling up judicial vacancies and augmenting the strength.

Appointment of HC Judges:

  • Article 217 of the Constitution: It states that the Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI), the Governor of the State.
  • In the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court is consulted.
  • Consultation Process: High Court judges are recommended by a Collegium
  • The proposal, however, is initiated by the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned in consultation with two senior-most colleagues.
  • The recommendation is sent to the Chief Minister, who advises the Governor to send the proposal to the Union Law Minister.
  • The Chief Justice of the High Court is appointed as per the policy of having Chief Justices from outside the respective States.
  • The Collegium takes the call on the elevation.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. The motion to impeach a Judge of the Supreme Court of India cannot be rejected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha as per the Judges (Inquiry) Act 1968.
  2. The Constitution of India defines and gives details or what constitutes ‘incapacity and proved misbehaviour’ of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
  3. The details of the process of impeachment of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India are given in 4 the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968.
  4. If the motion for the impeachment of a Judge is taken up for voting, the law requires the motion to be backed by each House of the Parliament and supported by a majority of total membership of that House and by not less than two-thirds of total members of that House present and voting.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Banni grasslands

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment
  • Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

In News: Gujarat plans on restoring at least 76,000 hectares of this 2,497 sq km grassland which is a high-biodiversity area.

Banni grasslands of Gujarat

  • The grasslands of Gujarat constitute about 4.33 per cent (8,490 sq km) of the total geographical area, distributed in eight districts and three different climatic regions — Kutch, Saurashtra and central Gujarat.
  • A majority of grasslands in Gujarat (41 per cent) are found in the Kutch district.
  • Banni grassland was declared a Protected Forest in 1955, under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  • Besides having 40 species of grass and 99 species of flowering plants, Banni is also home to the Indian wolf, jackal, Indian fox, desert fox, desert cat, caracal, hyena, chinkara, Nilgai, wild boar, Indian hare and common monitor lizard
  • Banni also has 273 bird species and in years of good rainfall, is home to thousands of migratory birds.

Threats

  • The landscape of Banni has shown drastic changes with the deterioration of the grassland taking place due to heavy uncontrolled grazing, widespread ingress of Prosopis Juliflora (a harmful exotic tree species), dams constructed on rivers flowing towards Banni, periodic occurrence of droughts and continuous increase in soil salinity.

Invasion of alien species

  • It was found that in the year 1989, the area was dominated with grasslands covering 54.57% of the area followed by saline areas devoid of vegetation covering 27.30 per cent and Prosopis Juliflora, an alien invasive species, covering only 15.72 per cent of the area.
  • Today Prosopis Juliflora dominant area has increased encroached to more than 30 per cent.

Restoration project

  • The mainstay of the restoration project is the removal of this alien species, which incidentally was introduced to the area by the forest department in the 1960s to stop the ingress of the salt flats.
  • With a huge 20-lakh livestock population that depends on the grassland, the second part of the project envisions the production and storing of fodder for local farming and pastoral communities that live here.

Source: Indian Express


Nairobi flies

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: Around 100 students in Sikkim have reported skin infections after coming in contact with Nairobi flies.

  • The population of Nairobi flies, a species of insect native to East Africa, is growing at a fast pace in Sikkim.

What are Nairobi flies?

  • Nairobi flies, also called Kenyan flies or dragon bugs, are small, beetle-like insects that belong to two species, Paederus eximius and Paederus sabaeus.
  • They are orange and black in colour, and thrive in areas with high rainfall, as has been witnessed in Sikkim in the past few weeks.
  • Like most insects, the beetles are attracted by bright light.

How are humans affected by them?

  • Usually, the insects attack pests that consume crops and are beneficial for humans — but at times, they come in contact with humans directly are cause harm.
  • These flies do not bite, but if disturbed while sitting on anyone’s skin, they release a potent acidic substance that causes burns.
  • This substance is called pederin, and can cause irritation if it comes in contact with the skin, leading to lesions or unusual marks or colouring on the skin.
  • The skin begins to heal in a week or two, but some secondary infections can occur, especially if the victim scratches the irritated skin.

Have there been outbreaks of the disease?

  • Major outbreaks have happened in Kenya and other parts of eastern Africa. In 1998, unusually heavy rain caused a large number of insects to come into the region.
  • Outside Africa, outbreaks have happened in India, Japan, Israel, and Paraguay in the past.

Source: Indian Express


Karakalpakstan

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography (Places in News)

In News: Protests in Uzbekistan’s autonomous province of Karakalpakstan

  • The protests had broken out in response to the government’s plan to restrict the region’s long-held autonomy.
  • Thousands took to the streets of the region’s capital, Nukus.

Who are the Karakalpaks?

  • The name Karakalpakstan is derived from the Karakalpak people, an ethnic minority group of around 2 million.
  • Karakalpak translates to ‘black hat’, referring to their traditional headgear.
  • The Karakalpaks consider themselves to be a distinct cultural group in Uzbekistan.
  • Their Turkic language – Karakalpak – is closely related to Kazak.
  • Their separate language is a crucial aspect of their cultural identity.
  • In their genealogical narrative, the Karakalpaks claim to share a common point of origin with the neighbouring Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Turkmen, but believe that over time they diverged from the others.
  • This narrative marks the Karakalpaks as culturally separate from their neighbouring groups

What is the region’s history?

  • The Karakalpak people settled around the Amu Darya (a river that feeds into the Aral Sea) in the 18th century.
  • By 1873, they partly came under Russian rule and by 1920 were completely incorporated into the Soviet Union.
  • Their region, Karakalpakstan, was an autonomous area within the USSR, before it was made a part of Uzbekistan as the Karakalpak Autonomous Socialist Republic (ASSR) in 1936.
  • After the fall of USSR Karakalpakstan was formally recognized as an autonomous republic in Uzbekistan’s constitution of 1992, and has the right to secede from on the basis of a nation-wide referendum.

What triggered the recent protests?

  • Violent protests broke out in the impoverished Karakalpakstan after President of Uzbekistan published a draft amendment to the Uzbek constitution on June 27, which removed the region’s right to secede Uzbekistan by a referendum.

How has the government reacted?

  • With violent protest, government dropped the plans to curtail Karakalpakstan’s right to secede.

Why do the Karakalpaks feel neglected?

  • An environmental crisis, and the health and economic troubles it brought in its wake, has made Karakalpakstan an impoverished region and invoked a sense of neglect among the Karakalpak people.

Issues

  • Karakalpakstan was one of the most fertile provinces in Uzbekistan, due to its location next to the Aral Sea
  • However, Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking and reducing the arable land in the province.
  • In the 1960s, the Soviet government began to divert water from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers that feed into the sea, and used it to irrigate the water-intensive cotton crop of the desert region.
  • With the Aral Sea becoming increasingly drained of its water, the salt and mineral content began to drastically rise, making the water unfit to drink and killing off the fish in the lake.
  • As a result, fishing industries and communities that relied on the sea collapsed.
  • It was accompanied by significant desertification of the region and Karakalpakstan, which primarily relies on agriculture and animal husbandry, has subsequently become Uzbekistan’s most impoverished region.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2016)

Community sometimes of mentioned in the news: In the affairs

  1. Kurd : Bangladesh
  2. Madhesi : Nepal
  3. Rohingya : Myanmar

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

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

Foreign Portfolio Investors

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Syllabus:

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

In News: Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have been on a selling spree in India.

  • June 2022 witnessed the worst sell-off at ₹50,000 crore.
  • Their selling actions have triggered a significant decline in benchmark indices, resulting in a drop in market capitalisation of companies.

What are FPIs?

  • Foreign portfolio investors are those that invest funds in markets outside of their home
  • Their investments typically include equities, bonds and mutual funds.
  • They are generally not active shareholders and do not exert any control over the companies whose shares they hold.
  • The passive nature of their investment also allows them to enter or exit a stock at will and with ease.
  • Promise of attractive returns on the back of economic growth draws investors including FPIs into a country’s markets.
  • As per data from the National Securities Depositories Ltd. (NDSL), FPIs brought in about ₹3,682 crore in 2002.
  • The year 2017 saw FPI inflows exceed ₹2 lakh crore.
  • Likewise, FPIs withdrew ₹1.18 lakh crore in March 2020 alone — the month when India announced a nationwide lockdown.
  • FPIs also show keenness to invest in bonds when there is a favourable differential between the real interest rates on offer in the country they aim to invest in, and other markets, but more specifically, compared with the largest economy in the world, the U.S.

Why have FPIs been selling India holdings?

  • FPIs sold assets worth about ₹50,000 crore in June 2022.
  • This is the second highest sell-off in a month since 1993, after March 2020.
  • Post-pandemic, recovery in the Indian economy has been uneven.
  • The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 devastated lives and livelihoods.
  • As the industry was grappling with this challenge, came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Sunflower and wheat supplies from these two nations were impacted, leading to a rise in global prices for these crops.
  • As supplies in general tightened across the globe, commodity prices too rose and overall inflation accelerated.
  • Industrial production has seen a bumpy without giving confidence of a full and final recovery from the pandemic.
  • Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slid to 53.9 in June — the lowest level in nine months — from 54.6 in the previous month.
  • With each of these factors contributing to a decline in confidence of robust economic performance, FPIs have been exiting market investments over these past months.
  • Adding to this is the S. Federal Reserve raising the benchmark interest rate.
  • When the differential between the interest rates in the U.S. and other markets narrow, and if such an occurrence is accompanied by the strengthening of the dollar, then the ability of investors to realise healthy returns is impacted.
  • For returns are measured not only by the value appreciation of assets but also by exchange rate changes.
  • If the dollar strengthens against the rupee, then an investor is able to realise fewer dollars for a given quantum of rupee assets liquidated.
  • They then tend to exit assets seen as ‘risky’ such as in emerging markets like India, Brazil or South Africa.
  • The rupee has been depreciating against the dollar, which has seen a general strengthening against several other currencies.

What impact does an FPI sell-off have?

  • When FPIs sell their holdings and repatriate funds back to their home markets, the local currency takes a beating.
  • After all, they sell rupees in exchange for their home market currency.
  • As supply of the rupee in the market rises, its value declines.
  • In this instance, the rupee has been seeing all-time lows recently.
  • With a weaker rupee, the country has to shell out more funds to import the same unit of goods.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to Foreign Direct Investment in India, which one of the following is considered its major characteristic? (2020)

  1. It is the investment through capital instruments essentially in a listed company.
  2. It is a largely non-debt creating capital flow.
  3. It is the investment which involves debt-servicing.
  4. It is the investment made by foreign institutional investors in the Government securities

Handcuffing

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity & Governance)

In News: Recently, the Karnataka High Court passed a verdict on handcuffing, which is significant.

  • In Suprit Ishwar Divate vs. The State of Karnataka, while awarding two lakh rupees as compensation for handcuffing an accused, without recording the reasons in the police case diary, it gave liberty to the state to recover the amount from the delinquent police officer.

Principles of handcuffing

  • The High Court held that an accused, in normal circumstances, need not be handcuffed on arrest.
  • It is only under exceptional circumstances that handcuffing an accused can be resorted to.
  • Further, when there is such handcuffing, the arresting officer must record the reasons, which then would have to stand judicial/court scrutiny.
  • There can be three occasions when a person can be (legally) handcuffed, i.e.,
  • an accused on his arrest and before he is produced before the magistrate;
  • an under-trial prisoner during transit from jail to the court and back;
  • and a convict being transported from jail to the court and back.
  • The law with regard to handcuffing was settled in 1980 when the Supreme Court of India, in Prem Shankar Shukla vs Delhi Administration, held that the only circumstance which validates incapacitation by irons is that otherwise there is no other reasonable way of preventing his escape.
  • It said that where an arrestee or a convict can be prevented from escape by increasing security, such an increase is to be a norm rather than handcuffing.

On compensation

  • The Court mandated that in case of handcuffing, the reasons for this have to be recorded in writing and it is the duty of the court to make inquiries with the person arrested as to whether he had been handcuffed or not and then approve or reject the reasons.
  • Thus, irrespective of whether the person to be handcuffed is an accused or an under-trial prisoner or a convict, the principles governing handcuffing remain the same.
  • However, if such a person is under the judicial custody of the court, the court’s permission is required for handcuffing except under emergent circumstances.

Who should pay compensation?

  • In State of Maharashtra vs Ravikant S. Patil (1991), Bombay High Court held the Inspector of Police responsible for violation of Article 21, ordering him to pay ₹10,000 as compensation.
  • However, the Supreme Court held that the police officer was not personally liable as he had acted in his official capacity.
  • The top court modified the order and directed the state to pay the compensation.
  • Therefore, the judgment of the Karnataka High Court as far as payment of compensation by the police officer is concerned, does not appear to be in sync with the Supreme Court judgment.

Solutions

  • If any malice is found behind the use of handcuffs, it needs to be dealt with strongly by the department.
  • There cannot be a justifiable excuse for not mentioning the reasons for handcuffing in the case diary.
  • The Supreme Court, in the Ravikant S. Patil (supra) case, had rightly said that the authorities concerned may, if they think it necessary, hold an inquiry and then decide on action against the police inspector.
  • Therefore, the right approach would be to initiate disciplinary action against the errant officer under service conduct rules, rather than to order the payment of compensation.
  • It would also be appropriate for State governments to review the mobility of the police, the requirement of additional manpower and technical gadgets periodically.

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer –  DHFL SCAM

DHFL SCAM

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Economy and associated challenges
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Context: The CBI has booked former CMD Kapil Wadhawan and director Dheeraj Wadhawan of Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) in one of the biggest banking fraud in India.

  • Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) is a non-banking financial company (NBFC) and a total of 13 accused have been arrested for defrauding a consortium of 17 banks of Rs 34,615 crore.

Read Complete Details on DHFL SCAM


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. Under Environment Protection Act, 1986 Central government lay down standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources
  2. Central Government has the power to closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process under EPA.

Choose the incorrect statements:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about Banni Grasslands

  1. These grasslands are found in the state of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  2. Banni grassland is declared a Protected Forest under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  3. Prosopis Juliflora an alien invasive species has spread through Banni grassland

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.3) Karakalpakstan, recently seen in news is located in?

  1. Uzbekistan
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Iran
  4. Ethiopia

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’6th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 4th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – d

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