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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 23rd September 2022

  • IASbaba
  • September 23, 2022
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India’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

In news: Recently, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to go ahead with the establishment of India’s first conservation reserve for the Dugong in Gulf of Manner, Palk Bay.

  • It facilitates India to act as the leading nation in the South Asia Sub-region with respect to dugong conservation.

About Dugongs:

  • Dugong (Dugong dugon) also called ‘Sea Cow’ is one of the four surviving species in the Order Sirenia and it is the only existing species of herbivorous mammal that lives exclusively in the sea including in India.
  • Dugongs are an important part of the marine ecosystem and their depletion will have effects all the way up the food chain.
  • Distribution and Habitat: They are found in over 30 countries and in India are seen in the Gulf of Manner, Gulf of Kutch, Palk Bay, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable
  • Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
  • CITES: Appendix I

Steps Taken for Conservation:

  • In February 2020, India hosted the 13th Conference of Parties (CoP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • The Government of India has been a signatory to the CMS since 1983.
  • India has signed non-legally binding Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted a ‘Task Force for Conservation of Dugongs’ to look into issues related to conservation of dugongs and implementation of the ‘UNEP/CMS Dugong MoU’ in India.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which of the following is not a bird? (2022)

  1. Golden Mahseer
  2. Indian Nightjar
  3. Spoonbill
  4. White Ibis

Q.2) Certain species of which one of the following organisms are well known as cultivators of

fungi? (2022)

  1. Ant
  2. Cockroach
  3. Crab
  4. Spider

Q.3) Consider the following animals    (2021)

  1. Hedgehog
  2. Marmot
  3. Pangolin

To reduce the chance of being captured by predators, which of the above organisms rolls up/roll up and protects/protect its/their vulnerable parts?

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

Radio Technology in Banking

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Indian Economy

In News: The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) develops a new low-cost financial network called LoRa (Long Range Radio) technology to take banking to remote areas. They are the first in the world to develop this network.

The Mechanics:

  • LoRa or Long-Range Radio technology is a wireless modulation technique which allows long-range communication using chirp spread spectrum.
  • It uses dedicated radios and limits interferences from other devices.
  • Presently, banks use a third-party network which based either on satellite link or wired (fibre)
  • Now, banks can use this technology as their own private network and send encrypted texts to conduct financial transactions.
  • Connectivity to remote areas begins from where the last branch of a bank stands in a remote village or hilly region.
  • A 30-mile connectivity for bank transactions can be achieved at a cost of ₹30,000 and the same is extendable.

Significance:

  • Last mile connectivity: it will be possible for people in remote hilly and forest areas without satellite signal to access banking services.
  • More secure: better safety from cyber attacks
  • Cheaper: estimated to be 20% cheaper than alternative network technologies
  • Easy recoverability and upgradation
  • Almost no maintenance & ensures portability of devices.

About IDRBT:

  • It is an engineering training institution exclusively focused on banking technology.
  • Established by the RBI in 1996, the institution works at the intersection of banking and technology.
  • Its foundations were laid by the Rangarajan Committee
  • It is located in Hyderabad, India.

Source: The Hindu              

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In which of the following areas can GPS technology be used? (2018)

  1. Mobile phone operations
  2. Banking operations
  3. Controlling the power grids

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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


Plastic pollution

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In news: A 3-year period MoU was signed between National Cadet Corps (NCC) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to tackle plastic pollution and achieve the universal goal of clean water bodies through ‘Puneet Sagar Abhiyan’ and ‘Tide Turners Plastic Challenge programme’.

Objective:

  • To consolidate, develop and detail cooperation of youth in achieving common objectives in the field of environment.
  • To engage in capacity building, information sharing and awareness on environmental sustainability through training initiatives.
  • To promote opportunities for NCC cadets to participate in national and international platforms.

About Puneet Sagar Abhiyan:

  • Launched by The NCC on December 1, 2021
  • It is a nationwide campaign to clean sea shores of plastic and other waste material and to raise awareness about the importance of cleanliness
  • It was started initially for one month and was subsequently extended as a pan-India round-the-year campaign
  • It covers rivers and other water bodies as well.
  • Achievements: Since the launch of ‘Puneet Sagar Abhiyan’, over 100 tonnes of plastic waste have been collected from nearly 1,900 locations by more than 12 lakh NCC cadets, impacting 1.5 crore people. Of the approximately 100 tonnes of collected plastic waste, more than 60 tonnes have been recycled.

About National Cadet Corps (NCC):                                             

  • It is the youth wing of the Indian Armed Forces as a Tri-Services Organisation, comprising the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force
  • Headquarters are in New Delhi, India.
  • It is open to school and college students on voluntary basis,
  • To develop the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens.
  • The emblem of the NCC consists of 3 colours; red, dark blue and light blue representing the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force respectively. The 17 lotuses indicate the 17 directories of India.

About United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

  • The UNEP is a leading global environmental authority established on 5th June 1972 in the aftermath of Stockholm Conference (Declaration on the Human Environment).
  • Functions: It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.
  • Major Reports: Emission Gap Report, Global Environment Outlook, Frontiers, Invest into Healthy Planet.
  • Major Campaigns: Beat Pollution, UN75, World Environment Day, Wild for Life.
  • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya.

The UNEP engages in developing global conventions on the environment and related issues. It hosts the secretariats of various conventions such as:

  • Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • Basel Convention- Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes
  • Stockholm Convention – on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • Rotterdam Convention – on Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade
  • Vienna Convention – Protection of the Ozone Layer
  • Montreal Protocol – on reducing substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
  • Convention on Migratory Species

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to an initiative called “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)” which of the following statements is/are correct? (2016)

  1. It is an initiative hosted by UNEP, IMF, and World Economic Forum.
  2. It is a global initiative that focuses on drawing attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity.
  3. It presents an approach that can help decision-makers recognize, demonstrate, and capture the value of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

Indian Olympic Association

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: The Supreme Court tasked former SC judge LN Rao with amending the Constitution of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), preparing the electoral college as well as conducting elections.

About Indian Olympic Association (IOA):

  • It is the body responsible for selecting athletes to represent India & managing the Indian teams at the Olympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and other international athletic meets.
  • It was founded in 1927 with Sir Dorabjee Tata and Dr. A.G. Noehren.
  • It is registered as a Non-Profit Organisation under the Societies Registration Act of 1860
  • It plays with the name of Team India & is an affiliated member of the International Olympic Committee.
  • Structure: A 32-member Executive Council, headed by President and assisted by different Standing Committees that includes subject-field experts for effective governance. The election for the Executive Council is held once in every 4 years.
  • Objective: to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in the country.

Source:  Indian Express      


Basel III Norms

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Indian Economy

In News: Fundraising via Basel III-compliant and infrastructure bonds seen continuing over next few months, say analysts.

What is the Basel Framework:

  • The Basel Framework are capital regulations developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) in response to the deficiencies in financial regulation revealed by the financial crisis of 2007–08.
  • Objective: To improve the banking sector’s ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, to reduce the risk of spill over from the financial sector to the real economy, to raise capital standard and to implement strong international compensation standards aimed at ending practices that lead to excessive risk-taking
  • They were first enforced in the G-10 countries in 1992.

Evolution:

Basel I

  • Adopted in 1999
  • It defined capital and structure of risk weights for banks and focussed on credit risk
  • Minimum capital requirement fixed at 8% of risk-weighted assets (RWA)

Basel II

  • Adopted in 2004
  • It defined three types of risk as – operational risk, market risk, capital risk
  • Its 3 pillars were as follows:     

 

About Basel III norms:

  • The new standards will come into effect on January 2023
  • Risk-based capital requirements (RWAs) and interest rate risk were introduced for the first time.
  • The new standards aim at increasing capital requirements, it introduces requirements on liquid asset holdings and funding stability
  • Key difference between the Basel II and Basel III: Basel III framework prescribes more of common equity, creation of capital buffer, introduction of Leverage Ratio, Introduction of Liquidity coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR).
  • Leverage Ratio: The leverage ratio is calculated by dividing Tier 1 capital by the bank’s average total consolidated assets. Banks are expected to maintain a leverage ratio in excess of 3% under Basel III
  • Liquidity Coverage Ratio: The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) denotes to highly liquid assets held by financial institutions to meet short-term obligations. The LCR is a requirement under Basel III for a bank to hold high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) sufficient to cover 100% of its stressed net cash requirements over 30 days. The LCR is calculated as: LCR = HQLAs / Net cash outflows.
  • Net stable funding (NSF): The net stable funding is to ensure that banks maintain a stable funding profile in relation to the composition of their assets and off-balance sheet activities.

About Basel III compliant Bonds:

  • The bonds qualify as tier II capital of the bank, and has a face value of Rs 10 lakh each, bearing a coupon rate of 6.24 per cent per annum payable annually for a tenor of 10 years.
  • There is a call option after 5 years and on anniversary thereafter.
  • Call option means the issuer of the bonds can call back the bonds before the maturity date by paying back the principal amount to investors.

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) ‘Basel III Accord’ or simply ‘Basel III’, often seen in the news, seeks to: (2015)

  1. develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
  2. improve banking sector’s ability to deal with financial and economic stress and improve risk management
  3. reduce the greenhouse gas emissions but places a heavier burden on developed countries
  4. transfer technology from developed countries to poor countries to enable them to replace the use of chlorofluorocarbons in refrigeration with harmless chemicals

Live streaming of Supreme Court proceedings

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Syllabus 

  • Prelims – Polity and Constitution
  • Mains: GS 2 Polity

In News: The Supreme Court decided to live stream its proceedings in crucial Constitution Bench cases. Following the SC’s decision, Gujarat High Court began live streaming its proceedings in July 2021.

  • Currently, the Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Patna High Courts live stream their proceedings.

Historical Reference:

  • In 2018, a three-judge Bench comprising then CJI agreed to hear a public interest litigation seeking live streaming of judicial proceedings on matters of constitutional and national importance citing the principle of open access to justice.

Methods of live streaming:

  • Synchronous: real-time live streaming
  • Asynchronous: uploading recordings after certain delay such as the next day

The Example of Gujarat HC:

  • The High Court of Gujarat implemented an in-house technical solution for live streaming of the Court Proceedings using computer systems, web cameras, digital audio interface and public address systems.
  • The Court is now equipped with microphones and speakers.
  • The live streaming is being done on the official YouTube Channel of the High Court which is now touching a subscriber base of 75000 and total cumulative views of 53 lacs.

Global Perspective:

  • Brazil: Allowed live video and audio broadcast including deliberations and voting process. A public television channel, a radio channel, and YouTube channels have been set up apart from broadcasting proceedings live.
  • South Africa: Allowed broadcasting as an extension of the right to freedom of expression
  • Canada: Proceedings are broadcast live on Cable accompanied by explanations of each case, overall processes, and powers of the court.
  • United Kingdom: Proceedings are broadcast live but coverage can be withdrawn in sensitive appeals.
  • USA: Supreme Court has rejected pleas for broadcast of its proceedings but allowed audio recording and transcripts of oral arguments.

Concerns:

  • Video clips of proceedings from Indian courts are already on YouTube and other social media platforms with sensational titles that creates fears of irresponsible or motivated use of content and spread of misinformation among the public.
  • Justices may behave like politicians when given free television time, they act to maximize their individual exposure (as per a 2018 paper by titled ‘Television and Judicial Behaviour in Brazilian Supreme Court)
  • Broadcast of proceedings corresponded with a growth in the frequency of filibustering.
  • A judge must not be swayed by popular opinion and public gaze.

Significance:

  • Help in addressing gendered disruptions in oral arguments, with women being interrupted at disproportionate rates by their male colleagues.
  • Help in improving transparency and greater access to justice system.
  • It will lead to de-congestion of courts and improving physical access to courts.
  • It is crucial for dissemination of information, free speech, and fundamental rights.

Way forward – AGI’s Recommendations:

  • Introduce live streaming as a pilot project and only in Constitution Bench cases.
  • The court must retain the power to withhold broadcasting, and to also not permit it in sensitive cases like matrimonial matters, juveniles matter and matters of national security.
  • Ensure that victims, witnesses, or defendants can depose truthfully and without any fear. Special protection must be given to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses such as face distortion.
  • Protect privacy and security of victims and witnesses such as relating to sexual assault or rape matters or in cases which may provoke sentiments and arouse passion and provoke enmity among communities.

Source: Indian Express               


Freeing the caged parrot

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Supreme Court of India (SC) has made several observation and comment against the inefficient functioning of the CBI and still this is continuing without much improving the situation.

  • In 2013, the SC once again made strong observations against the functioning of the CBI and referring to the “Vineet Narain” judgment, said that nothing had improved since 1997, when this judgment was delivered.
  • CBI, ED must be reformed if they are not to be used as instruments of intimidation, blackmail by governments.

What Challenges are Faced by the CBI?

  • Political Interference: The Supreme Court of India has criticised the CBI by calling it a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”, due to excessive political interference in its functioning.
  • Delayed Investigations: It has been accused of enormous delays in concluding investigations – For example, the inertia in its probe against the high dignitaries in Jain hawala diaries case [of the 1990s].
  • Loss of Credibility: Improving the image of the agency is one of the biggest challenges till now as the agency has been criticised for its mismanagement of several cases involving prominent politicians and mishandling of several sensitive cases like Bofors scandal, Hawala scandal, Sant Singh Chatwal case, Bhopal gas tragedy, 2008 Noida double murder case(Aarushi Talwar).
  • Lack of Accountability: CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act, thus, lacking public accountability.
  • Acute shortage of personnel: A major cause of the shortfall is the government’s sheer mismanagement of CBI’s workforce, through a system of inefficient, and inexplicably biased, recruitment policies – used to bring in favoured officers, possibly to the detriment of the organisation.
  • Limited Powers: The powers and jurisdiction of members of the CBI for investigation are subject to the consent of the State Govt., thus limiting the extent of investigation by CBI.
  • Restricted Access: Prior approval of Central Government to conduct inquiry or investigation on the employees of the Central Government, of the level of Joint Secretary and above is a big obstacle in combating corruption at higher levels of bureaucracy.

The following steps can be taken to improvement of the functioning of the CBI under the supervision of the CVC, can be improved in order to enhance efficiency:

  • One, the CVC Act should be amended, providing for a five/seven-member Central Vigilance Commission, which could broadly assume the role visualised for the Lokpal
    • The selection process of the CVC members should be broader based to prevent favouritism or from controversial persons being appointed.
    • Currently, three members are drawn from the IAS, IPS and the Banking services. It should include one retired judge of the Supreme Court appointed by the CJI in consultation with the next four senior most judges.
    • Since the legislative wing of our democracy is crucial for matters of governance, it would be worthwhile to include one Member of Parliament, selected from those who have been members of either House for the longest duration.
    • In addition, two to three members should have engineering expertise, to assess the scams like the Commonwealth Games and one person should have a chartered accountancy background to examine financial scams. These selections should be made as transparent as possible.
  • Two, the CVC should constitute an advisory committee of at least 11 members drawn from criminologists and forensic science experts.
    • This will augment the professional input in its functioning. Further, to reduce the burden on the CVC, it should be given the power to go to any expert or professional to assist it in screening complaints
  • Three, the jurisdiction of CVC, which presently covers all employees of the central government and the CPSUs, should remain unchanged.
    • There is already an administrative arrangement to delegate the vigilance administration over class II and lower formations to the ministries/departments concerned.
    • To make this arrangement more effective, it would be important that the CVC exercises complete control over the selection, appointment and functioning of the CVOs.
  • Four, the CVC should have an adequately experienced team to technically examine and assess the gravity of a complaint, which can then be assigned to the CBI for investigation or can be investigated by this team.
    • After assessing a complaint by this broad-based CVC, there should be no need to seek prior permission from the government.
  • Five, in the cases assigned to it by the CVC, the CBI should be made functionally and financially independent of the controls of any government ministry/department.
    • The professional supervision over the investigations of the CBI should rest only with the CVC.
  • Six, the manner of the appointment of the CBI Director should be broad based as in the case of the CVC members, whereas the other inductions/appointments in the CBI should be brought under the overarching supervision of the CVC.
  • Seven, to achieve better synergy between anti-corruption laws and grievance handling, the laws relating to the whistle-blowers and grievance redressal should be placed within the jurisdiction of the CVC.
  • Eight, effective administration of anti-corruption laws at the grass roots is the key to responsible governance. The state and their anti-corruption agencies would, therefore, need to be equally insulated from the state government’s interference on similar lines.

Conclusion:

  • As, the CBI, DRI and income tax agencies would do their duty, ensure proper investigations, and take the case to its logical conclusion, therefore it become necessary that they perform their functions in transparent manner without fear and favour to individual or group or party
  • It is for the national interest that the country’s premier investigating agencies like the CBI, income tax authorities and the ED are not used as instruments of blackmail and intimidation by the government of the day. Rather they should work with complete objectivity and in the interest of the nation.

MUST READ:  Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)       

Source: Indian Express      


Internal Democracy and Election Commission of India (ECI)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity and Constitution
  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity and Constitution)

Context: Recently, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has rejected the idea of a ‘permanent president’ for a party. A party from Andhra Pradesh reportedly elected states’ Chief Minister as its president for life.

  • As per the ECI, such a step is inherently anti-democratic.

What is ‘Internal Democracy’ or ‘Intra-party democracy’?

  • It refers to the level and methods of including party members in the decision making and deliberation within the party structure.
  • It is usually known to nurture citizens’ political competencies and/or producing more capable representatives which in turn ensures that the party produces better policies and political programmes.
  • Any party that participates in a democratic process, and wants to govern and legislate, should include formal and periodic election of office-bearers as part of the way it functions as an association.
  • At present, in India and South Asia, almost all political parties are centralised. They are family-controlled parties, and dynastic politics has become a norm.

Reason behind centralised control in a party:

  • The fragmentation of India’s polity into a federalised, multi-party system has also given way to domination by “charismatic” individuals or their families, mainly because of the nature of support that these parties enjoy or due to their financing structures which necessitates centralised control by a single coterie or a family.
  • Because of this, several political parties do not insist on thoroughgoing internal elections to secure their leadership; and even if they do conduct polls, they lack sufficient contestation and are done to reaffirm the dominance of the high command.

Framework to ensure Intra-party democracy:

  • RPA,1951: ECI uses guidelines issued for registration of parties under Section 29A, RPA,1951 to remind parties to conduct elections and to ensure that their leadership is renewed, changed, or re-elected every five years.
  • Constitution: All rules and regulations apply more to candidates than to political parties in India.
    • Nothing in Article 324, or Section 29A, RPA,1951 tells us that the ECI can actually regulate internal structures, organisations, or elections of the party.
  • However, ECI does not have any statutory power to enforce internal democracy in parties or to mandate elections.
    • The ECI does not question the result or the procedure the parties followed.
    • The ECI expects political parties to abide by their constitution, a copy of which is also submitted to the commission when the parties are registered. It is not for the commission to step in or criticise if anyone is elected unopposed.
  • In the 1990s, when N. Sheshan was at the helm at ECI, by an executive order political parties were ordered to conduct organisational elections.

Framework in other countries:

  • In the U.S. election, the selection of the candidate to be the presidential nominee is done via debate, in which the contenders condemn and criticise each other.
  • Something similar is seen in the U.K. Democracy.

Suggestions in this regard:

  • 1999 Law Commission Report: It strongly recommended that India should have some mechanism for internal regulation of political parties.
  • The CEC in 2011 also submitted a draft on this to the Union Law Ministry.
  • New interpretation of the existing laws by the ECI, as happened in the 1990s.

Conclusion:

  • Political parties don’t have to be homogeneous in terms of both ideas and leadership. Political parties are aggregations of interests, so, there are going to be differences within.
    • Having these internal elections, meetings and contests of ideas is important.
  • The lack of substantive power with ECI only leads to parties carrying out the ECI’s edicts in a mechanical manner.
    • However, with dynasticism and a lack of internal democracy becoming a matter of public debate, perhaps public pressure would finally bear upon parties to do the right thing. Internal elections are key for upward mobility.

MUST READ:  Election Commission of India           

Source:  The Hindu                    

Previous Year Question

Q,1) With reference to the Union Government, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
  2. Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and by-elections.
  3. Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognized political parties.

Select the correct code:

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

PM CARES Fund

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Government schemes
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The Central Government recently appointed Ratan Tata, a veteran industrialist, former Supreme Court judge K.T. Thomas and former Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker Kariya Munda as trustees of the PM CARES Fund.

About the PM CARES Fund:

  • The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created as a dedicated fund in March 2020 (and registered as a Public Charitable Trust), following the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
  • The stated purpose of the fund is for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar emergency or distress situations in the future.
  • The fund is administered on an honorary basis by a Joint Secretary (Administration) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as Secretary to the fund.

Constitution of the Trust:

  • Although the documentation for the constitution of the fund has not been made public, the Government of India has stated that the Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund.
  • The Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (the Prime Minister) shall have the authority to appoint 3 trustees to the Board of Trustees.
  • Any Trustee appointed shall serve on a non-profit
  • The PMO provides the Trustees with administrative and secretarial support for the Trust’s management and administration as needed.

Other details of the Fund:

  • The fund consists entirely of voluntary contributions from individuals or organisations and does not get any budgetary support.
  • Donations to PM CARES Fund would qualify for 100% exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • Donations to PM CARES Fund will also qualify to be counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013
  • PM CARES Fund has also got exemption under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and a separate account for receiving foreign donations has been opened.
  • This is consistent with respect to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
  • PMNRF has also received foreign contributions as a public trust since 2011.
  • According to the most recent audited statement, the PM CARES Fund’s corpus nearly tripled to 10,990 crores in the 2020-21 fiscal, while disbursals increased to 3,976 crores.

Performance out of the Fund till now:

  • So far, an amount of ~ Rs. 4000 Crore has been allocated from PM CARES Fund for the following activities –
  • ₹2000 Crore: For supply of 50,000 ‘Made-in India’ ventilators to Government Hospitals run by Centre/States/UTs.
  • ₹1000 Crore: For care of migrant labourers (funds allotted to State/UT Governments).
  • Over ₹1,392 crore for procurement of Covid vaccine doses.
  • With the help of the PM CARES Fund, the PM CARES for Children scheme was launched. At present this scheme supports 4,345 children.
  • The PM CARES for Children scheme was launched on 29th May 2021.
  • It was launched to support children who have lost both the parents or legal guardian or adoptive parents or surviving parent to COVID-19 pandemic during the period starting from 11th March 2020.

Controversies about the Fund:

  • Lack of transparency and accountability in relation to its establishment, functioning and accounts.
  • The total amount donated and the names of donors have not been made public, and the fund is being audited privately.
  • Even though the Fund uses government infrastructure and national emblem, the Government initially claimed that the fund is a private fund and is outside the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005.
  • Later, the Government reversed its stance, admitting that the PM CARES Fund was a public fund but still refusing to disclose information about it under the RTI Act 2005.

Source: The Hindu               


Economically weaker Section (EWS) Quota

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs (Polity and Governance)
  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity and Constitution and Governance)

Context: Recently, the Attorney-General of India articulated that the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society does not erode the rights of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, or the Other Backward Classes.

What is Economically Weaker Section (EWS) Quota?

  • The 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019 by amending Articles 15 and 16.
  • It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6).
  • It is for economic reservation in jobs and admissions in educational institutes for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
  • It was enacted to promote the welfare of the poor not covered by the 50% reservation policy for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC).
  • It enables both the Centre and the States to provide reservations to the EWS of society.

Significance:

  • Addresses Inequality:
    • The 10% quota is progressive and could address the issues of educational and income inequality in India since the economically weaker sections of citizens have remained excluded from attending higher educational institutions and public employment due to their financial incapacity.
  • Recognition of the Economic Backwards:
    • There are many people or classes other than backward classes who are living under hunger and poverty-stricken conditions.
    • The proposed reservation through a constitutional amendment would give constitutional recognition to the poor from the upper castes.
  • Reduction of Caste-Based Discrimination:
    • Moreover, it will gradually remove the stigma associated with reservation because reservation has historically been related to caste and most often the upper caste looks down upon those who come through the reservation.

Concerns:

  • Unavailability of Data:
    • The Union or state governments have no such data to prove that ‘upper’ caste individuals, who have less than Rs 8 lakh annual income, are not adequately represented in government jobs and higher educational institutions. There is a strong possibility that they are actually over-represented in these places.
  • Arbitrary Criteria:
    • The criteria used by the government to decide the eligibility for this reservation is vague and is not based on any data or study.
    • Even the SC questioned the government whether they have checked the GDP per capita for every State while deciding the monetary limit for giving the EWS reservation.
    • Statistics show that the per capita income in states differs widely – Goa is the state having the highest per capita income of almost Rs. 4 lakhs whereas Bihar is at the bottom with Rs.40,000.

Additional Information: Judicial Scrutiny of Reservation

  • The State of Madras v. Smt. Champakam Dorairajan (1951) case was the first major verdict of the Supreme Court on the issue of Reservation. The case led to the First amendment in the constitution.
    • The Supreme Court in the case pointed out that while in the case of employment under the State, Article 16(4) provides for reservations in favour of backward class of citizens, no such provision was made in Article 15.
    • Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order in the case the Parliament amended Article 15 by inserting Clause (4).
  • In Indra Sawhney v. Union of India (1992) case the court examined the scope and extent of Article 16(4).
    • The Court has said that the creamy layer of OBCs should be excluded from the list of beneficiaries of reservation, there should not be reservation in promotions; and total reserved quota should not exceed 50%.
    • The Parliament responded by enacting 77th Constitutional Amendment Act which introduced Article 16(4A).
  • The Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India 2006 case while upholding the constitutional validity of Art 16(4A) held that any such reservation policy in order to be constitutionally valid shall satisfy the following three constitutional requirements:
    • The SC and ST communities are not adequately represented in public employment. Such reservation policy shall not affect the overall efficiency in the administration.
  • In Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta case of 2018, Supreme Court holds that reservation in promotions does not require the state to collect quantifiable data on the backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
    • The Court held that creamy layer exclusion extends to SC/STs and, hence the State cannot grant reservations in promotion to SC/ST individuals who belong to the creamy layer of their community.
  • In May 2019 the Supreme Court upheld the Karnataka law that allows reservations in promotions for SCs and STs with consequential seniority.

Source: The Hindu                

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements:            (2022)

  1. Attorney General of India and Solicitor General of India are the only officers of the Government who are allowed to participate in the meetings of the Parliament of India.
  2. According to the Constitution of India, the Attorney General of India submits his resignation when the Government which appointed him resigns.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Baba’s Explainer -The office of the Governor 

The office of the Governor

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Context: The role, powers, and discretion of the Governor’s Office in multiple States have been the subject of constitutional, political, and legal debate for decades.

  • Recently, the prolonged silence of Jharkhand’s Governor over Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s possible disqualification as an MLA resulted in political uncertainty.
  • The deadlock between the Tamil Nadu government and Governor R.N. Ravi over assenting to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exemption Bill is another instance of a tussle between the Governor and the elected government in a State.

Read Complete Details on The office of the Governor 


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Which one of the following is the context in which the term “LoRa (Long Range Radio) technology ” is mentioned:

  1. Banking services
  2. Wireless Local Area Network
  3. GPS navigation systems
  4. DNA Barcoding

Q.2) Consider the following statements in respect of the Indian Olympics Association (IOA):

  1. It was founded in 1956.
  2. It plays with the name of “Team Bharat”.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 and 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements, with respect to PM CARE Fund:

  1. Home minister is ex-officio chairman of Board of trustee of fund.
  2. The fund consists entirely of voluntary contributions from individuals and organizations and does not get any budgetary support.
  3. It is audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in every financial year

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’23rd September 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 22nd September – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – a

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