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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st December 2022

  • IASbaba
  • December 21, 2022
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FIFA World Cup 2022

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

Context: Recently, Argentina won the FIFA World Cup 2022 beating France in the final.

About FIFA:

  • Fédération Internationale de Football Association, meaning International Association Football Federation.
  • It is the international governing body of association football, beach football and futsal.
  • It was founded in 1904 to oversee international competition among the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Membership:

  • Now comprises 211 national associations.
  • These national associations must each also be members of one of the six regional confederations into which the world is divided: CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia and Australia), UEFA (Europe), CONCACAF (North & Central America and the Caribbean), OFC (Oceania) and CONMEBOL (South America).
  • Headquartered in: Zürich, Switzerland

About FIFA World Cup 2022:

  • It was the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup.
  • It was an international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of FIFA’s member associations.
  • Host Country: Qatar ( awarded in 2010)
  • It was the first World Cup held in the Arab world and Muslim world.
  • At an estimated cost of over $220 billion, it is the most expensive World Cup ever held to date.
  • This tournament was the last with 32 participating teams, with the field set to increase to 48 teams for the 2026 edition.
  • France were the defending champions, having defeated Croatia 4–2 in the 2018 final.
  • Next World Cup 2026 will be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Awards at FIFA World Cup:

  • Golden Boot: French player Kylian Mbappé won the Golden Boot as he scored the most goals (eight) during the tournament.
  • Golden Ball: Argentine captain Lionel Messi was voted the tournament’s best player, winning the Golden Ball. Messi won his second Golden Ball award after 2014 as the best player of the tournament, becoming the first player to receive the award twice.
  • Golden Glove: Emiliano Martínez from Argentina, won the Golden Glove, awarded to the tournament’s best goalkeeper.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements in respect of the Laureus World Sports Award which was instituted in the year 2000:

  1. American golfer Tiger Woods was the first winner of this award
  2. The award was received by Formula One players so far.
  3. Roger Federer received this award the maximum number of times compared to others.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (2021)

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements in respect of the 32nd Summer Olympics:

  1. The official motto for this Olympics is ‘A New World’.
  2. Sport Climbing, Surfing, Skateboarding, Karate and Baseball are included in this Olympics.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (2021)

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements in respect of the ICC World Test Championship:

  1. The finalists were decided by the number of matches they won.
  2. New Zealand was ranked ahead of England because it won more matches than England.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (2021)

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

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2022-23

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2022-23 – Series III, which will be open for subscription during December 19-23, 2022.

About Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme:

  • The Government Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) Scheme was introduced in November 2015.
  • SGBs are provided as a substitute for physical gold to investors.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to reduce the demand for physical gold and shift a part of the gold imported every year for investment purposes, into financial savings through Gold Bonds.
  • SGBs are issued by RBI on behalf of the Government of India on payment of the required amount in rupees and are denominated in grams of gold.
  • The Bonds are restricted for sale to resident Indian entities including individuals, HUFs, trusts, Universities, charitable institutions.
  • Minimum permissible investment is 2 grams of gold to be paid in rupees. The maximum amount subscribed by an entity will not be more than 500 grams per person per fiscal year (April-March).
  • The bonds are available in both in Demat and paper form. The rate for the Bonds is fixed on the basis of simple average of closing price for gold of 999 purity of the previous week published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA).
  • The tenor of the Bond is for a period of 8 years with exit option from 5th year onwards to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
  • Exemption from capital gains tax is also available. Long term capital gains arising to any person on transfer of SGB is also eligible for indexation benefits.
  • On maturity, the investor will get the equivalent rupee value of the quantum of gold invested at the then prevailing price of gold.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) What is/are the purpose/purposes of the Government’s ‘Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme’ and ‘Gold Monetization Scheme’? (2016)

  1. To bring the idle gold lying with Indian households into the economy
  2. To promote FDI in the gold and jewellery sector
  3. To reduce India’s dependence on gold imports

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

Betta-Kuruba tribe

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Recently the Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2022 to include Betta-Kuruba on the Scheduled Tribes list of Karnataka as a synonym for the already categorised Kadu-Kuruba tribe in the State.

About Betta kurubas:

  • The Betta Kuruba (Betta meaing ‘Hill’, Kuruba meaning ‘shepherd’) tribe lives in the hilly regions of Karnataka, and is one of the few indigenous communities of the Nilgiris.
  • Traditionally, the Kuruba people drew sustenance from hunting, gathering and collecting wild honey.
  • Due to relocation, the Betta Kuruba people are being forced to give up their traditional livelihood, and work as agricultural labourers in coffee, spice (such as pepper, ginger, cardamom) and tea plantations.
  • They speak Betta Kurumba language (Beṭṭa Kurumba) is a Dravidian language closely related to Tamil.
  • They are generally believed to be the descendants of the Pallavas.
  • Consanguineous marriages like cross-cousin marriages are preferred among the Kurumbas.

Source: Indian Express


ARNALA

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: ‘Arnala’ for Indian Navy was launched at M/s L&T, Kattupalli, Chennai.

About Arnala:

  • It is the first of 08 x ASW SWC Project
  • Arnala class of ships will replace the Abhay class ASW Ships of Indian Navy
  • The ship has been named Arnala to signify the strategic maritime importance accorded to the island of Arnala (located about 13 Km north of Vasai, Maharashtra) by the great Maratha warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
  • Built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
  • They are designed to undertake anti-submarine operations in coastal waters and Low Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO) including subsurface surveillance in littoral waters.
  • The 77.6m ASW SWC ships have a displacement of 900 tons with a maximum speed of 25 knots and endurance of 1800 NM.
  • The ASW SWC ships will have over 80% indigenous content, ensuring that large scale defence production is executed by Indian manufacturing units thereby generating employment and capability build up within the country.

Source: PIB

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which one of the following is the best description of ‘INS Astradharini’, that was in the news recently? (2016)

  1. Amphibious warfare ship
  2. Nuclear-powered submarine
  3. Torpedo launch and recovery vessel
  4. Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Consumer Price Index

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: The All-India Consumer Price Index Number for Agricultural Labourers and Rural Labourers for the month of November, 2022 increased by 8 points each to stand at 1167 (One thousand one hundred and sixty seven) and 1178 (One thousand one hundred and seventy eight) points respectively.

  • Major rise came from food group due to increase in prices of rice, wheat-atta, jowar, bajra, pulses, meat goat, mustard-oil, milk, ghee, onion, mixed spices, tea, etc.
  • Tamil Nadu topped whereas Himachal Pradesh stood at the bottom.
  • Maximum increaseBihar
  • Maximum decrease – Assam
  • Point to point rate of inflation based on the CPI-AL and CPI-RL stood at 6.87% & 6.99% in November, 2022 compared to 7.22% & 7.34% respectively in October ’22.

About CPI:

  • It is a comprehensive measure Consumer Price Index or CPI as it is commonly called is an index measuring retail inflation in the economy by collecting the change in prices of most common goods and services used by consumers.
  • Called market basket, CPI is calculated for a fixed list of items including food, housing, apparel, transportation, electronics, medical care, education, etc.
  • Remember, CPI is different from WPI, or Wholesale Price Index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level.
  • In India, there are four CPI numbers:
  • CPI for Industrial Workers (IW)
  • CPI for Agricultural Labourers (AL)
  • CPI for Rural Labourers (RL) and
  • CPI for Urban Non-Manual Employees (UNME).
  • While the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation collects CPI (UNME) data and compiles it, the remaining three are collected by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour.

Uses:

  • To calculate the inflation levels CPI’s annual percentage change is also used to assess inflation.
  • To compute the cost of living
  • the purchasing power of a country’s currency
  • Understanding the real value of wages, salaries and pensions,
  • Price regulation
  • Provides insights to consumer spending capacity

The calculation

  • The CPI is calculated with reference to a base year, which is used as a benchmark.
  • The price change pertains to that year.
  • CPI = (Cost of basket divided by Cost of basket in the base year) multiplied by 100
  • Base years
  • CPI(IW) = 1982
  • CPI(AL) = 1986-87
  • CPI(RL) = 1984-85

MUST READ Inflation

Source: PIB

Previous Year Questions

Q1.) Which of the following brings out the ‘Consumer Price Index Number for Industrial Workers?

  1. The Reserve Bank of India
  2. The Department of Economic Affairs
  3. The Labour Bureau
  4. The Department of Personnel and Training

Mission Amrit Sarovar

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

In News: The Mission Amrit Sarovar had initially planned a target to construct or rejuvenate 50,000 Amrit Sarovar ponds across India till 15th August 2023. Now, additional 50,000 Amrit Sarovar ponds will be constructed by 15th August 2023.

  • The State Governments have identified sites for construction.
  • The number of States/ UTs covered including Jharkhand & Tamil Nadu are 34.

About the mission:

  • Mission Amrit Sarovar has been launched in 2022 with an objective to harvest and conserve water for future generation.
  • Aim:  water conservation, people’s participation and proper utilization of soil excavated from the water bodies to boost infrastructural projects.

The salient features:

  • Based on “Whole of Government” approach with the participation from the Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and technical organizations.
  • Under the Mission every district of the country will construct or rejuvenate at least 75 Amrit Sarovars.
  • Every Amrit Sarovar will have a pondage area of at least 1 acre with a water holding capacity of about 10,000 cubic metre.
  • Every Amrit Sarovar will be surrounded by trees like Neem, Peepal and Banyan etc.
  • Every Amrit Sarovar will be a source of generation of livelihoods by using the water for different purposes like irrigation, fisheries, duckery, cultivation of water chestnut, water tourism and other activities.
  • The Amrit Sarovar will also act as a social gathering point in that locality.
  • Every Amrit Sarovar site is a place for flag hoisting on every Independence Day.
  • There is no separate financial allocation for Mission Amrit Sarovar.
  • The Mission Amrit Sarovar works through the States and Districts with convergence from various schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (Mahatma Gandhi NREGS), 15th Finance Commission Grants, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayi Yojna sub schemes such as Watershed Development Component, Har Khet ko Pani, besides States’ own scheme. Public contribution like crowd funding and Corporate Social Responsibility is also allowed for the work.
  • Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and other public agencies engaged for infrastructure project development are also engaged in the Mission for the purpose of use of soil/silt excavated out of the Amrit Sarovar.
  • The details of the identified sites, works commenced and works completed may be seen through the following link: https://amritsarovar.gov.in/login.

Source: PIB


Digital India Awards

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current affairs

In News: India’s Smart Cities Mission wins the Platinum Icon in Digital India Awards 2022 for their initiative “DataSmart Cities: Empowering Cities through Data” under the ‘Data Sharing and Use for Socio Economic Development’ category.

  • The seventh edition of Digital India Awards (DIA) is being held in 2022.

The Digital India Awards (DIA):

  • It is a prestigious National competition that seeks to encourage and honour innovative digital solutions by government entities in realising the Digital India vision.
  • Aim: to inspire and motivate not only government entities but also start-ups in fulfilling the Digital India vision.
  • The category ‘Data Sharing and Use for Socio Economic Development’ emphasizes on sharing of Government Data by Ministries/Departments/Organizations, States, Cities and ULBs to create a vibrant data ecosystem in the country for analysis, decision-making, innovation, services, economic development and public good.
  • Instituted in 2009.
  • Conducted by = National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).
  • DIA presents an opportunity to bring to the fore digital initiatives being adopted to transform India into a digitally empowered society & knowledge economy.
  • These awards are instituted under the aegis of National Portal of India to encourage and honour innovative digital solutions by government entities at all levels.

About DataSmart Cities initiative:

  • Under the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs
  • It is a key step in creating a robust data ecosystem that enables evidence-based decision-making in cities.
  • AIM: to harnesses the power of data for better governance in India’s 100 Smart Cities.
  • Based on a ‘People, Platform, Process’ strategy, this initiative is leading to convergence of Ministry’s efforts for performance management, empowerment of communities, and research, co-creation & open innovation.
  • Importance of data for accelerating the power of city’s existing initiatives
  • Various digital platforms such as Smart Cities Open Data Portal (SCODP), India Urban Observatory (IUO), India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX), Assessment & Monitoring Platform for Liveable, Inclusive & Future-ready urban India (AMPLIFI) and Geo-spatial Management Information System (GMIS) have been developed to enable cities better manage, share, and leverage available data.
  • Objectives: Evidence-based planning, cross-city assessments, multi-disciplinary research and improving socio-economic outcomes.
  • The program has institutionalised a Data Ecosystem in cities through 100 City Data Offices and more than 50 Data Policies.
  • The Smart Cities Open Data Portal has transformed from zero to all 100 Smart Cities now publishing open datasets and contributing to data blogs and visualizations, leading to 1.2+ lakh downloads and ~6 lakh views.
  • This initiative has led to generation of more than 180 innovative, scalable, and replicable use cases in collaboration with various stakeholders that are being utilized by cities for better functioning and citizen engagement vis. Vadodara Medical Green Corridor, Surat Real-time Bus Seat Occupancy, Agartala Smart Traffic Control, among others.
  • The success of this initiative in 100 Smart Cities has a potential to create a virtuous cycle of improvement, with transformational impact of data on all cities in India.

MUST READ smart-cities-mission

Source: PIB


Dr B R Ambedkar’s views on moral democracy

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) and GS 4 (Ethics)

Context: An article, ‘Situating Democracy in Ambedkar’s Moral Discourse’ looks at how Ambedkar situates morality in his discourse of democracy. It also explores the moral foundation that paved the way for Ambedkar’s discourse on democracy.

  • There have been many studies on B.R. Ambedkar’s conceptualisation of democracy, predominantly explained through the lens of social, political and economic philosophies.
  • Many authors have failed to explore the multitudes of Ambedkar’s idea of democracy, and through a one-dimensional study of his work, situated him within a dichotomous framework of social democracy versus liberal or political democracy.

Types of Morality: Ambedkar divides morality into social morality and constitutional morality.

Social Morality:

  • He explains that social morality was built through interaction which was based on the mutual recognition of human beings.
  • Yet, under the rigid systems of caste and religion, such interaction was not possible as one did not accept another person as a respectable human being due to their religion or caste background.
  • Social morality was based on equality among human beings and a recognition of respect.

Constitutional morality:

  • Constitutional morality for Ambedkar was a prerequisite to maintaining a system of democracy in a country.
  • He believed that only through a negation of hereditary rule, laws that represented all people, with people’s representatives and a State which has the confidence of the people, can democracy be maintained.
  • One single person or political party could not represent the needs or will of all the people.

The Buddha and His Dhamma: Ambedkar’s last work focuses on Democratic values

Democracy as a way of life:

  • It sheds light on how he understood democracy as a concept that affected every aspect of human life; it was essentially a way of life.
  • Buddha, Kabir and Mahatma Phule’s philosophies played an important role in Ambedkar’s own engagement with democracy.

Critical of Extreme Individualism:

  • He was also critical of extreme individualism that was a possible outcome of Buddhism, as such characteristics failed to engage in activism that challenged social order.
  • Thus, he believed that there needed to be a balance between individualism and fraternity for a harmonious society.

Focus on Moral Aspect:

  • While the pillars of democracy are equality, liberty and fraternity, it needs to be looked at through a moral lens as well.
  • Ambedkar used the lens of morality in investigating the caste system, the Hindu social system, the nature of religion and Indian history.

Importance to Practicality:

  • Ambedkar gave utmost importance to practicality.
  • For him, concepts and theories needed to be tested as they were supposed to be practised in society.
  • He used rationality and critical reasoning to analyze any subject matter, because he believed that a subject must first pass the test of rationality, failing which it must be rejected, altered or modified.

Moral Democracy beyond Caste System:

  • Ambedkar realised that the caste system did not go hand in hand with such an understanding of moral democracy.
  • This was because the traditional caste structure was of a hierarchical rule, with no mutual respect among individuals, and complete subjugation of one group by another.

New Structure Using Principles of Buddhism:

  • While it is well known that Ambedkar’s moral principles were rooted in Buddhist philosophies.
  • It was difficult to place Ambedkar’s framework of democracy within these rigid religious structures and socio-political systems, especially since he brought the most marginalised communities into the fold of democracy.

Thus, Ambedkar attempts to construct a new structure based on the principles of Buddhism.

Role of Religion in Democracy:

  • According to Ambedkar, the roots of democracy lie within the realm of religion, without which associated living was not possible.
  • Thus, instead of removing aspects of religion completely, he attempts to reconstruct a new version of democracy that accepts the democratic aspects of religions like Buddhism.
  • Ambedkar realized that in order to conceptualize democracy as a way of life, it was important to distinguish principles and rules in society.
  • He explained that while religion must be restricted to principles, as intellectual methods of judging things;
  • It was rules, or the habitual ways of doing things that must be subscribed to operationalise democracy.

Ambedkar on Indian Society:

  • Ambedkar’s concept of moral democracy must also be studied through the lenses of –
    • Particularism – a political theory where one group promotes its own interests without regard to the interests of larger groups and
    • Universality – a theory that some ideas have universal application or applicability.
  • Negative Value of Caste System:
    • His analysis of Indian society explains that the caste system is a negative particularistic value in the Hindu religion.
    • The upper castes, according to Ambedkar, universalise the negative particularity (their dominance over the other groups) and particularise the negative universal morality (wherein the caste system and the subsequent alienation of certain groups is justified).
    • This negative social relation is essentially ‘undemocratic’.
  • Proponent of Democratic Processes of Buddhism:
    • It is to fight such separation that Ambedkar attempted to bring the democratic processes of Buddhism into the discourse of modern democracy.
    • According to him, Buddhist Sanghas were spaces where debates, discussions and dissent were encouraged.
  • Moreover, the practice of ‘voting’, which they called ‘Salapatraka Grahakas’, began in Sanghas, laying down moral grounds or principles of social freedom and public reason.

Way Forward:

  • While Dalits have acquired a political identity through reservation and forming their own political parties, they lack behind in social dimensions (health and education) and economic dimension.
  • There has been a rise of communal polarization and communalization of politics. It is necessary that Ambedkar’s vision of constitutional morality must supersede religious morality to avoid permanent damage to the Indian Constitution.

According to historian R.C Guha, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is a unique example of success even in most adverse situations. Today India is facing many socio-economic challenges such as casteism, communalism, separatism, gender inequality, etc. We need to find the Ambedkar’s spirit within us, so that we can pull ourselves from these challenges.

Source: The Hindu


Addition of Tribes in ST List

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 1(Society) and GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Recently, government has approved the inclusion of certain communities in the lists of Scheduled Tribes in Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, fulfilling long-pending demands from these states which led to debates in the Parliament.

  • Some MPs sought clarity from the government about the list of communities that were recommended in 2014 for inclusion in the ST lists on a priority by a government appointed Panda Task Force.
  • Of the Taskforce recommended communities, nine are in Odisha, 26 are part of the tea tribes in Assam, eight are in Chhattisgarh, and a few are in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

About newly added tribal groups:

Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran (Tamil Nadu): Nomadic tribes like the Narikuravas and Kuruvikaras (jackal catchers and bird eaters) pride themselves on their traditional occupations of hunting and gathering.

Gond Community (Uttar Pradesh): The Cabinet approved a proposal to bring the Gond community residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list.

  • This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community (Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, and Rajgond).

‘Betta-Kuruba’ (Karnataka): The ST status granted to the Betta-Kuruba community as a synonym of Kadu Kuruba of Karnataka.

  • Betta-Kuruba community has been demanding to include in the ST category for the last 30 years.

Hatti Tribe (Himachal Pradesh): The Hattis are a close-knit community who got their name from their tradition of selling homegrown vegetables, crops, meat and wool etc. at small markets called ‘haat’ in towns.

  • The community has been making the demand since 1967, when tribal status was accorded to people living in the Jaunsar Bawar area of Uttarakhand, which shares a border with Sirmaur district.
  • Their demand for tribal status gained strength because of resolutions passed at various maha Khumblis over the years.

Binjhia (Chhattisgarh): The Binjhia in Chhattisgarh were listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh.

  • The Binjhia are non-vegetarians and agriculture is the mainstay of their economy. They do not eat beef and pork but consume alcoholic drinks including the handia (rice beer).

Process of inclusion in the ST list:

  • The process to include tribes in the ST list begins with the recommendation from the respective State governments, which are then sent to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which reviews and sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
  • This is followed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ approval before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.

Status of Scheduled Tribes in India

  • As per 1931 Census, Schedule tribes are termed as “backward tribes” living in the “Excluded” and “Partially Excluded” areas.
  • There is no defined criteria in the Constitution for recognition of Scheduled Tribes and hence the 1931 Census definition was used in the initial years after independence.

Constitutional provisions:

  • Article 366(25) of the Constitution provides a process to define Scheduled Tribes—“Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
  • Article 342(1) empowers the President of India (in consultation with Governor of the state) to notify tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups as a Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.
  • The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution lays out provision for Administration and Control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • The Sixth Schedule deals with the administration of the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Legal Provisions:

  • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 provides protection against preaching and practice of Untouchability in tribal groups.
  • Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 counters the caste discrimination practices in tribal communities.
  • Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 empowers the tribal communities through political autonomy at Gram Panchayat level.
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 recognizes rights of locals and tribal people on the minor forest produce.

Recommendations by the Panda Task force: The Taskforce identified the specific communities based on many factors such as

  • A few of them being subsets of communities already categorized as ST and few being phonetic variations of existing tribes.
  • Some were left out when States were bifurcated and some were omitted inexplicably such as the Pulayan community of Tamilnadu and Konda Kumari community of Andhra Pradesh.
  • A few more were lost out on categorisation because they were forcibly taken away from their homelands as indentured labour to other States or were displaced due to industrialisation.
  • Kandha Kumbhar, Jodia, Chuktia Bhunjia, Saara, Mankidia, Porja, Banda Paraja, Durua, and Paharia communities are the ones in Odisha.
  • Based on the principle that ‘indentured labourers’ are not the same as ‘voluntary migration’ and recommended 26 tea tribes of Assam who were forcibly taken as indentured labourers from states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha.
  • These communities are Mal Paharia, Bedia, Saora, Shabar, Kharia, Gond, Munda, Bonda, Mahli, Paraja, Chik Baraik, Kol, Khond (Kandha), Chero, Koya, Birhor, Bhumji, Halba, Majwar, Dhanwar, Baiga, Lodha, Nagasia, Bhil, Oraon, and Santal.
  • Similarly, it recommended for inclusion tribal communities of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh that had been displaced on account of the Narmada Dam Project.
  • Inclusion of various Devnagri versions of tribes in the ST list of Chhattisgarh, such as Bharia, Pando, Gadaba, Bhuihar, Nagasia, Dhangad and Kond.

Major issues involved with the recognition new communities as STs:

  • Cumbersome and time-consuming process of inclusion:
    • The process of inclusion of communities into STs is cumbersome and time-consuming which delays it for years.
    • Even the Panda task force flagged the current procedure and criteria for inclusion in ST lists and had recommended changes to both.
  • Strict Criteria of identification:
    • Currently, the criteria for defining communities as STs based on their characteristic traits which have been followed since the 1960s is quite strict and obsolete.
  • Political reasons:
    • Political reasons have always been a hurdle and defeated the Constitutional agenda for affirmative action and inclusion of communities.
    • For example– The Union government has not notified communities into ST list even after the State government recommended to include as many as 160 communities in Odisha’s ST list since the 1970s.

Way Forward:

There is need to bring a comprehensive Bill to include all eligible communities into the ST list that had been left out of ST lists over the years. Need to Revisit the procedure and criteria of inclusion of the communities into the ST lists and make changes based on more rational methods and present circumstances.

Source:  The Hindu


Decriminalisation of GST laws

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Syllabus

  • Mains  – GS 3 Indian Economy

Context:

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recommended to decriminalise certain offences under Section 132 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017.
  • The GST Council in its 47th meeting had granted in-principle approval for allowing unregistered suppliers and composition taxpayers to make intra-state supply of goods through E-Commerce Operators (ECOs), subject to certain conditions.
  • Since the implementation of GST, there has been a significant increase in tax evasion, with numerous cases of taxpayers using multiple strategies to avoid indirect tax coming to light.  Hence, need for pondering about decriminalisation.

About the law:

  • The GST law establishes stringent penalties and guidelines that taxpayers must abide by in order to ensure smooth intrastate or interstate trade of goods and to combat corruption and maintain an effective tax collection system.
  • The GST Law provides for two different types of penalties –They may be both concurrent and simultaneous.
  • The department authorities have the authority to impose monetary fines and the seizure of goods as penalties for violating statutory provisions.
  • Criminal penalties include imprisonment and fines, which are also provided by GST Law but which can only be awarded in a criminal court following a prosecution.
  • Many non-compliances fall under both categories of penalties, prosecution, and compounding.
  • Under the CGST Act, if a group of two persons or more agree to commit an illegal act like tax evasion, fraud etc. they are held liable under the act of criminal conspiracy.
  • Compounding of offences and arrest co-exist – Arrest is for the offence and compounding is when the prosecution is filed, which is the next stage.

Important sections:

  • Sections 122 to 131 of the CGST Act of 2017 contain provisions relating to penalties, while Sections 132 to 138 contains provisions relating to prosecution and compounding.
  • The aforementioned section further divides offences into those that are cognisable and bailable and those that are not cognisable and bailable.
  • While Section 120A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), defines criminal conspiracy, Section 120B deals with punishment for the same and Section 46 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with how the arrest is made.
  • Section 69 of the CGST Act provides the power to arrest a person by an order of a commissioner when he believes that a person has committed any offence under Section 132.
  • Section 67 of CrPC states that if a summons is issued outside the local authority, a duplicate copy of that summons should be sent to the Magistrate of that outside authority to serve the summons.
  • Section 165 of CrPC deals with the search by the police officer while Section 67 of the CGST Act defines that only an officer not below the rank of joint commissioner can authorise in writing an inspection or search.

Method of decriminalisation in GST:

  • Raising the minimum threshold of tax amount for launching prosecution under GST from one crore to two crore, except for the offence of issuance of invoices without supply of goods or services.
  • Reducing the compounding amount from the present range of 50 to 150% of the tax amount to the range of 25 to 100%.
  • Decriminalising certain offences specified under Section 132 of the CGST Act, 2017, such as obstructing or preventing any officer from doing his duties, deliberate tempering of material evidence and failure to supply information.

Impact of decriminalisation:

  • The GST is a novel taxation system that includes a number of globally unprecedented features.
  • The law is still developing and is in its infancy which makes the same difficult and uncertain to enforce.
  • There are instances of conflict between court decisions and rulings.
  • The government is still working to streamline the laws.
  • In comparison to the pre-GST era, the GST compliance process with granular reporting is noticeably more onerous.
  • Therefore, it is important to recognise that imposing penal provisions in an ambiguous ecosystem significantly alters how businesses perceive risk and uncertainty, directly impacting their ability to conduct business.
  • The law already contains sufficient penalties that serve as a deterrent against tax evasion.
  • Investors may be discouraged by the fear of criminal sanctions in small, trivial, and petty matters, even before their engagement in any business activity or investment.

Suggestions for future:

  • Refunding unregistered persons and facilitating e-commerce for micro enterprises.
  • There was no procedure for claim of refund of tax borne by unregistered buyers in cases where the contract/agreement for supply of services, like construction of flat/house and long-term insurance policy, is cancelled and the time period of issuance of credit note by the concerned supplier is over.
  • The Council recommended amendment in CGST Rules, 2017, along with issuance of a circular, to prescribe the procedure for filing application of refund by the unregistered buyers in such cases.
  • The GST Council in its 47th meeting had also granted in-principal approval for allowing unregistered suppliers and composition taxpayers to make intra-state supply of goods through E-Commerce Operators (ECOs), subject to certain conditions.
  • The Council approved the amendments in the GST Act and GST Rules, along with issuance of relevant notifications, to enable the same.
  • Further, considering the time required for development of the requisite functionality on the portal as well as for providing sufficient time for preparedness by the ECOs, the Council has recommended that the scheme may be implemented from October 2023.

Way forward:

  • If the above decriminalisation of GST offences are implemented with adequate checks, then prosecution, arrest and imprisonment in GST cases would only be in the rarest of rare cases of hard, habitual, deliberate defaulters and blatant specific fraudulent practices.
  • Other resolution mechanisms such as Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism, private ruling and mediation, faceless adjudication and appeals, etc. could be explored
  • A GST Appellate Tribunal could help in improving GST governance

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics

Context: The allure of quantum computers (QC) is their ability to take advantage of quantum physics to solve problems too complex for computers that use classical physics.

  • The 2022 Nobel Prize for physics was awarded for work that rigorously tested one such ‘experience’ and paved the way for its applications in computing – which speaks to the contemporary importance of QCs
  • In 2021 alone, the Indian government launched a National Mission to study quantum technologies with an allocation of ₹8,000 crore; the army opened a quantum research facility in Madhya Pradesh; and the Department of Science and Technology co-launched another facility in Pune.
  • Given the wide range of applications, understanding what QCs really is crucial to sidestep the misinformation surrounding it and develop expectations that are closer to reality.

Read Complete Details on Quantum Computing


Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) ‘DataSmart’, an initiative of the Government of India, aims at

  1. promoting optical fibre development in rural areas
  2. providing financial and technical assistance to young start-up entrepreneurs
  3. harnessing power of data in India’s 100 Smart Cities
  4. Providing affordable and quality internet connection to the citizens for free

Q.2) Recently seen in news, ‘Arnala’ refers to which of the following:

  1. A rocket made by ISRO
  2. A ship of Indian Navy
  3. An invasive species of plant
  4. A method of irrigation

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup 2022:

  1. France won the FIFA World Cup 2022 beating Argentina in the final.
  2. French player Kylian Mbappé won the Golden Boot as he scored the most goals (eight) during the tournament.
  3. It was hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 21st December 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 20th December – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – b

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