News: July 11, 2020

Sub: Politics
Topic: Judiciary
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/8

Cases And Committees In Focus

Committees

  • Justice Verma Committee, 2013
    • On amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.  
    • Recommended insertion of Section 53A in the Indian Evidence Act wherein previous good character should become irrelevant in criminal proceedings.
  • V.S. Malimath Committee, 2003: reforms in the criminal justice system 
    • The panel recommended a modification to Article 20 (3) of the Constitution that protects the accused from being compelled to be a witness against himself/herself. The Committee suggested that the court be given freedom to question the accused to elicit information and draw an adverse inference against the accused in case the latter refuses to answer
    • The panel recommends replacing "proof beyond reasonable doubt" with "if the court is convinced that it is true" as basis to convict accused in criminal cases
    • Recommended setting up of a National Security Commission and State Security Commissions
  • M.R. Shamshad committee - Delhi riots
  • Kris Gopalakrishnan committee - The committee was formed by ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) , to formulate a framework for Non-personal data (NPD)

Cases

  • Constitution
    • Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillu, 1992: Judicial review for member disqualification is only available after final decision by the Speaker/Chairman. Till then he acts as a tribunal.
  • Information Technology
    • Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India, 2020  - Internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir under the pretext of Section 144
  • Police Reforms
    • Prakash Singh v. Union of India (2006) - Supreme Court pushing for legislation for governing police forces. Grievance redressal was a key component
    • Joginder Kumar v. State of UP, and D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal - Guidelines for right to life and right to know. To ensure that an accused person is made aware of all critical information regarding her arrest and also convey this to friends and family immediately in the event of being taken in custody.
  • Sexual assault 
    • Shri Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Shubra Chakraborty - suggest that a large number of women still fail to report rapes to the police 
    • Mahmood Farooqui v. NCT of Delhi (2017) - On consent in relationship
  • Torture
    • Raghbir Singh v. State of Haryana (1980), Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory of Delhi (1981)
    • Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra (1987) : Court condemned cruelty and torture as violative of Article 21
    • DK Basu v. State of West Bengal: Prisoners and detainees are not deprived of their Fundamental Rights under Article 21 barring restrictions permitted by law
    • Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa: Supreme Court made sure that the state could no longer escape liability in public law and had to be compelled to pay compensation

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Madhya Pradesh Council of Ministers exceeding prescribed limit
    • Controversy over Justice Krishna Dixit's “misogynistic” remarks
    • "Committee for the Reform of Criminal Laws" created by Ministry of Home Affairs. Its consultation exercise would start on July 4 and go on for the next three months.
    • Non-personal data committee invites public comments on framework
    • Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillu, 1992 case in judicial review powers of high court

Sub: Economics
Topic: Development Energy and Resources
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/8

Electricity

Acts

Electricity Act, 2003

  • The Act delicenses power generation completely (except for all nuclear and hydro-power projects over a certain size).
  • As per the Act, 10 per cent of the power supplied by suppliers and distributors to the consumers has to be generated using renewable and non-conventional sources of energy so that the energy is reliable.
  • Setting up State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has been made mandatory
  • Central government to prepare National Electricity Policy and Tariff Policy.

Draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • Power tariff to be determined with no subsidy component
  • Opens power distribution to franchisee and sub-licensee business
  • Setting up a new regulatory body, Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority, for resolving disputes. Also Appellate Tribunal of Electricity to have powers similar to that to a Civil Court

Bodies

Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC)

CERC is a statutory body under Ministry of Power, functioning as per Electricity Act 2003.

 

Power projects in focus

Hydro project

  • Kholongchu Hydro Enery project - First ever 50:50 joint venture project between India and Bhutan in Trashiyangtse, Bhutan, to be completed by 2025
  • Etalin Hydropower Project - On going project in dibang valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Solar project

  • Rewa Ultra Mega Solar - 750 MW solar power project in Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • States and power sector workforce protesting against privatisation and subsidy removal in new Draft Electricity Amendment Bill
  • July, 20
    • CERC proposes to ease norms for renewable energy projects

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution Constitutional and Statutory bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/8

Finance Commission

Article 280 of the Constitution of India provides for a Finance Commission as a quasi judicial body. It is constituted by the president of India every fifth year or at such earlier time as he considers necessary.

  • Constitution
    • The Finance Commission consists of a chairman and four other members to be appointed by the president. They hold office for such period as specified by the president in his order. They are eligible for reappointment.
    • Constitution aloows Parliament to determine qualifications and selection process. The chairman should be a person having experience in public affairs and the four other members should be selected from amongst the following: - a judge of high court or one qualified to be appointed as one; and people with knowledge of finance, administration, and economics
  • Functions
    • Distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of taxes 
    • Suggest principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States (Article 275) out of the Consolidated Fund of India. The Grants-in-aid cover Revenue Deficit of States, Local Body grants (rural and urban local bodies), and grants to augment SDRF.
    • To augment the Consolidated Fund of a State, on the basis of the recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State, for supplementing resources of Municipalities and Panchayats 
  • Recommendations made by Commission are advisory in nature.
  • The commission submits its report to the president who tables it in Parliament.

15th Finance Commission was required to submit two reports. The first report, consisting of recommendations for the financial year 2020-21, was tabled in Parliament on February 1, 2020.  The final report with recommendations for the 2021-26 period will be submitted by October 30, 2020.  

Report recommendations for the financial year 2020-21

  • Share of states in the centre’s taxes is recommended to be decreased from 42% during the 2015-20 period to 41% for 2020-21. This 1% share will be diverted to newly formed Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh
  • Grants-in-aid : Commission has proposed a framework for sector-specific and performance-based grants
    • Sector-specific grants : Guidelines for Sector-specific grants include - nutrition, health, pre-primary education, judiciary, rural connectivity, railways, police training, and housing.
    • Performance-based grants : Guidelines for performance-based grants include:
      • implementation of agricultural reforms,
      • development of aspirational districts and blocks
      • power sector reforms
      • enhancing trade including exports
      • incentives for education, and
      • promotion of domestic and international tourism.
  • Recommendations on fiscal roadmap
    • Governments should focus on debt consolidation, and disclose their extra-budgetary borrowings.
      • debt consolidation is the process of paying debts by taking loan over a long manageable period
    • Broaden the tax base, and streamline tax rates.
    • Address state dependency on Centre for GST revenue shortfalls.

In Focus

  • Fiscal Council: Setting up a Fiscal Council was first recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission, subsequently endorsed by the Fourteenth Finance Commission and then by the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Review Committee headed by N.K. Singh.

[In News]

  •  June, 20
    • Centre deciding to take the ordinance route to push through reforms in agricultural marketing and contract farming
  • July, 20
    • Need for a "Fiscal Council" in current times, where government is required to spend more.

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Physics And Chemistry
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/8

Physics Concepts In Focus

Energy

Solar Energy

  • Electricity can be produced directly from solar energy using photovoltaic devices or indirectly from steam generators using solar thermal collectors to heat a working fluid.
  • Photovoltaic energy: Photovoltaic energy is the conversion of sunlight into electricity through a photovoltaic (PVs) cell, commonly called a solar cell.  A photovoltaic cell is  usually made from silicon alloys and gallium.
  • Sunlight is composed of photons, or particles of solar energy.  These photons contain various amounts of energy corresponding to the different wavelengths of the solar spectrum.  When photons strike a photovoltaic cell, they may be reflected, pass right through, or be absorbed.  Only the absorbed photons provide energy to generate electricity, by separating negatively charged electrons from rest of the atoms. These electron produce electrical current that can be collected.
  • Solar Constant: The solar energy reaching unit area at outer edge of the earth’s atmosphere exposed perpendicularly to the rays of the Sun at the average distance between the Sun and earth
  • In 2015, India set a target of 175GW of power generation by 2022 in UN climate conference in Paris. Of this 100GW is to be generated in solar energy.
    • Currently its upto 50GW after Rewa solar plant.

Optics

Optical Fiber

  • Working: Optical fiber work on the principle of Total Internal Reflection
  • Total Internal Reflection
    • When light passes from a medium with one index of refraction (m1) to another medium with a lower index of refraction (m2), it bends or refracts away from an imaginary line perpendicular to the surface (normal line).
    • Total Internal Reflection occurs if the angle of incidence is greater than a certain limiting angle, called the critical angle.
    • At all angles less than the critical angle, both refraction and reflection occur in varying proportions.
  • Types: Normally, fiber optic cable comes in two types, namely, single mode fiber (SMF) and multi mode fiber (MMF). 
    • Single mode fiber i: Single mode fiber is the simplest structure. It contains a very thin core, and all signals travel straight down the middle without bouncing off the edges. Single mode fiber optic cables are typically used for CATV, Internet, and telephone applications
    • Multi mode fiber: Multimode fiber is the other type of fiber optic cable. It is about 10 times larger than a single mode cable. The light beams can travel though the core by following a variety of different paths, or in multiple different modes. These cable types can only send data over short distances. Therefore, they are used, among other applications, for interconnecting computer networks.
  • Of all materials, silica (mostly SiO2) is most widely used as it has wide wavelength range, low absorption, and low scattering losses. It also has high elasticity and doesnt absorb moisture from air (hygroscopic)
    • Although light signals do degrade over progressing distances, depending on the purity of the material used, the loss is much less compared to using metal cables.
  • Raman effect:  Raman effect is the inelastic scattering of photons by matter. When a light beam propagates in an optical fiber, spontaneous Raman scattering transfers (SRS) some of the photons to new frequencies, thus modifying the wavelength of light

Space

  • Gravitational wave
    • A gravitational wave is an invisible (yet incredibly fast) ripple in space. Gravitational waves travel at the speed of light and squeeze and stretch anything in their path as they pass by. 
    • They were first detected in 2015 by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). Comprising two enormous laser interferometers (LIGO detectiors) located 3000 kilometers apart, LIGO exploits the physical properties of light and of space. There is another detector VIRGO in Italy.

 

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • LIGO and VIRGO have detected an unusual compact object whose mass falls in between that of a typical black hole and a neutron star
  • July, 20
    • Rewa Ultra Mega Solar - 750 MW solar power project in Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh
  • Aug, 20
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an undersea optical fibre cable connecting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with Chennai 

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Internal Security Defence
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/8

Indian Aircrafts And Ships

Fighter jets

  • MiG-29 / Baaz
    • Russian origin. Twin engine, single seater with a speed up to Mach 1.7
  • SU-30 MKI :
    • Russian origin. Licenced production done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
    • Twin seater, twin engine, carrying a variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles.
    • It has a maximum speed of 2 Mach with a single in-flight range of 3,000 km
  • Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas
    • Tejas is a 4+ generation, supersonic, highly maneuverable, multi-role, smallest and lightest aircraft in its class 
    • Designed and developed by DRDO, it can carry beyond visual range weapons
    • Tejas has a speed up to mach1.2 at low level and mach 1.8 at higher altitudes
  • Mirage 2000 / Vajra
    • French origin and maintained by HAL
    • Single engine fourth-generation jet fighter, and has maximum speed of Mach 2.5
  • MiG-21 Bison
    • First supersonic jet aircraft ever, the MiG 21 has a single seater cockpit with maximum speed of 1.05 mach 
  • SEPECAT Jaguar / Shamsher
    • French and British origin. Twin-engine, single-seater (IAF) ground attack aircraft 
    • Only the Indian Air Force is currently using the upgraded Jaguar in active duty.
    • Jaguars can accurately deliver heavy bomb loads at long ranges at low altitudes, but is incapable of flying high altitudes with heavy payload
    • Licenced production done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
  • Rafale
    • French origin. Twin engine, single and double seater.
    • Rafale has a speed up to mach1.1 at low level and mach 1.8 at higher altitudes and has mid air refueled capability
    • India will be integrating European-made SCALP and Meteor prolonged-array beyond visible selection (BVR) air-to-air missile into Rafale 
    • The aircraft are equipped with two standoff weapons- Mica air-to-air missile with 70 km range, Meteor air-to-air missiles, with a range of over 100 km, and Scalp air-to-ground missiles, with a range of 300 km.

Helicopters

  • Ka-226T : Russian origin. Light weight, twin engine utility helicopter
  • AH-64E Apache : US origin. India contracted 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters from Boeing through the Foreign Military Sales programme of the U.S. government in September 2015 under a $3 billion deal. Boeing’s joint venture in Hyderabad, Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, has been producing aero-structures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter for both the U.S. Army and international customers

Sub: Society
Topic: Social Welfare Children and Women
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 6/8

Child Protection

Child Labour

Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986

  • Act to prohibit the engagement of children in certain employments and to regulate the conditions of work of children in certain other employments.
  • A child means a person who has not attained fourteen years of age.
  • Except the prohibitory occupations set forth in Part A processes set forth in Part B of the Schedule, child labour is permitted to be employed the conditions of their work is required to be regulated in accordance with Part III of
    the Act.
  • Upto 3 months of imprisonment, and upto 2000 in penalty

Child Welfare

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

  • Provides a comprehensive process for domestic and inter-country adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children
  • General principles of care and protection of children
    • Any child shall be presumed to be an innocent of any mala fide or criminal intent up to the age of eighteen years
    • All decisions regarding the child shall be based on the primary consideration that they are in the best interest of the child and to help the child to develop full potential.
  • Juvenile Justice Boards to be created by State governments, consisting of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate, and two social workers with one being a woman. Social workers need to have seven years of experience in child care or have degree in child psychology
  • Section 15: Heinous offence (which attracts more than 7 years of imprisonment) by a child above sixteen years to be tried as adult under CPC, based on decision by Children's court after preliminary assessment by Juvenile Board.
  • Child Welfare Committee (CWC)
    • State governments to constitute CWC in every district, and shall have the powers of a Metropolitan Magistrate or, Judicial Magistrate of First Class.
    • CWC shall take cognizance of children produced before it, conduct inquiries  relating to safety and well being of child, and direct Child Welfare Officers or District Child Protection Unit to conduct social investigation
    • CWC shall direct placement of child in foster care, and will conduct two visits per month
    • CWC can take suo moto cognizance of cases
  • State governments to establish and maintain Children's Homes in every district, by itself or through non voluntary organizations, for the placement of children.
  • Adoption
    • Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) : The Act gives statutory status to (already existing) CARA, with following functions:
      • to regulate inter-country adoptions
      • to promote in-country adoptions and to facilitate inter-State adoptions
      • to carry out the functions of the Central Authority under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Inter-country Adoption
    • A relative living abroad, who intends to adopt a child from his relative in India shall obtain an order from the court and apply for no objection certificate from Authority (CARA)
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2018:  Empowers district magistrates to issue adoption orders in order to expedite adoption proceedings; and transfers duties from the court to the district magistrate

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Supreme Court asks Bihar to not ignore bonded labour in ongoing pandemic
  • July, 20
    • Nine minors rescued from Muzaffarnagar ashram after getting a call from helpline CHILDLINE India Foundation. They were presented before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Muzaffarnagar, which directed a medical exam

Sub: Economics
Topic: Indian Economy Evolution of Indian Economy
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 7/8

Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management

The objective of the FRBM Act, 2003 is to ensure inter-generational equity in fiscal management, long run macroeconomic stability, better coordination between fiscal and monetary policy, and transparency in fiscal operation of the Government.

  • Targets
    • Reduction of fiscal deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2008-09 with annual reduction target of 0.3% of GDP per year by the Central government
    • Revenue deficit has to be reduced by 0.5% of the GDP per year with complete elimination to be achieved by 2008-09
  • It is the responsibility of the government to adhere to these targets. The Finance Minister has to explain the reasons and suggest corrective actions to be taken, in case of breach.  The Government can move away from the path of fiscal consolidation only in case of natural calamity, national security and other exceptional grounds which Central Government may specify.
  • The Act prohibits borrowing by the government from the Reserve Bank of India, thereby, making monetary policy independent of fiscal policy
  • The Act bans the purchase of primary issues of the Central Government securities by the RBI after 2006, preventing monetization of government deficit.
  • The Act also requires the government to lay before the parliament four policy statements in each financial year
    • Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement
    • Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement
    • Macroeconomic Framework Policy Statement
    • Medium Term Expenditure Framework Statement (MTEF) (Added in 2012 amendment)
  • To impart fiscal discipline at the state level, the Twelfth Finance Commission gave incentives to states through conditional debt restructuring and interest rate relief for introducing Fiscal Responsibility Legislations (FRLs). All the states have implemented their own FRLs.
  • Central Government may entrust the CAG to review periodically compliance of the provisions of FRBM Act and such reviews shall be laid on the table of both Houses of Parliament.

N K Singh Committee Review of FRBM, 2016

  • Recommended fiscal deficit to be cut to 2.8 per cent in 2020-21 fiscal and to 2.5 per cent by FY2023. 
  • Fiscal Council:
    • Committee reiterates recommendations of Thirteenth and Fourteenth Finance Commissions for an independent review mechanism by the Centre to review its fiscal reform process
    • Functions
      • Provide guidance in regards to fiscal policy, prepare multi year fiscal forecasts, advise corrective steps if periodic review suggest deviation from targets
      • Independent assessment of Central Government's fiscal performance
      • Prepare a macroeconomic framework statement assessing the economy
    • Fiscal Council to be an autonomous body, under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs).
  • Escape Clause
    • Providing flexibility to respond to economic shocks. The clause allows for temporary deviations from the Fiscal Rules without compromising on long term fiscal targets.
    • An Escape Clause can be invoked under Section 4 (2) of the FRBM Act
    • The total deviation from the fiscal deficit target should not be more than 0.5% of annual GDP.
Terms
  • Revenue Deficit: Revenue deficit arises when the government’s revenue expenditure exceeds the total revenue receipts.
  • Effective Revenue Deficit: Effective Revenue Deficit is the difference between revenue deficit and grants for creation of capital assets
  • Fiscal Deficit: The difference between total revenue and total expenditure of the government

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Internal Security Defence
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 8/8

Indian Weapon Arsenal

  • Pinaka
    • Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRS) (Mk-I and Mk-II) : Free-flight artillery rocket with different types of warhead & fuzes, a multi-tube launcher vehicle, a replenishment-cum-loader vehicle, a replenishment vehicle and a command post vehicle. Mk-I has a range of 38km, and Mk-II has a range of 60km.
    • PINAKA Ammunition Support Vehicles : Loader cum Replenishment Vehicle (LCR) designed as Logistics Support Vehicles for Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket System (MBRS)
  • Long Range Land Attack Missile Systems (LRLACM)
    • Indigenous, low altitude, sub sonic missile to be developed by DRDO.
    • It will have a range in excess of 1,000 km and will be launched from a UVLM (Universal Vertical Launcher Module) of BrahMos. 
  • Astra Missiles
    • ASTRA is a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) class of Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) system designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft
    • Developed by DRDO, the missile is designed to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aircraft. The missile has all weather day and night capability.
    • The missile is being developed in multiple variants to meet specific requirements. 
  • S-400 Triumf / Growler
    • Russian origin, to deliver by 2021 end
    • Surface to air missile, with range of 250 km and capable of intercepting ballistic missiles across a 60 km radius. 
  • BRAHMOS
    • Indo-Russian joint venture
    • Medium range (300km) ramjet supersonic cruise missile. Can be launched from submarines, jets or land
    • The missile works on fire and forget principle. It is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated. The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase

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