Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Aug 06, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Framework for governing surveillance in India


The framework for governing surveillance in India is incorporated under two laws: (i) Telegraph Act, 1885 ("Telegraph Act") and (ii) the Information Technology Act, 2000 ("IT Act"). While The Telegraph Act deals with the interception of calls, the IT Act deals with interception of electronic data.

Telegraph Act

Section 5 of the Telegraph Act, commonly known as wire-tapping clause, gives authority to any authorized public official to intercept communications in the situation of any public emergency or in the interest of public safety.

 However, such interception has to satisfy the following ground: (i) sovereignty and integrity of India; (ii) the security of the State; (iii) friendly relations with foreign states; (iv) public order; or (v) preventing the incitement to the commission of an offence.

It is interesting to note that the proviso to Section 5 puts further restriction on the interception of the 'press messages' of the journalists who are 'accredited to the Union government or state government'.

IT Act

Section 69 of the IT Act and the Information Technology (Procedure for Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009 are the relevant laws under the IT Act that governs digital surveillance.

Section 69 of the IT Act allows for the interception, monitoring and decryption of digital information in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, of the defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign nations, public order, preventing the incitement to the commission of any cognizable offense relating to the above, and for the investigation of an offense. It is broader in nature than Section 5 of the Telegraph Act in two ways:

  1. Even for the investigation of an offence, the surveillance can be undertaken by the government. It is important to note that there is no requirement of having a reasonable basis to resort to the method of surveillance as long as the government officials are doing for the purpose of investigating an offence
  2. The requirement of satisfying public emergency or public safety is conspicuous by its absence in Section 69 of the IT Act.

The detailed procedure is enshrined in Information Technology (Procedure for Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009 which, inter alia, provides the following safeguards:

  1. Recording of reasons for interception of any information.
  2. Direction for interception shall not exceed 60 days from the date of its issue. It could be further renewed but the period shall not exceed the total period of 180 days.
  3. Destruction of records of information obtained from such interception with 6 months unless such information is required for functional needs.
  4. There is a confidentiality obligation on the intermediaries not to disclose any information obtained to third-party.

However, in the case of Pegasus spyware, there is a use of spyware to hack into the mobile phones of the citizens of the country . Section 43 of the IT Act does not allow hacking of mobile phones by any person without the permission of the owner and any person who dishonestly or fraudulently hacks the mobile phone then he or she shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both under Section 66 of the IT Act.

Current Affair 2:
Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 (Retrospective Taxation)


In chronological order:

  1. In 2012, Govt. of India lost Vodafone tax case (in Supreme Court) related to its 2007 $11 billion acquisition of 67% stake in Indian mobile phone business by Hutchinson.
  2. Subsequently,  UPA Govt. brings in retrospective amendment to the Income Tax Act,1961 to overturn Supreme Court order.
  3. The retrospective tax rule (which was an amendment to the Income-Tax Act, 1961) which received the President’s assent in May 2012, allowed the Govt. to ask companies to pay taxes on mergers and acquisitions and sale of assets  (resulting in capital gain tax) that happened before that date (May 2012).
  4. Through this retrospective taxation rule, Govt. raised a tax demand against "Carin Energy" also, which is a UK based company.
  5. But then Cairn Energy moved to international arbitration (against this retrospective rule) in 2020 and Govt. of India lost international arbitration with Cairn recently. And a similar arbitration ruling is expected (arbitration is going on) in Vodafone case also over retrospective taxation in a similar case.
  6. And because of the above two cases, the NDA Govt. had proposed to withdraw the infamous retrospective tax law, which hounded big foreign companies with billions of dollars of tax demands.
  7. The "Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021" introduced in Lok Sabha yesterday, is basically on that line and will withdraw the law that allowed the government to raise tax demands with retrospective effect for the sale of assets before May 2012.


Current Affair 3:
Major Administrative Reforms


In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, he said, the Government from time to time brings administrative reforms, to encourage greater efficiency, transparent and corruption free governance, accountability and reduce scope for discretion.  Some of the major steps are as follows:


Launch of “Mission Karmayogi”- National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB), a new national architecture for civil services capacity building has been launched.  It is a comprehensive reform of the capacity building apparatus at individual, institutional and process levels for efficient public service delivery;

e-Samiksha- A real time online system for monitoring and follow up action on the decisions taken by the Government at the Apex level in respect of implementation of important Government programmes / projects;

e-Office- e-Office Mission Mode Project (MMP) has been strengthened for enabling Ministries/ Departments to switchover to paperless office and efficient decision making;

Self-certification of documents for appointments- From June, 2016, recruiting agencies issue provisional appointment letters based on submission of self-certified documents by the candidates;

Discontinuation of interview in recruitment of junior level posts- From January, 2016, interview has been dispensed with for recruitment to all Group ‘C’, Group ‘B’ (Non-Gazetted posts) and other equivalent posts in all Government of India Ministries/ Departments/ Attached Offices/ Subordinate Offices/ Autonomous Bodies/ Public Sector Undertakings to curb malpractices and for bringing objectivity to the selection process;

Good Governance Index 2019- was launched, which assesses the Status of Governance and impact of various interventions taken up by the State Government and Union Territories (UTs). The objectives of GGI are to provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all States and UTs, enable States and UTs to formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance and shift to result oriented approaches and administration;

Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)-The Government is undertaking CPGRAMS reforms in the top grievance receiving Ministries/ Departments by enabling questionnaire guided registration process and providing for automatic forwarding of grievances to field level functionaries thereby reducing the redress time.

Current Affair 4:
Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958

Origin to AFSPA.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, had its genesis in the 1942 Lord Linlithgow ordinance, which was enacted to curb the Quit India movement. Soon after Independence, the country faced various secession movements. The government quickly evoked the Armed Forces Special Powers Act: a law that was once used by the British to curb movements of freedom struggle which saw many Indians being killed or imprisoned.

What does the AFSPA mean?


In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. Section 4 of the Act provides the following wide powers to any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces: You will read all four points below.

Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.

What is a “disturbed area” and who has the power to declare it?

A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA. An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.

The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.



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