Goaltide Daily Current Affairs
Current Affair 1:
We will understand it in very simple way. We will divide this controversy in four parts:
- The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- Supreme Court 2018 Judgement
- SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendments Act, 2018
- Supreme Court’s October Judgement
We will first understand the issue and then separately, we will focus on The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Now, we will connect all the four parts.
The first act, Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 says if you commit any crime (just understand, now don’t go into which all crimes) against SC/ST, you will be arrested with immediate effect as soon as FIR is filled. No anticipatory bail will be granted.
Then what SC in its 2018 Judgement did was, it diluted the 1989 Act. It said, if some crime is committed against SC/ST and victim goes to file a complaint, an approval from Senior Superintendent of Police is required with Approval that complain registered is not fake (accused won’t be arrested with immediate effect). SC also reiterated that anticipatory bail may be granted. So, it diluted the original Act in two ways:
- Accused won’t be arrested with immediate effect
- Anticipatory bail may be granted.
Then, Opposition made an appeal to the SC/ST that SC has diluted the Act because of Modi Government. Government failed to put strong arguments before SC to protect SC/ST rights.
Parliament passed a Bill, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendments Act, 2018, which negated the SC order of 2018 (that diluted original Acts) and reinstated the original Act. Now again person will be arrested with immediate effect and no anticipatory Bill will be granted.
Now the last part: on 3rd October, SC reversed its earlier verdict of dilution.
The Supreme Court upheld the amendments made by the government in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The apex court's three-judge bench restored the earlier position of the law. It negated its earlier judgement which diluted the provisions of arrest under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Here, we will also see how Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes were define prior to independence and after independence.
On the basis of the 1931 census that the British government had conducted, the Government of India 1935 Act was promulgated. The reservation for the “Depressed Classes” was incorporated into the act, which came into force in 1937. This “Depressed class” later came to be known as the Scheduled Caste.
Scheduled Tribe were the ‘tribes or communities’ who were isolated from the rest of the communities and wouldn’t abide to any religion. The British government in 1935 identified 'Schedule of Tribes' which consisted of different types of indigenous tribal groups i.e. Denotified tribes, criminal tribes, forest dwellers etc. By 1937 both the section was given positive affirmative action rights and political representation.
Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution of India define as to who would be Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with respect to any State or Union Territory. The relevant Constitutional articles are quoted below:
Article 341(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes in relation to that State or Union Territory, as the case may be.
Article 342(2): Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Castes specified in a notification issued under clause of any caste, race or tribe or part of or group within any caste, race or tribe.
Article 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purpose of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory, as the case may be.
Article 342(2): Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community.
Please see in above given articles caarefully what is the role of President and what is the role of Parliament. It’s important. Please note them.
Current Affair 2:
New. organic compounds found in Enceladus (Saturn’s Moon) ice grains
As per the NASA’s Cassini Mission, new kinds of organic compounds, the ingredients of amino acids, have been detected in the plumes bursting from Saturn's moon Enceladus.
Powerful hydrothermal vents eject material from Enceladus' core, which mixes with water from the moon's massive subsurface ocean before it is released into space as water vapor and ice grains. The newly discovered molecules, condensed onto the ice grains, were determined to be nitrogen- and oxygen-bearing compounds.
On Earth, similar compounds are part of chemical reactions that produce amino acids, the building blocks of life. Hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor provide the energy that fuels the reactions. Scientists believe Enceladus' hydrothermal vents may operate in the same way, supplying energy that leads to the production of amino acids.
If the conditions are right, these molecules coming from the deep ocean of Enceladus could be on the same reaction pathway as we see here on Earth. It is still unknown if amino acids are needed for life beyond Earth but finding the molecules that form amino acids is an important piece of the puzzle.
About Cassini Mission:
A joint endeavor of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian space agency (ASI), Cassini was a sophisticated robotic spacecraft sent to study Saturn and its complex system of rings and moons in unprecedented detail. Cassini carried a probe called Huygens to the Saturn system.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its final approach to Saturn and dove into the planet’s atmosphere on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Loss of contact with the Cassini spacecraft took place on Sept. 15.
Although the Cassini mission ended in September 2017, the data it provided will be mined for decades.
Current Affair 3:
Killer Fungus found in Australia
One of the world's deadliest fungi, the Poison Fire Coral fungus, has been discovered in Australia's far north for the first time - thousands of miles from its native habitat in the mountains of Japan and Korea.
Several people have died in Japan and Korea after mistaking the bright red fungi for edible mushrooms that are used in traditional medicine and brewing it into a tea.
Poison Fire Coral is the only known mushroom with toxins that can be absorbed through the skin and causes a "horrifying" array of symptoms if eaten, including vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and numbness. If left untreated, it can cause multiple organ failure or cause a person's brain to shrink leading to death.
Current Affair 4:
EC cuts short disqualification term of Sikkim CM Tamang.
Under this section you are going to learn very important things.
What was the issue?
Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, was barred from contesting elections for six years after the completion of a one-year prison term for corruption in 2018. However, he was granted a reprieve by the Election Commission of India (ECI), which reduced the disqualification period to just a year and a month. After the order of ECI, he is now eligible to contest elections.
Prem Singh Tamang, Chief Minister of Sikkim was disqualified on grounds of corruption under Section 8(1)(m) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Section 8(1)(m) - A person convicted of an offence punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act shall be disqualified to contest elections for a further period of six years since his release.
CM’s sentence came to an end in August 2018. Accordingly, he was barred from contesting polls until 2024(as provisions says he should be disqualified for a further period of 6 years after release). But he was appointed Chief Minister of Sikkim in 2019.
How can he be appointed as CM, if he is barred from contesting elections polls until 2024?
Answer is article 164(4): A person can be appointed as minister without being member of State Legislature for 6 months.
Does Election Commissioner have power to reduce the disqualification term?
Powers of Election Commission
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra reduced Mr. Tamang’s period of disqualification, cited Section 11 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951.
What is written in section 11 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951?
Under Section 11 of the RPA, 1951, the ECI is empowered to remove any disqualification or reduce its duration. But he can’t take this decision arbitrarily. He has to give in writing why he has decided to reduce the term.
Current Affair 5:
School Education Quality Index
The project was designed and executed by NITI Aayog.
Why this index was formulated?
The School Education Quality Index (SEQI) has been developed to provide insights and data-based feedback on the success of school education across the States and Union Territories of India. The index attempts to provide a platform for promoting evidence-based policy making and highlights possible course-corrections in the education sector.
While the Right to Education Act ensured access to education for all children, there is a felt need to improve the quality of education and service delivery. The measurement of quality-related education outcomes is imperative for incentivizing States and Union Territories to improve the performance of their school systems
It measures performance of the states in quality of school education based on 30 indicators between 2015-16 and 2016-17.
What are the categories and domains of the Index?
Now we will see ranking.
The index has divided ranking into three categories:
- Large States
- Small States
- Union Territory
Large States Ranking:
For Union Territories and Small states:
Impact of SEQI
- Outcome-based: While current measures of school education like Performance Graded Index (compiled by MHRD) emphasizes more on input and infrastructure, SEQI emphasis more on outcomes with nearly 50% of the weightage on learning outcomes. This will encourage states to adopt outcome-based, result-oriented policies.
- Spirit of competitive federalism: Since school education is subject in the concurrent list, ranking fosters the principle of competitive federalism.
- Benchmark for incentives: The index can act as a benchmark for disbursing performance-linked grants to states.
- Best-practices: Knowledge-sharing of best-practices of high-ranking states.
Current Affair 6:
Government launches Prakash portal to improve coal supply to power plants
The government has launched a web portal, PRAKASH (Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony), with a view to improving coordination between the power, coal and railway ministries to ensure coal supplies to power plants.
It has been developed by NTPC and sources data from different stakeholders such as Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies. The portal is not accessible to the general public.
Why this Portal was launched?
Present mechanism to review coal supply situation consists of an inter-ministerial group which has officials from Ministries of Power, Coal and Railways, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Power Utilities and Coal companies.
It was observed that this mechanism faced several issues such as scattered information, correctness of data from different organizations, timely availability of data etc. This often led to difficulties in decision making.
Now we will see some important points related to coal for prelims: Look at below graphs vey carefully. And please save them when we will provide PDF next week.
Current Affair 7:
President commutes 20 death sentences in nine years
The President commuted death sentences to life imprisonment in at least 20 cases over the past nine years, based on the recommendations received from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). These commutations were based on the President ‘s exercise of powers under Article 72 of the Constitution after the convicts filed mercy petitions.
Article 72: The President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence:
- in all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial;
- in all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends;
- in all cases where the sentence is a sentence of death.
The Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.
Governor cannot pardon death sentence. However, the governor can suspend, remit or commute a death sentence. Whereas pardoning power of President extend even to cases of death penalty.
In Pardon, it affects both the punishment prescribed for the offence and guilt of the offender. A full pardon may blot out the guilt itself.
Reprieve means a temporary suspension of the punishment awarded by a court of law.
Respite means postponement of the sentence of punishment.
Commutation means changing the punishment from one category to another, such as changing of death sentence to life imprisonment.
Remission is the reduction of the amount of a sentence without changing its character.
Is Judicial Review available on clemency powers?
The Court can interfere if it is found that the decision has been taken without application of mind or the decision has been taken on extraneous or irrelevant considerations or due mala fides (decision taken in bad faith) or if the decision suffers from arbitrariness.
In the case of Epuru Sudhakar v. Government of Andhra Pradesh, The Supreme Court laid down that judicial review under Articles 72 and 161 is available on the following grounds:
- That the order has been passed without application of mind;
- That the order is mala fide;
- That the order has been passed on extraneous or wholly irrelevant considerations;
- That the order suffers from arbitrariness.
The Court also emphasized that for effective exercise of judicial review reasons for the exercise of power under these articles must also be provided. Besides, it held that pardon obtained on the basis of manifest mistake or fraud can also be cancelled.
The Court further elaborated that if power under Article 72 is exercised on irrational, irrelevant, discriminatory grounds or in bad faith, then in such cases Court can examine the case and intervene if necessary.
Current Affair 8:
Income threshold to avail microfinance increased
The RBI has recently increased the income limit criteria for the borrowers of the Micro-finance Institutions (MFIs) so as to improve the credit creation in the Indian Economy.
Before proceeding to the news, let us understand what are MFIs?
Microfinance refers to an array of financial services such as Banking, Insurance etc. to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. MFIs are those institutions which have microfinance as their main operation.
The MFIs are regulated by RBI in India. As per the RBI's guidelines, MFI is defined as a non-deposit taking NBFC that fulfils the following conditions:
- Minimum Net Owned Funds of Rs.5 crore. (For NBFC-MFIs registered in the North Eastern Region of the country, the minimum NOF requirement shall stand at Rs. 2 crore).
- Not less than 85% of its loans are in the nature of ?qualifying assets.
Qualifying asset shall mean a loan which satisfies the following criteria:
- Loan disbursed by an NBFC-MFI to a borrower with a rural household annual income less than Rs. 1 lakh or urban and semi-urban household income less than Rs. 1.6 lakhs.
- Loan amount does not exceed Rs. 1 lakh per borrower.
- Loan extended without collateral.
- The aggregate amount of loans, given for income generation should be at least 50 per cent of the total loans given by the MFIs.
- The loan is repayable on weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments as per the choice of the borrower.
Now, Changes introduced by the RBI
The household income limit for borrowers of Non-Banking Financial Company-Micro Finance Institution (NBFC-MFIs) has been increased from the current level of Rs 1 lakh for rural areas and Rs 1.60 lakh for urban/semi urban areas to Rs 1.25 lakh and Rs 2.00 lakh, respectively.
Furthermore, the lending limit per eligible borrower has been raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.25 lakh.
Current Affair 9:
NGOs under RTI lens
Supreme Court in D.A.V. College Trust and Management Society Vs. Director of Public Instructions held that non-governmental organizations which were substantially financed by the appropriate government fall within the ambit of ‘public authority’ under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
What is the judgement?
The court defined “substantial” as a “large portion” of amount. It need not be a major portion or more than 50% as no formula can be resorted to in this regard.
SC held that NGOs which receive considerable finances from the government or are essentially dependent on the government fall under the category of “public authority” defined in Section 2(h) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005.
What is the definition of Public Authority?
RTI Act, 2005 gives citizens the right to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.
RTI Act explains “Public Authority” as any authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted—
- by or under the Constitution
- by any other law made by Parliament
- by any other law made by State Legislature
- by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any
- Body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
- Non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government
Now, after this judgment, such NGOs which are substantially financed by the government has to disclose information on their functioning, finance, hierarchy, appointments etc. to citizens under RTI.
Do you still remember the changes new RTI bill bought?
Current Affair 10:
Gold Bond Scheme
New God Bonds were issued from October 2019 to March 2020. We have covered in our Daily Quiz section also this topic. We are 100 percent sure you haven’t gone through the link we gave in quiz. Don’t worry. Learn here.
We will paste here everything relevant for Gold Bond Scheme. Go through it. There are total 20 points. Very small points in columns.
Current Affair 11:
Andhra Pradesh launches Village Secretariat System
Andhra Pradesh become first state to set up Village Secretariat System.
Andhra Pradesh became a role model for other States by setting up village and ward secretariats. These institutions would act as a bridge between the government and the people by rendering over 500 types of services at their doorstep, he said, pointing out that they were a major step towards his poll promise of decentralization of administration.
Under the new system, the AP government, one Village Secretariat has been set up for every population of 2,000, with each one comprising close to a dozen village officials (from different departments like police, revenue, etc.). The idea behind it, according to the state government, is to ensure that its services reach people on the ground, and also to strengthen the existing Panchayat Raj system. You will use this news everywhere you write about strengthening rural India.
A job opportunity:
The cost of hiring about 1.26 lakh new employees is going to be roughly about ?2,200 crore a year for the AP government. Aside from this, the state has also hired another two lakh Village Volunteers, with each of them being paid ?5,000 per month, with the job of assisting people in availing government services (each volunteer to look after 50 households).
Current Affair 12:
Mizoram rejects proposed Forest Act amendment
Which Amendment they are talking about?
The proposed amendment to the Indian Forest Act (IFA) 1927 which was finalized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change was circulated to different states on 14th March 2019 inviting comments and wide consultation with the stakeholders.
A circular was released by Mizoram Government:
The meeting, after examining and discussing various sections in the proposed amendment unanimously agreed that the proposed amendment directly encroaches upon the special protection given to the State of Mizoram by Article 371 G of the Constitution as it directly touches upon issues like the Mizo Customary law and practices, ownership and transfer of land as well as the powers conferred upon the Autonomous District Councils of the State of Mizoram to make their own laws under Paragraph 3 (a), (b) and (d) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
What is this 371G?
Which law governs Mizoram now?
The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was not in force in the State of Mizoram and instead, the erstwhile Union Territory of Mizoram enacted a law called “The Mizoram Forest Act, 1955” in accordance with the customary laws and needs of the people of Mizoram which has been in force till date. If the proposed amendment is passed by the Parliament, the same will override in whole or in parts of these enactments-The Lushai Hills District (Village Councils) Act, 1953, The Mizoram (Prevention & Control of Fire) rules, 2001, The Mizoram Forest Act, 1955, The Mizoram (Land Revenue) Act, 2013, etc.
After due deliberation it was resolved that since the proposed amendment encroaches upon the special Constitutional protection given to the State of Mizoram under article 371G. Hence, it was rejected by Mizoram Government.
There has been lot of amendments proposed by the Government in Forest Act 1927. Just you need to know few and what are the concerns regarding these amendments. Look for the image to know few. If you want to be scholar on Forest Act 1927, go through PDF given below.
Current Affair 13:
India is home to Asia’s oldest Bamboo
New fossil record has shown that India is the birthplace of Asian bamboo, and they were formed about 25 million years ago in the north-eastern part of the country.
An international team of researchers found two fossil compressions or impressions of bamboo culms (stems) and after further study noted them to be new species. They were named Bambusiculmus tirapensis and B. makumensis - as they were found in the mine of Makum Coalfield in Assam. These belong to the late Oligocene period of about 25 million years ago.
Yunnan Province in China now has the highest diversity of bamboo, but the oldest fossil in that region is less than 20 million years old, clearly indicating that Asian bamboo was born in India and then migrated there.
We will learn more about Bamboo.
Bamboo in India:
After amending Section 2(7) of Indian Forest Act, 1927, bamboo is no longer a tree. So, any bamboo grown in private or homestead land by millions of farmers does not require a felling permission or transit permission from any state forest department.
India is the second richest country in bamboo genetic resources after China. These two countries together have more than half the total bamboo resources globally.
More than 50% of the bamboo species occur in Eastern India- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and West Bengal.
Current Affair 14:
Massive Ice break off Antarctica
Recently, the Iceberg-D28 broke away from the Amery ice shelf in Antarctica.
The breaking of iceberg D28 is part of the normal cycle of ice shelves, which are an extension of the ice cap thus the event is not related to climate change.
The shelf is essentially the floating extension of a number of glaciers that flow off the land into the sea. Thus, ice streams maintain equilibrium by losing such bergs to balance the input of snow upstream.
It is a part of the Amery ice shelf which is the third-largest ice shelf in Antarctica.
The name D28 comes from a classification system run by the US National Ice Center, which divides the Antarctic into quadrants. The D quadrant covers the longitudes 90 degrees East to 0 degrees, the Prime Meridian.
Current Affair 15:
WEF India Economic Summit
We will see here:
- Introduction to Summit
- Key Takeaways from the Summit.
- World Economic Forum
- Confederation of Indian Industry
The 33rd India Economic Summit was held in Delhi from October 3-4 jointly by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
This year’s theme was ‘Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World’
8 important key takeaways from the summit:
- WEF’s Drone Delivery India Pilot To Begin In 2020. The government of Telangana in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals and the World Economic Forum has formalised the plan for a six-month pilot called ‘Medicines from the Sky’, starting in 2020. The project aims to explore the use of drones to increase access to healthcare for communities across the Telangana state.
- India needs to find more balance in Ecommerce Policy: US Secretary Wilbur Ross
Responding to the US administration’s comments on FDI in ecommerce rules and that India needs to reconsider them, India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal said that because of India’s market conditions, the government has to be very clear on creating ecommerce regulation to protect smaller retailers. Small retail affects the livelihoods of about half the Indian population when one considers the families impacted
- The Summit recognized that Corporate Tax Cut Alone Cannot Revive Economy. Reduction in corporate tax rate would be good but personal tax rate should also be cut down as the slowdown in demand is now clearly visible.
- The summit urged Govt to allow Startup IPOs Even Without Profitability. Speakers said that many Indian tech unicorns are at a very big disadvantage because the Indian public markets are designed to reward only profit-making companies. Whereas, a global company such as Uber or Lyft has the opportunity to go public and tap global markets, despite not showing profits.
- Government is committed to spreading its startup mission to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in the next five years. As per the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade of India (DPIIT) said that there are 50,000 registered startups in India, and there will be 50K more by 2024 at this pace.
- NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that the government is pushing for public sector disinvestment and asset monetization in a radical way. He also mentioned how the government is working to ensure that startups are never starved for funding in India. And one of the ways could be to allow public participation in Indian startups.
- World Economic Forum has released a report stating that Indian has the potential to become the largest EV market in the world.
- According to an opinion poll by the World Economic Forum (WEF), people from India are among the world’s most optimistic about technology.
World Economic Forum
It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
It is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
It engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Confederation of Indian Industry
CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India's development process.
Founded in 1895, it has around 9000 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from around 276 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.
It works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.<< Previous Next >>