Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Aug 23, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Social Stock Exchange


The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI)has recently introduced a broad framework for the formation of the Social Stock Exchange (SSE) as a new segment of the existing stock exchange(s), i.e., Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd. (BSE) or National stock Exchange Ltd. (NSE), aiming to provide Social Enterprises (SEs) in India with an additional avenue to raise funds.

While years were spent in other nations to create an ecology for SSE (or its equivalents), all of this transpired within a span of two years in India.

This article examines the concept of SSE, its inception, the framework proposed to govern it, how the Indian SSE differs from its international equivalents, and the obstacles that are currently acting as a hindrance to its success.


SSE has been introduced as a "process" more than a "place" since it will not only allow the securities or other funding structures of SEs to be "listed" (as explained in later paragraphs) but will also be acting as a filter, letting only those entities that are producing quantifiable social impact and reporting such impact to participate.

SEs can include both Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) which include trust, society, or Section 8 Company under the Companies Act, 2013 and For-profit organizations (FPOs) with social intent as their primary goals.

The social stock bourse will serve as a platform to connect SEs and philanthropist investors, where investors will be able to purchase the shares of SEs listed on SSE, whose goals suit their preferences. The value of the securities of these listed SEs shall be determined on the basis of their reported social impact.


Currently, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), philanthropy investing, crowdsourcing, etc. are being used to fund India's social sector. However, resources cannot be uniformly accessed by Social Enterprises. SSE, as envisaged by the SEBI Report, was needed to bridge this funding gap for SEs.

Another issue which was needed to be addressed is the challenge of meeting the 2030 deadline for the UN-mandated 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In reality, India currently faces an annual funding gap of INR 4.2 Lakh Crore in achieving these SDG targets. This makes it more important for private investors to participate through SSE and carry out the SDGs.

Vision of the SSE, was first outlined by the Finance Minister of India as part of the budget speech for the FY 2019-20, wherein she proposed to initiate steps towards creating a fund-raising platform under the regulatory purview of the SEBI, where SEs and volunteer Organizations might be listed.

Subsequently, the task of evaluating and constructing the framework for SSE was entrusted with the Working group (WG) and the technical group (TG), constituted by SEBI, the recommendations of whom were published in June2020 and May2021, respectively. On the basis of WG Report and TG Report, SEBI in its board meeting dated September28, 2021, approved the formation and framework of SSE.

To give effect to this framework, SEBI, in July 2022, amended the SEBI (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulation (ICDR), 2018; SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations (LODR); and SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 (AIF).


Current Affair 2:
Was it legal to grant ‘Remission’ to Convicts in Bilkis Bano Case?



Gujarat government, in a decision released 11 convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case.

The Bilkis Bano Case: A Factual Timeline

On 3 March 2002, Bano, then 21 years old and five months pregnant, was gang-raped in the Dahod district of Gujarat as unprecedented violence tore across the state following the Sabarmati Express massacre. Seven of her family members, including her three-year-old daughter were also killed on the fateful day.

In 2004, the Supreme court, in order to ensure impartial investigation and fair trial, directed Bano's case to be transferred out of Gujarat and to Maharashtra as Bano alleged receiving death threats from the accused persons. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on the direction of the Supreme Court, investigated the matter, and the trial was held in Maharashtra. In 2008, a Mumbai Session court convicted the accused persons guilty of offence under Section 302, 376(2)(e)(g) read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and awarded them rigorous imprisonment for life and fine.

One of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah, approached the Gujarat High Court seeking remission of his sentence under sections 432 and 433 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court dismissed his plea. However, the Supreme Court, while rejecting the High Court's view in May 2022, held that the remission application had to be decided by the Gujarat Government as the offence took place in the State of Gujarat. Accordingly, the court directed the government of Gujarat to look into the question of remission.

Under its remission policy, the Gujarat government awarded remission to the eleven convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of gang rape and murder.

Are State Governments permitted to release convicts?

A fundamental tenet of legal jurisprudence is that the executive cannot change a court-issued sentence. However, Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows state governments to grant remission to convicts, which means, a State government can release a prisoner prematurely, if it so desires. This provision is legal because in cases of remission, only the way the sentence is carried out is changed. Thus, remission only means that the execution of a sentence is handled differently and it does not imply that a person's conviction is overturned. It is pertinent to note, however, that the exercise of the power of remission is in itself subject to judicial review.

Accordingly, prisons (and their management) fall under the ambit of State subject under the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The administration and management of prisons is governed by the Prisons Act, 1894, and the Prison Manuals of the respective state governments.

The Prisons Act provides that only states can make rules regarding the release of prisoners on remission, as part of the correctional process in jail reforms. However, the Centre is permitted to release non-binding guidelines with regards to the same. In this context, the Ministry of Home Affairs released a comprehensive Model Prison Manual in 2016 on all aspects of prison administration and requested all states to review existing rules and procedures and base their rules on remission, among other things, based on this manual. However, this manual is not binding in nature.

Is the grant of remission in the Bilkis Bano Case legal?

In order to determine the legality of the grant of remission to the convicts, certain questions must be answered. First, is the Gujarat Government the "appropriate government" as per Section 432(7) of the CrPC to grant remission? Second, is the Centre's concurrence necessary in cases of remissions? Third, is the opinion of the presiding judge necessary? And fourth, do past verdicts of the Supreme Court of India support such instances of remission? Analysing legal and judicial developments pertaining to these four questions shall provide us with a clearer picture on the legality of the remission in the present case.

We can’t decide here. Leave this topic to further updates.

Current Affair 3:
PEN-PLUS, A Regional Strategy to Address Severe Non-Communicable Diseases


Africa has adopted a new strategy to boost access to the diagnosis, treatment and care of severe non-communicable diseases (NCD).

Called ‘PEN-PLUS, A Regional Strategy to Address Severe Non-Communicable Diseases at First-Level Referral Health Facilities’, the strategy is aimed at bridging the access gap in treatment and care of patients with chronic and severe NCDs.

The PEN-Plus strategy will strengthen the management and care of chronic and severe NCDs at district hospitals by ensuring that the capacity, infrastructure, and logistics for care are available at this level of service delivery. It provides health-care workers with the shared competencies needed to deliver care for groups of related conditions, through the development of protocols, ensuring the availability of the necessary resources and mentoring for standardized quality care.


Current Affair 4:
Gangetic river dolphins in Assam decline in the wake of anthropogenic pressures


The Gangetic River dolphin, which is both the national aquatic animal and state aquatic animal of Assam, is a Schedule-1 species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and is also considered ‘endangered’ by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

While dolphins once thrived in Assam, across Brahmaputra and its tributaries like Kulsi and Subansiri, the species is currently struggling.

Species Recovery Programme launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in 2016, targeted a recovery plan for the Gangetic dolphin. It focused on regular population monitoring and factors affecting the species and their habitats across their range, which also included Assam. However, even after constant monitoring of the species and its habitat, threats to their existence continue to loom large.

Where all dolphins are found in this region?

See the regions. Regions are important.

Last year, a report published by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) confirmed that the Brahmaputra River system remains a major stronghold for the Gangetic River dolphins, harbouring 30% of its world population. Kulsi and Subansiri also harbour a significant population.

Dolphins are present in national parks like Kaziranga, Dibru Saikhowa and Orang, as they enjoy sufficient protection there. Apart from that, dolphin hotspots in Brahmaputra are at Sivasagar, Tezpur, Guwahati and Goalpara.

Barak, the other major river system in Assam, once harboured a good population of dolphins. However, now they may be approaching local extinction.

The Kulsi tributary originates from West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and bifurcates into two main channels upstream at Kulsi village in Kamrup district of Assam.

It is known for being one of the main habitats of dolphins in Assam — the WII report estimates about 32 dolphins here. However, since the last few years, the flow in one channel has drastically declined to a staggering extent, affecting not only dolphins, but other aquatic fauna as well.

Mega dams that are proposed along northeast rivers are another threat to dolphins.

Subansiri, the largest tributary of Brahmaputra, harbours nearly 48 dolphins in a 93 km stretch, according to WII. Populations have been known to fluctuate, falling to as low as 14 when dolphins move mainstream during the river’s leanest months, when natural flows are at their lowest.

Way ahead in short:

On the possibility of dolphin tourism, such as that being conducted at the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bhagalpur district of Bihar, Wakid said, “Dolphin tourism is possible [on the Brahmaputra].


Current Affair 5:
Why is nitrogen fixation important?


Nitrogen-fixation involves converting atmospheric nitrogen into its more reactive constituents, such as — nitrates, nitrites, or ammonia.

These compounds support agriculture and plant growth. On the contrary, a lack of nitrogen stunts the growth of crops. About 90 per cent of the biotic nitrogen is fixed by microorganisms present in the soil.

Legumes such as — pea, broad bean, soya bean, clover and cowpea are the best-known nitrogen-fixing plants. They team up with rhizobium bacteria to fix the atmospheric nitrogen. Lightning also contributes to nitrogen-fixation.

Sangu pushpam (butterfly pea flower), fenugreek and agathi keerai (vegetable hummingbird) are some nitrogen-fixing plants that can be grown in home gardens.

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