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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Sep 21, 2022

Current Affair 1:
What is a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court?

 

Constitution benches are the benches of the Supreme Court with at least five judges sitting together to deliberate on Constitutional queries.

Article 132 reads as:

When a significant legal dispute has to be resolved or a provision of the Constitution needs to be interpreted, Article 145(3) of the Constitution permits the establishment of a Bench of 5, 7, or 9 Judges, etc to do so.

Ordinarily, the Supreme Courts' benches are Division benches or three judges' combinations.

The constitution benches are assembled when the court is of the opinion that-:

  1. The case involves a substantial question of law pertaining to the interpretation of the Constitution.
  2. The President of India has sought the Supreme Court's opinion on a question of fact or law under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  3. Two or three-judge benches of the Supreme Court have delivered conflicting judgments on the same point of law, thus warranting a definitive pronouncement by a larger bench and,
  4. A later three-judge bench doubts the correctness of a judgment delivered by a previous three-judge bench of the Supreme Court and decides to refer the case to a larger bench for a reconsideration of the issue involved.
  5. If any of these conditions under Article 145(3) prevail, the Chief Justice of India is vested with the power to constitute the constitutional benches.

Something more,

Constitutional Bench Pendency and Stalemate Since 2019

The Supreme Court of India came into existence in 1950 via Article 130 of the Indian Constitution. It was established as a constitutional court to deal with the questions of the interpretation of the constitution. With time, the court took the role of an appellate court rather than a constitutional court, as it was in the past.

From 134 in the 1960s to barely 2 in 2021, the average number of Constitution Bench judgments every year has decreased drastically, but it was conspicuous that the last CJI failed to constitute benches and hear cases. Outgoing CJI N.V. Ramana, who had a tenure of 1 year and 4 months, did not constitute any constitutional bench to hear very important unresolved questions of the law.

Some of the important cases that awaited a constitution bench decision during former CJI Ramana were:

  1. Manohar Lal Sharma v Union of India (Abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir)
  2. Janhit Abhiyan v Union of India (Challenge on 103rd amendment Economically Weaker Sections Reservation)
  3. Sameena Begum v Union of India (Constitutionality of Muslim Marriage Law)
  4. Sajal Awasthi v Union of India (Constitutionality of UAPA Amendment)
  5. Kantaru Rajeevaru v Indian Young Lawyers' Association (Sabarimala Review)

These cases have been pending for almost 5 years, with an average of 3 years of pendency. At present, there are a total of 54 main and 439 connected constitutional matters to be heard by the Supreme Court. In the last 3 to 4 years there has been almost no progress in the cases that are to be heard by constitutional benches.

New Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit Is Striving To Change Things

Justice Lalit advocated for the establishment of permanent Constitution benches., further even stated that there will be a listing of 25 constitution bench matters post 29th of August.

 

Current Affair 2:
WTO compliance on amendment in India’s export policy on Rice

 

Recent changes in India’s rice-export rules have helped keep a check on domestic prices without reducing the availability for exports. The changes have been done keeping in mind the need to support the ethanol-blending programme that saves costly oil imports and to help the animal husbandry and poultry sectors by reducing the cost of animal feed that has a bearing on the price of milk, meat and eggs.

Need for amendment in rules

  1. Significant rise in export of broken rice: There has been a rise in global demand for broken rice due to geo-political scenario which has impacted price movement of commodities including those related to animal feed. 
  2. Meet domestic requirement under Ethanol Blending Programme
  3. Contain impact on poultry sector due to rising prices
  4. Price of rice in domestic market
  5. Domestic production scenario of Rice: The likely shortfall in area and production of Paddy for the Kharif season 2022 is 6%. The domestic prices of Rice are showing increasing trend and it may continue to increase due to low production forecast.

WTO Compliance

According to the non-binding guiding principles to support the Multi-lateral Trading System (MTS) for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it has to  be ensured that any emergency measures introduced to address food security concerns shall minimize trade distortions as far as possible, be temporary, targeted and transparent and be notified and implemented in accordance with WTO rules.

In accordance with WTO rules “Ministerial decision on World Food Programme, food purchase exemptions from export prohibitions or restrictions”, Members should not impose export prohibitions or restrictions on food stuffs purchased for non-commercial humanitarian purposes by the World Food Programme.

In September, 2022, India has banned export of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent export duty on non-Basmati rice except for parboiled rice to boost domestic supplies amid a fall in area under paddy crop in the current kharif season.

The ban on export of broken rice, which is used in poultry feed, was imposed following a rise in the grain's exports in recent months which had put pressure on the domestic market. This is a temporary measure which has been undertaken for food security concerns of the country keeping in line with the achievement of SDGs (Goal 2: Zero hunger).

Current Affair 3:
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

 

So, we will cover this topic in detail. Life and UPSC both will become easy. For any such schemes, we should always cover introduction, why this was created. It becomes easy then to understand scheme.

Objectives of Scheme

To mobilize a medium - long term debt finances facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support in order to improve agriculture infrastructure in the country. This financing facility will have numerous objectives for all the stakeholders in the agriculture eco-system.

  1. Improved marketing infrastructure to allow farmers to sell directly to a larger base of consumers and will improve the overall income of farmers.
  2. With modern packaging and cold storage system access, farmers will be able to further decide when to sell in the market and improve realization.
  3. Due to improvements in post-harvest infrastructure, government will further

be able to reduce national food wastage percentage thereby enable agriculture sector to become competitive with current global levels.

  1. With a dedicated source of funding, entrepreneurs will push for innovation in agriculture sector by leveraging new age technologies including IoT, AI, etc.
  2. It will also connect the players in ecosystem and hence, improve avenues for collaboration between entrepreneurs and farmers.
  3. With Credit Guarantee, incentive and interest subvention lending institutions will be able to lend with a lower risk. This scheme will help to enlarge their customer base and diversification of portfolio.
  4. Refinance facility will enable larger role for cooperative banks and RRBs.
  5. With reduced inefficiencies in post-harvest ecosystem, key benefit for

consumers will be a larger share of produce reaching the market and hence, better quality and prices.

Government Budgetary Support

All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crores. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of 7 years. In case of loans beyond Rs.2 crore, then interest subvention will be limited up to 2 crores.

Current Affair 4:
Carbon sequestration

 

Carbon dioxide is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.

Types of Carbon Sequestration

Biological Carbon Sequestration

This roughly is the storage of carbon dioxide in vegetation like grasslands and forests, as well as in soils and oceans.

In oceans: Naturally, oceans absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide emitted through human activities each year. Colder and nutrient-rich parts of the ocean absorb more carbon dioxide than the warmer parts of the ocean. As such, the polar regions absorb more carbon dioxide and by 2100, most of the global oceans are expected to be made up of carbon dioxide, potentially altering the chemistry of the ocean, making it more acidic

In forests: plant-rich landscapes like forests, rangelands and grasslands absorb about 25% of the global carbon emissions. When the trees, branches and leaves die and fall to the ground, they release the carbon they had stored into the soil. Deforestation and wildfires continue to diminish forests as a carbon sink

In soils: carbon can be sequestered in soil by plants through photosynthesis. As such, agroecosystems degrade and deplete the soil organic carbon levels. Luckily, soil can also store carbon as carbonates, created over thousands of years when carbon dioxide dissolves in water and percolates the soil. The carbonates are inorganic and can store carbon for tens of thousands of years while soil organic matter stores carbon for a few decades.

In grasslands: grasslands and rangelands are more reliable areas of storing carbon than forests due to the rapid wildfires and deforestation affecting forests. Grasslands can sequester more carbon underground and when they burn, the carbon stays fixed in the roots and soil instead of in leaves and woody biomass.

Geological Carbon Sequestration

This is where carbon dioxide is stored in underground geologic formations, such as in rocks. Industrial sources of carbon dioxide such as steel or cement production companies or energy-related sources like power plants or natural gas processing facilities will release their carbon dioxide, which is then injected into porous rocks for long-term storage. Such carbon capture and storage allow the use of fossil fuels until a substitute energy source is introduced on a large scale

Technological Carbon Sequestration

This is a relatively new way of capturing and storing carbon dioxide and continues to be explored by scientists. The method uses innovative technologies, which means scientists are also looking into more ways of using carbon dioxide as a resource rather than removing it from the atmosphere and directing it elsewhere.

Graphene production: technology is being used to produce graphene from carbon dioxide as its raw material. Its production is limited to specific industries but if carbon can be used to make more of the product, it might be a viable resource and an effective solution in reducing carbon’s emissions from the atmosphere.

Engineered molecules: scientists are engineering molecules that can take new shapes by creating new compounds capable of singling out and capturing carbon dioxide from the air. These engineered molecules act as filters and only attract the element they are engineered to seek

The following can be the potential sites for carbon sequestration

  1. Abandoned and uneconomic coal seams
  2. Depleted oil and gas reservoirs
  3. Subterranean deep saline formations

 

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