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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Oct 03, 2022

Current Affair 1:
How UAPA works?

 

The recent ban on Popular Front of India (PFI) has once again put spotlight on the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967. In today’s story, we look at the UAPA, and its provisions.

Anti-terror laws in India

Originally conceived to combat ‘unlawful activities’, the UAPA, 1967 was the first step in the journey of the counter-terrorism laws in India.

  1. The first anti-terror law began as the Terrorist Affected areas act (TAAA), which was remodeled as the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, (TADA) 1987.
  2. After it’s lapse in 1997, it was repealed due to widespread criticism on its draconian provisions.
  3. It paved the way for Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002. It was repealed in 2004, but its provisions were included in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, (UAPA) 1967.

Currently, UAPA remains as the primary anti-terror law for Indian agencies. It was amended in 2004, 2008, 2013, and 2019. These amendments were aimed at giving powers to the state and the agencies dealing with counterterrorism.

Key provisions of UAPA

UAPA 1967, has provisions for declaring associations as ‘unlawful’ and prescribes measures for activities linked with such ‘unlawful association.’ The Section 3 of the act provides for declaring associations as ‘unlawful’.

While the order of the Tribunal constituted under this act confirming the declaration of any such association as ‘unlawful’ is necessary to make such declaration effective, the Central Government has powers to declare any organization ‘unlawful’ with immediate effect, if such circumstances exist and the reasons are stated in writing. The latest notification on the ban of PFI is issued using this exception.

In normal course,

  1. the Union Government shall refer such notification to the Tribunal within thirty days of any such issuance of notification and publication.
  2. The tribunal issues show-cause notice to the association with a deadline of thirty days.
  3. Upon receiving, the tribunal shall conduct inquiry and decide on the validity of such declaration within a period of six months from the date of issuance of notification.

 

Some more provisions:

 

  1. This tribunal is appointed by the Central Government and consists of only one person. The appointed person shall be a former judge of a High Court, as mentioned in the Section 5 of the act.
  2. The Central Government has powers to prohibit the use of funds of an unlawful association under Section 7, and
  3. the power to notify places used for the purpose of an unlawful association under section 8 of this act.
  4. The Section 10 of this act prescribes penalty for being member of such unlawful association.
  5. All offences under this act shall be deemed to be cognizable offences under section 14 of the act.

 

The act also has provisions for punishment for terrorist activities under Chapter IV.

 

The Chapter VI of this act deals with terrorist associations and individuals.

  1. Under Section 35 of this act, the Central Government can add or remove an organization to the First Schedule of the act, or individual under Fourth Schedule of the Act, to designate as terrorist associations or terrorists.
  2. Any such order shall be laid before the house of the Parliament. These can be de-notified under section 36 of the act.

 

 

Statistics on UAPA

As on 16 March 2022, thirteen (13) associations have been declared as ‘unlawful associations’ under section 3(covered above) of the UAPA 1967, and around 40 organizations have been added to the First Schedule of the act, deeming them to be terrorist organizations. The recent PFI ban is under the Section 3 of the act.  So far, 38 individuals have been designated as terrorists under UAPA.

What lies ahead if banned under UAPA?

The designation of an organisation as an unlawful organisation, as it has been in the case of the PFI currently, has severe legal repercussions, including the criminalization of its members and the confiscation of the organization’s assets under various provisions of the UAPA.

  1. After the declaration of the Organization or association as ‘unlawful’, such notification must be provided to the adjudicating tribunal within 30 days under Section 4 of the act.
  2. This must be complemented with the details of all the cases registered against such association by different agencies like the NIA/ED/police forces etc.
  3. Upon considering the same, the tribunal issues show-cause notice for the organization to explain why it should not be banned or deemed ‘unlawful’ within 30 days.
  4. The tribunal, based on the reply received, conducts inquiry.
  5. It has the powers of civil court such as the power to call upon witnesses, requesting any public record from a court or government agency, producing any document or other item that can be used as evidence among other things.
  6. Based on such information, the tribunal shall accept or reject the declaration issued by the Central Government.
  7. Incidentally, in majority cases, the tribunal had confirmed the notifications issued by the Government.

Current Affair 2:
United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress

 

In 2011, following decision 2011/24, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, of which the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management is a subsidiary body, “encouraged Member States to hold regular high-level, multi-stakeholder discussions on global geospatial information, including through the convening of global forums, with a view to promoting a comprehensive dialogue with all relevant actors and bodies”. Thus, the aim of the United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC)

is to provide a convening, participatory and inclusive environment to enhance the communication, understanding, knowledge and application of geospatial information management.

The inaugural United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress was held in Deqing, Zhejiang Province from 19 to 21 November 2018. Convened by the United Nations, the Congress was hosted by the Government of China.

The Second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress in Hyderabad, India will be hosted by the Government of the Republic of India through its Ministry of Science and Technology.

Current Affair 3:
Ways & Means Advances (WMA)

 

To help the states tide over such shortfalls in revenue and to meet their expenditure, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) provides financial accommodation to the States.  This is done in the form of Ways & Means Advances (WMA). 

Section 17(5) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 governs the facilitation of WMA by RBI to the states.

WMA is of two types:

  • Normal WMA also referred to as clean advance (started in 1937)
  • Special WMA started in 1953, which is now referred to as Special Drawing Facility (SDF) since 2014.

How WMA is determined?

The extent to which the states can opt for WMA is reviewed periodically. A committee set up by RBI reviews the criteria that determine the WMA limits. When WMA was introduced in 1937, the WMA limit was kept equal to the minimum balance of the respective State governments which was later revised periodically as a multiple of the respective states’ minimum balance. Since 1999, an Informal Advisory Committee (IAC) is constituted by RBI to work out the criteria for setting WMA limits.

Currently, an Expenditure-based WMA limit is being followed. The current recommendations were provided by a new committee constituted in August 2019. Before the committee could come up with its recommendations, the pandemic broke out in 2020 and hence an interim report for 2020-21 was released.

Other tools apart from WMA:

Special Drawing Facility (SDF):

Apart from WMA, the State Governments are further provided the option of Special Drawing Facility (SDF). This facility was in place since 1953 and is provided against the collateral of their investments in marketable securities issued by the Government of India. While a limit was set earlier, the IAC has decided to allow the states to draw freely against their holdings of GoI securities since 1999.

Overdraft Facility (OD):

The States can borrow money from RBI beyond WMA & SDF, to adjust the fiscal position, but are required to pay back immediately.  When advances to State Governments exceed their SDF and WMA limits, an OD facility is provided. The regulations and limits on the usage of ODF have evolved over the period of time. As per the current norms, States governments are allowed to run on OD for up to 14 consecutive days.

All the advances granted to the State governments i.e., WMA, SDF & OD attract interest on the outstanding amount.

Utilization of SDF & WMA increased during 2020-21 compared to earlier

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