Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jul 24, 2020

Current Affair 1:
India among top 10 countries gaining forest area in the world: FAO

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Not to go in much deep. Useless to read full report. We have covered important points. Just read that.

FAO has brought out this comprehensive assessment (Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020) every five years since 1990. This report assesses the state of forests, their conditions and management for all member countries.

About India:

India has ranked third among the top 10 countries that have gained in forest areas in the last decade, the latest Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) brought out by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has said. During the decade under assessment, India reported 0.38 per cent annual gain in forest, or 266,000 ha of forest increase every year at an average. The FRA 2020 has credited the government’s Joint Forest Management programme for the significant increase in community-managed forest areas in the Asian continent.

About world:

  1. The world has a total forest area of 4.06 billion hectares (ha), which is 31 percent of the total land area.
  2. More than half (54 percent) of the world’s forests is in only five countries – the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China.

  1. The world’s forest area is decreasing, but the rate of loss has slowed.

  1. Africa had the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020, at 3.9 million ha, followed by South America, at 2.6 million ha.
  2. Asia had the highest net gain of forest area in 2010–2020, followed by Oceania and Europe.
  3. An estimated 420 million ha of forest has been lost worldwide through deforestation since 1990, but the rate of forest loss has declined substantially. In the most recent five-year period (2015–2020), the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million ha, down from 12 million ha in 2010–2015.

  1. Ninety-three percent (3.75 billion ha) of the forest area worldwide is composed of naturally regenerating forests and 7 percent (290 million ha) is planted.

  1. About 98 million ha of forest were affected by fire in 2015;3 this was mainly in the tropical domain, where fire burned about 4 percent of the total forest area in that year.
  2. Seventy-three percent of the world’s forests is under public ownership,22 percent is privately owned
  3. The total carbon stock in forests decreased from 668 gigatons in 1990 to 662 gigatons in 2020.


Current Affair 2:
Global tourism sector should continue fight against plastic pollution during and after COVID-19 – new UN recommendations

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism sector hard, putting more than 100 million jobs at risk; as countries begin to recover, new UN recommendations advise that the tourism sector builds back better, continuing its push to fight plastic pollution.

The Recommendations for the Tourism Sector to Continue Taking Action on Plastic Pollution During COVID-19 Recovery were released today by the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution.

Tourism, one of the hardest hit economic sectors, representing 10% of global GDP, may face a decline in international tourist arrivals of 58-78% during 2020, putting 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk. Additional impacts such as pollution and threats to the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity remain difficult to quantify.

The following five recommendations are addressed to tourism stakeholders with the aim of supporting them to continue fighting plastic pollution during the COVID-19 recovery:

  1. Remove unnecessary plastic packaging and items\to reduce cross contamination touch points.
  2. Develop robust cleaning and sanitization procedures that encourage the adoption of

reuse models

  1. Evaluate the use of unavoidable plastic packaging and items, enquire about their recyclability and reassess needs on a regular basis
  2. Engage suppliers, waste management providers and local governments to improve
  3. the effectiveness of actions, coordination and resilience
  4. Ensure open and transparent communication with staff and client

About the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. It enables businesses and governments to take concerted action, leading by example in the shift towards a circularity in the use of plastics. Developed within the framework of the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the One Planet network, a multi-stakeholder partnership to implement SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Ok, can you tell me does India has any tourism policy operational now? Yes, India has adopted India Tourism Policy 2002 which is still in operation. India is in the process of formulating new draft policy on Tourism. If it comes, we will update you.

Ok one more news about India Tourism recently. See this also.


Current Affair 3:
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Judgment

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First of all, you should be very clear that the Supreme Court upheld the right of the Travancore royal family to manage the property of deity at Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The court held that the constitutional abolition, did not in any way impact or affect the administration of the Temple, Sri Pandaravaga properties and the properties of the Temple, which continued to be under the control and supervision of the Ruler of Travancore.

So, if we now want to go in details, we have to examine the history and scope of the Constitution (Twenty Sixth Amendment) Act, 1971. Its like a story. You will enjoy reading. So, don’t stop in between. It is bit long story.

The Failed Amendment Bill and Presidential Order of 1970

On May 14, 1970, the then Finance Minister, Y.B. Chavan, introduced the Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1970 for abolition of privy purse, privileges etc. conferred under Articles 291, 362 and 366(22). Though it was passed by Lok Sabha, the Bill failed in the Rajya Sabha to reach the requisite majority of not less than two-third members present as required by Article 368 and voting. The President of India, thereafter, invoking his powers under clause (22) of Article 366 of the Constitution, signed an Order withdrawing recognition of all the Rulers in the country.

This Presidential Order derecognizing the Rulers was struck down the Presidential Order being illegal, ultra vires and inoperative on the ground that it had been made in violation of the powers of the President of India under Article 366(22) of the Constitution and declared that the writ petitioners would be entitled to all their pre-existing rights and privileges including right to privy purses as if the impugned orders therein had not been passed.

The 26th Amendment

The amendment bill was moved by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was passed by both the houses and became an Act later. In the Statement of Object and Reasons of the Bill, it was stated that "the concept of rulership, with privy purses and special privileges unrelated to any current functions and social purposes, is incompatible with an egalitarian social order". The amendment, in fact, made four changes to the then existing Constitution. It deleted Articles 291 and 362 of the Constitution, inserted a new Article 363A and also amends Article 366. All these are discussed below. Continue reading.

Deleted Articles 291 and 362

Art.291 dealt with payment of Privy Purse sums of Rulers whereas Article 362 with rights and Privileges of rulers of Indian States. Article 362 mandated the executive and legislature to give due regard to the guarantee or assurance given under any such covenant or agreement as is referred to in Article 291 with respect to the personal rights, privileges and dignities of the Ruler of an Indian State. Both these Articles ceased to exist after 26th Amendment.

Amended Article (366(22))

The 26th Amendment changed the definition of Ruler as follows:

"Ruler" means the Prince, Chief or other person who, at any time before the commencement of the Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1971, was recognised by the President as the Ruler of an Indian State or any person who, at any time before such commencement, was recognised by the President as the successor of such Ruler.

Prior to this amendment, the definition of 'Ruler' included the successor of any person who was recognized as the Ruler. The amendment deleted the 'successorship' of the status of ruler.

Insertion of Article 363A

The 26th Amendment also inserted Article 363A to terminate expressly the recognition already granted to such Rulers and to abolish privy purses and extinguish all rights, liabilities and obligations in respect of privy purses.

SC Rejected Challenge Against 26th Amendment

Sri Raghunathrao Raja, who was the Co-Ruler of Indian State of Kurundwad, challenged the constitutional validity of the Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Act of 1971 on the ground that it violates the basic structure and essential features of the Constitution of India and is, therefore, outside the scope and ambit of constituent powers of the Parliament to amend the Constitution as provided under Article 368 of the Constitution.

The Court, while upholding the 26th Constitutional Amendment, held that the Amendment did not offend Article 14 or 19(g). It further held that no principle of justice, either economic, political or social is violated by the Twenty-sixth Amendment. Political justice relates to the principle of rights of the people, i.e. right to universal suffrage, right to democratic form of Government and right to participation in political affairs, the court said. What is 19 (g)?? Try to recall. It should not take more than 2 mint to recall.

Padmanabhaswamy case

Coming back to the Padmanabhaswamy case, one of the important legal issues considered by the bench was on the impact of the deletion of Article 362 on legislations enacted prior to it. The precise question was whether the deletion by itself would result in cessation of every privilege or personal right with respect to which "due regard" was had while exercising legislative power in terms of Article 362 before its deletion.?(Article 362 had stated that while exercising legislative powers by Parliament or State Legislatures, due regard should be given to the guarantee or assurances given under the covenant of accessions with regard to the personal rights, privileges and dignities of the Ruler of an Indian State)

Answering this issue in negative, the Court held that, despite deletion of Article 362, if the concerned legislation -which had given due regard to the rights or the rulers as per the guarantees under the instruments of accession - continue to remain in operation, the personal rights or privileges could still be enjoyed. Jai ho! Finally.

Even after the 26th Constitution amendment, Section 18 of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act continued to recognize the rights of the 'Ruler of Travancore' over the temple.

Current Affair 4:
Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules Comes into Force

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The Central Government has notified Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce, direct selling and also to protect the interest and rights of consumers.

Section 94 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 empowers the Central Government to take measures to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce, direct selling and also to protect the interest and rights of consumers.

"E-commerce entity" is defined in the Rules as any person who owns, operates or manages digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce, but does not include a seller offering his goods or services for sale on a marketplace e-commerce entity. "Seller" means the product seller as defined in the Act and includes any service provider.

Provisions of new Rules: Just go through once.

  1. According to the new rules, the e-commerce players will have to display the total price of goods and services offered for sale along with a break-up of other charges.
  2. They are also required to mention the 'expiry date' of goods offered for sale and the 'country of origin' of goods and services that are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage.
  3. E-commerce players have to display details about return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, and any other information that may be required by consumers to make informed decisions.
  4. Under the new rules, e-commerce entities should not impose "cancellation charges" on consumers cancelling orders after confirmation unless sellers are ready to pay similar charges in case cancellation of orders are from their side.
  5. They are also not allowed to "manipulate the price" of the goods and services offered on their platforms to gain unreasonable profit and discriminate between consumers of the same class or make any arbitrary classification of consumers affecting their rights under the Act.
  6. Further, e-commerce entities will have to provide information on available payment methods, the security of those payment methods, any fees or charges payable by users, and the contact information, among other details, of the relevant payment service provider.
  7. That apart, e-commerce entities are required to display prominently to its users details about the 'sellers' offering goods and services, including the name of their business, whether registered or not.
  8. They must also display sellers' geographic address, customer care number, and any rating or other aggregated feedback about such sellers, among others, as per the new rules.
  9. They are also required to provide a ticket number for each complaint lodged, through which the consumer can track the status of the complaint.
  10. The new rules do not permit any inventory e-commerce entity to "falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about goods and services or misrepresent the quality or the features of any goods and services".
  11. The inventory e-commerce entities will also have to ensure that the advertisements for marketing of goods and services are consistent with the actual characteristics, access and usage conditions of such goods or services.
  12. Under the new rules, no inventory e-commerce entity will be allowed to refuse to take back goods or withdraw or discontinue services purchased or agreed to be purchased, among others, subject to various conditions.

Current Affair 5:
Madhubani Paintings

The Madhubani style of painting can be traced to the Madhubani district in Bihar, literally meaning 'a forest of honey', where women spent a lot of time making these paintings on the walls of their homes. Mainly attributed to the upper caste in the beginning, this was later taken up by women across all castes. The women used their keen sense of beauty to create evocative paintings of gods and goddesses, animals and characters from mythology, using natural dyes and pigments and painted with the help of twigs, fingers and matchsticks.

Madhubani painting has received GI (Geographical Indication) status.

Current Affair 6:
Indian Bullfrog

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Scientific Name: Hoplobatrachus tigerinus.

Common Names: Bullfrog, Golden Frog, Green Frog, Tiger Frog etc.

IUCN Red List: Least Concern.

Indian Wildlife Act 1972: Schedule IV.

It is one of the invasive species on the islands of Andaman and Nicobar.

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