Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 October 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
SC blocks BCCI funds to State units
The Supreme Court has barred 25 State cricket associations from using BCCI funds till they accept the Justice Lodha Committee’s reforms in “letter and spirit.” The state associations are yet to get the balance payment of their share from nearly Rs. 2,500 crore the BCCI received towards compensation on account of termination of the Champions League T20 tournament.
The court has directed that the pending Rs. 16.73 crore and any future funds would be released only after the State associations passed resolutions undertaking to comply with the reforms. This has to be followed by filing affidavits declaring their compliance before both the Lodha panel and the Supreme Court. Also, 13 State associations, which have already received Rs. 16.73 crore, can only use the money after passing resolutions to implement the Lodha Committee reforms.
The committee headed by justice (retd) RM Lodha was appointed by the apex court last year in the wake of a sport-fixing scandal in IPL, the biggest crisis to hit the cash-rich sports body in the country.
- Ever since the sweeping reforms were proposed, BCCI have raised objections to several recommendations including: advertisements between overs during a match broadcast, ‘one state, one vote’, the presence of two members from IPL franchises on the league’s governing council, the formation of an apex council, and a cap on the tenure of the office bearers.
- BCCI is also accused of cherry-picking directives made by the supreme court- appointed Lodha panel. The BCCI’s refusal to accept the reforms has worsened the stand-off with the apex court and threatened to disrupt India’s most popular sport.
- One state, one cricket body: One association of each state will be a full member and have right to vote. One unit should represent one state.
- CEO-run organisation: Committee also suggested the restructuring of the BCCI’s administrative set-up, proposing the position of a CEO accountable to a nine-member apex council. An apex council for the BCCI comprising 9 members, of which 5 should be elected, 2 should be representatives of players association, and one woman. CEO to be assisted by 6 professional managers and the team of CEO and managers will be accountable to the apex council.
- Under RTI: To ensure transparency in its functioning, the panel has said that it is important to bring the body under the purview of the Right to Information Act.
- Ethics officer: The committee recommended the institution of the office of an Ethics Officer, who would be responsible for resolving issues related to the conflict of interest. Ethics officer would be a former High Court judge.
- Electoral officer: The committee has also suggested the appointment of an Electoral Officer to conduct the Board elections. The electoral officer would oversee the entire election process relating to the office-bearers namely, preparation of voters list, publication, dispute about eligibility of the office-bearers
- Ombudsman: The panel has also proposed an Ombudsman for dealing with internal conflicts. Ombudsman can take cognisance of complaints suo moto, or received complaint or referred complaint by the apex council.
- Among the most sensational recommendation by Lodha panel was the suggestion to legalize betting. The panel felt that the move would help curb corruption in the game and recommended that except for players and officials, people should be allowed to place bets on registered sites.
- The Panel also suggested that the grants given to state associations be properly monitored.
- It has also suggested that a person cannot be a BCCI office-bearer and a state association office-bearer at the same time.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Polygamy no longer progressive, SC told
The centre has informed the Supreme Court that it is opposed to the Muslim practice of triple talaq. It has also described this practice as “misplaced in a secular country.”
The constitution allows Muslims, the biggest religious minority group in the country, to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code. The Supreme Court has been examining how much it can interfere in Muslim laws governing family-related issues as it hears a plea to end the practice which permits Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying talaq three times.
The court had asked the government to weigh in on the debate as to whether intervening in the law would violate the Muslim community’s fundamental rights.
What has the centre said?
The centre says “gender equality and the dignity of women are not negotiable” and told judges that “even theocratic states have undergone reforms in this area of law” which reinforces that these practices cannot be considered an integral part of practice of Islam.
What activists say?
Women’s rights activists have long called for reform of the Muslim personal law which they say discriminates against women. What they want instead is a well-defined law that criminalises polygamy, unilateral divorce and child marriage.
Campaigners say the “triple talaq” practice is unconstitutional because it violates the right to equality.
According to the top decision-making body for Muslims in India, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the court cannot interfere in the religious freedom of minorities and “rewrite personal laws in the name of social reform”.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
SC stays commercial release of GM mustard till Oct 17
The Supreme Court has stayed the commercial release of the Genetically Modified (GM) mustard crop for 10 days and has asked the Centre to take public opinion on such seeds before releasing them for cultivation.
Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops which is sown between mid-October and late November.
- The court is hearing a plea filed seeking a stay on the commercial release of GM Mustard crop and prohibition of its open field trials.
- The plea sought to prohibit open field trials and commercial release of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) crops, including HT Mustard DMH 11 and its parent variants.
GM crops in India:
The GM mustard in question—DMH-11—has been developed by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants of Delhi University. If it gets the green light from the environment ministry’s GEAC, it will be the first GM food crop to be commercially cultivated in India. Right now, only GM cotton is allowed. GEAC is the environment ministry’s regulator for GMOs and transgenic products.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure- energy.
Maharashtra becomes 17th State to join UDAY: an overall net benefit of Rs. 9725 crores to accrue to the State
Government of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Government of Maharashtra and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. (MSEDCL) under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY).
- Under UDAY, sixteen states/UT have already signed the MoU till date, Maharashtra being the seventeenth.
- The combined DISCOM debt, including Central PSU dues, that would be restructured in respect of these states is around Rs.2.57 lakh crores, which is around 68% of the total outstanding DISCOM debt as on 30th September, 2015.
- An overall net benefit of approximately Rs.9725 crores would accrue to Maharashtra by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of cheaper funds, reduction in AT&C losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. during the period of turnaround.
- Under UDAY, Maharashtra Government has committed to take over 75% of DISCOM’s non-capex debt of around Rs.6600 crores during the current year. Balance 25% of such debt remaining with the DISCOM would be converted into Bonds or repriced at cheaper rates. This would reduce the interest burden of the State/DISCOM by Rs.595 crores.
The UDAY scheme is aimed at bringing ailing power distribution companies (discoms) to a state of operational efficiency, with state governments taking over up to 75% of their respective discoms’ debt and issuing sovereign bonds to pay back the lenders.
UDAY envisages a permanent resolution of past as well as potential future issues of the sector The scheme seeks to achieve this through several simultaneous steps including reducing the interest burden on the discoms by allowing the states to take over the bulk of their debt, reducing the cost of power, and increasing the operational efficiencies of the discoms by providing capital and infrastructure like coal linkages.
Facts for Prelims
New termite species discovered in Kerala
- A new termite species, Glyptotermes Chiraharitae, has been discovered at Kakkayam in the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The species are named ‘Chiraharitae’, after the tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, where the termite was spotted.
- The flying adults of this species are approximately 10 mm long, while the soldiers are around 9.5 mm long.
- Termites are of three types — dry wood, damp wood, and subterranean. The new species are of the damp wood category, and they infest parts of woods with high moisture content, the decaying or rotting areas in particular.
- They are exclusively wood dwelling and do not require any contact with soil. Its relatives are known to attack mango, sal, banyan trees, Rhododendron, Artocarpus, silver oak, and jamun trees.
Nobel Peace Prize
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing to an end to 52 years of conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).