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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 05 September 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 05 September 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 1:

  1. Teachers’ Day 2019.
  2. Dadabhai Naoroji.
  3. Global Liveability Index.


GS Paper 2:

  1. Jurisprudence of the judicial rubber stamp.


GS Paper 3:

  1. Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs).
  2. External benchmark rates.


Facts for Prelims:

  1. Maritime Route Between Chennai and Vladivostok.
  2. Colour-coded alerts by IMD.
  3. Nuakhai: Harvesting festival of Odisha.
  4. India among top 10 nations in gold reserves.



GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered:

  1. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.


Teachers’ Day 2019


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Teachers Day Significance and about Radhakrishnan and his key contributions.


Context: Teacher’s Day is observed annually on September 5, as Dr. Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888.


Key facts:

  1. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was India’s first Vice President and second President.
  2. His book, ‘The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore’ attracted global attention to Indian philosophy.
  3. His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta. He defended Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism” and played a major role in the formation of contemporary Hindu identity.
  4. He earned the reputation of being the bridge-builder between India and the West.
  5. He was one of the founders of Helpage India, a renowned NGO for elderly underprivileged in India.
  6. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1954.
  7. He was awarded several other distinguished awards as well such as a knighthood in 1931 and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.


Sources: pib.

Topics Covered:

Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues


Dadabhai Naoroji


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key contributions and their significance.


Context: September 4, 2019 was the 194th birth anniversary of Dadabhai Naoroji, the “Grand Old Man of India”, who was among the first leaders who stirred national consciousness in the country.

Born in 1825 at Navsari, in present-day Gujarat.


Key contributions:

  1. He was closely involved with the Indian National Congress in its early phase.
  2. He served as the first Indian member of the British parliament.
  3. His first agitation, in 1859, concerned recruitment to the Indian Civil Service.
  4. In 1865 and 1866, Naoroji helped found the London Indian Society and the East India Association The two organisations sought to bring nationalist Indians and sympathetic Britons on one platform.
  5. As the secretary of the East India Association, Naoroji travelled in India to gather funds and raise national awareness.
  6. In 1885, Naoroji became a vice-president of the Bombay Presidency Association, was nominated to the Bombay legislative council by Governor Lord Reay, and helped form the Indian National Congress.
  7. He was Congress president thrice, in 1886, 1893, and 1906.
  8. In 1893, he helped form an Indian parliamentary committee to attend to Indian interests.
  9. In 1895, he became a member of the royal commission on Indian expenditure.
  10. Dadabhai Naoroji was among the key proponents of the ‘Drain Theory’, disseminating it in his 1901 book ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India’.


What is Drain Theory?

Imperial Britain was draining away India’s wealth to itself through exploitative economic policies, including India’s rule by foreigners; the heavy financial burden of the British civil and military apparatus in India; the exploitation of the country due to free trade; non-Indians taking away the money that they earned in India; and the interest that India paid on its public debt held in Britain.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics covered:

Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


Global Liveability Index


What to study?

For Prelims: Features of the Global Liveability Index, rankings of various countries, Indian Cities in the list.

For Mains: Significance of the index and what makes cities more liveable?


ContextThe Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released the Global Liveability Index 2019.

The index ranks 140 global cities based on their living conditions.

Significance: The liveability index quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide, and assesses which locations provide the best living conditions.

The list is topped by Vienna (Austria) for the second consecutive year.


The survey rates cities worldwide based on 30 qualitative and quantitative criteria, which fall into five general categories:

  1. Stability
  2. Health care.
  3. Culture and environment.
  4. Education 
  5. Infrastructure


Performance of Indian cities:

  • New Delhi has dropped by six places to rank 118th on the list.
  • Mumbai also fell two places since last year to rank 119th.


Reasons for decline in liveability in Indian cities:

  1. Abuses against journalists.
  2. Rise in Crime rates.
  3. Climatic changes.
  4. Constrained liveability conditions.


Sources: the Hindu.



GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Jurisprudence of the judicial rubber stamp


What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of UAPA and tribunals.

For Mains: Concerns over functioning of these tribunals, challenges therein and the need for reforms.


Context: In recent times, amendments to the unlawful activities prevention act (UAPA), that allow the central government to designate individuals as terrorists, have been in the news.

The amendments have been criticised on substantial grounds, on the basis that they vest too much unchecked power in the central government, and can enable social and political persecution. The current debate also throws some light on the functioning of UAPA tribunal.


What are UAPA tribunals? How and why they are constituted?

The tribunals are constituted under UAPA.

The role of the tribunal is to review a ban imposed by the government.

Composition Of the tribunal: It consists of a sitting judge of the High Court.

Under Section 4 of the UAPA, the UAPA Tribunal is tasked with deciding whether there exists “sufficient cause” for the association to be declared unlawful. In other words, the Tribunal must review the grounds mentioned in the notification on which the central government has formed its opinion, and examine whether those grounds are sufficient or not.


Provisions which give sweeping powers to the Centre:

Section 3(1) of the UAPA authorizes the central government to declare, by notification, an association unlawful, if, in its opinion, that association is, or has become, an unlawful association.

Section 3 (1) and 3 (4) require that the notification is given wide publicity and every effort is made to serve it upon the association. Section 3(2) requires that the same notification that declares the Association unlawful set out the grounds on which the declaration was made, while exempting the government from disclosing any facts that it considers against the public interest to disclose.


The Recent issue:

This is the case involving the banning of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu And Kashmir [‘JeI, J&K’, or ‘Jamaat J&K’] by the central government, acting under the powers given to it by the UAPA.

During the course of final arguments three core issues emerged. Each of these issues go to the heart of procedural equity, fair trial and – ultimately – ensuring that there exists parity between the State and individuals or groups in the context of the curtailment of core fundamental rights, such as the freedom of speech and association.

At the heart of the dispute on facts between the association and the Central government is the claim of the association that the FIRs and cases produced by the Central government before the Tribunal had no connection with it – none of the FIRs were against the association, and none of the persons named in those FIRs were its members.



Arguments by the association:

The notification declaring the Association unlawful did not set out the “grounds” or the basis for the declaration.

What passed for “grounds” was vague and did not contain facts which would put the association to notice of what the case against it was.


How the Centre defends it’s move?

The central government has replied that the notification’s setting out that the association was “supporting extremism and militancy”, “indulging in anti national and subversive activities” and activities “to disrupt the territorial integrity” and so on, was sufficient factual detail to constitute the “grounds” for its decision, and in any case further factual details were set out in a separate background note it had supplied to the Tribunal.


Why the recent UAPA Tribunal Order, confirming the government’s ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir (“JeI, J&K”), is being contested?

  1. Key individual rights of freedom of speech and association are at stake. These rights must be given their due.
  2. The rules of procedure and evidence are designed with the understanding that the State exercises a huge amount of power – and that, in a contest between the State and the individual (or a group), certain rules are needed to balance out this unequal power; this is the heart of the idea of a “fair trial.” The tribunal defends this argument.
  3. A close reading of UAPA Tribunal orders makes it clear that the requirement of judicial scrutiny is little more than a parchment barrier.
  4. In allowing the government vast amounts of leeway in proving its case, tribunals depart from some of the most fundamental principles of fair procedure, and act as little more than judicial rubber stamps.



This is not a jurisprudence that respects constitutional democracy or fundamental freedoms such as speech and association. Rather, it is a jurisprudence of the judicial rubber stamp: courts acting to legitimise and enable governmental overreach, rather than protecting citizens and the rights of citizens against the government.

It is a situation where in the words of a famous English judge the judiciary has gone from “lions under the throne” to “mice squeaking under a chair in the Home Office” – with “consequences that the nation will one day bitterly regret”.


Sources: the Hindu.



GS Paper: 3

Topics Covered:

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: APAs- meaning, features and significance.


Context: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 26 Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in the first 5 months of the financial year (April to August, 2019).

  • Out of these 26 APAs, 1 is a BAPA entered into with the United Kingdom and the remaining 25 are Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs).


What are APAs?

An APA is an agreement between a taxpayer and the tax authority determining the Transfer Pricing methodology for pricing the tax payer’s international transactions for future years.

An APA provides certainty with respect to the tax outcome of the tax payer’s international transactions.


An APA can be one of the three types – unilateral, bilateral and multilateral:

  1. Unilateral APA is an APA that involves only the taxpayer and the tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located.
  2. Bilateral APA (BAPA) is an APA that involves the tax payer, associated enterprise (AE) of the taxpayer in the foreign country, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and the foreign tax authority.
  3. Multilateral APA (MAPA) is an APA that involves the taxpayer, two or more AEs of the tax payer in different foreign countries, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and the tax authorities of AEs.



The progress of the APA scheme strengthens the government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.


Sources: pib.

Topics Covered:

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

External benchmark rates


What to study?

For Prelims: What are EBR?

For Mains: Significance and the rationale behind RBI’s move.


Context: The RBI has made it compulsory for banks to link their new floating rate home, auto and MSME loans to an external benchmark from October 1 so that the borrowers can enjoy lower rate of interest.

Banks can choose from one of the four external benchmarks — repo rate, three-month treasury bill yield, six-month treasury bill yield or any other benchmark interest rate published by Financial Benchmarks India Private Ltd.


Current scenario:

At present, interest rates on loans are linked to a bank’s marginal cost of fund-based interest rate, known as the Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR).

Existing loans and credit limits linked to the MCLR, base rate or Benchmark Prime Lending Rate, would continue till repayment or renewal.


What is external benchmarking of loans?
When you borrow money from a bank, be it for purchasing a house, car or for business purposes, interest is levied based on certain methodologies approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). At present, banks use Marginal Cost-based Lending Rate (MCLR) to arrive at their lending rate. Prior to this, it was the Base Rate method and the Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR). These were all internal benchmarks. Banks have been allowed to use RBI’s policy rate among other market-driven options to calculate lending rates.


Why the need for a new method?
For faster transmission. Since February, RBI cut its policy rate by 110 basis points (100 bps=1 percentage point), including the higher-than-expected reduction of 35 bps in its August policy review. However, banks have not been so generous. Until August, they had only passed on 29 bps in rate cuts to borrowers, which the RBI thought was unfair. Hence, the regulator has now made it compulsory for banks to link their new floating rate home, auto and MSME loans to an external benchmark from October 1 so that the borrowers can enjoy a lower interest rate.


Sources: the Hindu.



Facts for Prelims:


Maritime Route Between Chennai and Vladivostok:

Context: A Memorandum of Intent was recently signed for the development of maritime communications between Chennai and Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East Region after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This assumes significance because it ensures there will be connectivity between the two major ports which will give impetus to the cooperation between India and the Russian Far East.

Colour-coded alerts by IMD:

Alerts by the IMD are colour-coded from Green to Red:

  1. ‘Green’ stands for ‘No warning’: no action needs to be taken by the authorities, and the forecast is of light to moderate rain.
  2. Yellow’ alert signifies “Watch”, and authorities are advised to “Be updated” on the situation.
  3. Orange’ warning stands for “Alert”, and authorities are expected to “Be prepared”. The forecast during an Orange warning is of heavy to very heavy rainfall.
  4. ‘Red’ alert stands for “Warning”, and asks authorities to “Take action”.


Nuakhai: Harvesting festival of Odisha:

The festival of nuakhai is a festival to celebrate newly harvested food by the farmers.

Background: The festival traces it origin to the Vedic period where the sages or Rishis used to talk about Panchyajna. One among them was Pralambana yajna which means the cutting of new crops and offering them to mother goddess as followed in Nuakhai festival.

It is also called Nuakhai Parab or Nuakahi Bhetghat.


India among top 10 nations in gold reserves:

According to the latest release by the World Gold Council, U.S. leads the country list with total gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes followed by Germany with 3,366.8 tonnes.

  • IMF is ranked third, it is followed by countries such as Italy, France, Russia, China, Switzerland and Japan before India at the 10th spot.
  • India has pipped the Netherlands to move into the list of top ten countries in terms of total gold reserves.
  • According to the World Gold Council, India has gold reserves totalling 618.2 tonnes, which is marginally higher than the Netherlands’ reserves of 612.5 tonnes. 
  • Interestingly, in terms of individual countries, India actually ranks ninth since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) occupies the third position after the U.S. and Germany.