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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 25 November 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 25 November 2019


Table of contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Maharashtra floor test plea and Supreme Court’s demands.
  2. Review petition.
  3. Chhattisgarh panchayats to have disabled quota.

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Exchange Traded Funds.
  2. Ken-Betwa river interlinking project.
  3. Arunachal seeks new officer cadre.

 

Facts for prelims:

  1. Haryana’s Johads.
  2. What is Golden rice?
  3. Sumatran rhino.
  4. Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to be merged.
  5. Secretagogin.

 


 

GS Paper 2:

 

Topics Covered:

Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Maharashtra floor test plea and Supreme Court’s demands

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning and implications of Rule 12.

For Mains: Significance and concerns associated.

 

Context: The Supreme Court has put on hold a plea for ordering a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly till it examined records that might shed light on what led Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to invite BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to form the government and later swear him in as the Chief Minister on November 23.

 

The Supreme Court gave the government time until 10.30 am on Monday (November 25) to produce:

  1. The letter written by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommending the revocation of President’s Rule and inviting Devendra Fadnavis to form the government.
  2. The letter that Fadnavis submitted to the Governor to demonstrate that he has majority support among the MLAs.

 

Under what rule, has the President’s rule been revoked?

To revoke President’s Rule, the government has used a special Section in the Union government’s Transaction of Business Rules (Rule 12), which allows for revocation of President’s Rule without Cabinet approval if the Prime Minister “deems it necessary”.

  • Rule 12 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961, allows the Prime Minister to depart from laid down norms at his discretion.
  • It says, “The Prime Minister may, in case or classes of cases permit or condone a departure from these rules, to the extent he deems necessary.”
  • The Cabinet can subsequently give post-facto approval for any decision taken under Rule 12.

 

Under what circumstances is Rule 12 used?

The rule is usually not used to arrive at major decisions by the government. However, it has been used in matters such as withdrawal of an office memorandum or signing of MoUs in the past.

 

When was it used?

The last big decision taken through the invocation of Rule 12 was re-organisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on October 31.

  • The proclamations issued by the President that day, dividing various districts between the two Union Territories, were issued under Rule 12.
  • The Cabinet gave post-facto approval to the same on November 20.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

Review petition

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Types of petitions and related facts.

For Mains: need for and significance of review of the SC order, procedure to be followed.

 

Context: Petitioners plan to seek review of the recently delivered Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi and telecom revenue verdicts. Besides, the Supreme Court itself agreed to review its Sabarimala verdict but refused to do so in the Rafale case.

So, let us understand what a review petition means.

 

What is a review petition and when can it be filed?

Under Article 137, the Supreme Court has the power to review any of its judgments or orders.

 

Scope for review:

When a review takes place, the law is that it is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.

The court has the power to review its rulings to correct a “patent error” and not “minor mistakes of inconsequential import”.

  • In a 1975 ruling, Justice Krishna Iyer said a review can be accepted “only where a glaring omission or patent mistake or like grave error has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility”.

 

In a 2013 ruling, the Supreme Court has laid down three grounds for seeking a review of a verdict it has delivered:

  1. The discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, after the exercise of due diligence, was not within the knowledge of the petitioner or could not be produced by him.
  2. Mistake or error apparent on the face of the record.
  3. Any other sufficient reason. It means a reason that is analogous to the other two grounds.

In 2013 Union of India v. Sandur Manganese & Iron Ores Ltd) case, the court laid down nine principles on when a review is maintainable.

 

Who can file a review petition?

As per the Civil Procedure Code and the Supreme Court Rules, any person aggrieved by a ruling can seek a review. However, the court exercises its discretion to allow a review petition only when it shows the grounds for seeking the review.

 

Time- period within which a review petition should be filed?

  1. As per 1996 rules framed by the Supreme Court:
    • A review petition must be filed within 30 days of the date of judgment or order. While a judgment is the final decision in a case, an order is an interim ruling that is subject to its final verdict.
  2. In certain circumstances, the court can condone a delay in filing the review petition if the petitioner can establish strong reasons that justify the delay.

 

The procedure to be followed:

  1. The rules state that review petitions would ordinarily be entertained without oral arguments by lawyers. It is heard “through circulation” by the judges in their chambers.
  2. Review petitions are also heard, as far as practicable, by the same combination of judges who delivered the order or judgment that is sought to be reviewed.
  3. If a judge has retired or is unavailable, a replacement is made keeping in mind the seniority of judges.
  4. In exceptional cases, the court allows an oral hearing. In a 2014 case, the Supreme Court held that review petitions in all death penalty cases will be heard in open court by a Bench of three judges.

 

What if a review petition fails?

As the court of last resort, the Supreme Court’s verdict cannot result in a miscarriage of justice.

In Roopa Hurra v Ashok Hurra (2002), the court itself evolved the concept of a curative petition, which can be heard after a review is dismissed to prevent abuse of its process.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered:

Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

Chhattisgarh panchayats to have disabled quota

 

What to study?

For Prelims: About the amendments.

For Mains: Need for and significance, implications for other states.

 

Context: The Chhattisgarh Cabinet has approved an amendment to the State Panchayati Raj Act, 1993, which makes mandatory the presence of a person with disabilities in all panchayats across the state.

This will make it the only State to have such members in all panchayats.

 

Key facts:

  1. Every panchayat will now have differently abled members, either elected or nominated.
  2. If differently abled members are not elected through the electoral process, then one member, either male or female, would be nominated as a panch.
  3. And as for janpads and zilla panchayats, the State government would nominate two such members, one male and one female, to them.

 

Constitutional rights of the disabled:

Under the Constitution the disabled have been guaranteed the following fundamental rights:

  1. The Constitution secures to the citizens including the disabled, a right of justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and of opportunity and for the promotion of fraternity. 
  2. Article 15(1) enjoins on the Government not to discriminate against any citizen of India (including disabled) on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. 
  3. Article 15 (2) States that no citizen (including the disabled) shall be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition on any of the above grounds in the matter of their access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment or in the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of government funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
  4. There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens (including the disabled) in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. 
  5. No person including the disabled irrespective of his belonging can be treated as an untouchable. It would be an offence punishable in accordance with law as provided by Article 17 of the Constitution. 
  6. Every person including the disabled has his life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

GS Paper 3:

 

Topics Covered:

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

 

Exchange Traded Funds

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: What are ETFs, benefits and significance?

 

Context: The centre is planning to launch India’s first fixed income Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) comprising debt securities of large central public sector enterprises (PSUs).

 

Features and significance:

  1. The ETF is expected to have a size of Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore.
  2. The fund will comprise only AAA-rated papers of the PSU companies.
  3. It provides a new option to conservative investors to own securities of government-owned companies along with the facility of overnight liquidity as ETF units will be listed on exchanges.
  4. Compared with bank fixed deposits that generate a post-tax return of around 5.5 per cent, this product could generate a return of over 7 per cent for the investors.
  5. It can comprise corporate debt securities in the form of bonds, credit-linked note, debentures, promissory notes as underlying instruments.

 

What are ETFs?

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are mutual funds listed and traded on stock exchanges like shares.

Typically, an ETF mirrors a particular index, which means the group of stocks in the ETF would be similar to those in the index that it is benchmarked to.

Usually, ETFs are passive funds where the fund manager doesn’t select stocks on your behalf. Instead, the ETF simply copies an index and endeavours to accurately reflect its performance.

In an ETF, one can buy and sell units at prevailing market price on a real time basis during market hours.

 

Benefits and significance of ETFs:

  1. ETFs are cost efficient. Given that they don’t make any stock (or security choices), they don’t use services of star fund managers.
  2. They allow investors to avoid the risk of poor security selection by the fund manager, while offering a diversified investment portfolio.
  3. The stocks in the indices are carefully selected by index providers and are rebalanced periodically.
  4. They offer anytime liquidity through the exchanges.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Ken-Betwa river interlinking project

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the project and the location of Ken and Betwa rivers.

For Mains: Challenges involved, need for and significance of interlinking.

 

Context: The government has said it is pushing Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to make progress on the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project.

 

What’s the issue?

The ₹18,000-crore project has been mired in several hurdles. The most recent one is a disagreement between the States on the share of water. There are outstanding environmental obstructions too. It involves deforesting a portion of the Panna Tiger Reserve.

About Ken- Betwa project:

Conceived as a two-part project, this is the country’s first river interlinking project. It is perceived as a model plan for similar interstate river transfer missions.

The project aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in MP to Betwa in UP to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region spread across the districts of two states mainly Jhansi, Banda,Lalitpur and Mahoba districts of UP and Tikamgarh, Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP.

 

Key facts:

  • Ken and Betwa rivers originate in MP and are the tributaries of Yamuna.
  • Ken meets with Yamuna in Banda district of UP and with Betwa in Hamirpur district of UP.
  • Rajghat, Paricha and Matatila dams are over Betwa river.
  • Ken River passes through Panna tiger reserve.

 

Benefits of interlinking:

  1. Enhances water and food security.
  2. Proper utilisation of water.
  3. Boost to agriculture.
  4. Disaster mitigation.
  5. Boost to transportation.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

 

Arunachal seeks new officer cadre

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Location of Arunachal Pradesh.

For Mains: Need for new officer cadre, challenges involved and ways to address them.

 

Context: Arunachal Pradesh is planning for a separate cadre of bureaucrats because of its cultural and topographical diversity.

 

What’s the issue now?

Presently, Officials and police officers posted in the State belong to the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, and are deputed for a minimum of two years and above.

Besides, there is no institutional memory as officers are transferred frequently. This affects governance, and benefits do not reach people.

The advantage of having a separate cadre is that they can understand the pulse of the local people well. The State has 27 major tribes and more than 100 sub-tribes. 

Political parties enter office and go out, but a dedicated bureaucracy is essential for the State’s welfare.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Haryana’s Johads:

What are they? Johads are community-owned rainwater storage wetland mainly used for harnessing water resources.

Why in News? Haryana state government has come out with a plan of rehabilitating over 16,400 ponds in rural areas across the state in order to analyze pond water to ascertain its suitability for irrigation and other uses.

 

What is Golden rice?

It is a genetically-engineered rice that contains beta-carotene. Here, the traditional rice is changed by inserting bacteria and daffodil and maize genes into it.

It is called golden rice because of the golden colour of its grains.

It was claimed to be able to fight Vitamin A deficiency, which is the leading cause of blindness among children and can also lead to death due to infectious diseases such as measles. 

 

Sumatran rhino:

Context: Sumatran rhino is now extinct in Malaysia.

Now, there are now just 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world, all of them in Indonesia, especially on the island of Sumatra and the Indonesian part of Borneo.

Background:

The Sumatran rhino is the smallest of the five extant rhino species in the world. The other species include the White Rhino, the Black Rhino, the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros and the Javan Rhino.

In the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century, the Sumatran rhinoceros occurred in parts of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, northern Bengal, Bhutan, Comilla and the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

 

Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to be merged:

Two Union Territories — Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli — will be merged into one and a bill in this effect will be tabled in Parliament.

The merger of the two UTs, located along the western coast near Gujarat, will be done for better administration and check duplications of various work.

At present, the country currently has nine UTs after the creation of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. However, with the merger of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the number of UTs will come down to eight.

 

Secretagogin:

Scientists have recently demonstrated the role of a protein secretagogin (SCGN) in increasing insulin action in obesity-induced diabetes.

Key facts:

  • SCGN is now established as a functional insulin-binding protein with therapeutic potential against diabetes.
  • SCGN binds to insulin and protects it from various stresses, increases its stability and adds to its action.
  • SCGN is found in lower quantities in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.