Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 29 November 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 29 November 2019


Table of contents:


GS Paper 2:

  1. Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019.
  2. UNDP accelerator labs.


GS Paper 3:

  1. What are Supplementary Grants?
  2. FASTags.
  3. EU declares climate emergency.


Facts for prelims:

  1. Dendrochronology Conference.
  2. ‘YuWaah’ initiative.

GS Paper 2:


Topics Covered:

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


Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019


What to study?

For Prelims: The labour code- key features.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the code.


Context: The bill has been introduced in Lok Sabha.


Key facts:

  • The code proposes to amalgamate The Trade Unions Act, 1926, The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, and The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
  • It is the third out of four labour codes that have got approval from the cabinet.


The Bill:

  1. Seeks to allow companies to hire workers on fixed-term contract of any duration.
  2. Has retained the threshold on the worker count at 100 for prior government approval before retrenchment, but it has a provision for changing ‘such number of employees’ through notification.
  3. Provides setting up of a two-member tribunal (in place of one member) wherein important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member, resulting speedier disposal of cases.
  4. Has vested powers with the government officers for adjudication of disputes involving penalty as fines.
  5. Introduces a feature of ‘recognition of negotiating union’ under which a trade union will be recognized as sole ‘negotiating union’ if it has the support of 75% or more of the workers on the rolls of an establishment.
  6. As several trade unions are active in companies, it will be tough for any one group to manage 75% support, hence taking away their negotiating rights. In such a case, a negotiating council will be constituted for negotiation.
  7. Underlines that fixed-term employees will get all statutory benefits on a par with the regular employees who are doing work of the same or similar nature.
  8. Under the code, termination of service of a worker on completion of tenure in a fixed-term employment will not be considered as retrenchment.
  9. Proposes setting up of a “re-skilling fund” for training of retrenched employees. The retrenched employee would be paid 15 days’ wages from the fund within 45 days of retrenchment. 



The Indian economy grew at 5% in the June quarter, a six-year low, while the country’s factory output shrank for the second straight month at 4.3% in September, recording its worst show since the present series was launched in April 2012.

The ease of compliance of labour laws will promote the setting up of more enterprises, thus catalysing the creation of employment opportunities in the country.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


UNDP accelerator labs


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: features, need for and significance.


Context: UNDP launches Accelerator Lab in India, to work on pollution, water issues.

The laboratory that will be housed in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office here has partnered with Indian government”s Atal Innovation Mission to achieve the objectives.


What is it?

The Accelerator Lab is an innovative new initiative by the UNDP, Germany and Qatar, to find 21st century solutions to today”s complex new challenges.


Four key approaches sit at the core of the Labs’ work:

  1. Building on locally-sourced solutions, finding things that work and expanding on them.
  2. Rapid testing and iteration to implement what works and go beyond the obvious solutions.
  3. Combining the best understanding, ideas and expertise to generate collective knowledge.
  4. Accelerating progress by bringing expertise, creativity and collective intelligence to bear.


Need for:

  • The impact of artificial intelligence on unemployment. The potential for disinformation to spread on social media. The need for policies that keep up with and drive innovation, while protecting human rights.
  • Many of these challenges are growing exponentially. The speed, dynamics and complexity of today’s social, economic and environmental problems are fundamentally different from previous eras in history.

The Accelerator Labs are UNDP’s new way of working in development. They will work together with national and global partners to find radically new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges.


Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 3:


Topics Covered:

  1. Government Budgeting.


‘Supplementary Grants’


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Meaning, features and significance of these grants.


Context: Finance Minister Sitharaman recently tabled the first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for the financial year 2019-20 in both the Houses of Parliament saying of the total spend, cash outgo will be about 19,000 crore.



Supplementary, additional or excess grants and Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants are mentioned in the Constitution of India 1949.

Article 115: Supplementary, additional or excess grants.

Article 116: Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants.



Supplementary grants are the additional grant required to meet the required expenditure of the government.


The demand for excess grants:

When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants. These grants are presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.
When actual expenditure incurred exceeds the approved grants of the Parliament, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Railways presents a Demand for Excess Grant. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament. 

The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament. The Demand for Excess Grants is made after the actual expenditure is incurred and is presented to the Parliament after the end of the financial year in which the expenses were made. 


Other grants:

Additional Grant: It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for supplementary or additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the Budget for that year.

Excess Grant:  It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted for that year. The demands for excess grants are made after the expenditure has actually been incurred and after the financial year to which it relates, has expired.

Exceptional Grants: It is granted for an exceptional purpose which forms no part of the current service of any financial year

Token Grant: It is granted when funds to meet proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by re-appropriation, a demand for the grant of a token sum may be submitted to the vote of the House and, if the House assents to the demand, funds may be so made available.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.




What to study?

For Prelims: Key features and overview of the scheme.

For Mains: Benefits, challenges in implementation and significance of the scheme.


Context: From December 1, FASTags will be mandatory for toll payment on National Highways.



The objective is to remove bottlenecks and capture all toll electronically.

All 560-odd plazas under the control of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will collect toll without human intervention, and vehicles need not stop to pay toll.


How does FASTag work?

The device employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.

It is affixed on the windscreen, so the vehicle can drive through plazas without stopping.

It is valid for five years, and can be recharged as and when required.

The payment method is a part of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) collects the payments.


Why do we need this scheme?

  • According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), these devices will make passing through tolls considerably smoother since drivers will no longer have to carry cash or stop to make a transaction.
  • Cameras at toll booths will take photos of passengers in a vehicle, which will be useful for the Ministry of Home Affairs as there will be a record of a vehicle’s movement.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment


EU declares climate emergency


What to study?

For Prelims: Which countries have announced climate emergencies so far?

For Mains: what does this mean, rationale behind, significance and implications?


Context: European Union (EU) has become the first multilateral bloc to declare climate emergency. A resolution in this regard was recently passed.



The symbolic move is expected to pressurise countries to act ahead of the United Nations summit on climate change that starts on December 2 in Spain.

The resolution will have more symbolic effect than practical impact, and is designed to pressure EU governments to adopt a commitment for all of the EU to reduce emissions to net zero.


Who else have declared climate emergency?

Similar climate emergency declarations have already been made in several EU member states, including Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Outside Europe only Canada, Argentina and Bangladesh have declared a climate emergency.


What is Climate Emergency?

There is no single definition of what that means but many local areas say they want to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

It varies. For example, for UK government it is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050.


Why declare an emergency?

  1. The United Nations says we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe.
  2. It’s not just about reducing carbon emissions on a local scale, but also raising awareness about climate change.


What does the Paris Agreement say?

With the planet to experience further warming from the heat held by the oceans, there is increasing international focus on meeting the United Nation’s Paris Agreement which was signed by 197 countries in 2016.

The agreement has the ambitious global aim of preventing global temperatures from reaching 2˚C above pre-industrial levels (the late nineteenth century) by 2100, and ideally should be no more than 1.5˚C.


Sources: Down to earth.



Facts for prelims:


Dendrochronology Conference:

Context: The 6th Asian Dendrochronology Conference being held at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow.

This is the first time that the conference is being held in India.

What is it?

Dendrochronology is the study of tree rings that hold a wealth of information about not only a tree’s past but also that of the ecosystem in which it lives.


‘YuWaah’- Generation Unlimited initiative:

Launched by UNICEF.

  • It brings young people together with the private sector, governments, international and local organisations.
  • The aim is to tackle the urgent challenge of investing in their learning and training so that they are prepared for the complex and fast-changing world of work and can be active and engaged citizens.