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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 8 March 2024

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. Fiscal Federalism: Kerala’s Government Case Against Centre

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards
  2. Various Government Regulations in News
  3. Sweden Joins NATO
  4. UDGAM portal
  5. Kolkata underwater corridor
  6. Penicillin G
  7. Frontier Technology Labs
  8. Pine Needles-based fuel-making technology
  9. Cycas circinalis
  10. UNCOVER Program

 

Mapping

  1. Blue Line

 


 

Fiscal Federalism: Kerala’s Government Case Against Centre

GS Paper 2

 

Syllabus: Fiscal Federalism

  

Source: TH

  

Context: The Supreme Court advised Kerala to meet with the Centre’s team again and accept the ₹13,608 crore offered to address the immediate financial crisis in the state.

 

What is the case about?

The issue revolves around the Centre’s imposition of a Net Borrowing Ceiling (NBC) on Kerala, restricting the state’s borrowing capacity. Kerala challenges the legality of NBC in the Supreme Court, arguing that it hampers the state’s ability to finance essential services and welfare schemes.

 

What is Net Borrowing Ceiling (NBC)?

The Net Borrowing Ceiling (NBC) is a restriction imposed by the central government on the borrowing capacity of states in India. It limits the amount of funds that states can borrow from various sources, including open market borrowings.

As of December 2023, the normal net borrowing ceiling for states in India is ₹8,59,988 crore, or 3% of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, the government has approved an additional borrowing ceiling of ₹60,880 crore for 22 states to participate in the National Pension Scheme (NPS).

Aim of NBC: It aims to regulate state finances and prevent excessive borrowing, ensuring fiscal discipline.

 

Extra-budgetary borrowing included under NBC:

Centre has included the debt taken by state-owned enterprises in the NBC. As such, many states’ statutory bodies (such as the KERALA INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT FUND BOARD) cannot raise extra loans exceeding the 3% limit of NBC. This move has raised constitutional concerns regarding the central government’s authority to regulate state finances.

Kerala’s Arguments Against NBC:

  1. Kerala contends that including debts of state-owned enterprises, such as the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), within the NBC framework raises constitutional concerns.
  2. Kerala notes that the 15th Finance Commission Report does not explicitly recommend the inclusion of state enterprise debts in NBC calculations, further questioning the validity of this approach.
  3. Kerala highlights Article 266(2) of the Constitution, asserting that transactions related to the public account fall within the jurisdiction of the state, thus challenging their incorporation into NBC calculations.
  4. Kerala cites the Kerala Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003, as a mechanism ensuring fiscal discipline within the state, thereby questioning the necessity for central intervention through the imposition of NBC.
  5. Kerala references Article 202 of the Constitution and Entry 43 of the State List to assert the state’s authority over its public debt and financial matters, challenging the central government’s imposition of NBC as an infringement upon state autonomy.

 

What did SC say?

  1. The Supreme Court urged Kerala to meet with the Centre’s team and consider accepting the ₹13,608 crore offered (only half of what the Kerala government demanded) to address the immediate financial emergency in the state.
  2. SC reasserted that Kerela Government has the right to reach court and the Centre cannot put conditions (that Kerala withdraws its suit )for releasing funds.
  3. The case is ongoing in the SC

 

What is Fiscal Federalism?

Fiscal federalism deals with the division of financial powers as well as the functions between multiple levels of the government in a country. It has within its ambit the imposition of taxes as well as the division of different taxes between the Centre and the constituent units.

 

Constitutional Provision: 

  1. Article 293 of the Constitution: The executive power of a State extends to borrowing within the territory of India upon the security of the Consolidated Fund of the State.
  2. Article 293(3) restricts states from borrowing without the Government of India’s consent if previous loans or guarantees exist.
  3. Parliament’s authority over “Public Debt of the State” conflicts with states’ exclusive jurisdiction over public debt matters, as per Entry 43 of the State List.
  4. Article 131 of the Constitution: The Supreme Court has exclusive and original jurisdiction in matters of law between states or between states and the Union.

 

For basics of Fiscal Federalism, Tools for Fiscal Federalism, Issues in Fiscal Federalism in India, Key principles that guided 15th Finance Commission recommendations, and Suggested measures for improving centre-state fiscal relations: Click Here: Fiscal Federalism: Distribution of funds from Centre to States

 

Insta Links:

 

Prelims Links:

Which of the following is/are included in the capital budget of the Government of India? (UPSC 2016)

  1. Expenditure on acquisition of assets like roads, buildings, machinery, etc.
  2. Loans received from foreign governments
  3. Loans and advances granted to the States and Union Territories

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: D

(no title)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: President of India, presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the years 2022 and 2023

 

The Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) is India’s national academy for performing arts. It was established in 1952 by the Indian Ministry of Education and inaugurated in 1953.

 

The SNA’s purpose is to preserve and promote India’s diverse culture through music, dance, and drama. The SNA Awards have been given since 1952 to recognize sustained individual work and contribution. The awards are given in the following categories:

  • Music
  • Dance
  • Theatre
  • Other traditional arts and puppetry
  • Contribution/scholarship in performing arts

 

The SNA Fellowship (Akademi Ratna) is the highest honour given to artists in the field of performing arts

/ 08 March 2024, Today's Article

Various Government Regulations in News

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Topic Details
Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified Living Animal Species (Reporting and Registration) Rules, 2024
Notified living animal species are those listed under the Living Animal Species (Reporting and Registration) Rules, 2024, which require mandatory electronic registration for possession, transfer, birth, and death reporting of certain scheduled animal species. These rules aim to regulate and monitor the ownership and movement of endangered or protected animals, as listed in the Appendices of CITES or Schedule IV of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972Top of Form

 

The rules require mandatory electronic registration for possession of animal species under captivity, within 6 months. Birth of offspring must be reported within 7 days and transferred within 15 days.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) Regulations, 2024 The Competition Commission of India (CCI) issued new regulations under the Competition (Amendment) Act 2023
1.     Penalties based on global turnover to address abuse of dominant position by enterprises.
2.     Introduction of Commitment and Settlement mechanisms to efficiently resolve competition law concerns without a lengthy legal process
3.     Commitment involves companies offering to change practices to address concerns, while Settlement involves negotiated agreements for reduced fines.
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) Advisory on Advertisement of Illegal Activities The advisory prohibits advertisements or endorsements of activities prohibited by law, such as betting or gambling, subject to rigorous scrutiny. Violations will lead to stringent measures against manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, social media platforms, endorsers, etc.
Betting and gambling fall under the State subject in India, governed by laws enacted by State Governments based on the Public Gambling Act, 1867.
Additionally, in 2023, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issued an advisory on advertisements, including surrogate advertisements of online betting platforms.
Central Consumer Protection Authority: Statutory body under Section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019. Its objective is to promote, protect, and enforce consumer rights.
Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 The Supreme Court has prohibited Patanjali Ayurved from denigrating allopathy and advertising products purported to treat chronic conditions, under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
The act aims to control certain drug advertisements and prohibit magic remedy claims. Penalties include imprisonment and fines.
Despite being the brand ambassador, Mr Ramdev’s lack of legal ownership in Patanjali Ayurved may shield him from scrutiny
Rajasthan Police Subordinate Service Rules, 1989 The Supreme Court upheld Rajasthan’s rule limiting police constable candidates to those with two or fewer children. Rule 24(4) of the Rajasthan Police Subordinate Service Rules, 1989, was deemed non-discriminatory and constitutional. The rule disqualifies candidates with more than two children since June 1, 2002. This ruling aligns with similar policies in other states aimed at promoting family planning and population control.
Population control falls under the concurrent list

Sweden Joins NATO

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: BBC

Context: Sweden has officially become the 32nd member of NATO, joining the military alliance two years after applying following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sweden’s NATO membership was delayed due to objections from Turkey and Hungary, but eventually received approval.


UDGAM portal

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: ET

 Context: 30 banks have become part of the UDGAM portal

 

What is the UDGAM portal?

Developed by RBI, it stands for Unclaimed Deposits-Gateway to Access inforMation. It serves as a centralized platform for the public to search for unclaimed deposits across multiple banks.

The portal allows users to search for various types of accounts covered by the Depositor Education and Awareness (DEA) Fund of RBI. Users are required to register on the portal and provide specific inputs depending on whether they are searching for individual or non-individual accounts. While the portal facilitates the search for unclaimed deposits, it does not enable users to settle or claim these deposits directly; claims must be made directly with the respective bank.

As of March 4, 2024, 30 banks are part of the UDGAM portal, covering approximately 90% of unclaimed deposits in the DEA Fund. Each unclaimed deposit is assigned a unique Unclaimed Deposit Reference Number (UDRN) generated by banks, ensuring seamless settlement of claims.

Kolkata underwater corridor

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Prime Minister inaugurated the Howrah Maidan-Esplanade section of Kolkata Metro’s East-West corridor, marking India’s debut into underwater metro services.

  • The underwater tunnel, spanning 520 meters beneath the Hooghly River, will facilitate swift travel.
  • Key points about the metro project include its status as India’s first transportation tunnel beneath a river, boasting the country’s deepest metro station, Howrah Metro station.
  • The tunnel, akin to Eurostar’s London-Paris corridor, lies 13 meters below the riverbed and 33 meters below ground level.

 

Penicillin G

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE
Context: India is set to restart the manufacturing of the common antibiotic Penicillin G after three decades, with Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma leading the initiative.

  • The halt in Penicillin manufacturing in India during the ’90s was primarily due to cheaper Chinese products flooding the market, rendering Indian production unviable.

About Penicillin G:

Benzylpenicillin (Penicillin G) is a narrow-spectrum antibiotic used to treat infections caused by susceptible bacteria. It is a natural penicillin antibiotic that is administered intravenously or intramuscularly due to poor oral absorption.

The government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, launched during the pandemic to promote domestic manufacturing, has played a crucial role in restarting production by offering incentives to companies on incremental sales.

An active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is the main ingredient in a medicine that causes the desired effect.

Frontier Technology Labs

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

  

Context: Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Meta have collaborated to launch Frontier Technology Labs (FTLs) in schools across India, aiming to democratize access to future technologies and empower youth to innovate.

  • These labs, an advanced version of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs), will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure for students to engage with technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Robotics, 3D Printing, and the Internet of Things.
  • Through workshops, interactive sessions, and project-based learning, students will learn to use AI tools effectively, explore AR & VR, and address cybersecurity challenges.

 

The initiative aligns with AIM’s vision to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in schools. These labs will be managed by Meta’s partner 1M1B (One Million for One Billion).

 

Pine Needles-based fuel-making technology

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Economic Times

 

Context: CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) and UCOST have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the “Adarsh Champawat” mission.

  • The MoU aims to deploy technology for producing fuel from pine needles.
  • The technology involves, Briquetting, the process of converting biomass residues into a fuel. Briquetting uses compaction methods for the densification of waste materials and converts them into fuel.

About Pine Trees:

Pine trees are evergreen, coniferous trees or shrubs that can grow up to 260 feet tall. They are native to northern temperate regions but are found all over the world. Pines are a key part of taiga, coniferous, and mixed forests. 

Cycas circinalis

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Cycas circinalis, also known as Eenthu Pana in Kerala, is facing extinction in northern Kerala due to an unknown and fast-spreading plant disease.

  • These trees, known for their medicinal and nutritional properties, are dying out without a focused research and action plan.

 

Cycas circinalis, also known as the queen sago or sago palm, is a species of cycad native to southern India and Sri Lanka. It is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 6 meters tall and can tolerate full sun or shade. It is found in dense, dry, scrubby woodlands in hilly areas in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and the south of Maharashtra

UNCOVER Program

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Recent research (under JSWT’s UNCOVER Program), utilizing a massive galaxy cluster as a magnifying glass, suggests that small, faint dwarf galaxies likely produced enough ionising light to end the Dark Ages, contradicting previous theories favouring larger galaxies or exotic objects like black holes.

 

About 400,000 years post Big Bang, the universe was dark with dense hydrogen gas. Over time, gravity formed clumps that eventually ignited the first stars. Their light initially struggled to escape the gas fog but eventually cleared it, marking the “epoch of reionisation.”

 

Observations from the James Webb Space Telescope confirmed that these faint galaxies emitted significantly more ionising light than expected, suggesting they played a substantial role in the reionisation epoch.

 

What is the Uncover program?

The UNCOVER program is part of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) initiative aimed at uncovering insights about the early universe. Specifically, UNCOVER, which stands for Ultra-deep NIRCam and NIRSpec Observations Before the Epoch of Reionization, focuses on two main goals:

  1. Identifying first-light galaxies during the Dark Ages
  2. Studying ultra-low luminosity galaxies responsible for the epoch of reionization.

 

What is the Dark Ages in the Universe?

The “Dark Ages” in the universe refers to a period about 400,000 years after the Big Bang when the cosmos was largely dark. During this time, the universe was filled with dense hydrogen gas, with no sources of light. This period ended with the emergence of the first stars, which slowly ignited and began emitting light, eventually leading to the “epoch of reionization” as more stars formed and their light cleared away the hydrogen gas, creating the transparent universe we observe today.

Blue Line

Mapping

 

Context: US envoy Amos Hochstein emphasized the importance of pursuing a diplomatic solution to end the escalating hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah (in Lebanon), along the Blue Line, demarcated by the United Nations.

 

What is Blue Line?

The Blue Line is a border demarcation established by the United Nations in 2000 after Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon. It serves as the boundary between Lebanon and Israel, aiming to prevent conflicts and provide a basis for security arrangements in the region.

 

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