Daily Prelims Notes 19 February 2021
- February 19, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
19 February 2021
All 6 Prelims qualified
4 CSE Mains qualified
If I can do it, you can too
Table Of Contents
- The Protection of Human Rights Act 1993
- Delimitation Commission
- Connectivity projects in Assam launched/ Ro-Ro vehicles
- Postal ballot
- Central Issue Price
- Environment Impact Assessment
- Cairn Energy-Govt dispute
- The Silbo Gomero Language
- P-Notes and Hot Money
Context: India for the first time officially used the term “Quad” to describe its grouping with the US, Australia and Japan which held its third foreign ministers meet within last 6 months.
- India for the first-time mentioned Quad and India’s “commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas and peaceful resolution of disputes” (so far India referred to it as “meeting of four countries”).
- Significance of the meeting is the first Quad meeting post change of govt in USA reflects continuity in Washington’s approach towards China.
- The group reiterated commitment to free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, with clear support for ASEAN cohesion and centrality.
- Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the informal strategic dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
- The idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
- In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending “Quad” Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).
Context: THE DELHI High Court has ruled that Delhi, as a Union Territory, can designate human rights courts in each district
- The court was hearing a petition filed by an activist, arguing that since Delhi is a ‘Union Territory’ and not a ‘State’ within the meaning of Constitution, the notification specifying a Court of Sessions as a Human Rights Court under The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 can only be issued by the Centre.
- It challenged notification last year designating the court of Additional Sessions Judge-2 in each district as a Human Rights Court in Delhi.
- The court held that merely because the enactment is a Central legislation, it does not follow that its implementation can only be undertaken by the Central Government.
- The court said that for the purpose of Section 30 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, the expression ‘State’ would include the Union Territory.
About the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 and NHRC
Context: Three out of Five associate members skipped the meeting of delimitation panel being held for delimitation of Jammu and Kashmir post it becoming UT in 2019.
- The current panel will delimit the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, and those of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland in accordance with the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002
About delimitation and delimitation commission
- Delimitation means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
- Under Article 82 of the Constitution, the Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census.
- The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India
- Retired Supreme Court judge
- Chief Election Commissioner
- Respective State Election Commissioners
- It is a high-power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.
- It has been set up four times so far — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
- The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
- Amendment in 2002 provided for not to have delimitation of constituencies till the first census after 2026.
Context: The PM launched and inaugurated multiple projects in Assam yesterday to enhance connectivity in the north east region.
- The PM launched ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ inland waterways and laid the foundation stone of two bridges in Assam.
- He inaugurated the Ro-Pax vessel operations between Neamati-Majuli Island, North Guwahati-South Guwahati and Dhubri-Hatsingimari.
- ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ will strengthen water connectivity by Brahampurta water through port-led development. It will start at Jogighopa.
About Ro-Ro vehicles
- Ro-Ro is an acronym for Roll-on/roll-off. Roll-on/roll-off ships are vessels that are used to carry wheeled cargo. It is different from Lo-Lo (lift on-lift off) ship that uses a crane to load the cargo
Types of RO-Ro vehicle
- ROPAX: ROPAX is an acronym for roll on/roll off a passenger. It is a ro-ro vessel built for freight vehicle transport with passenger accommodation.
- Pure Car carriers (PCC) /Pure Car Truck Carriers (PCTC)have a box-like framework, with the arrangement of ramps to load and unload the cargo. The pure car carrier is used to transport only cars whereas PCTC is used to transport all types of vehicles.
- RoLo: RoLo is an acronym for roll-on lift-off vessel. It is also a hybrid vessel type with ramps serving vehicle decks but the other cargo decks are accessible only by crane. These vessels are capable of carrying both Vehicles and general cargo or heavy metals
- ConRO: The ConRo vessel is a hybrid between a ro-ro and a container ship. This type of vessel uses the area below the decks for vehicle storage while stacking containerized freight on the top of the decks.
Context: A PIL has sought extension of postal ballot facility or electronically transmitted postal ballot system to all registered voters stationed outside their constituency.
About Postal ballots
In this Ballot papers are distributed electronically to electors and are returned to the election officers via post.
- Currently, only the following voters are allowed to cast their votes through postal ballot:
- Service voters (armed forces, the armed police force of a state and government servants posted abroad),
- Voters on election duty,
- Voters above 80 years of age or Persons with Disabilities (PwD),
- Voters under preventive detention.
- The exception to the above-mentioned category of voters is provided under Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- Last year due to pandemic the Law Ministry changed the criteria for voters aged above 65 years or a Covid-19 suspect who can opt for postal ballot.
About Electronically transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS)
It was developed with the help of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), for the use of the Service Voters. It is a fully secured system, having two layers of security. Secrecy is maintained through the use of OTP and PIN and no duplication of casted Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot (ETPB) is possible due to the unique QR Code.
This system enables the entitled service voters to cast their vote using an electronically received postal ballot from anywhere outside their constituency. The voters who make such a choice will be entitled for Postal Ballot delivered through Electronic Media for a particular election.
The developed System is implemented inline with the existing Postal Ballot System.
Voters eligible for ETPBS
- Service Voters, other than those who opt for proxy voting (Classified Service Voters)
- The wife of a Service Voter who ordinarily resides with him
- Overseas Voters
Context: The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution assured yesterday of no change in CIP amidst concern after the Economy survey talked of revision in it.
- The CIP is the price at which the government makes available food grains for the beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act, 2013 and other welfare schemes to the states from the central pool. Ex- Under NFSA CIP is at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Re 1 for rice, wheat and coarse grains respectively.
- Economy Survey 2020-21 said that the food subsidy is becoming “unmanageably large” and the revision is needed for the Central Issue Prices (CIP) of food grains released from the central pool as it has not been changed for long.
- The Centre procures food grains from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP) and sells it to the states at central issue prices. It is responsible for transporting the grains to godowns in each state.
- The states are responsible for transporting these to Fair price shops and fixing retail price to be charged at the fair price shops.
Context: The Supreme Court on Thursday noted that it was inclined to nullify the Centre’s notification which exempted the authorities from undertaking Environment Impact Assessment in case a road project is less than 100 kilometres long.
- The observation came on hearing a petition against the felling of more than 300 trees for the construction of railway over bridges in West Bengal and the widening of a highway on the Indo-Bangladesh border.
- The bench noted that in case it was inevitable to undertake a road project, the value of every tree should be built into the project’s cost.
- The Environment Impact Assessment which prescribes the procedure for industries to assess the environmental impact (taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse) of their proposed projects before they are given a go-ahead by the government.
- Environment Impact Assessment in India is statutorily backed by the Environment Protection Act, 1986 which contains various provisions on EIA methodology and process.
What are the Steps involved in the EIA?
- Screening: It seeks to determine if a project needs a full EIA or partial EIA based on investment, location or type of development.
- Scoping: Identify potential impacts based on legislative, international standards to identify alternative options (or even not going ahead with project) to compensate for adverse impact on biodiversity and determines terms of reference for EIA.
- Baseline data collection: on site existing environmental status is collected.
- Impact prediction: All aspects of possible impact on environment (air, water, soil, biodiversity etc), socio-economic status of the people in region.
- Reporting the EIA report with mitigation measures, compensations for probable loss.
- Public hearing: As per the EPA, 1986 public hearing is mandatory and any one likely to be impacted by the project must be given oppurtunity to give an oral/written answer to the state Pollution Control Board.
- Environment Management Plan (EMP) and Decision making: Based on all the above factors in earlier stages an EMP has to be prepared. Then, project proponents and the impact assessment authority make decision on future course of project based on EIA report and EMP.
- Monitoring, compliance, enforcing and environmental auditing of EIA and EMP terms both during implementation and in operation phase.
What is the EIA cycle proposed in EIA notification, 2006?
- It talks of 4-stages of EIA to be followed in accordance with the norms. These are:
- Public hearing
- It also talks of category of projects: Category A and Category B (B1 and B2 projects). In this category A and category B1 projects need mandatory EIA and B2 category does need EIA.
- Category A projects are appraised at the national level by the Impact Assessment Agency and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).
- Category B projects are appraised at the state level with B1 needing EIA and B2 does not need it. State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and the state level EAC are provided for clearance of the category B projects.
Context: The Cairn officials met govt officials to discuss the way forward with respect to the $1.2 billion (roughly Rs 8,000 crore) arbitration award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in December 2020.
- The court had ruled that the Indian government’s retrospective tax demand on Cairn Energy was “in breach of the guarantee of fair and equitable treatment”, and against the India-UK bilateral treaty.
- It was an amicable and “positive” solution to the retrospective taxation issue.
- The dispute relates to retrospective taxation (rule on taxing certain products, items or services and deals and charge companies from a time behind the date on which the law is passed).
- In 2006-2007, Cairn UK had, as part of an internal rearrangement process, transferred shares of Cairn India Holdings to Cairn India.
- Indian income tax authorities concluded that since Cairn UK had made capital gains, it ought to pay capital gains tax up to Rs 24,500 crore. But the company interpreted the law differently ad refused to pay.
- It followed litigation at the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and the High Court. Cairn lost the case at ITAT and a case on the valuation of capital gains is pending before Delhi High Court.
- While Cairns sold most of its assets, income-tax authorities barred it from selling about 10 per cent, citing pending taxation issues. The payment of dividend by Cairn India to Cairn Energy was also frozen.
- The matter went to the Permanent Court of Arbitration which ruled in favour of the company and it said that the the issue was not just related to tax, but was an investment-related dispute — and was therefore under the jurisdiction of the international arbitration court.
- The arbitration tribunal also said that India must not make any more attempts to recover “the alleged tax liability or any interest and or penalties arising from this alleged liability through any other means.
Subject: International events
Context: Silbo Gomero is only recognised whistled language by UNESCO adapted to Catalian Spanish language.
- La Gomera, the second-smallest of the main islands in Spain’s Canary Island chain has preserved indigenous whistling language for long.
- The language is mentioned in the account of 15th century explorers, whose account also led to the Spanish conquest of the island.
- Silbo Gomero was officially added in UNESCO’s list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. it was only whistled language according to the UN body which was fully developed and practiced by a large community.
- In this sound vary by pitch and length based on different letters.
SEBI chief recently noted that rise in the value of investments via P-Notes into Indian markets in 2020 and so far this calendar year is “not substantial enough” to warrant a concern.
What are P-Notes?
- P-notes are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to overseas investors who wish to be part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves directly.
- They, however, need to go through a due diligence process.
Why there were concerns?
SEBI was concerned about P-notes because it is not possible to know who owns the underlying securities and hedge funds acting through P-notes might therefore cause volatility in the Indian markets
Why it’s not a big concern?
Participatory Notes (P-Notes), which are seen as hot money instruments, are not an issue because the inflow via this route is miniscule to the level of the net overall foreign portfolio investments into the Indian markets this fiscal.
FPIs’ total Assets Under Management in India currently exceed $55 billion and P-Notes account for less than 2 per cent. Nearly a third of the FPI flows into India originate from three jurisdictions — Luxembourg, Singapore and Mauritius
SEBI has already put in place a strong regulatory framework with stringent KYC norms for the FPIs
KYC norms ‘in place’ for FPIs
About 10,000 FPIs are registered with SEBI.
There are proper regulations and KYC norms are in place.
It may be recalled that SEBI had in September 2019 notified new FPI regulations to ease the regime for investments
by FPIs. The new rules replaced the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2014
- The government and the RBI are believed to be examining the feasibility of allowing depositors of banks, especially UCBs, under regulatory directions, to withdraw up to the ₹5 lakh insured amount to alleviate their misery.
- At present, when a bank is placed under directions, deposit withdrawals are capped it ranges from ₹1,000 to ₹1 lakh of the total balance held by a depositor. This withdrawal cap is applicable for the entire period that a bank is under directions
- The possibility of allowing deposit withdrawal up to the insured amount has brightened with the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) swelling to ₹1, 10,380crore at March-end 2020 from ₹93,750 crore at March-end 2019
- Since April 1, 2015, 52 UCBs have been placed under All-Inclusive Directions by the Reserve Bank, per RBI’s Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2019-20. Of the total claims settled by DICGC since inception, around 94.3 per cent of claims pertained to co-operative banks that were liquidated, amalgamated or restructured.
- Government had recently upped the deposits insured by Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC)from ₹1 lakh (fixed in 1993 when the insurance scheme was started) to ₹5 lakh following the PMC Bank fiasco of 2019
- Deposit insurance is a protection cover for deposit holders in a bank when the bank fails and does not have money to pay its depositors.
- This insurance is provided by Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the RBI.
- DICGC insures all bank deposits, such as savings, fixed, current and recurring deposit for up to the limit of Rs 5 lakh per bank.
- DICGC covers depositors of all commercial banks and foreign banks operating in India, state, central and urban co-operative banks, local area banks and regional rural banks provided the bank has bought the cover from DICGC.
- The DICGC does not include the following types of deposits:
- Deposits of foreign governments.
- Deposits of central/state governments.
- Inter-bank deposits.
- Deposits of the state land development banks with the state co-operative bank.
- Any amount due on account of any deposit received outside India.
- Any amount specifically exempted by the DICGC with previous approval of RBI.