Daily Prelims Notes 2 November 2022
- November 2, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
2 November 2022
Table Of Contents
- Record GST collection
- Day 1 of CBDC
- Quantitative Easing
- Income tax returns
- FAR bonds
- Enabling NRI and Migrants to vote
- Posco act overide Muslim personal law
- Hindus as minority
- British Home Secretary Secretary Suella Braverman migrant ‘invasion’ remark
- Tracking methane emissions for mitigation-
- SUNREF India – Contribution to green housing in India
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
- What are coronal holes which put a ‘smile’ on the face of the sun
- Shared water resources can be used as weapon by any nation: Murmu
- Saffron festival
- Disqualification of MLA
- Tana Bhagat Movement (1914-1920)
- The first fully solar village
- Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
Gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections rose to Rs 1,51,718 crore for October, the second highest level since the roll-out of the indirect tax regime in July 2017.
- Monthly GST revenues have been above the Rs 1.4 lakh crore mark for the last eight months in a row.
- Revenue growth is crucial for fiscal arithmetic this year as the government tackles additional spending needs on account of fertilizer, food and fuel subsidies.
- High inflation rate-increase in retail prices of many consumption goods,
- The festive season demand–increased spending on account of the festive season
- Actions taken to ensure compliance-introduction of e-invoicing system, e-way bills coupled with the crackdown on fake invoicing. Also linking the customs portal with GST portal
E-Way bill system:
- E-Way bill system is for GST registered person / enrolled transporter for generating the way bill (a document to be carried by the person in charge of conveyance) electronically on commencement of movement of goods exceeding the value of Rs. 50,000 in relation to supply or for reasons other than supply or due to inward supply from an unregistered person.
- E-Way Bill is a compliance mechanism wherein by way of a digital interface the person causing the movement of goods uploads the relevant information prior to the commencement of movement of goods and generates an e-way bill on the GST portal.
- An electronic way bill or ‘e-way bill’ system offers the technological framework to track intra-state as well as inter-state movements of goods of value exceeding Rs 50,000, for sales beyond 10 km in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. When an eway bill is generated, a unique E-way Bill Number (EBN) is allocated and is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter.
- It was launched to:
- Facilitate faster movement of goods.
- Improve the turnaround time of vehicles.
- Help the logistics industry by increasing the average distances travelled and reducing the travel time as well as costs.
- E-Way Bill Rules
- According to notified e-way bill rules, every supplier requires prior online registration on the e-way bill portal for the movement of goods. Tax officials have the power to scrutinise the e-way bill at any point during transit to check tax evasion.
- The rules also specify that the permits for conventional cargo (other than over-dimensional carve) are valid for one day for the movement of goods for 100 km, and in the same proportion for the following days.
- In general, validity of the e-way bill cannot be extended but a commissioner may extend the validity period only through issuing notification for certain categories of goods.
- Penalty for goods moved without generating a valid e-way bill:
- A fine of Rs 10,000 or amount of tax sought to be evaded, whichever is higher, may be imposed by tax authorities.
- In such a situation, goods, and the vehicle transporting them, can be detained or seized.
- An e-way bill can be regenerated by the transporter before expiry, but, if the e-way bill has expired, the system won’t allow regeneration linked to the same invoice.
- Specific goods that are exempt from e-way bill rules are:
- Liquefied petroleum gas for supply to household and non-domestic exempted category customers
- Kerosene oil sold under Public Distribution System (PDS)
- Postal baggage transported by Department of Posts
- Natural or cultured pearls and precious or semi-precious stones; precious metals and metals clad with precious metal
- Jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares and other articles
- Used personal and household effects
- Unworked and worked coral
- Goods transported are alcoholic liquor for human consumption, petroleum crude, high-speed diesel, petrol, natural gas or aviation turbine fuel.
- Goods being transported are not treated as supply under Schedule III of the Act. Schedule III consists of activities that would neither be a supply of goods nor service like service of an employee to an employer in his employment, functions performed by MP, MLA etc.
- Goods transported are empty cargo containers
- Goods other than de-oiled cake being transported as specified:
- Curd, lassi, buttermilk
- Fresh milk and pasteurised milk not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter
- Unprocessed tea leaves and unroasted coffee beans
- Live animals, plants and trees
- Unbranded rice and wheat flour
- Items of educational importance (books, maps, periodicals)
- Other transactional cases where e-way bill is not required are:
- e-Way Bill is optional for doods of value less than Rs. 50,000 (except in cases of mandatory e-way bill provisions like the movement of Handicraft goods and movement of goods for Interstate Job work)
- If goods are being transported by a non-motorised conveyance (Ex. Horse carts or manual carts)
- If goods are being transported:
- From the port, airport, air cargo complex and land customs station to an inland container depot (ICD) or a container freight station (CFS) for clearance by Customs
- From ICD or CFS to a customs port, airport, air cargo etc under customs bond
- From one customs port/station to another one under customs bond
- Goods transported under the customs supervision or customs seal
- Goods transported within the notified area
- Goods transported are transit from/ to Nepal/ Bhutan
- If goods are transported to a weighbridge within 20kms and back to the place of business covered under a Delivery Challan (DC)
- Where Government or local authorities transport goods by rail as a consignor
- Goods transported to/from the Ministry of Defence
Government securities worth ₹275 crore were traded using the central bank digital currency (CBDC), on the first day of a pilot project in the wholesale segment according to the data published by the Clearing Corp. of India (CCIL) .
RBI opened a new platform called ‘Negotiated Dealing System-Order Matching (NDS-OM) CBDC’ for the 9 banks(authorized to deal in CBDC) to conduct the transactions, which they used to buy and sell government securities among themselves.
Negotiated Dealing System-Order Matching (NDS-OM) CBDC
Banks can sell or buy securities at the available price on the normal NDS-OM platform, where secondary market transactions are executed.
- Banks send a request to RBI to convert the cash lying in the cash reserve ratio (CRR) account into digital rupee which is then stored in the CBDC digital rupee account opened by each bank with RBI.
- The transactions were settled instantly by RBI, without the help of any third party.
- Normal trades are settled on a T+1 basis through CCIL, meaning the settlement happens one business day after the trade is executed.
- The securities were then credited to the banks’ SGL (subsidiary general ledger) account maintained with the Reserve Bank.
- There is no intermediary risk -transactions are settled with the central bank directly.
- Banks are also able to monitor their digital rupee account and convert the remaining CBDC to CRR at any time.
- CBDC wholesale transactions are free as it is settled with the RBI directly, unlike regular transactions where banks pay transaction charges to CCIL.
- It will make the interbank market efficient-Settlement in central bank money would cut transaction costs by doing away with the need for settlement guarantee infrastructure or collateral to mitigate risks.
- The RBI introduced the NDS-OM in August 2005. It is an electronic, screen based, anonymous, order driven trading system for dealing in G-secs.
- NDS-OM is a screen based electronic anonymous order matching system for secondary market trading in Government securities owned by RBI.
- Presently the membership of the system is open to entities like Banks, Primary Dealers, Insurance Companies, Mutual Funds etc. i.e entities who maintain SGL accounts with RBI. These are Primary Members (PM) of NDS and are permitted by RBI to become members of NDS-OM.
- Gilt Account Holders which have a gilt account with the PMs are permitted to have indirect access to the NDS-OM system i.e they can request their Primary Members to place orders on their behalf on the NDS-OM system.
A Subsidiary General Ledger (SGL) Account
- It is an account opened and held with the Bank for holding or/and transacting in Government Securities.
- The entities mentioned below are eligible to open and maintain an SGL account with the Bank:
- A licensed bank
- A Primary Dealer
- A Financial Institution as defined in terms of Section 45-I (c) (ii) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (2 of 1934).
- Provided that the above entities obtain a no-objection certificate from the concerned regulatory department of the Bank, to the effect that they meet the eligibility criteria (as applicable) and that the Bank has no regulatory/supervisory discomfort.
- Central Government.
- State Governments.
- Insurance Companies regulated by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.
- Mutual Funds regulated by the Securities & Exchange Board of India.
- Provident and Pension Funds having investment of ` 500 crore or more in Government securities.
- Foreign Central Banks with prior approval of the Bank.
- Pension Fund Managers regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
- In addition, the entities mentioned below can open and maintain an SGL account with the Bank.
- National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL).
- Central Depository Services (India) Limited (CDSL).
- Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL).
- Such other entities may be approved by the Bank from time to time.
The Bank of England conducted its first auction to sell government bonds from its quantitative easing stockpile.
- It has been reducing its holdings of British government bonds, known as gilts, bought under quantitative easing QE in addition to not reinvesting the proceeds of maturing bonds..
- The Federal Reserve and Bank of Canada have adopted similar policies, sometimes known as passive quantitative tightening (QT).
Why is the Bank Of England selling GILTS?
- British government bonds have a longer average maturity than those issued by other countries, so the BoE has to sell gilts to achieve the same pace of balance sheet reduction that other central banks would get by simply allowing their bonds to mature.
- It intends to partially reverse QE–may help fight inflation, to the extent it pushes up borrowing costs and gives the government, business and the public less money to spend on other things.
- Though raising interest rates is its main tool for controlling inflation, because the impact is better understood than that of QT.
- It is an occasionally used monetary policy, which is adopted by the central banks to increase money supply in the economy in order to further increase lending by commercial banks and spending by consumers.
- The central bank infuses a predetermined quantity of money into the economy by buying financial assets from commercial banks and private entities. This leads to an increase in banks’ reserves.
- It involves Central banks purchasing securities from the open market to reduce interest rates and increase the money supply.
- Quantitative easing thus, creates new bank reserves, providing banks with more liquidity and encouraging lending and investment.
- Globally, central banks have attempted to deploy quantitative easing as a means of preventing recession and deflation in their countries with similarly inconclusive results.
- Commonly, the effects of quantitative easing benefit borrowers over savers and investors over non-investors.
Difference between Conventional Monetary Policies and Quantitative Easing?
- Normally the central bank follows an easy money policy (low interest rates) when they need to promote growth and a tight money policy (high interest rates) when they concentrate on controlling inflation.
- The Reserve Bank of India either sells or purchases Government Securities to/from the public.
- Quantitative Easing is mainly an asset purchase or asset swap policy. The purpose is to increase money supply to the banks.
- A central bank implements quantitative easing by buying specified amounts of financial assets from commercial banks and other private institutions, thus increasing the monetary base and lowering the yield on those financial assets. This is distinguished from the more usual policy of buying or selling short term government bonds in order to keep interbank interest rates at a specified target value.
- Thus, QE is an unconventional monetary policy used by central banks to stimulate the economy when standard monetary policy has become ineffective.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), under the Finance Ministry, released a draft common ITR form
- Currently, there are seven types of ITR forms which are filed by different categories of taxpayers.
- According to the proposal, all taxpayers, barring trusts and non-profit organisations, can use the common ITR form, which also includes a separate head for disclosure of income from virtual digital assets.
- It proposes to introduce a common ITR by merging all the existing returns of income except ITR-7.
- The current ITR-1 and ITR-4 will continue giving an option to taxpayers to file the return either in the existing form (ITR-1 or ITR-4), or the proposed common ITR.
Income Tax Return (ITR):
- Income Tax Return (ITR) is a form which a person is supposed to submit to the Income Tax Department of India.
- It contains information about the person’s income and the taxes to be paid on it during the year.
- Information filed in ITR should pertain to a particular financial year, i.e. starting on 1st April and ending on 31st March of the next year.
- The Income Tax Department has prescribed 7 types of ITR forms – ITR-1, ITR-2, ITR-3, ITR-4, ITR-5, ITR-6, ITR-7 and the applicability of the form will depend on the nature and amount of income and the type of taxpayer. ITR Form 1 (Sahaj) and ITR Form 4 (Sugam) are simpler forms, for small and medium taxpayers.
- ITR-1 SAHAJ-For individuals being a resident (other than not ordinarily resident) having total income upto Rs.50 lakh, having Income from Salaries, one house property, other sources (Interest etc.), and agricultural income upto Rs.5 thousand
- ITR-2 is filed by people with income from residential property i.e. For Individuals and HUFs not having income from profits and gains of business or profession
- ITR-3 For individuals and HUFs having income from profits and gains of business or profession
- ITR-4 Sugam–For Individuals, HUFs and Firms (other than LLP) being a resident having total income upto Rs.50 lakh and having income from business and profession
- ITR-5-by Limited Liability Partnerships i.e. for persons other than- (i) individual, (ii) HUF, (iii) company and (iv) person filing Form ITR-7
- ITR-6–by the businesses
- ITR-7 is filed by trusts.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes
- It is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
- The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry of Finance dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes.
- The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- It provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for administration of the direct tax laws through the Income Tax Department.
- It is India’s official Financial Action Task Force unit.
- The Central Board of Revenue as the Department apex body charged with the administration of taxes came into existence as a result of the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1924.
- Initially the Board was in charge of both direct and indirect taxes. However, when the administration of taxes became too unwieldy for one Board to handle, the Board was split up into two, namely the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Excise and Customs in 1964.
- The CBDT Chairman and Members of CBDT are selected from Indian Revenue Service (IRS), a premier civil service of India, whose members constitute the top management of Income Tax Department.
Foreign investors have sold Indian government debt worth nearly $500 million in the past two sessions, with the so-called FAR bonds bearing the brunt of a selloff.
- Market participants linked the sudden move to the Fed’s policy decision due on Wednesday.
- Disappointment that Indian government bonds would not be included in major global bond indexes.
- To attract capital flows to the bond market, Budget 2020 announced a programme that allows foreign investors to buy unlimited amounts of select government bonds via the fully accessible route (FAR).
- This was a major policy shift through which the government sowed the seeds for India’s inclusion in the global index
- It created a separate channel called Fully Accessible Route (FAR) to enable non-residents to invest in specified Government of India dated securities .
- ‘Specified securities’ shall mean Government Securities as periodically notified by the Reserve Bank for investment under the FAR route.
- The RBI has said that all new issuances of Government securities (G-secs) of 5-year, 10-year, and 30-year tenors will be eligible for investment as specified securities.
- Thus, Non Resident investors can invest in specified government securities without being subject to any investment ceilings.
- Existing routes apart from FAR:
- The Medium Term Framework (MTF) for Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) in Central Government Securities (G-secs) and State Government Securities (SDLs) was introduced in October 2015.
- The Voluntary Retention Route (VRR) encourages Foreign Portfolio Investors to undertake long-term investments in Indian debt markets.
- The aggregate investment limit shall be ₹ 40,000 crores for VRR-Govt and ₹ 35,000 crores for VRR-Corp.
- The minimum retention period shall be three years. During this period, FPIs shall maintain a minimum of 75% of the allocated amount in India.
- Investment limits shall be available on tap for investments and shall be allotted by Clearing Corporation of India Ltd. (CCIL) on ‘first come first served’ basis.
Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI):
- The emerging markets bond index (EMBI) is a benchmark index for measuring the total return performance of international government and corporate bonds issued by emerging market countries that meet specific liquidity and structural requirements.
- The emerging markets bond index (EMBI) tracks the performance of emerging market bonds and was first published by investment bank JP Morgan.
- Emerging market bonds are debt instruments issued by developing countries, which tend to carry higher yields than government or corporate bonds of developed countries.
- Most of the benchmark EMBI index tracks emerging sovereign debt, with the rest in regional corporate bonds.
- Need –Despite their increased riskiness relative to developed markets, emerging market bonds offer several potential benefits such as portfolio diversity as their returns are not closely correlated to traditional asset classes. Thus, Global bond indices help investors track the movement in bonds in multiple jurisdictions and aid in relative comparisons.
- What basic criteria is required for index inclusion?
- The countries must meet parameters on liquidity, safety, and returns. The main parameters include
- The size of the market
- The country rating
- Ease of access
- Country-level criteria for index inclusion includes
- The countries must meet parameters on liquidity, safety, and returns. The main parameters include
- Absence of restrictive laws on movement of capital
- Availability of forex
- Adequate hedging mechanism
- Tax laws
- Settlement of trade
Example-The JPMorgan Emerging Market Bond Index (EMBI) are a set of three bond indices to track bonds in emerging markets operated by J P Morgan. The indices are the Emerging Markets Bond Index Plus, the Emerging Markets Bond Index Global and the Emerging Markets Bond Global Diversified Index. An external debt version, the EMBI+ is the JPMorgan EMBI Global Index.
- Recently in the context of a petition filed in SC, the union government has replied suggesting that it is considering ways to facilitate non-resident Indians and migrant laborers to cast their votes remotely.
- A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi was hearing the plea.
Who are Non Resident Indians(NRI):
- NRI means a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or is a person of Indian origin.
- An Indian citizen residing outside India for a combined total of at least 183 days in a financial year is considered to be an NRI.
- NRIs enjoy voting rights and are required to pay and file the income tax return on their Indian income like resident Indians.
Who qualifies as a NRI voter:
- A citizen of India, who is absent from the country owing to employment, education etc and has not acquired citizenship of any other country and is otherwise eligible to be registered as a voter in the address mentioned in its passport qualifies as a NRI voter.
- According to the provisions of Section 20A of the Representation of People Act, 1950, a NRI settled in a foreign land can become an elector in the electoral roll in India.
What is the Current Voting Process for Overseas Voters in Indian elections:
- Voting rights for NRIs were introduced only in 2011,through an amendment to the Representation of the People Act 1950.
- It is after this amendment that the eligible NRIswere allowed to vote, but only in person at the polling station where they have been enrolled as an overseas elector..
- An NRI can vote in the constituency in his place of residence, as mentioned in the passport.
- He can only vote in person and will have to produce her passport in original at the polling station for establishing identity.
What are the recent steps taken by Government:
- In the Winter Session of the Parliament in 2017, the government proposed to remove the restriction imposed by Section 20A of the Representation of the People Act.
- The Bill was later passed in 2018 but lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
- The Bill provided for overseas voters to be able to appoint a proxy to cast their votes on their behalf, subject to conditions laid down in the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
- Section 20A of the Representation of the People Act required them to be physically present to vote in their constituencies. The ECI then approached the government to permit NRIs to vote via postal ballots.
- The Karnataka High Court has observed that special enactments like the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and the Indian Penal
Code prevailed personal laws when it came to cases related to sexual activities.
What is Muslim personal law:
- All the Muslims in India are governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.
- This law deals with marriage, succession, inheritance and charities among Muslims.
- The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 deals with the circumstances in which Muslim women can obtain divorce and the rights of Muslim women who have been divorced by their husband.
In what ways is Muslim Law Applied in India:
- In 1937, the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act was created by Britisher with the intention of creating an Islamic legal system for Muslims in India.
- In deciding which laws applied to Hindus and which applied to Muslims, clear proof of usage will outweigh the written content of the law in the case of Hindus. On the other hand, the writings in the Quran would be of utmost significance to Muslims.
What are the Personal Laws of Other Religions:
- The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 lays out guidelines for property inheritance among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.
- The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936 lays out rules to be followed by the Parsis according to their religious traditions.
- The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 had codified laws related to marriage among Hindus.
Context: Govt seek time in SC
There is a petition in the SC which has relied on the Supreme Court’s landmark 2002 decision in the TMA Pai case, have cast doubts on the legal sanctity of the consultation process, saying that after the ruling in the case, the Centre cannot notify anyone as minority anymore and, therefore, whatever deliberations it may be holding under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 “cannot confirm minority status to anybody in a state”.
- 1993 Government notification issued under Section 2(c) of the National Minorities Commission (NCM) Act declared Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis as ‘minority’. Jains were also added to the list in 2014.
- A petition was moved by an advocate Ashwini Upadhyay in the SC in 2017 which said Hindus, though they are minority in six states (Punjab, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh) and two UTs (J & K, Lakshadweep), as per 2011 Census were not added in the list.
- The SC asked him to approach the NCM which took the stand that it “does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the prayer…”and that under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act, only the centre can declare a community as a ‘minority’.
- The petitioner contended that minority status should be on the basis of state wise population and decision must be made at the state level and not at the national level because this is not letting the Hindus to avail welfare schemes meant for minorities in these states.
- However, the Supreme Court ruled that languages are restricted state wise but religion is beyond all borders, especially political borders. Thus, religion needs to be considered on a pan-India basis and not state-wise.
- The case was again moved in 2019 by the advocate but the new CJI assumed the office. So, the matter is due for listening to once more on March 28 2022.
What have courts said on the subject?
- TMA PAI: In ‘TMA Pai’, an 11-judge bench of the Supreme Court dealt with the question of the scope of right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice under the Constitution.
- A majority ruling by six judges in 2002 referred to two other cases pertaining to the DAV College in Punjab, in which the SC had to consider whether Hindus were a religious minority in the State of Punjab. It said, “In DAV College v. State of Punjab …the question posed was as to what constituted a religious or linguistic minority, and how it was to be determined. After examining the opinion of this Court in the Kerala Education Bill case , the Court held that the Arya Samajis, who were Hindus, were a religious minority in the State of Punjab, even though they may not have been so in relation to the entire country.
- “In another case, DAV College Bhatinda v. State of Punjab …the observations in the first DAV College case were explained, and at page 681, it was stated that “what constitutes a linguistic or religious minority must be judged in relation to the State in as much as the impugned Act was a State Act and not in relation to the whole of India.”
- “This Court rejected the contention that since Hindus were a majority in India, they could not be a religious minority in the State of Punjab, as it took the State as the unit to determine whether the Hindus were a minority community. There can, therefore, be little doubt that this Court has consistently held that the unit to determine a religious or linguistic minority can only be the State.”
- BAL PATIL: In 2005, the SC in its judgment in ‘Bal Patil’ referred to the TMA Pai ruling, and said: “After the verdict in the eleven judges’ Bench in TMA Pai Foundation case (supra), the legal position stands clarified that henceforth the unit for determining status of both linguistic and religious minorities would be ‘state’….If, therefore, the State has to be regarded as the unit for determining “linguistic minority” vis-a-vis Article 30, then with “religious minority” being on the same footing, it is the State in relation to which the majority or minority status will have to be determined.
- “The minority for the purpose of Article 30 cannot have different meanings depending upon who is legislating. Language being the basis for the establishment of different States for the purposes of Article 30, a “linguistic minority” will have to be determined in relation to the State in which the educational institution is sought to be established. The position with regard to the religious minority is similar, since both religious and linguistic minorities have been put on a par in Article 30.”
- Currently, the linguistic minorities are identified on a state-wise basis thus determined by the state government whereas religious minorities are determined by the Central Government.
- A linguistic minority is a group of people whose mother tongue is different from that of the majority in the state or part of a state.
What are the Constitutional Provisions for Minority?
- Article 29:
- It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
- It grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities.
- However, the SC held that the scope of this article is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as use of the word ‘section of citizens’ in the Article includes minorities as well as the majority.
- Article 30:
- All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
- The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29).
- Article 350-B:
- The 7th Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1956 inserted this article which provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
- It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
- He would report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct. The President should place all such reports before each House of Parliament and send them to the governments of the states concerned
- The Constitution does not specify the qualifications, tenure, salaries and allowances, service conditions and procedure for removal of the Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
- Recently British Home SecretarySuella Braverman was facing criticism Tuesday for describing migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats as an “invasion.
What’s the issue:
- Home Secretary Suella Braverman had used the term while defending conditions at a processing center for new arrivals where some 4,000 people have been held in a facility intended for 1,600.
- Braverman referred to small-boat crossings on Monday as “the invasion of our southern coast” and said “illegal immigration is out of control.”
- Moreover, the number of asylum-seekers attempting to reach Britain by boat has increased steadily.
Immigrants crisis in UK:
- Since2018,there has been a marked rise in the number of refugees and asylum seekers that undertake dangerous crossings between Calais in France and Dover in England.
- Most such migrants and asylum seekers hail from war-torn countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, and Yemen or developing countries like Iran and Iraq.
- The Nationality and Borders Bill, 2021 allows the British government to strip anyone’s citizenship without notice under “exceptional circumstances”.
What is United Kingdom and Rwanda deal for asylum seekers:
- Under this deal, Rwanda committed to taking in asylum seekers who arrive in the K. on or after January 1, 2022, using “illegally facilitated and unlawful cross border migration.”
- By this deal Rwanda will function as the holding centre where asylum applicants will wait while the Rwandan government makes decisions about their asylum and resettlement petitions in Rwanda.
- The UK has paid the Rwandan government £120 million for housing and integrating the migrants as part of the pilot scheme, which will initially last for five years.
What is India’s Refugee Policy:
- India’s approach towards refugees is customary and a dynamic one having regard to prevailing socio-political conditions. Though India is not a party to 1951 convention or 1967 protocol it acceded to various Human Rights treaties including the UNHCR and it is obliged to protect the rights of refugees.
- As per Indian law, there is no law to deal with the refugee, both illegal migrants & refugee categories of people are viewed as one and the same and are covered under the Foreigners Act, 1946.
The constitution of India protects the refugees right to life with dignity that includes right against solitary confinement and custodial violence, right to medical assistance and shelter
Subject: Science and Technology
- Methane-monitoring satellites show that landfills contributed to more than 25% of methane emissions in Mumbai and 6% in Delhi.
- Methane is a short-lived climate forcer (SLCF), a compound that warms or cools the Earth’s climate over shorter time scales – from days to years – than greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, whose climatic effect lasts for decades, centuries or more.
- Methane has a lifetime in the atmosphere of about ten years. But per molecule, it’s a much more potent greenhouse gas over that period.
- So it’s responsible for a large part of the warming that we’re experiencing today.
- The Global Methane Assessment 2021 states that the atmospheric concentration of methane has more than doubled since pre-industrial times.
- Methane is second only to carbon dioxide (CO2) in driving climate change.
- Limiting warming to 1.50C or likely 20C requires deep, rapid, sustained reductions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, alongside rapid reductions of carbon dioxide emissions to net zero.
Sources of Methane emission-
- Methane is produced by the breakdown or decay of organic material and can be introduced into the atmosphere by either natural processes – such as the decay of plant material in wetlands, the seepage of gas from underground deposits or the digestion of food by cattle – or human activities – such as oil and gas production, rice farming or waste management.
- More than half of global methane emissions stem from human activities in three sectors: fossil fuels (35% of human-caused emissions), waste (20%) and agriculture (40%).
Urban landfills generate emissions-
- Scientifically any landfill which is more than six metres deep has the potential to generate methane.
- Methane-monitoring satellites show that landfills contributed to more than 25% of methane emissions in Mumbai and 6% in Delhi.
- Scientists at IITM, Pune found that microbial and fossil fuel emissions are two major methane sources in Pune.
- Natural gas was the dominant sector in the fossil fuel sector, while the waste sector was the major segment in microbial emissions.
- In Pune, landfill emissions are very high with respect to other sources.
- It could be methane in CNG stations, CNG pipeline, and CNG gas networks, and it needs to be investigated
- Landfills in Kolkata (Dhapa), Mumbai (Deonar) and Delhi (Bhalswa and Ghazipur) are often been in the news for landfill fires.
- It causes greenhouse gas emissions.
- It also leads to local pollution in the area.
- In wintertime, the air rises up slowly because of low temperatures.
- So any smoke or any pollution coming out can persist in the lower layers for longer periods.
Why do these landfills become a hotspot of methane emissions?
- Because the landfills in India are not scientifically engineered during inception.
- They don’t have bottom liners and gas harvesting systems during the development of the landfill.
- Collection and recovery of landfill gas (methane emissions) is a technical challenge.
- Also, there is no dedicated organisation to maintain the history of waste disposal in landfills, which leads to an overestimation of landfill gases.
- The overestimation of landfill gas concentration led to claiming of more carbon credits in Mumbai’s Gorai landfill closure and gas capture project, which was implemented in the Clean Development Mechanism framework, the world’s largest carbon offset programme, established under the Kyoto Protocol.
Methane emission tracking-
- The TROPOMI instrument on board the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite and GHGSat’s space-based emissions monitoring systems are used to detect, locate, and quantify emissions from strong methane point sources around the world.
- Using this approach, they spotlighted methane emissions hotspots in Buenos Aires, Delhi, Lahore, and Mumbai.
- Landfills are potantial targets for emission mitigation.
- It is a planned American-New Zealand space mission currently scheduled for launch in 2023.
- The mission is planned to be an Earth observation satellite that will monitor and study global methane emissions in order to combat climate change.
- It aims to track not only the rate of methane emissions and location but also how those emissions are changing.
- The mission is jointly funded and operated by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an American non-governmental organization, and the New Zealand Space Agency.
- It marks New Zealand’s first space science mission.
- Such observations will be useful to initiatives such as the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO).
- The International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) was launched at the G20 Summit, on the eve of the COP26 UN climate conference in
- IMEO will bring global reporting on methane emissions to an entirely different level, ensuring public transparency on anthropogenic methane emissions.
- IMEO will initially focus on methane emissions from the fossil fuel sector, and then expand to other major emitting sectors like agriculture and waste.
Global Methane Pledge
- The Global Methane Pledge was launched at the ongoing UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
- It is an effort led jointly by the United States and the European Union.
- Methane is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, after carbon dioxide, and, therefore, pledges related to cutting down its emissions are significant.
- The pledge was first announced in September 2021by the US and EU, and is essentially an agreement to reduce global methane emissions. One of the central aims of this agreement is to cut down methane emissions by up to 30 per cent from 2020 levels by the year 2030.
- Among the signatories is Brazil — one of the five biggest emitters of methane, which is generated in cows’ digestive systems, in landfill waste and in oil and gas production.
- Three others —China, Russia and India — have not signed up.
- Australia has said it will not back the pledge.
- According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, methane accounts for about half of the 1.0 degrees Celsius net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era.
Subject : Science and Technology
- National Housing Bank (NHB) organised the final event of SUNREF- India Housing Programme.
About the event-
- The National Housing Bank (NHB) organised the final event for showcasing the contributions of the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Financing (SUNREF) India Housing Programme toward green housing in the country on July 25, 2022.
- CRISIL Risk and Infrastructure Solutions (CRIS) Limited is providing Technical Assistance to the SUNREF program.
- The event saw the participation of more than 100 representatives from multilateral/bilateral agencies, housing finance companies, real estate developers, government agencies, green-building experts, architects, and green material producers from various parts of the country.
- The EU and the Government of India are cooperating closely under the partnership on Smart and Sustainable Urbanisation.
- Commenced in April 2019.
- Objective– scaling up green affordable housing projects in India.
- Major contribution-
- The NHB’s efforts on enhancing green affordable housing in the country are in line with the Government of India’s priorities to support climate change.
- Over the past three years, SUNREF India Housing Programme has provided refinance of around Euro 100 million to 5300 households, of which more than 60 per cent are female owners and half of the households belong to lower income groups/ economically weaker sections.
What is a green building-
- According to the World Green Building Council: “A ‘green’ building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impact, on our climate and natural environment.
About green affordable housing-
- Housing is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Indian construction sector.
- However, the rapid urbanisation is also giving rise to various challenges, including congestion; increasing pressure on basic amenities such as energy, water and natural resources; and, most importantly, unavailability of affordable homes for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
- These challenges arises the need for green and affordable buildings in India.
Green building rating systems:
- The overarching objective of the rating system is to ensure a high degree of sustainability with no/meagre profound impact on environmental conservation. Several green building labels are available in India, to rate and certify projects, namely
- Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA)-
- GRIHA is a rating tool that helps people assesses the performance of their building against certain nationally acceptable benchmarks.
- It evaluates the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle, thereby providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a ‘green building’.
- The rating system, based on accepted energy and environmental principles, will seek to strike a balance between the established practices and emerging concepts, both national and international.
- Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)-
- It is a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
- It was formed in the year
- Vision- To enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by
- The council offers a wide array of services which include developing new green building rating programmes, certification services and green building training programmes.
- The council also organises Green Building Congress, its annual flagship event on green buildings.
- Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE)
- Used in over 100 countries,EDGE is a free software, a green building standard, and an international green building certification system.
- A green building solution created by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, EDGE empowers one to optimize one’s designs to use less energy, water, and embodied energy in materials.
- GEM Sustainability (Green) Certification Program
- It aims to address the sustainability of a given development throughout its lifecycle from design through construction to operation.
- GEM Sustainability Certification Reference Guide provides design guidance and detailed requirements for rating a project’s potential performance.
Subject : Science and Technology
- It is an agency of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Power created in March 2002 under the provisions of the nation’s 2001 Energy Conservation Act.
- Five major provisions of EC Act relate to Designated Consumers, Standard and Labelling of Appliances, Energy Conservation Building Codes, Creation of Institutional Set up (BEE) and Establishment of Energy Conservation Fund.
- The agency’s function is to develop programs which will increase the conservation and efficient use of energy in India.
- The government has proposed to make it mandatory for certain appliances in India to have ratings by the BEE starting in January 2010.
- The primary objective would be to reduce energy intensity in the economy.
- The mission is to “institutionalise” energy efficiency services, enable delivery mechanisms in the country and provide leadership to energy efficiency in all sectors of the country.
- Mandatory Appliances-
- Frost Free (No-Frost) Refrigerator
- Tubular Fluorescent Lamps
- Room Air Conditioners (Cassette, Floor Standing Tower, Ceiling, Corner AC)
- Distribution Transformer
- Color TV
- CST AC
- Direct Cool Refrigrator
- Electric Geyser
Subject :Science and Technology
- Recently, NASA shared an image of the sun seemingly ‘smiling’. Captured by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, the image has dark patches on the sun’s surface resembling eyes and a smile.
- NASA explained that the patches are called coronal holes, which can be seen in ultraviolet light but are typically invisible to our eyes.
What are coronal holes?
- These are regions on the sun’s surface from where fast solar wind gushes out into space. Because they contain little solar material, they have lower temperatures and thus appear much darker than their surroundings.
- Here, the magnetic field is open to interplanetary space, sending solar material out in a high-speed stream of solar wind.
- Coronal holes can last between a few weeks to months.
- The holes are not a unique phenomenon, appearing throughout the sun’s approximately 11-year solar cycle.
- They can last much longer during solar minimum – a period of time when activity on the Sun is substantially diminished.
What causes coronal holes-
- While it is unclear what causes coronal holes, they correlate to areas on the sun where magnetic fields soar up and away, without looping back down to the surface as they do elsewhere.
What happens during a geomagnetic storm?
- According to the US government agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, geomagnetic storms relate to earth’s magnetosphere – the space around a planet that is influenced by its magnetic field.
- When a high-speed solar stream arrives at the earth, in certain circumstances it can allow energetic solar wind particles to hit the atmosphere over the poles.
- Such geomagnetic storms cause a major disturbance of the magnetosphere as there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding earth.
- In cases of a strong solar wind reaching the earth, the resulting geomagnetic storm can cause changes in the ionosphere, part of the earth’s upper atmosphere.
- Radio and GPS signals travel through this layer of the atmosphere, and so communications can get disrupted.
Significance of coronal holes-
- Coronal holes are Important to understanding the space environment around the earth through which our technology and astronauts travel.
Subject : Economy
- Emphasising the significance of limited freshwater supply for a growing global population and rising industrialisation, President DroupadiMurmu said that a vast quantity of this available freshwater is spread across international borders, and this “water resource” can be used as a “weapon” by any country and take the form of an international conflict.
Transboundary rivers in India-
- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Afghanistan share twenty major rivers among them.
- The Indus basin (consisting of the Indus, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Jhelum and Chenab rivers) inter-links India, Pakistan and China.
- Brahmaputra and the Ganges basins inter-link China with India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
- The Kosi, Gandaki, and Mahakali rivers join Nepal with India.
- Major rivers shared between India and Bangladesh are the Brahmaputra, Ganges, and Teesta.
- Pakistan and Afghanistan share the Kabul river basin.
|India’s neighbouring country||Shared rivers|
|India- Bangladesh||Shares 54 rivers with India. Majors among them are- Ganga, Brahmaputra, Mahananda, Teesta, Meghna, Feni River|
|India-Nepal||Kosi, Gandak, Karnali or Mahakali, Ghaghara, Arun, Rapti, Trishuli, BurhiGandak, Tamur rivers|
|India- Bhutan||Manas, Torse and Beki rivers|
|India- China||Brahmaputra, Indus, Gandak, Ghaghara, Manas, Sutlej and Torsa rivers|
|India-Pakistan||Indus, Jhelum, chenab, Rabi, beas, sutlej, Shyok, Gilgit, Kabul, Kurram, and Gomal rivers.|
Saffron is one of the world’s most costly spices by weight. Around 75,000 saffron blossoms produce a single pound of saffron spice and the cost varies between ₹2 and ₹3 lakh per kilogram.It grown in areas having karewas.
- In the Kashmiri dialect, the term Karewa means “elevated table land”.
- Karewas are lacustrine deposits (deposits in lake) in the Valley of Kashmir and in Bhadarwah Valley of the Jammu Division.
- Karewas are the thick deposits of glacial clay and other materials embedded with moraines.
- Firstly, this term was used by Godwin Austin in 1859 and later on by Lydekker in 1878 for unconsolidated to semi-consolidated sand clay conglomerate sequence.
- “Vudr” is the local name for Karewas in Kashmiri language.
- Karewas were formed during the Pleistocene Period (1 million years ago), when the entire Valley of Kashmir was under water.
- Due to the rise of Pirpanjal, the drainage was impounded and a lake of about 5000 sq. km area was developed and thus a basin was formed.
- Subsequently, the lake was drained through Bramulla gorge. The deposits left in the process are known as karewas.
- This is ideal for cultivation of saffron, almonds, apples and several other cash crops.
Significance of Karewas:
- Karewa deposits have different soil and sediments such as sand, clay, silt, shale, mud, lignite and losses. Hence, these are very useful for agricultural and horticulture activities.
- Kashmir saffron, which received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2020 for its longer and thicker stigmas, deep-red colour, high aroma and bitter flavour, is grown on these karewas.
- Karewa formations are useful for the cultivation of Zafran is a local variety of Saffron in Kashmir valley.
- The fertility of these patches is believed to be the result of their long history of formation.
- Kashmir valley resides between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal ranges of the Kashmir Himalayas. In earlier times, when the upliftment of the Pir Panjal ranges happened, the flow of the river had stopped.
- The Kashmir valley is an oval-shaped basin, 140 km long and 40 km wide, trending in the NW–SE direction.
- It is an intermountain valley fill, comprising of unconsolidated gravel and mud.
- A succession of plateaus is present above the Plains of Jhelum and its tributaries. These plateau-like terraces are called ‘Karewas’ or ‘Vudr’ in the local language.
- Despite continuous erosion since millions of years, more than half of the valley is still occupied by the Karewa.
- As a result, the whole of Kashmir valley became a large lake. Slowly, the glacial deposits have accumulated here in this lake. Thus creating a large lacustrine plain.
- Later on, the water drained away and these unconsolidated deposits remained there. These unconsolidated gravel and mud deposits are known as Karewa formation.
- It formed during the Pleistocene period (2.6 million years to 11,700 years ago).
Threats to Karewas:
- Despite its agricultural and archaeological importance, Karewas are now being excavated to be used in construction.
- Between 1995 and 2005, massive portions of karewas in Pulwama, Budgam and Baramulla districts were razed to the ground for clay for the 125-km-long Qazigund-Baramulla rail line.
- The Srinagar airport is built on the Damodarkarewa in Budgam.
Context: Recently MLA convicted on the grounds of hate speech
Constitutional Provisions for Disqualification of MLAs
- Under the Constitution, a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of the legislative assembly or legislative council of a state:
- If he holds any office of profit under the Union or state government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by state legislature),
- If he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court,
- If he is an undischarged insolvent,
- If he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state, and
- If he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament.
Parliamentary Provisions for Disqualification of MLAs
- The Parliament has prescribed a number of additional disqualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951) and the same is followed by Legislative Assembly and Council:
- He must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections.
- He must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years.
- But, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
- He must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
- He must not have any interest in government contracts, works or services.
- He must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25 per cent share.
- He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the state.
- He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for the offence of bribery.
- He must not have been punished for preaching and practicing social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.
- The governor’s decision is final on the question whether a member has become subject to any of the above disqualifications.
- The governor should obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and act accordingly.
Disqualification on Ground of Defection
- The Constitution lays down that a person shall be disqualified for being a member of either House of state legislature if he is so disqualified on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.
- The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman, in the case of legislative council and, Speaker, in the case of legislative assembly.
- In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of Chairman/Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.
Subject : History
- It was a movement in Chhotanagpur area of British India against the policies of the local British authorities and exploitative business practices of local zamindars, mostly by Oraonpeaople.
- The Tana Bhagats opposed the taxes imposed on them by the British colonial administration, staging a Satyagraha (civil disobedience movement) years before Mahatma Gandhi’s similar movement against British rule.
- It was Organised by Jatra Bhagat, Turia Bhagat and other participants were Tana Bhagats, Oraon, Munda
Subject : Geography
- The village of Modhera in western India’s Gujarat state is declared as first fully solar village.
- Modhera the first village in India to become a net renewable energy generator.
- The village has a total geographical area of around 2,436 hectares and is located on the banks of the Pushpavati river in the state. It will be the country’s first solar-powered village.
- The village has a ground-mounted solar power plant, and over 1,300 rooftop solar systems with 1kW capacity have been installed on houses to generate electricity. All of these solar systems are linked to a battery energy storage system (BESS).
- During the day, solar panels will provide power to the village, while in the evening, BESS, India’s first grid-connected megawatt hour scale battery energy storage system, will provide power to the houses.
- The project in Modhera, is financed by the central and state government at nearly $10 million, involved setting up over 1,300 rooftop panels on residential and government buildings that were connected to a power plant.
- The government buys excess energy produced here from residents if they do not use all of the capacity allotted to the households.
Subject : History
Context: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi paid homage to Sardar Patel at the Statue of Unity and participated in the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
- Vallabhbhai Patel was born on 31st October 1875 in Nadiad, Gujarat.
- A successful lawyer by profession, his life encountered a turning point when Mahatma Gandhi chose him as his deputy commander to lead the Kheda Satyagraha in 1918.
- Thus, as the leader of a peasants’ protest, Vallabhbhai Patel found the trajectory of his life turning towards a path of public service.
- In 1924, Patel was elected President of the Ahmedabad Municipal Board.
- Vallabhbhai Patel became increasingly involved with the struggle for independence. It was his role in the Bardoli Satyagraha of 1928 that elevated him to a new pinnacle of national glory.
- It was here that he earned the title of ‘Sardar’, the fond epithet by which he continues to be remembered and revered.
- In 1931, he was elected President of the Indian Nation Congress at its Karachi Session.
- At a time when the nation was in tumult over the execution of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, he made a sombre speech that reflected the sentiment of the hour.
- At the time of Independence, there were 17 British-Indian provinces, and the Princely States– comprising about two fifths of the geographic territory of the country- numbered more than 560.
- Sardar Patel stepped in to ensure the accession of the princely states and integrate them into the Union of India.
- On 25 June 1947, the States Department was formed under Sardar Patel. VP Menon was appointed its secretary.
- These two individuals made a formidable team whose tact and diplomacy made it possible to overcome apparently insurmountable hurdles.
- On 15 August 1947, Sardar Patel took oath as the first Deputy Prime Minister, as well as the first Home Minister of independent India. He also took charge of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
- He earned the reputation of ‘Iron Man’ because of the manner in which he brought about and maintained internal stability as Home Minister in the wake of the partition of the country.
- Another illustrious contribution made by Sardar Patel was the creation of All India Services. He had envisioned these services as the ‘Steel frame of India’ that would further safeguard the country’s unity and integrity.
- On 15 December 1950, the Iron Man of India breathed his last. He had successfully accomplished the task of integrating 565 Princely States into the Union of India within a remarkably short span of time- a feat unprecedented in history.
- On 31 October 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the world’s tallest statue – the ‘Statue of Unity’ to the nation.
Note –With Operation Vijay, Goa, Daman and Diu were annexed, from Portuguese control, into the Indian union and made into a centrally administered Union Territory of India.
His political philosophy