Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 3rd November 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 3rd November 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Contents:

  1. Mission Sagar – II:
  2. Contempt of Court:
  3. Rajasthan passes Bills to stall Centre’s farm laws.:
  4. Extradition:
  5. Aero India:
  6. Ammonia levels in the river:
  7. Other important current affairs

1.Mission Sagar – II:

As part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’, the Government of India is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries to overcome natural calamities and the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Towards the same INS Airavat is delivering food aid for the people of Sudan.

Key Points

  • Mission Sagar-II, follows the first ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in 2020.
  • As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  • Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros, and Seychelles along with La Réunion are part of the Indian Ocean Commission. India has recently become an observer to the Commission.
  • The assistance is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The deployment is also in consonance with the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)
  • Earlier, India had sent Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kesari, carrying food items and medical assistance teams, to countries in the southern Indian Ocean to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic as part of a “Mission Sagar” initiative.

The strategic importance of these island nations is highlighted by their location along key Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs).

  • These islands are vital and can facilitate a navy’s continuous presence along key international shipping routes, allowing a navy to patrol and secure SLOCs during peace times and an option to interdict and cut off an adversary’s communications during times of conflict.

 

2.Contempt of Court:

Attorney General declines to consent to initiate a contempt case against Andhra CM Jagan Reddy.

  • Last month, CM Jagan Reddy had written to the CJI S.A. Bobde, alleging the Andhra Pradesh HC was being used to ‘destabilize and topple my democratically elected government’.
  • Following this, a lawyer had written a letter to AG seeking his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Reddy and his advisor.

Contempt Of court:

  • While the basic idea of contempt law is to punish those who do not respect the orders of the courts, in the Indian context, contempt is also used to punish speech that lowers the dignity of the court and interferes with the administration of justice.
  • Contempt of court can be of two kinds:
    • Civil, that is the willful disobedience of a court order or judgment or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
    • Criminal, that is written or spoken words or any act that scandalizes the court or lowers its authority or prejudices or interferes with the due course of a judicial proceeding or interferes/obstructs the administration of justice.

Relevant provisions:

  • Articles 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.
  • Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines the power of the High Court to punish contempts of its subordinate courts.
  • The Constitution also includes contempt of court as a reasonable restriction to the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19, along with elements like public order and defamation.

 

3.Rajasthan passes Bills to stall Centre’s farm laws.:

The three Bills, pertaining to the State amendments to the Central statutes, were:

  • The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  • The Essential Commodities (Special Provisions and Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The three agriculture laws are a clear infringement on the states’ right to legislate.

  • The main subjects of the three acts are agriculture and market that are essentially state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
  • However, the Central government finagled its way into the legislation by misconstruing its authority on food items, a subject in the Concurrent List, as authority over the subject agriculture.
  • However, food items and agricultural products are distinct categories as many agricultural products in their raw forms are not food items and vice versa.

According to the Constitution:

  • Agriculture is in the state list under the Constitution.
  • But, Entry 33 of the Concurrent List provides Centre and the states powers to control production, supply and distribution of products of any industry, including agriculture.
  • Usually, when a state wants to amend a Central law made under one of the items in the concurrent list, it needs the clearance of the Centre.
  • When a state law contradicts a Central law on the same subject, the law passed by Parliament prevails.
  • This is an arrangement envisaged as most Parliament laws apply to the whole of India and state amending the Central laws indiscriminately could lead to inconsistencies in different regions on the application of the same law.
  • In matters of trade and commerce, this could especially pose serious problems.
  • Article 131 of the Constitution provides exclusive jurisdiction to the Supreme Court to adjudicate matters between the states and the Centre.
  • Article 254 (2) of the Constitution empowers state governments to pass legislation which negate the Central acts in the matters enumerated under the Concurrent List.
  • State legislation passed under Article 254 (2) requires the assent of the President of India.

 

4.Extradition:

The Supreme Court has refused a plea made by the lawyer of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to discharge him from the case and gave the Union government six weeks to file a status report on the progress made in extraditing him from the United Kingdom.

  • India has been pressing the UK to extradite Mallya after he lost his appeals in the British Supreme Court in May against his extradition to India to face money laundering and fraud charges.
  • However, the UK government had indicated that Mallya is unlikely to be extradited to India anytime soon, saying there is a legal issue that needed to be resolved before his extradition can be arranged.

Extradition:

  • As defined by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, ‘Extradition is the delivery on the part of one State to another of those whom it is desired to deal with for crimes of which they have been accused or convicted and are justifiable in the Courts of the other State’.
  • An Extradition request for an accused can be initiated in the case of under-investigation, under-trial and convicted criminals.
  • In cases under investigation, abundant precautions have to be exercised by the law enforcement agency to ensure that it is in possession of prima facie evidence to sustain the allegation before the Courts of Law in the Foreign State.

Legislative Basis:

  • The Extradition Act 1962 provides India’s legislative basis for extradition.
  • It consolidated the law relating to the extradition of a criminal fugitive from India to foreign states.
  • The Indian Extradition Act, 1962 was substantially modified in 1993 by Act 66 of 1993.

The Consular, Passport & Visa (CPV) Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India is the Central/Nodal Authority that administers the Extradition Act and it processes incoming and outgoing Extradition Requests.

 

5.Aero India:

The online media registration for the 13th edition of Aero India has been started, which will be held at Air Force Station, Bengaluru (Karnataka) in February 2021.

  • Aero India is a biennial international military and civil airshow.
  • It is a premier event that draws international and Indian military and civil aircraft makers, their support industries, military brass, and government dignitaries, and business visitors.
  • It provides a unique opportunity for the exchange of information, ideas, and new developments in the aviation industry, in addition to giving a fillip to the domestic aviation industry furthering the cause of Make in India.
  • The Yelahanka air base, about 30 km from the city centre of Bengaluru, has been hosting the air show in February since it was started in 1996.
  • In 2019, it was organized by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and in 2021, it will be organized by the Defence Exhibition Organisation, Ministry of Defence.
  • DEO is an autonomous organization of the Indian Government established in 1981, to promote the export potential of the Indian defence industry.
  • It is responsible for organizing international exhibitions such as DefExpo and Indian participation at overseas exhibitions.

 

6.Ammonia levels in the river:

Ammonia levels in the river, flowing into Delhi from Haryana, had reached nearly 3 parts per million (ppm) on Thursday, almost six times above the acceptable limit of 0.5ppm.

  • The acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water, as per the Bureau of Indian Standards, is 0.5 ppm.
  • Ammonia is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products.
  • It consists of hydrogen and nitrogen. In its aqueous form, it is called ammonium hydroxide.
  • This inorganic compound has a pungent smell.
  • Occurrence: Ammonia occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter.
  • It is lighter than air.
  • Contamination: It may find its way to ground and surface water sources through industrial effluents or through contamination by sewage.
  • If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm it is toxic to fishes.
  • In humans, long term ingestion of water having ammonia levels of 1 ppm or above may cause damage to internal organs.

 

Other important current affairs:

1.According to the data released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the total number of transactions conducted on the Bharat Interface for Money-Unified Payments Interface (BHIM-UPI), known more simply as the UPI, crossed the 2 billion transactions count in a month in October 2020.

  • UPI is currently the biggest among the NPCI operated systems including the National Automated Clearing House (NACH), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS), Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), RuPay, etc.
  • Digital transactions were already on the rise but the lockdown imposed during the pandemic provided a thrust and the value of UPI transactions crossed the 200 crore mark.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had advised resorting to the digital payment due to the threat of coronavirus spreading through the physical exchange of currency.
  • This resulted in businesses accepting mostly prepaid orders and in turn rise in digital transactions.
  • Further, after being able to conveniently pay utility bills and even receive cash back at times, people might now be preferring to transact digitally. So, their habit may have played an important role in this thrust.
  • India’s digital payments industry is likely to grow from Rs. 2,153 trillion at 27% Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) to Rs. 7,092 trillion by 2025.
  • The growth is likely to come on the back of strong use cases of merchant payments, government policies including Jan Dhan Yojana, personal data protection bill along with the growth of MSMEs, growth of millennials, and high smartphone penetration.

2.As per the IHS Markit India Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), India’s manufacturing output showed the strongest growth in 13 years in October 2020 amid robust sales growth.

  • The Nomura India Business Resumption Index (NIBRI) has also shown improvement.
  • The rise in PMI: The headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose from 56.8 in September to 58.9 in October, and pointed to the strongest improvement in the health of the sector in more than a decade (13 years).
  • This is a third straight monthly improvement in PMI. In April, the index had slipped into contraction mode (27.4), after remaining in growth territory for 32 consecutive months.
  • In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
  • NIBRI improved to 82.4 in October, a rise of 2.1 points from 80.3 in September and 73.6 in August.
  • It is the Japanese brokerage’s weekly tracker of the pace of normalization of economic activity.

3.A three-judge committee of the Madras High Court has questioned the constitutional validity of setting up special courts to exclusively try MPs and MLAs for various crimes.

  • Courts should be “offence-centric” and not “offender-centric.”
  • Special courts can only be constituted by a statute and not by the executive or judicial fiats.
  • Timing of the report: The HC committee report comes in the face of a 2017 Supreme Court order authorizing the Centre to set up 12 special courts to exclusively try criminal politicians across the country.
  • It also comes at a time when a three-judge Bench of the apex court is looking at ways to expedite these trials pending for years, in some cases, for decades.

4.Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) has come up with new initiatives for good and vigilant governance on the last day of the Vigilance Awareness Week 2020.

  • “Ideas Box on Good Governance Practices in a Pandemic” has been launched and operationalized both on the DARPG as well as on the MyGov platform.
  • It will crowdsource ideas related to good governance.
  • Social media tweets on the “Best Practices in e-governance” have been launched.
  • Round table discussion on “Satark Bharat, Samriddh Bharat” (Vigilant India, Prosperous India) was held.
  • It focused on key issues of preventive vigilance in the pursuit of “Naitik Bharat” (Ethical India) which includes ethics training in public services, a social audit of ethical practices, development of measurable metrics for corruption, and disproportionately high impact of corruption on governance.
    Vigilance Awareness Week:
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) observes the Week every year during the week in which the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (31st October) falls.
  • Objective: It affirms India’s commitment to the promotion of integrity and probity in public life through citizen participation and reiterates Government’s resolve to continue the crusade against corruption.
  • The theme for 2020: In 2020, it was observed from 27th October to 2nd November with the theme of “Satark Bharat, Samriddh Bharat”.

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