Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs: 10th January 2020: The Hindu+PIB
The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.
As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.
Context: New Wetland Conservation Rules has been notified by the Ministry of Environment.
About the new rules
- The new rules prohibit setting up or expansion of industries and disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands.
- Each state and Union Territory will have to set up an authority that will define strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands within their jurisdiction.
- A list of all wetlands of the State or UT will be prepared by the Authority within three months from the date of publication of these rules.
- It will develop a comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within the notified wetlands and their zone of influence.
- It will also recommend mechanisms for maintenance of ecological character through promotional activities for land within the boundary of notified wetlands.
- A web portal has also been created by the Ministry for sharing information regarding the implementation of Wetlands Rules where the central government, state governments are required to upload all relevant information and documents pertaining to wetlands in their jurisdiction.
What is a wetland? A wetland is an area of land that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. The Centre had in September 2019, identified 130 wetlands for priority restoration in the next five years. The highest number of such identified wetlands are in Uttar Pradesh (16) followed by Madhya Pradesh (13), Jammu & Kashmir (12), Gujarat (8), Karnataka (7) and West Bengal (6).
What is the status of wetlands in India?
Wetlands in India account for 4.7% of the total geographical area of the country. These wetlands provide numerous ecosystem goods and services, but are under stress.
Reasons for wetlands loss in India are urbanization, land use changes and pollution. There is no proper regulatory framework for conservation of wetlands in India. Future research should focus on institutional factors influencing their condition.
Though there is no separate legal provision for wetland conservation in India, it is indirectly influenced by number of other legal instruments. These include:
- Indian Fisheries Act 1857;
- Indian Forest Act 1927;
- Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972;
- Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974;
- Territorial Water, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and other Marine Zones Act 1976;
- Water Cess Act 1977;
- Maritime Zone of India (Regulation and fishing by foreign vessels) Act 1980, Forest (Conservation) Act 1980;
- Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act 1991;
- Biodiversity Act 2002; and
- Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
Provisions under these acts range from protection of water quality and notification of ecologically sensitive areas to contributing towards conserving, maintaining, and augmenting the floral, faunal and avifaunal biodiversity of the country’s aquatic bodies. However, the term wetland was not used specifically in any of these legal instruments.
Context: The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has published the annual Crime in India Report 2018.
The report was published with provisional data, as five States — West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim — did not send clarifications sought by the NCRB despite repeated reminders.
Key Findings of the Report
- As per the report, there are a total of 3,78,277 cases of crime against women which were reported in the country, up from 3,59,849 in 2017.
- Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 59,445 cases, followed by Maharashtra (35,497) and West Bengal (30,394).
- The report also found that the conviction rate in rape-related cases stood at 27.2% even though the rate of filing charge-sheets was 85.3% in such cases.
- According to the Report, cruelty by husband or his relatives (31.9%) followed by assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (27.6%) constituted the major share of crimes against women.
- A total of 50,74,634 cognizable crimes (including 31,32,954 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 19,41,680 Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes) were registered in 2018, showing an increase of 1.3% in registration of cases compared to 2017 (50,07,044 cases).
- The crime rate per lakh population, however, came down from 388.6 in 2017 to 383.5 in 2018.
- The incidents registered under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes related Acts saw a decline from 6729 incidents reported in 2017 to 4816 in 2018.
- A total of 29,017 cases of murder were registered in 2018, showing an increase of 1.3% over 2017 (28,653 cases).
- A total of 76,851 cases of offences against public tranquillity were registered in 2018, out of which rioting, 57,828 cases, accounted for 75.2% of total such cases, the report said.
- As many as 27,248 cases of cyber crimes were registered in 2018, up from 21796 cases in 2017.
Accidental Death and Suicides in India Report 2018
- Accidental Death and Suicides in India 2018 report was also released by NCRB, which said that 10,349 people working in the farm sector ended their lives in 2018, accounting for 7.7 % of the total number of suicides in the country.
- There were 5,763 farmers/cultivators and 4,586 agricultural labourers among those who ended their lives.
- The total number of people who committed suicide in 2018 was 1,34,516, an increase of 3.6% from 2017 when 1,29,887 cases were reported. The highest number of suicide victims were daily wagers — 26,589, comprising 22.4% of such deaths.
- The majority of the suicides were reported in Maharashtra (17,972) followed by Tamil Nadu (13,896), West Bengal (13,255), Madhya Pradesh (11,775) and Karnataka (11,561).
- Many States and Union Territories have reported nil data on suicides by farmers, cultivators and farm labourers. These includes West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Goa, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
Context: The RBI has amended the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms allowing banks and other lending institutions regulated by it to use Video based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP), a move which will help them on-board customers remotely.
What did you need to know about it?
The decision for the permission of video based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP) was given by Reserve Bank of India as a consent based alternate method of establishing the customer’s identity, for customer on-boarding with a view to leverage the digital channels for Customer Identification Process (CIP) by regulated entities (REs). It is to be ensured by the regulated entities that the video recording is stored in a safe and secure manner and also notice that it bears the date and time stamp. It is to be noted that for video-based customer authentication, PAN number and Aadhaar number will be mandatory. What has been the progress in the past? In 2019, the government had notified amendment to the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005. According to the circular, the reporting entity should capture a clear image of PAN card to be displayed by the customer during the process. It also mentioned that the official of the reporting entity should ensure that the photograph and the identification details in Aadhaar/PAN should match with the details provided by the customer. It also said that the “Live location” of the customer (Geo-tagging) shall be captured to ensure that customer is physically present in India.
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Context: State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest public sector bank, has announced a ‘residential builder finance with buyer guarantee’ (RBBG) scheme to give a push to residential sales and improve homebuyers’ confidence.
Key features of the Scheme
As part of the scheme, the SBI will issue a guarantee for completion of select residential projects to customers who have availed home loans from it. The scheme will focus on affordable housing projects priced up to 2.50 crore rupees in 10 cities initially. Under the scheme, the guarantee would be given by the bank till the project gets the occupation certificate (OC). The guarantee will be available for RERA registered projects and a project will be considered stuck after it crosses the RERA deadline.
Under this product, reputed builders who fulfill the prescribed criteria, including Star rating and CIBIL score, can avail loan between Rs 50 crore to Rs 400 crore.
About RERA Act, 2016
Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) is an act passed by the Parliament in 2016 that came into effect fully from 1st May, 2017. The Act basically seeks to protect home-buyers as well as help boost investments in the real estate sector by bringing efficiency and transparency in the sale/purchase of real estate. It establishes Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in each state for regulation of the real estate sector and also acts as an adjudicating body for speedy dispute resolution. Key Provisions of Real Estate Regulation Act
- Establishment of state level regulatory authorities- Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA): The Act provides for State governments to establish more than one regulatory authority with the following mandate:
- Register and maintain a database of real estate projects; publish it on its website for public viewing,
- Protection of interest of promoters, buyers and real estate agents
- Development of sustainable and affordable housing,
- Render advice to the government and ensure compliance with its Regulations and the Act.
- Establishment of Real Estate Appellate Tribunal- Decisions of RERAs can be appealed in these tribunals.
- Mandatory Registration: All projects with plot size of minimum 500 sq.mt or eight apartments need to be registered with Regulatory Authorities.
- Deposits: Depositing 70% of the funds collected from buyers in a separate escrow bank account for construction of that project only.
- Liability: Developer’s liability to repair structural defects for five years.
- Penal interest in case of default: Both promoter and buyer are liable to pay an equal rate of interest in case of any default from either side.
- Cap on Advance Payments: A promoter cannot accept more than 10% of the cost of the plot, apartment or building as an advance payment or an application fee from a person without first entering into an agreement for sale.
- Defines Carpet Area as net usable floor area of flat. Buyers will be charged for the carpet area and not super built-up area.
- Punishment: Imprisonment of up to three years for developers and up to one year in case of agents and buyers for violation of orders of Appellate Tribunals and Regulatory Authorities.
Context: Over 1000 Fast Track Special Courts will be set up across the country for speedy disposal of cases relating to rape and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as per the statement released by the Law Ministry.
Out of these, 389 courts have been proposed to be set up exclusively for POCSO Act related cases in districts where the pendency of such cases is more than 100. These courts will be set-up as a part of the National Mission for Safety of Women. The scheme was circulated to the concerned State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in September last year. According to the Ministry, 24 States and Union Territories have joined this scheme for setting up 792 Fast Track Special Courts. These include 354 exclusive courts for trial of POCSO offences.
These 24 States and Union Territories includes Andhara Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, NCT of Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, UT of Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Brief Note on Scheme of Fast Track Courts
- The Eleventh Finance Commission recommended a scheme for creation of 1734 Fast Track Courts (FTCs) in the country for disposal of long pending Sessions and other cases. The Ministry of Finance sanctioned an amount of Rs.502.90 crores as“ special problem and upgradation grant” for judicial administration. The scheme was for a period of 5 years.
- The Finance Commission Division (FCD), Ministry of Finance released funds directly to the state Governments under the scheme of Fast Track Courts. It is the primary responsibility of the State Governments to establish these courts in consultation with the concerned High Courts.
- The FTCs were established to expeditiously dispose of long pending cases in the Sessions Courts and long pending cases of undertrial prisoners.
- The term of scheme on the Fast Track Courts which were recommended by the Eleventh Finance Commission ended on 31st march, 2005. The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the functioning of Fast Track Courts through the case of Brij Mohan Lal Vs UOI & Ors observed that the scheme of Fast Track Courts should not be disbanded all of a sudden and in its order dated 31st March, 2005, directed the Union of India to continue the Fast Track Courts.
- The Government accorded its approval for the continuation of 1562 Fast Track Courts that were operational as on 31.3.2005 for a further period of 5 years i.e. up to 31st March, 2010 with a provision of Rs. 509 crores. The Department of Justice was monitoring the scheme.
- The Central assistance under the above said scheme is limited to an approved norm i.e. Rs. 4.80 lakh per court per annum (recurring) and Rs. 8.60 lakh (non-recurring). Any expenditure incurred by the State in excess as recurring and /or non-recurring expenditure would have to be borne by the State Government.
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Context: The Schedule for holding General Election to the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi, 2020 has been announced on 6th January, 2020. In respect to this, the relevant portions of the Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951 are re-produced.
Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during theperiod of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.
Any person who contravenes the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
What points has been reproduced by the Commission?
The Commission once again reiterates that the TV/Radio channels and cable networks/internet website/social media platforms should ensure that the contents of the programmes telecast/broadcast/ displayed by them during the period of 48 hours referred to in Section 126 do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panelists/participants that may be construed as promoting/ prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate(s) or influencing/ affecting the result of the election. This shall, among other things include display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes. Attention is also invited to Section 126A of the R.P. Act 1951, which prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of its results during the period mentioned therein, i.e. the hour fixed for commencement of poll and half an hour after the time fixed for close of poll. During the period which is not covered by Section 126, concerned TV/Radio/Cable/FM channels/internet websites/Social Media platforms are free to approach the state/ district/ local authorities for necessary permission for conducting any broadcast/Telecast related events (other than exit polls) which must also conform to the provisions of the model code of conduct, the programme code laid down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the Cable Network (Regulation) Act with regard to decency, maintenance of communal harmony, etc. All Internet websites and Social Media platforms must also comply with the provisions of The Information Technology Act, 2000 and ECI guidelines No-491/SM/2013/Communication, dt 25th October, 2013, for all political content on their platform. Guidelines with respect to the Press
It will be the duty of the Press to give objective reports about elections and the candidates. The newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, exaggerated reports about any candidate/party or incident during the elections.
Election campaign along communal or caste lines is banned under the election rules. Hence, the Press should eschew reports, which tend to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between people on the ground of religion, race, caste, community or language.
The Press should refrain from publishing false or critical statements in regard to the personal character and conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature or withdrawal of any candidate or his candidature, to prejudice the prospects of that candidate in the elections.
The Press shall not accept any kind of inducement, financial or otherwise, to project a candidate/party. It shall not accept hospitality or other facilities offered to them by or on behalf of any candidate/party.
The Press is not expected to indulge in canvassing of a particular candidate/party. If it does, it shall allow the right of reply to the other candidate/party. The Press shall not accept/publish any advertisement at the cost of public exchequer regarding achievements of a party/ government in power. The Press shall observe all the directions/ orders/instructions of the Election Commission/Returning Officers or Chief Electoral Officer issued from time to time.
Context: Researchers at the University of Monash in Australia have managed to create a super-capacity prototype by re-engineering a Lithium Sulphur (Li-S) battery.
What is new this time?
It is to be noted that Li-S batteries are not new, but they had an intrinsic problem with the sulphur electrode, which would break after repeated charge cycles, making its superior capacity redundant. The sulphur cathode would break because of expansion and contraction during cycles. How this problem was solved? In order to overcome this problem, the researchers gave the electrodes more space to expand and contract. The electrodes are bound inside the battery using polymers. The research team used lesser quantity of these adhesives so that the electrodes had more spaceout structures inside them. These structures behaved more like bridges between the sulphur particles rather than a dense network, which stopped the electrodes from disintegrating. Working: These lithium-sulphur batteries operate in the same way as regular lithium-ion work- lithium ions flow between electrodes producing power while not being chemically changed. Charging a battery involves those ions being returned to their starting positions for the process to begin anew. What is its significance? This battery that has 5 times the capacity of a traditional lithium ion battery. It can retain 99 per cent of its charge even after 200 charge cycles. Li-S batteries are also many times cheaper than lithium ion batteries that could bring down the cost of electric mobility.
Context: The Epiphany festival was celebrated in parts of India, such as Goa and Kerala, on 6th January.
In Goa, the celebration is known by its Portuguese name ‘Festa dos Reis’, and in parts of Kerala by its Syriac name ‘Denha’. About the Festival Epiphany is basically a feast day, or a day of commemoration, which in Christianity marks the visit of the Magi (meaning the Three Wise Men or Three Kings) to the Infant Jesus (Christ from his nativity until age 12). As per the Christian belief, the Magi — Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar (or Casper), the kings of Arabia, Persia, and India, respectively — followed a miraculous guiding star to Bethlehem, where they paid homage to the Infant Jesus. The three are said to have brought gifts for Jesus: gold by Melchior, myrrh by Balthasar, and incense by Gaspar. The visit is believed to signify Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). This day also commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.
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