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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – January 21, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Current affairs brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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  • Ensuring accountability in the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020  
  • Why Chinese forces are weakening?  
  • SC ruling on Section 32A of IBC  
  • Trends in Housework valuation

     Ensuring accountability in the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 

    Source: The Hindu 

    GS-3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc. 

    Synopsis: the consumer protection rules will not guarantee better power supply quality without strong accountability provisions. 

    Background 

    • Many States in India are not able to provide a quality supply of electricityspecifically to rural and small consumers. 
    • To resolve this issue, recently, Union Ministry of Power has promulgated the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. The rules provide consumer with the rights of power. 
    • It is expected that the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 will protect and empower electricity consumers’ rights. 

    Read more – Electricity Rules 2020 |ForumIAS Blog 

     What are the limitations of the Rules?  

    The following issues highlights the need for implementation of existing provisions in letter and spirit along with strong accountability provisions. 

    • First, Discoms are unable to provide quality supply. Reason for this is not lack of rules or regulations but the lack of accountability mechanism to enforce them. For instance,  
    • Many rights provided in rules 2020 already exists in Standards of Performance (SoP) of various State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs). 
    • Second, the past efforts such as the draft National Tariff Policy, the proposed Electricity Act amendments, or various committee processes did not address the accountability concerns. 
    • Third, it is also doubtful that how Discoms will automatically compensate its consumers in the event of failure of power supply. Because, till now the availability of power supply is not monitored properly. 
    • Fourth, compensating consumers in the event of failure of power supply has serious financial implications. For example, 
    • In August 2020 rural areas received only 20 hours of supply. If existing regulations are followed it would cost hundreds of crores to discoms. 
    • Fifth, the new rules dilute the progressive mechanisms that exist in few States. For example, 
    • As per the new rules faulty meters should be tested within 30 days of receipt of a complaint. 
    • However, states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh have rules that mandates that such testing needs to be conducted within 7 days. 
    • Sixth, the rules that the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum should be headed by a senior officer of the DISCOMS company is a regressive provision.  
    • Because, it will reduce the number of cases that are decided in favour of consumers.  
    • It also questions the credibility of the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. 
    • Seventh, some provisions are confusing and requires clarity. For example,  
    • The rules guarantee net metering for a solar rooftop unit less than 10 kW. But it is not clear whether solar rooftop unit above 10 kW can also avail net metering.  
    • This confusion will lead to unnecessary litigation which will increase investments costs in rooftop solar units. 
    • It will discourage medium and large consumers from opting an environment-friendly, cost-effective option. 

    What steps are required? 

    To ensure accountability, we need to consider implementing the following solutions, 

    • SERCs needs to be tasked to assess the SoP reports of DISCOMs and revise their regulations more frequently. Also, SERCs should be assisted in setting up public grievance mechanisms, to help consumers raise their concerns. 
    • Further, DISCOMs should be directed to ensure automatic metering at least at the 11 kV feeder level. This information should be available online. 
    • Apart from this, The Central Electricity Authority of India can also be directed to collect supply quality data from DISCOMs, publish data in public domain and prepare analysis reports. 
    • Finally, the Central agencies too can support in independent surveys and nudge State agencies to enforce existing SoP regulations. 

    The enactment of the new Rules will not change the status quo. Governments, DISCOMs and regulators should demonstrate the commitment and the will power to implement existing regulations to make the new Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 successful.  

     Why Chinese forces are weakening? 

    Source – the Hindu 

    Syllabus Topic – International Relations – India and its neighborhood 

    Synopsis: In the beginning of this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed his armed forces to be “combat-ready to act at any second”. However, in reality Chinese forces are facing too many inside challenges.  

    Why China is becoming aggressive? 

    First, Policies of new US President Joe Biden favours freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and Taiwan straits. By this aggression, China wants to show its confidence and military preparedness in response to new U.S. policies. 

    Secondly, China is preparing for possible military conflicts due to its aggression in South China Sea, Taiwan and Ladakh. 

    Thirdly, after a series of setbacks in Ladakh, China’s Western Theatre Command (WTC) has realised that it is still not well prepared. It suffered a high number of casualties in the June 15 Galwan valley clash. Moreover, the Indian Army also captured the strategic mountainous heights at Rezang La and other passes. 

    Reasons for poor performance of Western Theatre Command (WTC) in Ladakh  

    As mentioned above, Chinese WTC forces were outperformed by Indian troops in Ladakh. It brought many weaknesses of WTC in light, i.e. 

    • Chinese troops have not faced any combat for last 41 years. They crumbled when faced with the strong opposition by Indian forces. 
    • Chinese forces are facing the promotion related issues. It has negatively affected their morale.  
    • For example; many senior officers are not getting promotions due to a doubt over their loyalty to Mr. Xi.  
    • Chinese soldiers are not able to face the extreme high-altitude climate.  
    • Recently, 10,000 troops from the WTC were moved to lower locations due to fatigue and other complications. 

    Issues facing Chinese forces 

    • Firstly, Promotions in Chinese army are based on the loyalty to Chinese President Xi.  
    • Secondly, most of the recruitments are forced due to policy of compulsory military service. Personnel forced into military lack motivation to fight a war.  
    • Third, Chinese army is more of a political force and lack professionalism.  
    • Fourth, the concept of Joint Theatre Command has been introduced to promote to deal with regional threats. This idea is not feasible due to lack of coordination between different Chinese forces. 

    Chinese forces have shown too much aggression everywhere recently, but in reality, it is suffering from many issues from inside. 

     SC ruling on Section 32A of IBC 

    Synopsis: Supreme Court uphold the validity of Section 32A of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).  

    Syllabus – GS –3 

    Source – Indian Express 

    Section 32A was introduced in the IBC by the amendment act of March, 2020.  

    By this section, government provided protection to successful bidders during corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP). These bidders offer reasonable and fair value for the corporate debtor.    

    Why this Provision was introduced? 

    Since implementation of IBC in 2016, insolvency resolution plan for many big companies could not be implemented. It was because of investigations by agencies like ED and SEBI.    

    • For example, In 2017 Bhushan Power and Steel with more than Rs. 47,000 crore debt, entered into insolvency proceeding. After a long bidding process, JSW Steel won the rights to take over Bhusan steel. However, ED jumped in and attached their assets worth Rs. 4,000 crores for the fraud by company’s previous owner.  

    What was the case and ruling of Supreme Court on that? 

    Petitioners of the case argued that section 32A closes the door for individual investors to recover their claims from the new management. Thus, they are left with the only option of pursuing remedies under criminal law against the former management. 

    • Supreme Court in its recent decision uphold the validity of Section 32A of IBC.  
    • Justice Joseph stated that the purpose behind amendment was to enable a new and clean beginning for the new management and a clean break from the company’s past.  
    • Thus, a new management cannot be prosecuted for an offence committed prior to the commencement of the corporate insolvency resolution process.  
    • It will also be immune from investigations being conducted either by any investigating agencies ED or other statutory bodies such as SEBI. Immunity is granted only for the matters linked with prior management.  
    • However, such immunity would be applicable only if there is an approved resolution plan, and a change in the management control of the corporate debtor.  

    This will provide the corporate bidders with a confidence to proceed with confidence while bidding on disputed companies and their assets. 

     Trends in Housework valuation 

    Source: Click here 

    Syllabus: GS 1  

    Synopsis: The work women perform for the family should be given due recognition and valued at par with a men’s work. 

    Introduction  

    Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam party recently promised salaries for housewives as a part of the party’s election manifesto, has invigorated the discussion on the acknowledgment of domestic work as work. 

    Read more – Wages for housework: An Analysis – ForumIAS Blog 

    State of household work in India 

    159.85 million Women stated household work as their main occupation whereas only 5.79 men referred to it as their main occupation in the 2011 census. 

    • As per Time Use in India-2019 Report, Indian women spend 299 minutes a day on unpaid domestic services for household members. Whereas men spend just 97 minutes. 
    • The economic value of services provided by women is equivalent to making $612.8 billion annually.   

    Global trends on the recognition of housework 

    Male and female domains have been marked separately for centuries. Market is considered as a male domain whereas home is considered as a female domain. These segregations justified husband’s control over family assets. 

    • Until 1851, Women had no right over their own earnings in or out of the home, all over the world. Their wages used to be collected by husband as it was considered his right back then. 
    • Shortly after 1850, laws in US started allowing wives with property rights on earnings from their personal labour. 
    • However, after civil war economic census in US, household worked were tagged as unproductive. It also excluded earning of women engaged in income producing work. 

    Trends in India 

    • The Married Women (Protection of Rights) Bill, 1994 provided that a married woman shall be authorised to have an equal share in the property of her husband. It also provided women with a right to dispose of her share in the property by way of sale, gift, debt, will or in any other manner. 
    • Census 2001 which had categorised those who provide household services i.e., about 36 crore women in India as non-workers. 
    • The United Progressive Alliance government had suggested a monthly ‘salary’ for wife by her husband in 2012.  
    • Supreme Court in Rajendra Singh case, 2020 observed that the services offered out of love cannot be calculated with money. 

    Way forward 

    • There should be measurement and quantification of unpaid domestic activities of women. Their calculation in GDP so that the actual economic contribution of women is highlighted. the United Nations committee on elimination of discrimination against women. 

    Women on one hand are denied equal rights and on the other hand are compared to goddesses in our country. Matrimonial property laws do give women their share but only when the marriage is broken and so there should be a bill to safeguard women’s interest even during the marriage.


     Daily Factly Articles – 21 Jan. 2021

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Jan 21,2021

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