9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – July 15th, 2021

Dear Friends,

We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do: 

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:  
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.  

  • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
  • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)


Mains Oriented Articles


GS Paper 1

Sudden interest in ‘population control’ in Assam and UP points to political bad faith

Source: The Hindu and The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 1 – Population and associated issues

Relevance: Population control measures have to be rational and focus on welfare-based approach

Synopsis: 

States should tackle the socio-economic issues confronting India’s largely youthful demography rather than seeking a stringent approach towards population control.

Introduction:

new draft Bill prepared by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Law Commission seeks to control the population by introducing a two-child policy.

Similarly, the Assam CM has also expressed concern over the “population explosion” amongst the Muslim community in the state. He has further reiterated that stringent population control is the only way forward to bring about development for the community.

Challenges with the population control policies:

  • Against Central government argument: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare argued in Supreme Court last year that “international experience shows that any coercion to have a certain number of children is counter-productive and leads to demographic distortions”.
    • The Government further confirmed that India was committed to its obligations under international law, including the principles contained in the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, 1994.
  • Against Court Judgements: Supreme Court in various cases upheld the right to reproductive freedom.
    • In Suchita Srivastava & Anr vs Chandigarh Administration (2009) case, the Court found that a woman’s freedom to make reproductive decisions is an integral facet of the right to personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21.
    • In K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017) case, the court held that the Constitution sees a person’s autonomy over her body as an extension of the right to privacy. This also includes reproductive rights. Further, the UP’s draft bill is in violation of the doctrine of proportionality mentioned in the Privacy judgment.
    • In the Devika Biswas vs Union of India (2016) case, the Court pointed that sterilization camps have a disparate impact on minorities and other vulnerable groups. The draft UP law could lead to a proliferation of sterilisation camps.
    • In the Javed & Ors vs State of Haryana & Ors (2003) case, the Court upheld a law that disqualified persons with more than two children from contesting in local body elections. But the UP’s proposed law is far more disproportionate.
  • Population “explosion” is a bogey: Many Indian states are moving towards achieving a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.1 with voluntary population control measures. So, population explosion is not occurring in India.
    • For instance, In Assam where the government is talking about population explosion, the TFR has dropped from 2.2 in 2015 to 1.9 in 2020-21.
  • The Population Foundation of India has rightly pointed out that a strict limit on the number of children, like the two-child norm, will unleash a rapid increase in divorce and sex-specific abortions. It would be highly detrimental to the future of the nation.
    • One needs to remember that the child sex ratio of India has already been in a steady decline, dropping from 945 in 1991 to 918 in 2011.
  • Population control policies cannot be framed for one particular minority community. According to NFHS-4, in 22 states, the fertility rate of Muslims was lower than that of Hindus in Bihar. So, the government has to focus on better service delivery of modern contraceptive methods.

GS Paper 2

Courts shouldn’t step into executive’s domain: Supreme Court

Source: Times of India

Syllabus: GS 2 – Separation of Powers between various organs

Relevance: This article is useful for the topic Separation of Powers of GS-2. Recently, there have been many judgments, directing the executive on policy decisions.

Synopsis:

The pandemic era witnessed judicial intervention in the domain of executive and legislature. However, different benches of the Supreme court had different viewpoints on such intervention.

Background:

  • On 14th July,  a bench of the Supreme Court (SC) observed that constitutional courts should restrain from intervening in policy decisions. It also said that it will consider setting out norms on this issue.
  • However, a day before, Supreme Court judge D Y Chandrachud took some credit in the court, bringing about a revision in the Centre’s vaccination policy.
    • He said that the state is empowered to take policy decisions on the pandemic. But if this infringes on the constitutional rights of the people, the validity of the policy is subject to judicial review. 

Observations by 14th July Bench:

  • It was hearing a plea  filed by the Uttar Pradesh government against the Allahabad High Court (HC). The HC had passed a slew of directions on management of the pandemic in the state and passed adverse observations against the government.
  • The SC bench said the intention of the court could not be questioned and there was no doubt it wanted to improve the situation. But the issue was whether interference was at all needed during the period of crisis which should be left to be handled by government and experts.
  • The bench deduced that the judiciary should not interfere in the domain of the executive as per the principles of separation of power. There is a demarcation which should be respected by every organ of government.
  • The SC bench’s views come in the wake of the court and several high courts taking up issues like oxygen supply and vaccination.

Rationale behind Different opinions by the SC:

  • The Supreme Court sits in smaller and co-equal benches. This gives way to the formation of different opinions about the same socio-economic rights and the level of deference that is shown to the executive on issues of policy.

Jobs lost, middle-class Indians line up for rations and ‘worry about meals’

Source: Business Standard

Gs2: Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger.

Relevance: The issue of hunger is one of the issues related to the basic necessities of life. Pandemic has worsened India’s situation on this parameter.

Synopsis: Loss of jobs and livelihood during the Pandemic has devastated the Food security of millions of poor in India.

Increasing Poverty and Hunger in India

  • According to a study by the Azim Premji University, the daily average wage for about 230 million Indians dropped below the Rs 375 ($5) threshold.
  • More than 15 million Indians lost their jobs in May alone, according to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy.
  • Loss of jobs and livelihood is leading to an increase in hunger, particularly in urban areas.

Issues that are challenging the Food distribution to the poor

  • Surging food prices: A stalled monsoon threatens to further stoke food inflation that was at 5 percent. Surging food prices have prompted economists to call for widening the distribution of cereals under India’s National Food Security Act.
  • Exclusion errors: Further, more than 100 million people remain outside the government’s public distribution system because coverage is calculated on outdated census data.
  • Widening States Burden: Increasing number of middle-class people are also seeking support from Fair price shops.

Relief Measures in Place to manage food Distress

  • At centre level:
    • National food security act: The government is required by law to provide five kilograms of rice, wheat, and coarse grains at subsidized rates as low as one rupee per kilogram to India’s poorest each month.
    • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana: It provides for additional six kilos a month per person until November, at a cost of 1.5 trillion rupees ($20 billion). The program was restarted in April and has been extended to November 2021.
  • At State level
    • Similarly, at the state level, relief measures are being provided for the poor. For instance, in Delhi, free food grains for two months to 7.2 million ration cardholders as well as financial aid of 5,000 rupees to 156,000 autorickshaws and taxi drivers are being undertaken.
  • Role of Civil society organizations
    • Civil society organisations are involved in distributing meals and dry rations for the needy. For instance, Want Food collective (Mumbai).
    • Furthermore, community kitchens are being run by the common man to support the poor.

Number, No Privacy Threat

Source: Indian Express

GS2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Relevance: This article justifies making aadhaar, a public utility, against a general perception of making it confidential information.

Synopsis: Some privacy proponents are of the view that the Aadhaar number should be treated as a secret or confidential number, making its retrieval an uphill task.

Is Aadhaar number confidential?

  • Firstly, as per the Aadhaar Act, “An Aadhaar number shall be a random number and bear no relation to the attributes or identity of the Aadhaar number holder.”
    • It is neither secret nor confidential. For this reason, the IT Act also does not classify the Aadhaar number as sensitive personal information.
  • Secondly, the UIDAI was acutely aware of the possibility of an individual losing the Aadhaar card and the short longevity of a paper one.
    • It does not describe Aadhaar as a card, but a number, which is easy to retrieve, download, and print with no original, copy, or duplicate concept.

Why treating Aadhar numbers as confidential is not right?

  • Firstly, if Aadhaar number is treated as a secret or confidential number, its retrieval will be difficult,
  • Secondly, Under the IT Act, the biometric information collected by the UIDAI for uniqueness is sensitive personal data.
    • However, due to privacy-related issues, the UIDAI is not allowing individuals to leverage their biometrics to retrieve lost Aadhaar numbers.
    • Thus, if it is confidential, searching a database of billion-plus residents without biometrics may be challenging for the ones without other unique identifiers like email and phone numbers.
  • Thirdly, Section 29(4) of the Aadhaar Act prohibits the publication of Aadhaar numbers except for purposes specified by regulations.
    • The purpose of these restrictions is that while the Aadhaar number is not confidential, its publication in various government records will make it easy to collate information.
    • However, the collation of data in the digital world is easy even otherwise.
  • Lastly, the Aadhaar number is not an ID or a password.
    • “Analysis of Major Concerns about Aadhaar privacy and security” refutes that the Aadhaar number is vulnerable to surveillance attacks by the state, forgery attacks by miscreants, or database attacks by hackers.
    • It says that getting access to somebody’s Aadhaar number does not increase the digital vulnerability of the owner.

Way forward:

  • Dreze and Anil suggest ways to simplify the retrieval of lost Aadhaar numbers.
    • A lucid policy for recovery and easy to access support services is required.
    • Recalling demographic data submitted to the Authority will suffice to retrieve lost numbers.
    • The use of biometrics as a measure of last resort needs to be permitted.
    • The UIDAI needs to act with urgency to end the woes of the less well-versed.
  • UIDAI should vigorously promote the adoption of the Aadhaar as a public utility, not just by the government but the nation.

Hence, Aadhaar must be seen as an instrument to empower people across domains to realize their rights and place in the digital world.

Terms to know:


GS Paper 3

For Consumer, a bad bargain

Source: Indian Express  

Syllabus: GS 2 – Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

Synopsis:

Drafted in the name of consumer interest, the proposed e-commerce rules shield vested interests. The rules are marred with multiple issues which may do more harm than good. They seem to create an adverse environment for the inflow of capital in the country, which is in dire need of capital.

Background:

  • The government has proposed changes to the e-commerce rules under the Consumer Protection Act. The objective is to ensure greater compliance and protect the interests of consumers.
  • However, as per some experts, the rules have not given due respect to augment and strengthen consumer welfare.
  • The rules are driven more by the desire to shield the traditional brick-and-mortar stores, and handicap e-commerce firms, especially the foreign ones. They seek to deepen, not paper over, existing fault lines. 

About the Draft Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020

Issues associated with rules:

  • First, the imposition of the fall-back liability clause on foreign players is unjust. FDI is permitted only in the marketplace model and not the inventory model. 
    • Under this framework, e-commerce platforms don’t hold inventory, but simply connect buyers and sellers.
  • Second, the rules mandate that none of the platform’s related parties can sell directly to the consumer through the platform and also forbid flash sales. However, both of these, adversely impact consumer choice and price.
  • Third, the country of origin filter and suggestion of domestic alternatives is a push towards Make in India. However, the interests of consumers, not domestic manufacturers, should be at the core of the consumer protection framework.
  • Fourth, there are issues of overlapping/competing jurisdictions. 
    • The rules restrain e-commerce firms from making “available any information pertaining to the consumer, to any person, without the consumer’s consent.
    • Therefore, the rules give a competing jurisdiction to the Consumer protection authority for the protection of personal data. However, this domain should be ideally dealt with by the data protection authority.
    • Similarly, the rules also state that e-commerce entities are prohibited from abusing their dominant positions in the market. 
    • For this purpose, the “abuse of dominant position” has been given the same meaning as that prescribed under Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.
    • This may induce consumer protection authority to intervene in the jurisdiction of the Competition Commission of India.

Subsidy scheme for shipping firms approved

Source: The Hindu and PIB

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

Relevance: The article highlights one of the challenges with Indian shipping industry and the new government scheme to tackle it.

Synopsis:

Cabinet has recently approved a scheme for the promotion of merchant ships in India by providing subsidy support to Indian shipping companies in global tenders floated by Ministries and CPSEs.

Challenges with the Indian Shipping industry at present:

  • Despite having a policy of 100% FDI in shipping since 1997, the Indian shipping industry and India’s national fleet are proportionately small when compared with their global counterparts.
  • Currently, the Indian fleet comprises a meager 1.2% of the world fleet in terms of capacity. The share of Indian ships in the carriage of India’s EXIM trade has drastically declined from 40.7% in 1987-88 to about 7.8% in 2018-19. This has led to an increase in foreign exchange outgo on account of freight bill payments to foreign shipping companies.
  • Since Indian ships are less competitive while compared to their foreign peers, therefore, the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) policy has not been able to fuel the growth of Indian tonnage. Data collected from the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA) reflects that it issued NOCs in 95% of the cases processed under the ROFR mechanism.

So, a policy to promote the growth of the Indian shipping industry is also necessary because having a bigger national fleet would provide economic, commercial, and strategic advantages to India.

About the scheme:

The scheme will provide Rs.1624 crore over five years as a subsidy to Indian Shipping companies in global tenders floated by Ministries and CPSEs for the import of government cargo. 

Key features of the scheme:

  • The subsidy support varies from 5% to 15% of the lowest bid by a foreign shipping company. This depends on whether the ship was flagged after or before February 1, 2021, and the age of the ship at the time of flagging in India.
  • Ships older than 20 years would not eligible for any subsidy under the Scheme
  • The budgetary support would be provided directly to the Ministry/Department concerned.
  • The Scheme has laid out a monitoring framework which is detailed at also provides for effective monitoring and review of the Scheme.

The expected outcome of the scheme:

  • The scheme has immense potential to generate employment.
    • An increase in the Indian fleet will provide direct employment to Indian seafarers, since Indian ships are required to employ only Indian seafarers.
    • It also increases indirect employment in the development of ancillary industries such as shipbuilding, ship repair, recruitment, banking, etc. and contributes to the Indian GDP.
  • A strong and diverse indigenous shipping fleet will not only lead to foreign exchange savings, but would also reduce excessive dependence on foreign ships for transporting India’s critical cargoes.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)


India’s neurological disease burden rising

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative has published in Lancet the first-ever comprehensive estimates of disease burden due to neurological disorders in India from 1990 to 2019.

Note: India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and others.

What are Neurological disorders?
  • Neurological disorders are medically defined as disorders that affect the brain as well as the nerves found throughout the human body and the spinal cord.
  • Categories: The three categories of neurological disorders include:
    • Non-communicable neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, central nervous system cancer, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
    • Communicable neurological disorders like encephalitis etc.
    • Injury-related neurological disorders like traumatic brain injuries etc.
Key Findings of the Study:
  • Around 82.8% of the total neurological disorders burden in India is due to non-communicable disorders, 11.2% due to communicable ones, and 6% due to injury-related ones
  • The contribution of non-communicable and injury-related neurological disorders to the total disease burden in India has more than doubled between 1990 and 2019.
  • Reason: mainly due to the aging of the population.
  • Risk Factors: High blood pressure, air pollution, and high body-mass index were the known risk factors for the burden of the neurological disorder.
  • State wise: This burden is higher in less developed States. On the other hand, the burden of the disorders related to the injury is higher in more developed States.
  • Suggestions: The study has called for increased awareness, early identification, cost-effective treatment, and rehabilitation among other efforts to reduce the burden of neurological disorders in each state.

Constitution of an Expert Committee on Longevity Finance

What is the News?

International Financial Services Centers Authority(IFSCA) has set up an expert committee. It will recommend an approach towards the development of the Longevity Finance Hub in the Gift-City in Gujarat and provide a road map for the same.

Aim of Longevity Finance Hub:
  • Longevity Finance Hub aims to cater to the investment and wealth management needs of the ‘silver generation’, which consists of individuals aged 60 years and older.
Expert Committee on Longevity Finance Hub:
  • Chaired by: The expert committee is co-chaired by Ms. Kaku Nakhate, President and Country Head (India), Bank of America, and Mr. Gopalan Srinivasan, Ex-CMD, New India Assurance Company Limited.
  • Purpose: The expert committee will recommend an approach towards the development of Longevity Finance Hub and provide a road map for the same.
What is the need for the Longevity Finance Hub?
  • Global estimates suggest that there are one billion people in the silver generation (a global cohort of individuals aged 60 and older). They have a combined spending power of $15 trillion and the size is ever-expanding.
  • Development in medicinal science and technology will support extending the lifespan and longevity of this silver generation.
  • It is estimated that by 2040, there will be more members of the silver generation than people under 20.
  • This demographic change will throw open new challenges and opportunities especially in the areas of wealth management, health, insurance, and other investment products.
  • Hence, the International Financial Services Centre Authority has set up an expert committee to develop Longevity Finance Hub.
International Financial Services Centres(IFSC):
  • An IFSC caters to customers outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy. Such centers deal with flows of finance, financial products, and services across borders.
  • GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) located in Gandhinagar is India’s first International Financial Services Centre.

Terms to know:


What is UV-C technology and how does it work on Covid?

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The Union Minister of State for Science and Technology has said that Ultraviolet-C or UV-C Disinfection Technology will soon be installed in Parliament. It will facilitate the mitigation of airborne transmission of SARS-COV-2.

What is Ultraviolet(UV) Light?

  • Ultraviolet(UV) is a type of light or radiation naturally emitted by the Sun. It covers a wavelength range of 100-400 nm. The human visible light ranges from 380 to 700 nm.

Types of UV light: There are three types of UV radiation that are classified according to their wavelength:

UV-A and UV-B rays from the Sun are transmitted through our atmosphere, and all UV-C is filtered by the ozone layer.

  • UV-A (315-400 nm): It has a long wavelength, which accounts for approximately 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. It can penetrate the middle layer of your skin or the dermis and can cause aging of skin cells and indirect damage to cells’ DNA.
  • UV-B (280-315 nm): It has a medium wavelength. It is biologically active but cannot penetrate beyond the outer skin layers. It can cause sunburn and is also associated with skin cancer.
  • UV-C (100-280 nm): It has a short wavelength and is most harmful. However, it is completely filtered by the ozone layer and does not reach the Earth’s surface. But the UV-C radiation from man-made sources has been known to cause skin burns and eye injuries.

Can UV-C kill Coronavirus?

  • UV-C radiation (wavelength around 254 nm) has been used for decades to disinfect the air in hospitals, laboratories, and also in water treatment.
  • A paper published in June 2020 in Scientific Reports noted that UV-C radiation can destroy the outer protein coating of the SARS-Coronavirus.
  • Moreover, few studies have shown that far-UVC light does not harm human skin. This is because UV-C light has a very limited range and cannot penetrate through the outer dead-cell layer of human skin or the tear layer in the eye, so it’s not a human health hazard.
    • But because viruses and bacteria are much smaller than human cells, far-UVC light can reach their DNA and kill them.

Mastercard can’t issue new cards from July 22: RBI

Source: TOI

What is the News?

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has barred Mastercard from issuing new domestic cards over violation of RBI’s directions on storage of payment system data.

Rules regarding Storage of Payment System Data:

  • The Reserve Bank of India has issued a directive in 2018 on ‘Storage of Payment System Data’.
  • It had advised all system providers to ensure that within a period of six months, the entire data relating to payment systems operated by them is stored in a system only in India.
  • Moreover, all system providers were also required to report compliance to RBI and submit a board-approved system audit report conducted by a CERT-In impaneled auditor within the specified timelines.
  • These directions were applicable to all Payment System providers authorised/approved by the RBI to set up and operate a payment system in India under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
  • However, the local storage norms do not apply to those payments where one leg of the transaction is offshore.
  • Further, the RBI norms also allow data to be sent abroad for processing, but the same must be deleted from overseas servers by the end of the day.

Rajasthan to develop corridor connecting 3 tiger reserves

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The Rajasthan government will develop a tiger corridor connecting the newly proposed ‘Ramgarh Tiger Reserve’, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve.

About the Proposed Tiger Corridor

  • The Proposed Tiger Corridor will be developed by relocating eight villages.
  • The corridor is being developed to deal with the issue of overpopulation of tigers, which Ranthambore tiger reserve is facing currently.
  • Ranthambore Tiger Reserve has a population of around 65 tigers currently. On the other hand, Mukundra reserve is left with just one Tiger.
  • Thus, this tiger corridor is proposed to balance the population distribution.

What is the Tiger Corridor?

  • A tiger corridor is a stretch of land which links 2 or more tiger habitats, allowing the movement of tigers, prey, and other wildlife.
  • Without corridors, tiger habitat can become fragmented, and tiger populations isolated.

Note: Ramgarh Vishdhari wildlife sanctuary has recently received a nod from the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) technical committee to become the 4th Tiger reserve of Rajasthan.

About Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve(TR):

  • Mukundra Tiger Reserve(TR) is located near Kota, Rajasthan. The Mukundra Hills was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1955 and a National Park (Mukundra Hills (Darrah) National Park) in 2004.
  • River: The reserve is located on the eastern bank of the Chambal River and is drained by its tributaries.
  • Mountains: The park is situated in a valley formed by two parallel mountains viz. Mukundra and Gargola.
  • The Tiger Reserve constitutes 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries viz; Darrah, Jawahar Sagar, and Chambal.

About Ranthambore Tiger Reserve:

  • Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve is located in Rajasthan. It is located at the junction of the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges.
  • River: The park is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River.
  • Named after: The park is named after the historic Ranthambore Fort, which lies within the park.
  • Comprises: Two protected areas namely Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary and Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary are linked by narrow corridors to the core of Ranthambore NP and all these together comprise the Tiger Reserve.

Cabinet approves continuation of scheme for judicial infrastructure development

Source:PIB

What is the News?

The Central government has approved the continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for the Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary for a further five years till 2026.

Scheme for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary:

  • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme(CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary has been in operation since 1993-94.
  • Aim: The scheme aims at improving the physical infrastructure of the Subordinate Courts. It also improves the housing needs for judicial officers of District and Subordinate Courts to facilitate better justice delivery.
  • Coverage of the Scheme: The Scheme covers all States and Union Territories. It covers the construction of court buildings and the construction of residential accommodation for Judges and Judicial Officers of District and Subordinate Courts in the States.

Monitoring Mechanism for the Scheme:

  • An online monitoring system has been set up by the Department of Justice.
  • The online monitoring system “Nyaya-Vikas-2.0” has been developed with the technical assistance of ISRO.
  • The portal shall monitor the physical and financial progress of such judicial infrastructure projects by geo-tagging completed and ongoing infrastructure projects.

Support to Gram Nyayalayas:

  • The Cabinet has also approved a proposal to support Gram Nyayalayas by providing recurring and non-recurring grants for a period of 5 years.
  • However, funds will be released to states only after the notified Gram Nyayalayas are operationalized and Nyayadhikaris appointed and reported on the Gram Nyayalaya portal.
  • Moreover, a review will also be undertaken after one year to assess whether Gram Nyayalaya Scheme has achieved its objective of providing speedy and affordable justice to the rural and marginalised populace.

Supreme Court strikes down Tribunals Ordinance provision fixing 4-year term for members

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The Supreme Court in a 2:1 verdict has struck down certain provisions of the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance,2021.

What was the case?

  • The judgement came on a petition by the Madras Bar Association, which challenged the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance, 2021 to the extent it amends Sections 184 and 186 of the Finance Act 2017.

Note: Sections 184 and 186 of the Finance Act 2017 gave Central Government rule-making power in relation to the mode of appointment, qualifications, terms of service, allowance of members of various tribunals.

Click Here to Read the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance, 2021

What are the provisions struck down by the Supreme Court?

Appointment:

  • The Supreme Court has struck down the provisions requiring a minimum age for appointment as Chairperson or Members as 50 years and prescribing the tenure of four years.
  • The court said that these provisions were contrary to the principles of separation of powers, independence of judiciary, rule of law, and Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • Further, the court said that the term of Chairperson of a tribunal shall be five years or till she or he attains the age of 70, whichever is earlier. Further, the term of a Member of a tribunal shall be five years or till she or he attains the age of 67, whichever is earlier.

Appointment Duration:

  • The provision prescribing that the Union Government should make appointments “preferably within three months” of recommendation by the Search-cum-Selection committee has been struck down.

Key Remarks made by the Supreme Court while delivering judgement:

  • Impartiality, independence, fairness, and reasonableness in decision-making are the hallmarks of the judiciary.
  • If impartiality is the soul of the judiciary, independence is the lifeblood of the judiciary. Hence, without independence, impartiality cannot thrive.
  • The judge who dissented against the verdict said that the “courts can declare law, interpret law, remove obvious lacunae and fill up the gaps, but they cannot entrench upon in the field of legislation”.

Dismissal of J&K govt employees: What the Constitution says?

 Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) has dismissed 11 J&K government employees for alleged terror links under provisions of Article 311(2)(c) of the Constitution.

About Article 311 of the Indian Constitution:

  • Article 311 of the Constitution deals with ‘Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State’.

Subsections under Article 311:

  • Article 311(1): It says that no government employee either of an all India service or a state government shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to the own that appointed him/her.
  • Article 311(2): It says that no civil servant shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which s/he has been informed of the charges and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.

Exceptions to Article 311(2):

  • 2(a): It says that if a government employee is convicted in a criminal case, he can be dismissed without a Departmental Enquiry (DE).
  • 2(b) – It says that the government employee can be dismissed if the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, it is not reasonably practicable to hold inquiry or
  • 2(c): It says that the government employee can be dismissed when the President or the Governor is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the state.  It is not required to hold such an inquiry.

Can the dismissal under section 311(2) be challenged by the government employee?

  • Yes, the government employee dismissed under these provisions can approach either tribunal or courts.

Note: Section 126 of the constitution of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir too, laid down exceptions under which a person could be dismissed without holding an inquiry.


Cabinet approves continuation of centrally sponsored scheme National AYUSH Mission

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the National Ayush Mission as a ‘Centrally-sponsored scheme for another five years till 2026.

About National Ayush Mission:

  • National AYUSH Mission is a ‘Centrally-sponsored scheme’ launched by the Government of India in 2014. The mission is being implemented by the Ministry of AYUSH.

Objectives of the Mission:

  • To provide cost-effective AYUSH Services with universal access through upgrading AYUSH Hospitals and by co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and District Hospitals(DHs).
  • To establish a holistic wellness model based on AYUSH principles and practices, for empowering masses for ‘self-care.
  • Furthermore, to strengthen institutional capacity at the state level through upgrading AYUSH educational institutions.
  • Support cultivation of medicinal plants by adopting Good Agricultural Practices(GAPs) to provide a sustained supply of quality raw materials.
  • Support setting up of clusters through the convergence of cultivation, warehousing, value addition, and marketing and development of infrastructure for entrepreneurs.

Expected Outcomes of the Mission:

  • Better access to AYUSH healthcare services through increased healthcare facilities.
  • Improvement in AYUSH education through a well-equipped, enhanced number of AYUSH Educational institutions,
  • To focus on reducing communicable/non-communicable diseases through targeted public health programs using AYUSH systems of Healthcare.

Terms to know:


 

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