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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th November 2019
Published on Nov. 7, 2019, 10:01 p.m.

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th November 2019

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Alternative Investment Fund (AIF)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III - Economy

In News

  • Government would set up an alternative investment fund (AIF) worth Rs 25,000 crore to provide relief to developers with unfinished projects to ensure delivery of homes to buyers
  • It provides for last-mile funding for stalled affordable and middle-income housing projects across the country
  • The fund size will initially be Rs 25,000 crore with the government providing ₹10,000 crore and the SBI and LIC providing the balance
  • The funds will be set up as Category-II AIF registered with the SEBIand will be managed by SBICAP Ventures Limited.
  • According to the government’s estimates, there are more than 1,600 housing projects in which 4.58 lakh crore units are stalled.
  • Housing projects that have been classified as non-performing assets (NPA) and that are under National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) proceedings also to be eligible for financing.
  • The AIF is expected to pool investments from other government-related and private investors, including public financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, public and private banks, domestic pension and provident funds, global pension funds and other institutional investors.
  • The fund is therefore expected not only to support the sector but also generate commercial return for its investors
  • Besides, revival of the sector will also lead to demand of cement, iron & steel industries giving further impetus to generate more employment

National Green Tribunal(NGT)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II - Polity

In News

  • NGT has given a “last opportunity” to the Union Environment Ministry to issue notifications pertaining to prohibition on the use of RO (reverse osmosis) systems, which result in wastage of almost 80% of the water.
  • Further provision must be laid down for recovery of water up to 75% and use of such RO reject water for purposes such as utensil washing, flushing, gardening, cleaning of vehicles and mopping,

About NGT

  • National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 under National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 to dispose of cases having environmental ramification. 
  • The Act provides for a Chairperson and a minimum of 10 Expert Members and equal number of Judicial Members.

Powers of NGT:

  • Recommend penalties and fine
  • Recommend policies for environment protection
  • Enforcement of any legal right relating to environment
  • Giving relief and compensation for damages
  • Has power of civil courts

Significance

  • Helps reduce burden on higher courts
  • Faster resolution of cases
  • Specialised member brings efficiency to justice
  • Less expensive than courts

Second Judges case

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II - Judiciary

In News

  • A nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India RanjanGogoi, has dismissed a bunch of petitions seeking a review of the court’s judgment in the Second Judges case in 1993.
  • The judgement in the case led to the collegium system of appointment of judges.
  • Article 124- The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President. The CJI is appointed by the President after consultation with such judges of the Supreme Court and high courts as he deems necessary.
  • Appointment of Chief Justice from 1950 to 1973: The practice has been to appoint the senior most judge of the Supreme Court as the chief justice of India (CJI)
  • This established convention was violated in 1973 when A N Ray was appointed as the CJI by superseding three senior judges. Again in 1977, M U Beg was appointed as the CJI by superseding the then senior-most judge.
  • This discretion of the government was curtailed by the Supreme Court in the Second Judges Case (1993), in which the Supreme Court ruled that the senior most judge of the Supreme Court should alone be appointed to the office of the CJI
  • Also, the Court reversed its earlier ruling (of First Judges case of 1982) and changed the meaning of the word consultation to concurrence thus establishing the collegium system for appointment of Judges to higher judiciary.

Do You Know?

  • In the Third Judges case (1998), the Court opined that the consultation process to be adopted by the CJI requires ‘consultation of plurality judges’.He should consult a collegium of four senior most judges of the Supreme Court and even if two judges give an adverse opinion, he should not send the recommendation to the government.
  • The 1993 judgment was the basis on which a five-judge Constitution Bench declared the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC) and the Constitutional (Ninety-Nine Amendment) Act, 2014 as unconstitutional in 2015.
  • In Dec 2018, five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi dismissed a review petition against the judgment in the NJAC case.

Paris climate pact 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Environment

In News

  • China and France stated thatthe Paris climate pact was “irreversible”, showing a united front after Washington formally withdrew from the accord this week.

About Paris Climate deal

  • The deal unites all the world's nations in a single agreement on tackling climate change for the first time in history.
  • To keep global temperatures "well below" 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5C
  • To limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100
  • To review each country's contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
  • For rich countries to help poorer nations by providing "climate finance" to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.

For impact on US withdrawal from the deal, refer


SACEP

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – International Relations

In News

  • The 15th meeting of the Governing Council of South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) is going to be organised in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • SACEP is an inter-governmental organization, established in 1982 by the governments of South Asia. Member countries include Afghanistan , Bangladesh , Bhutan , India , Maldives , Nepal , Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • The objective is to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the region
  • SACEP acts as the Secretariat for the South Asian Seas Programme, which comes under the purview of UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme.
  • India has signed a MoU with SACEP for cooperation on the response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in the South Asian Seas Region.

Miscellaneous

ICEDASH and ATITHI

  • These two initiatives were launched by the Ministry of Finance.
  • ICEDASH is an Ease of Doing Business monitoring dashboard of the Indian Customs helping the public see the daily Customs clearance times of import cargo at various ports and airports. 
  • ICEDASH dashboard hasbeen developed by Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs in collaboration with National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • The ATITHI app will facilitate hassle-free and faster clearance by Customs at the airports and enhance the experience of international tourists and other visitors at the airports. Passengers can use this app to file declaration of dutiable items and currency with the Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India. 

China launches Sudan’s first satellite

  • Sudan’s first satellite for conducting research in military, economic and space technology has been launched by China
  • In 2013, the then-Sudanese government led by President Omar al-Bashir established the Institute of Space Research and Aerospace (ISRA) as part of an overall plan to develop space technologies.
  • Al-Bashir was removed by the army in April following a nationwide protest movement against his 30-year rule.
  • The protests were triggered by the economic crisis led by an acute shortage of foreign currency and high inflation.

(MAINS FOCUS)


TECHNOLOGY

TOPIC: General Studies 3:

  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

Cyber security (Part-1)

Context:

  • Recently a user on VirusTotal identified a DTrack data dump linked with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant  indicating that a system (or more) in the plant had been breached by malware. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) confirmed the breach.
  • WhatsApp sued the Israel-based NSO Group for the use of its ‘Pegasus’ spyware on thousands of WhatsApp users in the lead-up to the general elections..

DTrack

  • DTrack, is used by hackers to attack financial and research centres in India.
  • It   was designed to be planted on the victim’s ATMs, where it could read and store the data of cards that were inserted into the machines
  • A version of it was used to attack the banking system in South Korea as well as for the infamous WannaCry ransom worm attacks across the globe.
  • Researchers have identified that the malware which infected the computer at Kudankulam nuclear power plant was DTrack.

Pegasus

  • Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli cyberarms firm, NSO Group
  •  It can be installed on devices running certain versions of iOS, Apple's mobile operating system, 
  • Pegasus is capable of reading text messages, tracking calls, collecting passwords, tracing the location of the phone, accessing the target device's microphone(s) and video camera(s
  •  Apple released version of its iOS software to fix the vulnerabilities.
  •  News of the spyware got  significant media attention. 
  • It was called the "most sophisticated" smartphone attack ever.

Concerns:

  • Doubts on the Indian claims to being a legitimate power in cyberspace.
  • Vulnerability of its critical information infrastructure 
  • Blatant disregard for the fundamental rights of Indian citizens onlineI’
  • Indian govt Fails to secure its strategic infrastructure from sophisticated cyberattacks
  • The Indian military announced that it will modernise its nuclear forces, which includes the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence and other cybercapabilities, the apparent absence of robust cybersecurity capability is a serious cause for concern.
  • The surveillance of Indian citizens through WhatsApp spyware in the lead-up to the general elections depicts  the government’s disregard for cybersecurity.

Way forward:

  • India needs to get serious about cybersecurity, both for its political interests and for its citizenry.
  • “security by obscurity” for India’s nuclear power plants
  • Cutting-edge malware reserved for spying on citizens.

Connecting the dots:

  • Recent cyber attack incidents cast serious doubts on the Indian state’s claims to being a legitimate power in cyberspace. Critically analyse

POLITY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Collegium system (Part -1)

Context:

  • A nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking a review of its 1993 verdict in the Second Judges Case, which is widely understood to be instrumental in establishing the “collegium system” of appointing judges in India’s higher judiciary.

Three Judges Cases:

  • Article 124 and Article 217 respectively includes to the procedure of appointment of judges to the SC and HCs
  • Judges of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and other judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts as the President of India may deem necessary. 
  • Judges of the High Courts are appointed by the President in consultation with the CJI, the Governor of the concerned state, and the Chief Justice of that High Court.

The Supreme Court of India's collegium system, appoints judges to the nation's constitutional courts, has its genesis in, and continued basis resting on, three of its own judgments which are collectively known as the Three Judges Cases.

  • S. P. Gupta v. Union of India – 1981
  • In the First Judges Case (1981), the apex court held (4-3) that in the appointment of a judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court, the word “consultation” in Article 124(2) and in Article 217(1) of the Constitution does not mean “concurrence”
  • In the event of a disagreement, the “ultimate power” would rest with the Union Government and not the CJI
  • Supreme Court Advocates-on Record Association vs Union of India – 1993
  • In the Second Judges Case (1993), the court (7-2) overruled the First Judges Case, holding that in the event of conflict between the President and the CJI with regard to appointments of Judges, it was the Chief Justice of India whose opinion would not only have primacy, but would be determinative in the matter.
  • the SC not only regained its powers from the government but also gave itself the upper hand over the other two branches.
  • verdict also gave birth to the Collegium System.
  • In re Special Reference 1 of 1998
  • Finally, in the Third Judges Case (1998), the SC reaffirmed its 1993 judgement and expanded the Collegium to include the CJI and the four most-senior judges of the court after the CJI.

Criticism :

  • The Collegium system, finds no mention in the Constitution 
  • A mechanism put in place by the SC itself, personifies the democratic deficit 
  • The members of the Collegium, enjoy the fierce independence of the judiciary
  • Exemplify the behind-the-door dealings of the judicial branch that lacks accountability and public scrutiny.
  • The lack of transparency has ignited fears of nepotism 
  • Elevation of judges based on personal relationships and past favours instead of merit or seniority.

Aftermath:

  • Many contend that the judiciary has no choice but to fill the gap left by the other two branches of government. 
  • The most pronounced attempt at reforming the Collegium System was probably the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).

Connecting the dots:

  • Whether the judicial activism that collegium  entails is permitted by the Constitution – or if it is healthy for a democracy . comment

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about ICEDASH initiative 

  1. It was launched by the Ministry of Finance.
  2. It is for improved monitoring and pace of Customs clearance of imported goods.
  3. It has been developed by NITI Aayog in collaboration with World’s Customs Union

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1and 2 Only
  2. 2 and 3 Only
  3. 1 and 3 Only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following statements about South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP)

  1. It is an inter-governmental organization established in 1982 by South Asian Countries.
  2. SACEP also acts as the Secretariat for the South Asian Seas Programme, which comes under the purview of UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Which of the following objectives are a part of Paris Climate Deal 2015

  1. To keep global temperatures "well below" 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5C
  2. To review each country's contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
  3. For rich countries to help poorer nations by providing "climate finance" to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.

Select the correct answer from codes given below

  1. 1 and 2 Only
  2. 2 and 3 Only
  3. 1 and 3 Only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.4) The judgement in Second Judges case led to which of the following outcome?

  1. Gave birth to Doctrine of basic structure of Constitution 
  2. Declaring NJAC Act (National Judicial Appointments Commission) as unconstitutional
  3. Establishment of Collegium system of appointment of judges.
  4. None of the above

Q.5) Consider the following statements about National Green Tribunal

  1. It is established under Environment Protection Act, 1986
  2. It has the power of enforcement of any legal right relating to environment

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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