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27 November, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-II Lok Sabha clears National Institute of Design Bill
CJI throws light on lack of infra in lower courts
Bills in Lok Sabha to merge Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Transgender persons rights Bill passed in RS
GS-III Surge in small borrower defaults stokes worries Economic Issues
Proposals to regulate social media run into multiple roadblocks
On current course, global temperatures to increase 3.2 degrees by 2030: UNEP Report
GS-II :
Lok Sabha clears National Institute of Design Bill

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

News: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019, declaring the NIDs in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Assam Institutions of National Importance.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the National Institute of Design (NID) and their significance, about Societies Registration Act, Institute of National Importance

 

Background: The Rajya Sabha had cleared the Bill during the previous session. Earlier, these institutes came under the Societies Registration Act and did not have the power to issue degrees or diplomas.

 

Suggestions given by MPs

  • The country lacks in research and training infrastructure and  students passing out of NID may experience a major gap in the education provided and the global standards.
  • The private industry should be in sync with these institutes to cater to the dynamic consumer needs. The gap in education needed to be addressed.
  • The NID governing council to have a representative from the Tribal Affairs Ministry.
  • The demand of every State having a design institute, and scholarships to be provided for women, SC and ST students
  • The private industry should be in sync with these institutes to cater to the dynamic consumer needs. The gap in education needed to be addressed.

 

About National Institute of Design

 

  • The National Institute of Design was established based on the recommendations of the Eames Report. It was established as an autonomous all-India body in September 1961 at Ahmedabad in association with the Ford Foundation and the Sarabhai family.
  • Over the years, the National Institute of Design has emerged as an internationally finest educational and research institutions for Industrial, Communication, Textile and IT Integrated (Experiential) Design. It works as an autonomous institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The National Institute of Design has been declared ‘Institution of National Importance’ by the Act of Parliament, by virtue of the National Institute of Design Act 2014.

 

Societies Registration Act, 1860

Indian NGOs mainly comes under three segments – Societies, Trusts, Charitable Companies.

  • Societies: Societies have to register under The Societies Registration Act,1860.
  • Trusts: Private trusts are registered under the central government’s Indian Trusts Act, 1882, and public ones are registered under the state legislation concerned.
  • Charitable companies: They are set up according to section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. For charitable companies, the compliance requirements are high, as loans and advances are easily available to them compared to a trust or a society. They have to even pay Income tax under IT act 196

 

Institute of national importance (INI)

  • It is a status that is conferred to a premier public higher education institution in India by an act of parliament, an institution which serves as a pivotal player in developing highly skilled personnel within the country.
  •  INI status is conferred by UGC and they recieve special recognition and funding. Examples of INI are IIT'S , AIIMS, NIT'S etc. 
     

Reasons supporting autonomy: 
1) The institute can design their course and curriculum free form any governmental control. These days governments try to project their ideologies in the course offered to students. 
2) These institutions can adopt the best global practises by hiring international faculty and experts without any restrictions and red tapism. 
3) The course curriculum so designed can be to the best of market demands and highly job oriented in nature. Further more opportunities of R&D can be provided which can help so what to retain the brain drain from the country.
4) India does not have any institution other than IISC in top 100 ranking of global institutes in the world, such a step will further include more institutions and universities thereby attracting foreign students to its campuses.

Reasons against autonomy: 
1) Lack of administrative control: lack of government participation will mean the administration through its own high hand will frame policies that could be agaisnt the weaker and backward section of the society. 
2) Misappropriation of funds: Since funds will be to the mercy of administrators , these funds could be utilized for other purposes. E.g foreign tour for faculty would also include the faculty members family etc.
3) This autonomy could further lead to inequality regarding educational standards in the country creating a further huge gap in the educational standards and employment opportunities. This could also lead to more suicides in the country where students aspire for top notch institutes and they cannot bear the pressure securing seats in such institutions. E.g. Kota suicides.

Though autonomy is a brave step to notch up the educational standards in the country, certain steps need to be recalibrated to make the scheme more effective that gives the fruitful and desired results.

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GS-II :
CJI throws light on lack of infra in lower courts

Syllabus subtopic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

News: Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde on Tuesday said backlog of cases and lack of infrastructure in lower courts for judges and litigants, including women and senior citizens, needed deeper attention and quick resolution.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the lack of infrastructure in lower judiciary, challenges and ways to address them

 

Remarks made by the judges

  • Justice N.V. Ramana quoted Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s words that no matter how good or bad a Constitution was, its fate lay in the hands of the persons wielding it.
  • Chief Justice Bobde said, “We do not have the luxury of dealing with the backlog of cases in isolation from the flow of new cases to our courts — the demands of justice mean that we will have to deal with both. Together.”
  • Describing the subordinate judiciary as the backbone of the system, the CJI said they lacked proper facilities for litigants, including the differently­abled.
  • The courts did not even have proper display boards to show a case’s progress, only to name a few problems.
  • He highlighted the importance of Artificial Intelligence in justice administration.

 

 

Note: For more on the status of Indian Judiciary, click on the link given below:

https://barandbench.com/india-justice-report-on-the-judiciary-average-case-pendency-in-subordinate-courts-is-5-years/

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GS-II :
Bills in Lok Sabha to merge Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to merge the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the highlights of the Bill, challenges and significance, History and location of the two UTs

 

Key highlights:

  • The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, seeks to provide “better delivery of services to the citizens of both Union Territories by improving efficiency and reducing paper work.”
  • The statement of objects and reasons says: “Having two separate constitutional and administrative entities in both Union Territories leads to lot of duplication, inefficiency and wasteful expenditure.”
  • “In view of the policy of the government to have minimum government, maximum governance, considering the small population and limited geographical area of both Union Territories, and to use the services of officers efficiently, it has been decided to merge the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu into a single Union Territory,” it said.
  • The move comes three months after the State of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India now has nine Union Territories. With the merger of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the number will come down to eight.
  • The Union Territories share a lot in terms of administrative set­up, history, language and culture.

About Union Territory

  • Union Territory is a small administrative unit that is ruled by the Union.
  • UTs are controlled and administered directly by the Central Government.
  • UTs have a Lieutenant Governor as an administrator, who is the representative of the President of India and appointed by the Central government.

 

 

About Dadra & Nagar Haveli

  • Capital – Silvassa
  • Population – 342,853
  • Area – 491 square kilometres

The UT is composed of two separate geographical entities:

  1. Nagar Haveli – lies between Maharashtra and Gujarat
  2. Dadra – which is surrounded by Gujarat and just 1 km to the northwest of Nagar haveli

History                             

  • Marathas signed a treaty with the Portuguese in 1779.
  • According to this treaty of friendship, the Maratha-Peshwa agreed that the Portuguese will be allowed to collect revenue from Dadra and Nagar Haveli which consisted of 72 villages,
  • The regions were part of Portuguese India from 1779 to 1954
  • From 1954 to 1961, Dadra and Nagar Haveli was administered by a body called the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  • They were merged with India as a union territory in 1961.

 

About DAMAN & DIU

  1. Capital – Daman
  2. Population: 242,911
  3. Area  –  112 km2
  4. Daman and Diu are located on the west coast of India.
  5. A Portuguese colony since the 1500s

 

Why merge the two UTs?

  • Both the UTs are just 35 km apart but have separate budgets and different secretariats
  • Reduce duplication of work.
  • Merger would also lead to administrative efficiency in the union territories through better and single central monitoring of various schemes and projects in the new merged union territory.
  • Expected to save costs by doing away with double administrative expenditure.
  • The new UT is likely to be called Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu.
  • Headquarters of the combined union territory would be located in Daman.
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GS-II :
Transgender persons rights Bill passed in RS

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was passed by Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha passing it after a motion to refer it to a select committee was defeated.

Prelims and Mains focus: About the key features and significance of the bill

Context: Passed by the Lok Sabha on August 8 and introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot on November 20, the legislation was meant to end discrimination against transgender persons.

Concerns raised by MPs

  • Opposition MPs, however, raised concerns about certain provisions including the requirement of getting a transgender certificate from a District Magistrate, terming them regressive.

 

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Surge in small borrower defaults stokes worries

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

News:  Small borrowers, whose default rates have traditionally been among the lowest in India, are increasingly missing loan repayments as rising unemployment and stagnant-to-declining wages put pressure on finances of small companies as well as households.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: About MUDRA scheme, current economic downturn and its impact on the SMEs and overall economy of India, IIP

 

Issue:

  • Indian banks, which hold the dubious distinction of having the world’s worst bad loan ratio, have so far seen most of its asset-quality troubles originate in the corporate sector. With the economy slowing down sharply, smaller borrowers are also finding it difficult to repay loans.
  • According to data from credit bureau Cibil, bad loan rates in micro enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises were at 8.7% and 10.6%, respectively in June this year.
  • One of the categories of borrowers that have been the worst hit are those that have availed small loans under the government’s MUDRA scheme designed to encourage micro-entrepreneurship. So much so, the central bank Tuesday asked bankers to monitor defaults in Mudra loans closely.
  • The Reserve Bank of India deputy governor M.K.Jain said banks need to focus on repayment capacity of borrowers at the appraisal stage and monitor the loans through their lifecycle much more closely.

 

Reasons for the rising defaults

  • Experts said the slowdown in economic growth is hampering the loan-servicing capability of small businesses.
  • For small retail borrowers, slackening growth in rural income has been a pain point.
  • Whenever there is an economic downturn, one can expect small businesses to be affected the most, since their activities are linked to other larger companies. When the index of industrial production (IIP) has grown at a negative rate in September, it actually means that the overall performance of these businesses have been affected along with their ability to service loans.

About Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY)

  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana launched in April 2015 banks provide loans up to ?10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises.
  • There are three categories of Mudra loans, depending on size.
  • loans up to ?50,000 are termed Shishu,
  • loans of ?50,000-5 lakh are called Kishore
  • loans of ?5-10 lakh are called Tarun,
  • Data from Mudra’s annual report showed that non-performing assets (NPA) ratio or bad loans as a percentage of total loans were at 5.38% as on 31 March 2018. The FY19 annual report is not available.

 

Challenges ahead

  • With banks hesitating to lend to them incrementally if there are even marginal cash flow issues, the defaults in SME could materially increase even from 10-11% seen currently for public sector banks (PSBs).
  • Systemic risks arising from unsustainable credit growth, increased inter-connectedness and financial risk manifested by lower profitability of the small businesses.
  • Small businesses, contributing to 29% of the gross domestic product (GDP), are not isolated from the slowdown. The latest in a series of bad news came in earlier last month as India’s factory output shrank for the second straight month at 4.3% in September.
  • In the June quarter, India reported its weakest growth in more than six years at 5%. The latest GDP estimates by banks indicate that the economy may slow down further.

 

Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • It is an index which helps us understand the growth of various sectors in the Indian economy such as mining, electricity and manufacturing.

 

  • IIP is a short term indicator of industrial growth till the results from Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and National Accounts Statistics (Eg: GDP) are available.

 

 

 

Who releases IIP?

  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • IIP is published monthly, six weeks after the reference month ends.

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GS-III :
Proposals to regulate social media run into multiple roadblocks

Syllabus subtopic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention

News: The Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Pegasus spyware attack on WhatsApp and the growing misuse of social media platforms to spread misinformation have made governments world over, including in India, realise the limitations of existing laws in dealing with the misuse of these platforms.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about Pegasus spyware, the cyber threat, challenges and ways to address it

 

Need for stricter regulation of social media

  • The need for greater regulation of social media companies stems from the growing feeling that they are not doing enough to curb the misuse of their platforms.
  • In recent times, many of them have been involved in brushes with the government and courts. For instance, short-video app TikTok was accused of promoting pornography among teens and temporarily banned from app stores following a Madras high court order;
  • WhatsApp was slammed for not being able to curb fake messages which led to several cases of mob lynchings in 2018 and, more recently, for the Pegasus spyware attack.
  • Twitter too has been criticised for failing to curb hate speech.

 

What are the remedial proposals?

  • While forcing companies to have a nodal officer in the country can make these platforms more accountable to legal requests, it also makes them vulnerable to government pressure.
  • Having offices in India allows the government to exert extralegal pressure on the company officials by forcing them to comply with informal requests. It is only useful if the intermediaries are willing to push back on the pressure and not entertain any informal request from the government.
  • China-based TikTok, in a statement, emphasised that it is committed to respecting local laws and actively coordinates with law enforcement agencies through an India-based grievance officer. TikTok claims to have removed six million videos between July 2018 and April 2019 for violation of its guidelines.
  • Some of these proposals have been flagged on grounds of privacy. For instance, the traceability clause is going to have a huge impact on specific platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram that encrypt all messages and calls. Enforcing traceability and deploying technology based automated tools to proactively identify and disable public access to malicious content will force them to break or lower the encryption as has been pointed out by industry in the past.
  • WhatsApp maintained its official stance from February and reiterated that what is contemplated by the rules is not possible today given the end-to-end encryption that it provides. The rules would require the company to re-architect WhatsApp, which would lead to a different product, one that would not be fundamentally private.

 

India position vis-a-vis USA

  • The fact that India doesn’t have an encryption law per say also complicates the scenario. In fact, section 84A (introduced after an amendment in 2008) of IT Act 2000 has specific provisions authorizing central government for coming up with a policy on encryption. It has been 11 years but there is still no law on it.
  • Further, to ensure that companies abide by the proposed rules and furnish information within 24 hours, the government will have to address hurdles in mutual legal assistance treaty between India and the US, which is why many of these requests take a lot of time to process. The target of the government should be having an executive agreement with the US under the Cloud Act.
  • The US has significant stakes in the data localization debate as many of the companies are based in the US, and that can be used as leverage to negotiate such an agreement. That will allow law enforcement agencies in India to have expedited access to information held by platforms which are based outside the country.

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GS-III :
On current course, global temperatures to increase 3.2 degrees by 2030: UNEP Report

Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

News: A new report released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)  has said that even if the present Paris Agreement commitments are met global temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2030.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about UNEP, findings of Emissions gap Report and its significance, challenges of climate change

 

Key findings of the report

  • The report – UNEP’s annual Emissions Gap Report – says that unless global greenhouse emissions fall by 7.6 per cent annually between 2020 and 2030, “ the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.”
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that going beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius means the “bringing of eve wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts” including storm and heat waves.
  • The UN climate change conference is scheduled to be held in 2020 in Glasgow and will look at the Paris Agreement commitments
  • G20 nations collectively account for 78 per cent of all emissions, but only five G20 members have committed to a long-term zero-emission target.
  • In the short-term, developed countries will have to reduce their emissions quicker than developing countries, for reasons of fairness and equity, says the report.
  • Crucially, the report says all nations must substantially increase ambition in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as the Paris commitments are known in 2020 and follow up with policies and strategies to implement them.
  • Each year, the Emissions Gap Report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions in 2030 and levels consistent with the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • The report finds that greenhouse gas emissions have risen 1.5 per cent per year over the last decade Emissions in 2018, including from land-use changes such deforestation, hit a new high of 55.3 Gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

 

 

Way forward

 

  • To limit temperatures, annual emissions in 2030 need to be 1 Gigatonne of CO2 equivalent lower than current unconditional NDC imply for the 2°C goal; they need to be 32 Gigatonnes lower for the 1.5°C goal.
  • On an annual basis, this means cuts in emissions of 7. per cent per year from 2020 to 2030 to meet the 1.5°C goal and 2.7 per cent per year for the 2°C goal.

 

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):-

  • It is an agency of United Nations and coordinates its environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. 
  • It was founded by Maurice Strong, its first director, as a result of the "United Nations Conference on the Human Environment" (also known as Stockholm Conference) in June 1972 
  • has its headquarters in the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya

 

 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agendapromotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

 

UNEP work encompasses:

  • Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
  • Developing international and national environmental instruments
  • Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment

Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy. 

It has played a significant role in 

  • developing international environmental conventions, 
  • promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can be implemented in conjunction with policy, 
  • working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments, regional institutions in conjunction with environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 
  • UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects.

 

  • UNEP has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways.
  • The World Meteorological Organization and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988
  • UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the "Montreal Protocol", and it is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.
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