Rajya Sabha TV (RSTV)



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14 September 2019 11:34:33

Measures To Boost Economy

By Aspire IAS

The Big Picture - Measures To Boost Economy

Introduction

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced a fresh set of relief measures, this time to boost exports and the flagging housing sector. This was her fourth such address since mid-August. In the latest press conference, FM Sitharaman announced two major measures. The first one is a new export promotion scheme for the remission of duties or taxes on export products. This scheme will completely replace Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Rebate of State Levies (ROSL). MEIS and ROSL will continue up to December 2019 and the new scheme will start from the New Year. The second announcement is the set-up of a Rs 10,000 crore special fund, a special window for affordable and mid-income housing. The fund will provide the last-mile funding for housing projects that are non-NPA and non-NCLT projects and are stuck due to lack of funding.

New Measures to Boost Exports Incentives and Taxation:

  • Extend the scheme of Reimbursement of Taxes & Duties for Export promotion.
  • Textiles and all other sectors which currently enjoy incentives up to 2% over MEIS will transit into RODTEP from 1.1.2020.

New Measures to Boost Exports Export Finance:

  • Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) will expand the scope of ECIS.
  • Will offer higher insurance cover to banks lending working capital for exports.
  • Premium incidence for MSMEs will be moderated suitably.
  • Revised Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms for Export Credit.
  • Data on Export Finance is regularly published by RBI.

New Measures to Boost Exports Free Trade Agreements:

An Online “Origin Management System” for exporters to enable them to obtain Certificates of Origin – CoO (under Rules of Origin) will be launched in the next few weeks by DGFT in collaboration with Exports Inspection Council.

Measures to Boost Housing Sector:

  • Affordable Housing - Additional deduction up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs for interest paid on loans borrowed up to 31st March, 2020 for purchase of house valued up to Rs. 45 lakh.
  • Banks to launch Repo rate /external benchmark linked loan products
  • Reduced EMI for housing loans by directly linking Repo rate to interest rates.
  • Establish an organisation to provide Credit Enhancement for infrastructure and housing projects
  • Requirement for creation of a Debenture Redemption Reserve (DRR) of outstanding debenture in respect of listed companies, NBFCs and for HFCs removed.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) aims to achieve "Housing for All" by 2022:Eligible beneficiaries to be provided 1.95 crore houses with amenities like toilets, electricity and LPG connections during its second phase (2019-20 to 2021-22).

New Measures to Boost Housing Sector:

  • ECB guidelines will be relaxed to facilitate financing of home buyers who are eligible under the PMAY, in consultation with RBI.
  • This is in addition to the existing norms for ECB for affordable housing.
  • Special Window to provide last mile funding for housing projects which are non- NPA and non-NCLT Projects and are Net worth positive in affordable and middle income category to be set up.
  • The objective is to focus on construction of unfinished units.


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13 September 2019 12:58:00

Operation Clean up

By Aspire IAS

The Big Picture - Operation Clean up

Introduction

In the run-up to the 2019 general election, unlike in 2014, the issue of corruption took a back seat it was overshadowed by the issue of national security. But over the last few months several steps were taken to clean up the system. In the beginning of June, the government dismissed from service 12 senior income tax officers, including one of the rank of joint commissioner, on charges of corruption and professional misconduct. A week later twelve Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers belonging to the income tax (I-T) department were dismissed on charges of corruption. Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath government cracked the whip on 600 government officials of which 200 were forced to go on voluntary retirement and 400 others got strict punitive action in the form of adverse entries in a confidential report. This was the biggest ever action against corruption by any state government.

Corruption in India:

India continues to be among the most corrupt countries in the world. According to Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which ranks 180 countries awards India a score of 40, rendering it the 81st most corrupt country in the world. It should be noted that under developed nations like Ghana, Morocco have also achieved the same score.

What are the causes for Corruption in India?

There are many reasons for the cause of corruption in India. The primary reasons are lack of effective management and organisation. Due to mismanagement, there is a weak control on various departments and their working. This uncontrolled and unsupervised administration gives way to rise in corruption in small scale, which results in large scale corruption. Besides, appointment of inefficient managers, supervisors and executives at various levels of hierarchy also leads to mismanagement. Secondly, lack of support for good leaders. Due to fewer good leaders, they find hard to eradicate corruption from the society. But due to lack of support and cooperation from important sections of the society, good leaders are often defeated and suppressed. Finally, lack of economic stability which leads to unemployment and changes in standard of living. It develops a feeling of insecurity in the minds of affected people which are taken advantage by corrupt people.

Challenges of Corruption

Corruption is a global phenomenon and it is ubiquitous. Corruption has progressively increased and is now proliferating in our society. Corruption around the world is believed to be endemic and universal and a significant contributor to sluggish economic growth, to stifle investment, to inhibit the provision of public services and to increase inequality to such an extent that international organizations like the World Bank have identified corruption as 'the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development' (World Bank, 2001). It also includes cases where the systems do not work well, and ordinary people are left in a bind, needing to give a bribe to get a work done or the licenses they need. The state of economy also plays an important role in corruption. Inequality of wealth distribution, exploitation by employers, and low wages and salaries provide ideal breeding ground for corruption. A license-permit regime or scarcity of basic commodities adds fuel to the fire. India is a textbook example of how license-permit.

Forms of Corruption:

Nepotism: Nepotism is typical favouritism, in which an officer prefers his proper kinfolk and family members (wife, brothers and sisters, children, nephews, cousins, in-laws). Many unrestricted presidents have tried to secure their (precarious) power position by nominating family members to key political, economic and military/security positions in the state apparatus.

Conflict of Interest: It is small but significant part of wider problem of police ethics and corruption.

Favouritism: Favouritism is a tool of power abuse implying "privatisation" and a highly biased distribution of state resources, no matter how these resources have been amassed in the first place. Favouritism is the natural human tendency to favour friends, family. Favouritism is closely related to corruption so far as it implies a corrupted distribution of resources. It can be said that this is the other side of the coin where corruption is the accumulation of resources.

Characteristics of Corruption

  • Gap between group and individual interest.
  • Two or more parties since one can hardly be corrupt with one's own self.
  • Consenting adults that have a common understanding.
  • Benefit furtherance.
  • Existence of power that could be grabbed, usurped, entrusted or otherwise available.

Consequences:

Corruption in India is a consequence of the nexus between bureaucracy, politics and criminals. It has been observed that in cities and villages throughout India, there is "mafia raj" consisting of municipal and other government officials, elected politicians, judicial officers, real estate developers and law enforcement officials, acquire, develop and sell land in illegal ways.

It is now well recognized that the State is mainly responsible for both formulating and enforcing polices relating to good governance and human rights. Good governance is key factor. The good governance agenda includes protection and promotion of human rights and rule of law. Both these functions will not be fully accomplished if corruption is widespread in government. It is important that institutions like the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) provide a framework to take up cases of corrupt acts of individuals and institutions that result in human rights violations.

Major issues, country faces to curb corruption are poverty that hinders social and economic development. Corruption wakens education and health systems, depriving people of the basic building blocks of a decent life. Major scandals such as the 2G spectrum scam, Commonwealth Games misappropriations, Adarsh housing scandal, and the cash for vote scam have badly dented the credibility of the political class.

India is facing fundamental challenges that should be taken up on a priority basis. The current system of governance is so terrible that honest people cannot raise their voice. Unfortunately, the political class has lost will power to address this serious issue at the root level. There are several issues in dealing with corruption because corruption may be seen at various levels. It may be present at political levels, in the corporate sector and amongst the bureaucracy, and may also be responsible for the criminalization of politics.

 

 


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13 September 2019 05:21:56

Biological Terrorism

By Aspire IAS

RSTV Vishesh: Biological Terrorism

Introduction

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bioterrorism is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, toxins or other harmful agents to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. These agents are typically found in nature, but could be altered, tailored or mutated to increase their ability to cause disease, make them resistant to current medicines, or to increase their ability to be spread into the environment. Biological agents can be spread through the air, water, or in food. The first disease used as a tool for bioterrorism was Bubonic Plague in 14th century. It was used to infiltrate enemy cities. Anthrax was used during First World War by Germany to infect the mules and horses of enemies. In September and October 2001, several cases of anthrax broke out in the United States. Letters laced with infectious anthrax were delivered to news media offices and the U.S Congress.

Bioterrorism is different from various other forms of terrorism because of the following:

  • Biological agents are attractive tools of terrorism as they are relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain.
  • The virus can be easily disseminated.
  • It can cause widespread fear and panic beyond the actual physical damage it can cause.
  • Risk of massive destruction of life is too high.
  • Exposure to minute quantities of a biological agent may go unnoticed, yet ultimately be the cause of disease and death.
  • They don’t work immediately. The incubation period of a microbial agent can be days or weeks; unlike a bombing, knifing, or chemical dispersion, a bioterrorism attack might not be recognized until long after the agent’s release.
  • However, it is quite difficult to keep bio-weapons as military asset because there are certain important limitations. One is that bio weapons cannot differentiate between foes and friends. So far, Biological weapons have been used to create mass panic only.

Germs of Terror:

As terrorists arm themselves with biological weapons, India wakes up to find how ill equipped it is to face this deadly reality the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, usa, have not only changed the skyline of world's business capital, but also the world's perception of terrorism. Even as shocked Americans came to terms with the attacks, the US government issued warnings of a possible attack by terrorists using biological weapons. The world is suddenly waking up to the reality of bio-terrorism the use of biological weapons by terrorist groups for mass devastation.

Biological weapons include the use bacteria, viruses, fungi or their toxins to cause large-scale death or disease in humans, animals or plants. As these weapons are easy to produce and are cost-effective, experts say that terrorist groups can acquire them easily. Some of the countries that have active biological weapons programmes include usa , Russia, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Concerns:

  • In effect, biological warfare is using non-human life to disrupt or end human life. Because living organisms can be unpredictable and incredibly resilient, biological weapons are difficult to control, potentially devastating on a global scale, and prohibited globally under numerous treaties.
  • The threat of bioterrorism is increasing as a result of the rise of technical capabilities, the rapid expansion of the global biotechnology industry, and the growth of loosely sophisticated networks of transnational terrorist groups that have expressed interest in bioterrorism.

Different kinds of Bioterrorism agents

There are basically 3 types of agents used based on the ability and extent of damage that can be caused. They are:

Category A: High-priority agents which result in high mortality rates and have potential for a mass impact. The intensity and speed of impact can trigger panic in local populations.

Example: Anthrax, Ebola virus.

Category B: Moderate-priority agents cause relatively less damage.

Example: Brucellosis, Q fever

Category C: Low-priority agents are emerging pathogens that are readily available and can thus be easily mutated or engineered to get desired results in a short span of time.

Example: Yellow fever virus, Hanta virus.  

Impact:

While a biological agent may injure or kill people, animals, or plants, the goal for the terrorist is to further their social and political goals by making their civilian targets feel as if their government cannot protect them.

 


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13 September 2019 04:33:08

Super Earth

By Aspire IAS

In Depth - Super Earth

Introduction

Space seems to be the favour of the season these days, And it is not India's moon mission Chandrayaan 2, alone that's keeping the interest alive in humanity's final frontier. Astronomers have learned of an exciting find. A research report in the journal Nature Astronomy says water has been found in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star outside our solar system. What's more this planet has Earth-like temperatures that could support life. Called K2-18b, it's eight times the mass of Earth, And is now the only exoplanet known to have both water and temperature that could be potentially habitable. Known as Super Earth, the planet orbits the dwarf star K2-18, about 110 light years from us in the Leo constellation. But there's bad news as well... Researchers say given the high level of activity of its red dwarf star, K2-18b may be more hostile than Earth . And even exposed to radiation. Our program today is all about this planet. The Super Earth its features and potential for supporting life and humanity's relentless curiosity about finding life outside earth.

K2-18b

  • About 110 light years from Earth, an exoplanet eight times the mass of Earth orbits a star. Called K2-18b, it was discovered in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
  • The researchers used 2016-17 data from the Hubble Space Telescope and developed algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere.
  • The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapour, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere.
  • It resides in a habitable zone  the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet.
  • Scientists have found signatures of water vapour in the atmosphere of K2-18b. The discovery of water vapour is not the final word on the possibility of life.
  • That makes it the only planet orbiting a star outside the Solar System that is known to have both water and temperatures that could support life.

Kepler Space Telescope:

Launched in 2009, the Kepler mission is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-sized and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets. The Kepler Space Telescope by NASA. Its successor space telescope, called TESS, has already started collecting data.

About TESS Mission:

  • The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA mission that will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky. It was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with seed funding from Google.
  • Mission: The mission will monitor at least 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets, ranging from Earth-sized rocky worlds to huge gas giant planets. TESS, however, will focus on stars that are 30 to 100 times brighter than those Kepler examined. This will help astronomers better understand the structure of solar systems outside of our Earth, and provide insights into how our own solar system formed.
  • Orbit: TESS will occupy a never-before-used orbit high above Earth. The elliptical orbit, called P/2, is exactly half of the moon’s orbital period; this means that TESS will orbit Earth every 13.7 days.
  • How it works? It will use transit method to detect exoplanets. It watches distant stars for small dips in brightness, which can indicate that planet has passed in front of them. Repeated dips will indicate planet passing in front of its star. This data has to be validated by repeated observations and verified by scientists.

Hubble Space Telescope:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope is a large telescope in space. NASA launched Hubble in 1990.
  • It was built by the United States space agency NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency.
  • Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts.
  • Expanding the frontiers of the visible Universe, the Hubble Space Telescope looks deep into space with cameras that can see across the entire optical spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet.

 


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12 September 2019 05:46:24

Hello Vikram

By Aspire IAS

In Depth - Hello Vikram

Introduction:

Days after Moon lander Vikram made a hard landing on the Moon and snapped its connection with the Chandrayaan - II orbiter ISRO is pulling out all stops in trying to establish contact with the lander, NASA too has pitched in with its Jet Propulsion laboratory beaming a radio frequency to Vikram lander in order to establish contact. The American space agency is sending Hello messages to Vikram. These attempts are expected to be made till 20th - 21st September when sunlight will be there in the area where the Vikram has landed. ISRO is trying to establish the link with Vikram through its own Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bengaluru. But what exactly is the Deep Space Network  and what role does it play in space exploration.

What is X band?

The X band is the designation for a band of frequencies in the microwave radio region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In some cases, such as in communication engineering, the frequency range of the X band is rather indefinitely set at approximately 7.0–11.2 GHz.

Communication With Chandayaan 2?

  • Orbiter’s designed to communicate with ISRO’s and NASA DSN antennae.
  • The lander Vikram was also designed to communicate directly with Earth and Orbiter.
  • Vikram relay images taken by Rover to ISRO’s & NASA DSN.
  • September 7 communications with frozen before 400 m its land and communication with NASA DSN also stopped.
  • September 7 lost communication during fine braking phase.

Deep Space Network:

  • When it comes to making a long-distance call, it's hard to top NASA's Deep Space Network. It’s the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world.
  • Giant radio antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions, plus a few that orbit Earth.
  • The DSN also provides radar and radio astronomy observations that improve our understanding of the solar system and the larger universe.
  • The antennas of the Deep Space Network are the indispensable link to explorers venturing beyond Earth. They provide the crucial connection for commanding our spacecraft and receiving their never before seen images and scientific information on Earth, propelling our understanding of the universe, our solar system and ultimately, our place within it.

Functions of Deep Space Network:

Telemetry Data:

Acquires, processes, decodes and telemetry data.

Information transmitted to earth via radio signals from spacecraft.

Space command:

DSN Command system used to control activities of spacecraft.

Command sent to robotic probes as coded computer files.

Tracking System:

Two way communication between earth and spacecraft.

Making measurement that allow fly controllers determine the position and velocity of spacecraft.

Science:

Advanced instrument for scientific research including radio astronomy and radar mapping of passing asteroids.

NASA’s Deep Space Network is the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world which provides round the clock coverage of the solar system.

History of Deep Sea Network:

  • The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) is a worldwide network of U.S. spacecraft communication facilities, located in the United States (California), Spain (Madrid), and Australia (Canberra), that supports NASA's interplanetary spacecraft missions.
  • It also performs radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the Solar System and the universe, and supports selected Earth-orbiting missions.
  • DSN is part of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Similar networks are run by Russia, China, India, Japan and the European Space Agency.

 

 

 


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12 September 2019 05:44:40

Motor Vehicle Act : Life v/s Fines

By Aspire IAS

The Big Picture - Motor Vehicle Act : Life v/s Fines

Introduction

Several states have decided not to implement the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act citing steep penalties. Some states said it would overburden people while others said it would lead to higher levels of corruption. The Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari differed from what unconvinced states had to say. He said the high penalties under the amendment were undertaken after expansive deliberations and the key objective was to increase road discipline among citizens. India remains one of the top accident-prone nations in the world. As per Ministry of Road Transport and Highways data, 1.47 lakh people lost their lives due to road accidents in 2017; the scenario remains the same in 2019. Despite the data and the good intentions behind stricter penalties, states such as West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jharkhand and Maharashtra denied imposing stricter fines to boost road discipline. Meanwhile, other states like Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, and Kerala decided to reduce the rates that have been stated in the amended act.

States hit the brakes on hiked traffic fines, some slash penalties, others won't implement. Several states including West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jharkhand and Maharashtra denied imposing stricter fines to boost road discipline. 

Meanwhile, other states like Karnataka, Dehradun, Gujarat, and Kerala decided to reduce the rates that have been stated in the amended act. There are some that still deliberating before final implementation.

PENALTIES AND INCIDENTS

  • The penalties under the new MV Act, which can range from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 based on offences, seem to be the main reason why people are protesting and state governments, reluctant.
  • The fine for not wearing a seatbelt has also increased to Rs 1,000. For people found speeding or racing, the offence under new rules is Rs 5,000 compared to just Rs 500 before.
  • And for drunken driving, people need to have heavy pockets: Rs 10,000. Also, the fine for driving without a valid licence is Rs 5,000.
  • Since its scattered implementation, there have been several reports of people being fined Rs 20,000-60,000.

What States Say?

Few states had decided to deny imposition of strict fines on September 1, the day when amended MV Act came into force.West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan were some of the first states which had asked for a review and subsequently rejected higher penalties.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the penalties under the MV Act are too steep and would overburden people in her state. She also told that the stiff fines are "too harsh" on the people.We are not implementing the amended Motor Vehicle Act right now because our government officials are of the opinion that if we implement it, then it will be a huge burden on the people it is very harsh.

Madhya Pradesh had earlier said it would review the new changes in the act but have not yet implemented the stricter penalties.

 Gujarat, which too is a BJP-ruled state, became the first state to revise penalties and reduce in by almost 90 per cent in certain cases. Under the revised norms, Gujarat commuters will have to pay just Rs 500 on days they get caught for not wearing helmets. Those who forget to carry licence will have to pay Rs 2,000 for two-wheelers and Rs 3,000 for vehicles under the tweaked rule.

Motor Vehicle Bill 2019

 


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12 September 2019 05:25:02

Section 375

By Aspire IAS

RSTV Vishesh: Section 375

Section 375 of IPC:

Section 375 of IPC defines rape as a criminal offence and states that a man is said to commit rape when he has sexual intercourse with a woman against her or without her consent or if she is a minor. Under Section 375 of IPC, just penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.

Section 375 defines:

Rape a man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following de­scriptions:-

1. Against her will.

2.Without her consent.

3. With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.

4.With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be law­fully married.

5. With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupe­fying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

6. With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.

Section 354:

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.

A man committing any of the following acts—

  • Physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or
  • A demand or request for sexual favours; or
  • Showing pornography against the will of a woman; or
  • Making sexually coloured remarks, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment.

Any man who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing1 or compelling her to be naked, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.