Daily Current Affairs : 14th, 15th & 16th January

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Retail Inflation
  2. Pay roll data
  3. Raisina Dialogue
  4. Drone Regulation
  5. Integrated Road Accident Database
  6. National Commission for Safai Karmacharis
  7. National Policy for Treatment of Rare Diseases
  8. ASER Report 2019
  9. Relaxation in CRZ rules for Blue Flag beaches
  10. Police commissionerate system
  11. Taal Volcano
  12. Article 131
  13. Bru Settlement Pact
  14. Facts for Prelims

1 . Retail Inflation


Context : According to information released by the National Statistical Office on Monday, retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index was only 2.11% in December 2018 and 5.54% in November 2019.

What is CPI &WPI

  • While both baskets measure inflationary trends (the movement of price signals) within the broader economy, the two indices differ sharply in the manner in which weightages are assigned to food, fuel and manufactured items, as well as at the broken-down level of these segments.
  • Wholesale inflation, measured by WPI, tracks year-on-year inflation at the producer or factory gate level, and is a marker for price movements in the purchase of bulk inputs by traders.
  • CPI, on the other hand, captures changes in prices levels at the shop end, and is, thereby, reflective of the inflation experienced at the level of consumers. The weightage of food in CPI is far higher (46%) than in WPI (24%).
  • Also, WPI does not capture changes in the prices of services, which CPI does.
  • In April 2014, the RBI had adopted the CPI as its key measure of inflation. Prior to this, the central bank had given more weightage to the WPI as the key measure of inflation for all policy purposes.

What is Consumer Price Index

  • Consumer Price Index is a measure of change in retail prices of goods and services consumed by defined population group in a given area with reference to a base year.
  • This basket of goods and services represents the level of living or the utility derived by the consumers at given levels of their income, prices and tastes.
  • The consumer price index number measures changes only in one of the factors; prices.
  • This index is an important economic indicator and is widely considered as a barometer of inflation, a tool for monitoring price stability and as a deflator in national accounts.
  • The dearness allowance of Government employees and wage contracts between labour and employer is based on this index.
  • Consumer price indices compiled in India are CPI for Industrial workers CPI(IW), CPI for Agricultural Labourers CPI(AL) and; Rural Labourers CPI(RL) and (Urban) and CPI(Rural).

CPI(IW) and CPI(AL& RL)

  • The CPI(IW) and CPI(AL& RL) compiled are occupation specific and centre specific and are compiled by Labour Bureau.
  • This means that these index numbers measure changes in the retail price of the basket of goods and services consumed by the specific occupational groups in the specific centres.

CPI(Urban) and CPI(Rural)

  • CPI(Urban) and CPI(Rural) are new indices in the group of Consumer price index and has a wider coverage of population.
  • This index compiled by Central Statistical Organisation tries to encompass the entire population and is likely to replace all the other indices presently compiled.
  • In addition to this, Consumer Food Price Indices (CFPI) for all India for rural, urban and combined separately are also released w.e.f May, 2014.

Other Important Points

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started using CPI-combined as the sole inflation measure for the purpose of monetary policy.

Whole sale Price Index

  • Wholesale Price Index (WPI) measures the average change in the prices of commodities for bulk sale at the level of early stage of transactions.
  • The index basket of the WPI covers commodities falling under the three major groups namely Primary Articles, Fuel and Power and Manufactured products. (The index basket of the present 2011-12 series has a total of 697 items including 117 items for Primary Articles, 16 items for Fuel & Power and 564 items for Manufactured Products.)
  • The prices tracked are ex- factory price for manufactured products, mandi price for agricultural commodities and ex-mines prices for minerals. Weights given to each commodity covered in the WPI basket is based on the value of production adjusted for net imports. WPI basket does not cover services
  • In India WPI is also known as the headline inflation rate .
  • In India, Office of Economic Advisor (OEA), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry calculates the WPI.

The main uses of WPI are the following:

  1. to provide estimates of inflation at the wholesale transaction level for the economy as a whole. This helps in timely intervention by the Government to check inflation in particular, in essential commodities, before the price increase spill over to retail prices.
  2. WPI is used as deflator for many sectors of the economy including for estimating GDP by Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).
  3. WPI is also used for indexation by users in business contracts.
  4. Global investors also track WPI as one of the key macro indicators for their investment decisions.
  • While both baskets measure inflationary trends (the movement of price signals) within the broader economy, the two indices differ sharply in the manner in which weightages are assigned to food, fuel and manufactured items, as well as at the broken-down level of these segments.
  • Wholesale inflation, measured by WPI, tracks year-on-year inflation at the producer or factory gate level, and is a marker for price movements in the purchase of bulk inputs by traders.
  • CPI, on the other hand, captures changes in prices levels at the shop end, and is, thereby, reflective of the inflation experienced at the level of consumers. The weightage of food in CPI is far higher (46%) than in WPI (24%).
  • Also, WPI does not capture changes in the prices of services, which CPI does.
  • In April 2014, the RBI had adopted the CPI as its key measure of inflation. Prior to this, the central bank had given more weightage to the WPI as the key measure of inflation for all policy purposes.

2 . Payroll data


Context : Current economy slowdown is impacting employment generation significantly as payroll creation, a proxy for employment generation, could be at least 15.8 lakh lower in the current financial year than the previous year.

How Employment generation is calculated through epfo data

  • It is calculated by the number of new subscribers added to social security schemes of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). This indicates that these many jobs were created in the formal sector
  • The data compiled takes the number of new EPFO subscribers in any month and deducts from this the number of these who cease to be members but, if they join a job again, they are added back to the number of fresh jobs

Issues with EPFO Data

  • Duplicate Data : Most employees tended to have 3-4 EPFO numbers at least, one for each job they had held in the past. While employees moved to new jobs, they didn’t always transfer the money to their new EPFO account and close the earlier one. Aadhaar-seeding would help in removing the duplicate data
  • EPFO data includes temporary employees, so it doesn’t really indicate the number of permanent jobs being created.
  • As units grow and employ more than 20 persons, from say 18 earlier, they come under the ambit of EPFO but, instead of two persons, 20 people are shown as new employees.
  • Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahn Yojana (PMRPY) which offers to pay the government share of the EPFO contribution of new employees for three years; a total of 85 lakh persons have been added under this scheme, but there is no way of knowing whether this is new employment or existing employees being rebadged.

3 . Raisina Dialogue


About Raisina Dialogue

  • The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community. Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters.
  • The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics.
  • The conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs
  • The Dialogue has been India’s contribution to global efforts to discover solutions, identify opportunities and provide stability to a century that has witnessed an eventful two decades,” 
  • The title of the Raisina Dialogue this year is “Navigating the Alpha Century”.
  • Another key feature of the event this year is a session on the Indo-Pacific that includes military or naval commanders from the “Quadrilateral or Quad”, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, will also have a French Defence official on the panel this year.

4 . Drone Regulation


Context : The Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked all drone owners to voluntarily register their drones before January 31, failing which they woul be penalised with a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine of ₹10 lakh.

Details of the regulation

  • As per the rules framed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), all drones in India must be registered on the Digital Sky portal and must have a unique identification number.
  • All drone operators must also have an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP).
  • According to the rules, if a person operates a drone without registering it, he or she may be booked for endangering someone’s life or for negligence with respect to machinery- both of which are crimes under the Indian penal code and carry a punishment of up to six months. 
  • The person can also face a penalty under the Aircraft Act, 1936, which provides for a punishment of up to two years and a fine of up to ₹10 lakh.

5 . Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD)


Context : The government launched a central accident database management system that will help in analysing causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce such accidents in the country.

About IRAD

  • The IT tool, known as the Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD), has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and will be implemented by the National Informatics Centre. The project costs ₹258 crore and is being supported by the World Bank.
  • The system will be first piloted in the six States with highest fatalities from road crashes — Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The IRAD will be improved on the basis of the learnings from the trial, following which it will be rolled out across the country.

How it works

  • The IRAD mobile application will enable police personnel to enter details about a road accident, along with photos and videos, following which a unique ID will be created for the incident.
  • Subsequently, an engineer from the Public Works Department or the local body will receive an alert on his mobile device. He or she will then visit the accident site, examine it, and feed the required details, such as the road design.
  • Data thus collected will be analysed by a team at IIT-M, which will then suggest if corrective measures in road design need to be taken.
  • Road users will also be able to upload data on road accidents on a separate mobile application, which is expected to go live from April 1, according to a Ministry official.

Need

  • India sees the largest number of road fatalities in the world. More than 1.5 lakh people lost their lives in road crashes in the country in 2018, according to government data.
  • Of the total people killed in road crashes in 2018, 48% were between 18 years and 35 years old, and more than 60% of such fatalities were due to overspeeding.

6 . National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK).


About NCSK

  • The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) was constituted on 12th August, 1994 as a statutory body by an Act of Parliament viz. ‘National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993’, for a period of three years i.e. up to 31st March, 1997. However, validity of the Act was extended up to March, 2002, and then up to February, 2004 vide Amendment Acts passed in 1997 and 2001 respectively.
  • With the lapsing of the “The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993” w.e.f. 29.2.2004, the Commission is acting as a Non-Statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment whose tenure is extended from time to time through Government Resolutions

Mandate

  • Recommend to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis.
  • Study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis; and scavengers, in particular.
  • Investigate specific grievances and take suo-motu notice of matters relating to non-implementation of: –
    1. programmes or schemes in respect of any group of Safai Karamcharis
    2. decisions, guidelines or instructions, aimed at mitigating the hardships of Safai Karamcharis
    3. measures for the social and economic upliftment of Safai Karamcharis
    4. the provisions of any law in its application to Safai Karamcharis; and take up such matters with the concerned authorities or with the Central or State Governments
  • To study and monitor the working conditions, including those relating to health, safety and wages of Safai Karamcharis working under various kinds of employers including Government, Municipalities and Panchayats, and to make recommendations in this regard.
  • Make reports to the Central or State Governments on any matter concerning Safai Karamcharis, taking into account any difficulties or disabilities being encountered by Safai Karamcharis
  • Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.

Functions & Powers

  • Enactment of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013”, the mandate and scope of the Commission has also been enlarged. As per Section 31(1) of the said Act, the Commission shall perform the following functions, namely:-
    • To monitor the implementation of the Act.
    • To enquire into complaints regarding contravention of the provisions of the Act, and to convey its findings to the concerned authorities with recommendations requiring further action.
    • To advise the Central and the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
    • To take suo motu notice of matter relating to non-implementation of the Act.
  • In the discharge of its functions, the Commission have the powers to call for information with respect to any matter specified above from any Government or local or other authority.

Composition of the Commission

  • The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis comprises one Chairman (in the rank and status of the Union Minister for States) and four members, including a lady member (in the rank and status of the Secretary to the Government of India) and the Secretary (in the rank of Joint Secretary to the Govt. of India) along with other supporting staff.

7 . National policy for treatment of rare diseases


Context : The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Monday published a national policy for treatment of rare diseases, listing 450 diseases as rare but not providing a detailed roadmap on treatment.

Background

  • In India, Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle cell anaemia and Primary Immuno Deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease and Gaucher’s disease are in the rare diseases list.
  • According to Health Ministry, about 95 per cent rare diseases have no approved treatment. “Less than one in 10 patients receives disease-specific treatment,” the policy states.
  • The Centre first prepared such a policy in 2017, but appointed a committee in 2018 to review it.
  • Presently, very few pharmaceutical companies manufacture drugs to treat rare diseases and India has no domestic manufacturer

Details about the National Policy

  • The latest policy creates three categories of rare diseases — diseases requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases which need long-term treatment but the cost is low, and diseases that require life-long treatment and the cost is high.
  • The policy states that the Centre will provide assistance of Rs 15 lakh to patients suffering from rare diseases that require one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme. The treatment is limited to beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Some diseases in this category are osteopetrosis, immune deficiency disorders and Lysosomal Storage Disorders.
  • The policy has recommended that state governments support patients belonging to the second category of diseases that include Phenylketonuria and Galactosemia, among others.
  • It also recommends crowd funding as a source to fund treatment of rare diseases and advises hospitals to report such cases on digital platforms to gather funds. 
  • The policy also intends to kick-start a registry of rare diseases that Indian Council of Medical Research will maintain.

8 . Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019


Context : Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019, released by NGO Pratham

Key Observations

  • ASER surveyors visited almost 37,000 children between 4 and 8 years in 26 rural districts across 24 States.
  • Only 16% of children in Class 1 in 26 surveyed rural districts can read text at the prescribed level, while almost 40% cannot even recognise letters. Only 41% of these children could recognise two digit numbers.
  • The survey shows that among Class 1 children who could correctly do none or only one of the tasks requiring cognitive skills, about 14% could read words, while 19% could do single digit addition. However, of those children who could correctly do all three cognitive tasks, 52% could read words, and 63% could solve the addition problem.
  • ASER data shows that children’s performance on tasks requiring cognitive skills is strongly related to their ability to do early language and numeracy tasks,” says the report. “This suggests that focussing on play-based activities that build memory, reasoning and problem-solving abilities is more productive than an early focus on content knowledge.”
  • Of six-year olds in Class 1, 41.5% of those in private schools could read words in comparison to only 19% from government schools. Similarly, 28% of those in government schools could do simple addition as against 47% in private schools. This gap is further exacerbated by a gender divide: only 39% of girls aged 6-8 are enrolled in private schools in comparison to almost 48% of boys.
  • One in four children in India is entering the formal school system earlier than they should be — most of them in government schools — while evidence points to how older children learn better than younger children in the same class.
  • Among the key findings of ASER 2019 is that the mother’s education often determines the kind of pre-schooling or schooling that the child gets. The report says that among children in the early years (ages 0-8), those with mothers who had completed eight or fewer years of schooling are more likely to be attending anganwadis or government pre-primary classes, whereas their peers whose mothers had studied beyond the elementary stage are more likely to be enrolled in private LKG/UKG classes.

Solutions provided as per the report

  • ASER found that the solution is not to spend longer hours teaching children the 3Rs.
  • Counter-intuitively, the report argues that a focus on cognitive skills rather than subject learning in the early years can make a big difference to basic literacy and numeracy abilities.

9 . Relaxation in CRZ rules for Blue flag beaches


Context : The Environment Ministry has relaxed Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules that restrict construction near beaches to help States construct infrastructure and enable them to receive ‘Blue Flag’ certification.

Click here to know about Blue Flag certification

Click here for CRZ rules

Need for Relaxation of CRZ rules

  • The Blue Flag certification, however, requires beaches to create certain infrastructure — portable toilet blocks, grey water treatment plants, a solar power plant, seating facilities, CCTV surveillance and the like. However, India’s CRZ laws don’t allow the construction of such infrastructure on beaches and islands. 

Details of the New order

  • Through a Gazzette notification Central Government declared that for the purpose of Blue Flag Certification in such identified beaches, the following activities and facilities shall be permitted in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), including Islands, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of 10 meters from HTL (High Tide Line),” the gazette notification notes.

10 . Police commissionerate system


Context : The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approved the commissionerate system of policing for state capital Lucknow, and Noida. The system gives more responsibilities, including magisterial powers, to IPS officers of Inspector General of Police (IG) rank posted as commissioners. Depending on its success here, the policing system may gradually be implemented in other districts as well.

What is police commissionerate system?

  • Under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, ‘Police’ is under the State list, meaning individual states typically legislate and exercise control over this subject. In the arrangement in force at the district level, a ‘dual system’ of control exists, in which the Superintendent of Police (SP) has to work with the District Magistrate (DM) for supervising police administration.
  • At the metropolitan level, many states have replaced the dual system with the commissionerate system, as it is supposed to allow for faster decision-making to solve complex urban-centric issues.
  • In the commissionerate system, the Commissioner of Police (CP) is the head of a unified police command structure, is responsible for the force in the city, and is accountable to the state government. The office also has magisterial powers, including those related to regulation, control, and licensing.

How many states have it?

  • Almost all states barring Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, UT of J&K, and some Northeastern states have a commissionerate system.
  • The British brought the system first in Kolkata and followed it in Mumbai and Chennai presidencies. Delhi turned into a commissionerate during the Morarji Desai regime.
  • Delay in UP was due to resistance from the IAS lobby. “Bureaucracy in India has resisted it (commissionerate system) tooth an nail. Even in 1978, it was resisted by Delhi bureaucracy,” Singh said. He added that even now in UP, the bureaucracy has wrenched some powers off the commissionerate. “Only 15 Acts have been kept under police commissionerates. Bureaucracy has kept with itself issues of licensing, the Arms Act, Excise laws etc with themselves”

What is different under the system?

  • Policing is based on the Police Act of 1861. Under the colonial system, the overall in-charge of a district or region was the district collector; the SP reported to him. The powers of the executive magistrate, such as issuing orders for preventive arrests or imposition of Section 144 CrPC, were vested in the district collector. This was called the dual system of police administration.
  • “The primary objective of the British was revenue collection in rural India. They needed a force that could support this objective and unleash tyranny and oppression when needed to suit the objective. The worst of officers from the British police were sent to India. So there was need to put them under the District Collector. That system continued post-Independence
  • Under the commissionerate system, the commissioner does not report to the DM. In Mumbai and Delhi, he reports directly to the government. “It gives an integrated command structure. It helps fix responsibility with the Commissioner and eliminates blame game between civil administration and police when something goes wrong

11 . Taal Volcano


Context : In the Philippines, a volcano called Taal on the island of Luzon, 50 km from Manila, erupted, spewing lava on the ground, and ash and smoke into the sky. Although Taal is a tiny volcano, the eruption has caused concerns in the Philippines.

About Taal Volcano

  • Taal is classified as a “complex” volcano by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). A complex volcano, also called a compound volcano, is defined as one that consists of a complex of two or more vents, or a volcano that has an associated volcanic dome, either in its crater or on its flanks. Examples include Vesuvius, besides Taal.
  • The Taal volcano does not rise from the ground as a distinct, singular dome but consists of multiple stratovolcanoes (volcanoes susceptible to explosive eruptions), conical hills and craters of all shapes and sizes, as per NASA’s Earth Observatory. Taal has 47 craters and four maars (a broad shallow crater).

Unpredictability

  • Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the last few centuries. Its last eruption was on October 3, 1977. An eruption in 1965 was considered particularly catastrophic, marked by the falling of rock fragments and ashfall. Before that, there was a “very violent” eruption in 1911 from the main crater. The 1911 eruption lasted for three days, while one in 1754 lasted for seven months.
  • Because it is a complex volcano with various features, the kinds of eruption too have been varied. An eruption can send lava flowing through the ground, or cause a threat through ash in the air.

Location

  • Taal’s closeness to Manila puts lives at stake. With a population of over 10 million, and there are multiple cities within 30 km that have more than 100,000 people in each, not counting the smaller towns in between. Since the events of Sunday, thousands living on the island have been fleeing their homes.
  • The volcano is currently at alert level 4, which means that a “hazardous eruption” could be imminent within a few hours to a few days. Hazardous eruptions are characterised by intense unrest, continuing seismic swarms and low-frequency earthquakes. Because the country is situated at the boundaries of two tectonic plates — the Philippines Sea Plate and the Eurasian plate — it is particularly susceptible to earthquakes and volcanism.

12 . Article 131


Context :  Kerala became the first state to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) before the Supreme Court. However, the legal route adopted by the state is different from the 60 petitions already pending before the court. The Kerala government has moved the apex court under Article 131 of the Constitution, the provision under which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to deal with any dispute between the Centre and a state; the Centre and a state on the one side and another state on the other side; and two or more states.

What is Article 131?

  • The Supreme Court has three kinds of jurisdictions: original, appellate and advisory.
  • Under its advisory jurisdiction, the President has the power to seek an opinion from the apex court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  • Under its appellate jurisdiction, the Supreme Court hears appeals from lower courts.
  • In its extraordinary original jurisdiction, the Supreme Court has exclusive power to adjudicate upon disputes involving elections of the President and the Vice President, those that involve states and the Centre, and cases involving the violation of fundamental rights.
  • For a dispute to qualify as a dispute under Article 131, it has to necessarily be between states and the Centre, and must involve a question of law or fact on which the existence of a legal right of the state or the Centre depends. In a 1978 judgment, State of Karnataka v Union of India, Justice P N Bhagwati had said that for the Supreme Court to accept a suit under Article 131, the state need not show that its legal right is violated, but only that the dispute involves a legal question.
  • Article 131 cannot be used to settle political differences between state and central governments headed by different parties.

So how is a suit under Article 131 different from the other petitions challenging the CAA?

  • The other petitions challenging the CAA have been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution, which gives the court the power to issue writs when fundamental rights are violated. A state government cannot move the court under this provision because only people and citizens can claim fundamental rights.
  • Under Article 131, the challenge is made when the rights and power of a state or the Centre are in question. However, the relief that the state (under Article 131) and petitioners under Article 32 have sought in the challenge to the CAA is the same — declaration of the law as being unconstitutional.

Can the Supreme Court declare legislation unconstitutional under Article 131?

  • A 2012 dispute between Bihar and Jharkhand that is currently pending for consideration by a larger Bench of the court will answer this question. The case deals with the issue of liability of Bihar to pay pension to employees of Jharkhand for the period of their employment in the former, undivided Bihar state.
  • Although earlier judgments had held that the constitutionality of a law can be examined under Article 131, a 2011 judgment in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh v. Union of India ruled otherwise. Since the 2011 case was also by a two-judge Bench and was later in time, the court could not overrule the case. However, the judges did not agree with the ruling.
  • “We regret our inability to agree with the conclusion recorded in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh v. Union of India and Anr. (supra), that in an original suit under Article 131, the constitutionality of an enactment cannot be examined. Since the above decision is rendered by a coordinate Bench of two judges, judicial discipline demands that we should not only refer the matter for examination of the said question by a larger Bench of this Court, but are also obliged to record broadly the reasons which compel us to disagree with the above-mentioned decision,” the court ruled in 2015, referring the case to a larger Bench.
  • Incidentally, the two judges who made the 2015 reference were Justice J Chelameswar (retd) and the current Chief Justice of India S A Bobde. The case is set to be heard in two weeks by a three-judge Bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari.
  • The decision of the larger Bench in State of Bihar v. Jharkhand would have a bearing on Kerala’s challenge to the CAA.

Can the Centre too sue a state under Article 131?

  • The Centre has other powers to ensure that its laws are implemented.
  • The Centre can issue directions to a state to implement the laws made by Parliament. If states do not comply with the directions, the Centre can move the court seeking a permanent injunction against the states to force them to comply with the law.
  • Non-compliance of court orders can result in contempt of court, and the court usually hauls up the chief secretaries of the states responsible for implementing laws.

Is it unusual for states to challenge laws made by Parliament?

  • Under the Constitution, laws made by Parliament are presumed to be constitutional until a court holds otherwise. However, in India’s quasi-federal constitutional structure, inter-governmental disputes are not uncommon.
  • The framers of the Constitution expected such differences, and added the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for their resolution. The quasi-federal structure envisaged in 1950 has consolidated into defined powers of the states.
  • Under a powerful Centre with a clear majority in Parliament, faultlines in India’s federal structure are frequently exposed.

13. Bru Settlement Pact


Context : An agreement to end the 22-year-old Bru refugee crisis may be signed on Thursday when Union Home Minister Amit Shah meets Chief Ministers of Mizoram and Tripura and representatives of Bru tribes.

About the agreement

  • According to the new agreement, approximately 35,000 Bru refugees will settle in Tripura and will be given aid to help with their rehabilitation. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb agreed to the settling of the Bru tribals — called Reangs in Tripura
  • “According to the 2018 agreement, the Bru tribals would have settled in Mizoram, but they will now settle in Tripura according to this new agreement.
  • On the cards is individual plots of land with pattas to be given to each Bru family in addition to agricultural land. According to the draft agreement, each plot will be of 2,500 sq ft and a stipend of Rs 5,000 per month and free ration would be provided to each family for the next two years. Also, Bru tribals would be included in Tripura’s voter list.

14 . Facts for Prelims


Hallmarking for Jewellery

  • Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present. The BIS is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000 and around 40% of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently. This will become mandatory from January 15, 2021.
  • Jewellers will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22-carat gold jewellery,” Mr. Paswan told a press conference.
  • No jeweller will be allowed to sell gold jewellery or artefacts without hallmark from the Bureau of Indian Standards from January 15, 2021, onwards,
  • If jewellery or artefacts made of 14, 18 and 22 carat gold are sold without a BIS hallmark, then the jeweller could face a huge penalty and even imprisonment.
  • The penalty may be worth five times the cost of the object and the imprisonment up to one year. 

Moghalmari

  • Moghalmari, a Buddhist monastic site of the early medieval period in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district,
  • Recently a study of inscriptions on clay tablets recovered from recent excavations at Moghalmari have confirmed the presence of two monasteries — Mugalayikaviharika and Yajñapindikamahavihara.
  • Archaeologists and historians point out that famous Chinese traveller Xuanzang (more widely identified as Huen Tsang), who visited India in the 7th century CE, referred to the existence of ‘ten monasteries’ within the limits of Tamralipta (modern day Tamluk in adjoining Purba Medinipur district). However, he did not refer to any specific name or location.
  • With the discovery of the site and the deciphering of the inscriptions, at least two of these monasteries are now identified,

Galápagos Islands

  • Galapagos islands is a part of the Republic of Ecuador, are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the equator in the Pacific Ocean surrounding the centre of the Western Hemisphere,
  • The islands are known for their large number of endemic species and were studied by Charles Darwin during the second voyage of HMS Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
  • The Galápagos Islands and their surrounding waters form the Galápagos Province of Ecuador, the Galápagos National Park, and the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

RBI Deputy Governors

  • Among the four deputy governors of RBI, two are promoted from within the ranks of RBI. Of the remaining two, one is a commercial banker and another, an economist.
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