Daily Current Affairs : 12th July 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Enforcement Directorate
  2. Chandrayaan 3
  3. Multi Dimensional Poverty Index
  4. Facts for Prelims

    1 . Enforcement Directorate

    Context: The Supreme Court asked Enforcement Directorate (ED) Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra to quit four months before his third extension ends in November even as it upheld statutory amendments which facilitate the tenures of Directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED to be stretched “piecemeal”.

    Background of the issue:

    • CBI and ED chiefs have fixed tenures of two years. However, amendments enacted in2021 to the Central Vigilance Commission Act, the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and the Fundamental Rules allow them a maximum three annual extensions.
    • When incumbent ED director SK Mishra was given a one-year extension in Nov 2020, an NGO moved the Supreme Court against the decision
    • The court noted that “not less than two years” cannot be interpreted as “not more than two years,” and upheld the extension. However, it also clarified that made no further extension shall be granted to Mishra, and his tenure should end in November 2021
    • The ordinances promulgated on Nov 14, 2021, paves the way for an incumbent director of CBI or ED to get three extensions of one year each, after his/her two-year term ends.
    • Any such extension will have to be recommended by a committee, recording in writing why it would be in “national interest.”

    Current Judgement

    • A Bench headed by Justice B.R. Gavai held that the back-to-back service extensions given to Mr. Mishra in 2021 and 2022 were illegal. The court, however, gave Mr. Mishra time till July 31 to quit office. T
    • By upholding the 2021 amendments, the court disagreed with the submissions made by its own amicus curiae, senior advocate K.V. Viswanathan, presently a Supreme Court judge. The amicus curiae had urged the court to strike down the amendments.
    • Mr. Viswanathan had argued that the Centre could use the prospect of service extensions as a ‘carrot and stick’ policy to ensure that the CBI and ED Directors work according to its wishes. He had contended that a Director “would always succumb to the pressure of the government so as to ensure that he gets further extension.” The petitioners too had submitted that the amendments went against the very principle of insulating the Central investigative agencies from government pressure.

    Enforcement Directorate

    • The Directorate of Enforcement is a multi-disciplinary organization mandated with investigation of offence of money laundering and violations of foreign exchange laws. The statutory functions of the Directorate include enforcement of following Acts:
      • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA): It is a criminal law enacted to prevent money laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from, or involved in, money-laundering and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. ED has been given the responsibility to enforce the provisions of the PMLA by conducting investigation to trace the assets derived from proceeds of crime, to provisionally attach the property and to ensure prosecution of the offenders and confiscation of the property by the Special court.
      • The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA): It is a civil law enacted to consolidate and amend the laws relating to facilitate external trade and payments and to promote the orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India. ED has been given the responsibility to conduct investigation into suspected contraventions of foreign exchange laws and regulations, to adjudicate and impose penalties on those adjudged to have contravened the law.
      • The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA): This law was enacted to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. It is a law whereby Directorate is mandated to attach the properties of the fugitive economic offenders who have escaped from the India warranting arrest and provide for the confiscation of their properties to the Central Government.
      • The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (FERA): The main functions under the repealed FERA are to adjudicate the Show Cause Notices issued under the said Act up to 31.5.2002 for the alleged contraventions of the Act which may result in imposition of penalties and to pursue prosecutions launched under FERA in the concerned courts.
      • Sponsoring agency under COFEPOSA: Under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (COFEPOSA), this Directorate is empowered to sponsor cases of preventive detention with regard to contraventions of FEMA.

    Appointment of ED director

    • The ED director is appointed as per provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
    • The Centre appoints the director on recommendation of a committee, with the Central Vigilance Commissioner as chairperson
    • Other committee members are secretaries in the Finance (Revenue), Home and Personnel & Training ministries.
    • The tenure should be “not less than two years,” and any transfer has to be sanctioned by the appointing committee

    2 . Chandrayaan 3

    Context: India’s Chandrayaan 3 mission was launched on Friday with the goal of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface, a feat that has only been achieved by the United States, Russia, and China. 

    About Chandrayaan 3

    • Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. It consists of Lander and Rover configuration.
    • The vehicle carries a lander attached to a propulsion module. The latter will carry the former to a circular orbit around the moon, after which the lander will descend to the surface.
    • The lander module will carry a rover that it will deploy on the moon, and a few other pieces of scientific equipment.
    • Chandrayaan-3 was launched into space by the LVM3 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
    • Once in orbit, the propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration to a 100-kilometre lunar orbit. The lander will then separate from the propulsion module and attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface.

    Main Objectives

    • In addition to its primary goal of landing a spacecraft on the moon, Chandrayaan-3 will also conduct scientific experiments to study the moon’s environment, including its history, geology, and potential for resources.
    • Chandrayaan-3 is carrying six payloads to study the lunar soil and capture photographs of Earth from the lunar orbit.During its 14-day mission (one Lunar day) upon landing, Chandrayaan-3 will conduct a series of groundbreaking experiments using its payloads RAMBHA and ILSA. These experiments will study the moon’s atmosphere and dig into the surface to better understand its mineral composition.
    • The lander Vikram will photograph the rover Pragyaan which will deploy its instruments to study seismic activity on the moon. Pragyaan will use its laser beams to melt a piece of the lunar surface, called regolith, and analsze the gases emitted in the process.
    • Another payload, the Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), will measure the density of charged particles near the lunar surface and how it changes over time.
    • Additionally, the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) will measure the chemical composition and infer the mineralogical composition of the moon’s surface while the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) will determine the elemental composition of lunar soil
    • The propulsion module will have a payload called ‘Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth’ (SHAPE), which will track radiation from the earth to help identify the signatures of life, which future missions can use in turn to look for signs of life on habitable exoplanets.  \

    How different is Vikram, the Chandrayaan-3 lander from Chandrayaan-2

    • ISRO took the lessons from Chandrayaan-2 and turned them into critical upgrades for Vikram lander and rover in Chandrayaan-3.
      • Stronger Legs to handle greater velocities
      • More Solar Panels and Antennas
      • Extra Fuel and a Laser Doppler Velocity Meter
      • ISRO improved the Software Overhaul and Central Engine Removal

      Why do scientists want to explore the lunar south pole?

      • Due to their rugged environment, the polar regions of the Moon have remained unexplored. But several Orbiter missions have provided evidence that these regions could be very interesting to explore. There are indications of the presence of ice molecules in substantial amounts in the deep craters in this region — India’s 2008 Chandrayaan-1 mission indicated the presence of water on the lunar surface with the help of its two instruments onboard.
      • In addition, the extremely cold temperatures mean that anything trapped in the region would remain frozen in time, without undergoing much change. The rocks and soil in Moon’s north and south poles could therefore provide clues to the early Solar System

      Benefits from Space Exploration

      • Innovation. There are numerous cases of societal benefits linked to new knowledge and technology from space exploration. Space exploration has contributed to many diverse aspects of everyday life, from solar panels to implantable heart monitors, from cancer therapy to light‐ weight materials, and from water‐purification systems to improved computing systems and to a global search‐and‐rescue system. Achieving the ambitious future exploration goals as outlined above will further expand the economic relevance of space. Space exploration will continue to be an essential driver for opening up new domains in science and technology, triggering other sectors to partner with the space sector for joint research and development. This will return immediate benefits back to Earth in areas such as materials, power generation and energy storage, recycling and waste management, advanced robotics, health and medicine, transportation, engineering, computing and software. Furthermore, innovations required for space exploration, such as those related to miniaturisation, will drive improvements in other space systems and services resulting in higher performance and lower cost. These will in turn result in better services on Earth and better return of investment in institutional and commercial space activities. In addition, the excitement generated by space exploration attracts young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, helping to build global capacity for scientific and technological innovation.
      • Culture and Inspiration : Space exploration offers a unique and evolving perspective on humanity’s place in the Universe, which is common to all. Every day, space exploration missions fulfill people’s curiosity, producing fresh data about the solar system that brings us closer to answering profound questions that have been asked for millennia: What is the nature of the Universe? Is the destiny of humankind bound to Earth? Are we and our planet unique? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe?
      • New Means to Address Global Challenges. Partnerships and capabilities developed through space exploration create new opportunities for addressing global challenges. Space exploration is a global endeavour contributing to trust and diplomacy between nations. Enhanced global partnerships and exploration capabilities may help advance international preparedness for protecting the Earth from catastrophic events such as some asteroid strikes, advancing collaborative research on space weather and protecting spacecraft by developing new means or space debris removal. Knowledge derived from space exploration may also contribute to implementing policies for environmentally sustainable development

      3 . Multi-dimensional Poverty Index

      Context: A total of 415 million people moved out of poverty in India within just 15 years from 2005-06 to 2019-21, with its incidence falling from 55.1% to 16.4% during the period, the United Nations (UN).

      What are the key findings of the report?

      • As many as 415 million people in India were lifted out of poverty from 2005-06 to 2019-21, according to the latest update of its global Multidimensional Poverty Index. This would be a substantial fraction of our population, now estimated at over 1.4 billion
      • India is among the 25 countries that managed to halve their multidimensional poverty.
      • Those who are poor and deprived of cooking fuel fell from 52.9% to 13.9%, and those short of proper sanitation from 50.4% to 11.3%.
      • Rapid economic expansion has been criticized for not benefiting the poor, but these estimates suggest that fast growth is indeed improving the lives of those who are the worst off. There was no adequate data to draw conclusions.
      • The latest update of the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford.

      About Multidimensional Poverty Index

      • The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries.
      • It complements traditional monetary-based poverty measures by capturing the acute deprivations that each person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards.
      • The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level. If someone is deprived in a third or more of ten (weighted) indicators, the global index identifies them as ‘MPI poor’, and the extent – or intensity – of their poverty is measured by the percentage of deprivations they are experiencing.
      • The global MPI can be used to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty, and permits comparisons both across countries and world regions, and within countries by ethnic group, urban/rural area, subnational region, and age group, as well as other key household and community characteristics. For each group and for countries as a whole, the composition of MPI by each of the 10 indicators shows how people are poor.
      • This makes the MPI and its linked information platform invaluable as an analytical tool to identify the most vulnerable people – the poorest among the poor, revealing poverty patterns within countries and over time, enabling policy makers to target resources and design policies more effectively.
      • The global MPI was developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for inclusion in UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report in 2010.

      Drawbacks of the Index

      • First, the indicators may not reflect capabilities but instead reflect outputs (such as years of schooling) or inputs (such as cooking fuel).
      • Second, the health data are relatively weak and overlook some groups’ deprivations, especially for nutrition, though the patterns that emerge are plausible and familiar.
      • Third, in some cases careful judgments were needed to address missing data. But to be considered multidimensionally poor, households must be deprived in at least six standard of living indicators or in three standard of living indicators and one health or education indicator, or in two health or education indicators. This requirement makes the MPI less sensitive to minor inaccuracies.
      • Fourth, intra-household inequalities may be severe, but these could not be reflected.
      • Fifth, while the MPI goes well beyond a headcount ratio to include the intensity of poverty, it does not measure inequality among the poor, although decompositions by groups can be used to reveal group-based inequalities.

      4 . Facts for Prelims

      Delimitation Commission

      • Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats to represent changes in population. The main objective of delimitation is to provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.  
      • Further, the population does not grow uniformly across all areas of a state. Hence, delimitation of constituencies is periodically carried out to reflect not only an increase in population but changes in its distribution.
      • Delimitation is carried out by an independent Delimitation Commission, appointed by the Government of India under provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act. The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India. It is composed of the following: a retired Supreme Court judge, the Chief Election Commissioner of India and respective State Election Commissioners.
      • The Delimitation Commission is to work without any executive influence. The Constitution mandates that the Commission’s orders are final and cannot be questioned before any court as it would hold up an election indefinitely.
      • Under Article 82, Parliament is to enact a Delimitation Act after every Census. Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up the Delimitation Commission.
      • The Commission is supposed to determine the number and boundaries of constituencies in a way that the population of all seats, so far as practicable, is the same. The Commission is also tasked with identifying seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
      • The draft proposals of the Delimitation Commission are published for public feedback. The Commission also holds public sittings. After hearing the public, it considers objections and suggestions, and carries out changes, if any, in the draft proposal. The final order is published in the Gazette of India and the State Gazette concerned and comes into force on a date specified by the President.
      • The last delimitation exercise that changed the state-wise composition of the Lok Sabha was completed in 1976 and done on the basis of the 1971 census (more than half a century ago at this point). The reason for not having more frequent delimitation processes is an unintended consequence of how the Constitution envisioned constituencies to be delimited.

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