Daily Current Affairs: 16th November 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics covered

  1. WPI inflation
  2. Special court for MPs and MLAs
  3. New Protocol on Autopsy
  4. Fundamental Rules 1922
  5. Facts for prelims

1. WPI inflation

Context: Inflation in wholesale prices hit a five month high of 12.5% in October, quickening from
September’s 10.7% following a broad based surge in prices of most commodities including fuel and power, vegetable and animal oils and fats, as well as chemicals.

What Is a Wholesale Price Index (WPI)?

  • A wholesale price index (WPI) is an index that measures and tracks the changes in the price of goods in the stages before the retail level. This refers to goods that are sold in bulk and traded between entities or businesses (instead of between consumers).
  • Usually expressed as a ratio or percentage, the WPI shows the included goods’ average price change; it is often seen as one indicator of a country’s level of inflation.
  • In India WPI is also known as the headline inflation rate .

Who publishes WPI in India and what does it show?

  • The WPI is published by the Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Analysts use the numbers to track the supply and demand dynamics in industry, manufacturing and construction.
  • In India, Office of Economic Advisor (OEA), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry calculates the WPI.
  • An upward surge in the WPI indicates inflationary pressure in the economy and vice versa.
  • The quantum of rise in the WPI month after-month is used to measure the level of wholesale inflation in the economy.

What is the difference between WPI and CPI inflation?

  • While WPI keeps track of the wholesale price of goods, the CPI measures the average price that households pay for a basket of different goods and services.
  • Even as the WPI is used as a key measure of inflation in some economies, the RBI no longer uses it for policy purposes, including setting repo rates.
  • The central bank currently uses CPI or retail inflation as a key measure of inflation to set the monetary and credit policy.

Base year of calculation

  • With an aim to align the index with the base year of other important economic indicators
  • such as GDP and IIP, the base year was updated to 2011-12 from 2004-05 for the new series of Wholesale Price Index (WPI), effective from April 2017.

Calculation of Wholesale Price Index?

  • The monthly WPI number shows the average price changes of goods usually expressed in ratios or percentages.
  • The index is based on the wholesale prices of a few relevant commodities available.
  • The commodities are chosen based on their significance in the region. These represent different strata of the economy and are expected to provide a comprehensive WPI value.
  • The advanced base year 2011-12 adopted recently uses 697 items.

Major components of WPI

  • The index basket of the WPI covers commodities falling under the three major groups namely Primary Articles, Fuel and Power and 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.
    • Primary articles is a major component of WPI, further subdivided into Food Articles and Non-Food Articles.
    • Food Articles include items such as Cereals, Paddy, Wheat, Pulses, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, Eggs, Meat & Fish, etc.
    • Non-Food Articles include Oil Seeds, Minerals and Crude Petroleum
    • The next major basket in WPI is Fuel & Power, which tracks price movements in Petrol, Diesel and LPG
    • The biggest basket is Manufactured Goods. It spans across a variety of manufactured products such as Textiles, Apparels, Paper, Chemicals, Plastic, Cement, Metals, and more.
    • Manufactured Goods basket also includes manufactured food products such as Sugar, Tobacco Products, Vegetable and Animal Oils, and Fats.
  • WPI has a sub-index called WPI Food Index, which is a combination of the Food Articles from the Primary Articles basket, and the food products from the Manufactured Products basket.
  • WPI basket does not cover services

Main uses of WPI

  • 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.
  • WPI is used as deflator for many sectors of the economy including for estimating GDP by Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).
  • WPI is also used for indexation by users in business contracts.
  • Global investors also track WPI as one of the key macro indicators for their investment decisions

WPI Based Inflation

  • Inflation is the rate of increase in prices over a given period of time.
  • Inflation is typically a broad measure, such as the overall increase in prices or the increase in the cost of living in a country.
  • There are certain limitations in using WPI as a measure for inflation, as WPI does not consider the price of services, and it does not reflect the consumer price situation in the country.
  • WPI provides estimates of inflation at the wholesale transaction level for the economy overall.
  • It also helps in timely intervention by the government to monitor inflation before the price hike spills over to retail prices. 
  • The WPI-based inflation is used by the government in preparation of fiscal, trade, and other economic policies.
  • Business organisations, policymakers, accountants, and statisticians use WPI as an indexing tool to formulate price adjustment clauses.
  • Rise in WPI indicates inflationary pressure in the economy, and vice versa.
  • The extent of rise in WPI is used to measure the level of wholesale inflation in the economy.

2. Special court for MPs and MLAs

Context: The Supreme Court decided to examine questions regarding the legal
jurisdiction of the special courts set up to exclusively prosecute Members of Parliament
and State Legislative Assemblies for various offences. The court would also examine
whether these special courts deprive the accused of their right to a rung of appeal.


  • Hearing a 2016 petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, with the larger objective of checking criminalisation of politics, the top court had in 2017 given the go-ahead for setting up 12 special courts to try “criminal cases/offences involving political persons” that are pending.
  • In an order by a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi (he retired as CJI in November 2019) and Navin Sinha, which approved the government scheme to set up these courts, said that once the special courts are set up, “the High Court(s), acting through the various trial courts, will trace out from the case records the particular case(s) pending in files of the respective judicial officers under the jurisdiction of the High Court(s) which are required to be dealt with by the special courts under the scheme”.
  • Thereafter, the court said, these cases should be transferred to “such special courts(s) for adjudication”.

About the issue

  • Constitutional Validity : The Madras High Court, in a report on October 13 last year through a three judge Criminal Rules Committee, had raised the issue of the “constitutional validity” of the special courts for MPs/MLAs. The committee had even said it was not “legally permissible” to create such special courts.
  • Courts should be offence centric : According to the report special courts “can only be offence-centric and not offender-centric”.
  • Depriving Rights to an Accused : In the normal course, if an accused has failed before the magistrate, he or she could file an appeal against the decision before the sessions court. In such cases, the trial judge is the magistrate. The sessions court is the first appellate court and the High Court the second appellate court. Petitioners have argued that a special court would have the powers of a sessions court. If the case of an MLA or MP whose offence can be tried by a magistrate is directly placed before a special court, the accused would lose his right to defend his case before a magistrate and also is stripped of his right to make his first appeal before a sessions court.

3 . Autopsy rule

Context: Central Govt passes order allowing autopsies to be conducted after sunset;

What is an autopsy?

  • Autopsy, also called necropsy, postmortem, or postmortem examination, dissection and examination of a dead body and its organs and structures.
  • An autopsy may be performed to determine the cause of death, to observe the effects of disease, and to establish the evolution and mechanisms of disease processes.
  • The word autopsy is derived from the Greek autopsia, meaning “the act of seeing for oneself.”

New protocol

  • The protocol stipulated that postmortem for organ donation be taken up on priority and conducted even after sunset at the hospitals that have the infrastructure for conducting such procedure on a regular basis.
  • The fitness and adequacy of infrastructure etc. shall be assessed by the hospital in charge to ensure that there was no dilution of evidentiary value.
  • It was also to be ensured by the facility that video recording shall be done for all such postmortem at night to rule out any suspicion and preserved for future reference for legal purposes, it stated.
  • However, cases under categories such as homicide, suicide, rape, decomposed bodies and suspected foul play should not be subjected for postmortem during night unless there was a law and order situation.

Why was it not conducted at night?

  • Autopsies were not allowed at night due to a British-era law that barred practitioners from performing an autopsy in the absence of sunlight due to practical reasons arising from lack of proper lighting.
  • According to reports, post mortem examination was done in the daytime because artificial light from bulbs, CFLs or tube lights made it difficult to observe the colour of bruises, wounds and contusions in Indian skin tones.
  • Noting the precise colour of these wounds is crucial for experts to deduce the time and cause of these injuries, which is often important evidence in case of unnatural deaths.
  • Also, an eight-member committee constituted in Tamil Nadu in 2010 had found that conducting autopsies in the night-time, increased the probability of misidentification of bodies by the relatives .[Autopsies are conducted after relatives of the deceased identify the body and give a go-ahead, barring police cases and cases of unidentified bodies, wherein officers of the law can also order a post-mortem]

Why does the government allow it now?

  •  Government found that scientific discoveries have come a long way since the law was formed and some institutes, which had relevant infrastructure available, were already performing night-time post-mortems.
  • The government also observed that allowing night-time autopsy will also promote organ donation and transplant as organs can be harvested in the stipulated time window after the procedure is done.

4 . Fundamental rule, 1922

Context : A day after promulgating two ordinances that would allow the Centre to extend the tenures of the Directors of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate from two years to up to five years, the Personnel Ministry issued an order to amend the Fundamental Rules, 1922 adding the two posts to the list whose services can be extended by up to two years beyond the two-year fixed tenure in “public interest”.

About the Amendment

  • The notification amended fifth proviso of Clause (d) of Rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules, 1922. It said, “Provided also that the Central Government may, if it considers necessary in public interest so to do, give extension in service to the Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau, Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing and Director of Central Bureau of Investigation appointed under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946) and Director of Enforcement in the Directorate of Enforcement appointed under the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (45 of 2003) in the Central Government for such period or periods as it may deem proper on a case-to-case basis for reasons to be recorded in writing, subject to the condition that the total term of such Secretaries or Directors, as the case may be, who are given such extension in service under this rule, does not exceed two years or the period provided in the respective Act or rules made there under, under which their appointments are made.”

Previous List

  • The previous list comprised Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Director, Intelligence Bureau and Secretary, Research and Analysis Wing. Though Director, CBI, was also mentioned in the previous order, the Monday notification adds the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946) under which the investigation agency’s head is appointed.

About Fundamental Rules

  • These rules come into force from 01.01.1922.
  • These rules apply to all Govt. servants paid from the Consolidated Fund and to any other class of Govt. servants to which the Govt. may, by general or special order, declared them to be applicable.
  • These rules do not apply to Govt. servants whose conditions of service are governed by Army or Marine Regulations.
  • State Government can relax any of the subsidary rules framed under F.Rs in the case an officer of any of the services under the control of the President of India

5. Facts for Prelims

Project SIREN

  • Project SIREN is a project for rating media reports on suicide
  • It is initiated by India Mental Health Observatory.
  • The IMHO has developed a scorecard to rate media reports on suicide which consists of ten positive and negative parameters each. derived from the WHO guidelines on Media Reporting of Suicides.
  • The scorecard, a ‘SIREN’ for action, is released every quarter, in a series of editions.
  • SIREN is a tool for suicide prevention – tracking reports of suicide attempts and deaths by suicide to encourage greater uptake of good reporting practices across media platforms.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), autonomous intergovernmental organization dedicated to increasing the contribution of atomic energy to the world’s peace and well-being and ensuring that agency assistance is not used for military purposes. 
  • The IAEA was created in 1957 in response to the deep fears and expectations generated by the discoveries and diverse uses of nuclear technology.
  • The Agency’s genesis was U.S. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 December 1953.
  • The U.S. Ratification of the Statute by President Eisenhower, 29 July 1957, marks the official birth of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • The IAEA is strongly linked to nuclear technology and its controversial applications, either as a weapon or as a practical and useful tool. 
  • IAEA’s headquarters is in Vienna, Austria.

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