Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- International Criminal Court
- Privilege Motion
- Facts for Prelims
1 . PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM MITRA) scheme
Context: The Centre has selected sites in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to set up new textile parks, a year and a half after the PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM MITRA) scheme was announced.
About the PM MITRA
- The proposal for the establishment of Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel Parks was announced in Union Budget 2021-22.
- The PM MITRA mega textile parks will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure for the textiles sector, attract investment and create lakhs of jobs.
- A special-purpose vehicle owned by the Centre and state governments will be set up for each park which will oversee the implementation of the projects.
- The Ministry of Textiles will provide financial support in the form of Development Capital Support upto ₹500 crore per park to the Park SPV.
- These parks will create 2 million direct/indirect jobs and attract an estimated ₹70,000 crore of domestic and foreign investment.
- A Competitive Incentive Support (CIS) upto ₹300 crore per park to the units in PM MITRA Park shall also be provided to incentivise speedy implementation.
- A Master Developer (MD) will be selected who will be responsible for designing, planning, building, financing, operating and maintaining the PM MITRA Park. Convergence with other Government of India schemes shall also be facilitated in order to ensure additional incentives to the Master Developer and investor units.
- The Textiles Ministry will oversee the execution of projects in the PM MITRA parks.
What are the Significance of the Scheme?
- PM MITRA mega textile parks will boost the textiles sector in line with 5F (Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign) vision
- PM MITRA Park will help the textile industry to withstand stiff global competition.
- The parks have been set up considering the availability of raw material, water, power and investors interest in mind.
- Textile and apparel exporters complained that a fragmented supply chain and high logistics costs has pushed up the production cost, which may have been one reason for export orders to steadily move to Bangladesh and Vietnam. The mega parks could help boost textile orders as a result of planned integrated textile value chain, comprising spinning, weaving and processing, at a single location.
- The proposed world-class industrial infrastructure would attract cutting edge technology and boost foreign direct investment and local investment in the sector.
- The mega textile parks will be shining examples of sustainability, with zero liquid discharge, common effluent treatment, use of emission-free renewable energy and adoption of global best practices.
- This cluster-based approach will enhance the quality and competitiveness of products, boost exports and strengthen India’s position in global supply chains.
- PM MITRA parks were selected through a transparent process, which was validated by the innovative PM GatiShakti National Infrastructure Master Plan.
- It is another example of collaborative federalism as both the Centre and the states concerned will be partners in the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) that will set up and manage these parks
2 . International Criminal Court
Context: The International Criminal Court announced an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.
About International Criminal Court
- The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands.
- It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
- The members of the court include 123 countries. Russia and Ukraine are omitted as they signed the statute but did not ratify it.
- It is distinct from the International Court of Justice, an organ of the United Nations that hears disputes between states.
Crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court
- War crimesWar crimes include torture, mutilation, corporal punishment, hostage taking and acts of terrorism. This category also covers violations of human dignity such as rape and forced prostitution, looting and execution without trial. War crimes, unlike crimes against humanity, are always committed in times of war.
- GenocideThis includes all acts committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic or religious group.
- Crimes against humanityCrimes against humanity are acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, such as murder, deportation, torture and rape. The ICC prosecutes the perpetrators even if the crimes were not committed in times of war.
Consequences of the crime of aggression
- The states that are party to the Rome Statute have not yet reached consensus on the definition of and punishment for aggression. Until they do, the ICC is unable to prosecute individuals for acts of aggression.
The powers of the ICC
The ICC is only competent to hear a case if:
- the country where the offence was committed is a party to the Rome Statute; or
- the perpetrator’s country of origin is a party to the Rome Statute.
The ICC may only exercise its jurisdiction if the national court is unable or unwilling to do so. The ICC only has jurisdiction over offences committed after the Statute’s entry into force on 1 July 2002.
Referring a case to the International Criminal Court
- Various parties have the right to refer a case to the ICC :
- any State Party to the Rome Statute, irrespective of any involvement in the alleged offence;
- the Prosecutor of the ICC;
- the United Nations Security Council
- The United Nations Security Council may ask the ICC to defer investigation of a case for a limited period if it considers that the proceedings would constitute an obstruction to its powers.
3 . Privilege Motion
Context: Congress general secretary and Rajya Sabha member K.C. Venugopal wrote to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar seeking privilege proceedings against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks on why former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s family did not use his surname.
What is Privilege Motion?
- All Members of Parliament (MPs) enjoy rights and immunities, individually and collectively, so that they can discharge their duties and functions effectively. Any instance when these rights and immunities are disregarded by any member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha is an offence, called ‘breach of privilege’, which is punishable under the Laws of Parliament.
- Any member from either house can move a notice in the form of a motion against the member who he/she thinks is guilty of the breach of privilege. Both Houses of the Parliament reserve the right to punish any action of contempt (not necessarily breach of privilege) which is against its authority and dignity, as per the laws.
What are the rules governing Privilege Motion?
- The rules governing the privilege are mentioned in the Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook. The rules explain that any member of the House may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving an incident that he or she considers a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee. The notice, however, has to be about a recent incident and should need the intervention of the House. These notices have to be submitted before 10 am to the Speaker or the Chairperson of the House.
What is the role of the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairperson?
- The speaker of Lok Sabha and the Chairperson of Rajya Sabha are the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion in the two Houses of Parliament. They can either take a decision on the privilege motion or can also refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament. Once the Speaker or the House Chairperson gives consent under Rule 222, the concerned member is allowed to explain himself or herself.
What is the Privileges Committee?
- The Speaker of Lok Sabha nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members of parliament from each party. The report prepared by the committee is submitted to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may also allow a half-hour debate on the report by the committee before passing orders or directing that the report be tabled before the House. A resolution is passed. In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, which consists of 10 members.
What are parliamentary privileges?
- Members of parliament are granted privileges or advantages under Articles 105 and 194 so that they can carry out their responsibilities and functions without impediment. Privileges like this are provided because they are necessary for democratic functioning. From time to time, the law should specify these authorities, privileges, and immunities.
- These privileges are regarded as exceptional provisions that take precedence in the event of a disagreement. These provisions also put on them the responsibility of enacting efficient laws that do not infringe on the rights of others. Although the legislature or the Legislative Assembly can use their rights, privileges, and immunities, they cannot function as a court of law
- The powers, privileges and immunities of either House of the Indian Parliament and of its Members and committees are laid down in Article 105 of the Constitution. Article 194 deals with the powers, privileges and immunities of the State Legislatures, their Members and their committee
Article 105 of the Constitution
- Article 105.Powers, privileges, etc., of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof
- 1. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament, there shall be freedom of speech in Parliament.
2. No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceeding in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof, and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of either House of Parliament of any report, paper, votes or proceedings.
3. In other respects, the powers, privileges and immunities of each House of Parliament, and the members and the committee of each House, shall be such as may from time to time be defined by Parliament by law, and until so defined, [shall be those of that House and of its members and committees immediately before the coming into force of Section 15 of the Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978].
4. The provision of clauses (1), (2), and (3) shall apply in relation to persons who by virtue of this Constitution have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, a House of Parliament or any committee thereof as they apply in relation to the members of Parliament.
- In India, some legislative privileges are expressly mentioned in the Constitution while the others are recognised in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha framed under its rule-making power.
Privileges Mentioned in the Constitution
Freedom of speech
- For the effective functioning of parliamentary democracy, the freedom of speech in Parliament is guaranteed. This is to enable the Members to express themselves freely in the House without any fear or favour. In India, the freedom of speech in Parliament is safeguarded by Article 105(1) and (2). A constitutional restriction on this freedom imposed by Article 121 (similarly Article 211) is that no discussion shall take place in any House with respect to the conduct of a Supreme Court Judge or a High Court Judge in discharge of his duties except when a motion for his removal is under consideration.
Immunity from civil and criminal proceedings
- The first part of Article 105(2) provides that no Member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court “in respect of” anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof. The only limitation arises from the words ‘in Parliament’ which means during the sitting of Parliament and during the business of Parliament. Once it was proved that Parliament was sitting and its business was being transacted, anything said during the course of that business was immune from proceedings in any court. This immunity is not only complete but is as it should be.
Right of publication of proceedings
- Part two of Article 105(2) provides that no person shall be liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of the House of Parliament of any report, paper, votes or proceedings.
With regard to the other privileges, the following are recognised under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha as well as by certain laws:
- Freedom from arrest of Members in civil cases during continuance of the Session of the House and 40 days before its commencement and 40 days after its conclusion.
- Exemption of Members from liability to serve as jurors.
- Right of the House to receive immediate information of the arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of the Member.
- Prohibition of arrest and service of legal process within the precincts of the House without obtaining the permission of the Speaker.
- Prohibition of disclosure of the proceedings or decisions of a secret sitting of the House.
- All Parliamentary Committees are empowered to send for persons, papers and records relevant for the purpose of the enquiry by a committee.
- A Parliamentary Committee may administer oath or affirmation to a witness examined before it.
- The evidence tendered before a Parliamentary Committee and its report and proceedings cannot be disclosed or published by anyone until these have been laid down on the table of the House.
- The right to prohibit the publication of its debates and proceedings.
- Right to exclude strangers from the House.
- Right to commit persons for breach of privilege or contempt of the House, whether they are members of the House or not.
Facts for Prelims
Namdapha National Park
- Namdapha National Park is a 1,985 km2 large, protected area in Arunachal Pradesh of Northeast India. The park was established in 1983. With more than 1,000 floral and about 1,400 faunal species, it is a biodiversity hotspot in the Eastern Himalayas.
- The national park harbours the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude. It also harbours extensive dipterocarp forests, comprising the north-western parts of the Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rain forests ecoregion.
- Namdapha and its adjoining areas, is flanked by the Patkai hills to the south and south-east and by the Himalaya in the north.
- The area lies close to the Indo-Myanmar-China trijunction. The entire area is mountainous and comprises the catchment of the Noa-Dihing River, a tributary of the great Brahmaputra River which flows westwards through the middle of Namdapha. Numerous streams drain into the Noa-Dihing and forest pools and natural salt licks are abundant in the area.
- The diverse vegetation and habitats of Namdapha grooms diverse species of animals and birds. It is only park in the World to have the four Feline species of big cat namely the Tiger (Panthera Tigris), Leopard (Panthera Pardus), Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia) and Clouded Leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa) and numbers of Lesser cats.
- Several primate species are seen in the park, such as Assamese macaque, pig-tailed macaque, stump-tailed macaque and number of the distinctive Hoolock Gibbons (Hylobates Hoolock), highly endangered and only ‘ape’ species found in India dwells in this impenetrable virgin forest. Of the many other important animals are the elephants, black bear, Indian Bison, several species of deers, reptiles and a variety of arboreal animals.
- Among the bird species, most notable are the White winged Wood Ducks, a rare and endangered species, the great Indian hornbills, jungle fowls and pheasants flop their noisy way through the jungle, and which harbours other colourful bird and animal species.
- The area is mostly steep mountainous terrain, with few gentle slopes crisscrossed by numerous rivers (Lai, Lati, Lang and Kamlang), rivulets and perennial streams.
- The land cover changes with increasing elevation from tropical evergreen forest to temperate broadleaf and mixed forest.
- The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri mountain range, is a mountain range that covers an area of 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) in a stretch of 1,600 km (990 mi) parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The hill ranges of the Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot, extend along the west coast of India from the river Tapti in the north to the southern tip of India.
- According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India
- Their positioning makes the Western Ghats biologically rich and biogeographically unique – a veritable treasure house of biodiversity. Though covering an area of 180,000km2, or just under 6 per cent of the land area of India, the Western Ghats contain more than 30 per cent of all plant, fish, herpeto-fauna, bird, and mammal species found in India. Many species are endemic, such as the Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius) and the lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus). In fact, 50 per cent of India’s amphibians and 67 per cent of fish species are endemic to this region.
- The region has a spectacular assemblage of large mammals – around 30 per cent of the world’s Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population and 17 per cent of the world’s existing tigers (Panthera tigris). Protection for these is extended through several nationally significant wildlife sanctuaries, tiger reserves, and national parks.
- Vegetation– The Western Ghats include a diversity of ecosystems ranging from tropical wet evergreen forests to montane grasslands containing numerous medicinal plants and important genetic resources such as the wild relatives of grains, fruit and spices. They also include the unique shola ecosystem which consists of montane grasslands interspersed with evergreen forest patches.
- The Western Ghats perform important hydrological and watershed functions. Approximately 245 million people live in the peninsular Indian states that receive most of their water supply from rivers originating in the Western Ghats. Thus, the soil and water of this region sustain the livelihoods of millions of people.
- Horseshoe crabs are marine and brackish water arthropods of the family Limulidae and the only living members of the order Xiphosura. Despite their name, they are not true crabs or crustaceans: they are chelicerates, most closely related to arachnids such as spiders, ticks and scorpions. This is the oldest living creature on earth.
- Palaeontological studies say the age of Horseshoe crabs is 450 million years. The creature has lived on earthy without undergoing any morphological change. Scientists are surprised to find strong immune system in animal that helped it survive millions of years. The animal is critical for human health.
- Horseshoe crabs live primarily in and around shallow coastal waters on soft, sandy or muddy bottoms. They are generally found in the intertidal zone at spring high tides. They are eaten in some parts of Asia, and used as fishing bait, in fertilizer and in science.
- The scientist said only few countries in the world have Horseshoe crab population and Indian in one among them. Maximum density of Horseshoe crabs is found along the Odisha coast and Balasore used to be the largest spawning ground. Sporadic nesting grounds are noticed in coasts of Dhamra, Bhitarkanika, Hukitola, Barahajaria, Choudahajaria and some villages apart from the popular sites of Balasore and Balaramgadi in Odisha.
- Medicinal Values- The blood of Horseshoe crab is very important for preparation of rapid diagnostic reagent. All injectable and medicines are tested with the help of Horseshoe crabs. A molecule has been developed from reagent of Horseshoe crab that would help treat pre-eclampsia and lives of many babies could be saved in womb itself.
- Unregulated fishing activities and damage of eggs by the local people acts as a threat to the Horseshoe crabs.