Daily Current Affairs : 10th November 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics covered

  1. Foreign Contributions Regulation Act
  2. Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan
  3. Padma and other Gallantry Awards
  4. Appointment of Chief Secretary
  5. Facts for Prelims

1. Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA)

Context: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government why the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been tasked to keep an eye on the inflow and subsequent outflow of foreign funds to
NGOs under the foreign contributions regulations law.


  • SC is hearing the petition challenging amendments to the Foreign Contributions Regulations law in 2020
  • The petitions argued that the amendments severely restricted the use of foreign funds by NGOs for their activities and transfer to other philanthropic organisations within the country.
  • According to the Govt Intelligence Bureau (IB) inputs have shown that foreign funds entering India were used to fund activities that destabilise national peace and security. The inputs even indicated that the money was used to train naxals.

About FCRA

  • Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976 (FCRA) was enacted in the year 1976 with the prime objective of regulating the acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution and foreign hospitality by persons and associations working in the important areas of national life.
  • Foreign contribution is the donation or transfer of any currency, security or article (of beyond a specified value) by a foreign source.
  • The amendment seeks to make specific changes to the FCRA law, first introduced in 2010 and whose rules were amended in 2012, 2015 and 2019.
  • The law provides the framework under which organisations in India can receive and utilise grants from foreign sources. 

FCRA 2020 Amendments

  • The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) 2010 regulates the acceptance and use of foreign contributions by certain individuals, associations and companies. It also aims to prohibit the acceptance and use of foreign contributions for activities that are detrimental to national interest and for matters connected thereto.
  • The FCRA predominantly regulates the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that receive foreign contributions, donations or hospitality.
  • However, certain instances have been reported wherein violations of the FCRA have been found and consequently the government cancelled various NGOs’ registrations. Thus, in order to bring greater transparency and strengthen the compliance mechanism for such organisations, on 29 September 2020 the central government notified the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act 2020 to amend certain provisions of the FCRA.
  • The amendment act aims to:
    • strengthen organisations’ compliance mechanisms;
    • enhance transparency and accountability in the use of foreign contributions; and
    • prevent the misuse of funds received from foreign contributions by certain organisations and instead promote the use of such funds by genuine NGOs which are working to improve the welfare of society.

Key changes that have been introduced under the amendment act

Transfer of foreign contributions

  • Section 7 of the FCRA allowed persons authorised to receive foreign contributions to transfer such contribution, or part thereof, to:
    • registered persons which were in receipt of a certificate under the FCRA; or
    • unregistered persons, provided that the central government’s prior approval for the transfer had been obtained.
  • However, the amendment act restricts the transfer of foreign contributions to any other person whether or not the transferee is registered under the FCRA or has obtained the central government’s approval.
  • While this amendment aims to ensure that foreign funding is not diverted and will be used only by the organisation which has received the foreign contribution, this amendment will have severe implications for smaller NGOs which mostly depend on larger NGOs for their contributions to help them fulfil their objectives.

Reduced limit for administrative expenses

  • The amendment act has reduced the limit for administrative expenses from 50% to 20% to ensure that the funds forming part of foreign contributions are used for the objective for which they are primarily received.
  • The amendment might pose a challenge for larger NGOs since they have heavy administrative expenses considering their sizable workforce and the costs associated with projects and filing reports.

Government’s power to restrict foreign contribution recipients from using or receiving funds

  • Previously, if a person was found guilty of violating the FCRA, the central government’s approval was required for them to be able use or receive the unused or unreceived foreign contribution.
  • The amendment act has given the central government the power to restrict the usage of unused foreign contribution for persons which have been granted prior permission to receive such contribution if, based on any information or report and after holding a summary inquiry, the government believes that such person has contravened the FCRA and the amendment act.

New identification requirements

  • The amendment act has inserted a new Section 12A in the FCRA, which provides that any person seeking permission, registration or renewal of registration must provide:
    • the Aadhaar cards of all its office bearers, directors or key functionaries as an identification document; or
    • a copy of a passport or an overseas citizen of India card in case of foreigners.

Suspension of registration certificates

  • Further, the amendment act has revised the number of days for which the central government may suspend a person’s registration certificate if they violate the FCRA.
  • The limit has been increased to a maximum of 360 days from the earlier cap of a maximum of 180 days.

Surrender of certificates

  • The amendment act has inserted a new Section 14A for the surrender of certificates.
  • If such a request is made, the central government may permit any person to surrender their registration certificate.
  • However, prior to granting such permission, the central government may make such inquiry as it deems fit and, if it is satisfied that such person has not contravened the FCRA and the management of their foreign contribution and assets, if any, created out of such contribution has been vested in an authority prescribed by the government, allow the surrender of certificates.

New FCRA accounts

  • To streamline the flow of receiving foreign contributions and bring more transparency, the amendment act has introduced a new Section 17 which provides that foreign contributions must be received only in an account specifically designated by a bank as an ‘FCRA account’.
  • The FCRA account must be opened with the main New Delhi branch of the State Bank of India (11 Sansad Marg, New Delhi 110001).
  • Further, other than the foreign contribution, no other funds should be received or deposited in this account.
  • It is a great move by the government to monitor the funds that flow through a centralised channel but there is also a challenge for organisations scattered in various parts of the country to open a bank account in a particular state as this will increase their overhead costs.

Prohibition to accept foreign contribution: 

  • Under the Act, certain persons are prohibited to accept any foreign contribution.  These include: election candidates, editor or publisher of a newspaper, judges, government servants, members of any legislature, and political parties, among others. 
  • The amendment adds public servants (as defined under the Indian Penal Code) to this list. 
  • Public servant includes any person who is in service or pay of the government, or remunerated by the government for the performance of any public duty.

Renewal of license

  • Under the Act, every person who has been given a certificate of registration must renew the certificate within six months of expiration.  
  • The amendment provides that the government may conduct an inquiry before renewing the certificate to ensure that the person making the application:
    • is not fictitious or benami,
    • has not been prosecuted or convicted for creating communal tension or indulging in activities aimed at religious conversion, and
    • has not been found guilty of diversion or misutilisation of funds, among others conditions.

2 . Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan

Context : India is hosting the ‘Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan’ on Wednesday. The National Security Advisers from seven other countries will attend the day-long meeting, chaired by India’s NSA Ajit Doval.


  • The idea of such as dialogue was first mooted in 2018, when the US decided to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. In September that year, the first meeting of NSAs took place in Iran, with the participation of Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, China and India.
  • At the second meeting in December 2019, again hosted by Iran, seven countries attended, with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan the new participants.
  • Pakistan attended neither meeting. This time again, Pakistan has predictably decided to skip the meeting.
  • China attended both previous meetings in Iran, but this time it has cited “scheduling issues” to convey that it will not participate. It has told India that it is “open to maintaining contacts with India on Afghanistan through bilateral or multilateral channels”

Participating Countries

  • Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
  • As host, India chose not to invite the Taliban, since none of the participating countries have so far officially recognised the Taliban regime yet


  • This would be the first time that all Central Asian countries, not just Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, would be participating in this format. The enthusiastic response is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan
  • It is important to differentiate this process from other processes on Afghanistan — the Heart of Asia process or the Moscow format. This is not among diplomats, nor is it led by foreign ministries, but is among the heads of the security establishments in these countries. So, this is not a protocol-oriented meeting.
  • The “security tsars” will engage on the security concerns emanating out of Afghanistan and will discuss “practical cooperation” — from intelligence sharing to information gathering to counter-terrorism capacity-building.

Challenges on the table

  • What brings these countries together is their “shared concern” on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan. There are mainly five sets of challenges that New Delhi would want to discuss with the other countries:
    • Terrorism within Afghanistan and its spilling beyond its borders
    • Radicalisation and extremism in the population in Afghanistan, and in each of these countries
    • Cross-border movement of people, including ordinary Afghans and Taliban fighters
    • Drug production and trafficking
    • Vast amount of weapons and equipment left behind by the US and its allies in Afghanistan.

3 . Padma and other Gallantry Awards

Context : Legendary singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam posthumously honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of the country, at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Balasubrahmanyam’s son S.P. Charan received the award on his father’s behalf from President Ram Nath Kovind.

Padma awards

  • Padma Awards were instituted in the year 1954. Except for brief interruptions during the years 1977 to 1980 and 1993 to 1997, these awards have been announced every year on Republic Day. The award is given in three categories, viz. Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, in the decreasing order of importance.
  • Padma Vibhushan for “exceptional and distinguished service”. Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award in India.
  • Padma Bhushan for “distinguished service of a high order”. Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in India .
  • Padma Shri is awarded for “distinguished service”. Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian award in India.
  • Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian award

Details of the Award

  • The decoration comprises a sanad (Certificate) issued under the hand and seal of the President and a Medallion.
  • The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which they can wear during any ceremonial/State functions etc., if they desire.

Arjuna Award

  • The award given by the Government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports.

Dada Saheb Phalke Awards

  • The Dada Saheb Phalke Award is India’s highest award in cinema given annually by the Government of India for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.

Wartime gallantry awards

  • Param Vir Chakra — Highest military award, equivalent to the Victoria Cross (which was replaced once India gained its independence).
  • Maha Vir Chakra – Maha Vir Chakra is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air.
  • Vir Chakra – Third in precedence in the awards for wartime gallantry.

Peacetime gallantry awards

  • Ashok Chakra Award – An Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
  • Kirti Chakra – Second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.
  • Shaurya Chakra – Third in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.

4 . Appointment of Chief Secretary

Context : Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has asked the Centre to appoint a Chief Secretary with a working knowledge of the Mizo language as the Mizo people in general and his Cabinet Ministers do not know or are weak in Hindi.

Appointment of Chief Secretary in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram

  • Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Delhi were Union Territories (UTs) earlier and officers of the AGMUT cadre continue to serve in these states, as well as the current UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
  • In case of AGMUT cadre Para 9 of the guideline mentions that “the Chief Secretary and the senior most police officer in a state may be decided with the approval of the Union Home Minister in consultation with the Chief Minister of the concerned state”.
  • In other states Chief Secretary is ‘chosen’ by the Chief Minister, it is taken in the name of the Governor of the State.

Facts for Prelims

  • The Chief Secretary is the top-most executive official and senior-most civil servant of the state government.
  • The Chief Secretary is the ex-officio head of the state Civil Services Board, the State Secretariat, the state cadre Indian Administrative Service and all civil services under the rules of business of the state government.
  • The Chief Secretary acts as the principal advisor to the chief minister on all matters of state administration.
  • The Chief Secretary is the senior-most cadre post in the state administration, ranking 23rd on the Indian order of precedence. The Chief Secretary acts as an ex-officio secretary to the state cabinet, therefore called “Secretary to the Cabinet”. The status of this post is equal to that of a Secretary to the Government of India.

5 . Facts for Prelims

Captive mines

  • Captive mines are those that produce coal or mineral for exclusive use by the company that owns the mines, while non-captive ones those that produce as well as sell the fuel.

Type 054A frigate

  • The Type 054A (NATO codename Jiangkai II) frigate is a class of Chinese multi-role frigates, the first of which entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force in 2007.
  • It is a development of the Type 054 frigate, using the same hull but with improved sensors and weapons.
  • Recently China has provided the warship to Pakistan which is dubbed as the most advanced” Chinese warship ever exported,
  • It has been renamed as PNS Tughril by the Pakistani Navy, and it is “the first hull of four Type 054 frigates being constructed for the Pakistan Navy”, 
  • It is planned to be deployed by Pakistan in the Indian Ocean.
  • The delivery of the Type 054A frigate is the latest example of increasingly close military cooperation between China and Pakistan

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