Daily Current Affairs : 23rd and 24th August 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP)
  2. Contempt of Court
  3. Security implications of Chinese Investment
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP)

Context : The outlay for a key scheme, under which exporters will be reimbursed for all embedded taxes paid on inputs consumed in outbound shipments, could be “much higher” than the Niti Aayog’s much-curtailed estimate of Rs 10,000 crore a year according to GK Pillai, former commerce and home secretary, who now heads a panel to fix the refund rates


  • Currently, there are certain taxes/duties/levies, at the central, state and local level, which are incurred in the process of manufacture and distribution of exported pro­ducts but are not being refunded under any mechanism.
  • Therefore in Budget Speech of 2020 govt had announced that scheme for “Reversion of duties and taxes on export product” will be launched this year to boost exports to international markets. 
  • Consequently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for introducing the RoDTEP Scheme.

Objectives of the RoDTEP Scheme

  • To make Indian exports cost competitive and create a level playing field for exporters in International market;
  • To boost better employment opportunities in export oriented manufacturing industries

Salient features of the RoDTEP Scheme

  • Benefit would be provided on certain taxes/duties/levies (other than GST) which are not refunded for exports, such as, VAT on fuel used in transportation, Mandi tax, duty on electricity used during manufacturing etc.
  • The refund would be claimed as a percentage of the Freight On Board (FOB) value of exports
  • Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) benefits would be discontinued on such tariff line/item for which benefit under RoDTEP Scheme is announced

2 . Contempt of Court Procedure

Context: Attorney-General (A-G) K.K. Venugopal has refused consent to a plea to initiate criminal contempt action against actor Swara Bhaskar for “scandalising” the Supreme Court.


  • Actress Swara Bhaskar during a public address on the top court’s judgment in the Ramjanmabhoomi title dispute case in November 2019 had made the following statement- “We are living in a country where the Supreme Court of our country states that the demolition of Babri Masjid was unlawful and in the same judgment rewards the same people who brought down the mosque.”
  • Then, a contempt plea was filed by a Karnataka resident, Usha Shetty.
  • For the Supreme Court to initiate criminal contempt action in a case the prior consent of the Attorney-General is required. But, the Attorney-General (A-G) K.K. Venugopal has refused consent to the plea. The AG stated that the statements made by the actor is a mixture of facts and perception which cannot be taken into account.

What is Criminal Contempt?

  • According to section 2(c) of The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, criminal contempt means the publication (whether by word, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which-
    • Scandalizes or tends to scandalize, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
    • Prejudices or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or
    • Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstruct or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.

What does scandalizing or lowering the authority of court mean?

  • Scandalizing might manifest itself in various ways but in substance, it is an attack on individual judges in particular or the court as a whole, with or without reference to a particular case, by casting unwarranted and defamatory aspersions upon the character or the ability of the judges.
  • Such conduct is punished as criminal contempt for the reason that it tends to create distrust in the minds of common people and thereby shatters confidence of the people in the judiciary.

Who can initiate criminal contempt?

  • The prior consent of the Attorney General is required for the Supreme Court to initiate criminal contempt action in a case.

3 . Security implications of Chinese Investment

Context: According to government officials, despite the uproar against the use of Chinese products amid the border stand-off in eastern Ladakh and the government’s decision to ban several apps, it is not possible to fully decouple the trend due to the substantial investments by Chinese companies in India.

Concerns about Chinese Investments and connection with PLA

  • Intelligence assessments have cautioned on the direct and indirect links of many companies have with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
  • Companies like Xindia Steels Limited, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent have major presence in India and also direct or indirect link with PLA.
    • Xindia Steels Limited is one of the largest joint ventures between India and China. It has commissioned a 0.8 mtpa iron ore pelletisation facility in Koppal district of Karnataka at a cost of over ₹250 crore. Its main investor is Xinxing Cathay International Group Co. Ltd. which, as per its website, is “reorganized, reconstructed and unhooked from previous production department and subordinate enterprises and institutions of the General Logistics Department of the PLA”.
    • Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former deputy director of the PLA’s engineering corps in 1987. A government decision on its bid for 5G services in India is expected shortly.
    • In 2018 CETC announced $46 million investment in a 200 MW photo-voltaic manufacturing unit in Andhra Pradesh. CETC is China’s leading military electronics manufacturer, and also makes Hikvision CCTV cameras. The same company has been implicated by the U.S. Department of Justice in at least three cases of illegal exports and many employees have been convicted for military espionage.CETC also provides technology used for human rights abuses in Xinjiang, where around one million are held in re-education camps.


  • Another aspect that raised red flags is Chinese investments in Indian technology start-ups.
    • According to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report the Chinese government’s military-civil fusion policy aims to spur innovation and economic growth through an array of policies and other government-supported mechanisms, including Venture Capital VC) funds, while leveraging the fruits of civilian innovation for China’s defence sector.

China’s National Intelligence Law

  • In June 2017, China passed a national intelligence law. It gave Beijing powers over Chinese companies’ overseas investments as well.
    • As per the Annual report of the U.S. Secretary of Defence to the Congress on the “Military and Security Developments involving the People’s Republic of China 2019”, this law requires Chinese companies, such as Huawei, ZTE and TikTok to support, provide assistance, and cooperate in China’s national intelligence work, wherever they operate.
    • Article 7 of the law states that “Any organisation or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work in accordance with the law and the state shall protect individuals and organisations that support, assist and cooperate with national intelligence work.”
  • The law has direct security implications for all overseas Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China

4 . Facts for Prelims

Centre sets up Council for transgenders

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons.
  • The chairperson of the council will be Social Justice Minister and its members would include officials from some other Ministries.

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