Daily Current Affairs : 2nd March 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Windsor Framework
  2. Fugitive Economic offender Act
  3. NCST & Article 338 A
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Windsor Framework

Context: The United Kingdom and the European Union struck a deal regarding post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, with a view to remove the border between Britain and Northern Ireland running through the Irish Sea.  

What is Windsor Framework?

  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have agreed a new post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland called Windsor Framework which will replace the Northern Ireland Protocol
  • This framework is designed to tackle the issues impacting Northern Ireland since the UK left the EU – and the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol came into force.

What is Northern Ireland Protocol problem?

  • After the UK left the European Union, Northern Ireland remained its only constituent that shared a land border with an EU-member, the Republic of Ireland. Since the EU and the UK have different product standards, border checks would be necessary before goods could move from Northern Ireland to Ireland.
  • However, the two Irelands have had a long history of conflict, with a hard-fought peace secured only in 1998 under the Belfast Agreement, also called the Good Friday agreement. Fiddling with this border was thus considered too dangerous, and it was decided the checks would be conducted between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland (which together with Great Britain forms the United Kingdom). This was called the Northern Ireland Protocol.
  • Under the protocol, Northern Ireland remained in the EU single market, and trade-and-customs inspections of goods coming from Great Britain took place at its ports along the Irish Sea.
  • The checks made trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland cumbersome, with food products, especially, losing out on shelf life while they waited for clearance. Some taxation and spending policies of the UK government could not be implemented in Northern Ireland because of EU rules. The sale of medicines, too, was caught between different British and EU rules.
  • Also, any kind of border in the Irish Sea irked those who want a united United Kingdom. Significantly, one such person was Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland. The DUP has not allowed Stormont, its Parliament, to function since last year, because of its opposition to the Protocol.

What the Windsor Framework proposes?

  • The Windsor framework seeks to address the aforementioned disruptions to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
  • The framework has two crucial aspects – the introduction of a green lane and red lane system for goods that will stay in Northern Ireland and those that will go to the EU respectively; and the ‘Stormont Brake’, which allows Northern Ireland lawmakers and London to veto any EU regulation they believe affects the region adversely.

What are the two lanes?

  • Green lane– British goods meant for Northern Ireland will use the green lane at the ports, and will be allowed to pass with minimal paperwork and checks. Physical checks will be conducted if the goods are deemed suspicious, in place of the routine.
  • This is especially significant for meat products, such as sausages, travelling between the two parts of the UK, as the E. The same medicines, in the same packs, with the same labels, will be available across the UK, without the need for barcode scanning requirements under the old Protocol.
  • Red Lane– Goods destined for Ireland or the rest of the EU will have to take the red lane, with the attendant customs and other checks.
  • The U.K. and EU leaders are hoping that this would lead to greater availability of British goods in Northern Ireland markets, including both foods and medicines.

What is Stormont Brake?

  • The new Stormont Brake means the democratically elected Northern Ireland Assembly can oppose new EU goods rules that would have significant and lasting effects on everyday lives in Northern Ireland. For this, they will need the support of 30 members from at least two parties. The British government can then veto the law.
  • It is an emergency measure that permits Northern Ireland’s devolved government to quickly halt new EU laws from being imposed on the province — a measure that London retains the right to veto

2 . Fugitive Economic Offender’s Act

Context: India has called upon G20 countries to adopt multilateral action for faster extradition of fugitive economic offenders and recovery of assets both on domestic front as well as from abroad, during the first anti-corruption working group meeting held in Gurugram.


  • The Act was introduced to deter fugitive economic of­fenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdic­tion of Indian courts.
  • Nirav Modi is the second person to be declared a fugi­tive economic off ender, un­der the Fugitive Eco­nomic Off enders Act, after liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

About Fugitive Economic Offender Act

  • The Act allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if:
    • An arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore
    • He has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.     
  • To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.  The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice.  Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. 
  • The Act allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court. 
  • Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property).  Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims. 

Key features of the Act

  • Fugitive economic offender (FEO): An FEO is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing any offence listed in the Schedule to the act, and the value of the offence is at least Rs 100 crore.  Further, the person has left the country and refuses to return, in order to avoid facing prosecution.  The Act lists 55 economic offences in the Schedule, which include: (i) counterfeiting government stamps or currency, (ii) dishonouring cheques, (iii) benami transactions, (iv) transactions defrauding creditors, (v) tax evasion, and (vi) money-laundering.  The central government may amend the Schedule through a notification
  • Authorities: The authorities under the PMLA, 2002 will exercise powers given to them under the Act. These powers will be similar to those of a civil court, including: (i) search of persons in possession of records or proceeds of crime, (ii) search of premises on the belief that a person is an FEO, and (iii) seizure of documents.

Key issues

  • Under Clause 14of the Act , any court or tribunal may bar an FEO from filing or defending any civil claim before it. Barring persons from filing or defending civil claims may violate Article 21.
  • The Act specifies that an FEO’s properties will be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (claims or rights in the property).  The central government may dispose of the properties after 90 days.  The Act does not specify how the central government will use the sale proceeds.  
  • Under the Act, authorities may search a person or premises on the belief that a person may be declared an FEO or has proceeds of crime.  The act allows a search to be conducted without a search warrant or witnesses.  This differs from other laws, such as the Code of Criminal of Procedure (CrPC), 1973, which provide certain safeguards

3 . Article – 338 A & National Commission of Scheduled Tribes

Context: In the middle of a face-off with the Environment Ministry over the new Forest Conservation Rules (2022) potentially diluting the Forest Rights Act, 2006, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has now secured FRA implementation reports of all States and Union Territories by invoking its Constitutional powers to directly approach the Supreme Court of India.

Article 338A and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
  • Composition of the commission- The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge. The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister, and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India

Functions of the Commission (Under Clause (5) of Art. 338A)

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
  • To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes;
  • To participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
  • To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
  • To make in such reports, recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes, and
  • To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
  • The Commission would also discharge the following other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development & advancement of the Scheduled Tribes, namely:-
    • Measures that need to be taken over conferring ownership rights in respect of minor forest produce to the Scheduled Tribes living in forest areas.
    • Measures to be taken to safeguard rights to the Tribal Communities over mineral resources, water resources etc. as per law.
    • Measures to be taken for the development of tribals and to work for move viable livelihood strategies.
    • Measures to be taken to improve the efficacy of relief and rehabilitation measures for tribal groups displaced by development projects.
    • Measures to be taken to prevent alienation of tribal people from land and to effectively rehabilitate such people in whose case alienation has already taken place.
    • Measures to be taken to elicit maximum cooperation and involvement of Tribal Communities for protecting forests and undertaking social afforestation.
    • Measures to be taken to ensure full implementation of the Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.
    • Measures to be taken to reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of shifting cultivation by Tribals that lead to their continuous disempowerment and degradation of land and the environment.

Powers of the Commission (Under Clause (8) of Art. 338A)

1.For Investigation and Inquiry, the Commission is vested with powers of a civil court having authority to:

a.Summon and enforce attendance of any person and examine on oath;
b.Discovery & production of any documents;
c.Receive evidence on affidavits;
d.Requisition any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
e.Issue Commissions for examination of witnesses and documents; and
f.Any matter which President, by rule, may determine

Constitutional Safeguards for STs

I. Educational & Cultural Safeguards

  • Article 15(4): – Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes (which includes STs);
  • Article 29: – Protection of Interests of Minorities (which cludes STs);
  • Article 46 : – The State shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation

II. Social Safeguard

  • Article 23:- Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar form of forced labour;
  • Article 24: – Forbidding Child Labour.

III. Economic Safeguards

  • Article 244: – Clause(1) Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule, under Clause (2) of this Article.
  • Article 275: – Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.

IV. Political Safeguards

  • Article 164(1):- Provides for Tribal Affairs Ministers in Bihar, MP and Orissa;
  • Article 330:- Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;
  • Article 337- Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;
  • Article 334:- 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period.);
  • Article 243D:- Reservation of seats in Panchayats.
  • Article 371:- Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim

V. Service Safeguards

  • (Under Art.16(4),16(4A),164(B) Art.335, and Art. 320(40)

4 . Facts for Prelims

S- 400 Missile system

  • S-400 Triumf is considered one of the world’s most advanced air defence systems that can simultaneously track and neutralise a range of incoming objects spanning aircraft, missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) over very long ranges.
  • Features- S-400 is not merely a surface-to-air missile system but a complete family of systems, including radars, command centers, missiles, and support components that can be put together into combat units to defend vast areas of airspace.
  • The S-400 air defense system includes a jam-resistance panoramic radar system for target detection, small radar systems for target engagement, a command, and control center, missile launching stations, and a Morpheus Defense system for its protection.
  • The S-400 can reportedly be assembled in five minutes through a mobile command vehicle, making it a deadly force capable of being fired from any terrain.
  • The S-400 is able to intercept cruise missiles at a range of only about 40 km due to their low-altitude flight paths. With an active radar homing head, climbs to designated altitude then guidance switches to search & destroy mode. Effective against low-altitude targets at extremely long range (below the radio horizon).
  • The current version of the S-400 can fire four different types of missiles, including the 9M96E with a range of 40 kilometers, 9M96E2 with a range of 120 kilometers, 48N6 with a range of 250 kilometers, and the 40N6E with a range of 400 kilometers.
  • India has contracted five S-400 Triumf (NATO designation SA-21 Growler) regiments from Russia under a $5.43 billion deal signed in October 2018
  • The S-400 fills important gaps in India’s national air defence network and would complement India’s indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and create a multi-tier air defence over the country.

Purchasing Managers’ Index

  • The S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index measures the performance of the manufacturing sector and is derived from a survey of 500 manufacturing companies.
  • The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index is based on five individual indexes with the following weights:
    • New Orders (30 percent),
    • Output (25 percent),
    • Employment (20 percent),
    • Suppliers’ Delivery Times (15 percent) and
    • Stock of Items Purchased (10 percent), with the Delivery Times index inverted so that it moves in a comparable direction.
  •  A reading above 50 indicates an expansion of the manufacturing sector compared to the previous month; below 50 represents a contraction; while 50 indicates no change.

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