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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 15 November 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. CBI, ED chiefs can now have five-year terms
  2. Increase in digital connectivity with inequality
  3. CoP26 summit: India’s stand on ‘phase down’ of coal
  4. CJI on the divide between haves and have-nots
  5. Kaiser-i-Hind is Arunachal’s State butterfly

CBI, ED chiefs can now have five-year terms

Context:

The Indian President has promulgated two ordinances that would allow the Union Government to extend the tenures of the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution, Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
  2. Functions of CBI
  3. Enforcement Directorate
  4. Functions of Enforcement Directorate
  5. Details about the term extension for CBI, ED chiefs

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 after the recommendation of Santhanam committee under Ministry of Home affairs and was later transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
  • Now, the CBI comes under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • The CBI derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, however, it is NOT a Statutory Body.
  • CBI is the apex anti-corruption body in the country – Along with being the main investigating agency of the Central Government it also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
  • The CBI is required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Government before conducting any inquiry or investigation.
  • The CBI is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
  • The CBI’s conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.
  • The CBI is headed by a Director and he is assisted by a special director or an additional director. It has joint directors, deputy inspector generals, superintendents of police.
  • CBI has following divisions
    • Anti-Corruption Division
    • Economic Offences Division
    • Special Crimes Division
    • Policy and International Police Cooperation Division
    • Administration Division
    • Directorate of Prosecution
    • Central Forensic Science Laboratory

Functions of CBI

  1. Investigating cases of corruption, bribery and misconduct of Central government employees
  2. Investigating cases relating to infringement of fiscal and economic laws, that is, breach of laws concerning export and import control, customs and central excise, income tax, foreign exchange regulations and so on. However, such cases are taken up either in consultation with or at the request of the department concerned.
  3. Investigating serious crimes, having national and international ramifications, committed by organized gangs of professional criminals.
  4. Coordinating the activities of the anti-corruption agencies and the various state police forces.
  5. Taking up, on the request of a state government, any case of public importance for investigation.
  6. Maintaining crime statistics and disseminating criminal information.
  7. The CBI acts as the “National Central Bureau” of Interpol in India.

Enforcement Directorate

  • The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
  • It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government Of India.
  • It is composed of officers from the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Corporate Law Service, Indian Police Service and the Indian Administrative Service.
  • The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1 May 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.
  • In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’.

Functions of Enforcement Directorate

  • The prime objective of the Enforcement Directorate is the enforcement of two key Acts of the Government of India namely, the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA).
  • The ED’s (Enforcement Directorate) official website enlists its other objectives which are primarily linked to checking money laundering in India.
  • In fact this is an investigation agency so providing the complete details on public domain is against the rules of GOI.
  1. The ED investigates suspected violations of the provisions of the FEMA. Suspected violations includes; non-realization of export proceeds, “hawala transactions”, purchase of assets abroad, possession of foreign currency in huge amount, non-repatriation of foreign exchange, foreign exchange violations and other forms of violations under FEMA.
  2. ED collects, develops and disseminates intelligence information related to violations of FEMA, 1999. The ED receives the intelligence inputs from Central and State Intelligence agencies, complaints etc.
  3. ED has the power to attach the asset of the culprits found guilty of violation of FEMA. “Attachment of the assets” means prohibition of transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property by an order issued under Chapter III of the Money Laundering Act [Section 2(1) (d)].
  4. To undertake, search, seizure, arrest, prosecution action and survey etc. against offender of PMLA offence.
  5. To provide and seek mutual legal assistance to/from respective states in respect of attachment/confiscation of proceeds of crime and handed over the transfer of accused persons under Money Laundering Act.
  6. To settle cases of violations of the erstwhile FERA, 1973 and FEMA, 1999 and to decide penalties imposed on conclusion of settlement proceedings.

Details about the term extension for CBI, ED chiefs

  • The directors of the CBI and the ED currently have fixed two-year tenure. The newly promulgated ordinances allows for the provision of three annual extensions, thus it allows for extension of tenure from the current two years to up to five years.
  • The ordinance amends the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 to change the tenure of the post of CBI Director and amends the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 to change the tenure of the post of ED Director.
    • The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 states that the period for which the Director of Enforcement holds the office, may in the public interest and on the recommendation of the Committee which recommends names to the post be extended up to one year at a time. The ordinance mentions that the reasons for the extension need to be recorded in writing.
    • The ordinance also explicitly mentions that no such extension shall be possible after the completion of a period of five years in total.

About the Supreme Court Order

  • The one year extension provided by the central government to the current ED director was challenged in the Supreme Court recently.
  • The SC bench had asked the government not to provide any more extension, while observing that any extension of tenure during superannuation has to be for a short period and held that such extensions could be given only in rare and exceptional circumstances to facilitate an ongoing g investigation.

-Source: The Hindu


Increase in digital connectivity with inequality

Context:

Study on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 with respect to services like healthcare and education show that though the Internet connectivity has shot up over 2021 – remote work, education and healthcare are still not equally available to all, even among those with digital access.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues Related to Women, Poverty related issues), GS-I: Indian Society, GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. More about the Increase in Internet usage in India
  2. How and why was there an Increase in Internet Usage in India Post 2017?
  3. About the inequalities found in the survey

More about the Increase in Internet usage in India

  • The number of internet users in India has grown significantly in recent years, according to data compiled by the World Bank.
  • It was almost seven years after the internet was first thrown open to the public that more than 1% of India’s population used the internet.
  • But then, in just six years, the share of the population using the internet grew by almost 25 percentage points – to 34% in 2017.
  • To contrast – Globally, 50% people used the internet in 2017, and the figure is much higher in developed countries – 87%.

How and why was there an Increase in Internet Usage in India Post 2017?

  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) shows that the internet has penetrated even deeper into the society after 2017.
  • Internet subscribers per 100 people in India has grown by 20 percentage points in just two years since 2017.

Primary Reason

  • Mobile telecom networks have played an important role in increasing internet access in India.
  • 3G internet service was first launched in 2008 and 4G in 2012, and after this between 2013 and 2019, there was a 68% increase in the number of wireless internet users.

About the inequalities found in the survey

  • The survey has found that despite increased internet connectivity, remote work, education and healthcare are still not equally available to all, even among those with digital access.
  • The survey found that 80% of school-age children in the country had no access to remote education during pandemic induced school closure phase.
  • Lack of compatible digital devices, poor 3G/4G signal and high data cost have been the biggest hurdles in ensuring access to online education.
  • Nationwide, 38% of households said at least one child had dropped out of school due to COVID-19.
  • Only 10% of those employed during the lockdown were able to work from home.
  • There were significant geographical and sectoral variations as well.
  • Availability of compatible and adequate number of digital device and connectivity challenges were the major challenges to the people working from home.
  • Although telemedicine and online doctor consultations surged during the pandemic phase, still only 38% were able to access telemedicine services.
  • Lack of awareness of internet, lack of access to devices and lack of skills are the reasons why people do not go online.

-Source: The Hindu


CoP26 summit: India’s stand on ‘phase down’ of coal

Context:

The 26th United Nations Conference of Parties of the UNFCC in Glasgow ended with the Glasgow Climate Pact. The final text of the agreement calls for coal to be “phased down” rather than “phased out” as demanded by developed countries.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, International Treaties and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Important points of Discussion in the closure of the COP26 UN Climate Summit
  2. Key points of The Glasgow Climate Pact
  3. India’s line of argument

Important points of Discussion in the closure of the COP26 UN Climate Summit

Concerns over Coal

  • China and India attempted to soften the summit text’s stance on fossil fuels.
  • India spoke out to express its dissatisfaction with the wording, particularly passages that recommended phasing out coal subsidies.
  • Several countries, notably tiny island governments, expressed disappointment with the decision to “phase down” coal power rather than “phase out.”

Glasgow Facility

  • The development of a “Glasgow Facility” has been a fundamental demand from various island states and African Union members.
  • It would give money to nations who are already experiencing the effects of climate change.
  • This money would be part of a “Adaptation Fund” that rich nations would fund.

Commitments of Developed countries

  • Developed nations have agreed to provide $100 billion every year by 2020.
  • This provision was entrenched in 2009, but none of it has found its way to underdeveloped nations, and it remains a source of dispute.

Demands of Developing countries

  • India has stated that if money is available, it will commit to attaining net zero by 2070.
  • The plan urged wealthy nations to quadruple collective adaptation funding by 2025, compared to current levels.
  • It also advocated the acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions, which should be announced by the end of next year at the latest.
  • To address the issues posed by global warming, India has asked wealthy nations to contribute one trillion dollars over the next decade.

Key points of The Glasgow Climate Pact

  • The 26th Conference of Parties adopted a resolution by member countries to revisit and strengthen existing emission targets by 2022.
  • The final text of the agreement calls for coal to be “phased down” rather than “phased out” as demanded by developed countries.
  • The Paris Rulebook, which specifies guidelines for how the Paris Agreement is to be delivered, was also finalized. The agreement has better clarity on the Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement aims at promoting integrated, holistic and balanced approaches that will assist governments in implementing their NDCs through voluntary international cooperation.
  • The Glasgow climate agreement creates a ‘centralised hub’ for bilateral carbon trade, replacing the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol validated carbon credit trading via a Clean Development Mechanism. This mechanism had expired in 2020. Carbon credits allow companies in developed countries to indirectly pay for clean energy transitions in developing countries by accumulating credits.
  • The new agreement also provides much needed clarity on aspects of calculation of carbon accounts by clearly laid guidelines with respect to Certified Emission Reductions. Certified Emission Reductions are a type of emissions unit issued by the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board for emission reductions achieved by CDM projects and verified under the rules of the Kyoto Protocol.

India’s line of argument

  • India played an important role in the final text of the agreement that called for coal to be “phased down” rather than “phased out”.
  • India’s main line of argument has been that the unregulated use of fossil fuels has enabled developed countries to attain high level of growth and it cannot be expected of developing countries facing developmental challenges to give up usage of coal.
  • Developing countries like India have a right to their fair share of the global carbon budget and are entitled to the responsible use of fossil fuels within this scope.
  • Also despite arguments from the developed countries on the ill effects of coal, many developed countries have still not completely phased out coal.
  • Notably, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) refers to mitigation of GHG emissions from all sources including coal, oil and gas. Whereas the developed countries tend to shift focus away from oil and gas only because of its relevance to their domestic economies.

-Source: The Hindu


CJI on the divide between haves and have-nots

Context:

Speaking at a pan-Indian legal awareness and outreach campaign programme, the Chief Justice of India lamented on the continued existence of stark economic division between haves and have-nots in India.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key highlights of what the CJI said about inequality
  2. Inequality in India exposed by the pandemic
  3. Challenges compounding inequality in India
  4. Global Indices regarding Inequality in India

Key highlights of what the CJI said about inequality

  • The CJI emphasised that there could be no real freedom without economic freedom of an individual.
  • The CJI noted how poverty among the people has been a major impediment in the people’s aspiration to lead a dignified life.
  • Despite India adopting the welfare state principle in its Constitution, adequate benefits have not trickled down to the poor and under privileged.
  • The CJI said an independent and robust district judiciary was the foremost sign of a healthy judiciary. The CJI reinforced the need to practice a justice delivery system which reached out to those in need and rendered them help without delay.

Inequality in India exposed by the pandemic

  • India’s top 10% of the population holds 74.3% of the total national wealth of India’s richest 1% of the population hold 42.5% of national wealth while the bottom 50%, the majority of the population, owns a mere 2.8%
  • Wealth inequality in India is rising with the Gini wealth coefficient having risen to 83.2% in 2019 from 81.2% in 2008.
  • In India, one of the most distinctive forms of social inequity come within the spheres of gender and caste, where, people coming from the marginalized sections of these social categories, are directly impacted in terms of their opportunities, access to livelihood, education and health facilities.

Challenges compounding inequality in India

  • Poverty: Despite lifting 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-15, India still remains home to 28 per cent of the world’s poor, as per the Human Development Report. Though severe poverty is less, vulnerability towards poverty is quite high.
  • Smaller Incomes: While unemployment is under control in India, smaller incomes have resulted in a higher dominance of working poor, lower share of skilled workforce and lack of old-age security.
  • Education: In terms of Education, inequality in India is more than that in the South Asian region and the world. Indian girls attend school for a shorter period than the regional average.

Global Indices regarding Inequality in India

The World Happiness Report:

  • Released by: United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network
  • India’s rank: 144 out of 153. The first five ranks go to Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway, respectively.
  • Criteria: well-being; positive emotions; supplemental life; circumstances and social environment; inequalities; unemployment; low incomes; discrimination; GDP per capita; life expectancy; freedom; generosity and absence of corruption.

Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020:

  • Released by: Welthungerhilfe (Germany based) and Concern Worldwide (Irish NGO)
  • India’s rank: 94th out of the 107 countries. India is ranked lower than neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).
  • Criteria: undernourished as a percentage of the population, child wasting, child stunting, child mortality

Oxfam – Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index 2020

  • India was ranked 129 among 158 countries overall, in the 2020 Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index.
  • As per the index, India is among the world’s worst-performing countries in tackling inequality going into the pandemic.
  • India’s health budget is the world’s fourth-lowest and only half of the population has access to even the most basic healthcare services, and more than 70% of health spending is being met by people themselves, one of the highest levels in the world.

-Source: The Hindu


Kaiser-i-Hind is Arunachal’s State butterfly

Context:

State Cabinet of Arunachal Pradesh approved “Kaiser-i-Hind” as state butterfly on November 2021.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Species in News)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Kaiser-i-Hind

About Kaiser-i-Hind

  • Kaiser-i-Hind is scientifically known as Teinopalpus imperialis, is a large and brightly coloured butterfly. In literal terms, it means Emperor of India. The butterfly is having a wingspan of 90-120 mm.
  • It is an elusive swallowtail butterfly, which carries ‘India’ in its name.
  • It has been approved as the State butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It is found across six States along Eastern Himalayas at the elevations from 6,000-10,000 feet in a well-wooded terrain. They also flutter in Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Myanmar, southern China and Vietnam.

-Source: The Hindu

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