UPSC Exam: Comprehensive News Analysis – January 24

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. Malimath Committee Report
2. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017
POLITY
1. Governor’s Speech
2. A scheme that draws scientists but leaves them in the lurch
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. Japan for greater ties with India in food processing
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. NIIF, DP World to invest $3 bn
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND ECOLOGY
1. 177/180: India at bottom in green ranking
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

 

B. GS2 Related

 Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Malimath Committee Report

In news:

  • The Centre has decided to revisit the 2003 report of the Justice V.S. Malimath Committee on reforming the criminal justice system.

What are the major recommendations?

  • It includes controversial recommendations such as making confessions to a senior police officer admissible as evidence, and diluting the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction.
  • It also contains valuable suggestions to revamp the administration of criminal law, covering the entire gamut of the justice system from investigation to sentencing, from matters of policy to the nuances of criminal procedure and the law of evidence.

What are the accepted recommendations?

  • The committee made 158 recommendations, and since then some of these have become law.
  • Its suggestion on permitting videography of statements has been implemented.
  • The definition of rape has been expanded and new offences against women have been added.
  • Its advocacy of substantial witness protection has not been realised, but victim compensation is now part of law.

What are the controversial recommendations?

  • The recommendations relating to making confessions to high-ranking officers admissible, and increasing the period of police custody from 15 to 30 days.
  • These provisions were available only in anti-terrorism laws that are now no more in force. There is no need to bring them into general criminal laws.

What is the new standard of proof suggested?

  • The Malimath report suggests a standard of proof lower than the current ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard.
  • It moots a ‘clear and convincing’ standard, that is, it is enough if the court is convinced that something is true. Such a measure would have adverse implications for suspects, and requires considerable deliberation.
  • There is some understandable disquiet about the state of criminal justice administration in the country and there is a crying need for a wide range of reforms.
  • As the Madhava Menon Committee’s ‘Draft National Policy on Criminal Justice’ (2007) noted, such popular dissatisfaction arises from the low rate of conviction, the apparent role of money and influence in the outcome of cases, delayed and denied justice, lack of protection to witnesses and inadequate attention to crime victims.

What are the issues with Criminal justice system in India?

  • The perception that there is corruption on the one hand and a deep nexus between crime syndicates and politicians on the other, has added to the erosion of public confidence in the justice delivery system.
  • Despite all these considerations, any move to make substantive changes in the way criminal justice is administered will have to be done with great circumspection, lest vital constitutional safeguards against abuse of police and judicial powers are violated in the process.

2. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017

In news

  • The process of introducing legislation for road safety has been in the making for the past four years. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2017.
  • If passed by the Rajya Sabha, it will be the first of its kind to extensively reform existing legislation on road safety, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

What are the challenges in India?

  • The Amendment Bill is robust and rectifies several systemic issues by providing for a uniform driver licensing system, protection of children and vulnerable road users, rationalising penalties, and much more.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) points out that for effective road safety management, it is imperative to have an institutionalised and sustainable data system.
  • This includes information pertaining to drivers, such as types of licences held and a record of violation of traffic laws.
  • The driver licensing system in India controls and filters the number and quality of drivers on the road. Currently, the procedure is largely manual, while the number of licences issued per year is over a crore.
  • The inefficiencies of a predominantly manual system, given the scale of licences issued every year, results in lakhs of licences being issued without the prescribed checks and balances.
  • In the absence of a central registry, often multiple licences are held by one person for different States. Low penalties for licensing offences allow erring drivers to be behind the wheel and get away with life-threatening violations.

What are the changes in the Bill?

  • The Bill addresses each of these challenges by introducing technology in the licensing procedure. A digitised, uniform and centralised driver licensing system will go a long way in ensuring ease of access, efficiency and transparency in the filtering process.
  • The Bill also proposes to introduce digitisation in the monitoring and enforcement of traffic laws. Electronic monitoring and enforcement can already be seen in practice in Kerala.
  • The State has a ‘city surveillance and traffic monitoring system’, and automated traffic enforcement systems to detect traffic light violations as well as speeding.
  • The enactment of the Bill will facilitate the replication and creation of such digitised systems for all other States.

How does the Bill address issues of children?

  • Since 2008, in India, over 55,000 children have lost their lives in road accidents. In 2016 alone, 7% of road crash deaths were attributed to children below 18 years.
  • The WHO asserts that using child-restraint systems in vehicles decreases the risk of death in a crash by about 70% for infants and 54-80% for small children.
  • In the current piece of legislation, there is no provision for protection of children, and this lacuna has been addressed for the first time.
  • The Bill proposes to mandate the use of protective headgear by every person above the age of four driving, riding or being carried on a two-wheeler.
  • It provides for measures to be laid down for the safety of children below the age of four. Similarly, the Bill mandates the use of safety belts and child restraints for those under 14 years and introduces a fine of Rs. 1,000 for the driver or guardian for the violation of the same.

Does the Bill rationalise Penalties?

  • For decades, penalties for behaviour that results in fatalities and grievous injuries have remained minimal, largely unrevised, and, consequently, have failed to deter violators.
  • This Bill promises to rationalise these fines. For instance, the penalty for drunk driving has been increased to Rs. 10,000 for the first offence and Rs. 15,000 for the subsequent one.
  • For exceeding lawful speeds, the penalty has been increased to Rs. 1,000 for light motor vehicles and Rs. 2,000-4,000 for medium and heavy motor vehicles. For the non-use of helmets and seat belts, the fines have been increased from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1,000.

What are India’s commitments under Brasilia Declaration?

  • As a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety, India has committed to reducing, by 2020, the number of road crash fatalities and serious injuries by 50%.
  • This will be impossible to achieve if the sole statute governing road safety in India, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is not overhauled. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, will serve as the first and most essential step towards fulfilling this vision.

 Category: POLITY

1. Governor’s Speech

In news

  • Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam is one of the many governors to omit parts of a speech prepared by the government of the day in his address to the Assembly.

Past cases of omission

  • Last year, Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy skipped portions of his address containing critical remarks drafted by the Left Front government against the Centre on the communal situation in the country.
  • In March 1969, Punjab Chief Minister Gurnam Singh staved off a controversy by agreeing to a request by Governor D.C. Pavate to remove remarks critical of the Union government.
  • In Governor’s Role in the Indian Constitution(1992), Sibranjan Chatterjee notes that in the early 1980s, following Governor A.P. Sharma’s objection, the West Bengal government omitted a reference to the appointment of the Calcutta University Vice-Chancellor.

 Does such an omission violate any constitutional convention?

  • In Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab , the Supreme Court quoted the opinion of the first Attorney General of India, M.C. Setalvad, that the principle that the President (or the Governor) is guided by the aid and advice of the Cabinet covered every function whether it relates to addressing the House or returning a Bill for reconsideration, or assenting or withholding assent.
  • In his book, Chatterjee notes that it was the intention of the Constitution-makers that the Governor’s speech would be prepared by the Council of Ministers and the Governor would read it.
  • Any attempt to violate this would amount to breach of the spirit of the Constitution, if not its word. If a Governor violates this convention and deletes any part of the address under the cloak of his discretionary power, his action may not be ‘unlawful’ from a rigid legalistic viewpoint; but this will surely strike at the roots of [the] norms of parliamentary system of government.

The case of Dharam Vira

  • A controversy arose when Governor Dharma Vira skipped two paragraphs in his address to the joint session of the West Bengal legislature on March 6, 1969.
  • The portions omitted contained critical references to the events culminating in the dismissal of the Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee ministry in 1967.
  • Parties in the opposition termed the Governor’s action unlawful and unconstitutional.
  • However, some MPs and political leaders defended the Governor on the ground that the paragraphs impliedly ridiculed a High Court judgment that had upheld the Governor’s actions, and that the Governor had no option but to omit the portions as he had a constitutional obligation to protect the High Court’s position.
  • On this issue, Chatterjee says Dharma Vira’s action was not unlawful, nor did it violate established convention.
  • Just as he had an obligation to read out the speech prepared by the government, the Council of Ministers too had an obligation not to include any remark about the Governor’s own past actions.

In other words, when the speech is confined to matters of policy, the Governor will have to read it in its entirety regardless of his opinion, but when it contains irrelevant words that would be inappropriate for him to read, he may omit them at the risk of inviting criticism.

2. A scheme that draws scientists but leaves them in the lurch

The INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research) Faculty scheme:

  • A scholarship scheme managed by the Centre’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) to help young, talented scientists embark on independent research careers at Indian labs.
  • The Scheme selects promising research scholars under 32 and offers them a salary of Rs.80,000 a month as well as an annual research grant worth Rs.7 lakh to work at a university of their choice for five years.

Why was the scheme launched?

  • It was conceived in 2008 amid concerns that not enough talented students were opting for research careers in basic sciences and were being lured away by higher salaries in banking, information technology and management.

Present Scenario:

  • The scheme is drawing flak with complaints of harassment, tardy fund disbursal and concerns that the scheme hasn’t catalysed enough jobs.

 Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. Japan for greater ties with India in food processing

India- Japan:

  • Japanese Ambassador to India said there was plenty of room to expand India-Japan ties, especially in food processing, urban development, environment and sanitation as well as medicine.
  • Key Fact: In the area of urban development, Japan was helping India in developing Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi as smart cities.
  • Priority areas: other priority areas for cooperation included water supply, sewage treatment, natural disaster management techniques, internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics, start-ups and industrial corridors

C. GS3 Related

 Category: ECONOMY

1. NIIF, DP World to invest $3 bn

In news:

  • Dubai’s DP World and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have set up an investment platform to invest in ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India
  • NIIF is a fund-managing entity of the Government of India
  • DP world is a dual listed company
  • Importance: Efficient logistics and cargo movement are critical components for the continued growth and development of the Indian economy, particularly manufacturing

Particulars of the platform

  • The platform will invest up to $3 billion to acquire assets and develop projects in the sector
  • The investment platform will also look at opportunities beyond sea ports such as (i) river ports and transportation, (ii) freight corridors, (iii) port-led special economic zones, (iv) inland container terminals, and (vi) logistics infrastructure including cold storage
Basic Information:
  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country.
  • NIIF was proposed to be set up as a Trust, to raise debt to invest in the equity of infrastructure finance companies such as Indian Rail Finance Corporation (IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB). The idea is that these infrastructure finance companies can then leverage this extra equity, manifold. In that sense, NIIF is a banker of the banker of the banker.
  • NIIF is envisaged as a fund of funds with the ability to make direct investments as required. As a fund of fund it may invest in other SEBI registered funds
  • Objective: The objective of NIIF would be to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects. It could also consider other nationally important projects, for example, in manufacturing, if commercially viable.

 Category: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND ECOLOGY

1. 177/180: India at bottom in green ranking

Environmental Performance Index (EPI) rankings:

  • Poor handling of air pollution abatement and forest protection measures has seen India slip to 177th position in green rankings this year from its 141st position two years ago.
  • India figure at the bottom of five performers in a list of 180 countries.
  • The low ranking of the emerging economic like India and China (120th) reflects the strain population pressure and economic growth impose on environment.
  • Switzerland leads the world in protecting environment and sustainable practices, followed by France, Denmark, Malta, and Sweden.

Ranking criteria:

  • The EPI report ranks these nations on 10 broad categories (issues), including 24 performance indicators, covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
  • These performance indicators include air quality, water & sanitation, CO2 emission intensity (emission per unit of GDP), forests (deforestation) and waste water treatment among others.

Air quality, the leading threat to public life:

  • Air quality (household solid fuels and PM2.5 exposure), remained the leading environmental threat to public health
  • Countries such as India, China and Pakistan which scored badly on air quality front “face public health crisis that demand urgent attention”.
  • India’s ‘Ujjwala Yojana’ – meant for LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households – got a special mention in the report which noted that if the goal of this scheme is realised, it has potential to positively impact the lives of millions of BPL households by providing them with access to safe, affordable cooking technologies and fuels.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements with reference to The INSPIRE (Innovation in 
Science Pursuit for Inspired Research) Faculty scheme.
  1. The scheme is managed by the Centre’s Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  2. The main aim of the scheme is to help young, talented scientists embark on independent research careers at Indian labs.
  3. The Scheme selects promising research scholars under 32 and offers them a salary of Rs.80,000 a month as well as an annual research grant worth Rs.7 lakh to work at a university of their choice for five years

Identify the correct statement from the codes given below:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1 and 3
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

See

Answer

 

Question 2. Identify the correct statement with reference to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
  1. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to all the households in rural areas.
  3. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to all the households in semi urban areas.
  4. None of the above

See

Answer

 

Question 3. In the recently released Environmental Performance Index (EPI) rankings, India 
stands at which position?
  1. 177th
  2. 176th
  3. 175th
  4. 174th

See

Answer

 

Question 4. Consider the following statements with reference to the impeachment of judges.
  1. For the impeachment of a Supreme Court or HC judge, 100 Lok Sabha MPs or 50 Rajya Sabha members have to move a motion before the Speaker or chairman of the Upper House.
  2. Both the houses of Parliament will have to separately pass motion by two-thirds majority of members present and voting.

Identify the correct statement from the codes given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer

 

Question 5. Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation in India is measured on a
  1. Weekly basis
  2. Quarterly basis
  3. Monthly basis
  4. Yearly basis

See

Answer

 

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper IV
  1. Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when (a) official duties, (b) public interest, and (c) personal interest are taking priority one above the other. How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example.

Case Study

  1. You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner, the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel, he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardised, which is of immense importance to your company.

    What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation?

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

“Proper Current Affairs preparation is the key to success in the UPSC- Civil Services Examination. We have now launched a comprehensive ‘Current Affairs Webinar’. Limited seats available. Click here to Know More.”

 

Enroll for India’s Largest All-India Test Series

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *