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06 March Current Affairs

Lalit Kala Akademi Awards

In News:

The President of India conferred the 61st annual Lalit Kala Akademi Awards on 15 meritorious artists at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 4th March, 2020.

Details:

The Lalit Kala Akademi nominated seven member selection Jury of eminent art practitioners, artists and critics from all over the country to finalise the list of artists to be awarded.

Lalit Kala Akademi organises art exhibitions and award ceremonies every year to promote art as well as to honour talents.

Artwork of the award-winning artists will be on display till March 22, 2020, at the 61st National Exhibition of Art at the Lalit Kala Akademi galleries in New Delhi.

Lalit Kala Academy :-

The Akademi was inaugurated on August 5, 1954, by the then Honourable Minister for Education, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

The Akademi was given statutory authority in 1957, under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

Since its establishment it has been serving the entire country by promoting the creative endeavours of Indian artists and bringing their arts to bear upon a large number of people, thereby playing an important role in defining and redefining the sensibility of an entire culture, falling under the visual arts spectrum.

It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Rules for Filing Complaints with Lokpal Notified

In News:

The Department of Personnel and Training has issued a notification providing the rules and prescribed format for filing complaints with the Lokpal.

Key Points:

The notification, under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, lays down the rules called the Lokpal (Complaint) Rules, 2020.

  1. A) Identity Proof:

According to the complaint form, a complainant has to give a valid proof of identity, as specified therein.

  1. B) Foreign nationals can also lodge complaints.

Only a copy of their passports will be accepted as proof of identity.

  1. C) Mode of Complaint:

The complaint can be filed electronically, by post or in person.

In case the complaint is filed electronically, it’s hard copy has to be submitted to the Lokpal within 15 days.

No complaints can be filed against a public servant under the Army Act, Navy Act, Air Force Act and the Coast Guard Act.

  1. D) Language:

A complaint may ordinarily be made in English, provided that the Lokpal may also entertain a complaint in any of the languages referred to in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.

The complaints, whose contents are illegible, vague or ambiguous, which are trivial or frivolous, do not contain any allegation, are not filed within the limitation period of seven years, or are pending before any other court, tribunal or authority, will have to be disposed of within 30 days.

  1. E) Protection:

The identity of the complainant or the accused official will be protected by the Lokpal till the conclusion of inquiry or investigation.

However, the protection will not be applicable in cases where the complainant herself reveals her identity to any other office or authority while making the complaint to Lokpal.

The Lokpal Act:

This Act provides for the establishment of a body of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

It was passed in 2013.

Lokpal is an apex body to deal with cases of corruption at the national level. It has to enquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries of the central government in a time bound manner.

Jurisdiction: The Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament and officers and officials of the Central Government.

Ink to Curb Fake Printing of Passports and Counterfeiting of Currency Notes

In News:

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Physical Laboratory has developed a bi-luminescent security ink which glows in red and green colours when illuminated by two different excitation sources.

Details:

The ink was given to Bank Note Press (BNP), Dewas, a unit of Security Printing Minting Corporation of India Ltd. (SPMCIL), New Delhi.

The formulation can be used to check the authenticity of passports, Government documents, tamper evident labels, identity cards, etc.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research :-

CSIR was established by the Government of India in September 1942 as an autonomous body.

It is known for its cutting edge R&D knowledge base in diverse S&T areas.

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been ranked first in the Nature Ranking Index-2020.

The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

Visit of UN Delegation on Palestine to India

In News:

Recently, a UN delegation on Palestine visited New Delhi to seek India’s political and diplomatic support for a peaceful resolution to the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Details:

The delegation of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) intends to engage India in the settling of the question of Palestine.

Key Points :-

During the visit of the UN delegation on Palestine, India has reiterated its stand and supported the Two-State solution for the Israel-Palestine issue.

The visit aimed to enhance the political and diplomatic support of India for a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and engaging Indian counterparts on synergies in capacity building for staff and institutions of Palestine.

The delegation intends to involve countries like India as it shares good relations with both Israel and Palestine, and are also attached to multilateral principles, to play a bigger role in the resolution of the issue.

India’s Stand on Israel-Palestine Issue :-

In June 2019, India voted in favour of a decision introduced by Israel in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that objected to granting consultative status to a Palestinian non-governmental organization.

In June 2018, India had voted in favour of Palestine on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution to investigate an indiscriminate force usage by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.

As a part of Link West Policy, India has de-hyphenated its relationship with Israel and Palestine in 2018 to treat both the countries mutually independent and exclusive.

In December 2017, India had criticised the United States vote for recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital at the UNGA vote.

In 2014, India favoured UNHRC’s resolution to probe Israel’s human rights violations in Gaza. Despite supporting the probe, India abstained from voting against Israel in UNHRC in 2015.

Two-State Solution :-

The “two-state solution” is based on a UN resolution of 1947 which proposed two states – one would be a state where Zionist Jews constituted a majority, the other where the Palestinian Arabs would be a majority of the population. The idea was however rejected by the Arabs.

For decades, it has been held by the international community as the only realistic deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

India has consistently voted in favour of those resolutions that promote the two-state solution with a Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem.

Ban on Cryptocurrency Trading Removed

In News:

The Supreme Court has struck down a ban on trading of Virtual Currencies (VC) in India, which was imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in April 2018.

Details:

The RBI order prohibited banks and entities regulated by it from dealing in VCs or providing services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling VCs.

Such services include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer/receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs.

Highlights of the Judgement :-

Test of Proportionality:

The ban did not pass the “proportionality” test. The test of proportionality of any action by the government must pass the test of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, which states that all citizens of the country will have the right to practise any profession, or carry on any occupation or trade and business.

Till date, the RBI has not come out with a stand that any of the entities regulated by it have suffered any loss or adverse effect directly or indirectly, on account of VC exchanges.

Besides, the court found that the RBI did not consider the availability of alternatives before issuing the order i.e. achieving the same objective by imposing a less drastic restraint

Inconsistent with the RBI’s Stand: The RBI’s order was disproportionate” with an otherwise consistent stand taken by the central bank that VCs are not prohibited in the country.

Referred to the Global Approach: Organisations across the globe have called for caution while dealing with virtual currencies, while also warning that a blanket ban of any sort could push the entire system underground, which in turn would mean no regulation.

On RBI’s Power: The Court held that the RBI has powers to regulate any currencies in the system.

Possible Impact of the Judgement :-

With the order, resumption of operations at cryptocurrency exchanges and backward linkages with the banking sector are expected.

Even as virtual currency investors and businesses will welcome the Supreme Court’s order on cryptocurrency, the relief for such players may be only temporary given that the Centre, in a draft law, has proposed to ban all private cryptocurrencies.

The Supreme Court’s judgment could lead to the RBI rethinking its policies surrounding virtual currencies.

 

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