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13th September Current Affairs

NCLT and ITAT

(GS-II: Important statutory bodies)

In News:

The government has appointed 31 people as judicial, technical and accountant members at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

These developments assume significance as they come amid the Supreme Court flagging concerns about vacancies in various tribunals.

Background:

There are around 250 posts lying vacant at various key tribunals and appellate tribunals such as the NCLT, the DRT, the TDSAT and the SAT.

Supreme Court had recently flagged concerns, saying the Centre was “emasculating” tribunals by not appointing officials to the quasi-judicial bodies that are facing a staff crunch.

About NCLT:

It is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudicates issues relating to companies in India.

Established on 1st June, 2016 (Companies Act, 2013).

Formed based on the recommendations of the Justice Eradi Committee.

It deals with matters mainly related to companies law and the insolvency law.

Term of members: Appointments will be for five years from the date of assumption of charge or till attaining the age of 65 or until further orders.

About ITAT:

It deals with income tax matters.

It is statutory body in the field of direct taxes and its orders are accepted as final, on findings of fact.

ITAT was the first Tribunal to be created on 25th January, 1941 and is also known as ‘Mother Tribunal’.

With a view to ensuring highest degree of independence of the ITAT, it functions under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice and is kept away from any kind of control by the Ministry of Finance.

The orders passed by the ITAT can be subjected to appellate challenge, on substantial questions of law, before the respective High Court.

National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID

In News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is soon expected to launch the National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID that aims to provide a “cutting-edge technology to enhance India’s counter-terror capabilities”.

What is NATGRID?

Envisaged as a robust mechanism to track suspects, the NATGRID can help in preventing terrorist attacks with real-time data and access to classified information like immigration, banking, individual taxpayers, air and train travels.

In 2010, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had given approval to the Rs 3,400-crore NATGRID project

Who can access the data?

It will be a medium for at least 10 Central agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to access data on a secured platform. The data will be procured by NATGRID from 21 providing organisations such as the telecom, tax records, bank, immigration etc.

Criticisms:

NATGRID is facing opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.

Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.

According to few experts, digital databases such as NATGRID can be misused. Over the last two decades, the very digital tools that terrorists use have also become great weapons to fight the ideologies of violence.

Intelligence agencies have also opposed amid fears that it would impinge on their territory and possibly result in leaks on the leads they were working on to other agencies.

But, Why do we need NATGRID?

The danger from not having a sophisticated tool like the NATGRID is that it forces the police to rely on harsh and coercive means to extract information in a crude and degrading fashion.

After every terrorist incident, it goes about rounding up suspects—many of who are innocent. If, instead, a pattern search and recognition system were in place, these violations of human rights would be much fewer.

Natgrid would also help the Intelligence Bureau keep a tab on persons with suspicious backgrounds.

The police would have access to all his data and any movement by this person would also be tracked with the help of this data base.

Who was Subramaniya Bharathiyar?

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

Vice-President recently paid homage to Subramania Bharati to mark the death centenary of the poet and freedom fighter.

About Subramaniya Bharathi:

Born on 11th December 1882, in Ettayapuram village of Tirunelveli District in Tamil Nadu.

He was a poet, freedom fighter and social reformer from Tamil Nadu.

He was known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar.

His songs on nationalism and freedom of India helped to rally the masses to support the Indian Independence Movement in Tamil Nadu.

Literary works: “Kannan Pattu” “Nilavum Vanminum Katrum” “Panchali Sabatam” “Kuyil Pattu”.

He published the sensational “Sudesa Geethangal” in 1908.

Sometime in mid-1908, Bharati began to serialise Gnanaratham in his political weekly, India.

In 1949, he became the first poet whose works were nationalised by the state government.

Bharthi as a social reformer:

He was against caste system. He declared that there were only two castes-men and women and nothing more than that. Above all, he himself had removed his sacred thread.

He condemned certain Shastras that denigrated women. He believed in the equality of humankind and criticised many preachers for mixing their personal prejudices while teaching the Gita and the Vedas.

Significance in Present Times:

The poet’s definition of progress had a central role for women. He wrote women should walk with their head held high, looking people in the eye.

The government is inspired by this vision and is working to ensure women-led empowerment.

He believed in a healthy mix between the ancient and the modern, indicating a need to develop a scientific temper, a spirit of inquiry and march towards progress.

128th anniversary of the historic Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda

(GS-I: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues)

In News:

On September 11, 1893, Swami Vivekananda delivered his famed speech at the ‘Parliament of the World’s Religions’, garnering a full two minute standing ovation and the moniker of ‘cyclonic monk of India’.

This year marked the 128th anniversary of the historic Chicago Address of Swami Vivekananda.

Significance of this event:

The Chicago address had dwelt at length on Hinduism and Indian culture, and his words continue to remain resonant till date.

He became popular in the western world after his famous speech at the World’s Parliament of Religions.

He was considered a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and bringing it to the status of major world religion in the late 19th century.

His address in the World “Parliament of Religions” at Chicago in 1893 drew the world’s attention to the ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta.

About Swami Vivekananda:

He was a true luminary, credited with enlightening the western world about Hinduism.

He was an ardent disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India.

He pushed for national integration in colonial India, and his famous speech remains as the one that he gave in Chicago in 1893 (Parliament of the World Religions).

In 1984 the Government of India declared that 12 January, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, will be celebrated as National Youth Day.

Early life- contributions:

Born in Kolkata on January 12, 1863 in Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda was known as Narendra Nath Datta in his pre-monastic life.

He is known to have introduced the Hindu philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the West.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had called Vivekananda the “maker of modern India.”

In 1893, he took the name ‘Vivekananda’ after Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State requested him to do so.

He formed the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 “to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest.”

In 1899, he established the Belur Math, which became his permanent abode.

He preached ‘neo-Vedanta’, an interpretation of Hinduism through a Western lens, and believed in combining spirituality with material progress.

Books written by him:

‘Raja Yoga’, ‘Jnana Yoga’, ‘Karma Yoga’ are some of the books he wrote.

How are Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts relevant still today?

Swami Vivekananda, in his address, propagated the idea of tolerance and universal acceptance.

He analysed the dangers posed by the meaningless and sectarian conflicts in society to the nations and the civilisations.

He firmly believed that the true essence of religion was common good and tolerance. Religion should be above superstitions and rigidities.

Swami Vivekananda believed that youngsters in India are the chain that binds our past to a greater future.

Therefore, there is greater need today, in contemporary India, to pay heed to the words spoken by Swami Vivekananda as early as in 1893.