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18th August Current Affairs

Supreme Court’s contradictory verdicts reinforce the need for a Bail Act

(GS-II: Indian Judiciary)

In News:

Recently, SC (in Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI) case: The SC has asserted mandatory compliance with Sections 41 and 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Thus, giving primacy to bail for undertrials (Bail and not Jail)

Details:

Previously in a 2014 judgement, SC has asked not to arrest the accused automatically when the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years.

On the contrary, SC (in Vijay Madanlal Chaudhary v. Union of India (PMLA case)) upheld the arbitrary conditions of bail under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, thus discarding the “presumption of innocence” principle.

Status of undertrials:

As per the Prison Statistics of India 2020, nearly 76% of prisoners are undertrials.

Reasons: detentions are often a result of unnecessary arrests by investigating agencies and further the unfair application of bail provisions by the court.

Arguments in favour of making immediate arrests and denial of bail to the undertrials:

The arrest of the wrongdoer is seen as an effective redressal mechanism by the victim.

If a police officer does not go for immediate detention, it may be considered a sign of complacency of the authorities.

Solution:

The Court should not give a contradictory verdictbecause the operations of investigating agencies do not go in isolation from that of courts and creates a reason for arbitrary misuse of the law.

Need for Bail act: The confusion created by the two decisions of the apex court reinforces the need for a Bail Act.

Reinvent the economic growth model

(GS-III: Economy/Environment)

In News:

The author argues that future global actions must accept the reality of climate equity and use it to drive economic growth

Details:

Climate equity ensures the just and fair distribution of the benefits of climate protection efforts among all poor and rich countries, and rural and urban populations.

Issues:

Poor the victim: Climate change is an existential threat. And Poor (already surviving on the margins) are severely impacted by extreme weather events.

Progress vs environment: Millions of people are still waiting to get the benefits of economic progress — which means access to affordable energy. And at a time when the world has literally run out of carbon space to accommodate their need for development.

Low carbon space for the poor: The “old” industrialised countries and new entrant China have appropriated 73 per cent of the carbon space till 2019.

Erosion or dilution of climate equity in the negotiations: E.g., 2015 Paris Agreement got rid of the very concept of historical emissions and the idea of “compensation” for the loss and damage.

The Sum of the nationally determined contributions (NDC) is inadequate: Studies show that even if all NDC targets are fulfilled, it would take the world towards a minimum of a 3°C temperature rise or more.

Solution:

Reinvent “growth” to become low-carbon, sustainable and yet affordable:

Carbon fiancé markets — Article 6 of the Paris Agreement — should be put to work: g., the provision of clean energy through millions of mini-grids in the world of the poorest.

Nature-based solutions must be firmly implemented: E.g., use the ecological wealth of poor countries and communities for mitigation as trees and natural ecosystems sequester CO2.

UDAN scheme

In News:

The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s flagship program Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) has completed 5 years of success (launched in 2016) since the launch of its first flight by the Prime Minister on 27th April 2017.

Aim: It seeks to improve regional air connectivity to tier-2 and tier-3 cities (mostly underserved or unserved regions) through the revival of unused and underused airports.

Features:

Benefits for citizens: Under the scheme, nearly half of the seats in Udan flights are offered at subsidized fares, and the participating carriers are provided with a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF).

It is operational for 10 years period.

Funding: The scheme will be jointly funded by the central government and state governments.

Phases:

  • UDAN 1.0 (5 airlines),
  • UDAN 2.0 (helipads connected),
  • UDAN 3.0 (inclusion of tourism, seaplane route),
  • UDAN 4.0 (further expansion to 78 new routes),
  • UDAN 4.1 (Sagarmala Seaplane service),
  • KRISHI UDAN (transporting agri-products),
  • International UDAN (smaller cities to international destination)

Manthan Portal

In News:

It has been launched by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser for promoting collaboration between industry and the Scientific research and development ecosystem to meet India’s sustainability goals.

  • Programmes: Knowledge Transfer, Interactive sessions, exhibitions on new innovations
  • Platform is powered by NSEIT (a 100% subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange of India)

Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA): He is the chief advisor to the government on matters related to scientific policy and holds a secretary-level position.

  • ‘Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser’, through the PM’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)helps scientific cross-sectoral synergy across ministries, institutions and the industry.
  • 1st PSA was P. J. Abdul Kalam (1999-2002)

Similar Name: Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), in coordination with the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), launched an online hackathon “Manthan 2021” (for a technical solution to challenges faced by intelligence agencies)

The Center vs State tussle over IAS postings

(GS-II: Role of Civil services in democracy, mode of posting of IAS and other central services in state etc)

In News:

It has been reported that fewer All India Services (AIS) officers working in the States were coming forward to opt for tenure with the Center.

Factors that account for the reluctance:

Long hours of work

Extra caution: Need for extreme clinical care in the preparation and submission of reports going up the hierarchy — sometimes up to the Prime Minister himself.

Fewer comforts than what is available in a State environment

The need to operate sometimes far away from one’s native State.

The AIS appointments:

Selection procedure: Through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which holds an annual examination.

Deputation by the centre: Appointment officers are allotted to various States, the number of officers depending on each State’s requirement.

Thereafter, they spend most of their career in those States, intervened by short spells of deputation to the Center.

Disciplinary authority with the centre: While they are functioning under a State government, disciplinary authority is vested in the former.

The state cannot impose a major penalty on a delinquent AIS officer for any misconduct.

Ratification by the centre: Suspension of an officer from the service by a State government will have to be ratified by the Center before the end of three months.

This is meant to be a safeguard against any arbitrary action by a State government.

The tussle between centre and state: For example West Bengal, where senior officers such as the Chief Secretary and Commissioner of Police were greatly embarrassed because the Chief Minister and GOI were out of step with each other.