25th Feb Current Affairs
February 25, 2021
27th Feb Current Affairs
February 27, 2021
Show all

26th Feb Current Affairs

One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme

In News:

The review of One Rank One Pension (OROP) has been pending since June 2020. The issue was discussed during the recent parliamentary panel meet.

Background:

There are certain ‘loopholes’ which need to be fixed in the scheme. A committee has been constituted to look into the issue by the Defence Ministry to work out the modalities of the revision but no announcement has been made on when the revision would be undertaken.

What is OROP?

  • OROP implies uniform pension to personal based on rank and length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.
  • The Government had implemented the long pending demand of veterans in November 2015 and as per the notification, it is to be revised every five years.
  • Armed Forces Personnel who had retired till 30th june 2014 are covered under it.
  • The implementation of the scheme was based on recommendation of the Koshiyari committee.

SC refuses petition against M.P. ordinance

In News:

The Supreme Court has declined to entertain a petition challenging the validity of the controversial Madhya Pradesh ordinance regulating religious conversions through inter-faith marriages. Instead, it asked the petitioner to approach the High Court.

What did the petitioner say?

The plea said the law, which followed a similar ordinance made by Uttar Pradesh, infringed a person’s right to privacy and freedom of choice, leading to violations of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution. Similar law is in force in Uttarakhand.

Key Provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Dharmik Swatantrata (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2020:

  • Seeks to regulate inter-faith marriages in the state.
  • Exempts reconversion to parental religion from its purview.
  • Jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of ₹1 lakh for “conversion through marriage or other forcible means”.
  • Seeks to prohibit religious conversions or an attempt of conversion by means of misrepresentation, allurement, threat, undue influence, coercion, marriage, and any other fraudulent means.
  • The conspiracy and (the act of) abetting a person for conversion has also been prohibited.
  • Forceful conversions and marriages will be a cognizable offence and be non-bailable.

Supreme Court on Marriage and Conversion:

The Apex Court of India in its several judgements has held that the state and the courts have no jurisdiction over an adult’s absolute right to choose a life partner.

The Supreme Court of India, in both the Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal cases, has confirmed that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefit do not hold water.

Sri Lankan Tamils issue

In News:

Though Sri Lanka’s armed conflict ended in 2009, the entrenched impunity for the deaths of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians in what the United Nations called a “bloodbath” has kept the conflict on the Human Rights Council’s agenda ever since.

What happened then?

The Tamil minority in Sri Lanka was facing persecution under the rule of the nationalist Sinhalese government. The rift also fuelled Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam-led extremism in the nation which engulfed the nation into years of civil war.

Background:

The previous Sri Lankan government, headed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, had co-sponsored the resolution in 2013, calling for accountability in alleged war crimes committed by the government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the final phase of the near-three-decade-long civil war in May 2009.

The current government, led by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, has officially withdrawn from the resolution.

P-Notes

In News:

Participatory notes of Overseas Derivative Instruments have a tendency to raise the hackles of the regulators.

Details:

Outstanding P-notes hitting a 31-month high in November is likely to have caused considerable consternation.

What’s the Concern?

These instruments have gained notoriety on account of their rampant misuse prior to 2008.

The anonymity provided by P-notes, where the final owner can be concealed from regulators, had led to entities using this route to round-trip funds.

What has the SEBI said?

There is no real cause for alarm; these instruments account for only 2 per cent of FPI assets currently.

But, why there is an increase in value of outstanding P-notes?

The rally in stock prices has resulted in inflating the value of existing P-note holdings.

There has been a great surge in FPI inflows this fiscal, with investments so far exceeding ₹2,42,000 crore.

What are Participatory Notes?

Participatory Notes or P-Notes (PNs) are financial instruments issued by a registered foreign institutional investor (FII) to an overseas investor who wishes to invest in Indian stock markets without registering themselves with the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Key points:

  • P-Notes are Offshore Derivative Investments (ODIs) with equity shares or debt securities as underlying assets.
  • They provide liquidity to the investors as they can transfer the ownership by endorsement and delivery.
  • While the FIIs have to report all such investments each quarter to SEBI, they need not disclose the identity of the actual investors.

Govt. likely file appeal against Cairn arbitration award

In News:

The Centre is likely to file an appeal against the $1.4 billion international arbitration award won by Cairn Energy in a tax dispute.

Details:

The government intends to defend its sovereign right in taxation and will file an appeal against the tribunal ordering India to return $1.4 billion to the British firm.

What’s the Concern now?

Cairn has indicated it could seize overseas assets such as aircraft and ships if New Delhi fails to comply with the arbitration award and return the value of the shares sold, dividend seized and tax refund withheld by the income tax department to recover part of the tax demand it had raised using retrospective legislation.

What’s the case?

Cairn had challenged the Indian government seeking taxes over an internal business reorganisation using the 2012 retrospective tax law, under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.

  • In 2011, Cairn Energy sold its majority stake in Cairn India to Vedanta Ltd, reducing its stake in the Indian company to about 10 per cent.
  • In 2014, the Indian tax department had demanded Rs 10,247 crore ($1.4 billion) in taxes.

What had the tribunal ruled?

India’s claim of Rs 10,247 crore in past taxes over a 2006-07 internal reorganisation of Cairn’s India business was not a valid demand.

India should pay the funds withheld along with the interest to the Scottish oil explorer for seizing dividend, tax refund, and sale of shares to partly recover the dues.

India had breached its obligations to Cairn under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.

How the issue reached arbitration tribunal?

Cairn’s claim was brought under the terms of the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty, the legal seat of the tribunal was the Netherlands, and the proceedings were under the registry of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.