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March 30, 2021
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April 1, 2021
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31st March Current Affairs

High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMTs)

In News:

Indian scientists have developed a highly reliable HEMT from gallium nitride (GaN).

Significance:

This is the first-ever indigenous HEMT device and is useful in electric cars, locomotives, power transmission and other areas requiring high voltage and high-frequency switching.

This would reduce the cost of importing such stable and efficient transistors required in power electronics.

It will also make India self-reliant in power transistor technology.

What are HEMTs?

High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT) is a normally OFF device and can switch currents up to 4A and operates at 600 V.

HEMTs are used in integrated circuits as digital on-off switches.

HEMT transistors are able to operate at higher frequencies than ordinary transistors, up to millimeter wave frequencies, and are used in high-frequency products such as cell phones, satellite television receivers, voltage converters, and radar equipment.

They are widely used in satellite receivers, in low power amplifiers and in the defense industry.

Digital Green Certificate

In News:

The European commission has unveiled a “digital green certificate” that could allow EU citizens who have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from Covid-19 to travel more freely within the bloc.

What is it?

The digital document will contain a QR code and can be carried on a mobile phone.

It has deliberately not been called a “vaccine passport” because some member states felt that would discriminate against those who had not yet been offered a shot.

All EU citizens or third-country nationals who are legally staying in the EU will be able to use these digital certificates and thereby will be exempted from free movement restrictions.

Who will issue these certificates?

The certificate can be issued by authorities, including hospitals, testing centres and health authorities.

What is the need for such a document?

In the EU and across the world, the tourism industry has been severely impacted due to the spread of the disease.

Many countries have, therefore, been contemplating digital certificates or passports that will be proof that a person has been vaccinated or has recovered from COVID-19.

In February, Israel became the first country to issue certificates called “vaccine passports” that will allow vaccinated individuals to use some facilities and attend events.

Supplementary demand for grants

In News:

The Lok Sabha has passed the supplementary demand for grants (second batch for 2020-21).

What are Supplementary Demands for Grants?

The supplementary demand for grants is needed for government expenditure over and above the amount for which Parliamentary approval was already obtained during the Budget session.

Constitutional provisions:

Supplementary, additional or excess grants and Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants are mentioned in the Constitution of India 1949.

Article 115: Supplementary, additional or excess grants.

Article 116: Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants.

Procedure to be followed:

When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants.

These grants are presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.

When actual expenditure incurred exceeds the approved grants of the Parliament, the Ministry of Finance presents a Demand for Excess Grant.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament.

The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament.

The Demand for Excess Grants is made after the actual expenditure is incurred and is presented to the Parliament after the end of the financial year in which the expenses were made.

Other grants:

Additional Grant: It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for supplementary or additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the Budget for that year.

Excess Grant: It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted for that year. The demands for excess grants are made after the expenditure has actually been incurred and after the financial year to which it relates, has expired.

Exceptional Grants: It is granted for an exceptional purpose which forms no part of the current service of any financial year.

Token Grant: It is granted when funds to meet proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by re-appropriation, a demand for the grant of a token sum may be submitted to the vote of the House and, if the House assents to the demand, funds may be so made available.

SC stays HC decision barring aided school teachers from contesting polls

In News:

The Supreme Court has stayed a Kerala High Court decision barring aided school teachers and non-teaching staff from contesting Assembly elections or engaging in political activities.

What’s the issue?

The High Court had declared Section 2 (IV) of the Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualifications) Act of 1951, which allowed aided school teachers to become legislators, as unconstitutional.

Petitioners in the High Court had challenged the 1951 law, saying their participation in politics would affect the quality of education.

They had argued in the High Court that since Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules prohibits government school teachers from taking part in political activities, the rule should extend to aided school teachers also.

What the government says?

The government had contended in the High Court that as per a government order issued in 1967, the teachers of aided schools had political rights.

There were no Rules or Act prohibiting them from not participating in political activities or contesting the elections. Besides, special leave without pay could be granted to aided teachers elected to local bodies and Assembly.

Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021

In News:

The bill was recently passed by Rajya Sabha.

Key features of the Bill:

The Bill amends the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the maximum foreign investment allowed in an Indian insurance company.

The Bill increases the limit on foreign investment in an Indian insurance company from 49% to 74%, and removes restrictions on ownership and control.

While control will go to foreign companies, the majority of directors and key management persons will be resident Indians who will be covered by law of the land.

Significance:

Insurance companies are facing liquidity pressure and the higher limit would help meet the growing capital requirement.

Background:

Foreign investment in the insurance sector was first permitted in the year 2000 up to 26%.

Subsequently, vide an Amendment Act of 2015, this limit was raised to 49% of the paid-up equity capital of such company, which is Indian owned and controlled.