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4th August Current Affairs

Rajya Sabha passes anti-doping Bill

(GS-II: Parliament-structure, functioning, the conduct of business, power and privileges and issues arising out of these, Anti-doping Bill etc)

In News:

The parliament passed the National Anti-Doping Bill unanimously on Wednesday by a voice vote.

Details:

The Bill aims to provide a statutory framework for the functioning of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and the National Dope Testing Laboratory in sports.

The Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports said India will now join the league of nations like the US, China, France or Australia, Japan, S Korea to have a law and dope test laboratory.

Key provisions:

Prohibits athletes from engaging in doping: The legislation prohibits athletes, athlete support personnel, and other persons from engaging in doping in sports.

Powers to NADA: The bill will give NADA powers of, “investigation, levying sanctions for anti-doping rule violations, the disciplinary procedures to be adopted and the powers of inspection, sample collection and sharing and free flow of information”.

Disqualification for violating rules: In case of violation of doping rules, the athlete will be disqualified.

Besides forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes, ineligibility to participate in a competition or event for a prescribed period, and financial sanctions are the actions the violator will have to face.

Planning, monitoring and implementing anti-doping rules: The bill provides for planning, implementing, and monitoring anti-doping activities as well as investigating anti-doping rule violations.

In consonance with UNESCO Convention on doping: It also seeks to give effect to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization International Convention against doping in sports and compliance with such other obligations and commitments.

Issues with the Bill:

Qualification of Director General: The qualifications of the Director General are not specified in the Bill and are left to be notified through Rules.

Removal of Director General: The central government may remove the Director General from the office on grounds of misbehavior or incapacity or “such other ground”.

Leaving these provisions to the discretion of the central government may affect the independence of the Director General.

Against the mandate of WADA: This also goes against the mandate of the World Anti-Doping Agency that such bodies must be independent in their operations.

Powers of board: Under the Bill, the Board has powers to remove the members of the Disciplinary Panel and Appeal Panel on grounds which will be specified by regulations and are not specified in the Bill.

No requirement of opportunity to be heard: Further, there is no requirement to give them an opportunity of being heard. This may affect the independent functioning of these panels.

National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA):

It was set up as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 on 24th November, 2005 with a mandate for Dope free sports in India.

The primary objectives are to implement anti-doping rules as per WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code, regulate dope control programmes, to promote education and research and create awareness about doping and its ill effects.

The NADA has the necessary authority and responsibility for:

Planning, coordinating, implementing, monitoring and advocating improvements in Doping Control.

Cooperating with other relevant national organizations, agencies and other Anti-Doping Organizations etc.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA):

It was set up in November, 1999 and was set up under the International Olympic Committee.

WADA is recognised by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport (2005).

WADA’s primary role is to develop, harmonize, and coordinate anti-doping regulations across all sports and countries.

It does so by ensuring proper implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA Code) and its standards, conducting investigations into doping incidents, conducting research on doping, and educating sportspersons and related personnel on anti-doping regulations.

India to host UNSC meet on counterterrorism

(GS-II: UNSC, members of UNSC, important international institutions etc)

In News:

In a first, India will host diplomats and officials from all 15 countries of the United Nations Security Council, including China, Russia and the United States, for a special meeting on terrorism, in Delhi and Mumbai in October.

Details:

The meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), which India is chairing for 2022 as a member of the UNSC, will focus particularly on challenges such as terrorism financing, cyberthreats and the use of drones, said officials.

Key Highlights:

Cross-border threats from Pakistan and Afghanistan: India is expected to highlight cross-border threats from Pakistan and Afghanistan at the meeting, which will come two months before India completes its tenure as an elected member of the UNSC (2021-22).

Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism: In addition, India has been pushing for the UN members to adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (first proposed in 1996), which is likely to be raised during the meeting.

Victim of terrorism: The event will showcase India’s role as a victim of terrorism as well as a country at the forefront of global counter-terrorism efforts.

India as President of UNSC: They said the CTC meeting in India could also pave the way for a possible visit to New York by the Prime Minister in December, where India will be the President of the UNSC for the entire month.

Focus on significant areas: The special meeting will specifically focus on three significant areas:

  • Where emerging technologies are experiencing rapid development
  • Growing use by Member States (including for security and counter-terrorism purposes)
  • Increasing threat of abuse for terrorism purposes, namely:
  • The Internet and social media
  • Terrorism financing, and
  • Unmanned aerial systems.

CJI’s recommendation on successor sought

In News:

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Wednesday received a communication from Union Law Minister seeking his recommendation on the appointment of the next top judge.

Details:

Chief Justice Ramana is retiring on August 26, 2022.

It is now to Chief Justice Ramana to give the Law Minister his recommendation on his successor. Justice U.U. Lalit is the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court now.

The ‘Memorandum of Procedure of Appointment of Supreme Court Judges’ says “appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office”.

The process, according to the Memorandum, begins with the Union Law Minister seeking the recommendation of the outgoing CJI about the next appointment.

The Minister has to seek the CJI’s recommendation “at the appropriate time”.

The Memorandum does not elaborate or specify a timeline.

However, if past changes of guard at the top judge post were to be seen, the Law Minister had sought the recommendation and the outgoing CJI had sent his reply with a month to spare for the latter’s retirement day.

The Memorandum says that “after receipt of the recommendation of the Chief Justice of India, the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs will put up the recommendation to the Prime Minister who will advise the President in the matter of appointment”.

Center raises fair prices for sugarcane harvest

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, at its meeting chaired by the Prime Minister here has approved the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for sugar season 2022-23 (October – September) at ₹305 per quintal.

Details:

The amount is for sugarcane with a basic sugar recovery rate of 10.25%.

The Centre has also announced a premium of ₹3.05 per quintal for each 0.1% increase in recovery of sugar over and above 10.25% and reduction in FRP by ₹3.05 per quintal for every 0.1% decrease in recovery.

What is the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP):

FRP is the price declared by the government, which mills are legally bound to pay to farmers for the cane procured from them.

Delays in payment can attract an interest up to 15% per annum, and the sugar commissioner can recover unpaid FRP as dues in revenue recovery by attaching properties of the mills.

The payment of FRP across the country is governed by the Sugarcane Control order, 1966 issued under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 which mandates payment within 14 days of the date of delivery of the cane.

It has been determined on the recommendation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and announced by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

CACP is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It is an advisory body whose recommendations are not binding on the Government.

CCEA is chaired by the Prime Minister of India.

The FRP is based on the Rangarajan Committee report on reorganizing the sugarcane industry.