4th January Current Affairs
January 4, 2021
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January 6, 2021
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5th January Current Affairs

Centre to set up development finance entity

In News:

The government plans to set up a Development Finance Institution (DFI) in the next three to four months.

Details:

In her last Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed to set up DFIs for promoting infrastructure funding.

Need for:

To mobilise the ₹111 lakh crore required for funding of the ambitious national infrastructure pipeline.

To enhance credit rating of projects. It would fund projects where others are not willing to enter because of the risks involved.

DFIs in India- Historical background:

DFI would have a key developmental role apart from the financing role.

Prior to liberalisation, India had DFIs engaged in development of industry.

ICICI and IDBI, in their previous avatars, were DFIs.

The country’s oldest financial institution IFCI Ltd. too had acted as a DFI.

About national infrastructure pipeline:

In the budget speech of 2019-2020, Finance Minister announced an outlay of Rs 100 lakh Crore for infrastructure projects over the next 5 years.

NIP is a first-of-its-kind initiative to provide world-class infrastructure across the country and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

It will improve project preparation, attract investments (both domestic & foreign) into infrastructure, and will be crucial for attaining the target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by FY 2025.

Covers both economic and social infrastructure projects.

Measures needed:

Investment needed: ₹111 lakh crore over the next five years (2020-2025) to build infrastructure projects and drive economic growth.

Energy, roads, railways and urban projects are estimated to account for the bulk of projects (around 70%).

The centre (39 percent) and state (40 percent) are expected to have an almost equal sharein implementing the projects, while the private sector has 21 percent share.

Aggressive push towards asset sales.

Monetisation of infrastructure assets.

Strengthening the municipal bond market.

Pokhran’s ‘firefly bird diverters’ shine to save the Great Indian Bustard

In News:

The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) along with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) India has come up with a unique initiative — a “firefly bird diverter” for overhead power lines in areas where Great Indian Bustard (GIB) populations are found in the wild.

Need for:

Power lines, especially high-voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires, are the most important current threat for GIBs in the Thar region, and are causing unsustainably high mortality in about 15% of their population.

The Supreme Court of India, in a recent hearing, had also directed that power lines in GIB landscapes should be placed underground.

What are firefly bird diverters?

The diverters are called fireflies because they look like fireflies from a distance, shining on power lines in the night.

This model has been endorsed by experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Bustard Specialist Group.

The firefly detectors have been installed in the Pokhran tehsil in Rajasthan.

Great Indian Bustards (GIB):

IUCN status: critically endangered.

Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.

Identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Project Great Indian Bustard — state of Rajasthan — identifying and fencing off bustard breeding grounds in existing protected areas as well as provide secure breeding enclosures in areas outside protected areas.

Protected areas: Desert National Park Sanctuary — Rajasthan, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary– Madhya Pradesh.

Habitats in India:

Only two districts in Rajasthan — Jaisalmer and Barmer — have a breeding GIB population in the wild. The bird can also be found in very small numbers in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

What the law says about a governor’s power to summon, prorogue or dissolve an assembly?

In News:

Kerala government to seek governor’s nod again for special assembly session to discuss farmer agitation.

Constitution on a governor’s power:

There are two provisions in the Constitution that deal with a governor’s power to summon, prorogue and dissolve an assembly.

Under Article 174, a governor shall summon the House at a time and place, as she or he thinks fit.

Article 174 (2) (a) says a governor may from “time to time” prorogue the House and 174 (2) (b) allows her or him to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

Article 163 says the governor shall exercise her or his functions with the aid and advice of the council of ministers. But it also adds that she or he would not need their advice if the Constitution requires her or him to carry out any function at her/his discretion.

What has the Supreme Court said?

A 2016 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Nabam Rebia case, which had resulted from a constitutional crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, had expressly stated that a “governor can summon, prorogue and dissolve the House, only on the aid and advice of the council of ministers”.

But the court also clarified that if the governor had reasons to believe that the chief minister and her or his council of ministers have lost the confidence of the House, a floor test could be ordered.

Five Month Old Infant Moves High Court Seeking Ban On Vehicular Movement Inside Cubbon Park

In News:

The Karnataka High Court has issued notice to the state government and other respondents on a public interest litigation filed by a five-month-old infant, seeking to ban traffic movement within and through Cubbon park, in Bengaluru.

What’s the issue?

The petitioner argues that allowing vehicle movement inside the park has a direct impact on the health, wellbeing and quality of life of the Petitioner, who as an infant is made to bear the burden of the environmentally irresponsible Respondents.

It also impinges on the rights of the petitioner to enjoy pollution free air and water and endangers and impairs his quality of life and is a clear derogation of his constitutional rights.

Need for:

The plea relies on a study carried out by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, to understand the traffic impact should the Park’s thoroughfares be closed to vehicular traffic.

The said researchers concluded that that there would be a net reduction in CO2 and PM2.5 emissions as compared to when the traffic is allowed inside the Park.

The report has recommended closure of the Park to vehicular traffic after examining the significant improvement to the environment when vehicular traffic was stopped, and an absence of any impact on the traffic when the Park is open to vehicular traffic.

What is a PIL?

Public Interest litigation (PIL), as the name suggests, is litigation for any public interest. As the word ‘litigation’ means ‘legal action’, PIL stands for a legal action taken by a public spirited person in order to protect public interest (any act for the benefit of public).

A Public Interest Litigation can be filed against a State/ Central Govt., Municipal Authorities, and not any private party.

According to the Constitution of India, the petition can be filed under Article 226 before a High Court or under Article 32 before the Supreme Court of India.

Background:

Justice Bhagwati and Justice V R Krishna Iyer were among the first judges in the country to admit PILs.

Various areas where public interest litigation (PIL) can be filed:

  • Violation of religious rights or basic fundamental rights
  • Violation of basic human rights of the poor
  • Compel municipal authorities to perform a public duty
  • Content or conduct of government policy