Current Affairs Analysis

17th January 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

GSAT-30; Resettlement of Bru community; Who are Bru or Reang community? Right to Business Bill; Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF); What is the Yada Yada virus? 70th anniversary of Myanmar-China diplomatic relations; China-Myanmar Economic Corridor; National Investigation Act, 2008; NIA Amendment Act 2019; 2019 was second-hottest year on record; Arianespace; etc.
By IASToppers
January 27, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Chhattisgarh challenging National Investigation Agency Act
  • Right to Business Bill

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Yada Yada Virus

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • 2019 was second-hottest year on record, 2010s hottest decade

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Myanmar, China mark 70th anniversary diplomatic relations

Defence & Security Issues

  • Resettlement of Bru community

Science & Technology

  • GSAT-30 successfully launched from French Guiana

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Polity & Governance

Chhattisgarh challenging National Investigation Agency Act

Chhattisgarh government moved the Supreme Court against the National Investigation Act, 2008 stating it is violative of the Constitution and told the apex court the NIA should have no power over state policing matters.

Chhattisgarh-government-has-moved-the-Supreme-Court-against-the-National-Investigation-Act,-2008-stating-it-is-violative-of-the-Constitution

Stand of the Chhattisgarh government:

  • The Chhattisgarh government said the National Investigation Act is ultra vires the Constitution and beyond the legislative competence of the Parliament.
  • According to the state, the act allows the Centre to create an agency for investigation, which is a function of the state police.

Objected provisions of Act by Chhattisgarh:

National Investigation Agency Act

Section 6: Investigation of Scheduled Offences:

  • Where if the Central Government is of the opinion that the offence is a Scheduled Offence, it shall direct the Agency to investigate the said offence.
  • Where the State Government and any police officer of the State Government investigating the offence shall not proceed with the investigation and shall forthwith transmit the relevant documents and records to the Agency.

Section 7: Power to transfer investigation to State Government.

  • While investigating any offence under this Act, the NIA, having regard to the gravity of the offence and other relevant factors, may-
  1. if it is expedient to do so, request the State Government to associate itself with the investigation; OR
  2. with the previous approval of the Central Government, transfer the case to the State Government for investigation and trial of the offence.

Section 8: Power to investigate connected offences.

  • While investigating any Scheduled Offence, the NIA may also investigate any other offence which the accused is alleged to have committed if the offence is connected with the Scheduled Offence.

Section 10: Power of State Government to investigate Scheduled Offences.

  • Nothing contained in this Act shall affect the powers of the State Government to investigate and prosecute any Scheduled Offence or other offences under any law for the time being in force.

National Investigation Act, 2008:

  • It was introduced in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
  • The Act makes the National Investigation Agency.
  • It gives the NIA powers to take suo motu cognisance of terror activities in any part of India and register a case, to enter any state without permission from the state government, and to investigate and arrest people.

NIA Amendment Act 2019:

National Investigation Agency Act 1

  • Through this amendments act, the NIA is allowed to investigate the following offences, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
  • The amendment enables the central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for NIA trials.
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA), allows an NIA officer to conduct raids, and seize properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities without taking prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state.
  • The investigating officer only requires sanction from the Director General of NIA.

Key fact:

  • ‘Police’ is an entry in the State List of the Constitution’s 7th Schedule.
[Ref: The Indian Express]

 

Right to Business Bill

The Punjab Cabinet has recently approved a Punjab Right to Business Bill, 2020, aimed at ensuring ease of doing business for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.

The-Punjab-Cabinet-has-given-it’s-approval-to-a-Punjab-Right-to-Business-Bill,-2020.

What is the law?

  • Under the law, an MSME unit can be set up after ‘In-Principle’ approval from the District Bureau of Enterprise, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, working under the guidance of the State Nodal Agency, headed by the Director of Industries.
  • Approval for units in approved Industrial Parks will be given in three working days.
  • For new enterprises outside approved Industrial Parks, the decision on the “Certificate of In-Principle Approval” shall be taken by the District Level Nodal Agency within 15 working days, as per the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee.

Approvals:

  • Unit owners will have three and a half years after setting up the unit to obtain seven approvals from three departments: the sanction of building plans; issuance of completion/occupation certificate for buildings; registration of new trade licences under relevant laws.
  • The industries involving hazardous processes will have to obtain a Fire NOC and get approval for the factory building plan before setting up the unit.
  • All units will have to get environmental clearance from the Pollution Control Board

Necessity:

  • The act is aimed at easing regulatory burden on newly incorporated MSMEs by providing enabling provision of self-declaration and provide relief from the tedious process of getting regulatory approvals before setting up of the units.
  • According to the government, the Act will have overriding powers over various Acts of different departments that make approvals necessary before the setting up of small and medium units — this purpose could not have been achieved by an executive order.
[Ref: Indian Express, The Week]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stated that telecom service providers will need to deposit all unclaimed money of consumers, including excess charges and security deposit, in the Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF).

TRAI

Why such move?

  • As per the laws, any excess charges revealed in the billing audit should be refunded to consumers. However, if a service provider is not able to refund the amount despite its attempt within the time period permitted by the regulations, it has to deposit the unclaimed amounts to the fund.

Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF)

  • TRAI had noticed that certain inconsistency on the grounds on which money is being deposited by operators.

TCEPF Fund:

  • The TCEPF Regulations, 2007 have been amended to offer a basic framework for depositing unclaimed money of consumers by service providers, maintenance of the fund and other aspects.
  • The income from the fund is utilised for programmes and activities relating to consumer education and protection.

New guidelines:

  • With this amendment service provider will deposit any unclaimed consumer money of any form such as excess charges, security deposit, plan charges of failed activations, or any amount belonging to a consumer, which service providers are unable to refund to consumers, to the fund after providing time of twelve months or period of limitation specified under law whichever is later.
[Ref: The Hindu, Deccan Herald]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

 Yada Yada Virus

A new alphavirus is detected in the RNA of Australian mosquitoes has been provisionally named the Yada Yada virus (YYV).

Yada Yada virus

What is the Yada Yada virus?

  • The virus poses no threat to human beings, because it is a part of a group of viruses that only infect mosquitoes. Other viruses in the same group include the Tai forest alphavirus and the Agua Salud alphavirus.
  • YYV’s discovery expands the “diversity and geographic range” of mosquito-specific alphavirus complexes, which may help in revealing the origin of the virus and host switching.
  • The understanding that how viruses evolved and can be useful for vaccine production and diagnostics.

Yada Yada means:

  • The virus is named so because the discovery wasn’t all that exciting.
  • The word is synonymous with “etcetera, etcetera” or “blah blah” and an informal exclamation used to describe boring speech.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

2019 was second-hottest year on record, 2010s hottest decade

Global average temperatures on land and at sea in December 2019 were the second-highest recorded in the month of December since record-keeping began in 1880, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

National-Oceanic-and-Atmospheric-Administration-(NOAA)

More About Study:

  • The average temperature across Earth’s land and ocean surfaces in 2019 was 0.95°Celsius above the 20th-century average, just 0.04°C below the hottest year on record, 2016.
  • NASA scientists and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed that 2019 was the second-warmest year in the 140-year record.
  • NASA reported that Earth’s average global surface temperature is now slightly more than 1 degree Celsius, higher than it was in the late 19th century.
  • 2019 the 43rd consecutive year of above-average temperatures, with the five warmest years all occurring since 2015.
  • Record-high annual temperatures were measured in parts of the North and South Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and northern, western, and southwestern Pacific Ocean.
  • Across the globe, annual land and ocean temperatures have increased at an average rate of 0.07°C per decade since 1880.
  • On the current path of carbon dioxide emissions, Earth is heading towards a temperature increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of century.
  • WMO notes the past decade has been characterized by retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2

Key fact:

  • There were no land areas on Earth that experienced record cold temperatures for the 2019 year.
  • The average global temperature has risen by about 1.1°C since the pre-industrial era.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

Myanmar, China mark 70th anniversary diplomatic relations

Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Myanmar to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Myanmar, China mark 70th anniversary diplomatic relations

Highlights of the visit:

1. China-Myanmar Economic Corridor:

  • The CMEC is a critical element of Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
  • President’s visit focussed on the three pillars of the CMEC— the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone, the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone and the New Yangon City.
  • In September 2018, Myanmar’s government signed a MoU for creating CMEC involving a central road and rail transport infrastructure leading from Southern China’s Yunnan Province through Muse and Mandalay to Kyaukphyu in Myanmar’s Rakhine State where a major port and Special Economic Zone are planned.
  • The CMEC involves an upgrade of transport connections to Yangon, the establishment of special commercial areas in border areas as well as cooperation in various fields such as science and education.
  • CMEC provides strategic advantages and connectivity to the Indian Ocean.
  • China sees it as an important tool to forward the economic development of the land-locked Yunnan Province.

strategic advantages and connectivity to the Indian Ocean

2. Connectivity and Infrastructure projects:

  • The visit is likely to pave the way for greater connectivity between China’s south-western province of Yunnan and the eastern Indian Ocean.
  • The major infrastructure projects under consideration are the development of a special economic zone and a deep-sea port at Kyaukphyu, the construction of a railway line from the China border to Mandalay in central Myanmar.
  • The railway line to Kyaukphyu will align with the twin pipeline system that has been carrying oil and natural gas to Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, for some years.

3. Diplomatic relations:

  • The visit strengthens China’s status as the most important economic partner of Myanmar, and the historic relationship between the two countries.

Way Forward for India:

  • The strengthened China-Myanmar relations will give economic and strategic advantage to China and will embolden its presence in Bay of Bengal.
  • India needs to focus on quickly completing its own infrastructure projects in Myanmar and develop a new strategy for commercial partnership with the country.
  • Given the constraints on its own resources, India should strengthen its collaboration with like-minded partners like Japan which has a growing economic presence in Myanmar.
  • India should restore the dormant dialogue with the stakeholders on the BCIM corridor involving Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Resettlement of Bru community

Centre, Tripura, and Mizoram have signed an agreement with the Bru/Reang community to resolve the issue.

The-centre-has-signed-a-historic-pact-for-permanent-solution-of-Bru-refugees’-issue-1

Who are Bru or Reang community?

  • The Bru or Reang are a community indigenous to Northeast India, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram, and Assam. They are known by different names. In Tripura, the Brus are known as Reangs and in Mizoram they are known as ‘Tuikuk’.

Who are Bru or Reang community

  • In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
  • As of 2011 Census, the Bru population is 2 lakh.

Background:

  • In 1997, the murder of a Mizo forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram’s Mamit district allegedly by Bru militants led to a violent backlash against the community, forcing several thousand people to flee to neighbouring Tripura. The Bru militancy was a reactionary movement against Mizo nationalist groups who had demanded in the mid-1990s that the Brus be left out of the state’s electoral rolls, contending that the tribe was not indigenous to Mizoram.
  • This forced 35,000 to 40,000 Bru villagers to flee Mizoram and seek shelter in Tripura, where they have been staying since.
  • In 2009, there was another exodus when Bru militants reportedly killed a Mizo teenager. Resulting in another spate of retaliatory attacks on the Brus who had stayed behind and forcing many more into Tripura.
  • Currently, the Brus refugee camps are spread in the Jampui Hills, which separates Tripura from Mizoram and Bangladesh.

Terms of Resettlement:

  • All Bru currently living in temporary relief camps in Tripura will be settled in the state, if they want to stay on. The Bru who returned to Mizoram in the eight phases of repatriation since 2009, cannot, however, come back to Tripura.

Bru-Reang-refugee-agreement-1

  • A fresh survey and physical verification of Bru families living in relief camps will be carried out to ascertain the numbers of those who will be settled.
  • The Centre will implement a special development project for the resettled Bru; this will be in addition to the Rs 600 crore fund announced for the process, including benefits for the migrants.
  • Each resettled family will get 0.03 acre (1.5 ganda) of land for building a home, Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, and Rs 4 lakh as a one-time cash benefit for sustenance. They will also receive a monthly allowance of Rs 5,000, and free rations for two years from the date of resettlement.
  • All cash assistance will be through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), and the state government will expedite the opening of bank accounts and the issuance of Aadhaar, permanent residence certificates, ST certificates, and voter identity cards to the beneficiaries.
[Ref: Indian Express, The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

GSAT-30 successfully launched from French Guiana

GSAT-30, India’s first space mission in 2020, was successfully launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The-first-mission-of-the-Indian-Space-Research-Organisation-(ISRO)-in-2020,-India’s-latest-telecommunication-satellite-GSAT-30-was-successfully-launched-recently.

  • The European rocket Arianespace launched the GSAT-30 satellite for ISRO.

About GSAT-30:

  • GSAT-30 is a communication satellite providing high-quality television, telecommunications and broadcasting services.

GSAT-30

  • It was launched by European space agency’s heavy-lift launch vehicle Arianespace and has mission life of over 15 years.
  • It will replace INSAT-4A, a communication satellite launched in 2005 and provide India with communication services well into the 2030s.

Feature:

  • GSAT-30 uses two satellite frequencies:

What is Arianespace

  1. It gives the Indian mainland and islands coverage in the Ku band and
  2. extended coverage in a wider area stretching from Australia to Europe in the lower-frequency C-band.
  • The Ku and C bands are part of a spectrum of frequencies, ranging from 1 to 40 gigahertz, that are used in satellite communications.

Importance:

  • GSAT-30 will provide:
  • DTH (direct-to-home) television Services,
  • Connectivity to VSATs (Very Small Aperture Terminals) for ATM,
  • Stock exchange,
  • Television uplinking and teleport services,
  • Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and
  • e-governance applications.
  • The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.

Key fact:

  • Arianespace is the world’s first commercial launch service provider and has orbited 24 satellites, including GSAT-30, for the ISRO.
[Ref: Economic Times, India Today]
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