Current Affairs Analysis

5th August Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Black Swan; City Gas Distribution (CGD) sector; PNGRB; What is Accidental Death Report (ADR); What happens if the family makes an allegation or some foul play comes to light? Can two police forces investigate the same case? What is zero FIR? Diminishing importance given to groundnut oil; Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel; About NCDC; Parivar Pehchan Patra; COVID-19 impact on Education; Study on Sugarcane; About Sugarcane; Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI); Thenzawl Golf Resort Project; Golf Tourism in India; Swadesh Darshan Scheme; Centrosaurus; National Gas Grid;etc.
By IASToppers
August 05, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Can two police forces investigate the same case?

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel
  • Parivar Pehchan Patra

Issues related to Health & Education

  • COVID-19 impact on Education

Economy

  • Opening up of city gas distribution
  • How Covid-19 has helped the groundnut stage a comeback
  • Study on Sugarcane

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Scientists map black swan genome
  • Thenzawl Golf Resort Project
  • Centrosaurus

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

Can two police forces investigate the same case?

Sushant Singh Rajput’s body was found at his residence in Mumbai. But the Bihar Police, too, is probing his death. This arises the question whether two police forces can investigate the same case.

What is Accidental Death Report (ADR)?

  • After actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s dead body was found in Mumbai, the local police registered an Accidental Death Report (ADR) in the matter.
  • As per Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, an ADR is taken when an accidental death, suicidal death or unnatural death comes to light. The officer in charge of a police station receives information that a person has committed suicide, he/she shall proceed to the place where the body of such deceased person is, and there, draw up a report of the apparent cause of death.
  • The officer then records statements of those who can shed light behind the cause of death. If no one makes any allegations and the post mortem report does not indicate murder, an ACP rank officer then ends the report at ADR stage.

What happens if the family makes an allegation or some foul play comes to light?

  • Generally, the post mortem report points out if a person died of suicide or was killed.
  • There have been cases where an ADR was later turned into a murder case, under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (Punishment for murder), after the post mortem report indicated a person was murdered.
  • Apart from this, if the family members allege someone drove the person to die by suicide, or if a suicide note is found, the police can register an abetment to suicide case under Section 306 of IPC.

What cases have the Mumbai Police and Bihar Police registered?

  • Since the family members of Rajput did not make any allegations and the post mortem reports did not indicate any foul play, the matter is still as an ADR at Mumbai police station.
  • However, Bihar Police registered an FIR based on the allegations made by Rajput’s father. It is as part of this FIR that a police team from Bihar came to the Mumbai, resulting in a tussle between the two forces.

Can two police forces investigate the same case?

  • A case can be formally transferred to another agency like the CBI, but two agencies cannot probe the same FIR simultaneously.
  • In cases where a money laundering aspect emerges, the Enforcement Directorate registers an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) and restricts its probe to the money laundering aspect of it.
  • Even in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, after his father alleged to Bihar Police that money had been transferred to unidentified accounts from Rajput’s bank account, the ED registered an ECIR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
  • However, under regular crimes, if an offence has taken place in Mumbai and the family is in Bihar, they can go to the nearest police station in Bihar and register a Zero FIR.

What is zero FIR?

  • In order to ensure that a citizen does not have to run from one police station to another to register an FIR, the law has allowed any police station across the country to register an FIR as soon a cognisable offence is disclosed to them.
  • Hence, a zero FIR is registered by a police station when an offence reported to it has been committed in the area under the jurisdiction of a different police station.
  • As per Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a police officer is duty bound to register the Zero FIR irrespective of territorial jurisdiction.

Controversy in the Sushant Singh Rajput case?

  • In the current case, after registering the FIR, the Bihar Police themselves came to Mumbai to investigate the case instead of transferring the case to the local police.
  • There is also a demand from former Maharashtra CM that the case be transferred to the CBI. The Supreme Court will take a final call on who will investigate the matter.

 [Ref: Indian Express]

Government Schemes & Policies

Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel

Recently, the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare launched the Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel.

About Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel:

  • It is a new initiative by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

Other Initiatives:

  • The Minister also launched the ‘Formation and Registration of a Cooperative’ for eighteen different states in Hindi and regional languages.
  • These are guidance videos produced by NCDC.

Expected Benefits:

  • Steps towards One Nation One Market.
  • Make India the food factory of the world.
  • Aid in the formation of new cooperatives.
  • Facilitate the involvement of youth in cooperatives.

About Cooperatives:

  • India has a network of over 8.50 lakh organizations and 290 million members.
  • Contributed to raising the income of their members and achieving rural prosperity.
  • Minimize risks in agriculture and allied sector and act as a shield against exploitation.

About NCDC:

  • Established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 as a statutory corporation under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
  • Sources of Funds of NCDC includes internal accruals, market borrowings and allocations from Government of India including International assistance.
  • The management vests in 51 members widely represented General Council to give shape to its policies and programmes and the Board of Management with 12 members to cater to day-to-day activities.

Functions:

  • Planning, promoting and financing programmes for production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, certain other notified commodities etc.
  • Finance projects in the rural industrial cooperative sectors and for certain notified services in rural areas like water conservation, irrigation and micro-irrigation, agri-insurance, agro-credit, rural sanitation, animal health, etc.
  • Loans and grants are advanced to State Governments for financing primary and secondary level cooperative societies and direct to the national level and other societies having objects extending beyond one State.
[Ref: PIB, IASToppers.com]

Parivar Pehchan Patra

Recently, the Haryana Chief Minister of Haryana distributed Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) to the eligible families.

About PPP:

  • Launched by Haryana.
  • PPP is an e-governance initiative.
  • Provides a distinct identity to each family in the State.
  • Will enable the citizens to get the benefit of various Centre and State government schemes at their doorstep in a fair and transparent manner.
  • A separate Citizen Resources Information Department (CRID) has been established to give further momentum to the PPP programme.

Expected Benefits:

  • End corruption and red-tapism.

Other Initiatives by Government of Haryana:

  • Meri Fasal Mera Byora Yojana.
  • The digitalisation of revenue records
  • Haryana Udhyam Memorandum (HUM) Portal.
  • Celebrating the year 2020 as ‘Susashan Sanakap Varsh’
[Ref: The Hindu]

Issues related to Health & Education

COVID-19 impact on Education

According to a report by the UNESCO, 24 million may drop out of school due to COVID-19 impact.

Key Points:

  • More than 1.6 billion learners across the world have been affected by the disruption of the education system.
  • Almost 24 million children are at risk of not returning to school next year due to the economic fallout of COVID-19.
  • Girls and young women are likely to be disproportionately affected. School closures make them more vulnerable to child marriage, early pregnancy and gender-based violence.
  • In early 2020, it was estimated that low and middle incomes faced a $148-billion gap between their education budgets and the money available to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of quality education. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to increase that financing gap by up to one-third. The educational financing gap is also likely to increase by one third.
  • The pandemic has also highlighted existing disparities, with vulnerable populations in low-income countries taking a harder and longer hit. In the second quarter of 2020, 86% of children at the primary level have been effectively out of school in poor countries, compared to just 20% in highly developed countries.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Economy

Opening up of city gas distribution

City gas distribution companies may soon face competition from third parties, with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) set to notify regulations to allow competition for these companies.

About City Gas Distribution (CGD) sector

  • Under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) Act 2006, PNGRB grants the authorization to the entities for developing a City Gas Distribution (CGD) network (including PNG network) in a specified Geographical Area of India.
    • CGD sector has four distinct segments – Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) used as auto-fuel, and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) used in in domestic, commercial and Industrial segments.
  • Regulations pertaining to authorization/bidding of CGD networks were amended in 2018, which helped in attracting wider participation from public and private sector in CGD sector. This lead to expand the coverage of CGD with potential to cover about 53% of the country’s area and 70% of country’s population.
  • To promote the development of CGD network, the Government has accorded the priority in domestic gas allocation to PNG (Domestic) and CNG (Transport) segments, as they are cheaper than imported gas.
  • In FY 2018-19, the total gas consumption in India was 148 MMSCMD (Million standard cubic feet per day). In this, CGD accounts for 25.27 MMSCMD which is 17% of total gas consumption in India.

What is the current scenario?

  • City gas distribution companies currently have exclusive right to lay, operate and expand gas distribution infrastructure in their respective geographies as well as market both Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in these areas.
  • The government had decided to grant exclusivity to gas distribution companies to incentivise them to invest in infrastructure to deliver PNG and CNG widely across cities.
  • These companies supply PNG to household, industrial and commercial use and CNG for vehicles through retail sites of state-owned oil marketing companies.

What is the proposed change?

  • Under new proposal by the PNGRB, distribution companies would have to provide access to third-party companies to pay to use their infrastructure to market CNG and PNG based on a transportation tariff set by the incumbent players but regulated by the PNGRB in case of disputes.

What is the likely impact?

Impact on Consumer and OMCs

  • The end of marketing exclusivity may lead to some competition and lower prices for CNG.
  • OMCs, which currently receive a commission on the sale of CNG sold through their retail points, may seek to take some market share in the CNG distribution business by using the distribution network of CGD companies to retail CNG directly to customers.
  • However, OMCs may not seek to take up the opportunity that arises from the end of the exclusivity period immediately as they are currently enjoying risk-free commissions on the sale of CNG at their retail sites.
  • Also, CGD companies and OMCs might decide to increase the commissions provided to OMCs once gas distribution companies lose marketing and infrastructure exclusivity.

Impact on the CGD companies

  • The profitability of city gas distribution companies would be affected significantly if their market share is taken up by competitors and it may even reduce their ability to invest further in expanding gas distribution infrastructure.

About PNGRB

  • PNGRB was constituted under The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006.
  • It has been mandated to regulate the refining, processing, storage, transportation, distribution, marketing and sale of petroleum and natural gas excluding production of crude oil and natural gas.
  • It also protects the interests of consumers and entities engaged in specified activities relating to petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas and to promote competitive markets.
  • Composition of PNGRB: It consists of Chairperson, a Member (Legal) and three other members nominated by chairperson which decides on disputes arising among downstream companies or with outsiders.

About National Gas Grid:

  • National Gas Grid would connect all major demand and supply gas centre in India.

Objectives:

  • To remove regional imbalance within the country with regard to access for natural gas and provide clean and green fuel throughout the country.
  • To connect gas sources to major demand centres and ensure availability of gas to consumers in various sectors.
  • Development of City Gas Distribution Networks in various cities for the supply of CNG and PNG.

Significance:

  • The National Gas Grid together with providing gas connections to households will provide better infrastructure for automobiles using gas.
  • The National Gas Grid will also aid in renewing of the fertilizer sector and also give a boost to the Power and Automotive sector.
[Ref: Indian Express]

How Covid-19 has helped the groundnut stage a comeback

While imports of palm oil have fallen by almost 40% year-on-year during April-June, oils directly used in home kitchens have reported no decline in consumption. One example of oils faring well in lockdown India is groundnut.

Diminishing importance given to groundnut oil

  • Till the mid-seventies, groundnut accounted for over 50% of India’s edible oil consumption. But today, more than half of the country’s groundnut kernels are used for table consumption or exported, leaving little for oil extraction.
  • Annual groundnut oil consumption in India is at 4 lt, which is hardly 2% of the country’s edible oil demand and below even other indigenous oils such as cottonseed and rice bran.
  • However, that situation could change this year with farmers expanding the area sown under groundnut. Groundnut acreage under the oilseed in the ongoing kharif planting season is 45.45 lh, up from last year’s 30.54 lh.

Reason for comeback of groundnut

  • One reason is prices expected to remain firm, supported by rising home consumption of the oil post-Covid and steady export demand for the kernels.
  • Production of groundnut oilseed in 2019-20 was 93.47 lakh tonnes (lt), more than 2018-19’s 67.27 lt and the highest since 2013-14.
  • Also, in 2019-20, India exported 6.64 lt of groundnuts compared to 4.89 lt previous fiscal, to Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and China.

Reason for the comeback of groundnut oil in Gujarat

  • In Saurashtra, where the major groundnut-cultivating districts are Rajkot, Junagadh, Jamnagar and Dwarka, the competing crop is cotton. Saurashtra farmers this time have sown less area under cotton, as against groundnut.
  • For farmers, groundnut can be harvested in 90-110 days by October-November, whereas a full cotton crop cycle can take up to 180 days. The shorter duration gives the flexibility to plant wheat, chana (chickpea), jeera (cumin) or coriander during the rabi winter-spring season.
  • Also, not only are groundnut cultivation costs lower, their stems are very good fodder for cattle. And Yields per hectare are similar both for kapas (raw unginned cotton) and groundnut-in-shell.
  • Regular MSP-based procurement by government agencies has boosted farmers’ confidence to plant groundnut. The procurement of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) for groundnut from Gujarat is also significant. Gujarat is also the India’s largest cotton producer. But procurement of kapas through the Cotton Corporation of India hasn’t been on the scale of groundnut purchases undertaken by NAFED.

Overview of Oilseed cultivation in India

  • Oilseed cultivation is undertaken across the country in about 26.00 million ha, covering 72% under rainfed areas and producing around 30.00 million tonnes of oilseeds.
  • Nine oilseeds are the primary sources of vegetable oil in India. Among nine Major oilseeds are Soybean (39%), Groundnut (26%) and Rapeseed-Mustard (24%), contribute more than 88% of total oilseeds production in the country.
  • However, in terms of vegetable oil production Rapeseed (31%) Mustard (26%), Soybean and Groundnut (25%) contributes majorly.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Study on Sugarcane

A first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis of India’s sugar industry by the researchers from Stanford University, United States was published in journal Environmental Research Letters.

About Sugarcane:

  • Sugarcane is a cash crop.
  • India is the second-largest producer of sugar.
  • Enjoys immense political patronage and has benefitedfrom policies that incentivised production for decades.
  • Requires large amounts of water and land to cultivate.
  • Reduces the use of these resources for foods that are rich in micro-nutrients.
  • Most populations can buy sugar at subsidised rates, but do not have access to adequate protein and micro-nutrients that are needed for cognitive growth.

Challenges:

  • Institutionalised political interests in sugar production have threatened India`s food, water and energy security over time.
  • The study found that sugarcane occupied only four per cent of Maharashtra’s total cropped area but consumed 61 per cent of the state’s irrigation water in 2010-11.
  • An indirect factor towards micronutrient deficiency prevalent in the Indian population.

Suggestions:

  • A transition towards more sustainable cultivation of sugarcane.
  • Producing ethanol from sugarcane juice instead of molasses can help India meet its nutrition requirements and make resources like land and water more sustainable.

Expected Benefits of the Suggestions:

  • Help achieve the Union government’s goal of increasing the ethanol-to-blending rate to 20 per cent by 2030 from a current six per cent.
  • Government spending to subsidise sugar can also be reduced.
[Ref: Down to Earth]

Prelims Key Facts

Scientists map black swan genome

  • Scientists from the University of Queensland, Australia have mapped the black swan genome to better understand the immune response.
  • The Black Swan is highly susceptible to the avian flu virus.
  • The researchers wanted to understand as to why black swans were so susceptible to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

About Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI):

  • The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) usually occurs in birds and can sometimes spill over to humans.
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization considers six countries to be endemic for the HPAI virus in poultry as of 2011, namely Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
  • More than 50 per cent of the 800 people infected globally by HPAI since 2003 have not survived.

About Black Swan:

  • The black swan is a large waterbird.
  • Mainly found in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concerned
[Ref: Down to Earth]

Thenzawl Golf Resort Project

Recently, the Union Minister of State for Tourism virtually inaugurated the Thenzawl Golf Resort project.

About Thenzawl Golf Resort

  • Thenzawl Golf Resort is located in Mizoram.
  • Developed under the Integrated Development of New Eco-Tourism under Swadesh Darshan- North East Circuit.
  • Designed by Graham Cooke and Associates, a Canada based Golf Course architectural firm.

Factors for Golf Tourism in India:

  • India has more than 230 golf courses in all.
  • Favourable climatic condition.
  • Availability of hospitality services.
  • Government initiatives like Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

  • Ministry of Tourism (MoT) launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15.
  • It aims at the development of thematic circuits in a planned and prioritized manner across India.
  • Position the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation, driving force for economic growth, building synergy with various sectors to enable tourism to realise its potential.
  • This scheme is envisioned to synergise with other Government of India schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India etc.
  • It is a 100 per cent centrally funded scheme.

15 theme circuits named under the scheme are:

  1. Buddhist
  2. Coastal
  3. Desert
  4. Eco
  5. Heritage
  6. Himalayan
  7. Krishna
  8. North-East
  9. Ramayana
  10. Rural
  11. Spiritual
  12. Sufi
  13. Tirthankara
  14. Tribal
  15. Wildlife
[Ref: PIB, IASToppers.com]

Centrosaurus

  • Centrosaurus, , a horned dinosaur, first unearthed in Canada in 1989.
  • It lived 76 million years ago.
  • The fossil indicated a malformation in the form of osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer.
  • The fossil is considered to be the first known example of a dinosaur afflicted by cancer.
[Ref: The Hindustan Times]
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