Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 12th September-2020

 

1)Global Economic Freedom Index:

Economic Freedom of the World: 2020 report released by the Fraser Institute in Canada.

In India, the report was co-published by Delhi-based Centre for Civil Society.

Index measures the ‘economic freedom’, or the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions in a country, by analyzing policies and institutions of these countries

  • The country ranked 79th in the previous edition of this report, India slips 26 places to 105 in global economic freedom index;
  • Lags in rules & freedom to trade internationally
  • India performed worse in terms of size of government, regulations and the freedom to trade internationally.
  • The country marginally improved its position in areas of ‘legal system and property rights’ and ‘sound money’, moving up a rank each to place 79 and 88, respectively.

China was positioned at 124 on the index. At the same time, it performed better than India in terms of its freedom to trade internationally, scoring the 112th rank for this indicator

 

2) Virtual courts:

Report of parliamentary panel headed by Bhupendra Yadav

  • The panel recommended continuation of virtual quotes even in post covid
  • Courts where functioning virtually through video conferences because of Corona virus pandemic
  • The panel says let virtual courts and continue even after unlock as there is no pendency of 30 million cases
  • And through virtual courts and e-courts we will save time, proceedings become fast get his disposal rates will improv
  • Hence we can reduce pendency significantly

Infrastructure needs to be upgraded specially in district courts to implement this

Challenges
Almost 50% lawyers particularly in district courts do not have any laptop or computer facility

  • Civil courts will compromise privacy of data as well as confidentiality of discussion and court proceedings
  • Unwanted intrusion by hackers and internet trolls into video conference call
  • Third party software is not only in a viable option but also poses a security risk as such software programs and applications are prone to hacking and manipulation

Hence the committee recommends the ministry of law and Justice and ministry of Electronics and information technology to address data privacy and data security concerns while developing a new platform for India’s judicial system

 

3) Housing Rights of Urban Poor:

Context: The Supreme Court of India on August 31 ordered the removal of about 48,000 slum dwellings situated along the railway tracks in Delhi, within a period of three months.

Most shockingly, the order stated that no Court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments” and in case any such interim order is granted “that shall not be effective.

A flawed order

  • Supreme Court order is deeply disturbing and raises serious legal questions. The order is fundamentally flawed because the Court has ignored principles of natural justice, judicial precedents on the right to shelter, and state policies governing evictions.
  • Since it decided on the removal of jhuggi jhopris without hearing the affected party, the jhuggi dwellers.

The order was passed in the long-running case, M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India & Ors., regarding pollution in Delhi and was in response to a report by Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control).

Still, the Court made an unconvincing connection between the piling of garbage and the presence of slums and gave an eviction order without giving the residents a fair hearing.

The Court ignored its long-standing jurisprudence on the right to livelihood and shelter upheld in various judgments.

  • In the landmark decision concerning pavement-dwellers, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Olga Tellis & Ors vs. Bombay Municipal Corporation & Ors. (1985) held that the right to life also includes the “right to livelihood” and that no eviction shall take place without notice and hearing those affected.
  • Further, in Chameli Singh vs. State Of U.P. (1995), the Supreme Court recognised the “right to shelter” as a component of the right to life under Article 21 and freedom of movement under Article 19(1) (e).
  • In Sudama Singh & Others vs. Government of Delhi & Anr. (2010), the High Court of Delhi held that prior to any eviction, a survey must be conducted and those evicted should have a right to “meaningful engagement” with the relocation plans.

The procedure laid down in this judgment formed the basis for the Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015. This was reiterated in Ajay Maken & Ors. Vs Union of India & Ors. (2019), a case concerning the demolition of Shakur Basti on railway land, where the Delhi High Court invoked the idea of the “Right to the City” to uphold the housing rights of slum dwellers. This case led to the framing of a Draft Protocol for the 2015 Policy on how meaningful engagement with residents should be conducted.

Evictions amid pandemic

  • The Supreme Court order that threatens to leave lakhs of people homeless amid a health and economic emergency is callous and unconscionable.
  • As the pandemic makes urban informal livelihoods more vulnerable, as in a recent report of the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), over 20,000 people were displaced in 45 incidents of forced evictions between March 25 and July 31, when India was under lockdown.

 

4) India- China Five Point Action:

Action to disengage and reduce tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a four and a half month long stand-off.

Following the consensus between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to “not allow differences to become disputes

The five-point plan is:

  • Not allow differences to become disputes
  • Disengaging quickly to ease tensions,
  • Abiding by the existing India-China border protocols and avoiding escalatory action,
  • Continuing the dialogue between Special Representatives National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Mr. Wang
  • Other mechanisms and working towards new confidence-building measures (CBMs).

However, neither the joint statement, nor the respective notes issued specifically spoke of a return to the “Status quo ante” or positions prior to the stand-off in April.

Nor do they specifically call on China to retreat from positions it has aggressed on at Pangong Tso, Depsang and other parts of the LAC.
Purpose achieved

  • Purpose of the foreign ministers’ meeting was to agree on the objectives and principles of disengagement and that had been achieved.
  • The statement issued by China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday quoted Mr. Wang as saying the relationship was “at the crossroads”. But as long as the two sides keep moving the relationship in the right direction, there will be no difficulty or challenge that can’t be overcome.

 

5) Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System:

Public grievance redressal called JK i-grams (Jammu & Kashmir integrated grievance redress & monitoring system) in Srinagar, Jammu & Reasi on a pilot basis.

  • In a bid to create an interface with the public and focus on governance issues.
  • Jammu and Kashmir will be the first Union Territory (UT) to be linked with Centre’s CPgram
  • District collectors and Deputy Commissioners will be the primary nodes for receiving, disposing and monitoring grievances.
  • The existing portal has now been integrated downwards to the district level by mapping nearly 1500 public offices in 20 districts of the union territory.
  • Step towards gaining people’s trust and move towards good governance.

 

6) Index of Industrial Production:

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 2011-12 stands at 118.1.

  • All the components of the IIP — mining, manufacturing, and electricity
  • The Indices of Industrial Production for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for the month of July 2020 stand at 87.2, 118.8 and 166.3 respectively (Statement I).
  • Index of Industrial Production
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a fixed period of time.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods.
  • As per Use-based classification, the indices stand at 114.1 for Primary Goods, 70.9 for Capital Goods, 122.9 for Intermediate Goods and 125.2 for Infrastructure/ Construction Goods Further, the indices for Consumer durables and Consumer non-durables stand at 99.5 and 156.4 respectively for the month of July 2020.

 

7) Maulana Abul Kalam Azad trophy for the year 2020:

Context: Panjab University for winning the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad trophy for the year 2020
Trophy for the top performing University in sports

 

8) Timelines for Publicity of Criminal Antecedents:

Commission decided to further streamline the instructions concerning publicity of criminal antecedents by candidates concerned and by the political parties, who nominate them for elections.

  • Commission has always emphasized on this moral yardstick for overall betterment of electoral democracy.

Highlights of the modified instructions are as follows:

A. Revised Timeline for Publicity
As per the revised guideline, the candidates as well as the political parties, regarding candidates nominated by them, will publish the details of criminal antecedents, if any, in newspapers and television in following manner:

  • First publicity: Within first 4 days of last date of withdrawal.
  • Second publicity: Within 5th to 8th day of last date of withdrawal
  • Third publicity: From 9th day till the last day of campaign, i.e. two days prior to date of poll)

This timeline will help the voters in exercising their choices in more informed manner.

B. Regarding the publicity by uncontested winning candidates as well as the political parties who nominate them, it is clarified that uncontested winner candidates as well as the political parties who nominate them shall also publicise the criminal antecedents, if any, as prescribed for other contesting candidates and political parties.

 

9) Ranking of States: 2019, on support to Startup Ecosystems:

Context: The Results of the second edition of Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems were released by Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) conducted the second edition of the States’ Startup Ranking Exercise
  • With the key objective to foster competitiveness and propel States and Union Territories to work proactively towards uplifting the startup ecosystem.
  • It has been implemented as a capacity development exercise to encourage mutual learning among all states and to provide support in policy formulation and implementation.
  • Gujarat topped as best performer
  • The States’ Startup Ranking Framework 2019 has 7 broad reform area, consisting of 30 action points ranging from Institutional Support, Easing Compliances, and Relaxation in Public Procurement norms, Incubation support, Seed Funding Support, Venture Funding Support, and Awareness & Outreach.

To establish uniformity and ensure standardization in the ranking process, States and UTs have been divided into two groups. While UTs except Delhi and all States in North East India except Assam are placed in Category ‘Y’. All other States and UT of Delhi are in Category ‘X’.

  • For the purposes of Ranking, States are classified into 5 Categories:
  • Best Performers, Top Performers, Leaders, Aspiring Leaders and Emerging Startup Ecosystems. Within each category, entities are placed alphabetically. States are also recognised as Leaders in 7 reform areas of support to startups. Results are attached at Annexure.
  • A ‘Compendium of Good Practices’ adopted by various States in supporting startups has also been released. It identifies 166 good practices, which may be directly used by States to identify and implement newer initiatives.

He said that strong ecosystem for startup is necessary for the country to reach the levels of $5tn economy by 2024. He expressed happiness that the mindset of our people is changing from the job seekers to job providers.

India has become 3rd largest ecosystem in the world.

 

10) Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF 2.0) and Streets for People Challenge:

  • CSCAF initiative intends to inculcate Climate-Sensitive Approach to Urban Planning and Development
  • Framework with 28 indicators across five categories developed after review of Global Frameworks/ Assessment Approaches
  • To support cities to develop unified vision of streets in consultation with stakeholders

Aims

  • To inspire cities to create walking-friendly/ vibrant streets through quick, innovative/ low-cost measures
    The ‘Streets for People Challenge’ in a virtual event organized by the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA)

Objective of CSCAF

  • To provide a clear roadmap for cities towards combating Climate Change while planning and implementing their actions, including investments.

In the last decade, an increasing frequency of cyclones, floods, heat waves, water scarcity and drought-like conditions have had adverse impacts on many of our cities. Such extreme events and risks cause loss of life as well as impact the economic growth.

The framework has 28 indicators across five categories namely

  1. Energy and Green Buildings,
  2. Urban Planning, Green Cover & Biodiversity,
  3. Mobility and Air Quality,
  4. Water Management and
  5. Waste Management

The Climate Centre for Cities under National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is supporting MoHUA in implementation of CSCAF.

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