Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 8th October -2020

 

1)Right to protest:

Context: Blocking of road by Shaheen Bagh protesters unacceptable said Supreme Court

Supreme Courts Observations:

  • Democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone.
  • The present case was not even one of protests taking place in an undesignated area, but was a blockage of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters.
  • Fundamental rights do not live in isolation.
  • The right of the protester has to be balanced with the right of the commuter.
  • They have to co-exist in mutual respect.

The 13-page judgment upheld the right to peaceful protest against a law but made it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied, and that too indefinitely.

  • The court held it was entirely the responsibility of the administration to prevent encroachments in public spaces.
  • They should do so without waiting for courts to pass suitable orders.
  • The right to protest may be a manifestation of the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of association, and the right to freedom of speech.

In the landmark judgement of Maneka Gandhi VS Union of India, the Supreme Court held that the freedom of speech and expression of article 19 has no geographical limitation and it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others not only in India but abroad also

  • The seeds of protest and dissent were sown deep during the Freedom struggle.
  • But dissent against the colonial rule cannot be equated with dissent in a self-ruled democracy
  • In a democracy, the rights of free speech and peaceful protest were indeed treasured they were to be encouraged and respected

Is freedom of speech absolute?

  • Under Indian law, the freedom of speech and of the press do not confer an absolute right to express one’s thoughts freely
  • But these rights were also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of sovereignty, integrity and public order.

Clause 2 of article 19 of the Indian Constitution enables the legislature to impose certain restrictions on free speech under the following heads- The reasonable restrictions as per Indian Constitution are:

  • Security of the state
  • Friendly relations with foreign States
  • Public order
  • Decency and morality
  • Content of the court
  • Incitement of an offence and
  • Sovereignty and integrity of India

Shaheen Bagh case

  • There was also the possibility of the protestors not fully realising the ramifications of the pandemic, coupled with the general unwillingness to relocate to another site
  • The court noted that Shaheen Bagh seemed typical of the many digitally fuelled leaderless events of dissent scene in Modern Times
  • Technology and social media could both empower and weak and mass movements
  • The ability to scale up quickly, for example using digital infrastructure has empowered movements to embrace their open leaderless aspirations and evade the useful restrictions of censorship
  • However the flip side is that Social media channels are often fraught with danger and can lead to the creation of highly polarised environments which often see parallel conversations running with no constructive outcome evident

Shaheen Bagh Protest was anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest

Why protest against Citizenship Amendment Act?

CAA gives citizenship to all religious minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan this means Muslims who are in majority will not get citizenship

 

2) Google faces new anti-trust case:

  • Google faces new antitrust challenges in India allegedly abusing its dominant position in the Android smart television-mobile market by creating barriers for companies which wanted to use or modify its operating system for their smart televisions
  • In it’s for 14 page order, Competition Commission of India had held that requiring mobile phone handset makers to pre-install the entire Google mobile services pack, which is a collection of Google Apps was unfair
  • Google guilty of misuse of its dominant position in the mobile android market and said the company had imposed unfair conditions on the device manufacturers so as to prevent them from using other operating systems.
  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) looking into allegations that Google engages in anti-competitive practices by creating barriers for firms wanting to use or develop modified versions of Android for smart TVs, such as Amazon Fire TV’s operating system, according to the source, who has direct knowledge of the case.
  • Antitrust laws also referred to as competition laws are statutes developed by the governments to protect consumers from predatory business practices they ensure that fair competition exist in an open market economy

Competition Commission of India

It is a statutory body of Government of India responsible for enforcing the competition Act 2002

Composition:

  • The commission comprises a chairperson and three members
  • It is the commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote sustain competition, protect the interest of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India
  • It prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisitions, acquiring of control and merger and acquisition), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India

 

3) Stimulus package:

Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal said the Government recognise the need for providing further stimulus to the economy at some point in time as may be appropriate

  • Unlike many countries that had opted for demand creation, the approach of India was basically focused on creating a safety net, both for the vulnerable sections of society and business sector given the fiscal constraints.
  • If we tried to re-inflate consumption demand in April, May, June it would have been entirely a waste of resources for the simple reason we ourselves have locked down all the avenues for spending
  • With unlock taking place, the manufacturing sector is gradually getting back to the pre-COVID levels and the services sector will gather momentum.
  • Many governments have been cautious, and some would argue overly cautious, because they have lower resources for relief, and they fear rating downgrades.
  • For a number of countries, the right thing to do, which is perhaps what the IMF is now saying, is to spend to diminish the damage than to wait to spend hoping that it will increase demand
  • “If the relief is not provided, your small and medium firms and households are much less able to produce or spend when the recovery happens, and the economy’s potential growth is reduced largely from the supply side.
  • Some countries are saying let’s wait till we control the pandemic because then we can boost demand by a whole bunch of stimulus spending,” underlining that such a stimulus would be extremely inflationary smaller firms have gone out of business.
  • India can expand its fiscal space for spending more on relief measures if it can build institutions to convince markets that it will be fiscally responsible over the medium term.
  • Adopt a debt target with legislation, appoint that independent fiscal commission which will look at Budgets and talk about where there is lack of transparency, hiding the true fiscal position,” he said, adding this required significant reform actions in the short term but

which could trigger a virtuous cycle.

  • The alternative is a vicious cycle, if the government is frozen and does nothing, saying I won’t spend because I don’t have the money, rating agency will downgrade me… so we will pick up the pieces when we find them.
  • (Then) private sector deteriorates, growth potential falls, and the rating agencies eventually decide you have huge debts, are not growing, and rating agencies will downgrade, this holds true for many emerging markets.

 

4) PLI Scheme:

16 companies, including Apple’s contract manufacturers started work under the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme.

  • Global companies such as Samsung and Rising Star have also been given approval for making mobile phones in the Rs 15,000 and above value segment.
  • Samsung, Pegatron, and Rising Star were the first global applicants for the government’s PLI scheme.
  • The new PLI scheme, under which companies that set up new mobile and specified equipment manufacturing units or expanded their present units would get incentives of 4-6 per cent on incremental sales from goods made in India.
  • The PLI scheme, open for a total of five years, base year – 2019-20, aims to give out incentives worth Rs 5,334 crore in total in the first year, to be divided among all the successful applicants.
  • The total incentive to be given to each company will be decided by an empowered committee, which will have secretaries from the Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Expenditure, Department of Revenue, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, apart from the MeitY secretary and the CEO of the Niti Aayog.

 

5) Nobel in chemistry:

U.S.-French duo win Nobel Chemistry Prize for gene editing tool

  • This is the first time a Nobel science prize has gone to a women-only team
  • Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer Doudna of the U.S. on October 7 won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for the gene-editing technique known as the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping scissors
  • Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision.
  • This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.
  • Using the tool, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision.
  • The CRISPR-Cas9 tool has already contributed to significant gains in crop resilience altering the genetic code to better understand droughts and pests

 

6) Jan Andolan campaign for COVID-19:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a campaign called Jan Andolan for COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour on October 8, 2020.

The campaign was launched through a tweet by him using a hashtag #Unite2FightCorona.

How the campaign will tackle the situation?

  • The campaign has been launched with a key message for people to stay united to fight Corona. The campaign reminds people to wear a mask, to wash hands, to follow social distancing and to practice ‘Do Gaz Ki Doori’ to fight the situation.
  • The campaign has been launched in the wake of upcoming festivals, winter season and opening up of the economy.

How the campaign will tackle the situation?

  • The campaign aims to bring a Jan Andolan and encourage people’s participation through activities like wall painting, displaying hoardings and installing electronic display boards in government premises.
  • It also ask the national and local influencers on social media to spread awareness among people.
  • It aims for region specific targeted communication through easily understandable messages so that it reaches to every citizen of the country.

Covid-19 cases

  • India is the second most Covie-19 affected country in the world after US.
  • However, first phase of Covid-19 wave in India is receding day by day.
  • India’s recovery rate has been increased to around 85% which stands highest in the world.

How India tackled the situation?

  • In the initial wave of Covid-19, it was declared as notified disaster under the disaster management.
  • This helped the State to utilize the funds under state disaster response funds.
  • Further, India joined the COVAX initiative in order to provide equitable access of vaccines to all the countries.
  • To recover from the economic losses India also launched the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  • These schemes were aimed at improving the livelihood of the people amid the lockdown.

 

7) Hypersonic Cruise Missile – TSIRKON:

  • Russia has test-fired the Hypersonic Cruise missile called TSIRKON (Zircon) successfully in the White Sea.
  • Test fire was conducted from the Frigate Admiral Gorshkov Vessel in the White Sea.
  • The Missile have a capacity to hit the destined target at a distance of 450 km in Just 4 and half minutes.
  • It can reached the hypersonic speeds of more than Mach 8.
  • The Missile was launched from White Sea to hit the target located in Barents Sea.

Barents Sea

  • The Barents Sea is located in the Northern coasts of Norway and Russia.
  • It is a Shallow shelf sea having an average depth of 230.
  • Norwegian Sea in the west and Kola Peninsula to the south are the border state.
  • Surrounding there are three main types of water in the Barents Sea.
  • Water in the sea is the result of North Atlantic drift, cold Arctic water from the north and coastal waters.

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