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Sarat Chandra IAS Academy- UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 27th December 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 27-12-2021

Daily Current Affairs – Topics

 

Topics

  • The Soya Meal – Essential Commodity
  • The ‘Uniform Judicial Code’ for HCs
  • UAE’s Golden Visa
  • Flex Fuel Vehicles
  • Bottom trawling

1.The Soya Meal – Essential Commodity

#GS2-Governance

Context

  • In order to bring down domestic Soya Meal prices, the government has issued an order under the Essential Commodities Act declaring “Soya Meal” as an essential commodity under the Act.

In depth information

The Essential Commodities Act (ECA) protects essential commodities.

  • The ECA was founded in 1955 to secure the delivery of specific commodities or products whose supply, if disrupted by hoarding or black marketing, would have a negative impact on people’s daily lives.
  • Drugs, fertilisers, pulses, and edible oils, as well as petroleum and petroleum products, are among the things covered by the Act.
  • When additional commodities are needed, the Center can add them to the list, and then remove them when the situation improves.
  • Furthermore, the government has the authority to set the maximum retail price (MRP) of any packaged goods that it deems to be a “essential commodity.”

How does ECA work?

  • Notification of stock limit holdings by the centre
  • If the Centre determines that a product is in low supply and its price is rising, it might impose stock-holding restrictions for a set length of time.
  • The states respond to this notification by establishing restrictions and taking actions to guarantee that they are met.
  • Wholesalers, merchants, and even importers that trade or deal in the item are prohibited from hoarding more than a specific amount.
  • States have the option of opting out.
  • However, a state can choose not to impose any limits.
  • However, once it does, dealers must immediately sell any stocks held in excess of the required quantity into the market.

What happens if you don’t follow the rules?

  • Because not all retailers and traders follow the rules, state agents conduct raids to ensure that everyone follows the rules, and those who do not are prosecuted.
  • Excess inventory is auctioned or sold in fair price stores.
  • This increases supply and lowers prices.
  • For example, the Union Government has included masks and hand sanitizers in the ECA to ensure that these products, which are critical in avoiding the spread of Covid-19 infection, are affordable and of good quality. This decision was later reversed.

What about the food?

  • Topics discussed include:
  • Rice, wheat, atta, gramme dal, arhar dal, moong dal, urad dal, masoor dal, masoor dal, masoor dal, tea, sugar, salt, Vanaspati, groundnut oil, mustard oil, milk, soya oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, gur, potato, onion, and tomato
  • The Price Stabilization Fund (PSF)
  • The government uses the Price Stabilization Fund’s (PSF) buffer of agri-horticultural commodities such as pulses and onions to assist decrease price volatility.

The ECA has just been amended.

  • The EC Act was changed in 2020 to allow the stock restriction to be implemented only in extreme circumstances, such as famine or other natural disasters.
  • Exceptional circumstances: It permitted the government to delist specific goods as essential, allowing it to regulate supply and pricing only in the event of war, starvation, price spikes, or natural disasters.
  • Food commodities, such as grains, pulses, potatoes, onion, edible oilseeds, and oils, have been deregulated.

There are a few exceptions:

  • Stock regulation by the government will be based on growing prices, and will be implemented only if there is a 100% increase in retail price for horticulture products and a 50% increase in retail price for non-perishable agricultural food goods.
  • These limitations will not apply to food that is held in India for public distribution.

 

2.The ‘Uniform Judicial Code’ for HCs

#GS 2-Executive & Judiciary

Context

  • In the Supreme Court, a petition was filed to impose a “Uniform Judicial Code (UJC)” that would require High Courts across the country to adopt a uniform set of procedures, particularly for virtual courts.

In depth information

What is the purpose of the PIL?

  • The petition encouraged the Supreme Court to take appropriate actions to implement a uniform case registration method, utilise common judicial terms, phrases, and acronyms, and make the court fee uniform.
  • Alternatively, it has asked the Supreme Court of India to direct the Law Commission of India to draught a report in this respect in collaboration with the HC.

What is the purpose of UJC?

  • Judicial equality is a fundamental right, and its disparity based on judicial jurisdiction is a violation of the right to equality.
  • Various nomenclatures: When it comes to categorising various cases, each of the 25 High Courts uses different words.
  • Different methods: The PIL argued that different High Courts use different procedures in virtual court cases, which began during the pandemic.
  • Various charges: Citizens are discriminated against depending on their location of birth and domicile in different states because of disparities in court fees. It also fosters regionalism, which is a clear violation of Articles 14 and 15.

Way forward:

  • Bringing in computerised judicial systems
  • In India, the judiciary must create a well-defined framework that is supported by an accessible platform and a direct e-court system.
  • It also needs to emphasise technological infrastructure in order to run an e-court system that bridges the digital divide while improving judicial efficiency.
  • While digital judicial systems provide some semblance of ease for those who engage with the court, they also introduce security risks.

 

3.UAE’s Golden Visa

#GS2-Indian diaspora.

Context:

  • Tusshar Kapoor, a Bollywood actor, has been granted a Golden Visa.
  • He joins a growing list of Indian movie stars who have earned the coveted 10-year residency, including Mohanlal and Shah Rukh Khan.

In depth information

What exactly is it?

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) established a new long-term residency visa system in 2019, allowing foreigners to live, work, and study in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor and with full ownership of their company.

So, what exactly does the Golden Visa entail?

  • The Golden Visa system effectively grants long-term residency (5 to 10 years) to investors, entrepreneurs, those with exceptional talents such as researchers, medical experts, and those working in the scientific and knowledge industries, and exceptional pupils.

Eligibility requirements

1.For the benefit of investors:

  • A public investment deposit of at least AED 10 million, either in the form of an investment fund or a corporation.
  • Real estate cannot account for more than 60% of the overall investment.
  • The cash invested cannot be borrowed, and in the case of assets, the investors must acquire full ownership.
  • The investor must be able to keep the money for at least three years.
  • It is possible to extend the agreement to include corporate partners if each partner provides AED 10 million.
  • The holder’s spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor, may be included.

2.Individuals with particular skills should:

  • Doctors, researchers, scientists, investors, and artists fall within this category. Following accreditation from their respective departments and fields, these persons may be given a 10-year visa. Their spouses and children are also eligible for the visa.

3.Eligibility for a 5-year visa:

  • A property with a gross value of at least AED 5 million must be purchased by the investor.
  • The amount of money put into real estate cannot be borrowed.
  • The property must be kept for a minimum of three years.

4.Exceptional students include:

  • Outstanding students at public and private high schools with a minimum grade of 95%.
  • Students from universities both inside and outside the country who graduate with a distinction GPA of at least 3.75.

The Reasons for the Change:

  • The Covid-19 outbreak and low oil prices have wreaked havoc on the UAE’s economy, causing many expatriates to flee.
  • The move aims to bring them back now in order to keep the “bright people and outstanding minds” in the Gulf country and contribute to nation-building.
  • It will attract exceptional individuals from a variety of sectors and stimulate innovation, creativity, and applied research, further increasing the appeal of a career in the UAE for the world’s best brains.

Importance for India:

  • It would bring more Indian professionals and businesspeople to the Gulf country, bolstering India-UAE ties.
  • It will also make it easier for Indians to return to work after the lifting of Covid-19-related limitations, which India asked from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members in early November 2020.

 

4.Flex Fuel Vehicles

GS3-Conservation related issues.

Context:

  • Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, has long advocated for the use of flex-fuel in India’s automobiles and motorcycles.
  • The transport minister recently said at an industry gathering that he has issued an advice to all carmakers to include flex-fuel engines in their vehicles.

 In depth information

According to the government’s announcement:

  • The auto industry has been granted six months to introduce flex-fuel engines.
  • Flex Fuel Strong Hybrid vehicles must be produced, and both types of vehicles must meet the BS-6 emission standards.

What are FFVs (flexible fuel vehicles)?

  • A fuel-efficient vehicle (FFV) is a customized version of a vehicle that can run on both gasoline and doped gasoline with various levels of ethanol mixes.
  • Vehicles equipped with FFVs will be able to use all mixes as well as run on unblended gasoline.
  • FFVs have engines that can run on more than 84 percent ethanol mixed gasoline.

Benefits:

  • FFVs are designed to cut down on the usage of dirty fossil fuels and hazardous emissions.
  • Because alternative fuel ethanol costs Rs 60-62 per litre and petrol costs more than Rs 100 per litre in many regions of the nation, Indians will save Rs 30-35 per litre by switching to ethanol.
  • FFVs will have a distinct advantage in India since they will allow vehicles to use various blends of ethanol mixed gasoline available in various sections of the country.
  • These vehicles are also a logical continuation of the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas’s Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) initiative, which began in January 2003.
  • Because India has a surplus of corn, sugar, and wheat, the obligatory ethanol blending programme will help farmers earn more money.
  • Increased use of ethanol as a car fuel will help the Indian economy save money on imports, as the country imports more than 80% of its crude oil requirements.

The disadvantages and challenges of employing FFVs are as follows:

  • Customer adoption will be a huge hurdle because the cost of ownership and operating costs will be quite high when compared to 100% gasoline vehicles.
  • When running on 100% ethanol, the operating costs (because to poorer fuel efficiency) will be more than 30% higher (E100).
  • Because ethanol has significantly different chemical characteristics than gasoline, flex fuel engines are more expensive. Ethanol has a low calorific value (40%) when compared to gasoline, as well as a high latent heat of vaporisation, which causes charge/combustion cooling.
  • Ethanol also acts as a solvent and could wipe out the protective oil film inside the engine thereby could cause wear and tear.

 

5.Bottom trawling

#GS3-Conservation and Pollution related issues.

Context

  • The impoundment of 10 boats by Sri Lankan authorities between December 18 and 20 for “poaching” in territorial seas has sparked new fears about the men’s fate.

In depth information

What exactly is the problem now?

  • Arresting and later releasing fishermen from Tamil Nadu has become commonplace, however there have been fatalities.
  • The employment of bottom trawlers by Tamil Nadu fisherman has been a source of controversy between the two countries, a practise opposed in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province on the grounds that trawling harms the marine ecosystem.
  • In Sri Lanka, this practise has been outlawed, and there have been calls for the legislation to be strictly enforced.
  • The Indian side committed to phase out and halt bottom trawling on two occasions, in 2010 and 2016. But it isn’t over yet.

What’s the big deal about bottom trawling?

  • Bottom trawling is an environmentally damaging activity that includes trawlers dragging weighted nets down the seafloor, depleting aquatic resources significantly.
  • Bottom trawling catches juvenile fish, depleting ocean resources and jeopardising conservation efforts. This practise was initiated by Tamil Nadu fisherman in Palk Bay and was extensively pursued throughout Sri Lanka’s civil war.
  • current events

The bottom trawling-deep-sea fishing plan has a solution:

  • The switch from trawling to deep-sea fishing is the key to solving the bottom trawling problem.
  • Deep-sea fishing is the activity of catching fish that live in the deepest portions of the sea or ocean.
  • Fishermen can access deeper sections of the ocean and different fish species thanks to the boats’ design.
  • It is used all around the world, especially in coastal locations, and causes no environmental harm.
  • To be classified a deep sea fishing zone, the water depth must be at least 30 metres.

Government efforts—the Palk Bay scheme:

  • In July 2017, the Blue Revolution programme was launched.
  • The scheme is co-financed by the Union and the States, with beneficiaries taking part.
  • It had planned to provide 2,000 vessels to the state’s fishermen over the next three years in order to encourage them to avoid bottom trawling.

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