UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 15th February 2022
Topics for the day :
- Inflation edges past 6% in January
- bans 54 new Chinese mobile apps
- Rajasthan to begin riverbed sand mining
- Swearing in ceremony of Chief Justice of Madras HC
- Convention of CMs
- Lassa fever, and its symptoms
Inflation edges past 6% in January
- India’s retail inflation accelerated past the 6% mark in January to hit 6.01%, breaching the central bank’s tolerance threshold for consumer price inflation for the first time since June 2021.
More about the news :
- Food inflation is high mainly due to the higher edible oils component, but the overall basket is below the headline number at 5.6%
- Rural India bore the brunt of the inflation spike as per official data while Inflation in urban India was virtually unchanged.
- With global crude oil prices now hitting $95 a barrel, economists said the government’s stance on retail fuel prices whether to increase them or reduce excise duties will determine the trajectory of inflation
- The ongoing Ukraine crisis is likely to escalate the international crude oil prices higher, hence the Central government may have to lower the excise duties
- Clothing and footwear inflation accelerated to 8.84% in January from 8.3% in December, following the introduction of a higher GST rate on footwear products
- There is high 6% plus inflation in nonfood segments like clothing, fuel and light, household goods, health, transport and communication and recreation Consumer Price index
- Monthly CPI Components in (All India) – Food & Beverages makes 45%,Services make 21% and housing makes 10% etc
Headline inflation :
- Headline CPI is the inflation figure arrived based on all of the above components of CPI
Core inflation :
- Core CPI is Headline CPI without inflation in food & energy.
- This is Because Food and fuel price shocks are transitory, mainly supply driven and therefore can’t be controlled by RBI’s monetary policy tools.
- RBI – Tight / dear / Hawkish Monetary Policy to make loans more expensive. This would reduce liquidity in the market
- Central Govt –
? Tax deduction / exemption / subsidy benefits towards producers to decrease the cost of production.
? Curtailing Fiscal Deficit
? Curtailing schemes/subsidies that increase money in the hands of beneficiaries without increasing production.
? Ordering RBI to issue inflation Indexed Bonds, Sovereign Gold Bonds
? Essential commodities act, Stock limits, Minimum Export Price, FCI’s Open Market Sale Scheme, Operation Greens for TOP, Price stabilization fund,
Offering higher MSP to farmers to increase cultivation of a particular crops
Govt. bans 54 new Chinese mobile apps
- The Centre on Monday banned over 50 new Chinese mobile applications following up on an earlier ban of Chinese mobile apps.
More on the news :
- The Govt banned these apps citing concerns over privacy and national security by invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued interim directions for blocking 54 apps, sources said, adding these were allegedly collecting sensitive user data, which were being misused and transmitted to servers outside India.
- The government had last year banned over 200 Chinese mobile applications, including popular ones such as TikTok, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory and CamScanner.
Why was this needed ?
- Government had received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.
- The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
- The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.
Rajasthan to begin riverbed sand mining
- Environment clearance issued to as many as 60 mining areas has paved the way for legal mining of bajri (riverbed sand) in Rajasthan, more than four years after the Supreme Court banned the sand mining activities in riverbeds until a scientific replenishment study was completed.
- The availability of legally mined riverbed sand, which is mixed with cement for construction of buildings, had drastically reduced after the Supreme Court’s order.
- A mafia had proliferated in the State, operating with illegal mining in several areas.
- The huge gap in demand and supply also led to delay and closure of several construction projects.
- In November last year, the Supreme Court accepted the Central empowered committee’s recommendations permitting riverbed sand mining to be conducted after obtaining all statutory clearances and payment of applicable taxes
Problems of Riverbed Sand mining
- Sand mining damages the ecosystem of rivers,destroys natural habitats of organisms living on riverbeds, affects fish breeding and migration
- Affects the safety of bridges and physical structures in the region.
- Mining also increases saline water in the rivers
- Lack of enforcement for sand-mining regulations and insufficient subsidy programs for affected communities detrimentally impact coastal welfare.
? The sand mafia, a network of criminal syndicates that illegally mine sand, has proven especially destructive, with attempts to curtail their behavior often leading to violent results.
- Beaches, dunes, and sandbanks act as barriers to flooding. When sand mining removes such barriers, areas near the sea or river become more prone to flooding.
- Sand mining destroys the aesthetic beauty of beaches and river banks, and also makes the ecological system in these areas unstable. If such beaches and riverside areas are popular tourist destinations, then the tourism potential of such areas will be lost.
- A recent study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) shows mining is responsible for a 90 per cent drop in sediment levels in major Asian rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Mekong and Yangtze.
? This has resulted in the shrinking of the delta regions of these rivers, leaving local people extremely vulnerable to floods, land loss, contaminated drinking water and crop damage.
Swearing in ceremony of Chief Justice of Madras HC
Tamil Nadu Governor administered the oath of office to Madras High Court Chief Justice
Appointment of CJHC
- According to Article 217, the Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the CJI and the State Governor
- If it is for a common high court, then the governors of all the concerned state high court are consulted
- In the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court is also consulted
- In case of appointment of judges to high court, it was opined that CJI should consult a collegium of two senior-most judges of the SC before recommending a name to the President of India in the seminal third judges case
Qualification of judges
- He should be a citizen of India
- He should have held a judicial office in the territory of India for ten years or he should have been an advocate of a high court for ten years
Tenure of judges
- He holds office until he attains the age of 62 years.
- Any question regarding his age will be determined by the President of India in consultation with the CJI and the decision of the President is final
- He can resign from office by writing to the President
- He can be removed from his office by the President on the recommendation of the Parliament (The process of impeachment of a high court judge is similar to that of a judge of SC)
- He vacates his office when he is appointed as a judge of the SC or when he is transferred to another high court
Convention of CMs
- Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, have jointly proposed a convention of non- centre Chief Ministers.
- Relations between the Centre and the States ruled by Opposition parties are strained due to various factors
? Questions related to GST, and payment of the GST compensation
? The partisan behaviour of central agencies
? The Centre’s move to give itself absolute powers in the transfer of IAS, IPS and IFoS officers
? The overbearing attitude of several Governors.
? The relations among States are also fraying in many instances even as the
Centre’s moral authority to be a neutral arbiter is at a low.
? The tendency to mobilise political support in one State by berating other States, though not new, seems to have acquired an additional edge with the party in the centre drawing its support from the northern and western regions, while the Opposition holds on to the southern region
Earlier instances of centre state conflict various outcomes were seen:
- Rajamannar commission(1969)
- Anandpur sahib resolution in 1973
- Sarkaria committee
? Setting up a permanent inter-state council
? Article 356 should be used sparingly
? Institution of all-India service should be strengthened
? Residuary power should remain with the parliament
? Reasons should be communicated to the state when state bills are vetoed by the President
? Centre should have powers to deploy its armed forces, even without the consent of states. However, it is desirable that the states should be consulted
? Procedure of consulting the chief minister in the appointment of the state governor should be prescribed in the constitution itself
? Governors should be allowed to complete their term of five years
? Giving a fixed term of five years to the governors and their removal by the process of impeachment
? Union should be extremely restrained in asserting Parliamentary supremacy in matters assigned to the states
? It prescribed certain conditions that one should keep in mind while appointing governors:
? He should be eminent in some walk of life
? He should be a person from outside the state
? He should be a detached figure and not connected with the local politics
? He should not be connected with politics in recent past
? Government should be given a fixed tenure of five years
? Procedure given for the impeachment of the President could be made applicable to governor as well
? Governor should insist on Chief Minister proving his majority on the floor of the house for which he should prescribe a time-limit
? Bommai case guidelines should be kept in mind while deciding cases related to President’s rule
? Inter-state council should be made more use of to further centre-state relations
Lassa fever, and its symptoms
- One of the three persons diagnosed with Lassa fever in the UK has died on February 11.
- The cases have been linked to travel to west African countries.
- The Lassa fever-causing virus is found in West Africa and was first discovered in 1969 in Lassa, Nigeria
Spread of the fever :
- The fever is spread by rats and is primarily found in countries in West Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria where it is endemic.
- A person can become infected if they come in contact with household items of food that is contaminated with the urine or feces of an infected rat.
- It can also be spread, though rarely, if a person comes in contact with a sick person’s infected bodily fluids or through mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or the mouth. Person-to-person transmission is more common in healthcare settings.
Effects of the fever :
- The death rate associated with this disease is low, at around one per cent. But the death rate is higher for certain individuals, such as pregnant women in their third trimester
- Symptoms typically appear 1-3 weeks after exposure. People don’t usually become contagious before symptoms appear and cannot transmit the infection through casual contact such as hugging
- Mild symptoms include slight fever, fatigue, weakness and headache and more serious symptoms include bleeding, difficulty breathing, vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen and shock.
- Death can occur from two weeks of the onset of symptoms, usually as a result of multi-organ failure
- The most common complication associated with the fever is deafness. Nearly one-third of those infected report various degrees of deafness. In many such cases, the hearing loss can be permanent.
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 15th February 2022
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