Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 11th June-2021

Topics

  • Draft rules for live streaming trials | Supreme court
  • LGBTQIA+ Community | Judiciary
  • Fast Tracking Freight in India | NITI AAYOG
  • Indian Railways to get 5 MHz spectrum in 4G band
  • Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP) Program | World Bank

 

 

1.Draft rules for live streaming trials | Supreme court

Context: Recently, the e-committee of the Supreme Court of India headed by Justice DY Chandrachud has released the Draft Model Rules for Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings on public domain, inviting inputs and suggestions from all stakeholders.

Background:

  • The Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathi v Supreme Court of India (2018) had ruled in favour of opening up the apex court through live-streaming.
  • It held that the live streaming proceedings are part of the right to access justice under Article 21 of the Constitution
  • Gujarat High Court was the first high court to livestream court proceedings followed by Karnataka high court.
  • Two petitions seeking live-streaming of court proceedings are currently being heard in the Allahabad High Court and the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Key Details:

  • The Rules are part of the National Policy and Action Plan for implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the judiciary.
  • The Rules have been framed with the object to “imbue greater transparency, inclusivity and foster access to justice” and will be applicable to High Courts and tribunals over which the High Courts have supervisory jurisdiction.

What does the Draft Rules say:

  • Telecast of Proceedings: All proceedings in high courts can be telecast except for cases relating to matrimonial disputes, gender-based violence, those involving minors and “cases, which in the opinion of the Bench, may provoke enmity amongst communities likely to result in a breach of law and order”.
  • Deciding Authority: The final decision as to whether or not to allow the Live-streaming of the Proceedings or any portion thereof will be of the Bench, however, the decision of the Bench will be guided by the principle of an open and transparent judicial process.
  • The decision of the Bench shall not be justiciable.
  • The rules allow for objections to be filed against live streaming in specific cases at the stage of filing of the case or at a later stage.
  • Archive: The draft rules allow for archiving of court proceedings for six months. With at least five cameras in courts that will be positioned at different angles, a dedicated control room and a viewing area to avoid overcrowding of courts.
  • Discussion amongst judges, notes made by judges during hearings or communication between the advocate and her client will neither be telecast live nor archived.
  • The use of authorised recordings in their original form may be permitted by the court, inter-alia to disseminate news and for training, academic and educational purposes.
  • Authorised recordings handed over for the aforesaid purposes shall not be further edited or processed. Such Recordings will not be used for commercial, promotional purposes or advertising in any form.
  • The rules also prohibit recording or sharing the telecast on media platforms, including social media and messaging platforms, unless authorised by the court.

Possible Outcome:

  • It can make the justice delivery system affordable, transparent, speedy and accountable by limiting the paper filings.
  • It would increase the faith in public and increase the judiciary accountability.
  • It will curb misinterpretation and fake news.
  • It can be time saving and hence can reduce the backlog of pending cases and reduce the number of unscrupulous activities.

Concerns:

  • Lack of technical manpower in courts and awareness
  • Cyber security threat.
  • Issues of privacy may arise.
  • it would increase the debate on the decision given by the judges.
  • Infrastructure, especially the internet connectivity is also a big challenge.

Way Forward

  • There is a need for the deployment of a robust security system that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties.
  • The government needs develop the infrastructure that would be required to support the e-court project.

e-Courts Project:

  • The e-Courts project was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005” submitted by e-Committee, Supreme Court of India with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.
  • The e-Courts Mission Mode Project, is a Pan-India Project, monitored and funded by the Ministry of Law and Justice for the District Courts across the country.

The project envisages:

  • To provide efficient & time-bound citizen-centric services delivery.
  • To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
  • To automate the processes to provide transparency in the accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
  • The e-Courts National portal also provides training material for judicial officers and staff, links to District Court websites and statistical reports that can be used as a judicial management information system.
  • To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost-effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.

e-Committee of Supreme Court:

  • The e-Committee of the Supreme Court was established in 2004 via an order of the Ministry of Law and Justice in pursuance of a proposal received from the then Chief Justice of India.
  • The e-Committee is the governing body charged with overseeing the e-Courts Project.

 

  1. LGBTQIA+ Community | Judiciary

Context: Madras High Court issues directions to remove prejudice against LGBTQIA+ Community in Sushma v/s Commissioner of Police case recently.

Background:

  • The Madras High court gave the guidelines while hearing the plea of a lesbian couple who had fled from Madurai to Chennai and appealed for protection against police harassment.

Directions, to protect LGBTQIA( Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Asexual/Ally) community from harassment include,

  • Prohibition of dubious practice of “conversion therapy” that claims to change the sexual orientation of queer people or the “gender identity of transgender people to cis-gender”
  • The guidelines also direct the state to make provisions at anganwadis and short-stay homes for the shelter of transpersons and organise awareness programmes for all sections of society, from parents to judges, prison officials and teachers.
  • Changes in school and college curricula to educate students on understanding the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Gender-neutral washrooms.
  • Training health workers to accept gender non-conforming children without mockery.
  • Union ministry of social justice and empowerment to publish a list of NGO’s who have expertise in handling issues face by the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Change in hiring policies for inclusivity, provide support in case of grievances.
  • The court directed that awareness programmes should be held for judicial officers with non-governmental organisations at all levels to provide suggestions and recommendations to ensure non-discrimination of persons belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community.

(Notably, Justice Anand Venkatesh, who presided the bench, himself underwent an educational session with a psychologist to understand same-sex relationships better, while hearing the case).

  • Court also went on to direct the police to close missing persons complaints if an enquiry confirms them to involve consenting adults of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Evolution of LGBTQIA+ rights in India:

  • Naz Foundation vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi (2009):
  • Delhi High Court struck off section 377, legalising consensual homosexual activities between adults.
  • Suresh Kumar Koushal Case (2013)
  • SC overturned the previous judgment by Delhi High Court (2009) that decriminalised homosexual acts and criminalised homosexuality once again.
  • SC argued that in 150 years, less than 200 persons had been prosecuted under Section 377.
  • Therefore, “plight of sexual minorities” could not be used as argument for deciding constitutionality of law.
  • Further, SC ruled that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.
  • Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India (2017)
  • SC ruled that Fundamental Right to Privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty and thus, comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
  • SC declared that bodily autonomy was an integral part of the right to privacy.
  • This bodily autonomy has within its ambit sexual orientation of an individual.
  • Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union Of India (2018)
  • Decriminalised homosexuality.
  • Dismissed the position taken by SC in Suresh Kumar Koushal case (2013) that the LGBTQ community constitute a minuscule minority and so there was no need to decriminalise homosexual sex.
  • National Legal services Authority vs Union of India
  • Supreme Court created ‘third gender’ status for transgenders.
  • Transgender persons (Protection of rights) Act, 2019
  • Provides for the protection of rights of transgender people and their welfare.

Way forward:

  • Though the judgement goes a long way in removing the stigma attached with the LGTBQ community, there is need for a multi pronged approach to deal with issue of prejudice and discrimination prevalent in society against them.
  • The authorities shall implement these guidelines not for the sake of complying with a judicial fiat but to ensure that this society evolves, and the LGBTQIA+ community is not pushed out of the mainstream.
  • The LGTBQ community needs an anti-discrimination law that empowers them to build productive lives and relationships irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation and place the onus to change on state and society and not the individual.
  • The LGBTQIA+ movement is not only about greater representation in public spaces and institutions, but also about an idea that societies become roomier, less violent by accepting fluidity of sexuality and orientation as legitimate expressions of human difference.
  • Conversion therapy, barbaric and baseless, must be eradicated from India.
  • Legislation to ban conversion therapy would not be unprecedented. State and national-level laws against the practice have already been passed in several countries, including Germany, Canada, Malta, Australia, and the United States.
  • India must implement the suggestions of the Madras High Court and follow in the footsteps of these nations.

 

  1. Fast Tracking Freight in India | NITI AAYOG

Context: NITI Aayog, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and RMI India’s new report, Fast Tracking Freight in India: A Roadmap for Clean and Cost-Effective Goods Transport, present key opportunities for India to reduce its logistics costs.

Background:

  • Freight Transportation is the process of transporting commodities, goods, and cargo by land, sea or air.
  • Logistics sector represents five percent of India’s GDP and employs 2.2 crore people.

Highlights of the report:

  • The report outlines solutions for the freight sector related to policy, technology, market, business models and infrastructure development.
  • According to the report, freight transport demand is expected to grow rapidly in the future due to the rising demand for goods and services.
  • Issues with Freight Transport:
  • High logistics costs
  • Contributes to rising carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution in cities.

Recommendations for Clean and Cost Effective Goods Transport:

  • As India’s freight activity grows five-fold by 2050 and about 400 million citizens move to cities, a whole system transformation can help uplift the freight sector.
  • Increase share of rail-based transport.
  • Optimise logistics and supply chains.
  • Shift to electric and other clean-fuel vehicles.
  • Promote intermodal transport
  • Improve warehousing and trucking practices.
  • Build more dedicated freight corridors.
  • Stricter fuel economy standards.

Benefits:

  • India has the potential to:
  • Reduce its logistics cost by 4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • Achieve 10 gigatonnes of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions savings between 2020 and 2050.
  • Reduce Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) emissions by 35% and 28%, respectively, until 2050.
  • Efficient freight transport will also play an essential role in realising the benefits of existing government initiatives such as Make in India, Atma Nirbhar Bharat, and Digital India.
  • When successfully deployed at scale, the proposed solutions can help India establish itself as a leader in logistics innovation and efficiency in the Asia–Pacific region and beyond.
  • Less truck traffic on roads can reduce the vehicular-freight activity by 48% in 2050.

Recent Initiatives:

  • Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC):
  • It is a high speed and high capacity railway corridor that is exclusively meant for the transportation of freight, or in other words, goods and commodities.
  • E-Way Bill Integration with FASTag, RFID:
  • It will enable tax officers to undertake live vigilance in respect of E-Way Bill compliances by businesses, stop revenue leakage and will facilitate movement of large goods vehicles.
  • Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) Regulations:
  • The CAFÉ standards were first notified in 2017 by the Union Ministry of Power (MoP) under Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • The regulation is in accordance with the fuel consumption standards of 2015 that aim to increase fuel efficiency of vehicles on the road by 35% by 2030.

 

  1. Indian Railways to get 5 MHz spectrum in 4G band:

Context: Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the allotment of 5 MHz spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band to the Indian Railways for improving its communication and signalling systems.

  • Railways has also approved a indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).

Highlights:

  • ?25,000 Crore will be spent in next 5 years for signal modernization and 5G spectrum implementation in Railways
  • The spectrum charges will be levied based on formula as prescribed by Department of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for captive use as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
  • “With this spectrum, Indian Railways has envisaged to provide LTE (Long Term Evolution) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its routes.
  • The Railways currently relies on optical fibre for its communication network but with the allocation of fresh spectrum, it will be able to use high-speed radio on a real-time basis.

(LTE is a fourth-generation (4G) wireless standard that provides increased network capacity and speed for cellphones and other cellular devices compared with third-generation (3G) technology).

  • The Spectrum charges may be levied based on formula basis as prescribed by Department of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for Captive use as recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Advantages:

  • The purpose of the LTE for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications.
  • It will be used for modern signalling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards.
  • It will also enable Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring especially of coaches, wagons & locos, and live video feed of CCTV cameras in the train coaches to ensure efficient, safer and faster train operations.

(IoT is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices).

  • It will help prevent train accidents and reduce delays by enabling real-time interaction between the Loco Pilot, Station Master and the Control Centre.
  • It brings a strategic shift in Railways’ operations and maintenance regime.
  • It will increase the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure.
  • The modern rail network will result in reduced transportation cost and higher efficiency
  • It will attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfil the ‘Make In India’ mission and generate employment.

Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)

  • The Cabinet approved TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System), an indigenously developed ATP (Automatic Train Protection) System.
  • It is a microprocessor based control system, which continuously monitors the speed, direction of travel, distance travelled, aspect of the signal passed and alertness of the motorman.
  • It will help improve safety of passengers on the transport network.
  • Collision avoidance system developed by 4 Indian companies under Make-In -India and real-time communication will make rail travel safer, faster.

 

  1. Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP) Program | World Bank

Context: The World Bank has approved a USD 500 million program to help boost India’s MSME sector.

Key Details:

  • The program is the Raising and Accelerating Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Performance (RAMP) Program.
  • It is the World Bank’s second intervention in this sector to further back government’s initiative to help the sector recover from the Pandemic.
  • The first intervention was the USD 750 million MSME Emergency Response Program to help Covid-hit MSMEs in India.
  • With RAMP, the World Bank’s financing for improving the productivity and financial viability of MSMEs amounts to $1.25 billion over the past year.
  • RAMP aims improvement in the performance of 5.55 lakh MSMEs
  • It is likely to mobilise financing of $15.5 billion as part of the government’s $3.4 billion MSME Competitiveness – A post-Covid Resilience and Recovery Programme (MCRRP).
  • It will provide better access to finance and working capital for MSMEs by strengthening the financing markets.
  • The programme will support the government’s efforts to enhance the productivity of MSMEs and financing “in the economic recovery phase, crowd in private sector financing in the medium term, and tackle long-standing financial sector issues” that are restricting MSMEs’ growth.
  • It will also scale up online dispute resolution mechanisms to address the problem of delayed payments.
  • Along with International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group will back MSMEs by setting up an MSME Council for better coordination between national and state-level programmes.
  • State level Strategic Investment Plans (SIPs) will provide a roadmap and measurable metrics, enhance the capacity of the MSME ministry to design, implement and assess policies and programs through innovative digital platforms data systems.

Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises in India:

  • MSME’s are entities that are involved in production, manufacturing and processing of goods and commodities.
  • The concept of MSME was first introduced by the government of India through the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006.
  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, a branch of the Government of India, is the apex executive body for the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India.
  • MSMEs contribute to approximately 8% of India’s GDP, employs over 60 million people, has an enormous share of 40% in the exports market and 45% in the manufacturing sector.
  • According to the World Bank, over 90 per cent MSMEs in India have less than five workers.

MSME CLASSIFICATION

Initiatives by India for MSME sector:

  • Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme and Other Credit Support Schemes.
  • Financial Support to MSMEs in ZED Certification Scheme.
  • A Scheme for Promoting Innovation, Rural Industry & Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE)
  • Entrepreneurship Skill Development Programme (ESDP)
  • Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI)

 

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