Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 31st January 2022

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 31st January 2022

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 31st January 2022

 

Topics :

  • Lala Lajpat Rai

  • SC on Reservation in Promotions

  • Fly Ash

  • The MLAs’ One-year Suspension

  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

 

1.Lala Lajpat Rai

#GS1-Personalities

Context

  • On the occasion of Lala Lajpat Rai’s birth anniversary, the Prime Minister honoured his bravery and dedication in the Indian Independence movement. (28 January).

Lala Lajpat Rai’s biography

Lala Lajpat Rai
Born:
  • In 1865, he was born.
  • In the Ferozepur district of Punjab, in the little village of Dhudike.
Known by other names:
  • Punjab Kesari and Punjab Lion
As a result of:
  • Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s teachings had the greatest impact on Rai.
  • He afterwards joined the Arya Samaj in Lahore.
Belief:
  • He believed that by combining Hinduism’s principles with nationalism, a secular state might be established.
Worked for:
  • He was a zealous patriot who also campaigned for social changes and wrote on a daily basis, inspiring revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh.
  • Untouchability was something he battled against.
Lal-Bal-Pal:
  • He established the Lal-Bal-Pal trinity of hardline leaders with Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
Political actions include:
  • He became a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) and took part in a number of political agitations in Punjab.
  • He was an outspoken opponent of Bengal partition and a key figure in the Swadeshi Movement. In the aftermath of Lord Curzon’s disputed Partition of Bengal in 1905, Lal-Bal-Pal strongly promoted the usage of Swadeshi commodities and public agitation.
  • At the Nagpur session of the Congress in 1920, he backed Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement.
  • He was a vocal opponent of the Rowlatt Act and the subsequent Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
  • In 1926, he was elected as the Central Legislative Assembly’s deputy leader.
  • He moved a resolution in the assembly in 1928 refusing to cooperate with the Simon Commission since it did not have any Indian members.
Social:
  • In 1897, he launched the Hindu Relief movement to assist famine-stricken Hindus and prevent them from falling into the hands of missionaries.
  • In 1921, he formed the Servants of People Society.
Miscellaneous:
  • In 1917, he established the Home Rule League of America in New York. He worked in the United States to gain international moral support for the Indian independence movement.
  • He was also chosen as the All India Trade Union Congress’s President.
  • In 1894, he assisted in the formation of the Punjab National Bank.
  • He founded the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore in 1885 and was an active educator throughout his life.
Works of Literature:
  • Young India, England’s Debt to India, Japan’s Evolution, India’s Will to Freedom
  • The Bhagavad Gita’s Message
  • India’s Political Future,
  • Problem of National Education in India,
  • The Depressed Glasses and ‘United States of America,’ a travelogue.
Death:
  • He was mercilessly lathi-charged by Superintendent of Police James Scott in Lahore in 1928 while leading a quiet demonstration against the Simon Commission. A few weeks later, he died as a result of his injuries.

2.SC on Reservation in Promotions

#GS2-Judgements & Cases

Context

  • The Supreme Court (SC) recently rejected to establish a “yardstick” for determining lack of representation for awarding reservation in promotions for SC/ST candidates in government jobs.
  • The court’s decision came in response to a slew of petitions from throughout the country seeking more clarification on the rules for issuing promotion reservations.

In depth information

SC’s Decision:

Cadre for Data Collection:
  • For the goal of collecting measurable data for giving promotion quotas, it used ‘cadre’ rather than class, group, or the entire service as the unit.
  • It stated that if data relevant to the representation of SCs and STs was collected with regard to the entire service, the entire exercise of reservation in promotions would be rendered worthless.
  • There is no yardstick:
  • The question of whether or not a SC/ST community is adequately represented should be left to the respective States to decide, and it cannot set any criteria for evaluating inadequacy of representation.
Set aside the B.K. Pavithra Case’s Decision (2019):
  • The court overturned its prior decision in the B.K. Pavithra case after recognising ‘cadre’ as the unit for collecting measurable data.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that this court’s decision to allow data gathering based on groupings rather than cadres is contradictory to the law established by the Supreme Court in the Nagaraj and Jarnail Singh decisions.
  • The Nagaraj decision would have “prospective effect,” according to the court.
Ordered for review:
  • The Supreme Court ordered that an examination of the data be done in order to determine the lack of representation in promotions.
  • The court did, however, leave it to the Union government to set a “reasonable” deadline for the States to complete the review.

Background:

Promotional Reservations:
  • Since the 1950s, the Central and State governments have followed a policy of reserving seats in promotions for SC and ST groups on the grounds that they are underrepresented at the decision-making level of government.
Case of Indra Sawhney, 1992:
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Indra Sawhney v. Union Of India 1992 that this policy was unconstitutional and void on the grounds that under Article 16(4), the State has the power to make reservations in favour of backward classes of citizens only at the entry level, i.e. at the time of recruitment into public services, and not thereafter.
  • The 77th Constitutional Amendment Act, which established Article 16, was passed by Parliament in response (4A).
Case of M Nagaraj from 2006:
  • The SC altered its earlier judgement in the Indra Sawhney case (1992), in which it had excluded the creamy layer notion from SC/ST reservations in promotions (that was applicable on OBCs).
  • The Supreme Court approved the constitutional amendments that inserted Articles 16 (4A) and 16 (4B), stating that they flow from Article 16 (4) and do not change the structure of the document.
  • It also established three criteria for advancement of SCs and STs in government jobs.
  • Socially and educationally, the SC and ST community should lag behind the times.
  • In the public sector, the SC and ST communities are underrepresented.
  • The administration’s overall efficiency will not be harmed by such a reservation programme.
  • The court ruled that the government cannot implement a promotion quota for SC/ST employees unless it can show that the community is backward and underrepresented, and that giving reservation in promotion would not damage the overall efficiency of government management.
  • The government’s opinion should be based on data that can be measured.
The Case of Jarnail Singh in 2018:
  • In the Jarnail Singh case, the Supreme Court modified the Nagaraj decision, stating that the State does not need to submit quantitative data to substantiate the “backwardness” of a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community in order to award quotas in public employment promotions.
  • The government’s efforts to provide “rapid promotion with consequential seniority” for members of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) in government jobs received a big boost from the court.

 

3.Fly Ash

#GS3- Environmental Pollution
Context
  • In a recent judgement, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) mandated the formation of a ‘Fly Ash Management and Utilization Mission.’
About
  • The NGT’s order takes note of coal thermal power plants’ “unscientific management and storage” of fly ash.
  • The drainage of industrial effluents and fly ash in the Rihand Reservoir, for example.
Goal:
  • The major purpose of the Mission will be to ‘coordinate and monitor concerns linked to the treatment and disposal of fly ash and related challenges.’
  • The immediate cause is that it was requested to take remedial action and provide relief in response to violations by coal thermal power plants.
Leading the charge is:
  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), the Union Ministry of Coal and Power, and the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh will jointly lead the Mission.
Agency in charge of nodal points:
  • The Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Food and Climate Change will serve as the nodal agency for coordination and compliance.
Other mission focal areas include:
  • In consultation with the chief secretaries of the various states, the Mission may additionally oversee scientific management and use of fly ash by power installations outside of Singrauli and Sonbhadra.
Earlier cases dealt with:
  • The mandate for scientific fly ash control and utilisation.
  • The Rihand Reservoir is being drained of industrial effluents and fly ash.
  • Six people died as a result of a breach at the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Plant’s fly ash pond, including an eight-year-old boy who was carried away in fly ash slurry.
  • The failure to properly store fly ash in ponds and dykes, as well as the resulting accidental and undesired emissions.
Fly ash
  • Fly ash is an unburned byproduct of coal combustion in a coal thermal power plant.
  • Mineral impurities (clay, feldspar, quartz, and shale) in coal fuse in suspension during burning and float out of the combustion chamber with the exhaust gases. The melted material cools and forms into spherical glassy particles known as fly ash as it rises.
  • When coal is burned in a furnace, it is released along with flue gases and collected using electrostatic precipitators.
Transportation and collection:
  • To reduce fugitive dust emissions, fly ash is collected using precipitators and turned into a wet slurry.
  • Slurry pipes convey it to the ash ponds, which are scientifically planned.
Data:
  • According to the Summary of Ash Generation and Utilization for 2020-2021 by the Joint Committee previously created by the NGT, gross under-utilisation of this by-product has resulted in the accumulation of 1,670 million tonnes of fly ash over the years.
Coal and ash types:
  • The ash level of low-grade coal utilised in thermal power generation ranges from 30 to 45 percent. The imported high-grade coal has a low ash level of 10-15%.
  • Because the majority of coal used in thermal plants is low-grade, it produces a considerable amount of ash, which necessitates a large landfill or pond for disposal.
  • Composition:
  • Significant levels of silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3), ferric oxide (Fe2O3), and calcium oxide are found in fly ash (CaO).
Usage:
  • It’s a fantastic material for building materials like bricks, mosaic tiles, and hollow blocks.
  • Fly ash bricks can help to conserve soil to a large extent.
  • There are various environmentally safe ways to use fly ash that do not contaminate the air or water.
  • Fly ash is used in the production of cement and ready-mix concrete, as well as the construction of highways, dams, and embankments, and the filling of low-lying areas and mines.
Issues
  • Toxic and heavy metals can be found in fly ash.
  • The ponds where fly ash is typically discharged are in poor condition. As the temperature rises, fly ash becomes dry and becomes airborne.
  • As a result, it becomes a major source of air and water pollution.
  • Fly ash pollutes the air in places near coal-fired power stations.
  • It causes a decline in groundwater recharge, in addition to producing different ailments.

Initiatives Implemented

Optimum utilization of fly ash:
  • The government has created a web platform for monitoring fly ash generation and utilisation data of Thermal Power Plants, as well as a mobile-based application branded “ASHTRACK,” to help all coal-based thermal power plants use 100 percent of their ash.
Ash-park:
  • To build an awareness campaign for the use of fly ash and its products on a variety of platforms.
Roles played NTPC:
  • The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has developed a system for transporting fly ash in bulk from power plants to cement mills at a lower cost.
  • The fly ash produced by NTPC will be turned into a revenue-generating by-product.
  • As an example, it has created geopolymer and nano aggregates from residual fly ash for use in the construction of roads and dwellings.
The most recent Fly Ash Notification for 2021 is as follows:
  • It requires all coal and lignite-based TPPs to use 100 percent fly ash for construction sector products in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • It provides for “forcing, monitoring, audit, and reporting of the progress of fly ash utilisation and execution of the notification’s clauses by coal thermal power plants and user agencies.”
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) on fly ash and its derivatives has been decreased to 5%.
Next Steps
  • Promoting R&D to improve power plant efficiency will also help to reduce ash production.
  • Fly ash management is critical for the environment and for power stations since it takes up a lot of land.
  • The NGT’s order takes note of coal thermal power plants’ “unscientific management and storage” of fly ash. The Fly Ash Management and Utilization Mission to make the fly ash management process more efficient.

 

4.The MLAs’ One-year Suspension

#GS2-State Legislature

Context

  • The Supreme Court recently overturned 12 BJP MLAs’ one-year ban from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The ban for a year was deemed ‘unconstitutional, substantively illegal, and illogical’ by the Supreme Court.

In depth information

MLAs Have Been Suspended:
  • The MLAs were suspended for misbehaving in the Assembly when it came to the publication of OBC data.
  • Suspension is being challenged primarily on the basis of a rejection of natural justice principles and a violation of established process.
  • The 12 MLAs claim that they were not given a chance to submit their case and that the suspension breached their constitutional right to equality before the law under Article 14.
  • The “Speaker may direct any member who refuses to respect his decision, or whose conduct is, in his judgement, highly disorderly, to remove immediately from the Assembly,” according to Maharashtra Assembly Rule 53.
  • “Absent himself for the balance of the day’s meeting,” the member must say.
  • If a member is ordered to withdraw for the second time in the same session, the Speaker has the authority to order the member to leave “for any duration not exceeding the remainder of the Session.”
Maharashtra Assembly’s Arguments:
  • Article 212: Under Article 212, the House had operated within its legislative competence, and courts do not have power to investigate into legislative procedures.
  • “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislature of a State shall not be called into doubt on the ground of any purported irregularity of process,” declares Article 212 (1).
  • Vacancy of Seats: According to the state, a seat does not automatically become empty if a member does not attend the House for 60 days, but only if the House declares it such.
  • The House is not required to declare such a seat vacant, according to the argument.
  • Article 194: The state has also cited Article 194 on the House’s powers and privileges, arguing that any member who violates these privileges can be suspended using the House’s inherent powers.
  • It has denied that the ability to suspend a member can only be exercised under Assembly Rule 53.
The Supreme Court’s Arguments:
  • Irrational Suspension:
  • Suspension of a member should be used as a short-term or temporary disciplinary tool to bring the Assembly back into order.
  • Anything more than that would be considered illogical suspension.
  • Manipulation of the Opposition: It was stated that a coalition government with a slim majority may utilise such suspensions to manipulate the number of members of the Opposition party.
  • Such Opposition will be unable to properly participate in House discussions/debates for fear of their members being suspended for a longer period of time.
  • Violation of the Constitution’s Basic Structure: If the suspended MLAs’ constituencies were unrepresented in the Assembly for a full year, the Constitution’s basic structure would be violated.
  • The bench cited Article 190 (4) of the Constitution, which states, “If a member of a House of the Legislature of a State is absent from all sessions thereof for a period of sixty days without permission of the House, the House may proclaim his seat vacant.”
  • “A bye-election for filling any vacancy shall be held within a term of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy,” says Section 151 (A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • This means that, with the exclusions listed in this section, no constituency can go longer than six months without a representation.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that the one-year ban was prima facie unlawful since it exceeded the six-month restriction and amounted to “not punishing the member, but punishing the constituency as a whole.”
  • Intervention by the Supreme Court: The Supreme Court is set to rule on whether the judiciary has the authority to intervene in House proceedings.
  • Constitutional experts, on the other hand, claim that the court has previously stated that the judiciary can interfere if the House acts in an illegal manner.

5.Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

#GS2-Development process

Context

  • According to data provided by the Union Ministry of MSME’s Office of the Development Commissioner, Maharashtra leads India in the number of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) held by Scheduled Castes entrepreneurs, with 96,805 enterprises.
  • The second and third places, respectively, go to Tamil Nadu with 42,997 businesses and Rajasthan with 38,517 businesses.
  • Uttar Pradesh (36,913 businesses), Karnataka (28,803 businesses), and Punjab (24,503 businesses) take the fourth, fifth, and sixth places, respectively.
  • Total: On January 23, 2022, there were 4,53,972 SC-owned enterprises in India, with 4,50,833 micro enterprises, 3,004 small businesses, and 133 medium businesses.
  • At the national level, the proportion of Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs owning businesses in the entire national tally of MSMEs is about 6%.

In depth information

In India, MSMEs must be registered.
  • The Udyam system of registration, which went into effect on July 1, 2020, is a requirement for any MSME (regardless of ownership socioeconomic category) to receive concessions or benefits from the Central and State governments.
  • On the basis of self-declaration, the Registration can be filed online. It will no longer be necessary to upload documents, papers, or certificates as proof.
  • The investment in plant, machinery, and equipment, as well as turnover, would be the primary criteria for MSME classification.
  • Export of goods or services, or both, would be excluded from any enterprise’s turnover calculation and investment calculation based on the previous year’s IT return.
  • Across the country, Champions Control Rooms have been given legal responsibility for assisting entrepreneurs with registration and follow-up.
  • The significance and ramifications of these measurements are as follows:
  • The measures would drastically transform the way MSMEs operate, allowing them to compete on a global scale while also allowing new businesses to enter the market.
  • These businesses will be able to lead to a rapid V-shaped rebound as soon as the epidemic is brought under control thanks to the stimulus.
The Importance of MSMEs:
  • MSMEs provide roughly 6.11 percent of manufacturing GDP and 24.63 percent of GDP from service activities, as well as 33.4 percent of India’s manufacturing output, with around 63.4 million units spread across the country.
  • They have been able to employ around 120 million people and generate roughly 45 percent of India’s total exports.
  • About 20% of MSMEs are located in rural areas, indicating that the MSME sector employs a considerable number of rural workers.

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 31st January 2022

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