Topic 1: City Finance Rankings 2022
Context: The ‘City Finance Rankings 2022’ portal has been made live by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
- The Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across the country can now participate in the Rankings through an entirely digital, 100% paperless process.
- evaluating, recognizing and rewarding municipal bodies across the country on the basis of the quality of their current financial health and improvement over time in financial performance.
- The participating ULBs will be evaluated on 15 indicators across threeparameters:
- Resource Mobilization,
- Expenditure Performance
- Fiscal Governance
- The participating ULBs will be evaluated on 15 indicators across threeparameters:
- Population categories:
- Above 4 million
- Between 1-4 million
- 100K to 1 million
- Less than 100,000.
- The top 3 cities in each population category will be recognized and rewarded at the national level as well as within each state/state cluster.
Topic 2: SC status for Christians and Muslims
Context: The Kerala High Court declared the election of aCPI(M) legislator as null and void, holding that as a baptised Christian, he is ineligible to contest from a seat reserved for members of the Scheduled Castes (SC).
KG Balakrishnan Commission:
- The Centre had established a three-member commission, headed by former CJI KG Balakrishnan.
- The aim was to examine the grant of SC status to persons who claimed to historically belong to the scheduled castes but had subsequently converted to religions other than the ones mentioned in the Presidential Orders issued under Article 341 of the Constitution.
- The Commission is scheduled to submit its report in 2024.
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950
- In 1950, the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, was issued under Article 341 of the Constitution.
- It says that the President may for any State or UT publicly notify and specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes, which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Caste.
- The original order was passed in 1950 and allowed only Hindus to be classified as SCs.
- It was later amended to include Sikhs in 1956, and Buddhists in 1990.
- No provisions were made to include backward communities within Christians and Muslims under the definition of SCs.
Ranganath Misra Commission
- In October 2004, the UPA government established the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, headed by erstwhile CJI Justice Ranganath Misra.
- The objective was to recommend measures for the welfare of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities.
- In 2007, the Ranganath Misra Commission submitted its report.
- A complete delinking of religion from the classification of Scheduled Castes.
- Reservations be made religion-neutral and that socio-economic criteria should be the basis for such a classification.
- Parliament rejected these recommendations on account of inadequate field data.
- To resolve this ambiguity, the UPA government constituted the Sachar Committee in 2005.
- The objective was to examine the social and economic conditions of Indian Muslims.
- In 2006, the Committee came out with its report that observed the situation of Dalit Muslims to not improve even after conversion.
- The report placed Muslims below SCs and STs in backwardness.
- Among the many issues highlighted was the mismatch between the percentage of Muslims in the population and in decision-making positions such as the IAS and IPS.
Topic 3: Vienna Convention
Context: The Indian Government has invoked the Vienna Convention in the scenario of the ongoing pro-khalistani events in United Kingdom.
What is the Vienna Convention?
- The term “Vienna Convention” can refer to any of a number of treaties signed in Vienna, most of which are related to the harmonisation or formalisation of the procedures of international diplomacy.
- The treaty being referred to by the Ministry of External Affairs in this instance is the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961).
- This treaty provides a complete framework for the establishment, maintenance and termination of diplomatic relations on a basis of consent between independent sovereign States.
- The Convention codifies the longstanding custom of diplomatic immunity, in which diplomatic missions are granted privileges that enable diplomats to perform their functions without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
- It affirms the concept of inviolability of a diplomatic mission, which has been one of the enduring cornerstones of international diplomacy.
- The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations entered into force on April 24, 1964 and is nearly universally ratified.
- Palau and South Sudan being the exceptions.
Obligations of a receiving State under Vienna Convention:
- What is a receiving state?
- As per the Vienna Convention, a “receiving State” refers to the host nation where a diplomatic mission is located.
- In the present case, the host nation is the UK and as per the Vienna Convention, it has some basic obligations towards the diplomatic missions it hosts on its sovereign territory.
- The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.
- While diplomatic missions can also employ their own security, ultimately, the host nation is accountable for security.
Topic 4: Kattunayakan Tribe
Context: Oscar Winning documentary The Elephant Whisperers tells the story of Bomman and Bellie, members of the indigenous Kattunayakan tribe, whose name means “king of the jungle”.
- Kattunayakar are a designated scheduled tribe in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh.
- They are also called Cholanaickar and Pathinaickars.
- The word Kattunayakar means the king of the jungle in Tamil and Malayalam.
- They are one of the earliest known inhabitants of the Western Ghats.
- They are engaged in the collection and gathering of forest produce, mainly wild honey and wax.
- Monogamy is the general rule among the Kattunayakar community.
- In 1982, Kattunayakan and Jennu Kurumba were considered as two different tribes.
- In 1988, they were both considered the same tribe.
- Kattunayakar believe in Hinduism and have a language which is a mixture of all Dravidian languages.
- The main deity of the tribe is Lord Shiva and Nayakkar under the name of Bhairava.
- They also worship animals, birds, trees, rock hillocks, and snakes, along with the other Hindu deities.
Topic 5: IPCC Synthesis Report
Context: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Synthesis Report (SYR).
- It summarises the findings of six reports released during its Sixth Assessment Cycle.
- Excess emissions:
- Excess emissions from human activities have raised global temperature by 1.1°C above 1850-1900.
- Human activities have unequivocally caused global warming with global net anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions clocking in at 59 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), 54 per cent higher than the level in 1990.
- Contributions have varied by country and income group, with around 35 per cent of the global population living in countries emitting more than 9 tCO2e per capita, while 41 per cent live in countries emitting less than 3 tCO2e.
- Current policy action will lead to further temperature rise:
- Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) announced by countries make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century and make it harder to limit warming below 2°C.
- The CO2 absorption capacity of land and ocean sinks is likely to decrease.
- Ocean acidification is likely to increase, and compound heatwaves and droughts are projected to become more frequent.
- There may be some irreversible changes in the climate system when tipping points are reached, such as the loss of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.
- Adaptation options may reach their limits of feasibility, leading to greater losses and damages.
- The remaining carbon budget will be depleted:
- It is estimated that from the beginning of 2020, we were left with about 500 GtCO2 of the carbon budget for a 50 per cent likelihood of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
- This is likely to be depleted if the annual CO2 emissions between 2020 and 2030 stayed, on average, at the same level as 2019.
- Need to cut GHG emissions:
- To achieve the 1.5°C goal with a 50 per cent likelihood, we need immediate GHG emissions reductions in all sectors this decade.
- GHG emissions must be cut by 43 per cent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, and CO2 emissions must be cut by 48 per cent.
- This must be accompanied by reaching global net zero CO2 emissions in the early 2050s.
- Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies can be deployed to reduce temperatures in case 1.5°C is overshot.
- But they come with feasibility and sustainability concerns, and social and environmental risks when deployed at large scales.
- Need to shift to low-carbon economic systems
- We need deep systemic changes across all economic sectors to reduce emissions on a sustained basis.
- Some of these include:
- widespread electrification,
- diversifying energy generation to include more wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower,
- deploying more battery-powered electric vehicles, and
- conserving and restoring forests while also reducing tropical deforestation.
- Political commitment and equity:
- Equity is central to climate resilient development.
- High income groups contribute disproportionately to emissions, and thereby have the highest potential for emissions reduction.
- Developing countries need technology development, transfer, capacity building and financing to ‘leapfrog’ to low-emissions systems and reap the co-benefits.
- This can be enabled by political commitment.
- Regulatory instruments driven by governments can support deep emissions reductions.
|IPCCThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations.It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).Secretariat: Geneva, Switzerland.The IPCC informs governments about the state of knowledge on climate change, including possible response options and the natural, economic, and social impacts and risks.It does not conduct original research but undertakes periodic and systematic reviews of all relevant scientific publications.Key findings are compiled into periodic “Assessment Reports” for policymakers and the general public.|
Topic 6: One Rank One Pension
Context: The Supreme Court gave the government leeway to pay in instalments ₹28,000 crore in arrears due to veterans under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
- What is it?
- OROP implies a uniform pension for defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, regardless of their date of retirement.
- Earlier policy:
- Before the implementation of OROP, the computation of pension was linked to the pay drawn by the personnel in a particular pay scale at the time of his/her retirement.
- Pay scales are revised to the higher side generally on the recommendation of Pay Commissions.
- As such, the personnel retiring after the revision of the pay scales got more pension than those who had already retired.
- Hence, the gap remained in the pension of the past and present retirees.
- Aim of OROP
- OROP bridges the gap between the rates of pension of current and past pensioners at periodic intervals.
- Implementation date:
- The scheme was implemented from July 1st, 2014 with 2013 as the base year.
- The armed forces personnel who retired by June 30, 2014, are covered under the scheme.
- The pension of past pensioners was re-fixed on the basis of the pension of retirees of calendar year 2013.
- Implementation Agency – Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence.
- Financially unsustainable:
- It was argued repeatedly that meeting the demand would be financially unsustainable.
- Because soldiers retire early and remain eligible for pension for much longer than other employees.
- The Defence Ministry’s pension budget is very large, which impacts its capital expenditure.
- The actual expenditure of the Defence Ministry on pensions was Rs 1.18 lakh crore in 2019-2020 and Rs 1.28 lakh crore in 2020-2021.
- The Defence Ministry’s pension-to-budget ratio is the highest among all ministries, and pensions are more than one-fifth of the total defence budget.
- Administrative issues:
- It was estimated that a one-time payout of Rs 83,000 crore would be needed to clear all past issues.
- However, every time a new pay commission came, it would lead to substantial payouts to bring parity.
- Legal issues:
- It will lead to similar demands by other government employees especially paramilitary forces.
Topic 7: Red Notice
Context: Interpol takes down Red Notice against Mehul Choksi, who has been declared a fugitive by an Indian court.
What is a Red Notice?
- A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.
- It is based on an arrest warrant or court order issued by the judicial authorities in the requesting country.
- Member countries apply their own laws in deciding whether to arrest a person.
- It contains two main types of information:
- Information to identify the wanted person, such as their name, date of birth, nationality, hair and eye colour, photographs and fingerprints if available.
- Information related to the crime they are wanted for, which can typically be murder, rape, child abuse or armed robbery.
- Red Notices are published by INTERPOL at the request of a member country, and must comply with INTERPOL’s Constitution and Rules.
Topic 8: Double jeopardy
Context: A Delhi court sentenced two former Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials to three years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5,000 each, in a money laundering case and rejected the accused’s argument alleging double jeopardy
What is double jeopardy?
- Double jeopardy means that no one can be tried for the same offence twice.
- In India, this doctrine existed even before the Constitution came into being.
- Now-repealed General Clauses Act, of 1897 and Section 300 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 says that a person once convicted or acquitted cannot be tried for the same offence.
- Judicial precedents:
- In its 2022 ruling in ‘T.P. Gopalakrishnan vs. State of Kerala,’ the Supreme Court went so far as to say that Section 300 bars the trial of a person not just for the same offence but also for any other offence on the same facts.
- Constitutional provisions:
- The doctrine of double jeopardy is enshrined in the Indian Constitution under Article 20 (2).
- It says that no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.
- It guarantees immunity from double punishment and bars a second prosecution only where the accused has been both prosecuted and punished for the same offence previously.
- In its 1996 ruling in ‘AA Mulla vs State of Maharashtra’, the apex court held that Article 20(2) does not bar subsequent trials if the ingredients of the offences in the previous and subsequent trials are distinct.
- This clause does not apply when the later proceedings are a continuation of the previous proceedings.
- Nor does it bar a retrial on appeal with a direction to frame charges, provided the retrial is for the same offence or offence as the original trial.
Conditions for the application of Article 20(2):
- There must have been previous proceedings before a court of law or a judicial tribunal of competent jurisdiction.
- The person must have been prosecuted in the previous proceedings.
- The conviction or acquittal in the previous proceeding must be in force at the time of the second trial.
- The offence which is a subject matter of the second proceeding must be the same as that of the first proceeding for which the accused was prosecuted and punished.
- The offence must be an offence as defined in Section 3(38) of the General Clauses Act.
- It defines an offence as any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force.
- The prosecution must also be valid and not null, void, or abortive.
- The subsequent proceeding must be a fresh proceeding where an accused is being prosecuted for the same offence twice.
Topic 9: National Security Act
Context: Punjab Advocate General has said the National Security Act has been invoked in the case of a self-styled Sikh preacher.
What is National Security Act, 1980?
- When it was passed?
- The National Security Act was passed by the Parliament in 1980.
- Powers of state:
- NSA empowers the state to detain a person without a formal charge and without trial.
- Under the Act, a person is taken into custody to prevent them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state or for maintenance of the public order.
- Who issues the order?
- It is an administrative order passed either by the Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate (DM) and not detention ordered by police based on specific allegations or for a specific violation of the law.
- Exceptional cases when a person can be detained:
- Even if a person is in police custody, the District Magistrate can slap NSA against them.
- If a person has been granted bail by a trial court, they can be immediately detained under the NSA.
- If the person has been acquitted by the court, the same person can be detained under the NSA.
- The law takes away an individual’s constitutional right to be produced before the magistrate within 24 hours, as is the case when the accused is in police custody.
- The detained person also does not have the right to move a bail application before a criminal court.
- Grounds for detention
- NSA can be invoked to prevent a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to:
- the defence of India,
- relations of India with foreign powers or
- the security of India.
- Among others, it can also be applied to prevent a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supply and services essential to the community.
- NSA can be invoked to prevent a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to:
- Duration of detention:
- An individual can be detained without a charge for a maximum period of 12 months.
- The detained person can be held for 10 to 12 days in special circumstances without being told the charges against them.
- Protection available under the Act
- The Indian Constitution allows both preventive detention and the right of protection against arrest and detention in certain cases, enshrined under Article 22 of the Constitution.
- However, Article 22(3) provides that the rights available to an arrested person will not be applicable in case of preventive detention, thus an exception is carved out.
- Article 22(5) – all the detained persons have the right to make an effective representation before an independent advisory board, which consists of three members.
- the board is chaired by a member who is, or has been, a judge of a high court.
- The writ of habeas corpus is the available remedy under the Constitution against the state’s power of taking people into custody under the NSA.