A) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Awards/Social Issues
Cabinet approves PLI Scheme to 10 key Sectors for Enhancing (PIB)
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in the following 10 key sectors for Enhancing India’s Manufacturing Capabilities and Enhancing Exports – Atmanirbhar Bharat.
|Sr. No.||Priority Sectors||Implementing Ministry/Department|
|1.||Advance Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery||NITI Aayog and Department of Heavy Industries|
|2.||Electronic/Technology Products||Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology|
& Auto Components
|Department of Heavy Industries|
|4.||Pharmaceuticals drugs||Department of Pharmaceuticals|
|5.||Telecom & Networking Products||Department of Telecom|
|6.||Textile Products: MMF segment and technical textiles||Ministry of Textiles|
|7.||Food Products||Ministry of Food Processing Industries|
|8.||High-Efficiency Solar PV Modules||Ministry of New and Renewable Energy|
|9.||White Goods (ACs & LED)||Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade|
|10.||Speciality Steel||Ministry of Steel|
The above will be in addition to the already notified PLI schemes in the following sectors:
|1.||Mobile Manufacturing and Specified Electronic|
|2.||Critical Key Starting materials/Drug Intermediaries and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients||Department of Pharmaceuticals|
|3.||Manufacturing of Medical|
- Savings, if any, from one PLI scheme of an approved sector can be utilized to fund that of another approved sector by the Empowered Group of Secretaries.
- Any new sector for PLI will require fresh approval of the Cabinet.
- The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the third largest in the world by volume and 14th largest in terms of value.
- It contributes 3.5% of the total drugs and medicines exported globally.
- India possesses the complete ecosystem for development and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and a robust ecosystem of allied industries.
- The Indian textile industry is one of the largest in the world and has a share of ~5% of global exports in textiles and apparel.
- But India’s share in the manmade fibre (MMF) segment is low in contrast to the global consumption pattern, which is majorly in this segment.
- Steel is a strategically important industry and India is the world’s second largest steel producer in the world.
- It is a net exporter of finished steel and has the potential to become a champion in certain grades of steel.
Hunar Haats (PIB)
- Hunar Haats, the flagship initiative by the Minority Affairs Ministry, are organized in various parts of the country, which provides direct and indirect employment to skilled artisans and craft persons.
- Some of the most famous items available at Hunar Haats are:
- Pochampally Ikkat from Andhra Pradesh;
- Munga Silk, Madhubani Painting and artificial jewellery from Bihar;
- Wooden lacquerware toys from Karnataka;
- Ajrakh from Gujarat;
- Pashmina Shawls from Jammu-Kashmir;
- Tussar silk and cane-bamboo products from Jharkhand;
- Bagh print, Batik from Madhya Pradesh etc.
Operation Greens (TOP to TOTAL) (PIB)
- Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has recently extended the Operation Greens Scheme from Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) to all fruits & vegetables (TOTAL) for a period of six months (from the date of notification i.e., 11/06/2020) on pilot basis as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
- Objective: The objective of an intervention is to protect the growers of fruits and vegetables from making distress sale due to lockdown and reduce the post-harvest losses.
- The pattern of Assistance: Ministry will provide subsidy @ 50 % of the cost of the following two components, subject to the cost norms:
- Transportation (air/Kisan Rail) of eligible crops from surplus production cluster to consumption centre; and/or
- Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops (for maximum period of 3 months).
Scheme for Financial Support to Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Infrastructure Viability Gap Funding (VGF) (PIB)
- Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the continuation and revamping of the “Scheme for Financial Support to Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Infrastructure Viability Gap Funding (VGF)” Scheme till 2024-25.
- Viability Gap Finance means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
- The revamped Scheme is mainly related to mainstreaming private participation in the creation of social infrastructure such as wastewater treatment, water supply, solid waste management, health and education etc.
- These projects face bankability issues and poor revenue streams to cater fully to capital costs.
- The projects eligible under this Scheme should have at least 50-100% Operational Cost recovery.
- The Central Government will provide a maximum of 30-40% of Total Project Cost (TPC) of the project as VGF and besides the support provided by the State Government/Sponsoring Central Ministry/Statutory Entity.
- The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance introduced “the Scheme for Financial Support to PPPs in Infrastructure” (Viability Gap Funding Scheme) in 2006 with a view to support infrastructure projects undertaken through PPP mode that are economically justified but commercially unviable due to large capital investment requirements, long gestation periods and the inability to increase user charges to commercial levels.
- Under this Scheme (before the latest changes), VGF up to 40%of the Total Project Cost (TPC) is provided by the Government, of India (Gol) and the sponsoring authority in the form of capital grant at the stage of project construction (20%+20%).
Maritime Cluster Project (IE)
- Context: The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has been trying to develop a maritime cluster at GIFT City in the state capital Gandhinagar.
- The concept of maritime cluster is new to India, but these clusters have been driving some of the most competitive ports of the world like Rotterdam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Oslo, Shanghai, and London.
- A maritime cluster is an agglomeration of firms, institutions, and businesses in the maritime sector that are geographically located close to each other.
- This cluster will initially consist of Gujarat-based shipping lines, freight forwarders, shipping agents, bunker suppliers, stevedores, and shipbrokers with chartering requirements.
- In the second stage, the cluster would attempt to bring Indian ship owners, ship operators, Indian charterers and technical consultants scattered in cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Delhi to Gujarat.
- Thereafter it would target to attract global players in the maritime sphere.
What is the need for a maritime cluster?
- This project will try to bring back businesses that have migrated over the years to foreign locations due to the absence of the right ecosystem in the country.
- Large corporates like the Aditya Birla Group and Tata Group tap clusters in Dubai and Singapore for their maritime needs.
- Landlocked countries like Switzerland and Luxembourg have developed a number of maritime services that are not currently available in India.
- Gujarat has a lot of ports and handles 40 per cent of the country’s cargo, but we have not targeted the entire value-chain.
Mission Sagar – II (PIB)
- As part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’, Indian Naval Ship Airavat entered Port Sudan on 02 November 2020.
- The Government of India is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries to overcome natural calamities and COVID-19 pandemic, and towards the same INS Airavat is carrying a consignment of 100 Tonnes of food aid for the people of Sudan.
- Mission Sagar-II, follows the first ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in May-June 2020, wherein India reached out to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines.
- As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
- Mission Sagar-II, is in line with India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her maritime neighbors and further strengthens the existing bond.
Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) (PIB)
- In November 2019, India launched the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) at the East Asia Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand.
- The Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI) is an India-backed framework aimed at making meaningful efforts to create a safe and secure maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific region.
- As an open global initiative, the IPOI draws on existing regional cooperation architecture and mechanisms to focus on seven central pillars conceived around:
- Maritime Security; Maritime Ecology; Maritime Resources; Capacity Building and Resource Sharing; Disaster Risk Reduction and Management; Science, Technology and Academic Cooperation; and Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport.
- The concept is gaining traction with Japan already agreeing to be the lead partner in the connectivity pillar of the IPOI.
8.International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (TH)
- Context: The International Atomic Energy Agency report said that North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile was breaking international law.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Widely known as the world’s “Atoms for Peace and Development” organization within the United Nations family, the IAEA is the international centre for cooperation in the nuclear field.
- The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies, contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
- The IAEA and its director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2005.
- The IAEA’s statute officially came into force in July 1957.
- Its activities include:
- research on the applications of atomic energy to medicine, agriculture, water resources, and industry;
- exchange of technical information and skills;
- the provision of technical assistance, especially to less-developed countries; and
- the establishment and administration of radiation safeguards.
- As part of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968), all non-nuclear powers are required to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
- As part of this agreement, the IAEA is given authority to monitor nuclear programs and to inspect nuclear facilities.
- Headquarters are in Vienna.
India and IAEA
- India is a member of IAEA.
- Placing its civilian reactors under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards has allowed India to import fuel for its nuclear reactors.
- By placing the reactors under the IAEA safeguards, India gives the international nuclear energy watchdog access to them.
- This step was taken by the country in 2014 to demonstrate that its nuclear energy programme was for peaceful purposes.
- This is a necessary step under the Indo-US nuclear deal.
- This nuclear deal was based on one clear principle — that India’s military program would irrevocably be separated from the civilian program.
- No matter where we live, we are all exposed to several different sources of radiation.
- Natural sources of radiation include cosmic radiation and radionuclides that originated in the earth’s crust and are present everywhere in the environment, including the human body itself.
- For most individuals, exposure to natural background radiation is the most significant part of their total exposure to radiation.
- The amount of radiation absorbed by the body, or simply the radiation dose, is measured in units called microSieverts, milliSieverts, and Sieverts.
- According to the World Health Organization, on average, a person is exposed to approximately 3 000 microSieverts annually.
C) International Relations
9.China begins work on railway up to Arunachal border (TH)
- China has begun work on a strategically significant railway line – its second major rail link to Tibet – that will link Sichuan province with Nyingchi, which lies near the border with India’s Arunachal Pradesh.
- Like the Qinghai-Tibet railway line, which in 2006 connected Lhasa to the hinterland, this will be the second such route linking the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to the hinterland.
17th ASEAN India Summit (PIB)
- India participated in the 17th ASEAN-India Summit at the invitation of Prime Minister of Vietnam, the current Chair of ASEAN.
- The Summit, which saw the participation of all ten ASEAN Member States, was conducted in virtual format.
- Note: India-ASEAN Relations were covered comprehensively in 31st Aug file.
11.Open Market Operations (OMOs) (TH)
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it will conduct simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMOs) for an aggregate amount of ₹10,000 crore each on November 19.
- Note: This topic was covered comprehensively in 23rd Oct file.
12.What is ‘contempt of court’, and why does the A-G have to consent to these proceedings? (IE)
- Context: Attorney General K K Venugopal gave his consent for the initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets following the Supreme Court’s decision to grant interim bail to television anchor Arnab Goswami.
Contempt of Court
- Both the Supreme Court and the High Courts have the power to punish for contempt of court, either with simple imprisonment or with fine or both.
- The term ‘Contempt of Court’ has not been defined by the Constitution.
- However, it has been defined by the Contempt of Court Act of 1971.
- The Contempt of Court can be ‘civil’ or ‘criminal’.
- Civil Contempt: It is the willful disobedience of any judgement, order, writ or other process of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
- Criminal Contempt: It is the publication of any matter or doing an act which:
- Scandalises or lowers the authority of a court (The expression “scandalizing the court” has not been defined); or
- Prejudices or interferes with the due course of a judicial proceeding; or
- Interferes or obstructs the administration of justice in any other manner.
- However, the following are ‘not’ considered ‘Contempt of Court’:
- Innocent publication and distribution of some matter;
- Fair and accurate report of judicial proceedings;
- Fair and reasonable criticism of judicial acts; and
- Comment on the administrative side of the judiciary.
- In Shiv Shankar (1988), the Supreme Court held that a criticism of the court that does not impair and hamper the administration of justice cannot be punished as contempt.
A wide field in India
- The objective for contempt is stated to be to safeguard the interests of the public, if the authority of the Court is denigrated and public confidence in the administration of justice is weakened or eroded.
- Suo motu powers of the Court to initiate such proceedings only serve to complicate matters.
- In 2006, government brought in an amendment to the Contempt of Courts Act, which now provides truth and good faith as valid defences provided they are bona fide and in public interest.
What is the statutory basis for contempt of court?
- There were pre-Independence laws of contempt in India.
- When the Constitution was adopted, contempt of court was made one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
- Separately, Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself.
- Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts.
- The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, gives statutory backing to the idea.
But why is the A-G’s consent needed to initiate contempt of court proceedings?
- In the case of a criminal contempt, other than a contempt referred to in Section 14 (“Procedure where contempt is in the face of the Supreme Court or a High Court”), the Supreme Court or the High Court may take action on its own motion or on a motion made by:
- (a) the Advocate-General, or
- (b) any other person, with the consent in writing of the Advocate-General…”.
Prashant Bhushan Case
- Earlier, the Supreme Court, who had initiated suo moto ‘contempt of court’ proceedings for criminal contempt against the lawyer and social activist Prashant Bhushan, found civil rights lawyer guilty of criminal contempt by “scandalizing the court”.
- The Court said, “Hostile criticism of judges as judges or judiciary would amount to scandalizing the court.”
- The court acknowledged that its contempt powers could be used only to uphold the majesty of law and not to vindicate an individual judge.
- The Contempt of Court Act of 1971 punishes with imprisonment that may extend to six months or fine of ₹2,000 or both.
Suo motu contempt power is inherent: ‘No prior consent from AG required’
- The prior consent of the Attorney General (AG) of India is not required to suo motu initiate the inherent contempt powers of the Supreme Court.
- In an earlier case, a three-judge Bench of the SC held that the suo motu contempt powers of the top court is drawn from Article 129 of the Constitution, which says the Supreme Court, as a court of record, has the power to punish for contempt of itself.
- The Contempt of Court Act of 1971 cannot limit this power of the court. The statute only provides the procedure in which such contempt is to be initiated.
How did the concept of contempt come into being?
- The concept of contempt of court is several centuries old. In England, it is a common law principle that seeks to protect the judicial power of the king, initially exercised by himself, and later by a panel of judges who acted in his name.
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