Current Affairs Daily Current Affairs 22

16thMarch,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 16thMarch,2022

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) (PIB)
  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the Auto Sector (TH, pg 14)
  • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India (PIB)
  • Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25–28) (TH, pg 1)
  • Comparing Features of Federal and Unitary Governments (TH, pg 5)
  • Halari Donkey (IE)
  • International Day to Combat Islamophobia(TH, pg 9)
  1. India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) (PIB)

  • Context: The following information was given by Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in Lok Sabha recently.

Analysis

  • India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which has a long-term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand.
  • Launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,the India Cooling Action seeks to:
  • (i) reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38
  • (ii) reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38
  • (iii) Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38
  • (iv) recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under the national S&T Programme
  • (v) training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.

Do you know?

  • Towards promoting passive cooling in buildings, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has brought out the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) for all large commercial (non-residential) buildings and Eco-Niwas Samhita (ECBC-R) for the residential buildings.
  • India has ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons, restoration of 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and conserving 30% of land and oceans by 2030.

The Cool Coalition

  • The Cool Coalition is a global effort led by UN Environment.
  • The Cool Coalition connects a wide range of key actors to facilitate knowledge exchange, advocacy and joint action towards a rapid global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling.
  • The Cool Coalition has over 100 partners [countries (excluding India), cities, private sector entities, International, Intergovernmental and Civil Society Organizations) driving change in the cooling sector including:
  • 13 cities working on urban cooling as part of the initiative: Amaravati, Bhopal, Cartagena, Chennai, Coimbatore, Copenhagen, El Alamein, Independencia (Santiago), Marrakech, Medellin, Pune, Rajkot, and Tunis.

Mission Innovation (MI)

  • Mission Innovation is a global initiative to make clean energy affordable, attractive and accessible for all. 
  • Launched alongside the Paris Agreement in 2015, Mission Innovation brings together governments, public authorities, corporates, investors and academia to enable widely affordable clean energy globally and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 22 countries (including India) and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union).
  • MI identified “Affordable Heating and Cooling of Building Innovation Challenge” as one of the seven innovation challenges.
  • India agreed to its engagement as MI Member for the Mission Innovation Challenge # 7: Affordable Heating and Cooling Challenge.
  1. Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the Auto Sector (TH, pg 14)

  • Context:The Centre recently approved applications by 75 firmsunder the ‘Component Champion Incentive Scheme’, under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the auto sector.

Analysis

  • The Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI)is implementing theProduction Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile & Auto components.
  • The PLI Scheme for the auto sector envisages to overcome the cost disabilities of the industry for manufacture of Advanced Automotive Technology products in India.
  • The incentive structure will encourage industry to make fresh investments for indigenous global supply chain of Advanced Automotive Technology products.
  • The PLI Scheme for Auto sector is open to existing Automotive companies as well as new Non-Automotive investor companies (who are currently not in automobile or auto component manufacturing business).
  • The scheme for Automobile and auto components will be implemented over a period of five years starting from FY 2022-2023.
  • An approved applicant shall be eligible for benefits for 5 consecutive Financial Years.
  • An existing automotive company or its Group company(ies) will need to meet the Basic Eligibility criteria to receive incentives.
  • New Non-Automotive Investor company or its Group company(ies) (who are currently not in automobile or auto component manufacturing business) are required to meet the Global Net worth criteria of Rs 1000 crore.

The scheme has following components:

  • Champion OEM Incentive Scheme:The Champion OEM Incentive scheme is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable on Battery Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles of all segments and any other Advanced Automotive Technology vehicle prescribed by MHI depending upon technical developments.
  • Component Champion Incentive Scheme:The Component Champion Incentive scheme is a ‘sales value linked’ scheme, applicable on pre-approved Advanced Automotive Technology components of all vehicles, Vehicle aggregates of 2-Wheelers, 3-Wheelers, passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and tractors including automobile meant for military use and any other Advanced Automotive Technology components prescribed by MHI depending upon technical developments.
  • The list of Advanced Automotive Technology Vehicles and Advanced Automotive Technology Components can be modified by MHI from time to time depending upon technological developments.
  • Additional incentive of 2% will also be applicable to support high growth achievers.
  1. Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India (PIB)

  • Context:In a significant achievement, Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has declined by 10 points as per the Special Bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India.
  • The ratio has declined from 113 in 2016-18 to 103 in 2017-19.
  • The country has been witnessing a progressive reduction in MMR from 130 in 2014-2016, 122 in 2015-17, 113 in 2016-18, and to 103 in 2017-19.

Analysis

  • With this persistent decline, India is on the verge of achieving National Health Policy (NHP) targetof 100/lakh live births by 2020 and certainly on track to achieve the SDG target of 70/ lakh live births by 2030.
  • The number of states which have achieved the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target has now risen from 5 to 7 viz. Kerala (30), Maharashtra (38), Telangana (56), Tamil Nadu (58), Andhra Pradesh (58), Jharkhand (61), and Gujarat (70).
  • There are now nine (9) States that have achieved the target of MMR set by the NHP which include the above 7 and the States of Karnataka (83) and Haryana (96).
  • Encouraging achievement has been reported by Uttar Pradesh [which has shown the maximum decline of 30 points].
  • Four states namely West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh have shown an increase in MMR.
  • The achievement also bolsters Government of India’s resolve to ‘Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan’ for the women by creating a responsive health care system which strives to achieve zero preventable maternal and newborn deaths.
  • Kerala has yet again emerged on top in maternal and child health, recording the lowest Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of 30 (per one lakh live births) in the country.

Interventions for improving Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR):

  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) provides pregnant women fixed day, free of cost assured and quality Antenatal Care on the 9thday of every month.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) (Ministry of Women and Child Development) is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme under which cash benefits are provided to pregnant women in their bank account directly to meet enhanced nutritional needs and partially compensate for wage loss.
  • Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative (LaQshya)(Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) aims to improve the quality of care in labour room and maternity operation theatres to ensure that pregnant women receive respectful and quality care during delivery and immediate post-partum period.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan(Ministry of Women and Child Development) aims to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers, in a time bound manner.
  • Anemia Mukt Bharat (AMB)(Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) aims to reduce anemia prevalence both due to nutritional and non-nutritional causes, in the lifecycle approach.
  • Surakshit Matratva Ashwasan (SUMAN) (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) aims to provide assured, dignified, respectful and quality healthcare at no cost and zero tolerancefor denial of services for every woman and newborn visiting the public health facility to end all preventable maternal and newborn deaths.
  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), a demand promotion and conditional cash transfer scheme was launched in with the objective of reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.
  • Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) aims to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for pregnant women and sick infants by entitling them to free delivery including caesarean section, free transport, diagnostics, medicines, other consumables, diet and blood in public health institutions.

Do you know?

  • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)refers to the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 women of reproductive age in a year.
  • Child Mortality Rate (CMR)refers to the number of deaths of children less than 5 years of age per 1000 live births.
  • Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)refers to the number of deaths of children less than one year of age per 1000 live births.
  • Neo-natal Mortality Raterefers to the number of deaths of children less than 28 days per 1000 live births.
  • Peri-natal Mortality Raterefers to the sum total of neo-natal death and foetal deaths (still births) per 1000 live births.
  1. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25–28) (TH, pg 1)

  • Context:The Karnataka High Court recently upheld the ban on the wearing of hijab (head scarf) by students in schools and colleges in the State.
  • It held that wearing the hijab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and is not, therefore, protected under by the right to freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • The court said it was a reasonable restriction that was constitutionally permissible.

Analysis

Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion (Article 25)

  • Article 25 says that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.
  • The implications of these are:
  • (a) Freedom of conscience: Inner freedom of an individual to mould his relation with God or Creatures in whatever way he desires.
  • (b) Right to profess: Declaration of one’s religious beliefs and faith openly and freely.
  • (c) Right to practice: Performance of religious worship, rituals, ceremonies and exhibition of beliefs and ideas.
  • (d) Right to propagate: Transmission and dissemination of one’s religious beliefs to others or exposition of the tenets of one’s religion.
  • But, it does not include a right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
  • Forcible conversions impinge on the ‘freedom of conscience’ guaranteed to all the persons alike.
  • From the above, it is clear that Article 25 covers not only religious beliefs (doctrines) but also religious practices (rituals).
  • Moreover, these rights are available to all persons–citizens as well as non-citizens.
  • However, these rights are subject to public order, morality, health and other provisions relating to fundamental rights.
  • Further, the State is permitted to:
  • (a) regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with religious practice; and
  • (b) provide for social welfare and reform or throw open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
  • Article 25 also contains two explanations: one, wearing and carrying of kirpans is to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion; and two, the Hindus, in this context, include Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

Freedom to Manage Religious Affairs (Article 26)

  • According to Article 26, every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the following rights:
  • (a) Right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;
  • (b) Right to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
  • (c) Right to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
  • (d) Right to administer such property in accordance with law.
  • Article 25 guarantees rights of individuals, while Article 26 guarantees rights of religious denominations or their sections.
  • In other words, Article 26 protects collective freedom of religion.
  • Like the rights under Article 25, the rights under Article 26 are also subject to public order, morality and health but not subject to other provisions relating to the Fundamental Rights.
  • The Supreme Court held that a religious denomination must satisfy three conditions:
  • (a) It should be a collection of individuals who have a system of beliefs (doctrines) which they regard as conducive to their spiritual well-being;
  • (b) It should have a common organisation; and
  • (c) It should be designated by a distinctive name.
  • Under the above criteria, the Supreme Court held that the ‘Ramakrishna Mission’ and ‘Ananda Marga’ are religious denominations within the Hindu religion.
  • It also held that Aurobindo Society is not a religious denomination.

Freedom from Taxation for Promotion of a Religion (Article 27)

  • Article 27 lays down that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.
  • In other words, the State should not spend the public money collected by way of tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion.
  • This provision prohibits the State from favouring, patronising and supporting one religion over the other.
  • This means that the taxes can be used for the promotion or maintenance of all religions.
  • This provision prohibits only levy of a tax and not a fee.
  • This is because the purpose of a fee is to control secular administration of religious institutions and not to promote or maintain religion.
  • Thus, a fee can be levied on pilgrims to provide them some special service or safety measures.

Freedom from Attending Religious Instruction (Article 28)

  • Under Article 28, no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.
  • However, this provision shall not apply to an educational institution administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust, requiring imparting of religious instruction in such institution.
  • Further, no person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to attend any religious instruction or worship in that institution without his consent. In case of a minor, the consent of his guardian is needed.
  • Thus, Article 28 distinguishes between four types of educational institutions:
  • (a) Institutions wholly maintained by the State. (b) Institutions administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust. (c) Institutions recognised by the State. (d) Institutions receiving aid from the State.
  • In (a), religious instruction is completely prohibited while in (b), religious instruction is permitted. In (c) and (d), religious instruction is permitted on a voluntary basis.
  1. Comparing Features of Federal and Unitary Governments (TH, pg 5)

  • Context:Telangana Chief Minister has expressed concern over the BJP-led Central government efforts to suppress the States as part of its policy of “strong Centre and weak States” which is against the spirit of federalism enshrined in the Constitution.

Analysis

  • Political scientists have classified governments into unitary and federal on the basis of the nature of relations between the national government and the regional governments.
  • By definition, a unitary government is one in which all the powers are vested in the national government and the regional governments, if at all exist, derive their authority from the national government.
  • A federal government, on the other hand, is one in which powers are divided between the national government and the regional governments by the Constitution itself and both operate in their respective jurisdictions independently.
  • The Constitution of India provides for a federal system of government in the country.
  • The framers adopted the federal system due to two main reasons–the large size of the country and its sociocultural diversity.
  • They realised that the federal system not only ensures the efficient governance of the country but also reconciles national unity with regional autonomy.
  • However, the term ‘federation’ has no where been used in the Constitution.
  • Instead, Article 1 of the Constitution describes India asa ‘Union of States’.
  • According to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the phrase ‘Union of States’ has been preferred to ‘Federation of States’ to indicate two things:
  • (i) the Indian federation is not the result of an agreement among the states like the American federation; and
  • (ii) the states have no right to secede from the federation.
  • The Indian federation is union because it is indestructible.
  • The Indian federal system is based on the ‘Canadian model’ and not on the ‘American model’.
  • The ‘Canadian model’ differs fundamentally from the ‘American model’ in so far as it establishes a very strong centre.

Federal Features of the Indian Constitution

  • Dual Government (that is, national government and regional government);
  • Written Constitution;
  • Division of powers between the national and regional government;
  • Supremacy of the Constitution;
  • Rigid Constitution;
  • Independent judiciary;
  • Bicameral legislature.

Main UnitaryFeatures of Governments

  • Single government, that is, the national government which may create regional governments;
  • Constitution may be written (France) or unwritten (Britain);
  • No division of powers. All powers are vested in the national government;
  • Constitution may be supreme (Japan) or may not be supreme (Britain);
  • Constitution may be rigid (France) or flexible (Britain);
  • Judiciary may be independent or may not be independent;
  • Legislature may be bicameral (Britain) or unicameral (China).

Unitary Features of the Indian Constitution

  • Strong Centre
  • The division of powers is in favour of the Centre and highly inequitable from the federal angle.
  • Firstly, the Union List contains more subjects than the State List.
  • Secondly, the more important subjects have been included in the Union List.
  • Thirdly, the Centre has overriding authority over the Concurrent List.
  • Finally, the residuary powers have also been left with the Centre, while in the US, they are vested in the states.
  • States Not Indestructible
  • Unlike in other federations, the states in India have no right to territorial integrity.
  • The Parliament can by unilateral action change the area, boundaries or name of any state.
  • Moreover, it requires only a simple majority and not a special majority.
  • Hence, the Indian Federation is “an indestructible Union of destructible states”.
  • The American Federation, on the other hand, is described as “an indestructible Union of indestructible states”.
  • Single Constitution
  • Usually, in a federation, the states have the right to frame their own Constitution separate from that of the Centre.
  • In India, on the contrary, no such power is given to the states.
  • Flexibility of the Constitution
  • The process of constitutional amendment is less rigid than what is found in other federations.
  • The bulk of the Constitution can be amended by the unilateral action of the Parliament, either by simple majority or by special majority.
  • Further, the power to initiate an amendment to the Constitution lies only with the Centre.
  • In US, the states can also propose an amendment to the Constitution.
  • No Equality of State Representation
  • The states are given representation in the Rajya Sabha on the basis of population. Hence, the membership varies from 1 to 31.
  • In US, on the other hand, the principle of equality of representation of states in the Upper House is fully recognised. Thus, the American Senate has 100 members, two from each state.
  • This principle is regarded as a safeguard for smaller states.
  • Emergency Provisions
  • The Constitution stipulates three types of emergencies–national, state and financial.
  • During an emergency, the Central government becomes all powerful and the states go into the total control of the Centre.
  • It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution.
  • This kind of transformation is not found in any other federation.
  • Single Citizenship
  • In spite of a dual polity, the Constitution of India, like that of Canada, adopted the system of single citizenship.
  • There is only Indian Citizenship and no separate state citizenship.
  • The other federal states like US, Switzerland and Australia have dual citizenship, that is, national citizenship as well as state citizenship.
  • Integrated Judiciary
  • The Indian Constitution has established an integrated judicial system with the Supreme Court at the top and the state high courts below it.
  • This single system of courts enforces both the Central laws as well as the state laws.
  • In US, on the other hand, there is a double system of courts whereby the federal laws are enforced by the federal judiciary and the state laws by the state judiciary.
  • All-India Services
  • In India, the Centre and the states have their separate public services.
  • But, in addition, there are all-India services (IAS, IPS, and IFS) which are common to both the Centre and the states.
  • The members of these services are recruited and trained by the Centre which also possess ultimate control over them.
  • Thus, these services violate the principle of federalism under the Constitution.
  • Integrated Audit Machinery
  • The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India audits the accounts of not only the Central government but also those of the states.
  • But, his appointment and removal is done by the President without consulting the states.
  • Hence, this office restricts the financial autonomy of the states.
  • The American Comptroller-General, on the contrary, has no role with respect to the accounts of the states.
  • Parliament’s Authority Over State List
  • Even in the limited sphere of authority allotted to them, the states do not have exclusive control.
  • The Parliament is empowered to legislate on any subject of the State List if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to that effect in the national interest.
  • This means that the legislative competence of the Parliament can be extended without amending the Constitution.
  • Notably, this can be done when there is no emergency of any kind.
  • Appointment of Governor
  • The governor, who is the head of the state, is appointed by the President.
  • He holds office during the pleasure of the President.
  • He also acts as an agent of the Centre. Through him, the Centre exercises control over the states.
  • The American Constitution, on the contrary, provided for an elected head in the states. In this respect, India adopted the Canadian system.
  • Integrated Election Machinery
  • The Election Commission conducts elections not only to the Central legislature but also to the state legislatures.
  • But, this body is constituted by the President and the states have no say in this matter. The position is same with regard to the removal of its members as well.
  • On the other hand, US has separate machineries for the conduct of elections at the federal and state levels.
  • Veto Over State Bills
  • The governor is empowered to reserve certain types of bills passed by the state legislature for the consideration of the President.
  • The President can withhold his assent to such bills not only in the first instance but also in the second instance.
  • Thus, the President enjoys absolute veto (and not suspensive veto) over state bills.
  • But in US and Australia, the states are autonomous within their fieldsand there is no provision for any such reservation.
  • In Bommai case(1994), the Supreme Court laid down that the Constitution is federal and characterised federalism as its ‘basic feature’.
  • The following trends in the working of Indian political system reflects its federal spirit:
  • (i) Territorial disputes between states, for example, between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belgaum;
  • (ii) Disputes between states over sharing of river water;
  • (iii) The emergence of regional parties and their coming to power in states;
  • (iv) The creation of new states to fulfil the regional aspirations, for example, Mizoram or Jharkhand;
  • (v) Demand of the states for more financial grants from the Centre to meet their developmental needs;
  • (vi) Assertion of autonomy by the states and their resistance to the interference from the Centre; (vii) Supreme Court’s imposition of several procedural limitations on the use of Article 356 (President’s Rule in the States) by the Centre.
  1. Halari Donkey (IE)

  • Context: Union minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying will be present at the Special convention for donkey breeders and scientists which aims to spread awareness about the Halari donkey, an endangered species.

Analysis

  • It is native to Saurashtra region of Gujarat and is of white in colour.
  • Halari donkey has a strong built and large size with an average height.
  • These donkeys are used as pack animals during pastoralist migration and for transportation as donkey cart.
  • They can walk approx. 30-40 km in a day during migration.
  • Halari donkeys are on the brink of extinction.
  • Halari milk is said to have rare medicinal qualities
  • The Halari was the first from Gujarat to be registered and recognised as an indigenous donkey breed by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources.
  • Halari donkey derives their name from Halar, a historical region of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
  • Only Rebari and Bharwad communities undertake Halari-rearing.
  • Total three indigenous breed of donkeys are found in India: Spiti from Himachal Pradesh; Halari and Kachchhi from Gujarat.
  1. International Day to Combat Islamophobia(TH, pg 9)

  • As the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to proclaim March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, India expressed concern over phobia against “one religion being elevated to the level of an international day”.