Current Affairs Daily Current Affairs 22

19th January,2021 ; Daily Current Affairs 

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 19th January,2021

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

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • A) Art, Culture and History
  • What is Kala Utsav? (PIB)
  • B) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
  • Initiative launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) (TH, pg 10)
  • C) Economic Developments: India and World
  • Additional Borrowing Space to State Governments (PIB)
  • D) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
  • Indian Navy: Destroyer Vs Frigate Vs Corvettes (TH, pg 6)
  • E) International Relations
  • Nord Stream 2 Pipeline (TH, pg 11)
  • Why was Nusantara in News? (TH, pg 11)
  • Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 (TH, pg 12)
  • F) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
  • Capital Punishment in India (TH, pg 1)

 

A) Art, Culture and History

  1. What is Kala Utsav? (PIB)
  • Context: Minister of State for Educationaddressed the valedictory function of Kala Utsav 2021.

Analysis

  • Kala Utsav is an initiative of the Ministry of Education(MoE) under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, to promote arts (Music, Theatre, Dance, Visual Arts and Crafts) in education by nurturing and showcasing the artistic talent of school students at the secondary stage in the country.
  • The National Kala Utsavwas launched by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, in 2015.
  • In Kala Utsav, students from all the schools of the country are invited first at the district level, then at the state level and finally at the national level to compete in different categories in front of an esteemed jury consisting of 27 members from different genres of art, each an expert in their own field.
  • The National Education Policy 2020 emphasizes the promotion of arts and culture through education and Kala Utsav 2021 also incorporates the suggestions of the National Education Policy 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

B) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues

  1. Initiative launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) (TH, pg 10)
  • Context: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced winning cities for the Streets for People Challenge, and the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge.
  • The Ministry also launched Season-2 of India Cycles4Change.

Analysis

Streets for People Challenge

  • ​Launched by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, it aims to inspire cities to create more walkable and pedestrian friendly streets through quick, innovative, and low-cost measures.
  • Fit India Mission, under Ministry of Youth Affairsand Sports, along with the India program of the Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP) have partnered with the Smart Cities Mission to support the challenge.

Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge

  • The Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge is a 3-year initiative hosted by the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.
  • It aims to incorporate a focus on early childhood development (0-5-year-old children) in the planning and management of Indian cities.
  • Its ultimate objective is to include solutions in smart cities that enhance the quality of life of young children and promote the health and well-being of both the young children and their caregivers.

India Cycles4Change Challenge

  • The India Cycles4Change challenge has been launched under the Smart Cities Mission by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on 25th as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that was gaining ground in the country.
  • The lockdown restrictions had significantly affected the commuters of public transport, who saw cycling as a personal and COVID-safe alternative for short and medium distance commute.

 

C) Economic Developments: India and World

  1. Additional Borrowing Space to State Governments (PIB)
  • Context:Ministry of Finance, Government of India, had launched a programme in June 2021 to allow additional borrowing space to State Governments, which is conditional on them undertaking and sustaining specific reforms in the power sector.

Analysis

  • The additional borrowing limit permitted for power sector reforms is 0.5% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of the respective state.
  • This being the first year of the current version of the scheme, the requirements of reforms and actions has been kept less onerous, with the bar raised for future years, pushing the states towards higher level reforms.
  • Under the scheme, the states may commit to reforms and be eligible for increased borrowing space of ~Rs. 80,000 Crores.

 

D) Science and Technology, Defence, Space

  1. Indian Navy: Destroyer Vs Frigate Vs Corvettes (TH, pg 6)
  • Context:Three Navy personnel were killed and 11 injured in an explosion aboard the destroyer INS Ranvir at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.

Analysis

How does Indian Navy name its vessels?

  • The Internal Nomenclature Committee (INC) at the Ministry of Defence is responsible for naming ships and submarines.
  • The Assistant Chief of Naval Staff heads the INC, and other members include representatives from the historical section of the ministry and the archaeology department of the EducationMinistry.

What are the differences between a Destroyer and a Frigate?

  • Frigates and destroyers are two of the most common warships in a navy’s fleet. Both are designed for quick manoeuvrability and can be used to escort and protect larger vessels from air, surface and underwater threats.
  • Frigates are more common, with almost every navy in the world is in possession of a frigate as part of its navy fleet.
  • Frigates are generally medium-sized ships (in comparison to Destroyers) and are specialized in a particular role like Guided Missile Frigates or Anti-Submarine Frigates.
  • Frigates lack the multi-mission capability like Destroyers and are thus usually used as escort vessels to protect sea lines of communication.
  • By virtue of being larger, destroyers can more easily carry and generate the power for more powerful high-resolution radar and a larger number of vertical launch cells.
  • They can thus provide theatre wide air and missile defence for forces such as a carrier battle group and typically serve this function.
  • Frigates, being a smaller vessel can provide limited air defence to themselves and nearby vessels but are not particularly well suited to theatre air defence.
  • They tend to be utilised primarily for anti-submarine warfare roles as well as providing short range air defence as part of a larger surface group.
  • Frigates are generally slower than destroyers although in modern times there is not a significant difference. Frigate ships are much more cost-efficient.
  • Frigates are larger than Corvettes but smaller than Destroyers. A corvette is a very small class of combat ship, often the smallest in any fleet.
  • These ships have limited range and weapon systems, but they are quite effective at tracking down and hence primarily used by naval police to patrol the sea and also for close defence of a larger ship.
  • Both Frigates and Destroyers are needed for a Blue-Water Navy as they have capability to operate in high threat environment and thus are well coordinated in such roles.

Blue Water Navy

  • A Blue Water Navy is one that has the capacity to project itself over a much bigger maritime area than its maritime borders.
  • It is able to carry out operations far from its borders, without being required to return to its home port to refuel or re-stock.
  • While it is evident that Blue Water navies belong to the most powerful nations, there is no one internationally agreed upon definition. Owning one or more aircraft carriers is sometimes seen as a marker.
  • As the Indian Navy has the capacity to carry distant operations “at or from the sea, up to considerable distance from national shore bases”, it qualifies as a Blue Water Force.
  • Navies are classified in terms of colours. A navy whose operations are restricted close to the shore, where the water is muddy, is called a Brown Water Force. A navy that can go farther out is called a Green Water Force. And then there is a Blue Water Force.

 

E) International Relations

  1. Nord Stream 2 Pipeline (TH, pg 11)
  • Context:Germany is ready to discuss halting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should Russia attack Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, responding to increasing domestic and international pressure amid a Russian militarybuild-up on Ukraine’s borders.

Analysis

  • Nord Stream 2 pipeline involves a direct supply of natural gas under the Baltic Sea from the Russian city of Ust-Luga to the German city of Lubmin, avoiding transit through Ukraine and other European countries.
  • However, the Ukrainian authority has called the project a ‘dangerous geopolitical weapon’.
  • There is also strong opposition from the United States and most of the European countries (except for Austria, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands).
  • Their concern is that, once operational, the project would render more leverage and bargaining power to Russia while dealing with Europe and its energy market.

Energy security dilemma of Germany

  • According to data from 2015, Germany imported about 40% of natural gas from Russia, 29% from the Netherlands, 34% from Norway, with only around 10% from Germany’s own gas fields.
  • According to a media report, about a quarter of Germany’s electricity now comes from coal, about another quarter from renewables, 16% from natural gas and around 11% from nuclear energy.
  • The dispute over Nord Stream 2 takes place at a time when Germany has set out a plan to shut down its nuclear and coal power plants, with an objective of gradually moving towards renewable sources of energy.

Baltic Sea

  • Baltic Sea is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean, and separates the Scandinavian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe.
  • The largest expanse of brackish water in the world, the semi-enclosed and relatively shallow Baltic Sea is of great interest to scientists.
  • Although the great influx of river water and surface runoff, including spring snowmelt, causes an outflow of surface water into the North Sea, a deeper countercurrent of denser salt water flows into the Baltic.
  • The nine countries bounding the Baltic are Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany.
  • The Vistula and the Oder are among the major rivers which drain their water into the Baltic Sea.

 

  1. Why was Nusantara in News? (TH, pg 11)
  • Context:Indonesia’s Parliament recently passed a law approving the relocation of its capital from slowly sinking Jakarta to a site 2,000 kilometres away on the jungle-clad Borneo island (Indonesian part of Borneo) that will be named “Nusantara”.
  • Jakarta has long been plagued by serious infrastructure problems and flooding exacerbated by climate change.

Analysis

  • Borneo is an island in the extreme southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean.
  • It is the third largest island in the world after Greenland and New Guinea.It is also the largest island of Asia.
  • The island is bisected by the equator, with approximately half of its land area in the northern hemisphere and half in the southern hemisphere.
  • The island is divided between three countries: Indonesia (73%), Malaysia (26%), and Brunei (1%).

 

  1. Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 (TH, pg 12)
  • Context:The accelerating pace of digitalisation, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a record-breaking year for cybercrime with ransomware attacks rising 151% in 2021, found by the World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022’, released during its online Davos Agenda summit.

Analysis

  • The WEF said the global digital economy had surged on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, but so had cybercrime.

Major reports published by the WEF

  • Global Competitiveness Report,
  • Global Risks Report,
  • Global Gender Gap Report,
  • Global Social Mobility Report,
  • Regional Risks for Doing Business Report,
  • Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report,
  • Global Cybersecurity Outlook,
  • Fostering Effective Energy Transition Report.

Note: WEF has been discussed in detail in the 18th Jan 2022 file.

 

F) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments

  1. Capital Punishment in India (TH, pg 1)
  • Context:The Bombay High Court commuted the death sentence of two sisters — for murdering and kidnapping children between 1990 and 1996 in Kolhapur — to life imprisonment.
  • After seven years, 10 months and 15 days, their mercy petition was rejected. They pleaded that the delay in disposal of their mercy petitions resulted in infringement of their fundamental rights and therefore their death sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment.
  • The mercy petition filed with the Governor of Maharashtra was rejected in 2013. The application to the President of India was rejected in 2014. Thereafter the present writ petition has been filed.

Analysis

  • Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime.

Evolution of Capital Punishment in India

  • No issue was raised about capital punishment in the British India’s Legislative Assembly until 1931, when one of the Members from Bihar, Shri Gaya Prasad Singh sought to introduce a Bill to abolish the punishment of death for the offences under the Indian Penal Code.
  • However, the motion was negatived after the then Home Minister replied to the motion.
  • At independence in 1947, India retained the 1861 Indian Penal Code which provided for the death penalty for murder.
  • In the Bachan Singhjudgment of 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty should be used only in the “rarest of rare” cases, but what defines rarest of the rare is not clear.

Constitutionality of the Death Sentence

  • The main provisions of the constitution of India guaranteeing the right to life under Article 21 have been lifted from the American and the Japanese constitutions.
  • It may be added here that what we have borrowed is the form or style of expression and not the right itself.
  • The right to life is not the something that constitutions create or even confer.
  • The constitution only recognises this inalienable and indispensable right.

Machhi Singh and others v. State of Punjab

  • The Apex Court laid down three conditions for imposition of the death sentence. These were:
  • Where it is a ‘Rarest of Rare’ case.
  • When there is something uncommon about the crime that renders ‘Life Imprisonment’ as an inadequate sentence.
  • Whether the circumstances of the crime are such that there is seen no alternative but to impose death sentence even after Maximum weightage is given to any mitigating factor.

Constitutional Powers of the President and the Governor in Matters Relating to Death Sentence

  • After all the remedies under the judicial system are exhausted, a person on death row has the last remedy to knock at the doors of the first citizens of the country and seek pardon in the form of mercy petition which must be addressed by the convict either through authorised representative or himself from the prison.
  • The Constitution under Article 72 and 161 confers the power on the President and the Governors, respectively, to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases.
  • The ‘mercy jurisdiction’ of the President and the Governors to reduce or rescind punishment becomes operative only after the courts have delivered conviction and passed sentence.
  • Also, the power under Article 72 and 161 bear an onus for the President and Governors to act fairly and reasonably.
  • Neither of these powers are personal to the holders of the Office, but are to be exercised (under Articles 74 and 163, respectively) on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers (based on the recommendations received from the Ministry of Home Affairs).
  • The power of President under Article 72 is wider than that of Governor in the sense that the President has exclusive powers to grant pardon in case of death sentence and court martial.
Table: Comparing Pardoning Powers of President and Governor
President Governor
1. He can pardon, reprive, respite,remit, suspend or commute thepunishment or sentence of anyperson convicted of anyoffence against a Central law. 1. He can pardon, reprieve,respite, remit, suspend orcommute the punishment orsentence of any personconvicted of any offenceagainst a state law.
2. He can pardon, reprieve,respite, remit, suspend orcommute a death sentence. Heis the only authority to pardon adeath sentence.Pardon removes both the sentence and the conviction and completelyabsolves the convict from all sentences, punishments and disqualifications. 2. He cannot pardon a deathsentence. Even if a state lawprescribes for death sentence,the power to grant pardon lieswith the President and not thegovernor. But, the governor cansuspend, remit or commute adeath sentence.
3. He can grant pardon, reprieve,respite, suspension, remissionor commutation in respect topunishment or sentence by acourt-martial (military court). 3. He does not possess any suchpower.
  • The Supreme Court held that while the mercy petition is pending before the President of India, the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to hear any application for stay on execution as it is not maintainable.

International Conventions

  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’) does not abolish the use of the death penalty, but contains guarantees regarding the right to life, and contains important safeguards to be followed by signatories who retain the death penalty.
  • The Rights of the Child (‘CRC’) explicitly prohibits the use of the death penalty against persons under the age of 18.
  • The Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (‘the Torture Convention’) does not regard the imposition of death penalty per se as a form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (‘CIDT’).
  • Of the treaties mentioned above, India has ratified the ICCPR and the CRC, and is signatory to the Torture Convention but has not ratified it.
  • Under international law, treaty obligations are binding on states once they have ratified the treaty.
  • Even where a treaty has been signed but not ratified, the state is bound to “refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty.”
  • The Law Commission of India in its 262nd Report (August 2015) recommended that death penalty be abolished for all crimes other than terrorism related offences and waging war.

Capital Offences in IPC (there are Capital Offences in other laws as well)

  • Treason, for waging war against the Government of India
  • Abetment of mutiny actually committed
  • Perjury resulting in the conviction and death of an innocent person
  • Threatening or inducing any person to give false evidence resulting in the conviction and death of an innocent person
  • Abetment of a suicide by a minor, insane person or intoxicated person
  • Attempted murder by a serving life convict
  • Kidnapping for ransom
  • Rape and injury which causes death or leaves the woman in a persistent vegetative state
  • Certain repeat offenders in the context of rape
  • Dacoity with murder

What are the execution methods followed in India?

  • There are two methods of execution in India and they are:
  • Hanging
  • All the death penalties in India are carried out by hanging.
  • Shooting
  • It is also provided under The Air Force Act, 1950, The Army Act 1950 and The Navy Act 19572 that the execution has to be carried out either by hanging by neck till death or by being shot to death.