December 2019

Daily Current Affairs (21-12-19)

POLITY& GOVERNANCE

SECTION 144 OF CrPC

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Governance [Paper-I]: Public Policy and Governance

Context

Several state governments have imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) restricting the protesters from gathering against Citizenship Amendment Act passed by Parliament.

What is Section 144?

  • Section 144 CrPC empowers a district magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate specially empowered by the state government in this behalf to issue orders to prevent and address urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.
  • The magistrate has to pass a written order which may be directed against a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular place or area, or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.
  • In emergency cases, the magistrate can pass these orders without prior notice to the individual against whom the order is directed.
  • This law empowers the magistrate of any state or union territory in India to pass an order prohibiting the gathering of four or more people.
  • The various provisions of Section 144 makes it possible to book all the members of such gathering termed as ‘unlawful assembly’ under the charges of having engaged in rioting.
  • No order passed under Section 144 can remain in force for more than two months from the date of the order.
  • The state government can extend this for a maximum period of six months.

Provisions

  • It places restrictions on handling or transporting any kind of weapon in the given jurisdiction where Section 144 has been imposed.
  • In case of any violation in this regard, people doing it in any form can be detained. Such acts can invite a punishment of three years.
  • All educational institutions in the given area will have to remain closed. Holding any public meeting or conducting rallies in the area are banned during the period when Section 144 is in force.
  • In the areas where Section 144 is in force, it is deemed a punishable offence to obstruct law enforcement agencies from disbanding an unlawful assembly.
  • It also empowers the authorities to stop internet access in the region.

Why Section 144 is necessitated?

  • The administration is empowered under Section 144 to impose restrictions on the personal liberties of individuals.
  • This means the fundamental right of peaceful assembly provided under Article 19 of the Constitution is curtailed by the administration if the executive magistrate finds the situation at any specified place presenting a potential to disturbance in law and order.
  • The defining aspect of imposing such a restriction is assessment of the situation by the district administration that it has the potential to cause unrest or danger to peace and tranquility in such an area due to certain disputes.
  • Prevention of a crime or riot is the duty of the administration. Power conferred under Section 144 is absolute in terms of maintaining law and order.

Why is Section 144 criticized?

  • Human Rights Activists argue that Section 144 is too broad and the words of the section are wide enough to give absolute power to a magistrate that may be exercised unjustifiably.
  • The immediate remedy against such an order is a revision application to the magistrate himself.
  • An aggrieved individual can approach the High Court by filing a writ petition if his fundamental rights are at stake.
  • However, fears exist that before the High Court intervenes, the rights could already have been infringed.

[Source: Business Insider, India Today]

 

ECONOMY

NATIONAL COMPANY LAW APPELLATE TRIBUNAL (NCLAT)

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Economy [Paper-II]: Indian economy in post reform period

News

  • National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) reinstated Cyrus Pallonji Mistry to the position of Executive Chairman of Tata Sons and Director of the Tata Group of companies for the remainder of his tenure.
  • Cyrus Mistry, who was the sixth chairman of Tata Sons, was ousted from the position in October 2016.
  • He had taken over as the chairman in 2012 after Ratan Tata announced his retirement.
  • The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had earlier dismissed petitions filed by two investment firms Cyrus Investments Pvt Ltd and Sterling Investments Corp challenging Mistry’ removal.

About NCLAT

  • The NCLAT was constituted under Section 410 of The Companies Act, 2013 to hear appeals against the orders of the National Company Law Tribunals (NCLT).
  • It is the appellate tribunal for orders passed by the NCLT(s) under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016.
  • It is also the appellate tribunal for orders passed by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) under Sections 202 and 211 of the IBC.
  • It is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) – as per the amendment brought to Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 by the Finance Act, 2017.
  • The current Chairperson of NCLAT is Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, former Judge of the Supreme Court.

[Source: Livemint, nclat.nic.in]

 

5G SPECTRUM AUCTION PLAN

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Economy [Paper-II]: Infrastructure in Indian Economy, Telecommunication

Why in News?

  • Digital Communications Commission, the apex decision-making body at the telecom department approved Rs 5.22 lakh crore spectrum auction plan.

News in Detail

  • The decision marks no change in the reserve pricing of the spectrum finalised by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
  • The auction will entail sale of over 8300 MHz of spectrum spread over all 22 telecom circles, the reserve price of which comes to Rs 5,22,850 crore.
  • The sale is likely to take place in March-April, 2020.
  • Of the spectrum to be put on sale, a lion’s share of 6050 MHz has been set aside for 5G spectrum that will enable services using cutting-edge next-generation mobile technology.
  • While there’s no spectrum price reduction, the DCC has decided to offer a two-year moratorium on payment for the airwaves across bands, besides relaxation in upfront payments.

What is 5G Technology?

  • 5G is a set of technical ground rules that define the workings of a cellular network, including the radio frequencies used and how various components like computer chips and antennas handle radio signals and exchange data.
  • Since the first cellphones were demonstrated in the 1970s, engineers from multiple companies have convened to agree on new sets of specifications for cellular networks, which are designated a new technology generation every decade or so.
  • As the rules are established, technology, infrastructure and equipment is updated — providers install new equipment to transmit the signal and companies develop devices to take advantage of the new technology.
  • The standards for the usage of 5G are defined and driven by 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
  • The 5G networks are powered by a new technology referred to as millimeter wave, or mmWave.
  • A 5G user will be able to seamlessly use 5G, 4G, and Wi-Fi since 5G will interwork both with 4G and Wi-Fi, allowing a user to simultaneously be connected to 5G New Radio (NR), LTE or Wi-Fi.

Key Features

Benefits

  • As per the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Committee on Digital Economic Policy, 5G technologies rollout will help in,
  • Increasing GDP
  • Creating Employment
  • Digitizing the economy
  • For India, 5G provides an opportunity for industry to reach out to global markets, and consumers to gain with the economies of scale.

Steering Committee on 5G

  • Central Government has constituted 5G steering committee chaired by Stanford University’s Professor Emeritus AJ Paulraj in September 2017 to suggest a road map for adoption of 5G.
  • The 9-member Steering Committee submitted its 5G high level forum report titled ‘Making India 5G Ready’ in August, 2018.
[Source: Business Standard, gemalto.com]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

MEGHDOOT
  • In a first-of-its-kind initiative by Indian Railways, South Central Railway (SCR) has installed an ‘atmospheric water generator’ kiosk at Secunderabad Railway Station.
  • The ‘atmospheric water generator’ is called ‘Meghdoot‘. This technology is developed under ‘Make in India by Maithri Aquatech. The kiosk produces around 1,000 litres per day.
  • ‘Meghdoot’ harvests water directly from air through a series of steps, instead of taking source water for filtration.
  • In this system, instead of using regular water for filtration and consumption, water is directly harvested from the air through a series of steps.
  • ‘Meghdoot’ is installed under SCR’s green initiatives and water conservation measures. The system fulfils the safety norms of safe and healthy drinking water.
  • It costs Rs. 8 per litre with a bottle and Rs. 5 per litre if passengers carry their own bottle.
CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR NEXT GENERATION TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
  • The National Rail Transport Institute, a deemed to be university under the Ministry of Railways, signed MoU with the University of Birmingham to set up its first Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Transportation Systems.
  • The Centre will be involved in promoting development of the Rail and Transportation sector in India.
  • Indian Railways is a founding partner of this centre and would provide proprietary data, professional expertise, spare equipment and other available resources directly or through its Centralised Training Institutes and research organisations.
  • It will also be involved in organising knowledge events, conferences, workshops to disseminate trends, latest research, global best practices and developments in the transportation sector, accessible to industry and academia.
HOUBARA BUSTARD
  • Pakistan government has issued special permits to the Emir of Qatar and nine other members of the royal family to hunt the houbara bustard, an internationally protected bird species.
  • Bustards are large, terrestrial birds that belong to several species, including some of the largest flying birds.
  • The houbara bustard, which lives in arid climates, comes in two distinct species as recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, one residing in North Africa (Chlamydotis undulata) and the other in Asia (Chlamydotis macqueenii).
  • The population of the Asian houbara bustards extends from northeast Asia, across central Asia, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula to reach the Sinai desert.
  • According to the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), roughly 33,000 Asian houbara bustards and over 22,000 of the North African houbara bustards remain today.
  • After breeding in the spring, the Asian bustards migrate south to spend the winter in Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and nearby Southwest Asia.
  • According to IFHC, the main reasons for the houbara’s decline are poaching, unregulated hunting, along with degradation of its natural habitat.
  • While Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt the bird, the government invites Arab royals to hunt it every year.
  • The hunting area is spread over the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.
GAY CONVERSION THERAPY
  • German Cabinet approved a bill to ban the advertising or offering of “conversion therapy” to transgender and gay people.
  • The proposed legislation was expanded to include 16- to 18-year-olds.
  • If the bill passes both houses of parliament, advertising or offering conversion therapy will be banned and infringements will carry fines of up to €30,000 ($33,000).
  • After the proposed ban, only adults who freely seek out the controversial “therapy” will be legally permitted to undergo it.
PANNA-MUKTA OIL FIELD
  • Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Shell India-owned BG Exploration and Production India Ltd (BGEPIL) will transfer their entire stake in Panna-Mukta oil and gas fields to state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) on 21 December, 2019.
  • RIL, BG Exploration and ONGC have been operating the Panna-Mukta fields in a joint venture for the past 25 years.
  • In the Panna-Mukta and Tapti (PMT) joint venture, ONGC held 40% stake, while RIL and BG Exploration owned 30% stake each. BG Exploration is a subsidiary of Shell India.
  • The Tapti fields had ceased production earlier in 2016 and the Tapti process platform facilities were handed over to ONGC (a government nominee) in 2016.
  • The PMT JV is a great example of a successful partnership between India’s largest national oil company (ONGC), India’s largest private company (Reliance) and an international oil company (Shell).
  • The PMT fields were the first fields in India to be operated under a joint operatorship model.
  • The Panna-Mukta fields, located off the Mumbai coast, have produced 211 million barrels of oil and 1.25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas since December 1994.
PEREGRINE FALCON
  • According to the study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the peregrine falcon has the fastest vision, registering 129 Hz (blinks per second) in a high light intensity environment.
  • In comparison, humans see up to a maximum of 50 to 60 blinks per second.
  • The study noted that under the same conditions, the saker falcon can see 102 Hz and Harris’s hawk 77 Hz.
  • This is the first time scientists have studied the speed of vision among birds of prey, calculating how fast they sense visual impressions.
  • IUCN Conservation status: Least Concern
MILU & JENGU
  • Kochi Metro’s mascot, the elephant, has been named ‘Milu’.
  • Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) board also selected a Fish named ‘Jengu’ as the mascot for the upcoming Water Metro project.
KARSHAKASREE AWARD 2020
  • Krishnanunni, a farmer from Kambalathara in Palakkad district, has been selected for the biennial Karshakasree award for outstanding farmer in Kerala.
  • The award instituted by Malayala Manorama consists of Rs three lakh along with a certificate and gold medallion.
BHARAT AWARD FOR BRAVERY
  • Aditya K. of Kozhikode has become the first child from Kerala to bag the Bharat Award for bravery.
  • It is the most prestigious of the National Bravery Awards, given away by the Indian Council for Child Welfare.
  • The Bharat Award has gone to Aditya for rescuing 20 people from a burning bus that was on the move.

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