geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 4th August 2021

    1.   TIPU SULTAN

    • News: With the Kadapa district administration deciding not to allow the installation of any more statues, the furore over the move to build a statue of Tipu Sultan in Proddatur is expected to die down.
    • About Tipu Sultan:
      • Tipu Sultan (born Sultan Fateh Ali Sahab Tipu, 01 December 1751 – 4 May 1799), also known as Tipu Sahab or the Tiger of Mysore, was the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore based in South India and a pioneer of rocket artillery.
      • He introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule, including a new coinage system and calendar, and a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry.
      • He expanded the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned the military manual Fathul Mujahidin.
      • He deployed the rockets against advances of British forces and their allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars, including the Battle of Pollilur and Siege of Seringapatam.
      • Napoleon Bonaparte, the French commander-in-chief, sought an alliance with Tipu Sultan. Both Tipu Sultan and his father used their French-trained army in alliance with the French in their struggle with the British.

    2.   RAJYA SABHA

    • News: The Rajya Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 moved by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman by a voice vote.
    • About Rajya Sabha:
      • The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India.
      • As of 2021 it has a maximum membership of 245, of which 233 are elected by the legislatures of the states and union territories using single transferable votes through Open Ballot while the President can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services.
      • The potential seating capacity of the Rajya Sabha is 250 (238 elected, 12 appointed), according to article 80 of the Indian Constitution.
      • Members sit for staggered terms lasting six years, with elections every year with about a third of the 233 designates up for election every two years, in even-numbered years.
      • The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and unlike the Lok Sabha, being the lower house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, which is the upper house of Parliament, is not subjected to dissolution. However, the Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha can be prorogued by the President.
      • The Rajya Sabha has equal footing in legislation with the Lok Sabha, except in the area of supply, where the latter has overriding powers.
      • In the case of conflicting legislation, a joint sitting of the two houses can be held, where the Lok Sabha would hold greater influence because of its larger membership.
      • The Vice President of India (currently, Venkaiah Naidu) is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions.
      • The Deputy Chairman, who is elected from amongst the house’s members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman.
      • Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament. A member of the Rajya Sabha must:
        • Be a citizen of India.
        • Make and subscribe before some person authorized in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule to the Constitution.
        • Be at least 30 years old. (Article 84 constitution of India)
        • Be elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of single transferable vote through proportional representation.
        • Not be a proclaimed criminal.
        • Not be a subject of insolvent, i.e. he/she should not be in debt that he/she is not capable of repaying in a current manner and should have the ability to meet his/her financial expenses.
        • Not hold any other office of profit under the Government of India.
        • Not be of unsound mind.
        • Possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.
      • In addition, twelve members are nominated by the President of India having special knowledge in various areas like arts and science. However, they are not entitled to vote in Presidential elections as per Article 55 of the Constitution.

    3.   ESSENTIAL DEFENCE SERVICES BILL, 2021

    • News: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed two key Bills without a debate, as the House once again witnessed protests by the Opposition over the Pegasus snooping controversy and farmers’ issues.
    • About Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021:
      • The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021, seeks to replace the ordinance promulgated in June 2021 and allows the Central Government to prohibit strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services.
      • The essential defence services include:
        • Any establishment or undertaking dealing with the production of goods or equipment required for defence-related purposes
        • Any establishment of the armed forces or connected with them or defence. These also include services that, if ceased, would affect the safety of the establishment engaged in such services or its employees.
        • In addition, the government may declare any service as an essential defence service if its cessation would affect the:
        • Production of defence equipment or goods,
        • Operation or maintenance of industrial establishments or units engaged in such production, or
        • Repair or maintenance of products connected with defence.
      • The new Bill allows the Central Government to prohibit strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services as per PRS Legislative Research. The government may issue such order if necessary in the interest of:
        • Sovereignty and integrity of India
        • Security of any state
        • Public
        • Public order
        • Decency
        • Morality
      • The prohibition order will remain in force for six months and may be extended by another six months.
      • Strikes and lock-outs that are declared after the issue of the prohibition order or those that had commenced before the prohibition order was issued will be illegal. The prohibition will not apply to lay-offs made due to power shortage or natural calamity, or lay-offs of temporary or casual workmen.
      • Under the new Bill, a strike is defined as cessation of work by a body of persons acting together. It includes the following under its purview:
        • Mass casual leave
        • Coordinated refusal of any number of persons to continue to work or accept employment
        • Refusal to work overtime, where such work is necessary for the maintenance of essential defence services
        • Any other conduct which results in, or is likely to result in, disruption of work in essential defence services.
      • The new Bill also amends the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to include essential defence services under public utility services. Under the Act, in the case of public utility services, a six-week notice must be given before:
        • Persons employed in such services go on strike in breach of contract
        • Employers carrying on such services do lock-outs.

    4.   SECTION 433A AND GOVERNOR’S REVISION POWERS

    • News: The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the Governor of a State can pardon prisoners, including those on death row, even before they have served a minimum 14 years of prison sentence.
    • About Governor’s Pardoning Power:
      • Article 161 mentions the Pardoning Power of the Governor. When a convict has committed an offence against state law, the concerned punishment can be granted the pardon, reprieve, respite and remission by the Governor of the state.
      • However, the governor cannot pardon the death sentence which only the Indian President can do.
      • Pardon: When the Governor pardons, both the sentence and the conviction of the convict completely absolve the sentences, punishments and disqualifications. He cannot pardon the death sentence. He cannot pardon the punishment by court-martial.
      • Respite: When the Governor uses his pardoning power of ‘Respite’, he chooses to award a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded to the convict. For example, due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender, the President can use this power.
      • Reprieve: When the Governor chooses the pardoning power of ‘Reprieve’; he stays the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. By doing this, he enables the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from him.
      • Remit: When the President chooses the pardoning power of Remit, he acts to reduce the period of the sentence but the character of the sentence remains the same. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year but the imprisonment remains rigorous.
      • Commute: Governor can commute the punishment or sentence of any person convicted of any offence against a state law or he can commute a death sentence.
    • About Section 433A:
      • The Code of Criminal Procedure — Section 433A — which mandates that a prisoner’s sentence can be remitted only after 14 years of jail.
      • Section 433A of the Code cannot and does not in any way affect the constitutional power conferred on the President/Governor to grant pardon under Articles 72 or 161 of the Constitution.
      • The court noted that the sovereign power of a Governor to pardon a prisoner under Article 161 is actually exercised by the State government and not the Governor on his own.

    5.   PAYMENTS BANK

    • News: To provide easy access to investors to participate in public and rights issues by using various payment avenues, markets regulator SEBI allowed payments banks to carry out activities of investment bankers. Non scheduled payments banks, that have prior RBI nod, can as a banker to an issue, SEBI said in a circular.
    • About Payments Bank:
      • A payments bank is like any other bank, but operating on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk.
      • In simple words, it can carry out most banking operations but can’t advance loans or issue credit cards.
      • It can accept demand deposits (up to Rs 2 lakh), offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers.
      • The objective of the committee was to propose measures for achieving financial inclusion and increased access to financial services.
      • The main objective of payments bank is to widen the spread of payment and financial services to small business, low-income households, migrant labour workforce in secured technology-driven environment.
      • With payments banks, RBI seeks to increase the penetration level of financial services to the remote areas of the country.
      • Regulations:
        • The minimum capital requirement is Rs.100 crore (1 Billion).
        • For the first five years, the stake of the promoter should remain at least 40%.
        • Foreign share holding will be allowed in these banks as per the rules for FDI in private banks in India. The voting rights will be regulated by the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
        • The voting right of any shareholder is capped at 10%, which can be raised to 26% by Reserve Bank of India. Any acquisition of more than 5% will require approval of the RBI.
        • The majority of the bank’s board of directors should consist of independent directors, appointed according to RBI guidelines.
        • The bank should be fully networked from the beginning. The bank can accept utility bills. It cannot form subsidiaries to undertake non-banking activities.
        • Initially, the deposits will be capped at ₹100,000 per customer, but it may be raised by the RBI based on the performance of the bank.
        • Payment Banks are not permitted to lend to any person including their directors. 25% of its branches must be in the unbanked rural area.
        • The bank must use the term “payments bank” in its name to differentiate it from other types of bank.
        • The banks will be licensed as payments banks under Section 22 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and will be registered as public limited company under the Companies Act, 2013.