Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (19th to 25th April, 2019)

Right to travel abroad is a basic human right SC

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (19th to 25th April, 2019)

(Info graphic Summary at the end)

 

Topic : Government recovers Rs 1,514 crore of investors’ money

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Context:

Government recovers Rs 1,514 crore of investors’ money

The government has recovered deposits worth Rs 1,514 crore owed by Peerless General Finance and Investment Company to its investors for more than 15 years.

 

More about on news:

  • The deposits have now been transferred to the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF).
  • In a major success, the IEPF Authority has been able to enforce Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Ltd to transfer deposits worth about Rs 1,514 crore to IEPF.
  • This depositors’ money was pending with the company for the last 15 years,
  • The company had garnered the amount by about 1.49 crore deposit certificates.
  • The data submitted by the company showed that 50.77 per cent of the total amount was taken in the form of deposit certificates of the value of Rs 2,000 or less.
  • The Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority has also issued more than 4,000 notices to companies seeking information for alleged lapses.

 

About Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF):

  • IEPF is a fund where unclaimed dividend, refunded application money, matured company deposits and debentures, as well as the interest on them, is used, provided it is not claimed within seven years.
  • It is a fund set up under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to help promote investor awareness and protection of investor interests.

 

About IEPF Authority:

  • IEPF Authority has been set up under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India as a statutory body under Companies Act 2013.
  • Administer the Investor Education and Protection Fund with the objective of promoting Investor’s Education, Awareness and Protection.
  • The Authority takes various initiatives to fulfil its objectives through Investor Awareness Programmes and various other mediums like Print, Electronic, Social Media, and Community Radio etc.
  • The size of IEPF Fund has almost doubled within one year with accumulated corpus of about Rs 4138 Cr.
  • The companies have also transferred about 65.02 Cr valuing Rs 21,232.15 Cr.
  • Secretary Ministry of the Corporate Affairs is the Chairperson of the Authority.
  • Joint Secretary Ministry of the Corporate Affairs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements with respect to Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF).

  1. It is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  2. The authority aims to administer the Investor Education and Protection Fund with the objective of promoting Investor’s Education, Awareness and protection.
  3. The Secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs is the Chairperson of IEPF.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 2 only

b). 1 and 2 only

c). 2 and 3 only

d).  All of the above

 

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic :  Kumbh brought Allahabad to verge of an epidemic, says NGT

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Why in news?

Kumbh brought Allahabad to verge of an epidemic, says NGT

The tribunal has asked UP chief secretary to immediately act on the mismanaged solid waste from the pilgrimage.

 

More about on news:

  • Both the governments, at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, claimed to have organised a ‘swachh’ — clean — Kumbh in the winter of 2018-19, but the National Green Tribunal seems to differ.
  • The quasi-judicial body rang alarm bells on April 22, 2019 about host city Allahabad being on the the verge of an epidemic.
  • The green bench flagged poor solid waste management during the months-long religious gathering on the Ganga and asked the state chief secretary to appear before it on April 26, 2019.
  • The NGT said 60,000 metric tonnes (mt) of solid waste had been collected at Baswar Solid Waste Treatment Plant which was lying untreated.
  • The tribunal pointed out that groundwater too has been polluted. “Dirty water from toilets was being collected in kutcha pits.
  • The tribunal had appointed a committee to see to it that the Ganga does not suffer any damage during the Kumbh.

 

Reasons:

  • The green bench flagged poor solid waste management during the months-long religious gathering.
  • The NGT found that a large number of toilets were constructed very close to the river.
  • The nearby geotubes had more sewage than it could treat.
  • The geo tube was not working satisfactorily and 50 per cent of the sewage from the drain was trapped and the rest was going into the Ganga.
  • The CAG of India’s audit report of the event read, that no effective planning for protection of environment and pollution control was made for the MahaKumbh.

 

KumbhMela:

  • It is held once in every 12 years.
  • The Mela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, and it represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and rituals cleansing in holy rivers in India.
  • The KumbhMela (the festival of the sacred pitcher) is anchored in Hindu mythology.
  • Crowds gather at the sacred confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mystical Sarasvati. Primarily, this congregation includes Ascetics, Saints, Sadhus, Sadhvis, Kalpvasis, and Pilgrims from all walks of life.
  • The Mela was included in the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2017.
  • According to Hindu belief, during a battle between God and Demons over a pitcher containing nectar of immortality (Amrit), a few drops fell at four main locations- Haridwar, Ujjain, Allahabad, and Nasik.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to KumbhMela

  1. KumbhMela, the festival of the sacred pitcher is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith, anywhere in the world.
  2. The KumbhMela has been inscribed on the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2019.
  3. It is held once in every 15 years.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 and 2 only

b). 1 only

c). 1 and 3 only

d). All of the above

 

Answer: b)

 


 

Topic : Soon, heritage by-laws for PuranaQila, Khair-ul-Manazil

Topic in Syllabus: Heritage & Culture

 

Why in news?

Soon, heritage by-laws for PuranaQila, Khair-ul-Manazil

The heritage by-laws, drafted in accordance with the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010, for PuranaQila and the Khair-ul-Manazil mosque, will be out in the public domain “within a week”.

 

More about on news:

  • With several government colonies like Bapa Nagar and Kaka Nagar in the vicinity of PuranaQila and Khair-ul-Manazil mosque.
  • In Delhi, draft by-laws for a group of monuments in the historic Nizamuddinbasti were published last month.
  • After these two monuments in Delhi, the NMA will be working towards finalising by-laws for several monuments in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, for which drafts have been received from regional officials.

 

National Monuments Authority (NMA) drafting rules:

  • While only the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) can carry out repairs in the 100 metre-span from a protected area, which is called the prohibited area, the area starting from 100 metres from such a monument till 300 metres away from it is the “regulated area”, as per the Act.
  • For the regulated areas, the NMA is drafting heritage by-laws for each monument or group of monuments that will determine the nature of new construction activity.
  • The proposed by-laws will lay down restrictions on the height of new constructions, among other features.

 

Heritage by-laws:

  • The heritage by-laws are aimed at maintaining the heritage sanctity of heritage sites in India.
  • They primarily regulate new construction and redevelopment activities around the ASI-protected monuments.

 

National Monuments Authority (NMA):

  • NMA under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India has been setup as per provisions of The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains AMASR (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 which was enacted in March, 2010.
  • Several functions have been assigned to the NMA for the protection and preservation of monuments and sites through management of the prohibited and regulated area around the centrally protected monuments.
  • One amongst these responsibilities of NMA is also to consider grant of permissions to applicants for construction related activity in the prohibited and regulated area.
  • The NMA and the Competent Authorities (CA) were setup and now all applications for construction related work in the prohibited and regulated area are to be submitted to the CA and then to NMA for consideration of the application.

 

PuranaQila:

  • Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out excavations at PuranaQila in 1954–55 and again from 1969 to 1973 by B. B. Lal, and its findings and artefacts are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum, PuranaQila
  • The fort was the inner citadel of the city of Din Panah during Humayun’s rule who renovated it in 1533 and completed five years later.
  • The founder of the Suri Dynasty, Sher Shah Suri, defeated Humayun in 1540, naming the fort Shergarh;
  • During the Partition of India, in August 1947 the PuranaQila along with the neighbouringHumayun’s Tomb, became the site for refugee camps for Muslims migrating to newly founded Pakistan.

 

KhairulManazil:

  • KhairulManazil is a historical mosque built in 1561 in New Delhi, India.
  • The mosque is situated in the opposite of PuranaQila on Mathura Road, south east to Sher Shah Gate.
  • The gateway of the mosque was made by red sandstone following Mughal architecture, but the inside structure of the building was made in Delhi Sultanate pattern.
  • This mosque was built by MahamAnga who was Emperor Akbar’s wet nurse cum foster mother.

 

Sample Question:

With respect to Heritage by-laws, consider the following statements

  1. The heritage by-laws are aimed at maintaining the heritage sanctity of heritage sites in India.
  2. They primarily regulate new construction and redevelopment activities around the ASI-protected monuments.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic : Indoor emissions affect air-quality standards

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Why in news?

Indoor emissions affect air-quality standards

A recent study has pointed out that the use of firewood, kerosene and coal in the households contributed to about 40% of the PM 2.5 pollution in the Gangetic basin districts.

 

More about on news:

  • The analysis was carried out by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi in collaboration with University of California in Berkeley, Urban Emissions, Delhi and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • Indoor air pollution accounted for 40% of PM 2.5 pollution in the Gangetic basin.
  • This number varied across the country but household emissions remained one of the major culprits behind air pollution.

 

Key findings:

  • The results showed that by eliminating household emissions the average outdoor air pollution levels could be reduced and brought within the national ambient air quality standards.
  • The paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science also notes that “if all households transitioned to clean fuels, about 13% of premature mortality in India could be averted.”
  • At the national scale, mitigating household emissions is also expected to bring large health benefits.

 

Satellite data:

  • Using satellite data and chemical transport model simulations, the researchers pointed out that complete mitigation would bring down the country’s average annual PM 2.5 air pollution to 38 microgram/cubic metre.
  • Surprisingly, this is below India’s national ambient air quality standard of 40 microgram/cubic metre and slightly above the World Health Organization (interim target 1) standards of 35 microgram/cubic metre.
  • In many villages, they still use firewood for room heating and water heating. People prefer cheap wood fuel despite LPG being provided to many households.
  • In Delhi NCR, stubble burning, industrial and power plant emission, brick kilns and vehicular emissions are the major contributors.
  • Even after mitigating household emissions, Delhi NCR would remain out of attainment.

 

Multipronged approach:

  • India’s pollution problem is much bigger than often perceived.
  • The study has demonstrated that mitigating at a household level is the easiest and more practical way out for the government to reduce not only the household pollution but also outdoor air pollution at the national scale.
  • India definitely need a multi-pronged approach to control emission from other major sectors like industries, transportation, and power plants to effectively address the air pollution issue.

 

WHO Guidelines:

  • WHO sets recommended limits for health-harmful concentrations of key air pollutants both outdoors and inside buildings and homes, based on global synthesis of scientific evidence.
  • WHO guidelines cover annual and daily concentrations of fine particulates, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone.
  • Guidelines also cover indoor mould and dampness (WHO, 2009) and emissions of gases and chemicals from furnishings and building materials that collect indoors (2010).
  • Most recently, WHO Guidelines for indoor air quality – household fuel combustion, set limits on emissions from cooking and heating stoves, as well as recommendations regarding clean fuel use.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the Pollutants are leading to indoor pollution

  1. Carbon monoxide
  2. polluting fuels
  3. Smoke
  4. volatile organic compounds
  5. radon

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1, 2 and 3 only

b). 1, 2 and 5 only

c). 1, 2, 3 and 5 only

d). All of the above

 

Answer: d)

 


 

Topic : Right to travel abroad is a basic human right: SC

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Polity

 

Why in news?

Right to travel abroad is a basic human right SC

The right to travel abroad is a genuine and basic human right like marriage and family, the Supreme Court has observed in a recent order.

 

More about on news:

  • The right to travel abroad is an important basic human right for it nourishes independent and self-determining creative character of the individual, not only by extending his freedoms of action, but also by extending the scope of his experience,” a Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said in its order.
  • The Supreme Court referred to its Maneka Gandhi judgment upholding the right to travel and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of 1958 Kent vs Dulles.
  • The Bench quoted the majority opinion of Justice William O. Douglas in the latter case which said “freedom to go abroad has much social value and represents the basic human right of great significance
  • The court said that this basic human right “also extends to private life; marriage, family and friendship”.
  • These are part of human nature which can be “rarely affected through a refusal of freedom to go abroad”.

 

Kent v. Dulles judgment:

  • Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116 (1958), was a landmark 1958 United States Supreme Court case on the right to travel and passport restrictions as they relate to First Amendment free speech rights.
  • It was the first case in which the U.S. Supreme Court made a distinction between the constitutionally protected substantive due process freedom of movement and the right to travel abroad.
  • In a majority opinion written by Justice William O. Douglas, the Court reviewed the history of the issuance and regulation of US passports, noting that the passport is “a document which, from its nature and object, is addressed to foreign powers; purporting only to be a request that the bearer of it may pass safely and freely, and is to be considered rather in the character of a political document by which the bearer is recognized in foreign countries as an American citizen” citing Urtetiqui v. D’Arbel,
  • It did not decide the extent to which this liberty can be curtailed.
  • The court said that this basic human right also extends to private life; marriage, family and friendship.
  • These are part of human nature which can be rarely affected through a refusal of freedom to go abroad.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements

  1. The right to travel abroad is an important basic human right for it nourishes independent and self-determining creative character of the individual.
  2. This basic human right also extends to private life, marriage, family and friendship.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic : Taxing Renewable Energy Certificates

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Why in news?

Taxing Renewable Energy Certificates

Renewable Energy (RE) companies have moved the Delhi High Court, seeking an exemption for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under the goods and services tax (GST).

 

More about on news:

  • The Delhi High Court, on April 16, 2019, issued notices to the Centre, the GST Council and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs over the petition. It remains to be seen what decision the HC will take in the matter.
  • The tradable RECs are awarded for every 1 mega-watt hour (MWh) of electricity generated. Together with Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO), RECs act as market-pull incentives that create demand for renewable energy installations.
  • RPO, instituted in 2011, is a mandate that requires large power procurers to source a pre-determined fraction of their electricity from renewable sources.
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) introduced incremental annual RPO targets amounting to 21 per cent in 2022.

 

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs):

  • The REC mechanism is a market based instrument to promote renewable sources of energy and development of market in electricity.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as green energy certificates or tradable renewable certificates are proof that energy has been generated from renewable sources such as solar or wind power.
  • It provides an alternative voluntary route to a generator to sell his electricity from renewable sources just like conventional electricity and offer the green attribute (RECs) separately to obligated entities to fulfill their renewable purchase obligation (RPO).
  • Under the RPO, bulk purchasers like discoms, open access consumers and capacitive users are required to buy certain proportion of renewable energy or RECs.
  • They can buy RECs from renewable energy producers to meet the RPO norms.

What is a REC

 

The REC market was introduced to:

  • To facilitate RPO compliance by incentivizing RE procurement.
  • The REC mechanism presents an alternative for state discoms, with insufficient renewable capacity, to meet their RPO obligations.
  • Stand-alone projects built independent of the well-established auction regime have little incentive and a high risk perception, lacking purchase guarantees and payment default protections.
  • The income generated from trading RECs will bolster such independent projects.
  • RE-based power generators can provide power directly to the obligated parties (captive power plants/open access (OA) consumers, discoms) — in which case no RECs are issued, but the procurers can claim RPOs

 

GST on RECs:

  • RECs are being charged GST, while bundled power (RECs plus electricity, irrespective of source) or even just electricity are devoid of the same.
  • Cost of electricity generation from renewable energy sources is classified as cost of electricity generation (equivalent to conventional energy sources) and the cost of environmental attributes.
  • RECs is the environmental attribute of the electricity derived from RE.
  • As per regulations, RPO compliance through REC is at par with sourcing electricity directly from RE.
  • Therefore, GST applicable on the sale of RECs negatively affects its parity with similar electricity sale alternatives, be it conventional or renewable.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to Renewable Energy Certificates

  1. REC Mechanism, a market based instrument, has been introduced in India in November 2015.
  2. The REC mechanism is a market based instrument to promote renewable sources of energy and development of market in electricity.

 

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: b)

 


Topic :  World Immunization Week 2019

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Why in news?

World Immunization Week 2019

The global health campaign World Immunization Week is observed worldwide from 24 April to 30 April to spread awareness about the importance of vaccines and immunization in order to prevent infectious diseases.

 

More about on news:

  • It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
  • Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
  • Here are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today, says the World Health Organization.
  • The theme of this year’s campaign is Protected Together: Vaccines Work
  • The campaign will celebrate Vaccine Heroes from around the world — from parents and community members to health workers and innovators — who help ensure we are all protected, at all ages, through the power of vaccines.
  • Immunization prevents illness, disability and death from diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles and mumps.

 

Objectives:

Objectives listed by the global health body for World Immunization Week 2019 are:

  • The main goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the critical importance of full immunization throughout life
  • Demonstrate the value of vaccines for the health of children, communities and the world.
  • Highlight the need to build on immunization progress while addressing gaps, including through increased investment.
  • Show how routine immunization is the foundation for strong, resilient health systems and universal health coverage.

 

Significance of Vaccines:

  • Vaccines do not only protect you but also the people around you.
  • Each vaccine is made up of different components and can affect you differently.
  • People with a weak immune system cannot be vaccinated or should only be vaccinated under supervision.

 

Important Vaccines for adults

There are certain vaccines for adults that are often overlooked.

  • Flu vaccine: Flu vaccine is important for everyone from 2 years and above. One should get flu shot every year and especially people above the age of 65.
  • Pneumonia: People who have diabetes, cardiac problems, malignancy, suppressed immune system, cancer, asthma, COPD or take steroids should definitely take pneumonia vaccine.
  • Hepatitis B: If not vaccinated for Hepatitis B, the chances for chronic liver disease and liver cancer increase. One must receive all the three shots for Hepatitis B to cure themselves of deadly liver diseases.
  • Hepatitis A: If not vaccinated for Hepatitis A, you are more prone to getting Jaundice. Jaundice is especially common in children. So, make sure your child is vaccinated for Hepatitis A.
  • Typhoid: Vaccine for typhoid works only for three years. So, one must get the typhoid vaccine every three years to keep themselves safe.
  • Chickenpox: If you haven’t got chicken pox as a child, you must get chickenpox vaccine as the disease is worst when it happens during adulthood. You can also get a test done to find out if your body is immune to chicken pox.
  • Cervical cancer: The vaccine for cervical cancer is given in 3 doses. Girls from 9 – 26 years can get this vaccine only if they not sexually active. If you are sexually active, you are already exposed to the disease and thus the vaccine won’t work. Even males can get the vaccine.
  • Meningitis: Vaccine for meningitis is easily available and is optional.

 

Sample Question:

With respect to World Immunization Week 2019, consider the following statements

  1. World Immunization Week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
  2. The theme of this year’s campaign is Health for all.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: a)

 


Info graphic Summary


 

19th to 25th April CA Info graphics