Prelims Specific Question
1) Consider the following statements regarding Monetary policy.
- Responsibility of conducting monetary policy is vested with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through an Act of parliament.
- The inflation target is set by the Reserve Bank in consultation with Government of India, once in every five years.
- RBI primarily factors in retail inflation while making its bi-monthly monetary policy.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1, 2
- 1, 3
- 2, 3
- 1, 2, 3
2) Consider the following statements regarding Treasury bills or T-bills in India.
- Treasury bills are short term debt instruments issued by the RBI.
- Treasury bills are zero coupon securities that pay no interest.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Treasury bills or T-bills, which are money market instruments, are short term debt instruments issued by the Government of India and are presently issued in three tenors, namely, 91-day, 182 day and 364 day. Treasury bills are zero coupon securities and pay no interest. Instead, they are issued at a discount and redeemed at the face value at maturity. For example, a 91 day Treasury bill of ₹100/- (face value) may be issued at say ₹ 98.20, that is, at a discount of say, ₹1.80 and would be redeemed at the face value of ₹100/-.
3) Consider the following statements regarding Government Security (G-Sec).
- A Government Security (G-Sec) is a tradable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments.
- Government Securities are always long-term investment instruments.
- They are risk-free gilt-edged Securities.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1, 2
- 2, 3
- 1 only
- 1, 3
Abu Dhabi gives nod to non-Muslim civil marriage
Non- Muslims will be allowed to marry, divorce and get joint child custody under civil law in Abu Dhabi according to a new decree issued on Sunday by its ruler, state news agency WAM said.
It is the latest step in the United Arab Emirates — where personal status laws on marriage and divorce had been based on Islamic sharia principles, as in other Gulf states — to maintain its competitive edge as a regional commercial hub.
The law covers civil marriage, divorce, alimony, joint child custody and proof of paternity, and inheritance.
The civil law regulating non-Muslim family matters as being the first of its kind in the world “inline with international best practices”. A new court to handle non-Muslim family matters will be setup in Abu Dhabi and will operate in both English and Arabic.
The UAE last year introduced a number of legal changes at the federal level, including decriminalizing premarital sexual relations and alcohol consumption, and cancelling provisions for leniency when dealing with socalled “honour killings”.
Civil disobedience campaign begins in Sudan
Sudanese security forces on Sunday fired tear gas at multiple anti-coup rallies, with protesters in several cities joining a call for two-days of civil disobedience against last month’s military takeover.
Ban on Italian firm linked to Agusta scam lifted
In a major turnaround, the Government has decided to lift its ban on the Italian defence company involved in the Agusta-Westland VVIP helicopter deal. The ban imposed on Italian defence firm Leonardo SpA has been lifted with certain conditions.
About Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
- It is situated in the flood plains of River Brahmaputra in the district of Morigaon in Assam.
- It is nestled in the grasslands of Assam which is the dwelling place of the Greater Indian One-Horned Rhinoceroses.
- It is landlocked by Assamese villages from every side of it with the traditional Assamese culture.
- It harbors the highest density of Rhino in the world and second highest concentration of Rhino in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.
- It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1987 covering an area of 16 square kilometers.
- The natural boundary of the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary is the Garanga Beel on the south and the river Brahmaputra on the North.
Convention of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
- CMS is also known as the Bonn Convention (Bonn situated in Germany). It is the only convention that deals with taking or harvesting of species from the wild.
- Enforcement Year: The Convention came into force on November 1, 1983. The Secretariat that administers the Convention was established in 1984.
How will the fuel duty cut impact various stakeholders? #GS3
Determination of oil prices –
Oil prices are determined by Brent crude oil prices at world level, excise duty imposed by the central government and VAT by State government. Since different state government have different VAT that’s why oil prices varies from state to state.
Excise duty is an indirect tax imposed by central government but excise duty of alcohol and narcotics is imposed by state governments.
Reasons for oil price hike in present scenario –
- Brent crude oil prices is high due to global demand
- Supply cut by OPEC Countries.
- Import dependency – India imports approx 80 % of total requirement.
Impact of high oil prices –
- Inflation will increase due to increase in transportation cost.
- High transportation cost will impact the consumable income (savings) of people.
Petroleum dealers are upset with the cut as they are likely to suffer a substantial loss on account of the sharp reduction in prices that impacted the sizeable fuel stocks they were holding ahead of Diwali.
Less VAT More Sales – One example could be Karnataka, whose decision to reduce VAT could see higher fuel sales, especially diesel, in the months ahead. In Bengaluru, diesel prices declined by ₹19.49 per litre and petrol by ₹13.35 as a result of a reduction in excise duty and the State also reducing VAT.
Does the new oral drug, Molnupiravir, treat COVID-19?
The tablet, Molnupiravir, was approved by the United Kingdom for use as an antiviral to be taken at home for treatment of COVID19.It is the first antiviral medicine that can be taken as a pill rather than being injected or administered intravenously for treatment of theCOVID-19 disease.
What is Molnupiravir?
It was originally developed to treat influenza and works by inhibiting the replication of certain RNA viruses. It was invented at Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE), LLC, a nonprofit company of the Emory University, and is being developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, in the U.S.
“Molnupiravir, like remdesivir, is a nucleoside analogue, which means it mimics some of the building blocks of RNA. But the compounds work in entirely different ways. When SARS-CoV-2 enters a cell, the virus needs to duplicate its RNA genome to form new viruses. Remdesivir is a ‘chain terminator’. It stops the enzyme that builds these RNA ‘chains’ from adding further links. Molnupiravir, on the other hand, gets incorporated into burgeoning RNA strands and, once inside, wreaks havoc.”
Editorials of the Day
Editorial 1 – The long road to timely MGNREGA payments
Context – Delay in MGNREGA workers payments
Reason for the delay in payment –
- Government’s will is not there.
- Budgetary allocation is decreasing – Funds allocation this financial year (FY) is 34% lower than the revised budget allocation of last year. And this year’s funds have been exhausted. The Ministry of Rural Development issued a press release in response to these stating, “Currently Rs.8921 crore funds are available which can meet the wage liability…” This statement is misleading as the Ministry has not accounted for pending arrears of ₹17,543 crore from previous years.
- Red tapism factor.
- Caste-based segregation – There were significant variations in delays by caste. While 46% of payments to SC workers and 37% for ST workers were completed in the mandated seven-day period, it was a dismal 26% for non-SC/ ST workers.
Central government, in a welcome move, has revoked the caste-based segregation of wage payments. However, the Central government has not assumed any accountability by paying compensation for delays despite the evident damage caused by caste-based segregation of payments.
2 Steps of wage payments –
- Stage 1, States must electronically send invoices, also called FTOs, to the Central government within eight days of completion of work at a worksite. These invoices contain essential worker details like their names and bank account numbers.
- The Central government then processes the invoices and transfers wages directly to the workers’ accounts. This is called Stage 2 and is the Central government’s responsibility that must be completed within seven days after Stage 1.
Since Supreme Court orders in 2018, Stage 1 delays have reduced while Stage 2 delays continue. As per the Act, if Stage 1 plus Stage 2 exceeds 15 days, then workers are entitled to a delay compensation for each day’s delay. However, in violation of the Act and the Supreme Court’s orders, no delay compensation for Stage 2 is even being calculated.
2) AUKUS could rock China’s boat in the Indo-Pacific
What is AUKUS –
- A trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS).
- AUKUS is based on a shared commitment of its three members to deepening diplomatic, security and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Reason for formation of AUKUS –
- To Counter China’s assertiveness
- To maintain influence in Indo-Pacific region
- To ensure peace and security in South-China Sea.
- To counter One-belt-One-Road Initiative (OBOR)
AUKUS aims to further joint capabilities and interoperability. The word “further” is key, since defence cooperation already exists. The other areas covered are cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, apart from undersea capabilities. The latter is the most visible part of the agreement, and potentially, a game-changer
All three nations will also play a major role in U.S. led programmes such as Build Back Better World, Blue Dot Network and Clean Network.
The Quad and AUKUS are distinct, yet complementary. Neither diminishes the other. Whereas the Quad initiatives straddle the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, a Pacific-centric orientation for AUKUS has advantages.
3) A new jurisprudence for political prisoners
A judgment of the Supreme Court of India on October 28, 2021 has immense potential to reclaim the idea of personal liberty and human dignity. In Thwaha Fasal vs Union of India, the Court has acted in its introspective jurisdiction and deconstructed the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) with a great sense of legal realism.
- Section 38 deals with “offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation”
- Section 39 deals with “offence relating to support given to a terrorist organisation.”
- Section 120B of the IPC is the penal provision on criminal conspiracy.
The Supreme Court was emphatic and liberal when it said that mere association with a terrorist organisation is not sufficient to attract the offences alleged. Unless and until the association and the support were “with intention of furthering the activities of a terrorist organisation”, offence under Section 38 or Section 39 is not made out.
Presumption of guilt
Instead of presumption of innocence, the UAPA holds presumption of guilt of the accused. Section 43E of the Act expressly says about “presumption as to the offences”. According to Section 43D(5), jail is the rule and bail is often not even an exception.
The Criminal Procedure Code, the UAPA, by virtue of the proviso to Section 43D(2), permits keeping a person in prison for up to 180 days, without even filing a charge sheet. Thus, the statute prevents a comprehensive examination of the facts of the case on the one hand, and prolongs the trial indefinitely by keeping the accused in prison on the other.
In Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, the Court said that by virtue of Section 43D(5) of UAPA, the burden is on the accused to show that the prosecution case is not prima facie true.
In K.A. Najeeb, the larger Bench said that even the stringent provisions under Section 43D(5) do not curtail the power of the constitutional court to grant bail on the ground of violation of fundamental rights.