25th July 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Questions :

Rajaji national park sometimes in news is located in which of the following states?
  1. Madhya Pradesh
  2. Himachal Pradesh
  3. Jammu & Kashmir
  4. Uttarakhand
Which of the following state taxes is/are subsumed under Goods and Service Tax (GST)?
1. State VAT
2. Central Sales Tax
3. Entry Tax
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. .2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
Which of the following statements is/are correct about “Tobin tax”?
1. It is a tax imposes on all foreign exchange transactions.
2. It is not implemented anywhere in the world till now.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Explained in The Hindu

  1. Supreme Court strikes down part of Constitution Amendment on cooperative societies 

Athree-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed part of the 97th Amendment Act and Part IX B of the Constitution which governs the “Cooperative Societies” in the country.

The issue gains significance as the central government during recent expansion of the Council of Ministers created a separate “Ministry of Cooperation” under Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

PART IX B OF CONSTITUTION :-

The amendment introduced Part IX B of the Constitution, defining powers of the state legislature and the Centre to regulate incorporation, elections and governing of these cooperative societies. For multi-state cooperatives and Union Territories, Parliament has the power to issue regulations.

The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the amendment could have been enforced without being ratified by at least half the states.

The argument raised was that the powers defined under Part IX B would “restrict” the power of the states to regulate the cooperative societies, since the states already had power to regulate cooperative societies as they fall under Entry 32 of the State List.

The main reason for the striking down was that the Judges believed that the part of the amendment impacted the division of power between centre and state and thus required ratification.

The three-judge bench held that “quite clearly, therefore, Part IXB, insofar as it applies to co-operative societies which operate within a state, would therefore require ratification” by the states.

Since the states had not ratified the amendment, the Supreme Court struck down the provisions under Articles 243ZJ-243ZS, which prescribed the rules under which the state governments could regulate societies.

ROLE OF NEW MINISTRY?

The bench by a 2:1 majority held that “Part IXB of the Constitution of India is operative only insofar as it concerns multi-state co-operative societies both within the various states and in the Union Territories of India.”

This means that the newly created central government ministry could well have a huge impact in regulating the large multi-state corporations that are cooperative societies.

What now survives in the 97th Amendment?

The Amendment added the words “or cooperative societies” to Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution to expand the fundamental right to form associations or unions to cover cooperative societies too. It also added a ‘Directive Principle’ through Article 43B, which says: “The State shall endeavour to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies.” These clauses remain undisturbed. In line with the Supreme Court’s judgment, Part IXB dealing with cooperative societies will survive, but only with reference to multi-State societies.

Explained 02 : What are the surveillance laws in India?

What happened :– On October 30, many publications reported that phones of several dozen Indian journalists, lawyers and human rights activists had been compromised using an invasive Israeli-developed malware called Pegasus.

Is surveillance of this kind illegal in India? :- Yes. First, it’s important to explain that there are legal routes to surveillance that can be conducted by the government. The laws governing this are the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which deals with interception of calls, and the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, which deals with interception of data.

Under both laws, only the government, under certain circumstances, is permitted to conduct surveillance, and not private actors. Moreover, hacking is expressly prohibited under the IT Act. Section 43 and Section 66 of the IT Act cover the civil and criminal offences of data theft and hacking respectively. Section 66B covers punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication. The punishment includes imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.

How broad are the laws regarding legal surveillance?

The framework for understanding the checks and balances built into these laws dates back to 1996. In 1996, the Supreme Court noted that there was a lack of procedural safeguards in the Indian Telegraph Act. It laid down some guidelines that were later codified into rules in 2007. This included a specific rule that orders on interceptions of communication should only be issued by the Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The rules state that only the competent authority can issue an order for the interception, monitoring or decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource (mobile phones would count). The competent authority is once again the Union Home Secretary or State Secretaries in charge of the Home Departments.

What happened in 2018 :– In December 2018, the Central government created a furore when it authorised 10 Central agencies to conduct surveillance — the Intelligence Bureau, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the National Investigation Agency, the Research & Analysis Wing, the Directorate of Signal Intelligence, the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Delhi Police Commissioner. In the face of criticism that it was building a ‘surveillance state’, the government countered that it was building upon the rules laid down in 2009 and the agencies would still need approval from a competent authority, usually the Union Home Secretary. 

PATRIOT ACT Of the USA :- After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the USA PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act was passed. Under certain provisions in this Act, the U.S. government used phone companies to collect information on millions of citizens and these were part of revelations made by the whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. Many aspects of the PATRIOT Act, particularly those involving surveillance, were to lapse after a certain time period but they were re-authorised by Congress. It’s an issue the U.S. still struggles with and several rights groups argue that the Act violates the Constitution.

News :- Moon-forming region seen around exoplanet for the first time :-

Scientists for the first time have spotted a moon-forming region around a planet beyond our solarsystem – a Jupiter-like world surrounded by a disc of gas and dust massive enough that it could spawn three moons the size of the one orbiting Earth.

The researchers used the ALMA observatory in Chile’s Atacama desert to detect the disc of swirling material accumulating around one of two newborn planets seen orbiting a young star called PDS 70, located a relatively close 370 light years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, about 9.5 trillion km.

It is called a circumplanetary disc, and it is from these that moons are born. The discovery, the researchers said, offers a deeper understanding about the formation of planets and moons.

Known exoplanets:- More than 4,400 planets have been discovered outside our solar system, called exoplanets. No circumplanetary discs had been found until now because all the known exoplanets resided in “mature” – fully developed – solar systems, except the two infant gas planets orbiting PDS 70.

News:- China mulls turning tutoring companies into non-profits :-

China is considering asking companies that offer tutoring on the school curriculum to go non-profit, according to people familiar with the matter, as part of a sweeping set of constraints that could decimate the country’s $100 billion education tech industry. Shares sank.

In rules currently being mulled, the platforms will likely no longer be allowed to raise capital or go public, the people said, asking to not be identified because the information is not public. Listed firms will also probably no longer be allowed to invest in or acquire education firms teaching school subjects while foreign capital will also be barred from the sector.

Beijing is coming down hard on the sector as excessive tutoring anguishes young pupils and burdens parents with expensive tutoring fees. It’s also regarded as an impediment to one of the country’s top priorities, boosting a declining birth rate. 

News:- China braces for Typhoon In-fa :- Typhoon is a regionally specific name for a strong “tropical cyclone”. Tropical cyclones are known as ‘typhoons’ in the northwest pacific ocean, hurricanes in the North Atlantic Ocean, Willy-willies in north-western Australia and Tropical Cyclones in the Indian Ocean Region.

News:- US pledges $100 million in emergency aid for Afghan refugees :- The United States is preparing to begin evacuating thousands of Afghan applicants for special immigration visas (SIVs) who risk retaliation from Taliban insurgents because they worked for the US government.

US president Joe Biden on Friday authorised up to $100 million from an emergency fund to meet “unexpected urgent” refugee needs stemming from the situation in Afghanistan, including for Afghan special immigration visa applicants.

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