Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 6th January 2022

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1.  No muscle, money power to be allowed in Manipur Assembly poll, says EC

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims:
Sub Theme: | UPSC

Cause

  • Milan Vaishnavin his book, “When crime Plays” explains that

o   Initially political party use criminals for activities like booth capturing etc

o   The criminals start entering politics  – vertical integration

  • Weakening of institutions – court, police
  • EC lack of adequate power
  • Loopholes in law
  • Increasing election expenditure
  • Role of caste and religion
  • Selling of tickets by parties
  • Vertical integration of mafias

Effect

  • Crony-capitalism; Nexus
  • Law breakers will become law makers – affect the law making process
  • People start believing in strongmen
  • No inner party democracy
  • Weakening of all institutions

Goswami committee on electoral reform highlighted the crippling effect of money and muscle power in election.

Johra committee pointed that criminal gangs carry out the activities of political parties.

Indrajit Gupta committee

224th Law commission

Safeguards

Supreme Court judgement

  • Lily Thomas Vs Union of India case

o   MPs, MLAs, convicted of a crime and awarded minimum of 2 years of imprisonment, loses membership of the house.

o   Section 8(A) of RPA was declared unconstitutional

  • ADR & PUCL Vs UoI case – SC upheld high court judgement mandating EC to obtain and disclose the background information of Candidates.
  • Kuldeep Nayar case – Art 324 of constitution is the reservoir of power for election commission to conduct free and fair election.

Supreme Court directive

  • Political parties must publish online the pending criminal cases of their candidates.
  • A scheme for setting up of criminal court exclusively for criminal cases involving politicians. 

 

2.  Memories of war and peace

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS paper I, II: Post independence and international relations
Sub Theme: Bangladesh liberation | UPSC

Bangladesh Liberation War Background

  • since partition of India the residents of East Pakistan felt their culture and status were being undermined by the forces in West Pakistan.
  • The Language Movement, 1948
  • Disparities in the economic status of both sides
  • The Bengali attempt to increase their status and earn respect for their language was met with severe suppression from the authorities.
  • In 1970 elections, Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League won a clear majority. But, the military in Pakistan was opposed to him becoming the country’s supremo.
  • Yahya Khan’s military government was unwilling to give up power to Mujib.
  • 25th March 1971, the Pakistani army started the infamous ‘Operation Searchlight’
  • West Pakistan authorities would not give legitimate power to Mujib, he declared the country’s independence on 26 March.
  • Guerrilla war started between the Pakistani army and their collaborators who were called Razakars and the Bangladeshi liberation forces ‘Mukti Bahini’.
  • Pakistani forces started attacking civilians in Bangladesh, millions of refugees came to India
  • Many Bengali soldiers from the Pakistan army defected to the Bengali side to fight for independence.
  • Indian forces were helping by giving arms and training to the soldiers of the Mukti Bahini.
  • India entered into combat officially on 3 December 1971 when Pakistan attacked Indian Air Force Bases.
  • 16 December 1971, Pakistan surrendered. India won the war and Bangladesh became a free country.
  • India played a key part in Bangladesh achieving recognition from other countries of the world.
  • PM Indira Gandhi had toured several countries to publicise the atrocities conducted by the Pakistani military in Bangladesh. This ensured that India’s entry into the war did not cause international rebuke and also helped the new nation gain quick international recognition.

To ensure a smooth transition, in 1972 the Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. The treaty ensured that Pakistan recognised the independence of Bangladesh in exchange for the return of the Pakistani PoWs. India treated all the PoWs in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention, rule 1925. It released more than 93,000 Pakistani PoWs in five months.

 

3.  A string of jolts for the Maoists

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS paper III: National security
Sub Theme: Left wing extremism | UPSC

Naxalism

  • Naxalism is a far-left violent movement which aims to overthrow the government of India through people’s war
  • According to MHA figures presently it affects more than 82 districts in 11 states. 30 districts are severely affected

The name and the origin

  • In 1967 peasant revolt against landlords in Naxalbari village in Darjeeling district of West-Bengal. Police opened fire on them

The ideology

  • Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels – All social relations and state structures in an elitist/capitalist society are exploitative in nature. Only a revolutionary change through active means can end this
  • Mao Zedong added that Guerilla warfare, Protracted peoples war can achieve this. Surrounding the cities from the countryside, political transformation through mass involvement
  • End-goal is to establish people’s government

Reality

  • Working against the interest of the people.
  • Want to capture political power
  • If welfare was their real motive than India’s constitutional-legal framework provides enough space to accommodate all democratic demands – Telangana, Tripura are example of it
  • Biggest challenge to internal security of the country – Former PM Manmohan Singh

THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA’S APPROACH

  • The Government’s approach is to deal with Left Wing Extremism in a holistic manner, in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management. In dealing with this decades-old problem, it has been felt appropriate, after various high-level deliberations and interactions with the State Governments concerned, that an integrated approach aimed at the relatively more affected areas would deliver results. With this in view, a detailed analysis of the spread and trends in respect of Left Wing Extremist violence has been made and 90 districts in eleven States have been taken up for special attention with regard to planning, implementation and monitoring various interventions. However, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ being State subjects, action on maintenance of law and order, lies primarily in the domain of the State Governments. The Central Government closely monitors the situation and supplements and coordinates their efforts in several ways. These include providing the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs); sanction of India Reserve (IR) battalions, setting up of Counter Insurgency and Anti Terrorism (CIAT) schools; modernisation and upgradation of the State Police and their Intelligence apparatus; reimbursement of security related expenditure under the Security-related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme; providing helicopters for anti-LWE operations, assistance in training of State Police through the Ministry of Defence, the Central Police Organisations and the Bureau of Police Research and Development; sharing of Intelligence; facilitating inter-State coordination; assistance in community policing and civic action programmes etc. The underlying philosophy is to enhance the capacity of the State Governments to tackle the Maoist menace in a concerted manner.

MONITORING MECHANISMS

  • The Union Home Minister, the Home Secretary & the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary and a Review Group chaired by the Cabinet Secretary review the LWE situation on a regular basis. The Progress of the various schemes is regularly monitored by MHA though meeting and Video Conferencing with the Central Ministries/Departments concerned and State Governments.

Recent Reviews

  • The Union Home Minister has convened meetings of Chief Ministers of LWE affected States on February 09, 2015, May 08, 2017 and August 26, 2019.
  • The Union Home Minister has visited Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in the month of May 2018 and reviewed the LWE situation.
  • The Minister of States (Home) have visited LWE affected States and reviewed the LWE situation
  • Review Group meeting conducted by the Cabinet Secretary on 15/12/2016, 03/08/2017 and on 23/7/2018.
  • Meetings are being conducted regularly by Union Home Secretary with Secretaries of Central Ministries and Chief Secretaries, DsGP of the LWE affected States and DsG of CAPFs.
  • Union Home Secretary also visited the LWE affected States to review the LWE situation.
  • The Union Home Secretary has visited Chhattisgarh in the month of October, 2019 and reviewed the LWE situation.

IMPORTANT INITIATIVES FOR LWE AFFECTED STATES

  • In order to holistically address the LWE problem in an effective manner, Government has formulated National Policy and Action Plan adopting multi-pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities etc.
  • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme:This Scheme has been extended by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a subscheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years till 2020. Under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme, the central Govt. reimburses to the State Governments of 11 LWE affected States Security Related Expenditure of 90 districts relating to training and operational needs of security forces, ex-gratia payment to the family of civilians/security forces killed/injured in LWE violence, compensation to Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrendered in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the concerned State Government, community policing, Security related infrastructure for village defence committees and publicity materials. There is a substantial increase in annual outlay and new items such as compensation for Security force personnel incapacitated during anti LWE operations and compensation for the property damage have been included in this scheme. The SRE Scheme aim at strengthening of the capacity of the LWE affected States to fight the LWE problem. Rs. 367.26 crore have been released in 2019-20.
  • Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 30 most LWE affected districts: :This Scheme has been approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub-scheme of the Umbrella Scheme, ‘Modernization of Police Forces’ for a period of 3 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The main objective of the Scheme is to fill the critical gaps in Public infrastructure and Services, which are of emergent nature. Rs. 2148.24 crore have been released to the Stats during last 3 years.
  • Special Infrastructure Scheme, along with Construction of Fortified Police Stations in the LWE affected States: On regular demand of the LWE affected States,the Central Government has approved this Scheme as a sub-scheme of the Umbrellas Scheme, ‘Modernization of Police Forces’ for a period of 3 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The total outlay of the scheme is Rs. 1006.00 crore i.e. Rs. 604 crore as Central Share (60%) and Rs.402 crore as State share (40%). Rs. 102.675 crore have been released in 2019-20.
  • Scheme of Fortified Police stations: The Ministry had sanctioned construction of 400 Fortified Police Stations in 10 LWE affected States. Of these 399 of PSs have been completed.
  • Assistance to Central Agencies for LWE management Scheme:This Scheme has been approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub scheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20. Under the Scheme, assistance is provided to Central Agencies (CAPFs/IAF etc) for strengthening of infrastructure and hiring charges for Helicopters..
  • Civic Action Programme (CAP): This Scheme has been approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub scheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20. CAP in LWE affected areas is being implemented since 2010-11 to bridge the gaps between Security Forces and local people through personal interaction and bring the human face of SFs before the local population. The Scheme has been very successful in achieving its goal. Under the Scheme, funds are released to the CAPFs, deployed in LWE affected areas, for conducting various civic activities for the welfare of the local people. Rs.20 crore have been released to CAPFs in the financial year 2019-20..
  • Media Plan:This Scheme has been approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub scheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The Maoists have been misguiding and luring the innocent tribals/ local population in LWE affected areas by their So-called poorfriendly revolution through petty incentives or by following their coercive strategy. Their false propaganda is targeted against the security forces and the democratic setup. Therefore, the Government is implementing this Scheme in LWE affected areas.Under the scheme activities like Tribal Youth Exchange programmes organised by NYKS, radio jingles, documentaries, pamphlets etc. are being conducted. Rs.7.46 crore have been released in the financial year 2019-20.
  • Road Requirement Plan-I (RRP-I) for LWE affected areas:This Scheme is being implemented by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for improving road connectivity in 34 LWE affected districts of 8 States i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.This scheme envisaged construction of 5,422 km roads lengths in LWE affected States, of which 4,946 km roads have been completed.
  • Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II):The Government approved this scheme on 28.12.2016 for further improving road connectivity in 44 districts of 9 LWE affected States. This Scheme envisages 5412 km roads and 126 bridges at an estimated cost of Rs. 11,725 Crores. Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal Ministry for this project. The roads included under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies. 2473 km roads have been constructed so far.
  • LWE Mobile Tower Project:To improve mobile connectivity in the LWE areas, the Government on 20.08.2014 approved installation of mobile towers in LWE affected States and 2335 mobile towers have been installed in Phase-I. Phase-II of the project has been approved by the Government of India, under which 4072 mobile towers, involving an expenditure of Rs. 7330 crore, has been approved by the Government of India.
  • Aspirational District:The Ministry of Home Affairs has been tasked with the monitoring of Aspirational districts programme in 35 LWE affected districts.

Conclusion

  • It is the belief of the Government of India that through a holistic approach focussing on development and security-related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully tackled. However, it is clear that the Left Wing Extremists do not want root causes like underdevelopment to be addressed in a meaningful manner since they resort to targeting school buildings, roads, railways, bridges, health infrastructure, communication facilities etc in a major way. They wish to keep the population in their areas of influence marginalized to perpetuate their outdated and failed ideology. Consequently, the process of development has been set back by decades in many parts of the country under Left Wing Extremists influence. This needs to be recognised by the civil society and the media to build pressure on the Left Wing Extremists to eschew violence, join the mainstream and recognise the fact that the socio-economic and political dynamics and aspirations of 21st Century India are far removed from the Maoist world-view. Further, an ideology based on violence and annihilation is doomed to fail in a democracy which offers legitimate forums of grievance redressal.

 

4.  DATA POINT: Trend and Progress of Banking in India

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS paper III: Indian economy
Sub Theme: Banking trend |UPSC

Context:

This article analyses important aspects of the “Trend and Progress of Banking in India” report published by RBI.

Basic Terms to understand:

Non-Performing Asset (NPA): A loan is categorized as NPA if it is due for a period of more than 90 days. Depending upon the due period, the NPAs are categorized as under:

  • Sub-Standard Assets: > 90 days and less than 1 year
  • Doubtful Assets: greater than 1 year
  • Lost Assets: loss has been identified by the bank or RBI, but the amount has not been written off wholly.

Special Mention Accounts (SMA):

Special Mention Account (SMA) Category has been introduced by the RBI to identify the incipient stress in the assets of the banks and NBFCs. These are the accounts that have not-yet turned NPAs (default on the loan for more than 90 days), but rather these accounts can potentially become NPAs in future if no suitable action is action. The SMA has the various sub-categories as shown below:

  • SMA-0: Principal or interest payment overdue between 1-30 days
  • SMA-1: Principal or interest payment overdue between 31-60 days
  • SMA-2: Principal or interest payment overdue between 61-90 days

Note: If the Principal or interest payment is overdue for more than 90 days, then the loan is categorized as NPA.

Provisioning Coverage Ratio (PCR):

Under the RBI’s provisioning norms, the banks are required to set aside certain percentage of their profits to cover risk arising from NPAs. It is referred to as “Provisioning Coverage ratio” (PCR). It is defined in terms of percentage of loan amount and depends upon the asset quality. As the asset quality deteriorates, the PCR increases. The PCR for different categories of assets is as shown below:

  • Standard Assets (No Default): 0.40%
  • Sub-standard Assets (> 90 days and less than 1 year): 15%
  • Doubtful Assets (greater than 1 year): 25%-40%
  • Loss Assets (Identified by Bank or RBI): 100%

Gross and Net NPA: Gross NPA refers to the total NPAs of the banks. The Net NPA is calculated as Gross NPA -Provisioning Amount.

Written off Assets: If the lost assets continue to remain on the balance sheet, the Banks would be required to set aside 100% of its profits to cover the losses. Hence, usually, such lost are written-off from the balance sheets of the Banks.

Highlights of the Article:

Decrease in GNPA and NNPA: The gross non-performing assets (GNPA) stands at 6.9% in Sep 2021. While net NPA (NNPA) stands at 2.3% in Sep 2021.

The decline in the NPAs, particularly when the economy was hit by COVID-19 could be attributed to two factors (a) Banks have written-off NPAs worth Rs 2 lakh crores from their Balance sheets in the financial year 2020-21 (b) Relief in the form of moratorium on loan repayment provided by the RBI.

Increase in SMA-2 Accounts:

 

5.  10.74 lakh birds flock to Chilika Lake

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper-III: Ecology and environment
Sub Theme:    Ramsar site I UPSC

Context: Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lake and wintering ground of birds in the Indian subcontinent, saw a million birds, including the uncommon Mongolian gull, visiting the waterbody this year.

  • As per the Water Bird Status Survey-2022 conducted in the Chilika, 10,74,173 water birds (107 species) and 37,953 individuals (76 wetland
  • dependent species) were counted in the entire lagoon. Last year, the count in the Chilika was over 12 lakhs. Members who were part of the census also
  • reported sighting the Mongolian gull.
  • A total of 3,58,889 birds (97 species) were counted in Nalabana Bird Sanctuary — a decrease by 65,899 from the previous year.
  • Among the three pintail species of ducks, the northern pintail (1,72,285), gadwall (1,53,985), Eurasian wigeon (1,50,843) accounted for over one lakh in this year’s count.

About Chilika Lake:

What: Chilika is a shallow lagoon with estuarine character.

Where: Situated on the east coast of India, and connected to the Bay of Bengal through a narrow sea mouth.

Unique features:

  • It is the largest brackish Water Lagoon with estuarine character that sprawls along the east coast.
  • It is one of the hotspot of biodiversity in the country, and some rare, vulnerable and endangered species listed in the IUCN Red List of threatened Animals inhabit in the lagoon for atleast part of their life cycle.
  • Chilika was designated as the 1st “Ramsar Site” of India.
  • Nalabana Island within the lagoon is notified as a Bird Sanctuary under Wildlife (Protection) Act, the National Wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs Committee of Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, have also identified the lagoon as a priority site for conservation and management.
  • Major attraction at Chilika is Irrawady dolphins which are often spotted off Satpada Island.
  • Kalijai Temple – Located on an island in the Chilika Lake.

About Nalabana bird century:

  • Located on Nalabana Island in the Chilika lagoon area in Odisha.
  • It is the core area of Chilika.
  • The large Nalabana Island (Forest of Reeds) covering about 16 sq km was declared a bird sanctuary in 1987.
  • The island disappears during the monsoon due to inundation, only to emerge again post-monsoon.
  • Nalabana and Mangalajodi (on the banks of Chilika lake) are the two major places in Chilika where the birds congregate.
  • Few important migratory birds seen here are: Bar-headed geese, greater flamingos, herons, black-tailed godwits and rare Great Knot.
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