Current Affairs 15th May 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam
Positive Indigenisation List
Context: The Defense Ministry has approved the 4th Positive Indigenisation List (PIL) as part of its efforts to minimize imports by Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU).
What is a Positive Indigenisation List (PIL)?
- The positive indigenisation list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy, and Air Force—will only procure the listed items from domestic manufacturers.
- The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
- This concept was rolled out in the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.
- The 4th PIL contains of strategically important line replacement units (LRUs), sub-systems, spares and components, including high-end materials and spares, with an import substitution value of ₹715 crore.
About the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020
- The aim of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), erstwhile Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), is to ensure timely acquisition of military equipment, systems and platforms as required by the Armed Forces in terms of performance, capabilities and quality standards, through optimum utilization of allocated budgetary resources.
- The DAP was first introduced in 2002 to systematically ensure the military gets the required equipment. Over the years, the defence acquisition council (DAC) under which DAP falls has renewed many rules and guidelines.
- DAP 2020 has been established as a potential catalyst for the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, in the sector of defence manufacturing.
- It eases the procurement and acquisition of upgraded technology, products and services for the Tri-Services and other allied defence services.
- Through its many improved features, it hopes to provide a boost to the Make in India efforts in the field– especially to MSME’s.
- It also establishes a greater degree of public accountability, transparency, fair competition and a level playing field in the sector.
About the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC)
- The DAC is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
- It was formed, after the Group of Ministers recommendations on ‘Reforming the National Security System’, in 2001, post Kargil War (1999).
- The Minister of Defence is the Chairman of the Council.
Context: The Palghat Gap has historically been important as a significant gateway into the State of Kerala.
About the Palghat Gap
- The Palghat Gap, also known as the Palakkad Gap, is a low mountain pass in the Western Ghats of India.
- It is located in the southern state of Kerala, near the town of Palakkad (formerly known as Palghat), which gives the gap its name.
- The Bharathappuzha river (also known as the Nila or Ponnani River) flows through the Palghat Gap.
- The Gap is a geological shear zone that runs from east to west. Shear zones are weak regions in the earth’s crust — this is the reason why tremors are sometimes felt in Coimbatore.
- The origin of the Palghat Gap also stems from the drift of continental shelves after Australia and Africa broke off from the Gondwana landmass.
- Significance of the Palghat Gap:
- It acts as a natural corridor between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, providing a passage for transportation and communication.
- It acts as a gateway for the southwest monsoon winds, which bring heavy rainfall to Kerala during the monsoon season. The gap allows the monsoon winds to penetrate into the eastern side of the Western Ghats, influencing the climate and precipitation patterns in the region.
- In contrast to the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats, the vegetation in the Palghat Gap is classified as dry evergreen forest.
- It also marks a divide in the flora and fauna of the region. For example, several species of frogs are found only on one side of the Palghat Gap.
Other Important Gaps in Western Ghats
- Thal Ghat: Located in Maharashtra, the Thal Ghat serves as a crucial pass on the Mumbai-Pune-Nashik route. It connects the Konkan coast with the Deccan Plateau.
- Bhor Ghat: Situated in Maharashtra, the Bhor Ghat is another significant pass on the Mumbai-Pune route. It is an important transportation corridor, including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Mumbai-Pune Railway line.
None Of The Above (NOTA)
Context: According to Election Commission of India, more than 2.6 lakh voters used the ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option during the recently concluded Karnataka election.
- The NOTA option allows a citizen not to vote for any candidates who are contesting the elections. The option has been provided since 2009.
- The NOTA option was used for the first time in the 2013 assembly elections held in four states (Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh), and the Union Territory of Delhi.
- Prior to NOTA, the Section 49 (O) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, allowed a voter to enter his electoral serial number in Form 17A and cast a negative vote.
- In which elections NOTA can be used?
- The Supreme Court in PUCL vs. Union of India Judgement 2013 allowed the use of NOTA in the context of only elections to the Lok Sabha and the respective state assemblies.
- It is not allowed in local elections.
- Similar provisions:
- Countries such as Colombia, Ukraine, Brazil, Bangladesh, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Chile, France, Belgium and Greece allow NOTA votes.
Significance of NOTA:
- NOTA will enable electors to reject candidates without violation of the secrecy of their decision.
- NOTA will also ensure that people exercise their right to vote even though they do not approve the contesting candidates.
- The introduction of NOTA is likely to increase voting participation of those voters who stayed away due to their disapproval of contesting candidates.
- NOTA option on EVMs has no electoral value. The candidate getting the most of the remaining votes after NOTA would be declared winner.
Context: Recently, Supreme Court has held that orders of courts in bail cases should neither be too long and elaborate nor come too late as both violate the constitutional mandate of personal liberty.
- ‘Bail’ connotes the process of procuring the release of an accused charged with certain offences by ensuring his future attendance in the court for trial and compelling him to remain within the jurisdiction of the court.
- Legal position of Bail: The term ‘Bail’ has not been defined under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
- Only the term ‘Bailable Offence’ and ‘Non-Bailable Offence’ has been defined under Section 2(a) of Cr. PC.
- The provisions relating to bail and bail bonds are mentioned under Section 436-450 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
- Types of Bail
- According to Section 2(a) of CrPC bailable offence means an offence that is classified as bailable in the First Schedule of the Code, or which is classified as bailable under any other law.
- An accused can claim bail as a matter of right if he is accused of committing a bailable offence.
- The police officer or any other authority has no right to reject the bail if the accused is ready to furnish bail.
- Under Section 436 of CrPC 1973, a person accused of a bailable offence at any time while under arrest without a warrant and at any stage of the proceedings has the right to be released on bail.
- A non-bailable offence is defined as any offence which is not a bailable offence.
- A person accused of a non-bailable offence cannot claim bail as a right.
- A person accused of non-bailable offences can be granted bail provided the accused does not qualify the following conditions:
- There are reasonable grounds to believe that he has committed an offence punishable with death penalty or life imprisonment.
- That the accused has committed a cognizable offence and he had been previously convicted of an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment of seven years or more or if the accused been convicted on two or more instances of a cognizable and non-bailable offence.
- There are exceptional cases in which law gives special consideration in favour of cases where the accused is a minor, a woman, a sick person etc. [Section 437(1) CrPC].
Categories of Bail
- Regular bail: The court orders the release of a person who is under arrest, from police custody after paying the amount as bail money.
- An accused can apply for regular bail under Section 437 and 439 of CrPC.
- Interim bail: This is a direct order by the court to provide temporary and short term bail to the accused until his regular or anticipatory bail application is pending before the court.
- Anticipatory bail: This is a direct order of Sessions or High Court to provide pre-arrest bail to an accused of a crime.
- When the person has an apprehension of being arrested, the person can apply for anticipatory bail.
Context: Recently, the Karnataka police chief Praveen Sood has been chosen as the next director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
About Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
- Establishment: The CBI was set up in 1963 by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs based on the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1962–1964).
- CBI is not a statutory body. It derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
- It comes under the administrative control of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
- The CBI is the main investigating agency of the Central Government.
- Plays an important role in the prevention of corruption and maintaining integrity in administration.
- It provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.
- It is the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigations on behalf of INTERPOL Member countries.
- Appointment of the Director: Director is responsible for the administration of the organization.
- Till 2014, the CBI Director was appointed on the basis of the DSPE Act, 1946.
- In 2014, the Lokpal Act provided a committee for appointment of CBI Director, headed by Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition/ Leader of the single largest opposition party, Chief Justice of India/ a Supreme Court Judge.
- Tenure of Director: Director of CBI has been provided security of two year tenure, by the CVC Act, 2003.
- Through Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Act, 2021 tenure can be extended up to five years.
Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)
Context: Indian government will soon launch Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) tracking system for lost or stolen mobile phones.
- Currently, Centre for Department of Telematics (CDoT), a technology development body, has been running the pilot of the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) system in some of the telecom circles, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Northeast region.
- Recently, the Karnataka Police used the CEIR system to recover and hand over more than 2,500 lost mobile phones to their owners.
About Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)
- CEIR system will enable people to block and track their lost mobile phones.
- CEIR system is equipped with an in-built mechanism that allows it to detect the use of cloned mobile phones across all telecom networks, thereby aiding the government in preventing revenue loss to the exchequer.
- The system has been designed to discourage mobile phone theft and facilitate the tracing of lost or stolen mobiles to the police, detection of cloned or counterfeit mobiles, and restriction of the use of such cloned mobiles.
- CEIR system will provide telecom operators with access to both the IMEI number of the device and the associated mobile number.
- CEIR system will safeguard the interests of consumers by providing them with information related to fake and cloned mobile phones, thereby preventing them from falling prey to fraudulent activities.
Storm Shadow Missiles
Context: Recently, United Kingdom provided long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine.
About Storm Shadow cruise missiles
- Storm Shadow is a long-ranged, air-launched, conventionally armed, deep-strike missile, which is manufactured by the France-based MBDA Missile Systems.
- With a range of more than 250 km, Storm Shadow weighs 1,300 kg and is 5.10m long.
- It’s capable of being operated day and night in all weathers and designed to destroy high-valued stationary targets such as airbases, radar installations, communications hubs and port facilities.
- It is equipped with the fire and forget technology.
- It offers high precision deep strike capability as it features a sophisticated navigation system that includes inertial navigation (INS), global positioning system (GPS) and terrain reference navigation for better control over the path.
- It features the BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented CHarge) warhead — a high-technology warhead, which first cuts the surface of the target, penetrates into it and then explodes.
Significance of Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles
- It would enable Ukrainian forces to strike targets virtually anywhere across Russia.
- Storm Shadow missiles will give Ukrainian forces the ability to strike Russian military targets located well behind the front lines — especially in Crimea.
- It could be used to destroy the Kerch Bridge that connects Crimea to the Russian mainland.
- It will allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based within Ukrainian sovereign territory.