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Current Affairs 24th June 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 24th June 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Powers of ED under PMLA

Context: In lieu of the arrest of a politician by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Tamil Nadu, a senior counsel has expressed that the ED does not have the authority to seek custody of an accused for interrogation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

About the Enforcement Directorate (ED)

  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a specialized law enforcement agency in India.
  • It functions under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, and is responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting financial crimes in the country.
  • Establishment: It was established in May 1956 with the formation of an ‘Enforcement Unit’ under the aegis of the Department of Economic Affairs and handles Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (FERA 1947).
    • A year later, the Enforcement Unit was renamed Enforcement Directorate.
    • In 1960, the administrative powers were transferred from the Department of Economic Affairs to the Department of Revenue.
  • Responsibility: The Enforcement Directorate has been entrusted with several roles and responsibilities under the following statutes:
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
    • Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
    • Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
    • Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974.
  • Headquarters: The ED is headquartered in New Delhi. It has five Regional Offices in Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, and Delhi.
  • The Directorate recruits’ officers through two mediums, i.e., directly or from other Investigating Agencies like the Customs & Central Excise, Income Tax, Police, etc. on deputation.

Powers of ED under PMLA

  • Power of Investigation: The officers of the ED have the power to investigate cases of money laundering. They can initiate proceedings for the attachment of property and launch prosecution in the designated Special Court for the offence of money laundering.
  • Power to Summon: The ED has the power to summon any person whose attendance is considered necessary for giving evidence or producing records during the course of an investigation or proceeding under the PMLA.
  • Power of Search and Seizure: The authorized officers of the ED have the power to conduct searches, enter and search any building, place, vehicle, vessel, or aircraft where they have reason to suspect that records or proceeds of crime are kept. They can seize any record or property found as a result of such search and make an inventory of the seized items.
  • Power to Attach Property: The ED can provisionally attach properties that are suspected to be proceeds of crime or likely to be concealed, transferred, or dealt with in a manner that may frustrate the proceedings under the PMLA. The attachment order can be issued for a period of up to 180 days.
  • Recovery of Fines and Penalties: If any fine or penalty imposed under the PMLA is not paid within six months, the ED can proceed to recover the amount from the defaulter in the same manner as prescribed for the recovery of arrears under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Current Affairs 23rd June 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam


Denotified Tribes

Context: The Government of Rajasthan has initiated a move to prepare a policy for the denotified tribes ahead of this year’s Assembly election.

Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?

  • Denotified Tribes (DNTs) in India refer to communities or groups that were earlier classified as “criminal tribes” under the colonial-era Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
    • The act stigmatized certain communities as inherently criminal and subjected them to surveillance, restrictions on movement, and other discriminatory practices.
  • After India gained independence in 1947, the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed in 1952, and the communities previously classified as criminal tribes were “denotified.”
  • However, the denotification process did not adequately address the social stigma, economic marginalization, and discrimination faced by these communities.
  • Some examples of denotified tribes include the Kanjarbhat, Pardhi, Nat, Sansi, Bediya, and Sapera communities. These communities include both nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.

Status of de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in India

  • A National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) headed by Balkrishna Sidram Renke was constituted in 2006 by the then government.
  • The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.
  • A new Commission constituted in February 2014 to prepare a state-wise list, which submitted its report on January 8, 2018, identified 1,262 communities as de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic.
  • While a number of these tribes are categorised under SC, ST and OBC, many are not.

Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED)

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) for the welfare of De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic (DNT) Communities.
  • The Scheme will have following four components with an outlay of Rs 200 crore to be spent over a period of 5 years starting Financial Year 2021-22 to 2025-26.
    • Educational empowerment- Free coaching to students from these communities for Civil Services, entry to professional courses like medicine, engineering, MBA, etc.
    • Health Insurance through PMJAY of National Health Authority.
    • Livelihoods to support income generation.
    • Housing (through PMAY/IAY).
  • Implementing agency: The DWBDNCs (Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities) has been tasked with the implementation of this scheme.
    • DWBDNCs was established under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the purpose of implementing welfare programmes.
  • Who are eligible? Those families having income from all sources of Rs.2.50 lakh or less per annum and not availing any such benefits from similar Scheme of Centre Government or the State Government.


Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)

Context:  The Union Ministry of Environment has given Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to construct a pen monument in Bay of Bengal.

More on News

  • The Union Ministry of Environment has given Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to construct Muthamizh Arignar Dr. Kalaignar pen monument in Bay of Bengal, off the Marina beach in Chennai, but with certain conditions.
  • Some of the conditions laid by the Union Ministry include:
    •  No objection certificate from INS Adyar that is situated 800 metres away from the project site before the construction.
    • Monitoring of erosion and accretion studies should be done;
    • Reports on crowd management and emergency evacuation plans must be provided to the regional environment office.
  • Also, the CRZ clearance letter is subject to the final order of the National Green Tribunal, southern zone.

About Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)

  • Coastal Regulation Zone: The coastal areas of seas, bays, creeks, rivers, and backwaters which get influenced by tides up to 500 m from the high tide line (HTL) and the land between the low tide line (LTL) and the high tide line were declared as coastal regulation zone (CRZ) in 1991.
  • Importance of CRZ:
    • Protection of ecologically Sensitive Areas like mangroves, coral reefs which act as a shield against tsunami and cyclone.
    • Improving the lives of coastal communities like fishing communities.
    • Resilient measures for mitigating impacts of Climate Change and high-intensity Cyclones.
    • To balance development with conservation of the coastal environment.
  • CRZ Rules: CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea.
    • While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union Environment Ministry, implementation is supposed to be done by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.
    • The Rules, mandated under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, were first framed in 1991. 
    • In December 2018, Union cabinet approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018.
  • Shailesh Nayak Committee: CRZ 2018 notification is based on recommendation of Shailesh Nayak committee constituted by the MoEFCC in June 2014 for comprehensive evaluation of provisions under CRZ 2011 notification as demanded by various coastal States/UTs along with other stakeholders.
  • Objective of the Rules: As areas immediately next to the sea are extremely delicate, home to many marine and aquatic life forms, both animals and plants, and are also threatened by climate change, they need to be protected against unregulated development.
    • The rules restrict activities like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, or reclamation and bunding, within a certain distance from the coastline.
  • Categorization of CRZ: 
    • A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters is stipulated for all Islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the mainland.
    • Category I: Areas that are ecologically sensitive and important, such as national parks marine parks, sanctuaries, reserve forests, wildlife habitats, mangroves, corals/coral reefs, etc.
    • Category II: Areas that have already been developed up to or close to the shore-line.
    • Category III: Areas that are relatively undisturbed and those that do not belong to either Category-I or II.
      • Sub categories: For the CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have been stipulated:
      • CRZ-IIIA: Densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161/sq. Km.  Such areas shall have an NDZ of 50 meters from the HTL.
      • CRZ-III B: Rural areas with population density of below 2161/sq. Km. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.
    • Category IV: Coastlines of Indian islands that do not fall into categories I, II or III.


Artemis Accord

Context:  India has signed Artemis Accords which brings like-minded countries together on civil space exploration.

About Artemis Accords

  • Definition: The Artemis Accords were established by the US and seven partner countries in October 2020.
  • Aim:  They are a set of 13 principles that seek to promote peaceful and cooperative exploration of space.
    • These principles are grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 .
      • The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies, and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space.
  • Principles: The signatory countries agree to abide by these principles that are mostly a reiteration of established international law on space exploration. It includes:
    •  Commitment not to use space for military purposes,
    •  A promise to cooperate on matters of safety of space assets and astronauts, and
    •  A willingness to share scientific data from space missions.
  • Legal Nature: The Artemis Accords are a nonbinding set of principles.
  • Members: The Accords have been signed by 26 countries till now, including the original eight.
    • These include traditional US allies like Japan, Australia, UK, France and Canada, but also countries with relatively less developed space programmes like Colombia, Rwanda, Nigeria and Mexico.
    • China and Russia are not part of this initiative.
Artemis Accord
Artemis Accord
  • Role of NASA: The Artemis Accords are closely linked to NASA’s Artemis programme that is aimed at returning to the moon, setting up a permanent station there, and then using it for deep space exploration.
    •  NASA is also keen to emphasise that the Artemis programme will take the first woman, and the “first person of color”, to the moon.
  • India and Artemis Accords: 
    • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will partner the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US in sending a joint mission to the International Space Station, a permanent laboratory in space, next year.
      • Though India and the US have agreed on sending Indian astronauts to the International Space Station, it will still take some time.
      • However, the more immediate benefit will be sharing information on human spaceflight.
    • India and US have already been sharing knowledge on lunar missions.  The new accord will ensure resource sharing as well.
    • India is in the midst of training its first batch of astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission and this new cooperation could further help in strengthening the curriculum, facilities, and training designs.
    • Nasa is planning to launch the first crew of four astronauts into lunar orbit with Artemis-II next year and land humans on the lunar surface by 2025.
      • The signing of this agreement will establish India as a major recipient of information from the mission.
    • Space is an important domain of power play, and the Artemis Accords will open up new doors for India, especially at a time when China has been emerging as the next big player in space.

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