Current Affairs 28th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam
Context: Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar has referred to the privileges committee for examination a complaint of “breach of privilege” against a member of parliament (MP).
What are Parliamentary Privileges?
- Parliamentary privilege refers to rights and immunities enjoyed by Parliament as an institution and MPs in their individual capacity, without which they cannot discharge their functions as entrusted upon them by the Constitution.
- So far, neither Parliament nor any State legislature has enacted a legislation that defines the powers, privileges and immunities of the Houses, or that of its members and committees.
- These immunities are presently governed by British parliamentary conventions.
- Origination: The Government of India Act, 1935 first brought this provision to India, with references to the powers and privileges enjoyed by the House of Commons in Britain.
- Privileges Under Art. 105: Article 105 of the Constitution deals with “powers, privileges of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees. Article 194 extends analogous protection to a member of the Legislature of every State.
- Freedom of Speech: Freedom of speech in Parliament is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the rules regulating the procedure of the Houses.
- A member is exempt from legal action for anything said or vote given in Parliament or one of its committees.
- Article 121 of the Constitution restricts members from discussing the conduct of the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court.
- Freedom from Arrest: A member has immunity from arrest and “service of legal process” within the precincts of the House without prior permission from the Chairman or Speaker.
- An MP can’t be arrested in a civil case, 40 days before the commencement of the session or a committee meeting, and 40 days after its conclusion.
- However, this privilege is limited to civil cases.
- An MP doesn’t enjoy any immunity against action in a criminal case, during the session or otherwise.
- Parliament, however, reserves the right to receive immediate information of the arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of a member.
- Validity of any proceeding of Parliament can’t be inquired into by a court on the grounds of alleged irregularity of procedure, as per the provisions of Article 122.
- Right to Prohibit the Publication of Proceedings: No person shall be held liable for publishing any reports, discussions etc. of the House under the authority of the member of the house.
- Extension to Non-Members: Provisions that apply to MPs also extend to non-members (such as the Attorney General for India) those who have the right to speak and take part in proceedings or parliament committees, by virtue of the Constitution.
- Freedom of Speech: Freedom of speech in Parliament is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the rules regulating the procedure of the Houses.
What is Breach of Privilege?
- If an individual or authority disregards or undermines a parliamentary privilege of a member or the House, it is called a ‘breach of privilege’. The offence is punishable.
- A member of the House can raise a question involving a breach of privilege with the consent of the Chairman or Speaker.
- Parliament is the sole authority to ascertain if there has been a breach of privilege or contempt of the House, no court is entrusted with this power.
- The authority to decide the punishment lies with the House. A person found guilty of breach of privileges or contempt can be reprimanded, warned or sent to prison.
- The period for which the House can commit an offender to custody or prison for contempt is limited to the duration of the session of the House.
- In case its member is found guilty, the MP can be suspended from the House or face expulsion.
Right to Default Bail
Context: The Supreme Court has said that right to default bail is a fundamental right of an accused if the investigating agency failed to complete the probe and file chargesheet within a stipulated time-period.
Provisions related to default bail:
Section 167 of the CrPC says that an arrested person will be entitled to default bail after 90 days in cases where the investigation is regarding an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years and 60 days, where the investigation relates to any other offence.
The Court’s verdict
- The trial court must not deny bail to an accused if incomplete charge sheet is filed and investigation is not complete within 60 days (or 90 days based on the case). Investigative agencies usually file incomplete chargesheet to deny accused bail.
- The relief of statutory bail under Section 167(2) of the CrPC is a fundamental right directly flowing from Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
- The violation of such a right will get remedy under Article 32.
- The verdict is likely to place certain checks and balances on the investigation agency, preventing the harassment of the accused persons.
- It is likely to put constitutional duty on the investigative agency to expedite the process of investigation within the stipulated time.
What is Bail?
- Bail refers to the provisional release of the accused in a criminal case in which the court is yet to announce the judgment.
- Bail in Indian Constitution: The Supreme Court has previously ruled that right to apply for bail is an “individual right”, mentioned implicitly in the Constitution.
- Types of bail:
- Regular bail: An individual who has been arrested or is in police custody is usually granted a regular bail. An application can be filed for regular bail under section 437 and 439 of CrPC.
- Interim bail: It is a temporary measure that is valid during an ongoing application or when the court is hearing an application for anticipatory or regular bail.
- Anticipatory bail: Anticipatory bail is given to an individual who is in anticipation of getting arrested for a non-bailable offense by the police.
- An application for anticipatory bail can be moved in both the Court of Sessions and the High Courts.
Atal Pension Yojana
Context: The Finance Ministry has said that the Atal Pension Yojana has recorded an enrollment of more than one crore 19 lakh new subscribers in the financial year 2022-23 as compared to 99 lakh in the previous financial year, showing a growth of over 20 per cent.
About Atal Pension Yojana
- Atal Pension Yojana is a guaranteed pension scheme of the Government of India administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
- The scheme allows any citizen of India between the age group of 18-40 years to join through bank or post office branches where the person has a savings bank account.
- Under this scheme, a subscriber will receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 per month from the age of 60 years, depending on his contribution.
- On the death of the subscriber, the pension is guaranteed to the spouse for life.
- In the event of death of both the subscriber and his/her spouse, the full pension amount is paid to the nominee.
- A few encouraging trends have been observed in the demographics of the subscribers, as the proportion of women enrolled in the program has increased from 38% in 2017 to 45% as of the current total enrollment.
- In a similar vein, the percentage of subscribers between the ages of 18 and 25 has increased from 32% in 2017 to 46% of all enrolments.
- According to the ministry, the total assets under management (AUM) in APY as of this date exceed Rs 25,000 crore.
Appointment of the High Court Judges- Article 224
Context: The central Government has notified the elevation of 13 Judicial officers and Advocates for the above four High Courts.
Article 224- Appointment of Additional and Acting Judges
- The President is empowered to appoint a qualified person as additional judges of the High Court if there is a temporary increase in the business of the High Court. Such an appointment is temporary in nature and cannot exceed the time frame of 02 Years.
- President is also authorized to appoint a qualified person as an acting judge of the high court if the judge of the high court other than Chief Justice is unable to perform his duties due to the absence of the such judge and is appointed temporarily as the Chief Justice of the High Court. An acting judge can hold office until the permanent judge resumes his office.
- Note- Both acting and additional judges cannot hold the office beyond the age of 62 years.
- Appointment of Additional and Acting Judges under Article 224 are made as per the Collegium System, decided by a panel of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.’
Article 224A- Appointment of a retired judge at sitting of a high court
- The chief justice of a high court can request a retired judge of any high court to act as the judge of the high court of the state for a temporary period.
- This can be done only with the previous consent of the president along with the consent of the person is also important. The allowances of Such judges are determined by the president
Context: A local Gujjar from Poonch-Rajouri area has been accused of arranging the logistics for ambush on an Army truck in Poonch attack.
- Gujjar is an ethnic nomadic, agricultural and pastoral community, spread mainly in India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan divided internally into various clan groups.
- Some scholars trace their origin as the descendants of Kushan and the Yuchi tribes which are considered to be the tribes of Eastern Tatars (Russia).
- While others think that they are the descendants of Gurjis (Georgians) who inhabit a territory between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, south of the Caucasus Mountains.
- They have their own dialect Gojri which is a branch of Indo-Aryan dialect and have their own particular customs, workmanship and specialty.
- The term Bakarwals derived from the combination of two terms “Bakri” means goat/ sheep and “wal” meaning “one who take care”. The term refers to high altitude goats and sheep herders.
- Bakarwals are primarily pastoral nomads rearing goats and sheep in high altitude of Great Himalayan during summers and spend their winters in plains and foothills of Shivaliks.
Common Trait about Gujjar-Bakarwals Community
- They undertake a biannual migration with their flock between the pastures of Kashmir and Ladakh during summers, and the plains of Jammu in winters.
- The Gujjars and Bakarwals comprise about 13-15 percent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir
- The Gujjar-Bakarwal community is recognized under the Scheduled Tribe category in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Gujjar community enjoys an Other Backward Class (OBC) status in ten states including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.
Context: Union Minister for MSME launched the revamped CGTMSE Scheme.
About CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises)
- CGTMSE, set up by the Government of India and SIDBI provide guarantee to enable MSEs access credit, reduction in guarantee fee for loans up to Rs 1 crore to bring down the cost of credit and doubled the threshold limit for waiver of legal action by lenders while invoking guarantee to Rs 10 lakh per claim.
- The credit guarantee scheme (CGS) assures a lender that if an MSE unit that has availed itself of collateral-free credit facilities (fund-based and/or non-fund based) fails to discharge its liabilities, then the trust would make good the loss to the tune of 75-85 per cent of the credit facility.
- CGTMSE has been provided with an additional corpus support of Rs 9,000 crore in the Union Budget for FY 2023-24 to revamp its Scheme to provide guarantee for additional Rs 2 lakh crore to Micro & Small Enterprises.
- Lending Institutions: It covers the whole gamut of scheduled commercial banks, specified Regional Rural Banks, SIDBI, NSIC, NEDFi, SFB and NBFCs who lend to the specific sector and have entered into an agreement with CGTMSE or the Trust for the purpose. These are designated as Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) and number 131 at present.
- Lending Borrowers: The CGTMSE coverage is conditional to all new and existing SMEs
- Exclusions: Some entities are excluded from the CGTMSE coverage:
- Retail Trade
- Educational Institutions
- Self Help Groups (SHG)
- Training Institutes
Changes in CGTMSE Scheme
- 50% reduction in guarantee fees for loans up to Rs 1 crore, bringing the minimum guarantee fee to the level of 0.37% pa only.
- Raising of ceiling for guarantee from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore and enhancing the threshold limit for claim settlement without initiation of legal action to Rs 10 lakh.
- Impact: It is expected to encourage the public and private sector banks, Member Financial Institutions and foreign banks to step up loans to MSEs.
Global Conference on Financial Resilience
Context: Reserve Bank of India Governor addressed the Global Conference on Financial Resilience.
About Global Conference on Financial Resilience
- Conference Theme: Financial Stability: Framework, Monitoring and Implementation.
- It is being organised by the College of Supervisors in collaboration with the Centre for Central Banking Studies (CCBS), Bank of England, London.
About College of Supervisors (CoS)
- It is an academic advisory council setup by RBI to further strengthen supervision over regulated entities.
- The CoS is headed by former deputy governor N S Viswanathan, and it has five other members.
- Objective: To identify areas where skill building or upskilling is required, plan and develop curricula of all programmes, benchmark the programmes with international standards or best practices, and develop appropriate teaching methods.
About Centre for Central Banking Studies (CCBS)
- Bank of England’s CCBS runs an extensive programme of events for central bankers and financial regulators from around the world.
- CCBS was established in 1990 and is one of the oldest providers of international central banking technical cooperation and assistance.
Context: According to a new study published in Royal Astronomical Society, Quasars are formed when two galaxies collides into each other.
- Quasars, short for “quasi-stellar radio sources”, were first discovered six decades ago. They are very luminous objects in faraway galaxies that emit jets at radio frequencies.
- They are only found in galaxies that have super-massive black holes which power these bright discs.
- Most quasars are larger than our solar system. They are located in super-massive black holes, which sit in the centre of galaxies.
- Formation: Galaxies that host a quasar showed morphological features that are consistent with galaxy mergers.
- When galaxies collide, it pushes the gas from the outer reaches of the galaxies to the centre.
- As the super-massive black hole gorges on the gas, it releases ferocious fountains of energy in the form of radiation, leading to the quasar.
- Radio-loud: They are with powerful jets that are strong sources of radio-wavelength emission.
- These make up about 10% of the overall quasar population.
- Radio-quiet: They are those quasars lacking powerful jets, with relatively weaker radio emission than the radio-loud population.
- The majority of quasars (about 90%) are radio-quiet.
Significance of Quasars
- When a quasar is ignited, it can drive the rest of the gas out of the galaxy.
- Quasars also act as “cosmic lighthouses”, allowing researchers to see the outer reaches of the universe.