The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recently come under intense public scrutiny, according to Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana. Its actions and inactions have called into question its credibility.
The CJI has proposed an umbrella, independent, and autonomous investigative agency in order to reform law enforcement agencies.
The CBI was established in 1963 by a Ministry of Home Affairs resolution.
The CBI is now administered by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions’ Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946 gives the CBI the authority to investigate.
The Santhanam Committee on Corruption Prevention (1962–1964) recommended the establishment of the CBI.
The CBI is the Central Government’s primary investigative agency.
It also assists the Central Vigilance Commission and the Lokpal.
It is also India’s nodal police agency, coordinating investigations on behalf of Interpol member countries.
Political Interference: The Supreme Court of India has referred to the CBI as a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice” as a result of excessive political interference in its operations.
It has frequently been used by the current government to conceal wrongdoing, keep coalition allies in line, and political opponents at bay.
Agencies with Duplicate Functions: A single incident is now investigated by multiple agencies, which frequently results in dilution of evidence, contradiction in depositions, and prolonged incarceration of innocent people.
Acute personnel shortage: One major cause of the shortage is the government’s mismanagement of the CBI’s workforce, which has resulted in a system of inefficient and inexplicably biassed recruitment policies – used to bring in preferred officers, possibly to the detriment of others.
Limited Powers: The powers and jurisdiction of CBI members for investigation are subject to the consent of the State Government, limiting the scope of the CBI’s investigation.
Restricted Access: Obtaining prior approval from the Central Government to conduct an inquiry or investigation on Central Government employees at the level of Joint Secretary and above is a major impediment to combating corruption at higher levels of bureaucracy.
Establishment of an Independent Umbrella Institution: The CJI proposed bringing together various central agencies such as the CBI, Enforcement Directorate, and Serious Fraud Investigation Office under one roof.
This organisation should be led by an independent and impartial authority, who would be chosen by a committee similar to the one that chose the CBI Director.
According to the CJI, another built-in safeguard is to have separate and autonomous wings for prosecution and investigation to ensure complete independence.
A reasonable check and balance would be a provision in the proposed law for the appointing committee to conduct an annual audit of the institution’s performance.
Harmonious Relationship between the States and the Centre: With police and public order falling under the purview of the State, the burden of investigation falls primarily on the State police.
State agencies must be prepared to face growing challenges in the field of investigation.
The proposed Central law for the umbrella investigative body can be replicated by the states in a suitable manner.
Gender Parity: Adequate representation of women in the criminal justice system was required.
Obtaining Social Legitimacy: The need of the hour is to reclaim social legitimacy and public trust, and the first step toward achieving this is to break the nexus with the political executive.
Reforms to the Criminal Justice System: There is a need to implement long-overdue police reforms and dealing with criminals.
Many states are calling for the Old Pension Scheme to be reinstated and the National Pension System to be repealed (NPS).
Rajasthan has stated that the old pension scheme will be reinstated in the state beginning with the next fiscal year, and Chhattisgarh is expected to follow suit.Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam have also formed committees to look into the old pension scheme.
About: In January 2004, the Central Government implemented the National Pension System (NPS) (except for armed forces).
In 2018-19, the Union Cabinet approved changes to the scheme to benefit central government employees covered by NPS in order to streamline and make it more appealing.
The NPS was established as a means for the government to eliminate pension liabilities.
According to a news report based on research from the early 2000s, India’s pension debt had reached unsustainable proportions.
The Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 were amended as a result of the introduction of NPS.
The NPS allows subscribers (government employees) to choose where their money is invested by making regular contributions to a pension account throughout their careers.
After retirement, they can take a portion of their pension as a lump sum and use the remainder to purchase an annuity for a regular income.
PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) is in charge of implementing and regulating NPS in the country.
The PFRDA-established National Pension System Trust (NPST) is the registered owner of all NPS assets.
The NPS’s All Citizens Model allows all citizens of India (including NRIs) between the ages of 18 and 70 to join the NPS.
It is a participatory scheme in which employees contribute to their pension corpus from their salaries, with the government matching their contributions. Pension Fund Managers then invest the funds in earmarked investment schemes.
The Finance Ministry announced in 2019 that Central Government employees will be able to choose their Pension Funds (PFs) and Investment Pattern.
At retirement, they can withdraw 60% of the corpus tax-free, while the remaining 40% is invested in annuities, which is taxed.
The scheme is open to private individuals as well.
About: The scheme ensures a lifetime income after retirement.
Typically, the assured amount is equal to 50% of the most recently drawn salary.
The cost of the pension is borne by the government. The scheme was phased out in 2004.
According to economists, the problem is straightforward: longer lifespans imply higher pension payouts.
Employees retiring at 60, for example, with an average lifespan of nearly 80 years or more, must be paid for over two decades after superannuation.
Furthermore, in the event of the pensioner’s death, their spouses are entitled to a portion of the pension under the OPS. As a result, the Union and state governments face a massive pension burden.
Employees under the previous scheme received a pension based on a predetermined formula equal to half of their last drawn salary. They also benefit from the twice-yearly revision of Dearness Relief (DR). The payout is fixed, and no deductions were made from the salary. Furthermore, the OPS included a provision for the General Provident Fund (GPF).
The NPS, on the other hand, requires employees to deposit 10% of their basic pay as well as the dearness allowance. There is no GPF benefit, and the pension amount is not fixed. The scheme’s main flaw is that it is market-linked and return-based. Simply put, the payout is uncertain.
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority is an acronym for the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
It is the statutory Authority established by a Parliamentary Act to regulate, promote, and ensure the orderly growth of the National Pension System (NPS).
It reports to the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Financial Services.
Functions: It appoints various intermediary agencies such as Pension Fund Managers, Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA), and so on.
It develops, promotes, and regulates the NPS pension industry, as well as administering the APY (Atal Pension Yojana).
The Punjab chief minister recently introduced a resolution in the Assembly calling for the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.
The long-running conflict between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh erupted after the Centre issued Central Service Rules for employees in the Union Territory rather than Punjab Service Rules.
The Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, reorganised the state of Punjab into the state of Haryana, the Union Territory of Chandigarh (also the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana), and some parts of Punjab were given to the then Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh.
Following India’s partition, the Indian government desired a modern city to replace Lahore as Punjab’s capital, and the concept of Chandigarh was born.
The state was divided into Punjab and Haryana in 1966, with some areas falling under Himachal Pradesh.
Until the birth of Haryana, Chandigarh was the capital of Punjab.
The Centre Government announced during the reorganisation of Punjab that Haryana would have its own capital.
The Centre declared in 1970 that “the capital project area of Chandigarh should, as a whole, go to Punjab.”
After expressing dissatisfaction with the Punjab Reorganisation Act, the Akali Dal (political party) launched protests in August 1982 with the goal of achieving the goals of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973.
The Anandpur Sahib Resolution, passed by the Akali Dal in 1973, demanded that the Centre’s jurisdiction be limited to defence, foreign affairs, communications, and currency, and that all residuary powers be devolved to the states.
Among other things, it demanded that Chandigarh be given to Punjab.
In 1985, then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Akali leader Harchand Singh Longowal signed the Rajiv-Longowal Accord.
Among other things, the Centre agreed to give Chandigarh to Punjab, and the date for the actual transfer was set for January 26th, 1986.
Longowal, however, was assassinated by militants less than a month after the agreement was signed.
Union Territories (UT) are directly governed by the Union.
Part VIII of the Constitution addresses the administration of Union Territories.
Each UT is assigned an administrator or Lieutenant Governor by the President of India. In practise, this means that the Union Territories are subject to the will of the central government.
Union Territories were not included in the original version of the Constitution, but were added by the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act of 1956.
UTs are governed differently depending on whether they have a legislative assembly or not.
The smaller ones are directly governed by the centre; for example, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, and Dadar and Nagar Haveli are UTs that do not have elected assemblies.
Puducherry and J&K, on the other hand, are UTs with a legislative assembly and government, as well as an LG. New Delhi is a completely different story, with a status somewhere between that of a UT and that of a state.
The constitutional power to create new states and union territories in India is solely reserved to the Parliament of India, according to Article 3 of the Indian Constitution.
Parliament can do so by establishing new states/union territories, separating territory from an existing state, or combining two or more states/union territories or parts of them.
The influenza A virus was isolated for the first time in 1931, and efforts to develop a vaccine against it began shortly after.
At random intervals, these viruses cause seasonal epidemics as well as pandemics.
Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing influenza infection from spreading.
Seasonal influenza strains, on the other hand, mutate quickly, and new strains of the virus proliferate. This makes developing a vaccine that consistently generates a sufficient level of immunity extremely difficult.
The M2e peptide of influenza A virus, on the other hand, is a conserved region section, which means it does not undergo many mutations across the various influenza A strains.
To create a universal flu vaccine, the M2e peptide can be targeted and the immune system primed to produce antibodies.
However, it has a limited ability to elicit a strong and long-lasting immune response, which has been a major impediment to its clinical development.
Vaccine Platform – Recently, researchers reported the development of a novel vaccine platform for delivering M2e to immune cells.
Using this platform, a single shot vaccine containing M2e was able to elicit long-lasting immune responses capable of effectively protecting against multiple strains of the flu.
This vaccine approach has the potential to reduce the amount of M2e vaccine antigen and the need for strong adjuvants, thereby lowering the risk of side effects, particularly in more vulnerable populations.
An antigen is a substance that causes the body’s immune system to attack it.An adjuvant is a substance that boosts the immune system’s response to an antigen.
From April 1, 2022, the Punjab government has decided to provide digital J-Forms to farmers across the state. This change will benefit farmers who plan to sell their crop (wheat) at MSP in mandis.
The ‘J form’ is a mandis sales receipt for a farmer’s agricultural produce (grain market).
Previously, these forms were manually issued by arthiyas (commission agents) because the majority of farmers in Punjab only sell their crops through such agents.
This form also serves as proof of income for a farmer who sells his crop.
Prior to the digitisation of the J form, several arhtiyas had the practise of keeping these forms for themselves rather than providing them to the farmers, as was their right.
As a result, many farmers found themselves with no record of their earnings after selling their crops.
Farmers, on the other hand, will now have a clear record of the crop sold and the income received in lieu of that by having the J form digitised.
After the arthiyas and buyers confirm a sale on the system, the Punjab Mandi Board will send these forms directly to the farmer’s WhatsApp number.
In accordance with Rule 9A of the Information Technology (Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries Providing Digital Locker Facilities) Rules, JForms in DigiLocker are legally equivalent to original physical documents.
Benefits – Farmers can use the ‘J form’ to obtain financing from financial institutions, IT waivers, subsidy claims, and farmer’s insurance.
It may also assist farmers in obtaining admission for their children to educational institutions abroad.
Aside from that, this action will put an end to grain theft by some arhtiyas.
The government will benefit as well because some landowners (who are not involved in farming) report their income under farming in order to avoid paying income taxes.