DAILY PRELIMS NEWSLETTER (UPSC) |15 Mar 2021| RaghukulCS

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Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

15 March 2021

Table Of Contents

Polity and Governance …………………………………………. 1
  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act …………………… 1
  • Right to Information Act ………………………………………. 1
History ……………………………………………………………….. 2
  • 91st Anniversary of Salt March ……………………………. 2
Governmental Initiatives: …………………………………….. 3
  • PM KUSUM: ……………………………………………………………. 3
  • National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) ……..3
Places in News …………………………………………………….. 4
  • Maitri Setu ……………………………………………………………… 4

Polity and Governance

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

Why in News?

According to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), number of persons arrested under the UAPA has increased by over 72% as compared to year 2015.

About UAPA, 1967:

  • The law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities’ associations in India.
  • The Act gives absolute power to the central government, i.e., centre can deem an activity as unlawful by way of declaration through an Official Gazette.
  • It has provisions for death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
  • Under provisions of UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.
  • It is applicable to the offenders in the same way, even if crime is committed on a foreign land outside India.
  • Subsequent Amendments’ to UAPA:
  • The 2004 amendment added Terrorist act to the list of offences for purpose of banning organisations engaged in terrorist activities.
  • The 2019 Amendment empowered central govt. to designate even individuals as terrorists on certain grounds provided in the Act.
  • The Act also empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by NIA.
  • The Act also empowers the officers of the NIA, of Inspector rank or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP/ACP or above rank officer in the state.

    Right to Information Act

    Why in News?

    The Rajasthan State Information Commission has imposed fines on the government officials including Secretary level officers for showing negligence in providing information under the RTI Act.

    About RTI Act, 2005

    • The act sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information.
    • This act was enacted to consolidate the fundamental right in the Indian constitution guaranteed under ‘freedom of speech and expression’.
    • RTI is implicit FR in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.

    Key Provisions:

    • Suo motu disclosure of information by each public authority.
    • Some exemptions against furnishing information are also mentioned.
    • The act also provides for disclosure of information exempted under Official Secrets Act, 1923 if larger public interest is served.
    • The Act provides for appointment of Information Commissioners at Central and State level.
    • Public authorities must designate some of its officers as Public Information Officer (PIO). They are responsible to give information to the person seeking information under the RTI Act.
    • Time period of furnishing information:
      • Normally, within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public authority.
      • If information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, it shall be furnished within 48 hours.

    Applicabilty of RTI Act:

    • Private bodies: not within the Act’s ambit directly. However, CIC has held that privatised public utility companies fall within the purview of RTI e.g. Electricity DISCOMS.
    • Political parties:
      • CIC had held that the political parties are public authorities and are answerable to citizens under the RTI Act.
      • However in 2013 the government by an Amendment removed political parties from the scope of the law.
    • Chief Justice of India:
      • Supreme Court upheld that the office of Chief Justice of India is under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act.

    Key Provisions of RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019:

    • The GoIis given the power to set the salaries and service conditions of Information Commissioners at central as well as state levels.
    • Term of the central CIC and ICs: Appointment will be “for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government”.

    History

    91stAnniversary of Salt March

    Why in News?

    PM recently flagged off a foot march to re-enact the historic Gandhiji-led Salt March.

    About Salt March:

    • On March 12, 1930, Gandhi ji embarked on the Salt March from Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad to the village of Dandi in the state’s coastal area.
    • It signified protest against the steep tax the which British levied on salt.
    • The Salt March continued till April 6, 1930.
    • It was a non-violent march, and the beginning of Civil Disobedience Movement.
    • Upon reaching the seashore in Dandi, Gandhiji broke the salt law by producing a handful of salt.

    Significance of Salt to start CDM:

    • Even though salt is indispensable part of every household, people were forbidden from making salt even for own domestic use.
    • The people were compelled to buy it from shops at a high price.
    • Also, the state monopoly over salt was extremely unpopular, thus mobilising on this sentiment will rouse feelings in every Indian’s heart.

    Governmental Initiatives:

    PM KUSUM:

    Why in News?

    ICAR Jodhpur has recently developed an agro-voltaic system to help increase capacity of farmers to produce their own power and thereby income. It will be an important part of PM-KUSUM.

    About PM-KUSUM:

    • PM KUSUM scheme aims to provide additional income to farmers, by aiding their capacity to generate power and sell it to the grid, through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
    • Government’s Budget for 2020-21 expanded the scope for the scheme to include:
      • Assistance to install solar pumps;
      • Assistance to solarise their grid-connected pump sets; and
      • Enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/barren lands and also sell it to the grid.
    • The objectives of the scheme are:
      • Promote decentralised solar power production,
      • Reduce transmission losses,
      • Support the financial health of DISCOMS by reducing the burden of subsidy to this sector,
      • Help States meet their RPOs (renewable purchase obligation) targets;
      • Promote energy efficiency and water conservation;
      • Provide water security to farmers.
      • Fill the void in solar power production in the intermediate range between the small rooftops and large parks.

    National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

    Why in News?

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development in its report recently highlighted the need for Centre to increase the “meagre” pensions provided to poor senior citizens, widows and disabled people under NSAP.

    About NSAP:

    • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
    • It provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows, and persons with disabilities (PwD) in the form of social pensions.
    • Under Ministry of Rural Development.
    • It is a step towards attainment of the DPSP envisioned under Article 41 of the Constitution.
    • Five sub-schemes under NSAP:
      • Currently, schemes under NSAP cover more than three crore people who are BPL, including about 80 lakh widows, 10 lakh disabled and 2.2 crore elderly. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
      • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
      • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)
      • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)
      • Annapurna Scheme

    Related Information:

    • Article 41 directs State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement within the limit of its economic capacity and development.

    Places in News

    Maitri Setu

    Why in News?

    Recently the Indian Prime Minister inaugurated ‘MaitriSetu’ between India and Bangladesh. It was constructed by NHAI.

    About Maitri Setu:

    • The bridge ‘MaitriSetu’ is built over Feni river.
    • Feni originates in Tripura.
    • The river passes through Sabroom on the Indian side and meets Bay of Bengal after flowing into Bangladesh.
    • The bridge joins Sabroom (in Tripura) with Ramgarh (in Bangladesh).
    • With this bridge, Tripura can become the ‘Gateway of North East’ with access to Chittagong Port of Bangladesh, which is only 80 km from Sabroom.

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