Daily Current Affairs
04 December 2020

General Studies-I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

Topic: A&C

1)Annapurna idol

In News

The Varanasi Annapurna idol is being brought back to India after a century from Canada. It was stolen from a Varanasi temple about a century ago.  The goddess is represented as holding a bowl of kheer and a spoon in her hands.

Annapurna

Annapurna, also called ‘Annapoorna’ is known as the goddess of food and nourishment. She is also known as the manifestation of the goddess Parvati, partner to Lord Shiva.

How the stolen ‘Annapurna’ idol was traced in Canada?

  • The 18-century idol built following the Benaras style of art had so long been an exhibit at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, an art museum in Canada that showcases the private collection of the Regina University.
  • Divya Mehra, a Winnipeg based artist was invited to stage an exhibition at the MacKenzie art gallery. While she was researching the collection, she found that the Annapurna Idol was stolen from an inactive temple in the banks of Varanasi in 1913. It was acquired by MacKenzie.

When will the idol reach India?

  • Sources from the Archeological Survey of India, who are the conservator of all repatriated artefacts informed that the idol will return by mid-December.
  • The idol will go back to its original home in Kashi.

Other repatriated objects

  • Union Culture Minister recently handed over the custody of a bronze idol of Lord Rama, Lakshman and Goddess Sita to the Tamil Nadu government after bringing it back firm the UK.
  • In the last six years, the government was able to trace back 40 antiquities from various countries that were stolen in between 1977 and 2014.
  • According to ASI records, 13 of them were brought back to India.

 

Source: Financial Express

 

General Studies-II

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

Topic: Polity

2) Attorney General

In News

Attorney General KK Venugopal has given consent to initiate proceedings against artist Rachita Taneja for her tweets over Supreme Court's ruling in Arnab Goswami's abetment to suicide case last month.

Issue

  • Cartoonist Rachita Taneja (on twitter) had posted a series of illustrations against the apex court that were seen as an "audacious assault and insult to the institution".
  • Taneja's illustration depicted Arnab Goswami with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Supreme Court by his side, with Goswami portrayed as saying "Tu jaanta nahi mera baap kaun hain", as if implicating that the Supreme Court is biased towards the ruling party and that "BJP is somehow interested in protecting Arnab Goswami".

 

Attorney General of India

  • The Attorney General for India is the Indian government's chief legal advisor, and is primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.
  • He is a part of the Union Executive.
  • He is appointed by the President of India under Article 76 (1) of the Constitution and holds office during the pleasure of the President.
  • He must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • He should be an Indian Citizen.
  • He must have either completed 5 years in High Court of any Indian state as a judge or 10 years in High Court as an advocate.
  • He may be an eminent jurist too, in the eye of the President.

Powers and Functions

  • The Attorney General is necessary for giving advice to the Government of India in legal matters referred to him. He also performs other legal duties assigned to him by the President.
  • The Attorney General has the right of audience in all Courts in India as well as the right to participate in the proceedings of the Parliament, though not to vote.
  • The Attorney General appears on behalf of Government of India in all cases (including suits, appeals and other proceedings) in the Supreme Court in which Government of India is concerned.
  • He also represents the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  • The Attorney General can accept briefs but cannot appear against the Government.
  • He cannot defend an accused in the criminal proceedings and accept the directorship of a company without the permission of the Government.
  • The Attorney General is assisted by two Solicitor General and four Additional Solicitor Generals.

What is the case for prior approval in Contempt Cases?

The prior consent in writing of the Attorney General is required for the Supreme Court to initiate criminal contempt action in a case a/c to the Contempt of Court Act, 1971.

Procedure for bringing a criminal contempt of court case?

  • The contempt of courts act, 1971, lays down the law on contempt of court. Section 15 of the legislation describes the procedure on how a case for contempt of court can be initiated.
  • In the case of the supreme court, the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, and in the case of High Courts, the Advocate General, may bring in a motion before the court for initiating a case of criminal contempt.

Why does the Attorney General have to grant consent?

  • The procedure in cases of criminal contempt of court, which means the publication of material that scandalizes or lowers the dignity of the court or prejudices or interferes with the proceedings of the court, the consent of the AG is required under the law. The objective behind requiring the consent of the AG before taking cognizance of a complaint is to save the time of the court.
  • The AG's consent is meant to be a safeguard against frivolous petitions, as it is deemed that the AG, as an officer of the court, will independently ascertain whether the complaint is indeed valid.

 

Source: Indian Express

 

Topic: Data & Indices

3) Annual Ranking of Police Stations

In News

The central government announced India's top 10 best-performing police stations from across the country for the year 2020. Government select police stations to incentivise more effective functioning and bring healthy competition.

Selection Procedure

  • The selection is done in accordance with the directions of Prime Minister, along with the directions of the Directors General of Police during the 2015 Conference in Kutch, Gujarat.
  • The Prime Minister had directed that parameters should be laid down for grading police stations and assessing their performance based on feedback.
  • The ranking process commenced with shortlisting of the best performing Police Stations, in each State on the basis of addressing:
  • Property offence
  • Crime against women
  • Crime against weaker sections
  • Missing persons, unidentified found person and unidentified dead bodies
  • The last parameter has been introduced this year.

Top 10 Police stations

  1. Manipur, Thoubal, NongpokSekmai
  2. Tamil Nadu, Salem City, AWPS-Suramangalam
  3. Arunachal Pradesh, Changlang, Kharsang
  4. Chhattisgarh, Surajpur, Jhilmili (Bhaiya Thana)
  5. Goa, South Goa, Sanguem
  6. Andaman & Nicobar Islands, North & Middle Andaman, Kalighat
  7. Sikkim, East District, Pakyong
  8. Uttar Pradesh, Moradabad, Kanth
  9. Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Khanvel
  10. Telangana, Karimnagar, Jammikunta Town PS

 

Issues with the functioning of Police

 

  • The sanctioned police strength is 181 police per lakh persons. However, this was 137 in 2016. This overburdens the police force.
  • Currently in India there is a requirement of 5.5 lakh police personnel. This means that around 24% of sanctioned police strength is vacant.
  • On the other hand, the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons. This clearly says that an average police man in India has enormous workload that negatively affects his efficiency and performance.
  • According to the CAG reports there are shortages in weaponry with state police forces. The report says that West Bengal and Rajasthan had shortages of 71% and 75% weaponry respectively.
  • Also, the funds allocated to modernization of infrastructure in police stations are not utilised to the fullest.

 

 

Source: India Today

 

General Studies-III

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Topic: Environment

4) Green Charcoal Hackathon

In News

NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam), a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC Ltd (National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) launched the Green Charcoal Hackathon.

Highlights

  • This is a technical challenge that aims to quickly promote the technological development of NVVN and EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Co., Ltd.-a 100% state-owned energy service company).
  • The purpose of this event is to use innovative Indian thinking to bridge the technology gap. Its main goals are:
  • Clean the air by eliminating farm fires and generate renewable energy from agricultural residues.
  • Promote local entrepreneurship.
  • Increase farmers’ income.
  • The ultimate goal is to reduce the country's carbon footprint.
  • At the end of the hackathon, the organizers hope to propose an economically and commercially viable machine that can convert agricultural residues into charcoal without emissions. This is expected to benefit farmers and the environment.

 

Source: Freshers Live

 

Topic: Economy

5) Diem

In News

Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra has been rebranded as “Diem” to gain regulatory approval by emphasising that the project has “organisational independence”.

  • Diem is a Latin term meaning “day”. Diem is a stable coin.

Details

  • The independent organisation, Libra Association, which runs the Libra project will also be renamed as the Diem Association.
  • Libra received criticism because of the possibility of it threatening the traditional government-run financial systems, which may result in upending of financial stability and threatening of privacy.
  • Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Diem is to use Permissioned blockchain. Majority of the other cryptocurrencies use Permissionless blockchain.

Response on Diem

  • The European Union has not yet begun to allow stable coins to operate within its territory. According to the EU, it might be a threat to monetary sovereignty of states.
  • The US wants to stop Facebook from launching the currency as the cryptocurrency market is lacking a clear regulatory framework.

Stable Coin

  • Stable coins are cryptocurrencies. The only difference in stable coins is that these cryptocurrencies are backed by a reserve asset. Their market value is dependent on some external reference.
  • For instance, it may be pegged to the value of gold or to that of US dollars or to the asset held by the launcher.
  • The stable coins receive their prize stability through algorithm mechanism of buying and selling of the reference asset.

 

Source: Venture Beat

 

Tt Natopic: Importanional Day

6) Indian Navy Day

In News

Every year the Indian Navy Day is celebrated on December 4. This year the Indian Navy Day is celebrated on the following theme "Indian Navy Combat Ready, Credible and Cohesive".

History

  • Indian Navy Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the attack on the Karachi harbour during the India-Pakistan war in 1971. On this day, the Indian Navy's attack on Karachi harbour contributed to the ultimate victory of the Indian Armed Forces over Pakistan.
  • Following Pakistani attack on Indian air bases on the evening of December 3, 1971, the 25th Missile Vessel Squadron was ordered to dispatch three missile boats - Nirghat, Veer and Nipat at maximum speed towards Karachi.
  • Just before midnight of December 4, the Navy's missile boats carried out successful attacks resulting in sinking of Pakistani Destroyer Khaiber, Minesweeper Muhafiz and MV Venus Challenger as well as destruction of Kiamari oil fields.
  • Karachi was attacked again on December 7 and 8 from the West. INS Vinash fired four missiles, which damaged MV Gulf Star, MV Harmatton and PN Tanker Dacca.

Operation Trident

  • The Operation Trident was launched in the night of December 4. During the attack Indian Navy ravaged the fuel Storage tankers at Pakistan Naval headquarters located in Karachi.
  • The Indian Navy also sinked 4 of the Pakistani boats and killed 500 Pakistani Naval personal. This included minesweepers and destroy us as well.
  • For the first time India deployed and anti-ship missile during the India Pakistan war of 1971. The operation Trident was followed by operation Python.

Operation Python

  • After the first attack during operation Trident, the Pakistan Navy attempted to outsmart the Indian Navy by mingling with merchant ships. The operation Python was launched to counter this move of the Pakistan Navy.

 

Important Information

Earlier during the British rule, Indian Navy Day was celebrated in the month of October coinciding with the Royal Navy’s Trafalgar Day. The Trafalgar Day falls on October 21.

 

 

Source: ND TV

 

Topic: Government Scheme

7) Swasthya Sathi Health Insurance Scheme

In News

West Bengal Chief Minister extended the Swasthya Sathi health insurance scheme to cover the entire population of the state, starting December 1, 2020.

  • The scheme was launched in 2016 and is quite popular among rural and economically deprived sections of the state’s population.
  • It is a basic health cover for secondary and tertiary care up to Rs five lakh per annum per family.

The highlights of the Swasthya Sathi scheme

  • Every family, every citizen irrespective of age group will be included in this scheme
  • This is a basic health cover for secondary and tertiary care up to Rs 5 lakh per annum per family
  • The scheme is completely funded by the state government
  • To cover the entire population of the state, each and every family will be given one smart card to avail the benefits under this scheme, where they will get cashless treatment
  • All state-run and private hospitals are going to come under the Swasthya Sathi
  • The card will be issued to the female guardians of families
  • The enrollment procedure will start once the state government representatives start visiting every household following the Duarey Duarey Pashchimbongo Sarkar initiative, ie West Bengal Government at every doorstep
  • The annual expense which the state is going to bear for this scheme will be approximately Rs 2,000 crore. Currently, this is Rs 925 crore
  • Those who are not enrolled under any other health scheme will be eligible to come under the Swasthya Sathi scheme

Background

The West Bengal Government has not implemented the Ayushman Bharat Health Scheme launched by the central government. The state of West Bengal is to go for elections in 2021. The State Government has been lately launching several schemes and expanding the existing schemes in the lime light of assembly elections.

 

Source: Down to Earth

 

Topic: Economy

8) HSN code

In News

The government has made it mandatory to mention 8-digit HSN (Harmonised System of Nomenclature) or tariff code for 49 chemical-based products while issuing Goods and Services Tax. Currently, businesses mention up to 4-digit tariff code while issuing invoices.

Details

  • In trade parlance, every product is categorised under an HSN Code. It helps in systematic classification of goods across the globe.
  • This is the first notification of its kind whereby a specific category of suppliers are pushed to use 8 digit HSN Code on every invoice irrespective of the aggregate turnover.

HSN code

  • The Harmonized System is an international nomenclature for the classification of products. It allows participating countries to classify traded goods on a common basis for customs purposes.
  • At the international level, the Harmonized System (HS) for classifying goods is a six-digit code system. The first two digits in the code denote the HS chapter, the next two digits are the HS heading and the last two digits are the HS subheading.
  • The HS is “Harmonised System” was developed by the World Customs Organization. It is a multipurpose International product nomenclature. The code is called the universal economic language for goods. The code comprises of more than 5000 commodity groups.

In India

  • In India the code uses 8 digits. The HSN code consists of 21 sections, 99 chapters, 1,244 headings and 5,224 subheadings.
  • For instance, HSN of onion is 07031010. The ‘07’ denotes the chapter of “Edible Vegetables”, ‘03’ denotes headings in the chapter such as onions, garlic, shallots, leeks. The rest denote the subheading. Here the subheading is fresh or chilled.

Why is the HSN code important?

  • The HSN code is mainly used for taxation purpose. It helps to identify the rate of tax applicable to a product in the country.
  • The codes are used by statistical Agencies, customs authorities and other government regulatory bodies to control the import and export of commodities.
  • The code mainly finds its application in custom tariff, collection of internet access, collection of International Trade statistics, transport tariffs and Statistics, areas of custom control and procedures, monitoring of controlled goods such as narcotics, Chemical Weapons, endangered species, Ozone layer depleting substances and wildlife trade.
  • Around 200 countries use the system for gathering international trade statistics, custom tariffs and to monitor goods and make trade policies.
  • Therefore, the system helps to harmonized trade procedures and ultimately reduces costs in international trade.

 

Source: Business Today