UPSC CA: 7th September 2020

Andra Pradesh tops in Ease of Doing Business 2019

Context:

  • States’ ease of doing business rankings is recently being released.

Key Highlights:

  • Andhra Pradesh has topped in the latest ease of doing business rankings.
  • The State rankings are based on the implementation of State Business Reform Action Plan 2019.
  • Andhra Pradesh is followed by U.P. and Telangana at the second and third spots, respectively.

About Ease of Doing Business:

  • Ease of Doing Business (EODB) is a joint initiative by the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade and the World Bank to improve the overall business environment in the States.
  • These rankings represent the ease of doing business in terms of increased transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the government regulatory functions vis-a-vis the business enterprises.

 

International Criminal Court (ICC)

Context: 

  • Sanctions have been announced by the U.S. administration, including asset freezes and visa bans against two officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Key points:

  • The officials were involved in an investigation into alleged war crimes, extra-judicial killings, torture and targeting of civilian populations by U.S. forces and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Afghanistan since 2003.
  • The U.S. has been arguing that since it never ratified the “Rome Statute”, which created the ICC in 1998, it was not subject to its rulings and has also accused the ICC probe of having the dubious objective of maligning the U.S.
  • The Rome Statute has been signed by 139 countries and of these only 123 have ratified it through their Parliaments and internal process. Similarly, Russia too withdrew from the statute after having signed it.  The U.S. though had signed the statute has not ratified it. China and India have not even signed the Rome Statute.
  • The latest sanction follows the earlier sanctions imposed by the U.S. on the ICC.

About ICC:

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal headquartered in The Hague. 
  • ICC Functions:
    • The ICC aims to end impunity and hold those individuals responsible for heinous crimes against humanity to face justice.
    • It also aims to prevent crimes from happening through the proper dispensation of justice.
    • The ICC intends to complement national courts and not replace them.
    • It is governed by an international statute known as the Rome Statute. The Statute entered into force in July 2002.
    • It has two working languages namely English and French. There are 6 official languages namely, English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian.
    • The ICC has heard 28 cases until now.
    • India is not a member of the ICC.
    • Each member party has one vote and voting is resorted to only when decisions cannot be taken by consensus.
  • India and ICC:
    • India did not sign the Rome Statute because of the following reasons:
    • National interests
    • State sovereignty
    • Problem to find impartial prosecutors
    • Difficulty in collection of evidences
    • Crime definition

 

4th edition of Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) ranking of states 

Context: 

  • Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, announced the 4th edition of Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) ranking of states.

Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) ranking of states:

  • Ranking of States based on the implementation of Business Reform Action Plan started in the year 2015. Till date, State Rankings have been released for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017-18.
  • The Business Reform Action Plan 2019 released by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
  • It aims to introduce healthy competition among states and UTs and thereby attract investments and increase the ease of doing business.
  • It contains a list of 80 reforms (187 reform action points) to be implemented by 19 State departments.
  • The states and UTs are ranked on 187 parameters, including:
  • Access to information and transparency enabler, single-window system, land administration and transfer of land and property, land availability and allotment, environment registration enablers, construction permit enablers, labour regulation-enablers, and obtaining utility permits.

Key highlights:

  • Andhra Pradesh retained its top position while Telangana slipped from second to third position.
  • Uttar Pradesh jumped 10 positions (2nd Rank) since the 2017-18 rankings, when it had ranked 12th.
  • Chandigarh is tied with Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim and Tripura at the 29th position.

 

Assam Rifles

Context: 

  • Delhi High Court has granted 12 weeks to the Union government to decide on whether to scrap or retain the dual control structure for Assam Rifles, which comes under both the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.

About Assam Rifles:

  • Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force raised way back in 1835 in British India 
  • Assam Rifles is one of the six central armed police forces (CAPFs) under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • It is tasked with the maintenance of law and order in the North East along with the Indian Army and also guards the Indo-Myanmar border in the region.
  • The force is commanded by Lieutenant General from the Indian Army.
  • It is the only paramilitary force with a dual control structure.
  • While the administrative control of the force is with the Ministry of Home Affairs, its operational control is with the Indian Army, which is under the Ministry of Defence.
  • This means that salaries and infrastructure for the force is provided by the MHA, but the deployment, posting, transfer and deputation of the personnel is decided by the Army.

 

Desert bighorn sheep

Context: 

  • A study suggested that the Desert bighorn sheep found in landscapes in the American Southwest with the least human disturbance, were most likely to survive the effects of climate change.

About Desert bighorn sheep:

  • The desert bighorn sheep is a subspecies of bighorn sheep.
  • They live throughout the American Southwest, including the Grand Canyon, Mojave Desert, and Sonoran Desert. 
  • They are commonly seen on steep terrain and cliffs.
  • Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.

 

Kesavananda Bharati Case: Doctrine of Basic Structure

Context: 

  • Kesavananda Bharati Swamiji was the petitioner in the historic Fundamental Rights case,  the “Kesavananda Bharati versus State of Kerala” case.
  • The ruling is considered among the most consequential decisions by the Supreme Court as it set out the “basic structure” of the Constitution that Parliament cannot amend.

Who was Kesavananda Bharati?

  • Kesavananda Bharati was the head seer of the Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district of Kerala since 1961. 
  • He left his signature in one of the significant rulings of the Supreme Court when he challenged the Kerala land reforms legislation in 1970.
  • He was a patron of education, Kannada culture and arts, including Yakshagana, music and dramas.
  • A 13-judge Bench was set up by the Supreme Court, the biggest so far. The Bench gave 11 separate judgments that agreed and disagreed on many issues but a majority judgment of seven judges was stitched together by then Chief Justice of India S M Sikri on the eve of his retirement. 

About Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala Case:

  • It is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India that outlined the basic structure doctrine of the Constitution. Justice Hans Raj Khanna asserted through the Basic Structure doctrine that the constitution possesses a basic structure of constitutional principles and values. 
  • The Court overturned the Golaknath v. State of Punjab case. This case had held that constitutional amendments through Article 368 were subject to fundamental rights review only if they affect the ‘basic structure of the Constitution’.

About Doctrine of Basic Structure:

  • It was propounded by the Indian Judiciary on 24th April 1973 in Keshavananda Bharati case to put a limitation on the amending powers of the Parliament so that the ‘basic structure of the basic law of the land’ cannot be amended in exercise of its ‘constituent power’ under the Constitution. 
  • Basic structure though is not exactly defined but through its contents which have been provided by the judicature clarifies a scope defining the frame or the structure of the constitution. Some of its constituents are Rule of law, Sovereignty, liberty and republic nature of Indian polity, judicial review, Separation of power, secularism, and Republic nature of India etc.