UPSC CA: 5th November 2020

Kerala withdraw general consent to CBI

Context: 

  • The Left-ruled Kerala State has decided to withdraw the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe cases.

Key Highlights:

  • Kerala became the fifth state after Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to withdraw the general consent.
  • The decision to withdraw general consent was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. Under this act, the consent of a state government becomes mandatory to conduct an investigation in that state. 
  • CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees. It can investigate a case involving state government employees in a given state only after getting the consent from the state government.

Needs the Consent:

  • The CBI usually needs the General consent to seamlessly conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned states. 
  • Almost all the states have given this general consent.

Effect of withdrawal:

  • After the withdrawal, the CBI would not be able to register any fresh case involving a central government official or any private person working in the states. 
  • In order to conduct the investigations, the CBI would have to get the case-specific consent. 
  • It means, the CBI officers would lose all powers of a police officer after they enter the state. They would enjoy their powers only after the state government allowed them.

About CBI:

  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating police agency in India.
  • It functions under the superintendence of the Deptt. of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Government of India – which falls under the prime minister’s office.
  • However for investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, its superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
  • It is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
  • Its conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.

 

SC lays down guidelines for matrimonial cases

Context:

  • The Supreme Court has held that deserted wives and children are entitled to alimony/maintenance from their husbands from the date they apply for it in a court of law.

Key points:

  • The judgement laid down uniform and comprehensive guidelines for family courts, magistrates and lower courts to follow while hearing applications filed by women seeking maintenance from their estranged husbands.
  • The plea of the husband that he does not possess any source of income by the very fact does not spare him of his moral duty to maintain his wife, if he is able-bodied and has educational qualifications.
  • Both the applicant wife and the respondent husband have to disclose their assets and liabilities in a maintenance case.
  • Factors such as “spiralling inflation rates and high costs of living” should be considered while calculating the alimony.
  • Any violation would lead to punishment, such as civil detention and even attachment of the property of the latter.

Need for the guidelines:

  • Women deserted by husbands are often left in difficult situations or are reduced to destitution for lack of means to sustain themselves and their children.
  • One of the judges reasoned that if maintenance was not paid from the date of application, the party seeking maintenance would be deprived of sustenance, owing to the time taken for disposal of the application, which often runs into several years.
  • That the maintenance must be granted from the date when the application was made is based on the rationale that the primary object of maintenance laws is to protect a deserted wife and dependent children from destitution.

 

US exit Paris Agreement

Context:

  • The United States formally exited the Paris Agreement.

Key points:

  • The U.S. is the world’s second-biggest emitter after China of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and its contribution to cutting emissions is seen as important, but it is not alone in the effort.
  • In 2017, the United States announced its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

About Paris Agreement:

  • Paris Agreement is a global pact forged in 2016 to avert the threat of catastrophic climate change.
  • It is a multilateral agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); signed to reduce, mitigate greenhouse-gas-emissions.
  • It aims to keep the increase in average temperatures worldwide well below 2 degrees Celsius, ideally no more than 1.5 °C, compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • The Paris accord requires countries to set their own voluntary targets for reducing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

About United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):

  • The first global conference on climate change was held in 1972 in Stockholm, Sweden. 
  • This conference ushered in numerous global negotiations and international agreements on the environment. 
  • All of these culminated in the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, in 1992.
  • The treaty sets limits on GHG emissions on countries, but these are not binding and there are no enforcement mechanisms either.
  • However, there are provisions for updates or protocols that can be used to set legally binding emission limits on countries.
  • The parties to the convention meet annually in the Conference of the Parties or COP to review the progress under the convention.
  • India ratified the UNFCCC in 1993.
  • The nodal agency for the UNFCCC in India is the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

 

DRDO test fire Pinaka Rocket

Context: 

  • The Defence Research Development Organization test fired the advanced version of Pinaka rocket successfully on November 5, 2020. 

Key details:

  • The enhanced version of the Pinaka has been launched in order to achieve longer range as compared to the earlier version. 
  • The latest version would replace the current version of Pinaka Mk-1 system that has been deployed along the line of control and the line of actual control at India-Pakistan and India-China borders.

Pinaka Rocket:

  • Pinaka is a multi-barrel rocket launcher system called the Shiva’s bow. It can fire 12 rockets in 44 seconds. Single battery of the Pinaka system comprises six launch vehicles. 
  • These rocket systems are accompanied by command posts that are linked with network-based systems and radar. Single battery of Pinaka can neutralize an area of 1 km.

About the Test:

  • In the recent test, a total of six rockets were launched. These rockets  were manufactured by the Economic Explosives Limited, Nagpur. DRDO had transferred the technology to the manufacturer in order to manufacture the rockets. 
  • The test was being tracked by instruments like Electro-Optical Tracking System and radar.
  • The Pinaka Mark-1, that the Indian Army currently use, has a range of 38 km. 
  • The tested version of the rocket, enhanced Pinaka Mark-1, has a firing range of 45 km. However, the Pinaka Mk-II has a range of 60 km and the Guided Pinaka system has a range of 75 km. 
  • Further, the Guided Pinaka also comprises an integrated control, navigation and guidance system. It is guided by the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

 

International Virtual Election Visitors Programme

Context: 

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) is organizing a three-day International Virtual Election Visitors Programme. 

More about news:

  • The virtual programme is meant for Foreign Election Management Bodies and Organizations. The conference started on November 5, 2020.  
  • It is being organised in the context of the ongoing Bihar Legislative Assembly Elections.
  • Earlier, the ECI had organised  the International Election Visitor Programmes during 2014 Lok Sabha elections, elections of a few State Assemblies in February-March 2017 and Lok Sabha Elections of 2019.
  • The keynote address at the inaugural session was delivered by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.

Participants:

  • Delegates from over 40 countries including- Afghanistan, Australia, Malawi, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Moldova, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Zambia are participating in the conference. 
  • Apart from that,  three international organizations namely, International IDEA, International Foundation of Electoral Systems and Association of World Election Bodies have also been invited to participate.

About the Programme:

  • Today an online briefing session was held to provide to the participants an overview of the large canvas of Indian electoral process. 
  • It also briefed about the new initiatives taken by Election Commission on voter facilitation, transparency and accessibility of electoral system.