Daily Current Affairs – 28-07-2023

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    Acequias: A network of water channels

    Syllabus: GS1/ Geography

    News

    • Spain turns to a medieval solution based on ancient wisdom for facing drought in future.

    Acequias

    • These are the network of water channels created by the Moors, who conquered and settled in the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages, are being excavated and brought back to life to adapt to the crises of climate change.
    • These are mutually managed irrigation channels that have been in continuous operation in the arid region.
    • These water systems trace its roots to the Spanish conquistadors, who brought their traditions to the territory in the 1600s, and who themselves borrowed it from the Muslims who invaded Spain in the 8th century.
      • The word acequia is an adaptation of the Arabic as-saqiya, meaning water carrier or water conduit.

    Benefits

    • Without acequias, snowmelt from mountain peaks would flow directly into rivers and lakes that dry up during the summer. With them, the melted water is diverted to multiple acequias and the water soaks into the ground in a ‘sponge effect’, and then circulates slowly through aquifers and downslope in springs that irrigate crops during the dry season.
    • The extreme heat and extended droughts across southern Europe put half of the territory on orange and red weather alert and have presented the threat to three-quarters of the country.
    • Spanish farmers faced that reality, and volunteers and researchers have reached deep into history for solutions, turning to a sprawling network of irrigation canals.
    • Many acequias fell into disuse around the 1960s, when Spain turned to an agricultural model that favored reservoirs and pushed many Spaniards to leave rural areas for cities.
    • Seepage—which can range between one-third and one-half of the flow—replenishes groundwater while also fostering rich wetlands around each ditch.

    Way ahead

    • Acequias have survived disruptions of language and culture many times over hundreds of years.
    • It’s a model of how to govern the commons. The day-to-day-water ethic and the day-to-day moral economy is important for managing water for the future.

    Source: NYT

    Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

    Syllabus: GS1/Vulnerable Sections

    News

    • There is an uproar over dropping disability-related questions in the sixth round of the National Family Health Survey. 

    More on the News: 

    • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment has called upon the Union government for failing to accurately estimate the population of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

    About Persons with Disabilities(PWDs):

    • As per United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities PWDs include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
    • As per National Family Health Survey, India’s population of people with a disability has reduced to 1% between 2019 and 2021, from the 2.2% (26.8 million) estimated by the Indian census in 2011.
    • As per 2011 population census, 20% of persons with disabilities in India have a disability in movement, 19% have a disability in seeing, 19% have a disability in hearing and 8% have multiple disabilities.

    Issues and Challenges faced by PWDs

    1. Social Stigma: The word disability is being seen as a social stigma, according to which parents feel ashamed of their children, and in fear most of them feel uncomfortable in public upfront.
    2. Institutional Failures: Indian education system and Government institutions both are failing in making arrangements for the welfare for disabled persons to an extent. There should be proper seats for disabled persons at classrooms as well as at the exam centres.
    3. Illiteracy is particularly prevalent among disabled people and constitutes a double disadvantage. In addition to being disabled, they are isolated by illiteracy.
    4. Unemployment: Disabled persons are the ones who are scapegoats in getting fired at tenure of recessions. They are first to be discharged from their services when cost cutting methods are adopted by the companies.
    5. Stress: The physically handicapped person is subjected to a lot of stress because of lack of social relations. In addition to increased physical and emotional stress, the crippled individual is condemned to a similar outcome in his social life. 

    What needs to be done?

    • There should be reforms in Education system to build a better society through which disabled persons can face the challenges of life with courage and conscience. 
    • Job-oriented training is the need of the time. There should be well trained professionals for training who can ignite the minds and train them to cater the needs of the service industry.
    • Vocal and linguistic teachers should be recruited for the overall well being of the people. 
    • Camps should be arranged to distribute free bicycles to poor persons and to provide adequate facilities to them.

    Government Schemes and Initiatives

    1. Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities: Understanding the special needs of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), the government carved out a special department under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    2. ‘Divyang’: With a view to change the societal attitude towards PwDs and to encourage them to participate in the society without any feeling of inferiority, the Prime Minister coined the term ‘divyang’ to denote PwDs. 
    3. Accessible India Campaign: The campaign was launched in 2015 to create a barrier-free environment for divyangjan. The project envisages creation of ramps, help desks and accessible toilets in public places.
    4. Sugamya Bharat: To understand the problems of divyangjan, the Government has launched the Sugamya Bharat app. The app lets people provide feedback on accessibility issues for PwDs.
    5. Unique Disability Identity Project (UDID): The Project is aimed at easing disability certification, while weeding out fraud in the process. 
    6. Divya Kala Shakti: It is a scheme of the Government of India to encourage divyangjan to participate in cultural activities.
    7. Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP) Scheme: Under this programme, the Government provides aids and assistive devices to PwDs.

    Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016

    • The Act replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. 
    • It fulfills the obligations to the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory. 
    • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
    • The types of disabilities covered are 21 and the Central Government has the power to add more types of disabilities.
    • The Act provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and also violation of the provisions of the new law.
    • Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning the violation of the rights of PwDs.

    Conclusion

    • PWDs constitute one of the most vulnerable sections of the country. They also can be a source of untapped potential, which, if harnessed well, may increase the economic growth and development in the country. 
    • The need of the hour is proper sensitization of the community towards the issues faced by PwDs, as well as to remove the social stigma attached to their integration into the society.

    Source: TH

    Will generic supply of bedaquiline be accessible?

     

    Syllabus: GS2/Issues related to health

    News

    • Patent of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on bedaquiline expired on July 18 and filed secondary patents over it till 2027, which were granted in 66 low-and middle-income countries.

    About

    • This long-awaited expiry will allow generic manufacturers to supply the drug, but J&J appears intent on maintaining its monopoly over the bedaquiline market.
    • In India, a ‘pre-grant opposition’ was filed by a patient group, faced a legal challenge.
      • In a landmark decision before World TB Day, the Indian Patent Office rejected the U.S. corporation J&J’s secondary patent.

    Tuberculosis

    • It is a bacterial infection that often attacks the lungs, and spreads from person to person through the air, such as when someone with TB coughs or sneezes.
    • It has been documented in humans for thousands of years—albeit under different names including Phthisis and the White Plague — and is one of the leading killers of humanity.
    • It is curable and preventable.
    • Only one vaccine is used to protect against TB — the Bacille Calmette-Guérin, or BCG, vaccine — and it has been in use for more than 100 years.

    What is the threat?

    • Tuberculosis was the world’s deadliest infectious disease, as declared by the WHO, before COVID-19 swept the world.
    • Globally, DR-TB is a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance and continues to be a public health threat.
    • Each year, nearly half a million people develop drug-resistant TB and nearly 10.4 million people develop drug-sensitive TB.
      • One-third of the world’s population has latent TB, a version of the disease that can turn active as immunity falls.
      • Nearly 2.8 million patients, the most in the world, live in India making it a national public health emergency.

    What is bedaquiline and why is it the need of the hour?

    • Bedaquiline became the first new TB therapy to become available after a period of 40 years, after receiving an approval from US Food and Drug Administration in 2012
    • It is considered to be one of the most effective treatments available for drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), with minimal side-effects and shorter-courses of treatment as compared to the existing drugs such as Kanamycin that can lead to kidney damage and permanent hearing loss.
    • This is the reason the World Health Organisation updated its treatment protocol for rifampicin-resistant or Multi-Drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) to include bedaquiline as the core drug.
    • However, the higher costs and limited availability of the medicine was a challenge for use of the drug for the treatment of a larger number of people.

    Who made bedaquiline?

    • Janssen Pharmaceutical (a subsidiary of J&J) made bedaquiline around 2002 after the phase I and II clinical trials — where the safety and efficacy of the drug was established.
    • WHO recommended bedaquiline as a core drug for the treatment of DR-TB which is largely based on the evidence produced through collective efforts of research institutes, treatment providers, including National TB Programmes and medical humanitarian organisations.

    What will be the global impact of the decision?

    • Indian manufacturers will now be able to supply affordable, quality assured generic versions of bedaquiline in India and other high-burden countries in the world as the primary patent expired on July 18.
      • Nearly 80% of the global TB medicines are manufactured in India that can help other countries who are working towards elimination.
    • It will allow the Stop TB Partnership coalition to procure and supply generic bedaquiline to 44 low – and middle – income countries through its Global Drug Facility (GDF).

    How many TB cases are detected each year in India?

    • India continues to be the largest contributor to global TB cases.
      • A survey conducted across 20 states pegged the incidence at a higher 312 cases per lakh population.
    • The incidence of drug-resistant TB went down by 20% during the period from 1.49 lakh cases in 2015 to 1.19 lakh cases in 2021.
    • According to the Global TB Report 2022:
      • India accounts for 28% of all TB cases in the world.
      • According to data from the government’s Ni-kshay portal, there were 21.3 lakh cases detected in 2021 as compared to 18.05 lakh cases in 2020. The numbers are still lower than the 24.04 lakh cases reported before the pandemic in 2019.
    • India has taken up the challenge of eliminating TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global target.

    Government steps to eliminate the TB by 2025

    • These include looking for cases actively among vulnerable and co-morbid populations, screening for it at the health and wellness centres, and calling on the private sector to notify all TB cases.
    • An online Ni-kshay portal has been set up to track the notified TB cases.
    • The Covid-19 has led to more accurate molecular diagnostic tests like CB-NAAT and TureNat.
    • The government has also implemented a universal drug susceptibility test, in which antibiotic susceptibility of the mycobacterium is determined for all newly diagnosed cases.

    Will the drug be available in India?

    • Other MDR-TB drugs like linezolid have decreased in prices by over 90% with generic competition once Pfizer’s patent expired in 2015.
    • Therefore, National TB Programmes are waiting for the generic supply of bedaquiline from Indian manufacturers to reduce prices, and achieve its national target to eliminate it within time frame.

    Source: TH

    Breach of Parliamentary Privilege

    Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Polity

    Context

    • The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said he was insulted when the microphone was turned off while he was speaking. He called it a breach of his Parliamentary privilege.

    What is Parliamentary Privilege?

    • Parliament, as an institution, and its members, in an individual capacity, enjoy certain rights and immunities which enable them to perform their parliamentary duties “efficiently and effectively” without any hindrance.

    Constitutional Provisions

    • Articles 105 and 194 of the Constitution deal with these powers, privileges and immunities.
    • Article 105 mainly deals with the powers and privileges of both Houses of Parliament and its members and committees. This article provides for the following:

    Freedom of speech as privilege:

    • If any statement is made on the floor of the House by a member or minister which another member believes to be untrue, incomplete or incorrect, it does not constitute a breach of privilege.
      • However, Rule 353 of the Lok Sabha says that an MP is required to give advance notice of an allegation for the respective minister to conduct an inquiry.
    • A member is exempt from legal action for anything said or voted in Parliament or one of its committees. The member is also not liable for any publication of a report, paper, vote or proceedings.
    • Article 194 outlines corresponding powers, privileges and immunities of State legislatures and their members and committees.
    • Validity of any proceeding of Parliament can’t be inquired into by a court on the grounds of alleged irregularity of procedure, as per the provisions of Article 122.
      • Article 121 of the Constitution restricts members from discussing the conduct of the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court.
    • An MP can’t be arrested in a civil case, 40 days before the commencement of the session or a committee meeting, and 40 days after its conclusion, under Section 135A of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
      • An MP doesn’t enjoy any immunity against action in a criminal case, during the session or otherwise. Parliament, however, reserves the right to receive immediate information of the arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of a member.
    • A member has immunity from arrest and “service of legal process” within the precincts of the House without prior permission from the Chairman or Speaker.

    Statutory Provisions

    • Neither Parliament nor any State legislature has enacted a legislation that defines the powers, privileges and immunities of the Houses, or that of its members and committees. These immunities are presently governed by precedents — by British Parliamentary conventions.
    • Amid calls for the codification of privileges to remove ambiguity, the Committee of Privileges of the Lok Sabha considered the matter in 2008. But in its report, presented to the House, the panel recommended against the codification of parliamentary privileges, saying the majority “who expressed their opinion in the matter” did not favour it.

    What amounts to breach of privilege?

    • It includes, if an individual or authority disregards or undermines a parliamentary privilege of a member or the House.
      • As per the Rajya Sabha booklet on privileges, “besides, actions in the nature of offences against the authority or dignity of the House, such as disobedience to its legitimate orders or libels upon itself, its members, committees or officers also constitute a breach of privilege”.
    • Breach of privilege is different from Contempt of the House, which is defined as “any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or which has a tendency directly or indirectly, to produce such results”.

    What is the process to raise a question of privilege?

    • Parliament is the sole authority to ascertain if there has been a breach of privilege or contempt of the House— no court is entrusted with this power.
    • A member of the House can raise a question involving a breach of privilege with the consent of the presiding officer.
      • If the presiding officer gives consent and comes to a decision or refers it to the Committee of Privilegesa 10 member panel in the Rajya Sabha and a 15-member panel in the Lok Sabha.
      • The Presiding officer is also empowered to refer, suo-motu, any question of privilege to the Committee for examination, investigation and report.

    What is the punishment for a breach of privilege?

    • The authority to decide the punishment lies with the House. A person found guilty of breach of privileges or contempt can be reprimanded, warned or sent to prison. The period is limited to the duration of the session of the House. In case its member is found guilty, the MP can be suspended from the House or face expulsion.
    • One of the most significant cases of breach of privilege was seen in 1978 against Indira Gandhi, who was found guilty of contempt and breach of privilege by the privileges committee of the Lok Sabha, after a notice accused her of harassing government officials. She was expelled from Parliament and sent to jail. The resolution was, however, revoked in 1981.

    Source: TH

    Service Charge:Delhi High Court Directions 

    Syllabus :GS 2/Governance /GS 3/Economy

    In News

    • Recently, Delhi High Court has passed Order directing the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) to pay ₹1,00,000 each as costs for complete non-compliance of the directions as per its order dated 12th April, 2023. 

    About

    • A number of consumers have complained against forceful collection of service charges on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH). 
    • Since the guidelines issued by the CCPA in July, 2022, more than 4,000 complaints have been registered highlighting:
      • Forcing consumers to pay service charge involuntarily even when they are dissatisfied with the service provided by the restaurant/hotel
      • Making payment of service charge mandatory
      • Portraying service charge as a charge which is levied by or has the approval of the government
      • Embarrassing and harassing consumers including by bouncers in case they resist paying service charge
      • Charging exorbitant amounts of money in the name of such charges as 15%, 14% etc.

    Understanding Service Charges

    • It is a fee collected to pay for services related to the primary product or service being purchased. 
    • The charge is usually added at the time of the transaction.
    • Many industries collect service charges including restaurants, banking, and travel and tourism.
    • They are generally collected at the time the transaction takes place between the consumer and the company
    • Service charges are different from tips, which are paid at the discretion of the customer after receiving a service.

    Major Highlights of Directions 

    • The restaurant associations were required to do necessary compliance as per the directions of April 2023. However, neither of the associations filed the affidavits in terms of the order .
    • The Court noted the restaurant associations are in complete non-compliance of the orders and had filed the affidavits without serving the respondents properly so as to ensure that the hearing does not proceed before the Court.
    • The Court has directed that the costs shall be paid to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India.

    Guidelines of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

    • It has issued guidelines for preventing unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights with regard to levying of service charge in hotels and restaurants.
    • The guidelines issued by CCPA stipulate that hotels or restaurants shall not add service charge automatically or by default in the food bill. 
    • No collection of service charge shall be done by any other name. 
    • No hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay service charge and shall clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional and at consumer’s discretion. 
    • No restriction on entry or provision of services based on collection of service charge shall be imposed on consumers.
    •  Service charge shall not be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount. 

    How restaurants view the issue

    • The restaurant associations argue that levy of service charge has been a standing practice in the hospitality industry for more than 80 years. 
    • The levying of service charge has a socio-economic angle as well. 
    • The system of levying service charges ensures that there is a systematic and logical distribution of service charge collection amongst the employees and not just the employee serving the customer in the restaurant. 
    • This ensures that the benefit is divided equally among all the staff workers including the utility workers and back staff.

    Do you Know ?

    • As per Order dated 12th April, 2023, the Court had directed that:-
      • Both the associations shall place their stand and file a specific affidavit on the following aspects:-
        • Percentage of members who impose service charge as a mandatory condition in their bills
        • Whether the associations shall have objection in the term service charge being replaced with alternative terminology so as to prevent confusion in the minds of the consumer that the same is not a Government levy such as ‘Staff welfare fund’, ‘Staff welfare contribution’, ‘Staff charges’, ‘Staff welfare charges’, etc.
        • Percentage of members who are willing to make service charge as voluntary and not mandatory, with option being given to the consumers to make their contribution to the extent that they are voluntarily willing subject to a maximum percentage that may be charged.

    Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

    • The CCPA has been established to regulate matters related to the violation of the rights of consumers. 
    • Under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 2019, the authority was established to regulate violations of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and false or misleading advertisements that are prejudicial to the interest of the public.
      • It is also empowered to issue guidelines to enforce the rights of the consumers laid down in the Act. 

    Source:TH

    Trai recommends independent body to regulate AI

     

    Syllabus: GS3/Awareness in the field of IT

    News

    • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a set of recommendations advocating the urgent adoption of a regulatory framework to govern the responsible development of artificial intelligence (AI) across sectors.
    • It is aimed to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data in the Telecommunication Sector in India.

    What are the recommendations of TRAI?

    • Establishment of an Artificial Intelligence and Data Authority of India (AIDAI) as an independent statutory authority, that will act both as a regulator and recommendatory body and play an advisory role for all AI-related domains.
    • Adoption of all future technologies: AIDAI will facilitate adoption of all future technologies and innovative architectures on AI models, and coordinate with technical standard setting bodies of the government such as Telecom Engineering Centre for accreditation of various labs for testing and accreditation of all AI products and solutions, and offer recommendations.
    • It will oversee all issues related to data digitisation, sharing and monetisation in India including framing policies and incentivisation schemes.
    • Define the process framework for use of AI and related technology while ensuring the privacy and security of the data owner.
    • AIDAI should create a uniform framework for adoption of the national data policy by private and public entities.
    • Model AI governance framework: AIDAI should develop it to guide organizations on deploying AI in a responsible manner and develop model ethical codes for adoption by public and private entities in different sectors. The body should also consider other aspects of regulation of AI for orderly growth of the sector and protection of consumers.
    • AIDAI should evolve the framework based on its assessment, the advice of a proposed multi-stakeholder body, global best practices and public consultation.
      • The multi-stakeholder body should draw members from different ministries, departments, industry, legal experts, cyber experts, academia and research institutes, besides representatives of relevant ministries and departments of central or state governments on need basis as special invitees.
    • The regulatory framework should ensure specific AI use cases are regulated on a risk-based framework where high-risk use cases directly impacting humans are regulated via legally binding obligations.
    • Ensuring that principles of responsible AI are made applicable at each phase of the AI framework life cycle viz. design, development, validation, deployment, monitoring and refinement.
    • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology should be the administrative ministry for AI.

    About TRAI:

    • It was established by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
    • Objectives: To provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
    • A Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) was established, in 2000, to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.
    • The role of AI is not limited to the telecom sector but has the potential to influence a wide range of sectors including healthcare, transportation, finance, education and agriculture, among others, it said. Hence, it is important to have a holistic approach to examine AI’s impact across sectors, rather than focusing only on telecom.

    Source: LM

    Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In News

    • The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 has been passed in Lok Sabha.

    About the Bill

    • The Bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in 2022. Subsequently, it was referred to the Joint Committee of the Parliament. 
    • Aim: To give a boost to Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business.
    • Through the Bill, 2023, a total of 183 provisions are being proposed to be decriminalized in 42 Central Acts administered by 19 Ministries/Departments. Decriminalization is proposed to be achieved in the following manner: –
      • Both Imprisonment and/or Fine are proposed to be removed in some provisions.
      • Imprisonment is proposed to be removed and fine retained in few provisions.
      • Imprisonment is proposed to be removed and Fine enhanced in few provisions.
      • Imprisonment and Fine are proposed to be converted to Penalty in some provisions.
      • Compounding of offences is proposed to be introduced in few provisions.
    • For effective implementation of the above, the bill proposes measures such as: 
      • pragmatic revision of fines and penalties commensurate to the offence committed; 
      • establishment of Adjudicating Officers; 
      • establishment of Appellate Authorities; and 
      • Periodic increase in quantum of fine and penalties
    • It is also ensured that the degree and nature of punishment is commensurate with the severity of the offence.

    Benefits of the Amendment Bill 

    • The Amendment Bill will contribute to rationalizing criminal provisions and ensuring that citizens, businesses and the government departments operate without fear of imprisonment for minor, technical or procedural defaults.
    • This bill establishes a balance between the severity of the offence/violation committed and the gravity of the prescribed punishment
      • The proposed amendments ensure the adherence to law by businesses and citizens, without losing the rigor of the law.
    • Some of the amendments proposed in the Bill are to introduce suitable administrative adjudication mechanisms, wherever applicable and feasible. 
      • This would go a long way in reducing undue pressure on the justice system, reduce the pendency of cases and help in a more efficient and effective justice dispensation.
    • Decriminalization of provisions which affect citizens and certain categories of government employees will help them live without the fear of imprisonment for minor violations.

    Conclusion

    • The enactment of this legislation would be a landmark in the journey of rationalizing laws, eliminating barriers and bolstering growth of businesses
    • This legislation would serve as a guiding principle for future amendments in various laws. 
    • Consolidated amendments in various laws with a common objective will save time and cost for both Government and Businesses alike.

    Source: PIB

    Delisting of Securities

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    News

    • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is reviewing delisting norms of a company that has opted for delisting from the stock exchanges.

    What does delisting of securities mean?

    • Delisting means removing the securities of a listed company from a stock exchange. Once delisted, the securities of that company can no longer be traded on the stock exchange.
    • If a company wants to delist its securities, it needs to buy back 90% of the total issued shares and price discovery is through a reverse book-building process.
    • Delisting can be either voluntary or compulsory. 
      • In voluntary delisting, a company decides on its own to remove its securities from a stock exchange; 
      • In compulsory delisting, they are removed as a penal measure for the company not making submissions or complying with requirements set out in the listing agreement within the prescribed timeframes.

    Reverse book-building process

    • Reverse book-building is the process used for price discovery. 
    • During the period for which the reverse book-building is open, offers are collected from shareholders at various prices, which are above or equal to the floor price. The buyback price is determined after the offer closing price.

    What are the concerns of SEBI?

    • According to SEBI, certain constituents in the market, in anticipation of the delisting, acquire shares and jack up the price of shares to unsustainable levels.
    • Because of the way in which it (the reverse book-building process) is formulated, and because of the 90% threshold, there is a possibility of misuse by certain operators who are specialists in the delisting of shares. 
    • The regulator said it may allow companies to delist shares at a fixed price instead of using the reverse book-building mechanism.

    Way Ahead

    • Currently, apart from the price discovery, promoters have to meet other thresholds such as receipt of minority shareholder consent, and reach 90% shareholding in order to successfully delist. And the process will become easier only if all aspects are reviewed holistically.
    • If the price discovery is replaced by a fixed price offer with a prescription on the floor price, the method should be robust enough to avoid undue challenges on the valuation/determination of the floor price.
    • An advisory committee under Keki Mistry has been formed by SEBI to relook at the delisting regulations.

    Source:IE
     

    Facts In News

    Rabies 

    Syllabus: GS2/ Health

    In News

    • As per the  Health Ministry data, Delhi saw the highest number of deaths due to rabies in the country in 2022.

    Rabies

    • About: 
      • It is a zoonotic viral disease (Disease Transmitted from Animals to Humans).
      • It is caused by the Rabies virus, of the Lyssavirus genus, within the family Rhabdoviridae.
        • It is a Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) virus that is present in the saliva of a rabid animal (dog, cat, monkey, etc).
      • Rabies is 100% fatal but 100% vaccine-preventable. 
      • 33% of global rabies deaths are recorded in India.
    • Common Vectors/ Reservoirs of Virus
      • Most mammals can carry the virus and hence can cause the disease.
      • In South Asia and Africa, the most common reservoir of the virus is the domestic/street dog.
      • In developed nations like the USA, animals that transmit rabies are bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks.
    • Symptoms:
      • Anxiety, Confusion, salivation, seizures, hallucinations and paralysis.

    National Action Plan for dog Mediated Rabies Elimination by 2030 (NAPRE)

    • Under this, the union will encourage all the States and UTs to make Rabies a notifiable Disease. 
      • A notifiable disease is any disease that is required by law to be reported to government authorities. 
    • “Joint Inter-Ministerial Declaration Support Statement” for Elimination of Dog mediated Rabies from India by 2030 was also launched.

    World Rabies Day

    • Celebrated on 28 September which marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death.
      • Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine.
      • He also discovered Pasteurisation, Vaccines for Anthrax and Cholera and Chamberland filters.

    Source: TH

    Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) Repealing Regulations 2023

    Syllabus :GS 2/Polity and Governance 

    In News

    • TRAI issued Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Repealing Regulations, 2023 to repeal the Regulation on quality of service of dial-up and leased line internet access service, 2001 (4 of 2001).

    About Regulations and Its Background 

    • The regulation on quality of service of dial-up and leased line internet access service, 2001, appears to be no more relevant in the present context.
    • This regulation was applicable to all the Basic Service Operators and Internet Service Providers, including the incumbent operators viz. BSNL, MTNL and VSNL.
    • The purpose of laying down Quality of Service Parameters was to 
      • Ensure customer satisfaction by laying down norms of network performance, which the service provider is required to achieve by proper dimensioning of his network.
      • Measure the Quality of Service from time to time and to compare that with the specified norms so as to monitor the level of performance, provided by various service providers. 
      • To generally protect the interests of subscribers of the Internet services. 

    Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI)

    • It was established with effect from 20th February 1997 by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
    • It aims  to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in emerging global information society.
    • It aims to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.

    Source:ET

    PM dedicates projects in Sikar, Rajasthan

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In News

    The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated to the nation various development projects in Sikar, Rajasthan.

    About

    • The projects include dedicating to the nation more than 1.25 lakh PM Kisan Samriddhi Kendras (PMKSKs), launching Urea Gold – a new variety of Urea coated with Sulphur, onboarding 1600 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) on Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), inaugurating 5 new medical colleges, laying the foundation stone for 7 medical colleges, and inaugurating 6 Eklavya Model Residential Schools. 
    • Urea Gold – The introduction of Sulphur Coated Urea will address sulfur deficiencies in the soil. 
      • This innovative fertilizer is more economical and efficient than neem-coated urea, improves nitrogen use efficiency in plants, reduces consumption of fertilizer, and enhances crop quality.

    PM Kisan Samriddhi Kendras (PMKSKs)

    • PMKSKs are being developed to provide a one-stop solution for all farmers’ needs. 
    • From information on agri-inputs (fertilizers, seeds, implements) to testing facilities for soil, seeds, and fertilizers, to information regarding various government schemes, PMKSKs are envisaged to become a reliable support system for farmers in the country. 
    • They will also ensure regular capacity building of fertilizer retailers at block/district level outlets.

    Source: PIB

    Rajkot International Airport

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In News

    The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation an International Airport at Rajkot and multiple development projects in Rajkot, Gujarat.

    About

    • The projects include Sauni Yojana Link 3 Package 8 and 9, upgradation of Dwarka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS), conservation, restoration & development of Uparkot Fort Phase I & II; construction of a water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, and flyover bridge among others. 

    International Airport at Rajkot

    • The new airport has an amalgamation of modern technology and sustainable features. 
    • The terminal building is GRIHA -4 compliant (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) and the New Terminal Building (NITB) is equipped with various sustainability features like Double Insulated Roofing System, skylights, LED Lighting, Low Heat Gain Glazing etc.
    • Rajkot’s cultural vibrancy has inspired the design of the terminal of the airport and it will depict art forms from Lippan art to Dandiya dance. 
    • Significance: The new airport in Rajkot will contribute not only towards the development of the local automobile industry of Rajkot but will also encourage trade, tourism, education and industrial sectors throughout Gujarat.

    Lippan art

    • The word ‘Lippan’ means ‘clay’ or ‘dung’ in local Gujarati. Lippan Art is essentially mud-relief work that incorporates mirrors. The mural tradition artform is from the Kutch region of Gujarat.
    • Lippan Art is practiced mainly by the Rabari, Kumbhar, Marwada Harijan and Mutwa communities but most Lippan artisans today trace their origins to the Kumbhar community.
    • Though the work is limited mainly to the interior walls, it can be found on the outer walls as well of the circular adobes that these communities live in.

    Source: PIB
     

    Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    News

    • Recently the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC).

    About

    • Objective:RECEIC is an industry-driven initiative aimed at promoting resource efficiency and circular economy practices globally.It will facilitate knowledge-sharing, best practice sharing, and sustainable practices among the participating industries. 
    • Founding members:39 companies headquartered in 11 different countries have joined the coalition as its founding members.
    • The coalition has three guiding principles – Partnerships for impact, Technology Cooperation and Finance for scale.

    Source:PIB

    Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 

    Syllabus:GS2/Polity and Governance

    News

    Rajya Sabha has passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

    Background

    • According to officials, the Cinematograph Act, 1952 needed to be amended due to several reasons — 
    • To harmonize the law with various executive orders, Supreme Court judgements, and other legislations;
    • To improve the procedure for licensing films for public exhibition by the CBFC; and to expand the scope of categorisations for certification.
    • To address the issue of unauthorized recording and exhibition of films and curb the menace of piracy, which is causing them huge losses.

    Provisions of the Bill

    • Additional certificate categories: It introduces three certifications under the ‘UA’ (without restriction, but subject to guidance of parents or guardians) category, UA 7+, UA 13+ and UA 16+, which means that children younger than the given age limits can access such movies with parental guidance.
    • Separate certificate for television/other media:Films with an ‘A’ or ‘S’ certificate will require a separate certificate for exhibition on television, or any other media prescribed by the central government.  The Board may direct the applicant to carry appropriate deletions or modifications for the separate certificate.
    • Certificates to be perpetually valid:While the earlier Act provided that the certificate issued by the CBFC is valid for 10 years, it would now be valid perpetually.
    • Revisional powers of the central government:  The Act empowers the central government to examine and make orders in relation to films that have been certified or are pending certification.  The Board is required to dispose of matters in conformity to the order.  The Bill removes this power of the central government. 
    • Unauthorized recording and exhibition to be punishable:  The Bill prohibits carrying out or abetting: (i) the unauthorized recording and (ii) unauthorized exhibition of films. 
    • Certain exemptions under the Copyright Act, 1957 will also apply to the above offences.  The 1957 Act allows limited use of copyrighted content without owner’s authorisation in specified cases such as: (i) private or personal use, (ii) reporting of current affairs, or (iii) review or critique of that work.
    • The above offences will be punishable with: (i) imprisonment between three months and three years, and (ii) a fine between three lakh rupees and 5% of the audited gross production cost.

    Source:IE