Arrived at consensus on ties in Bali: China
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a “consensus” to restore bilateral ties during their meeting in Bali last year, said China, the first time either side has suggested that the meeting between the two leaders at a dinner had included any substantial conversation.
The claim was made in a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement issued after a meeting between National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and his counterpart Director of theCentral Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of ChinaWang Yi in Johannesburg, where both advisers are attending the BRICS meeting of NSAs.
The Indian statement on the Doval-Wang meeting did not include any reference to the claim, and instead focused on the continuing Line of Actual Control (LAC) stand-off that Mr. Doval said had “eroded” the “public and political basis” of the ties.
Arrived at consensus on ties in Bali, says China
“NSA conveyed that the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 had eroded strategic trust and the public and political basis of the relationship,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) press release said on Tuesday about the meeting that took place on Monday. “NSA emphasised the importance of continuing efforts to fully resolve the situation and restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas, so as to remove impediments to normalcy in bilateral relations,” it said, adding that both agreed that the India-China bilateral relationship was significant “not only for the two countries but also for the region and world”.
The meeting between Mr. Doval and Mr. Wang, came days after Wang Yi met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for talks in Jakarta on July 14 on the side-lines of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum’s Foreign Minister’s meeting. The meetings have increased speculation over whether Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi will meet at the BRICS summit in Cape Town in August or at the G-20 Summit in Delhi.
Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi have not spoken since the beginning of the LAC standoff in April 2020 that led to the killings of soldiers in Galwan. However, at a dinner for G-20 leaders in Bali last November, Mr. Modi was seen walking over to Mr. Xi and holding a conversation that lasted a few minutes. The MEA had brushed off the encounter at the time. However, in its statement, the Chinese MFA claimed that at the Bali meeting, the leaders had spoken in more detail.
“At the end of last year, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi reached an important consensus on stabilizing China-India relations in Bali,” said the Chinese MFA statement. “The two sides should adhere to the strategic judgment of the leaders of the two countries that “they do not pose a threat to each other, and they are each other’s development opportunities”, “ it added, urging an “early” return of bilateral relations to the “track of healthy and stable development.” The MEA declined to comment on the Chinese contention.
Facts about the News
National Security Adviser Doval met counterpart Wang Yi on sidelines of BRICS NSA meet in Johannesburg.
- The Chinese counterpart stated that the head of both the governments reached a “consensus” to restore bilateral ties during their meeting in Bali last year.
- India’s NSA conveyed that the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 had eroded strategic trust.
- He also highlighted that At BRICS NSA meet, NSA Doval calls terrorism one of key threats to national peace.
What is the Line of Actual Control?
- The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
- India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km.
- It is divided into three sectors: the eastern sector which spans Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and the western sector in Ladakh.
What is the disagreement?
- The alignment of the LAC in the eastern sector is along the 1914 McMahon Line, and there are minor disputes about the positions.
- The major disagreements are in the western sector where the LAC emerged from two letters written by Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai to PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959.
- The Chinese premier had had first mentioned such a ‘line’ in 1956.
- After the 1962 War, the Chinese claimed they had withdrawn to 20 km behind the LAC of November 1959.
- India rejected the concept of LAC in both 1959 and 1962.
- India’s objection was that the line should omit gains from aggression in 1962 and therefore should be based on the actual position on September 8, 1962 before the Chinese attack.
India China Bilateral Relations
- On 1 April, 1950, India became the first non-socialist bloc country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
- Though the border conflict in 1962 was a setback to ties, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark visit in 1988 marked the beginning of improvement in bilateral relations.
- In 1993, the signing of an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control took place.
- A Double Taxation Agreement was signed between India and China on 18 July 1994.
- The two countries have also shown interest to take part in a multilateral trade system as per the WTO commitments.
- Today, India and China are top trading partners and maintain significant economic and bilateral relations.
- Trade between India and China during April-November 2022 stood at US$ 77.82 billion.
- Bilateral trade between India and China reached US$ 115.83 billion in 2021 against US$ 86.39 billion in 2020 with a growth of 34%.
- In the year 2020, India became the 16th largest trade partner of China
- In FY2021-22, China had a 15.4% share in India’s total imports.
- India imported goods worth US$ 613.2 billion from the world, including goods worth US$ 94.2 billion from China.
- India’s export to China stood at US$ 21.25 billion in FY 2021-22, the third highest, after the US and UAE.
- Major exported items from India to China include ores, slag and ash; followed by organic chemicals and petroleum products.
- Imports from China to India rose to US$ 94.54 billion in 2021-22 as compared to about US$ 65.2 billion in 2020-21.
- India’s imports from China include electrical machinery & equipment & parts thereof.
- On the 1st of April 2020, India and China marked 70 years of their diplomatic relations.
- In May 2014 India was invited by China to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
– As of 15 September 2022, 33 projects (25 Sovereign, 11 Non-Sovereign) have been approved for financing of US$ 8.75 billion.
Opposition plans no-trust motion against Modi govt.
INDIA grouping wants PM to speak up on Manipur unrest; Shah writes to Opposition leaders
in both Houses stating the government is ready for an elaborate discussion and seeks cooperation
Opposition parties belonging to the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA, plan to move a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday to force the Prime Minister to speak on Manipur unrest.
As only 13 working days of the Monsoon Session are left and the Lok Sabha Speaker can take up to 10 days to admit a no-confidence motion as per procedure, the Congress is keen on moving the motion on Wednesday morning. The party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, confirmed the same to a news agency.
The document seeking the motion is ready, and the Congress issued a three-line whip, asking all its Lok Sabha members to be present, for a parliamentary party meeting at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Before that, floor leaders of the 26 parties of the INDIA bloc will meet at the office of the Congress president and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, as a no-trust motion needs the support of at least 50 or more members to be adopted in the House.
Informed sources told The Hindu that the move to bring a no-confidence motion was first discussed at a meeting chaired by Mr. Kharge on Monday and thereafter, he broached the issue with other INDIA constituents on Tuesday morning at the floor leaders’ meeting.
These INDIA parties also hit back at Mr. Modi for comparing them to the British East India company, with Mr. Kharge saying Mr. Modi is “rattled”. “Call us whatever you want, Mr. Modi. We are INDIA. We will help heal Manipur and wipe the tears of every woman and child. We will bring back love and peace for all her people. We will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur,” tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Opposition plans no-trust motion
Amid the growing confrontation between the government and the Opposition, Union Home Minister Amit Shah wrote to the Opposition leaders of both Houses, stating the government was ready for an elaborate discussion on Manipur and appealed to them for their cooperation.
However, the stage seems to be set for more confrontation instead of cooperation. Congress leaders Manish Tewari and Syed Nasser Hussain, at a joint press conference, accused the Prime Minister of “committing grave impropriety”.
“The PM speaking about Manipur outside the House a few minutes before the Monsoon Session was about to commence is an instance of grave parliamentary impropriety. This impropriety has been further aggravated by his not speaking a single word on Manipur in Parliament,” they said.
(with inputs from Vijaita Singh)
Facts about the News
Opposition parties belonging to the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA, plan to move a no-confidence motion against the government.
- The motion will be placed in Lok Sabha and the Lok Sabha Speaker can take up to 10 days to admit a no-confidence motion as per procedure.
What is a no-confidence motion?
- A government can function only when it has majority support in the Lok Sabha.
- The party can remain in power when it shows its strength through a floor test which is primarily taken to know whether the executive enjoys the confidence of the legislature
- If any member of the House feels that the government in power does not have a majority then he/she can move a no-confidence motion.
- If the motion is accepted, then the party in power has to prove its majority in the House.
- The member need not give a reason for moving the no-confidence motion.
The Working of no-confidence motion
- A no-confidence motion can be moved by any member of the House.
- It can be moved only in the Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha.
- Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and conduct of Lok Sabha specifies the procedure for moving a no-confidence motion.
- The member has to give a written notice of the motion before 10 am which will be read out by the Speaker in the House.
- A minimum of 50 members have to accept the motion and accordingly, the Speaker will announce the date for discussion for the motion.
- The allotted date has to be within 10 days from the day the motion is accepted.
- Otherwise, the motion fails and the member who moved the motion will be informed about it.
- If the government is not able to prove its majority in the House, then the government of the day has to resign.
Moving away from the ‘take-make-dispose’ model
India has embraced four priority areas for the circular economy during its G-20 presidency: circularity in the steel sector; Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR); circular bioeconomy and establishing an industry-led resource efficiency and circular economy industry coalition. There is now heightened recognition of resource efficiency and circular economy strategies within the G-20 community.
Moving to a circular steel sector
Most G-20 member countries have committed to net zero ambitions and are working to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. In order to ensure growing resource consumption in an environmentally responsible manner, there is also a need to raise the current recycling rates of 15%-25%. Given the crucial role of steel in infrastructure development, its efficient utilisation is important. The demand for steel is poised to grow especially in growing economies such as India. Globally, about 7% of energy sector emission is attributed to iron and steel production. Transitioning towards a circular steel sector is a key strategy to tackle steel sector emissions. The key lies in ensuring collaboration among the G-20 member countries for knowledge sharing, technology co-development and technology transfer. The presidency document for knowledge exchange on the ‘Circular Economy in [the] Steel Sector’ is a potential blueprint for a net zero pathway for the steel industry, reducing resource utilisation and minimising wastage. Under India’s G-20 presidency, there is an emphasis on the significance of the EPR framework in integrating circularity throughout the value chain. As different countries have implemented different EPR models, it is necessary that G-20 member-countries share best practices to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
Recycling, a bioeconomy and biofuels
Effective implementation of EPR plays a pivotal role in promoting the growth of the recycling infrastructure and establishing a streamlined waste collection system. With over 20,000 registered Producers, Importers, and Brand Owners (PIBOs) and over 1,900 plastic waste processors on the centralised EPR portal, India boasts one of the largest frameworks for EPR. The combined EPR obligation of registered PIBOs crosses 3.07 million tons. India has also notified comprehensive rules for e-waste and battery waste management.
Since 1970, the consumption of biological resources in G-20 member countries has risen 2.5 times. Biowaste such as municipal and industrial waste and agricultural residue has become a global issue as much of it is burned, causing pollution, biodiversity loss and global warming. Combined with crops well-suited for degraded lands, biowaste can serve as valuable primary raw materials and viable substitutes for mineral resources. Adopting a circular bioeconomy approach will reduce the need for extracting virgin resources and provide an effective waste disposal solution.
The Government of India has been working towards the adoption of biofuels. The Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana provides financial support to integrated bio-ethanol projects to set up second generation (2G) ethanol projects. 2G bioethanol technology produces bioethanol from waste feedstock such as crop residues and municipal solid waste that would otherwise have no value. Additionally, India has also made it mandatory for coal-burning thermal power plants to use a 5% blend of biomass pellets along with coal. The Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources (GOBAR) Dhan scheme was launched by the Government of India to convert cattle dung and other organic waste into compost, biogas, and biofuels to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce pollution. With over 500 functional biogas plants, the scheme has also helped create rural livelihoods and ensured improved sanitation. The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) Scheme, launched in 2018 to promote the use of Compressed BioGas (CBG) as an alternative green transportation fuel, has aided the bioenergy sector by accelerating the development of infrastructure for the production, storage and distribution of CBG.
On industry coalition
As industries are crucial in advancing resource efficiency and circular economy practices, India has envisioned an industry coalition in these areas. The coalition will also aim to achieve enhanced technological collaboration, build advanced capabilities across sectors, mobilise de-risked finance, and facilitate a proactive private sector engagement.
Global platforms such as the G-20 play an important role in addressing key issues and presenting solutions by adopting a collaborative approach. Resource efficiency and circular economy have emerged as key solutions in collective efforts in tackling triple planetary challenges. India’s G-20 presidency has focused extensively on these approaches which offer promising pathways towards a more sustainable and resilient future.
With growing need for a ‘reduce-reuse
-recycle’ model, India’s G-20 presidency has focused on adopting resource efficiency and moving to a circular economy.
Facts about the News
With growing need for a ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ model, India’s G-20 presidency has focused on adopting resource efficiency and moving to a circular economy.
- Resource efficiency and circular economy are powerful strategies that can effectively minimize dependence on natural resources, curtail waste and encourage sustainable design practices.
India has embraced four priority areas for the circular economy during its G-20 presidency:
- circularity in the steel sector;
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR);
- circular bioeconomy and
- establishing an industry-led resource efficiency and circular economy industry coalition.
A circular steel sector
Most G-20 member countries have committed to net zero ambitions and are working to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
The demand for steel is poised to grow especially in growing economies such as India. Globally, about 7% of energy sector emission is attributed to iron and steel production.
Transitioning towards a circular steel sector is a key strategy to tackle steel sector emissions.
The key lies in ensuring collaboration among the G-20 member countries for knowledge sharing, technology co-development and technology transfer.
Under India’s G-20 presidency, there is an emphasis on the significance of the EPR framework.
What is Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR)?
- Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) regime is under implementation in Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
- It says that it is the responsibility of Producers, Importers and Brand-owners to ensure processing of their plastic packaging waste through recycling, re-use or end of life disposal.
- Plastic Waste Management Rules, in 2022, notified ‘Guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility for Plastic Packaging’ in the Schedule II of the Rules.
- As per these guidelines, Producers, Importers and Brand Owners (PIBOs) shall have to register through the online centralized portal developed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
What are the Guidelines?
- The Guidelines provide framework to strengthen circular economy of plastic packaging waste.
- It also aims to promote development of new alternatives to plastics.
- Reuse of rigid plastic packaging material has been mandated in the guidelines to reduce the use of fresh plastic material for packaging.
- In a significant first, the guidelines allow for sale and purchase of surplus extended producer responsibility certificates.
- The implementation of EPR will be done through a customized online platform which will act as digital backbone of the system.
- The online platform will allow tracking and monitoring of EPR obligation.
- It will reduce the compliance burden for companies through online registration and filing of annual returns.
Note: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana
Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan– Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana aims to provide financial support to Integrated Bioethanol Projects.
- Centre for High Technology (CHT), a technical body under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG), will be the implementation Agency for the scheme.
- The JI-VAN Yojana will be supported with total financial outlay of Rs.1969.50 crore for the period from 2018-19 to 2023-24.
- The current scheme envisages setting up of 12 Commercial scale Second Generation (2G) Bioethanol projects
- and 10 demonstration scale 2G Bioethanol projects based on non-food biomass feedstocks and other renewable feedstocks.
Background: Government of India launched Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme in 2003 for undertaking blending of ethanol in Petrol.
- Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has targeted to achieve 10% blending percentage of Ethanol in petrol by 2022.
The Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources (GOBAR) Dhan scheme
Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation has launched the GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) – DHAN scheme.
- The scheme is being implemented as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
- The main focus of GOBARDHAN is to keep villages clean, increase the income of rural households, and generate energy and organic manure from cattle waste.
Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)
Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) is an initiative aimed at setting up of Compressed Bio-Gas production plants.
- The initiative was launched in October 2018 by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in association with Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Oil Marketing Companies (OMC).
Child, law, and consensual sex
In the last one month, at least three different High Courts have either quashed First Information Reports (FIRs) and pending criminal proceedings or acquitted accused persons under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. One High Court released the accused on bail on the grounds that the accused and victim had consensual sex.
On July 12, the Delhi High Court released a 25-year-old accused on bail on the premise that the 15-year-old girl had eloped with him on her own and did not support the prosecution’s story of sexual assault. On July 10, the Bombay High Court quashed the conviction of a 25-year-old man under POCSO on the grounds that he had consensual sex with the 17-year-old girl. The girl had terminated her pregnancy after the arrest of the accused. On July 7, the Madras High Court not only quashed an FIR registered under POCSO and consequential criminal proceedings, but also directed the Director General of Police to produce the reports of all such pending cases before the Court. On June 27, the Madhya Pradesh High Court quashed an FIR registered under POCSO and all criminal proceedings on the basis that the sexual relationship was consensual. The judgment did not mention the age of the accused (who used to be her coach). The Court recommended that the Indian government consider reducing the age of consent of the prosecutrix from 18 to 16 years. The relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) were also applied in these cases.
A ‘child’ under POCSO is defined as any person below the age of 18 years. Acts of penetrative sexual assault committed on children are criminal offences under POCSO. The purpose of defining ‘child’ under POCSO, and of the provision under Section 375 of the IPC (sexual intercourse, whether with or without her consent, is rape if she is under 18 years of age), is to safeguard children against penetrative sexual assault irrespective of their consent, which could even be unequivocal and voluntary. Otherwise, the third part of Section 90 of the IPC, which provides that consent is not consent “unless the contrary appears from the context, if it is given by a person who is under 12 years”, was sufficient to interpret consent for a child of any age.
An analogy can be drawn with the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, where, if certain prohibited acts are committed with the knowledge of the caste of the victim, intention does not have to be proved separately. The provision was made specifically to safeguard vulnerable groups. Similarly, if children are to be treated as a separate and vulnerable category, consent should be of no avail if the accused had knowledge of the victim being a child.
However, in the cases cited above, the High Courts neither honoured the age of consent nor took any cognisance of the mandatory legal presumption in favour of the prosecutrices. Even the difference between the age of the prosecutrix and the age of the accused, which ranged up to 10 years, was not taken into account. Though there are recommendations from various sources to reduce the age of consent from 18 to 16 years, the case where the victim was 15 years was also not paid heed to.
If all ‘consensual sex’ cases are to be quashed by the judiciary, what will be the bottom line age of consent and who will set that boundary? Can the objective of POCSO be softened and allowed to boil down to Section 90 of the IPC (which is general in nature) where consent of a child who is even less than 12 years of age be admitted? Can such interpretations be said to be in the ‘best interests of the child’? In two of the above four cases, minor girls had become pregnant and terminated their pregnancy. Did the courts examine whether these girls really understood the consequences of early pregnancies?
Address the gap quickly
The High Courts have not declared any provision of the IPC or POCSO unconstitutional. Therefore, quashing the cases of consensual sex may not lead to any less work for the police; they will still have to register FIRs whenever a child goes missing or a cognisable offence is reported either by parents or any other third party and proceed with their investigation.
One of the reasons, inter alia, for the reluctance of courts to convict accused persons in consensual sex cases could the harsh minimum imprisonment, which is 10 years and 20 years for penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault, respectively. Instead of proving to be a deterrent, this appears to be benefiting the accused. The Bureau of Police Research and Development could analyse the cases of consensual sex (as has been directed by the Madras High Court), age-wise, across States and help the Central government in taking a decision of reducing the age of consent based on that study. One solution could be to reduce the age of consent with some leverage allowed to the judiciary to interpret consent in cases of the victim being of lower age based on the child’s understanding of consequences. The caveat of the ‘best interest of the child’ would be necessary.
While reducing the age of consent is within the jurisdiction of Parliament, the Supreme Court must step in to quickly resolve the gap between the laid down law (as understood by the investigating agencies) and the different interpretations by the High Courts. This acquires importance in light of the Supreme Court judgment in Independent Thought v. Union of India (2017) wherein it held that even sexual intercourse with a minor wife is rape.
If all cases of ‘consensual sex’ are to be quashed by the judiciary, what will be the bottom line age of consent and who will set that boundary?
Facts about the News
About POCSO Act
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development championed the introduction of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
- This was done to effectively address the heinous crimes of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children through less ambiguous and more stringent legal provisions.
- The Act aims to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
- It also provides for establishment of Special Courts for trial of such offences and related matters and incidents.
Salient features of the Act
- The Act is gender neutral and regards the best interests and welfare of the child.
- The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age.
- It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography.
- It also deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
- People who traffic children for sexual purposes are also punishable under the provisions relating to abetment in the Act.
- The Act provides for the establishment of Special Courts for trial of offences under the Act.
- The Act incorporates child friendly procedures for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and trial of offences.
In the last one month, at least three different High Courts have either quashed First Information Reports (FIRs) and pending criminal proceedings or acquitted accused persons under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
- One High Court released the accused on bail on the grounds that the accused and victim had consensual sex.
What is Consent?
- A ‘child’ under POCSO is defined as any person below the age of 18 years.
- Acts of penetrative sexual assault committed on children are criminal offences under POCSO.
- The purpose of defining ‘child’ under POCSO, and of the provision under Section 375 of the IPC is to safeguard children against penetrative sexual assault irrespective of their consent, which could even be unequivocal and voluntary.
Note: Under Section 375 of the IPC- sexual intercourse, whether with or without her consent, is rape if she is under 18 years of age.
Example: In Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, where, if certain prohibited acts are committed with the knowledge of the caste of the victim, intention does not have to be proved separately.
- The provision was made specifically to safeguard vulnerable groups.
Similarly, if children are to be treated as a separate and vulnerable category, consent should be of no avail if the accused had knowledge of the victim being a child.
The Bigger Picture
- If all ‘consensual sex’ cases are to be quashed by the judiciary, what will be the bottom-line age of consent and who will set that boundary?
- Can the objective of POCSO be softened and allowed to boil down to Section 90 of the IPC where consent of a child who is even less than 12 years of age be admitted?
- Can such interpretations be said to be in the ‘best interests of the child’?
- In two of the above four cases, minor girls had become pregnant and terminated their pregnancy.
- Did the courts examine whether these girls really understood the consequences of early pregnancies?
- The High Courts have not declared any provision of the IPC or POCSO unconstitutional.
- Therefore, quashing the cases of consensual sex may not lead to any less work for the police.
Note: Supreme Court judgment in Independent Thought v. Union of India (2017) wherein it held that even sexual intercourse with a minor wife is rape.
Full-reserve banking: where banks act solely as custodians of customers’ money
Full-reserve banking, also known as 100% reserve banking, refers to a system of banking where banks are not allowed to lend out money that they receive from customers in the form of demand deposits. Demand deposits are deposits that customers can withdraw from the bank at any point in time without any prior notice. So, under full-reserve banking, banks are mandated to hold all money that they receive as demand deposits from customers in their vaults at all times. In this case, banks simply act as custodians to depositors’ money and may charge a fee from depositors for the service of safekeeping that they offer to the depositors. This is in contrast to today’s banking system in which banks pay interest to customers on their demand deposits. In other words, under full-reserve banking, banks are expected to hold reserves backing 100% of their liabilities in the form of demand deposits. This is to ensure that banks can successfully meet redemption demands from depositors, and thus avoid a run on the bank even if all depositors someday decide to come asking for their money at the same time.
Under a full-reserve banking system, banks can only lend money that they receive as time deposits from their customers. Time deposits are deposits that customers can withdraw from the bank only after a certain period of time that is agreed upon between the bank and its customers. This arrangement gives banks the time to lend these deposits to borrowers at a certain interest rate, collect repayments from the borrowers, and finally repay depositors their money along with a certain amount of interest.
In the banking system that exists today, also known as the fractional-reserve banking system, banks predominantly do not lend money in the form of physical cash. So the cash deposits that they receive from their customers, whether as demand deposits or as time deposits, mostly stay in their vaults. Still, banks face the risk of a depositor run for a different reason — banks lend more money than the cash they have in their vaults. This is made possible because most lending to various borrowers happens in the form of electronic money. A bank that wants to lend money can simply open a loan account in its books under the name of a certain borrower and credit the account with electronic money equivalent to the loan amount. In fact, the value of such electronic loans created by banks out of thin air can turn out to be many times the actual amount of cash in the banks’ vaults. So, if borrowers decided to withdraw in the form of cash all the money that was loaned to them electronically by the bank, the bank may be forced to use all the cash deposits that it received from depositors to meet the demand for cash and still be unable to meet the demand for cash. This can cause a run on the bank as the bank has created loans far exceeding the amount of actual cash in its vaults.
However, bank runs rarely happen for a number of reasons. For one, most transactions in today’s economies happen through checks and other non-cash instruments which ensure that the demand for cash remains minimal. So, banks rarely face the imminent risk of a large number of their customers suddenly showing up at their door demanding cash from their accounts immediately. Secondly, central banks bail out banks by providing them with any emergency cash that they may need to meet a sudden rise in the cash demands of customers.
The need to fuel growth
Under a full-reserve banking system, however, banks are prohibited from creating loans without actual cash in their vaults to back these loans.
In fact, some economists have argued that it should be considered as fraudulent practice if a bank issues loans without the necessary cash in its vaults to back their loans. Supporters of fractional-reserve banking, however, believe that full-reserve banking unnecessarily restricts bank lending. They believe that allowing banks to create loans without the necessary savings to back these loans can help spur investment and economic growth.
In other words, proponents of fractional-reserve banking believe that such banking frees the economy from having to rely on real savings from depositors to finance the huge investments required to fuel growth.
Proponents of full-reserve banking argue that it is the only natural form of banking and that it can prevent the various crises that affect today’s fractional-reserve banking system. Since banks will be allowed to make loans to borrowers only out of their time deposits and since they will be legally forced to keep demand deposits in their vaults to meet depositor demands for cash, the chances of a bank run would be negligible under a full-reserve banking system. Supporters of full-reserve banking also argue that since banks will not be able to create money out of thin air in a full-reserve banking system, their influence on the economy’s money supply will become severely restricted. This, they argue, will prevent artificial economic booms and busts that are said to be the consequence of changes in money supply.
Facts about the News
Full-reserve banking, also known as 100% reserve banking, refers to a system of banking where banks are not allowed to lend out money that they receive from customers in the form of demand deposits.
- So, under full-reserve banking, banks are mandated to hold all money that they receive as demand deposits.
- In this case, banks simply act as custodians to depositors’ money and may charge a fee from depositors for the service of safekeeping.
- This is in contrast to today’s banking system in which banks pay interest to customers on their demand deposits.
In the banking system that exists today, also known as the fractional-reserve banking system.
- In general working, Banks lend more money than the cash they have in their vaults.
- This is made possible because most lending to various borrowers happens in the form of electronic money.
- This can cause a run on the bank as the bank has created loans far exceeding the amount of actual cash in its vaults.
- Under a full-reserve banking system, however, banks are prohibited from creating loans without actual cash in their vaults to back these loans.
- Supporters of fractional-reserve banking, however, believe that full-reserve banking unnecessarily restricts bank lending.
- They believe that such practices can hinder investment and economic growth.
What is a Fixed Deposit?
- In a Fixed Deposit, you put a lump sum in your bank for a fixed tenure at an agreed rate of interest.
- At the end of the tenure, you receive the amount you have invested plus compound interest. The duration of Fixed Deposits is flexible.
- It can range from 7 days to 10 years.
What is a Time Deposit?
A time deposit or Term deposit is an interest-bearing bank account that has a pre-set date of maturity.
- A certificate of deposit (CD) is the best-known example.
- In Term Deposits, the sum of money is kept for a fixed maturity and the depositor is not allowed to withdraw this sum till the end of the maturity period.
Lok Sabha passes contentious Biological Diversity Bill amid din
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amid sloganeering by Opposition members demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a statement on the Manipur violence. The Bill aims to amend the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
“In the 20 years since the Act was brought into force by the Vajpayee government, we have seen that there were problems and it was necessary to address them,” Bhupendra Yadav, Minister for Environment and Forests and Climate Change, said. “To ensure that tribes and vulnerable communities benefit from the proceeds of medicinal forest products, these amendments were necessary. By decriminalising certain activities, we are encouraging Ayurveda as well as ease of doing business.”
The amended Bill was drafted in response to complaints by traditional Indian medicine practitioners, the seed sector, industry and researchers that the Act imposed a heavy “compliance burden”.
The Bill sought to exempt registered AYUSH medical practitioners and people accessing codified traditional knowledge, among others, from giving prior intimation to State biodiversity Boards to access biological resources for certain purposes.
Environmental organisations such as Legal Initiative for Forests and Environment (LIFE) have said that the amendments were made to “solely benefit” AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) firms and would pave the way for “bio piracy”.
The Bill decriminalises a range of offences under the Act and substitutes them with monetary penalties.
An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment and the Down To Earth magazine on how the Biodiversity Act was being practically implemented, showed serious shortcomings. There was no data — barring in a few States — on the money received from companies and traders for access and benefit-sharing from use of traditional knowledge and resources.
A Joint Parliamentary Committee was constituted in December 2021 to analyse the amendment Bill.
Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh, who was a member of the committee, in a letter addressed to other members and BJP MP Sanjay Jaiswal, committee chairperson, said that these exemptions could open the law for abuse.
Facts about the News
The Lok Sabha passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
- The Bill aims to amend the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
- The amended Bill was drafted in response to complaints by traditional Indian medicine practitioners, the seed sector, industry and researchers.
- They said that the Act imposed a heavy “compliance burden” and made it hard to conduct collaborative research and investments.
What changes are purposed?
- The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks to exempt registered AYUSH medical practitioners from intimating biodiversity boards before accessing biological resources.
- It also aims at easing compliance burden, boosting investment and simplifying patent application processes.
Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill amends the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to simplify compliance requirements for domestic companies.
- Users of codified traditional knowledge and AYUSH practitioners will be exempted from sharing benefits with local communities.
- The Bill removes research and bio-survey activities from the purview of benefit sharing requirements.
- Benefit sharing will be based on terms agreed between the user and the local management committee represented by the National Authority.
- The Bill decriminalises a range of offences under the Act and substitutes them with monetary penalties.
- It empowers government officials to hold inquiries and determine penalties.
- The term codified traditional knowledge has not been defined.
- A broad interpretation might exempt all local traditional knowledge from benefit sharing requirements.
- The Bill removes the direct role of local communities in determining benefit sharing provisions.
About Biological Diversity Act, 2002
- Biological Diversity Act was enacted in 2002.
- The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), because India is a party of the convention.
- conservation of biological resources,
- managing its sustainable use and
- enabling fair and equitable sharing benefits.
The act envisaged a three-tier structure to regulate the access to biological resources:
- The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
- The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
- The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at local level)
President opens tribal arts gallery at Rashtrapati Bhavan as she finishes a year in office
New beginning: President Droupadi Murmu inaugurating the Tribal Arts gallery in New Delhi on Tuesday. ANI
On a day when India’s first President from the tribal community, Droupadi Murmu, completed one year in office, the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday got a unique gallery dedicated to tribal arts, culture and heroes.
The gallery, which is around 2,200 square feet in area, has been developed by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, an autonomous institution under the Union Culture Ministry.
Ms. Murmu took over as the 15th President of the country last July and is the first from the tribal community. She hails from a small village, Uparbeda in Odisha, and had worked as a teacher.
Name of the gallery
The new gallery ‘Janjatiya Darpan’ (tribal mirror) was inaugurated by Ms. Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The gallery showcases different themes such as unsung tribal freedom fighters, traditional natural resource management practices such as Halma, tribal art such as Dokra, musical instruments and various scripts such as Gunjala Gondi.
It also houses agricultural and household implements, bamboo baskets, textiles, paintings such as Warli, Gondi and mud art, scrolls, masks and jewellery, metal work, weapons, and contemporary photographs depicting tattoos.
“The aim of this gallery is to provide a glimpse of rich art, culture and the contributions of tribal communities in building this nation,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.
Build in 10 days
Sources in the IGNCA said that the gallery was created within a short span of 10 days.
The President also inaugurated ‘Navachara’, an artificial intelligence-enabled gallery developed by the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in collaboration with Intel India and ‘Sutra-kala Darpan’, a textile collection which showcases a collection of textiles that document the illustrious legacy of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Facts about the News
CBIC detects GST evasion
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has detected Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion of almost ₹11,000 crore.
- It has identified more than 9,300 fake registrations after a special compliance drive over the past two months.
What are the details?
- While the CBIC had identified more than 25,000 GST-registered entities who were suspected to be fake, it managed to confirm 9,369 such firms as fake.
- So far, registrations had been suspended for 5,775 entities and cancelled for another 3,300-odd firms.
- Effectively, the two-month compliance drive had detected more such cases than the 8,421 entities found throughout 2022-23.
- Just five States accounted for almost 60% of the suspected fake registrations, led by Delhi (4,311), Uttar Pradesh (3,262), Haryana (2,818) and Gujarat (2,569).
- Delhi and Uttar Pradesh also topped in terms of registrations that were confirmed to be fake.
About Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)
- Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (erstwhile Central Board of Excise & Customs) is a part of the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.
- It deals with the tasks of formulation of policy concerning levy and collection of Customs, Central Excise duties, Central Goods & Services Tax and IGST.
- It also works for prevention of smuggling and administration of matters relating to Customs, Central Excise and Narcotics.