- CURRENT AFFAIRS – 07/10/2023
- Aligning higher education with the United Nations SDGs
- Tribute to Professor M.S. Swaminathan
- MGNREGS runs out of funds; Rural Development Ministry seeks supplementary budget
- Two of every five amphibians threatened with extinction, reveals study
- 2023 Nobel Peace Prize
- Delhi’s air quality dips to poor, GRAP stage 1 kicks in
- When can a bill be designated as a ‘money bill’: SC to hear challenge
CURRENT AFFAIRS – 07/10/2023
Aligning higher education with the United Nations SDGs
(General Studies- Paper II, Page 6, the Hindu)
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) comprise 17 goals with 169 targets to be achieved by 2030, aiming to address poverty, socio-economic issues, and environmental challenges globally.
- The SDGs Report 2023 highlights slow progress due to the lingering effects of COVID-19, climate crisis impacts, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and a weak global economy.
- Least Developed Countries are experiencing the most significant setbacks.
- India, while managing global crises relatively well, has faced challenges in achieving SDGs.
- India’s Commitment through NEP 2020:
- India demonstrates commitment to SDGs, particularly SDG4 (quality education), through various reforms.
- The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aligns with most SDGs, emphasizing changes at all education levels, with a focus on higher education.
- Higher education is vital for social mobility, creativity, critical thinking, and employment skills.
- Graduates with higher education degrees are more employable and earn significantly more, contributing to various SDGs.
- Role of Universities in Achieving SDGs:
- Universities play a crucial role in achieving SDGs by strengthening the research-teaching nexus and promoting multidisciplinary education.
- They can develop innovative solutions for global challenges, including sustainable development, clean energy, climate change, and more.
- Embracing Sustainable Practices:
- Sustainable development requires changes in production and consumption (SDG12).
- Collaboration with private companies, fostering innovation and start-ups (SDG9), is essential.
- Value-Based Education (VBE) can instill responsibility towards self, society, and the planet.
- Suggestions and Concluding Remarks:
- NEP 2020 demands alignment of higher education with SDGs.
- Ranking universities based on SDG achievement is a step forward but may need further enhancement.
- Stakeholders should be educated and oriented to ensure all activities align with SDGs.
- Universities should actively engage with local communities, focus on sustainability, and integrate SDGs into institutional strategies.
- Higher education must contribute meaningfully to socio-economic development and citizen well-being.
About United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, are a set of 17 interconnected global goals adopted by all United Nations member states in September 2015.
- They were established as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.
- The SDGs build upon the earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but are more comprehensive and encompass various dimensions of sustainable development, including economic, social, and environmental aspects.
- Overview of the 17 SDGs:
- No Poverty (SDG 1):
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
- Zero Hunger (SDG 2):
- End hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3):
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
- Quality Education (SDG 4):
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
- Gender Equality (SDG 5):
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
- Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6):
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
- Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7):
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
- Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8):
- Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG 9):
- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
- Reduced Inequality (SDG 10):
- Reduce inequality within and among countries.
- Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11):
- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
- Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12):
- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
- Climate Action (SDG 13):
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
- Life Below Water (SDG 14):
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
- Life on Land (SDG 15):
- Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
- Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (SDG 16):
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
- Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17):
- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
- No Poverty (SDG 1):
Tribute to Professor M.S. Swaminathan
(General Studies- Paper I, Page 9, the Hindu)
Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, popularly known as M.S. Swaminathan, the legendary agricultural scientist and a key architect of the country’s ‘Green Revolution,’ passed away recently.
About M.S. Swaminathan
- S. Swaminathan, born on August 7, 1925, in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India, was a renowned agricultural scientist who left an indelible mark on India’s agriculture and food security.
- His early life was marked by academic excellence and a deep-seated commitment to addressing agricultural challenges in the country.
- Educational Background:
- Swaminathan pursued his education with a focus on agriculture. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the Madras Agricultural College and later obtained a Master’s degree in Genetics and Plant Breeding from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Delhi.
- Influence of Bengal Famine:
- The devastating Bengal famine of 1943 had a profound impact on young Swaminathan.
- Witnessing the suffering and loss of lives due to food shortages left an indelible impression on him and inspired his lifelong dedication to improving agriculture and food security.
- Green Revolution Pioneer:
- Perhaps his most significant contribution was spearheading India’s Green Revolution.
- His research and advocacy led to the development of high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice.
- These varieties helped increase food production significantly and transformed India from a food-deficient nation to a self-sufficient one.
- Crop Improvement:
- Swaminathan’s work in crop improvement extended to various crops, including wheat, rice, and potatoes.
- His research focused on enhancing crop yields, resistance to diseases, and adaptation to different environmental conditions.
- Sustainable Agriculture:
- He was a strong advocate for sustainable agriculture, emphasizing the responsible use of natural resources and the preservation of biodiversity.
- His research aimed at achieving higher yields while maintaining ecological balance.
- Promoting Millets:
- Swaminathan was ahead of his time in promoting millets as nutritious and climate-resilient crops.
- His advocacy for millets as “nutri-cereals” gained prominence in recent years.
- Soil Health:
- He stressed the importance of soil health and advocated for the Soil Health Card scheme, which assesses soil quality and guides farmers in making informed decisions about soil management.
- Accolades and Awards:M.S. Swaminathan’s contributions to agriculture and science garnered numerous accolades and awards, including:
- Padma Bhushan:
- He received India’s third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, in 1972.
- World Food Prize:
- Swaminathan was the first recipient of the World Food Prize in 1987, recognizing his pioneering work in increasing agricultural productivity.
- Albert Einstein World Award of Science:
- In 1999, he was honored with the Albert Einstein World Award of Science for his exceptional contributions to the field of agriculture.
- Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration:
- Swaminathan received this prestigious award in 1999 for his outstanding efforts in promoting national integration through agriculture.
- International Crop Genetic Resources Institute (ICGRI) Award:
- He was honored by ICGRI in 2000 for his work in preserving crop genetic diversity.
- Gandhi Peace Prize:
- In 2000, he was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize, India’s highest civilian award, for his contributions to sustainable agriculture and food security.
- Padma Bhushan:
- Green Revolution Pioneer:
MGNREGS runs out of funds; Rural Development Ministry seeks supplementary budget
(General Studies- Paper II, Page 9, the Hindu)
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), a key rural employment program in India, is facing a funding crisis.
- Six months into the financial year, MGNREGS has exhausted its funds and is running a deficit of ₹6,146.93 crore according to Ministry statistics.
- The budget allocated for MGNREGS for 2023-24 was ₹60,000 crore, which is 18% lower than the budget estimates of ₹73,000 crore and 33% lower than the revised estimates of ₹89,000 crore for the previous fiscal year (2022-23).
- On September 15, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) requested a supplementary budget of ₹23,000 crore from the Finance Ministry to bridge the funding gap.
- Demand-Driven Scheme:
- The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, defended the budget cuts by stating that MGNREGS is a demand-driven scheme, and additional funds will be allocated when needed.
- The Ministry of Rural Development reiterated that MGNREGS is a demand-driven program, and funds are allocated based on factors like the labor budget, opening balance, and pending liabilities.
- The Ministry claimed that out of the sanctioned ₹60,000 crore, ₹56,105.69 crore (93.5% of funds) had been released to the States.
- The funding shortfall is a recurring issue, with budget cuts occurring annually.
- A supplementary budget, often insufficient, is usually approved during the winter session of Parliament, impacting the program’s functioning and delaying work allocation.
- Impact on MGNREGS:
- The funding shortages lead to a piling up of wage dues and a reduction in work allocation, nearly halting the program.
- This cycle adversely affects the effectiveness of MGNREGS.
- Past Budget Cuts:
- In the previous fiscal year (2022-23), the MGNREGS budget was reduced by 25%, leading to a request for an additional ₹25,000 crore to address the shortfall, but only ₹16,000 crore was allocated.
About Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is a flagship social welfare program in India aimed at providing employment opportunities to rural households, particularly during seasons of agricultural and rural unemployment.
- The program is named after Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic leader of India’s struggle for independence.
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) was officially launched on February 2, 2006.
- Employment Generation:
- The primary goal of MGNREGS is to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- Poverty Alleviation:
- It aims to reduce poverty, promote sustainable rural development, and strengthen social safety nets in rural areas.
- MGNREGS covers all rural areas across India, including the most backward and remote regions.
- The program is demand-driven, meaning that rural households can request work when they need it.
- Key Features:
- Guaranteed Employment:
- MGNREGS guarantees employment within 15 days of a job request, failing which the government is liable to pay an unemployment allowance.
- Unskilled Manual Labor:
- The work provided under the scheme is predominantly unskilled manual labor, which can include activities like construction of roads, water conservation, and rural infrastructure development.
- Wage Payments:
- Wages are paid on a weekly basis and must be at least the minimum wage fixed by the state government.
- In many cases, MGNREGS wages exceed the minimum wage.
- Gender Inclusivity:
- The program promotes gender equality by ensuring that one-third of the beneficiaries are women.
- Social Audit:
- To ensure transparency and accountability, social audits are conducted at regular intervals, allowing beneficiaries and civil society organizations to monitor the implementation of the program.
- MGNREGS is implemented at the grassroots level by Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) such as Gram Panchayats.
- State governments are responsible for the overall execution and management of the scheme within their respective states.
- The central government allocates funds for MGNREGS, and the scheme’s budget varies from year to year.
- The allocation is based on factors such as the labor budget and the estimated demand for employment in each state.
- Guaranteed Employment:
- Employment Generation:
Two of every five amphibians threatened with extinction, reveals study
(General Studies- Paper III, Page 10, the Hindu)
A recent study titled ‘Ongoing declines for the world’s amphibians in the face of emerging threats’ was published in the scientific journal Nature.
- It has highlighted climate change as one of the leading threats to amphibians, including frogs, salamanders, and caecilians, across the globe.
- Study Details:
- The study, published on October 4, is based on data spanning two decades from around the world.
- It is part of the second global amphibian assessment coordinated by the Amphibian Red List Authority, managed by Re:wild, a wildlife conservation group.
- Over 1,000 experts, including scientists and researchers from various institutions, contributed data and expertise to evaluate the extinction risk of more than 8,000 amphibian species.
- These findings will be published on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- Key Findings:
- Two out of every five amphibian species are currently threatened with extinction.
- Climate change emerged as the primary threat for 39% of the amphibian species that are moving closer to extinction.
- Amphibians are particularly vulnerable to environmental changes, making climate change a significant concern.
- Changes in climate, including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, and hurricanes, affect amphibians that are unable to move far to escape these changes.
- Human Impact on Amphibian Habitat:
- While climate change is a major threat, habitat destruction and degradation remain the most common threats to amphibians.
- Agriculture, infrastructure development, and other industries contribute to habitat destruction, affecting 93% of all threatened amphibian species.
- Disease caused by the chytrid fungus and overexploitation also continue to harm amphibian populations.
- Salamanders’ Vulnerability:
- Three out of every five salamander species are threatened with extinction due to habitat destruction and climate change, making them the world’s most threatened group of amphibians.
- North America is home to a highly biodiverse community of salamanders.
- Update to 2004 Amphibian Assessment:
- The study provides an update to the landmark 2004 document, the first global amphibian assessment, which revealed the amphibian crisis and set the baseline for monitoring trends and conservation efforts.
- Currently, nearly 41% of all assessed amphibian species are globally threatened, compared to lower percentages for mammals, reptiles, and birds.
- Extinctions and Conservation Efforts:
- Four amphibian species have been documented as extinct since 2004, with an additional 27 critically endangered species considered possibly extinct.
- The study highlights the importance of habitat protection and management, which has led to improvements in the Red List status of 63 species due to conservation actions.
- Global Conservation Action Plan:
- The study’s findings will inform a global conservation action plan, prioritize conservation actions, seek additional resources, and influence policy to reverse the negative trend for amphibians.
- Amphibians play vital roles in medicine, pest control, environmental monitoring, and carbon storage, making their protection crucial.
- Relevance for India:
- The study holds significance for India, which is home to some of the rarest amphibian species.
- It emphasizes the need for aligning national priorities and fundraising efforts for amphibian conservation in the face of changing threats.
- The study underscores the urgent need for global conservation efforts to address the threats facing amphibians, with climate change emerging as a critical concern for these species worldwide.
What is the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, often referred to as the IUCN Red List, is a comprehensive database and assessment tool that provides information on the conservation status of thousands of plant and animal species worldwide.
- It is maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global conservation organization.
- The Red List assesses the extinction risk and conservation status of a wide range of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plants.
- Categories of Conservation Status: Species are categorized into several conservation status categories based on the level of threat they face.
- The primary categories include:
- Least Concern (LC): Species that are not currently facing significant threats.
- Near Threatened (NT): Species that are close to meeting the criteria for a threatened category but are not considered threatened yet.
- Vulnerable (VU): Species that are at risk of becoming endangered in the near future.
- Endangered (EN): Species that are at a very high risk of extinction.
- Critically Endangered (CR): Species that are at an extremely high risk of extinction.
- Extinct in the Wild (EW): Species that exist only in captivity or as a naturalized population outside their native range.
- Extinct (EX): Species that are confirmed to have no living individuals.
2023 Nobel Peace Prize
(General Studies- Paper I, Page 1, the Hindu)
Iranian activist NargesMohammadi, known for her advocacy of women’s rights and the abolition of the death penalty, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2023.
- She has been a prominent figure in global human rights advocacy and faced multiple imprisonments, convictions, and sentences due to her activism.
- Activism and Early Life:
- Mohammadi, a qualified engineer with a physics degree, began her activism by advocating for women’s and students’ rights through writing articles while in college.
- She worked as a journalist with platforms like Payaam-e-Hajar, focusing on women’s issues, and faced challenges due to her political views.
- Arrests and Imprisonment:
- Mohammadi’s activism led to her arrest 13 times, with five convictions, and a cumulative sentence of 31 years in prison along with 154 lashes.
- She was often held at Evin Prison in Tehran, known for its history of prisoner abuse.
- Involvement with Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC):
- In 2003, she joined the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) and collaborated with founder Shirin Ebadi, a fellow Iranian activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient (2003).
- Ebadi currently lives in exile in the U.K.
- Recognition and Awards:
- Over the years, NargesMohammadi received several awards for her fight against human rights oppression in Iran, including the Alexander Lang Award (2009), Pen Anger Award (2011), Andrei Sakharov Award (2018), and the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize (2023).
Delhi’s air quality dips to poor, GRAP stage 1 kicks in
(General Studies- Paper III, Page 3, the Indian Express)
The air quality in Delhi deteriorated to the ‘poor’ category, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 212, compared to 177 the previous day.
- An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’ and can cause breathing discomfort on prolonged exposure.
- Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, and Meerut also reported ‘poor’ air quality.
- Unfavorable meteorological conditions, including low wind speed and cold temperatures, contribute to air pollution during winter.
- The minimum temperature in Delhi remained below 20 degrees Celsius over the past four days.
- Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) Stage I
- Pollution-control measures under stage I of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) have been imposed across Delhi-NCR in response to deteriorating air quality.
- The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) issued the order for stage I of GRAP.
- Measures include water sprinkling, diversion of non-Delhi-bound truck traffic through expressways, and a ban on coal/firewood in tandoors at hotels and open eateries.
- Other steps include dust-control measures, dust mitigation at construction sites, anti-smog guns, pollution-control regulations in industries, and emission norms for thermal power plants.
- Stage II, III, and IV restrictions are invoked when the AQI reaches ‘very poor,’ ‘severe,’ and ‘severe plus’ categories, respectively.
- Forecast and Meteorological Factors
- The Air Quality Early Warning System predicts ‘poor’ air quality in Delhi until Sunday, followed by ‘moderate’ air quality on Monday.
- Unfavorable meteorological factors, including low wind speeds and lower temperatures after the monsoon withdrawal, contribute to poor air quality.
- A wind speed of less than 10 kmph is considered unfavorable for pollutant dispersion.
- Crop Residue Burning
- Punjab recorded 91 crop residue burning events on Friday, bringing the total to 845 from September 15 to October 6.
- Haryana recorded 209 crop residue-burning events during the same period.
- These figures, while notable, may not yet have a significant impact on Delhi’s air quality.
- Mitigating Air Pollution
- Mitigating air pollution in Delhi-NCR requires a combination of measures, including controlling dust, addressing construction site emissions, and enforcing pollution regulations in industries and thermal power plants.
- Timely implementation of GRAP stages based on AQI categories is essential to address deteriorating air quality.
- Impact of Calm Conditions
- Calm conditions and lower temperatures after the monsoon withdrawal contribute to the trapping of pollutants close to the earth’s surface during winter.
- These conditions can result in poor air quality, especially in urban areas like Delhi-NCR.
About Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)
- The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is a comprehensive action plan designed to combat air pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) during periods of deteriorating air quality.
- It was introduced to address the increasing levels of air pollution and their adverse health effects on the population.
- GRAP is structured into multiple stages, each corresponding to a specific range of Air Quality Index (AQI) categories.
- These stages are activated based on the severity of air pollution.
- The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was first introduced in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) in the year 2017.
- The specific stages of GRAP may vary slightly from year to year, but they generally include the following stages:
- Preventive Actions (Stage 0):
- This stage is activated when the air quality is relatively better and falls within the “Good” to “Moderate” category of the Air Quality Index (AQI).
- It focuses on proactive measures to prevent air pollution from escalating and includes actions such as dust control, strict enforcement of pollution control regulations, and public awareness campaigns.
- Stage I:
- Stage I is implemented when the air quality deteriorates to the “Poor” category of AQI.
- Measures at this stage include restrictions on the use of diesel generators, increased frequency of public transport, and stricter enforcement of pollution control norms for industries and construction activities.
- Stage II:
- Stage II comes into effect when the air quality falls into the “Very Poor” category.
- Additional actions are taken, such as the ban on construction activities, enhanced public transportation services, and restrictions on brick kilns and hot mix plants.
- Stage III:
- Stage III is activated when the AQI reaches the “Severe” category.
- Stringent measures are imposed, including the closure of schools, colleges, and outdoor activities, as well as the implementation of the odd-even road rationing scheme for vehicles.
- Emergency (Stage IV):
- The Emergency stage is declared when the air quality reaches the “Severe+” or “Emergency” category.
- This is the most critical stage, and actions may include the closure of industries, a complete halt to construction work, and a ban on entry of trucks not carrying essential goods into the city.
- Preventive Actions (Stage 0):
When can a bill be designated as a ‘money bill’: SC to hear challenge
(General Studies- Paper II, Page 19, the Indian Express)
Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud announced the formation of a seven-judge bench to address a series of petitions challenging the government’s use of the money bill route to pass significant legislations.
- This issue relates to the classification of certain bills as “money bills,” which are subject to a different legislative process under Article 110 of the Indian Constitution.
- Challenge to Amendments in PMLA
- The recent observation by CJI Chandrachud came during the hearing of challenges to amendments made to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
- In July 2022, a three-judge bench upheld the PMLA’s provisions and the extensive powers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
- However, the bench left the validity of the amendments to the PMLA, introduced through the money bill route, open for a larger Constitution bench to consider.
- The amendments to the PMLA were made through Finance Acts passed in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019.
- Formation of Seven-Judge Bench
- To address the broader issue of the government’s use of the money bill route, a seven-judge bench will be established.
- This larger bench will hear various petitions challenging the classification of specific legislations as money bills and determine their validity under the Indian Constitution.
- Aadhaar Act Challenge: Validity as Money Bill
- The Aadhaar case marked a significant challenge regarding the classification of a bill as a money bill under the Indian Constitution.
- In 2018, the Supreme Court delivered a 4:1 majority verdict, ruling in favor of the government and affirming the Aadhaar Act as a valid money bill under Article 110 of the Constitution.
- Justice DY Chandrachud was the sole dissenter in this ruling, strongly criticizing the government’s classification of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill.
- He referred to it as a “fraud on the Constitution” and “subterfuge.”
- Tribunal Reform and Money Bill Issue
- In the case of Roger Matthew vs. Union of India in November 2019, the Supreme Court considered a challenge to changes in the service conditions of tribunal members, which had been introduced as a money bill through the Finance Act of 2017.
- A five-judge bench of the court declared the law unconstitutional for encroaching on judicial independence but referred the aspect related to the money bill to a larger constitution bench.
- During this case, the court also expressed doubts about the correctness of a previous five-judge Constitution Bench’s 2018 verdict that upheld the Aadhaar Act passed as a money bill.
- Understanding a Money Bill
- Article 110(1) of the Indian Constitution defines a money bill as one that exclusively deals with matters specified in Article 110(1)(a) to (g), including taxation, government borrowing, and appropriation of funds from the Consolidated Fund of India.
- A money bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and does not require the approval of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).
- Article 110(3) stipulates that the decision of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha regarding whether a bill qualifies as a money bill is considered final.
- However, the Supreme Court, in the Aadhaar case, asserted that the Speaker’s decision is subject to judicial scrutiny.
What is Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)?
- The PMLA was enacted in India in 2002 as a response to international concerns and commitments to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
- It brought India in line with international standards on anti-money laundering efforts.
- The primary objective of the PMLA is to combat money laundering activities, which involve the process of making illegally obtained proceeds (often from criminal activities) appear legal or legitimate.
- The enforcement and administration of the PMLA in India are overseen by the Directorate of Enforcement, a specialized financial investigation agency.
What is a ‘Constitution Bench’?
- A Constitution Bench, refers to a special and larger bench of the Supreme Court of India that is constituted to hear and decide cases involving substantial questions of law related to the interpretation of the Constitution of India.
- Constitution Benches are typically composed of a specific number of senior judges, often including the Chief Justice of India, and are tasked with addressing complex legal issues of constitutional significance.
- Constitutional Matters:
- These benches are formed to adjudicate on matters that pertain to the interpretation of the Constitution of India.
- This may include cases involving fundamental rights, disputes between states and the central government, and significant constitutional questions.
- Larger Bench:
- Constitution Benches are typically composed of an odd number of judges, often ranging from five to thirteen, depending on the gravity and complexity of the constitutional issue involved.
- Presided by Senior Judges:
- The Chief Justice of India or one of the senior-most judges often presides over Constitution Benches to ensure the highest level of legal expertise and authority.