2nd January 2021

Index

A) Economy

1. IFSCA becomes member of IOSCO (PIB)

2. India’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB) (livemint)

B) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments

3. Ordinance-Making Power of Governor (Article 213 of the Constitution) (TH)

C) Art, Culture and History

4. The battle of Bhima-Koregaon (TH)

D) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations

5. Digital Payments Index (DPI) (TH)

E) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

6. Dzukou Valley (TH)

7. Severe Cold Wave, Cold Wave and Cold Day (TH)

8. Migratory birds have been found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Pong Dam (IE)

A) Economy

1. IFSCA becomes member of IOSCO (PIB)

  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has become an Associate Member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
  • The IOSCO is the international organization that brings together the world’s securities regulators, covering more than 95% of the world’s securities markets, and is the global standard setter for the securities sector.
  • IOSCO works closely with the G20 and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in setting up the standards for strengthening the securities markets.
  • The IOSCO Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation have been endorsed by FSB as one of the key standards for sound financial systems.
  • The membership of IOSCO would provide IFSCA the platform to exchange information at the global level and regional level on areas of common interests.
  • Further, the IOSCO platform would enable IFSCA to learn from the experiences and best practices of the regulators of other well established financial centres.

2. India’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB) (livemint)

  • In what is claimed to be a maiden innovative move on civic terrain, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has signed an MoU with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to co-create India’s ‘first Social Impact Bond (SIB)’.
  • This SIB will support the PCMC in improving healthcare services for local residents, especially with respect to the pandemic, while incurring minimum investment risks, said UNDP.
  • This is the first time that a government body will act as the ‘outcome funder’ in a bond, whereas traditionally most government-funded public projects require large and early investments by the government with a substantial gestation period of outcomes and involve various kinds of risks.

B) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments

3. Ordinance-Making Power of Governor (Article 213 of the Constitution) (TH)

Context: An editorial.

Analysis

  • Governor can promulgate anordinance only when thelegislative assembly (in case ofa unicameral legislature) is notin session or (in case of a bicamerallegislature) when boththe Houses of the statelegislature are not in session orwhen either of the two Housesof the state legislature is not insession.
  • The last provisionimplies that an ordinance canbe promulgated by thegovernor when only one House(in case of a bicamerallegislature) is in sessionbecause a law can be passed by both the Houses and not byone House alone.
  • He can promulgate anordinance only when he issatisfied that circumstancesexist which render it necessaryfor him to take immediateaction.
  • His ordinance-making power isco-extensive with the legislativepower of the state legislature.
  • This means that he can issueordinances only on thosesubjects on which the statelegislature can make laws.
  • An ordinance issued by himhas the same force and effectas an act of the statelegislature.
  • An ordinance issued by him issubject to the same limitationsas an act of the statelegislature.
  • This means that anordinance issued by him will beinvalid to the extent it makesany provision which the statelegislature cannot make.
  • He can withdraw an ordinanceat any time.
  • His ordinance-making power isnot a discretionary power.
  • Thismeans that he can promulgateor withdraw an ordinance onlyon the advice of the councilheaded by the chief minister.
  • An ordinance issued by himshould be laid before the legislative assembly or both theHouses of the state legislature (in case of a bicamerallegislature) when itreassembles.
  • An ordinance issued by himceases to operate on the expiryof six weeks from thereassembly of the statelegislature.
  • It may cease tooperate even earlier than theprescribed six weeks, if aresolution disapproving it ispassed by the legislativeassembly and is agreed to bythe legislative council (in caseof a bicameral legislature).
  • If theHouses of the state legislature are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks is calculated from the later of those dates.
  • This means that the maximum life of an ordinance can be six months and six weeks, in case of non-approval by the state legislature (six months being the maximum gap between the two sessions of Legislative Assembly).
  • If an ordinance is allowed to lapse without being placed before Legislative Assembly, then the acts done and completed under it, before it ceases to operate, remain fully valid and effective.
  • An ordinance like any other legislation, can be retrospective, that is, it may come into force from a back date.
  1. It may modify or repeal any act of state legislature or another ordinance.
  2. It can alter or amend a tax law also.
  3. However, it cannot be issued to amend the Constitution.
  • There is no established practice requiring the Governor (or the President under Article 123 of the Constitution) to state the circumstances for immediate action.
  • The court can inquire whether circumstances existed that enabled the Governor to be satisfied of the necessity of promulgating an ordinance.
  • The Supreme Court in the D.C. Wadhwa case (1987)ruled that successive repromulgation of ordinances with the same textwithout any attempt to get the bills passed by the assembly wouldamount to violation of the Constitution and the ordinance sorepromulgated is liable to be struck down.
  • The Ordinance making power does not constitute the President or the Governor into a parallel source of law making or an independent legislative authority.
  • Governor cannot make an ordinancewithout the instructions fromthe President in three cases:

(a) If a bill containing the sameprovisions would haverequired the previoussanction of the Presidentfor its introduction into thestate legislature.

(b) If he would have deemed itnecessary to reserve a billcontaining the sameprovisions for theconsideration of thePresident.

(c) If an act of the statelegislature containing thesame provisions wouldhave been invalid withoutreceiving the President’s assent.

  • In justification of the ordinance making power of the President/Governor, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said in the Constituent Assembly that the mechanism of issuing an ordinance has been devised in order to enable the Executive to deal with a situation that may suddenly and immediately arise when the Parliament/state legislature is not in session.
  1. It must be clarified here that the ordinance-making power of the President/Governor has no necessary connection with the national emergency envisaged in Article 352.
  2. The President/Governor can issue an ordinance even when there is no war or external aggression or armed rebellion.

C) Art, Culture and History

4. The battle of Bhima-Koregaon (TH)

Context: The battle of Bhima-Koregaon, one of the last battles in 1818 of the Third Anglo-Maratha War which culminated in the Peshwa’s defeat, should be included in history textbooks, said the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.

Analysis

  • A small village in Pune district of Maharashtra, Bhima-Koregaon is associated with an important phase of Maratha history.
  • On January 1, 1818, a Dalit-dominated British Army had defeated a Peshwa army, led by Peshwa Bajirao II, in Koregaon.
  • The battle attained a legendary stature for Dalits, who consider the win as a victory of the Mahars (a Scheduled Caste) against the injustices perpetuated by the Brahminical Peshwas.
  • A pillar, known as Vijay Sthamb (victory pillar), was installed by the East India Company in memory of those who fought for them in the battle.
  • Every year on January 1, the Ambedkarite Dalits gather at Bhima Koregaon to pay their respect at the Vijay Sthamb (victory pillar).

Third Anglo-Maratha War

Sequence of Events

  • The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818) came about because of conflict between the British and the Pindaris.
  • The British suspected that the Marathas were providing help to the Pindaris, who were mercenaries fighting for the Marathas.
  • There was a lot of interference from the British Residents in the internal affairs, particularly regarding succession.
  • In a bid to increase revenue, Peshwa Baji Rao introduced certain stringent measures. The British accused him of maladministration.
  • The Marathas decided to go to war to retain their freedom.
  • Peshwa Baji Rao II tried to form a confederacy of the Maratha chiefs against the English. He roped in the support of the Pathan chief Amir Khan and the Pindaris.
  • Peshwa Baji Rao II’s forces, supported by those of Mudhoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur and Malharrao Holkar III of Indore, rose against the East India Company.
  • Pressure and diplomacy convinced the fourth major Maratha leader, Daulatrao Shinde of Gwalior, to remain neutral even though he lost control of Rajasthan.
  • British eventually won resulting in the break up of the Maratha Empire.
  • On June 3, 1818, the Peshwa surrendered and was captured and placed in a small estate at Bithur, near Kanpur.
  • Most of his territory was annexed and became a part of the Bombay Presidency. All the Maratha powers had surrendered.

D) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations

5. Digital Payments Index (DPI) (TH)

Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constructed a composite Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country.

Analysis

  • The RBI-DPI has been constructed with March 2018 as the base period. DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100.
  • The DPI for March 2019 and March 2020 works out to 153.47 and 207.84 respectively, indicating appreciable growth.
  • The RBI-DPI comprises five broad parameters: Payment Performance (weight 45%), Payment Enablers (weight 25%), Payment Infrastructure – Supply-side factors (15%), Payment Infrastructure – Demand-side factors and (10%), and Consumer Centricity (5%).
  • Each of these parameters has sub-parameters which, in turn, consist of various measurable indicators.
  • RBI-DPI will be published on the RBI’s website on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of four months.

E) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

6. Dzukou Valley (TH)

Context: The Indian Air Force has engaged an Mi-17V5 helicopter to tame a massive wildfire in Dzukou Valley, a popular trekking destination on the Manipur-Nagaland border.

  • Tribals burn down forest areas for hunting the terrified wild animals and doing shifting cultivation. There are some disputes between Manipur and Nagaland which also lays claim to the valley.

Analysis

  • Dzuko Valley in Nagaland also called the (valley of flowers of North East) is more popular with trekkers for its interesting and challenging trekking circuits.
  • It prides itself for being one of the most-visited tourist sites in not only Nagaland but the entire Northeast India.
  • Dzüko Lily- a flower is found only in this valley. These rare flowers begin to bloom during the onset of monsoon season.

7. Severe Cold Wave, Cold Wave and Cold Day (TH)

Context: The India Meteorological Department declared that Delhi was under the spell of a severe cold wave, but relief from the dipping mercury was on the horizon as light rain is expected under the influence of a western disturbance between January 3 and January 5.

Analysis

  • The showers will most likely cause a rise in the minimum temperature by a few notches.
  • A severe cold wave is declared when the minimum temperature dips to 2 degrees Celsius or the departure is more than 6.4 degrees from the normal.

Cold Day

  • In the plains of north India, foggy conditions prevail during winter for several days or weeks.
  • The minimum temperature on these days remains above normal, while maximum temperature remains much below normal.
  • When maximum temperature is less than or equal to 16°C in Plains, it will be declared “Cold Day.”

Cold Wave

  • Wind chill is a measurement of the rate of heat loss from your body when you’re exposed to low temperatures combined with wind.
  • Wind chill factor is taken into account while declaring the cold wave situation.
  • The wind chill effective minimum temperature (WCTn) is defined as the effective minimum temperature due to wind flow.
  • For example, when the minimum temperature is 15 degree Celsius and the wind speed is 10 mph, WCTn will be 10.5 degree Celsius (it is calculated using a formula not relevant for UPSC).
  • When WCTn is 0°C or less, Cold Wave should be declared irrespective of normal minimum temperature of the station.
  • However, this criterion is not applicable for those stations whose normal minimum temperature is below 0°C.

8. Migratory birds have been found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Pong Dam (IE)

  • More than 750 migratory birds have been found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Pong Dam lake in Kangra in recent days.

Pong-Dam

  • A reservoir has been constructed on the river Beas in the wet land of Shivalik hills of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, which has been named as Maharana Pratap Sagar.
  • It is also known as Pong reservoir or Pong Dam.
  • This reservoir or lake is a famous wildlife sanctuary and one of the international wetland sites declared by Ramsar Convention in India.