3rd November 2020

Index

A) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments

1. Mirror order and the Hague Convention (TH)

2. SC stays EC order revoking ‘star campaigner’ status of Nath (TH)

3. HC panel questions setting up of special courts to try MPs (TH)

B) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations

4. The Public Affairs Index-2020 (TH)

C) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

5. Government extends Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme by one month (PIB)

6. Mission Sagar – II (PIB)

D) Art, Culture and History

7. Guru Ram Das Ji: The founder of Amritsar (PIB)

E) Economy

8. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) (TH)

F) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

9. Red Sanders (TH)

A) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments

1. Mirror order and the Hague Convention (TH)

Context: The Supreme Court has applied the principle of “mirror order” in a child custody case where father is based in Kenya and the mother is in India.

Analysis

  • When a competent court in India passes a series of the conditions for the transfer of custody of a child to a parent living abroad, an identical or mirror order is passed by an equally competent court to ensure that the conditions of custody are met.
  • This mechanism ensures that contradictory judicial orders are not passed and is considered a remedy against transnational parental abduction of children in inter-country marriages.
  • The object of a mirror order is to safeguard the interest of the minor child in transit from one jurisdiction to another, and to ensure that both parents are equally bound in each State.
  • The mirror order is passed to ensure that the courts of the country where the child is being shifted are aware of the arrangements which were made in the country where he had ordinarily been residing.
  • Such an order would also safeguard the interest of the parent who is losing custody, so that the rights of visitation and temporary custody are not impaired.
  • A ‘mirror order’ is ancillary or auxiliary in character. It supports the original order passed by the court which has exercised primary jurisdiction over the custody of a child.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

  • It is a multi-national treaty that seeks to protect children wrongfully removed by one of the parents from the custody of the other parent.
  • At the heart of this treaty is the criterion of “habitual residence” of the child, which is used to determine whether the child was wrongfully removed by a parent as well as to seek the return of the child.
  • The Hague Convention itself does not define habitual residence. It is decided by the courts.
  • The purposes of the Convention are to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent by encouraging the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence, and to organize or secure the effective rights of access to a child.
  • India is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. 

2. SC stays EC order revoking ‘star campaigner’ status of Nath (TH)

  • The Supreme Court stayed the October 30 order of the Election Commission (EC) revoking the ‘star campaigner’ status of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
  • Chief Justice of India said the Commission had no power to determine who should be the ‘star campaigner’ of a political party.
  • “Section 77(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 read with Guidelines for Star Campaigners issued by the Election Commission, from time to time, makes selection/revocation of ‘star campaigners’ the sole prerogative of the political party,” according to the petition submitted to the Court.

3. HC panel questions setting up of special courts to try MPs (TH)

Context: A three-judge committee of the Madras High Court has questioned the constitutional validity of setting up special courts to exclusively try MPs and MLAs for various crimes.

  • It said the special courts should be “offence-centric” and not “offender-centric.”

Analysis

  • “An MP/MLA, who commits an offence under the POCSO Act [or other Special Acts like Prevention of Corruption Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act] can only be tried by a Special Court created under the POCSO Act [PC Act, NDPS Act] and there cannot be another Special Court exclusively for trial of an MP/MLA, who commits POCSO offence,” the Madras High Court Committee report reasoned.
  • The HC committee report, dated October 13, comes in the face of a 2017 Supreme Court order authorising the Centre to set up 12 special courts to exclusively try criminal politicians across the country.
  • It also comes at a time when a three-judge Bench of the apex court led by Justice N.V. Ramana is looking at ways to expedite these trials pending for years, in some cases, for decades.
  • But the Madras High Court’s Criminal Rules Committee on Special Courts for Trial of Criminal Cases against MPs/MLAs said special courts could not be set up on the basis of judicial or executive orders.
  • “Special courts can only be constituted by a statute and not by executive or judicial fiats,” observed the committee.

B) Indices/Committees/Reports/Organisations

4. The Public Affairs Index-2020 (TH)

Context: The Public Affairs Index-2020 was recently released by the Public Affairs Centre.

Analysis

  • The city-based not-for-profit organisation is headed by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Kasturirangan.
  • The report evaluates governance in states and Union Territories on three criteria of sustainable development – equity, growth and sustainability.
  • Four southern States — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, in that order, stood in the first four ranks in the large State category in terms of governance.
  • Uttar Pradesh (-1.461), Odisha (-1.201) and Bihar (-1.158) were at the bottom of the ranking.
  • In the small State category, Goa ranked first.
  • Chandigarh emerged at the top in the category of Union Territories.

C) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

5. Government extends Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme by one month (PIB)

  • The Union Government has extended the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) by one month till November 30th, 2020, or till such time that an amount of Rs. 3 lakh crore is sanctioned under the Scheme, whichever is earlier, in view of the opening up of various sectors in the economy and the expected increase in demand during the ongoing festive season.
  • This extension will provide a further opportunity to such borrowers who have not availed of the Scheme so far, to obtain credit under the Scheme.
  • The ECLGS was announced as part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package (ANBP) to provide fully guaranteed and collateral free additional credit to MSMEs, business enterprises, individual loans for business purposes and MUDRA borrowers, to the extent of 20 per cent of their credit outstanding as on 29.2.2020.
  • Borrowers with credit outstanding up to Rs. 50 crore as on 29.2.2020, and with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 250 crore are eligible under the Scheme.
  •  Interest rates under the Scheme are capped at 9.25 per cent for Banks and FIs, and 14 per cent for NBFCs.
  • Tenor of loans provided under the Scheme is four years, including a moratorium of one year on principle repayment.

6. Mission Sagar – II (PIB)

  • As part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’, Indian Naval Ship Airavat entered Port Sudan on 02 November 2020.
  • The Government of India is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries to overcome natural calamities and COVID-19 pandemic, and towards the same INS Airavat is carrying a consignment of 100 Tonnes of food aid for the people of Sudan.
  • Mission Sagar-II, follows the first ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in May-June 2020, wherein India reached out to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines.
  • As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea. 
  • Mission Sagar-II, is in line with the India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her maritime neighbours and further strengthens the existing bond.

D) Art, Culture and History

7. Guru Ram Das Ji: The founder of Amritsar (PIB)

Context: Prime Minister greeted the people on the occasion of the Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Ramdas Ji. 

Analysis

  • Born as Bhai Jetha, Guru Ramdas was the disciple of third Guru Guru Amar Das.
  • He quickly rose in the ranks to emerge as his Guru’s favourite, and even married the latter’s younger daughter — Bibi Bhani — and eventually, was appointed Ram Das, the fourth Guru of the Sikhs.
  • His bani, or set of songs, contained more than 600 hymns that held various teachings for followers of the faith. But his teachings went far beyond the books.
  • The fourth Sikh guru was also famous for explaining to Mughal emperor Akbar why king and caste are irrelevant.
  • When a group of Brahmins in Goindval raised objections to langar — that ostensibly ignored distinctions of the four castes — Amar Das dispatched his son-in-law to meet Emperor Akbar and address the grievances.
  • Ram Das’s strikingly simple statement at the royal court, that all were equal in the eyes of god, led Akbar to dismiss all objections.
  • In the years to come, Ram Das also stepped up efforts to strengthen the practice of commensality and even proclaimed that “kings and emperors are all created by God; they come and bow in reverence to God’s humble servant”.
  • But the man had to leave Goindval soon after his coronation in 1574 when he was faced with rivalry from Amar Das’ sons. As advised by his father-in-law, Ram Das and Bibi Bhani then moved to a new place.

An ‘autonomous’ Amritsar

  • It is this new place, the chief feature of which was its human-made sarovar (tank), that was to become Amritsar in the years to come.
  • Guru Ram Das had laid the foundations of Ramdaspur, later renamed to Amritsar, when he inaugurated the pool’s excavation in 1577.
  • The sarovar later became the nucleus of Amritsar when Ram Das’ youngest son and successor, Guru Arjan Dev, built a temple complex around it and placed a copy of the Adi Granth at Harmandir Sahib in 1604.
  • The city’s bustling markets and the gentle pool surrounding the Golden Temple all came together when Guru Ram Das invited merchants and artisans from other parts of India to settle in this new town with him.
  • Ramdaspur or Amritsar was also perhaps one of those few towns that remained autonomous in the context of a larger Mughal rule.
  1. Arjan Dev’s proclamation that the town had no collector of taxes was a testimony to this fact.
  2. He had pointed toward a reality that the town was under the “authority of the Guru, not the Mughal state”.
  • A son-in-law of the third Guru, Amar Das, Ram Das also strengthened the institution of langar (community kitchen) and manjis (missionary centres) in attempts to consolidate the foundations of a minority Sikh community in the face of powerful Mughal politics and hegemonic Brahminical traditions.

Charting roadmap for a marriage law

  • Among Guru Ram Das’s most famous compositions, the most well-known is his wedding hymn that formed the basis of the Sikh wedding ceremony called Anand Karaj.
  • The hymn also emerged to be the focal point on which the British-era Anand Marriage Act of 1909 was later formed.

E) Economy

8. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) (TH)

Context: India’s manufacturing sector activity improved for the third straight month in October with companies raising output to the greatest extent in 13 years amid robust sales growth.

  • The headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose from 56.8 in September to 58.9 in October, and pointed to the strongest improvement in the health of the sector in more than a decade.

Analysis

  • ‘Purchasing Managers’ index’ is considered as an indicator of the economic health and investor sentiments about the manufacturing sector (there is services PMI as well).
  • The PMI is constructed separately for manufacturing and services sector. But the manufacturing sector holds more importance.
  • In a PMI data, a reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while a reading below 50 points shows contraction of economic activities.
  • For India, the PMI Data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei but compiled and constructed by Markit Economics.
  • The variables used to construct India’s PMI are: Output, New Orders, Employment, Input Costs, Output Prices, Backlogs of Work, Export Orders, Quantity of Purchases, Suppliers’ Delivery Times, Stocks of Purchases and Stocks of Finished Goods. 
  • It summarizes whether market conditions, as viewed by purchasing managers, are expanding, staying the same, or contracting.
  • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current and future business conditions to company decision makers, analysts, and investors.

How PMI is different from IIP

  • In contrast to volume-based production indicator like the IIP, the PMI senses dynamic trends because of the variables it uses for the construction of the index.
  • For example, new orders under PMI show growth oriented positive trends and not just volume of past production that can be traced in an ordinary Index of Industrial Production.
  • Hence, the PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.

F) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

9. Red Sanders (TH)

Context: Illegal loggers of Red Sanders died while transporting the logs in an accident. This topic has been covered in detail in 14th Sep file.

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