GS 2


  1. Creation of a multi-stakeholder body (MSB): net neutrality

The issue in news

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended the creation of a multi-stakeholder body (MSB) to ensure that Internet access providers adhere to the provisions of net neutrality.

Main points

  • The MSB could include telecom service providers, Internet service providers, content providers, researchers, academic and technical community, civil society organisations, and the government.
  • It is recommended that it be set up as a non-profit entity.
  • The role of the MSB shall be to provide advice and support to the DoT in the monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality principles.
  • The MSB may also be required to investigate complaints regarding the violation of net neutrality.
  • TRAI also suggested that the MSB help DoT in the maintenance of a repository of reasonable traffic management practices.


What is Net Neutrality

  • Net Neutrality is a principle which states that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally and there should be no discrimination by telecommunication companies/Internet Service Providers.
  • The service providers should not differentiate this service with different forms and categories of traffic on the internet.



  • The net neutrality principles adopted by DoT were technology-neutral and would apply equally to 5G technology, the telecom regulator clarified.


  1. Amid boycott, Rajya Sabha passes 7 Bills

The issue in news

Amid a boycott of House proceedings by many opposition parties, Rajya Sabha passed seven key bills in three-and-a-half hours.

Main points

Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • It seeks to declare five Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) set up under the public-private partnership mode in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutions of national importance.


The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The bill has provisions to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
  • It aims to remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
  • The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to the harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into the agriculture sector.
  • It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of the food supply chain.
  • It will create a competitive market environment and also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.
  • It has been provided in the Amendment, that in situations such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity, such agricultural foodstuff can be regulated.


  • The installed capacity of a value chain participant and the export demand of an exporter will remain exempted from such stock limit imposition so as to ensure that investments in agriculture are not discouraged.


Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The bill amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 as applicable to Cooperative Banks.
  • The amendment will bring cooperative banks under the direct supervision of the RBI and bring them under some of the same governance norms as commercial banks.


Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The Companies Amendment Bill 2020 amends 13 sections and adds one chapter.


National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020 and Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020:

  • The two universities were suggested in the Union Budget 2020 to further strengthen the technological infrastructure in the country.
  • The National Forensics Sciences University would entail upgradation of the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University.
  • Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020 has been passed to upgrade the Gandhinagar Police Training University to a national university. Both the universities would be set up under the Institutions of National Importance tag.


Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020

  • The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, seeks to replace an ordinance and make a few other changes in direct and indirect tax laws.
  • The reliefs in the bill include extending deadlines for filing returns and for linking PAN and Aadhaar.
  • It also provides tax benefits on donations made to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES FUND) set up in March in the wake of the pandemic.
  • The Bill amends the provisions of the Income Tax Act to provide the same tax treatment to PM-CARES Fund as available to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.




  1. Sri Lankan govt. tables 20th Amendment Bill

The issue in news

Sri Lanka’s Justice Minister tabled the contentious 20th Amendment Bill in Parliament amidst protests by the opposition members.

Main points

  • The proposed 20th Constitution Amendment Bill aims to bolster the powers of the President. The government gazetted 20A, the new proposed legislation that would replace the 19th Amendment introduced in 2015 that curtailed the powers of the President and strengthened the role of Parliament.
  • The 19A was seen as the most progressive pro-democracy reformist move since Sri Lanka came to be governed under the all-powerful executive presidency in 1978.
  • It depoliticised the government administration by ensuring the independence of key pillars such as the judiciary, public service, and elections.
  • The 20th Amendment proposes to restore full legal immunity to the President, removing the provisions made in 19A to take legal action against the President.



  • Earlier, the government said it would revisit the Amendment and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a committee to study the proposed legislation and give recommendations.
  • However, it appears that no changes have yet been made to the draft that has triggered concern among public intellectuals, activists and government critics.



  • Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, the government’s chief legal adviser, has said the draft Bill of the 20th Amendment will not require a referendum, and could be enacted with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, which the ruling party of the Rajapaksas has secured.


GS 3

Category: ECONOMY


  1. Borrowing by States increase 45% this fiscal

The issue in news

Eleven States raised a total of 14,298 crore at the auction of State government securities or State Development Loans (SDLs).

State Development Loans

  • State Development Loans (SDLs) are dated securities issued by states for meeting their market borrowings requirements. It is a Government Security (G-Sec).
  • In effect, the SDLs are similar to the dated securities issued by the central government.
  • The purpose of issuing State Development Loans is to meet the budgetary needs of state governments.
  • In India, the Central Government issues both, treasury bills and bonds or dated securities while the State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities, which are called the State Development Loans (SDLs).



  • Having faced a sharp decline in revenues, State governments have been increasingly resorting to market borrowings.
  • From April to September in the financial year 2020-21, market borrowings of 27 States and 2 Union Territories have seen an increase of 45% from the borrowings in the corresponding period of 2019- 20.



  • Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan have been the top 5 borrowing States, accounting for 54% of the total borrowings by States so far.
  • Karnataka, Maharashtra and T.N. have seen their market borrowings increase by more than 100% from the year-earlier period




  1. EPCA chief asks Punjab, Haryana to act against stubble burning

The issue in news

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has written to the chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana urging them to address the issue of stubble burning urgently.

Main points

  • Paddy residue is not used as fodder as it’s unfit and hence farmers burn both the paddy stalk and straw close to autumn every year which is a key contributing factor of pollution causing breathing problems in the northern region.
  • Early burning of crop residue has begun in the states of Punjab and Haryana.
  • According to a SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research under the Central government) estimate, based on harmonising the INSAT-3, 3D and NASA satellite, EPCA noted that Punjab has seen 42 fire counts in a single day.
  • In 2019, about 9.8 million tonnes of the total estimated crop residue of 20 million tonnes were burnt in Punjab. In Haryana, of a total of 7 million tonnes, 1.24 million tonnes of stubble was burnt.


  • INSAT-3D is an advanced weather satellite of India configured with an improved Imaging System and Atmospheric Sounder.
  • INSAT-3D is designed for enhanced meteorological observations, monitoring of land and ocean surfaces, generating a vertical profile of the atmosphere in terms of temperature and humidity for weather forecasting and disaster warning.


Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA):

  • Environment Pollution Control Authority is a Supreme Court-mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region).
  • The body is constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It is mandated to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region).

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