Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- SC: public places cannot be occupied indefinitely
The issue in news
The Supreme Court found the indefinite occupation of a public road by the Shaheen Bagh protesters (against the Citizenship Amendment Act) unacceptable.
The judgment upheld the right to peaceful protest against a law.
However, the judgment made it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied indefinitely.
The Court said that the protest became inconvenient to commuters.
The Court said that in a democracy, the rights of free speech and peaceful protest were treasured and are to be encouraged and respected. But, rights were also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of sovereignty, integrity and public order.
“Fundamental rights do not live in isolation. The right of the protester has to be balanced with the right of the commuter. They have to co-exist in mutual respect”, the Court said.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- India, Japan finalise text of pact for AI, 5G
The issue in news
India and Japan have finalised a landmark cyber-security agreement.
The announcement on the agreement followed the 13th India-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue between India’s External Affairs Minister and his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo.
India and Japan vowed to further broad-base their joint efforts in ensuring a free and open Indo- Pacific.
The agreement promotes cooperation in capacity building, research and development, security and resilience in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), among others.
The announcement is expected to draw the attention of the stakeholders in the Indian 5G sector as it gets ready to open up for international operators.
The firming up of the deal comes in the midst of growing concerns in India over cyberattacks from China.
India banned over 100 mobile apps with Chinese links in the backdrop of the border dispute in eastern Ladakh.
There is also a lack of clarity on the possible participation of Chinese technology majors.
Japan has announced a 50 billion Yen emergency assistance loan and a 1 billion Yen grant for the provision of medical support to India that will help India fight COVID-19.
GS 3 Related
- Google set to face antitrust case in India over smart TVs
Google is facing a new antitrust case in India.
Antitrust laws prohibit a number of business practices that restrain trade. It ensures that fair competition exists in an open-market economy.
The Competition Act, 2002 is India’s antitrust law.
On the recommendation of the Raghavan Committee, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act) was repealed and replaced by the Competition Act, 2002.
The Act was amended in 2007.
Google is alleged to have abused its Android operating system’s position in the smart television market.
The case is Google’s fourth major antitrust challenge in India.
It is currently facing public criticism from local start-ups for hurting their growth by enforcing certain policies and company charges.
The Competition Commission of India has been looking into allegations that Google engages in anti-competitive practices by creating barriers for firms wanting to use or develop modified versions of Android for smart TVs.
Google is also facing new antitrust challenges in the U.S., and a potential antitrust probe in China.
- Cabinet nod for reforms in natural gas marketing
The issue in news
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved natural gas marketing reforms.
The reforms have been approved with an aim to standardize the procedure to discover the price of gas sold in the market.
The policy has permitted affiliate companies to participate in the bidding process in view of the open, transparent and electronic bidding.
However, rebidding would be needed in case only affiliates participated, and that there were no other bidders.
Allowing affiliate companies to participate in the bidding process will be instrumental in facilitating and promoting more competition in the marketing of gas.
The policy will also grant marketing freedom to Field Development Plans of those Blocks in which Production Sharing Contracts already provide pricing freedom.
The policy is expected to bring uniformity to the bidding process across various contractual regimes and policies to avoid ambiguity.
The reforms will contribute towards the ease of doing business.
It is expected that the reforms will spur production of, infrastructure for and marketing of natural gas, while also creating jobs in gas-consuming sectors, including in MSMEs.
- ‘Pandemic could push 150 mn into extreme poverty’
The issue in news
The World Bank has released the Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report.
Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report
It is released biennially by the World Bank.
It provides the latest and most accurate estimates on trends in global poverty and shared prosperity.
Each year, the series explores a central challenge to poverty reduction and boosting shared prosperity, assessing what works well and what does not in different settings.
The 2020 report presents new estimates of COVID-19’s impacts on global poverty and inequality.
According to the report, around 150 million people are likely to enter extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in different countries.
It states that global extreme poverty is expected to rise for the first time in 20 years because of the disruption caused by COVID-19, exacerbating the impact of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing down poverty reduction.
It shows that pandemic-related job losses and deprivation worldwide are hitting already-poor and vulnerable people hard, while also partly changing the profile of global poverty by creating millions of new poor.
World Bank suggests that, in order to counter the effects of the pandemic, countries must prepare for a different economy by allowing labour, capital, skills, and innovation to move into businesses