- ‘Stimulus 3.0 supportive for growth, fiscal impact unclear’
The issue in news
Recently, the Finance Minister announced a fresh set of relief and stimulus measures for the economy – worth 1.19 lakh crore.
- Fitch Solutions stated that while the third tranche of stimulus measures should support an economic rebound over the coming quarters, the actual fiscal impact is difficult to ascertain.
- It said “estimating using the outright fiscal outlays from this announcement, ‘Stimulus 3.0’ appears to suggest additional expenditure of 1 lakh crore (0.44% of FY2019/20 GDP).
- INTERNATIONAL CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR THE SEMI-ARID TROPICS (ICRISAT)
The issue in news
Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics(ICRISAT), Hyderabad, Telangana for the deployment of drones for agricultural research activities.
- ICRISAT is an international organization which conducts agricultural research for rural development.
- It is headquartered in Patancheru (Hyderabad, Telangana) with several regional centers (Bamako (Mali), Nairobi (Kenya)) and research stations (Niamey (Niger), Kano (Nigeria), Lilongwe (Malawi), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)).
- It was founded in 1972 by a consortium of organisations convened by the Ford and the Rockefeller foundations. Its charter was signed by the FAO and the UNDP.
- Since its inception, host country India has granted a special status to ICRISAT as a UN Organization operating in the Indian territory making it eligible for special immunities and tax privileges.
- ICRISAT is managed by a full-time Director General functioning under the overall guidance of an international Governing Board.
- Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM)
The issue in news
DIPAM signs an agreement with World Bank for advisory services on asset monetization.
- Under the agreement, the World Bank will provide advisory services to DIPAM for asset monetization.
- DIPAM is mandated with facilitating the monetization of non-core assets of government CPSEs under strategic disinvestment or closure and enemy property of value INR 100 crores and above.
- DIPAM has a framework for monetizing non-core assets.
- The World Bank advisory project, approved by the Finance Minister, is aimed at analysing public asset monetization in India and benchmarking its institutional and business models against international best practices as well as supporting the development of operational guidelines and capacity building for their implementation.
- It is expected that this project would facilitate and accelerate the non-core asset monetization process and help unlock the value of these unused/marginally used assets which has the potential to substantially augment financial resources for further investments and growth.
- Vulture Action Plan
The issue in news
- The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)has cleared a plan for conserving vultures.
- The drugs that are used to treat cattle and known to poison vultures will be banned by the Drugs Controller General of India.
- Diclofenac, a drug used to treat cattle, was linked to kidney failure in vultures and a decline in the bird’s population.
- Though the drug was banned in 2006, it is reportedly still available for use.
Need for Ban
- A study by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Centre for Conservation Science found that along with Diclofenac, there were several other drugs that were potentially toxic to vultures being used by vets for treating cattle.
- The drugs make their way into the vulture’s system as they feed on carcasses.
- Three of India’s vulture species of the genus ‘Gyps’— the long-billed (Gyps indicus) and the slender-billed (Gyps tenuirostris) had declined by 97%, while in the white- rumped (Gyps bengalensis) declined nearly 99% between 1992 and 2007, according to an earlier estimate by the BNHS.
- These three vulture species were listed by IUCN, in 2000 as ‘Critically endangered’, which is the highest category of endangerment.
- This would be done through both ex-situ and in-situ conservation.
- The plan has also suggested that new veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) be tested on vultures before their commercial release. NSAIDS often poisons cattle whose carcasses the birds pray on.
Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025
- The plan was approved by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in its meeting on October 5.
- A coordinated Nation-wide vulture counting is to be conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society, Forest Department, non-profit organisations, Research Institute, etc. These counting are to be conducted at regular intervals.
- The plan has suggested that new veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs be tested on vultures before they are commercially released.
- The new plan automatically removes veterinary use of a drug if it is found to be toxic to vultures. This is to be done with the help of Drugs Controller General of India.
- Under the plan, every state will host at least one vulture safe zone to conserve the remnant population of vultures in the state. These centres will facilitate conservation and breeding of vultures.
- Conservation breeding of red-Headed vultures and Egyptian vultures and the establishment at least one vulture-safe zone in each state for the conservation of the remnant populations in that state.
- A database on emerging threats to vulture conservation, including collision and electrocution, unintentional poisoning, etc.
- The ‘Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025’ also proposes to establish Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres in Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There would also be a conservation breeding programme for the Red Headed vulture and Egyptian vulture, and at least one “Vulture Safe Zone” in every State for the conservation of the remnant populations.
- There would be four rescue centres in different geographical areas: Pinjore in north India, Bhopal in central India, Guwahati in northeast India and Hyderabad in south India, as well as regular surveys to track population numbers, the plan envisages
- Why vultures should be protected:
- The scavenging lifestyle that gives them a bad reputation is, in fact, that makes them so important for the environment, nature and society.
- Vultures feeding on dead animals help areas getting rid of carcasses that, otherwise, would provide foul smells and scenery for a much longer period hence also known as nature’s cleanup crew.
- Vultures also play a valuable role in keeping wildlife diseases in check.
- Article 32 of the Constitution
The issue in news
During the hearing of a plea the Chief Justice of India (CJI) recently stated that the court is trying to discourage petitions filed under Article 32.
- CJI’s View: CJI noted that there is a spate of Article 32 petitions and reiterated that the High Court can also uphold fundamental rights (under article 226).
- The SC has power to issue directions or orders or writs(habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quowarranto) for the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights. The writs issued may include
- The right to move the SC shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by the Constitution.
- Thus, the Constitution provides that the President can suspend the right to move any court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights during a national emergency (Article 359).
- the jurisdiction of the SC is original but not exclusive In case of the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
- It is concurrent with the jurisdiction of the high court under Article 226.
- Concurrent means when the Fundamental Rights of a citizen are violated, the aggrieved party has the option of moving either the high court or the Supreme Court
- the SC has also ruled that where relief through the high court is available under Article 226, the aggrieved party should first move the high court.
- Even as the SC underlines the powers of the high courts, it has in the past transferred cases to itself from the high courts.
- Recently, the SC also conveyed its concerns that in many matters involving personal liberty, the High Courts are not exercising their jurisdiction as constitutional courts.
- Article 226 of the Constitution empowers a high court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warranto for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens and for any other purpose.
- The phrase ‘for any other purpose’ refers to the enforcement of an ordinary legal right. This implies that the writ jurisdiction of the high court is wider than that of the SC.