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19 MARCH CURRENT AFFAIRS

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19 MARCH CURRENT AFFAIRS

Q1. With reference to the electoral bonds, consider the following statements: [Delhi Edition Page 1]

1. An electoral bond is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of State Bank of India. 

2. It has to be redeemed by Political parties within 365 days only in their specified account.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A.1 only
B.2 only
C.Both 1 and 2
D.Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: a

Explanation:

Chief Justice of India agreed to urgently hear a plea by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms to stay the sale of a new set of electoral bonds on April 1, before the Assembly elections in crucial States such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

  • An electoral bond is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of State Bank of India. 
  • An individual or party will be allowed to purchase these bonds digitally or through cheque after disclosing their identity through know your customer (KYC) norms
  • The citizen or corporate can then donate the same to any eligible political party of his/her choice.
  • The bonds are similar to bank notes that are payable to the bearer on demand and are free of interest. It has to be redeemed by Political parties within 15 days only in their specified account.

Hence only statement 1 is correct.

Q2. With reference to the Bihar Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2021, consider the following statements: [Delhi Edition Page 6]

1. The Bill proposes that a case against a person filing a false case can be filed in the district court.

2. If the person is found guilty of it or for giving false testimony or filed wrong affidavit, he/she will be sentenced to a jail term of upto three years besides a provision for fine.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A.1 only
B.2 only
C.Both 1 and 2
D.Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c

Explanation:

The Bihar Assembly passed the Bihar Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that proposes to punish people filing false cases before the anti- corruption ombudsman body to prevent any waste of time or misuse of the institution.

  • Lokayukta carries out expeditious investigation and prosecution relating to allegations involving corruption against public servants of all grades.
  • The proposed legislation has been brought keeping in view the misuse of the Lokayukta institution in false cases.
  • It was proposed by the Lokayukta itelf that there should be a provision for punishing people filing false cases before it. The Lokayukta acts of other States have the provision of punitive action against such erring persons.

Salient features:

  • The Bill proposes that a case against a person filing a false case can be filed in the district court.
  • If the person is found guilty of it or for giving false testimony or filed wrong affidavit, he/she will be sentenced to a jail term of upto three years besides a provision for fine.
  • Hence both statements are correct.

Q3. Consider the following statements: [Delhi Edition Page 10]

1. The Supreme Court stayed a Kerala High Court decision barring aided school teachers and non-teaching staff from contesting Assembly elections or engaging in political activities.

2. The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A.1 only
B.2 only
C.Both 1 and 2
D.Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c

Explanation:

The Supreme Court stayed a Kerala High Court decision barring aided school teachers and non-teaching staff from contesting Assembly elections or engaging in political activities.

  • It issued notice to the Kerala government while staying the High Court verdict in February.
  • The High Court had declared Section 2 (IV) of the Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualifications) Act of 1951, which allowed aided school teachers to become legislators, as unconstitutional.
  • Petitioners in the High Court had challenged the 1951 law, saying their participation in politics would affect the quality of education.
  • They had argued in the HC that since Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules prohibits government school teachers from taking part in political activities, the rule should extend to school teachers also.
  • The government had however contended in the High Court that as per a government order issued in 1967, the teachers of aided schools had political rights. There were no rules or Act prohibiting them from participating in political activities or contesting polls.

The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.

Hence both statements are correct.

Q4. With reference to the Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021, consider the following statements: [Delhi Edition Page 11]

1. It increases the maximum foreign investment allowed in an insurance company from 49% to 100%.

2. The Act requires insurers to hold a minimum investment in assets which would be sufficient to clear their insurance claim liabilities.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A.1 only
B.2 only
C.Both 1 and 2
D.Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: b

Explanation:

The Rajya Sabha passed the Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021 which increases the maximum foreign investment allowed in an insurance company from 49% to 74%

  • The Bill amends the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the maximum foreign investment allowed in an Indian insurance company.
  • The Act provides the framework for functioning of insurance businesses and regulates the relationship between an insurer, its policyholders, its shareholders, and the regulator (the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India).

Foreign investment:

  • The Act allows foreign investors to hold up to 49% of the capital in an Indian insurance company, which must be owned and controlled by an Indian entity.
  • The Bill increases the limit on foreign investment in an Indian insurance company from 49% to 74%, and removes restrictions on ownership and control.
  • However, such foreign investment may be subject to additional conditions as prescribed by the central government.

Investment of assets:

  • The Act requires insurers to hold a minimum investment in assets which would be sufficient to clear their insurance claim liabilities.
  • If the insurer is incorporated or domiciled outside India, such assets must be held in India in a trust and vested with trustees who must be residents of India.
  • The Act specifies in an explanation that this will also apply to an insurer incorporated in India, in which at least: (i) 33% capital is owned by investors domiciled outside India, or (ii) 33% of the members of the governing body are domiciled outside India.
  • The Bill removes this explanation.

Hence only statement 2 is correct.

Q5. With reference to the supplementary demand for grants, consider the following statements: [Delhi Edition Page 11]

1. Article 64 of the constitution provides for Supplementary, additional or excess grants.

2. Unlike the Demands for Grants presented with the budget, these supplementary demands have never been scrutinised by Standing Committees.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A.1 only
B.2 only
C.Both 1 and 2
D.Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: b

Explanation:

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the supplementary demand for grants (second batch for 2020-21).

  • During the year, if the government needs to spend any money which has not been approved by Parliament or needs to incur additional expenditure, it can introduce Supplementary Demands for Grants.
  • Typically, Supplementary Demands for Grants are passed in every Parliament session.
  • Article 115 of the constitution provides for Supplementary, additional or excess grants.
  • Note that, unlike the Demands for Grants presented with the budget, these supplementary demands have never been scrutinised by Standing Committees.

Hence only statement 2 is correct.

Q6. The prosecution should be required to prove that public property had been damaged in direct action called by an organisation and that the accused also participated in such direct action. This suggestion was given by?

[Delhi Edition Page 6]

  1. Thomas Committee
  2. Nariman Committee
  3. Swaran Singh Committee
  4. K V Kammath Committee

Answer: a

Explanation:

Thomas Committee

● It suggested that the prosecution should be required to prove that public property had been damaged in direct action called by an organisation and that the accused also participated in such direct action.

● The court accepted the suggestion and added that the law must be amended to give the court the power to draw a presumption that the accused is guilty of destroying public property and it would then be open to the accused to rebut such presumption.

● Such a reversal of the burden of proof is applicable in cases of sexual violence, among others. Generally, the law presumes that the accused is innocent until the prosecution proves its case.

Q7. Consider the following [Delhi Edition Page 1]

1. The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

2. It oversees expert investigation of violations in specific countries (Special Procedures).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A.1 only
B.2 only
C.Both 1 and 2
D.Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c

Explanation:
UNHRC

● UNHRC was reconstituted from its predecessor organisation, the UN Commission on Human Rights to help overcome the “credibility deficit” of the previous organisation.

● Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

● The UNHRC has 47 members serving at any time with elections held to fill up seats every year, based on allocations to regions across the world to ensure geographical representation.

● Each elected member serves for a term of three years.

● Countries are disallowed from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive terms.

Functions:

○ The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

○ It oversees expert investigation of violations in specific countries (Special Procedures).

Q8. S-400 Triumf is designed by [Delhi Edition Page 12]

  1. China
  2. France
  3. Italy
  4. Russia

Answer: d

About the S-400 Triumf Missile System

● The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.

● It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

● The system can engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400 km, at an altitude of up to 30 km.

● The system can track 100 airborne targets and engage six of them simultaneously.

Q9. Consider the following statements: [Delhi Edition Page 8]

1. Aadhaar card can be used as a proof of citizenship or domicile.
2. Once issued, Aadhaar number cannot be deactivated or omitted by the Issuing Authority.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer d

Explanation: Aadhar Card is a 12-digit unique number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by taking a person’s biometric details such as iris scan and fingerprints, and demographic information like date of birth and address.

The Aadhaar Act regulations, which are currently in Parliament, state that an individual’s Aadhaar number may be “omitted” permanently or deactivated temporarily by the Unique Identification Authority of India, the agency responsible for issuing the numbers and managing the database. The regulations give the Authority the power to deactivate Aadhaar numbers even in the absence of an effective grievance redressal procedure for those whose numbers have been suspended.

Calcutta High Court on 26th Dec 2016 ruled that Aadhaar Card is not a proof of citizenship and stated that “Aadhaar Card by itself shall not confer any right of or be proof of citizenship or domicile in respect of the holder thereto” while rejecting a claim of citizenship of the accused who was issued the card in view of his long residence in the country.

10. Rohingyas belongs to [Delhi Edition Page 12]

  1. Bangladesh
  2. West Bengal
  3. Myanmar
  4. Nepal

Answer: c

Explanation:

  1. The Rohingya, who numbered around one million in Myanmar at the start of 2017, are one of the many ethnic minorities in the country.
  2. Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in Rakhine state.
  3. They have their own language and culture and say they are descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations.
  4. But the government of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country, denies the Rohingya citizenship and even excluded them from the 2014 census, refusing to recognise them as a people. It sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
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