Daily Current Affairs for 2nd September 2020

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Supreme Court directs Telco’s to pay AGR dues in 10 years


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News?

The Supreme Court allowed telecom companies 10 years’ time to pay their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government.

Key Details:

  • The government had proposed in court a 20-year “formula” for Telco’sto make staggered payments of the dues.
  • The formula was devised taking into account the financial dent the dues would cause the telecom sector.
  • Even after part payment, the dues still run to ₹43 lakh crore.


  • An October 2019 judgment of the court in the AGR issue originally wanted the Telco’sto make the repayments in three months.
  • The court had concluded that the private telecom sector had long reaped the fruits of the Centre’s liberalised mode of payment by revenue sharing regime.
  • The sector has benefited immensely under the scheme as apparent from the gross revenue trend from 2004 to 2015”, SC had noted.

Recent Judgement:

  • The Apex Court softened its stance to allow the companies a “reasonable time” of a decade to pay their dues in “equal yearly instalments”.
  • The court said it changed its mind taking into consideration the financial stress and the involvement of the banking sector.

Series of directions by the Apex Court:

  • The court said they shall raise no dispute nor will they be any reassessment of the dues.
  • The telecom operators would make the payment of 10% of the total dues as demanded by Department of Telecom by March 31, 2021.
  • The yearly instalments would commence from April 1, 2021 up to March 32, 2031. The instalments would be paid by March 31 every year.
  • The Managing Director/Chairman or other authorized officer should give an undertaking within four weeks, to make payment of arrears.
  • The Telco’s shall keep alive the existing bank guarantees they had submitted regarding the spectrum until the payment is made.
  • In the event of any default in making payment of annual instalments, interest would become payable as per the agreement along with penalty and interest on penalty automatically without reference to court. Besides, it would be punishable for contempt of court.
  • Compliance of the court order should be reported by the Telco’s and the telecom department every year on April 7.
  • The court has referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) a series of questions on whether “deferred/default payment instalments of spectrum acquisition cost can be termed to be operational dues besides AGR dues”.

What is AGR? 

  • The Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation is what the government and telecom majors have had a disagreement over since 2005. AGR is a fee-sharing mechanism between government and the telcos who shifted to ‘revenue-sharing fee’ model in 1999, from the ‘fixed license fee’ model.
  • In this course, Telco’s are supposed to share a percentage of AGR with the government.
  • The telecom companies argued that AGR should include income only from telecom operations.
  • Telecom operators are required to pay licence fee and spectrum charges in the form of ‘revenue share’ to the Centre. The revenue amount used to calculate this revenue share is termed as the AGR.
  • According to the DoT, the calculations should incorporate all revenues earned by a telecom company – including from non-telecom sources such as deposit interests and sale of assets.
  • The companies, have been of the view that AGR should comprise the revenues generated from telecom services only and non-telecom revenues should be kept out of it.

How long has the fight been going on?

  • The slugfest between DoT and the telecom companies has been on since 2005, when the the Cellular Operators Association of India — the lobby group for players such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea — challenged the DoT’s definition for AGR calculation.
  • Subsequently, in 2015, the TDSAT ruled that the AGR included all receipts, except capital receipts and revenue from non-core sources such as rent, profit on the sale of fixed assets, dividend, interest and miscellaneous income, etc.
  • The government, meanwhile, continued to raise the issue of under-reporting of revenues to duck charges.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in a report, blamed the telecom companies for “understating revenues” to the tune of Rs 61,064.5 crore.

GST revenue falls 12% in August at ₹86,449 crore


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News?

  • GST revenue in August stood at ₹86,449 crore, just over 1% lower than the ₹87,422 crore collected in July.
  • On a year-on-year basis, GST collections dropped 12% from August 2019, according to data released by the Finance Ministry.

Important Statistics:

  • State-wise data shows that Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have posted a marginal increase in collections, while Haryana and Gujarat saw a marginal decrease.
  • Major States that are still showing a significant drop include Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • Revenues from import of goods dropped 23% from the previous year, while revenues from domestic transactions dropped 8%.


  • Coming after the disappointing GDP data for the first quarter yesterday, these figures indicate that collections are on the recovery path in the first month of the second quarter.
  • The collections on domestic transactions are just 8% lower than the same month last year, indicating a revival of economic activities post lockdown.
  • A significant part of the dip is attributable to imports, which has witnessed a decline with the impact on international trade with this pandemic.

Capital tops in Road Accidents


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?

According to recent data released by NCRB, Delhi recorded the highest number of deaths due to dangerous driving and overall road accidents in 2019 among all cities.

Key Details:

  • According to the data a total of 1400 persons died in road accidents and 529 persons died because of driving dangerously or carelessly in Delhi followed by Jaipur in Rajasthan where 320 persons died and Asansol in West Bengal.
  • The data showed that Delhi, was only second to Chennai in reporting road accident in 2019.
  • The data stated that 551 persons died of over speeding and 2,026 sustained injuries while 29 died of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and 130 sustained injuries because of the same.

Road safety in India and International:

Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety

  • The declaration was signed at the Second Global High-Level conference on Road Safety held in Brazil.
  • Through the Brasilia Declaration Countries plan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3.6:By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
  • United Nations has also declared 2010-2020 as the decade of action for Road Safety.
  • Supreme Courthad set up the three-member KS Radhakrishnan panel on road safety in April 2014.The main recommendation of the committee was
  • Ban on the sale of alcohol on highways (both state and national) to restrain drunk driving.
  • The states were directed to implement laws on wearing helmets.
  • Audit of road safety to be implemented by states to ensure the safety standards in the design, construction, and maintenance of roads.
  • 3 Year Action Agenda NITI Aayogalso highlighted need for Road Safety and set the following agenda:
  • Strengthen rules governing road safety by passing the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
    • Create Road Safety Boards to reduce accidents. Use data to monitor accidents. We can do this by use of data to monitor accidents in real time and use this input to direct efforts towards correction on specific points.
  • Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017
  • Driving License:Tests for driving licenses will be automated, and learner’s licenses will be issued online. A driving license issued to a person under the age of 30 is valid till the person turns 40. For those who receive licenses between the ages of 30 and 50, the license will remain valid for 10 years.
  • Higher Fines:The existing fines for violating traffic rules have been increased in this bill e.g. Drunk driving – from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000, rash driving from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000, driving without a license – from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.
  • Traffic violations by juveniles:The guardians or owner of the vehicle would be held responsible. It proposes three-year jail for parents of minors drivers causing fatal accidents
  • Vehicle recall:The new Bill provides for the recall of vehicles if the defective vehicle is a danger to the environment, the driver or other road users. The manufacturer will then have to reimburse all buyers with the full cost of the vehicle, replace the defective vehicle.
  • Good Samaritans: People coming forward to help accident victims will be protected from civil or criminal liability.

National Crime Record Bureau

  • NCRB was set-up in 1986 under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It was set up based on the recommendations of the National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Taskforce (1985).
  • It was constituted by merging the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), Inter-State Criminals Data Branch of CBI, Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI and Statistical Branch of BPR&D.
  • NCRB brings out the annual comprehensive statistics of crime across the country through ‘Crime in India’ report.
  • It developed Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems CCTNS in 2009 which interconnects approximately 15000 police stations and 6000 higher offices across the country.

Important publications – Released by NCRB

  • Crime in India
  • Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India
  • Prison Statistics India’ and
  • FingerPrint in India

Bhushan conviction against International Law


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s conviction for criminal contempt of court by the Supreme Court seemed to be inconsistent with the freedom of expression law guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that India was a party to.

Key Details:

  • While the Court only imposed a symbolic fine of one rupee, rather than imprisonment, the ICJ considers that the conviction appears to be inconsistent with international standards on freedom of expression and the role of lawyers.
  • The ICJ said the judgment risked having a “chilling effect on the exercise of protected freedom of expression in India”.


  • The supreme Court previously convicted Civil Rights Lawyer Prashant Bhushan for Criminal contempt.
  • He was found guilty of scandalising the supreme Court with his tweets on a photograph of CJI. His defence was his right to free speech.
  • In the case the supreme court also noted that suo moto contempt power of SC is inherent and it requires no prior consent of AG.

International Commission of Jurists

  • The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is an international human rights nongovernmental organization.
  • It is a standing group of 60 eminent jurists – including senior judges, attorneys and academics – who work to develop national and international human rights standards through the law.
  • Commissioners are known for their experience, knowledge and fundamental commitment to human rights.
  • The Commission is supported by an International Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland, and staffed by lawyers drawn from a wide range of jurisdictions and legal traditions.
  • The Secretariat and the Commission undertake advocacy and policy work aimed at strengthening the role of lawyers and judges in protecting and promoting human rights and the rule of law.
  • In addition, the ICJ has national sections and affiliates in over 70 countries.
  • In April 2013, the ICJ was presented with the Light of Truth Award by the Dalai Lama and the International Campaign for Tibet.

INDIA, RUSSIA to hold Naval drills in Andaman sea


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

 Why in News:

India and Russia are scheduled to hold the bilateral naval exercise, Indra 2020, in the Andaman Sea, close to the strategic Strait of Malacca.

Key Details:

  • Three Russian Navy ships will take part in the exercise on September 4 and 5 along with an equal number from the Indian Navy, along with some aircraft.
  • The first bilateral naval exercise since all such engagements were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The timing of the exercise coincides with Defence Minister’s visit to Russia for the Shanghai Cooperation organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers meet.
  • It also comes just after India withdrew from the Kavkaz-2020 multinational exercise in Russia that is scheduled for later this month.

Exercise INDRA 2019

  • The INDRA series of exercise began in 2003. It was conducted as a single service exercise alternately between the two countries. However, the first joint Tri Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
  • Exercise INDRA 2019, a joint, tri services exercise between India and Russia was conducted in India from 10th-19th December 2019 simultaneously at Babina (near Jhansi), Pune, and Goa.
  • The two countries are able to imbibe the best practices from each other, jointly evolve and drills to defeat the menace of terror under the United Nations mandate.

Exercise with U.S.

The Indian Navy conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in July 2020.


  • With ongoing tensions, Indian Navy is keeping a close watch on movement in the IOR of Chinese Naval ships whose presence has gone up considerably over the years in the name of Anti-Piracy patrols.
  • In 2017, China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
  • Given their strategic location, India has embarked on a major infrastructure expansion plan on the A&N island chain.

TURKEY renews call for talks, sharing of resources with Greece


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Turkey recently affirmed that country favours a dialogue with rival Greece that would lead to the fair sharing of resources in the eastern Mediterranean, where the two countries are locked in a tense standoff that threatens to spill into a conflict.

Key Details:

  • Both countries’ forces have been conducting military exercises in the seas between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete.
  • The standoff was sparked when Turkey sent its research vessel, Oruc Reis, accompanied by warships to search for gas and oil reserves.
  • The country also accused Greece of engaging in “provocative acts” in the region with the backing of the European Union, which has threatened sanctions against Ankara.
  • They favour a joint solution that involves sitting around the table to negotiate with all sides in the eastern Mediterranean, for everyone to benefit from the eastern Mediterranean resources in a just manner or for the sharing (of resources) fairly.

Threat of EU sanctions

  • Greece, a member of the EU, claims the waters are part of its continental shelf and has enlisted the support of the 27-nation bloc, which has condemned Turkey’s “illegal activities” and plans to blacklist Turkish officials linked to energy exploration.
  • Turkey disputes Greece’s claims that waters where it’s searching for hydrocarbons are part of Greece’s continental shelf, insisting that Greek islands near Turkey’s coast cannot be taken into account when delineating maritime boundaries.
  • Ankara accuses Athens of trying to grab an unfair share of the eastern Mediterranean’s resources.

BACKGROUND- Turkey-Greece Stand-of


  • Turkey and Greece have overlapping maritime claims.
  • The maritime dispute is with respect to the Aegean Sea. The dispute is related to the maritime jurisdiction areas, including the territorial waters and the continental shelf and their delimitation.
  • The European Union (EU) and its allies in West Asia and North Africa made plans to build a gas pipeline from the Mediterranean to Europe’s mainland to transport the gas. However, they have kept Turkey out of it, which has infuriated Turkey.
  • Recently, France has deployed its military in the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid tensions between Greece and Turkey over recently-discovered gas reserves.

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