GS PAPER II NEWS

Sedition Law

Why in News

Recently, the Supreme Court stated that “it is time to define the limits of sedition”.

Key Points

  • A three­ judge Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud flagged indiscriminate use of the sedition law against critics, journalists, social media users, activists and citizens for airing grievances about the governments’ COVID­19 management, or even for seeking help to gain medical access, equipment, drugs and oxygen cylinders.
  • It is the need to interpret the ambit and parameters of the provisions of Sections 124A (sedition), 153A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, particularly in the context of the right of the electronic and print media to communicate news, information and the rights, even those that may be critical of the prevailing regime in any part of the nation.

Sedition

  • Sedition is an offence against public tranquility and being connected in some way or the other with public disorder.
  • As per the law, it is defined as any words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, that could bring or attempt to bring either hatred, or contempt, or excite or bring to excite any disaffection (including disloyalty or any feeling of enmity) towards the Government established by law.

Section 124A in the Indian Penal Code

  • Section 124A of the IPC deals with “Sedition Law.”
  • It states that, whoever, words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
  • Punishment:
  • Sedition is a non-bailable offence.
  • Punishment under the law varies from imprisonment up to three years to a life term and fine.
  • A person charged under this law can’t apply for a government job. They have to live without their passport and must present themselves in the court as and when required.

Validity of Section 124A in the Indian Penal Code

  • Section 124A has been challenged in various courts in specific cases.
  • The validity of the provision itself was upheld by a Constitution Bench in 1962, in Kedarnath Singh vs State of Bihar.
  • That judgment went into the issue of whether the law on sedition is consistent with the fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a) which guarantees each citizen’s freedom of speech and expression.
  • The Supreme Court laid down that every citizen has a right to say or write about the government, by way of criticism or comment, as long as it does not “incite people to violence” against the government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder.

Section 505 in the Indian Penal Code

  • Section 505 of Indian penal code: Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report:
  • with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor or airman in the Army, Navy or Air Force of India to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such; or,
  • with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility; or
  • with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
  • Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement or report containing rumour or alarming news with intent to create or promote, or which is likely to create or promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
  • Offence under sub-section (2) committed in place of worship, etc.
  • Whoever commits an offence specified in sub-section (2) in any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.

GS PAPER III

Gross Domestic Product

Why in News

India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 7.3% in 2020-21.

Key Points

  • GDP growth in 2019-­20, prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, was 4%.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) in the economy shrank 6.2% in 2020­21, compared to a 4.1% rise in 2019-20.
  • Only two sectors bucked the trend of negative GVA growth — agriculture, forestry and fishing, which rose 3.6%, and electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services (up 1.9%).
  • Though this is the bleakest performance on record for the economy, the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020­21 helped moderate the damage, with a higher than­ expected growth of 1.6% in GDP.
  • GVA for trade, hotels, transport, communication and broadcasting related services saw the sharpest decline of 18.2%, followed by construction (8.6%), mining and quarrying (8.5%) and manufacturing (­7.2%).
  • The National Statistical Office (NSO) attributed the improvement over its earlier growth estimates, to the improved performance of indicators, used in compilation of GVA, in the fourth quarter of 2020­21, owing to the calibrated and steady opening of the economy.
  • The NSO also warned that data collection has been impacted as much as any other activity by the pandemic, so its estimates would undergo sharp revision.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

  • Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.
  • GDP is typically calculated on an annual basis; it is sometimes calculated on a quarterly basis as well. In the U.S., for example, the government releases an annualized GDP estimate for each fiscal quarter and also for the calendar year.

Gross Value Added (GVA)

  • Gross value added (GVA) is defined as the value of output less the value of intermediate consumption.
  • It is used to measure the output or contribution of a particular sector.
  • When such GVAs from all sectors (∑ GVA) are added together and adding taxes (product) and reducing subsidies (product), one can get the GDP (at market price).
  • It shows the production contribution of a particular sector.

National Statistical Office (NSO)

  • The National Statistical Office (NSO) is a body under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI)
  • It is created through the merger of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).
  • It is an agency that was envisaged firstly by Rangarajan Commission to implement and maintain statistical standards and coordinate statistical activities of Central and State agencies under National Statistical Commission (NSC)

GS PAPER III

Fiscal Deficit

Why in News

As per data from the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), India recorded a fiscal deficit of 9.2% of GDP in 2020-21, narrower than the revised estimate of 9.5%.

Key Points

  • Total revenue receipts were about ₹88,000 crore higher than estimated, driven largely by higher excise and customs collections.
  • Total expenditure was ₹61,000 crore more than the revised estimate.
  • The Controller General of Accounts (CGA) projected the revenue deficit at 7.42% of GDP, which had been assumed at ₹194.82 lakh crore in the Union Budget.
  • This will come as a relief to the bond market. At this stage, there is a modest risk that the GoI’s fiscal deficit in FY22 will be higher than budgeted (₹15.1 lakh crore), especially on account of shortfalls in disinvestment receipts, and higher­than budgeted expenditure.
  • While tax receipts would be affected due to the anticipation of a prolonged second wave impact on sentiment, the Centre may have to keep spending to prop up demand via a combination of free food grains, cash transfers and higher MGNREGA outlays.

Fiscal Deficit

  • Fiscal Deficit is the difference between total revenue and total expenditure of the government.
  • Fiscal deficit is calculated both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Fiscal deficit, the condition when the expenditure of the government exceeds its revenue in a year, is the difference between the two.

GS PAPER III

Index of Eight Core Industries

Why in News

The Office of Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade is released Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) for the Month of April, 2021.

Key Points

  • The output of eight core sectors jumped by 56.1% in April mainly due to a low base effect and uptick in production of natural gas, refinery products, steel, cement and electricity.
  • The eight infrastructure sectors of coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity had contracted by 37.9% in April 2020 due to the national COVID 19 lockdown.
  • Production of natural gas, refinery products, steel, cement and electricity jumped by 25%, 30.9%, 400%, 548.8% and 38.7% in April, as against (­) 19.9%, (­) 24.2%, (­) 82.8%, (­) 85.2% and (­) 22.9% in April 2020.

Highlights of Index of Eight Core Industries of April 2021

Products Status from April 2020 to 2021 Index during April-March 2020-21
Coal production Increased by 9.5% Declined by 46.0%
Crude Oil production Declined by 2.1% Declined by 4.6%
Natural Gas production Increased by 25% Declined by 1.1%
Petroleum Refinery production Increased by 30.9% Declined by 8.2%
Fertilizer’s production Increased by 1.7% Increased by 1.5%
Steel production Increased by 400.0% Declined by 20.7%
Cement production Increased by 548.8% Declined by 15.2%
Electricity generation Increased by 38.7% Declined by 3.3%

Eight Core Industries

  • Eight Core Industries of India comprises 40.27% of the weight of items included Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement and Electricity.
  • They are called Core industries because they impact an Economy of nation in massive way.

Index of Eight Core Industries

  • It is the index of the production of ‘Core industries of Economy’.
  • It is published monthly by the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
  • The base-year of ICI has been revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12.
  • This index is calculated by the Laspeyre’s Formula of weighted Arithmetic Mean of quantity relatives.

GS PAPER III

AmbiTAG

Why in News

Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar (IIT Ropar) in Punjab has developed a first-of-its-kind IoT device – AmbiTag.

AmbiTag

  • It is the real-time ambient temperature recorder during the transportation of perishable products, vaccines and even body organs and blood.
  • The recorded temperature will help to know whether that particular item transported from anywhere in the world is still usable or perished because of temperature variation.
  • It is particularly important for vaccines including Covid-19 vaccine, organs and blood transportation.
  • It shaped as USB device and it able to continuously records the temperature of its immediate surroundings from -40 to +80 degrees in any time zone for a full 90 days on a single charge.
  • It generates an alert when the temperature goes beyond a pre-set limit.
  • The recorded data can be retrieved by connecting the USB with any computer.
  • It has been developed under Technology Innovation HubAWaDH (Agriculture and Water Technology Development Hub) and its Start-up ScratchNest.
  • Besides perishable items including vegetables, meat and dairy products can also be monitor the temperature of animal semen during transit.
  • So far, such devices are being imported by India in a massive quantity from other countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, and China.

AWaDH (Agriculture and Water Technology Development Hub)

  • AWaDH is a research centre at IIT Ropar established with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) to carry out extensive research in the field of agriculture and water.
  • The mission of the Hub is to develop 30 Agritech, support 35 start-ups/spin-off companies, train more than 1000 professionals in Cyber-Physical Systems, give more than 8000 employments through different Agritech innovations, etc.
  • The technology developed at Hub would advance the:
  • Environment, Forest and Climate,
  • Fisheries
  • Food Processing and Public Distribution,
  • Rural and Women Empowerment by Skill Development and Entrepreneurship,
  • Land Resources,
  • Electronics and Information Technology,
  • Fertilizers, to name a few.

GS PAPER III

Vaccination key to Economic Health

Why in News

The economic impact of the second wave of the COVID­19 pandemic may not be very large at this point but curbing the pandemic through swift vaccination and strict COVID­19 protocols is imperative to revive economic activity.

Key Points

  • Vaccination is important for the health of the people as well as the health of the economy.
  • The economic impact is inextricably linked to the overall pandemic itself.
  • The economy had recovered very well by March but then the second wave has moderated the momentum.
  • While the spate of lockdowns across States is beginning to hurt the economy, the second wave of the COVID­19 pandemic has peaked in early May and the restrictions imposed so far have been ‘asynchronous and heterogenous’ and hence the decline is not likely to be as bad as 2020.

‘Immense uncertainty’

  • The caveat with everything related to the pandemic, is that estimates are subject to immense uncertainty given that the trajectory of the pandemic has been hard to predict even for epidemiologists.
  • Expected manufacturing to do well this year, and noncontact intensive services will also see an enhanced demand due to the feedback effects from manufacturing.

Impact of restrictions

  • Clearly, the restrictions imposed by the States have had some impact, but as the wave seems to be on the decline, these restrictions will progressively reduce and later be removed, which may help in bringing back economic activity.