Israel parliament approves bill that limits Supreme Court power
Israel’s parliament in the first reading adopted a controversial bill that would limit the oversight powers of the Supreme Court.
What in News?
Israel’s parliament has given approval to a bill that would limit the powers of the Supreme Court.
The vote resulted in a 64 to 56 majority in favour of the limits, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right governing coalition overpowering the opposition.
Anti-government protestors were forcibly removed from the building ahead of the vote which lead a police complain against them.
Background of the bill:
Netanyahu’s government initiated a bill which is a part of a controversial judicial overhaul.
Concerns have been raised about the erosion of checks and balances by the opposition groups within the government system.
Due to the opposition movement against Netanyahu’s attempt months of demonstrations and a political crisis have ensured to weaken the judiciary.
Protestors and Security Measures:
Parliament security forcibly dragged out the anti-government protestors.
A police complaint was also filed against the protestors to harm the public order and the democratic process.
The opposition movement against Netanyahu’s Government led to widespread protests and heightened tensions.
The bill still needs two more votes to pass before becoming law.
Netanyahu’s far-right governing coalition, with 64 seats in the parliament appears likely to succeed in passing the bill.
Protestors are expected to intensify if the bill passes further votes.
Objectives of the Bill:
The bill was passed with the main aim to limit the Supreme Court’s power to void the decisions made by the government, ministries and elected officials by ruling them unreasonable.
Critics argue that such a law can lead to corruption and abuse of power.
Proponents claim it will facilitate effective governance by reducing court intervention.
Reactions and Concerns about the Bill:
A video was released by Netanyahu to defend the bill, claiming that it strengthens democracy without harming the court’s independence and civil rights.
Opponents remained unconvinced and continue to voice their concerns.
Economic concerns were also raised by the governor of bank of Israel.
Economic Impact of the Bill:
The governor of bank of Israel, Amir Yaron, called for broad agreements over judicial reforms to safeguard institutional independence, citing potential economic costs.
Netanyahu downplayed the economic fallout and expressed impatience with on-going demonstrations.
Max Life Insurance Partners With DCB Bank to Offer Comprehensive Range of Life Insurance Solutions
Max Life Insurance Company Ltd. has announced a strategic partnership with DCB Bank Ltd., a new-generation private sector bank in India. The collaboration aims to provide a diverse range of life insurance products to DCB Bank’s customers, including term, savings, and retirement plans, enabling them to secure their financial future and expand their investment portfolio.
Max Life Insurance and DCB Bank: Important Development
Max Life Insurance and DCB Bank join hands to offer a comprehensive range of life insurance solutions to customers. The partnership aims to leverage DCB Bank’s extensive reach and customer-centric approach, along with Max Life’s expertise in protection and long-term savings solutions. By combining their strengths, the two organizations aim to deliver superior customer experience, digital servicing, and an omni-channel approach.
About Max Life Insurance:
Max Life Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture between Max Financial Services Limited and Axis Bank Limited.
It offers comprehensive protection and long-term savings life insurance solutions.
Max Life operates through multiple distribution channels, including agency and third-party partners.
The company has achieved a gross written premium of INR 25,342 Cr for FY2022-23.
It is a prominent player in the insurance sector, known for its expertise and customer-centric approach.
About DCB Bank:
DCB Bank is a new-generation private sector bank with 427 branches across India.
It is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and is professionally managed.
The bank provides contemporary technology infrastructure, including internet and mobile banking services.
DCB Bank serves various business segments, including retail, micro-SME, SME, mid-corporate, agriculture, commodities, government, public sector, Indian banks, co-operative banks, and NBFCs.
With approximately one million customers, DCB Bank aims to empower its customers through innovative financial solutions.
Telangana High Court Declares Telangana Eunuchs Act Unconstitutional: A Victory for Transgender Rights
The Telangana High Court recently made a landmark judgment, declaring the Telangana Eunuchs Act as unconstitutional. The Act, which had been in place since 1919, was deemed discriminatory and a violation of the human rights of the transgender community. The court’s decision has significant implications for the recognition and protection of transgender rights in Telangana.
Why in the News:
The Telangana Eunuchs Act came under scrutiny after a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Vyjayanthi Vasanta Mogli, who argued that the Act was discriminatory and lacked legal support. The High Court bench, consisting of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice CV Bhaskar Reddy, concurred with the petitioner’s claims and struck down the Act on July 6, 2023.
Judgment on the Issue:
In its judgment, the High Court bench declared the Telangana Eunuchs Act unconstitutional, highlighting its offensive and arbitrary nature. The court noted that the Act criminalized the entire transgender community and violated their fundamental rights. It specifically mentioned the Right to Privacy and Right to Dignity, protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees every person’s right to life and personal liberty.
What Was Proposed:
The High Court directed the Telangana government to take specific actions to rectify the situation. First, it called for the repeal of the Telangana Eunuchs Act, acknowledging its arbitrary and unreasonable provisions. Additionally, the court ordered the implementation of reservations for transgender individuals in education and government employment sectors. This move aims to promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for the transgender community. The court also instructed the government to provide pensions to transgender people through the Aasara scheme, ensuring social and financial support.
About the Issue:
The Telangana Eunuchs Act, originally known as the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Areas) Eunuchs Act, 1919, required transgender individuals to register with authorities under suspicion of child kidnapping. The Act’s provisions allowed for arbitrary arrests, punishable by imprisonment and fines, for engaging in public entertainment, wearing female attire or ornaments in public places, or associating with boys below the age of 16. The Act’s definition of “eunuch” encompassed individuals who admitted to impotence or showed signs of impotence upon medical examination.
The Way Forward:
Following the court’s judgment, the Telangana government is expected to take necessary steps to repeal the Telangana Eunuchs Act. In compliance with the court’s directives, the government must introduce reservations for transgender individuals in education and government employment. The Telangana Transgender Welfare Board will monitor the government’s progress in implementing these measures, ensuring effective support and protection for the transgender community.
11th meeting of the Executive Board of Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)
The Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri Rajiv Kumar, along with a delegation from the Election Commission of India (ECI), recently attended the 11th meeting of the Executive Board of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) in Cartagena, Colombia. The meeting provided an opportunity for Electoral management bodies (EMBs) from around the world to collaborate and address challenges affecting election integrity.
A-WEB and Learning
(Association of World Election Bodies) A-WEB plays a crucial role in promoting cooperation among (Electoral management body) EMB and facilitating the exchange of experiences and best practices. The association, which comprises 119 EMBs as members and 20 regional associations/organizations as associate members, provides a platform for EMBs to learn from one another and enhance their electoral management processes. By sharing expertise and strategies, EMBs can effectively address common challenges and improve election integrity globally.
Countering Fake Narratives
One of the pressing challenges discussed during the Executive Board meeting was the proliferation of fake narratives that undermine election integrity. EMBs have to work together through platforms like A-WEB to counter these narratives. By sharing knowledge and collaborating on effective strategies, EMBs can strengthen their defenses against misinformation and disinformation campaigns, ensuring transparent and trustworthy electoral processes.
Agenda Items and Outcomes
The Executive Board meeting covered various agenda items aimed at enhancing the capabilities of A-WEB and its member EMBs. Discussions revolved around the programs and activities planned for 2023-24, the annual progress report of A-WEB and its regional offices, the budget, and membership-related matters. During the meeting, CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar proposed two initiatives
The establishment of an A-WEB portal to serve as a repository of electoral best practices.
The introduction of A-WEB Global Awards to recognize EMBs’ significant contributions to democratic processes.
Both proposals were approved by the Executive Board, showcasing the commitment of A-WEB to promoting innovation and excellence in electoral management.
Bilateral Meeting with the National Election Commission of South Korea
On the sidelines of the A-WEB meeting, a bilateral meeting took place between the Election Commission of India and the National Election Commission of the Republic of Korea. The meeting focused on India’s Electronic Postal Ballot System, which has been established through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in 2012. The bilateral relationship between the two EMBs has fostered cooperation and regular exchanges, enabling the sharing of knowledge and experiences in election administration.
What is Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA)?
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Authority (PPVFRA) provides an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
What in News?
The Delhi Court recently upheld an order by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), revoking the intellectual property protection granted to PepsiCO India Holdings Pvt ltd. with respect to a potato variety developed by it.
About Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA):
It is a statutory body created by the act of parliament.
It works under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
RRVFRA is an authority set up by Central Government and consists of a director and fifteen individual members.
Objectives of PPFRA:
To establish an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
To recognize and protect the rights of farmers in respect of their contribution made at any time in conversing, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties.
To accelerate agricultural development in the country.
To protect plant breeders’ rights.
Stimulate investment for research and development both in private and public sector for the development of new plant varieties.
Facilitate the growth of seed industry in the country which will ensure high quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.
Structure of PPVFRA:
The chairperson is the chief executive of the authority.
Besides the chairperson, there are 15 other members as notified by the Government of India (GOI).
Eight of them are ex-officio members representing various departments/ministries. Three from SAU’s and the state government, one representative each for farmers, tribal organization, seed industry and women organization associated with agricultural activities are nominated by the government.
The Registrar General is the ex-officio member secretary of the authority.
Function of PPVFRA Authority:
Registration of new plant varieties, essentially derived varieties and extant varieties.
Development of DUS (Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability) test guidelines for new plant species.
Developing characterization and documentation of varieties registered.
Compulsory Cataloguing facilities for all variety of plants.
Documentation, indexing and cataloguing of farmers’ varieties.
Recognising and rewarding farmers, community of farmers, particularly tribal and rural community engaged in conservation and improvement.
Preservation of plant genetic resources of economic pants and their wild relatives.
Maintenance of National Register of plant varieties.
Maintenance of National Genetic Bank.
Rights under the PPVFRA:
Breeders have the exclusive right to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety.
Breeders can appoint agent/license and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.
Researchers can use any of the registered variety under the act for conducting experiment and research.
A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as breeder of variety.
Farmers’ variety can also be registered as an extant variety.
Farmers are eligible for recognition and reward for the conservation of plant genetic resources.
Farmers shall not be liable to pay any fees in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal under the act.
Registration of Varieties under PPVFRA:
A variety is eligible for registration under the act if it fulfils the criteria of DUS (Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability).
The Central Government has notified 157 crops for the purpose of registration.
Fees for registration of varieties under PPVFRA:
For Extant variety notified under section 5 of the seeds act, 1966:- 2000.
For New variety/ Essentially derived variety/ Extant variety about which there is common variety (VCK):-
India gets its 36th and Tamil Nadu its first flying training school
India’s aviation education landscape has witnessed a significant boost with the recent approval of the first Flying Training Organisation (FTO) in Tamil Nadu by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). EKVI Air Training Organization Pvt Ltd has been granted permission to operate from Salem Airport, marking a significant milestone for aspiring pilots in the region.
Empowering Aspiring Pilots through Training Opportunities
The approval of EKVI Air Training Organization Pvt Ltd brings new hope and opportunities for aspiring pilots in Tamil Nadu. With access to professional training programs, students can now embark on a journey towards fulfilling their dreams of becoming skilled aviators. The FTO’s comprehensive training curriculum will encompass theoretical classes, flight simulator sessions, and practical flight experience, ensuring a well-rounded education that prepares students for the dynamic aviation industry.
About the Directorate General of Civil Aviation
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing civil aviation in India. Its main focus is on ensuring safety in air transport services to, from, and within India. The DGCA enforces civil air regulations, air safety standards, and airworthiness criteria. It also coordinates its regulatory functions with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
In the past, the Indian aviation industry was dominated by government-owned airlines, which were nationalized under the Air Corporations Act, 1953.
However, in the mid-1990s, the government adopted an open-sky policy, allowing private operators to enter the aviation business. This led to the rise of private airlines, including low-cost carriers, which have made air travel more affordable in India.
The DGCA has several responsibilities, including the registration of civil aircraft, setting airworthiness standards for Indian-registered aircraft, and issuing certificates of airworthiness. It also licenses pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, flight engineers, and air traffic controllers.
The DGCA certifies aerodromes and communication, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) facilities. It grants Air Operator’s Certificates to Indian carriers and regulates air transport services operated by Indian and foreign operators. The DGCA conducts investigations into accidents and incidents, takes measures for accident prevention, and promotes safety management programs.
Additionally, the DGCA is involved in amending aviation-related legislation to align with international standards set by ICAO. It collaborates with military air traffic agencies to coordinate airspace usage and interacts with ICAO to secure more air routes for civilian use.
The DGCA also monitors and regulates aircraft noise and engine emissions in compliance with ICAO Annex 16. Furthermore, it supports indigenous aircraft design and manufacturing by acting as a catalyst. The DGCA approves training programs for the carriage of dangerous goods and issues authorizations in this regard.
In summary, the DGCA plays a crucial role in regulating and ensuring the safety of civil aviation in India. It oversees various aspects, including aircraft registration, airworthiness standards, licensing of personnel, certification of facilities, accident investigation, legislative amendments, airspace coordination, environmental compliance, and promotion of indigenous aircraft manufacturing.
India’s Retail Inflation Surges to 4.81% in June; May IIP Rises to 5.2%
India’s retail inflation experienced a surge of 4.81% in June, ending a four-month decline, as food prices increased due to uneven monsoon rains and supply disruptions.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation was 4.31% in May, and food inflation rose to 4.49% in June.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is tasked with maintaining retail inflation within the range of 2% to 6% and will likely keep interest rates unchanged.
India’s Retail Inflation Surges to 4.81% in June; May IIP Rises to 5.2%
Reasons for Inflation Surge:
Uneven monsoon rains damaged perishable food crops and hindered the movement of goods, leading to shortages of essential cooking ingredients like tomatoes, chillies, and onions.
Food inflation, accounting for nearly half of the overall consumer price basket, increased to 4.49% from 2.96% in May.
Vegetable prices rose by 12% on a month-on-month basis in June.
Key Points and Findings:
The current inflation rate remains within the RBI’s comfort level of below 6%.
The RBI considers the CPI while making monetary policy decisions, and the next policy review is scheduled for early next month.
The RBI had previously projected retail inflation for the current fiscal year to average at 5.1% with June quarter inflation at 4.6%.
India’s industrial production, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), increased to 5.2% in May, mainly due to growth in the manufacturing and mining sectors.
Manufacturing output grew by 5.7% in May 2023 compared to 20.7% expansion in the previous year.
Power generation rose by 0.9% in May, while mining output increased by 6.4%.
The capital goods segment grew by 8.2% in May, while consumer durables output rose by 1.1%.
Consumer non-durable goods output increased by 7.6%, and infrastructure/construction goods posted a growth of 14%.
The output of primary goods grew by 3.5%, and intermediate goods output rose by 1.6% in May.
During April-May period of fiscal year 2023-24, the growth in IIP was 4.8%, down from 12.9% in the corresponding period last year.