Scottish Independence is wanted
Tags: GS1, History of the World Political Philosophies & Effect on Society Socialism Communism
- Recently, the British Prime Minister rejected the demand for a second independence referendum in Scotland.
More about the “demand for Scottish independence”
- Beginning of the independent Kingdom of Scotland:
- The independent Kingdom of Scotland was formed in the 9th century and went on to fight wars to remain independent from the Kingdom of England.
- The two kingdoms formed a personal union in 1603 and were thereafter ruled by the same monarchs.
- Acts of Union:
- Due to economic and political insecurities on both sides, the British and Scottish Parliaments adopted the Acts of Union in 1707, forming a political union under the moniker “Great Britain.”
- While Scotland was able to maintain part of its decision-making authority, it did not have equal representation in the unified Parliament, and long-standing cultural and political divides persisted.
Parliament of Scotland:
- Soon, demands for self-government began to emerge. This eventually resulted in two referendums in 1979 and 1997, which led to the establishment of a new devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999.
- This Parliament has been tasked with drafting legislation on devolved matters like as health, transportation, and education, among others.
- Legislative authority over defence, foreign affairs, trade, immigration, and currency was withheld.
2014 – Referendum for independence:
- The previous independence referendum was held in 2014, with 55% of Scots voting to remain in the 300-year-old union and 45% voting to leave.
- A large proportion of Scots see independence from the U.K. as the question of self-determination and identity.
- Scotland accounts for 8% of Britain’s population and economy and one-third of its landmass.
Why the demand for independence?
Right of independence:
- According to the Scottish National Party (SNP) government, Scots should have the freedom to determine if they want to be an independent nation.
- To dispel doubts about Scotland’s future after independence, the SNP has been publishing White Papers outlining its vision for “creating a new Scotland.”
North Sea revenue:
- It presently receives a bloc grant from the British government for a significant portion of its annual expenditures, which it intends to replace with oil earnings from the North Sea after it achieves independence. It states that rather than investing North Sea oil income in future generations, the United Kingdom is using them to support its current expenses, which is detrimental to the interests of Scots.
- Rejoining EU:
- It also plans to rejoin the EU, to expand its trade in the bloc, and to receive other associated benefits.
- The SNP also plans to keep using the British pound Sterling as its currency after independence.
- Scotland is different from the U.K.:
- It also contends that Scotland differs from the United Kingdom in that its election system is already more fair and proportionally representative than the United Kingdom’s.
- It states that it stands for various things, including More open immigration policy,
- A speedier drive for green transition,
- Free university education and geriatric care,
- Taxes on higher-earning individuals,
- and Inclusion of the LGBTQ population.
- It also believes that the United Kingdom could make similar decisions in the future that would be detrimental to Scottish interests.
The U.K.’s stand
- No clearer picture:
- According to the British government, the SNP has failed to provide a better picture of how pensions and healthcare would operate under an independent Scotland.
- On rejoining EU:
- It has also warned Scotland that if it rejoins the EU, it would lead to the creation of a hard border between Scotland and Britain.
- The Economic Affairs Committee of Westminster:
- Prior to the 2014 referendum, the Economic Affairs Committee of Westminster noted that the retention of sterling as the Scottish currency would be problematic because the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, which formulates U.K. policy, could not consider the interests of a separate nation.
- It was also stated that Scotland would find it difficult to accept its share of the billions-worth of British public debt.
- Furthermore, the decommissioning of North Sea Oil would have economic and commercial repercussions for the United Kingdom.
Perceptions of Englishness:
- In the current geopolitical climate, the “biggest impact” of Scotland leaving the centuries-old Union would be on “perceptions of Englishness among the English themselves, who make up 85 percent of the U.K.’s population, and the projection of Englishness as a national identity” abroad, according to critics.
- In November 2022, however, the highest court in the United Kingdom declared that such a vote could not occur.
- Refusing to abandon her party’s push for independence, the SNP’s top leadership announced a new strategy in which the party will use the next British general election or the Scottish Parliamentary election as a “de facto referendum” for independence, in which the party will run solely on the issue of independence.
- For others, the main aim is to increase support for independence among Scots.
- According to recent polls, support for a ‘yes’ vote for independence has fallen to 39% in the country, a decrease from the 2014 referendum.
Central Bureau of Investigation’s 60-year history (CBI)
Tags: GS 2, Government Policies & Interventions
- The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s top investigative police agency, has completed 60 years of service to the nation.
Diamond Jubilee Inauguration
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in New Delhi on this occasion.
- The prime minister stated that the CBI has established itself as a reliable and effective organisation. From financial fraud to wildlife-related crime, the CBI’s scope of work has dramatically expanded. CBI maintains the spirit of truth in the hearts of the general populace.
Zero tolerance against corruption
- According to the Prime Minister, the CBI is bolstering New India’s policy of zero tolerance for corruption.
- Corruption impedes the prospects of young and devalues brilliance, benefiting primarily the wealthy. It hinders the nation’s capacity, which hinders its development.
Quality investigation through use of tech & innovation
- The prime minister elaborated on how technology and innovation will enhance the quality of investigations.
Extension of CBI office
- Moreover, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated freshly constructed CBI office buildings in Shillong, Pune, and Nagpur. He issued a commemorative stamp and coin to commemorate the CBI’s Diamond Jubilee celebration year.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
- History of the CBI:
- During World War II, when the colonial government felt the need to investigate corruption in the War and Supplies Department, the Central Bureau of Investigation was established. A statute was passed in 1941. In 1946, it became the DSPE Act.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was created on 1 April 1963 by a decree of the Ministry of Home Affairs of India.
- The CBI is not a statutory agency; rather, it draws its investigative authority from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation operates under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and is exempt from the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
- The Government of India established the CBI in 1963 to investigate serious crimes related to the defence of India, corruption in high places, serious fraud, cheating, and embezzlement, and social crime, particularly hoarding, black marketing, and profiteering in essential commodities with all-India and inter-state ramifications.
- Section 6 of the DPSE Act grants the federal government the authority to direct the CBI to investigate a case within the jurisdiction of any state upon the advice of the state government in question. The courts can also order a CBI investigation and even supervise its development.
- The CBI can only investigate crimes on its own initiative in Union Territories.
- The Lokpal Act of 2013 stipulated that the CBI director shall be appointed by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and either the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him.
- Conviction rate :
- According to the yearly report of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), its conviction rate is between 65 and 70 percent, which is equivalent to the best investigation agencies in the world.
· Given that the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a given state only after that state government gives its consent. To avoid obtaining permission each time, it obtains a general consent instead of a case-specific consent.
· The general consent is typically granted for six to twelve months.
How many types of consent are there for the CBI?
· There are two types of consent for CBI investigations. They are: broad and narrow.
· When a state grants the CBI general authority to investigate a case, the agency is not needed to obtain permission each time it enters that state for investigation or for each case.
· When a general consent is revoked, the CBI must seek case-by-case inquiry permission from the relevant state government. If explicit permission is not obtained, CBI officials entering a state will not have the authority of police officers.
Issues in functioning of CBI
- Legislative Problems: Consent of the state is required for the conduct or continuation of investigations into crimes committed on the territory of a state, which is typically delayed or denied.
- Administrative issues:Lack of infrastructure, sufficient manpower and modern equipment; in-human conditions, especially at the lowest rung; questionable methods of procuring evidence; officers failing to abide by the rule book; and lack of accountability of erring officers.
- Political Issues:In May 2013, when various corruption scandals plagued the administration of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the Supreme Court made a remark about the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that has persisted ever since.
- A bench led by Judge R.M. Lodha branded the Central Bureau of Investigation as “a caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice” (Politicisation of CBI).
- The remark was made in the context of government meddling in the CBI’s probe of cases involving the allotment of coal blocks.
- Transparency Issues:The Central Bureau of Investigation is excluded from the 2005 Right to Information (RTI) Act.
- Overlapping Functions: There is an overlap in jurisdictions of CVC, CBI and Lokpal in certain cases leading to problems.
- The CBI’s function, jurisdiction, and legal authority must be clearly defined.
- It will provide objective clarity, role clarity, autonomy in all domains, and a rebranding as an independent, autonomous statutory agency.
- 2nd ARC:There should be new legislation for CBI’s governance
- Parliamentary standing committee (2007):Enhance Human and financial resources, make better investments, and more autonomy.
The 2023 Competition Amendment Bill
Tags: GS 2, Governance
- The Competition Amendment Bill, 2023, was recently passed by Rajya Sabha.
- The Competition (Amendment) Bill of 2023 intends to alter the Competition Act of 2002, which governs competition on the Indian market and outlaws anti-competitive actions such as cartels, mergers, and acquisitions that have a negative impact on competition.
- It is the responsibility of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to implement and enforce the Act.
- Penalties :The Bill seeks to define ‘turnover’ for the purpose of penalties as the global turnover derived from all of a person or company’s products and services. The intention is to levy a penalty as a percentage of the company’s global turnover, as opposed to the current practise of levying a portion of the local or relevant market turnover as penalty.
- Decriminalisation :The bill decriminalises certain violations of the Act by converting their punishment from fines to civil penalties.
- These violations include noncompliance with orders of the CCI and directives of the Director General concerning anticompetitive agreements and misuse of dominant position.
- Expands CCI’s Scope:The new provisions expand the scope of CCI’s merger regulation by bringing deals worth more than ?2,000 crore requiring regulator clearance.
- Settlement Mechanism: The amendment introduces a scheme for commitment and settlement which is meant to reduce litigation by way of negotiated settlements.
- This system applies to anticompetitive agreements and abuses of dominance, but not to cartels.
- Reducing US monetary Policy Influence:By reducing the use of the US dollar, countries can reduce the influence of US monetary policy on their own economies.
- Promoting Ease of Doing Business:The purpose of the revisions to the Competition Act is to minimise regulatory obstacles and improve business friendliness in India. The modifications are anticipated to give businesses operating in India with greater clarity and lower the regulatory cost for firms.
- Enhancing Transparency:The inclusion of global turnover in the definition of “turnover” aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the Indian market. The amendment ensures that companies cannot escape penalties for competition law violations by shifting their revenue to other countries.
|Competition Commission of India
• The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory entity of the Government of India charged with executing the Competition Act of 2002; it was formally established in March 2009.
• The Act outlaws anti-competitive agreements, misuse of dominant position by firms, and combinations that have a significant harmful effect on competition in India.
• The Commission is comprised of a chairperson and six members selected by the Central Government.
· The commission is a quasi-judicial entity that renders advisory opinions to statutory bodies and handles antitrust disputes.
Internet via a modem
Tags: GS 2, Governance
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has removed regulations governing dial-up internet connection services.
- Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access that uses the facilities of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to establish a connection to an Internet service provider (ISP) by dialling a telephone number on a conventional telephone line.
- Modems are utilised by dial-up connections to decode audio signals into data for transmission to a router or computer.
- The restrictions were issued when dial-up was the only option for accessing the Internet at modest speeds.
- Theoretically, dial-up internet rates might reach a maximum of 56 kilobits per second.
- The telecommunications industry has advanced to provide high-speed broadband service via xDSL, FTTH, and LTE.
Internet Users in India
- According to the Internet in India study for 2022, India has 692 million active internet users. 351 million are from rural areas, whereas 341 million are from metropolitan areas. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the number of Indian internet users is expected to reach 900 million by 2025.
- 346 million Indians participate in online transactions, such as digital payments and e-commerce. India has surpassed the United States, whose population of 331 million engages in digital commerce.
- 762 million Indians have not yet adopted the Internet, with 63 percent residing in rural areas.
- Male Internet users outnumber female Internet users in both rural and urban locations.
- Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) : The purpose of the programme is to provide public Wi-Fi service via Public Data Offices (PDOs) dispersed around the country, similar to what Public Call Offices (PCOs) did for telephone coverage in India.
- Bharat Net Project: It is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre to create robust middle-mile infrastructure for taking broadband connectivity to Gram Panchayats.
- National Broadband Mission : It aspires to facilitate nationwide, universal, and fair access to broadband services.
- Right of Way Challenge: The Right of Way has been a controversial issue for the Indian telecom industry as a result of inconsistent and complex state-by-state legislative procedures, non-uniform tolls, and permissions from the Forest Department, Railways, and National Highway Authority.The Right of Way has been a controversial issue for the Indian telecom industry as a result of inconsistent and complex state-by-state legislative procedures, non-uniform tolls, and permissions from the Forest Department, Railways, and National Highway Authority.
- Insufficient Fixed-Line Penetration:The Indian network has limited fixed-line coverage, whereas other industrialised nations have a significant fixed-line penetration (telephone lines connected to a nationwide telephone network via metal wires or optical fibers).
- Less than 25 percent of towers in India are connected to fibre networks, compared to over 70 percent in wealthy countries.
- Lack of Rural Connectivity: In India, adequate teledensity has been attained, however there remains a significant disparity between urban (55.42%) and rural (44.52%) penetration.
- Large initial fixed costs make it difficult for service providers to enter semi-rural and rural areas.
- Way Forward
- To realise the objectives of Digital India the creation of digital infrastructure and the development of digital skills must go hand in hand. The rural populace must be equipped to take full advantage of digital potential.
Mobile app Sagar-Setu
Tags: GS 2, Government Policies & Interventions
- Today, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, unveiled the App Version of the National Logistics Portal (Marine), Sagar-Setu.
- The SAGAR-SETU app of the National Logistics Portal (Marine) will give real-time data on vessel-related information, gates, container goods stations, and transactions, enabling digital payments.
- The application will expand maritime trade, boost the nation’s economy, and improve the visibility of operations and tracking.
Benefits for Traders
- Enhance convenience by decreasing turnaround times for approvals and compliances.
- Improve the visibility of operations and tracking.
Benefits for Service Providers
- Help in tracking of records and transactions offered
- Receive notification of service requests.
|National Logistics Portal (Marine)
· The National Logistics Portal (Marine) is a national maritime single window platform comprising comprehensive end-to-end logistics solutions to assist exporters, importers, and service providers in exchanging papers and conducting business.
· The Maritime India Vision 2030 (which is projected to replace the Sagarmala Plan) seeks to construct ports and digitise marine infrastructure throughout the nation.
Rice from Nagri Dubraj is given a geographic designation tag.
Tags: GS 2, Government Policies & Interventions, GS 3, Indian Economy & Related Issues
- The Geographical Indication Registry affixed a geographical indication (GI) label to Chhattisgarh’s aromatic rice, Nagri Dubraj.
- The Morena and Rewa Mangos (both from Madhya Pradesh) are also tagged.
About Nagri Dubraj Rice
- It is developed by a self-help group for women. Dubraj has been harvested by the women’s self-help group “Maa Durga Swasahayata Samuh” of Nagri in the Dhamtari district. It is an indigenous type with little grains that, once cooked, become extremely tender. Due to its scent, it is known as the Basmati of Chhattisgarh.
What is a GI Tag?
- The GI or Geographical Indication Tag is used for products that have a distinct geographical origin or has traits that may be traced to a certain place.
- A GI is generally an agricultural, natural, or manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial items) from a specific geographical location. o The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, governs the issuance of GI labels.
- It is part of the intellectual property rights protected by the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
- It is valid for ten years and can be renewed.
Benefits of Getting GI Tag
- It grants Geographical Indications in India legal protection
- Prevents others from using a Registered Geographical Indication without authorization.
- It offers Indian Geographical Indications with legal protection, hence boosting exports.
- It fosters the economic well-being of producers of items produced in a certain region.
Collections of Provisional Tax
Tags: GS 3, Indian Economy & Related Issues
- The Finance Ministry has issued tentative data on tax collections for FY 2022-23.
- India’s net direct tax collections increased by 17.63% to?16.61 lakh crore in 2022-23, surpassing the revised forecasts target for the year by 0.7%.
- The contribution of corporate tax to gross direct tax was?10.04 lakh crore, which was marginally greater than the?9.61 lakh crore paid by taxpayers in the form of personal Income Tax and Securities Transaction Tax (STT).
- Grossly, the contribution of personal income tax and STT to the tax kitty has reached 48.9% in 2022-23, up from roughly 47.4% in 2021-22, while corporation tax has decreased to 51.1% from 52.2% in the prior year.
- The growth of corporation tax revenues was also lower than that of individual income tax. The overall corporate tax revenue had increased by 16.9% year-over-year, while personal income tax and STT had increased by 24.23 %.
- Gross tax revenues increased by 20.33 percent to?19.68 trillion in 2022-23, compared to?16.36 trillion in the prior fiscal year. In 2021-22, tax refunds increased by 37.4% annually to a little over?3.07 lakh crore from?2,23,658 crore the previous year.
- Total corporate and individual tax receipts, combined with STT, have increased by 20.38 percent, from?16.32 trillion to?19.65 trillion.
Reasons for gains :
- enhancement of tax deduction and tax collection at source [TDS and TCS] laws to trace transactions from the source through the value chain;
- incorporation of data aggregation tools by the tax department;
- Implementation of GST will increase the tax base.
Explanation for the terms:
- Revised Estimates:Budget estimates are prepared for a year,before the completion of a year A survey is conducted of the allocations of the financial year which takes stock of how much of the allocated funds have been used, how much is left/ collected,what all activities have been planned and so on. After this, the initial budget estimates are revised and these numbers are now called revised estimates.
- Gross Direct tax : Direct taxes are those for which the taxpayer cannot shift the cost to another party. After Tax collections the tax authority may offer refunds for various reasons like wrong application,mistimed deductions,Appeals etc. Gross collections minus returns constitute net collections.
Tags: GS 3, Indian Economy & Related Issues
- Mathematicians have recently identified a “Einstein tile”
- An “Einstein tile” is a form that can be employed separately to generate an aperiodic (non-repeating) pattern on an endlessly large plane. Einstein is a play on the German phrase ein stein, meaning “one stone” — not to be confused with the famous German physicist Albert Einstein.
- Periodic tiles are a collection of tile kinds whose duplicates can create patterns without repetition.
- The mathematician Hao Wang hypothesised in 1961 that aperiodic tilings were impossible. Robert Berger, one of his students, discovered 104 tiles that, when positioned together, never form a repeating pattern.
- In the 1970s, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Roger Penrose discovered a set of two tiles that could be stacked in an infinitely unique design. This is now known as Penrose tiling and has been incorporated into artwork throughout the globe.
- Since Penrose’s discovery, however, mathematicians have been searching for the “holy grail” of aperiodic tiling — a single form or monotile that can occupy an infinite space without ever repeating the pattern it creates. This topic perplexed mathematicians for decades, and many believed there was just no solution.
- The latest finding known as “the hat” resolves this issue.
- aperiodic tiling will help physicists and chemists comprehend the structure and behaviour of quasicrystals, structures in which the atoms are arranged but the pattern does not repeat;
- the newly discovered tile could serve as a springboard for imaginative art.