Here is todayâ€™s digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
Authority of Speaker in Lok Sabha
The Uttarakhand High Court revoked the President rule imposed in the state of Uttarakhand. But the Supreme Court stayed the judgement. The Supreme court had asked the centre that how can the Union Cabinet sitting in New Delhi determine that a Money Bill was not validly passed in the Uttarakhand Assembly and pave the way for imposing Presidentâ€™s rule in the State.
The SC maintained that in the passage of the money bill the decision of the Speaker is final and cannot be questioned.
What are the powers of the Speaker? – The Speaker conducts the business in the house. He/She decides whether a bill is a money bill or not. He/She maintains discipline and decorum in the house and can punish a member for their unruly behaviour by suspending them. He/She permits the moving of various kinds of motions and resolutions like the motion of no confidence, motion of adjournment, motion of censure and calling attention notice as per the rules. The Speaker decides on the agenda to be taken up for discussion during the meeting. Further, all comments and speeches made by members of the House are addressed to the speaker. The speaker also presides over the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.
Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia
Government to set up sex offenders registry
With the rising incidents of sex crimes in the country, the government is planning to set up a sex offenders registry in the country, on the lines of those maintained in western countries including the U.S. and the U.K.
Details of sexual offenders even below 18 years of age would be included in the database, which will be put up on the website of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The government plans to publicise their photographs, addresses, PAN card details, Aadhaar card number, fingerprints and DNA samples through this registry. The details would be available only after they have been convicted and completed their sentence in jail. The details will not be included if the case are under trial and are in appeal in a higher court.
This will be an online database of charge-sheeted sexual offenders in the entire country, which people can access through a Citizen Portal in the upcoming Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project. The United States has a similar website called the National Sex Offender Public Website.
What are the advantages of the list? – International experience shows that maintaining a list creates some amount of deterrence. People would know about sex offenders and greater awareness could lead to better safety measures adopted around them. If a person is allowed to work his name off the list by improving his record, it could serve as an incentive for offenders to rehabilitate and reintegrate with the system.
What are the disadvantage of the list? – If there is no differentiation in the list then all the offenders are at the risk of being treated similarly for different degrees of offences. This could in turn become a shame list where people are targeted by vigilantes. The family of such offenders would also be at a risk thus removing the offender from all social support systems. Proper care should also be maintained to exclude any errors.
Make in India not at cost of IPR: US
The US Trade Representativeâ€™s annual Special 301 report 2016, Â that identifies trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to a foreign governmentâ€™s intellectual property regime, has placed India on the Priority Watch List. It is similar to 2015. The government of India does not engage with the process as it considers it an infringement on the countryâ€™s sovereignty.
The reports says that, â€œIndia has taken positive steps to address or avoid further erosions of the IPR regime. Indiaâ€™s courts retain their reputation for providing fair and deliberate treatment of both foreign and domestic litigants. However, at the same time, India has not taken the opportunity to address long-standing and systemic deficiencies in its IPR regime and has endorsed problematic policies.
The report said Indiaâ€™s domestic policy goals of increasing investment and stimulating innovation must be â€œthrough, not at the expense of, IPR protection and enforcement.â€ The U.S remains concerned about actions and policies in India that appear to favour local manufacturing or Indian IPR owners,â€ according to the report.
What is the Special 301 Report? – The Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under Section 301 as amended of the Trade Act of 1974. The reports identify trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to the intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, in other countries.
By statute, the annual report must identify a list of “Priority Foreign Countries”, those countries judged to have inadequate intellectual property laws; these countries may be subject to sanctions. In addition, the report contains a “Priority Watch List” and a “Watch List”, containing countries whose intellectual property regimes are deemed of concern.
What is Indiaâ€™s position on the list? – India continues to be on the Priority Watch List for 2016. India reappears on the list for failing to substantially improvements to its legal framework. The 2016 report keeps China on its Priority Watch List of U.S. trading partners that have problems protecting intellectual property, enforcing its theft or the market access given to entities relying on intellectual property. The report highlights concerns about China stealing trade secrets, â€œrampantâ€ online piracy and counterfeiting, ongoing high levels of physical pirated and counterfeit goods, while localization requirements have limited market access for intellectual property developed in or transferred to China.
The report adds Switzerland to the list because copyright holders have effectively been barred from enforcing their rights against online infringers. The report adds that the country has become a popular host for infringing websites.
Parliamentary panel asks names related to debt write-off
The Parliamentary Consultative committee on non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector has suggested that the government should name all the defaulters whose loans have been written off by state-owned banks.
Members (of the committee) suggested that there is need for bringing more transparency in the system, and list of all the defaulters whose loans have been written off by the PSBs be made public. They asked for exemplary action against the wilful defaulters so that others do not indulge in similar activities.
What are the reforms to speed up NPA resolution? – The SARFAESI Act (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act) and DRT (Debt Recovery Tribunal) Act have been amended to make the recovery process more efficient and expedient.
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has been cleared by the joint parliamentary committee and is expected to be taken up in the parliament.
What is the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code? – Bankruptcy is a legal status usually imposed by a Court, on a firm or individual unable to meet debt obligations. Indiaâ€™s new Bankruptcy Bill attempts to create a formal insolvency resolution process (IRP) for businesses, either by coming up with a viable survival mechanism or by ensuring their speedy liquidation.
The Bill envisages a new regulator – the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India. The insolvency resolution process can be started by a business or debtor who has defaulted on dues. Or, lenders and creditors to a firm, including employees – either secured or unsecured – can do it too.
When the IRP is on, creditorsâ€™ claims are frozen for 180 days, during which they will hear proposals for revival and decide on their future course of action. Within those 180 days, 75 per cent of the creditors must agree to a revival plan. If this minimum threshold is not met, the firm automatically goes into liquidation.
If three-fourths of the creditors decide that the case is complex and cannot be addressed within 180 days, the adjudicator can grant a one-time extension of up to 90 days on the process.
The Bill vests the insolvency professionals tasked with the job, with substantial powers. Criminal charges will apply if they notice any asset stripping by the promoters or responsible parties.
How will the new bill benefit? – Bankruptcy proceedings in India are governed by multiple laws – the Companies Act, SARFAESI Act, Sick Industrial Companies Act, and so on. The entire process of winding up is also very long-winded, with courts, debt recovery tribunals and the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction all having a say in the process.
The new Code streamlines and consolidates all these laws to make the process simpler. Industry anticipates that the change will provide an easy exit option for insolvent and sick firms. The passage of this bill will enable quick and prompt action to be taken in the early stages of debt default by a firm, maximising the recovery amount. The creditors will not be stymied by red-tape and promoters will directly become accountable for any financial lapses.
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