GS-2 Polity
What mechanism do you have against fake news, SC asks govt.

Why in News?
The Supreme Court asked the Centre to explain its “mechanism” against fake news and bigotry on air, and to create one if it did not already exist.

Context

  • Inability on the government’s part may well see the job go to an “outside agency” .
  • Why should we ask private entities like NBSA, etc., when you have the authority? If such an authority does not exist, create one…
  • If you cannot, then we will hand it over to an outside agency,” Chief Justice of India told Solicitor General.
  • The three-judge Bench, said the court was “disappointed” with the contents of the latest government affidavit, filed by Information and Broadcasting.
  • The affidavit media coverage “predominantly struck a balanced and neutral perspective” in the past few months.
  • It explained that as a “matter of journalistic policy, any section of the media may highlight different events, issues and happenings across the world as per their choice.”
  • It was for the viewer to choose from the varied opinions offered by different media outlets.
  • The petitions in the court contained vague assertions against the media based on “fact-checking news reports”.
  • Besides, the government had already blocked 743 social media accounts and URLs spreading fake news on COVID-19.
  • The court rejected the affidavit as inadequate.

Court’s Poser

  • For the past two months, the court has been asking the government to give a clear answer to whether the regulatory provisions of the Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act of 1995, meant for cable networks, would apply to TV broadcasts.
  • “We want to know if the government has any power to question or ban TV broadcasting signals,” Chief Justice Bobde had asked the government in the previous hearing in October.
  • Mehta referred to the power to prohibit transmission of certain programmes under Section 19 of the 1995 Act.

Elaborate Affidavit

  • However, he agreed to file an “elaborate” affidavit, which would be the third in a row from the government side.
  • The CJI had termed the first one, filed by an under-secretary, “evasive” and even “nonsensical”.
  • The Jamiat petitions has sought a direction from the court to the Ministry to identify and take strict action against sections of the media that communalised the Tablighi incident.

GS-3 Govt Policy
Farmers still keen on crop insurance scheme

Why in News?

The Centre’s decision to make voluntary the enrolment of farmers in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBYPrime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme) does not seem to have reduced the farmers’ interest in it.

Context

  • Against 2.74 lakh farmers, totally covered under the scheme during the 2019 kharif season (which is equivalent to Kuruvai Season in Tamil Nadu), over 4 lakh were enrolled this time.
  • As was the case in the previous years, the proportion of non-loanee farmers — those who have not taken crop loans — in the total number of insured farmers, is higher this time as well, compared to loanee agriculturists.
  • Since the scheme was inaugurated in 2016-17, of the total number of insured farmers, agriculturists without loans have constituted almost four-fifths and ones with loans one-fifth.
  • But, as a sequel to the Central government’s move to make the insurance cover optional, the ratio is 89:11.
  • At present, enrolment for the special season is in progress. This will be followed by the season for rabi and other crops.
  • But it is during the current special season that a major chunk of enrolment is likely to take place.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

  • The Government is endeavouring for the integration of all the stakeholders viz. farmers, insurance companies, financial institutions & Government agencies on single IT platform.
  • This will ensure better administration, coordination & transparency for getting real time information and monitoring.
  • This is a stable, secure and seamlessly integrated ecosystem created with a comprehensive view of data in a secure environment thereby enabling information access to multiple stakeholders viz. Farmers, Govt. Functionaries, Insurance Companies, Intermediaries, Bankers and social & community bodies.
  • Crop Insurance portal has enabled the digitization of notification of areas, crops, schemes for enabling information access to multiple stakeholders thereby facilitating ease of access to the farmers in availing crop insurance services.
  • This automated solution has opened a window of opportunity to remote and economically-weak farmers to benefit from crop insurance services.

GS-2 Polity
Lack of consent won’t vitiate CBI probe: SC

Why in News?
Once a court takes cognisance of a corruption case investigated by the CBI, it cannot be set aside for lack of the State government’s prior consent for the probe against some of the accused, unless it is shown that it has resulted in prejudice, the Supreme Court has held.

Context

  • A Bench of Justices said the cognisance and trial in a CBI case against public servants “cannot be set aside unless the illegality in the investigation can be shown to have brought about miscarriage of justice”.
  • Thus, if the State had given a general consent to CBI investigation in a corruption case and cognisance has been taken by the court, the case cannot be set aside unless the public servants plead that prejudice has been caused to them on account of non-obtaining of prior consent under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
  • However, in its observations, the court underscored that the CBI cannot extend its powers to any State unless the State government grants its consent.
  • This arrangement is in tune with the federal character of the Constitution.

Delhi Special Police Establishment Act

The Central Bureau of Investigation traces its origin to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India.
The functions of the SPE then were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with the War & Supply Dept. of India during World War II.
Even after the end of the War, the need for a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees was felt.
The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act was therefore brought into force in 1946.
The CBI’s power to investigate cases is derived from this Act.

GS-3 Economy
RBI moots DBS takeover as LVB faces moratorium

Why in News?
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposed a draft scheme of amalgamation that entails the Indian unit of Singapore’s DBS Bank taking over the capital-starved Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB), within hours of the Centre imposing a one-month moratorium on the Karur-based lender that temporarily capped withdrawals at ₹25,000.

Context

  • The moratorium commenced with effect from the close of business.
  • The RBI also superseded the private lender’s board in order to protect the depositors’ interest following a “serious deterioration” in the bank’s financial position.
  • Observing that DBS Bank India Ltd. (DBIL) was ‘well capitalised’.
  • It will bring in additional capital of ₹2,500 crore upfront, to support credit growth of the merged entity.
  • The Reserve Bank assures the depositors of the bank that their interest will be fully protected and there is no need to panic.