GS Paper II- Governance, Constitution, Polity.

Aadhaar-Linked Issues To Be Decided By Constitution Bench, Says Supreme Court.

Background

  • The Supreme Court on Friday, 7th July, 2017, said that all the issues arising out of Aadhaar should be finally decided by its constitution bench.
  • A three-judge bench, headed by Justice J Chelameswar, asked the parties to urge the Chief Justice to set up a constitution bench to decide the issues relating to Aadhaar.
  • The bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha suggested both the petitioners and the center to request the Chief Justice to constitute a larger bench so that these matters can be decided finally.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • Supreme Court has sent fresh plea challenging Aadhaar Act and mandatory use of the unique identification number in at least 17 govt schemes to larger Constitution bench.
  • Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, who is representing the petitioners, said they would mention the matter before the Chief Justice and request him to set up a constitution bench to hear the matters relating to Aadhaar.
  • A vacation bench of the apex court had on June 27, 2017, refused to pass an interim order against the Centre’s notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes, with the government assuring it that no one would be deprived for want of this identification.
  • The court had observed that no interim order could be passed merely on the apprehension raised by the petitioners that somebody might be deprived of the benefits under the various social welfare schemes due to the lack of Aadhaar, especially when no such affected person has come before it.
  • The apex court was hearing three separate petitions challenging government’s notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes.
  • In August 2015, a three-judge bench referred the issue of whether an Indian citizen enjoys a fundamental right to privacy to a larger Constitution bench. After 18 months, the bench is yet to be constituted.
  • The court also granted liberty to the petitioners to mention urgency in setting up a larger bench before chief justice J.S. Khehar.
  • The chief justice, also the administrative head of the court, is responsible to constitute benches.
  • Child rights activist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha has moved the apex court arguing that some of the schemes for which Aadhaar is mandatory fall outside the purview of the Aadhaar law.
  • Earlier, the apex court had passed a slew of orders asking the government and its agencies not to make Aadhaar mandatory for extending benefits of their welfare schemes.
  • The apex court, however, had allowed the Centre to seek Aadhaar card voluntarily from citizens for extending benefits of schemes like LPG subsidy, Jan Dhan scheme and Public Distribution System.

Sources– The Hindu, Economic Times, Livemint.Page 1

GS Paper III- Technology, Economic Development.

Govt To Introduce New Product Pricing Rules That Bar Sales Over MRP.

Background-

  • From January 1, 2018, the price of a packaged goods would no longer depend on where it was bought – be it a local kirana store, a mall, a five-star hotel or an airport. The Consumer Affairs ministry has amended the rules that govern packaged commodities to this effect.
  • As per the amended Legal Metrology rules for packaged commodities that will come into effect from the next calendar year, the Centre has clarified that the retail sale price shall be the maximum retail price (MRP) inclusive of all taxes, with the provision to round off the price to the nearest rupee or 50 paise.
  • Further, to curb the possibility of any vendor charging differential prices for the same product, a new legal provision has been inserted that no person shall declare different MRPs on an identical pre-packed commodity.

Highlights Of The New Norms-

  • Products sold on e-commerce platforms and medical devices declared as drugs like stents will now have to mandatorily carry retail prices and other essential information from next year as per the government’s new labeling rules.
  • Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has approved amendments to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, that will come into effect from January 1, 2018.
  • These rules were framed to regulate the pre-packaged commodities, which have to comply with certain mandatory labeling requirements.
  • The new norms also require sellers to enhance the size of letters and numerals for making declarations about the packaged goods, such as their “Best before date, month and year” to indicate their shelf life, for making it easier for consumers to read vital information, said an official.
  • Interestingly, for e-commerce marketplaces, declaring the month and year in which a commodity is manufactured or packed is not mandatory and if they fulfill certain conditions, they will not be held liable for whether the declarations were correct or incorrect.
  • The Consumer Affairs ministry has put the onus for the veracity of declarations on the manufacturer, seller, dealer or importer concerned who may be using the e-commerce portal to sell their wares.
  • The government said that the rules have been amended to enhance consumer protection, but at the same time balancing with the requirement of ease of doing business.
  • The amended rules also prohibit dual MRPs on products, saying that no person shall declare different MRPs (dual MRP) on an identical pre-packaged commodity unless allowed under any law.
  • The government said that this will benefit consumers at large as there are complaints regarding dual MRP for items sold at public places like cinema hall, airport, malls etc.
  • With growing online trade, the new rules have brought products sold on e-commerce platform under its ambit.

Sources– The Hindu, Moneycontrol.Page 1

GS Paper IV- Ethics, Integrity.

Israeli Prime Minister To Bring 26/11 Survivor Moshe On India Visit.

Background

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to bring along Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who survived the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, during his forthcoming visit to India, the boy’s family claimed Thursday, 6th July, 2017.
  • PM Modi, in a special gesture, met Moshe, now 11, along with his grandparents and Indian nanny Sandra Samuels who managed to escape with him from Nariman House which came under attack by Pakistan-based LeT terrorists.
  • PM Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel, making it a historic trip.

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Key Points Of This Development-

  • Moshe Holtzberg, the boy who lost his parents in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, has an emotional connect with India, according to his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel and the boy’s grandfather Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg. Ms. Samuel and Rabbi Holtzberg are looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jerusalem.
  • Netanyahu, who met Moshe along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 6th July, 2017, offered to ferry him in his aircraft when he visits India, Moshe’s grandfather Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg told.
  • During his meeting with Modi, Moshe told him that he wants to visit Mumbai and become the director of the Chabad House, where his parents were killed.
  • He said that Modi was kind and told Moshe that he was free to visit India anytime he wished. Modi assured of all help to Moshe and his family.
  • PM Modi, in a special gesture, met Moshe, now 11, along with his grandparents and Indian nanny Sandra Samuels who managed to escape with him from Nariman House which came under attack by Pakistan-based LeT terrorists.
  • Moshe welcomed Modi in Hindi, saying ‘Aapka swagat hai humare desh mein’ according to Mr Rosenberg.
  • Moshe was two when his parents Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, serving as emissaries of Chabad in Mumbai, were killed along with six others by terrorists at the Nariman House, also popularly known as Chabad House.

Sources– NDTV, The Hindu.Page 1