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Article
22 May 2022

Govt. wants to keep look-out circular details under wraps

In News:

  • A series of recent court orders have put emphasis on the opaque and mechanical manner in which look-out circulars (LOCs) are generated.
  • Despite the fact that the opaque system is such that a person will not know if such a circular exists against him or her until they arrive at the airport, the Union Home Ministry is not about to back down.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Look-out circulars
    • About
    • How and who can issue an LOC?
    • Rules to issue an LoC and its validity
    • Does an LOC lead to arrest?
    • Legal position
    • Interpol notices v. LOC
  • News Summary 

Look-out circulars (LOCs):

  • About:
    • An LOC is issued to make sure that an individual who is absconding or wanted by law enforcement agencies is not able to leave the country.
    • It is mostly used at immigration checkpoints at international airports and seaports by the immigration branch.
  • How and who can issue an LOC?
    • In India, it can be issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and by various authorities for keeping a watch on arrival or departure of Indians and foreigners.
    • These authorities include the Ministry of External Affairs, the Customs and Income Tax Departments, Directorate of Revenue intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, Interpol, Regional Passport Officers, Police authorities, etc.
    • In certain cases, the police can approach a court asking for the restriction of a person’s movement outside the country, when there is an apprehension that they may not join the investigation at a later stage.
    • The subject of an LOC can challenge the circular and get relief from a court.
  • Rules to issue an LoC and its validity:
    • An LOC can be initiated by a large number of authorised officers, including an officer not below the rank of deputy secretary to the government of India/joint secretary in the state government/concerned district magistrate or superintendent of police at the district level, et
    • In 2018, the government also empowered the heads of public sector banks to directly request the authorities to issue an LOC against wilful defaulters to prevent them from leaving the country.
    • An LOC is valid for a period of one year and can be extended further before the expiry of the one-year period.
    • An LOC can be modified/deleted/withdrawn by the Bureau of Immigration only on the specific request of the authorised originator on whose request the LOC was issued.
  • Does an LOC lead to arrest? (Not necessarily)
    • LOCs can be of several types.
    • They can simply seek to prevent a person named in the circular from leaving the country.
    • The LOC proposal can also include a request to detain the individual at the local police/investigative agency, which usually results in arrest.
  • Legal position:
    • According to the sources, the LOC derives its statutory backing from the Passport Act 1967, which authorises the Union government to revoke passports or travel documents in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India or the general public.
    • The Delhi High Court ruled in a judgement (2010) had laid down that -
      • Recourse to an LOC can be taken by an investigating agency in cognizable offences under the Indian Penal Court (IPC) or other penal laws,
      • Where the accused was deliberately evading arrest or not appearing in the trial court despite non-bailable warrants and other coercive measures, and there was likelihood of the accused leaving the country to evade trial or arrest.
      • The court had asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to formulate guidelines in consultation with various investigating agencies and the state police forces.
    • The MHA issued a circular to investigating agencies and included the Delhi HC judgement, laying down the guidelines in this regard.
  • Interpol notices v. LOC:
    • The primary difference between an LOC and an Interpol notice is that an LOC can be issued by Indian investigating agencies to the Indian Immigration Bureau office in New Delhi.
      • The Immigration Bureau then circulates it to the various immigration points in the country and Indian missions abroad.
    • But in case of an Interpol notice, the CBI is the nodal agency and process requests on behalf of its organisations.
    • There are eight types of Interpol notices and among the most commonly known is Red Corner notice.
    • The Red Corner notice is issued to extradite the accused from another country where the person is arrested or detained. The notice, however, doesn’t bind the other country to extradite the accused.

News Summary:

 

Defence & Security

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

PETROL PRICES
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a slew of measures to rein in runaway inflation on, including duty cuts on petroleum products, a ₹200 subsidy on LPG cylinders for the poor and a rejig of import duties on plastic and steel products.
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About:

  • A reduction in central excise duty per litre of petrol by ₹8, and of diesel by ₹6, will translate into retail prices on these fuels dropping by ₹9.5 per litre and ₹7 per litre.
  • A subsidy of ₹200 per gas cylinder for up to 12 cylinders a year will be granted to over nine crore beneficiaries of the PM Ujwala Yojana.
  • The steps to check rising prices assume significance with retail inflation spiralling to 7.8% in April, the highest since the NDA government assumed office in 2014, and wholesale inflation hitting a multi-decade high of 15.1%.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

PROJECT WARDEC
The Army Training Command signed a MoU with Gandhinagar-based Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) to develop a ‘Wargame Research and Development Centre’ in New Delhi.
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About:

  • The project, which has been given a prototype name ‘WARDEC’, will be a first-of-its-kind simulation-based training centre in India that will use artificial intelligence (AI) to design virtual reality wargames.
  • The Wargame Research and Development Centre will be used by the Army to train its soldiers and test their strategies through “metaverse-enabled gameplay”. The wargame models will be designed to prepare for wars as well as counter-terror and counter-insurgency operations.
  • The centre will come up in a military zone in New Delhi. The RRU will join hands with Tech Mahindra to develop the centre in the coming three to four months, officials added.
  • The RRU, an institute under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), specialises in national security and policing. Located in Gandhinagar’s Lavad village, it is an “institute of national importance” – a status granted to it by an Act of Parliament.
Source : Indian Express
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

POLIO
Mozambique identified its first case of wild poliovirus Type 1 this week after a child contracted the disease. It is the country’s first such case since 1992 and the second imported case of wild poliovirus in Southern Africa this year. An outbreak was reported in Malawi earlier this year.
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About:

  • Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. Because the virus lives in the faeces (poop) of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating (pooping).
  • People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces.
  • The virus multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Once that happens, the patient is crippled for life because there is no treatment for the affliction. That is why polio is so dreaded.
  • Polio infection, however, is easily preventable by a vaccine.
  • There are three variants of the poliovirus, numbered 1 to 3. For a country to be declared polio-free, the wild transmission of all three kinds has to be stopped. For eradication, cases of both wild and vaccine-derived polio infection have to be reduced to zero.
  • India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988. India was declared polio-free in January 2014.
Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

MUKHYA MANTRI GHAR GHAR RATION YOJNA
The Delhi High Court Thursday halted a proposed scheme for doorstep delivery of ration in the national capital. In March 2018, the Delhi Cabinet approved a scheme for delivery of ration at the doorstep of beneficiaries under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
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About:

  • It was called the ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna’. The scheme was notified in February 2021.
  • The foodgrain stock for the scheme was to be lifted by millers empanelled with the Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited and transported to milling units for processing and packaging.
  • The packed items were then to be delivered at designated Fair Price Shops to be set up by Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store Ltd.
  • The last step involved delivering the packaged items at the doorstep of beneficiaries through government-empanelled direct-to-home delivery agencies.
  • From the moment the proposal was given a go-ahead by the Arvind Kejriwal government in 2018, it faced stiff opposition from the Lieutenant Governor as well as the central government on technical grounds.
  • The Lieutenant Governor, said it may not eliminate corruption – one of the scheme’s stated objectives – as it only sought to replace old service providers with new ones. The LG also advised the AAP government to place the matter before the Centre for approval.
  • The Centre also said that it “will have no objection if a separate scheme is made by the state government without mixing elements of the NFSA (National Food Security Act) foodgrains”.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

PRINCESS BANNU PAN DEI
During his official visit to the Cannes Film Festival in France, Union Minister Anurag Thakur paid a visit to the Allard Square in Saint-Tropez.
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About:

  • Here, Thakur, a Lok Sabha MP from Himachal Pradesh, paid floral tributes to Maharaja Ranjit Singh (the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire), Jean-Francois Allard (a general in Singh’s army) and Allard’s spouse Princess Bannu Pan Dei.
  • Saint-Tropez was a military stronghold and fishing village until the beginning of the 20th century.
  • It was the first town on its coast to be liberated during World War II as part of ‘Operation Dragoon’. After the war, it became an internationally known seaside resort because of the influx of artists of the French New Wave in cinema.

Saint-Tropez has a historical connection with the state of Himachal Pradesh.

  • General Jean-François Allard was born in Saint-Tropez. He served in the Napoleon army and fought in the Battle of Waterloo.
  • Forced into exile after Napoleon’s downfall, he served under Maharajah Ranjit Singh in Punjab, where he felt deeply in love with Princess Bannu Pan Deï, who was born in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.
  • They married and had seven children. On the family’s return to Saint-Tropez in 1835, the general had an oriental-inspired Pan Deï Palais built as a token of his love for his wife.
Source : Indian Express
History

Article
22 May 2022

FY22: As Covid curbs ease, outward remittances up 55% to all-time high

In News:

  • Total outward remittances, under the RBI’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme, shot up to an all-time high of $19.610 billion in the year ended March 2022.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Liberalised Remittance Scheme (About, background, allowed transactions, restrictions)
  • News Summary

In Focus: Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS)

  • Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) was brought out by the RBI in
  • It allows resident individuals to remit a certain amount of money during a financial year to another country for investment and expenditure.
  • According to the prevailing regulations, resident individuals may remit up to $250,000 per financial year.

Background:

  • Resident Indians or people resident in India are allowed to transfer foreign currency under the foreign exchange regulations.
    • The transfer of foreign currency outside India is governed by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA).
  • Hence, to regulate transferring of funds within a specified limit, RBI brought the LRS.

Allowed transactions under the LRS

 

  • Apart from the areas highlighted in the above diagram, the remitted amount can also be invested in shares, debt instruments, and be used to buy immovable properties in overseas market.
  • Individuals can also open, maintain and hold foreign currency accounts with banks outside India for carrying out transactions permitted under the scheme.

Restrictions under LRS

  • LRS restricts
    • Buying and selling of foreign exchange abroad, or purchase of lottery tickets or sweep stakes, proscribed magazines and so on,
    • Any items that is restricted under Schedule II of Foreign Exchange Management (Current Account Transactions) Rules, 2000.
  • Also, one cannot make remittances directly or indirectly to countries identified by the Financial Action Task Force as non-co-operative countries and territories.

News Summary

  • Foreign exchange, including the US dollar and euro, taken out of the country by resident Indians has shot up by 54.60 per cent during the fiscal ended March 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • Total outward remittances
    • Total outward remittances under the RBI’s LRS shot up to an all-time high of $19.610 billion in the year ended March 2022.
      • It was $12.684 billion in the year ended March 2021.
    • The total outward remittances were at an all-time high in FY22 as it made a strong comeback from the previous year’s tepid show because of Covid-19-led disruptions.
    • The comeback was aided by Indian’s spending more on international travel and overseas education.
  • Various segments where outward remittances showed healthy growth
    • In FY22, international travel picked up, resulting in India's spending $6.91 billion on travel, which is more than double that was spent on travel in FY21.
      • In FY20, however, spends on travel by Indians was also almost $6.95 billion.
    • Overseas education is another segment that has seen healthy growth in FY22 as Indians remitted over $5.17 billion in the year.
      • This showed an increase of 35 per cent from FY21, where Indians had remitted $3.83 billion.
      • In FY20, remittances for overseas education were nearly $5 billion.
    • Another segment that saw a healthy rise was gifts.
      • Indians remitted $2.34 billion as gifts in FY22, up 47.28 per cent over FY21.
      • In FY20, Indians remitted about $1.91 billion as gifts under the LRS scheme.
  • Investments in overseas equity and debt by Indians also shot
    • Investments in overseas equity and debt by Indians also shot up to $746.5 million in FY22 as against $471.80 million in the previous year.
Economics

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

RETINOBLASTOMA
The World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week was observed from May 15 to 21.
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About:

  • Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer (malignant tumor) occurring in young children.
  • It can occur in one or both eyes and may be hereditary or sporadic. It can be life-threatening as well as take away vision if not treated timely and is detected by seeing White Reflex (WR).
  • Nearly 1,500-2,000 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma every year in India.
  • Symptoms
    • White Reflex in the eye: Pupil that looks white or yellow instead of red when light hits it.
    • Squinting: A crossed eye, looking either toward the nose or towards the ear.
    • Poor vision with or without WR. The eye may be red or painful also.
  • Treatment: Chemotherapy can be delivered intravenously or intra-arterial and is given by the paediatric oncologist and is the most common modality of treatment. This has to be followed up with local therapy, which is managed by the ophthalmologist using various modalities. 
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

BioRRAP
In keeping with the spirit of "One Nation,One Portal", Union Minister of Science and Technology launched Single National Portal for Biotech researchers and Start-ups.
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About:

  • The Portal "BioRRAP" will cater to all those seeking regulatory approval for biological research & development activity in the country.
  • Biological Research Regulatory Approval Portal (BioRRAP) will also allow stakeholders to see the approvals accorded against a particular application through a unique BioRRAP ID.

Do you know?

  • India is among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology globally and 3rd largest biotechnology destination in the Asia Pacific region.
  • By 2025, the contribution of the Indian biotechnology industry in the global biotechnology market is expected to grow to 19% from a mere 3% in 2017. The Bio Economy’s contribution to the national GDP has also grown steadily in the past years to 2.7% in 2020 from 1.7% in 2017.
Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 22, 2022

SOWA RIGPA
The Union Minister for Ayush announced major initiatives to boost the traditional medicinal practice including Sowa Rigpa, Ayurveda and Naturopathy in the state of Sikkim.
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About:

  • An International Yoga & Naturopathy College will be set up in Sikkim which will boost the medical tourism sector in the Northeast India.
  • A 30 bedded Sowa Rigpa Hospital is going to be set up in Sikkim.
  • The Union Minister announced setting up of Yoga & Wellness centre at every Gram Panchayat level in the state along with an Ayurveda Medical College under Satellite Institute programme in Sikkim.
  • The Union Ayush Minister also said that the Ministry is exploring the possibility to set up a Research Council for Sowa Rigpa.
  • Do you know? “Sowa-Rigpa” commonly known as Amchi system of medicine is one of the oldest living medical tradition of the world. It has been popularly practiced in Tibet, Magnolia, Bhutan, some parts of China, Nepal and Himalayan regions of India.
Source : PIB
Health
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