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News Analysis

17th February, 2024 (Saturday)

1Vote of ConfidenceGS.2: Indian Polity – Devices of Legislature
2Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA)GS. 2: Indian Polity – Policies and interventions
3Strategic Importance of Chabahar PortGS. 2: IR –  Strategic Ports in News
4Central Consumer Protection AuthorityGS.3: Indian Economy: Corporate Governance
5Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna YojanaGS.2: Indian Economy: Food Security Schemes
6Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)GS. 3: Indian Economy –Regulatory Bodies
7The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)GS.3: Defence Sector: Important Bodies


Syllabus: GS.2: Indian Polity – Devices of Legislature

Why it’s in the News: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday moved a motion to seek a vote of confidence in the Assembly.

About Vote of Confidence / Trust Vote / Floor Test

  • What is a floor test?
    • A trust vote, floor test, or no-confidence motion is a constitutional mechanism to determine the legislature’s support for the governing administration.
    • The trust vote maintains political accountability of the elected government to the state legislature, applicable in both the parliament and state legislative assemblies.
    • While the Constitution doesn’t explicitly mention ‘No confidence motion’ or ‘floor test,’ Articles 75 and 164 emphasize the executive’s collective responsibility to their respective legislatures.
    • In the case of states, a trust vote is exclusively conducted in the lower house or legislative assembly, known as the Vidhan Sabha.
  • Procedure:
    • According to the Constitution, the Governor of the state appoints the Chief Minister.
    • When a single party secures a majority of seats, its leader is appointed as the Chief Minister by the Governor.
    • If the majority is contested, the claiming party’s leader must move a vote of confidence to prove majority among those present and voting.
    • Failure to prove majority results in the Chief Minister’s resignation.
    • In cases of coalition government disputes, the Governor can request the Chief Minister to demonstrate majority support in the house.
    • The majority is counted based on those present and voting.
    • This can also be done through a voice vote where the member can respond orally or through division voting. Some legislators may be absent or choose not to vote.
    • In division vote, voting can be done through electronic gadgets, ballots or slips.
    • The person who has the majority will form the government.
    • In case of tie, the speaker can also cast his vote.
What is composite floor test?There is another test, Composite Floor Test, which is conducted only when more than one person stakes claim to form the government. When the majority is not clear, the governor might call for a special session to see who has the majority.


Syllabus: GS. 2: Indian Polity – Policies and interventions

Why it’s in the News: The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), banning strikes by government employees in all State departments, corporations and authorities for a period of six months.

About the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1947

  • The Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1947, also known as ESMA, 1968, is a significant legislation enacted by the Indian Parliament.
  • It is designed to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of vital services essential for the smooth functioning of society.
  • Purpose and Scope
    • ESMA was established to safeguard essential services crucial for the daily lives of citizens.
    • It prohibits employees engaged in these services from going on strike or disrupting their work, thereby preventing any adverse impact on public life.
  • Coverage of Essential Services
    • Essential services encompass a wide range of sectors including public conservation, sanitation, water supply, hospitals, national defense, petroleum, coal, electricity, steel, fertilizer, banking, communication, transportation, and food grain distribution.
  • Enforcement and Implementation
    • State governments, either individually or in collaboration with other states, have the authority to enforce ESMA within their territories.
    • Each state possesses its own ESMA with provisions that may vary slightly from the federal statute.
    • The Act empowers the central government to intervene in case of nationwide disruptions, particularly in sectors like railways.
  • Actions Against Violations
    • Employees initiating or participating in strikes under ESMA can face disciplinary actions, including dismissal.
    • Legal measures can be taken against individuals involved in illegal strikes, with police officers authorized to arrest them without a warrant.
    • Violators may be subjected to imprisonment for up to one year or fines, or both.
  • The Essential Commodity Act
    • In addition to ESMA, the government utilizes the Essential Commodity Act to regulate the production, supply, and distribution of specific goods.
    • This act aims to ensure adequate supplies, equitable distribution, and fair pricing of essential commodities while combating unethical practices such as hoarding and black-marketing.
  • Significance of ESMA
    • ESMA plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability and functionality of essential services, protecting the welfare of citizens, and upholding law and order during potential disruptions or strikes.


Syllabus: GS.3: Indian Economy: Corporate Governance

Why in News: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), an arm of the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry, has released draft guidelines for the “Prevention of misleading advertisement in coaching sector”, which bring such offences under the radar of the Consumer Protection Act.

About the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

  • The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), a pivotal regulatory body, has been instituted under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, effective from 24th July, 2020.
  • This initiative aims to fortify the rights of consumers and ensure their protection against various malpractices in the market.

Composition and Structure:

  • Leadership: The CCPA will be spearheaded by a Chief Commissioner, supported by two Commissioners specializing in goods and services respectively.
  • Investigation Wing: A dedicated Investigation Wing, led by a Director General, has been established to probe into consumer rights violations with rigor and efficacy.
  • District Level Authority: District Collectors are also vested with authority to investigate complaints concerning consumer rights infringements, unfair trade practices, and deceptive advertisements.

Objective and Empowerment:

  • Promotion and Protection: The primary objective of CCPA is to champion the rights of consumers collectively, ensuring their welfare and empowerment in the marketplace.
  • Enforcement: It is vested with extensive powers including the ability to conduct investigations, initiate complaints or prosecutions, order recalls of unsafe products and services, halt unfair trade practices, and penalize manufacturers, endorsers, or publishers engaged in misleading advertisements.


  • In essence, the establishment of the CCPA marks a significant milestone in the realm of consumer protection in India.
  • With its robust framework and empowered mandate, it is poised to play a pivotal role in safeguarding consumer rights, fostering fair trade practices, and ensuring market integrity for the benefit of all stakeholders.


Syllabus: GS.2: Indian Economy: Food Security Schemes

Why it’s in the News: In the run-up to the Lok Sabha election, the Union government is ensuring that the brand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is displayed conspicuously on foodgrain bags to be distributed under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

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  • Under the PMGKAY, free foodgrains are to be provided to about 81.35 crore beneficiaries of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH). The Central government has claimed that during the implementation of the PMGKAY in financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22, more than 75 crore beneficiaries have received foodgrains.

About the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana:

  • PMGKAY, short for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, was initiated by the Indian government in April 2020 amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
  • This scheme aims to extend financial aid to the economically weaker sections of society who have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
  • Objectives of PMGKAY:
    • PMGKAY is specifically designed to provide relief to those hardest hit by the pandemic, particularly focusing on the poor and marginalized communities across the country.
    • The scheme comprises various provisions aimed at addressing the immediate needs of vulnerable populations.
  • Key Features of PMGKAY
    • Under the scheme, eligible beneficiaries receive 5 kg of free food grains each month.
    • Additionally, cash transfers are facilitated, specifically targeting women and elderly individuals, to alleviate their financial burdens during these challenging times.
    • PMGKAY is a crucial component of the broader Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, which encompasses a range of initiatives aimed at providing comprehensive support to those adversely affected by the pandemic.
  • Eligibility Criteria
    • The benefits of PMGKAY are accessible to families meeting specific eligibility criteria. These criteria primarily include households falling under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories, as identified by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations.
    • AAY families include those headed by widows, terminally ill persons, disabled individuals, or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
    • Additionally, widows, terminally ill persons, disabled individuals, persons aged 60 years or more, single women, or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence are eligible.
    • Primitive tribal households, landless agricultural laborers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen, slum dwellers, and individuals employed in the informal sector are also included.
    • Furthermore, all citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line families are eligible beneficiaries of the scheme.
  • Conclusion:
    • PMGKAY stands as a vital initiative in providing immediate relief to vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • By extending essential support such as free food grains and cash transfers, the scheme aims to mitigate the socio-economic hardships faced by millions across the nation.


Syllabus: GS. 2: IR – Strategic Ports in News

Why it’s in the News: India has urged Central Asian countries to use the port of Chabahar located on the southeast coast of Iran to enhance connectivity and trade with India and other countries in the world.

Strategic Importance of Chabahar Port

  • Chabahar, situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman, stands as Iran’s first deepwater port, strategically positioned on the global oceanic trade route map.
  • Its location, west of Iran’s border with Pakistan, serves as a crucial alternative to Gwadar Port developed by China in Pakistan.

Strategic Importance:

  • Chabahar holds strategic significance for both Iran and India, offering Tehran a means to counter Western sanctions while providing India a route bypassing Pakistan for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • It is a crucial component of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), linking the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea and Europe via Russia.

India’s Involvement:

  • India’s engagement in developing Chabahar dates back to 2002 when discussions commenced between Iranian and Indian officials.
  • Cooperation intensified following the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan in 1996, prompting India to seek alternative routes, with Chabahar emerging as a prime option.
  • India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) has been actively involved, overseeing the development of Shahid Beheshti port in four phases.

Development Progress:

  • The first phase of Shahid Beheshti port was inaugurated in December 2017, facilitating the transportation of goods, including wheat, to Afghanistan.
  • Despite progress, infrastructural development has faced challenges, including geopolitical tensions and delays in material procurement due to US sanctions on Iran.

Challenges and Future Outlook:

  • Geopolitical factors, including US-Iran relations and regional conflicts, continue to influence the pace of development at Chabahar.
  • Recent escalations in the Red Sea region and cross-border strikes between Iran and Pakistan pose additional uncertainties.
  • Overcoming challenges requires active diplomacy and efficient project implementation to maintain Chabahar’s viability as a crucial transit hub.


  • The Chabahar Port represents a key element in India’s strategic objectives, offering an alternative route for trade and connectivity while navigating geopolitical complexities for its continued development and success.


Syllabus: GS. 3: Indian Economy – Tax Regulatory Bodies in News

Why it’s in the News: The Congress claims its bank accounts were frozen by the Income Tax department amid tax filing discrepancies, branding it an attack on democracy. Relief came from the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, but a substantial amount remains inaccessible. The party questions the legality and timing of the freeze.

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About the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)

  • The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) is a quasi-judicial institution established in January 1941.
  • It specializes in dealing with appeals under the Direct Taxes Acts.
  • Notably, the orders passed by the ITAT are considered final, with an appeal lying to the High Court only if a substantial question of law arises for determination.

Evolution and Expansion

  • Taxation in India traces back to the Act of 1860, where assessments were made by Panchayats, and appeals could be made to the District Collector.
  • Subsequent acts made improvements, culminating in the Income Tax Act, which legislated advisory jurisdiction to the High Courts.
  • Establishment of ITAT
    • The idea for an independent forum for tax dispute resolution gained momentum in the late 1930s.
    • A Select Committee recommended the establishment of a Tribunal, leading to the formation of the ITAT on January 25, 1941, under the Income Tax Act, 1922.
  • Functioning and Structure
    • Since its inception, ITAT has functioned largely unchanged, with necessary adjustments for expansion and extension of its jurisdiction.
    • The fundamental structure and functioning have remained consistent under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • Motto and Unique Features
    • ITAT operates under the motto ‘Nishpaksh Sulabh Satvar Nyay’, emphasizing impartial, easy, and speedy justice.
    • It stands out for its accessibility, expert knowledge, and expeditious resolution of tax disputes, earning the moniker ‘Mother Tribunal.’
  • Significance and Influence
    • The success of ITAT paved the way for the establishment of similar Appellate Tribunals for indirect taxes and other administrative matters, showcasing its pioneering role in Indian jurisprudence.
    • Many ITAT Members have risen to prominent positions in the judiciary and other institutions, showcasing the tribunal’s influence and the caliber of its members.
    • The ITAT’s contributions to the administration of justice have been commended in various official reports, parliamentary speeches, and by esteemed dignitaries, reflecting its significant role in the legal landscape.
  • Conclusion
    • In its 75 years of existence, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has played a pivotal role in administering justice in the realm of Direct Taxes, embodying principles of impartiality, accessibility, and expertise. Its legacy continues to influence the Indian legal system, marking a testament to its enduring significance and contributions.


Syllabus: GS. 3: Defence Sector – Important Bodies in News

Why in News: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for ₹84,560 crore worth of proposals, including long-pending deals like torpedoes and aircraft, enhancing India’s defense capabilities.

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About the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) stands as a pivotal entity within India’s defense framework, wielding significant influence in procurement decisions.
  • Its inception traces back to the aftermath of the Kargil War in 1999, a conflict that unveiled critical shortcomings in India’s national security apparatus.
  • To address these deficiencies, the Group of Ministers, in 2001, meticulously outlined recommendations aimed at fortifying the nation’s security infrastructure.
  • Among these recommendations was the establishment of the DAC, conceived as the apex body entrusted with steering procurement initiatives within the Ministry of Defence.
  • Composition of the DAC:
    • The Defence Minister serves as the chairperson, providing political oversight.
    • Key members include the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
    • This composition ensures comprehensive representation and synergy among different branches of the armed forces.
  • Procedure of Defence Procurement
    • DAC initiates the procurement process by according acceptance of necessity (AoN) to acquisition proposals and categorizes them into ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’, and ‘Make’.
    • The DAC also handles single vendor clearances, decisions on offset provisions for acquisitions exceeding Rs 300 crore, and Transfer of Technology under the ‘Buy & Make’ category.
    • The Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) 2016, effective from April 1, 2016, aims to streamline procedures to boost indigenous defence production through initiatives like simplifying the ‘Make’ procedure and introducing the ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ category.
    • DAC’s clearance is crucial in this process, with the AoN being the first step.
  • Top of Form
News Plus: What is Acceptance of Necessity (AoN):The approval, termed AoN, is the first step toward procurement of any military equipment and hardware under India’s defence acquisition norm. The tendering and contracting process is undertaken only after the grant of AoN.

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