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Daily Current Affairs : 17-Mar-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. TELCO DUES

  2. DEATH PENALTY

  3. NOMINATION TO RAJYA SABHA

  4. WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX (WPI)

  5. INDIAN CULTURE PORTAL

  6. UNNAT BHARAT ABHIYAN

  7. URANIUM CONTAMINATION IN WATER


TELCO DUES

Why in news?

  • To soften the impact of the Supreme Court ruling which called for telecom companies to pay around 1.4 lakh crores to the government by accepting the AGR definition of the government, government has asked the Supreme Court to give 20 year window to the companies for giving the dues.


Highlights:

  • Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) definition : Telecom operators pay license fee and spectrum charges to the government in the form of revenue share. The revenue amount used to calculate this revenue is called as AGR.


What was the Government’s and private companies debate on definition –

  • Government view - The calculations should incorporate all revenues earned by a telecom company – including from non-telecom sources such as deposit interests and sale of assets.

  • View of Companies - AGR should comprise the revenues generated from telecom services only and non-telecom revenues should be kept out of it.

Case Explained –

  • Cellular Operators Association of India challenged the definition of DoT in 2005.

  • In 2015, TDSAT ruled that the AGR included all receipts, except capital receipts and revenue from non-core sources such as rent, profit on the sale of fixed assets, dividend, interest and miscellaneous income, etc.

  • CAG suggested that the telecom industries are under-stating revenue to the tune of 61,064.5 crore.

  • Thus, DoT petitioned in the Supreme Court seeking interest, penalty and interest on penalty on the outstanding amount, amounting to 92,641 crore where in the principle was just 25% and the rest is interest and penalty.

  • If the Spectrum charges are also added then the amount might be as high as 1.4 lakh crores.


Supreme Court verdict –

  • Supreme Court in its verdict upheld the definition of DoT and thus sought the above said compensation by the companies to the government within 3 month


Post-verdict developments –

  • The total amount to the government is owed by 15 operators, out of which 10 of them have either closed operations or are undergoing insolvency proceedings.

  • Government has set up a panel under Rajiv Gauba to consider a bailout package with likely option of a two year moratorium on spectrum payments. It will also consider reduction in license fee and spectrum usage charges.

  • They increased the tariffs so as to raise amount for compensation.

Source : Multiple Sources



DEATH PENALTY

Why in news?

  • Due to the supposed hanging of the rapists of Nirbhaya or the Delhi gang rape case, the debate on death penalty has been again brought to the forefronts. Let us understand the debate on it.


Highlights:

Timeline of Death Penalty :

  • 1931 – Gaya Prasad Singh, a member of British Legislative Assembly sought to introduce a Bill to abolish the death penalty for offences under the IPC. This was defeated.

  • 1947 – India retained many British laws during independence including capital punishment for various crimes under the IPC.

  • 1955- Parliament repealed Section 367(5) of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which until then mandated the courts to record reasons where it decided not to impose a sentence of death for offences where the death penalty was an option.

  • 1967 - The 35th Report of the Law Commission had argued for retention of capital punishment in India. It explained that retribution should not be understood as an “eye for an eye”, but in its refined form as public denunciation of crime. It also stated that there are a category of individuals who are “cruel and wicked”, and are not capable of reform.

  • 1973 – CrPC was re-enacted with several changes notably to Section 354(3) mandating judges to provide special reasons for why they imposed the death sentence.

1973 – Jagmohan Singh vs State of UP

  • Petitioners argued that the death penalty was against the Constitution.

  • The Supreme Court declared that the death penalty was a permissible punishment.

1980 – Bachan Singh case

  • Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty but confined its application to the ‘rarest of rare cases’, to reduce the arbitrariness of the penalty.

  • 2015Law Commission in its 262 Report highlighted that the death penalty does not se