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25th August 2022

The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022

Context

The long-awaited Bill to amend the Competition Act, 2002, was finally tabled in the Lok Sabha recently.

About

The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022:

  • It seeks to amend the Competition Act, 2002.
  • The Act establishes the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for regulating market competition.
  • The key changes proposed by the Bill include:
    • introduction of ‘deal value thresholds' pursuant to which ‘large-value' transactions will require the approval of the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”);
    • relaxations for implementation of open offers and stock exchange purchases;
    • shortened timelines for review of ‘combinations';
    • amendment of the definition of ‘control' to include ‘material influence';
    • introduction of ‘settlement' and ‘commitment' to resolve investigations in respect of anti-competitive vertical agreements and abuse of dominance; and
    • Facilitation of exchange of information between departments of the Government of India and the CCI.

Key Changes:

  • Introduction of ‘deal value thresholds'
  • The Bill introduces ‘deal value thresholds', pursuant to which transactions of a value exceeding INR 2,000 crore will require the prior approval of the CCI, provided that the parties to such transaction have “substantial business operations in India” (“Deal Value Thresholds”).
  • Derogation from stand-still requirements in case of open offers and stock exchange purchases
  • The Bill proposes that open offers, and acquisitions of shares or securities on a regulated stock exchange may be implemented prior to the receipt of the CCI's approval
  • Introduction of ‘settlement' and ‘commitment'
  • The Bill proposes that enterprises facing investigations relating to
  • anti-competitive vertical agreements under Section 3(4) of the Competition Act, or
  • abuse of dominant position under Section 4 of the Competition Act, may settle such proceedings or offer commitment(s) to the CCI in the following manner:

Settlement: an application for ‘settlement' may be submitted by an enterprise at any time after the receipt of the Director General of the CCI's (“DG”) report in respect of its investigation into the relevant matter, but before the CCI passes a final order; and

Commitment: an offer for ‘commitment' may be submitted by an enterprise at any time after the CCI has initiated an investigation, but before receipt of the DG's report.

  • Penalty for gun-jumping
    • Currently, the penalty for gun-jumping (i.e., penalty for non-furnishing of information on combinations) may extend to one percent of the total turnover or the assets, whichever is higher of the relevant combination.
    • The Bill proposes that the penalty for gun-jumping may extend to one percent of the total turnover or the assetsor, value of the transaction, whichever is higher, of the relevant combination.
  • The issue of Hub-and-Spoke Cartels:
    • A Hub-and-Spoke arrangement is a kind of cartelisation in which vertically related players act as a hub and place horizontal restrictions on suppliers or retailers (spokes).
    • Currently, the prohibition on anti-competitive agreements only covers entities with similar trades that engage in anti-competitive practices.
    • This ignores hub-and-spoke cartels operated at different levels of the vertical chain by distributors and suppliers.
    • To combat this, the amendment broadens the scope of ‘anti-competitive agreements’ to catch entities that facilitate cartelisation even if they are not engaged in identical trade practices.
  • Officers and employees of the party under investigation
    • The Bill proposes that all officers, employees, and agents of a party which are under investigation shall have a duty to:
      • preserve and produce all information, books, papers, other documents, and records of, or relating to, the party which are in their custody or power to the DG; and
      • provide all assistance in connection with the investigation to the DG
    • The Bill also proposes that the DG may examine, on oath, any officer, employee or agent of the party being investigated, in relation to its affairs, with the previous approval of the CCI.
  • Specific provision to withdraw leniency applications
    • The Bill proposes to permit a party to withdraw an application for lesser penalty or leniency in the manner and within such time as may be specified by the regulations issued by the CCI. 

‘Wind project addition to peak by 2024’

Context

According to a report released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and MEC+ (a consulting firm that specialises in renewable energy), annual installation of new wind power projects in India will peak by 2024 and likely decline thereafter.

About

India and Wind Power:

  • Wind Energy Capacity is growing rapidly around the world as countries transition away from fossil fuels in favour of low-carbon alternatives, in an effort to reduce emissions and limit global warming.
  • The technology can be deployed either onshore – which is by far the largest market – or offshore, using either fixed-bottom turbines anchored to the sea floor or, on a much smaller scale, floating structures that can be based in deeper waters.
  • As part of its transition away from fossil fuels, India has committed to sourcing half its electricity in 2030 from non-fossil fuel sources and installing 60 gigawatt (GW, or 1000 MW) of wind power by 2022.
  • So far, only 40 GW of wind power capacity has been established.
  • The Government is promoting wind power projects in entire country through private sector investment by providing various fiscal and financial incentives such as Accelerated Depreciation benefit; concessional custom duty exemption on certain components of wind electric generators. 

Key Finding of the report:

  • India currently has 13.4 GW of prospective projects in wind energy, which are expected to drive installations until 2024 in the market.
  • India is expected to add 3.2 GW in 2022, 4.1 GW in 2023 peaking to 4.6 GW in 2024, thereafter declining to 4 GW and 3.5 GW in the next two years, respectively.
  • After 2024, fresh projects are likely to be wind-solar hybrid projects (where both systems are installed on a piece of land to generate power through the day).

WIND POWER

  • Wind power has been used by man from time immemorial. Before the steam engine was invented, trade across the oceans was only possible by means of sailing vessels. Windmills ground grain and drove water pumps for irrigation and drainage purposes.
  • The first endeavours to revive this environmentally friendly technology were undertaken in the fifties. However, it wasn’t until the oil crisis of the seventies, together with an increasing awareness of the environment, which helped to revive wind power in recent times.
  • Modern wind turbines utilise the lift principle rather than the resistance principle. Similar to the wing of an aircraft, the wind flow passing over the rotor blades of the wind turbine generates a lifting force, which makes the rotor turn around.
  • While only a maximum of 15 % of the wind energy can be transformed by applying the resistance principle, a yield of up to 60 % can be achieved by applying the lift principle.
  • Depending on the wind velocity, it is possible to differentiate between four phases of operation. At very low wind speed, the wind energy is not sufficient to overcome the system’s moments of friction and inertia, and the rotors remain stationary.
  • The towers of the largest wind turbines today are more than 120 metres high, so that together with the rotor blades the wind turbines reach a height of up to 170 m. As a rule: the higher the tower, the less interference from air turbulence caused by ground roughness and the mean wind velocities are higher.
  • The towers are generally realised as steel-jacketed constructions which least influence the surrounding countryside due to their slim design.

 

Anang Tal lake declared monument of national importance

Context

The Anang Tal lake in South Delhi, believed to have been built a thousand years ago, has been declared a monument of national importance through a gazette notification by the Ministry of Culture recently.

About

Anang Tal Lake:

  • Anang Tal, Mehrauli, an 11th Century mini lake built by the founder King of Delhi Anang Pal Tomar in 1052 AD.
  • The Hindu dynasty of Tomars ruled Delhi and the name itself have come from the Dhillikapuri of which several stone inscriptions were found by General Canningham during British ASI period.
  • Anang Tal is situated “to the north of Jog Maya temple and approximately 500 metres to the northwest of Qutub Complex”, and dates back to 1,060 AD.
  • Tradition ascribes this tank to a Tomar King, Anangpal II, the builder of Lal Kot.
  • It is said to have been a place of a general resort but now it is dried up and used for cultivation.
  • It is also said Alauddin Khalji, in 1296-1316 AD, utilised the water of this tank when he built (Qutub) minar and extended the Qutub-ul-Islam mosque.

About Anangpal II

  • Anangpal Tomar: He was popularly known as Anangpal Tomar.
  • Dynasty: He belonged to the Tomar dynasty that ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana between the 8th and 12th centuries.
  • Founder of Dhillikapuri: Anangapal II was the founder of Dhillikapuri, which eventually became Delhi.
  • Inscriptions and coins: Their rule is attested by multiple inscriptions and coins.
  • Lal Kot fort and Anang Tal Baoli: The region was in ruins when he ascended the throne in the 11th century; it was he who built Lal Kot fort and Anang Tal Baoli.
  • Battle of Tarain: The Delhi Sultanate was established in 1192 after Prithviraj Chauhan’s defeat in the Battle of Tarain (present-day Haryana) by the Ghurid forces.
  • Prithviraj Chauhan: Anangpal Tomar II was succeeded by his grandson Prithviraj Chauhan.

Tomars and their Delhi link:

  • Noted medieval historian Professor KA Nizami’s Urdu book named Ehd-e-Wusta ki Dilli mentions this.
  • It is translated in English as ‘Delhi in Historical Perspectives’.
  • It looks at Delhi across six centuries, tracing the antecedents of Delhi.
  • It refers to Persian annals that describe Delhi as “Inderpat”.
  • And yet, according to the book, Delhi formally emerged as a city only in the 11th century when Tomar Rajputs took over the mountainous Aravalli region.

Tomar dynasty

  • It is one of the minor early medieval ruling houses of northern India.
  • Puranic evidence gives its early location in the Himalayan region.
  • According to bardic tradition, the dynasty was one of the 36 Rajput tribes.
  • The history of the family spans the period between the reign of Anangapala, who founded the city of Delhi in the 11th century CE, and the incorporation of Delhi within the Chauhan kingdom in 1164.
  • Although Delhi subsequently became decisively a part of the Chauhan kingdom, numismatic and comparatively late literary evidence indicates that Tomara kings such as Anangapala and Madanapala continued to rule as feudatories, presumably until the final conquest of Delhi by the Muslims in 1192–93.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) functions under the Ministry of Culture.
  • It is the premier organization for archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.
  • Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.
  • Besides, it regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
  • It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

 

National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA):

  • The National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities was launched in 2007.
  • NMMA is mandated to prepare two national registers:
    • national registers on antiquities and
    • national register on built heritage & sites
  • Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the nodal agency for NMMA to implement the various activities all over the country.

Ayushman cards can be used for state schemes

Context

The Centre recently announced a plan to create a unified card that can be used to avail benefits of both the central government-run Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY as well as the health insurance schemes run by state governments individually.

About
  • The move was meant to ease confusion for citizens between which schemes apply to them. According to the health ministry, close to 20 schemes are being currently run by several states.
  • It will be a unified card that will be called Ayushman Card. 
  • The government is in the process of generating new cards that will have both the central and state government logos, and ‘Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna-MukhyaMantri Yojna’ imprinted on it to suggest the unification.
  • As part of the new arrangement, eligible beneficiaries of any of the government insurance schemes will be able to get coverage at any of the 25,000 empanelled hospitals under the central scheme.
  • Even though it is not legally mandatory for states to implement the changes, all states, except Delhi, Odisha, and West Bengal, have agreed to adopt it.

Ayushman Bharat programme:

  • The Ayushman Bharat programme was launched in the year 2018.
  • The prime concern of this program was to address health issues at all three levels – primary, secondary, and tertiary. This program has two components:
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PM-JAY), which was earlier known as the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS)
  • Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs)
  • PM Jan Arogya Yojana beneficiaries get an e-card that can be used to avail services at an empanelled hospital, public or private, anywhere in the country. With it, you can walk into a hospital and obtain cashless treatment.

Salient Features

  • Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission will have a defined benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year.
  • Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.
  • Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.
  • The beneficiaries can avail benefits in both public and empanelled private facilities.
  • To control costs, the payments for treatment will be done on package rate (to be defined by the Government in advance) basis.
  • One of the core principles of Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission is to co-operative federalism and flexibility to states.
  • For giving policy directions and fostering coordination between Centre and States, it is proposed to set up Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) at apex level Chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister.
  • States would need to have State Health Agency (SHA) to implement the scheme.
  • To ensure that the funds reach SHA on time, the transfer of funds from Central Government through Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission to State Health Agencies may be done through an escrow account directly.
  • In partnership with NITI Aayog, a robust, modular, scalable and interoperable IT platform will be made operational which will entail a paperless, cashless transaction.

 

Mandala Art

Context

Some residents of Liverpool in the UK are marvelling over a mandala art the size of one and a half football pitches in length created by artist James Brunt with materials such as leaves and rocks.

About

About Mandala Art:

  • Mandala literally means “circle” or “centre” in Sanskrit. It is defined by a geometric configuration that usually incorporates the circular shape in some form.
  • A mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Asian cultures.
  • Origin of Mandala Art:
  • It is believed to be rooted in Buddhism, appearing in the first century BC in India. Over the next couple of centuries, Buddhist missionaries travelling along the Silk Road took it to other regions.
  • In Hinduism, the mandala imagery first appeared in Rig Veda(1500 – 500 BCE).
  • Meaning of Mandala motifs:
  • In Hinduism and Buddhism, the belief is that by entering the mandala and proceeding towards its center, you are guided through the cosmic process of transforming the universe from one of suffering into one of joy and happiness.
  • In Hindu philosophical systems, a mandala or yantra is usually in the shape of a square with a circle at its centre.
  • A traditional Buddhist mandala is a circular painting that is meant to help its creator discover their true self.

Symbolism in Mandalas

Some common symbols within the mandala include:

  • Wheel with eight spokes:The circular nature of a wheel works as an artistic representation of a perfect universe. The eight spokes represent the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, a summary of practices that lead to liberation and rebirth.
  • Bell: Bells represent openness and emptying of the mind to allow the entrance of wisdom and clarity.
  • Triangle:When facing upward, triangles represent action and energy, and when facing downward, they represent creativity and the pursuit of knowledge.
  • Lotus flower:A sacred symbol in Buddhism, the symmetry of a lotus depicts balance. As a lotus reaches up from underwater into the light, so too does a human reaching for spiritual awakening and enlightenment.
  • Sun: A popular basis for modern mandala patterns, suns tend to represent the universe, often carrying meanings related to life and energy.

Mandala in modern Indian art

  • The mandala, which has its roots in ancient philosophy, has taken on many different forms thanks to modern and contemporary Indian artists.
  • While it still appears in Thangka paintings, mainstream artists connected to the tantric and neo-tantric spiritual movements prioritise it in their work.
  • As part of art therapy, participants are encouraged to create and colour mandalas. Studies have also been conducted to understand if mandalas can help reduce stress.

Editorial

Heading the G20 and New Delhi’s choices

Context:

In about a time span of three months, India shall be assuming the year-long presidency of the G20. It is a platform entailed with the responsibility of shaping decision-making on key challenges facing the world today.

Importance and Complexities:

  • The G20 membership represents nearly 90% of the world’s GDP. It is an advisory body, not a treaty-based forum and, therefore, its decisions are recommendations to its own members
  • It has representation from institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, IMF, WTO, and WHO, which makes G20 an incomparable body. It has played a key role in addressing financial and economic challenges such as the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and the Eurozone crisis of 2010.
  • In the past G20, has faced an existential crisis, when the major powers have fallen out. The disastrous impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, India-China border tensions, and EU/U.S.-Russia hostility has negatively the G20 grouping. It makes the task of the presidency country much more complicated
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 25th August 2022

Mains Question:

Q1. "In the last few years, solar energy has seen growing rapidly, while wind energy has remained stagnant". In the light of this statement, discuss measures to give the required push to the wind energy sector of India. (150 words)

Approach 

  • Introduction- wind energy sector of India
  • Current trend (India currently has an installed capacity of 39.25 GW, the fourth highest in the world)
  • Challenges/Issues
  • India’s climate targets 
  • Required measures 
  • Conclude accordingly 

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