Prelims Booster

16th March – Prelims Booster


UP clears ordinance for recovery of damages

Uttar Pradesh government has given its approval to an ordinance for the recovery of damage to public and private property during protests.

Context –

The government decision came after the Supreme Court did not stay the Allahabad High Court order to the Lucknow administration to ‘forthwith’ remove roadside hoardings displaying the personal details of persons accused of vandalism and arson during the protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act last December.

What is an ‘Ordinance’?

  • Ordinances are like a law but not enacted by the Parliament/State Legislatures but rather promulgated by President of India/Governor of States when both houses of Parliament/State Legislature or either of those is not in session.
  • Cabinet’s recommendation is a must for an ordinance to be promulgated. Using ordinances, immediate legislative actions can be taken.

Conditions and constitutional provisions –

  • For an ordinance to exist, it should be approved by the Parliament (or State Legislature in case of Governor’s ordinance) within six weeks of it being introduced. Parliament is required to sit within 6 weeks from when Ordinance was introduced.
  • An ordinance is a law that is promulgated by the President of India only when the Indian parliament is not in session. President promulgates an ordinance on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet.
  • Similarly, Governor of Indian states can also initiate ordinances only when a legislative assembly is not in session when it is a unicameral legislature and when legislative assembly along with legislative council both are not in session when it is the bicameral legislature.
  • Article 123 deals with the ordinance making power of the President. Article 213 deals with the power of Governor to legislate through ordinances.

Ranga Panchami

Context – Ranga Panchami was recently celebrated across central India (celebrated on the fifth day of Holi festival).

What is Ranga Panchami?

  • This festival of colour is more prevalent in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and some parts of North India.
  • People celebrate by throwing fragrant red powder (gulal) and splashing coloured water, etc. on others.
  • It is a Marathi tradition and was spread outside of Maharashtra when Marathas ruled these places.
  • In other parts of India, the festival of colors is celebrated on the full moon day named Holi, approximately 5 days before.

Why is it celebrated?

  • The fire, which shines with its brilliance on Holi, decomposes the raja-tama particles in the atmosphere and this helps activate various Deities in the form of colours. This bliss is celebrated by throwing colours in the air. Thus, Rang Panchami is a symbol of victory over raja-tama.
  • Rang Panchami involves invocation of Gods and is a part of worship of the manifest form of Gods.
  • Its purpose is to activate the five elements of radiant manifest colours and to touch and feel the Deities who are attracted to the respective colours.
  • These five elements are a source, which help activate the element of the Deities according to the spiritual emotion of the Jiva.
  • Rang Panchami is the worship of the saviour form of the Deities.

RS nod for ‘Vivad se Vishwas Bill’

The Parliament has approved the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020, which will give taxpayers a chance to settle tax disputes by paying their dues without any interest or penalty till March 31.

About Vivad se Vishwas Bill –

  • The Bill provides a mechanism for resolution of pending tax disputes related to income tax and corporation tax.
  • The Bill defines an appellant as the income tax authority, or the person, or both, whose appeal is pending before any appellate forum as on January 31, 2020.  These appellate forums are the Supreme Court, the High Courts, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunals, and the Commissioner (Appeals).
  • The Bill proposes a resolution mechanism under which an appellant can file a declaration to the designated authority to initiate resolution of pending direct tax disputes.

How the matters are resolved?

  • Once the designated authority issues the certificate, appeals pending before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunals and the Commissioner (Appeals) will be deemed to be withdrawn. In case of appeals or petitions pending before the Supreme Court and High Courts, the appellant is required to withdraw the appeal or petition.
  • The amount payable by the appellant for resolution of disputes is determined based on whether the dispute relates to payment of tax, or payment of interest, penalty, or fee. Further, he is required to pay an additional amount if such payment is made after March 31, 2020.
  • Once a dispute is resolved, the designated authority cannot levy interest or penalty in relation to that dispute. Further, no appellate forum can make a decision in relation to the matter of dispute once it is resolved. Such matters cannot be reopened in any proceeding under any law, including the IT Act.

Centre announces Common Eligibility Test

Applicants for jobs in railways, banks and lower levels of Central government will now write a common eligibility test (CET) from 2021.

Details –

  • In a bid to streamline the hiring process for government agencies as well as the 2.5 crore candidates who apply each year, the Centre will set up an autonomous National Recruitment Agency (NRA) to conduct this online test, under which, candidates can apply through a common registration portal.
  • The CET will replace the first level tests conducted by the Staff Selection Commission, the Railway Recruitment Board and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection.

About Staff Selection Commission –

  • The Staff Selection Commission is an attached office of the Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • The Government of India, in the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, vide its resolution dated the 4th November 1975 constituted a Commission called the Subordinate Services Commission. The same was re-designated as Staff Selection Commission effective from 26th September 1977.
  • It makes recruitment to various Group “B” and Group “C” posts in the various Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and in Subordinate Offices.
  • It has its headquarters in New Delhi.

About IBPS –

  • The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection BPS is an autonomous body formed in 1984.
  • It is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and also a Public Trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.
  • It was created to render assistance to organisations in the areas of personnel such as recruitment, selection, placement, etc.
  • IBPS is governed by a board that includes nominees from government organisations such as the Reserve Bank of India, Ministry of Finance Government of India, Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai, Indian Institute of Banking and Finance, National Institute of Bank Management, Indian Banks’ Association and the public sector banks.

Chapchar Kut Festival

Recently, in Mizoram the biggest and most joyful festival of Mizos, Chapchar Kut has been celebrated across the state with theme ‘Unity among Mizos’. It is regarded as the most popular spring festival to the people of the state.

Facts about Festival –

  • Chapchar Kut is named after bamboo that has been cut and is drying.
  • This agricultural festival is celebrated before planting begins. The festival is celebrated in the month of March.
  • The gaiety and fervour of Chapchar Kut shines through with plenty of dancing and music to keep everyone in good spirits.
  • Cheraw or the bamboo dance is a big part of the festival.
  • Different styles of dance performances take place amidst beats of drums.
  • Art, handicrafts, concerts, flower shows, and cuisines also play a major part of this festival.
  • This festival is a public holiday in the state.
  • Chapchar Kut is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D. in a village called Suaipui. It was first revived in 1962 on a grand scale in Aizawl.

Ger or Phag Yatra

Indore district administration plans to nominate ‘Ger’, a traditional Holi procession, for UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. 

Facts about Yatra –

  • ‘Ger’ or ‘Phag Yatra’ is a procession that is taken out on Rang Panchami in different parts of Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city during the five-day Holi festivities.
  • Efforts are also being made to observe ‘Ger’ in traditional Holkar style.
  • The tradition of Ger in Indore was started under the Holkar dynasty, when royals would take to streets to celebrate Holi with the general public.

Holkar Dynasty –

  • The Holkar dynasty was a Maratha clan of Dhangar origin in India.
  • The Holkars were generals under Peshwa Baji Rao I, and later became Maharajas of Indore in Central India as an independent member of the Maratha Empire until 1818.
  • Later, their kingdom became a princely state under the protectorate of British India.
  • The dynasty was founded with Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwas Baji Rao of the Maratha Empire in 1721, and quickly rose to the rank of Subedar.
  • Malhar Rao Holkar (1694-1766) established the dynasty’s rule over Indore.
  • The name of the dynasty was associated with the title of the ruler, who was known informally as Holkar Mahar.

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