15th Dec, 2020

SC upholds Allahabad HC decision with regard to exotic wildlife species

Recently, The Supreme Court upheld an Allahabad High Court order which had granted immunity from investigation and prosecution if one declared illegal possession of exotic wildlife species between June and December, 2020. 

This was under a new amnesty scheme announced by the Centre.

Government’s voluntary disclosure scheme

Ministry: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) 

It released an advisory on a one-time voluntary disclosure scheme that allows owners of exotic live species that have been acquired illegally to declare their stock to the government between June and December 2020.

With this scheme, the government aims to address the challenge of zoonotic diseases, develop an inventory of exotic live species for better compliance under the Convention on International

Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and regulate their import.

Presently, the amnesty scheme is just an advisory and not a law.

The disclosure has to be done online through MoEFCC’s Parivesh portal.

The advisory has defined exotic live species as animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the CITES.

It does not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.

San Isidro Movement in Cuba

In Cuba, a campaign by artists and activists demanding greater freedom of expression has been in news recently.

Cuba has been under an authoritarian communist regime for more than 60 years.

The Movimiento San Isidro, or the San Isidro Movement (MSI), started two years ago to protest state censorship of artistic works.

It started in September 2018, when the Cuban government sought to enforce Decree 349 which is a law that would have given powers to the nation’s Culture Ministry to restrict cultural activity it did not approve of.

To protest against the decree, artists, poets, journalists and activists gathered in San Isidro, It is a Black-majority locality that is among Havana’s poorest yet most culturally active wards, and which also forms part of the Old Havana UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After 2015 deal between Cuba and the US, one of whose provisions stipulated that the Cuban regime should allow its people greater internet freedoms, the protesters managed to connect and amplify their message over the internet with relative ease.

It has now become a platform for Cuban dissidents both within and outside the country.

Diversity Requirements In Indian Companies

The NASDAQ stock exchange in the US may soon require all listed companies to include at least one female board member and one member from a racial minority group or from the LGBTQ community on their board of directors.

There also diversity requirements from Indian companies and they are expected to comply with these rules.

All public companies which are listed on stock exchanges and companies with either a paid-up capital of Rs 100 crore or annual turnover over Rs 300 crore are required to have at least one woman board member under the Companies Act.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) further requires, since April 1, 2020, that the top 1000 listed companies by market capitalisation have a woman board member who is also an independent    director.

According to data compiled by Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IIAS), 17% of directors in the Nifty 500 companies were women.

The report by IiAS noted that only 3% of Nifty 500 companies had no women directors.

Special Assistance To States For Capital Expenditure Scheme

All the states except Tamil Nadu have availed benefits of the newly announced scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure.

The scheme was announced as a part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package.

Aim: Boosting capital expenditure by the State Governments who are facing a difficult financial environment this year due to the shortfall in tax revenue arising from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Capital Expenditure enhances the future productive capacity of the economy, and results in a higher rate of economic growth.

The government had announced that the Centre will offer Rs. 12,000 crore special interest-free 50-year loan to states, exclusively for capital expenditure.

Parts of the scheme:

(1) Part–I of the scheme covers the north-eastern region (Rs. 200 crores);

(2) Part-II is for all other States (Rs. 7500 crores);

(3) Part-III of the scheme is aimed at pushing various citizen-centric reforms in the States.

Under Part III, an amount of Rs. 2000 crores is earmarked.

This amount will be available only to those States which carry out at least three out of the four reforms specified by the Ministry of Finance.

Four Reforms: One nation one ration card, ease of doing business, urban local body/ utility reform and power sector reforms.

As of now, Rs. 4,939.81 crore has been released as the first instalment out of Rs. 9,879.61 crore worth of capital expenditure proposals of 27 States.

Handicraft And Gi Toys Exempted From Quality Control Order

Government has exempted handicraft and GI Toys from Quality Control Order.

Taking steps towards the Prime Minister’s vision of making India a global manufacturing hub for sale and export of toys, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, DPIIT has devised a comprehensive action plan.

Quality Control order has been issued by the Department for standardization and quality adherence of Toys which will become effective from 1st January next year.

However, DPIIT has released Toys (Quality Control) Second Amendment Order, 2020.

It exempts goods manufactured and sold by artisans registered with Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), from use of Standard Mark under licence from Bureau of Indian Standards.

The Amendment Order also exempts products registered as Geographical Indications from following Indian Toy Standards and compulsory use of Standard Mark licence.

Lancet Citizens’ Commission for Universal Health Coverage

Recently, the Lancet Citizens’ Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System has been launched online which is a step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in India.

It is a first-of-its-kind participatory, countrywide initiative, in collaboration with world’s leading health journal The Lancet and the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University.

Objective: To enable participatory public engagement to develop a citizens’ blueprint for the implementation of UHC.


(1) To lay out the path to achieving UHC in India in the coming decade;

(2) To formulate a roadmap for realising a resilient health system that offers accessible, inclusive, and affordable quality health care to all citizens in India;

(3) To gather insights from across India through grassroots surveys, public consultations and online discussions;

(4) To build partnerships and work closely with academic institutions, civil society and other stakeholders to catalyse dialogue and knowledge sharing across fields.

It will be on the architecture of India’s health system.


(1) UHC covers all health concerns;

(2) Prevention and long-term care are key;

(3) The concern is financial protection for all health costs;

(4) Aspiring for a health system that can be accessed by all who enjoy the same quality.

UNESCO Award For Creative Economy

The UNESCO has decided to launch an international prize in the field of ‘creative economy’ in the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

It shall start from November 2021.

The $50,000 award will be given away once in two years for global economic initiatives of the youth.

The award will recognise exceptional initiatives taken by cultural workers and organizations in the development of the creative economy.

UNESCO has declared 2021 as ‘International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

He was a Bangladeshi politician and statesman. 

He is called the “Father of the Nation” in Bangladesh. 

He served as the first President of Bangladesh and later as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 1971 – 1975 

He was assassinated on 15 August 1975. 

He is considered to be the driving force behind the independence of Bangladesh. 

He is popularly dubbed with the title of “Bangabandhu” by the people of Bangladesh.