Reaction of India on Nepal’s Newly Drafted Constitution
- Nepal’s adoption of a new federal constitution has led to a souring of ties with its giant neighbor India.
- Nepal’s new constitution defines the majority Hindu nation as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces.
- But ethnic groups in southern Nepal want more territory and rights for ethnic federal states.
Why is India concerned?
- Porous Boundary: India shares a 1,751km open border with Nepal through which people pass freely but which has often concerned the country’s security agencies because of its use by smugglers, human traffickers and terror suspects.
- Geopolitical Tension: Nepal’s handling of the crisis has drawn strong criticism from neighbouring India, which fears violence could spill onto its territory, where large numbers of Nepalese work.
- Instability in the Region: India’s concern has been with the violent reaction to the constitution in the low-lying southern plains, adjoining India, the Terai.
- Interests of Madhesis: Communities living in the Terai, especially the Madeshis and the Tharu ethnic minorities, have expressed concern that the proposed boundaries of the new provinces could lead to their political marginalization.
- The two groups make up nearly 40% of Nepal’s population and the Madeshis share close ethnic ties with people in India.
- Political Reason: Any political turbulence and violence in Nepal will inevitably have a direct adverse impact on poll-bound Bihar.
7 Amendments proposed:
- The Interim Constitution provided electoral constituencies based on population, geography and special characteristics, “and in the case of Madhes on the basis of percentage of population”. Under this provision, Madhes, with more than 50 per cent of the population, got 50 per cent of seats in Parliament. The latter phrase has been omitted in the new Constitution. “It needs to be re-inserted so that Madhes continues to have electoral constituencies in proportion to its population,”
- The Interim Constitution, it was mentioned that various groups would have “the right to participate in state structures on the basis of principles of proportional inclusion”. In the new Constitution (Article 42), the word “proportional” has been dropped — Delhi wants it re-inserted.
- Constitution states that only citizens by descent will be entitled to hold the posts of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of National Assembly, Head of Province, Chief Minister, Speaker of Provincial Assembly and Chief of Security Bodies. This clause is seen as discriminatory for the large number of Madhesis who have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalisation. This should be amended to include citizenship by birth or naturalisation.
- The new Constitution states that National Assembly will comprise 8 members from each of 7 States and 3 nominated members. Madhesi parties want representation in National Assembly to be based on population of the Provinces.
- Five disputed districts of Kanchanpur, Kailali, Sunsari, Jhapa and Morang: Based on the majority of the population, these districts or parts of them may be included in the neighboring Madhes Provinces.
- Interim Constitution provided for delineation of electoral constituencies every 10 years. This has been increased to 20 years by the new Constitution. Echoing the Madhesi parties, India wants this restored to 10 years.
- Constitution states that a foreign woman married to a Nepali citizen may acquire naturalized citizenship of Nepal as provided for in a federal law. Madhesi parties want acquisition of naturalized citizenship to be automatic on application.
The issues on which there are differences should be resolved through dialogue in an atmosphere free from violence and intimidation, and institutionalized in a manner that would enable broad-based ownership and acceptance
Connecting the dots:
- What are the major issues in the new Constitution adopted by Nepal? Why there is a wide protest?
- What is the implication of the new Constitution and its provisions on India- Nepal relation?
Merger of Forward Market Commission and SEBI
- In the first ever merger of two regulators, commodities regulatory body Forward Markets Commission (FMC) merged with the capital markets watchdog SEBI.
- The commodities market entities would get a timeframe of up to one year to adjust to the new regulations.
- This merger between the SEBI and the FMC was planned by the Congress Government and has its roots in the Union Budget 2014-15
- The merger was precipitated with the National Spot Exchange Ltd. scam, which involved a payment crisis of more than Rs. 5000 crore. This was considered a regulatory failure by the FMC.
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says this merger would help improve the market regulation in the country, in turn improving business environment.
- The FMC has been regulating commodities markets since 1953, but lack of powers has led to wild fluctuations and alleged irregularities remaining untamed in this market segment.
- This is the first major case of two regulators being merged.
Revamped Role of SEBI:
- The commodity futures market in India will now be supervised by SEBI, making for an integrated regulation of both the securities and commodities markets in India.
About SEBI and FMC:
- SEBI was set up in 1988 as a non-statutory body for regulating the securities markets, while it became an autonomous body in 1992 with fully independent powers.
- FMC, on the other hand, has been regulating commodities markets since 1953, but lack of powers has led to wild fluctuations and alleged irregularities remaining untamed in this market segment.
What lies ahead?
- This merger will be a key test as the proposed merger of the insurance and pensions regulators will hinge on the success of this.
- What counts ultimately is the quality of regulation and the credibility and respect which a regulator draws from the market or those being policed. From that perspective, this will be a challenge for SEBI too.
- This merger is not just a reversal of a trend but also a pointer to the way in which regulatory structures in India’s financial markets are set to change.
Connecting the dots:
- ‘Historic and challenging merger of forward market commission with SEBI.’ In light of the above statement state the reasons for the merger and challenges that lie ahead?
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
ISRO launches ASTROSAT
ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory into space.
- The satellite can perform simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects.
- The sun and star sensors, besides the gyroscopes, would provide orientation reference to the satellite, which has a mission life of five years.
ASTROSAT aims at understanding the high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes.
- The mission also intends to detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky, to perform a limited deep field survey of the Universe in the ultraviolet region.
- ASTROSAT lifted off from the SatishDhawan Space Centre with six satellites launched for Canada, Indonesia and the United States.
- ISRO’s PSLV C-30 rocket successfully placed in orbit – the country’s AstroSat.
- Canada’s NLS-14 nanosatellite, Indonesia’s LAPAN-A2 microsatellite and four identical LEMUR nano-satellites for the United States were also put in orbit.
- ISRO has successfully crossed the half century mark as for foreign satellites. ISRO has launched 51 satellites for foreign satellites so far.
The payloads, which were taken onboard the ASTROSAT:
- Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope,
- Large Area X-Ray Proportional Counter,
- Scanning Sky Monitor (SSM),
- Soft X-ray Telescope and
- Cadmium Zinc Telluride Imager
AstroSat scheduled for five years of flight carries four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor.
The five payloads of ASTROSAT are selected to facilitate deeper insight into the various astrophysical processes occurring in the various types of astronomical objects constituting universe.
Connecting the dots:
- What are the studies that AstroSat will focus on? How will the studies help to understand the universe?
- What are the major achievements of ISRO in past 2 years? Is ISRO placing India better at international forum in terms of space technology?
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