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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 16th May 2018

  • IASbaba
  • May 16, 2018
  • 22
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 16th May 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


Tiger Reserve in News: Satkosia Tiger Reserve

Part of: GS Prelims (Environment and Biodiversity)

In news:

  • Six tigers from M.P. to be relocated to Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve
  • Odisha government plans to revive big cat population in the protected forest.
  • According to the 2016 tiger census, Odisha had 40 Royal Bengal Tigers – 13 males, 24 females and three calves.

Important Value Additions:

  • There are 50 tiger reserves in India which are governed by Project Tiger which is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • India is home to 70 percent of tigers in the world. In 2006, there were 1,411 tigers which increased to 1,706 in 2011 and 2,226 in 2014.
  • Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (Andhra Pradesh) is the largest tiger reserve in India.
  • Bor becomes smallest tiger reserve in India with four tigers. Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the valley of the Wardha river in the Wardha district of Maharashtra has been given the status of a tiger reserve, making it the smallest such reserve in the country.

Marsupials antechinus

Part of: GS Prelims (Environment and Biodiversity)

In News:

  • Two marsupial species – tiny black-tailed dusky antechinus and silver-headed antechinus – have been put on Australia’s endangered list.
  • These marsupial species discovered in 2013 and found in wetter, higher-altitude regions of Queensland state — are known for suicidal mating habits that include up to 14-hour sex sessions.

Earlier we had studied about another Marsupial native to Australia which was vulnerable – Koalas

Important Value Additions:

Do marsupials only live in Australia?

Most people think of Australia when they think of marsupials, because the most well known of the marsupials—koalas and kangaroos—live there. But opossum species, which are also marsupials, live in North, Central, and South America.

Article link: Excess of lovemaking puts Marsupials at risk – The Hindu


(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Inter-State Water Dispute
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Cauvery issue: draft Cauvery water management scheme

In News:

  • Yesterday, we read that Centre had submitted a draft Cauvery water management scheme in the Supreme Court which proposes for an independent authority.
  • The new authority is to monitor implementation of the Cauvery Tribunal’s final award.

About the proposed Authority:

  • It will be a two-tier structure, with an apex body charged with the power to ensure compliance with the final award, and a regulation committee that will monitor the field situation and water flow.
  • The powers and functions of the authority are fairly comprehensive. Its powers would extend to apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters, supervision of operations of reservoirs and regulation of water releases.
  • The draft makes the authority’s decisions final and binding.

However, there is an ambiguous clause: if the authority finds that any one of the States is not cooperative, it can seek the Centre’s help, and the Centre’s decision will be final and binding.

This can be seen either as an enabling clause to resolve the situation when there is a stand-off, or as one that gives scope to the Centre to intervene on behalf of one State.

There may be a possibility of Centre acting in a partisan manner, therefore it would be better if it is not given the final say, but mandated to help in the implementation of the Tribunal’s award at all times.

Important Value Additions:

Constitutional provisions to solve water sharing disputes:

Schedule VII – State List and Union List

  • States have power to legislate (under State list) with respect to water (water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments, water storage and water power).
  • Union list – Regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys.

Article 262 Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers or river valleys. It makes two provisions:

  • Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.
  • Parliament may also provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.

River Boards Act (1956) and the Inter-State Water Disputes Act (1956)

In exercise of the power conferred by article 262 of the Constitution, Parliament has enacted the above two acts.

  • River Boards Act provides for the establishment of river boards for the regulation and development of inter-state river and river valleys.
  • Inter-State Water Disputes Act empowers the Central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for the adjudication of a dispute between two or more states in relation to the waters of an inter-state river or river valley. The decision of the tribunal would be final and binding on the parties to the dispute.
  • Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to have jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute which may be referred to such a tribunal under this Act.

Article 263 contemplates the establishment of an Inter-State Council to effect coordination between the states and between Centre and states.

Why Centre has submitted a draft Cauvery water management scheme and proposes for a new independent authority?

The above provisions or the mechanisms are not adequate and there are some lacunas, because of several reasons:

  • The most prominent problem faced by it is that it does not have any effective authority for the implementation of the order of the tribunal.
  • The Tribunal can only give an award but cannot enforce its implementation. It has not been clothed with powers of punishment for ‘contempt’.
  • In the event of non-implementation of an ISWD Tribunal’s award by a state government, the central government can (failing persuasion) issue a direction to the erring state and then invoke Article 356, but that seems an extreme step; besides, when a popular government comes back it may once again refuse to implement the award. There is no easy answer to this problem.
  • The tribunal also lacks the power of enforcement of its decision which Supreme Court is endowed with. Thus such matters which involves public importance should be guided and decided by the court.

(Cauvery water dispute case is a classic example showcasing complicated scenario of river water management and governance in India. When there is shortage, when developmental projects grow, and riparian States do not enjoy equal access to the source, inter-state problems are bound to rise in sharing.)

Conclusion:

Therefore, the Centre plans to enact a more comprehensive parliamentary legislation to deal with Inter-State Water Disputes and also proposes for a new independent authority is to monitor implementation of the Cauvery Tribunal’s final award.

Connecting the dots:

  • What are the constitutional provisions to solve water sharing disputes? Are they adequate? Give your opinion on draft Cauvery water management scheme which proposes for an independent authority to monitor implementation of the Cauvery Tribunal’s final award and the Centre’s decision to be final and binding.

NATIONAL

TOPIC:General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

MGNREGA analysis: A triple blow to job guarantee scheme

About:

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, one of the most ambitious schemes aimed at removing poverty and biggest social welfare programmes in the world, aims at guarantying 100 days of work to people in rural areas.

The programme has arguably lifted lakhs of people out of poverty however there are few lacunas that needs to be addressed.

Among those lacunas, lack of sufficient funds, rampant payment delays and abysmal wage rates act as triple blow to the job guarantee scheme.

Lack of sufficient funds

The program has made fundamental difference for people who could now do much better than before. The issue of finance has to be addressed properly.

  • On one side we have a set of a states performing extremely well, on the other side there are states that are performing very low due to paucity of funds. There is an urgent need for the centre to address the issue of finance for effective implementation of scheme.
  • Budget allocation over the years has been insufficient. The real budget of 2018-19 is much lower than that of 2010-11 (after adjusting for inflation).
  • In August 2017, the Ministry of Rural Development demanded a supplementary MGNREGA budget of ₹17,000 crore, but the Ministry of Finance approved only ₹7,000 crore, that too in January 2018.

Rampant payment delays

  • The scheme is meant to be demand-driven in the sense that the government is mandated to provide work within 15 days of a worker seeking work. Otherwise the worker is entitled to an unemployment allowance.
  • A second key provision of the Act pertains to payment of wages within 15 days of completion of work, failing which a worker is entitled to a delay compensation of 0.05% per day of the wages earned.

However, both these provisions have been routinely violated. Lack of funds has led to a subverting of these provisions in letter and spirit.

  • The total amount of wages pending under the MGNREGA scheme for the whole country (2016-17) was around ₹11,000 crore.
  • Only 21% of payments in 2016-17 and 32% of payments in the first two quarters of FY17-18 were made on time.

The principal reasons for payment delays were “infrastructural bottlenecks, (un)availability of funds and lack of administrative compliance”.

Abysmal wage rates

  • The third issue is about stagnating MGNREGA wages. Delinking of MGNREGA wage rates from the Minimum Wages Act (MWA), 1948 has contributed to this.
  • MGNREGA wages are a less lucrative option for the marginalised, being lower than the minimum agricultural wages in most States.
  • This can push primary beneficiaries of the Act, women, Dalits and Adivasis to choose more vulnerable and hazardous employment opportunities as they get paid more than MGNREGA work. Such contravention of the MWA is illegal.

Conclusion:

All the above lacunas reflect that there is only a legal and moral crisis created by the Centre. The poor are paying a heavy price for this throttling of funds by the Centre. The fight is not even for a living wage but one for subsistence.

Connecting the dots:

  • Lack of sufficient funds, rampant payment delays and abysmal wage rates have acted as triple blow to the job guarantee scheme. Do you agree? Critically analyze.
  • Examine the issues that needs to be addressed properly for effective implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Q.1) Satkosia Tiger Reserve was in news recently. It belongs to which state?

  1. Karnataka
  2. Maharashtra
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Odisha

Q.2) Consider the following statements

  1. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
  2. Prime Minister is the Chairperson of NTCA.
  3. Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest and Bor Tiger Reserve is the smallest tiger reserve in India.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1 and 3
  3. 2 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.3) Which of the following statements regarding Marsupial mammals are correct?

  1. Marsupial females have a pouch to carry and protect their babies.
  2. The young ones are born premature and the embryo climbs from the mother’s birth canal to the nipple.
  3. They have a longer gestation period as compared to placental mammal of the same size.

Select the code from below:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.4) Consider the following related to position of ‘Water’ in Indian Constitution.

  1. The provision for water being in the Union, State and Concurrent List is the major bone of contention in present day Inter-Water dispute.
  2. Article 262 deals with adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter State Rivers or river valleys
  3. Indian Constitution explicitly grants parliament the right to legislate over the matters in Entry 56, and also gives it primacy over the Supreme Court.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. All the above

Q.5) Consider the following statements with reference to MGNREGA.

  1. At least one-third beneficiaries are to be women.
  2. Use of heavy machinery is allowed for expediting the work.
  3. It provides work for skilled workers in the rural areas.

Which of the above statements is incorrect?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. None of the above

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