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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 19th February 2019

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  • February 19, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 19th February 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Synthetic fibres contribute to plastic pollution

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology; Pollution

In news:

  • Polyester and other synthetic fibres such as nylon are major contributors of microplastic pollution in the environment.
  • Researchers suggest switching to biosynthetic fibres may help prevent this.
  • Synthetic fibres are petroleum-based products, unlike natural fibres such as wool, cotton and silk, which are recyclable and biodegradable.
  • Mixed fibres that contain both natural and synthetic fibres are difficult or costly to recycle.
  • In the oceans, pieces of microscopic plastic are consumed by plants and animals and enter the human food chain through harvested fish.
  • Minimising the use of synthetic fibres and switching to natural fibres such as wool, cotton, silk and linen would help.

ICJ on Kulbhushan Jadhav case

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and its neighbourhood- relations; India and Pakistan relations

In news:

  • The International Court of Justice refused to entertain Pakistan’s request to adjourn the hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav to appoint a new ad-hoc judge.
  • Pakistan asked the ICJ to adjourn the case, citing the illness of its ad-hoc judge.
  • India urged the ICJ to annul Jadhav’s death sentence and order his immediate release, saying the verdict by a Pakistani military court based on a “farcical case” hopelessly fails to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process.

Do you know?

  • Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017.
  • His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.
  • India moved the ICJ in the same year for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to the 48-year-old Indian national.

Saudi vows to ‘de-escalate’ India-Pakistan tensions

Part of: GS Mains II – India and its neighbourhood- relations; International Relations

In news:

  • Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister vowed to “de-escalate” rising tensions between Pakistan and India as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to travel to New Delhi.

Do you know?

  • Pakistan has also been accused by its western neighbour Iran of harbouring militants who carried out an attack that killed 27 Revolutionary Guards last week.

Miscellaneous:

1. 3 Jaish men killed in Pulwama

In news:

  • Three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists were killed in an 18-hour gunfight in Pulwama’s Pinglena area, four days after 40 CRPF jawans lost their lives in a suicide car-bomb attack in the region.

2. Ex-President Yameen arrested

In news:

  • Maldivian authorities arrested former President Abdulla Yameen on money laundering charges after a court order.

3. 79th Indian History Congress

In news:

  • 79th session of Indian History Congress to be organised at Barkatullah University, Bhopal.

4. DRDO scouts for R&D partners

In news:

  • DRDO is looking for potential partners to co-develop an engine for its planned Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and five other future technologies.
  • It is on the lookout for collaborators to realise the military technologies such as Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) and UAVs, materials, sensors, avionics, and artificial intelligence etc.
  • Minor innovators and startups are also being tapped for new concepts that the DRDO can try out under its ‘Dare to Dream’ challenge.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL/POLITY

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure 
  • 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. 
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and their role in the Polity.

Role of Lt Governor in Union Territories

Context:

  • Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, along with his cabinet ministers, had launched an indefinite protest in front of the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Kiran Bedi office.
  • They were protesting against the L-G’s dictatorial style of functioning and alleged interference in the running of the government.

Reasons for stand-off:

  • The L-G and the CM had been engaged in a war of words for the last two-and-a-half years but the immediate provocation for the agitation appeared to be the decision of the Lt. Governor to “unilaterally” enforce the helmet rule on February 11.
  • While the CM believes it can be enforced only after raising awareness, Ms. Bedi wants it implemented immediately.
  • In addition, the CM has listed that blocking of 39 welfare schemes of his government, including one for free rice distribution, enhanced scholarship for Scheduled Caste students, besides other administrative matters, as the real issues.

Therefore, the protest brings back focus on the precarious arrangement of the administration in the Union territories of Puducherry and Delhi.

The two entities have elected Assemblies and seem to function like state governments. But in reality, these Union territories are administered by the Centre through lieutenant governors, who have veto powers over the elected chief ministers.

The main conflict is the question –

  • Whether the L-G is acting within her powers or exceeding her brief in seeking to play a proactive role in the affairs of the Union Territory?
  • What purpose do the territory’s legislature and executive serve if their decisions can be stalled by the Centre’s appointee?

If an Assembly cannot enforce its laws, the very idea of an elected democratic government loses its legitimacy.

L-G Powers:

  • Under the Constitution, the territory belongs to the President, who runs it through the L-G as Administrator.
  • However, under Section 44 of the Union Territories Act, 1963, the Administrator has to act on the ‘aid and advice’ of the Council of Ministers.
  • Any difference of opinion between them can be referred to the President, and in the meantime the Administrator’s action prevails on any urgent matter.

Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 allows the L-G office discretionary powers, but these must be exercised judiciously and only in exceptional circumstances.

This scheme, which gives a clear edge to the Centre, can work only if there is harmony between the Council and the L-G.

Do you know?

  • Supreme Court (during the ruling on the limits of the L-G’s powers in Delhi) had stressed the need for the L-G as well as people’s representatives to “function in harmony within constitutional parameters”. The L-G was cautioned against having a hostile attitude towards the Ministers.
  • Both Delhi and Puducherry are Union territories with special powers and have elected governments, but certain functions, such as law and order, come under the purview of the L-G and the central government.
  • Though the issues in Delhi and Puducherry seem similar, the L-G of the National Capital Territory has more executive powers compared to his counterpart in the southern UT. This is understandable since Delhi is also the home of the Union government.

The way ahead:

  • Puducherry has an elected assembly and the task of law making should be entrusted with it. Similarly, public policy and administration must be left to the elected representatives.
  • LG should avoid stalling of some of the proposals which were a part of the ruling party’s election manifesto and are within the ambit of law.
  • The UT Act was legislated more than half a century ago. Much has changed in UTs like Delhi and Puducherry, which have legislative assemblies.
  • The office and role of the LG needs to be restructured to recognise the shift in public sentiment towards more democracy. Clearly, there is a need to reimagine the political system in the UTs in favour of the popular government.

Connecting the dots:

  • The recent Supreme Court judgement in the Govt of NCT of Delhi v Union of India upholds a basic democratic principle: The responsibility to exercise power on behalf of the people, lies with the elected legislature. Discuss.
  • The office and role of the LG needs to be restructured to recognise the shift in public sentiment towards more democracy. Discuss.
  • There should be a harmonious functioning between the Lt. Governor and Chief Minister of the Union Territories”. Critically Analyze.

SOCIETY/WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

TOPIC:General studies 1 and 2

  • Role of women and women’s organization, women related issues, Social empowerment 
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 
  • Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues

 Towards more Gender-Inclusive Parliament

Introduction:

  • Elections for the 17th Lok Sabha will probably be announced in early March. However, there is no attention being paid to the number of women in Parliament.

Key facts:

  • India ranks 153 out of 190 nations in the percentage of women in the lower house of world parliaments.
  • Rwanda ranks first with 61% of its lower house representatives being women.
  • As a region, Nordic countries are leaders with an average of about 40%.
  • The UK and the US are relative laggards with 32% and 23%, respectively.
  • Even Pakistan with 20% participation from women is ahead of India.
  • India had 65 women out of 545 members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the 16th Lok Sabha, for a 12% representation.
  • Before, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha elections, representation of Indian women MPs since Independence has been stagnant under 9%.

Pic: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/img/68026377/Master.jpg

Why poor number of women parliamentarians matters?

  • Total seats are allocated to states based on their population. Women’s representation at 12% is far below the actual population of women. So, on grounds of fairness, this is an anomaly. Women must have half the seats at the highest political tables simply because they are half the population.
  • A fully representative Parliament allows the different experiences of genders to craft priorities and shape the economic and social future of a democratic society.
  • Law and policy in India are in dire need of women’s perspectives.
  • Studies suggest that a greater representation of women in elected office balances the process and prioritizations that elected bodies focus on.
  • Inclusion of women has brought changes in policy style, agenda and outcomes. For instance, in terms of policy styles, the inclusion of women adds behind the scenes discussion rather than direct confrontation on the floor of the House.

Solutions to increase the number of women parliamentarians

Solutions usually take three forms:

  • quotas for women in Parliament;
  • reservation for women in political parties;
  • awareness, education and role modelling that encourage women towards politics.

The 73rd and 74th amendments to the Indian Constitution reserve one-third of local body seats for women.

However, reservation for one-third of the seats for women in the Lok Sabha has been tabled as a bill several times until as recently as 2008. Each time the bill has lapsed.

India should have an Election Commission-led effort to encourage reservation for women in political parties.

Reservation in political parties will also require education, encouragement, and role-modelling for women to aspire to a political role as it is in the party’s interest to ensure that their candidate wins.

Conclusion:

India has had a long-serving woman prime minister and several women chief ministers and speakers of the House. Yet its record of women parliamentarians is woefully poor. For a balanced future for the country, this trend needs to be changed.

Connecting the dots:


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about United Nations

  1. International Court of Justice and International Criminal court are the two dispute resolution mechanisms of UN.
  2. All member states of UN are also members of UNESCO.
  3. Economic and Social Council along with the Trusteeship Council are among the six main organs of UN.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. Only 3
  4. 1 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following statements about ‘International Court of Justice (ICJ)’

  1. Statute of the International Court of Justice, which is an integral part of the United Nations Charter established the ICJ
  2. It is composed of fifteen judges elected to nine-year terms by Permanent members of the UNSC

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Consider the below statements about Union Territories in India:

  1. UTs are the members of the federal system in India.
  2. There is no uniformity in their administrative set-up.
  3. An administrator of a UT is an agent of the centre like a governor.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 2 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.4) In what regard the Centre have special relationship with respect to NCT of Delhi as compared to other states?

  1. Centre appoints Lieutenant Governor of NCT of Delhi unilaterally while Governor of a State is appointed only after consultation with the Chief Minister of the respective State.
  2. Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of NCT of Delhi while the Chief Minister of a State is appointed by the Governor of that State.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.5) An administrator of a union territory is

  1. an agent of the President
  2. appointed by the President
  3. head of state like a governor

Select the appropriate code:

  1. 2 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

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