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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th March 2019

  • IASbaba
  • March 28, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th March 2019

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(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL/POLITY

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Governance, Constitution, Polity
  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure
  • Federal Structure

A blow against Article 370 and Federalism

The below article deals with –

  • Constitutional relationship between J&K and the Indian Union
  • Gradual Erosion of J&K special status under Article 370

Context:

On March 1, 2019, the 77th and 103rd constitutional amendments were extended to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) by a presidential order, with the concurrence of the J&K Governor.

  • 77th constitutional amendment – relates to reservations in promotions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the State services
  • 103rd constitutional amendment – relates to special provisions for the advancement of economically weaker sections (10% reservation in education and government jobs to EWS)

However, a petition was been filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court challenging the extension of above amendments of the Indian Constitution to the J&K state through a presidential order.

The above issue has rekindled the long-standing debate on the continued relevance of Article 370.

Do you know?

  • As in Article 370, the provisions of the Indian Constitution do not automatically apply to J&K.
  • To extend constitutional provisions and amendments to the State, a presidential order to that effect has to be passed.
  • This order requires the concurrence of the State government, where the subject matter does not relate to the subjects specified in the Instrument of Accession (defence, external affairs, and communications). For other cases, only consultation is required.

Background

  • Various provisions of the Indian Constitution were extended to J&K through presidential order. (First such order was passed in 1954)
  • The 1954 order was made with the concurrence of the State government and also ratified by the State Constituent Assembly.
  • After the J&K Constitution came into effect in 1957, the State Constituent Assembly was dissolved.
  • Since then, more than 40 such orders have been made, through which most constitutional provisions have been extended to the State.

A slow death

  • The sheer number of such orders, as well as the circumstances under which they were made, have considerably eroded J&K’s special status under Article 370.
  • From the 1950s there has been a gradual dilution of the procedural norms followed by these presidential orders.
  • While passing the 1954 order, procedural propriety was followed in the fullest possible sense with concurrence from an elected State government and also State Constituent Assembly.
  • However, the presidential orders made after the dissolution of the State Constituent Assembly — except a 1986 order extending Article 249, and the present 2019 order — can be seen as the first level of dilution. (Reason – Though concurrence of an elected State government was obtained, the State Constituent Assembly did not exist and, therefore, could not give its ratification.)

(Article 249 deals with Power of Parliament to legislate with respect to a matter in the State List in the national interest.)

  • The 1986 order represents a second level of dilution. This is because it was made when J&K was under Governor’s rule as per Section 92 of the J&K Constitution. (Governor acting without a popularly elected government can be considered as a “state government” for the purposes of concurrence)
  • In the absence of an elected council of ministers, the Governor could not have validly given the requisite concurrence to the presidential order.
  • 1986 order was challenged in the J&K High Court and is still pending.

The recent 2019 order can be considered third level of dilution.

  • In December 2018, the President assumed all the functions of the State government and the Governor through a proclamation under Article 356.
  • In an order passed on the same day, the President directed that all powers assumed by him would be exercisable by the Governor as well, “subject to the superintendence, direction, and control of the President”.
  • During Governor’s rule, as was the case in 1986, the Governor is at least on paper expected to act independently.
  • However, in the present case involving President’s rule, the Governor is reduced to a mere delegate of the Centre and is expected to act as per the aid and advice of the Central Government.
  • A presidential order made through obtaining such a Governor’s concurrence is tantamount to the Centre talking into a mirror and makes a mockery of Article 370.

In crux, we can sum up that there is gradual erosion of J&K status under Article 370, due to –

  1. No Ratification from State Constitutional Assembly
  2. No Concurrence of State Government (extended through Governor’s Rule)
  3. Presidential Rule instead of Governor’s Rule

2019 Order: Against the spirit of Federalism –

  • The manner in which the 2019 order was made also goes against the spirit of federalism, which is a salient constitutional principle.
  • President’s rule is an exception to the general constitutional scheme that envisages representative government at the State level to accommodate regional aspirations.
  • Extending constitutional provisions to the State during this exceptional state of affairs is suspicious.
  • If the Centre had legitimate intentions, it should have waited until the formation of an elected government in J&K. In the absence of popular will backing it, the 2019 order clearly falls foul of the principles of constitutional and political morality.

Connecting the dots:

  • The recent 2019 Presidential order extended to Jammu and Kashmir against federalism and the spirit of Article 370. Do you agree? Critically evaluate.

SOCIAL ISSUE/ECONOMY

TOPIC: General studies 2 and 3

  • Poverty and inclusive growth  
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Multidimensional Poverty Index

Context:

Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI)

According to a new version of the global MPI –

  • India reduced its poverty rate sharply from 55 per cent to 28 per cent in ten years between 2005-06 and 2015-16
  • A total of 271 million (27.10 crore) people moved out of poverty during these ten years
  • The poorest groups in India — Muslims and Scheduled Tribes — reduced poverty the most over the ten years from 2005-06 to 2015-16
  • Country still has the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty in the world (364 million people) out of which 156 million (34.5 per cent) are children
  • But multidimensional poverty among children under 10 has fallen the fastest. In 2005-06 there were 292 million poor children in India, so the latest figures represent a 47 per cent decrease or a 136 million fewer children growing up in multidimensional poverty. (When considering the durable and lifetime consequences of childhood deprivation, particularly in nutrition and schooling, this is a tremendously good sign for India’s future.)
  • The poorest district is Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, where 76.5 per cent of people are MPI poor.
  • Among states, Jharkhand had the greatest improvement, with Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland only slightly behind. However, Bihar is still the poorest state in 2015-16, with more than half of its population in poverty.
  • In 2015-16, the four poorest states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh — were still home to 196 million MPI poor people — over half of all the MPI poor people.
  • A total of 113 million people — 8.6 per cent of India’s people — live in severe poverty

About Multidimensional Poverty Index

  • The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) identifies multiple deprivations at the household and individual level in health, education and standard of living.
  • It uses micro data from household surveys, and—unlike the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index—all the indicators needed to construct the measure must come from the same survey.
  • Each person in a given household is classified as poor or non-poor depending on the weighted number of deprivations his or her household, and thus, he or she experiences. These data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty.
  • The MPI reflects both the incidence of multidimensional deprivation (a headcount of those in multidimensional poverty) and its intensity (the average deprivation score experienced by poor people). Example of multiple deprivations – those who are both undernourished and do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and clean fuel.
  • It can be used to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty, and permits comparisons both across countries, regions and the world and within countries by ethnic group, urban or rural location, as well as other key household and community characteristics. The MPI offers a valuable complement to income-based poverty measures.

Drawbacks of the Index

  • First, the indicators may not reflect capabilities but instead reflect outputs (such as years of schooling) or inputs (such as cooking fuel).
  • Second, the health data are relatively weak and overlook some groups’ deprivations, especially for nutrition, though the patterns that emerge are plausible and familiar.
  • Third, in some cases careful judgments were needed to address missing data. But to be considered multidimensionally poor, households must be deprived in at least six standard of living indicators or in three standard of living indicators and one health or education indicator, or in two health or education indicators. This requirement makes the MPI less sensitive to minor inaccuracies.
  • Fourth, intra-household inequalities may be severe, but these could not be reflected.
  • Fifth, while the MPI goes well beyond a headcount ratio to include the intensity of poverty, it does not measure inequality among the poor, although decompositions by groups can be used to reveal group-based inequalities.

Connecting the dots:

  • The poverty ratio in India is still high means that growth by itself will not be adequate to reduce poverty. Critically analyse.

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