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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th July 2019

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  • July 27, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th July 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Inter-state water cooperation

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS- II – issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.

In News

  • Punjab will reline its Ferozepur feeder for the Indira Gandhi Canal (IGC)system, so as to increase its water carrying capacity

Do you know?

  • IGC previously known as the Rajasthan Canal aims to bring Himalayan rivers (Sutlej & Beas) flowing in Punjab to arid regions of Rajasthan
  • IGC is the longest canal in India which traverses through states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan
  • IGC is considered as a major step in reclaiming the Thar Desert and checking desertification of fertile areas
  • However, excessive irrigation and intensive agriculture have caused new environmental problems like water-logging caused by increased seepage from canal and increase in salinity of ground water.

Measures to improve quality of Education

Part of: Mains GS II- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

In News

  • Substandard teacher training colleges to be shut down
  • The National Council for Teacher Education(NCTE) has begun the process, as recommended by draft National Educational Policy
  • A reduction in quantity is needed to boost quality – India produces 19.5 lakh teachers every year, though the annual requirement is less than 3 lakh

Other measures required to improve Teacher education

  • To choose 700 colleges — at least one per district — as model teacher training institutions so as to guide other such institutes
  • Review the outdated curriculum of teacher training through
    • Inclusion of more practical component
    • Incorporate digital technological advances into teaching method
    • Child centric curriculum
  • Launch of the four-year integrated B.Ed programmes

Do you know?

  • NCTE is a statutory body under NCTE Act,1993. Earlier it used to function as advisory body under NCERT
  • NCTE functions for the central as well as state governments on all matter with regard to the Teacher Education

Private member’s bill

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS II- Parliament

In News

  • Private member bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha to amend Representation of People’s Act, which makes two key proposals
  • One, the current per candidate expenditure limit of ₹70 lakh for Lok Sabha election should be lifted
  • Two, there should be state funding to ensure a “cleaner polity”, which is a public good.

Reasons for such amendments

  • Capping of expenditure is like prohibition which is counter-productive as it pushes the elections expenditure underground
  • This leads to vicious cycle of black money, cronyism, corruption and criminalisation of politics.
  • State funding of elections addresses the unfair advantages enjoyed by National Political Parties vis-à-vis regional parties

Do You know?

  • A bill introduced by a legislator who is not a part of executive is called Private member bill
  • Only 14 private members bill have been passed by both House and become law in the history of Indian Parliament.
  • The last such bill was the Supreme Court (enlargement of criminal appellate jurisdiction) Bill passed in 1970

Pic: https://static.toiimg.com/photo/imgsize-,msid-47046357/47046357.jpg


Rise of China

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS II- International Politics

In News

  • China and Cambodia have signed a secret agreement that allows Beijing exclusive use of Ream Naval base of Cambodia located in Gulf of Thailand
  • This will be China’s first dedicated naval staging facility in South East Asia

Do You Know?

  • China has proposed to build Kra Canal that would connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea across the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand.
  • All these initiatives are to counter the USA’s dominance of Malacca Strait – important shipping lane which carries about 25% of the world’s traded goods
  • South China Sea dispute involves contesting claims, both maritime and islands, by 7 countries viz. Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/07/27/CNI/Chennai/TH/5_16/6a017006_7f4ff3bf_101_mr.jpg


(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Parliament & State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges & issues arising out of these 

Private Bill urges state election funding

Context:

  • Equating the expenditure limit on election expenses with prohibition, Congress MP Rajeev Gowda on Friday moved a private member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha that seeks removal of the limit and state funding of elections as part of reforms to the way polls are financed in India.

Concerns:

  • The limit of funding was counterproductive and only helped those with black money to bribe individual voters and crippled honest candidates,

What is private member bill in the parliament?

  • Private member’s bills are piloted by non-Minister MPs.
  • Their purpose is to draw the government’s attention to what individual MPs see as issues and gaps in the existing legal framework, which require legislative intervention.

Who are private members? 

  • Any MP who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member.
  • Parliament’s key role is to debate and make laws.
  • Both Ministers and private members contribute to the law making process.
  • Bills introduced by Ministers are referred to as government bills.
  • They are backed by the government, and reflect its legislative agenda.

Procedure for introducing private member bill in parliament:

  • The admissibility of a private member’s Bill is decided by the Rajya Sabha Chairman and in the case of Lok Sabha, it is the Speaker; the procedure is roughly the same for both Houses.
  • The Member must give at least a month’s notice before the Bill can be listed for introduction; the House secretariat examines it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation before listing.
  • Up to 1997, private members could introduce up to three Bills in a week. This led to a piling up of Bills that were introduced but never discussed; Chairman K R Narayanan, therefore, capped the number of private member’s Bills to three per session.
  • While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.
  • Private member’s Bills have been introduced and discussed in Rajya Sabha on 20 days in the last three years
  • Upon conclusion of the discussion, the Member piloting the Bill can either withdraw it on the request of the Minister concerned, or he may choose to press ahead with its passage.
  • In the latter case, the Bill is put to vote and, if the private member gets the support of the House, it is passed.

Private member bills introduced till now:

  • In 1977, Rajya Sabha passed a private member’s Bill to amend the Aligarh Muslim University Act.
  • The Bill then went to the sixth Lok Sabha, where it lapsed with the dissolution of the House in 1979.
  • In 2015, Rajya Sabha passed The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 as a private member’s Bill.
  • The Bill is now pending before Lok Sabha.
  • The last time a private member’s Bill was passed by both Houses was in 1970, which was the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968.
  • Fourteen private member’s Bills, five of which were introduced in Rajya Sabha, have become law so far.
  • Some of the important legislations among them include 26th amendment, which related to abolition of privy purses and 61st amendment, which reduced the voting age from 21 to 18.

Some important laws that were introduced as private member bills

  • The first private member bill to become a law was the Muslim Wakfs Bill, 1952 aimed to provide better governance and administration of wakfs, it was introduced by Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kasmi in the Lok Sabha and was passed in 1954.
  • Proceedings of Legislature (Protection of Publication) Bill, 1956, brought by Feroze Gandhi in the Lok Sabha;
  • The Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 1964, introduced by Raghunath Singh in the Lok Sabha and
  • The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 1967 introduced by Diwan Chaman Lall in the Rajya Sabha.

What is state funding of Elections ?

  • The idea of state funding of elections is a concept designed to reduce corruption by funding elections with government money as opposed to individual campaign contributions.
  • Many recommend that state funding of elections can be the best way to achieve transparency in political funding.
  • It is also believed that state funding is a natural and necessary cost of democracy. It brings new and growing parties in par with the established parties, thus ensuring fair elections.
  • If parties and candidates are financed with only private funds, economical inequalities in the society might translate into political inequalities in government.

State funding of elections – Past recommendations:

  • Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998): Endorsed state funding of elections in order to establish a fair playing field for parties with less money. The Committee recommended two limitations to state funding.
    • Firstly, that state funds should be given only to national and state parties allotted a symbol and not to independent candidates.
    • Secondly, that in the short-term state funding should only be given in kind, in the form of certain facilities to the recognized political parties and their candidates.
  • Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999):  it strongly recommended that the appropriate regulatory framework be put in place with regard to political parties before state funding of elections is attempted.
  • Ethics in Governance, a report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008):Recommended partial state funding of elections for the purpose of reducing “illegitimate and unnecessary funding” of elections expenses.
  • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, 2001: Did not endorse state funding of elections but concurred with the 1999 Law Commission report that the appropriate framework for regulation of political parties would need to be implemented before state funding is considered.

What are the challenges of state funding?

  • In theory, State funding would provide a level playing field for political parties and cut out money power from the equation, but in practice, things may not work out so linearly. India collects only about 16% of GDP as a tax.
  • The state expenditure on many essential public goods such as primary health care and public health engineering is very small.
  • Given this situation, the public resources have to be channeled towards and not diverted from such essential services, and that too to finance something that already gets abundantly financed.
  • Further, the state funding of elections will not prevent parties from lobbying and getting undisclosed supplementary private funding, with associated implications.
  • Therefore State funding is not the solution to the opaque funding of politics in India.

Congress MP Mr. Gowda’s Arguments about state election funding:

  • He raised the discussion on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill with two key proposals.
    • The current per candidate expenditure limit of ₹70 lakh should be lifted and
    • There should be state funding to ensure a “cleaner polity”, which is a public good.
  • He argued that instead of imposing a limit, transparency should be brought in. All the expenses should be put in the public domain.
  • The candidates should be allowed to legitimately raise funds
  • Political parties too needed resources and the country simply refused to recognise the amount of money spent in elections.
  • He proposed a National Election Fund, under which each political party could be allotted funds according to their recent electoral performance.

Conclusion:

  • Partial State funding of elections as Indrajeet Gupta Committee recommended way back in 1998 can be a solution.
  • Experiences of the countries having partial and complete state funding should be used to derive some formula for state-based funding of political parties in India.
  • Strong disclosure norms, strict statutory limits on election expenses and ceiling on corporate donations to political parties can further strengthen the Electoral System in India

Connecting the dots:

  • What are various electoral and political funding reforms which need to be under taken to bring in transparency and accountability in the Indian political environment. Describe.
  • Why only few private member bills became laws despite of more number of bills introduce in parliament? Explain.

SECURITY

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

The terrorist tag

Context:

  • India needs tough laws to combat terror, but the proposed amendments could be misused

Concerns:

  • The idea of designating an individual as a terrorist, as the latest amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act propose to do, may appear offensive.
  • However, designating an individual as a terrorist raises serious constitutional questions and has the potential for misuse.
  • There is no set procedure for designating an individual a terrorist

What is terrorism?

Terrorism is the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political or social objective.

Adverse consequences of a terrorist tag:

  • Terrorist tag may be worse for individuals than for organisations.
  • Individuals may be subjected to arrest and detention; even after obtaining bail from the courts,
  • They may have their travel and movements restricted, besides carrying the taint.
  • A wrongful designation will cause irreparable damage to a person’s reputation, career and livelihood.

The Lok Sabha has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019.

  • The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, providing special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, individuals and groups that foster terrorism in India.
  • The Bill is yet to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

Key Features of the Bill

  • It empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists if the person
    • commits or participates in acts of terrorism,
    • prepares for terrorism,
    • Promotes terrorism or is otherwise involved in terrorism.
  • This has been done as it is seen that when a terrorist organization is banned, its members form a new organization to spread terrorism.
  • The law allows the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to go to any state without taking permission from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities.
  • Under the Act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.
  • The Bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.
  • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
  • The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • The Bill adds another treaty to the list. This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).
  • Opposition has said that the bill provisions were against the federal structure of the country
  • Under the Congress government led by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was originally passed in 1967. Eventually, amendments were brought in 2004, 2008,2013

Conclusion

  • While none will question the need for stringent laws that show ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism, the government should be mindful of its obligations to preserve fundamental rights while enacting legislation on the subject.
  • States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism must comply with all obligations under international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.

Connecting the dots

  • Do you think terrorism poses a great threat to globalisation? Critically examine
  • Is terrorism a feature of democratic society or consequence of governmental use of terror as a political weapon? critically analyse.

(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 regarding Indira Gandhi Canal

  1. It is the longest operating canal system in India
  2. It passes through states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan
  3. Previously it was named as Rajasthan canal

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

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

Q.2) Which of the following bills are considered as Private member bill?

  1. Bill introduced by member of legislature belonging to opposition party
  2. Bill introduced by member belonging to ruling party, not a part of government
  3. Bill introduced by a Minister
  4. Bill introduced by an Independent Member of Legislature

Select the correct answer from the codes given below

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

Q.3) Belt and Road initiative is associated with which country/grouping?

  1. China
  2. ASEAN
  3. SAARC
  4. USA

Q.4) Arrange the following seas from south to north

  1. South China Sea
  2. East China Sea
  3. Sea of Japan
  4. Yellow sea

Select the correct answer from the codes given below

  1. 1-2-3-4
  2. 1-2-4-3
  3. 2-1-3-4
  4. 2-1-4-3

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