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Insights Daily Current Events, 15 April 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 15 April 2015

Will support India’s U.N. bid: Cameron

David Cameron, in his party manifesto, has promised that his party will support India’s bid for permanent representation on the United Nations Security Council.

UNSC:

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

Why was it created?

Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created following World War II to address the failings of another international organization, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace.

Members:

  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
  • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

According to the UN Charter, the United Nations has four purposes:

  • To maintain international peace and security;
  • To develop friendly relations among nations;
  • To cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council’s first action is usually to recommend that the parties try to reach agreement by peaceful means. If a dispute leads to hostilities, the council’s primary concern is to bring them to an end as soon as possible by issuing ceasefire directives and by deploying military observers/peace keeping force if necessary. The council may also opt for economic sanctions, blockade or even collective military action.

Proposed reforms:

  • Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship.
  • There is also a proposal admit more permanent members.
  • Member States, regional groups and other Member State interest groupings developed different positions and proposals on how to move forward on this contested issue.
  • The reform of the Security Council requires the agreement of at least two-thirds of UN member states and that of all the permanent members of the UNSC, enjoying the veto right.

India and UNSC:

  • India was among the founding members of United Nations.
  • It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
  • Today, India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
  • India, since long time, has been demanding expansion of UNSC and its inclusion as permanent member in it. It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.

Sources: The Hindu, un.org, Wiki.

 

Visa scheme renamed to avoid confusion: MHA

The “Tourist Visa on Arrival-Electronic Travel Authorisation (TVoA-ETA)” scheme, which was launched last year to facilitate short-duration visits by travellers from as many as 44 countries, has now been renamed “e-Tourist Visa” to make it clear that it is not an on-arrival scheme.

Why was it changed?

The name of the scheme [TVoA-ETA] is creating confusion among tourists, who are under the impression that the visa is being granted on arrival. However, in the present system, the pre-authorisation of visa has to be taken before travel.

Background:

  • After some Indian embassies raised the issue with the Home Ministry seeking change of name, a committee comprising officials of the Bureau of Immigration, Home and External Affairs Ministries was formed to suggest a new name.
  • Keeping in view the application process and the purpose of the scheme, the committee suggested ‘e-Tourist Visa’ as the appropriate name

The government has issued 1.1 lakh visas under the new scheme that was launched on November 27 last year. According to the MHA, it will be extended to more countries and airports in a phased manner.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Legislators entering govt contracts after election liable for disqualification: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recently ruled that a legislator shall stand disqualified not only if he has a business contract with the government and its instrumentalities at the time of filing nomination papers, but also if he does so after he is elected.

What has the SC said?

  • The SC said that the purity of legislative process had to be considered paramount and the pertinent provision in the Representation of the People Act ought to be interpreted in a manner so as to “avoid conflict of personal interest and duty of the legislators.”
  • Section 9A in the Act states that a person shall be disqualified if, and for so long as, there “subsists” a contract by him with the appropriate government. The Court said that the word “subsists” cannot be construed to mean that a person will not be allowed to contest only if he has a contract with the government at the time of polls.
  • It also clarified its previous judgments over “office of profit” wherein the top court had taken the view that the expression should not be construed in a way that would shut out many prominent and eligible persons from contesting the election.
  • While holding that the Governor’s order was appealable, the Court also removed an anomalous situation wherein the Election Commission was obligated to conduct a by-poll to fill up the vacant seat within six months but the decision on the appeal in the court could take longer. The bench fixed a time-frame of 16 weeks for a disqualified legislator to challenge the Governor’s order and a subsequent decision by the high court concerned.

Background:

  • The judgment came as the SC upheld disqualification of BJP MLA Bajrang Bahadur Singh from Pharenda constituency in Uttar Pradesh over taking government contracts even after being elected. The Governor had issued the disqualification order on January 29, which Singh had challenged.

Sources: IE.

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