InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Shahtoot Dam.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
India’s first Member of Parliament to have been disqualified from the Lok Sabha has now been disqualified as an MLA in Mizoram.
- Mizoram Assembly Speaker disqualifies Zoram People’s Movement MLA Lalduhoma.
Ground for disqualification:
The disqualification was on the ground that Mr. Lalduhoma had declared himself as a representative of the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) despite being elected as an independent candidate from the Serchhip Assembly constituency.
- He lost the character of an independent legislator because of the declaration.
What is the anti-defection law?
The Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by the 52nd Amendment Act.
- It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
- The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
When can a member be disqualified?
If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
- Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
- Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party. However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified.
- If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
- If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.
However, Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances:
- The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger.
- In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.
Decision of the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review:
The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court.
- However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
Various Recommendations to overcome the challenges posed by the law:
Dinesh Goswami Committee on electoral reforms:
Disqualification should be limited to following cases:
- A member voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party.
- A member abstains from voting, or votes contrary to the party whip in a motion of vote of confidence or motion of no-confidence. Political parties could issue whips only when the government was in danger.
Law Commission (170th Report):
- Provisions which exempt splits and mergers from disqualification to be deleted.
- Pre-poll electoral fronts should be treated as political parties under anti-defection
- Political parties should limit issuance of whips to instances only when the government is in danger.
Decisions under the Tenth Schedule should be made by the President/ Governor on the binding advice of the Election Commission.
- Names of various committees and commissions with regard to Anti Defection law.
- Committees vs Commissions.
- Decision of presiding officer vs Judicial review.
- Merger vs Split of political parties.
- Is anti- defection law applicable to the presiding officer?
- Relevant Supreme Court cases and verdicts.
Examine the provisions of Anti- defection law. Has this law largely failed to meet its objective? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Vietnam has invited India for ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM Plus) being hosted by Vietnam in December 2020.
About ADMM- Plus:
Consistent with the ADMM guiding principles of open and outward looking, the 2nd ADMM in Singapore in 2007 adopted the Concept Paper to establish the ADMM-Plus.
The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.
- Eight Dialogue Partners are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the USA (collectively referred to as the “Plus Countries”).
Agreed five areas of practical cooperation under this mechanism are:
- Maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and military medicine.
In 2013, a new priority area of humanitarian mine action was agreed.
- What is ADMM?
- What is ADMM plus?
- Areas of Cooperation under ADMM- Plus.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
The Union Government’s fiscal deficit further widened to ₹9.53 lakh crore, or close to 120% of the annual budget estimate, at the end of October of the current fiscal.
Reasons behind this:
- The deficit widened mainly due to poor revenue realisation.
- The lockdown imposed to curb spreading of coronavirus infections had significantly impacted business activities and in turn contributed to sluggish revenue realisation.
What is the fiscal deficit?
It is the difference between the Revenue Receipts plus Non-debt Capital Receipts (NDCR) and the total expenditure.
- In other words, fiscal deficit is “reflective of the total borrowing requirements of Government”.
Impact of high fiscal deficit:
In the economy, there is a limited pool of investible savings. These savings are used by financial institutions like banks to lend to private businesses (both big and small) and the governments (Centre and state).
- If the fiscal deficit ratio is too high, it implies that there is a lesser amount of money left in the market for private entrepreneurs and businesses to borrow.
- Lesser amount of this money, in turn, leads to higher rates of interest charged on such lending.
- A high fiscal deficit and higher interest rates would also mean that the efforts of the Reserve Bank of India to reduce interest rates are undone.
What is the acceptable level of fiscal deficit for a developing economy?
For a developing economy, where private enterprises may be weak and governments may be in a better state to invest, fiscal deficit could be higher than in a developed economy.
- Here, governments also have to invest in both social and physical infrastructure upfront without having adequate avenues for raising revenues.
- In India, the FRBM Act suggests bringing the fiscal deficit down to about 3 percent of the GDP is the ideal target. Unfortunately, successive governments have not been able to achieve this target.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Infrastructure.
Union Cabinet recently gave its approval to the proposal for equity infusion by the Government of Rs. 6000 crores in NIIF Debt Platform – sponsored by the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
- The proposal is part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 package announced earlier this month.
The government had set up the ₹40,000 crore NIIF in 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled infrastructure projects.
It was setup as a Category-II Alternate Investment Fund.
- The Indian government is investing 49% and the rest of the corpus is to be raised from third-party investors such as sovereign wealth funds, insurance and pension funds, endowments, etc.
- NIIF’s mandate includes investing in areas such as energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.
- What is NIIF?
- How is it administered?
- What is a Category-II Alternate Investment Fund?
- NIIF’s mandate.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Uttar Pradesh has bagged the first international award, TX2, among the 13 tiger ranging countries for having doubled the number of tigers in less than the stipulated time.
- In 2014, All India Tiger Estimation had estimated 25 tigers in Pilibhit and 2018 estimation showed an increase by projecting 65 tigers.
Conservation Excellence Award for 2020:
Transboundary Manas Conservation Area straddling the India-Bhutan border has received the TX2 Conservation Excellence Award for 2020.
- Transboundary Manas Conservation Area or TraMCA comprising the 500 sq. km. Manas National Park in Assam and the 1,057-sq. km. Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
What is TX2?
It is the global award which was set up in 2010 in St. Petersburg, Russia by international organizations working for tiger conservation like WWF, UNDP, IUCN, Global Tiger Fund (GTF), CATS and The Lion’s Share.
Conservation efforts in India:
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has launched the M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status), a mobile monitoring system for forest guards.
- At the Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, leaders of 13 tiger range countries resolved to do more for the tiger and embarked on efforts to double its number in the wild, with a popular slogan ‘T X 2’.
- The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) program of the World Bank, using its presence and convening ability, brought global partners together to strengthen the tiger agenda.
- Over the years, the initiative has institutionalised itself as a separate entity in the form of the Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC), with its two arms –the Global Tiger Forum and the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program.
- The Project Tiger, launched way back in 1973, has grown to more than 50 reserves amounting to almost 2.2% of the country’s geographical area.
- Differences between National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves.
- Important Biosphere Reserves in India.
- M-STrIPES is related to?
- What is GTIC?
- When was project tiger launched?
- NTCA- composition and functions.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
India set to build Shahtoot Dam in Afghanistan, provide drinking water for 2 million residents of Kabul.
- The dam would come upon the Maidan river tributary of Kabul river.