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:
1. How are disputes between states resolved in India?
2. Remote voting for migrant workers: The plan the Election Commission of India (EC) has outlined
3. Delegated law should not travel beyond the purview of the parent act: SC
GS Paper 3:
1. No action plan by MoEF&CC to handle plastic waste finds CAG
2. The Webb telescope is just getting started
Content for Mains Enrichment
1. How India can produce companies like Apple, Google, Pfizer
Facts for Prelims
1. Sammakka Saralamma Jatara
2. Land Subsidence
3. Mango flowering
4. Project Nilgiri Tahr
5. Prahari App
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
Direction: The article explores different methods to resolve inter-state boundary disputes. It also briefly covers the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Context: As the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka (over Belagavi, Karwar and Nipani in North Karnataka) is intensifying, the article highlights formal methods in the Constitution of India to resolve inter-state disputes.
- Often, attempts are made to resolve inter-state disputes with the cooperation of both sides, with the Centre working as a facilitator or a neutral mediator.
- This was followed by Parliament bringing a law to alter state boundaries, such as the Bihar-Uttar Pradesh (Alteration of Boundaries) Act of 1968 and the Haryana-Uttar Pradesh (Alteration of Boundaries) Act of 1979.
Methods available to resolve inter-state disputes:
- Article 131: Supreme Court has the original jurisdiction in any dispute between –
- The Government of India and one or more States; or
- The Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or more other States on the other; or
- Two or more States,
- If the dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.
- Exemption: The said jurisdiction shall not extend to a dispute arising out of any treaty, agreement, covenant, or engagement, having been entered into or executed before the commencement of this Constitution.
- Inter-State and Zonal councils’ role in resolving inter-state disputes has been covered in a recent article which can be accessed through this link.
Q. How far do you think cooperation, competition and confrontation have shaped the nature of the federation of India? Cite some recent examples to validate your answer. (UPSC 2020)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2014)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Direction: The article covers Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM) – need, unique features, the voting process and issues raised by the EC itself.
Context: The EC announced that it has developed a prototype for a Multi-Constituency Remote Electronic Voting Machine (RVM), amid concerns over migration-based disenfranchisement, to boost voter turnout and strengthen India’s democratic process.
Background – The problem of migration-based disenfranchisement:
- While registered voters do not end up voting for a variety of reasons, domestic migration – is driven by marriage, natural disasters, employment, etc.
- As per the 2011 census, there are nearly 45.36 crores (forty-five point three six) migrants in India (both intra and interstate) – nearly 37% of the country’s population.
- These migrants are unable to travel to vote, denying a large chunk of the population its franchise, going against the EC’s motto – “No voter left behind”.
- The EC had formed a Committee of Officers on Domestic Migrants, which recommended (in 2016) internet voting, proxy voting, early voting and postal ballots for migrant workers (rejected due to concerns like lack of secrecy of the vote, the lack of sanctity of one person one vote principle, issues of accessibility, etc.)
- Thus, a technological solution was proposed which allows voters to vote remotely, in a safe and controlled environment.
The proposed solution – Remote EVMs:
- RVMs were developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).
- The RVMs are stand-alone, non-networked systems, allowing voters from multiple constituencies to vote using the same machine.
- They will be set up in remote locations outside the state under similar conditions as current polling booths.
Unique feature of RVMs:
- A single Remote Ballot Unit (RBU): To cater to multiple constituencies (as many as 72) by using a “dynamic ballot display board” instead of the usually printed paper ballot sheet on EVMs.
- Ballot Unit Overlay Display (BUOD): It will show the requisite candidates based on the constituency number read on the voter’s Constituency card, which can be read by a barcode scanning system.
The voting process:
- After verifying a voter’s identity, their constituency card will be read with a public display showing the constituency details and candidates.
- This will also be displayed privately (on the BUOD in the RVM’s RBU) and the voter will then vote and each vote will be stored constituency-wise in the control unit.
- The voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) system is expected to work along the same lines as the new technology.
- The system has issues, some of which the EC has itself acknowledged. For example,
- Migrants are not a uniform and defined class, with fluid identities, locations and situations.
- As various countries reject EVMs for paper-based ballots, this move may have the potential to raise further questions on the sanctity of the electoral process itself.
- Remote voting can theoretically provide an added edge to bigger parties and richer candidates who can campaign across the constituency and beyond.
Resolving these issues will require wider consultations with various legal and political stakeholders.
Conclusion: The EC has invited all recognised eight national and 57 state political parties on January 16 to demonstrate the functioning of the RVM and has asked for their written views by January 31.
Insta Links: VVPAT
Q. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (UPSC 2018)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2017)
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Parliament and State legislatures – structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
Direction: The article tries to explain the meaning of delegated legislation, its advantages, criticism, etc., in the context of the recent SC ruling.
Context: The Supreme Court ruled that delegated legislation, including rules and regulations enacted by state and central governments, should supplement rather than replace the parliamentary statute from which it derives power.
- An appeal was filed by the Kerala State Electricity Board against a State HC judgement upholding Regulation 153(15) of the Kerala Electricity Supply Code, 2014.
- Regulation 153(15) of the Code stated that an ‘unauthorised additional load’ in the same premises and under the same tariff should not be counted as ‘unauthorised use of electricity’.
The SC’s verdict:
- It reversed the HC decision and held that the Regulation was inconsistent with Section 126(6) of the Electricity Act, 2003.
- Section 126 of the 2003 Act was enacted with a specific purpose to restrict such unauthorised consumption of electricity.
Observations made by the SC in the above judgement:
- Overdrawing electricity is harmful to the public at large, as it affects the efficiency, and efficacy of the entire supply system, even increasing voltage fluctuations.
- If a rule goes beyond or replaces the rule-making power conferred by the parent statute, the same has to be declared invalid.
- Delegated legislation should not travel beyond the purview of the parent Act. If it does, it is ultra vires and cannot be given any effect.
- A delegated power to legislate by making rules or regulations cannot bring into existence substantive rights, obligations or disabilities not contemplated by the provisions of the parent statute.
- A body making rules or regulations has no inherent power of its own to make rules but derives such power only from the statute.
- Hence, it has to necessarily function within the purview of the statute.
The delegated/secondary/subordinate legislation:
- It is the law established by the executive using the authorities granted to them by the parent act in order to implement and administer the primary legislation’s requirements.
- Although the concept of delegated legislation was not mentioned specifically in the Indian Constitution it can be understood by interpreting Article 312.
- This Article gives the right to the Rajya Sabha to open a new branch of All India Service with a majority of two-thirds majority vote and delegate some powers to the new recruiter – All India Service.
- There are many such cases through which delegated legislation under the Constitution of India can be understood.
Advantages of delegated legislation:
- It saves time for the legislature.
- It can be easily done in consultation with the parties affected.
- It allows for flexibility.
- Expert legislation.
- Parliament is not always in session.
- Resorted to in case of emergencies.
- It can be used on an experimental basis.
- Weakens legislative control over the executive.
- The executive has become more powerful and has encroached upon the domain of legislature.
- The division between law-making and implementation gets blurred (against the theory of separations of power).
- Possible misuse for political gains (legislation to benefit the ruling party).
- Lacks rigorous discussion before law making.
- Delegated legislation changes with political changes resulting in political and administration instability.
- Sometimes it is not in conformity with the rule of law.
- Delegated legislation is necessary, and is likely to increase in volume, in view of the complex social organisation and vast developmental and promotional activities.
- Therefore, some safeguards and controls (courts’ jurisdiction should not be limited, uniform procedures, etc) are necessary and desirable.
Q. What is Delegated Legislation? Present the contradicting views about delegation of power to legislate while evaluating its pros and cons. (250 words)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment Conservation
Context: As per the recent audit by CAG of MoEF&CC, it was found that the ministry has a mechanism to assess the generation of plastic waste, but none for its collection and safe disposal
Key findings of the CAG report:
- MoEF&CC has no action plan leading to ineffective implementation of Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016
- Effective coordination between several pollution control boards (Central and State) and the ministry is lacking
- Lack of uniform method of assessment of plastic waste generation within a state
- The issue with the Rules: The Plastic Waste Management Rules framed by MoEF&CC lack comprehensiveness to give thrust to effective implementation and monitoring
Actions taken for plastic waste
Strategy by MoEF&CC for plastic waste control:
- Behavioural change
- Strengthening of the institutional system for the collection
- Segregation and recycling of plastic waste
- Engagement with producers, importers and brand owners through Extended Producer Responsibility
- Banning of SUP from July 1st this year (2022)
How are other countries dealing with single-use plastic?
- Consensus on SUP in UN: This year, 124 countries, parties to the United Nations Environment Assembly, including India, signed a resolution to draw up an agreement which will in the future make it legally binding for the signatories to address the full life of plastics from production to disposal, to end plastic pollution.
- 68 countries have plastic bag bans with varying degrees of enforcement
- Bangladesh: Bangladesh became the first country to ban thin plastic bags in 2002.
- China: China issued a ban on plastic bags in 2020 with a phased implementation.
- EU: EU bans certain single-use plastics for which alternatives are available.
- For more about Single-Use Plastic (SUP): Visit this link
- For issues with Pollution Control Boards: Visit this link
- For more about CAG: Visit this link
Q. What is single-use plastic and what are the concerns associated with it? How can it be successfully phased out in the country? (15M)
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Space Technology
Source: Indian Express
Context: It was launched one year ago on a mission to observe the universe in wavelengths no human eye can see. With a primary mirror 21 feet wide, the Webb is seven times as powerful as the Hubble Space Telescope, its predecessor.
About James Webb Telescope:
- James Webb Telescope is an international collaboration between NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency.
- The telescope uses infrared light, which cannot be perceived by the human eye, to study every phase in cosmic history.
- It will help in a broad range of investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology.
- It will help to understand the origins of the universe, the evolution of our own Solar System, and search for signs of life on faraway planets.
- It can also analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets that pass in front of their stars.
- It will look at a large number of things in the universe including icy moons, distant exoplanets and galaxy clusters.
For a Comparison between James Webb and Hubble telescopes, please click here
Parts of JWST (source: NASA):
Q. Compare and contrast James Webb Telescope with that of the Hubble Telescope. What insights can James Webb Telescope offer about our past?
Content for Mains Enrichment:
How India can produce companies like Apple, Google, Pfizer
Source: Live Mint
Direction: The suggestions given can be written as the way forward in GS answers.
Context: Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu in a Twitter thread has explained how can India produce globally competitive companies like Apple, Google, Pfizer, Samsung, Honda, Boeing, Siemens, TSMC or Huawei.
What should be the focus?
- The advanced know-how and R & D capabilities essential for modern life and nationhood are understood by these companies. Most critical R & D happens within such companies
- For India to build such companies, the Indian private sector must invest in R & D heavily. Industrial R&D is not the same as academic research.
- We should focus on building a supportive ecosystem for producing world-class Hardware companies.
Facts for Prelims:
Sammakka Saralamma Jatara
Source: The Hindu
Context: Sammakka Saralamma jatara ( the biggest tribal festival in India and 2nd largest fair after Kumbh Mela) is the four-day biennial Medaram jatara which was held in Mulugu district in February (Telangana) this year.
Source: Hindustan Times
Context: The town of Joshimath (Uttrakhand) has been sinking for decades ( first highlighted by the 1976 state government-appointed Mishra Commission report)
- An expert panel (set up by the Uttarakhand government) has now confirmed that structural defects in Joshimath have been caused by Land subsidence.
- Impact: The increased Land subsidence in the past two years has caused cracks in homes, rendering them unstable and prompting people to flee.
Reasons for landslides in Joshimath:
- The town is situated in the old landslide zone and is close to the tectonic discontinuities in the Himalayas
- Anthropogenic pressures: Roads, heavy tourism, and buildings of dams, are more than the carrying capacity of the geology of the place.
- The town of Joshimath ( in Chamoli district) has been a centre of faith, and a spiritual getaway in the mighty Himalayas.
- Located on National Highway 7, at a height of 6,150 feet, it is the doorway to the holy shrines of Badrinath (part of Char Dhams) and Hemkund Saheb (a holy Sikh Shrine), and the picturesque Valley of Flowers (a UNESCO world heritage site), and Auli (a popular tourist destination).
- Strategic significance: It is home to the Joshimath Cantonment, the permanent station of the Garwhal Scouts, close to the Indo-Tibetan Border.
What is land subsidence?
Land subsidence is a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface due to the removal or displacement of subsurface earth materials.
Context: Mango flowering has started since the third week of December in Telangana and Odisha, which is at least a month sooner than the normal period of flowering.
Reasons for early flowering:
- Unseasonal rainfall and a warmer-than-normal winter
- Mango showers is a colloquial term to describe the occurrence of pre-monsoon rainfall.
- In India, mango showers occur as the result of thunderstorm development over the Bay of Bengal.
- They are also known as ‘Kaal Baisakhi’ in Bengal, as Bordoisila in Assam and as Cherry Blossom showers or Coffee Showers in Karnataka.
- They help in the early ripening of mangoes and are hence often referred to as “Mango showers.”
Project Nilgiri Tahr
Source: Business Line
Context: India’s first Nilgiri Tahr project to conserve the State animal of Tamil Nadu will be taken up.
Components of the project: The project will have nine components, including bi-annual synchronised surveys across the division, diagnosis and treatment for affected individuals and a Shola grassland restoration pilot in Upper Bhavani,
Context: Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah launched the Border Security Force (BSF) mobile app ‘Prahari’.
‘Prahari’ in Hindi means ‘a guard’: A guard is someone such as a soldier or prison officer who is guarding a particular place or person.
Importance of the app:
- Jawans can get personal and service-related information, housing, Ayushman-CAPF and leave related information on their mobile phones.
- BSF Jawans can also get GPF, Bio Data or grievance redressal on the “Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System” (CP-GRAMS) or information on various welfare schemes through the app.
- This app will also connect them with the portal of the Ministry of Home Affairs
The Border Security Force is India’s border guarding organisation on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh founded on 1st December 1965 by Khusro Faramurz Rustamji
The Border Security Force has been awarded numerous gallantry awards including one Mahavir Chakra, 4 Kirti Chakras, 13 Vir Chakras and 13 Shaurya Chakras, BSF has fought so many battles with valour that a book could be written on each war
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