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Daily Current Affairs

7-December-2023

1. 114 seats, migrant quota cleared for J&K Assembly.

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Context:

  • Lok Sabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Additional information on this news:

  • The Reorganisation Bill increases J&K Assembly seats from 107 to 114.
  • Nine seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes in the Assembly for the first time.
  • The bill empowers the Lieutenant-Governor to nominate three members in the Assembly: two from the Kashmiri migrant community (including one woman) and one from people displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • The move aims to ensure representation for Kashmiri migrants, PoK refugees, and Scheduled Tribes in the J&K Assembly.
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah denied claiming that the abrogation of Article 370 could eliminate terrorism in J&K.
  • Shah mentioned a “zero-terror” plan formulated three years ago, to be “100% implemented” by 2026 in J&K.
  • The reservation of seats for Kashmiri migrants is intended to amplify their voice in the Assembly and address any future crises effectively.

2. Govt. needs latitude to make peace, says CJI

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Context:

  • Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud suggests giving the government leeway for compromises to save the nation.

What is in the news?

  • Chandrachud indicates that the Assam Accord of 1985 and subsequent citizenship regulations may have been an “adjustment” by the Rajiv Gandhi government to quell violent anti-immigrant protests in Assam.
  • The Chief Justice emphasizes the need to understand the government’s latitude, especially in regions facing insurgency and violence, such as the northeastern states.
  • A Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice Chandrachud, hears petitions challenging Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955 filed by indigenous groups from Assam.
  • Petitioners argue that Section 6A has acted as a “beacon” for foreign infiltration, leading to the erosion of local cultural identity in Assam.
  • Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the petitioners, contends that justifying the citizenship regime based on a political settlement during violent agitation is insufficient and discriminatory.
  • Divan asserts that illegal immigration into Assam has been rewarded with Indian citizenship, and Section 6A itself is discriminatory.
  • The Chief Justice acknowledges the complexities of the situation, questioning whether compromises were made to bring peace to Assam or to avoid perpetuating violence in the strife-ridden state.
  • The debate centers around the potential discrimination among states and the challenges in finding an exact solution to the issue.

3. The role of special inquiry committees of Parliament

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Role of Ethics Committee:

  • Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha is believed to recommend the expulsion of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.
  • Committee oversees moral and ethical conduct of members, examining cases of ‘unethical conduct’ referred to it.
  • It examines complaints against members filed by other members, outsiders through a member, or referred by the Speaker.
  • The Committee conducts a prima facie inquiry and presents its report to the Speaker, who places it before the House for consideration.

Privileges Committees:

  • Privileges Committee or Special Inquiry Committee deals with more serious accusations against a member.
  • In 1951, a special committee found a member guilty of promoting a business interest in return for financial benefits.
  • It investigates cases such as the ‘cash for query’ scam in 2005, recommending expulsion of 10 MPs from the Lok Sabha.

Constitutionality of Expulsion:

  • Constitution under Article 101 lists grounds for vacation of a seat by an MP, but does not explicitly mention expulsion.
  • Conflicting judgments by the Supreme Court; upheld Parliament’s power to expel members in one case (Raja Ram Pal, 2007), declared expulsion by State Assembly as unconstitutional in another (Amarinder Singh, 2010).

Reconciling House Privileges and Democratic Representation:

  • Serious allegations of ‘cash for query’ against Mahua Moitra raise questions about the proportionality of expulsion.
  • Expulsion may leave the constituency without representation until the next elections or a bye-election.
  • Need to balance preserving the dignity and privilege of the House with ensuring democratic representation is not prejudiced for political reasons.
  • Parliamentary Committee proceedings are not as detailed as judicial cases; ethical committee recommends legal inquiry, and CBI has registered a preliminary inquiry.
  • Suggestion to establish fast track courts for time-bound trials (e.g., 60 days) to ensure a fair and expedited process.
  • Conviction in such trials could result in disqualification under the Representation of the People Act, 1951; otherwise, the member should continue to be a part of the House.

4. Who is responsible for farming’s impact on the environment?

Topic: GS3 – climate action

Global Agricultural Impact:

  • Increasing demand for agricultural products globally has significant social and environmental consequences.
  • Global supply chains link consumers to distant impacts, including carbon emissions, biodiversity loss, freshwater depletion, soil degradation, and labor-rights issues.

India’s Role in Agricultural Trade:

  • India, due to its vast size and consumer market, is a global anchor in agricultural product trade.
  • Remarkable social and economic development in India has led to a surge in both demand and supply of agricultural products.

Environmental Pressure and Impact Accounting:

  • Large land areas in India cater to international demand, putting pressure on national soil and water resources.
  • Recent studies show a substantial share of ecological impact results from displacing environmental damage through international trade.

Challenges in Current Accounting Method:

  • Current production-based accounting has limitations in managing ‘leaks,’ fixing accountability, and ensuring equity and justice among producers and consumers.

Consumption-Based Accounting:

  • Consumption-based accounting attributes impact at the point of consumption, urging consumers to take responsibility for embodied impacts.
  • Prominent due to concerns about the divide between producer and consumer countries and calls for sustainable consumption practices.

Demand Perspective:

  • Responsibility falls on consumers in developed economies as the pressure on natural resources results from their consumption practices.
  • Reflects arguments of equity and justice, considering historical responsibility.

Supply Perspective:

  • Encourages cleaner production as producer countries are incentivized to lower the environmental footprint of exports.
  • Incentivizes raising living standards in agricultural supply chains to maintain access to foreign markets.

Benefits of Environmental Action:

  • Applied to estimate carbon emissions and water use, facilitating policies to address deforestation and biodiversity loss.
  • Allows for fair impact attribution and shared responsibilities between producers and consumers.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Challenges in implementation include liability, monitoring, and compliance concerns.
  • Offers a tool to diagnose impact-intensive consumption patterns and encourages changes in consumption behavior.

Global Environmental Action:

  • Consumption-based accounting may facilitate global environmental action by identifying consequences of domestic and foreign demand.
  • Provides an opportunity for coordinated action, allowing developing economies like India space for growth while developed economies take responsibility.

Question: How does consumption-based accounting address environmental impacts in global agricultural trade?

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