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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 20 March 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. SC Says States can pass resolutions against Central laws
  2. New Scrappage policy will boost auto sector
  3. Pandemic may have doubled poverty in India
  4. Six tigers ‘missing’ in Ranthambore

SC SAYS STATES CAN PASS RESOLUTIONS AGAINST CENTRAL LAWS

Context:

The Supreme Court prima facie found no harm in State Legislative Assemblies passing resolutions against Central laws.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Governance and Government Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recent instances of States passing resolutions against Central laws
  2. Constitution on Powers of Enacting farm laws
  3. Why has the Parliament been given more power?
  4. Can States challenge the validity of central laws?
  5. Article 131
  6. Article 254 & 256
  7. SC’s views on States Passing resolution against Central laws

Recent instances of States passing resolutions against Central laws

  • The Kerala Assembly passed a resolution demanding scrapping of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), becoming the first state in the country to do so.
  • After Kerala, Legislative Assemblies of West Bengal, Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi, Bihar, Telangana etc., passed a resolution urging the Union government to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
  • Punjab was the first State in the country to formally reject the Central government’s three agriculture sector legislations, with its Legislative Assembly.
  • After Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Kerala passed resolutions rejecting the Central Government’s controversial Farm Laws.

Constitution on Powers of Enacting farm laws

  • Agriculture is in the state list under the Constitution.
  • But, Entry 33 of the Concurrent List provides Centre and the states powers to control production, supply and distribution of products of any industry, including agriculture.
  • Usually, when a state wants to amend a Central law made under one of the items in the concurrent list, it needs the clearance of the Centre.
  • When a state law contradicts a Central law on the same subject, the law passed by Parliament prevails.

Why has the Parliament been given more power?

This arrangement of having Central laws taking precedence over State laws in concurrent list was envisaged as most Parliament laws apply to the whole of India and states amending the Central laws indiscriminately could lead to inconsistencies in different regions on the application of the same law. In matters of trade and commerce, this could especially pose serious problems.

Can States challenge the validity of central laws?

  • States can approach the Supreme Court and file suit against the Centre invoking Article 131, which confers exclusive jurisdiction on the top court to adjudicate disputes between two or more States, or between States and the Centre.
  • The Article allows it to directly take cognizance of such a dispute.

Article 131

  • The Article vests the Supreme Court with original jurisdiction over disputes occurring between states or between states and the Centre.
  • The original jurisdiction of a court means the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, in which the court reviews the decision of a lower court.
  • Unlike the original jurisdiction under Article 32 (which gives the top court the power to issue writs, etc.), the jurisdiction in Article 131 is exclusive, meaning it is only the Supreme Court which has this authority. Under Article 226, the High Courts too have the power to issue writs, directions etc.

What kinds of disputes are covered under Article 131?

  • In ‘State of Rajasthan vs Union of India’, 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that the existence or extent of a legal right is a precursor before a suit under Article 131 is entertained, and that “mere wrangles between governments have no place in the scheme of that Article”, and upheld its jurisdiction in that case.
  • Similarly, in the 1978 case, ‘State of Karnataka vs Union of India’, which involved the Centre’s authority to order an inquiry into a state Chief Minister’s conduct, jurisdiction under Article 131 was held valid.

Article 254

  • Article 254 (2) of the Constitution empowers state governments to pass legislations which negate the Central acts in the matters enumerated under the Concurrent List.
  • A state legislation passed under Article 254 (2) requires the assent of the President of India.

Article 256

According to article 256: The Executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.

SC’s views on States Passing resolution against Central laws

  • The Supreme Court said that resolution passed by the state legislative assemblies are merely “opinions” of the majority members of a Legislative Assembly and do not have the force of law.
  • The SC was hearing a petition which said that since the states did not have any power in making laws on the subjects under the Union List in the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, they cannot have even a casual opinion on whether the Central law is “good, bad or indifferent”.
  • The SC said that it cannot be considered that the central laws are not a concern of the state and asked how can the states not have right to express their opinion.

-Source: The Hindu


NEW SCRAPPAGE POLICY WILL BOOST AUTO SECTOR

Context:

Auto majors have welcomed the new vehicle scrappage policy saying it would encourage people to replace old vehicles while boosting the sector.

The Union Road and Transport Minister announced the Vehicle Scrapping Policy in the Lok Sabha, which was first announced in the Union Budget for 2021-22, recently.

Relevance:

GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Government Interventions in Automobile sector)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Vehicle Scrapping Policy
  2. Benefits of the Vehicle Scrapping Policy

About the Vehicle Scrapping Policy

  • The Vehicle Scrapping Policy aims to reduce the population of old and defective vehicles, bringing down vehicular air pollutants, improving road and vehicular safety.
  • The policy is estimated to cover the scrapping of more than 50 lakh Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) that are above 20 years of age and another 30+ lakh LMVs above 15 years of age.
  • Old vehicles will have to pass a fitness test before re-registration and as per the policy government commercial vehicles more than 15 years old and private vehicles which are over 20 years old will be scrapped.
  • The state governments may be advised to offer a road-tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles to provide incentive to owners of old vehicles to scrap old and unfit vehicles, whereas, in order to dissuade – increased re-registration fees would be applicable for vehicles 15 years or older from the initial date registration.
  • The government will also implement a Global Positioning System (GPS)-based toll collection system and do away with all toll booths within a year.

Benefits of the Vehicle Scrapping Policy

  • The Creation of Scrap yards as a part of the policy will lead to effective recovery of waste from old vehicles.
  • More than 35 thousand people will get employment and an investment of Rs 10,000 crores will be pumped in.
  • Also, reducing the number of older vehicles will boost sales of heavy and medium commercial vehicles that had been in the contraction zone as a result of economic slowdown in 2020.
  • The government treasury is expected to get around Rs 30,000 to 40,000 crores of money through Goods and Services Tax (GST) from this policy.
  • Prices of auto components would fall substantially with the recycling of metal and plastic parts; production cost of the vehicle manufacturers will also reduce.
  • Last but not the least, scrapping of old vehicles will help improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution as older vehicles pollute the environment 10 to 12 times more, and estimated that 17 lakh medium and heavy commercial vehicles are more than 15 years old.

-Source: The Hindu


PANDEMIC MAY HAVE DOUBLED POVERTY IN INDIA

Context:

Recently an analysis by a research center which uses World Bank projections of economic growth to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on Indian incomes was released.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues Relating to Poverty & Hunger, Developmental challenges in reducing Poverty)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the report on Impact of COVID-19 on poverty
  2. Global scenario according to other reports

Highlights of the report on Impact of COVID-19 on poverty

  • India’s middle class may have shrunk by a third due to 2020’s pandemic-driven recession, while the number of poor people — earning less than Rs. 150 per day — more than doubled.
  • The lockdown triggered by the pandemic resulted in shut businesses, lost jobs and falling incomes, plunging the Indian economy into a deep recession.
  • The number of people who are poor in India (with incomes of $2 or less a day) is estimated to have increased by 7.5 crore because of the COVID-19 recession (accounting for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty).
  • The record spike in MGNREGA participants can be a proof that the poor were struggling to find work.
  • The middle-income group is likely to have decreased from almost 10 crores to just over 6 crores, while the richer population who earn more than Rs. 1,500 a day also fell almost 30%.
Coronavirus | Pandemic may have doubled poverty in India, says Pew study

Global scenario according to other reports

  • Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic compounds the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction.

-Source: The Hindu


SIX TIGERS ‘MISSING’ IN RANTHAMBORE

Context:

Six tigers have been unaccounted for since March 2020 in the Ranthambore tiger sanctuary, Rajasthan.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Ecology and Environment, Protected Areas)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
  2. Project Tiger
  3. Project Tiger Reserves of India

About Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

  • Ranthambore Tiger Reserve lies in the eastern part of Rajasthan state in Karauli and Sawai Madhopur districts, at the junction of the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges.
  • It comprises of the Ranthambore National Park as well as Sawai Mansingh and Keladevi Sanctuaries.
  • The Ranthambore fort, from which the forests derive their name, is said to have a rich history of over 1000 years. It is strategically located atop a 700 feet tall hill within the park and is believed to have been built in 944 AD by a Chauhan ruler.
  • The vegetation includes grasslands on plateaus and dense forests along the seasonal streams.
  • Other than tigers, leopards, striped hyenas, common or hanuman langurs, rhesus macaques, jackals, jungle cats, caracals, blackbuck, Blacknaped hare and chinkara, etc., are found here.
  • This area with tigers in it represents the north-western limit of the Bengal tiger’s distribution range and is an outstanding example of Project Tiger’s efforts for conservation in the country.

Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 by the Government of India.
  • The project aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage forever represented as close as possible the diversity of ecosystems across the distribution of tigers in the country.
  • The project’s task force visualized these tiger reserves as breeding nuclei, from which surplus animals would migrate to adjacent forests. Funds and commitment were mastered to support the intensive program of habitat protection and rehabilitation under the project.
  • The government has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

Project Tiger’s main aims are to:

  • Reduce factors that lead to the depletion of tiger habitats and to mitigate them by suitable management. The damages done to the habitat shall be rectified so to facilitate the recovery of the ecosystem to the maximum possible extent.
  • Ensure a viable tiger population for economic, scientific, cultural, aesthetic and ecological values.

Project Tiger Reserves of India

The Project Tiger Reserves of India is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Project Tiger ReservesLocated State
Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam KawalAndhra Pradesh
Namdapha Pakhui/PakkeArunachal Pradesh
Kaziranga Manas NameriAssam
Valmiki NagarBihar
Achanakmar Indravati Udanti and SitanadiChhattisgarh
PalamauJharkhand
Bandipur Bhadra Dandeli-Anshi Nagarhole B.R HillsKarnataka
Parambikulam PeriyarKerala
Bandhavgarh Kanha Panna Pench Sanjay Dubri SatpuraMadhya Pradesh
Melghat Pench ShahyadriTabola-AndhariMaharashtra
DampaMizoram
Satkosia SimplipalOrissa
Mukunda Hills Sariska RanthamboreRajasthan
Annamalai Kalakad-Mundathurai Mudumalai SathyamangalamTamil Nadu
Katerniaghat Extension DudhwaUttar Pradesh
CorbettUttarakhand
Buxa SunderbanWest Bengal
WPSI - Wildlife Protection Society of India - Tiger Reserves

-Source: The Hindu

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