Contents

  1. Purifying water: on draft notification on RO systems
  2. Fashioning the framework of a new India
  3. Course correction for the Speaker’s office

PURIFYING WATER: ON DRAFT NOTIFICATION ON RO SYSTEMS

The Environment Ministry’s draft notification to regulate the use of membrane-based water purification systems primarily concerns the manufacturers of reverse osmosis (RO) water filters but effectively bars domestic users from installing RO systems

  • The association of water filter manufacturers challenged this order and the litigation led to this pan-India notification, where the intent is to conserve water and cut waste.
  • In RO, the total dissolved solids (TDS) in water — which covers trace chemicals, certain viruses, bacteria and salts — can be reduced, to meet potable water standards.
  • Home filters waste nearly 80% of the water during treatment.
  • Notification implies, these filters are only prohibited if the home gets water supply that conforms to Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for Drinking Water.
  • The BIS, last year, ranked several cities on official water supply quality.
  • Delhi was last and only Mumbai met all the standards.
  • In the 28 test parameters, Delhi failed 19, Chennai 9, and Kolkata 10. The BIS norms are voluntary for public agencies which supply piped water but are mandatory for bottled water producers
  • The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) of NITI Aayog says that 70% of water supply is contaminated.
  • India is ranked 120th among 122 countries in an NGO, WaterAid’s quality index.

FASHIONING THE FRAMEWORK OF A NEW INDIA

Why in news?

  • The Indian economy is going through a severe crisis: a slowdown as well as a structural crisis.
  • In the words of the former Chief Economic Adviser, Arvind Subramanian, it is headed towards the ICU.
  • Almost all sectors of the economy are in decline: the rate of growth of the national GDP has declined

These developments have had an adverse impact on the bottom 30%-40% of the population.

  • The incidence of absolute poverty, which has been falling since 1972-73, has increased to 30% (4% jump).
  • As the Human Development Report (2019) has shown, more than 44% of the Indian population is under the multi-dimensional poverty line.
  • The poorest 50% population at present owns only 4.1% of the national wealth, while the richest 10% people own 73% of the total wealth in India (Suisse Credit 2019).
  • India has 15.2% population malnourished (women 15%) as against 9.3% in China. And 50% of the malnourished children in the world are in India.
  • India’s global hunger rank has gone up to 112 while Brazil is 18, China is 25 and South Africa, 59.
  • UN report (2015) said, overall literacy in India is 74.04% (more than the 25% are totally illiterate) against 94.3% in South Africa, 96.6% in China and 92.6% in Brazil.
  • Almost 40-45% population is either illiterate or has studied up to standard 4.
  • Given the quality of education in India, the overall population is very poorly educated, with the share of ‘educated unemployment’ rising by leaps and bounds.

Though the bottom population depends on the government for basic health and elementary education (and also for access to higher educational opportunities), the government spends just 1.4% of GDP on health (against the norm of 4-6% of GDP) and 3% of GDP on education (against the norm of 6-8% of GDP


COURSE CORRECTION FOR THE SPEAKER’S OFFICE

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Supreme Court of India while adjudicating upon the matter relating to the disqualification of MLAs in the Manipur Legislative Assembly under the Tenth Schedule made a significant suggestion.
  • It recommended that Parliament should rethink as to whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such a Speaker continues to belong to a particular political party
  • It was of the opinion that Parliament may seriously consider a Constitutional amendment to substitute the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies with a ‘permanent Tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court, or some other outside independent mechanism
  •  Justice J.S. Verma in Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu And Others observed: “The Speaker being an authority within the House and his tenure being dependent on the will of the majority therein, likelihood of suspicion of bias could not be ruled out.”
  •  It is suggested that a scheme should be brought wherein Speakers should renounce all political affiliations, membership and activity once they have been elected, both within the Assembly and in the country as a whole

Example of UK

Reference can be sought from the United Kingdom where the ‘main characteristic of the Speaker of the House of Commons is neutrality. In practice, once elected, the Speaker gives up all-partisan affiliation, as in other Parliaments of British tradition, but remains in office until retirement, even though the majority may change

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