- Government clears Chief Justice appointments, transfers
- Green pacts inked at India, Denmark summit
- Iran makes more 20% enriched uranium than reported
- Govt plans quarterly data on jobs: AQEES
- Clean environment a universal right: UNHRC
- Govt. on making Palk Bay scheme attractive
Government clears Chief Justice appointments, transfers
The government cleared 13 transfers and appointments of Chief Justices to various High Courts as a part of a major reshuffle orchestrated by the Supreme Court Collegium led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana.
GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Indian Judiciary)
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is the Collegium System?
- Working of the Collegium System and NJAC
- Appointment procedure of HC Judges
- Transfer procedure of HC Judges
What is the Collegium System?
- The Collegium System is a system under which appointments/elevation of judges/lawyers to Supreme Court and transfers of judges of High Courts and Apex Court are decided by a forum of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.’ There is no mention of the Collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments.
- The recommendations of the Collegium are binding on the Central Government; if the Collegium sends the names of the judges/lawyers to the government for the second time.
Evolution of the Collegium system
- In the First Judges case (1982), the Court held that consultation does not mean concurrence and it only implies an exchange of views.
- In the Second Judges case (1993), the Court reversed its earlier ruling and changed the meaning of the word consultation to concurrence.
Third Judges Case, 1998:
- In the Third Judges case (1998), the Court opined that the consultation process to be adopted by the Chief Justice of India requires “consultation of a plurality of judges”.
- The sole opinion of the CJI does not constitute the consultation process. He should consult a collegium of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court and even if two judges give an adverse opinion, he should not send the recommendation to the government.
- The court held that the recommendation made by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) without complying with the norms and requirements of the consultation process is not binding on the government.
- The Collegium system was born through the “Third Judges case” and it is in practice since 1998. It is used for appointments and transfers of judges in High courts and Supreme Courts.
- There is no mention of the Collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments.
Working of the Collegium System and NJAC
- The collegium recommends the names of lawyers or judges to the Central Government. Similarly, the Central Government also sends some of its proposed names to the Collegium.
- Collegium considers the names or suggestions made by the Central Government and resends the file to the government for final approval.
- If the Collegium resends the same name again then the government has to give its assent to the names. But the time limit is not fixed to reply. This is the reason that appointment of judges takes a long time.
- Through the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014 the National Judicial Commission Act (NJAC) was established to replace the collegium system for the appointment of judges.
- However, the Supreme Court upheld the collegium system and struck down the NJAC as unconstitutional on the grounds that the involvement of Political Executive in judicial appointment was against the “Principles of Basic Structure”. i.e., the “Independence of Judiciary”.
Issues involved in appointment
- Cumbersome Process: There are inordinate delays in the appointment of High Court judges and it leads to the pendency of cases.
- Lack of Transparency: There is no objective criteria for selection and people come to know about judges only after selection. It also promotes nepotism in the judiciary. The consultations of the Collegium are also not discussed in any public platform.
- Instances of Politicisation: In many cases, there is indication that due to the unfavorable judgments of certain judges the political executive hinders their appointments, elevation, or transfer. This reflects poorly on the concept of independence of the judiciary.
- Improper Representation: Certain sections of societies have higher representation whereas many vulnerable sections have nil representation.
Appointment procedure of HC Judges
- Article 217of the Constitution: It states that the Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI), the Governor of the State.
- In the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court is consulted.
- Consultation Process: High Court judges are recommended by a Collegium comprising the CJI and two senior-most judges.
- The proposal, however, is initiated by the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned in consultation with two senior-most colleagues.
- The recommendation is sent to the Chief Minister, who advises the Governor to send the proposal to the Union Law Minister.
Transfer procedure of HC Judges
- Article 222of the Constitution makes provision for the transfer of a Judge (including Chief Justice) from one High Court to any other High Court. The initiation of the proposal for the transfer of a Judge should be made by the Chief Justice of India whose opinion in this regard is determinative.
- Consent of a Judge for his first or subsequent transfer would not be required.
- All transfers are to be made in public interest i.e., for promoting better administration of justice throughout the country.
-Source: The Hindu
Green pacts inked at India, Denmark summit
India and Denmark signed two agreements on research in climate change, while another MoU on setting up a “green hydrogen” electrolyser plant was signed between Reliance Industries and Danish company Stiesdal Fuel Technologies as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen.
GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, International Treaties and Agreements)
Dimensions of the Article:
- More about the recent India-Demark deals related to Environment
- What is green hydrogen?
- Significance of Green Hydrogen for India
More about the recent India-Demark deals related to Environment
- There are agreements to pursue joint cooperation in the field of health technology and agriculture. Joint ventures on food safety, cold chains, food processing, and water management are to be finalized.
- Agreement between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Geological Survey of Denmark to conduct groundwater mapping.
- MoU between the Indian Institute of Science and Danfoss Industries to set up a research center on carbon-based cooling systems.
- The commercial MoU between Reliance Industries Limited and Stiesdal Fuel Technologies will work on the development of a “Hydrogen Electrolyser” for zero-carbon hydrogen to be manufactured in India.
- There are plans to build four factories for the production of solar PV modules, electrolyzers, fuel cells, and storage batteries in Gujarat.
- The two leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and shared common concerns on terrorism, the rights of women and minorities, and the need for an inclusive government.
What is green hydrogen?
- Hydrogen when produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is known as Green Hydrogen which has no carbon footprint.
- It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.
- Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.
Significance of Green Hydrogen for India
- The use of Green Hydrogen can help in achievement of environmental targets like reduction of Carbon Footprint, Achievement of INDC targets, net-zero emissions by 2050, and limit global temperature rises to 1.5C.
- Green Hydrogen can act as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future.
- In terms of mobility, for long distance mobilisations for either urban freight movement within cities and states or for passengers, Green Hydrogen can be used in railways, large ships, buses or trucks, etc.
- Green Hydrogen blending up to 10% may be adopted in CGD networks to gain widespread acceptance.
- Green Hydrogen could supply up to 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050 and become a US$10 trillion addressable market by 2050.
- Production costs of Green Hydrogen have fallen by 40% since 2015 and are expected to fall by a further 40% through 2025.
- Potential demand for imported hydrogen in China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore could reach $9.5 billion by 2030.
- There is sufficient evidence to show that with the use of Green Hydrogen Energy Security can be ensured in a sustainable manner. However, other factors from the economic/technological angle require to be worked out.
- Efficient use of green hydrogen will reduce India’s dependency on crude oil, helping stabilize the Current Account Deficit.
-Source: The Hindu
Iran makes more 20% enriched uranium than reported
Iran has produced more than 120 kilograms (265 pounds) of 20% enriched uranium, the country’s nuclear chief said, far more than what the U.N. nuclear watchdog reported in September 2021.
GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policy and Treaties that affect India’s Interests)
Dimensions of the Article:
- About the current increase in enrichment by Iran
- About Uranium Enrichment
- About the 2015 Nuclear Deal
About the current increase in enrichment by Iran
- A top official said only a few grams an hour of uranium gas would be enriched up to 60 % purity — triple the level it once did but at a rate far slower than what Tehran could produce.
- International inspectors already said Iran planned to do so above-ground at its Natanz nuclear site, not deep within its underground halls hardened to withstand airstrikes.
- The move is likely to raise tensions even as Iran negotiates in Vienna over a way to allow the U.S. back into the agreement and lift the crushing economic sanctions it faces. However, its scope also provides Iran with a way to quickly de-escalate if it chose.
- While 60 % is higher than any level Iran previously enriched uranium, it is still lower than weapons-grade levels of 90 %.
- Iran had been enriching up to 20 % — even that was a short technical step to weapons grade. The deal limited Iran’s enrichment to 3.67 %.
- Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, though the West and the IAEA say Tehran had an organized military nuclear program up until the end of 2003.
- Iran previously had said it could use uranium enriched up to 60 % for nuclear-powered ships. However, the Islamic Republic currently has no such ships in its navy.
About Uranium Enrichment
- Natural uranium consists of two different isotopes – nearly 99% U-238 and only around 0.7% of U-235.
- U-235 is a fissile material that can sustain a chain reaction in a nuclear reactor.
- Enrichment process increases the proportion of U-235 through the process of isotope separation (U-238 is separated from U-235).
- For nuclear weapons, enrichment is required upto 90% or more which is known as Highly Enriched Uranium/weapons-grade uranium.
- For nuclear reactors, enrichment is required upto 3-4% which is known as Low Enriched Uranium/reactor-grade uranium.
- Highly enriched uranium has a concentration of 20% or more and is used in research reactors.
About the 2015 Nuclear Deal
- In 2015, Iran with the P5+1 group of world powers – the USA, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany agreed on a long-term deal on its nuclear programme.
- The deal was named as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and in common parlance as Iran Nuclear Deal.
- Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activity in return for the lifting of sanctions and access to global trade.
- The agreement allowed Iran to accumulate small amounts of uranium for research but it banned the enrichment of uranium, which is used to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons.
- Iran was also required to redesign a heavy-water reactor being built, whose spent fuel would contain plutonium suitable for a bomb and to allow international inspections.
- In May 2018, the USA abandoned the deal criticising it as flawed and reinstated and tightened its sanctions.
- Since sanctions were tightened, Iran has been steadily breaking some of its commitments to pressure the remaining signatories to find a way to provide sanctions relief.
- Enrichment could shorten Iran’s time it would take to develop a nuclear bomb.
- Previously the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressed serious concerns over Iran’s blocking of inspections of two suspect locations of Uranium enrichment for more than four months.
-Source: The Hindu
Govt plans quarterly data on jobs: AQEES
The Labour Bureau released the results of the All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (QES) for the first quarter (FQ) of 2021 (April to June).
GS-III: Indian Economy (Human Resource and Employment), GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Five All India Surveys of Labour Bureau
- Objectives of the Five surveys
- All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (AQEES)
- Highlights of QES 2021 Data
Five All India Surveys of Labour Bureau
- All-India Survey of Migrant Workers,
- All-India Survey on Domestic Workers,
- All-India Survey on Employment generated in Transport Sector,
- All-India Survey of Employment Generated by Professionals,
- All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES).
- These surveys have been developed and designed by the Labour Bureau under the technical guidance of an expert group chaired by Prof S. P. Mukherjee and co-chaired by Dr Amitabh Kundu.
- The five surveys have been worked upon simultaneously and will be launched in a phased manner keeping in mind the constraints arising from pandemic.
- The first surveys to be launched are the All-India Survey of Migrant Workers and All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES).
- These surveys will be path breaking in their “Paperless” data collection approach due to use of tablet PCs in the field work, these tablets are equipped with latest software application.
- The Labour Bureau is being aided by BECIL, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to provide IT support.
- These surveys will be conducted in major regional languages.
Objectives of the Five surveys
- All-India Survey of Migrant Workers: To study the kind of employment related migration undertaken by workers, the details of working and living conditions faced by them and impact of COVID 19 on their world of work.
- All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES): The survey would provide the employment estimates for establishments employing 10 or more workers as well as those with employing 9 or less workers. This highly useful establishment-based survey will provide crucial data on the changes in employment situation across the selected sectors on a quarterly basis.
- All-India Survey on Domestic Workers: The survey will be instrumental in estimating the number of domestic workers in the country for the first time ever. Some additional specific objectives are to collect data on incidence and characteristics of households with domestic workers and the average number of domestic workers engaged by different types of households.
- All-India Survey on Employment generated in Transport Sector: Estimates for employment generated in the transportation sector in the country will be generated using this survey.
- All-India Survey of Employment Generated by Professionals: The survey will help in the estimation of employment generated by professions such as lawyers, medical professionals, cost accountants and chartered accountants.
All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (AQEES)
- The AQEES has been taken up by the Labour Bureau to provide frequent (quarterly) updates about the employment and related variables of establishments, in both organised and unorganised segments of nine selected sectors. These sectors altogether account for a majority of the total employment in the non-farm establishments.
- There are two components under AQEES:
- Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) and
- Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES).
- QES would provide the employment estimates for the establishments employing 10 or more workers.
- AFES covers the unorganised segment (with less than 10 workers) through a sample survey.
About the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES)
- The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) is part of the All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (AQEES).
- It covers establishments employing 10 or more workers in the organised segment in 9 sectors.
- The 9 sectors are Manufacturing, Construction, Trade, Transport, Education, Health, Accommodation and Restaurants, IT/BPO, Financial Service Activities.
- While the QES provides a demand side picture, the National Sample Survey or Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) gives the supply side picture of the labour market.
- As the QES covers only establishments with at least 10 workers, it provides data essentially on the formal economy.
Highlights of QES 2021 Data
- Shows a 29% increase in employment in nine sectors during the peak Covid-19 months of April-June 2021 over a base of 2013-14 (Sixth Economic Census – EC).
- There has been a decline in the share of female workers. From 31% in the 6th EC (2013) to 29% in QES (2021) data.
- Out of the 9 sectors, 7 sectors saw growth in employment while only 2 sectors (Trade, and Accomodation & Restaurants) saw a decline in employment figures. The IT/BPO sector saw the most growth of 152% during 2013-2021 period.
- Between 1998-2021, there has been an absolute increase in employment figures. Since 1998 (4th EC), the highest growth rate in employment (38%) was in the period 2005-2013. The simple growth rate of employment between 1998-2021 has been fluctuating, and not linear.
-Source: The Hindu
Clean environment a universal right: UNHRC
The United Nations Human Rights Council on October 8, 2021, unanimously voted for recognising a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right in Geneva, Switzerland.
GS-III: Environment and Ecology, GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions), GS-II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- Environment as a basic right
- Constitutional Provisions
- Environmental Principles
Environment as a basic right
- The concept of human rights in general emerged after the Second World War, but the right to a healthy environment, as one of those human rights, was never a priority.
- Today, this right is an emerging concept that is being hotly debated in the human rights arena. A healthy environment is an essential aspect of the right to life, not only for human beings but also for other animals on the planet. Violation, therefore, of the right to healthy environment is potentially a violation of the basic right to life.
- The right to a clean environment is rooted in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, popularly called as the Magna Carta of human environment. It contained principles and recommendations for environmental policy.
- ‘Caring for the Earth 1991’ and the ‘Earth Summit’ of 1992” also declared that human beings are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
- Environmental deterioration could eventually endanger life of present and future generations. Therefore, the right to life has been used in a diversified manner in India. It includes, inter alia, the right to survive as a species, quality of life, the right to live with dignity and the right to livelihood.
- In India, the right to survive as a species, quality of life etc., has been expressly recognised as a constitutional right. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states: ‘No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law.’
- The Supreme Court expanded this negative right in two ways:
- Firstly, any law affecting personal liberty should be reasonable, fair and just.
- Secondly, the Court recognised several unarticulated liberties that were implied by article 21. It is by this second method that the Supreme Court interpreted the right to life and personal liberty to include the right to a clean environment.
- Further the Constitutional (forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 incorporated two significant articles viz. Article 48-A and 51A (g) thereby making the Indian Constitution the first in the world conferring constitutional status to the environment protection.
- Article 48-A: The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
- Article 51A(g): It is a duty of every citizen to protect and preserve the environment.
Other Provisions under IPCC
The Penal Code too at that time contained provisions making pollution a crime.
- Section 277 relates to water pollution.
- Section 278 relates to water pollution
- Section 426, 430, 431 and 432 relates to pollution in general.
- Section 368 talks about public nuisance where under noise pollution can inter alia be controlled.
- Inter-generational Equity: It states that every generation holds Earth in common, therefore its resources should be used judicially and for the common benefit of all.
- Polluter Pays Principle: It states that the polluter should bear the cost of damage caused by it to the natural environment.
- Precautionary Principle: It states that even in the absence of scientific evidence, measures must be taken to anticipate and prevent the causes of environmental degradation. It is the social responsibility of the State to protect the public from any plausible risk.
- Public trust Doctrine: It states that resources like water, air, sea and forest have a great importance to the general public that it would be unjustified to make it the subject of private ownership. It poses a duty on the State to protect such resources for the benefit of all and not to permit any commercial use of it.
- Sustainable Development Principle: It states that the State should try to strike a balance between development and environment.
-Source: The Hindu
Govt. on making Palk Bay scheme attractive
The Union Government is considering increasing the unit cost of deep-sea fishing vessels from Rs 80 L to Rs 1.3 Cr under the Palk Bay scheme to make it more attractive to fisherfolk.
Prelims, GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives, Issues arising out of the design and Implementation of these initiatives)
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Palk Bay Scheme
- Recently in news: Marine Fisheries Bill
About Palk Bay Scheme
- The Palk Bay Scheme was launched in 2017 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme as part of the umbrella Blue Revolution Scheme. (The Blue Revolution is part of the Government’s efforts to promote fishing as an allied activity for farmers in order to double their incomes.)
- It is a Tamil Nadu-specific scheme aimed at providing 2,000 vessels in three years to fishermen of the State and motivating them to abandon bottom trawling.
- Another objective of the scheme is to “reduce fishing pressure” around the proximity of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) so that Tamil Nadu fishermen do not cross the IMBL and fish in Sri Lankan waters.
- The Funding pattern of the scheme is Centre 50%, State 20%, Institutional funding 10% and Beneficiary 20%. The Scheme is limited to vessels costing upto Rs. 80 Lakh.
Recently in news: Marine Fisheries Bill
- The Marine Fisheries Bill 2021 was tabled in the Parliament during the Monsoon session.
- The Marine Fisheries Bill proposes to only grant licenses to vessels registered under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
- It also proposes punishments for fishermen breaching the EEZ without a licence, not complying with Indian Coast Guard (ICG) orders, and obstructing ICG officials.
- The Bill prohibits fishing by foreign fishing vessels, thus nationalising our EEZ.
- It proposes social security for fish workers and calls for protection of life at sea during severe weather events.
-Source: The Hindu