Contents

  1. Long wait for a Deputy Speaker for Lok Sabha
  2. UNSC resolution addresses ‘key concerns’ on Afghanistan
  3. IMF raises India’s special drawing rights allocation
  4. WMO report: Weather disasters killed 2 million in 50 years

Long wait for a Deputy Speaker for Lok Sabha

Context:

With the Delhi High Court asking the Central government to explain its stand on a petition that claimed keeping the post of Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha vacant is a violation of Article 93 of the Constitution, the issue is once again in the spotlight.

The position of Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha had been vacant for the last 830 days.

Relevance:

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

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  2. Powers and Functions of Deputy Speaker
  3. Article 93 in The Constitution of India
  4. Vacancy of office of the Speaker 

Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha

  • The Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is the vice-presiding officer of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India.
  • They act as the presiding officer in case of leave or absence caused by death or illness of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. (There is a constitution-mandated panel of 10 members to preside over the proceedings of the Lok Sabha in the absence of Speaker.)
  • It is by Convention that position of Deputy Speaker is offered to opposition party in India.
  • The Deputy Speaker is elected in the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after the General elections for a term of 5 years from amongst the members of the Lok Sabha. It is by convention that position of Deputy Speaker is offered to opposition party in India.
  • They hold office until either they cease to be a member of the Lok Sabha or they resign.
  • They can be removed from office by a resolution passed in the Lok Sabha by an effective majority of its members.
  • Since the Deputy Speaker is accountable for the Lok Sabha, the elimination is done by the effective majority in Lok Sabha only.

Powers and Functions of Deputy Speaker

  • In case of the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker presides over the sessions of the Lok Sabha and conducts the business in the house.
  • He decides whether a bill is a money bill or a non-money bill.
  • The Deputy Speaker while acting as the Speaker maintains discipline and decorum in the house and can punish a member for unruly behaviour by suspending him/her.
  • They permit the moving of various kinds of motions and resolutions like the motion of no confidence, motion of adjournment, motion of censure and calling attention notice.

Article 93 in The Constitution of India

The House of the People shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the House to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the House shall choose another member to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be.

Vacancy of office of the Speaker 

  • If a Speaker is disqualified to be a member of Lok Sabha due to any reason, he/she also ceases to be a Speaker.
  • The Speaker can also vacate his office by addressing a resignation letter to Deputy Speaker.
  • He can also be removed by the members of Lok Sabha by a resolution (with the support of at least 50 members) passed by an absolute majority of the LS (50% of the total membership of the House).
  • When such resolution is under consideration of the house, Speaker cannot preside the meeting of the house but can participate and vote (except the casting vote in case of an equality of votes.)
  • When the Speaker’s seat falls vacant, the members elect another speaker on a date fixed by the President.

Removal of Speaker

Under following conditions, the speaker, may have to vacate the office earlier:

  1. If he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha.
  2. If he resigns by writing to the Deputy Speaker.
  3. If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the members of the Lok Sabha.
  4. Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
  5. When a resolution for the removal of the Speaker is under consideration of the House, he/she may be present at the sitting but not preside.

-Source: The Hindu


UNSC resolution addresses ‘key concerns’ on Afghanistan

Context:

The India-led United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2593 on Taliban  sponsored by France, UK and the US, was adopted with 13 members, including India, voting in favour, none against it. 

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Institutions, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests, India’s Neighbours)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the UNSC Resolution 2593
  2. Afghanistan’s Representation in Multilateral Organizations

Highlights of the UNSC Resolution 2593

  • The latest UNSC resolution reiterates the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, including those individuals and entities designated pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999).
  • The UNSC resolution called for the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarians to access the country, uphold human rights, including for women and children and inclusive and negotiated political settlement.
  • Two permanent and veto-wielding members Russia and China abstained from voting in the UNSC Resolution 2593.
  • Russia abstained as the resolution wasn’t specific enough about terror threats, did not speak of the “brain drain” effect of evacuating Afghans and did not address the economic and humanitarian consequences of US freezing the Afghan government’s US accounts following the Taliban takeover.
  • China shared some of Russia’s concerns. It believes that the current chaos was a direct consequence of Western countries’ “disorderly withdrawal”. China is of the view that it is necessary for the international community to engage with the Taliban, and actively provide them with guidance.
  • Russia and China wanted all the terrorist groups, especially Islamic State (ISIS) and the Uighur East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to be named specifically in the document.
  • The adoption of the resolution is a strong signal from the Security Council and the international community on its expectations in respect of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s Representation in Multilateral Organizations

  • With uncertainty hanging over the international representation of Afghanistan under the Taliban, a question has risen over the membership of the country in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
  • The question on representation of Afghanistan at the SAARC has come up especially since a similar issue is yet to be addressed by the United Nations.
  • SAARC is already facing many issues and the current situation of Afghanistan has further increased the problems for it.
  • Afghanistan was admitted into the SAARC as the eighth member in 2007.
  • Conventionally, countries do not lose membership of regional or global platforms because of a domestic political change.
  • However, a similar question is also likely to come up in the Kathmandu-based intergovernmental organisation the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Click Here to read more about Taliban and its capture of Afghanistan

-Source: The Hindu


IMF raises India’s special drawing rights allocation

Context:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sharply increased its allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to India, in line with the country’s existing quota in the fund.

The IMF has made an allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 12.57 billion (equivalent to around $17.86 billion at the latest exchange rate) to India. Now, the total SDR holdings of India stand at SDR 13.66 billion.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Indian Economy (External Sector, Important International Institutions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  2. About Special Drawing Rights (SDR)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.
  • It consists of 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
  • It periodically depends on the World Bank for its resources.
  • Through the fund and other activities such as the gathering of statistics and analysis, surveillance of its members’ economies, and the demand for particular policies, the IMF works to improve the economies of its member countries.

Functions of the IMF

  • To provide financial assistance to member countries with balance of payments problems, the IMF lends money to replenish international reserves, stabilize currencies and strengthen conditions for economic growth. Countries must embark on structural adjustment policies monitored by the IMF.
  • It oversees the international monetary system and monitors the economic and financial policies of its 189 member countries. As part of this process, which takes place both at the global level and in individual countries, the IMF highlights possible risks to stability and advises on needed policy adjustments.
  • It provides technical assistance and training to central banks, finance ministries, tax authorities, and other economic institutions. This helps countries raise public revenues, modernize banking systems, develop strong legal frameworks, improve governance, and enhance the reporting of macroeconomic and financial data. It also helps countries to make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About Special Drawing Rights (SDR)

  • Special Drawing Rights (SDR) serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations and it I s a a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members 
  • The currency value of the SDR is determined by summing the values of a SDR basket of currencies in US dollars, based on market exchange rates.
  • The SDR basket of currencies includes the US dollar, Euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling and the Chinese renminbi (included in 2016).
  • The SDR currency value is calculated daily (except on IMF holidays or whenever the IMF is closed for business) and the valuation basket is reviewed and adjusted every five years.
  • Quota (the amount contributed to the IMF) of a country is denominated in SDRs and Members’ voting power is related directly to their quotas. IMF makes the general SDR allocation to its members in proportion to their existing quotas in the IMF.
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves also incorporate SDR other than gold reserves, foreign currency assets and Reserve Tranche in the IMF.                       

How is SDR used?

  • The SDR was created as a supplementary international reserve asset in the context of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system.
  • The SDR serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations.
  • The SDR is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF. Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. SDRs can be exchanged for these currencies.

Review of the SDR basket

  • The SDR basket is reviewed every five years, or earlier if warranted, to ensure that the basket reflects the relative importance of currencies in the world’s trading and financial systems.
  • The reviews cover the key elements of the SDR method of valuation, including criteria and indicators used in selecting SDR basket currencies and the initial currency weights used in determining the amounts (number of units) of each currency in the SDR basket.

-Source: Business Standard


WMO report: Weather disasters killed 2 million in 50 years

Context:

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses which is the most comprehensive review of mortality and economic losses from weather, water and climate extremes ever produced.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation), GS-III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  2. Highlights of the Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses 
  3. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
  4. Way Forwards suggested by the WMO’s Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses

About the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

  • World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is an intergovernmental organisation that originated from the International Meteorological Organisation (IMO) and became a specialised agency of the UN in 1951.
  • The United Nations Economic and Social Council is the parent organization of the UN’s WMO.
  • The WMO has 193 Member States and 6 Member Territories and it is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Functions of the World Meteorological Organisation can be stated as:

  1. Coordinating activities of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the member countries.
  2. Providing a guarantee of publishing the statistics and observation of Meteorology and Hydrology.
  3. The WMO also encourages R&D in Meteorology and Hydrology.
  4. Predicting the locust swarms and transport of various pollutants is another responsibility of the WMO.

WMO’s Publications/Reports

  • The World Meteorological Organisation publishes an annual report on the status of the World Climate. This report will provide detailed information on temperatures at the local, national and global levels along with extreme weather events.
  • The WMO report also provides information on long term climate change indicators. These indicators include the rise in sea levels, the extent of sea ice and concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Other reports published by the WMO are:

  1. Status of World Climate
  2. Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

Highlights of the Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses 

  • The number of disasters has increased by a factor of five over the 50-year period, driven by climate change, more extreme weather and improved reporting.
  • From 1970 to 2019, weather, climate and water hazards accounted for 50% of all disasters, 45% of all reported deaths and 74% of all reported economic losses. More than 91% of these deaths occurred in developing countries with droughts, storms, floods and extreme temperature being the leading causes.
  • Due to improved early warning systems and disaster management, the number of deaths decreased almost threefold between 1970 and 2019.
  • However, during the 50-year period, US$ 202 million dollars in damage occurred on average every day. Economic losses have increased sevenfold from the 1970s to the 2010s.
  • The number of weather, climate and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change.
  • More water vapor in the atmosphere has exacerbated extreme rainfall and flooding, and the warming oceans have affected the frequency and extent of the most intense tropical storms. This has augmented the vulnerability of low-lying megacities, deltas, coasts and islands in many parts of the world.
  • The report also warned that the failure to reduce disaster losses as set out in the 2015 Sendai Framework is putting at risk the ability of developing countries to eradicate poverty and to achieve other important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was approved at the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015 held in Sendai, Japan. (It is the successor to the Hyogo Framework that came into effect from 2005 and ended in 2015).
  • This treaty is voluntary and not binding upon the member states and under the framework, the primary role of the Member States is to reduce the identified disaster risks.
  • The framework has a time frame of 15 years, i.e., 2015-2030. 
  • United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) is tasked with the implementation, follow-up, support and review of the Sendai Framework.

Objectives of the Sendai Framework

  1. SFDRR aims at achieving a substantial reduction of disaster risk and disaster losses in lives, livelihoods and health; in the environmental, cultural, social, physical-economic assets of people, communities, businesses over the next 15 years.
  2. The framework comprises of a set of standards, an all-encompassing framework containing achievable targets and an instrument with a legal basis for disaster risk reduction.
  3. The framework calls for the sharing of responsibility among the stakeholders including the private sector, the government and the other stakeholders.
  4. It highlights the concerns on human health and well-being that are common to disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development.

Focus area under the Sendai Framework

  • Understanding the disaster risk.
  • Strengthening the governance of disaster risks for managing disaster risks.
  • Investments in disaster risk reduction for resilience
  • Improving the disaster preparedness to ensure effective response, recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Way Forwards suggested by the WMO’s Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses

  1. There is a need to install early warning systems in developing and under-developed countries – as, only half of WMO’s 193 member countries have multi-hazard early warning systems and severe gaps in weather and hydrological observing networks exist in Africa, some parts of Latin America and in Pacific and Caribbean island States.
  2. There is a need for a greater investment in comprehensive disaster risk management to ensure that climate change adaptation is integrated in national and local disaster risk reduction strategies.
  3. The report further recommends countries to review hazard exposure and vulnerability considering a changing climate to reflect that tropical cyclones may have different tracks, intensity and speed than in the past.
  4. It also calls for the development of integrated and proactive policies on slow-onset disasters such as drought.

-Source: Indian Express 

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