CONTENTS

  1. ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA
  2. BLUE FLAG CERTIFICATION

 

ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

Focus: GS II- Constitution

Why in News?

The Election Commission of India organised a virtual National Conference on Accessible Elections 2021 with the objective to assess the present accessibility policies and discuss strategies for addressing barriers to enhance participation in electoral process for voters with disabilities.

  • The virtual conference was attended by Chief Electoral Officers, Civil Society Organisations representing various disabilities and representatives from Government Ministries and Institutions.

About Election Commission of India:

  • The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.
  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
Articles related to Elections 
324Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
325No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.
326Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
327Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures.
328Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.
329Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.
Composition of Election Commission

Article 324 of the Constitution has made the following provisions with regard to the composition of the election commission:

  • The President appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners.
  • When any other EC is so appointed, the CEC acts as the Election Commission’s Chairman.
  • The President can also appoint regional commissioners to assist the Commission, if necessary after consulting with the Election Commission.
  • The tenure of office and the conditions of service of all the commissioners shall be determined by the country’s President.
Some Powers:
  • The Election Commission of India is considered the guardian of free and reasonable elections.
  • It issues the Model Code of Conduct in every election for political parties and candidates so that the decorum of democracy is maintained.
  • It regulates political parties and registers them for being eligible to contest elections.
  • It publishes the allowed limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political parties, and also monitors the same.
  • The political parties must submit their annual reports to the ECI for getting tax benefit on contributions.
  • It guarantees that all the political parties regularly submit their audited financial reports.
Other powers handled by the Election Commission of India are as follows:
  • The Commission can repress the results of opinion polls if it deems such an action fit for the cause of democracy.
  • The Commission can recommend for disqualification of members after the elections if it thinks they have violated certain guidelines.
  • In case, a candidate is found guilty of dishonest practices during the elections, the Supreme Court and High Courts consult the Commission.
  • The Commission can postpone candidates who fail to submit their election expense accounts timely.

BLUE FLAG CERTIFICATION

Focus: GS III- Environment

Why in News?

In yet another recognition of India’s commitment to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources the globally recognized and the coveted International eco-label “Blue Flag”, has accorded the Blue Flag Certification for 2 new beaches this year –Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.

 Details

Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world.

  • The recommendations are done by an independent National Jury composed of eminent environmentalists & scientists.
  • The event also saw the launch India’s own eco-label BEAMS by e-hoisting the flag -#IAMSAVINGMYBEACH.
BEAMS
  • SICOM, MoEFCC in pursuit of promoting its policies for sustainable development in coastal regions have embarked upon a highly acclaimed program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project.
  • The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.
  • This program promotes beach recreation in absolute harmony with nature.

Blue flag programme

  • The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).
  • The main objective of the Blue Flag Programme are to improve understanding of the coastal environment and to promote the incorporation of environmental issues in the decision-making processes of local authorities and their partners.
  • There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
  • It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined.
  • Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and South-Eastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
  • Spain tops the list with 566 such beaches; Greece and France follow with 515 and 395, respectively.

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