- GoI and AIIB sign agreement to improve Mumbai Railways
- New office premises for Delimitation Commission
Focus: GS-III Indian Economy
Why in news?
The Government of India, the Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a loan agreement for a $500 million Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III.
- The Project aims to improve the network capacity, service quality and safety of the suburban railway system in Mumbai.
- The Project is expected to increase network capacity in the region with the reduction in journey time and fatal accidents of commuters.
- There will be direct safety benefits to passengers and the public through introduction of trespass control measures.
- With a population of less than 25 million (2011), Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is the most populous metropolitan region in India and is expected to reach almost 30 million by 2031. Around 86 per cent of Mumbai commuters rely on public transport.
- This population growth represents the core driver behind Mumbai’s urban expansion, compelling the state of Maharashtra to prioritize sound urban and infrastructure planning which balances economic activities, mobility as well as the optimization of environmental and social outcomes.
Recently in news:
- The latest loan for India was for $750 million, to support vulnerable households impacted by COVID-19 – which came two days after the clash in Galwan Valley in Ladakh along the India-China border.
- India has received the most funding of any country from the bank.
- India was among the AIIB’s 57 founding members in 2016 and is also its second-largest shareholder with around 8% of voting shares (China is the largest with more than 25%).
- AIIB president assured that the management will look at the proposed projects from the economic and financial point of view and not with a political view.
- The bank has supported several projects under the BRI framework, but is not formally linked to the plan.
About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution proposed by China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.
- It is headquartered in Beijing and commenced operations in 2016.
- By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors today, it aims to connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.
- Membership in the AIIB is open to all members of the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank and is divided into regional and non-regional members.
- Regional members are those located within areas classified as Asia and Oceania by the United Nations.
- The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has officially approved 57 nations as prospective founding members, with Sweden, Israel, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Portugal and Poland the latest to be included.
- Countries accepted as AIIB founding members include China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Britain, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain.
- Founding members have priority over nations that sign up later because they will have the right to set the rules for the bank.
- As of May, 2020, the bank currently has 78 members as well as 24 prospective members from around the world.
Financial Capital of AIIB:
- The AIIB’s initial total capital is USD 100 billion divided into 1 million shares of 100 000 dollars each, with 20% paid-in and 80% callable.
- Paid-Up Share Capital: It is the amount of money that has already been paid by investors in exchange for shares of stock.
- Called-Up Share Capital: Some companies may issue shares to investors with the understanding they will be paid at a later date.
- This allows for more flexible investment terms and may entice investors to contribute more share capital than if they had to provide funds up front.
- China is the largest contributor to the Bank, contributing USD 50 billion, half of the initial subscribed capital.
- India is the second-largest shareholder, contributing USD 8.4 billion.
- Voting Rights:
- China is the largest shareholder with 26.61 % voting shares in the bank followed by India (7.6%), Russia (6.01%) and Germany (4.2 %).
- The regional members hold 75% of the total voting power in the Bank.
Focus: GS-II Governance
Why in news?
- New office premises for Delimitation Commission was opened recently, and it is hoped that formal deliberations with Associate Members would start soon to expedite the process of delimitation as envisaged.
- The Commission has kept 15th June 2020 as the date for freezing of administrative districts in these States/ UTs. Data collection work has also been completed.
- The Delimitation commission (or Boundary commission) of India is a commission established by the Government of India under the provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act.
- Hence, Delimitation Commission is a Statutory Body, based on Delimitation Commission Act was enacted in 1952.
- Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
Important Points about the Delimitation Commission:
- The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
- The main task of the commission is redrawing the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.
- The representation from each State is NOT CHANGED during this exercise.
- However, the number of SC and ST seats in a state are changed in accordance with the census.
- The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
- The Commission is a powerful and independent body whose orders cannot be challenged in any court of law.
- The orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the respective State Legislative Assemblies. However, modifications are NOT permitted.
Present Delimitation Commission of 2002
- In 2008, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) decided to implement the order from the Delimitation Commission.
- All future elections in India for states covered by the commission will be held under the newly formed constituencies.
- The present delimitation of parliamentary constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
- However, the Constitution of India was specifically amended in 2002 not to have delimitation of constituencies till the first census after 2026.
Thus, the present constituencies carved out on the basis of 2001 census shall continue to be in operation till the first census after 2026.
Composition of Delimitation Commission
- Retired Supreme Court judge
- Chief Election Commissioner
- Respective State Election Commissioners
In case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.
What is Delimitation?
Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
Delimitation is necessary in order to:
- Provide equal representation to equal segments of a population,
- Enabling fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election, and
- Follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.
Constitutional Provisions on Delimitation
- Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
- Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census. Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
- According to Article 81 of the Constitution — as it stood before the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 — the Lok Sabha was to comprise of not more than 550 members.
- Clause (2) of Article 81 provided that the number of seats in the House of the People that shall be allotted to each State – are in such manner that the ratio between the number if seats and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States.
- Further, clause (3) defined the expression “population” for the purposes of Article 81 to mean the population as ascertained at the last preceding Census of which the relevant figures have been published.
Suspension of Delimitation
- The union government had suspended delimitation in 1976 until after the 2001 census so that states’ family planning programs would not affect their political representation in the Lok Sabha.
- States which took a lead in population control faced the prospect of their number of seats getting reduced and States which had higher population figures stood to gain by increase in the number of seats in Lok Sabha.
- To allay this apprehension, through Forty-second Amendment the government froze the total Parliamentary and Assembly seats in each state till 2001 Census.
- This was done mainly due to wide discrepancies in family planning among the states and thus giving time to states with higher fertility rates to implement family planning to bring the fertility rates down.
- The constitution was again amended (84th amendment to Indian Constitution) in 2002 to continue the freeze on total number of seats in each state till 2026.
- When the first Census figure will be available after 2026 — that is, in 2031 — a fresh delimitation will have to done which will dramatically alter the present arrangement of seat allocation to the States in Parliament.
- We might need a new building for Parliament altogether due to the likely increase in number of seats in both Houses after the lifting of the freeze imposed by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976, which is due in 2026.