Lok Sabha Election Counting today
Paper : General Studies 2
About First Past the Post System
- The first-past-the-post (FPTP) system is also known as the simple majority system.
- In this voting method, the candidate with the highest number of votes in a constituency is declared the winner. This system is used in India in direct elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
- While FPTP is relatively simple, it does not always allow for a truly representative mandate, as the candidate could win despite securing less than half the votes in a contest as he only has to secure the highest number of votes among all candidates in a constituency.
- In 2014, the National Democratic Alliance won 336 seats with only 38.5% of the popular vote. Also, smaller parties representing specific groups have a lower chance of being elected in FPTP.
- Thus, it is not truly representative of the will of the majority.
What is the alternative to the FPTP?
- Proportional representation is considered as a good alternative to the FPTP.
- It allows the candidate to vote for a party rather than a candidate.
- The entire country can be made into one constituency or multiple constituencies and the parties come out with a list of candidates they would field for each seat. The person votes for a particular party and based on its vote share the party is allocated seats in the legislature.
- This ensures true representation of the will of the majority.
- It also ensures that all parties that poll votes are represented in the legislature, thus it gives wider representation.
- India follows Proportional Representation in elections to the Rajya Sabha
What are the problems with Proportional Representation?
- It is a complex process and harder to understand for the common voter.
- There is no room for conducting by-elections if such a need arises.
- Since the citizen votes for a party and not a candidate, there is lesser loyalty for an elected candidate towards his/her constituency.
- When parties are guaranteed representation on the basis of percentage of votes received, they would have little interest in forming or sustaining coalitions. Their ideological or other vote-bank would be present even if a government falls.
- The constant politicking caused by PR would make it impossible for governments to take bold or transformative decisions. Corruption would grow, for people wouldn’t be able to oust a dishonest representative individually.
- PR would place India’s democracy squarely in the hands of party bosses. When candidates win by being on the party’s list, they must woo their bosses and represent their parties, not the people. This can only intensify partisanship in India’s Parliament and state legislatures.
National Human Rights Commission
Paper : General Studies 2
About the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
It is a statutory body established under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993. It is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “Rights Relating To Life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”. It can enquire into violation of human rights either suo moto or via a complaint/petition.
The Chairperson and the Members of the Commission are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendations of a Committee consisting of:
- The Prime Minister (chairperson)
- The Home Minister
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
- The Speaker of the Lok Sabha
- The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
The NHRC consists of:
- A Chairperson, should be retired Chief Justice of India
- One member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
- One member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
- Two members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
- In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women and Minorities) serve as ex officio members.
A sitting judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of High court can only be appointed after consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
Tenure and Retirement
The Chairman and members hold office for a period of 5 years or till they reach 70 years of age whichever is earlier. They are not eligible for further employment under the Centre or state after retirement.
The President can remove the Chairman or member if:
- He is adjudged insolvent
- Engages, during his term in office, in any paid employment outside the duties of his office.
- Unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body
- He is of unsound mind and is so declared by a competent court
- He is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence
In addition, he can also be removed on grounds of proven misbehaviour or incapacity. In these cases, the President has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for enquiry. If Supreme Court, after enquiry, upholds the cause and advises removal then the President can remove the member or Chairman.
The salaries, allowances and other conditions of service are determined by the Central government. It submits its Annual and special report to the Central Government or State Governments concerned.
PSLV-46 successfully launched RISAT – 2B
Paper : Prelims Specific, General Studies 3
Why in news?
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) today successfully launched the RISAT-2B satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
What is the RISAT – 2B?
- RISAT-2B is a radar imaging earth observation satellite weighing about 615 kg. The satellite is intended to provide services in the field of Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management.
- RISAT-2B satellite will be able to image under almost all weather and environmental conditions. Since it does not rely on visible light for imaging, it will be able to image the ground during both day and night.
- The satellite does not have passive microwave sensors that detect the radiation naturally emitted by the atmosphere or reflected by objects on the ground. Instead, RISAT-2B will be transmitting hundreds of microwave pulses each second towards the ground and receiving the signals reflected by the objects using radar.
- The moisture and texture of the object will determine the strength of the microwave signal that gets reflected.
- While the strength of the reflected signal will help determine different targets, the time between the transmitted and reflected signals will help determine the distance to the object.
- It will orbit the Earth at around 557 km over the surface.
What is the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)?
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
- It is a four stage vehicle with alternating liquid and solid stages.
- It can take up to 1,750 kg of payload to Sun-Synchronous Polar Orbits of 600 km altitude.
- The vehicle has also successfully launched two spacecraft – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 – that later traveled to Moon and Mars respectively
High level panel pitches for ‘Elephant Bonds’ for infrastructure projects
Paper : General Studies 3
Why in news?
- A Government appointed advisory group has suggested issuance of Elephant bonds wherein people declaring undisclosed income will have to mandatorily invest half of that amount in these securities.
- These Elephant bonds would be 25 year sovereign bonds. The money raised should be utilised only for infrastructure projects. It would work as an amnesty like scheme.
What is a bond?
- A bond is a fixed income instrument that represents a loan made by an investor to a borrower (typically corporate or governmental).
- A bond could be thought of as an I.O.U. between the lender and borrower that includes the details of the loan and its payments.
- A bond has an end date when the principal of the loan is due to be paid to the bond owner and usually includes the terms for variable or fixed interest payments that will be made by the borrower.
- Bonds are used by companies, municipalities, states, and sovereign governments to finance projects and operations. Owners of bonds are debt holders, or creditors, of the issuer.