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Cabinet approves dissolution of the Lok Sabha

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, gave its approval to the Resolution advising the President to dissolve the Sixteenth Lok Sabha, which was constituted on 18.05.2014.
  • Along with this, the Council of Ministers including the Prime Minister also tended their resignation to the President. The President has accepted the resignation and requested Shri Narendra Modi and the Council of Ministers to continue till the new Government assumes office.     

Why was this done?

  • Article 83(2) of the Constitution stipulates that the House of the People, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer and the expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as dissolution of the House.  
  • The first meeting of the Sixteenth Lok Sabha was held on June 4, 2014, when members were administered oath and affirmation.  
  • The life of the present Lok Sabha is, therefore, to expire on June 3, 2019, unless the President dissolves it earlier.
  • Article 74 says that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. Thus, the Executive power of the Union cannot be exercised without the presence of the Council of Ministers. Hence, the council was asked to continue till the new Government assumes office in the interregnum.


17th Lok Sabha to have the highest proportion of Female representatives

Paper : General Studies 1, General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • A total of 78 women members of parliament (MP) will be part of the 17th Lok Sabha, taking the proportion of women MPs up to 14 per cent.
  • While this is the highest percentage of women MPs since Independence, India is still far behind the global average of 24 per cent or even South Asian average of 18 per cent when it comes to sending elected women political representatives to the Parliament.
  • The outgoing Lok Sabha had about 11 per cent women, while the very first Lok Sabha of 1952 had merely 5 per cent — 24 women were elected in a total of 489 parliamentary seats.
  • A third of the 78 women MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha are MPs who have retained their seats. Of the total 8,000-odd candidates who contested the general elections, less than 10 per cent were women and a third of these women had contested independently.


What is the global situation?

  • While the percentage of women MPs in the lower House has shown a slow but steady increase over the years, a comparison of the latest data on national parliaments available with the World Bank shows that India is still far behind the world average as well as regional averages.
  • Even as the women’s reservation Bill to reserve 33 per cent seats in the Lok Sabha for women has not gone through either under the UPA or NDA, the regional average of European Union and Latin America & Caribbean is already at one-third.
  • The proportion is much higher in countries such as Rwanda (61 per cent) Cuba and Bolivia (both 53 per cent), Mexico (48 per cent) or Sweden (47 per cent). India on the other hand is way behind its neighbours Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal on women’s representation in Parliament.



Government Proposes to Merge NSSO and CSO

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • The outgoing government has decided to merge the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) with the Central Statistics Office (CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
  • The order dated May 23, which has cleared formation of an overarching body — National Statistical Office (NSO) — through the merger of the NSSO and the CSO.
  • The order states that the proposed NSO would be headed by Secretary (Statistics and Programme Implementation)


What is the Central Statistics Office?

The Central Statistics Office coordinates the statistical activities in the country and evolves statistical standards under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. It is headed by a Director General assisted by 5 Additional Director Generals.

Its functions include:

  • Preparation of national accounts, which includes Gross Domestic Product, Government and Private Final Consumption Expenditure, Fixed Capital Formation and other macro-economic aggregates.
  • Statistical monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals, Environmental Economic Accounting, Grant-in-aid for research, workshop/seminars/conferences in Official/Applied Statistics, National/International awards for Statisticians, National Data Bank (NDB) on socioreligious categories, Basic Statistics for Local Level Development (BSLLD) Pilot scheme, Time-use survey and release of regular and ad-hoc statistical publications.
  • Conducting Economic Censuses, compiles All India Index of Industrial Production(IIP), Energy Statistics and Infrastructure Statistics, and develops classifications like, National Industrial Classification (NIC) and National Product Classification (NPC)
  • Implementation of Capacity Development Scheme and Support for Statistical Strengthening (SSS) , a Central Sector Scheme aimed at improving the Statistical Capacity and Infrastructure of the State Statistical System for Collecting, Compiling and Disseminating relevant and reliable official statistics for policy making and to promote their usage at the State/District and Block Levels.
  • It is a nodal Division for administering the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 and coordination of follow-up on the implementation of recommendations of NSC recommendations. The administrative work relating to Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) is also looked after by CAP Division.



Central government bans Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and its manifestations

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • The Central Government vide notification dated 23rd May, 2019 has banned the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and all its manifestations under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 with immediate effect.
  • The notification states that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and its formations like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and their manifestations have committed acts of terrorism, promoted acts of terrorism and have been engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of youth(s) for terrorist activities in India.

What is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967?

  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is a law aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • The Act makes it a crime to support any secessionist movement or to support claims by a foreign power to what India claims as its territory.
  • The Act introduces a vague definition of terrorism to encompass a wide range of non-violent political activity, including political protest.
  • It empowers the government to declare an organisation as a ‘terrorist organization’ and ban it. Only the membership of such an organisation itself becomes a criminal offence.
  • It allows detention without a charge sheet for up to 180 days and police custody can be up to 30 days. Section 43D (2)(b) of the UAPA states that, if it is not possible to complete the investigation within the said period of ninety days, the Court may if it is satisfied with the report of the Public Prosecutor indicating the progress of the investigation and the specific reasons for the detention of the accused beyond the said period of ninety days, extend the said period up to one hundred and eighty days.
  • It creates a strong presumption against bail and anticipatory bail is out of the question. It creates a presumption of guilt for terrorism offences merely based on the evidence allegedly seized.
  • It authorises the creation of special courts, with wide discretion to hold in-camera proceedings (closed-door hearings) and use secret witnesses but contains no sunset clause and provisions for mandatory periodic review.


Payroll Reporting in India: An Employment Perspective – March, 2019

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the press note on Employment Outlook of the country covering the period September, 2017 to March, 2019, based on the administrative records available with selected government agencies to assess the progress in certain dimensions.
  • It has been compiled using information on the number of subscribers who have subscribed under three major schemes, namely, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme, the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme and the National Pension Scheme (NPS).
  • The present report gives different perspectives on the levels of employment in the formal sector and does not measure employment at a holistic level.


DRDO successfully flight tested guide bomb

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • Defence Research and Defence Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested a 500 kg class Inertial Guided Bomb from Su-30 MKI Aircraft from the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan.
  • The guided bomb achieved the desired range and hit the target with high precision.
  • It is capable of carrying different warheads