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Anti-Defection Law

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • 12  party MLAs of Congress in Telangana defected to the TRS and were recognized by the Assembly Speaker as members of the TRS
  • This was done by considering the fact that they represented two-thirds of the total number of 18 MLAs

What is the Anti-Defection Law?

The 52nd Amendment Act of 1985 provided for the disqualification of the members of Parliament and the State Legislature on the ground of defection from one political party to another. This Amendment made changes to four articles of the Constitution and added a new schedule – Tenth Schedule.

What are the provisions of the Act?

  • A member of the House belonging to any political party becomes disqualified for being a member of the House,
    • if he voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party
    • If he votes or abstains from voting in such contrary to any direction issued by his political party without obtaining prior permission of such party and such act has not been condoned by the party within 15 days.
  • An independent member of a House becomes disqualified to remain a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.
  • A nominated member of a House becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the House. This means that he may join any political party within six months of taking his seat in the House without inviting this disqualification.

 

What are the exceptions?

  • If a member goes out of his party as a result of a merger of the party with another party. A merger takes place when two-thirds of the members of the party have agreed to such merger.
  • If a member, after being elected as presiding officer of the House, voluntarily gives up membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office. The exemption has been provided in view of the dignity and impartiality of this office.

 

Any question regarding disqualification arising out of defection is to be decided by the presiding officer of the House. In Kihoto Holohan case (1993), the Supreme Court said that decision of the Presiding Officer is not outside the power of judicial review of the Courts on grounds of mala fides, perversity etc.

 

The Presiding Officer of the House is empowered to make rules to give effect to the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. All such rules must be placed before the House within 30 days. THe House may approve or modify or disapprove them. Further, he may direct that any wilful contravention by any member of such rules may be dealt with in the same manner as a breach of privilege of the House.

 

NITI Aayog

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

The NITI Aayog was reconstituted to give membership to the newly elected Ministers

 

About NITI Aayog

  • The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs. While designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States.
  • The Government of India, in keeping with its reform agenda, constituted the NITI Aayog to replace the Planning Commission instituted in 1950. This was done in order to better serve the needs and aspirations of the people of India. An important evolutionary change from the past, NITI Aayog acts as the quintessential platform of the Government of India to bring States to act together in national interest, and thereby fosters Cooperative Federalism.
  • At the core of NITI Aayog’s creation are two hubs – Team India Hub and the Knowledge and Innovation Hub. The Team India Hub leads the engagement of states with the Central government, while the Knowledge and Innovation Hub builds NITI’s think-tank capabilities. These hubs reflect the two key tasks of the Aayog.
  • NITI Aayog is also developing itself as a State of the Art Resource Centre, with the necessary resources, knowledge and skills, that will enable it to act with speed, promote research and innovation, provide strategic policy vision for the government, and deal with contingent issues.

 

Who are the members of the NITI Aayog?

  • The Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the NITI Aayog
  • A Governing Council composed of Chief Ministers of all the States and Union territories with Legislatures and lieutenant governors of Union Territories(except Delhi and Pondicherry)
  • Regional Councils composed of Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region.
  • Full-time organizational framework composed of a Vice-Chairperson, five full-time members, two part-time members (from leading universities, research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity), four ex-officio members of the Union Council of Ministers, a Chief Executive Officer (with the rank of Secretary to the Government of India) who looks after administration, and a secretariat.
  • Experts and specialists in various fields.

 

African Union

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

African Union has suspended the membership of Sudan after the ongoing political crisis continues.

About African Union

  • The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
  • The African Union (AU) was officially launched in July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, following a decision in September 1999 by its predecessor, the OAU to create a new continental organisation to build on its work.
  • The decision to re-launch Africa’s pan-African organisation was the outcome of a consensus by African leaders that in order to realise Africa’s potential, there was a need to refocus attention from the fight for decolonisation and ridding the continent of apartheid, which had been the focus of the OAU, towards increased cooperation and integration of African states to drive Africa’s growth and economic development.
  • The work of the AU is implemented through several principal decision making organs:- The Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the Executive Council, the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), Specialised Technical Committees (STCs), the Peace and Security Council and The African Union Commission. The AU structure promotes participation of African citizens and civil society through the Pan-African Parliament and the Economic, Social & Cultural Council (ECOSOCC).
  • Organs that handle judicial and legal matters as well as human rights issues include:- African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights(ACHPR), African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), AU Commission on International Law (AUCIL), AU Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The AU is also working towards the establishment of continental financial institutions (The African Central Bank, The African Investment Bank and the African Monetary Fund)
  • The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the African Peer Review Mechanism are also key bodies that that constitute the structure of the African Union.
  • To ensure the realisation of its objectives and the attainment of the Pan African Vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, Agenda 2063 was developed as a strategic framework for Africa’s long term socio-economic and integrative transformation.
  • Agenda 2063 calls for greater collaboration and support for African led initiatives to ensure the achievement of the aspirations of African people.

 

Swachh Survekshan League

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

Swachh Survekshan League 2020 was launched by the Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs

What is the Swachh Survekshan League?

  • The Swachh Survekshan League will be a quarterly cleanliness assessment of Indian cities and towns. It will be integrated with Swachh Survekshan 2020, the 5th edition of Swachh Survekshan survey of urban India, which will be conducted between January and February 2020.
  • SS League 2020 will be conducted in 3 quarters, i.e. April- June, July – September and October- December 2019 and will have a weightage of 2000 marks for each quarter to be evaluated on the basis of monthly updation of SBM-U online MIS by cities along with citizen’s validation on the 12 service level progress indicators through outbound calls.
  • These two parameters will together determine the quarterly ranking of cities. Ranks will be assigned in two categories, namely, cities with population of one lakh and above and cities with population of less than 1 lakh.
  • The exercise will cover all ULBs that have come into existence on or before 31 December 2018.

 

RBI removes NEFT and RTGS charges

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • RBI has decided to remove charges on NEFT and RTGS transactions to boost digital transactions.
  • RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) is meant for large-value instantaneous fund transfers while the NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) is used for fund transfers up to Rs 2 lakh.

 

Ai-da

Paper : Prelims Specific

 

Why in news?

Ai-Da is a robot who is claimed to be the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid artist able to draw creatively using AI technology.