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Disqualification of MLAs/MPs

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Why in the news?

Karnataka Speaker has disqualified three MLAs from the membership of the House under paragraphs of 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule (Anti-Defection Law), read with Article 191(2).

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 under the law?

  • 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.

 

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Why in the news?

  • The Supreme Court has directed the setting up of special courts in the districts that have over 100 cases of child abuse and sexual assault pending trial under the POCSO Act.
  • These courts must be set up within 60 days under a Central Government scheme. The Solicitor General was asked by the Supreme Court to file a progress report in four weeks.

What is the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act?

  • The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography. 
  • It deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
  • The Act also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. This casts a legal duty upon a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence; if he fails to do so, he/she may be punished with six months’ imprisonment and/ or a fine.
  • It casts the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process. Thus, the police personnel receiving a report of sexual abuse of a child are given the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child, such as obtaining emergency medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home, and bringing the matter in front of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), should the need arise.
  • The Act further makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible. Above all, it stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.

 

Van Dhan Vikas Kendra

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic:  Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

What are Van Dhan Vikas Kendras?

  • The Van Dhan Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED.  It was launched on 14th April, 2018 and seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
  • The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level. At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level. 
  • Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.
  • Under Van Dhan, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted. The establishment of “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility. 
  • They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. 
  • Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED. It is proposed to develop 3,000 such centres in the country.
  • Value addition assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to the tribals in this approach. Three stage value addition would be the cornerstone for enhancing incomes of the tribals under the scheme. The grass root level procurement is proposed to be undertaken through Self Help Groups associated with implementing agencies. Convergence and Networking with other Govt. departments/scheme shall be undertaken to utilise the services of existing SHGs like Ajeevika, etc. 
  • These SHGs shall be appropriately trained on sustainable harvesting/collection, primary processing & value addition and be formed into clusters so as to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and linking them with facility of primary processing in a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.

 

Toll Operate Transfer

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Investment models.

What is Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) model?

  • In this public private partnership (PPP) model for infrastructure development, the right to collect user fee/ toll on selected national highway stretches built through public funding is proposed to be auctioned and assigned to a concessionaire ( a private company/contractor) for a period of 30 years on payment of lump sum amount to the Government.
  • The concessionaire is also responsible for operation and maintenance of the roads during the tenure.
  • The government can also increase the period of concession (30 years) later.

 

India is facing a $526 billion infrastructure investment gap by 2040 and the TOT model is an efficient financing mechanism for infrastructure projects which if successful on highways can be replicated in other sectors.

NavIC

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in the news?

About 8,900 NavIC SPS receivers were deployed for use by fishermen, Academic Institutes, R&D Organisations, vehicle trackers etc.

The recent developments in connection with NavIC Systems are as follows:

  1. ISRO has developed core technologies required for Standard Positioning Services (SPS) and Restricted Services (RS) services of IRNSS/NavIC.
  2. In order to miniaturize and provide cost-effective NavIC solution, ISRO is developing various Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) based modules through industries and in-house projects.

What is NavIC?

This is an independent Indian Satellite based positioning system for critical National applications. The main objective is to provide Reliable Position, Navigation and Timing services over India and its neighbourhood, to provide fairly good accuracy to the user. The IRNSS will provide basically two types of services

  1. Standard Positioning Service (SPS) available to all users
  2. Restricted Service (RS) available to authorised users only.

 

It is a replacement and an alternative for the Global Positioning System (GPS) over the Indian subcontinent and surrounding areas.