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Prelims Specific

  • PACEsetter Fund: constituted by India and the USA in 2015 as a joint fund to provide early-stage grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy products, systems, and business models.The Fund’s main purpose is to improve the viability of off-grid renewable energy businesses that sell small scale (under 1 megawatt) clean energy systems to individuals and communities without access to grid connected power or with limited/intermittent access
  • CARICOM: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organisation of fifteen Caribbean nations and dependencies having primary objectives to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.
    • Full Members: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago
    • Associate Members: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos islands

 

Anti-Defection

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

Why in News?

  • Supreme court hearing on Karnataka MLAs disqualified in anti-defection proceedings
  • Haryana speaker disqualifies five INLD MLAs under anti-defection law

What is Anti-Defection Law?

  • Aaya Ram Gaya Ram was a phrase that became popular in Indian politics after a Haryana MLA Gaya Lal changed his party thrice within the same day in 1967.  The anti-defection law sought to prevent such political defections which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations
  • Thus, the Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by the 52nd Amendment Act
  • It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House
  • The decision on the question as to disqualification on ground of defection is referred to the Chairman or the Speaker of the House, and his decision is final.
  • The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.

Grounds of Disqualification/what is defection?

  • If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
    • Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
    • Joins other party/changes party, or
    • Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party. However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified
  • If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election
  • If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature

Certain Exceptions

  • The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger. In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.

Lokayukta

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Why in News?

  • Odisha Lokayukta has sought report from police related to alleged irregularities in land transactions involving high profile politicians of the state.

What is Lokayukta?

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States
  • These institutions are statutory bodies without any constitutional status.
  • They perform the function of an “ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters
  • Once appointed, Lokayukta can not be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly

Structure:

  • The structure of the lokayukta is not same in all the states. 
  • Some States like Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have created the lokayukta as well as upalokayukta, while some others like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have created only the lokayukta. 
  • There are still other states like Punjab and Orissa that have designated officials as Lokpal.

 

Indo US cooperation

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Why in News?

  • The Indian Prime Minister is on a visit to the United States of America, and met with the POTUS

Major highlights

  • The Prime Minister addressed a gathering of Indian diaspora in the US. There are about 4 million Indians living in the US
  • In energy sector, an MoU has been signed for Petronet (an Indian LNG importer) to invest $2.5 billion in American company Tellurian Inc, that would provide India access to up to 5 million tonnes of LNG a year
  • Both leaders reaffirmed respective countries’ support and cooperation in anti-terrorism efforts, and humanitarian issues such as crackdown on human trafficking