12 December, 2020 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Pointing the finger at parliamentary scrutiny - Polity
  • Delimitation should be based on 2031 Census - Polity
  • India is on track to reduce emissions - Env
  • MahaSharad to be launched today - Social Issues
  • Question for the day

Prelims Quiz


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    UPSC Current Affairs: Pointing the finger at parliamentary scrutiny | Page 06

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & governance

    Sub Theme: Parliament| UPSC

    Context: The ongoing farm protest point to lapse in the management of the legislative work in Parliament.

    Scrutiny process by the parliamentary committees.

    • Parliament is the supreme law-making body which has put in place a large machinery of committees to scrutinise the Bills which are brought before it by the government as a part of its legislative programme.
    • Rules of the Houses leave it to the Speaker or the Chairman to refer the Bills to the Standing Committees for a detailed scrutiny thereof. After such scrutiny is completed, the committees send their reports containing their recommendations on improvements to be made in the Bills to the Houses. While undertaking such scrutiny, the committees invite various stakeholders to place their views before them.
    • The reference to the committees is within the discretion of the Speaker or the Chairman, the intendment of the Rules is that all important Bills should go before the committees for a detailed examination.
    • However, every Bill which comes before the Houses need not be sent to the committees. For example, some minor Amendment Bills or Bills which do not have any serious ramifications need not be sent to the committees. That is precisely why the Presiding officers have been given the discretion in the matter of reference of Bills to committees. But it does not mean that they can exercise their discretion not to refer to the committee an important Bill which has serious implications for society. Such an action only defeats the purpose of the Rules.
    • Data show that very few Bills are referred to the Parliamentary Committees now. Ministers are generally reluctant to send their Bills to the committees because they are in a hurry to pass them. They often request the Presiding Officers not to refer their Bills to the committees. But the Presiding Officers are required to exercise their independent judgment in the matter and decide the issue.
    • The Indian experience of legislative scrutiny of Bills goes back to the post-Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms. It is interesting to note that the Central Legislative Assembly which was the Parliament of British India, had set up three committees: Committee on Petitions relating to Bills, Select Committee of Amendments of standing orders and Select Committee on Bills.
    • Prior to the formation of Standing Committees, the Indian Parliament used to appoint select committees, joint select committees, etc. for detailed scrutiny of important legislative proposals of the government. With the formation of standing committees, the occasions for appointing select or joint select committees are few.
    • So far as the select committees or joint select committees are concerned, generally, a proposal from the Opposition to set up such a committee is agreed to by the government.
    • Examples , The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Bill was introduced in 1999 in the Lok Sabha and was immediately referred to a joint committee of both Houses. This Bill was meant to develop new varieties of plants and protect the rights of farmers and breeders. The committee completed its work in eight months and made many improvements by way of bringing greater clarity into various terms and concepts. Similarly, the Seeds Bill, 2004 was referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture. It was the same case with the Companies (Amendment) Bill, the Information Technology Bill, and the Goods and Services Tax Bill, to name a few. This is only a sample of Bills referred to Parliamentary Committees for detailed study.
    • It is in fact difficult to understand why the Farm Bills — they seek to alter the well-established system of grain trade in major grain growing States and which have left farmers completely shaken — were not sent to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture for a detailed study. The Committee is sure to have consulted the farmers apart from other stakeholders and suggested improvements which, perhaps, could have averted the current agitation.

    Relevance of parliamentary committees

    • Our Parliamentary Committees have a tradition of working in a non-party manner. The reports of these Committees are based on consensus. It may be a bit difficult for people to believe that the instrumentalities of Parliament could rise above parties. But that is how they function. The systems of Parliament are inclusive. They have the capacity to harmonise contradictions.


    UPSC Current Affairs:Delimitation should be based on 2031 census | Page 05

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance

    Sub Theme:  Elections| UPSC    

    Context: A paper released by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation (PMF) on the eve of the late President’s birth anniversary on Friday suggested that the next delimitation exercise should be a two-step process: first a Delimitation Commission should be set up to redraw boundaries of constituencies on the basis of the 2031 Census and then a State Re organization Act be passed to split States into smaller ones.

    What is Delimitation?

    • Delimitation means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
    • Parliament is empowered to decide the authority and manner in which such a delimitation has to be made.
    • Accordingly, in India it is carried out by the Delimitation Commission.
    • As per Article 82, Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census. Once the Act comes into force, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission.
    • Article 82 of Indian Constitution provides for delimitation and it says: Upon the completion of each census, the allocation of seats in the House of the people to the States and the division of each State into territorial constituencies shall be readjusted by such authority and in such manner as Parliament may by law determine.
    • For this, Delimitation Commission have been constituted four times since independence:

     In 1952 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1952

     In 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962

     In 1973 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1972

     In 2002 under Delimitation Commission Act, 2002


    Purpose of Delimitation

    • To provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
    • Fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
    • To follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.

    About Delimitation Commission

    • The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
    • It is a high-powered statutory body.
    • Composition - Retired Supreme Court judge, Chief Election Commissioner, Respective State Election Commissioners
    • Functions:
    • To determine the number and boundaries of constituencies to make population of all constituencies nearly equal.
    • Total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of each State,
    • To identify seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, wherever their population is relatively large.
    • In case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.
    • The Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.

    Current Status:

    • The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 froze the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to the states and the division of each State into territorial constituencies till the year 2000 at the 1971 level.
    • Further, the 84th Amendment Act of 2001 extended this ban on readjustment for another 25 years (i.e., upto year 2026), without affecting the total number of seats based on the 1971 census.
    • The 84th Amendment Act of 2001 also empowered the government to undertake readjustment and rationalization of territorial constituencies in the states on the basis of the population figures of 1991 census.
    • Later, the 87th Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the delimitation of constituencies on the basis of the 2001 census and not 1991 census.

    Important Facts for Prelims : Delimitation Commission, 2002.

    Justice Kuldeep Singh was the Chairperson of Delimitation Commission, 2002.

    • The delimitation has been done on the basis of 2001 Census.
    • Section 8 of Delimitation Act, 2002 provides for readjustment of number of seats.
    • Section 9 of Delimitation Act 2002 provides for distribution of seats.
    • Sec 9 - Commission shall distribute the seats in the House of the People allocated to each State and the seats assigned to the Legislative Assembly of each State as readjusted on the basis of 1971 census to single-member territorial constituencies and delimit them on the basis of the census figures as ascertained, at the census held in the year 2001.

    Section 9(c) and 9(d) provides for delimitation of constituencies in which seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.

    Recently , government also constituted a Delimitation Commission, to be headed by former Supreme Court Judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.


    UPSC Current Affairs: India is on track to reduce emissions | Page – 10

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III – Environment   

    Sub Theme: | Climate Change | UPSC       

    India's efforts for combating Climate Change

    As a Party to the UNFCCC, India submitted its Second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the UNFCCC towards fulfillment of the reporting obligation under the Convention. As per the BUR, the emission intensity of India’s GDP has reduced by 21 per cent over the period of 2005-2014 which is the result of India’s proactive and sustained actions on climate change.

    National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): Launched in 2008, India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) identifies a number of measures that simultaneously advance the country’s development and climate change related objectives of adaptation and mitigation through focused National Missions.

    National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE): Under it, The Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme was designed on the concept of reduction in Specific Energy Consumption.

    National Solar Mission: It  aims to increase the share of solar energy in the total energy mix. Under the total target of 100 GW, 32.5 GW of solar electric generation capacity has been installed.

    National Water Mission: It focuses on monitoring of ground water, aquifer mapping, capacity building, water quality monitoring and other baseline studies. It seeks to increase water use efficiency by 20%.

    National Mission for a Green India : It seeks to increase tree and forest cover by 5 mha. It also seeks to increase the quality of existing forests by additional 5 mha.

    National Mission on Sustainable Habitat: It is being implemented through three programmes: Atal Mission on Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Swachh Bharat Mission, and Smart Cities Mission. Energy Conservation Building Rules 2018 for commercial buildings has been made mandatory.

    National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: It aims at enhancing food security and protection of resources. Key targets include covering 3.5 lakh hectare of area under organic farming, 3.70 under precision irrigation, 4.0 lakh hectare under System of Rice Intensification, 3.41 lakh hectare under diversification to less water consuming crop, 3.09 lakh hectare additional area under plantation in arable land and 7 bypass protein feed making. The mission has resulted in the formation of National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture, a network project. 

    National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem : It aims to evolve suitable management and policy measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan Ecosystem.

    National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: It seeks to build a knowledge system that would inform and support national action for ecologically sustainable development. Key achievements include setting up of 11 Centres of Excellence and 10 State Climate Change Centres.

    Climate Change Action Program (CCAP): Central sector scheme to build and support capacity at central and state levels, strengthening scientific and analytical capacity for climate change assessment, establishing appropriate institutional framework and implementing climate actions.

    Energy Efficiency Measures: Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2017 prescribes energy performance standards for new commercial buildings to be constructed across India to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in energy use by 2030 translating to energy savings of about 300 Billion Units by 2030 and peak demand reduction of over 15 GW in a year. Schemes like UJALA for LED bulb distribution has crossed 360 million whereas under street light national program, 10 million conventional streetlights have been replaced by LED street lights thus cumulatively saving 43 million tons of CO2 emission.

    Promotion of Electric Vehicles: National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme was formulated in 2015 to promote manufacturing and sustainable growth of electric and hybrid vehicle technology.

    Promotion of Bio-fuels: The National Bio-fuels Policy 2018 targets 20 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol and 5 per cent blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030.

    Separate Fund for Climate Change: National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (2015) supports concrete adaptation activities for the States/UTs that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and are not covered under on-going schemes. The Scheme has been taken as Central Sector Scheme with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as the National Implementing Entity.

    National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs) on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities: The Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs in 2011 developed a concept of NVG for adoption by the corporate sector. In 2012, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), mandated the Annual Business Responsibility Reporting (ABRR), a reporting framework based on the National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs) on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business released by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. These guidelines serve as a driver to pursue sustainable management practices.

    Green Bonds: Green bonds are debt securities issued by financial, non-financial or public entities where the proceeds are used to finance 100 per cent green projects and assets. India has the second largest Emerging green bond market after China. A number of Government agencies have contributed to issuance: Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and the Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC). In 2018, the SBI entered the market with an US$ 650 million Certified Climate Bond.

    International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF): The IPSF acknowledges the global nature of financial markets which has the potential to help finance the transition to a green, low carbon and climate resilient economy by linking financing needs to the global sources of funding. India joined the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF) in October 2019.


    UPSC Current Affairs: MahaSharad to be launched today | Page - 05

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Social Issues  

    Sub Theme: Herod’s palace | UPSC

    Context: The Social Justice Department of Maharashtra Govt, will launch Mahasharad, a digital platform which will provide free tools required by differently-abled people to mark the 80th birthday of  NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

    • MahaSharad stands for Maharashtra System of Health Rehabilitation and Assistance for Divyang.
    • Individuals have donated various tools such as Braille kit, hearing aid, wheelchair, artificial organs to help Divyang individuals who cannot purchase them owing to lack of money.
    • The app will help connect such people with the needy. Differently-abled people can list the tools they require on the platform and donors will be able to help them.
    • The portal and app will be able to help 29 lakh differently-abled people.