Daily Current Affairs : 11th July

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Article 370 and 35 A
  2. Speakers Rule Book
  3. Rising Sea level
  4. National Security Advisory Board
  5. Facts for Prelims : Measles, Jacobian Cuckoo

1 . Article 370 and 35 A


Context : While responding to a question on whether repeal of Articles 370 and 35A will in any way violate any United Nations regulation or any international obligation of the country, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs said that “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Matters relating to the Constitution of India are internal and entirely for the Indian Parliament to deal with. No foreign government or organisation has any locus standi in the matter.”

What is Article 370?

  • Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which grants special autonomous status to Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been accorded special status under Article 370.
  • All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K.
  • Article 370 alongwith Article 35 A let the J&K legislature decide the “permanent residents” of the State, prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for its residents.

Background of Article 370

  • The provision was drafted in 1947 by Sheikh Abdullah, who had by then been appointed prime minister of Jammu & Kashmir by Maharaja Hari Singh and Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • Sheikh Abdullah had argued that Article 370 should not be placed under temporary provisions of the Constitution. He wanted ‘iron clad autonomy’ for the state, which Centre didn’t comply with.

Provisions of Article 370

  • According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws.
  • Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
  • As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state.
  • It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore cannot declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.

What is Article 35 A

  • Article 35A is a provision incorporated in the Constitution giving the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature to decide who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare.
  • The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.

How it was incorporated in the Constitution

  • Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
  • The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954 followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement entered into between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution. This provision allows the President to make certain “exceptions and modifications” to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • So Article 35A was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded to the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

Can constitution be amended by President ?

  • The parliamentary route of lawmaking was bypassed when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Constitution. Article 368 (i) of the Constitution empowers only Parliament to amend the Constitution.
  • So did the President act outside his jurisdiction? Is Article 35A void because the Nehru government did not place it before Parliament for discussion?
  • A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in its March 1961 judgment in Puranlal Lakhanpal vs. The President of India discusses the President’s powers under Article 370 to ‘modify’ the Constitution.
  • Though the court observes that the President may modify an existing provision in the Constitution under Article 370, the judgment is silent as to whether the President can, without the Parliament’s knowledge, introduce a new Article. This question remains open.

2 . Speaker’s Rule Book


Context : Faced with resignation letters from 16 MLAs, the Karnataka Speaker has said he needs to go through the rulebook before taking a decision.

What does the Rule say regarding resignation

  • Under Rule 202(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, “a member who desires to resign his seat in the House shall intimate in writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker his intention to resign his seat in the House in the following form and shall not give any reason for his resignation.” Thereafter, it lays down the format of a resignation letter:
  • The rulebook spells out the mode for dealing with any deviation from the process laid, saying: “Provided that where any member gives any reason or introduces and extraneous matter the Speaker may in his discretion omit such words, phrases or matter and the same shall not be read in the House.”
  • The subequent sub-rule, 202(2), says: “If a member hands over the letter of resignation to the Speaker personally and informs him that the resignation is voluntary and genuine and the Speaker has no information or knowledge to the contrary, and if he is satisfied, the Speaker may accept resignation immediately.”

What happens if an MLA cannot submit his or her resignation letter in person?

  • Sub-rule 202(3) says: “If the Speaker receives the letter of resignation either by post or through someone else, the Speaker may make such inquiry as he thinks fit to satisfy himself that the resignation is voluntary and genuine. If the Speaker, after making a summary enquiry either himself or through the agency of Legislative Assembly Secretariat or through such other agency, as he may deem fit; is satisfied that the resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept the resignation.”
  • In this case, however, the MLAs had personally gone to his office to hand over their resignations.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 101(3) of the Constitution, as originally framed, did not contain any provision for acceptance of the resignation by the Presiding Officer, and this implied that the resignation became effective when it was received by the Presiding Officer or the Secretariat.
  • The element of acceptance of resignation was introduced by the Constitution (33rd Amendment) Act, 1974 to place a check on any forced resignation.”
  • Hence 33rd amendment amended Articles 101 (3) (b) and 190(3) (b) to impose a requirement as to acceptance of the resignation by the Speaker or the Chairman and to provide that the resignation shall not be accepted by the Speaker or the Chairman if he is satisfied after making such inquiry as he thinks fit that the resignation is not voluntary or genuine.

3 . Rising Sea level


Context : Of the major ports in India, Diamond Harbour in West Bengal located at the mouth of river Hooghly has recorded the maximum sea level increase, according to data tabled in the Lok Sabha by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

About Rising Sea Level

  • Sea level rise is said be linked with global warming and as per the fifth assessment report of the International Panel on Climate Change, the global sea level was rising at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over the last century.
  • Going by the data from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, four ports — Diamond Harbour, Kandla, Haldia and Port Blair — recorded a higher sea level rise than the global average. Chennai and Mumbai, recorded a sea level rise far below the global and the national averages at 0.33 mm per year (1916-2005) and 0.74 mm (1878-2005) respectively.
  • Studies over Indian region have shown a warming trend of 0.6°C on all India average basis, mainly contributed by maximum temperatures

Reasons and Effects of Rising Sea Level

  • Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms
  • Rising sea levels can exacerbate the impacts of coastal hazards such as storm surge, tsunami, coastal floods, high waves and coastal erosion in the low lying coastal areas in addition to causing gradual loss of coastal land to sea
  • Heavy rainfall and temperature extremes like heat waves and shifts in semi-arid regions were some of the recent findings which may have linkages with climate change and global warming.

Why maximum seal level rise in Bengal

  • The sea level rise is higher in West Bengal, particularly in the Sunderbans delta is because of the deltaic sediment deposition as a result of the mixing of fresh water and saline water.

4 . National Security Council


About National Security Council

  • The National Security Council is the apex body in a three-tier structure, headed by the Prime Minister and with the National Security Adviser as its Secretary
  • National Security Council (NSC) of India is a three-tiered organization that oversees political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern.
  • It operates within the executive office of the prime minister of India, liaising between the government’s executive branch and the intelligence services, advising leadership on intelligence and security issues.
  • At the apex of the National Security Council sit six decision-making members. the Pr­ime Minister, a Strategic Policy Group, a National Advisory Board, and a Secretariat representing the Joint Intelligence Committee, and the National Security Advisor.
  • The National Security Council comprises the Strategic Policy Group, the National Security Advisory Board and a secretariat from the Joint Intelligence Committee. The National Security Advisor presides over the NSC, and is also the primary advisor to the prime minister. 

Strategic Policy Group

  • The Strategic Policy Group is the first level of the NSC structure.
  • It is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes the chiefs of staff from the Army, Navy and Air Force, the governor of Reserve Bank of India, Secretaries of the ministries of Home, Defense, External Affairs, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Revenue, Research and Analysis Wing of Cabinet Secretariat, Dept. of Atomic Energy, Department of Space, Department of Defense Production and Supplies, Scientific Advisor to the Defense Minister, and several other secretaries of union ministries and the Director of the Intelligence Bureau. Other invitees can be added as required.
  • The SPG publishes the Strategic Defense Review – a draft of short term and long term security threats and defense matters for the consideration of the apex body.

National Security Board

  • At the second level of the NSC structure, lies the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB). The constituting members are “persons of eminence” outside the Government with expertise in external security, strategic analysis, foreign affairs, defense, the armed forces, internal security, science and technology and economics.
  • The NSAB is the council’s think-tank. It holds monthly meetings to recommend solutions and policy issues to the policy makers upon referral from the NSC.

Joint Intelligence Committee

  • The third level is the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). Modeled on its British counterpart, the JIC is responsible for directing the national intelligence organizations and analyzing intelligence data. The JIC operates with its own Secretariat that works under the Cabinet Secretariat.

5 . Facts for Prelims


Measles

  • Measles is a viral disease that can cause debilitating or fatal complications, including encephalitis, severe diarrhoea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear infections and permanent vision loss.
  • The disease is preventable through two doses of a safe and effective vaccine. India currently gives a measles rubella vaccine in its universal immunisation programme to tackle both measles and rubella.
  • Between May 2018 and April 2019, says India reported 47,056 measles cases and 1,263 rubella cases during these 12 months.
  • India, as part of the global initiative, has targeted elimination of measles and control of rubella by 2020. Rubella control is achieved when a country reduces the number of rubella cases by 95% as compared to cases in 2008.

Jacobin Cuckoos

  • The Jacobin cuckoo, pied cuckoo, or pied crested cuckoo or chatak is a member of the cuckoo order of birds that is found in Africa and Asia.
  • It is partially migratory and in India, it has been considered a harbinger of the monsoon rains due to the timing of its arrival
  • The bird is primarily arboreal, which means that it mostly lives on trees but often forages for food in low bushes, and sometimes even on the ground. Considering its arboreal nature, it prefers forests, well-wooded areas and also bushes in semi-arid regions.
  • These birds are primarily insectivores and feed on grasshoppers, beetles and are also often seen feeding on fruits and berries from trees.

Brood Parasite

  • The species, like all cuckoos, is a brood parasite. Brood parasites are organisms that rely on others to raise their young.
  • It lays its eggs in nests that belong to other birds, preferring similar-sized birds like babblers and bulbuls, as their ‘hosts’.
  • The hosts are often distracted by male cuckoos, and the females quickly lay their similar-sized and coloured eggs into the hosts’ nests.
  • The hosts then take care of the eggs and the chicks that hatch from them, as their own.
  • The parasitic chicks are fed by the hosts and then leave the host parents once they are ready to be on their own.
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