Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Article 334
- Climate Ambition Summit
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Article 334
Context: A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday decided to examine if clockwork extensions granted to reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies were constitutionally valid.
About the news
- Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decided to examine whether Parliament can use its constituent power to repeatedly amend Article 334 merely in order to keep reservation of seats for the SC/ST communities in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies of the States alive.
- The court clarified that it would be examining the validity of the 104th Constitution Amendment Act of 2019 only to the extent of its application to the SC/ST communities, and would not go into the termination of quota for the Anglo-Indian community after 70 years of enjoying the benefit.
- A senior advocate said the relentless and repeated extensions of reservation granted to certain communities had deprived the electorate of a choice in candidates and rendered them unable to even freely cast their votes.
- The Union of India have contended that the 104th Constitution Amendment Act was valid.
What is Article 334
- Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Part, the provisions of this Constitution relating to—
- (a) the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People and in the Legislative Assemblies of the States; and
- (b) the representation of the Anglo-Indian community in the House of the People and in the Legislative Assemblies of the States by nomination,
- shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution:
- Provided that nothing in this article shall affect any representation in the House of the People or in the Legislative Assembly of a State until the dissolution of the then existing House or Assembly, as the case may be.
Amendments to the article
- Article 334 of the Constitution had originally required the reservation of elected seats to cease in 1960, but this was extended to 1970 by the 8th Amendment.
- The period of reservation was extended to 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 by the 23rd, 45th, 62nd and 79th Amendments respectively.
- The 95th Amendment extended the period of reservation to 2020.
- The period of reservation was further extended to 2030 by the 104th Amendment.
104th Constitutional Amendment Act
- The One Hundred and Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of India, extends the deadline for the cessation of the reservation of seats for members from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies by a period of 10 years.
- The reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was set to expire on 26 January 2020 as mandated by the Ninety Fifth Amendment but was extended for another 10 years
- The amendment does not, however, extend the period of reservation of the 2 Lok Sabha seats and seats in State Legislative Assemblies reserved for members of the Anglo-Indian Community and thus the practice of nominating two members of the Anglo-Indian community by the President of India under the recommendation of the Prime Minister of India was effectively abolished.
Need for Reservation of Seats
- Historical Discrimination: SCs and STs have historically faced discrimination and social exclusion in India. Reservation is seen as a way to rectify historical injustices by providing them with increased political representation.
- Underrepresentation: Despite constitutional safeguards, SCs and STs continue to be underrepresented in political institutions. Reservation ensures that their voices are heard and their interests are represented adequately.
- Political Empowerment: Political participation is a crucial means of empowering marginalized communities. Reservation offers SCs and STs an opportunity to participate actively in decision-making processes at the highest legislative levels.
- Inclusive Democracy: Reservation contributes to the principles of a diverse and inclusive democracy. It ensures that the diversity of India’s population is reflected in the composition of legislative bodies.
Criticism against Reservation of seats
- The impugned amendments deprive Indian citizens of their democratic rights, which include the right to freely cast votes in elections and to choose who to vote for and to stand for elections.
- Further, there are concerns that the concept of such reservation violates the right to equality under Article 14, which entails equal opportunity for all citizens, including the right to equal representation in government.
- Repeated extensions of limited reservations appear to undercut equal representation for all.
- The amendment was against the basic features of the Constitution, which included democracy. A basic feature is an essential characteristic of the Constitution that cannot be amended or changed.
2 . Delimitation
Context: The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam — The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2023, which provides for 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies — was passed by Lok Sabha on Wednesday, and will likely be cleared by Rajya Sabha as well in Parliament’s ongoing Special Session. However, it might be several years before the reservation becomes applicable — mainly because it has been made contingent on the delimitation exercise. Home Minister Amit Shah told Lok Sabha that the “delimitation process” to decide which constituency is to be reserved for women will be “transparent”, and will be carried out by a delimitation commission.
What does the women’s reservation Bill say about the implementation of the quota? –
- The implementation of the reservation provision is not immediate, and is contingent on two processes — a delimitation exercise, and a Census.
- The 2021 Census which is yet to be conducted, will become the basis for the delimitation exercise that would result in an increase, and redefining of boundaries, of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies.
- Of these increased numbers of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies, 33% would be reserved for women, whenever the next elections are due.
- Since the 2024 elections are now only months away, the 2029 election is the earliest that women’s reservation could take effect in Lok Sabha — provided the Census is carried out and its findings are published, and the delimitation exercise is completed before that.
Why is delimitation needed, and how is it carried out?
- The boundaries of Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies must be redrawn to ensure equitable representation , and ensure that the vote of every person carries similar weight.
- Lok Sabha constituencies have to be allotted to every state in a manner that the ratio of the number of constituencies and the population of the state is broadly similar. A similar approach is adopted for state Assemblies as well.
- As populations change, there is a need to readjust the number and boundaries of the constituencies.
- Apart from population figures, delimitation also aims at a fair division of geographical areas into seats to guard against allegations of gerrymandering, which means redrawing seat boundaries in a way that no political party has an unfair advantage over another.
- It is a constitutional requirement to carry out delimitation of constituencies after every Census.
- Article 82 of the Constitution mandates the “readjustment” in the allocation of seats to every state in Lok Sabha, and the division of every state into constituencies “upon completion of each Census”.
- Articles 81, 170, 330, and 332, which deal with the composition and reservation of seats in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, also refer to this “readjustment”.
- The delimitation exercise is conducted by an independent delimitation commission. Its decisions are considered final, unchallengeable in any court, to prevent indefinite delays in elections.
When was the last delimitation exercise carried out?
- While the Census has been carried out seven times since Independence, delimitation has happened only four times in 1952, 1963, 1973, and 2002.
- The last delimitation exercise, in 2002, only involved itself with redrawing the boundaries of constituencies.
- It did not result in the increase in the number of constituencies. This means that the number of Lok Sabha constituencies has not changed since 1976.
- The Constitution has been amended suitably by the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976, 84th Amendment Act in 2001, and 87th Amendment Act in 2003 to allow for deviations from the original provisions.
- As per the current provisions in the Constitution, the next delimitation exercise should take place on the basis of the first Census carried out after 2026, that is 25 years after the 84th Amendment
- . In normal course, this would have meant that delimitation would happen after the 2031 Census. However, the Census of 2021 could not be carried out due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- If the house-listing exercise, the first phase of the Census, is carried out next year, the actual population enumeration can take place in 2025. The publication of the first results usually takes at least one or two years. This means that delimitation need not wait for the 2031 Census, it can happen on the basis of the delayed 2021 Census as well.
What makes delimitation a source of political contention?
- Delimitation results in a change in the total number of Parliamentary and Assembly seats. The delimitation following the 1951 Census increased Lok Sabha seats from 489 to 494, which further increased to 522 after the 1961 Census, and finally to 543 after the 1971 Census.
- In the 1970s, the impending delimitation exercise based on the 1971 Census sparked concerns.
- The Constitution mandates that states receive seats based on a population ratio, which unintentionally implied that states (mostly in North India) with lower population control efforts may claim a larger share of Lok Sabha seats. And the southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced.
- The impact of delimitation on inter-state seat distribution is a strong reason for political tussles and controversies.
3 . Climate Ambition Summit (CAS)
Context: The Climate Ambition Summit (CAS) in New York, as part of the United Nations General Assembly, that concluded on Thursday, was marked by the absence of major economies whose actions significantly influence the future of global emissions.
- The latest scientific assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has highlighted the urgency to act on climate crisis.
- The damage from the climate crisis is already extensive, and global greenhouse gas emissions remain at record levels.
- The world needs immediate and deep reductions in emissions now, and over the course of the next three decades, to limit global warming to 1.5°C degrees above pre-industrial levels and prevent the worst impacts.
- Populations that are the least responsible for the climate crisis are already suffering from its impacts and need immediate help to adapt and recover from loss and damage. This is an issue of equity and climate justice which requires immediate attention from governments and international financial institutions.
- To accelerate action by governments, business, finance, local authorities and civil society, the United Nations Secretary-General convened a Climate Ambition Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2023.
What is the Climate Ambition Summit?
- It is a summit convened by UN Secretary – General to showcase leaders who are movers and doers and have credible actions, policies and plans to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement alive and deliver climate justice to those on the front lines of the climate crisis.
- The Summit represents a critical political milestone for demonstrating that there is collective global will to accelerate the pace and scale of a just transition to a more equitable renewable-energy based, climate-resilient global economy.
Key details of the summit
- The Secretary-General’s Climate Action Team engaged governments, as well as businesses and local authorities with transition plans to reach net zero in line with the UN-backed credibility standard and accountability of net zero pledges.
- China, India and U.S did not participate in the summit despite collectively accounting for about 42% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are the top three emitters in that order.
- India’s neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan were among the listed speakers and emerging economies such as South Africa and Brazil were also on the list.
- The European Union, Germany, France and Canada were also a party to it.
- The criteria for countries to be considered for a speaking slot at the summit were that they would be expected to present updated pre-2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (as agreed in Glasgow); updated net-zero targets; energy transition plans with commitments to no new coal, oil and gas; fossil fuel phase-out plans; more ambitious renewable energy targets; Green Climate Fund pledges; and economy-wide plans on adaptation and resilience.
- All the “main emitters” and notably all G-20 governments would be asked to commit to presenting, by 2025, more ambitious economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions featuring absolute emissions cuts and covering all gases.
4 . Facts for Prelims
- Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body.
- It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and typically expressed as two numbers: systolic- higher number in a blood pressure reading and diastolic- The lower number in a blood pressure reading.
- A normal blood pressure reading is typically around 120/80 mm Hg. It means the heart is pumping blood effectively without straining the arteries.
- High blood pressure is a condition where the force of blood against the artery walls is consistently too high. Hypertension is often defined as a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
- Low blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against the artery walls is lower than normal.
- A wilful defaulter is a borrower who wouldn’t pay back the money to banks despite having the means to do so.
- The Reserve Bank of India has issued draft guidelines on classification of wilful defaulters, expanding the definition of the term and mandating lenders to complete the process of identifying and tagging borrowers as wilful defaulters within six months of loans turning bad.
- Wilful default broadly covered the following: Deliberate non-payment of the dues despite adequate cash flow and good networth; Siphoning off of funds to the detriment of the defaulting unit; Assets financed either not been purchased or been sold and proceeds have been misutilised;Misrepresentation / falsification of records; Disposal / removal of securities without bank’s knowledge; Fraudulent transactions by the borrower.
- Sauropod dinosaurs were a group of long-necked, herbivorous dinosaurs that lived during the Mesozoic Era, particularly during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
- They were known for their massive size, long necks, small heads, and pillar-like legs and a herbivorous diet.
- Their teeth tended to be spoon-shaped or pencil-shaped, and they apparently depended on swallowed stones or bacteria in the gut to help break down the plant matter they ate.
Food Animal Tag
- It is a tag given by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI) to animals that are raised and used for food production or consumption by humans.
- Animals which got the tag recently include the Himalayan Yak and Northeast’s indigenous bovine known as mithun.