Daily Current Affairs : 25th and 26th April 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Consumer Expenditure Survey
  2. Anti Defection Law
  3. Olga Tellis
  4. Arunachal – Assam Border Dispute
  5. Appointment of Vice Chancellor
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . Consumer Expenditure Survey

Context : The All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey, usually conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) every five years, is set to resume this year after a prolonged break


  • India has not had any official estimates on per capita household spending, used to arrive at estimates of poverty levels in different parts of the country and to review economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), since 2011-12.
  • The government had junked the findings of the last Survey, conducted in 2017-18, citing “data quality” issues.

What is the CES?

  • The CES is traditionally a quinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the government’s National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) that is designed to collect information on the consumption spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural.
  • The data gathered in this exercise reveals the average expenditure on goods (food and non-food) and services and helps generate estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) as well as the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.

How is it useful?

  • The estimates of monthly per capita consumption spending are vital in gauging the demand dynamics of the economy as well as for understanding the shifting priorities in terms of baskets of goods and services, and in assessing living standards and growth trends across multiple strata.
  • From helping policymakers spot and address possible structural anomalies that may cause demand to shift in a particular manner in a specific socio-economic or regional cohort of the population, to providing pointers to producers of goods and providers of services, the CES is an invaluable analytical as well as forecasting tool.
  • It is, in fact, used by the government in rebasing the GDP and other macro-economic indicators.

2 . Anti Defection Law

Context : Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said there was a need to amend the anti-defection legislation in the country to plug existing loopholes. There are certain loopholes in the anti-defection law. It allows wholesale defection. But retail defection is not allowed. Amendments are required to plug the loopholes,”

Background of Anti Defection Law

  • Indian political scene was besmirched by political defections by members of the legislature. This situation brought about greater instability in the political system.
  • Legislators used to change parties frequently, bringing about chaos in the legislatures as governments fell. In sum, they often brought about political instability. This caused serious concerns to the right thinking political leaders of the country.Several efforts were made to make some law to curb defections
  • Finally, in 1985, the Rajiv Gandhi government brought a Bill to amend the Constitution and curb defection.
  • Through 52nd constitutional amendment act 10th Schedule of the Constitution, which contains the anti-defection law, was added to the Constitution.

About Anti Defection Law

  • The purpose of the law is to curb political defection by the legislators.
  • The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
  • There are two grounds on which a member of a legislature can be disqualified.
    • If the member voluntarily gives up the membership of the party, he shall be disqualified. Voluntarily giving up the membership is not the same as resigning from a party. Even without resigning, a legislator can be disqualified if by his conduct the Speaker/Chairman of the concerned House draws a reasonable inference that the member has voluntarily given up the membership of his party.
    • If a legislator votes in the House against the direction of his party and his action is not condoned by his party, he can be disqualified.

About Speaker’s Power under Anti Defection Law

  • The ultimate evaluator in the case of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is the Speaker of the House.
  • The Speaker can disqualify a member-only if a claim of disqualification is made before him under Para 2 of the Tenth Schedule.
  • Under the light of Articles 102 and 191 of the Constitution and the Tenth Schedule, the Speaker’s exercise is of judicial nature as he can take a decision only after a member files a disqualification petition.

Exception from Disqualification

  • The 10th Schedule says that if there is a merger between two political parties and two-thirds of the members of a legislature party agree to the merger, they will not be disqualified.


  • When it was enacted first, there was a provision under which if there occurs a split in the original political party and as a result of which one-third of the legislators of that party forms a separate group, they shall not be disqualified.
  • This provision resulted in large scale defections and the lawmakers were convinced that the provision of a split in the party was being misused. Therefore, they decided to delete this provision.
  • Now, the only provision which can be invoked for protection from disqualification is the provision relating to the merger

Is the law, as it stands now, open to interpretation?

  • The first ground for disqualifying a legislator for defecting from a party is his voluntarily giving up the membership of his party. This term “voluntarily giving up the membership of his party” is susceptible to interpretation. As has been explained earlier, voluntarily giving up the membership is not the same as resigning from a party.
  • The Supreme Court has clarified this point by saying that the presiding officer (Speaker), who acts as a tribunal, has to draw a reasonable inference from the conduct of the legislator.


  • The law certainly has been able to curb the evil of defection to a great extent. But, of late, a very alarming trend of legislators defecting in groups to another party in search of greener pastures is visible.
  • The recent examples of defection in state Assemblies and even in Rajya Sabha bear this out. This only shows that the law needs a relook in order to plug the loopholes if any. But it must be said that this law has served the interest of the society. Political instability caused by frequent and unholy change of allegiance on the part of the legislators of our country has been contained to a larger extent.


  • The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides. However, this law also restricts a legislator from voting in line with his conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate. Such a situation impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the party leadership, and not what their constituents would like them to vote for.
  • Political parties issue a direction to MPs on how to vote on most issues, irrespective of the nature of the issue. Several experts have suggested that the law should be valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government (passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions

Way Forward

  • Various expert committees have recommended that rather than the Presiding Officer, the decision to disqualify a member should be made by the President (in case of MPs) or the Governor (in case of MLAs) on the advice of the Election Commission.
  • This would be similar to the process followed for disqualification in case the person holds an office of profit (i.e. the person holds an office under the central or state government which carries a remuneration, and has not been excluded in a list made by the legislature).

3 . Olga Tellis Judgement

Context : A 37-year-old Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court which held that pavement dwellers are different from trespassers may become a game-changer in the Jahangirpuri case. The apex court ruled that pavement dwellers live on “filthy footpaths out of sheer helplessness” and not with the object of offending, insulting, intimidating or annoying anyone. They live and earn on footpaths because they have “small jobs to nurse in the city and there is nowhere else to live.”

What is the Olga Tellis judgment?

  • The judgment, Olga Tellis vs Bombay Municipal Corporation, in 1985 by a five-judge Bench led by then Chief Justice of India Y.V. Chandrachud agrees that pavement dwellers do occupy public spaces unauthorised. However, the court maintained they should be given a chance to be heard and a reasonable opportunity to depart “before force is used to expel them.”
  • The Supreme Court reasoned that eviction using unreasonable force, without giving them a chance to explain is unconstitutional. Pavement dwellers, too, have a right to life and dignity. The right to life included the right to livelihood. They earn a meagre livelihood by living and working on the footpaths. A welfare state and its authorities should not use its powers of eviction as a means to deprive pavement dwellers of their livelihood.

What led to the judgment?

  • Sometime in 1981, the State of Maharashtra and the Bombay Municipal Corporation decided that pavement and slum dwellers in Bombay city should be evicted and “deported to their respective places of origin or places outside the city of Bombay.” Some demolitions were carried out before the case was brought to the Bombay High Court by pavement dwellers, residents of slums across the city, NGOs and journalists. While they conceded that they did not have “any fundamental right to put up huts on pavements or public roads”, the case came up before the Supreme Court on larger questions of law.

What were the questions discussed before the Supreme Court?

  • One of the main questions was whether eviction of a pavement dweller would amount to depriving him/her of their livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Article mandates that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”
  • The Constitution Bench was also asked to determine if provisions in the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, allowing the removal of encroachments without prior notice, were arbitrary and unreasonable. The Supreme Court also decided to examine the question whether it was constitutionally impermissible to characterise pavement dwellers as trespassers.
  • The State government and the corporation countered that pavement dwellers should be estopped (estoppel is a judicial device whereby a court may prevent or “estop” a person from making assertions. Estoppel may prevent someone from bringing a particular claim) from contending that the shacks constructed by them on the pavements cannot be demolished because of their right to livelihood. They cannot claim any fundamental right to encroach and put up huts on pavements or public roads over which the public has a ‘right of way.’

How did the Supreme Court rule?

  • The Bench threw out the government’s argument of estoppel, saying “there can be no estoppel against the Constitution.” The court held that the right to life of pavement dwellers were at stake here. The right to livelihood was an “integral component” of the right to life. They can come to court to assert their right. “If the right to livelihood is not treated as a part of the constitutional right to live, the easiest way of depriving a person of his right to life would be to deprive him of his means of livelihood to the point of abrogation
  • Any person who is deprived of his right to livelihood except according to just and fair procedure established by law, can challenge the deprivation as offending the right to life,” the Constitution Bench observed.
  • Again, on the second question whether provisions in law allowing statutory authorities to remove encroachments without prior notice was arbitrary, the court held that such powers are designed to operate as an “exception” and not the “general rule.” The procedure of eviction should lean in favour of procedural safeguards which follow the natural principles of justice like giving the other side an opportunity to be heard. The right to be heard gives affected persons an opportunity to participate in the decision-making process and also provides them with a chance to express themselves with dignity, the court had observed.
  • Finally, the court emphatically objected to authorities treating pavement dwellers as mere trespassers. “They (pavement dwellers) manage to find a habitat in places which are mostly filthy or marshy, out of sheer helplessness. It is not as if they have a free choice to exercise as to whether to commit an encroachment and if so, where. The encroachment committed by these persons are involuntary acts in the sense that those acts are compelled by inevitable circumstances and are not guided by choice,” the Supreme Court had reasoned. Besides, the court noted, even trespassers should not be evicted by using force greater than what is reasonable and appropriate. What is more, the court had said, a trespasser “should be asked and given a reasonable opportunity to depart before force is used to expel him.”

4 . Arunachal – Assam Border Dispute

Context : Less than a month after the Union government gave the seal of approval to an agreement to partially resolve the disputed sectors on the Assam-Meghalaya border, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma decided to form district-level committees for settling their inter-state boundary disputes. This has set the ball rolling for the two States to address the issue on the basis of the “fifty-fifty” or “give-and-take” model Assam and Meghalaya followed for closure of the disputes in six of its 12 troublesome sectors.

Why does Arunachal Pradesh have a boundary dispute with Assam?

  • Assam has had boundary disputes with all the north-eastern States that were carved out of it.
  • While Nagaland became a State in 1963, Meghalaya first became an Autonomous State in 1970 and a full-fledged State in 1972. Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram were separated from Assam as Union Territories in 1972 and as States in 1987.
  • None of the new States accepted the “constitutional boundary” that they said was dictated by the partisan administration of undivided Assam without consulting the tribal stakeholders.
  • They also claimed that the disputed areas were traditionally under the control of tribal chieftains before Assam, post-India’s independence, inherited the “imaginary boundaries” drawn during British rule.
  • The issue with Arunachal Pradesh has more to do with a 1951 report prepared by a sub-committee headed by Assam’s first Chief Minister, Gopinath Bordoloi.

What is the genesis of the dispute?

  • Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have disputes at about 1,200 points along their 804 km boundary. The disputes cropped up in the 1970s and intensified in the 1990s with frequent flare-ups along the border. However, the issue dates back to 1873 when the British government introduced the inner-line regulation vaguely separating the plains from the frontier hills that were later designated as the North-East Frontier Tracts in 1915.
  • This area became the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1954, three years after a notification based on the 1951 report saw 3,648 sq. km of the “plain” area of Balipara and Sadiya foothills being transferred to the Darrang and Lakhimpur districts of Assam.
  • Arunachal Pradesh has been celebrating its statehood on a grand scale with an eye on China since 1987, but what has been causing resentment is the inability of the people living in the transferred patches to join in the celebration. Leaders in Arunachal Pradesh claim the transfer was done arbitrarily without consulting its tribes who had customary rights over these lands. Their counterparts in Assam say the 1951 demarcation is constitutional and legal.

Did the two States try settling the boundary dispute earlier?

  • There were several efforts to demarcate the boundary between Assam and NEFA/Arunachal Pradesh between 1971 and 1974. To end the stalemate, a high-powered tripartite committee involving the Centre and the two States was formed in April 1979 to delineate the boundary based on Survey of India maps.
  • About 489 km of the inter-state boundary north of the Brahmaputra River was demarcated by 1984, but Arunachal Pradesh did not accept the recommendations and staked claim to much of the areas transferred in 1951. Assam objected and approached the Supreme Court in 1989, accusing Arunachal Pradesh of “encroachment”. The apex court appointed a local boundary commission in 2006 headed by one of its retired judges.
  • In its September 2014 report, this commission recommended that Arunachal Pradesh should get back some of the areas transferred in 1951 besides advising both the States to find a middle path through discussions. This did not work out.

What are the chances of a solution emerging this time?

  • The Assam-Meghalaya boundary agreement has raised hopes of the Assam-Arunachal boundary dispute being resolved, especially with the Centre egging the north-eastern States to end their territorial issues once and for all by August 15, 2022, when the country celebrates 75 years of independence.
  • Following the model adopted in the exercise to resolve the dispute with Meghalaya, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have agreed to form district-level committees that will be tasked with undertaking joint surveys in the disputed sectors to find tangible solutions to the long-pending issue based on historical perspective, ethnicity, contiguity, people’s will and administrative convenience of both the States.
  • The two States have decided to form 12 such committees involving the districts sharing the boundary. Assam has eight districts touching the boundary with Arunachal Pradesh, which has 12 such districts.

5 . Appointment of Vice Chancellor

Context : The Tamil Nadu Assembly passed two Bills on Monday that seek to transfer the Governor’s power in appointing Vice-Chancellors of 13 state universities to the state government, currently led by the DMK. Chief Minister MK Stalin said the Bills were required as the Governor was disregarding the state government’s opinion on the appointments of VCs, an argument also made by states such as Maharashtra and West Bengal in the past.

What are the highlights of the two Bills?

  • The Bills passed in Tamil Nadu stress that “every appointment of the Vice-Chancellor shall be made by the Government from out of a panel of three names” recommended by a search-cum-selection committee.
  • Currently, the Governor, in his capacity as the Chancellor of state universities, has the power to pick a VC from the shortlisted names.
  • The Bills also seek to empower the state government to have the final word on the removal of VCs, if needed. Removal will be carried out based on inquiries by a retired High Court judge or a bureaucrat who has served at least as a Chief Secretary, according to one of the Bills

Are other states trying to curtail the Governor’s role in appointing VCs?

  • In December, the Maharashtra Assembly passed a Bill amending the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016. Under the original Act, the Maharashtra government had no say in appointment of VCs. If the changes take effect, the Governor will be given two names to choose from by the state government, currently ruled by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, following a panel’s suggestions.
  • In 2019, the West Bengal government, led by the Trinamool Congress, took away the Governor’s authority in appointing VCs to state universities. It has also hinted at removing the Governor as the Chancellor of the universities.
  • In Left-ruled Kerala, the Governor alleged that the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of Kannur University was done against his wishes. The BJD government in Odisha has also tried to bring appointments to state universities under its control. But it has been challenged by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

What is at the root of the differences?

  • In West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the elected governments have repeatedly accused the Governors of acting at the behest of the Centre on various subjects, including education. The regulations, which differ from state to state, are often open to interpretation and disputes are routine.
  • In fact, the Tamil Nadu Bills make a case for giving the state government the upper hand in the VC appointment process by citing the examples of Gujarat and Telangana. “It is considered that in line with the aforesaid (Gujarat, Telangana) State University Laws, the Government of Tamil Nadu should be empowered to appoint the Vice-Chancellors of the State Universities,” both Bills state.
  • In Karnataka, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, state laws underline the need for concurrence between the state and the Governor. The terms “concurrence” or “consultation” are absent from state legislation in most cases.

What is the UGC’s role in this?

  • Education comes under the Concurrent List, but entry 66 of the Union List — “coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions” — gives the Centre substantial authority over higher education.
  • The UGC plays that standard-setting role, even in the case of appointments in universities and colleges.
  • According to the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and other Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) Regulations, 2018, the “Visitor/Chancellor” — mostly the Governor in states — shall appoint the VC out of the panel of names recommended by search-cum-selection committees.
  • Higher educational institutions, particularly those that get UGC funds, are mandated to follow its regulations. These are usually followed without friction in the case of central universities, but are sometimes resisted by the states in the case of state universities.

What are the rules in Gujarat and Telangana?

  • The Gujarat University Act, 1949 states that “the Vice-Chancellor shall be appointed by the State Government from amongst three persons recommended by a (search-cum-selection) committee”.
  • The Telangana Universities Act, 1991 states that the search committee shall “submit a panel of three persons to the Government in alphabetical order and the Government shall appoint the Vice-Chancellor from out of the said panel”.
  • Last month, setting aside the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat’s SP University by the state government, the Supreme Court made some key observations.

What were these observations?

  • A Bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna said “any appointment as a Vice Chancellor contrary to the provisions of the UGC Regulations can be said to be in violation of the statutory provisions, warranting a writ of quo warranto”. It said every subordinate legislation of the UGC, in this case the one on minimum standards on appointments, flows from the parent UGC Act, 1956. “Therefore, being a subordinate legislation, UGC Regulations become part of the Act.
  • In case of any conflict between state legislation and central legislation, central legislation shall prevail by applying the rule/principle of repugnancy as enunciated in Article 254 of the Constitution as the subject ‘education’ is in the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution,” it ruled.

6 . Facts for Prelims

Carbon neutral Panchayat

  • Palli village in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir has become the first panchayat in the country to become carbon-neutral, fully powered by solar energy.

Lata Mangeshkar Award

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to be honoured with the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award at the 80th annual Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Awards ceremony on April 24.
  • The Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan charitable trust, in a statement said, “This award will be given every year to only one individual who has made path-breaking, spectacular and exemplary contributions to our nation, its people and our society.”

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