GST

GST:- Goods and service tax is an indirect form of tax imposed on the manufacture, sale, and consumption of goods and services at the national level. It replaced indirect taxes at both central and state levels.

Advantages of GST over the previous forms of indirect taxes:

• It is very transparent and easy to understand.
• It is a Single tax, so it becomes easy to focus on the tax rates and their impact.

• It is a destination-based tax, unlike the previous taxation scheme which is origin based.
• The final consumer will bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain.

Artificial Intelligence

         According to the father of Artificial Intelligence, John Mc McCarthy, it is “The science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs”.           Artificial Intelligence is a way of making a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently, in a similar manner that intelligent humans think is accomplished by studying how the human brain thinks, and how humans learn, decide, and work while trying to solve a problem, and then using the outcomes of this study as a basis of developing intelligent software and systems.

KOREA DIVISION

Korea was an empire till 1910.

Japan invaded it & ultimately Korea became imperial Japan until Japan was defeated in august 1945.

USA and USSR agreed to divide Korea into two zones. North zone(USSR) and south(USA). But why?

Reason – To jointly organize the Japanese surrender.

UN wanted an election for the whole country. But it did not happen. Soon, the unification of Korea became the part of Cold War.

          In 1948, elections were held in the southern zone & south Korea immerged. The following month, under Russian influence communist govt, formed north Korea.

FRBM

          The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act was enacted in 2003 which set targets for the government to reduce fiscal deficits.

          FRBM act was passed to make the central govt accountable to parliament for fiscal discipline. It had the following targets:

  • reducing revenue deficit by 0.5% every year and eliminating it by 2007-08.
  • reducing fiscal deficit by 0.3% every year and bringing it to 3% by 2007-08.
  • The government would place Macroeconomic Framework Statement, Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement, and Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement to convey the steps taken and progress of it.

FISCAL DEFICIT

          The difference between the total revenue and total expenditure of the government is termed a fiscal deficit. It is an indication of the total borrowings needed by the government.

While calculating the total revenue, borrowings are not included.

CAD (current account deficit)

          A current account deficit actually occurs when the value of goods imported by the country exceeds the value of exports by the country. By “goods”, we actually mean all types of goods including the services imported and exported too.

          In India and other developing countries, it is most prominent because we are the importers of “capital” goods which cost much more than the aggregated sum of the items exported by us, like the import of heavy machinery and all.

Does India need Uniform Civil Code? Critically comment uniform civil code means one national civil code will be applicable to all the citizens irrespective of their religion it is based on the premise that there is necessarily no connection between religion and personal law in a civilized society.

• Covers areas like marriage, divorce, maintenance, inheritance, and adoption. These matters are of secular nature and hence can be regulated by a uniform law.

Arguments in favor

• It will enhance the status of women and so-called lower castes as many personal laws are biased against them.

• Many provisions are violations of human rights.

• Articles 25 and 26 guarantee freedom of religion and UCC is not opposed to secularism.

• Modern, liberal and gender-sensitive civil code is the need of the hour.

• A sign that the Nation has moved away from caste and religious considerations.

• Will help in reducing vote bank politics that most political parties indulge in during elections.

• Will help in National integration.

ALSO READ:SHIFTING CULTIVATION

Arguments against

• Change in-laws in favor of women like the Hindu inheritance Act has neither brought about any change in the percentage of property held by women nor in their status.

• Some sections in Minorities claim it is a way of imposing majority views on them.

Hurdles in implementation

• Lack of political will.

• Complexity and sensitivity of the issue.

• Misinformation about UCC.

• Content of UCC has not been spelled out leading minorities to believe that it is a way of Hinduism them.

•Different religious communities have different personal laws

Politicization.

Due to these, UCC has become next to impossible.

Way forward

• We should ask all communities to suggest reforms within personal laws on modern and liberal lines.

• Communities should be convinced that UCC is to bring reforms not suppress them.

• Maybe a piecemeal reform rather than a holistic reform starting with what minorities are most comfortable doing away with.

Briefly explain the constitutional and legislative procedure involved in the formation of a new state.

Article 3 authorizes the parliament to

1) Form new states.

2) Alter the boundary of any state.

3) Increase or diminish the area of state provided the same.

For the formation of the new state:-

1) Prior approval of the president before issuing the bill.

2) The concerned state legislature needs to be informed about the bill.

          President or parliament can go ahead with the formation of the state whether the concerned state legislature approves it or not within the specified time.

          Hence the constitution authorizes the parliament to alter the political map of the union without the consent of the states. So the territorial integrity of the states is not guaranteed by the constitution.

This is why India is rightly described as the indestructible union of destructible states.

Write a critical note on the nature of the relationship within the federal framework between Delhi state and the Union government.

          The National Capital Territory of Delhi, ( NCTD ), Delhi state as a political subunit in the Indian union, has a hybrid relationship with Union, combining the features of both state and union territories.

          Despite its status as a Union territory, the NCT of Delhi shows certain characteristics of the state. While states derive their political existence from Part-VI of the constitution, the NCT of Delhi derives its existence from the 69th Constitutional amendment act 1991 under article 243. Like any other state, the NCT of Delhi is endowed with a legislature and executive, however, it is barred from legislation in public order, land, and police, which are subjects of the state list. These three subjects are legislated by Parliament and implemented by Union.

          Unlike other states, the NCT of Delhi exhibits features of Union territory. The Chief Minister is appointed by the President instead of the Leuitant Governor and other ministers are appointed by President on the advice of the Chief Minister. The ministers can resign by addressing the President. Similarly, the LG can‘t promulgate ordinances without the prior permission of the president.

          A controversy has been raised regarding the Lokpal prepared by the government. The LG sought the opinion of SG, according to which – the Delhi government needs to take prior permission from the ministry of home affairs to introduce the bill. This is refuted by the CM of Delhi.

          Thus, unlike other political units, the NCT of Delhi exhibits a special relationship with the Union government, in the federal scheme of India.

1 more point: the police, land, and public order are assigned to Union. As Union is obliged under various international treaties to protect foreign embassies and diplomats. Secondly, if the land is under the state government, the state government can ask for land tax from the Union government, which is not a good practice.

Critically comment on the constitutional provisions and the actual procedures adopted for the appointment and removal of Governors in India. Also, explain the opinion of the Supreme Court in this matter.

Removal of Governors: What does the law say?

          In the last few weeks, after the 16th Lok Sabha election, there has been some debate around the powers of the central government to remove Governors. News reports have suggested that the central government is seeking the resignations of Governors, who were appointed by the previous central government. In this blog, we briefly look at the key constitutional provisions, the law laid down by the Supreme Court, and some recommendations made by different commissions that have examined this issue.

What does the Constitution say?

          As per Article 155 and Article 156 of the Constitution, a Governor of a state is an appointee of the President, and he or she holds office ―at the pleasure of the President‖. If a Governor continues to enjoy the ―pleasure of the President‖, he or she can be in office for a term of five years. Because the President is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers under Article 74 of the Constitution, in effect it is the central government that appoints and removes the Governors. ―Pleasure of the President‖ merely refers to this will and wish of the central government.

The Supreme Court‘s interpretation

          In 2010, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court interpreted these provisions and laid down some binding principles (B.P. Singhal v. Union of India). In this case, the newly elected central government had removed the Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, and Goa in July 2004 after the 14th Lok Sabha election. When these removals were challenged, the Supreme Court held:

  1. The President, in effect the central government, has the power to remove a Governor at any time without giving him or her any reason, and without granting an opportunity to be heard.
  2. However, this power cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable manner. The power of removing Governors should only be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons.
  3. The mere reason that a Governor is at variance with the policies and ideologies of the central government, or that the central government has lost confidence in him or her, is not sufficient to remove a Governor. Thus, a change in central government cannot be a ground for the removal of Governors, or to appoint of more favorable persons to this post.
  4. A decision to remove a Governor can be challenged in a court of law. In such cases, first, the petitioner will have to make a prima facie case of arbitrariness or bad faith on part of the central government. If a prima facie case is established, the court can require the central government to produce the materials on the basis of which the decision was made in order to verify the presence of compelling reasons.

     In summary, this means that the central government enjoys the power to remove the Governors of the different states, as long as it does not act arbitrarily, without reason, or in bad faith.

Recommendations of Various Commissions

Three important commissions have examined this issue.

  • The Sarkaria Commission (1988) recommended that Governors must not be removed before the completion of their five-year tenure, except in rare and compelling circumstances. This was meant to provide Governors with a measure of security of tenure so that they could carry out their duties without fear or favor. If such rare and compelling circumstances did exist, the Commission said that the procedure of removal must allow the Governors an opportunity to explain their conduct, and the central government must give fair consideration to such explanation. It was further recommended that Governors should be informed of the grounds for their removal.
  • The Venkatachaliah Commission (2002) similarly recommended that ordinarily Governors should be allowed to complete their five-year term. If they have to be removed before the completion of their term, the central government should do so only after consultation with the Chief Minister.
  • The Punchhi Commission (2010) suggested that the phrase ―during the pleasure of the President‖ should be deleted from the Constitution because a Governor should not be removed at the will of the central government; instead, he or she should be removed only by a resolution of the state legislature.
  • The above recommendations however were never made into law by Parliament. Therefore, they are not binding on the central government.
What are the functions of the Law Commission?

          The Law Commission of India is an ad hoc body. It is set up from time to time by the Government to recommend legal reforms. Their terms of reference are decided by the government. The members are usually from legal backgrounds. The chairman is a retired judge of the Supreme court or High court.

          Law Commission is mandated to review the working of judicial administration. Its role is to recommend measures for different ministries so as to dispense better justice by the courts. It seeks to ensure that the judicial process is working effectively and fair and without arbitrariness. Its purpose is to recommend the simplification of rules, procedures, and methodologies present in the government.

          Hence Law Commission is mandated to look into different aspects of legal reforms and recommend standards and changes. Till now 20 Law commissions have been formed. Recently 21st Law Commission has been set up under former Delhi HC Chief Justice AP Shah.

What is Lok Adalats?                

          Lok Adalats are alternate dispute redressal platforms to the courts of India. They are manned by legal experts, retired judges, civil servants, civil society members, and other proficient people. The main function of Lok Adalats is to redress minor disputes with mutual compromise. They function on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi.

          Lok Adalats can be set up by state authorities or legal service committees. They generally convene on matters related to civil suits, land disputes, marriage conflicts, bank frauds, property feuds, etc. They act as a civil court and the verdict is binding on the two parties which accept it. It cannot be appealed further in any other court in India.

          National Lok Adalat Dispute Redressal is started by Supreme Court‘s National Legal Service Authority(NALSA). It seeks to lighten the burden of Judicial pending cases by 21 lakhs. Such petty cases should be resolved by mutual consensus and compromises and Lok Adalats allow a perfect platform for the same.

Why is the Supreme Court‘s judgment in the S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India case significant? Comment with suitable examples.

          S.R Bommai case vs Union of India case 1994 is significant in terms of preventing misuse of article 356 by the center.

Prior to bommai case, this article was used by the ruling party at the center against the opposition party leading state government with gross misuse.

It had reiterated that the only ground for imposition of article 356 is the breakdown of the constitutional machinery of state, it is not being run with the constitutional spirit. Such a proclamation is being made by the president on the basis of the governor‘s report and is subjected to judicial review for verifying any malafide intention. No dissolution of assembly till such proclamation is ratified by both houses of parliament. Further, if there is malafide action, then state assembly is restored, and suspension is lifted.

This judgment has significance as it has strengthed the federal, secular values of the constitution.

This is seen from different verdicts of courts.

1) it has made that a state following nonsecular policy, is a breach of constitutional policy, and can be dismissed. This is related with upholding the dismissal of 4 states aftermath of Babri mosque demolition.

2) This instance shows that it effectively acted as a check on misuse of article 356, highlighting that the governor in his report must asses the state conditions in an objective manner as he/she is not the political agent of the center but the executive head of government as well representative of the president.

Also, it has been instrumental to maintain the fine balance between center-state relations.

Examine how the Constitution of India strives to maintain the balance of power between the judiciary and the executive. Has this balance been maintained? Critically comment.

Business Standard

          The three organs of the state i.e. Legislature, executive, and Judiciary are the cornerstone of our democracy. The appropriate balance of power among them is quite evident in order to run the state without any despotism and favoritism. The constitution of India though not recognized the doctrine of separation of power sufficiently defines the functions of different organs to differentiate the power of balance.

          Indian Constitution explicitly articulates that executive functions of the union/state shall be vested in President/Governor with certain legislative rights such as promulgating ordinances on special occasions and during Emergencies and President Rule.

However, Judiciary through its ‗Right to Judicial review‘ has been bestowed with powers to strike down any such laws which are in violation of the constitution. The judiciary is a largely independent and separate wing of the government having no control from executives in its day-to-day function.

          However, the complete separation between the executive and judiciary is not maintained. The executives such as President exercise judicial powers in matters of disqualification of members of Parliament. Executives also have their say in the appointment of judges. At the same time, Judiciary also exercises executive powers when it directs a state investigation agency to function according to its wishes.

Both these organs have worked as checks and balances over each other to be confined to the four walls of our Constitution. This wonderful balance is the main reason behind triumph of democracy in India.

Project Elephant

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme
  • Launched in 1992
  • Objectives:
    • To protect elephants, their habitat & corridors
    • To address issues of man-animal conflict
    • The welfare of captive elephants
  • It provides financial and technical support to major elephant-bearing states in the country for the protection of elephants, their habitats, and corridors. It also seeks to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and the welfare of domesticated elephants.

India Neutrino observatory

  • It is a particle physics research project under construction to primarily study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) deep cave 
  • Located in Bodi West Hills, Tamil Nadu. (See map, hills, and rivers nearby)
  • Underground project
  • Jointly supported by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

What are neutrinos?

  • Neutrinos are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe
  • Neutrinos are found in three forms (e, mu, and tau).
  • It is chargeless (electrically neutral), thereby enabling it to travel through planets, stars, rocks, and human bodies without any interaction; and
  • This characteristic has opened new domains for humanity 

Why in news?

  • The National Green Tribunal stayed the neutrino project in Theni, Tamil Nadu, pending approval from the National Board for Wildlife

Statue of Unity

  • The Statue of Unity has been inaugurated in Surat.
  • The Statue of Unity is built in dedication to Iron Man Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who served as the first home minister of independent India.
  • Salient features of the world’s ‘tallest statue
    • Height: 182 meters. This makes the statue almost twice the height of the iconic Statue of Liberty in New York.
  •  
    • Location: Around 3.5 km downstream from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, on islet Sadhu, Bet on the bed of the river Narmada.
    • Cost: ₹2,989 crore (approx.)
    • Sculptor: Padma Bhushan Ram V. Suthar, a 93-year-old acclaimed sculptor who graduated from the prestigious J.J School of Art in Bombay.
    • Construction period: 34 months. Work began on December 19, 201

Neutrinos

  • Neutrinos are electrically neutral, elementary weakly interacting subatomic particles with half-integer spin.
  • They belong to the lepton family.
  • Neutrinos were first proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli, and are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe, only second to photons, the particle which makes up light.
  • Neutrinos are similar to the more familiar electron, with one crucial difference: neutrinos do not carry an electric charge.
  • Because neutrinos are electrically neutral, they are not affected by the electromagnetic forces which act on electrons.

They are light. They have little mass or are nearly mass

  • less. They are no-charge particles that only interact with weak nuclear force.
  • In 2015, the Nobel prize in physics was awarded to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. Mcdonald for discovering neutrino oscillations and demonstrating that neutrinos have mass.
  • Neutrinos are the least harmful of all elementary particles, as they almost never react with solid bodies.

QR Code

  • QR code (Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional (matrix) machine-readable bar code made up of black and white squares.
  • This code can be read by the camera of a smartphone.
  • It is used for storing URLs or other information that links directly to text, emails, websites, and phone numbers.
  • It is capable of 360 degrees (omnidirectional), and high-speed reading.
  • QR Code can store up to 7089 digits as compared to conventional bar codes which can store max 20 digits.
  • It encodes the same amount of data in one-tenth the space of a traditional bar code.
  • It carries information both horizontally and vertically.
  • It has error correction capability and data stored in it can be restored even if it is partially damaged or dirty.

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
  • NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.
  • Currently, it has 48 members.
  • India is not a member yet.
  • India sought membership in the NSG in 2008
  • India’s application has not been decided upon because signing the NPT or other nuclear moratoriums on testing is a pre-requisite and India has not signed the NPT.
  • However, India has received a special waiver to conduct nuclear trade with all nuclear exporters.

National Rural Drinking Water Scheme

Ministry/Department:  Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation

 The aim of NRDWP is to provide every rural person with adequate safe water for drinking, cooking, and other basic domestic needs on a sustainable basis.

 Scheme:

  • The NRDWP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with a major emphasis on ensuring sustainability (source) of water availability in terms of potability, adequacy, convenience, affordability, and equity.
  • It was launched in 2009.

INS Arihant

  • INS Arihant is India’s first indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
  • It was designed in the 1990s and its development project was officially acknowledged in 1998.
  • Its design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine.
  • It was launched in 2009 and its nuclear reactor went critical in 2013 and it was commissioned in 2016.
  • It is a strategic asset developed for over two decades with Russia’s help under Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) program, which comes directly under Nuclear Command Authority headed by the Prime Minister.
  • INS Arihant is a 6,000-tonne submarine with a length of 110 meters and a breadth of 11 meters.

Nuclear triad capability of India

  • India is the sixth Nation in the world (after the US, Russia, France, China, and the UK) to possess Nuclear Triad.
  • It means that India is capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, land-based ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched missiles.
  • India’s Army has a strong arsenal of land-based ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles).
  • It includes the Agni series, Prithvi series, Prahar Missile, Shaurya Missile, supersonic Brahmos, and subsonic Nirbhay missiles. Indian Airforce (IAF) operates Jaguars aircraft which are designed for deep penetration strikes and can carry nuclear bombs.
  • Besides, IAF also has SU 30 MKI and Rafale aircraft which can also be used to deliver nuclear weapons.
  • Indian Navy now has its own nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

READ MORE:-Industrial Revolution

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