geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
Blog Archive
  • 2022 (336)
  • 2021 (480)
  • 2020 (115)
  • Categories

    Current Affairs – 1st April 2022

    1.    ARMED FORCES (SPECIAL POWERS) ACT

    • News: The Union Home Ministry has considerably reduced the “disturbed areas” under the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA) in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.
    • About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act:
      • Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 is an act of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
      • According to the Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976 once declared ‘disturbed’, the area has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 6 months.
      • One such act passed on 11 September 1958 was applicable to the Naga Hills, then part of Assam.
      • In the following decades it spread, one by one, to the other Seven Sister States in India’s northeast (at present, it is in force in the States of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur {excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area}, Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations of districts in Arunachal Pradesh bordering the State of Assam).
      • The Articles in the Constitution of India empower state governments to declare a state of emergency due to one or more of the following reasons:
        • Failure of the administration and the local police to tackle local issues
        • Return of (central) security forces leads to return of miscreants/erosion of the “peace dividend”
        • The scale of unrest or instability in the state is too large for local forces to handle
      • According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as “disturbed”, an officer of the armed forces has powers to:
        • After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order,
        • Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence.
        • To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.
        • To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.
        • Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.
        • Any person arrested and taken into custody under this act shall be made present over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.
        • Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government’s judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.
        • Protection of persons acting in good faith under this act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this act.

    2.    DAM SAFETY ACT

    • News: The Supreme Court on Thursday found in the Dam Safety Act of 2021 a panacea to end the “perennial” legal battle between Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the Mullaperiyar dam.
    • About Dam Safety Act:
      • The Act proposes to help all states and Union Territories adopt uniform dam safety procedures.
      • It aims to “provide for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of the specified dam for prevention of dam failure-related disasters, and to provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
      • A National Committee on Dam Safety with a three-year tenure, comprising the chairman of the Central Water Commission, a maximum of 10 representatives of the central government in the ranks of joint secretary, a maximum of seven representatives of the state governments, and three experts, will be formed as part of the Act.
      • A state dam safety organisation will be formed as well, which will be responsible for the dam safety. This organisation is empowered to investigate and gather data for proper review and study of the various features of the design, construction, repair and enlargement of dams, reservoirs and appurtenant structures.
      • The state dam safety organisation must also report events such as dam failures to the National Dam Safety Authority and also maintain records of major dam incidents of each specified dam.
      • The National Dam Safety Authority, to be headquartered in Delhi, will be formed under the Act. It will be headed by an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India to deal with problems relating to dam engineering and dam safety management.
      • Most of the dams in India are constructed and maintained by the states, while some of the bigger dams are managed by autonomous bodies such as Damodar Valley Corporation or Bhakra Beas Management Board of Bhakra-Nangal Project.

    3.    CHILIKA LAKE

    • News: The dolphin population along Odisha’s coast and in its waterbodies has increased but the number of Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika lake has fallen.
    • About Chilika Lake:
      • Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km2.
      • It is the biggest lake of India after Vembanad Lake.
      • This lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the largest brackish water lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef.
      • It has been listed as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site.
      • It is the largest salt water lake in India.
      • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.
      • The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Kazakhstan, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here. These birds travel great distances; some of them possibly travel as much as 12,000 km to reach Chilika Lake.
      • Microalgae, marine seaweeds, sea grasses, fish and crab also flourish in the brackish water of the Chilika Lagoon.

    4.    RAJYA SABHA

    • News: The Rajya Sabha bid farewell to 72 members retiring between March and July this year, bringing in critical changes in the political arithmetic of the Upper House by the time it meets next for the monsoon.
    • About Rajya Sabha:
      • The ‘Council of States’ which is also known as Rajya Sabha, a nomenclature that was announced by the chair in the House on the 23rd August, 1954 has its own distinctive features.
      • The origin of the second Chamber can be traced to the Montague-Chelmsford Report of 1918. The Government of India Act, 1919 provided for the creation of a ‘Council of State’ as a second chamber of the then legislature with a restricted franchise which actually came into existence in 1921.
      • The Governor-General was the ex-officio President of the then Council of State. The Government of India Act, 1935, hardly made any changes in its composition.
      • The Constituent Assembly, which first met on 9 December 1946, also acted as the Central Legislature till 1950, when it was converted as ‘Provisional Parliament’.
      • During this period, the Central Legislature which was known as Constituent Assembly (Legislative) and later Provisional Parliament was unicameral till the first elections were held in 1952.
      • Article 80 of the Constitution lays down the maximum strength of Rajya Sabha as 250, out of which 12 members are nominated by the President and 238 are representatives of the States and of the two Union Territories.
      • The present strength of Rajya Sabha, however, is 245, out of which 233 are representatives of the States and Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry and 12 are nominated by the President. The members nominated by the President are persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.
      • The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for allocation of seats to the States and Union Territories in Rajya Sabha.
      • The allocation of seats is made on the basis of the population of each State.  Consequent on the reorganization of States and formation of new States, the number of elected seats in the Rajya Sabha allotted to States and Union Territories has changed from time to time since 1952.
      • Qualifications:
        • Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament.  A person to be qualified for the membership of the Rajya Sabha should posses the following qualifications:
          • he must be a citizen of India and make and subscribe before some person authorized in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule to the Constitution;
          • he must be not less than 30 years of age;
          • he must possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.
        • Disqualifications:
        • Article 102 of the Constitution lays down that a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament –
          • if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder;
          • if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court;
          • if he is an undischarged insolvent;
          • if he is not a citizen of India, or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State, or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance or adherence to a foreign State;
          • if he is so disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament.
        • Electoral College:
          • The representatives of the States and of the Union Territories in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the method of indirect election.
          • The representatives of each State and two Union territories are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of that State and by the members of the Electoral College for that Union Territory, as the case may be, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
          • The Electoral College for the National Capital Territory of Delhi consists of the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, and that for Puducherry consists of the elected members of the Puducherry Legislative Assembly.
        • Biennial/Bye-election:
          • Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and is not subject to dissolution.  However, one-third Members of Rajya Sabha retire after every second year.  A member who is elected for a full term serves for a period of six years.
          • The election held to fill a vacancy arising otherwise than by retirement of a member on the expiration of his term of office is called ‘Bye-election’.
          • A member elected in a bye-election remains member for the remainder of the term of the member who had resigned or died or disqualified to be member of the House under the Tenth Schedule.