News: India’s annual goods exports crossed the $400-billion mark for the first time ever, the government announced on Wednesday, buoyed by an increase in shipments of merchandise, including engineering products, apparel and garments, gems and jewellery and petroleum products.
Marking the “first time ever” development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the manufacturers, farmers and weavers for achieving this target.
India set an ambitious target of $400 billion of goods exports and achieves this target for the first time ever. This is a key milestone in our Aatmanirbhar Bharat journey.
Exports had reached $331.02 billion in the pre-pandemic fiscal year of 2018-19. Shipments have so far increased by $25.19 billion during the month of March and by March 31, the total figure is expected to be $410 billion.
The boost in the exports was likely to bolster India’s position in the ongoing negotiations for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several trade partners.
The agriculture sector too had recorded its highest-ever export during 2021-22 with the help of export of “rice, marine products, wheat, spices and sugar.
2. CHIEF MINISTER OF A STATE
News: Pushkar Singh Dhami on Wednesday took oath as the Uttarakhand Chief Minister, beginning his second term, at a ceremony in Dehradun attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several top BJP leaders.
About the Chief Minister of a State:
In the Republic of India, a chief minister is the elected head of government of each state out of the 28 states and sometimes a union territory (currently, only the UTs of Delhi and Puducherry have serving Chief Minister’s).
According to the Constitution of India, the Governor is a state’s head, but de facto executive authority rests with the chief minister.
Following elections to the State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) in a state, the state’s governor usually invites the party (or coalition) with a majority of seats to form the government.
The governor appoints and swears in the chief minister, whose Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the assembly. Based on the Westminster system, given that they retain the confidence of the assembly, the chief minister’s term can last for the length of the assembly’s life, a maximum of five years.
There are no limits to the number of terms that the chief minister can serve.
A chief minister heads a state government’s council of ministers and can be deputized in that role by a deputy chief minister. The chief minister generally selects the chief secretary and can also allot departments as per their own wish to the cabinet ministers of their state and Ministers of State. They also direct the chief secretary to transfer, suspend, or promote officers of their state.
The Constitution of India sets the principle qualifications one must meet to be eligible to the office of the chief minister. A chief minister must be:
a citizen of India.
should be a member of the state legislature
of 25 years of age or more
An individual who is not a member of the legislature can be considered the chief minister provided they get themselves elected to the State Legislature within six months from the date of their appointment. Failing which, they would cease to be the chief minister.
By Article 164 of the constitution of India, remuneration of the chief minister as well as other ministers are to be decided by the respective state legislatures.
3. ARTEMIS PROGRAMME
News: How will the next generation of lunar exploration operate and what are its objectives?
About Artemis I Programme:
NASA’s Artemis mission is touted as the next generation of lunar exploration, and is named after the twin sister of Apollo from Greek mythology. Artemis is also the goddess of the moon.
Artemis I is the first of NASA’s deep space exploration systems.
Artemis I is an uncrewed space mission where the spacecraft will launch on SLS — the most powerful rocket in the world — and travel 2,80,000 miles from the earth for over four to six weeks.
NASA will establish an Artemis Base Camp on the surface and a gateway in the lunar orbit to aid exploration by robots and astronauts.
It is touted as a critical component of NASA’s sustainable lunar operations and will serve as a multi-purpose outpost orbiting the moon.
The learnings from the Artemis programme will be utilised to send the first astronauts to Mars.
The Orion spacecraft is going to remain in space without docking to a space station, longer than any ship for astronauts has ever done before.
The SLS rocket has been designed for space missions beyond the low-earth orbit and can carry crew or cargo to the moon and beyond. With the Artemis programme, NASA aims to land humans on the moon by 2024, and it also plans to land the first woman and first person of colour on the moon.
The second flight under the programme will have crew on board and will test Orion’s critical systems with humans onboard.
Eventually, the learnings from the Artemis programme will be utilised to send the first astronauts to Mars.
4. PRESIDENT’S RULE
News: The law and order situation in West Bengal is completely broken and Article 355 should be invoked to ensure the State is governed as per the provisions of the Constitution, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday in the wake of Birbhum violence.
About President’s Rule:
In India, President’s rule is the suspension of state government and imposition of direct Union government rule in a state.
Under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, if a state government is unable to function according to Constitutional provisions, the Union government can take direct control of the state machinery.
Subsequently, executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed governor, who has the authority to appoint other administrators to assist them. The administrators are usually nonpartisan retired civil servants.
When a state government is functioning correctly, it is run by an elected Council of Ministers responsible to the state’s legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha).
The council is led by the chief minister, who is the chief executive of the state; the Governor is only a constitutional head. However, during President’s rule, the Council of Ministers is dissolved, vacating the office of Chief Minister.
Furthermore, the Vidhan Sabha is either prorogued or dissolved, necessitating a new election.
Following the 1994 landmark judgment in S. R. Bommai v. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India restricted arbitrary impositions of President’s rule.
In practice, President’s rule has been imposed in a state under any one of the following different circumstances:
A state legislature is unable to elect a leader as chief minister for a time prescribed by the Governor of that state, at the Will of Governor.
Breakdown of a coalition leading to the Chief minister having minority support in the house and the Chief minister fails/will definitely fail to prove otherwise, within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
Loss of majority in the assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the house.
Elections postponed for unavoidable reasons like war, epidemic, pandemic or natural disasters.
On the report of the Governor of the state if said state’s Constitutional machinery or legislature fails to abide by Constitutional norms.
If approved by both houses, President’s rule can continue for 6 months. It can be extended for a maximum of 3 years with the approval of the Parliament done every 6 months.
If the Lok Sabha is dissolved during this time, the rule is valid for 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha provided that this continuance has already been approved by Rajya Sabha.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced a new provision to put a restraint on the power of Parliament to extend the President’s rule in a state. According to this provision, the president’s rule can only be extended over a year every 6 months under the following conditions:
There is already a national emergency throughout India, or in the whole or any part of the state.
The Election Commission certifies that elections cannot be conducted in the state.
President’s rule can be revoked at any time by the President and does not need Parliament’s approval.
Until the mid-1990s, President’s rule was often imposed in states through the abuse of authority of Governors who were in collusion with the Union government. The Supreme Court of India in March 1994 established a precedent in S. R. Bommai v. Union of India, due to which such abuse has been drastically reduced.
Article 356 is not applicable to Union territories, so there are many ways by which President’s rule can be imposed in different Union territories with a Legislative Assembly.
5. ARAB LEAGUE
News: Speaking at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on cooperation between the United Nations (UN) and the League of Arab States (LAS), Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla said India and the Arab world share a “civilisational relationship”, as he welcomed the normalisation of relations between countries in the region and reiterated India’s support for a two-state (Palestine and Israel) solution.
About Arab League:
The Arab League formally the League of Arab States is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Northern Africa, Western Africa, Eastern Africa, and Western Asia.
The Arab League was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 initially with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria’s participation has been suspended since November 2011.
Following adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944, the Arab League was founded on 22 March 1945. It aimed to be a regional organisation of Arab states with a focus to developing the economy, resolving disputes and coordinating political aims.