News: Two years after rebelling against the leadership of the Gandhis, former Union Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday made public his decision to quit the Congress, while filing his nomination for the coming Rajya Sabha elections as an Independent candidate, supported by the Samajwadi Party (SP).
About the 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 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.
Allocation of Seats
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.
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.
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.
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.
2. SINGLE USE PLASTICS
News: Come July 1, and single-use plastic items will no longer be allowed in the country. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had earlier in the year notified producers, shopkeepers, street vendors and the general public about the ban on such items that the government considers as single-use plastic.
About Single Use Plastics:
Single-use plastics, as the name suggests, are those plastic products that have a one-time use before they are thrown away. Often these kinds of plastic are not disposed of properly, therefore not recycled.
Single-use plastic items — plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice-cream and earbuds, thermocol used in decoration, items such as plates, cups, glasses and cutlery, wrapping and packing films used in sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, stirrers and plastic banners less than 100 microns in thickness — are banned from July 1.
Plastic bags of thickness less than 120 microns will also be phased out from December 31.
3. AYUSHMAN BHARAT DIGITAL MISSION
News: Under Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, India has embarked on digital transformation of healthcare in India.
About Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission:
Under the mission, citizens will be able to create their Ayushman Bharat health account numbers, to which their digital health records can be linked.
Ayushman Bharat is a flagship scheme of India which was launched as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
It was launched in September 2021 by the Prime Minister through a video conference.
It aims to provide digital health IDs for all Indian citizens to help hospitals, insurance firms, and citizens access health records electronically when required.
The pilot project of the Mission had been announced by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2020.
The project is being implemented in the pilot phase in six States & Union Territories.
The National Health Authority (NHA) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be the implementing Agency.
It will be issued for every citizen that will also work as their health account. This health account will contain details of every test, every disease, the doctors visited, the medicines taken and the diagnosis.
Health ID is free of cost, voluntary. It will help in doing analysis of health data and lead to better planning, budgeting and implementation for health programs.
Healthcare Facilities & Professionals’ Registry:
The other major component of the programme is creating a Healthcare Professionals’ Registry (HPR) and Healthcare Facilities Registry (HFR), allowing easy electronic access to medical professionals and health infrastructure.
The HPR will be a comprehensive repository of all healthcare professionals involved in delivering healthcare services across both modern and traditional systems of medicine.
The HFR database will have records of all the country’s health facilities.
Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Sandbox:
The Sandbox, created as a part of the mission, will act as a framework for technology and product testing that will help organisations, including private players intending to be a part of the national digital health ecosystem become a Health Information Provider or Health Information User or efficiently link with building blocks of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.
Ensure ease of doing business for doctors and hospitals and healthcare service providers.
Enable access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent.
Create integration within the digital health ecosystem, similar to the role played by the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in revolutionising payments.
The mission will improve “equitable access” to quality healthcare as it’ll encourage the use of technologies such as telemedicine, and enable national portability of health services.