09 December, 2019 0 Min Read
|GS-II||6 years on, Lokpal is yet to get prosecution wing||National and Political Issues|
|Odisha’s KALIA scheme to be merged with PM-KISAN||National and Political Issues|
|Slowdown in tax collection to hurt finances of govt||Economy|
|GS-III||Panel pulls up 19 States for tyre disposal||Environment and Sustainable development|
|The Neutrino project||Science and Technology|
GS-II : National and Political Issues
Syllabus subtopic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
Prelims and Mains focus: About Lokpal and Lokayuktas, appointment of members, key issues with the Lokpal and govt.’s efforts to curb corruption
News: Almost six years after the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, was signed into law, several key provisions needed for the anticorruption ombudsman to function have still not been operationalised.
Issues with Lokpal
1. This Act may be called the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
2. It extends to the whole India.
3. It shall apply to public servants in India and abroad
History of Lokpal;
The Lokpal bill has been introduced nine times (1968, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1998, 2001, 2011 and 2013) in the Lok Sabha.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 received the assent of the President on the January 1st, 2014, and published for information of general Public.
An Act of 2013 clears the way to establish the body of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public servants.
Composition of the Lokpal
The office of Lokpal Comprises of a Chairman and upto 8 members. The chairman of the Lokpal can be current or former judge of the Supreme Court or the chief justice of High Courts.
An eminent person i.e. he is a person of neat and clean image and outstanding ability having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in the matters relating to;
i. Anti Corruption Policy
ii. Public administration
iv. Law and Management
v. Finance including insurance and banking
Note: As per the provisions of the act; 50% of the members of the Lokpal shall be from the community of Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Women.
Select Committee to Appoint Lokpal is comprises of;
i. Prime Minister
ii. Chief justice of India or his nominee
iii. Lok Sabha Speaker
iv. Leader of Opposition
v. An eminent jurist nominated by the President of India
To remove the Lokpal 100 members of the Parliament need to sign the petition seeking the removal of the chairman of the Lokpal or any other members. This matter will be investigated by the Supreme Court and if SC finds the charges to be true then SC suggests the president to remove the Lokpal from the post.
Another way to remove the Lokpal is self reference of the President (on the advice of the cabinet) to the Supreme Court, which can investigate the charges.
If the Lokpal receives a complaint under the prevention of corruption act 1988, then it can initiate the investigation. If the complaint found true in the investigation then the Lokpal can ask the government to take disciplinary action against the accused public servants or can file a corruption case in a special court.
Salary and allowances of the chairman and members
The Chairman of the Lokpal shall enjoy the same salary and allowance as of Chief Justice of India while members shall receive the same salary and allowance as those enjoyed by the justices of Supreme Court.
Who can be investigated by the Lokpal?
As per the provision of the Lokpal Act, it can investigate persons of seven categories namely;
1. Prime Minister if he/she demits the office.
2. Current and former Cabinet Ministers.
3. Current and former Members of Parliament.
4. All the class 1 officers of the Central Government like (Secretaries, Joint Secretaries etc.)
5. All the class 1 equivalent officers of the Public Sector Undertakings and other government bodies.
6. Directors and other officers of the Non Government Organisations which receives funding from the Central Government.
7. Directors and other officers of the Non Government Organisations which receives the fund from the public and which have annual income of more than Rs. 10 lac from a foreign contributor and receives Rs. 1 cr from the government.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable section
Prelims and Mains focus: About KALIA and PM-KISAN schemes and their significance
News: The Odisha government has decided to merge its flagship scheme- Kalia with the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) yojana, apparently due to financial constraint.
Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) Scheme:
About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi:
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
News: The gross tax revenue collected by the central government during the first seven months of 2019-20 was ?10.52 trillion, up by just 1.22% from the tax collected during the same period in 2018-19.
The Centre, which collected ?10.52 trillion in the first seven months of FY20, is likely to fall short of its target of ?24.61 trillion set for this fiscal.
How will a lower tax revenue affect govt?
In fiscal year 2019, the central government had collected ?20.80 trillion in gross tax revenue. In 2019-20, it hopes to collect ?24.61trillion, or 18.32% more. In the first seven months of fiscal 2019-20, the tax collected has grown just 1.22%. Hence, the government is way off the mark in terms of what it hopes to collect during the current fiscal. This is clearly reflected in delayed payments by the government. What will help the government bridge part of the gap between what it hopes to earn and what it actually will, is the dividend of ?1.76 trillion, which it has received from the Reserve Bank of India.
What else can it do to address the gap?
Until October, ?17,365 crore had been earned through the disinvestment route against the targeted ?1.05 trillion. Clearly, the government has to be fairly aggressive about selling its stake in public sector enterprises in the little over three and a half months left in 2019-20. If it wants to bridge the tax-revenue gap, it needs to better the target of ?1.05 trillion. This apart, it should work towards shutting down many non-strategic public sector enterprises, which are simply a drag on government finances and have no buyers. This will free up both land and capital, which can be adequately employed in the years ahead.
What has led to slow growth in gross tax revenue?
The central goods and services tax (GST) was supposed to grow 14.96% during 2019-20. It has grown at a much slower 8.30% to ?2.85 trillion between April and October. Income tax collected during the year has grown just 6.67% to ?2.44 trillion. The targeted growth is 23.25%, as per the budget. These numbers show a slowdown in economic activity.
What about corporate income tax collection?
A total of ?2.73 trillion in corporate income tax has been collected. This is 0.88% more than the amount collected during the same period in 2018-19. A little over 35% of the ?7.66 trillion that the government hopes to collect during 2019-20 has been collected in the first seven months of the year. This is largely because of the slowdown and also due to lower corporate income tax rates introduced earlier this year. All in all, things are not looking great for the three main taxes of the government.
What does this say about govt finances?
There has been some talk of the government raising the GST rates in order to earn greater tax revenue. In an economic slowdown, the idea should always be to put more money in the hands of people and hope they spend it, and not take it away. Also, when it comes to its earnings, this year, the government has primarily been saved by the huge RBI dividend. What it will do next year is a question well worth asking.
Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Prelims and Mains focus: About pyrolysis and the environmental concerns associated with it, about CPCB and NGT
News: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 270 tyre pyrolysis units in 19 States for employing technology that is polluting and harmful to the health of the workers employed.
As of 201617, official estimates indicate 127.34 million tyres were produced in India, which was seen to be a 12% increase from the previous year. A 37% increase in the tyre production has been observed in the twowheeler segment, a 23% increase in the tractor segment and 16% in the passenger car/jeep segment. India discards about 100 million tyres everyday and only a fraction of it is recycled. India is also responsible for 6% of the global tyre waste, according to a 2017 report by environmentalist group Chintan.
The National Green Tribunal in 2014 prohibited used tyres from being burnt in the open or being used as fuel in brick kilns, because of the toxic emissions. The authority asked the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to look at ways to dispose used tyres safely.
Subsequently, the board issued a set of guidelines, in which pyrolysis was recommended as an acceptable mode.
More than 40% of tyre pyrolysis units were not complying with rules, the NGT observed in April 2019, after it sought a report from the CPCB. The CPCB reported that there were 637 units in 19 States of which 251 units were compliant, 270 non-compliant and 116 were closed.
Tyre pyrolysis refers to a technique of breaking down used tyres in the absence of oxygen. Shredded tyres, at temperatures between 250 degree C and 500 degree C, produce liquid oil and gases.
While this is considered a safer technique than burning tyres, pyrolysis leaves fine carbon matter, pyrogas and oil as residue and the inadequate management of these byproducts poses health risks.
Legal jurisdiction of NGT:
The NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act. These include the following:
1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
2. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977; (yes, cess act)
3. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
4. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
5. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; (aka EPA)
6. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991; (good option to confuse)
7. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Note: The NGT has not been vested with powers to hear any matter relating to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and various laws enacted by States relating to forests, tree preservation etc. Therefore, specific and substantial issues related to these laws cannot be raised before the NGT.
Principles of Justice adopted by NGT:
Review and Appeal:
Orders can be appealed to the Supreme Court within 90 days.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Prelims and mains focus: About neutrinos, the Neutrino project, and its significance
News: The Centre has reiterated that the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be established in Theni in south Tamil Nadu though there has been opposition to the project by locals.
About the project:
The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approx.1200 m for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India. The initial goal of INO is to study neutrinos.
It is a mega-science project jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The project includes:
Neutrinos hold the key to several important and fundamental questions on the origin of the Universe and the energy production in stars. Another important possible application of neutrinos is in the area of neutrino tomograph of the earth, that is detailed investigation of the structure of the Earth from core on wards. This is possible with neutrinos since they are the only particles which can probe the deep interiors of the Earth.
Why underground laboratory?
Neutrinos are notoriously difficult to detect in a laboratory because of their extremely weak interaction with matter.
Source: Indian Express