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23 November, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-II Govt. dusts off Emergency-era provision on Basic Duties
BJP MP’s Bill in LS: Limit kids per couple to 2
GS-III GDP slump will hit $5 trillion target, warns NITI Aayog Economic Issues
15th Finance Commission seeks say in GST Council amid Centre-states row Economic Issues
GS-II :
Govt. dusts off Emergency-era provision on Basic Duties

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

News: The NDA govt. is dusting off an Emergency-era provision  introduced  in the Constitution by Indira Gandhi via her controversial 42nd Amendment- its’s invoking “Fundamental Duties” asking Ministries to spread awareness about them.

Prelims and Mains Focus: about Fundamental Duties and the implications of the govt.’s move

Context:

  • This emphasis on fundamental duties will play out as part of the year-long celebration of the 70th anniversary of Constitution Day that falls on November 26.
  • On Constitution Day the Premble of the Constitution will be read out  in various govt. offices.

 

About Fundamental Duties

The Fundamental Duties, inducted as Article 51A under Part-IV A of the Constitution,  is inspired from the Constitution of Russia.

 

 

Note: Only one of the 11 fundamental duties mentioned under Article 51A  was inducted during the Vajpayee govt. as the 86th Constitution Amendment in 2002 about educational opportunities for children.

  • Under Article 51-A, the fundamental duties are statutory and not enforceable by law. The idea behind their incorporation was to emphasize the obligation of the citizens in exchange of the fundamental rights enjoyed by them.
  • Part IV of the Constitution deals with Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs) that includes among its many items, the state’s obligation to enforce a uniform civil code and prevent cow slaughter.
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GS-II :
BJP MP’s Bill in LS: Limit kids per couple to 2

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

News: A BJP MP on Friday introduced a private member’s Bill in Lok Sabha, seeking to limit the number of children per married couple to two.

  • The MP also introduced a Bill to amend the Constitution to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)
  •  

Prelims and Mains focus: Key features of the Bill and its implications, about UCC

 

Background

Making a pitch for population control, PM Modi had praised those with small families, in his Independence Day speech

 

Key highlights of the bill

  1. The Population Control Bill 2019, introduced by Ajay Bhatt BJP MP from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar constituency in Uttarakhand proposes that couples who have more than two children , after the Act comes into effect, should be deprived of all government benefits and the right to apply for a government job.

 

  1. They should also have to pay a fine up to Rs.50,000

 

 

  1. The Bill also proposes incentives for those who comply, including preference in government jobs

 

  1. A couple will be allowed to have more than two children only if twins or triplets are born after the first child. Then too, they would have to seek the district authority’s permission during pregnancy

 

 

India’s Population explosion

About Private member bill

  • A private member’s Bill is a bill introduced by a legislator who is not acting on behal of the Executive.
  • Such Bills are rarely passed by Parliament, most are not even discussed.
  • Till date, only 14 such Bills have become laws- the last one was the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, which was passed in 1970.

About Uniform Civil Code

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GS-III : Economic Issues
GDP slump will hit $5 trillion target, warns NITI Aayog

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

News: The road to a $5 trillion economy by 2025 is beset with many speed­breakers, the NITI Aayog has warned the government.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the recent economic slowdown and its implications on India’s roadmap for $5 trillion economy by 2025

Background:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her July 5 Budget presentation, had said the government would work to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

 

Reasons given by NITI Aayog

  • The Aayog said nominal GDP growtha measure of growth without accounting for inflation —has to be at least 12.4% on average if that target has to be reached, according to a presentation made by its CEO Amitabh Kant at the November 8 meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by former Union Minister and BJP MP Jayant Sinha.
  • The current rate was a mere 8% in the first quarter of the current financial year
  • In his presentation, Mr. Kant said “domestic investment and consumption” are the only dependable drivers for sustainable re­acceleration (of the economy). “However, deceleration in investment is visible, primarily in the household sector, due almost entirely to real estate,” he pointed out.

 

  • The slowdown in the domestic market is also because of limited availability of capital with the banks which are tied down due to high non­performing assets in heavy industry and infrastructure.

 

 

The government is expected to release data for the second quarter ( July to September) later this month. Experts estimate that growth will dip in Q2 compared to Q1.

 

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GS-III : Economic Issues
15th Finance Commission seeks say in GST Council amid Centre-states row

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

News: Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) chairman N.K. Singh on Friday sought a leverage with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, arguing that tax rate cuts and grant of exemptions decided solely by the council affects the FFC’s goal of optimizing revenue targets of the Centre and states.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the Centre-states tussle related to GST and the role of the Finance Commission

 

Context: The Centre and state governments seem to be on a collision course amid a sharp economic downturn that has eroded their financial positions. 

 

Background:

  • The Narendra Modi government is facing the challenge of finding the money for higher welfare spending on schemes such as farmers’ income support, as well as the burden of compensating states, when its own revenue growth is sluggish.
  • The FFC recommends a formula for sharing the Centre’s direct and indirect revenues, barring cess.
  • The funds needed for compensating states for their GST shortfall are raised through a GST cess on items like tobacco. The central government needs to give GST compensation till 2022, the fifth year of the indirect tax reform.
  • The FFC’s formula for revenue sharing is effective for five years from April 2020. An extension of GST compensation to states beyond 2022 will impact the last three years of the period, for which FFC’s recommendations will apply, that is between FY23 and FY26.

 

Concerns raised by 15th FC:

  • Finance commissions look at projections of revenue and spending, but GST rates, exemptions, changes and implementation are the domain of the GST Council. This leads to unsettled questions on the ways to monitor, scrutinize and optimize revenue outcomes.
  • The demand from states for extending the GST compensation given to them for revenue shortfall beyond the currently agreed 2022 will also have a bearing on the formula the FFC is set to recommend shortly on how the Centre should share its tax revenue with states.

 

Significance of FC comments

  • Singh’s comments assume significance as they indicate that the FFC’s suggestions for revenue sharing could be more tight-fisted than states expect, which could trigger more friction between the Union and state governments.
  • Singh also called for a fresh look at Schedule 7 of the Constitution that assigns lawmaking powers on various subjects to Central and state governments. “The facts and circumstances on fiscal federalism have changed. Time to change our mind,” Singh said.

Singh argued that the nature of governance has changed fundamentally, with the Central government taking the lead in several national priority areas such as drinking water and power supply. He also said an expert group should look into rationalization of centrally-sponsored schemes.

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