‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme
The Supreme Court has asked the West Bengal government to implement the One Nation One Ration Card scheme “immediately” to help beneficiaries, especially migrant workers, to avail of subsidised food commodities from anywhere in the country.
Apart from West Bengal, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Delhi are the other states yet to implement it.
The court is hearing a suo motu (registered on its own motion) case pertaining to “problems and miseries of migrant workers”.
About the scheme:
One Nation One Ration Card (RC) will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.
Benefits: no poor person is deprived of getting subsidised foodgrains under the food security scheme when they shift from one place to another. It also removes the chance of anyone holding more than one ration card to avail benefits from different states.
Significance: This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.
Standard format of ‘one nation, one ration card’:
For national portability, the state governments have been asked to issue the ration card in bi-lingual format, wherein besides the local language, the other language could be Hindi or English.
The states have also been told to have a 10-digit standard ration card number, wherein first two digits will be state code and the next two digits will be running ration card numbers.
Besides this, a set of another two digits will be appended with ration card number to create unique member IDs for each member of the household in a ration card.
Pak. passes Bill to let Jadhav appeal
Pakistan’s National Assembly has passed the ICJ (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020 to provide the right of appeal to death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav.
The Bill is aimed at allowing Jadhav to have consular access in line with the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
What’s the issue?
Jadhav, a 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
The Hague-based ICJ had ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
Key observations made by the ICJ:
Islamabad has violated Article 36 of Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, 1963, by not informing India about Jadhav’s arrest immediately after Pakistan Army had taken him into custody.
India had been deprived of ‘right to communicate with and have access to Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation’.
ICJ was established in 1945 by the United Nations charter and started working in April 1946.
It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, situated at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
Unlike the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (USA).
It settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions in accordance with international law, on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These organs vote simultaneously but separately.
In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.
In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years and Judges are eligible for re-election.
ICJ is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.
The 15 judges of the Court are distributed in following regions:
Independence of judges:
Unlike other organs of international organizations, the Court is not composed of representatives of governments. Members of the Court are independent judges whose first task, before taking up their duties, is to make a solemn declaration in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.
Jurisdiction and Functioning:
ICJ acts as a world court with two fold jurisdiction i.e. legal disputes between States submitted to it by them (contentious cases) and requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and specialized agencies (advisory proceedings).
Only States which are members of the United Nations and which have become parties to the Statute of the Court or which have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions, are parties to contentious cases.
The judgment is final, binding on the parties to a case and without appeal (at the most it may be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision).
Vehicle scrappage policy
Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called for expediting the implementation of the vehicle scrappage policy.
About the Vehicle Scrappage Policy:
Old vehicles will have to pass a fitness test before re-registration and as per the policy government commercial vehicles more than 15 years old and private vehicles which are over 20 years old will be scrapped.
As a disincentive, increased re-registration fees would be applicable for vehicles 15 years or older from the initial date registration.
The state governments may be advised to offer a road-tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles to provide incentive to owners of old vehicles to scrap old and unfit vehicles.
Issues with the new policy:
Need of the hour:
With this background, for the scrappage policy to be seamlessly implemented, we should have a comprehensive plan in terms of removing ELV (End of life vehicles) from the road. Freight transporters need stronger financial support. However, that said, it is important to note that unless old fleet vehicles are off the road, the benefits of implementation of BSVI vehicles will not be fully leveraged.