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1st December Current Affairs

Why constitutional validity of J&K reorganisation act cause went unchallenged: SC

(GS-II: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure)

In News:

The Supreme Court questioned petitioners on why they did not challenge the constitutionality of a specific provision in the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019.

Background:

In 2019, the State of J&K lost its special status and was divided into two UTs – J&K and Ladakh, after the revocation of Article 370.

The J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, confers the Delimitation Commission power to carry out the re-adjustment of constituencies in the UT of J&K.

Because Ladakh was created as a separate UT, J&K was reduced to 107 seats. The Reorganisation Act increased the number to 114, bringing the effective strength of the assembly to 90, omitting the 24 seats allotted for PoK.

About delimitation:

It is the act of redrawing the boundaries of an Assembly or Lok Sabha constituency to reflect changes in population over time, based on the latest Census data so that the population of all seats is as uniform as possible across the state.

Apart from modifying the boundaries, the process may also alter the number of seats in a state.

Article 82 of the Indian Constitution: Following each census, the allocation of Lok Sabha seats to the states, as well as the division of each state into territorial constituencies, shall be readjusted by such authority as Parliament may by law determine.

Delimitation Commission:

Delimitation is the responsibility of the Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission, whose orders have the force of law and cannot be challenged in court.

Article 82 provides for the establishment of such a commission through an act of

The orders will take into effect on a date to be determined by India’s President.

The SC’s assertion:

The petitions challenged the notification issued by the Centre establishing the J&K Delimitation Commission and extending its term for the purpose of conducting delimitation only for J&K.

The notifications drew their power specifically from Section 62(2) of the 2019 Act, which provides for the readjustment of constituencies to be carried out by the Delimitation Commission.

Why did the petitioners without challenging the source of the government’s notifications – Section 62(2), had confined their challenge solely to the notifications?

The petitioners’ argument:

Only the Election Commission of India (ECI), under Section 60 of the 2019 Act, was empowered to conduct the delimitation exercise.

Article 170 of the Constitution barred delimitation exercise on the basis of the 2011 census. It had to either be on the basis of the 2001 census or the first census after 2026.

Sections 60 and 61 of the 2019 Act contradict Section 62.

Why J&K was “singled out” for delimitation in the 2021 notification? The earlier notification (2020) constituted the Delimitation Commission for the delimitation of UT of J&K as well as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.

If the 2019 Act was to unite J&K with India, the delimitation process had defeated the purpose of “One Nation One Constitution”.

The government’s counter:

There were two alternative mechanisms to carry out delimitation for the UT of J&K.

By virtue of Sections 60 & 61, where the power to determine delimitation was conferred on the ECI, Sections 62(2) and 62(3) conferred the powers to carry out delimitation to the Delimitation Commission.

The Home Ministry and the ECI argued that the delimitation order had already acquired the “force of law,” and it can’t be questioned in a court of law.

How to read Q2 GDP data

(GS-III: Indian economy and related issues)

In News:

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released India’s economic growth data for the second quarter (July-Sept – Q2) of the current fiscal year (FY 2022-23).

Key highlights of the data:

India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by3% year on year in Q2, slower than in 2021.

The gross value added (GVA) has grown by 6% year on year in Q2, against 8.3% in 2021.

Output growth in India’s 8 core sectors (Electricity, Steel, Refinery products, Crude oil, Coal, Cement, Natural gas, and Fertilisers) slowed drastically to 0.1% in October 2022, down from 7.8% the previous month.

Key economic concepts and how recent data shows them:

GDP:

It is a monetary measure of all final products and services produced in a country over a certain period.

It measures national income by calculating the economy’s overall “demand.”

4 key engines of GDP growth: The GDP is calculated by adding total expenditures in the economy with respect to –

  • Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE): The biggest engine of growth, which contributes over 55% of India’s total GDP.
  • Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE): Just 10-11% of GDP.
  • Gross Fixed Capital Expenditure: 33% of the total
  • Net Exports (Exports minus imports)

GVA: It derives the same national income from the supply side by summing up all the value added (the value of output minus the value of its intermediary inputs) across various sectors.

Relationship between GDP and GVA:

GDP = (GVA) + (Taxes earned by the government) — (Subsidies provided by the government).

If taxes exceed the subsidies provided, GDP will be higher than GVA. For example, for Q2, the GDP (at Rs 38,16,578 crore) is much higher than the GVA (which is at Rs 35,05,599 crore).

By examining GVA growth, one may determine which sectors of the economy are doing well and which are struggling.

Though GDP is produced from GVA data, GDP data is more relevant when looking at annual economic growth and comparing a country’s growth to that of the past or another country.

Takeaways from the recently released data:

  • Since the pandemic, the economy has recovered, but the manufacturing sector’s contraction (by 4.3%) has put doubt on future demand, as the sector has a great potential for job creation and can absorb excess farm labour.
  • Agriculture (together with forestry and fishing) has performed better than projected, rising at a 4.6% annual rate.
  • Private consumption expenditure is the most important driver of GDP growth, incentivizing businesses to make new investments.
  • The biggest surprise is the decrease in government final consumption expenditures, which can boost an economy when consumers and businesses reduce spending.

Future challenges: Higher interest rates and no significant increase in demand, along with a slowing global economy, may create challenges in the current fiscal year.

A Greener Cooling Pathway

(GS-III: Environment Conservation)

In News:

A new World Bank report “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector”, has highlighted the need for using alternative and innovative cooling technologies.

Issues highlighted in the report:

Vulnerability to heat waves: From 2030 onwards, more than 160 to 200 million people could be exposed to a lethal heat wave in India every year.

Loss of job: Around 34 million Indians will face job losses due to heat stress-related productivity decline.

High food wastage: Currently, around one-third of the food is lost. This could dramatically increase with increasing temperature.

Opportunities highlighted in the report:

Need for new cooling solutions: By 2037, the demand for cooling is likely to be eight times more than current levels. This could open an investment opportunity of $1.6 trillion by 2040

Need for a more energy-efficient pathway: With the demand for cooling shooting up, there is a need to shift to a more energy-efficient pathway to reduce CO2 levels.

Suggestions given in the report:

Support New Delhi’s India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) 2019: See the infographic for the cooling action plan

Can adopt climate-responsive cooling techniques: E.g. India’s affordable housing program for the poor, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), can adopt techniques such as white-painted rooftops, efficient air movement, cooling breezes, evaporation and earth coupling as natural cooling solutions.

Policy for district cooling (using chilled water): This could help reduce the consumption of 20-30% less power than the most efficient conventional cooling solutions.

Investing in pre-cooling and refrigerated transport: To bring down food and pharmaceutical wastages during transportation

Creating jobs in servicing, maintenance and disposal of equipment involved in refrigeration

Conclusion:

India’s cooling strategy can help save lives and livelihoods, reduce carbon emissions and simultaneously position India as a global hub for green cooling manufacturing. A sustainable roadmap for cooling has the potential to reduce 300 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2040.