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21st June Current Affairs

HC stays suspension of Rajasthan woman sarpanch

(GS-II: 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment Acts, Important aspects of governance)

In News:

The Rajasthan High Court has stayed the suspension order against a woman sarpanch and issued notices to a Minister and an MLA in the State for initiating the action against her.

Rajasthan Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 provisions related to Sarpanch

Removal and Suspension:

The State Government may, by order in writing and after giving him an opportunity of being heard and making such enquiry as may be deemed necessary, remove from office any member including a Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson of a Panchayati Raj Institution, who:

(a) refuses to act or becomes incapable of acting as such; or

(b) is guilty of misconduct in the discharge of duties or any disgraceful conduct.

The State Government may suspend any member including a Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson of a Panchayati Raj Institution against whom:

An enquiry has been initiated under

Against whom any criminal proceedings in regard to an offence involving moral turpitude are pending trial in a Court of law and such person shall stand debarred from taking part in any act or proceeding of the Panchayati Raj Institution concerned while being under such suspension.

SC must not touch issues that require lawmakers role

(GS-II: Separation of powers between various organs, functioning of the executive and judiciary)

In News:

The Supreme Court judge said that the apex court cannot and must not transcend its role by deciding issues requiring the involvement of elected representatives.

Details:

He also said that thinking of the Supreme Court as a “one-stop solution to resolve complicated issues of policy and society” is a reflection of the waning power of discourse and consensus-building.

Article 142:

It provides discretionary power to the Supreme Court as it states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.

Cases of Judicial Overreach:

There have been several judgments of the Supreme Court wherein it has been foraying into areas which had long been forbidden to the judiciary by reason of the doctrine of ‘separation of powers’, which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

Examples:

  • The ban on the sale of alcohol along national and state highways.
  • Imposition of Patriotism in National Anthem Case.
  • Ban on Firecrackers.
  • Order on sex workers

Banning single-use plastic

(GS-III: Environment Conservation)

In News:

The Centre has banned the use of ‘single-use-plastic’ from July 1 and now defined a list of single-use plastic items that will be banned from this date.

What does the Notification say?

As per MoEFCC: The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022.

What is single-use plastic?

As the name suggests, it refers to plastic items that are used once and discarded. E.g., plastics used in packaging of items, bottles (shampoo, detergents, cosmetics), polythene bags, face masks, coffee cups, cling film, trash bags, food packaging etc.

Status:

As per the Minderoo Foundation report (2021): single-use plastics account for a third of all plastic produced globally, with 98% manufactured from fossil fuels.

India features in the top 100 countries of single-use plastic waste generation – at rank 94 (the top three being Singapore, Australia and Oman).

India’s domestic production of SUP is 8 million metric tonnes annually, and its import of 2.9 MMT.

India’s per capita generation is 4 kg.

The largest share of single-use plastic is that of packaging – with as much as 95% of single-use belonging to this category – from toothpaste to shaving cream to frozen foods.

Why SUP is a cause of concern?

Harm environment: Single-use plastic also accounts for the majority of plastic discarded – 130 million metric tonnes globally in 2019 — all of which are burned, buried in landfills or discarded directly into the environment.

GHG emission: On the current trajectory of production, it has been projected that single-use plastic could account for 5-10% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

What are the items being banned?

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have announced a ban on – earbuds; balloon sticks; candy and ice-cream sticks; cutlery items including plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, trays; sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packs; PVC banners measuring under 100 microns; and polystyrene for decoration.

Polythene bag: The Ministry had already banned polythene bags under 75 microns in September 2021, expanding the limit from the earlier 50 microns. From December 2022, the ban will be extended to polythene bags under 120 micron

Sachets: According to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, there is also a complete ban on sachets using plastic material for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala.

Why these items?

As per the ministry: The choice for the first set of single-use plastic items for the ban was based on “difficulty of collection, and therefore recycling”.

How will the ban be enforced?

Monitoring by CPCB: The ban will be monitored by the CPCB from the Centre and by the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) that will report to the Centre regularly.

Stop raw materials supply: Directions have been issued at national, state and local levels — for example, to all petrochemical industries — to not supply raw materials to industries engaged in the banned items.

Directions to industries: SPCBs and Pollution Control Committees will modify or revoke consent to operate issued under the Air/Water Act to industries engaged in single-use plastic items.

Fresh licensing required: Local authorities have been directed to issue fresh commercial licenses with the condition that SUP items will not be sold on their premises, and existing commercial licences will be cancelled if they are found to be selling these items.

Encouraging compostable plastics: CPCB has issued one-time certificates to 200 manufacturers of compostable plastic and the BIS passed standards for biodegradable plastic.

Penalty: Those found violating the ban can be penalised under the Environment Protection Act 1986 – which allows for imprisonment up to 5 years, or a penalty up to Rs 1 lakh, or both.

Violators can also be asked to pay Environmental Damage Compensation by the SPCB.

How are other countries dealing with single-use plastic?

Consensus on SUP in UN: This year, 124 countries, parties to the United Nations Environment Assembly, including India, signed a resolution to draw up an agreement which will in the future make it legally binding for the signatories to address the full life of plastics from production to disposal, to end plastic pollution.

68 countries have plastic bag bans with varying degrees of enforcement

Bangladesh: Bangladesh became the first country to ban thin plastic bags in 2002.

China: China issued a ban on plastic bags in 2020 with a phased implementation.

EU: EU bans certain single-use plastics for which alternatives are available.

Nandu’s to Raise Consumer Awareness with “Right to Good Meat” Campaign

(GS-IV: Ethical Duties of Manufacturing Companies)

In News:

Nandu’s India’s largest hyperlocal and Omni Channel meat brand has released a series of informative videos and launched a print and digital campaign asking consumers to exercise their right to consume quality, healthy and fresh meat.

Ethical Manufacturing by Nandu’s:

Ethical products: E.g. Breeding chickens in bio-secure farms to ensure that they are healthy and free of growth promoters (antibiotics, steroids, and hormones); processing only healthy goats and lambs; processing fish and seafood without using harmful chemicals

Environment friendly: Nandu’s launched its eco-friendly packaging, for smart sustainable solutions that cater to the needs of consumers as well as the planet. It aims to make all of its packaging completely eco-friendly by 2023.