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24th March Current Affairs

Appointment and removal of Chief Minister

(GS-II: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies)

In News:

Pushkar Singh Dhami recently took took oath as the 12th chief minister of Uttarakhand.

Since, according to the constitution, the chief minister is appointed by the governor, the swearing in is done before the governor of the state.

Appointment of CM:

The Chief Minister is appointed by the governor.

164 of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at its hand to aid and advise the governor.

Who can be a Chief Minister?

After general election to the State Legislative Assembly, the party or coalition group which secures majority in this House, elects its leader and communicates his name to the Governor. The Governor then formally appoints him as the Chief Minister and asks him to form his Council of Ministers.

When no party gets a clear majority in the State Legislative Assembly, the Governor normally asks the leader of the single largest party to form the government.

Tenure:

Theoretically, the Chief Minister holds office during the pleasure of the Governor. However, in actual practice the Chief Minister remains in office so long as he continues to be the leader of the majority in the State Legislative Assembly.

The Governor can dismiss him in case he loses his majority support.

The State Legislative Assembly can also remove him by passing a vote of no-confidence against him.

Powers and Functions of the Chief Minister:

  • To Aid and Advice the Governor.
  • The Chief Minister is at the Head of the Council of Ministers.
  • He is the Leader of the House.
  • He has to communicate to the Governor all the decisions of the council of ministers relating to the administration of the states.
  • All the policies are announced by him on the floor of the house.
  • He recommends dissolution of legislative assembly to the Governor.
  • He advises the Governor regarding summoning, proroguing the sessions of State Legislative Assembly from time to time.

What are Foreigners’ Tribunals?

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

A Foreigners’ Tribunal in Assam’s Cachar district has served a notice to a deceased person, asking him to appear before it by March 30 as he had failed to produce valid documents to prove his Indian citizenship.

What is a Foreigners tribunal?

Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies established as per the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.

Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (or) Retired IAS of ACS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.

Who can set up these tribunals?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.

Who can approach?

The amended order (Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 2019) also empowers individuals to approach the Tribunals.

Earlier, only the State administration could move the Tribunal against a suspect.

Who is a declared foreigner?

A declared foreigner, or DF, is a person marked by Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the State police’s Border wing marks him or her as an illegal immigrant.

Midday meal scheme

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

Congress President Sonia Gandhi Wednesday made a strong demand for restarting mid-day meals in schools as they open after the long closure due to the Covid pandemic.

What’s the issue?

The mid-day meal scheme was stopped when schools were shut down due to the Covid pandemic. Children were given dry rations during the pandemic and food grains were also provided under the National Food Security Act. But for children, dry ration is no substitute for hot cooked meals.

About the Mid-Day meal scheme:

The scheme guarantees one meal to all children in government and aided schools and madarsas supported under Samagra Shiksha.

Students up to Class VIII are guaranteed one nutritional cooked meal at least 200 days in a year.

The Scheme comes under the Ministry of HRD.

It was launched in the year 1995 as the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP – NSPE), a centrally sponsored scheme. In 2004, the scheme was relaunched as the Mid Day Meal Scheme.

The Scheme is also covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.

Objective:

Address hunger and malnutrition, increase enrolment and attendance in school, improve socialisation among castes, provide employment at grassroot level especially to women.

The MDM rules 2015, provide that:

The place of serving meals to the children shall be school only.

If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.

The School Management Committee mandated under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 shall also monitor implementation of the Mid-day meal Scheme.

Nutritional norms:

In terms of calorie intake, as per the MDM guidelines, the children in primary schools must be provided with at least 450 calories with 12 grams of protein through MDM while the children in upper primary schools should get 700 calories with 20 grams of protein, as per MHRD.

The food intake per meal by the children of primary classes, as provided by MHRD is 100 grams of food grains, 20 grams of pulses, 50 grams of vegetables and 5 grams of oils and fats. For the children of upper-primary schools, the mandated breakup is 150 grams of food grains, 30 grams of pulses, 75 grams of vegetables and 7.5 grams of oils and fats.

Mercury Pollution

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

Consensus is building among various stakeholders meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to adopt a non-binding declaration that will enhance international cooperation and coordination for combating illegal trade in mercury, a major pollutant globally.

Details:

The Government of Indonesia as well as the United Nations have sought support and commitment from parties to the Minamata Convention for a Bali Declaration on combating Global Illegal Trade of Mercury.

The non-binding declaration calls upon parties to:

Develop practical tools and notification and information-sharing systems for monitoring and managing trade in mercury.

Exchange experiences and practices relating to combating illegal trade in mercury, including reducing the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

Share examples of national legislation and data and information related to such trade.

Basics- about Mercury:

Sources: Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. Released into the atmosphere through natural processes such as weathering of rocks, volcanic eruptions, geothermal activities, forest fires, etc. Mercury is also released through human activities.

Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

Chemical of major public health concern- Mercury is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.

Minamata Disease: A disorder caused by methylmercury poisoning that was first described in the inhabitants of Minamata Bay, Japan and resulted from their eating fish contaminated with mercury industrial waste.

About the Minamata Convention:

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury and its compounds.

It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland 2013. It entered into force in 2017.

Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle is one of the key obligations under the Convention.

It is a UN treaty.

The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.

India has ratified the Convention.