Office of Profit
President R N Kovind has dismissed a petition seeking disqualification of 27 AAP MLAs from Delhi on grounds of having held ‘office of profit’ as chairpersons of patient welfare committees (Rogi Kalyan Samiti) constituted by Delhi government.
The decision was based on an opinion tendered by the Election Commission in July, stating that the said office was exempt from purview of ‘office of profit’ under provisions of the Delhi MLAs (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.
Government of NCT of Delhi, in its submission to EC, had made it clear that Rogi Kalyan Samitis were constituted by it and that their chairpersons were not entitled to any remuneration and would therefore fall under the exemption granted by item 14 of the Schedule of the Delhi MLAs (Removal of Disqualification) Act. The Act provides for exemption of office of chairman, vice-chairman and members of the hospital advisory committee, Delhi, from purview of “office of profit”.
What is an ‘office of profit’?
If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “office of profit”. A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.
What are the basic criteria to disqualify an MP or MLA?
Basic disqualification criteria for an MP are laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191. They can be disqualified for: a) Holding an office of profit under government of India or state government; b) Being of unsound mind; c) Being an undischarged insolvent; d) Not being an Indian citizen or for acquiring citizenship of another country.
What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification?
Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions. In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure.
Source: The Hindu
Anti- Defection law
In a major relief to the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has upheld the state Assembly Speaker’s decision disqualifying 18 AIADMK legislators last year.
In 2017, a group of 19 lawmakers met then Governor C.Vidyasagar Rao and gave a memorandum expressing loss of confidence in Palaniswami and requested him to appoint a new Chief Minister.
The Speaker then issued notice to the lawmakers asking them why they should not be disqualified under the anti-defection law. Subsequently, one of legislators, S.T.K. Jakkaiyan, switched over to the Palaniswami side and the others were disqualified.
The anti-defection law:
The 10th Schedule to the Constitution, popularly referred to as the ‘Anti-Defection Law,’ was inserted by the 52nd Amendment in 1985.
The grounds for disqualification are mentioned under Articles 102 (2) and 191 (2). A Member of Parliament or state legislature is deemed to have defected:
Exceptions under the Law:
Any person elected as speaker or chairman could resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he demitted that post.
A party could be merged into another if at least two-thirds of its party legislators voted for the merger.
The law initially permitted splitting of parties, but that has now been outlawed.
Decision of the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review:
The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court. However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
Source: The Hindu
Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)
Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched the web portal of the Scheme “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)”.
About Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC):
The Government in August 2018 had sanctioned the scheme “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)” at a total cost of Rs.418 Cr for implementation up to 31.3.2020.
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur is the National Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme. Details may be viewed at www.sparc.iitkgp.ac.in.
The scheme aims at improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.
Under this Scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to facilitate strong research collaboration between Indian research groups with the best in class faculty and renowned research groups in the leading universities of the world, in areas that are at the cutting edge of science or with direct social relevance to the mankind, specifically India.
Significance of the scheme:
This Scheme is expected to have a major impact in providing the best international expertise to address major national problems, expose Indian academicians to the best collaborators abroad, enable international faculty to stay in India for a longer duration, provide Indian students an opportunity to work in the world class laboratories, to develop strong bilateral relationships in research, and improve the international ranking of Indian Institutes.
Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management Award, 2018
India wins Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management Award, 2018.
Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) is a non-profit association representing an international network of over 1100 senior public servants, Heads of Government, leading academics and researchers located in over 50 different countries across the Commonwealth.
The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is an institutional member of Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM).
CAPAM has been announcing its International Innovations Awards (IIA) Programme bi-annually, since 1998. The CAPAM Awards celebrate the spirit of innovation in the public service by recognizing organizations that have made significant contributions to improve governance and services in the public sector.
The initiative entitled “Unnayan Banka- Reinventing Education Using Technology of Banka District, State of Bihar has been awarded under the Category “Innovation Incubation”.
“Unnayan Banka” is an initiative which envisages “Quality education for all’ especially for those at the bottom of the Pyramid, using latest technologies. It’s a holistic model of overall development of youths from Education to Employability.
Unified Agriculture Markets:
“Unified Agriculture Markets” of Co-operation Department of Government of Karnataka has also been selected under the Category ‘Innovation in Public Service Management’. This initiative has also been awarded the overall Gold Award for CAPAM Awards, 2018.
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
In its latest 20-year forecast for the aviation industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that India will be the third largest aviation market globally a year sooner than was earlier predicted. It is now expected to be among the top three countries by 2024 from its current seventh position.
Highlights of the report:
Air passenger numbers worldwide could double to 8.2 billion in 2037. The biggest contribution in this growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region, which will account for half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years.
While China will climb up one spot to displace US as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s, India will take the third place by surpassing the U.K. around 2024.
By 2037, India is expected to add 414 million passengers to its existing 572 million passengers.
In fact, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the fastest growth at the rate of 4.8%, followed by Africa (4.6%) and west Asia (4.4%).
The other south-east Asian countries predicted to grow rapidly include Indonesia, likely to be the fourth largest by 2030 from its current ranking of 10th largest aviation market. Thailand, too, is expected to enter the top 10 markets in 2030.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 280 airlines or 83% of total air traffic. Formed in April 1945, it is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, which was formed in 1919.
IATA supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards. It also provides consulting and training services in many areas crucial to aviation.
Headquarters: It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with Executive Offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
Source: The Hindu
India and Bangladesh sign agreements for enhancing inland and coastal waterways connectivity
India and Bangladesh have signed several milestone agreements for enhancing inland and coastal waterways connectivity between the two countries for trade and cruise movements. These agreements will facilitate easier movement of goods and passengers between the two countries, giving an impetus to trade and tourism.
The two countries have signed an agreement to use Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has also been signed for movement of passenger and cruise services.
An addendum to ‘Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade’ (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh has been signed for inclusion of Dhubriin India and Pangaonin Bangladesh as new Ports of Call.
The two sides have also agreed to consider inclusion of Rupnarayanriver (National Waterway-86) from Geonkhali to Kolaghat in the protocol route and to declare Kolaghatin West Bengal as new Port of Call.
Both sides agreed to declare Badarpur on river Barak (NW 16) as an Extended Port of Call of Karimganj in Assam and Ghorasal of Ashuganj in Bangladesh on a reciprocal basis.
Both sides have also agreed for development of Jogighopa as a hub/trans-shipment terminal for movement of cargo to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Bhutan and notifying Munsiganj River terminal by Bangladesh Customs for routing third party Exim cargo through Kolkata Port.
Benefits and significance:
The new arrangement will facilitate the movement of fly ash, cement, construction materials from India to Bangladesh through IWT on Rupnarayanriver.
The North Eastern states would get connected to directly to the ports of Kolkata and Haldia in India and Mongla in Bangladesh through waterways which would facilitate movement EXIM cargo and would also reduce the logistic costs.
The reconstruction and opening up of Jangipur navigational lock on river Bhagirathi subject to the provisions of the Treaty between India and Bangladesh on Sharing of Ganga Waters at Farakka,1996. This move has the potential to reduce the distance to Assam by more than 450 kms on the protocol routes.
Citizen- Science repository of Indian mammals
Scientists and researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore have come up with a new citizen-science repository on Indian mammals, called Mammals of India (MaOI). MaOI is a part of the Biodiversity Atlas (India project).
The initiative aims to develop individual species pages for all Indian mammals with information on identification, variation, distribution, breeding and non-breeding ecology and species conservation.
Now one can contribute to the cause of science by sharing the picture of the animal on a specific website, providing the location of spotting. This will make more information available about lesser known mammals of the country.
As per current estimates, 426 species of mammals are found in India; of them 47 species are endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Along with well known species, the mammals of 100 species of rats and 126 species of bats and 24 species of whales of dolphins.
Significance of MaOI:
These photographic records will help researchers in having distribution map of mammals in the country. The photographs will not only help gather information on the distribution of the various species but also interactions between different species of mammals, like predation and mutualism.
Source: The Hindu
Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony
The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014, 2015 & 2016 is being conferred on the doyen of Manipuri dance Sh. Rajkumar Singhajit Singh; Chhayanaut (a cultural organization of Bangladesh) and on one of India’s greatest sculptors, Sh. Ram Vanji Sutar, respectively.
About the Tagore award:
The annual award was instituted by the Government of India during the commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012 and second was conferred on Shri Zubin Mehta in 2013.
The award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item.
The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex.
Awardees are selected by a jury headed by the Prime Minister of India.
India Mobile Congress is being held in New Delhi.
Theme: “NEW DIGITAL HORIZONS: Connect. Create. Innovate.”
About IMC: The India Mobile Congress 2018, hosted by the Department of telecommunications and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), is an excellent platform for policy makers, industry and regulators to engage in meaningful deliberations to drive the future direction of this important sector.
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Each project under the scheme will conclude in 3 years.