Governance, Constitution and Polity
- National Conference on Vigilance and Anti-Corruption
- Central Vigilance Commission
- Gupkar Declaration
- WHY WAS THE GUPKAR DECLARATION SIGNED?
- WHAT IS THE GUPKAR DECLARATION II?
- What is Article 35A?
- What is Article 370?
- Forex reserves
1) National Conference on Vigilance and Anti-Corruption:
Why in news?
- The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the National Conference on Vigilance and Anti-Corruption,
- Theme ????? ????, ?????? ???? (Vigilant India, Prosperous India)
- The Central Bureau of Investigation organizes this National Conference coinciding with ‘Vigilance Awareness Week’, which is observed in India every year from 27th October to 2nd November.
- Activities in this conference would be focused on Vigilance issues aimed at raising awareness and reaffirming India’s commitment to promotion of integrity and probity in public life through citizen participation.
Vigilance Awareness week
- Organised by Central Vigilance Commission
Central Vigilance Commission
- Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption.
- In 2003, the Parliament enacted a law conferring statutory status on the CVC.
- It has the status of an autonomous body, charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India, advising various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
- It was set up by the Government of India Resolution on 11 February 1964, on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam Committee, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance.
A Central Vigilance Commissioner – Chairperson;
- Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners – Members.
- The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners shall be appointed by the President on recommendation of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairperson), the Minister of home affairs (Member) and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People.
- Any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.
- The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.
The President may, by order, remove from office the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner if the Central
Vigilance Commissioner or such Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be:
- Is adjudged an insolvent; or
- Has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude; or
- Engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
- Is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or
- Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as a Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner.
Limitations of CVC
- CVC is only an advisory body.
- CVC does not have adequate resources compared with number of complaints that it receives.
- CVC cannot direct CBI to initiate inquiries against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above on its own.
- CVC does not have powers to register criminal case. It deals only with vigilance or disciplinary cases.
- CVC has supervisory powers over CBI.
- However, CVC does not have the power to call for any file from CBI or to direct CBI to investigate any case in a particular manner.
- Appointments to CVC are indirectly under the control of Govt of India, though the leader of the Opposition (in Lok Sabha) is a member of the Committee to select CVC and VCs. But the Committee considers candidates put up before it. These candidates are decided by the Government.
- As a result, although CVC is relatively independent in its functioning, it has neither resources nor powers to inquire and take action on complaints of corruption that may act as an effective deterrence against corruption.
2) Gupkar Declaration:
Why in news?
- All J&K regional parties will meet at the residence of Farooq Abdullah to sign the ‘Gupkar Declaration II’.
- National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah announced People’s Alliance for ‘Gupkar Declaration’ on 15 October, after an all-party meet at his residence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
- The motive behind the alliance, that includes National Conference (NC), PDP, CPI (M), PC, JKPM & ANC, is to work towards restoring the special status of J&K after it was revoked in 2019.
- The meeting was also attended by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti.
WHY WAS THE GUPKAR DECLARATION SIGNED?
- On August 4, 2019, the first Gupkar declaration was signed after an all-party meeting at the Gupkar Road residence of NC supreme Farooq Abdullah.
- The resolution had parties unanimously agreeing to unify in their efforts to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The signatories were reportedly members of the NC, PDP, CPI (M), Congress, J&K Peoples Conference and Awami National Conference.
- Just a day after this, on 5 August 2019 however, the central government revoked the special status under Article 370 and split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
- The Article 35A, which guaranteed specific rights to permanent residents of the former state was also repealed.
- What followed was a complete lockdown in J&K, with communications within the then state blocked out.
- Senior political leaders from most parties were placed under house arrest.
- With most political leaders now released from detention, efforts are on to renew the movement by signing the Gupkar Declaration 2.0.
WHAT IS THE GUPKAR DECLARATION II?
- On 22 August 2020, leaders from the six political parties once again held a meeting and signed the Gupkar II Declaration to renew their resolve to adhere to the 2019 declaration that was signed.
- “We all reiterate that we are bound, wholly, by the contents of the Gupkar Declaration and will unwaveringly adhere to it.
- Committed to strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the Constitution of J-K and the restoration of the state and any division of the state is unacceptable.
- Terming the Centre’s decision to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A “spitefully shortsighted” and “unconstitutional move”, the statement further read, “The series of measures undertaken on 5 August, 2019 were grossly unconstitutional and in reality measures of disempowerment and a challenge to the basic identity of the people of J-K.
- The parties vowed to collectively fight to restore the special status of J-K as guaranteed under the Constitution.
What is Article 35A?
- Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residents enjoy special rights under article 35A.
- Only the permanent residents have the right to own immovable property, settle permanently, or avail state-sponsored scholarship schemes.
- This article also restricts companies from hiring non-resident persons in the state and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.
- Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by the orders of the then president Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
- Since Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution was issued under Presidential Order, the President can make certain ‘exceptions and modifications’ to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Hence, Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35A ensures special rights to the permanent residents of Kashmir.
What is Article 370?
- According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy.
- The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganized, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 370 is drafted in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions.
- Under Article 370 the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
Article 238 of Indian Constitution
- Article 238 of Indian Constitution was repealed in 1956 after the “part B” states were removed and were included as ‘states’ after the 7th Constitutional Amendment, 1956.
- Part B states are former princely states or covenanting states governed by “Raj Pramukhs”. These included 9 states which are Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Travancore-Cochin and Vindhya Pradesh.
- Jammu and Kashmir although a Part-B state then was given a special status under Article 370.
- Broadly the then article 238 dealt with the provisions of administration in Part-B states.
3) Forex reserves:
Why in news?
The country’s foreign exchange reserves touched a life time high of $555.12 billion after it surged by $3.615 billion in the week ended October 16, according to RBI data.
- The reserves had increased by $5.867 billion to reach $551.505 billion.
- Rise in total reserves was due to a sharp rise in Foreign Currency Assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves.
- Expressed in dollar terms, FCAs include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves.
- Gold reserves were up by $86 million in the reporting week to $36.685 billion.
- The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) remained unchanged at $1.480 billion during the reporting week.
- The country’s reserve position with the IMF declined by $11 million to $4.634 billion during the reporting week, as per the data.
- Alongside this jump in FDI and FPI inflows, the reserves have been supported by a dip in import bill on account of low crude oil prices, decline in gold and other imports on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- While rising foreign exchange reserve provide cushion to the economy in terms of covering the import expenditure, it also provides stability to the domestic currency against the dollar.
Foreign Exchange Reserves include:
- Foreign Currencies
- SDR Special Drawing Rights
- Reserve Tranche
What are SDRs?
- SDRs are the IMF’s monetary assets – which allow the IMF to act in a limited sense as a kind of central bank to the world.
- SDRs are part of the foreign exchange reserves of countries and can be sold or used for payments to other central banks and multilateral institutions.
- As central banks in advanced economies used their balance sheets to secure finance in the advanced economies, the IMF could use SDRs for the rest of the world, as it did in 2009.
Reserve Position in the IMF
- The reserve tranche is portion of the required quota of currency that each International Monetary Fund (IMF) member country must provide to the IMF that can be utilized for its own purposes without a service fee.
- In other words, it is basically an emergency account that IMF members can access without agreeing to conditions or paying a service fee.