UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 1st April 2022
Topics for the day:
- RS set to bid farewell to 72 MPs
- Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP)
- Import of plastic bottles for waste processing allowed
- New India Literacy Programme
- Space junk
- Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022
RS set to bid farewell to 72 MPs
- A total of 72 Rajya Sabha MPs, including seven nominated members, are retiring between March and July, which is one-third of the strength of the House.
More on the news :
- The Rajya Sabha is a continuing chamber, that is, it is a permanent body and not subject to dissolution.
- However, one-third of its members retire every second year.
- Their seats are filled up by fresh elections and presidential nominations at the beginning of every third year.
- The retiring members are eligible for re-election and renomination any number of times.
- The Constitution has not fixed the term of office of members of the Rajya Sabha and left it to the Parliament. Accordingly, the Parliament in the Representation of the People Act (1951) provided that the term of office of a member of the Rajya Sabha shall be six years.
- The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is fixed at 250, out of which, 238 are to be the representatives of the states and union territories and 12 are nominated by the president.
- Presently, the Rajya Sabha has 245 members. Of these, 229 members represent the states, 4 members represent the union territories and 12 members are nominated by the president.
- The Fourth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the states and union territories
Position of the rajya sabha
Equal to lok sabha :
- Introduction and passage of ordinary bills.
- Introduction and passage of Constitutional amendment bills.
- Introduction and passage of financial bills involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Election and impeachment of the president.
- Election and removal of the Vice-President. However, Rajya Sabha alone can initiate the removal of the vice-president. He is removed by a resolution passed by the Rajya Sabha by an effective majority (which is a type of special majority) and agreed to by the Lok Sabha by a simple majority.
- Making recommendation to the President for the removal of Chief Justice and judges of Supreme Court and high courts, chief election commissioner and comptroller and auditor general.
- Approval of ordinances issued by the President.
- Approval of proclamation of all three types of emergencies by the President.
- Selection of ministers including the Prime Minister. Under the Constitution, the ministers including the Prime Minister can be members of either House.
- Consideration of the reports of the constitutional bodies like Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, comptroller and auditor general, etc.
- Enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Union Public Service Commission.
Unequal with the lok sabha :
- A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha.
- Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject a Money Bill. It should return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, either with recommendations or without recommendations.
- The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha. In both the cases, the money bill is deemed to have been passed by the two Houses.
- A financial bill, not containing solely the matters of Article 110, also can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha. But, with regard to its passage, both the Houses have equal powers.
- The final power to decide whether a particular bill is a Money Bill or not is vested in the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses.
- The Lok Sabha with greater number wins the battle in a joint sitting except when the combined strength of the ruling party in both the Houses is less than that of the opposition parties.
- Rajya Sabha can only discuss the budget but cannot vote on the demands for grants
- A resolution for the discontinuance of the national emergency can be passed only by the Lok Sabha and not by the Rajya Sabha.
- The Rajya Sabha cannot remove the council of ministers by passing a no-confidence motion. This is because the Council of ministers is collectively responsible only to the Lok Sabha. But, the Rajya Sabha can discuss and criticise the policies and activities of the government.
Rajya Sabha has been given four exclusive or special powers that are not enjoyed by the Lok Sabha:
- It can authorise the Parliament to make a law on a subject enumerated in the State List (Article 249).
- It can authorise the Parliament to create new All-India Services common to both the Centre and states (Article 312).
- It alone can initiate a move for the removal of the vice- president. In other words, a resolution for the removal of the vice-president can be introduced only in the Rajya Sabha and not in the Lok Sabha (Article 67).
- If a proclamation is issued by the President for imposing national emergency or president’s rule or financial emergency at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place within the period allowed for its approval, then the proclamation can remain effective even if it is approved by the Rajya Sabha alone (Articles 352, 356 and 360).
Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP)
- The Union Cabinet approved a USD 808 million or Rs 6,062.45 crore, World Bank assisted programme on “Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance” (RAMP).
- RAMP is a new scheme and would commence in FY 2022-23.
What is RAMP?
- “Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance” (RAMP) is a World Bank assisted Central Sector Scheme.
- It has been launched to support various Resilience and Recovery Interventions of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME).
- In addition to building the MoMSME’s capacity at the national level, the RAMP program will seek to scale up implementation capacity and MSME coverage in States.
- The programme aims at
- improving access to market and credit
- strengthening institutions and governance at the Centre and State
- improving Centre-State linkages and partnerships
- addressing issues of delayed payments and greening of MSMEs
RAMP will function as a:
- ‘’Policy Provider’’ through the enhanced capacity for evidence-based policy and program design, to enable the delivery of more effective and cost-efficient MSME interventions to improve competitiveness and business sustainability.
- “Knowledge Provider” through bench-marking, sharing and demonstrating best practices/success stories by leveraging international experiences.
- “Technology Provider” by providing access to high-end technology resulting in the digital and technological transformation of MSMEs through state of art Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Internet of things (IoT), Machine Learning etc.
Significance of MSMEs:
- With around 63.4 million units throughout the geographical expanse of the country, MSMEs contribute around 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of the GDP from service activities as well as 33.4% of India’s manufacturing output.
- They have been able to provide employment to around 120 million persons and contribute around 45% of the overall exports from India.
- About 20% of the MSMEs are based out of rural areas, which indicates the deployment of significant rural workforce in the MSME sector.
Import of plastic bottles for waste processing allowed
Context and news :
- After banning the import of plastic waste in 2019, the Environment Ministry has permitted containers made of polyethylene terephthalate, as plastic waste, to be imported for processing.
- The decision to roll back the ban was taken last year after representations by several industries in the business of processing waste said there was too little waste available for them in India and this was causing them financial losses.
- An expert committee of the Environment Ministry, last December, recommended that firms which had applied for permission could import polyethylene terephthalate flakes and bottles up to 50% of their production capacity.
- Polyethylene terephthalate is a category of plastic, and nearly 90% of the domestic supply of containers using them is already recycled.
- In 2021, seven Indian companies applied to import 93,000 tonnes of plastic bottles waste from countries such as America, Canada, Germany, citing a shortage of plastic waste in India.
- A campaign by the PDUSM(Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch) against the import of plastic waste had played a role in the Centre’s decision to impose a ban in 2019.
- According to them there is no shortage of polyethylene terephthalate waste in India.
- As per the industry data, more than 14 lakh tonnes of such plastic are consumed annually in India, and even with a global highest 80% recycling rate, approx. 2.8 lakh tonnes of plastic bottles waste never gets collected.
More on plastic management :
- Also recently the union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued a notification proposing to prohibit manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP items from July 1,2022.
- This was done under the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 through powers under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
New rules plastic management rules,2021 :
- Prohibition of manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of SUP, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities from the 1st July, 2022 this covers :
- ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene [Thermocol] for decoration
- plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes
- invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers
- The ban will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
- The permitted thickness of the plastic bags, will be increased to 75 microns from 30th September, 2021, and to 120 microns from the 31st December, 2022.
- The Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies, will monitor the ban, identify violations, and impose penalties.
New India Literacy Programme
- The Cabinet has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, namely, “New India Literacy Programme (NILP)”.
- The NILP has been approved for the next five financial years (2022-27) in order to integrate all the aspects of adult education with the National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP).
- The Education ministry has chosen to use ‘Education for All’ rather than ‘Adult Education,’ since the previous terminology was not applicable to non-literates aged 15 and above.
More on the policy :
- It aims to support the States and Union Territories in promoting literacy among non-literates in the age group of 15 and above.
- It will cover across the country covering 5 crore non-literates during the implementation period from 2022-23 to 2026-27.
- The scheme has five components namely: Foundational Literacy and Numeracy,Critical Life Skills,Vocational Skills Development,Basic Education, Continuing Education.
- Involvement of school students, pre-service students of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), school teachers, Anganwadi and ASHA workers.
- School to be unit for implementation of the scheme.
- Use of ICT and online implementation of the scheme through ‘Online Teaching Learning and Assessment System’ (OTLAS) material and resources through digital modes, viz, TV, radio, cell phone-based free/open-source Apps/portals, etc.
- The scheme will be implemented through volunteerism through online mode.
- With space junk posing increasing threat to Indian assets in space, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is building up its orbital debris tracking capability by deploying new radars and optical telescopes under the Network for Space Objects Tracking and Analysis (NETRA) project.
More on the project :
- A space debris tracking radar with a range of 1,500 km and an optical telescope will be inducted as part of establishing an effective surveillance and tracking network under NETRA.
- The government has given the go-ahead for the deployment of the radar, which will be capable of detecting and tracking objects 10 cm and above in size
- It will be indigenously designed and built.
- Radars and optical telescopes are vital ground-based facilities for keeping an eye on space objects, including orbital junk.
What is space junk ?
- Space junk or debris consists of spent rocket stages, dead satellites, fragments of space objects and debris resulting from ASAT.
- Hurtling at an average speed of 27,000 kmph in LEO, these objects pose a very real threat as collisions involving even centimetre-sized fragments can be lethal to satellites.
- For protecting its space assets, ISRO was forced to perform 19 collision avoidance manoeuvres (CAM) in 2021, of which 14 were in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and five in the geostationary orbit. The number of CAMs jumped from just three in 2015 to 12 in 2020 and 19 in 2021.
- ISRO’s efforts towards space situational awareness (SSA) is coordinated by the SSA Control Centre in Bengaluru and managed by the Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management at the ISRO headquarters.
Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022
- The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was passed by Lok Sabha
Provisions of the bill :
- Unification of Municipal Corporations in Delhi: The Bill replaces the three municipal corporations under the Act with one Corporation named the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
- Powers of the Delhi government: The previous act empowers the Delhi government to decide various matters under the Act. These include:
- total number of seats of councillors and number of seats reserved for members of the Scheduled Castes
- division of the area of corporations into zones and wards
- delimitation of wards
- matters such as salary and allowances, and leave of absence of the Commissioner
- sanctioning of consolidation of loans by a corporation
- sanctioning suits for compensation against the Commissioner for loss or waste or misapplication of Municipal Fund or property.
- The Bill instead empowers the central government to decide these matters.
- Removal of Director of Local Bodies: The previous Act provides for a Director of Local Bodies to assist the Delhi government and discharge certain functions. The Bill omits the provision for a Director of Local Bodies.
- E-governance system for citizens: The Bill adds that obligatory functions of the new Corporation will include establishing an e-governance system for citizen services on anytime-anywhere basis for better, accountable, and transparent administration.
- Conditions of service for sweepers: The previous Act provides that a sweeper employed for doing house scavenging of a building would be required to give a reasonable cause or a 14 day notice before discontinuing his service. The Bill seeks to omit this provision.
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 1st April 2022
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