Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- Selection of “Dy. Speaker” by the house
The issue in news
Lok Sabha Speaker has said that if there is a provision for the post of Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha, then it was only obvious that there should be one, but it was not the Speaker’s job to appoint one, and that the Deputy Speaker must be chosen by the House.
Background of the issue :
- This is the first time that the Lok Sabha has functioned for over a year without having a Deputy Speaker.
- A panel of MPs has been assisting the Speaker.
- Speaker has been requested to fill the post of Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- The speaker has said that it is not the duty of the Speaker to elect the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha:
- Article 93 of the Constitution provides for the election of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- There is no need to resign from the original party though as a Deputy Speaker, he/she has to remain impartial.
- the Deputy Speaker is elected in the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after the General elections from amongst the members of the Lok Sabha.
- By convention, the position of Deputy Speaker is offered to the opposition party in India.
- The Deputy Speaker holds office until either he/she ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha or he/she resigns.
- He/she can be removed from office by a resolution passed in the Lok Sabha by an effective majority of its members.
- According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, “The election of a Deputy Speaker shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix.”
- But as per tradition Speaker needs the nod of the government for announcing such an election.
- Once the date is notified, one or more motions can be moved by members for the election of a nominee as the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- No member can move a motion for his or her own election.
- If a motion is accepted by the simple majority of the house, the MP becomes the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- SC seeks Attorney-General aid in Bhushan case
The issue in news
The Supreme Court has reached out to Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal to act as amicus curiae and assist it with legal questions raised in a contempt case initiated against civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan for his remarks on judicial corruption in Tehelka magazine in 2009.
- The case has raised several cardinal issues of the right to criticise the judiciary in a public forum.
- The case has brought to focus the pertinent question of law, whether a person who expresses a bona fide opinion about judicial corruption is obliged to prove it or “whether it is enough to show that he bona fide held that opinion”.
- It involves the issue of whether the suo motu powers of the Supreme Court to initiate contempt under Article 129 to curtail free speech and expression is restrained by the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
- One of the questions deals with the violation of due process as suo motu contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court have no provision for appeal.
GS 3 Related
Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
- California wildfires growing bigger
The issue in news
A Northern California wildfire burning for more than three weeks has spread at a ferocious rate across an estimated 40 kilometres of mountainous terrain and parched foothills.
- California has set a record with nearly 2.5 million acres burned already in 2020, and historically the worst of the wildfire season doesn’t begin until fall.
- It is now entering what traditionally is the most dangerous time for fires. o The second stage of this year’s fire season is yet to come.
Reasons for the Wildfire in California:
The changing climate:
- California gets most of its moisture in the fall and winter (like much of the West).
- Its vegetation spends much of the summer slowly drying out because of a lack of rainfall and warmer temperatures. That vegetation then serves as kindling for fires.
- California’s fire record dates back to 1932; the 10 largest fires since then have occurred since 2000.
- However, the link between climate change and bigger fires is inextricable.
- While sometimes the trigger is nature, more often than not humans are responsible.
- Many deadly fires have been started by downed power lines.
- People are increasingly moving into areas near forests, known as the urban-wildland interface, that are inclined to burn.
- The history of suppressing wildfires has actually made present-day wildfires worse.
- To counter this, in recent years, the U.S. Forest Service has been trying to rectify the previous practice through the use of prescribed, or controlled burns.
Santa Ana Winds:
- Each fall, strong gusts known as the Santa Ana winds bring dry air from the Great Basin area of the West into Southern California.
- Pandemic may force govt. to borrow more
The issue in news
Revenue shortfalls in India, are likely to force the Centre to borrow more, but it will only consider monetising its deficit as a last resort.
- Monetisation of deficit means printing more money.
- Monetised deficit is the monetary support the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extends to the Centre as part of the government’s borrowing programme.
- Monetisation of deficit happens when RBI buys government securities directly from the primary market to fund the government’s expenses.
- Also known as debt monetisation, the exercise leads to an increase in total money supply in the system, and hence inflation, as RBI creates fresh money to purchase the bonds.
- The same bonds are later used to bring down inflation as they are sold in the open market.
- This helps RBI suck excess money out of the market and rein in rising prices.
- Monetisation of deficit was in practice in India till 1997, whereby the central bank automatically monetised government deficit through the issuance of ad-hoc treasury bills.
- Two agreements were signed between the government and RBI in 1994 and 1997 to completely phase out funding through ad-hoc treasury bills.
- With the enactment of the FRBM Act, 2003, RBI was completely barred from subscribing to the primary issuances of the government from April 1, 2006.
- Deficit monetisation also comes at a cost. An important consequence of this is that it triggers a spike in the inflation rate.
- In the Indian scenario, it won’t immediately translate into a higher inflation rate due to the demand slowdown the economy is experiencing.
- However, when the economy enters the recovery path, the increased money supply could proportionately lead to a higher inflation rate.
- When there is an excess supply of the currency, it could lead to a fall in rupee value, leading to an outflow of foreign investment.
- In the current scenario, a rupee depreciation would not be beneficial for the exports sector either.
- A fall in Rupee value would be costlier for the economy, in the current scenario.
- Though RBI participates in indirect monetisation of the deficit through its open market operations (OMOs), the consequences of direct monetisation are much larger.
- It could weaken the macro fundamentals of the country, risking a downgrade by the credit rating agencies, which can in turn bring about more cost to the economy.
- These are the reasons why deficit monetisation could be a risky affair for the economy to handle in the current scenario.
- IT urges remote-enabling labour law tweaks
The issue in news
The IT-business process management (BPM) industry has sought revisions in labour laws for enabling remote delivery of services such as those facilitated by work-from-home and part-time professionals.
- The industry is considering tapping into the talent pool that comprises millennials, retired professionals and women with post-secondary education, who can devote 3-4 hours to work every day.
- This can bring in more than 110 million women with degrees, who are not currently part of the workforce.
- The recommendation is to bring a salary ceiling of 5 lakh per annum while determining the status of ‘workmen’.
- It is suggested that the laws relating to overtime and shifts must not be made applicable to those earning above this threshold.
- Another suggestion is with respect to the treatment based on pay. It is suggested that the employees drawing salary above a certain threshold should be treated as supervisory staff.
- The industry has also recommended that it be exempted from contributing to PF, ESIC or Workmen Compensation for those working part-time or while studying.
- Among the industry’s recommendations to the government is also the simplification of retrenchment norms.