Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- One Nation, One Election
The issue in news
Prime Minister’s suggestions on elections in India at the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference.
- The Prime Minister pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’.
- He was of the opinion that elections taking place every few months hampered development works.
- Simultaneous elections refer to holding elections to Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats and Urban local bodies simultaneously, once in five years.
- He was also for a single voter list for all polls in the country.
- It is argued that the preparation of a separate voters’ list causes duplication of the effort and the expenditure.
- A common electoral roll means that only one voter list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections.
- In its 255th report in 2015, the Law Commission recommended a single electoral roll.
- In order to implement a common electoral roll, a Constitutional Amendment to Articles 243K and 243ZA is required. (Elections to panchayats and municipalities in the states are dealt with in Articles 243K and 243ZA).
- The Prime Minister urged the presiding officers attending the meet, to simplify the language of statute books and allow for an easier process to weed out redundant laws.
- Beneficiaries of Roshni Act move SC
The issue in news
As the J&K administration continues to make the names of the beneficiaries of the now-nullified Roshni Act public, a petition has been filed before the Supreme Court by the beneficiaries claiming they were not even heard by the J&K High Court as it passed the directions.
- The Jammu and Kashmir States Land (vesting of ownership to the occupants) Act is also known as the Roshni Act.
- Enacted in 2001, the law sought to regularise unauthorised land.
- It envisaged the transfer of ownership rights of state land to its occupants, subject to the payment of a cost, determined by the government.
- The government said that the revenue generated would be spent on commissioning hydroelectric power projects, hence the name Roshni.
- While the Act was passed to raise 25,000 crore for hydel projects, only 76 crore was collected.
- In 2018, the then Lieutenant Governor Satyapal Malik repealed the Act.
- Later, the High Court also scrapped the Act and directed the authorities to retrieve the land from the occupants.
- Now, a petition has been filed before the Supreme Court by the beneficiaries claiming they were not even heard by the J&K High Court as it passed the directions.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- India and Nepal
The issue in news
India’s Foreign Secretary is in Kathmandu in a major outreach to Nepal, which has been caught in a bitter boundary dispute with India regarding the Kalapani region.
They reviewed various aspects of Nepal-India relations covering trade, transit, connectivity, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, investment, culture, people to people relations among others.
Both sides also discussed multiple plans like the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project as well as the starting of an air travel bubble between Nepal and India.
- Kalapani is a region located in the easternmost corner of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.
- The region shares a border on the north with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and Nepal in the east and south.
- The area is in India’s control but is claimed by Nepal.
- Kalapani is the largest territorial dispute between Nepal and India, consisting of at least 37,000 hectares of land in the High Himalayas.
Differing perception of the Sugauli Treaty provisions:
- The Treaty of Sugauli was signed between the Gurkha rulers of Kathmandu and the East India Company after the Gurkha War/Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16).
- According to the treaty, Nepal would give up its claims on the regions of Kumaon-Garhwal in the west and Sikkim in the east.
- According to Article 5, the King of Nepal gave up his claims over the region west of the river Kali originating in the High Himalayas.
- According to the treaty, the British rulers recognised Nepal’s right to the region that fell to the east of the river Kali.
- The dispute is mainly because of the varying interpretation of the origin of the river.
- Nepal claims that the source of the river is in the mountains near Limpiyadhura. India, on the other hand, claims that the border begins at Kalapani, which India says is where the river begins.
Significance of Lipulekh pass:
- Kalapani is connected to Tibet through the Lipulekh pass, which has been used for centuries by Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims and tourists on their way to Kailash Mansarovar.
- The Himalayas have several passes that connect the Gangetic region with the Tibetan plateau but Lipulekh is strategically located as it is nearest to the National Capital Region and can be of particular concern in case of an armed conflict with China.
- The importance of Himalayan passes with the Tibetan plateau was amply highlighted in the 1962 war. The military defeat clearly demonstrated that weakly guarded passes were a major vulnerability of Indian military preparedness against China
- vulnerability of Indian military preparedness against China.
Lack of efforts at resolution:
- Nepal’s call for a resolution of the issue has been overlooked. There have been no serious efforts to negotiate the border dispute.
Lack of consultation:
- India and China were in clear violation of Nepal’s concerns during the 2015 Lipulekh agreement between India and China, which renewed India’s Mansarovar pilgrimage connection. Neither side consulted Nepal or sought its opinion before the agreement.
- Recently, Nepal had published a revised official map incorporating the territory from the Limpiyadhura source of the Kali to Kalapani and Lipulekh pass as its territory. The Nepali Cabinet has registered a constitution amendment motion to grant constitutional status to the map.
- Such a move makes any future solution on the Kalapani issue nearly impossible as a constitutional guarantee will make Kathmandu’s position inflexible.