The Hindu Newspaper Self Analysis Analysis
Maharashtra placed under President’s Rule
The President has approved a proclamation imposing President’s Rule in Maharashtra, following a recommendation from Governor.
- In Maharashtra, a situation has arisen when the formation of a stable government is not possible even 15 days after the election results have been declared.
- In Maharashtra’s 59-year-long history, President’s rule has only been imposed twice — for 112 days between February and June 1980, and for 33 days between September and October 2014.
- The Assembly will be kept under suspended animation.
Role of Governor:
- Usually the moment an election is won or lost, the Chief Minister resigns and is then asked by the Governor to continue as ‘caretaker’ until a new government is in place.
- The Sarkaria Commission formed in 1983 came out with a detailed report which discusses the Role of Governor, in such circumstances.
- As per the Sarkaria Commission report, if there is a single party having an absolute majority in the Assembly, the leader of the party should automatically be asked to become the Chief Minister.
- However, if there is no such party, Governor would be expected to go as per an order of preference set out in the Sarkaria Commission recommendations.
- By the order of preference, the Governor can invite 1) a pre-poll alliance of parties; 2) invite the single largest party which stakes a claim to form government; 3) invite a post-poll alliance of parties, with all the partners in the coalition joining the government or 4) invite a post-poll alliances of parties, with some becoming part of the government and some supporting from outside.
How is the President’s Rule imposed?
- President’s Rule implies the suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct rule of the Centre. This is achieved through the invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
- Under Article 356, this move can be taken, if the President, on receipt of the report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
How long can the President’s Rule last?
- A proclamation of President’s Rule can be revoked through a subsequent proclamation in case the leader of a party produces letters of support from a majority of members of the Assembly, and stakes his claim to form a government. The revocation does not need the approval of Parliament.
- Any proclamation under Article 356 —which stands for six months — has to be approved by both Houses in the Parliament session following it. This six-month time-frame can be extended in phases, up to three years.
President’s Rule must have legitimate basis
- Any recommendation by a Governor for President’s rule in a State under Article 356(1) of the Constitution should be based on “objective material” and not on a political whim or fancy, the Supreme Court had ruled in the 1994 S.R. Bommai case.
- “It is not the personal whim, wish, view or opinion or the ipse dixit of the President de hors the material, but a legitimate inference drawn from the material placed before him which is relevant for the purpose,” the nine-judge Bench had said.
- Such objective material may be available in the report sent to the President by the Governor or otherwise or both from the report and other sources. Once such material is shown to exist, the satisfaction of the President based on the material is not open to question.
- Article 356(1) has been deliberately drafted in a narrow language by the Founding Fathers so that political parties in the Centre do not misuse it to subvert federalism, it had noted.
- The proclamation of President’s Rule in a State is open to challenge if there is no supporting objective material.
- The court had stated that although the sufficiency or otherwise of the material cannot be questioned, the legitimacy of inference drawn from such material is “certainly open to judicial review”.
- The proclamation by the President under Article 356 is on the advice of the Council of Ministers tendered under Article 74(1).
- The judgment had explained that in a multi-party political system, chances are high that the political parties in the Centre and the State concerned may not be the same. Article 356 cannot be used for the purpose of political one-upmanship by the Centre.
India’s cancer care facilities ‘highly inadequate’
- A report by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology and Environment has said that India’s cancer care infrastructure is highly inadequate and forces a majority of patients to travel thousands of kilometres for treatment.
- And that the systematic failure to address the needs of patients contributes to a 20% higher mortality among Indian cancer patients than in countries with a high Human Development Index.
- The committee was constituted to examine an expanded role for the Department of Atomic Energy, through the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), to address India’s rising cancer burden.
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer expects India’s cancer burden to increase from an estimated 13 lakh cases in 2018 to about 17 lakh in 2035, and cancer deaths are expected to rise from 8.8 lakh in 2018 to 13 lakh in 2035.
- According to the report, incidence of cancer is very high in all North Eastern States, as it is higher than the national average for several types of cancer, showing a consistently rising trend over the past few decades.
- Because of grossly inadequate infrastructure and lack of awareness, many patients are diagnosed at a later stage in India. It not only increases their expenses for treatment but also leads to higher mortality.
- The committee laid emphasis on the fact that mortality to incidence ratio of 0.68 in India is higher than that in the very high human development index (HDI) countries (0.38) and the high HDI countries (0.57).
- The incidence or the number of newly diagnosed cases of cancer annually, is about 16 lakh. The disease kills 8 lakh people annually.
- Among these are 1,40,000 fresh cases of breast cancer, 1,00,000 cervical cancer cases, and 45,000 cases of oral cancer among women.
- Among men, the top three cancers with the highest incidence are those in the oral cavity (1,38,000 cases), cancer of the pharynx (90,000) and those of the gastrointestinal tract (2,00,000).
- Two-thirds of India’s cancer patients were treated in the private sector and this forced 6 crore Indians below the poverty line because of “catastrophic healthcare related expenditure on cancer”.
- While the TMC is a major referral centre for cancer treatment, India’s National Cancer Grid is the bulwark of cancer treatment in the country.
- The Committee has recommended a ‘Hub and Spoke Model’ proposed by the TMC to better reach out to cancer patients nationally.
- The hub-and-spoke organization design is a model which arranges service delivery assets into a network consisting of an anchor establishment (hub) which offers a full array of services, complemented by secondary establishments (spokes) which offer more limited service arrays, routing patients needing more intensive services to the hub for treatment.
- This, it said, would reduce costs and the trouble of transporting and treating patients from parts of the country where cancer-care facilities are inadequate.
Pneumonia, diarrhoea still a big threat
- The 10th pneumonia and diarrhoea progress report card has found that health systems are falling short of ensuring the world’s most vulnerable children access to prevention and treatment services in the 23 countries that together account for 75% of global pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths in children under five.
- The report analyses how effectively countries are delivering 10 key interventions, including breastfeeding, vaccination, access to care, use of antibiotics, ORS, and zinc supplementation.
- Globally, pneumonia and diarrhoea led to nearly one of every four deaths in children under five years of age in 2017.
- India, which is home to a large population of under-five children, accounts for a major portion of deaths due to pneumonia and diarrhoea.
Situation in India:
- Rollout of rotavirus vaccines, beginning in 2016, and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, beginning in 2017, helped India’s scores improve.
- India’s exclusive breastfeeding rate, at 55%, is among the highest of the 23 countries.
- However, the proportion of children receiving important treatments, as with many other countries, remains below targets.
- Half of the children with diarrhoea receive ORS (oral rehydration solution) and 20% receive zinc supplementation — to help protect against, prevent and treat pneumonia and diarrhoea.
- Pneumonia and diarrhoea are preventable diseases through basic interventions.
- The report card concludes that the global community must increase investment and support countries in developing smart, sustainable strategies that close gaps and accelerate progress.
Centre wants States to ditch APMC for e-NAM
- According to the Finance Minister, States were being persuaded to reject the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) system in favour of a pan-India electronic trading portal that creates a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
- The finance minister said that the Centre was talking to States to dismantle the APMC system and move towards the electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM).
- Out of almost 2,500 APMCs, 585 in 18 States have been connected to the e-NAM portal so far.
- Interstate trade, which has the potential to give farmers wider market access and better prices, has 21 APMC mandi participants in 8 States so far.
- APMCs need reforms to ensure that a transparent price discovery mechanism exists, particularly for spot prices.
- So far, the Centre had been focussed on reforming APMCs, allocating funds to upgrade them, and persuading States to adopt a model APMC Act. NABARD is now ready to operationalise a 2,000 crore agri-market infrastructure fund aimed at upgrading 585 APMCs and 10,000 gramin agricultural markets.
- While the Centre has been promoting e-NAM since its introduction in 2016, it is not clear if the online portal is ready to bear the entire burden of agricultural trade.
- Only 1.6 crore farmers have registered on the portal so far, from among the almost 12 crore cultivators in the country.
Nuclear plant is safe, India tells Russia
After reports of a cyber-attack on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, Indian authorities have apprised Russia that necessary steps have been taken to prevent similar incidents in future on the Indo-Russian joint venture.
Debt trouble brewing for coffee planters
- The coffee plantation sector, which is facing severe financial, productivity and falling price issues consecutively for the last three years, has sought the intervention of the State governments concerned and the Centre.
- The Karnataka Planters’ Association, an apex body that represents coffee farmers across key coffee growing regions — Chikmagaluru, Kodagu and Hassan, which account for 80% of the country’s total coffee production, has urged the Union government to waive the interest on all outstanding coffee crop loans. The remaining amount may be restructured in nine annual instalments with repayment of principal with interest at 6% per annum.
- The association also urged the government to increase the limit on crop loans and development loans from commercial and co-operative banks, with subsidised rate of interest.
- KPA has also requested for the deletion of Rule 7B of Income Tax, as under this rule, income derived from curing of coffee by the grower is deemed as business income and 25% of such income is taxable under the existing regime.
What is the issue?
- Over 90% of coffee farmers are small holders, they are in deep debt.
- Cost of farm labour, material and fertilizer is on a constant rise while coffee prices are only falling season after season.
- Drastic changes in weather patterns have adversely impacted the yield.
- Farmers are forced to sell below cost of production.