Politics News

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution Constitutional and Statutory bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

Created: 20 Jun, 2020
Updated: 20 Jun, 2020

Ministry of Women and Child Development

[In News] Twitter has launched search prompts that will direct users, seeking information on domestic violence to NCW and Ministry of Women and Child Development pages

Ministry of Women and Child Development

  • The ministry came into existence as a separate Ministry in 2006, earlier it was under the Ministry of Human Resources Development
  • The Ministry has 6 autonomous organisations viz.
    • National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)
    • National Commission for women (NCW)
      • Statutory body
      • Consists of
        • Chairperson
        • five members nominated by Central Government, provided at least one member each belongs to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively
    • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
    • Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
    • Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB)
    • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution Constitutional and Statutory bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

Created: 27 Jun, 2020
Updated: 21 Jul, 2020

Human Rights

Human Rights Commission

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) 

  • Established in 1993, NHRC is a statutory body created under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • Composition
    • The commission is a multi-member body consisting of a chairman and four members appointed by President, based on a six member committee headed by Prime Minister.
    • The chairman should be a retired chief justice of India. The members should be serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court, a serving or retired chief justice of a high court and two persons having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights.
    • They can be removed by President on grounds defined in Act, but for grounds on proven misbehavior, President has to refer to Supreme Court.
    • The commission also has four ex-officio members - the chairmen of the National Commission for Minorities, the National Commission for SCs, the National Commission for STs, and the National Commission for Women
  • NHRC has suo moto power to inquire into any case of human rights violation by a public servant. The case can only be taken by Commission within one year from date on which alleged violation occurred.
  • Statistics
    • Since 2017, NHRC has received 5300 complains of custodial death

State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) 

  • Established in 1993, SHRC is a statutory body created under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • Composition
    • The commission is a multi-member body consisting of a chairman and two members
    • They are appointed by the Governor on the recommendations of a committee consisting of the chief minister as its head, the speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the state home minister and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly. In the case of a state having Legislative Council, the chairman of the Council and the leader of the opposition in the Council would also be the members of the committee.
    • The chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice of a High Court and members should be a serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the state with a minimum of seven years experience as District Judge
      • A sitting judge of a High Court or a sitting District Judge can be appointed only after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned state.
    • They hold office for a term of five years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. After their tenure, the chairperson and members are not eligible for further employment under a state government or the Central government.
    • They can be removed by President (not Governor) on grounds defined in Act, but for grounds on proven misbehavior, President has to refer to Supreme Court.
    • Their remuneration is determined by state governments
  • Inquiry
    • A State Human Rights Commission can inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of subjects mentioned in the State List and the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule
    • State Human Rights Commission does not inquire into cases already being inquired by National Human Rights Commission or any other Statutory Commission
    • The Commission is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure. It has all the powers of a civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character. It may call for information or report from the state government
    • SHRC has suo moto power to inquire into any case of human rights violation by a public servant. The case can only be taken by Commission within one year from date on which alleged violation occurred.
    • Functions of SHRC are mainly recommendatory in nature. It has no power to punish the violators of human rights, nor to award any relief including monetary relief to the victim. Further its recommendations are non binding on State.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • NHRC issued notice to IRDA over high premiums for medical policies for healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu SHRC looking into alleged thrashing in custody.
  • July, 20
    • Custodial death - Law requires prosecution to prove that the police caused the death.

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution Constitutional and Statutory bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

Created: 27 Jun, 2020
Updated: 11 Jul, 2020

Finance Commission

Article 280 of the Constitution of India provides for a Finance Commission as a quasi judicial body. It is constituted by the president of India every fifth year or at such earlier time as he considers necessary.

  • Constitution
    • The Finance Commission consists of a chairman and four other members to be appointed by the president. They hold office for such period as specified by the president in his order. They are eligible for reappointment.
    • Constitution aloows Parliament to determine qualifications and selection process. The chairman should be a person having experience in public affairs and the four other members should be selected from amongst the following: - a judge of high court or one qualified to be appointed as one; and people with knowledge of finance, administration, and economics
  • Functions
    • Distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of taxes 
    • Suggest principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States (Article 275) out of the Consolidated Fund of India. The Grants-in-aid cover Revenue Deficit of States, Local Body grants (rural and urban local bodies), and grants to augment SDRF.
    • To augment the Consolidated Fund of a State, on the basis of the recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State, for supplementing resources of Municipalities and Panchayats 
  • Recommendations made by Commission are advisory in nature.
  • The commission submits its report to the president who tables it in Parliament.

15th Finance Commission was required to submit two reports. The first report, consisting of recommendations for the financial year 2020-21, was tabled in Parliament on February 1, 2020.  The final report with recommendations for the 2021-26 period will be submitted by October 30, 2020.  

Report recommendations for the financial year 2020-21

  • Share of states in the centre’s taxes is recommended to be decreased from 42% during the 2015-20 period to 41% for 2020-21. This 1% share will be diverted to newly formed Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh
  • Grants-in-aid : Commission has proposed a framework for sector-specific and performance-based grants
    • Sector-specific grants : Guidelines for Sector-specific grants include - nutrition, health, pre-primary education, judiciary, rural connectivity, railways, police training, and housing.
    • Performance-based grants : Guidelines for performance-based grants include:
      • implementation of agricultural reforms,
      • development of aspirational districts and blocks
      • power sector reforms
      • enhancing trade including exports
      • incentives for education, and
      • promotion of domestic and international tourism.
  • Recommendations on fiscal roadmap
    • Governments should focus on debt consolidation, and disclose their extra-budgetary borrowings.
      • debt consolidation is the process of paying debts by taking loan over a long manageable period
    • Broaden the tax base, and streamline tax rates.
    • Address state dependency on Centre for GST revenue shortfalls.

In Focus

  • Fiscal Council: Setting up a Fiscal Council was first recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission, subsequently endorsed by the Fourteenth Finance Commission and then by the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Review Committee headed by N.K. Singh.

[In News]

  •  June, 20
    • Centre deciding to take the ordinance route to push through reforms in agricultural marketing and contract farming
  • July, 20
    • Need for a "Fiscal Council" in current times, where government is required to spend more.

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution Constitutional and Statutory bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

Created: 27 Jun, 2020
Updated: 27 Jun, 2020

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog was established as successor to the planning commission in 2015. It was created by an executive resolution, so its neither a constitutional nor a statutory body.

Composition

  • Chairperson:Prime Minister of India
  • Governing Council: Comprising Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories, and Lt. Governors of other Union Territories. 
  • Regional Councils: Formed to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or region. These are formed for a specified tenure. These are chaired by Prime Minister (or his nominee) and comprises of the Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories
  • Full-time Organisational Framework:
    • Vice-Chairperson: appointed by the Prime Minister.
    • Members: full-time, specialists with international exposure.
    • Part-time Members: maximum of 2 on a rotational basis.
    • Ex-Officio Members: maximum of 4 members of the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
    • Chief Executive Officer: appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure, in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
    • Secretariat: as deemed necessary.

Recent initiatives

  • NITI Aayog member V.K. Saraswat on Wednesday favoured imposing a border adjustment tax (BAT) on imports to provide a level-playing field to domestic industries. BAT is a duty that is proposed to be imposed on imported goods in addition to the customs levy that gets charged at the port of entry.

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution Constitutional and Statutory bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

Created: 07 Jul, 2020
Updated: 07 Jul, 2020

Election

Election Commission

Article 324 vests "in an Election Commission" the "superintendence, direction and control of elections". Parliament enacted The Representation of the People Act, 1950 and The Representation of the People Act, 1951 to define and enlarge the powers of the Commission.

  • Election Commission of India is an autonomous permanent constitutional authority, set up in 1950, responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.
  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. 
  • Composition
    • President appoints a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. 
    • They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
    • They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India. 
    • The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament. 
  • At the state level, the election work is supervised by the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, who is appointed by the Commission from amongst senior civil servants proposed by the concerned state government
  • At the district and constituency levels, the District Election Officers, Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers, who are assisted by a large number of junior functionaries, perform election work. 
  • Powers
    • The Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of his election expenses 
    • The Commission has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures
    • The Commission gives binding opinion to President or Governor regarding disqualification of members found guilty of corrupt practices. The decisions can be challenged in High Court or Supreme Court.
    • It can review its results post election, but only after an election petition in High court; or in Supreme Court for Vice President and President's election.
  • SVEEP (Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation) - inspiring people to vote and make a knowledgeable choice during elections.

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 amended to allow postal ballot voting for those over 65 years. Earlier, casting votes through postal ballots was available only to armed forces and officials assigned poll duties.