SC seeks proof of Arunachal constitutional machinery breakdown
After the President proclaimed emergency in Arunachal Pradesh the Supreme court directed the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to furnish relevant material backing their claim of breakdown in the constitutional machinery of the sensitive border State.
A five-judge Constitution Bench led by J.S. Khehar issued notice to the Centre and the Governor on a petition by Rajesh Tacho, the chief whip of the Congress Legislature Party, contending that the Governor and the Centre â€œplayed fraud on the Constitutionâ€ and Presidentâ€™s rule should be quashed.
The petition said Article 356 has been misused to topple the democratically elected Congress government. It wanted the Centre and the Governor to â€œfurnishâ€ records of the events culminating in the Union Cabinetâ€™s recommendation on January 24 and the subsequent proclamation of Presidentâ€™s rule.
In the event that a State government is not able to function as per the Constitution, the State comes under the direct control of the central government; in other words, it is “under President’s rule”. Subsequently, executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed Governor, who has the authority to appoint retired civil servants or other administrators, to assist him.
The article was used for the first time in up 1954. It has also been used in the state of Patiala and East Punjab States union (PEPSU) and then during Vimochana samaram to dismiss the democratically elected Communist state government of Kerala on 31 July 1959. In the 1970s and 1980s it almost became common practice for the central government to dismiss state governments led by opposition parties.
It is only after the landmark judgement in 1994 in the S. R. Bommai v. Union of India case that the misuse of Article 356 was curtailed. In this case, the Supreme Court established strict guidelines for imposing President’s rule. Subsequent pronouncements by the Supreme Court in Jharkhand and other states have further whetted down the scope for misuse of Article 356.
Article 356 has always been the focal point of a wider debate of the federal structure of government in Indian polity. The Sarkaria Commission Report on Centreâ€“State Relations 1988 has recommended that Article 356 must be used “very sparingly, in extreme cases, as a measure of last resort, when all the other alternatives fail to prevent or rectify a breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state”.
Source: Â TheHindu
Regulating Taxi Aggregators
The Karnataka state government is thinking of better regulating cab aggregators and private taxi operators. all cabs in the city, including the ones with cab aggregators, will soon have to fix digital meters and operate within a maximum fare limit. They will no longer be able to dictate fares via surge pricing.The Transport Department will publish a set of rules to regulate private taxi aggregators. The notification has been cleared by the Law Department.
Earlier Â in 2015 Indiaâ€™s ministry of road transport has issued guidelines for ride hailing services such as Uber (Uber Technologies Inc.) and Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd), identifying them as on-demand information technology-based transportation aggregators and not taxi companies, although it is up to the states to accept or reject this.
The aggregators must not own or lease any vehicle, employ any drivers or represent themselves as a taxi service, unless also registered as a taxi operator. Taxi operators are to maintain a minimum fleet size, office space and parking space for all taxis, among other requirements.
There has also been confusion and legal bickering over whether such ride-hailing services can be used by drivers of diesel cars in cities such as New Delhi where all local taxis have to use compressed natural gas (CNG).
Still, the states could choose not to accept the transport ministryâ€™s guidance.
Temple Entry and Gender Equality
The police detained at least 300 women activists along with Bhumata Ranragini Brigade chief Â Trupti Desai, who were on their way to the Shani Shingnapur temple to break the centuries old tradition of not allowing the feminine gender to enter the sanctum sanctorum, on Tuesday 26th January.
The outfit also submitted a memorandum demanding that women be allowed to offer worship in the sacred platform to the Chief Minister.
Temple Entry for women has gathered attention after the Sabarimala shrine authority stayed its decade old ban on entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 citing ritualistic practice and tradition.
In 2000, Narendra Dabholkar and his Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) launched a move to accord “dignity to women” by being allowed entry into temples. Led by the rationalist â€” who was later murdered allegedly by right-wing extremists â€” activists including artistes from theatre, film and grassroots leaders marched from Pandharpur to Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar to protest against the temple’s tradition which allows male devotees to go up to the platform to offer puja wearing a wet cloth but bans women from doing so.
Despite Dabholkar’s efforts, the fact that we haven’t moved even an inch became clear when last November in 2015, nine small steps taken by a woman to enter and offer prayers at the Shani shrine was considered to be ‘breach’ of a 400-year-old practice. The temple committee suspended seven security guards and villagers performed a milk purification of the idol.
It is high time we as a society decide that we give women equal cultural, social and economic rights that has been their due.
Hybrid Annuity Model for National Highways
The central government has approved the hybrid annuity model for construction of highways. The move will speed up the construction of roads in the country by renewing interest of private developers in highway projects as the risk will be distributed between the government and the private players.
The government plans to build 28 national highway projects worth Rs.36,000 crore this fiscal year. A government official said this model will double the speed of highway construction in the country as the government will no longer will be dependent on its limited financial resources and the expertise of private sector will be utilised to operate and maintain the roads.
What are the different PPP models? Â – In the BOT-Annuity case, the risk of the developer gets reduced since it constructs the road and maintains it, and gets fixed payment from the government. In BOT-Toll, the developer not only has to construct and maintain the road, but also has to recover his money by collecting toll; here an additional traffic risk has to be borne by the developer. In an EPC contract, only the construction risk is with the developer.
What is hybrid annuity? – In India, road projects are awarded mainly via one of the three models: Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT)-Annuity, BOT-Toll, and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC). The hybrid annuity model is a mix of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and build-operate-transfer (BOT) formats, with the government and the private companies sharing the total project cost in the ratio of 40:60 respectively. The government also shoulders the responsibility of revenue collection. The NHAI will collect toll and refund the amount in instalments over a period of 10 years in 20 equated instalments.
How it benefits developers? Â – In the current situation where developers lack capital, the move to lower the upfront costs is significant. Given the certainty of cash flows in the annuity model, developers can obtain more leverage from banks. Developers will also not share the risk of toll collection which has become a politically sensitive subject.
How it benefits government? – Â The model is likely to ease financial burden on the exchequer, as it lowers their upfront contribution for the project compared to EPC. It will also help in improving the execution of infrastructure projects that have been stalled for the past years.
Q1) Which of the following is true regarding CERT-In?
- It is the nodal agency for dealing with cyber security threats
- It comes under Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
A) 1 only
B) 2 only
D) None of the above
Ans) C. CERT was formed in 2004 and comes under Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. It is a nodal agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing.
Q2) Which of the following is correct regarding Transparency International?
- It is an inter-government organization
- It publishes International Corruption Perceptions Index
- India is ranked 76th and Denmark is seen as the least corrupt country at 1st position
Ans) B. It is a non-government, non-profit organization.
Q3) Fuzzy logic, neural networks and deep learning are used Â majorly in which of the following context?
B) Artificial Intelligence
Ans) B. Artificial Intelligence uses tools like fuzzy logic, neural networks and deep machine learning. Â Marvin Minsky, who combined a scientistâ€™s thirst for knowledge with a philosopherâ€™s quest for truth as a pioneering explorer of artificial intelligence died recently.
Q4) Which of the following is not true regarding Minimum Alternate Tax(MAT) ?
A) MAT is a way of making companies pay minimum amount of tax
B) It is set at 18.5% in India
C) SEZs are exempted from MAT
D) It was introduced in Indian tax law in 1987
Ans) B. SEZs are eligible for MAT
Q5) Ramadi has been in news lately. Where is it located?
D) Saudi Arabia