PM pitches for ‘One Nation, One Election’

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

PM Narendra Modi on Thursday again pitched for One Nation, One Election, saying it is the need of the country as elections taking place every few months hamper development works. 

Key details

  • The idea of One Nation One Election is about structuring the Indian election cycle in a manner such that elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies are synchronized together.
  • The concept of ‘One Nation One Election’ can help keep a check on the poll expenses, party expenses etc.
  • In 2019 elections, there were 610 political parties, around 9,000 candidates and poll expenses of around 60,000 crore rupees (declared by ADR) are yet to be declared by the political parties.
  • It will save public money, reduce burden on administrative setup and security forces, ensure timely implementation of the government policies and ensure that the administrative machinery is engaged in developmental activities rather than electioneering.
  • The voters will be able to judge the policies and programmes of the government, both at the state level and the central level. Also, it would be easy for the voters to determine which political party promised what and how it actually implemented the same.
  • It is also necessary to solve the problem of governance on the part of the politicians who are ruling. It is generally seen that for short term political gains from a particular assembly election, ruling politicians avoid taking a harsh long term decision which can ultimately help the country in the long run.
  • The term of the Lok Sabha and that of the State Legislative Assemblies needs to be synchronised so that the election to both can be held within a given span of time.
  • For instance, the term of the present Lok Sabha will go upto 2024, but elections to some of the legislative assembly had already taken place last year (for e.g. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan) and some are due this year (for e.g. Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand), resulting in different dates of completion of the term.
  • It is difficult to convince all the political parties on ‘One Nation One Election’.
  • At present, one voting machine is being used at every polling station for taking a poll. For holding simultaneous elections, the requirements for EVMs and the VVPATs will double, because for every polling station, the ECI has to provide two sets (one for election to the Legislative Assembly and second for that to the Lok Sabha).
  • There will be a need for better security arrangements for simultaneous elections thus augmenting the Central Police Forces accordingly.
  • India had held the elections for the assembly as well as the Lok Sabha from 1951-52 to till 1967. As such, therefore, there are no disagreements on adequacy and efficacy of ‘One Nation One Election’. India can even think of holding elections at the same time even for the local bodies. The main problem is only that of the synchronization considering the traditions and conventions that India’s Parliamentary system follows.
  • Switching to the Presidential form of government would mean altering the basic structure of the constitution.
  • There needs to be a consensus on whether the country needs one nation one poll or not. All political parties should at least cooperate in debating this issue, once the debate starts, the public opinion can be taken into consideration. India being a mature democracy, can then follow the outcome of the debate.

Storm warnings Paper:

Mains: G.S. III Disaster Management

Why in news?

Cyclone Nivar raised fears of another epic disaster for millions of coastal residents in the south.

Key details

  • Property and agriculture have suffered considerable damage from the fierce winds and massive volume of rain it dumped in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
  • Citizens and the government were fearful of a deluge that could be a repeat of the 2015 flood – which killed a few 100 people.
  • There was also a welcome emphasis on periodic alerts and warnings.
  • The IMD has been getting better at forecasting slow-moving, linear tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, and multiple satellites now provide cyclone data.
  • The deployment of over two dozen NDRF teams and disaster management equipments along the coast reassured civic agencies.
  • The aftermath now presents an opportunity to make a full assessment not just for distribution of relief but also to understand the impacts of extreme weather.
  • Governments have not shown the rigour to collect and publish data on annual flooding patterns, and measure the peak flows in the neglected rivers and canals to plan remedies.
  • Nivar was named by Iran according to the tropical cyclone naming convention.
  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains a rotating list of names suitable for each tropical cyclone basin.

HC has taken over executive functions: A.P. Paper:

Mains: G.S. II Polity and Governance

Why in news? 

Y.S. Jagamohan Reddy government told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the Andhra Pradesh High Court has virtually taken over the executive functions of the state.

Key details

  • The doctrine of separation of powers implies that each pillar of democracy – the executive, legislature and the judiciary – perform separate functions and act as separate entities.

  • The executive is vested with the power to make policy decisions and implement laws.The judiciary is responsible for adjudicating disputes.
  • The doctrine is a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution even though it is not specifically mentioned in its text.
  • Different agencies impose checks and balances upon each other but may not transgress upon each other’s functions. Thus, the judiciary exercises judicial review over executive and legislative action, and the legislature reviews the functioning of the executive.
  • With a view to see that judicial activism does not become judicial adventurism the courts must act with caution and proper restraint. It needs to be remembered that courts cannot run the government. The judiciary should act only as an alarm bell; it should ensure that the executive has become alive to perform its duties.
  • Separation of powers is the division of the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of government. It minimises the possibility of arbitrary excesses by the government, since the sanction of all three branches is required for the making, executing, and administering of laws.

  • Article 50 of the Constitution of India provides for separation of judiciary from the
  • Article 122 and 212 said that validity of proceedings in parliament and legislatures cannot be called into question in any court.

  • Repeated interventions of one organ into another’s functioning can diminish the faith of the people in the integrity, quality, and efficiency of the other organs.

Recovery’s momentum is stronger than expected: Das Paper:

Mains: G.S. III Economy

Why in news?

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Thursday, India’s economy has exhibited a stronger than expected pick up momentum of recovery following a multi speed normalisation of activity.

Key details 

  • The global economy has also witnessed a stronger than expected rebound in activity.
  • The IMF has accordingly revised it’s assessment for global growth in 2020 to less severe contraction than what was assessed earlier.
  • Das cautioned that even though economic outlook had improved, downside risks to growth continued due to a recent surge in COVID-19 infections in advanced economies and parts of India.
  • We need to be watchful about the sustainability of demand after festivals and a possible reassessment of market expectations surrounding the vaccine.
  • The governor also said India’s move towards capital account convertibility will be a process rather than an event.


Police stop farmers’ march to Delhi at Haryana, U.P. borders Paper:

Mains: G.S. I, II & III Agriculture, Government schemes

Why in news?

Tens of thousands of farmers are planning to storm Delhi to protest against the Centre’s new farm reform laws.

Key details 

  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020: This proposed legislation seeks to give freedom to farmers to sell their produce outside the notified APMC market yards (mandis). This is aimed at facilitating remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels. Farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce under this Act.

Benefits: It will open more choices for farmers, reduce marketing costs, and help them get better prices. It will also help farmers of regions with surplus produce to get better prices and consumers in areas with shortages at lower prices.

Opposition: States will lose revenue as they will not be able to collect ‘mandi fees’ if farmers sell their produce outside registered Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets. Also, commission agents stand to lose if the entire farm trade moves out of mandis. But, more importantly, farmers and opposition parties fear it may eventually lead to the end of the minimum support price (MSP) -based procurement system and may lead to exploitation by private companies.

  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: This proposed legislation seeks to give farmers the right to enter into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters, or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price. Benefits: It seeks to transfer the risk of market unpredictability from farmers to sponsors. Besides giving them access to modern tech and better inputs, it also seeks to boost farmer income by reducing the cost of marketing.

Opposition: Farmer bodies and opposition parties say the law is framed to suit “big corporates who seek to dominate the Indian food and agriculture business”. It will weaken the negotiating power of farmers. Also, big private companies, exporters, wholesalers, and processors may get an edge.

  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: This proposed legislation seeks to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion, and potatoes from the list of essential commodities and will do away with the imposition of stock holding limits on such items except under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ like war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity.

Benefits: It is aimed at attracting private investment/FDI into the farm sector as well as bringing price stability.

Opposition: Big companies will have the freedom to stock commodities, helping them dictate terms to farmers.