Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2022
GS Paper 2: Government policies and interventions for the development of various sectors
Prelims exam: About Provisions of Bill
Mains exam: Significance of Bill
Why in News?
The Lok Sabha referred the Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2022 to a joint committee of Parliament.
- The Bill is aimed at overhauling the existing law, which was enacted 20 years ago.
- The existing law the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002, was enacted by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Since then, many changes have taken place in the field of cooperatives.
- Opposition members argued that it seeks to “take away” state governments’ rights, and demanded that it be sent to the standing committee.
Why amend the existing law?
- At the time of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government, Cooperation was a department under the Ministry of Agriculture.
- However, on July 6, 2021, the government carved out a separate Cooperation Ministry and Amit Shah became the first Cooperation Minister of the country.
- Soon after taking charge of the Ministry, he announced the bringing in of a new National Cooperative Policy.
The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill
- “The Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002 (the Act) was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to co-operative societies, with objects not confined to one State and serving the interests of members in more than one State, to facilitate the voluntary formation and democratic functioning of co-operatives as people’s institutions based on self-help and mutual aid and to enable them to promote their economic and social betterment and to provide functional autonomy and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
- “Part IXB was inserted in the Constitution, vide the Constitution (Ninety-seventh Amendment) Act, 2011. In view of insertion of the said Part, it has become imperative to amend the Act. Further, developments over the years also necessitated required changes in the Act so as to strengthen the co-operative movement in the multi-State co-operative societies,”.
New rules for merger
- The Bill provides for the merger of “any co-operative society” into an existing multi-state co-operative society.
- “Any co-operative society may, by a resolution passed by majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting at a general meeting of such society, decide to merge into an existing multi-State co-operative society,” .
- At present, only multi-state cooperative societies can amalgamate themselves and form a new multi-state co-operative society.
Co-operative Election Authority
- Also, the Bill seeks to establish a “Co-operative Election Authority”, with a view to bring “electoral reforms” in the co-operative sector.
- As per the proposed amendment, the authority shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and members not exceeding three to be appointed by the Centre.
Who can be appointed the chairperson of the authority?
- As per the proposed amendments, a person shall not be qualified for appointment as Chairperson of the Authority unless he has held the post of Additional Secretary to the Government of India or equivalent rank; Vice-Chairperson of the Authority unless he held the post of Joint Secretary to the Government of India or equivalent rank; and Member unless he fulfils such qualification and experience as may be prescribed.
- The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson or Member of the Authority will hold office for three years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, and they shall be eligible for re-appointment, according to the proposed Section 45(4).
What was the Constitution (Ninety Seventh Amendment) Act, 2011?
- Through the 97th constitutional amendment, Part IXB (The Co-Operative Societies) was inserted in the Constitution.
- The right to form cooperative societies was included as Right to Freedom under article 19 (1), Part-3 of the Constitution.
- In addition to this, Article 43-B (Promotion of Cooperation societies) was also inserted as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy under Part 4 of the Constitution of India.
- Clause 37 of the Bill seeks to amend section 104 of the Act to increase the amount of penalty for certain offences.
- “Where the board of directors or officers of the multi-State co-operative society receive any unlawful gains while transacting matters related to such society or utilise any assets of the society for personal unlawful gains, such directors or officers concerned shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one month but which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees but may extend to one lakh rupees or with both and the proceeds of such unlawful gains shall be recovered from them and deposited in such manner as may be prescribed,” said the proposed sub section (6) of the Section 104 of the principal Act.
Ombudsman to have powers like Civil Court
- The government has proposed to insert a new Chapter IXA relating to “redressal of complaints”. Under this new chapter, the government has proposed to appoint one or more “Co-operative Ombudsman” with a territorial jurisdiction for inquiring into the complaints made by the members. For this, a new section 85 will be added in the law.
- The complaints can be “made by any member of the multi-state co-operative societies regarding their deposits, equitable benefits of society’s functioning or any other issue affecting the individual rights of the concerned member, in such manner, as may be prescribed,” the proposed section 85 A (1) said.
- According to the proposed amendments, the Co-operative Ombudsman shall, on receipt of a complaint, complete the process of inquiry and adjudicate within three months. The Ombudsman may issue necessary directions to the society during the course of inquiry and the society shall be bound to comply with the same within a period of one month.
- As per the proposed provisions, a multi-state co-operative society can appeal an Ombudsman decision within one month before the Central Registrar, who shall decide on it within 45 days. The Central Registrar may entertain the appeal after the expiry of a month if he is satisfied that the society was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal in time.
- The Co-operative Ombudsman will have powers of civil court in summoning and examination.
Fund for revival of sick co-operative societies
- The Bill also seeks to insert a new section 63A in the principal Act, relating to “establishment of the Co-operative Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development Fund” for revival of “sick multi-State co-operative societies”. It also proposes to insert a new section 70A relating to “concurrent audit” for multi-state co-operative societies having an annual turnover or deposit of more than the amount as determined by the Central Government.
Cooperative Information Officer
- The Centre has also proposed to make provisions for “appointment of a Co-operative Information Officer” to provide information relating to affairs and management of the multi-state co-operative society to the members of such society.
Cooperative societies are state subjects
- Some of the Opposition’s objections to the Centre’s Bill were based on the fact that cooperative societies are a state subject.
- The subject ‘cooperative societies’ is mentioned in the entry 32 of the State List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. “Incorporation, regulation and winding up of corporations, other than those specified in List I, and universities; unincorporated trading, literary, scientific, religious and other societies and associations; co-operative societies,” reads entry 32 of the State List.
- Besides, Entry 43 of the Central List under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution also makes clear that co-operative societies do not come in the Centre’s domain.
Maritime Anti-Piracy Bill
GS Paper 2: Government policies and interventions for the development of various sectors
Prelims exam: About Provisions of Maritime Anti-Piracy Bill
Mains exam: Significance of Maritime Anti-Piracy Bill
Why in News?
Rajya Sabha passed a Bill which the government said would provide an effective legal instrument to combat maritime piracy. The Bill provides for stringent punishment to those convicted of such crimes.
Key Points of the Bill
- The security of sea lanes of communication is critical as more than 90 per cent of India’s trade takes place by sea routes and more than 80 per cent of the country’s hydrocarbon requirements was sea-borne.
- the Bill addresses the issue of death penalty as an “exceptional case” and the quantum of punishments envisaged are in line with the gravity of offences.
- In the absence of a specific law or a legal provision in the Indian Penal Code or the Criminal Procedure Code on piracy, this Bill would provide an effective legal instrument to combat maritime piracy.
- It would enable India to discharge its obligations under the UNCLOS which we had signed in 1982 and ratified in 1995.
- Designated courts will be set up in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
Between 2008 and 2011, there have been 27 maritime incidents in which 288 Indian nationals were involved. And between 2014 and 2022, there were 19 piracy cases in which 155 Indian crew members were involved and the numbers show why the country needs this bill so badly.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
- The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea Treaty, is an international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union are parties.
- The Convention resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982.
- UNCLOS replaced the four treaties of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty.
- It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.
- While the Secretary-General of the United Nations receives instruments of ratification and accession and the UN provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention, the United Nations Secretariat has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention.
- A UN specialized agency, the International Maritime Organization, does play a role, however, as well as other bodies such as the International Whaling Commission and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which was established by the Convention itself.
- The convention was opened for signature on 10 December 1982 and entered into force on 16 November 1994 upon deposition of the 60th instrument of ratification.
- The convention has been ratified by 168 parties, which includes 164 UN member states, 1 UN Observer state (Palestine) and two associated countries (the Cook Islands and Niue) plus the European Union.
Parties, dually represented by the European Union
GS Paper 3: Developments in Science and Technology
Prelims exam: About INS Mormugao
Mains exam: Strategic Importance of INS Mormugao
Why in News?
In a boost to the country’s maritime capabilities, INS Mormugao has officially joined the Indian Navy’s fleet, marking a significant milestone for indigenous military expedition.
What is Project 15B?
- Project 15 was launched in the 1990s to add guided missile destroyers to the inventory of the Indian Navy.
- The project was named ‘Delhi class’. It was followed by Project 15A or Kolkata class which primarily focused on advanced technology and equipment in surface ships.
- Project 15B or the Visakhapatnam class is a follow-on class of weapon-intensive Project 15A destroyers.
- The project was launched in January 2011 to incorporate advanced design concepts such as state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, advanced stealth features and a high degree of automation for “improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and manoeuvrability”.
- The lead ship of Project 15B, INS Visakhapatnam, was the first of the class to be commissioned. Besides INS Mormugao, the other two destroyers are expected to be commissioned between 2023 and 2025.
What are the capabilities of INS Mormugao?
- Regarded as “one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in the country”, the destroyer is 163 metres long, 17 metres wide and displaces 7,400 tonnes when fully loaded.
- The ship is propelled by four gas turbines in a combined gas and gas (COGAG) configuration.
- The propulsion system allows the ship to achieve a speed of more than 30 knots (50km/h) and a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles. It can accommodate a crew of about 300 personnel.
- INS Mormugao’s firepower comprises BrahMos surface-to-surface missiles (SSM), Barak-8 surface-to-air (SAM) missiles for a long range of shore and sea-based targets and a 76mm super rapid gun mount.
- The ship is armed with RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers and 533mm torpedo launchers.
- It is also equipped to carry and operate multi-role helicopters. Its enhanced stealth features ensure a reduced Radar Cross Section or radar signature.
- It is automated with sophisticated digital networks such as the Gigabyte Ethernet-based Ship Data Network (GESDN), the Combat Management System (CMS), Automatic Power Management System (APMS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) and Ship Data Network (SDN).
- While the CMS performs threat evaluation and resource allocation based on the tactical picture compiled and ammunition available onboard, APMS controls power management.
- IPMS is used to control and monitor machinery and auxiliaries and the SDN is the ‘information highway for data’ from sensors and weapons.
- The ship has multiple fire zones, battle damage control systems, distributional power systems to enhance survivability in emergencies and a total atmospheric control system to protect the crew against nuclear, biological and chemical threats.
- Built with over 75% indigenous content, the commissioning of INS Mormugao is a shot in the arm for India’s self-reliance efforts and crucial for the 15-year Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030 implemented in 2014 for indigenous development of its resources, equipment and to make the nation self-reliant in defence technology.
What is the strategic importance?
- While India’s interests are closely tied to the Indian Ocean, China has been rapidly expanding its naval footprint in the region.
- Amid growing Chinese strategic interests, India renewed its focus on bolstering its maritime capabilities in the region to counter the threat.
- During the commissioning ceremony of INS Mormugao, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reiterated the government’s resolve to prepare the nation to deal with any situation arising due to the changing global scenario.
- “Economic, political and trade relations between countries are constantly evolving.
- The COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan and now Ukraine.
- It directly or indirectly impacts every country in one way or another.
- In this era of globalisation, almost all nations are dependent on each other in the field of trade.
- Hence, rule-based freedom of navigation, security of sea lanes etc. have become more important than ever for stability and economic progress of the world,” he said.
- The addition of a technologically advanced stealth warship to the naval inventory provides a strategic advantage to India and adds to the combat capabilities of the armed forces.
- Besides surface operations, guided missile destroyers are capable of engaging in anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR)
GS Paper 3: Conservation
Prelims exam: About Madumalai Tiger Reserve
Mains exam: Significance of Madumalai Tiger Reserve
Why in News?
Almost two weeks since PM2 capture and relocation to the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), the elephant, PM2, is acclimatising to his new habitat and has exhibited key behavioural changes that indicate that negative interactions with humans could be in the past, officials said.
- Since PM2 release in Congress Mattam in MTR, PM2 has spent the last 12 days exploring his new habitat, with radio signals and direct sightings indicating his exploration of Then gumarahada, Mangalapatti, Chemmanatham, Moyar, Theppakadu and even Bandipur.
- The elephant was darted in Gudalur division earlier this month, and relocated to MTR after he damaged a number of houses over the last few years in the region.
- In the weeks since his release, PM2 has also been socialising with other elephants in the region, associating with five tuskers, another “maknha” or tuskless elephant like himself as well as a herd of three elephants.
- “It is to be expected that Pandalur Makhna-2 (PM2) is trying to establish a niche for himself in his new habitat. He is eating well, resting and has adequate access to water within the reserve,”.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR)
- Mudumalai National Park is a national park in the Nilgiri Mountains in Tamil Nadu, south India.
- It covers 321 km2 (124 sq mi) at an elevation range of 850–1,250 m (2,790–4,100 ft) in the Nilgiri District and shares boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. A part of this area has been protected since 1940.
- The national park has been part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve since 1986 and was declared a tiger reserve together with a buffer zone of 367.59 km2 (141.93 sq mi) in 2007.
- It receives an annual rainfall of about 1,420 mm (56 in) and harbours tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests with 498 plant species, at least 266 bird species, 18 carnivore and 10 herbivore species.
- It is drained by the Moyar River and several tributaries, which harbour 38 fish species.
- Traffic on three public roads passing through the national park has caused significant roadkills of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
- The park’s northern part has been affected by several wildfires since 1999.
Flora:The Reserve has tall grasses, commonly referred to as ‘Elephant Grass’.Bamboo of the giant variety, valuable timber species like Teak, Rosewood, etc.There are several species of endemic flora.
Birds:Reserve has got a wide variety of more than 260 species of birds.8% of bird species found in India are recorded in Mudumalai.This includes rare birds like Malabar grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, Malabar laughing thrush among others.