GS PAPER II NEWS

Government of National Capital Territory (GNCTD) Amendment Act, 2021

Why in News

Recently the Union Home Ministry stated that the Government of National Capital Territory (GNCTD) Amendment Act, 2021 “in no way alters the constitutional and legal responsibilities of the elected government” to take necessary action in areas of health and education.

Key Points

  • The Act passed by Parliament on March 24 gives more teeth to the office of the Lieutenant Governor (L­G) of Delhi.
  • The notification to implement the Act came a day after the Delhi High Court cautioned the Delhi government to put its “house in order” over the issue of inadequate oxygen supply in the city.
  • The Centre also stated to take over if the Delhi government couldn’t manage the situation created by the pandemic at hand.

Government of National Capital Territory (GNCTD) Amendment Act, 2021

  • The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 (or the GNCTD Amendment Act) was enacted by the Government of India on 28 March 2021.
  • The Act amended Sections 21, 24, 33 and 44 of the 1991 Act saying that “Government” in the national capital territory of Delhi means the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
  • The Act gives discretionary powers to the L­G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • The Act also seeks to ensure that the L­G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give an opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.
  • The objective of the Amendment Act is:
  • To make it more relevant to the needs of the capital;
  • The responsibilities of the elected government and the Lt. Governor (LG); and,
  • Create a harmonious relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.
  • The Amendment would ensure better governance in the NCT of Delhi and lead to improved implementation of schemes and programmes meant for the common people of Delhi.

Need of the amendment in Government of National Capital Territory (GNCTD) Act, 1991

  • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Section 44 of the 1991 Act deals with conduct of business and there is no structural mechanism for effective time-bound implementation of the said section.
  • Further, the Bill adds, there is no clarity as to what proposal or matters are required to be submitted to Lieutenant Governor before issuing order thereon.
  • Section 44 of the 1991 Act says that all executive actions of the LG, whether taken on the advice of his Ministers or otherwise shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the LG.
  • The Bill seeks to ensure that the L-G is necessarily granted an opportunity to exercise the power entrusted to him under proviso to clause (4) of article 239AA of the Constitution, in select category of cases and also to make rules in matters which incidentally encroach upon matters falling outside the preview of the Legislative Assembly.
  • It also seeks to provide for rules made by the Legislative Assembly of Delhi to be consistent with the rules of the House of the People.

Government of National Capital Territory (GNCTD) Act, 1991

  • The Legislative Assembly of Delhi was first constituted on 17 March 1952 under the Government of Part C States Act, 1951, but it was abolished on 1 October 1956.
  • Delhi again established as the Union Territory with a legislature and it came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by ‘the Constitution under 69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991.
  • As per the Act of 1991, the legislative assembly of Delhi has power to make laws in all matters except public order, police and land.

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International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

Why in News

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called upon the Centre and the State governments to comply with court orders regarding oxygen supply, hospital beds and medicines for COVID­19, adding that the governments had failed to prepare for the second wave of the pandemic.

Key Points

  • The ICJ stated that the Indian government must urgently remedy failures that have aggravated the impact of the second wave and led to people in the country suffering record high rates of infection and death.
  • It urged the Centre and the State governments to follow judicial orders regarding medical care and vaccines.
  • The secretary-general of ICJ said that “the Indian federal and State governments failed to prepare for the predictable second wave of COVID­19 pandemic, aggravating the horrific impact of the pandemic and the avoidable tragedy of between 1,500 to over 3,000 deaths daily.”
  • The ICJ noted that India had reported over 2,00,000 cases every day since April 15 and 3,60,960 cases on April 27, the highest in the world.

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

  • The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is an international human rights non-governmental organization.
  • It was formed on 1952 headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It consists of 60 eminent jurists including senior judges, attorneys and academics who work to develop national and international human rights standards through the law.
  • The objective of constituting Commission is to reflect the geographical diversity of the world and its many legal systems.
  • They are supported by an International Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland, and staffed by lawyers drawn from a wide range of jurisdictions and legal traditions.
  • The Secretariat and the Commission undertake advocacy and policy work with the objective to strengthen the role of lawyers and judges in protecting and promoting human rights and the rule of law.
  • It has national sections and affiliates in over 70 countries.

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Construction of Dam Over Brahmaputra

Why in News

According to the Media Report, the melting glaciers and barrier lakes could threaten China’s plan to build the world’s biggest hydroelectric dam over the Brahmaputra River in Tibet close to the Arunachal Pradesh border.

Key Points

  • According to the Chinese official, there is no parallel in history will be built in Medog county which is the last county in Tibet located close to the Arunachal Pradesh border, where the Brahmaputra Grand Canyon is located.
  • The plan to build the mega-dam, which is part of China’s 14th five-year plan beginning from 2021, was approved by China’s Parliament, the National People’s Congress in March 2021.
  • But the engineers are concerned about the threats posed by landslides and barrier lakes to the dam, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Landslides of 2018

  • In 2018, a landslide caused by a melting glacier blocked the Yarlung Tsangpo the upper stream of the Brahmaputra River at the Sedongpu Basin in Milin county.
  • It formed a lake containing about 600 million cubic meters of water. With the river spilling over the top at present, the dam could collapse at any time.
  • The Sedongpu lake sits just a few dozen kilometers upstream from the planned construction site of the super hydropower plant.
  • With so much water hanging overhead, no construction workers can move in to clear the ground.
  • To build the big dam, they must get rid of the small dam formed by the landslide first.

China’s Plan to construct Dam

  • Under 14th Five-year Plan, China is going to construct the first downstream hydropower project on the lower reaches of the river Brahmaputra (known as Yarlung Zangpo in Tibet).
  • It is the State-owned hydropower company POWERCHINA signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) Government to implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangpo river.

Significance of Plan to construct Dam

  • It will be capable to generate hydropower could be three times that of Central China’s Three Gorges Dam, having the largest installed hydropower capacity in the world.
  • It will generate an income of 20 billion yuan (USD three billion) annually for the Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • The 60 million kWh hydropower exploitation could provide 300 billion kWh of clean, renewable and zero-carbon electricity annually.
  • It will help China in meeting its goal of carbon emissions peak before the year 2030 and carbon neutrality till 2060.

Concern for India

  • Brahmaputra is not entirely dependent on upstream flows and an estimated 35% of its basin is in India.
  • The construction of Dam on Brahmaputra river may affect India’s quality of water, ecological balance and flood management.
  • In 2018, an MoU was signed between Ministry of Water Resources of China and India’s Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on sharing hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river in flood season by China to India.
  • As per the MoU, China will provide hydrological data during the non-flood season if water level exceeds the mutually agreed level.
  • Thus, it is important for China to share genuine data and have a continuous dialogue on several issues related to the warning of droughts, floods and high-water discharges.

Brahmaputra River

  • Brahmaputra river is a perennial river originates from the Chemayungdung glacier of the Kailash range near the Mansarovar lake.
  • It enters in India via U-turn through the west of Sadiya town in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Tributaries of Brahmaputra are: Dibang, Lohit, Siang, Burhi Dihing, Tista, and Dhansari.
  • It has several peculiar characteristics due to its geography and prevailing climatic conditions.
  • It flooded twice annually:
  • One flood is caused by the melting of the Himalayan snow in summer and
  • The other due to the monsoon flows.
  • The frequency of these floods has increased and are devastating due to climate change and its impact on high and low flows.

Way Forward

  • The development and utilization of natural resources and energy in the Yarlung Tsangpo river must fully consider the situation of avalanches and debris flows in the Sedongpu valley.
  • Some Chinese scientists have proposed that instead of building a super dam, a 16km-long tunnel could be dug through one of the high mountains in the Yarlung Tsangpo valley.
  • The water could be directed into the tunnel to push electricity generating turbines.
  • This scheme would reduce the power output to 50GW or about twice that of the Three Gorges Dam but reduce the risk of damage from landslides or other natural disasters.