Chairperson of Rajya Sabha
GS Paper: 2- Parliament
Prelims exam: Vice-President, Article 64 and Article 89
Mains exam: Constitutional Provisions and Powers and functions related to Rajya Sabha Chairman
Why in News?
Recently, Jagdeep Dhankhar, the new chairman of the Rajya Sabha (RS), was welcomed.
What are the Important Points Concerning RS Chairman?
- The Vice-President serves as the Rajya Sabha’s ex-officio chairman.
- The Vice President is the undisputed defender of the prestige and dignity of the House in his capacity as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
- Article 64: The Vice-President shall serve as the Council of States’ ex officio chairman and shall not hold any office of profit.
- Article 89: The Chairman (Vice President of India) and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha are specified under Article 89 of the Constitution.
Powers and functions
- In the case that a quorum is not present, the Rajya Sabha Chairman has the authority to adjourn the House or suspend its sitting.
- A member of the Rajya Sabha may be disqualified on the basis of defection, according to the Constitution’s 10th Schedule, which gives the Chairman this authority;
- A question of breach of privilege cannot be brought up in the House without the Chairman’s consent.
- The Chairman is in charge of all parliamentary committees, whether they were created by the Chairman or the House.
- He suggests individuals for the various Parliamentary Committees and Standing Committees relating to the Department. He serves as the chairman of the General Purposes Committee, Rules Committee, and Business Advisory Committee.
- It is the duty of the Chairman to interpret the Constitution and regulations so far as matters in or connected to the House are concerned, and no one can get into any disagreement or controversy with the Chairman over such interpretation.
Removal of Chairperson
- The only way to remove him from his role as Rajya Sabha chairman is to also remove him from his role as India’s vice president
- Vice President is no longer allowed to serve as chairman of the house while the resolution to remove him is in effect, but he is still allowed to remain a member of the house.
What are the Provisions Related to the Vice-President?
- The second-highest constitutional position in India is that of vice president. He/she can stay in office after their initial five-year tenure is up. Irrespective of the expiry of the term, until the successor assumes office.
- By submitting his resignation to the President of India, the Vice President may resign from his position. As soon as it is accepted, a resignation is officially effective.
- A resolution of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), approved by the House of the People and passed by a majority of its members at the time, may be used to remove the Vice President from office (Lok Sabha). Only after giving at least a minimum of 14 days’ notice of such an intention may a resolution be moved for this purpose.
- He/She should be a citizen of India.
- He/She should have completed 35 years of age.
- He/She should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
- He/She should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or any local authority or any other public authority.
- The members of the Electoral College elect the Vice-President in accordance with Article 66 of the Indian Constitution.
Electoral College consists of:
- Rajya Sabha members who are elected.
- Rajya Sabha members who were nominated.
- Elected members of Lok Sabha.
- According to Article 68 of the Constitution, the election to fill the vacancy left by the departing vice president’s term of office must be completed before the term’s expiration.
- The Election Commission of India is given supervision, direction, and control over the conduct of elections for the office of vice president of India under Article 324 of the Constitution when read in accordance with the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952, and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974.
- The notification for election shall be issued on or after the sixty-fifth day before the outgoing Vice-President’s term of office expires.
- Since every elector is a member of both Houses of Parliament, the value of each legislator’s vote would be the same i.e., 1 (one).
- The Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are appointed by rotation as the Returning Officer by the Election Commission, in consultation with the Central Government.
- As a result, the Returning Officer for the present election for the position of India’s Vice President will be appointed as the Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha.
- Additionally, the Commission decides to appoint Assistant Returning Officers in Lok Sabha, Parliament House, to assist Returning Officers.
- Polls are taken for the election in Parliament House in accordance with Rule 8 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974.
India offer during its presidency of the G20
GS Paper: 2- International treaties and agreements
Prelims exam: G20 forum
Mains exam: India’s presidency of G20
Why in News?
On December 1, India assumed the presidency of the G20 forum. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a “huge opportunity for India”.
- The G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union.
What is the history of the G20 forum?
- The G20 forum was established in 1999 by the Finance Ministers and central bank governors of seven countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. after a meeting in Washington DC.
- The uniting factor was the 1997-98 financial crisis and its aftermath.
- The first meeting of G20 leaders took place in 1999, and it was elevated to the level of heads of government/state in 2008. In 2009, G20 was designated the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”.
- The forum initially dealt with matters related to macroeconomics, but over the years, its agenda has expanded to cover issues relating to trade, climate change, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, and environment.
What does India’s presidency mean?
- The G20 Summit is held annually under a rotating presidency, which rests with India for 2023. The group does not have a permanent secretariat, and the presidency is supported by the previous, current, and future holders of the post, together called the troika.
- Along with India, 2023’s troika includes Indonesia and Brazil.
- As the President-nation, India will host the 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in December 2023 in New Delhi.
- Apart from hosting the summit and setting the theme, the G20 presidency does not come with any formal powers. However, India plans on showcasing its philosophies of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (one earth, one family, one future), and LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) through the theme and the logo of the event.
- India’s G20 presidency is “striving for just and equitable growth for all in the world, as we navigate through these turbulent times, in a sustainable, holistic, responsible, and inclusive manner,” an official statement said.
- India’s presidency also comes as many countries witness inflation and recession trends, compounded by the Russia-Ukraine war and the standoff between the European Union and Russia.
- India’s own problems with China, also a part of the G20 group, pose a potential issue for the effective functioning of the forum. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brief interaction with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 Summit in Indonesia in November 2022 has left experts feeling optimistic about the situation.
How does the G20 forum work?
- The processes under G20 are divided into two parallel tracks — the finance track and the sherpa track. The finance track is led by Finance Ministers and central bank governors of member nations, who meet throughout the year. Sherpas, who are personal emissaries of leaders, lead the sherpa track. They oversee negotiations all through the year, discussing agenda items for the summit and coordinating the substantive work of the G20.
- Working groups designed around specific themes operate within both tracks. These include representatives from relevant ministries of member nations and invited/guest countries too.
- Various international organisations such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also participate in working groups.
What it takes to become a ‘national party’ in India?
GS Paper: 2- Representation of People’s Act
Prelims exam: National party
Mains exam: State and National level parties in India
Why in News?
The Election Commission of India (ECI) is expected to recognise a political party (revived from the anti-corruption movement) as the country’s ninth national party soon.
What is a national party?
- The name suggests that a national party would be one that has a presence ‘nationally’, as opposed to a regional party whose presence is restricted to only a particular state or region.
- National parties are usually India’s bigger parties.
- Some smaller parties, like the communist parties, are also recognised as national parties. A certain stature is sometimes associated with being a national party, but this does not necessarily translate into having a lot of national political clout.
How is a national party defined?
The ECI has laid down the technical criterion for a party to be recognised as a national party. A party may gain or lose national party status from time to time, depending on the fulfilment of these laid-down conditions.
A political party would be considered a national party if:
- it is ‘recognised’ in four or more states; or
- if its candidates polled at least 6% of total valid votes in any four or more states in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections and has at least four MPs in the last Lok Sabha polls; or
- If it has won at least 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from not less than three states.
To be recognised as a state party, a party needs:
- At least 6% vote-share in the last Assembly election and have at least 2 MLAs; or
have 6% vote-share in the last Lok Sabha elections from that state and at least one MP from that state; or
- At least 3% of the total number of seats or three seats, whichever is more, in the last Assembly elections; or
- At least one MP for every 25 members or any fraction allotted to the state in the Lok Sabha; or
- Have at least 8% of the total valid votes in the last Assembly election or Lok Sabha election from the state.
Benefits/ Facilities to National Party are as follows;
- Recognition as a national or a State party ensures that the election symbol of that party can’t be used by any other political party in polls across India.
- Recognized ‘State’ and ‘National’ party requires only one proposer to file nomination.
- The recognized ‘state’ and National Parties are given two sets of electoral rolls free of cost by the Election Commission. In addition to this the candidates contesting on the ticket of National or state party get a copy of the electoral roll free of cost during the general elections.
- The National parties receive land or building from the government to establish their party office.
- National parties can have upto 40 star campaigners while other can have upto 20 star campaigners. The expenditure incurred on the travelling and other expenses of star campaigners is not included in the election expenditure of the party candidate.
GS Paper: 2- Government policies and interventions
Prelims exam: Tripura, Centre-State relations
Mains exam: Demand of Separate state Constitutional provision for separate state
Why in News?
A recent two-day dharna in Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, was organised by the political party of Tripura to call for the creation of a “Greater Tipraland”.
The goal is to protect indigenous populations’ rights within the state.
What is the issue?
- For the indigenous populations of the state’s northeast, the party is calling for the creation of a new state called “Greater Tipraland”.
- According to Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution, they want the Center to create the separate state.
- Tripuris (also known as Tipra and Tiprasas) are the largest of Tripura’s 19 officially recognised Scheduled Tribes.
- There are at least 5.92 lakh Tripuris in the state, according to the 2011 census, followed by Bru or Reang (1.88 lakh) and Jamatias (83,000).
- They want a separate state for all communities residing in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) as well as for the indigenous people.
- From the late 13th century until the signing of the Instrument of Accession with the Indian government in 1949, the Manikya dynasty ruled the kingdom of Tripura.
- The demand is a result of the indigenous groups’ concerns with the state’s changing demography, which has made them a minority.
- Bengalis were expelled from the former East Pakistan between 1947 and 1971, which is why it happened.
- By 2011, Tripura’s tribal population had decreased from 63.77% in 1881 to 31.8 %.
- During the intervening decades, the state, which has a border with Bangladesh that is nearly 860-km long, was engulfed in ethnic warfare and insurgency.
- A greater nagalim (Parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Myanmar)
- Bodoland (Assam)
- Tribal Autonomy
Does the Parliament have the authority to create a new state?
- Articles 2 and 3 of the Indian Constitution provide Parliament the authority to establish a new state.
- Articles 2:
- New States may be established or admitted into the Union by statute under the terms and conditions that Parliament deems appropriate.
- However, Parliament cannot create a new union territory by passing a law; instead, a constitutional amendment is required.
- Under Article 2, states like Sikkim, which were formerly outside of India, became admitted to the union.
- Article 3: It empowered the Parliament to make laws relating to the formation of new states and alteration of existing states.
What steps has the government made to deal with the issue?
Council for Tripura’s Autonomous Tribal Districts:
- To assure development and protect the rights and cultural legacy of the tribal tribes, the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTADC) was established in 1985 in accordance with the sixth schedule of the Constitution.
- Greater Tipraland envisages a situation in which the TTADC region as a whole will function as a separate state. Additionally, it proposes dedicated bodies to protect the rights of Tripuris and other indigenous tribes outside of Tripura.
- Nearly two-thirds of the state’s territory is covered by the TTADC, which has both legislative and executive authority.
- The council comprises 30 members, 28 of whom are chosen by the electorate and two by the governor.
- Additionally, 20 of the state’s 60 Assembly seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
- Politics must be subordinated to the viability of the economy and society.
- To check the unfettered demands, there should be a set of precise guidelines and safeguards.
- It is preferable to use democratic concerns like development, decentralisation, and governance to serve as the legitimate foundation for granting the requests for a new state rather than issues of caste, language, or dialect.
- Apart from this, the core issues with development and poor governance, such as power consolidation, corruption, and ineffective government, must be addressed.
Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill
GS Paper: 3- Environment
Prelims exam: Wild Life Protection Act
Mains exam: Wild Life Protection Act and its significance and challenges
Why in News?
THE WILD Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2022, which seeks to to strengthen the protection of endangered species and enhance punishment for illegal wildlife trade, was passed in the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote.
Background of Wild Life Protection
- The British India government passed the wild Birds Protection Act in 1887.
- The wild birds and animals protection act, a second law, was passed in 1912. In 1935, this Act was amended.
- The growing concern over protecting particular species from becoming extinct came into the limelight. Thus, by enacting the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the state subject was shifted to concurrent list.
- The objective of the bill is to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and expand the number of species protected by the convention.
- According to the CITES convention, nations must control the trade of all listed specimens through permits and regulate the possession of live animal specimens to ensure that the survival of the species is not threatened.
- The previous Wildlife (Protection) Act, passed in 1972, had six schedules, one for specially protected plants, four for animals, and one for vermin (small animals that carry disease and destroy food).
- By eliminating the schedule for vermin species and reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two, the amended bill reduces the overall number of schedules to four.
- Additionally, it adds a new schedule for specimens listed under CITES.
About Wild Life Protection Act
- The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species.
- The Act established scheduled protected plant and hunting certain animal species or harvesting these species was largely outlawed.
- The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants; and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India.
- It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection. Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
Licence for import or export
- According to the Bill, the central government shall designate an authority that issues export or import licenses for the trade in specimens.
- Anyone who trades in a scheduled specimen is required to inform the specifics of the trade to the relevant authority.
Live specimens of scheduled animals
- The Management Authority must issue a registration certificate to people who have live specimens of scheduled animals.
- The Bill gives the government the authority to prohibit or outlaw the import, trade, and possession of invasive alien species, or those that are not indigenous to India.
Penalty for violations
- The penalty for violating the bill’s rules is raised by the legislation. The maximum general fine under the 1972 act was 25,000; it is now 1, 00,000.
- The previous fine for violating the provisions meant for specifically protected species was up to 10,000; it has now been increased to at least 25,000.
More supervision and regulation of wildlife sanctuaries
- The bill will also ensure that wildlife sanctuaries are better controlled and regulated and empower the government to notify a conservation reserves, which are areas near to national parks or wildlife sanctuaries where the flora and fauna are protected.
- According to the Act, Chief Wildlife Warden is entrusted to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state.
- The state government appoints the Chief Wildlife Warden.
- The Bill stipulates that the Chief Warden’s actions must follow the sanctuary management plans.
- The management plan for sanctuaries included in special areas must be created after due consultation with the concerned Gram Sabha.
- A person may voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products under the terms of the bill, and the state will acquire ownership of the items without payment to the person who gave them up.
- The Bill will allow the commercial trade in live elephants.
- The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 expressly forbids the trading of wild and captive elephants.
- Thus, by excluding “live elephant” from the general prohibition stated in Section 43, an exception has been made.
- The implication of the same is that, under the Act, commercial sale and purchase is no longer prohibited.
- Therefore, the Amendment Bill permits the commercial trade of elephants.
- Wild animals, birds, and plants are protected under the Act.
- Increase the number of species legally protected
- Wild animals, birds, and plants are protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 (WLPA).
- The bill aims to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and expand the number of species protected by law.
- Forest dwellers’ participation: The most recent amendment has taken a progressive step to encourage forest dwellers’ involvement in national parks while determining the management plan.
- It has established that consultation with the Gram Sabha is required in protected areas that are scheduled areas or places that have been determined to have forest rights based on claims made under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
- Since the areas where grazing was permitted under the terms of concessions soon fell under the categories of protected areas, the WLPA severely restricted the ability to graze across pastoral spaces.
- Vermin: A significant issue is how some species are categorised as “vermin.” If certain species annoy people, they shouldn’t be made available for hunting even when they serve an ecological purpose.
- Trade in Elephants: If a person with a certificate of ownership obtains prior approval from the State Government and complies with any requirements that the Central Government may specify, it shall not apply to the transfer or transport of any live elephant by that person.