Following the current events and news in the area of Indian polity is very important for the general studies paper in the UPSC exam. In recent times questions are set on only those topics that have made news. Regular study of Indian polity from NCERT books or otherwise is no longer required. The idea is to follow the current affairs news related to Indian polity and understand the Indian polity behind those issues. This is true for all levels of teh IAS exam - prelims, mains and also the interview.
Union Cabinet: The Union Cabinet approved the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY) on December 24, 2019. It is a Central Sector Scheme which has a total outlay of 6,000 cr rupees for sustainable management of ground water resources. This scheme is being implemented in identified states like – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. These states have been selected according to the level of groundwater exploitation and degradation.
ABY: It refers to Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal). The scheme aims to promote active participation of the communities in various activities such as formation of water user associations, monitoring and disseminating ground water data, water budgeting, preparation and implementation of gram panchayat-wise water security plans and information, education and communication (IEC) activities related to sustainable ground water management.
Indian Railways: It is one of the world's largest railway network consists of freight, passengers, tourist, Suburban rail systems, toy train and luxury trains. IR has 4,337 operating railway stations, operates on a multi-gauge network of broad, meter and narrow gauges. It was founded on 16 April 1853.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a transformational organisational restructuring of the Indian Railways. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a transformational organizational restructuring of the Indian Railways. This historic reform seeks to go a long way in achieving Government's vision of making Indian Railways the growth engine of India's vikas yatra.
The reforms include the unification of eight Group A services of the Railways into a Central Service called Indian Railway Management Service (/RMS). It is expected to end departmentalism, promote smooth working and expedite decision-making. Railway Board will be headed by Chairman Railway Board (CRB). The re-organized board will have one Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and four members along with a few independent members.
Assam Cabinet: The Assam Cabinet has approved to make Assamese language the state language of Assam. This will exclude BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts), Barak Valley and Hill districts of Assam. Assamese language will be made compulsory in all the school of Assam too. The cabinet proposal targets at fulfilling the demands of the Assamese speaking majority in the Brahmaputra Valley in the wake of rising insecurities among the people after the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in both Houses of the Parliament earlier this month.
Article 345: Article 345 of the Indian Constitution says that subject to provisions of Article 346 and 347, the State Legislature might adopt one or more languages to be used as official languages.
Article 346: As per Article 346, the states are authorized to decide on the language of communications amongst them after the approval of the Central Government.
Article 347: Under this article, special provisions are provided to language spoken in a section of population. The President of India shall assent on the usage of the language is sees it is necessary.
The state cabinet also decided to bring a new bill securing the land rights for the indigenous people. As per the new bill, only indigenous people could sell or buy land from another indigenous citizen.
CRPF: It refers to Central Reserve Police Force. The CRPF is India's largest Central Armed Police Force. It functions under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India. The CRPF's primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency. It came into existence as the Crown Representative's Police on 27 July 1939. After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949. It is headquartered in New Delhi. Central Reserve Police Force of India's largest Central Armed Police Force is considered to be the World's largest Paramilitary Force.
CRPF have played a prominent role in combating terror and militancy. CRPF personnel played prominent role in eliminating terror from Punjab and militancy from Tripura in the year 1980 and 1990. The supreme sacrifices made by about 2184 CRPF personnel for internal security duties including at the war theatres with China in October,1959 and with Pakistan at Sardar Post, Kutch in Gujarat in 1965. CRPF bagged 75 bravery medals which is the highest for any force.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment for the welfare of paramilitary forces who have made supreme sacrifices for the nation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of the Directorate General Building of CRPF in New Delhi on 30 December 2020. He also launched a new logo, Garud, for those engaged in providing security to the common man and VIPs.
The new building which will be built at a cost of Rs 280 crore will have all modern facilities and green amenities, besides effective control and command system with modern training modules for 3.5 lakh strong force to enhance their operational capability. Home Ministry has not only created 35000 new posts for CRPF but also various initiatives for the welfare of family members of CRPF is also being considered.
PPRTMS: It refers to the Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System. It is an online tracking system which will allow political parties to track their applications for registration with the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a real-time basis.
The salient features of PPRTMS is that the applicant, who is applying for a political party registration from 1st January, 2020 will be able to track the progress of his/her application and will get status updates through SMS and e-mail. The registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Under this Section, a party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India. The commission checks whether the party satisfies the criteria governed by section 29A of Representation of People Act, 1951.
The Election Commission of India launched an online tracking system- Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS). The new guidelines came into effect from January 1, 2020.
Election Commission Of India: It is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. It was founded in 20 January 1950. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
FTSCs: It refers to Fast Track Special Courts. FTSCs were established in Indian in the year 2000 with an aim to clear the long pending Sessions and other lower judicial cases. Under the direction of the Supreme Court of India in Suo Moto Writ Petition (Criminal) number 01/2019 dated 25.07.2019, 389 courts out of 1023 courts, have been set up exclusively for POSCO Act. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 was also enacted for more stringent provisions relating to sexual offences.
The Central Government has started a Scheme to set up 1023 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) across the country. FTSCs is being setup under the National Mission for Safety of Women (NMSW) scheme. It is being setup to clear the cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
According to the Law Ministry, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Haryana Maharashtra, Manipur, NCT of Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, UT of Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have agreed to setup FTSCs. Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalaya, UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and Puducherry are yet to join. Currently, there are 581 fast track courts in the country that are functional.
Cabinet: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has been apprised of information about the amendments moved to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 as passed by the Rajya Sabha.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was approved by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 24th June, 2019 for re-introduction in the Lok Sabha. The amended Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Parliament on August 5, 2019 after being passed by both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
Amendments will ensure concurrence of the State Governments while formulating National Transport Policy and making schemes for national, multimodal and inter-state transportation of goods and passengers by the Central Government.
The Union Cabinet: The Union Council of Ministers exercises executive authority in the Republic of India. It consists of senior ministers, called 'cabinet ministers', junior ministers, called 'ministers of state' and, rarely, deputy ministers. It is led by the Prime Minister. A smaller executive body called the Union Cabinet is the supreme decision-making body in India. Only the prime minister and ministers of the rank of cabinet minister are members of Union Cabinet in accordance with Article 75.
Recently, on 11 January 2019, the Union Cabinet approved the promulgation of the ordinance for amendment in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, 1957 and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. Amendments to these two Acts approved by the Cabinet aims to ease the auction of coal mines allow Foreign direct investment (FDI) and enhance ease of doing business.
The amendments in the laws will not only open up new areas of growth in the coal and mining sector but also offer unexplored and partially explored coal blocks for mining through prospecting license-cum-mining lease (PL-cum-ML).
The ordinance democratizes the coal industry and makes it attractive for merchant mining companies, including multinationals to look at India.
It will allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the coal mining sector by removing the restriction and eligibility criteria for participation.
Section 11A of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act provides that the central government can auction coal and lignite mining licenses only to companies engaged in iron and steel, power and coal washing sectors. It will enable any India-registered company to invest in the coal mining sector and develop coal blocks provided that the companies must have prior experience of mining in India to bid for the blocks.
Large investment in mining is expected to create jobs and set off demand in critical sectors such as mining equipment and heavy commercial vehicles.
It will allow successful bidder/allottee to utilize mined coal in any of the plant of its subsidiary or holding company as restrictions of end use has been dropped.
ECI: It stands for the Election Commission of India. The ECI is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. It was founded in 25 January 1950. The current Election Commissioner is Shri Ashok Lavasa and the Chief Election Commissioner is Sh. Sunil Arora.
Recently, on 14th January 2020, the Election Commission of India organized a Briefing Meeting for Observers to be deployed for the forthcoming NCT of Delhi Legislative Assembly Elections, for which schedule was announced on 6th January, 2020. Poll date for the single phased election for Delhi's 70 constituencies is February 8, 2020 and Counting will be held on February 11, 2020. More than 150 officers drawn from IAS, IPS and also from Indian Revenue Service and other Central Services were called for the General, Police and Expenditure Observers briefing today. Adequate number of officers would be deployed on actual duty.
ECI Observers: They are appointed under the powers conferred on it by Section 20B of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the plenary powers available to the Commission under the Constitution of India. They work under the superintendence, control and discipline of the Commission for the period from their appointment till the completion of the process of election. Statutory powers were provided to the Observers to watch the conduct of elections and especially in respect of counting of votes after the amendment of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 in August 1996 under which new Section 20B was added.
Andhra Pradesh Assembly: The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly (APLA) is the lower house of the Andhra Pradesh Legislature. The Legislative Assembly consists of 175 members which are elected by adult universal suffrage under the first-past-the-post system. The Andhra Legislative Assembly was constituted after the formation of Andhra State on October 1, 1953.
Recently, on January 20, 2020, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed a bill proposing three capitals, The bill proposed the development of Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as the legislative, executive and judicial capitals of the state respectively. The cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy had earlier passed the Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill 2020 and the AP Decentralization and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill 2020, in this regard. The Bill also provides for dividing the State into various zones. It aims to establish zonal planning and development boards.
The current YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government's objective is to bring about a comprehensive, parallel and decentralized development in the state which in turn will bring about "balanced and inclusive growth" of Andhra Pradesh.
Supreme Court of India: The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial court under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of judicial review. It has extensive powers in the form of original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions. It is regarded as the most powerful government institution in India. It consists of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum number of 34 judges. It was established 82 years ago, on 1st October 1937 as Federal Court of India. On the 28th of January 1950 it was renamed as the Supreme Court of India. The current Chief Justice of India (CJI) is Sharad Arvind Bobde.
The Supreme Court of India has set up a panel to firm up a draft legislation to give legal sanctity to disputes settled through mediation, which would then be sent to the government as a suggestion from the apex court. The panel is headed by mediator Niranjan Bhat and the other members of the panel who are appointed by the Mediation and Project Conciliation Committee (MCPC) of the Supreme Court, includes Justice K Kanan, former ASGs AS Chandok and PS Narsimha, senior advocates Sriram Panchu and JP Singh, and senior mediators Susheela S, Sadhna Ramchandran, Laila Ollapally, and Anil Xavier.
Parliament: The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. It is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and the two houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The current leader of the Rajya Sabha is Thawar Chand Gehlot and the Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions. The current leader of the Lok Sabha is Narendra Modi and the Speaker is Om Birla.
Recently, The Supreme Court, in the interest of more fairness in the procedure said that the Parliament should think over having an independent and permanent body to decide disqualification petitions against MPs and MLAs, instead of the Speaker retaining exclusive powers. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman suggested that Parliament revisit the rationale in giving exclusive powers to the Speaker in deciding disqualification petitions.
Union Cabinet: It consists of senior ministers, called 'cabinet ministers', junior ministers, called 'ministers of state' and, rarely, deputy ministers. It is led by the Prime Minister. The Union Council of Ministers exercises executive authority in the Republic of India.
Recently, the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the extension of the term of the Commission to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes, by six months that is up to 31.7.2020. The commission was appointed in 2017 with an initial time frame of 12 weeks. This is the 8th extension given to the commission.
The Cabinet has also approved an addition to the terms of reference of the commission, which will now also study various entries in the 'Central list of OBCs and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription.'
ZTC: It refers to the Zoland Territorial Council. The Zomi ethnic group of Manipur has recently renewed its demand for the creation of Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC) under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, a self-administered zone on the lines of the Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam.
ZOMI: The Zou people or Zomi are an indigenous community living along the frontier of India and Burma. They are a sub-group of the Zo people (Mizo-Kuki-Chin).
In India, they live with and are similar in language and habits to the Paite and the Simte peoples. The Zou are officially recognized as one of the 33 indigenous peoples within the state of Manipur, and are one of the Scheduled tribes.
According to the 2001 Census, the Zou/Jou population in Manipur is around 20,000 which is less than 3% of the population. The community is concentrated in Churachandpur and Chandel districts of Manipur.
Arya Rajendran: She is Indian politician who is set to become one of the two youngest mayors in India at the age of 21. The other youngest mayor of India is Suman Koli who became the Mayor of Bharatpur in Rajasthan at 21 years in 2009.
Arya won as councillor from Mudavanmukal ward of Thiruvananthapuram corporation at the 2020 Kerala local body elections and was appointed as the mayor of the corporation which made her the youngest mayor of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.
She is currently doing a BSc in Maths at the All Saints College in Thiruvananthapuram.
Waste management, improvement of primary health infrastructure and projects focussing on youth and women are her priorities as a councillor.
Note: The Guinness world record holder for the youngest Mayor is now held by Michael Sessions, who became Mayor of Hillsdale in the USA at the age of 18 years in 2005.
Madhya Pradesh Cabinet: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has recently granted its approval to the 'Love Jihad' law against the forced religious conversions in the state. The MP Cabinet approved the Freedom to Religion Bill, 2020 as an Ordinance.
With this legislation, the conversion of anyone directly or indirectly through marriage or by any other means in Madhya Pradesh is prohibited.
The law, named as the MP Freedom of Religion Bill 2020, includes provision of imprisonment of 2 to 10 years along with a minimum penalty of Rs 50,000 in cases of unlawful conversion of a minor or woman or a person belonging to SC/ST category.
The Bill will now be placed in the MP State Assembly for its final passage.
Once it is passed by the state assembly, the Bill will replace the MP Religious Freedom Act, 1968, which is also known as MP Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam, 1968.
Under the new MP Bill, a family court in the state will be empowered to declare marriages conducted for the purpose of religious conversion null and void. The alimony in such cases would be granted as per Section 125 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code).