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14-12-2022

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Table of Content


  • GS-2 INDIAN POLITY
    • Private member Bill seeks PM-led panel for selecting Chief Election Commissioner
    • What’s in World Bank’s new toolkit on making urban transport better for Indian women?
  • Fact File
  • Japanese start-up launches historic moon mission with help of SpaceX
  • NASA’s Orion capsule returns to Earth, capping Artemis I flight around moon 
  • Kochi-Muziris Biennale to begin on December 12: What are Art Biennales and why are they significant?


Private member Bill seeks PM-led panel for selecting Chief Election Commissioner

GS-2: Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

Recently, the private bill related to amendment in the appointment and functions of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commission India was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

 

The Election Commission of India (ECI)

  • The ECI is an autonomous constitutional authority established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950.
  • It is responsible for administering election processes in India. 
  • It 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 derives authority from the Article 324 of the Indian Constitution, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act. 
  • Composition:
  • Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner.
  • At present, it consists – Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
  • In 1989, for the first time, two additional commissioners were appointed for temporary period.
  • In 1993, the concept of multi-member Commission has been in operationalized consisting two additional Election Commissioners.
  • The number of additional election commissioners is fixed by the President time-to-time.
  • The decision is taken by the majority of voting i.e. all Election Commissioners have equal say in the decision making of the Commission.
  • Appointed by: The President
  • The conditions of service and tenure of office is determined by: The President
  • The CEC and ECs have equal powers and receive equal salary, allowances and other perquisites, which are similar to those of a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Tenure of CEC: 6 years or till 65 years of age, whichever is earlier. (Provides security of tenure)
  • Removal of CEC: He cannot be removed not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court i.e. can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.
  • Except on recommendations of the CEC, Any other election commissioner or a regional commissioner cannot be removed from office.


Flaws in ECI

  • The Constitution has not prescribed the qualifications (legal, educational, administrative or judicial) of the members of the Election Commission.
  • The Constitution has not specified the term of the members of the Election Commission.
  • The Constitution has not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.


The reforms implemented by T N Seshan

  • In 1990, when T N Seshan became CEC, he implemented several reforms, which includes – 
  • Identifying 150 malpractices during the elections
  • To transform voting mechanism he introduced several guidelines including related to bribing, offering liquors, use of religions to get votes.
  • He is the man behind issuance of voter id card and the model code of conduct.
  • Put limitations the poll expenses of the candidates.


Proposed Key Amendments in the bill: 

  • The bill seeks to establish a select committee consisting following members to select the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners.
  • Headed by: The Prime Minister 
  • Other Members: 
  • Home Minister
  • Leader of Opposition or floor Leader in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
  • Chief Justice of India
  • Two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
  • The bill envisages a fixed tenure of six years for the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
  • It specifies three years term for the Regional Commissioners from the date of appointment.
  • They should not be removed not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • They should not be eligible for reappointment under the Government of India, State Governments and the Constitution.
  • The bill aims to set up a permanent independent secretariat of the Election Commission of India.
  • The bill seeks to insert a new Art-328(a) to empower the Election Commission to “regulate, monitor and superintend” the internal functioning of all political parties, including internal elections of all registered political parties. 
  • The Election Commission will prescribe Model Internal Code for all the political parties, till then they must be regulated in accordance with their respective constitution.
  • With regards to their internal functions, failure of any political party to comply with the advisories, duration and instructions issued by the Election Commission will lead to withdrawn of the recognition of such political party as a State or National party including any other action as the Election Commission deems fit under section 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment Order).
  • The move will make functioning of the political parties more transparent, accountable and rule based.
  • At present, there are 2,858 political parties registered with the EC – out of these 8 are national parties, 54 are State parties and 2,797 are unrecognized.


Case related to electoral reform in the ECI

  • At present, the Supreme Court is hearing petitions on the need for reforms in the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners.
  • It suggested that there is a need for a panel and not the council of ministers to recommend the names.
  • The CEC must be an "independent and a man of character" and politically insulated.
  • With present system of appointment of CEC, it is difficult for CEC to act against the Prime Minister because it will lead to complete breakdown of the system.

 

[Ref- IE]



What’s in World Bank’s new toolkit on making urban transport better for Indian women?

GS-1: Role of Women and Women’s Organization, Population and Associated Issues, Poverty and Developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

 

Recently, the World Bank launched a “Toolkit on Enabling Gender Responsive Urban Mobility and Public Spaces in India”. The aim of the toolkit is suggesting ways to make public transport more inclusive of women’s travelling requirements in Indian cities.

 

About Toolkit

  • The World Bank suggested a four-pillared approach to help address prevailing issues in urban transport for women.
  • Toolkit suggests some concrete interventions such as – creation of wide obstruction-free footpaths, street lighting, clear signages, dedicated bicycle lanes, introduction of short and circuitous bus routes, and subsidizing/making free public transport for women.


Benefits of toolkit

  • The toolkit contains practical tools that can inform a wide set of policymakers as well as private or community-based organisations. 
  • It also contains thematic issues that any individual women faces in day-to day life.
  • It can act as a reference for any entity engaging in any work regarding public transport and urban mobility.
  • It integrates a gender lens into everyday planning and development in order to make our cities safer and more accessible to women.


Importance of Gender lens in Public Transport

  • Women from lower socio-economic groups are among the biggest users of public transport in Indian cities, who often travels shorter distances using multiple modes of transport.
  • Unsafe, inconvenient and expensive urban mobility system put additional burden on them.
  • Lack of safe, expensive and unreliable public transport has an adverse impact on women’s ability to access education and employment opportunity and consequently led to poorer life outcomes for them.
  • The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of India is among the lowest (Approx. 30% in 2019-20) in the world.
  • Thus, distance from home impacts women’s choice of educational institutions and by implication their financial independence.
  • Woman faces higher costs of travelling due to –
  • Variety of responsibilities they need to fulfil, which creates “Trip chaining”.
  • Longer routes which are perceived to be safer.
  • All these factors amount together as “pink tax” that specifically burden women and impede them from making optimal decisions for themselves.

 

[Ref- IE]


Fact Files


Japanese start-up launches historic moon mission with help of SpaceX 

Recently, a Japanese space startup i-space’s spacecraft M1 was launched to the Moon.

  • It is Japan’s first ever lunar Mission.
  • The launch was carried out by SpaceX at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.
  • It is the first mission under the Progamme Hakuto-R, which will perform a soft landing on the Moon.
  • The mission will lay the groundwork for unleashing the moon's potential and transforming it into a robust and vibrant economic system.
  • The spacecraft M1 consists – 
  • A payload
  • Rover named “Rashid” – built by the United Arab Emirates.
  • If it will land successfully, it will be the Arab world's first Moon mission.
  • So far only the United States, Russia and China have managed to put a robot on the lunar surface.
  • Two robots produced by Japan's space agency
  • The lunar lander will land on the visible side of the Moon in April 2023.


Hakuto-R

  • It is a commercial lunar exploration program of i-space.
  • It consists of Series of lunar missions.
  • M2 is expected to launch in 2024, which will perform a soft landing and deploy a rover for surface exploration and data collection on the Moon.

[Ref- The Economic Times]

NASA’s Orion capsule returns to Earth, capping Artemis I flight around moon 

Recently, the Orion spacecraft of Artemis 1 mission splashed down off the Baja coast near Guadalupe island in the Pacific Ocean.

Artemis 1 mission

  • Launched by: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Artemis I is the first in a series of missions to build a long-term human presence at the Moon and beyond.
  • It was launched on 16th November 2022 as a successor of Apollo lunar mission (Named after the sister of Apollo in Greek mythology).
  • It was an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration.
  • Objective: To demonstrate Orion’s systems in a spaceflight environment and ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery prior to the first flight with crew on Artemis II.
  • It is the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems 
  • The Orion spacecraft
  • Space Launch System (SLS) rocket
  • The ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida

Kochi-Muziris Biennale to begin on December 12: What are Art Biennales and why are they significant?


  • Recently, the the four-month-long fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale opened.
  • It showcases works of artists from across the globe in varied media including several discussions, performances and film screenings.
  • Theme: “In Our Views Flow Ink and Fire”.

 Art Biennale:

  • It is an international large-scale showcase of art.
  • Takes place every two years at a particular site.                               
  • Usually non-commercial enterprises based on a curatorial theme.

Background:

  • 1893: Venice Biennale 
  • One of the most prestigious and oldest biennales in the world.
  • Established through a resolution by the city council to celebrate national artistic talent. 
  • 1951: Bienal de São Paulo was instituted as the first non-European biennial.
  • 2009: A global Biennale Foundation was established.
  • Aim: To create a platform for dialogue, networking, and knowledge sharing among contemporary art biennials around the world.
  • It lists a directory of over 200 biennales that are held at present.

Significance:

  • Opportunity for artists to make their work notice.
  • A Biennale participation can open opportunities for future museum exhibitions, gallery representation and acquisitions.
  • Opportunity for a host city to become a reason for local pride, promoting cultural tourism and generating revenue through visitors.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale:

  • Founded in 2011 by artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu.
  • Aim: To create a platform that will introduce contemporary, global visual art theory and practice to India.
  • First edition took place in 2012.











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