Current Affair-March 16, 2021

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill2021

Context: The Centre on Monday introduced the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha, reviving the dispute on the distribution of powers between the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor (L-G). The Bill proposes to amend Sections 21, 24, 33 and 44 of the 1991 Act.

Amendments Proposals

  • It proposed that the “government” in the National Capital Territory of Delhi meant the Lieutenant­Governor of Delhi.
  • The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L­G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • The proposed legislation also seeks to ensure that the L­G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give heror his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.

Stated Objects and reasons of the Bill

  1. Section 44 of the 1991 Act deals with conduct of business and there is no structural mechanism for  effective time boundimplementation of the said section.
  2. Further, there is no clarity as to what proposal or matters are required to be submitted to Lieute­nant­Governor before issuing order thereon.

1991 Act

Delhi’s current status as a Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly is an outcome of the 69th Amendment Act through  which Articles 239AA and 239BB were introduced in the Constitution.

As per the existing Act, the Legislative Assembly has the power to make laws in all matters except public order, police and land.

  • The GNCTD Act was passed simultaneously to supplement the constitutional provisions relating to the Assembly and the Council of Ministers in the national capital. For all practical purposes, the GNCTD Act outlines the powers of the Assembly, the discretionary powers enjoyed by the L-G, and the duties of the Chief Minister with respect to the need to furnish information to the L-G.
  • 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.

Supreme Court verdict

  • In its 2018 verdict, the five-judge Bench had held that the L-G’s concurrence is not required on issues other than police, public order and land.
  • The decisions of the Council of Ministers willhave to be communicated to the L-G.
  • The L-G does have the power to refer any matter, over which there is a disagreement with the elected government, to the President under Article 239AA(4).
  • Requiring prior concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor would absolutely negate the ideals of representative governance and democracy conceived for the NCT of Delhi by Article 239AA of the Constitution.
  • The L-G was bound by the aid and advice if the council of ministers.

The Bench of then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, in three separate yet concurring orders, had said: “The status of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is not that of a Governor of a State, rather he remains an Administrator, in a limited sense, working with the designation of Lieutenant Governor”. It had also pointed out that the elected government must keep in mind that Delhi is not a state.

Change if the amendments are cleared by Parliament

  1. Encouraged by the Supreme Court verdict, the elected government had stopped sending files on executive matters to the L-G before the implementation of any decision. It has been keeping the L-G abreast of all administrative developments, but not necessarily before implementing or executing any decision.
  2. But the amendment, if cleared, will force the elected government to take the L-G’s advice before taking any action on any cabinet decision.
  3. The Bill seeks to add a provision in the original GNCTD Act, 1991, barring the Assembly or its committees from making rules to take up matters concerning day-to-day administration, or to conduct inquiries in relation to administrative decisions.
Source: The Hindu

Great Indian Bustard

  • Supreme Court  intervened on behalf of the Great Indian Bustards over the birds falling dead after colliding with power lines running through their dwindling natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • The bench will examine on a priority basis whether overhead power cables can be re placed with underground.

About GIB

  1. It is one of the heaviest flying birds on the planet.
  2. It is critically endangered as per IUCN Redbook.
  3. Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps

Habitat and distribution

  • Historically, the great Indian bustard was distributed throughout Western India, spanning 11 states, as well as parts of Pakistan.
  • Its stronghold was once the Thar desert in the north-west and the Deccan plateau of the peninsula.
  • Today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • Small population occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Bustards generally favour flat open landscapes with minimal visual obstruction and disturbance, therefore adapt well in grasslands.
  • In the non-breeding season they frequent wide agro-grass scrub landscapes. While in the breeding season (summers and monsoons) they congregate in traditional undisturbed grassland patches characterized by a mosaic of scantily grazed tall grass (below 50 cm). They avoid grasses taller than themselves and dense scrub like thickets.

Protection

  • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972, in the CMS Convention.
  • Appendix I of CITES.
  • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016).

Conservation Issues

  1. The biggest threat to this species is hunting, which is still prevalent in Pakistan.
  2. Occasional poaching outside Protected Areas
  3. Collisions with high tension electric wires, fast moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages.
  4. Habitat loss and alteration as a result of widespread agricultural expansion and mechanized farming, infrastructural development such as irrigation, roads, electric poles, as well as mining and industrialization.
Source: The Hindu

SIPRI Report

About SIPRI

  • SIPRI stands for Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
  • It is situated inStockholm, Sweden.
  • It provides the data analysis and recommendations regarding armed conflict, military expenditure and arms

trade. It also makes suggestions for disarmament and arms control

Report Findings

  1. India continues to be second largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia.
  2. Arms imports decreased by 33% between 2011–15 and 2016–20.
  3. The overall drop in arms imports between 2011–15 and 2016–20 seems to be mainly due to its complex and lengthy procurement processes, combined with its attempts to reduce its dependence on Russian arms by diversifying its network of arms suppliers.
  4. As India perceives increasing threats from Pakistan and China and as its ambitious plans to produce its own major arms have been significantly de­layed, it is planning large­ scale programmes for arms imports. India’s arms imports are ex­pected to increase over the coming five years.

Suppliers

  1. India’s top three arms suppliers during 2016-20 were Russia (accounting for 49% of India’s imports), France (18%) and Israel (13%).
  2. Russia’s deliveries dropped by 53% between the two periods and its share of Indian arms imports fell from 70 to 49%.
  3. The U.S. was the second largest arms supplier to India in 2011–15 but in 2016–20 India’s arms imports from the U.S. were 46% lower than in the previous fithe second and third largestarms suppliers in 2016–20.
  4. India’s arms imports from France increased by 709% while those from Israel rose by 82%.
  5. Combat aircraft and associated missiles made up more than 50% of arms imports.

China and Pakistan

  • Arms imports by Pakistan between 2011–15 and 2016– 20 decreased by 23%.
  • China accounted for 61% of its im­ports in 2011–15 and for 74% in 2016–20.
  • Like India, Pakistan too has several large outstanding orders for arms, according to the report.
  • They are sche­duled for delivery by 2028 and include 50 combat air­ craft, eight submarines and four frigates from China and four frigates from Turkey, the report said.
Source: The Hindu

Air bubble scheme

Context: Government wanted to expand the “air bubble” arrangement with more countries, and the

About the scheme

  • Under the air bubble scheme, commercial airlines from specific countries are allowed to travel to and from India on a limited basis .
  • Under Vance Mataram Mission, thearrangement was solely reserved for the Air India — as full scale interna­tional commercial air operations are yet to resume after the COVID­19 restric­tions were implemented last year.
  • Vande Mataram was the world’s biggest repatriation exercise that saw more than 45 lakh people return home according to government.
  • The expansion in scheme
  • In the expanded air bubble arrangement, priority would be Saudi Arabia, Kuwait in the west and Japan, China and Singapore in the east.
  • The focus had now shifted to Indians going back to their usual places of work, study and domicile and restoring employment opportunities abroad with the help of parnter countries.
Source: The Hindu

New discovery of matter state

  • Scientists have discovered a new exotic, strange state of materials in contactwith an environment that alters its physical properties in the presence of an

electromagnetic field, leading to better quantum technologies, which are tunable

 and controllable as per the user requirements.

  • In an external electromagnetic field, geometric properties of a crystalline solid with lattices arranged in a one-dimensional periodic manner can display phase transitions, thereby altering its physical properties. The 2016 Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to the theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter, which have played a significant role in the modern understanding of materials and their applications.

Topology is concerned with the properties of a geometric object preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching and twisting.

Study of matter

  • Understanding various phases and phase transitions is of central importance in the study of matter. Generally, phase transitions are studied by assuming that the system is isolated, with little or negligible environmental interactions.
  • Scientists at Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, have been exploring systems in contact with the environment or the open quantum systems and their physical properties for a while.
  • They explored ways to control the topological phase transitions of matter in contact with an environment by an external periodic perturbation such as laser light in their present work.
  • They discovered a new metallic state of the materials coupled to an environment.
Significance of discovery
  • In our everyday lives, several devices and technologies exploit some of the other aspects of quantum physics, like LEDs, semiconductor technology, and nanomaterials. Usually, the environmental interactions in such quantum systems are either neglected or are considered very small.
  • Through this work, the RRI team has shown that if such effects are carefully taken into account, one can drastically alter the quantum system’s physical behavior and lead to better quantum technologies.
Source:PIB

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