News & Editorial Analysis 23 February 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Election Symbols:
GS II Topic Election related issues:
Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday that all political parties need to be cautious and vigilant in the aftermath of the Election Commission’s decision to recognise the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as the real Shiv Sena.
By recognising the Shinde-led organisation as the authentic Shiv Sena and ordering the awarding of the “bow and arrow” election emblem to it on Friday, the Election Commission (EC) handed Mr. Thackeray, whose father Bal Thackeray founded the organisation in 1966, a huge blow.
An electoral or election symbol is a designated logo that is assigned to a political party.
When voters choose the party symbol they want to support and cast their ballots for that party, they are displayed on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The parties make use of them when they are running for office.
They were developed so that people who are illiterate and unable to read the names of the parties can vote more easily.
In the 1960s, it was proposed that the control, reserve, and distribution of electoral symbols be managed by a statute of Parliament, i.e., the Symbol Order.
In response to this notion, the Elections Commission of India (ECI) declared that the regulations of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allocation) Order, 1968 shall govern both the recognition of political parties and the assignment of symbols.
The Election Commission recognises political parties as national or state parties based on their success in polls and registers them for electoral reasons. The remaining parties are categorised as “registered but unrecognised parties,” to put it simply.
Their recognition determines their eligibility for a number of benefits, including the use of party symbols, time given for political broadcasts on radio and television, and access to election rolls.
Each national and state party receives a unique emblem that may only be used within its own nations and states.
Election Symbols Order (Reservation and Allocation) 1968:
In accordance with Article 15 of the Order, EC has the power to settle disputes between competing factions or organisations within a recognised political party over the use of the party’s name and symbol.
According to the directive, only the EC has the authority to decide on disputes or mergers. Its legitimacy was acknowledged by the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of Sadiq Ali and others v. ECI from 1971.
Conflicts involving acknowledged national and state parties are subject to it.
The EC normally advises the feuding sides to settle their differences amicably or to file a judicial case for splits in parties that are registered but not recognised.
Nearly every time the EC has taken a decision thus far, a clear majority of party delegates/office bearers, MPs, and MLAs have supported one of the factions.
Prior to 1968, the EC issued notifications and executive instructions under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
The divided faction of the party was required to register as a different party in addition to the group that acquired the party insignia.
After registering, they could only claim national or state party status based on their success in local or national elections.
2 – Bhimbetka Caves:
GS I Topic Indian Culture:
In 2021, scientists reported the astonishing discovery of fossilised remains of prehistoric animals at India’s Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, but it turned out to be a hoax.
The purported fossil was actually wax that a bee colony had spread on a rock when The New York Times visited the location. The principal author of the research published in February 2021 that described the discovery, Gregory Retallack, acknowledged to The New York Times that they intended to amend their paper.
The Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh is where the Bhimbetka Caves are located. These Rock Shelters are located near the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains, on the southern edge of the central Indian plains. Dr. V. S. Wakankar, one of the most well-known archaeologists, discovered these caverns in 1958. Bhim Baitka is short for “Bhim Betka,” hence the term “Bhimbetka.” These caverns were given their name after “Bhima,” one of the five Pandavas from the Mahabharata. Bhimbetika only means “Bhima’s seat” in English.
Details of the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka:
1. These rock shelters can be found close to the town of Abdullaganj in the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh.
2. The Paleolithic rock shelters at Bhimbetka are an archaeological site.
3. The name Bhimbetka is associated with Bhima, a hero-deity from the Mahabharata epic.
Bhimbetka is said to be descended from Bhimbaithka, also known as “Bhima’s sitting location.”
4. Noted archaeologist Dr. V. S. Wakankar discovered these caverns in 1958.
5. These rock shelters were recognised as a World Heritage Site in 2003.
6. The region as a whole contains more than 600 caverns.
7. There are significant parallels between these cave paintings and the Paleolithic Lascaux paintings in France, the Aboriginal rock art of Australia’s savanna regions, and the drawings made by pygmies in the Kalahari Desert.
8. These representations demonstrate how our ancestors behaved and carried out their regular activities.
9. These paintings also show a range of social events, including birth, burial, dancing, religious ceremonies, hunting scenes, animal fights, and celebration.
10. Pictures of animals including lizards, lions, elephants, tigers, wild boars, antelopes, bears, and tigers are accompanied by descriptions.
11. It is quite astonishing how the colours in the paintings at Bhimbetka have deftly survived the whims of time.
12. These artworks usually use the naturally occurring colours red and white. Green and yellow are also used.
13. Hematite, wood coal, soft red stone, manganese, plant leaves, and animal fats are all used to create the colours.
14. The large, linear animal images in Paleolithic paintings are distinctive. Paintings have changed over time, becoming finer, more delicate, and smaller.
15. The oldest painting is thought to be 12,000 years old, and the newest is thought to be 1000 years old.
16. Only 12 of the approximately 600 caverns at Bhimbetka are open to tourists.
17. Like the vibrant shards of a cracked mirror, these caverns offer a fascinating view into the lives of our ancestors.
3 – LCA Tejas:
GS III Topic Internal Security of India:
According to a senior official from the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which is part of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk2 is not only able to carry eight Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles together but can also integrate all native weapons as well as a variety of advanced weapons from other nations.
“Eight BVR missiles can be carried concurrently by no other single-engine aircraft of its class in the world. V Madhusudana Rao, the LCA Mk2 project director, spoke to The Indian Express on the sidelines of Aero India 2023, the nation’s largest aviation exhibition, which concluded on February 17 in Bengaluru. “These distinctive features will make it stand out among aircraft manufactured by global firms, increasing its export potential.”
In 1984, the Government of India formed the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to oversee the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme.
It took the place of the outdated Mig 21 fighter jets.
Department of Defence Research and Development’s Aeronautical Development Agency.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is a State-owned company (HAL).
The class’s smallest, lightest, and most compact multi-role fighter aircraft.
Intended to transport a variety of precision-guided, air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry.
ability to refuel from the air.
Maximum cargo capacity of 4000 kg.
It can travel at a top speed of Mach 1.8.
The plane has a 3,000 mile range.
Tejas Trainer: A two-seat operational conversion trainer used to train pilots for the air force.
LCA Navy: The Indian Navy is equipped with twin- and single-seat carriers.
LCA Tejas Navy MK2: This is the second phase of the LCA Navy version.
LCA Tejas Mk 1A: This model has a higher thrust engine than the Mk Tejas Mk 1.
4 – Law Commission:
GS II Topic Statutory and Non Statutory Bodies:
The Union Cabinet has decided to extend the 22nd Law Commission’s term until August 31, 2024.
The Commission’s three-year term as chaired by former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Rituraj Awasthi ended on February 20.
Judge Awasthi was selected to act as chair in November of last year.
What is the Law Commission?
The Law Commission of India is an executive body, not a statutory or constitutional authority, and was established by an order of the Government of India. Its main responsibility is to advance legal reforms.
The Commission was established as a consultative group for the Ministry of Law and Justice with a predetermined period in mind.
Legal experts make up the majority of its members.
What is the history of the Indian Law Commission?
Law reform has been a continuing process in Indian history, particularly over the last 300 years or more. Despite the fact that religious and customary law predominated in antiquity, the reform process had been ad hoc and had not been institutionalised through suitably set up law reform organisations.
Nonetheless, since the third decade of the nineteenth century, the government has occasionally established Law Commissions with the power to recommend legislative reforms to clarify, combine, and codify specific departments of law as needed.
The Charter Act of 1833 led to the creation of the first such commission, headed by Lord Macaulay, which provided suggestions for codifying the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code.
The second, third, and fourth Law Commissions were then constituted in 1853, 1861, and 1879, adding a variety of laws to the Indian Statute Book over a fifty-year period that were modelled after the then-current English Laws and suited to Indian realities.
The Indian Code of Civil Procedure, the Indian Contract Act, the Indian Evidence Act, the Transfer of Property Act, etc. were all produced by the first four Law Commissions.
What has altered since India’s independence?
Article 372 of the Constitution, which took effect upon independence, stipulated that pre-Constitutional legislation must be upheld until they are altered or eliminated.
Both inside and outside of Parliament, the establishment of a Central Law Commission had been called for in order to provide recommendations for the updating and modification of the inherited laws to address the changing demands of the country.
The First Law Commission of Independent India was founded by the Indian government in 1955, and it was presided over by Mr. M. C. Setalvad, who was the nation’s Attorney-General at the time. Since then, 21 further Law Commissions have been appointed, each with a three-year term.
In 2020, India’s 22nd Law Commission will be established and given a three-year term.
What obligations does the Law Commission have?
The Law Commission conducts legal research and evaluates the nation’s current laws in order to make adjustments and develop new legislation, either at the Central Government’s request or on its own initiative.
In order to modify how justice is delivered and put a stop to procedural delays, speed up case settlement, reduce litigation expenses, etc., it also undertakes investigations and studies.
Moreover, the Law Commission carries out the following tasks:
Statutes that no longer serve a purpose or that have lost their need should be examined or abolished.
Examines legislation that affect the underprivileged and carries out a post-audit of socio-economic laws.
Urging the adoption of new legislation that would be necessary to implement the Directive Principles and carry out the objectives stated in the Preamble of the Constitution.
evaluating any issue relating to law and judicial administration that the government may directly refer to it through the Ministry of Law and Justice, and sharing its opinions with the government (Department of Legal Affairs).
Examine the laws already in effect to advance gender equality, and offer suggestions for improvement.
Examine the effects of globalisation on employment and food security, and make recommendations for policies to protect the rights of the weak.
Drafting and presenting to the Central Government reports on all issues, studies, and research it has carried out, as well as making recommendations in those reports for the Union or any State to take action.
Carrying out any extra tasks that may periodically be assigned to it by the Central Government.
The Commission consults with the relevant Ministries and Departments as well as any other parties it deems pertinent before putting its recommendations into action.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
India Needs A Budget For It’s Young:
According to the Finance Minister’s comments in the 2023 Budget speech, the rest of the world views the Indian economy as a “bright light.” In 2020, India accounted for 20.6% of all people in the globe between the ages of 15 and 29. This suggests that in the upcoming years, one in five troops who are deployed abroad may be Indian. Without a doubt, the rest of the world expects India’s young people to succeed greatly. But are our policymakers moving quickly enough to seize the opportunities that are appearing?
The primary suggestions in this year’s Union budget are listed below.
On the one hand, there will be a considerable increase in capital investment for the building of physical infrastructure, notably in the sectors of transportation, energy, and defence.
The administration is committed to reducing the fiscal deficit (FD), which is the difference between tax revenue and expenditures, to 5.9% of GDP, even though tax revenue growth would be moderate. That was only made possible by reducing funding in several other areas.
Spending on social programmes and subsidies has decreased. Comparing 2023-2024 to the previous year, the Union government will spend less on food subsidies (or Rs 90,000 crore), fertiliser subsidies (or 0.5 trillion), and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) (0.3 trillion).
It appears unlikely that the modest improvements in spending for agriculture, the Anganwadi programme, health care, and education will have any discernible effects after taking the effect of inflation into account.
Public and private sectors that cross over:
The Budget’s recommendation to enhance government capital spending is an essential first step in recovering the Indian economy. Investment, which is used to finance the purchase of new machinery as well as the building of roads and industries, is stated as a percentage of revenue or GDP and shows how quickly a country’s productive potential is growing.
Around the middle of the 2000s came a significant increase in this percentage in India, which peaked at 42% in 2007, breaking China’s previous record. The nation’s economy grew remarkably quickly as a result of high investment rates, and this boom continued into the early 2010s.
An important turning point was marked by the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the global financial crisis in 2007–2008. In reaction to the crisis, China expanded domestic investment, with the public sector being responsible for a substantial percentage of this rise.
Yet, the government of India restrained spending because of worries about the growing fiscal imbalances. As governmental spending fell, both private and public investors lost hope. As a proportion of GDP, investment has been continuously dropping, from 33.8% in 2013–14 to 27.3% in 2020–21. If the government’s planned investments materialise and draw as many private investments as the Finance Minister has predicted, the Indian economy may revive.
Contrary to capital expenditures, subsidies and social sector spending are considered “wasteful,” and it is presumed that cutting their spending won’t have a detrimental effect on economic growth. Instead, a decline in social spending may make it more difficult for the economy to thrive over the long term and may worsen socioeconomic inequities currently present.
In India, just 9.8% of workers (in 2020–2021) hold regular jobs that provide social security. Because to the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment, programmes like MGNREGA and the free distribution of food are essential for the millions of underprivileged Indians.
It is best to make investments in people and the future:
Public spending on social programmes is an investment in the future, particularly in a country where the youth make up the majority of the population. A mother employed through the MGNREGA programme who is in need of money may be able to prevent her children from having to go to school on an empty stomach.
Underfunding in health and education would hurt India’s chances in a world economy that is more and more knowledge-based. In 2022, only 2.6% of the over 1.9 million applicants who took the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in India were accepted into a government college’s MBBS programme.
Every year, this country denies millions of young people access to inexpensive basic and higher education. They are further irritated by the lack of legitimate career opportunities for so many educated people.
Government expenditure on health and education may increase both supply and demand in a knowledge-driven economy by fostering more new teaching and medical careers, especially for women, as well as a larger pool of young professionals and skilled workers.
Irrational concerns about the fiscal deficit:
Inflating concerns about the fiscal imbalance and government debt won’t help India, a country with vast untapped reserves of people and other resources. Foreign institutions only hold a small portion of India’s government debt, which is why it does not pose the same threat as it did in Greece or is currently posing in Sri Lanka (4.2% of GDP in 2022).
Much of the debt held by the Indian government is held by public sector banks, insurance companies, and provident funds. In other words, the government owes money to the country’s residents, whose money the financial institutions have used.
In fact, by borrowing money to create resources that help in the creation of new jobs and incomes, the government is initiating a positive cycle. New revenues will also be generated by rising earnings and development levels, which will be applied to debt repayment.
The proportion of persons in India aged 30 and older will rise from 37.5% in 2000 to 58.6% in 2040. On the other hand, by increasing government expenditure on initiatives that support food security, healthcare, and education, millions of youngsters in India could strive to become shining stars that illuminate the world.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Missing In Parliament:
The Lok Sabha’s deputy speaker seat is now open because there was no election for it. The Supreme Court was then consulted on the matter, and the SC informed the Union government of its conclusions.
The Lok Sabha’s term extends from the day of its first meeting to the day it has met for five years straight, per Article 83(2) of the Constitution, unless it is dissolved earlier.
So, on June 16, 2024, the current Lok Sabha’s term will come to an end. It has been in operation for three years and seven months. Elections for the 18th Lok Sabha are set for June 2024.
Assuming control of the Lok Sabha:
The Lok Sabha’s two presiding officers are the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, who are picked by the Parliament’s members.
As soon as the House meets after the election, in accordance with Article 93 of the Constitution, these two presiding officials are elected one after the other.
Traditionally, the Speaker is selected after the oath is administered. A short bit later, the Deputy Speaker is chosen.
The current Lok Sabha has been in session for three years and seven months, yet the Speaker of the Parliament has not yet appointed a Deputy Speaker.
According to reports, the Supreme Court told the Union government that the Deputy Speaker had not been elected.
Historical Influence of Speaker and Deputy Speaker:
The Speaker and Deputy Speaker are referred to as officers of Parliament in the Constitution, underscoring their importance in the parliamentary system.
Some individuals could believe that the Deputy Speaker is not necessary and that the House can function without one.
A Deputy Speaker is just as important for the House as the Speaker, according to the position’s history.
The Deputy Speaker role was created by the Government of India Act of 1919, but prior to that, the Speaker also served as the head of the central legislative assembly, earning him the title of Deputy President.
Although a Deputy Speaker’s principal responsibilities included leading select committees and preside over assembly sessions without the Speaker, the position was regarded as crucial for helping the Speaker run the House and oversee newly established committees.
After Independence, a Deputy Speaker was appointed to preside over the meetings of the Constituent Assembly in addition to the Speaker, upholding the tradition (Legislative).
The Constituent Assembly (Legislative) elected M Ananthasayanam Ayyangar as the first Deputy Speaker and G V Mavalankar as the first Speaker on September 3, 1948.
He was appointed the first Deputy Speaker of the House of the People under the new Constitution on May 28, 1952. After that, a few days after the Speaker was selected, a Deputy Speaker was elected in each Lok Sabha.
The only three exceptions were P M Sayeed, who was elected nine months after the Speaker, S Mallikarjunaiah, who was elected to the 10th Lok Sabha 33 days after the Speaker, and Suraj Bhan, who was elected 49 days after the Speaker.
How the deputy speaker is chosen:
The House must choose the Speaker and Deputy Speaker as soon as feasible in accordance with Article 93. In practise, however, the administration has typically put forward the Speaker’s name and chosen a member of the opposition as a consensus choice for the office of Deputy Speaker.
This method was occasionally not strictly followed. Otherwise, selecting a member of the opposition to serve as deputy speaker has generally been regarded as a positive practise.
Nonetheless, if a government chooses not to favour an Opposition member for political reasons, it is free to choose a member of its own party.
In accordance with Rule 8 of the Rules and Procedure of the Lok Sabha, the Speaker is in charge of deciding the date for the election of the Deputy Speaker.
After the date has been determined, any member may propose the name of any other member for the House’s consideration through a motion.
After then, the House might select the Deputy Speaker. Yet, in reality, the political process of speaking with other parties and reaching an agreement is initiated by the administration.
If this doesn’t work, the government might nominate one of its own people for the job.
Any member of the House may introduce a motion requesting that the Speaker determine the date because it is his duty to do so and he hasn’t yet done so.
Although the President must abide by their recommendation, the Union cabinet really determines the date for the Speaker election.
The Union cabinet’s approval is not required under the Constitution before the Speaker can establish the date for the election of the Deputy Speaker. Yet, the political environment has changed.
Deputy Speaker’s Role & Function:
The Deputy Speaker has the same power as the Speaker while presiding over a House meeting.
No appeal against a Deputy Speaker decision is also admissible before the Speaker. Hence, the Speaker lacks the power to overturn or modify a Deputy Speaker’s decision.
According to Article 95(1) of the Constitution, the Deputy Speaker has all the powers of the Speaker when the Speaker’s office is vacant, hence the Deputy Speaker can decide on petitions relating to disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
Even though he can only exercise these authority when the Speaker is not present, the Deputy Speaker’s decisions are final and binding.
In the event that the Speaker is compelled to be absent for a longer period of time owing to illness or another reason, the government will have to cope with the unpredictable nature of a judgement or an unfavourable decision by a Deputy Speaker who is selected from the ranks of the Opposition.
By not electing the Deputy Speaker, perhaps someone wanted to be safe. But, given that the Supreme Court is now involved in the case, the status quo may be disrupted. The House is required by Article 93 to carry out a requirement.
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