GS II topic- Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Diluting the land accusation law
Faced with its inability to amend the historic Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the government at the Centre is encouraging States to draft and pass their own laws for land acquisition and get them approved by the Centre through presidential assent.
- As per the doctrine of “occupied field” enshrined in Article 254(1) of the Constitution, if there exists a Central law on a concurrent subject, then a State law cannot override it. However, Article 254(2) provides that if a State law receives presidential assent after due consideration, then it can apply in contravention to the Central law in that particular State.
- Article 254(2) was never intended, even in its broadest interpretation, to weaken Central laws merely because they were found to be inconvenient. It was intended to bring in changes to Central laws if there was a genuine hurdle in implementing them in a particular State due to challenges peculiar to that region.
- It is a settled proposition that what the government cannot do directly, it cannot do indirectly. This oft-reiterated maxim has been used by the Supreme Court of India to strike down the attempts of the government to pass off what is known as “colourable legislation” (laws the government is not qualified to pass, disguised as other laws). A creative attempt to weaken a state law against the larger public interest is nothing short of such an abuse.
- Presidential assent not a formality- The Supreme Court in a landmark Constitution Bench decision in Kaiser-I-Hind Pvt. Ltd. v. National Textile Corporation (2002) held, in relation to Article 254(2), that the words “reserved for consideration” would “definitely indicate that there should be active application of mind by the President to the repugnancy… and the necessity of having such a law, in facts and circumstances of the matter
- Constitutional scholar Durga Das Basu further argues that the words “reserved for consideration” used in Article 254(2) “cannot be an idle formality but would require serious consideration on the material placed before the President. The newly enacted State laws on acquisition curtail and suspend the statutory right to give consent to acquisition and the need to carry out a social impact assessment. The President is required to examine if compelling reasons to sanction such a significant deviation exist.
- Undermining of the Parliament: This move sets a precedent by which the Centre can undermine the parliament law if it can’t change it by encouraging states to bypass the Parliament’s law. This is happening not just for land acquisition but also for labour laws, with Rajasthan having shown the way.
- The laws made by these states are trying to neglect the safeguards of LARR Act 2013, such as Right to consent and Social Impact Assessment. TN’s law even compromised rehabilitation and resettlement.
- It is a misuse of the constitutional provision. This provision was given by the constitution to meet the regional social demands of various states. But, this can also be used to meet the political demands of parties at the centre which can’t change the central law due to lack of numbers and thus stick to this indirect route.
- Lack of effective and transparent approval system upon states’s submission of bill to President, where President mainly plays a passive role on the advice of cabinet
- It strengthens cooperative federalism. States can thus have more power in acquisition of lands and thus can better meet the regional necessities.
- It goes along in line Article 254(2), so it is a constitutional provision and thus can’t be outlawed. If done on good purposes, states can contribute a lot to ease of doing businesses, land reforms etc.
- Hasten the process of land accusation so doing away with the biggest hurdle of land accusation and hence industrial and economic development.
Earlier the UPA government has allowed the state governments to decide on their own whether to allow FDI in retail sector or not. It not only ensured cooperative federalism but also initiated a competition between the states, hence competitive federalism where the states tried to outsmart one another to achieve higher trajectories of economic growth and which would result in growth and development of the country. Again there is a new innovation in right direction. However misuse of a constitutional provision cannot and should not go unchecked and a complete mockery of the very idea of a Concurrent List in the Constitution, which must be considered as an integral part of its basic structure should not be made. So the states should take the responsibility not to endanger the social nd environmental impact and the centerand the president should take the responsibility of considering the uniqueness, limitations and genuine requirements of the states before granting or rejecting the approval.
Doctrine of Colorable Legislation
The doctrine of colourability is the idea that when the legislature wants to do something that it cannot do within the constraints of the constitution, it colours the law with a substitute purpose which will still allow it to accomplish its original goal.
Doctrine of Colorable Legislation is built upon the founding stones of the Doctrine of Separation of Power. Separation of Power mandates that a balance of power is to be struck between the different components of the State i.e. between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The Primary Function of the legislature is to make laws. Whenever, Legislature tries to shift this balance of power towards itself then the Doctrine of Colorable Legislation is attracted to take care of Legislative Accountability.
This Doctrine also traces its origin to a Latin Maxim:
“Quando aliquid prohibetur ex directo, prohibetur et per obliquum”
This maxim implies that “when anything is prohibited directly, it is also prohibited indirectly”. In common parlance, it is meant to be understood as “Whatever legislature can’t do directly, it can’t do indirectly”.
This doctrine comes into play when a Legislature does not possess the power to make law upon a particular subject but nonetheless indirectly makes one. By applying this principle the fate of the Impugned Legislation is decided.
A new method to scoop out marine oil spills
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram have developed a gelator to recover marine oil spills.
These gelators were produced using glucose as a startling material and after several chemical reactions. It can be reused for several times
- The gelator molecule is partly hydrophobic and partly hydrophilic. While the hydrophilic part helps in self-assembling to form gelator fibres, the hydrophobic part is responsible for its diffusion into the oil layer. The better the self-assembly (which is primarily through hydrogen bonding) the better the fibre strength and gelation.
- Since the outer part of the fibre is hydrophobic, oil tends to gets into the spongy network made of fibres.
- Once inside the fibre network, oil loses fluidity and becomes a gel. As the self-assembly is strong, the gel maintains its structure and rigidity even under pressure.
- To achieve better diffusion of the molecule into the oil phase and enhance the oil recovery the hydrophobicity of the molecule needs to be increased. This is done by adding an aromatic/alkyl group at some part of the molecule.
GS II Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Centre moots registry to vet geospatial data
The government is developing a national data registry that will require all agencies— state, private and academic — that collect and store geospatial data to share it with the registry. The registry will also serve as a source of “authenticated” information — meaning officials at the Survey of India would vet it for accuracy and see whether it contains information that contravenes national security.
Officials of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the nodal coordinating agency, said the purpose of such a registry was to create a “catalogue” that would “prevent duplication” of data sets and help users locate the right agencies to source information. The registry will be a ‘meta-data’ repository: it will not actually be a source of geospatial data but will only inform about the nature of the data a service provider has. Thus, everyone from restaurant-location-service providers to hospital-location aggregators will have to comply with the directive, and the government may bring in legislation.
GS II Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
India, Palestine sign MoU for setting up of Techno Park in Ramallah, Plestine
India and Palestine have signed an agreement for setting up of a techno park in Ramallah with an Indian grant of $12 million.
- It will serve as an IT hub in Palestine with complete IT facilities offering a one-stop solution to all IT-related service requirements.
- It will also provide the state-of-the-art technology, hosts IT companies and foreign companies benefiting local business, universities and other institutions.
GS III Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
Duty drawback facility extended for textiles
The government has extended duty drawback facility for one year on all textile products to boost exports, and has increased rates in some cases for the benefit of Indian exporters.
- The duty drawback has been announced by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
Under the revised norms, home textiles attract drawback of 7.5% now as against 7.3% earlier. Similarly, incorporation of blanket and other cotton products in this category will attract drawback rate of 8% now from 7.2% earlier. These drawbacks are aimed at giving a boost to exports of cotton textiles as they will provide adequate neutralization of the incidence of duties and taxes on the export goods and make them more competitive in the international markets.
What is duty Draw back?
Duty Drawback is the rebate of duty chargeable on imported material or excisable material used in the manufacturing of goods in and is exported. The exporter may claim drawback or refund of excise and customs duties being paid by his suppliers. The final exporter can claim the drawback on material used for the manufacture of export products.