About Indus Water Treaty

About Indus Water Treaty

  • It is the treaty between the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan with twin objectives-
  • Water sharing of river Indus and its tributaries between the upper riparian India and lower riparian Pakistan.
  • Optimum utilisation of the waters of the Indus system of rivers.
  • It was signed under the arbitration of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (which is now World Bank) in Pakistan in 1960.
  • The Indus Waters Treaty is one of the most liberal water distribution agreements between the two countries as it gives India 20% of the water from the Indus River System and the rest 80% to Pakistan.

Rivers Covered under the Treaty

  • The treaty covers the water distribution and sharing rights of-
  • Three Eastern Riversof Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and their tributaries
  • Three Western Riversof Indus, Jhelum and Chenab and their tributaries

Major Provisions of the Treaty

  • Water Sharing
    • Under this treaty, India got control exclusive over all the waters of the eastern rivers of Beas, Ravi and Sutlej.
    • Pakistan got control over the waters of the western rivers of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum except for except for specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India.
    • This implies that-
      • All the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre-feet (MAF), were allocated to India for exclusive use.
      • The waters of the western rivers averaging to around 135 MAF were allocated to Pakistan except for ‘specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India,’ according to the treaty.
      • India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through the run of the river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.


  • Permanent Indus Commission
    • A Permanent Indus Commission was set up by the United Nations for resolving any disputes that may arise in water sharing, with a mechanism for arbitration to resolve conflicts amicably.
    • As per the Treaty, both India and Pakistan have created a permanent post of Commissioner for Indus Waters which together constitutes the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC).
    • It is also entrusted with the implementation of the Treaty.
    • The water commissioners of Pakistan and India are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works.

  • Information Exchange
    • Both sides are required to exchange information related to river flows observed by them, not later than three months of their observation.
    • They also exchange specified information on agricultural use every year and the quantum of water being used under the treaty.
    • India is also under obligation to supply information of its storage and hydroelectric projects as specified.

Major Issues of IWT

  • In 2016, Pakistan had approached the World Bank raising concerns of India’s Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power projects being constructed in Jammu & Kashmir region. India then requested for neutral experts to inspect the plants. The World Bank permitted India to proceed with the projects.
  • India also expresses its objection to Pakistan’s Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) project which passes through the Rann of Kutch in India’s Gujarat. The lower riparian state is in India and hence it needs to be given all details. There is also the danger of flooding in the state of Gujarat.
  • The Indian government has decided some years back to review the suspension of Tulbul project. The project got suspended in 1987 after Pakistan’s objection.
  • Post Uri attacks on India, Indian Prime Minister Modi remarked that blood and water cannot flow simultaneously which was an indication that India can rethink the provision of the IWT.
  • India does not use its entire share of water it is entitled to as per the provisions of the IWT. About 2 million acre feet (MAF) of water from the River Ravi flows into Pakistan unutilised by India. However, GOI is taking slew of measures for that.
  • After Pulwama attacks in 2019, the Indian government decided that all water flowing into Pakistan from the three eastern rivers, will be diverted to Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan for different uses.

India’s Utilization of Eastern Rivers

  • To utilise the waters of the Eastern rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use, India has constructed-
    • Bhakra Dam on Satluj
    • Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas
    • Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi

  • These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilise nearly the entire share (95 per cent) of the eastern river waters.
  • However, about two MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan.
  • To stop the flow of these waters, the Centre is currently taking steps like-
    • Resumption of construction of Shahpurkandi project
    • Construction of Ujh multipurpose project
    • Second Ravi-Beas link below Ujh

Polity: Federalism- Debate, landmark cases, Types of Federalism, J&K and more

Headline : The forms of federalism in India

Details :

Why in News?

  • The Union government has withdrawn the special status conferred on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under Article 370 of the Constitution. It has also divided the State into two regions and declared them as Union Territories.

Telegram: https://t.me/ShubhraRanjanPSIR

The debate concerning with federalism:

Nations are described as ‘federal’ or ‘unitary’, depending on the way in which governance is organized.

  • In a unitary set-up, the Centre has plenary powers of administration and legislation, with its constituent units having little autonomy.
  • In a federal arrangement, the constituent units are identified on the basis of region or ethnicity, and conferred varying forms of autonomy or some level of administrative and legislative powers.

As the current political status of J&K — as two Union Territories — is a form of demotion from the sort of autonomy it enjoyed, it becomes an issue concerning federalism.

Is India a federal state?

Article 1 of the Constitution states, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”. While the Constitution doesn’t mention the term “federal”, it does provide for a governance structure primarily federal in nature. It provides for separate governments at the Union and in the states. Further, it specifies and demarcates the powers, functions and jurisdictions of the two governments. Last, it details the legislative, administrative and financial relations between the Union and the states.

S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, it has been held that “Democracy and federalism are essential features of our constitution and are part of its basic structure”. With increased political decentralization, India was ripe to evolve from a “union of states” to a “federation of states”.

There exist certain provisions in the Constitution which are considered to be going against the principle of federalism.

  • For example, article 200 of the constitution in which it is said that certain bills passed by state legislatures may be reserved by the governors for the consideration of the president of India.
  • The another article which is considered to be a deviation from the principle of federalism is Articles 356, 352 and 360 which gives the power to the president to declare emergency, which can transform federal system into a unitary system.
  • There are many circumstances in which the central government has used this power to dissolve the state governments of the opposite parties and to remain in power at the centre.

A disconcerting trend has been observed since 1950. While the Union and Concurrent Lists have expanded, the State List seems to have shrunk. This has led many to question the structure of Indian federalism and to propose its remodeling.

Why India is called ‘quasi-federal’:

The Supreme Court has commented on the nature of the Indian Union in several judgments. It has noted that the essence of a ‘federation’ is the existence of the Union of the States, and the distribution of powers between them.

  • In India, on the other hand, Parliament has the power to admit new States, create new States, alter their boundaries and their names, and unite or divide the States. The concurrence of States is not needed for the formation and unmaking of States and Union Territories.
  • Several provisions of the Constitution allow the Centre to override the powers of the States. For example existence of Concurrent List in Legislature.
  • In India, the residuary powers of legislation, that is the power to make law in a field not specified in the Constitution, is vested in Parliament, whereas in the U.S., residuary powers are with the States.
  • Further, in fiscal matters, the power of the States to raise their own resources is limited, and there is a good deal of dependency on the Centre for financial assistance.

Even though the States are sovereign in their prescribed legislative field, and their executive power is co-extensive with their legislative powers, it is clear that “the powers of the States are not coordinate with the Union”. This is why the Constitution is often described as ‘quasi-federal’.

Why is it said that India has asymmetric federalism:

  • The main forms of administrative units in India are the Centre and the States. But there are other forms, too, all set up to address specific local, historical and geographical contexts.
  • Besides the Centre and the States, the country has Union Territories with a legislature and Union Territories without a legislature. Parliament has overriding powers over any law made by the Assembly in the Union Territories.
  • Just as the Centre and the States do not have matching powers in all matters, there are some differences in the way some States and other constituent units of the Indian Union relate to the Centre. This creates a notable asymmetry in the way Indian federalism works.

Special status for J&K and how it worked:

The foremost example of asymmetry among Centre-State ties was in the way J&K related to India until August 6, 2019.

  • Under Article 370, the State was allowed to have its own Constitution, its own definition of ‘permanent residents’, the right to bar outsiders from holding property, and the privilege of not having any Indian law automatically applicable to its territory.
  • Indian laws had to be specifically permitted by its Assembly before it could operate there. It was allowed to have its’ own Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes.
  • The President was empowered to notify, from time to time, the provisions of the Constitution that could be extended to the State, with or without modifications.

What does Article 371 provide?

Special status is not unique to Kashmir. However, the sort of asymmetry seen in J&K’s relationship to the Centre is not seen in other States. The ‘special provisions’ applicable to some other States are mainly in the form of empowering the Governors to discharge some special responsibilities. These States are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Article 371 says the Governor of Maharashtra has a special responsibility to establish separate development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of the State, while the Governor of Gujarat has a similar responsibility towards Saurashtra, Kutch and the rest of Gujarat. The responsibilities cover equitable allocation of funds for development expenditure, and providing facilities for technical education and vocational training.
  • Article 371A confers special status on Nagaland. Under this provision, no law made by Parliament in relation to Naga customary law and procedure, including civil and criminal justice matters, and ownership or transfer of land and resources will apply to Nagaland, unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland decides so. Further, the Governor of Nagaland has a ‘special responsibility’ regarding law and order in the State.
  • Article 371B contained a special provision for Assam under which a committee of legislators from the tribal areas was formed to look after their interest. The tribal areas later became Meghalaya State.
  • Under Article 371C, the Hill Areas of Manipur ought to have a committee of legislators. The Governor has a special responsibility to make an annual report to the President on the administration of the Hill Areas. The Centre is empowered to give directions to the State as far as these areas were concerned.
  • Article 371D is a detailed provision under which the President can pass an order to provide equitable opportunities and facilities to people belonging to different parts of Andhra Pradesh in public employment and education. In particular, the President can create local cadres in various classes of employment and allot civil posts to specified local cadres only.
  • Article 371F incorporated special provisions after the addition of Sikkim to India. One major objective was to grant protection to existing laws in Sikkim so that they are not declared unconstitutional after being brought under the Constitution of India.
  • Article 371G contains special provisions to preserve the religious and social practices of Mizos in Mizoram and their customary law and procedure and administration of criminal and civil justice, besides ownership of land.
  • Article 371H vests a special responsibility on the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh with respect to law and order. It makes clear that the Governor shall discharge this function after consulting the Council of Ministers, but exercise his individual judgment as to the action taken.

Other examples of decentralization of power:

There is another significant tier of administration under the larger framework of asymmetric federalism.

  • The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution contains provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. These create autonomous districts and autonomous regions administered by District Councils and Regional Councils respectively. These Councils can make laws with respect to allotment, occupation and use of land, management of forests other than reserve forests and water courses. Besides they can regulate social customs, marriage and divorce and property issues.
  • In Assam, the Karbi-Anglong Autonomous Council, Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council and the Bodoland Territorial Council have been set up under the Sixth Schedule. Another six autonomous councils have been formed by Acts of the legislature.
  • Ladakh has two autonomous hill development councils (Leh and Kargil).
  • The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is in West Bengal.

Recent Developments:

Typically, two opposite forces seem to operate: cooperative federalism and competitive federalism. Promoting both cooperative and competitive federalism has been an overarching theme of the government.

  • Cooperative federalism implies the Centre and states share a horizontal relationship, where they “cooperate” in the larger public interest.
  • Competitive federalism gained significance in India post the 1990s economic reforms.
  • The disbandment of the Planning Commission (PC) and its replacement by the NITI Aayog is specifically designed to promote cooperative federalism.
  • Institutional innovations such as the NITI Aayog and the GST council that now dominate Centre-state deliberations, and India today has a new framework for negotiating Centre-state relations.

Way Forward:

  • Cooperative and competitive federalism may be two sides of the same coin. Their complementarities are contingent on many affirmative steps.
  • Efforts at cooperative federalism have commenced but need to be strengthened.
  • An institutional mechanism like Inter-State Council must be reactivated where important issues are appropriately discussed with states for better policy coordination.

Section : Polity & Governance

Open up the Supreme Court Editorial 9th Apr’19 TheHindu

Headline : Open up the Supreme Court Editorial 9th Apr’19 TheHindu 

Details : 

Delhi HC judgement said RTI applicable to higher judiciary:

  • In 2009, the High Court of Delhi handed down a landmark judgment dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
  • It held that the Office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) was a “public authority”, and therefore, subject to the provisions of the Act.
  • Information held by the CJI — including, in the context of the case, information about judges’ assets — could be requested by the public through an RTI application.

But SC stayed it:

  • When the case reached the Supreme Court, a stay was granted.
  • In April, 2019, a five-judge Bench of the apex court finally heard the case on merits, and reserved judgment.
  • Expansion of issues under consideration:
    • By this time, the issues under consideration moved beyong Delhi HC’s ruling on the status of the Chief Justice as a public authority and the disclosure of judges’ assets.
    • It also involved the question of whether the correspondence of the Collegium was subject to the RTI.

Various aspects:

  1. Office of CJI and higher courts should be subject to RTI:
  • The answer to the basic question, i.e. whether or not the Office of the CJI is subject to the RTI Act, is a clear yes.
  • The Delhi High Court judgment noted that, “all power — judicial power being no exception — is held accountable in a modern Constitution”.
  • A blanket judicial exemption from the RTI Act would defeat the basic idea of “open justice”.
  • The courts are powerful organs of state, and their workings have to be as transparent and open to public scrutiny as any other body.
  • Some private information could be withheld as per RTI Act itself:
    • It would be incorrect to say that bringing the judiciary under the RTI Act destroys the personal privacy of judges.
    • The RTI Act itself has an inbuilt privacy-oriented protection, which authorises withholding the disclosure of personal information unless there is an overriding public interest.
    • For example, disclosure of assets is arguably justified by an overriding public interest, but information related to medical details or marital status need not be revealed.
  1. Correspondence of the Collegium:
  • The most complex issue regarding information from the judiciary involved the disclosure of the correspondence of the Collegium.

Collegium and its working:

  • India is one of the few countries where judges have the last word on judicial appointments, through the mechanism of the Collegium.
  • The Collegium includes the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, who collectively constitute the selection panel for judicial appointments to the Supreme Court (and the three senior-most judges when it comes to the High Courts).
  • The Collegium itself is not mentioned in the text of the Constitution: it arose out of a judgment of the Supreme Court, and in response to increased executive interference in judicial appointments.
  • The Collegium system of appointments arose, therefore, as a tool to secure and guarantee the independence of the judiciary.

Collegium system facing criticism:

  • However, the Collegium has come under increasing criticism.
  • A major point of critique was its opacity: it was increasingly being perceived that judicial appointments were too often made in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner.
  • For example, certain lawyers were ruled out from being recommended to High Court judgeship because of being in a live-in relationship without being married.

More transparency promised:

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down a constitutional amendment establishing a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), which would have replaced the Collegium.
  • However, the apex court vowed to evolve a system where concerns of transparency were addressed.
  • A small step towards this was made in the recent years, when the resolutions of the Collegium began to be published online.

Fears that disclosing correspondence of collegium would destroy Judicial Independence:

  • During the arguments of the case related to judiciary and RTI, the Attorney-General of India (AG), who represented the Supreme Court before the Constitution Bench, argued that disclosing the correspondence of the Collegium would “destroy” judicial independence.
  • The CJI who was hearing the matter also agreed, noting that disclosing the reasons for rejection of a judge would “destroy” his or her life or career.

Such fears are unjustified:

  • This line of argument is difficult to accept.
  • It was first argued that only collegium system can secure judicial independence by ensuring judicial primacy in the appointments process.
  • Once that is done, it is unacceptable to then argue that the only permissible way in which this system can work is by making it immune to transparency.

Court must be transparent and accountable as it controls all appointments:

  • If the SC has instituted a process of appointment that makes itself the final arbiter of judicial appointments, then it must also ensure that that same process meets the standards of accountability in a democratic republic.

Transparency in judicial appointments is a feature of all major democracies:

  • A look at judicial appointments elsewhere suggests that transparency in appointments is integral to the process.
  • In the United States, for example, candidates for judicial appointments in the federal judiciary are subjected to public confirmation hearings by the Senate.
  • In Kenya and South Africa, the interviews of candidates taken by judicial appointments commissions are broadcast live.
  • The public, thus, is in a position to judge for itself the selection process.
  • This is crucial to maintaining public faith in the impartiality of the institution.

Collegium cannot be above scrutiny:

  • The Collegium in India has immunised itself from any form of public scrutiny.
  • The nomination process is secret, the deliberations are secret, the reasons for elevation or non-elevation are secret.
  • This creates an extremely unhealthy climate, in which rumours are rampant about judicial integrity as well as executive interference.
  • What truly destroys an insititution like the SC is not transparency but erosion of trust due to lack of it.

Conclusion:

  • The Collegium’s recent decisions to recommend a set of names for elevation, and then hastily backtrack on them without any publicly stated reasons, dealt a serious blow to its reputation for impartiality and independence.
  • The only way to salvage this is to open up the court.
  • A judiciary that is confident of itself and of its place in the democratic republic should not be worried about subjecting judicial appointments to public scrutiny.
  • The occasional discomfort that might come from the harsh public scrutiny is more than outweighed by the cleansing value of transparency.

Importance:

GS Paper II: Polity

Section : Editorial Analysis 

Steps to cement ties with China Editorial 10th Apr’19 IndianExpress

Headline : Steps to cement ties with China Editorial 10th Apr’19 IndianExpress 

Details : 

Focus must remain on foreign policy even in election season:

  • Even as India heads into a general election, it is important to keep focus on and not lose track of how the country must shape its foreign policy over the coming five years.
  • Suggestions, inputs, advice on these issues will be valuable to whichever government is formed.

China:

  • Within the larger foreign policy matrix, India’s relations with China constitute one of our most important challenges in the national security arena.
  • Thus, analysts continues to be pay attention regarding the next steps in India-China ties. 

Possible next steps in India-China ties for the new government:

  1. Regular high level interaction:
  • Given the nature of China’s polity, which is highly centralised, it will continue to remain important to drive the relationship from the top down.
  • Therefore, there should be intense political interaction, starting with the top leadership and filtering down to the ministerial level and then senior official level.
  • It will be essential to have an early visit to India by Chinese President in the second half of 2019 to keep up the momentum from the Wuhan Informal Summit of April 2018 as well as to impart new impulses with the new government in India. 
  • Informal summits also useful:
    • The positive aspect of the informal summit format (like the Wuhan Summit) is that it permits just the two leaders to interact with each other over significant amounts of time, thereby enabling strategic communication on all relevant aspects.
    • Such an exchange of views is indeed of significant value, especially amongst nations which need to build upon mutual trust.
  1. Enhanced military-to-military interaction and cooperation
  • It will be important to enhance military-to-military interaction and cooperation between India and China.
  • Currently, the exchanges are mainly between the armies of the two countries.
  • It will be essential to expand this to the navies, which are meeting on the high seas more often.
  • Such exchanges should go beyond mere symbolism (like study visits, port calls) and aim at getting a better understanding of the doctrines, practices and assessments of the other side.
  • On the border, there is a need for new confidence-building measures, which will aim at defusing the increasing close proximity situations that have been witnessed in the recent past. Additional Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may also have to be put into place.
  1. More balanced trade:
  • To address the increasingly adverse balance of trade India experiences with China, it is essential to work with the Chinese government to ensure greater market access in China for Indian pharmaceutical products, particularly our cheap formulations.
  • Also, we must look at the “invisible” part of our payment balance with China and make a focused effort at attracting more Chinese tourists.
  • Marketing Incredible India in China will be a first step, but we shall also have to work with Chinese travel agents, the various airlines which fly between our countries, the new online agencies as well as the social media methodology to popularise India as a tourism destination.
  • If such an effort is indeed made, our mountains and our beaches, our temples and our heritage sites, our Buddhist trail as well as our wildlife sanctuaries are likely to be hugely popular with the Chinese.
  1. Movies:
  • It is important to acknowledge that China has rediscovered Bollywood, as seen by the success of recent movies in China.
  • While Bollywood will continue to tap the Chinese market on its own, since the government is important in China, India should offer whatever assistance may be required by our filmmakers in marketing their ware in China.
  • Films are important since they are a vehicle for promoting mutual trust and understanding between societies and peoples, while at the same time helping earn our movie-makers important markets and foreign exchange.
  1. Yoga:
  • India’s other export which is reaching out to millions of ordinary Chinese folk is yoga.
  • We must continue to promote yoga in China and, once again, this is best done through the private sector, but the government could consider effecting policies which promote this export.
  • It is significant that in order to celebrate International Yoga Day in China on June 21 each year, our official outposts in that country are able to bring in as many as 8,000 to 10,000 people at each of the many events in China.
  1. Sports:
  • It will be essential to engage China in the field of sports, where they are extremely strong.
  • We can encourage Chinese coaches in table tennis, gymnastics, track and field, as well as shooting, archery and swimming to come to India and train our youngsters.
  • We shall benefit from such assistance.
  1. Cooperation on global issues:
  • ISA:
    • On global issues, India has established the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in partnership with France with its headquarters in India.  China, which is an important manufacturer of solar panels and other related equipment, must join the ISA at an early date.
    • This would be a win-win proposition for both countries and will provide an excellent example of how the two can work together in international organisations.
    • Now that Japan and Saudi Arabia have joined the ISA, it is time to step up our encouragement to China to participate in this important area of environmental policy where we have no fundamental differences.
  • Counter-terrorism:
    • India must continue working with China to convince them that they must remove their hold at the UN Security Council on the listing of Masood Azhar under the 1267 sanctions. 
  1. RCEP:
  • The negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are now mainly between India and China.
  • We must ensure that RCEP has a strong commitment with respect to services and the movement of natural persons which is important for India. 
  1. Simultaneous stronger ties with other players in the region:
  • It is important to understand that better relations with China do not mean we have to go slow in our relations with other countries — whether the ASEAN or Australia, Japan or the US.
  • Putting our links with China on a firmer footing can be done simultaneously with stronger ties with other players in the region. 

Importance:

GS Paper III: International Relations

Section : Miscellaneous

Languages and civilisation Editorial 5th Apr’19 IndianExpress

Headline : Languages and civilisation Editorial 5th Apr’19 IndianExpress 

Details : 

Importance of language:

  • Language is a tool for intellectual and emotional expression.
  • Language is a vehicle for the transmission of culture, scientific knowledge and a worldview across generations.
  • It is the vital, unseen thread that links the past with the present.
  • The great Indian poet Acharya Dandi had said that if the light of language does not exist, we will be groping in a dark world.

Indian literary tradition:

  • There is a rich literary tradition in many languages, especially the ones recognised as classical languages by the Government of India.
  • Modern Indian languages have ancient roots and are derived in some way from the classical languages.

Great Sanskrit literary heritage in India: 

  • Sanskrit, of course, is one of the oldest Indo-European languages, dating back to the second millennium BC.
  • The manuscripts still in existence in Sanskrit number over 30 million, one hundred times those in Greek and Latin combined, constituting the largest cultural heritage that any civilisation has produced before the invention of the printing press.
  • Since studying the classical languages and literature would provide access to authentic sources of history, the National Mission for Manuscripts was set up in 2003.
  • Preservation of ancient texts is only the first step. We need to encourage scholars to do research using these primary sources and unearth new nuggets of knowledge.
  • It is important to study ancient texts and propagate them among modern audiences.

Classical languages of India:

  • Some languages have been given classical language status because of their ancient literary heritage.
  • For instance, Tamil literature dates back to 500 BC, Telugu to 400 BC, Kannada to 450 BC, Malayalam to 1198 AD and Odia to 800 AD.
  • Each of these languages has a rich treasure house of literature, examples include:
    • Sangam literature and Tholkappiyum in Tamil
    • Kavitrayam’s Andhra Mahabharatam in Telugu
    • Ramacharitham of Cheeraman in Malayalam
    • Kavirajamarga of Amoghavarsha in Kannada
    • Kharavela’s inscriptions in Odia
  • For each of the populations speaking these languages, their literature is a matter of pride and distinct identity and the language is a goddess to be revered. There are songs in praise of these languages in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.

Honouring those working on classical languages:

  • Recently, President’s award was given to scholars of Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic, Persian, Telugu, Kannada, Odia and Malayalam for their service in the preservation and development of classical languages.
  • It shows nation’s appreciation and recognition to renowned scholars who are keeping alive the traditional knowledge and acting as the intellectual bridge between the past and the present.

Falling linguistic diversity of India harms our cultural richness:

  • India is a multilingual country where more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken.
  • However, studies by experts estimate that almost 600 languages are on the verge of extinction and that more than 250 languages have disappeared in the past 60 years.  
  • Almost 97 per cent of the population speaks one of the 22 scheduled languages.
  • When a language dies, an entire culture dies.

Preserving and developing India’s linguistic heritage: 

  • Our languages are a crucial part of our history, our culture and our evolution as a society.
  • It is important to protect and conserve our linguistic heritage.
  • Protecting our cultural heritage, including languages, is our constitutionally-mandated duty.

Leveraging technology:

  • The resources required to develop language technology and artificial intelligence-based tools are inadequate or unavailable for many Indian languages.
  • We must harness the power of technology to preserve and promote our languages and culture.

Governmental efforts:

  • The Government of India launched the Linguistic Data Consortium for Indian Languages (LDC-IL) in 2008 and has been preparing high-quality linguistic resources over the last 11 years in all the scheduled languages of India.
  • The Data Distribution Portal is also being launched, where more and varied datasets will be added using several types of AI-based technologies such as automatic dictation, speech recognition, language understanding, machine translation, grammar and spell check.
  • The Central Institute of Indian Languages has been doing commendable work to provide linguistic resources in Indian languages.

A multi-pronged approach:

  • Language preservation and development needs a multi-pronged approach.
    • Education: It should begin at the primary school level and be continued to higher levels of education. Functional literacy in at least one language should be ensured.
    • Usage at homes: More and more people should start using their native languages at home, in the community, in meetings and in administration.
    • Encouraging literature: More people should write poetry, stories, novels and dramas in these languages. We must accord a sense of dignity and a sense of pride to those who speak, write and communicate in these languages.
    • Publications: We must encourage Indian language publications, journals and children’s books.
    • Dialects and folk literature must be given adequate focus.

Conclusion:

  • Language promotion should be an integral part of good governance.
  • Language should become a catalyst for inclusive development.
  • By harnessing technology, the mission of “digital India” can be a mission for a literate India and a mission for an inclusive knowledge society.

Importance:

GS Paper I: Society

Section : Editorial Analysis

5 provisions under which Parliament can legislate on a subject.

There are 5 provisions under which Parliament can legislate on a subject included in state list:

Article 249  if the Council of States has declared by resolution supported by not less than two thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List specified in the resolution, it shall be lawful for Parliament to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to that matter while the resolution remains in force.
Article 250 Parliament shall, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, have power to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List.
Article 252 If legislatures of two or more states pass a resolution, it shall be lawful for the parliament to legislate on that subject enumerated in state list for the states that passed the resolution.
Article 253  Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body
Article 356 (b) the President may by Proclamation declare that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament.

The position with respect to lapsing of bills

The position with respect to lapsing of bills is as follows:

A bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses (whether originating in the Lok Sabha or transmitted to it by the Rajya Sabha).

A bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses.

A bill not passed by the two Houses due to disagreement and if the president has notified the holding of a joint sitting before the dissolution of Lok Sabha, does not lapse.

A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse.

A bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president does not lapse.

A bill passed by both Houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of Houses does not lapse.

Everything about Finance Commission

Finance Commission of India

  • It is set up every five years by the President under Article 280 of the Constitution.
  • It first came into existence in 1951.

Functions

  • It was formed to define the financial relations between the centre and the state.
  • These recommendations cover a period of five years.
  • The commission also lays down rules by which the centre should provide grants-in-aid to states out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • It is also required to suggest measures to augment the resources of states and ways to supplement the resources of panchayats and municipalities.

Qualification of members

  • The Chairman of the Finance Commission is selected among people who have had the experience of public affairs.
  • The other four members are selected from people who:
  1. Are or have been or are qualified, as judges of High Court
  2. Have knowledge of Government finances or accounts
  3. Have had experience in administration and financial expertise
  4. Have special knowledge of economics.

Powers of the commission

  • The Commission can determine its own procedure.
  • It has all powers of the civil court as per the Court of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  • It can summon and enforce the attendance of any witness or ask any person to deliver information or produce a document, which it deems relevant.
  • It can ask for the production of any public record or document from any court or office.
  • It shall be deemed to be a civil court for purposes of Sections 480 and 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

With the passage of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, transgender people will have a better chance at being integrated into mainstream leading to greater inclusiveness. Critically comment. Approach

With the passage of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, transgender people will have a better chance at being integrated into mainstream leading to greater inclusiveness. Critically comment.

Approach

• Introduce with the discrimination faced by transgenders

• Highlight the key provisions of the Transgender Bill

• Comment on how the provisions fall short of the intent behind the Bill

• Conclude appropriately

Model Answer :

Transgender people have been among the most marginalised sections of Indian society. Apart from struggling with the problem of identity, they have been deprived of social justice and the ability to live their lives freely and realise their potential. The Government of India has recently introduced Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 to protect their rights and to secure their deserving place in the society.

Key provisions of the Bill:

The Bill defines the transgender person thereby leaving no scope for ambiguity.

The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person and directs the governments to provide welfare schemes in areas such as education, employment and healthcare.

Offences like compelling a transgender person to beg, denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual abuse, etc. have been penalized.

Once the bill becomes law, transgender people would be allowed into more workplaces through affirmative action thereby improving the quality of life.

In this sense, the bill seems to empower the transgender persons with rights and privileges denied to them so far. However, there are many issues which have been left untouched by the bill:

The definition of a transgender in the draft bill is in stark contrast to global developments, where transgenders have been granted the right to self determine and to seek benefits according to such identity.

Definition of discrimination has not been included in the bill which provides ample scope of ambiguity.

The major anomaly in the current scenario of gender justice is Section 377 of the IPC. By choosing not to repeal section 377, the Bill fails to recognise important civil rights like marriage and divorce, adoption among others which are critical to transgender persons’ lives.

Legal protection may be a deterrent to harassment or violence. However, to erase the blight of stigma from the mindset of common people we need more focus on awareness. The bill overlooks this aspect.

Conclusion:

The Transgender Bill has a potential to bring immense change in India’s human rights movements. However, unless it addresses the important issues affecting their private lives, it will not succeed. India is within touching distance of enabling the legal empowerment of a hitherto marginalised community and it should make laws for Transgenders rights as progressive and comprehensive as possible

Everything about Cauvery Verdict

• A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India, gave verdict on Cauvery river water dispute.

CWDT’s verdict:

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) verdict in 2007: Of the 740 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water available for utilisation,

• 419 TMC was awarded to Tamil Nadu,

• 270 TMC to Karnataka,

• 30 TMC to Kerala and

• 7 TMC to Puducherry.

• The remaining 14 TMC was reserved for environmental protection.

Supreme Court verdict:

On Water distribution:

• Increase in Karnataka share: The Supreme Court awarded Karnataka 14.75 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of Cauvery water from Tamil Nadu’s share, reasoning that Karnataka has historically suffered “limited access to and use” of the river water.

• The 14.75 tmc for Karnataka would be taken from the 192 tmc Cauvery water supplied by Karnataka from its Biligundlu site to Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu. This means that Karnataka would now supply 177.25 tmc.

• Total distribution: So, out of a total of 740 tmc available in the 802-km long Cauvery, the Supreme Court determined that:

• Karnataka would now get 284.75 (270 + 14.75) tmc,

• Tamil Nadu’s share has been reduced from 419 tmc to 404.25,

• Kerala and Puducherry would continue to be allocated 30 tmc and 7 tmc, respectively.

• Of remaining 14 TMC, the 10 tmc were allocated for environmental protection and spared another 4 tmc for “inevitable escapages” of Cauvery water into the sea.

• Special provision to Bengaluru: The 4.75 tmc of the 14.75 tmc would be diverted to the people of Bengaluru for their domestic and drinking purposes.

Reason for increase in Karnataka’s share:

• Drought: Compared to Tamil Nadu, the court found that Karnataka, despite being the upper riparian State on the Cauvery basin, has 28 districts still reeling under drought.

• Deprivation: The court found that Karnataka has been deprived of its legitimate share and unable to use of the water of Cauvery to develop its land for irrigation.

• Bengaluru’s demand was ignored: The judgment said the drinking water needs of Karnataka, especially the burgeoning and global Bengaluru city, was somehow ignored in the water-sharing agreement reached by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in 2007.

Tamil Nadu to tap ground water:

• The court said there is confirmatory empirical data that Tamil Nadu has 20 tmc groundwater.

• The court asked Tamil Nadu to draw out at least 10 tmc groundwater instead of banking on Cauvery water from Karnataka.

Centre to form scheme and CMB:

• The court gave the Centre six weeks’ time to frame a Cauvery water-sharing scheme under Section 6A of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956. No extension shall be granted for framing of the scheme on any ground.

• The scheme has to be in consonance with the CWDT’s award and the changes introduced by the Supreme Court though this judgment.

• The tribunal had said the scheme will include the specialist body called the ‘Cauvery Management Board’ (CMB) to supervise the reservoir operations and regulate releases.

• The CMB will be an inter-State forum of technical experts with three whole time members appointed by the centre and representatives of the riparian States.

On plea of each States:

• Puducherry: The court allowed Puducherry’s request to grow a second crop. However, cultivation should be limited to 43,000 acres.

• Kerala: The judgment rejected Kerala’s request for a diversion of the Cauvery water for its hydro-power projects.

• Tamil Nadu:

Tamil Nadu’s plea: Ever since the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) verdict, the State had sought the creation of a body to ensure effective implementation of the order.

Establishment of the Cauvery Management Board: From the State’s point of view, the most important aspect of the court order is the recognition of the plea for the establishment of the Cauvery Management Board.

Schedule of release of water: The court has appreciated the position of the Tamil Nadu government which had, over the years, complained that Karnataka was not adhering to the schedule of water release, as worked out by the tribunal in the interim order or final order.

On the issue of irrigated area: It not only left intact the extent of irrigated area (24.71 lakh acres), as permitted by the tribunal in the final order, but also emphatically made it clear that the final determination of irrigated area arrived at by the Tribunal for Tamil Nadu cannot be declared incorrect or fallacious.

River as National Asset:

• An inter-State river like Cauvery is a ‘national asset’, and being in a state of flow, no State can claim exclusive ownership of its waters or assert a prescriptive right so as to deprive other States of their equitable share, the Supreme Court held.

• Basing its judgment on the equitable utilisation of inter-State river waters, the court said the precious right should be equally and reasonable shared by all States concerned.

• The court referred to the National Water Policy, which had reiterated time and again that water is a scarce and precious national asset.

Fair share:

• The Court said that, while river is common and equal to all through whose land it runs and no one can obstruct or divert it, yet as one of the beneficial gifts of nature, each beneficiary has a right to just and reasonable use of it.

• However, the court said the “principle of equality” among the riparian States does not imply equal division of water within an arithmetical formula.

• The apex court said, equality here means “equal consideration and equal economic opportunity of the co-basin States.”

• The court compared the sharing of inter-State river waters in India to the practices of sharing of international rivers among nations.

Examples:

• The Supreme Court referred to the Helsinki Rules of 1966, which recognise equitable use of water by each basin State taking into consideration the geography and hydrology of the basin, the climate, past utilisation of waters, economic and social needs, dependent population and availability of resources.

• The judgment also refers to the Campione Rules in the context of the Cauvery dispute. These Rules hold that basin States would in their respective territories manage the waters of an international drainage basin in an equitable and reasonable manner.

Concerns:

• The judgment however does not provide for distress years when water in Cauvery basin depletes from the 740 tmc available during a normal year.

• It widened the rift between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu with the the former welcoming the apex court’s ruling and the latter, of course, expressing deep anger at it.