2nd November 2020

Index

A) Polity and Governance

1. Formation of States and UTs in chronology (PIB)

B) Economy

2. Fifteenth Finance Commission tax devolution to the states, and how is it being calculated (PIB)

3. What is COMEX? (TH)

4. Code on Social Security 2020: Gig and Platform Workers (TH)

C) Govt Schemes and Organisations

5. Strategic Policy & Facilitation Bureau (SPFB) (PIB)

D) Art and Culture

6. The War Conference in Delhi (TH)

E) Environment and Biodiversity

7. Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) (TH)

8. After nearly a decade away, La Niña weather system is back (DTE)

9. Translocation of corals (IE)

F) Miscellaneous

10. Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit(PIB)

A) Polity and Governance

1. Formation of States and UTs in chronology (PIB)

  • Context:The Prime Minister has greeted the people of different States on the Formation Day of their State.

Analysis

  • In 1950, the Constitution contained a four-fold classification of the states and territories of the Indian Union–Part A, Part B and Part C states and Part D territories. In all, they numbered 29.
  1. Part A states comprised nine erstwhile governor’s provinces of British India.
  2. Part B states consisted of nine erstwhile princely states with legislatures (Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Patiala and East Punjab, Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Travancore-Cochin, Vindhya Pradesh).
  3. Part C states consisted of erstwhile chief commissioner’s provinces of British India and some of the erstwhile princely states. These Part C states (in all 10 in number) were centrally administered.
  4. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were kept as the solitary Part D territories.
  • Both Linguistic Provinces Commission/Dhar Commission, June1948 andLinguistic Provinces Committee (consisting of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallahbhai Patel and PattabhiSitaramayya and hence, was popularly known as JVP Committee), December 1948, rejected language as the basis for reorganisation of states.
  • However, in October, 1953, the Government of India was forced to create the first linguistic state, known as Andhra state, by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the Madras state.

Fazl Ali Commission

  • The creation of Andhra state intensified the demand from other regions for creation of states on linguistic basis.
  • This forced the Government of India to appoint (in December, 1953) a three-member States Reorganisation Commission under the chairmanship of Fazl Ali to re-examine the whole question.
  • Its other two members were K.M. Panikkar and H.N. Kunzru.
  • It broadly accepted language as the basis of reorganisation of states.
  • But, it rejected the theory of ‘one language-one state’.
  • The Government of India accepted these recommendations with certain minor modifications. By the States Reorganisation Act (1956) and the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956), 14 states and 6 union territories were created on November 1, 1956.

New States and Union Territories Created After 1956

  • Even after the large-scale reorganisation of the states in 1956, the political map of India underwent continuous changes due to the pressure of popular agitations and political conditions.

Maharashtra and Gujarat

  • In 1960, the bilingual state of Bombay was divided into two separate states–Maharashtra for Marathi speaking people and Gujarat for Gujarati speaking people. Gujarat was established as the 15th state of the Indian Union.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

  • The Portuguese ruled this territory until its liberation in 1954.
  • It was converted into a union territory of India by the 10th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1961.

Goa, Daman and Diu

  • India acquired these three territories from the Portuguese by means of a police action in 1961.
  • They were constituted as a union territory in 1962.
  • Later, in 1987, Goa was conferred a statehood. Consequently, Daman and Diu was made a separate union territory.

Puducherry

  • The territory of Puducherry comprises the former French establishments in India known as Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam.
  • The French handed over this territory to India in 1954.
  • Subsequently, it was administered as an ‘acquired territory’, till 1962 when it was made a union territory by a Constitutional Amendment Act.

Nagaland

  • In 1963, the State of Nagaland was formed by taking the Naga Hills and Tuensang area out of the state of Assam.

Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh

  • In 1966, the State of Punjab was bifurcated to create the State of Haryana, and the union territory of Chandigarh.
  • This followed the demand for a separate ‘Sikh

Himachal Pradesh

  • In 1971, the union territory of Himachal Pradesh waselevated12 to the status of a state (18th state of the Indian Union).

Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya

  • In 1972, the two union territories of Manipur and Tripura and the sub-state of Meghalaya got statehood and the two union territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh (originally known as North-East Frontier Agency–NEFA) came into being.
  • With this, the number of states of the Indian Union increased to 21 (Manipur 19th, Tripura 20th and Meghalaya 21st).

Sikkim

  • Till 1947, Sikkim was an Indian princely state ruled by Chogyal.
  • In 1947, after the lapse of British paramountcy, Sikkim became a ‘protectorate’ of India, whereby the Indian Government assumed responsibility for the defence, external affairs and communications of Sikkim.
  • In 1974, the 35th Constitutional Amendment Act (1974), introduced a new class of statehood under the constitution by conferring on Sikkim the status of an ‘associate state’ of the Indian Union.
  • For this purpose, a new Article 2-A and a new schedule (10th Schedule containing the terms and conditions of association) were inserted in the Constitution.
  • This experiment, however, did not last long as it could not fully satisfy the aspirations of the people of Sikkim.
  • In a referendumheld in 1975, they voted for the abolition of the institution of Chogyal and Sikkim becoming an integral part of India.
  • Consequently, the 36th Constitutional Amendment Act (1975) was enacted to make Sikkim a full-fledged state of the Indian Union (the 22nd state).
  • It also repealed Article 2-A and the 10th Schedule that were added by the 35th Amendment Act of 1974.

Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa

  • In 1987, three new States of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa came into being as the 23rd, 24th and 25th states of the Indian Union respectively.

Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand

  • In 2000, three more new States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand were created out of the territories of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively.
  • These became the 26th, 27th and 28th states of the Indian Union, respectively.

Telangana

  • In 2014, the new state of Telangana came into existence as the 29th state of the Indian Union. It was carved out of the territories of Andhra Pradesh.

Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, bifurcated the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into two separate union territories, namely, the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the union territory of Ladakh.
  • Thus, the number of states and union territories increased from 14 and 6 in 1956 to 28 and 9 in 2019, respectively.

B) Economy

2. Fifteenth Finance Commission tax devolution to the states, and how is it being calculated (PIB)

  • Context: The Fifteenth Finance Commission has submitted its first report will consist of recommendations for the financial year 2020-21.

Analysis

  • The Finance Commission is a constitutional body formed by the President of India to give suggestions on centre-state financial relations.  
  • The 15th Finance Commission is required to submit two reports.  
  • The first report will consist of recommendations for the financial year 2020-21.  
  • The final report with recommendations for the 2021-26 period will be submitted by October 2020. 

What is the amount of tax devolution to the states, and how is it being calculated?

  • The Finance Commission uses certain criteria when deciding the devolution to states.
     
  • For example, income distance criterion has been used by the 14th and 15th Finance Commissions.  
  • Under this criterion, states with lower per capita income would be given a higher share to maintain equity among states.  
  • Another example is Demographic Performance criterion which has been introduced by the 15th Finance Commission.  
  • The Demographic Performance criterion is to reward efforts made by states in controlling their population. 
  • The 15th Finance Commission used the following criteria while determining the share of states:

(i) 45% for the income distance,

(ii) 15% for the population in 2011,

(iii) 15% for the area,

(iv) 10% for forest and ecology,

(v) 12.5% for demographic performance, and

(vi) 2.5% for tax effort.  

  • For 2020-21, the Commission has recommended a total devolution to the states, which is 41% of the divisible pool of taxes.  
  • This is 1% lower than the percentage recommended by the 14th Finance Commission.  
  • Table 1 below compares the new criteria with the criteria recommended by the 14th Finance Commission.

Table 1: Criteria for devolution (2020-21)

Criteria14th FC 2015-2015th FC 2020-21
Income Distance50.045.0
Population 197117.5
Population 201110.015.0
Area15.015.0
Forest Cover7.5
Forest and Ecology10.0
Demographic Performance12.5
Tax Effort2.5
Total100100

What are the various grants recommended by the 15th Finance Commission? The Terms of Reference of the Finance Commission require it to recommend grants-in-aid to the States.  

These grants include:

(i) Revenue deficit grants,

(ii) Grants to local bodies, and

(iii) Disaster management grants.

  • 14 states are estimated to face a revenue deficit post-devolution.
     
  • To make up for this deficit, the Commission has recommended revenue deficit grants crore to these 14 states.  
  • Additionally, three states (Karnataka, Mizoram, and Telangana) have received special grants.
  • The special grants are being given to compensate for a decline in the sum of tax devolution and revenue deficit grants in 2020-21 as compared to 2019-20.
  • The Commission has recommended Grants-in-aid to all tiers of the Panchayati Raj including the Traditional Bodies of Fifth and Sixth Schedule areas in 2020-21, in 28 States, in two parts, namely,

(i) A Basic Grant and

(ii) A Tied Grant.

  • 50 % of the grant will be Basic Grant and 50 % will be the Tied Grant.
  • The basic grants are untied and can be used by RLBs for location-specific felt needs, except for salary or other establishment expenditure.
  • The Tied Grants are to be used for the basic services of (a) sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status and (b) supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling.
  • The RLBs shall, as far as possible, earmark one half of these Tied Grants each to these two critical services. 
  • However, if any RLB has fully saturated the needs of one category it can utilize the funds for the other category.
  • The State Governments will be distributing the XV FC Grants to all the tiers of panchayats – village, block and district and the traditional bodies of Fifth and Sixth Schedule areas based on the accepted recommendations of the latest State Finance Commission (SFC) and in conformity of the following bands recommended by XV FC.
  • 70-85 % for village/gram panchayats
  • 10-25 % for block/intermediate panchayats
  • 5-15 % for district/zilla panchayats
  • To promote local-level mitigation activities, the Commission has recommended the setting up of National and State Disaster Management Funds.  
  • Apart from these, guidelines for performance-based grants and sector-specific grants have been outlined.  

Sectors for which sector-specific grants will be provided in the final report include:

(i) Nutrition,
(ii) Health,
(iii) Pre-primary education,
(iv) Judiciary, and
(v) Railways.

3. What is COMEX? (TH)

  • COMEX is the world’s largest futures and options market for trading metals such as gold, silver, copper, and aluminum.
  • Formerly known as the Commodity Exchange Inc., COMEX merged with the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in 1994 and became the division responsible for metals trading.
  • It is a division of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
  • Metals futures are mostly used for hedging and are not typically delivered upon.
  • The COMEX does not supply metals, instead, acting as an intermediary.

4. Code on Social Security 2020: Gig and Platform Workers (TH)

  • Context: The Code on Social Security 2020, which was passed in Parliament in September, and has already received presidential assent, has provided for social security for gig and platform workers along with unorganised sector workers.

Analysis

  • This is the first occasion that gig and platform workers have been defined and incorporated within the ambit of labour laws.
  • While it is a great initiative by the government, there are issues about overlapping definitions and how to make the registration as inclusive as possible.
  • Under this Code, a gig worker is defined as a person who participates in a work arrangement and earns from such activities outside of a traditional employer-employee relationship.
  • Platform work means a work arrangement outside of a traditional employer-employee relationship in which organisations or individuals use an online platform to access other organisations or individuals to solve specific problems or to provide specific services or any such other activities which may be notified by the Central Government, in exchange for payment.”
  • An unorganised worker is defined as a home-based, self-employed or wage worker in the unorganised sector.
  • This includes a worker in the organised sector who is not covered by the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
  • Although unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers have been separately defined under the new code, unorganised workers are the whole set, and gig and platform workers are subsets.
  • While the long overdue move to recognise platform work has been made, the Code has drawn criticism from platform workers’ associations for failing to delineate it from gig work and unorganised work.
  • A categorical clarification could ensure that social security measures are provided to workers without compromising the touted qualities of platform work: flexibility and a sense of ownership.
  • The Code states the provision of basic welfare measures as a joint responsibility of the Central government, platform aggregators, and workers.
  • However, it does not state which stakeholder is responsible for delivering what quantum of welfare.

C) Govt Schemes and Organisations

5. Strategic Policy & Facilitation Bureau (SPFB) (PIB)

  • Context: Ministry of AYUSH and M/s Invest India will form a collaboration to set up a strategic policy unit called “Strategic Policy & Facilitation Bureau (SPFB)”

Analysis

  • This Bureau will support the Ministry in strategic and policy making initiatives that shall help pave the way to reach the full potential of the Sector and stimulate growth and investment.
  • Besides the SPFB, the Ministry has initiated a series of steps to enable the Ayush systems to move into the centre-stage of healthcare activities in the 21st century like:
  1. Setting up the comprehensive IT backbone called Ayush Grid for the entire Sector,
  2. Streamlining of Ayush Education on modern lines,
  3. Evolving global standards for Ayush systems for diagnostics and terminologies in the ICD framework, and
  4. Setting up a vertical for Ayush Drugs Control.

D) Art and Culture

6. The War Conference in Delhi (TH)

  • In the spring of 1917 Germany had inflicted crushing defeats on both the British and French troops in France.
  • Though America had entered the war, no American troops had yet reached the battle front.
  • The Viceroy of India Lord Chelmsford, invited various Indian leaders to attend a War conference. Gandhiji was also invited.
  • Gandhiji accepted the invitation and went to Delhi but was not happy to know that leaders like Tilak or the Ali brothers had not been invited to the conference.
  • The Viceroy was very keen that Gandhi should support the resolution on recruiting.
  • Gandhi supported the government’s resolution on recruiting.
  • In fulfilment of his promise to Lord Chelmsford at the War Conference in Delhi, he threw myself in such an active recruiting campaign in Kaira District involving long and trying marches, that he had an attack of dysentry which proved almost fatal.

E) Environment and Biodiversity

7. Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) (TH)

  • Context: The KNPTR, the world’s safest address for the one-horned rhinoceros, reopened after seven months. 
  • This topic was covered in detail in 5th Sep file.

8. After nearly a decade away, La Niña weather system is back (DTE)

  • Context: The La Niña weather phenomenon is back in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean after nearly a decade’s absence, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its latest Global Seasonal update released in October 2020

Analysis

  • La Niña means the large-scale cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, together with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation, namely winds, pressure and rainfall.
  • It has the opposite impacts on weather and climate as El Niño, which is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
  • La Niña typically has a cooling effect on global temperatures between two and three degrees Celsius cooler than average, but this is more than offset by the heat trapped in our atmosphere by greenhouse gases.
  • Therefore, 2020 remains on track to be one of the warmest years on record and 2016-2020 is expected to be the warmest five-year period on record.
  • La Niña could last into 2021, affecting temperatures, precipitation and storm patterns in many parts of the world, according to WMO.
  • The La Niña of 2020 is expected to be moderate to strong.
  • The last time there was a strong La Niña event, was in 2010-2011, followed by a moderate event in 2011-2012.
  • There were a series of floods in Pakistan and Northwest India in 2010 that were attributed to the weather phenomenon.
  • The Horn of Africa and central Asia will see below average rainfall due to La Niña, WMO said.
  • East Africa is forecast to see drier-than-usual conditions, which together with the existing impacts of the desert locust invasion, may add to regional food insecurity.
  • La Niña could also lead to increased rainfall in southern Africa.
  • La Niña could also affect the South West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone season, reducing the intensity. 
  • Southeast Asia, some Pacific Islands and the northern region of South America are expected to receive above-average rainfall.
  • No two La Niña or El Niño events are the same, and their effects on regional climates can vary depending on the time of year and other factors.
  • It is important to note that El Niño and La Niña are not the only factors that drive global and regional climate patterns.
  • For this reason, WMO has increased the frequency of the Global Seasonal Climate Update (GSCU) from quarterly to monthly.
  • In addition to El Niño and La Niña, the GSCU incorporates influences of other climate drivers, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole.

9. Translocation of corals (IE)

  • Context: Small colonies of the marine animals who live along Mumbai’s coastline will be translocated to make way for the Coastal Road project.

Analysis

What are corals, and why are they important?

  • This topic has been covered in detail in 22nd Oct file.

F) Miscellaneous

10. Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit(PIB)

  • The VAIBHAV Summit is a global virtual summit of overseas and resident Indian Researchers and Academicians, and is being organized from 2nd October to 31st October 2020.
  • The aim of the summit is to bring Indian origin luminaries in academic institutes and R&D organizations across the world and resident counterparts on a single platform to debate upon collaboration mechanisms to strengthen academic and S&T base in India for global development.

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