No bar on contesting two seats in one poll
• The Supreme Court turned down a request to make it illegal for candidates in general or assembly elections to run for more than one seat.
Why has SC rejected the Petition?
• SC said it was a matter of “parliamentary sovereignty” and “political democracy.”
• The issue is clearly in the “legislative domain.”
Contesting Elections from 2 Constituencies
• Section 33(7) of the Representation of People Act (RPA) says that a candidate can run for any election (parliamentary, state assembly, biennial council, or by-election) from up to two constituencies.
• The rule was put in place in 1996. Before that, there was no limit on how many constituencies a candidate could run from.
• Section 70 of the RPA says that if a person is elected to more than one seat in either House of Parliament or in the House or either House of the Legislature of a State, he must resign all but one of his seats within the time limit or all of his seats will become empty.
Government’s View on the validity of Section 33(7)
• The government thinks that the law can’t take away a candidate’s right to run for office or stop the people from choosing their own candidates.
• Before the amendment, candidates could run for office from as many districts as they wanted. The government said that the limit of two constituencies was fair and that the law didn’t need to be changed right now.
View of Election Commission of India (ECI) on Section 33(7)
- The EC had, in an affidavit in 2018 informed the Supreme Court that it had proposed an amendment to Section 33(7) in 2004.
- •The EC said, “When a person runs for election in two constituencies and wins in both, he has to give up one of his seats in one of the constituencies.” Which means that one constituency would have to hold a by-election, which would cost money that could have been saved.
- The EC even suggested that a candidate should put up Rs. 5 lakh if he or she wanted to run in two Assembly constituencies or Rs. 10 lakh if they wanted to run in a general election. The money would be used to pay for a special election.
The public hearing on the proposed pen memorial for former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was a mess. People who wanted the monument built made a lot of noise, and people who didn’t want it built talked about how it would hurt the environment and take away people’s jobs.
- • The M. Karunanidhi Pen Memorial is a tribute to him.
- The idea of a monument on water comes from Karunanidhi’s comparison of himself to a catamaran.
- The Rs. 81-crore “Pen Monument” will be built 360 m from the coast in the Bay of Bengal. When it is finished, it will be a landmark in Chennai.
- It was designed to be a display of Tamil culture and architecture, and it will combine regional motifs, architecture, and designs with elements from Tamil heritage.
- The monument’s design is based on the Veena, a traditional Carnatic musical instrument that is made with great precision in Tamil Nadu.
- The Thumba is used to stand in for the pen pedestal, the long bridges, the pen statue, the music hole, and the peg that sits on the bridge under the tensile canopy.
- The distance between the bridge’s columns is shown by the frets, and the Meru or Kudira is shown by the strings.
- The landscaped garden on the memorial pedestal is based on a traditional drawing made by Tamil women at home called Sikku Kolam. In this drawing, dots and circles are used to make a geometric shape. For the memorial, granite from the area will be used.
- The proposed “Muthamizh Arignar Dr. Kalaignar Pen Monument” is near Marina Beach. It is in Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) IA, II, and IVA, and needs approval under Section 4(ii)(j) of the 2011 Coastal Regulation Zone Notification from the Union Environment Ministry (amended up to March 22, 2016).
Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)
The Opposition came together to ask that the allegations of fraud and stock manipulation against the Adani Group be looked into by either a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) led by the Supreme Court or by the Chief Justice of India.
About Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)
- It is set up by Parliament for a specific reason, such as to look into a subject or Bill in depth.
- It is made up of people from both Houses and both the ruling party and the opposition party.
- It goes away when its time is up or when its job is done.
- Process of Setting up: A JPC is set up after one House of Parliament has passed a motion and the other has agreed to it.
- Members of the JPC are decided by the Parliament. The number of members can vary – there is no fixed number.
- Functions: the mandate of a JPC depends on the motion constituting it.
- For example, “The terms of reference for the JPC on the stock market scam asked the committee to look into financial irregularities, to fix responsibility on persons and institutions for the scam, to identify regulatory loopholes and also to make suitable recommendations.
- To fulfill its mandate, a JPC can scrutinise documents and summon people for questioning. It then submits a report and makes recommendations to the government.
- Applicability of Recommendations: While the recommendations of a JPC have persuasive value, they are not binding on the government.
- The government can choose to launch further investigations based on what the JPC has said, but it can’t be forced to do so.
- The government is required to report on the follow-up action taken on the basis of the recommendations of the JPC and other committees.
- Based on the government’s answer, the committees then send “Action Taken Reports” to Parliament.
- Current Status: There have been six JPCs set up so far.
• Recently, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) said again that collegium takes into account the seniority of Chief Justices and senior puisne judges when deciding which judges to recommend.
- “Puisne” is a French word that means “younger” or “later born.”
- The word is almost always used to talk about judges and means that they are higher in rank.
- A puisne judge is a judge with less experience than the court’s Chief Justice.
- Common law countries like India and the UK use the term.
- In the UK, a puisne judge is any judge of the High Court who is not the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of England, or the Master of the Rolls.
- In India, all judges have the same legal power, but the Chief Justice is the highest-ranking judge and also has a role in running the country.
- In India, a puisne judge is only mentioned when figuring out the order of seniority for appointments and promotions to High Courts. It doesn’t change a judge’s ability to rule in court.
- Source: IE
New START Treaty
• The U.S. recently said that Russia was not following the rules of the New START treaty.
New Start treaty
- The official name of the New START treaty is Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
- It is the last arms control treaty between the US and Russia, the world’s two biggest nuclear powers.
- It is one of the most important checks on how nuclear weapons are used by superpowers.
- Signed by: Barack Obama in 2010 and extended by Joe Biden till 2026.
- It took effect in February 2011.
- The treaty will remain in force till 4 February, 2026.
- It restricts both countries to a maximum of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads each and limits launchers and heavy bombers to 800.
- It also outlines mutual inspections and regular data exchanges on warheads and delivery mechanisms.
- It includes an agreement to notify each other about the status of some ballistic missiles.
- It replaces the START framework, which was put in place at the end of the Cold War in 1991 and said that each side could only have 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles and 6,000 warheads.
Angel Tax & Start-Ups in India
• The Finance Bill, 2023, which was just released by the Finance Minister, has a plan to change a part of the Income Tax Act that could affect funding for new businesses in India.
More about the News
- Section 56(2) VII B of the Income Tax Act is set to be changed, according to the Finance Bill of 2023.
- If these new firms sell shares to foreign investors, they may have to pay the “angel tax,” which was once only supposed to be paid by Indian investors who lived in India.
- Original provision:
- The “angel tax,” also known as Section 56(2) VII B of the Income Tax Act, was first put in place in 2012.
- The provision states that:
- when an unlisted company, such as a start-up, receives equity investment from a resident for issue of shares that exceeds the face value of such shares, it will be counted as income for the start-up and be subject to income tax under the head ‘Income from other Sources’ for the relevant financial year.
- Significance of provision:
- The provision aims to deter the generation and use of unaccounted money through the subscription of shares of a closely held company at a value that is higher than the fair market value of the firm’s shares.
- Changes by the Finance Bill, 2023:
- But with the most recent change, the government wants to include foreign investors as well. This means that when a start-up gets money from a foreign investor, it will now also be considered income and taxed.
- For example, if the fair market value of a start-up share is Rs 10 each and they sell it to an investor for Rs 20 in a later round of funding, the Rs 10 difference would be taxed as income.
- Role of foreign investors in India’s start-ups:
- Foreign investors are a key source of funding for start-ups and have played a big role in increasing their valuation.
- For example, Tiger Global, which is one of the most active foreign investors in India, has put money into more than a third of the start-ups that have become unicorns and are now worth at least $1 billion.
- Unicorns are privately owned, venture-backed startups with a value of at least $1 billion.
- Already lacking funds:
- The move could adversely impact financing available to the start-ups, which have already been reeling under a funding winter since 2022, industry insiders are speculating.
- The change comes as the funding for India’s startups dropped by 33 percent to $24 billion in 2022 as compared to the previous year
- The move could adversely impact financing available to the start-ups, which have already been reeling under a funding winter since 2022, industry insiders are speculating.
- May repel foreign investors:
- This could compel more startups to flip overseas, as foreign investors may not want to deal with additional tax liability by virtue of their investment in the startup.
|Start-up ecosystem in India
Budget on Green Growth
• The Ministry of Finance recently put out the Budget for 2022-2023, which included a list of Green Growth priorities.
- • The Union ministry has made a list of seven projects, such as “green hydrogen,” “protecting mangroves,” “green credit,” and “replacing polluting vehicles.”
- These ideas work together to make up the “Saptarishi” that leads India through the Amrit Kaal.
- Previously, the Prime Minister has given a vision for “LiFE”, or Lifestyle for Environment, to spur a movement of environmentally conscious lifestyle.
• India was moving toward the “panchamrit” and net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 to start a green industrial and economic transition.
|Green Hydrogen Mission||
|Renewable Energy Evacuation||
|Green Credit Programme||
|Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres
Push for Green Growth:
- Green growth is crucial for India as it offers a pathway for sustainable economic development while preserving the environment.
- • Green growth can help India deal with problems like air pollution, a lack of water, and climate change. Adopting green growth strategies can increase the use of renewable energy, promote resource efficiency, and support sustainable agriculture, resulting in a more inclusive and sustainable development.
- The shift towards green growth can also create new job opportunities in the fields of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. Overall, green growth is essential for India’s economic and environmental well-being.
Jharkhand Domicile Bill
• The Governor of Jharkhand sent the Domicile Bill, which says what a “local” is in the state, back to the state government so that it can “seriously review” whether or not it is legal.
- Domicile is a legal term that means a person has a personal connection to a place or lives there permanently. It is not always where the person lives.
- In 2000, Jharkhand was made from parts of Bihar that had a lot of tribal people. The goal was to help tribal people develop and keep their culture.
- The meaning of “domicile” has been debated since the country was first made. It was based on 1932 land records in 2002. In 2016, the government came up with a more flexible policy on what it means to be a citizen. The policy lists six ways that someone could be considered a citizen.
- The new bill from the current government has brought back the debate about where people live.
Provisions of draft domicile Bill
- It says what a “local” is in Jharkhand based on land records from 1932. People who have their names or the names of their ancestors in land records from 1932 or earlier will be thought of as locals of Jharkhand.
- People who have lost their land records or don’t have any land can ask their own Gram Sabhas to include them.
- Class 3 and 4 positions in the state government could only be filled by people who live in the area, as defined by the law.
- The bill won’t go into effect until the Centre makes changes that put it in the Ninth Schedule, where it can’t be looked at by the courts.
Arguments in Favour of the Bill: Why is 1932 the cut-off year?
- The land survey and revenue register (1932 khatiyan) was done in a lot of the State in 1932.
- It was seen that people moving from other states to Jharkhand (undivided Bihar) hurt the “original inhabitants,” also called “moolvasis,” or “aboriginals.”
- Since the census of 1941 in Jharkhand, the number of people from Scheduled Tribes and moolvasis has been going down steadily.
- The affirmative action for the development of Moolvasis will give them social, cultural, educational, and other services.
Arguments against the Bill
- Policies like reservations that don’t focus on social and economic development will lead to more division and regional tensions, which can be bad for everyone.
- The Fifth Schedule covers different parts of Jharkhand (dealing with provisions for Scheduled Tribes). In the case Satyajit Kumar vs. State of Jharkhand, the Supreme Court said that the state’s policy of giving 100% reservation in scheduled areas was against the Constitution.
- It goes against Article 16 of the Constitution, which says that everyone has the same chance of getting a job, for the state government to hire only locals for Class 3 and 4 jobs.
- Article 16(3) of the Constitution says that only the parliament can put any kind of conditions on employment under Section 35(A) under special provision. This is not something that the State Legislature can do.
- The Bill goes against what the Supreme Court said in AVS Narasimha Rao and others vs. Andhra Pradesh, which was about giving jobs to people who don’t live there.
• This bill is in line with the recent trend of states like Andhra and Haryana, which have passed similar bills, to set aside jobs for people who live there. It is important to look at the effects of these bills as a whole and come to a decision within the four walls of the constitution.
- The Constitution was changed for the first time in 1951, which is when the NINTH Schedule was added.
- It was made by the new Article 31B. Along with Article 31A, it was put in place by the government to protect laws about agrarian reform and to get rid of the Zamindari system. A. 31A protects “classes” of laws, while A. 31B protects specific laws or acts.
- For example, the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993, ran into legal problems in the 1990s when it tried to reserve 69 percent of the seats in colleges and jobs in the state government. So that it wouldn’t get into trouble with the law, its reservation provision was added to the Ninth Schedule.
- When the Tamil Nadu law was challenged in 2007 (I R Coelho v State of Tamil Nadu), the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that laws on the Ninth Schedule can’t be challenged because they violate fundamental rights, but they can be challenged because they go against the Constitution’s basic structure.
- By putting the current laws in the Ninth Schedule, the government of Jharkhand hopes to keep them from being looked at by the courts.
India’s UPI Push
• The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) recently made it possible for NRIs to use Unified Payments Interface to do business (UPI).
- A “non-resident Indian” (NRI) is an Indian citizen who lives outside India.
- The NPCI has made a list of 10 countries where UPI transactions can be made by account holders who don’t live there. These countries are Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
- NRIs couldn’t use UPI from their international numbers because it works like SIM binding, where the user’s bank account is linked to his or her mobile number.
- Can anyone use it? NRIs with NRE/NRO bank accounts in India will be able to sign up for UPI platforms using their international phone numbers.
- Non-residents use Non Resident External (NRE) accounts to send money from outside India to India. Non-residents use Non Resident Ordinary (NRO) accounts to handle money they earn in India.
What is UPI?
- • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that connects multiple bank accounts to a single mobile app (of any participating bank), combining several banking features, seamless fund routing, and merchant payments under one hood.
- It was made in 2016 by NPCI.
- Payer Payment Service Provider (PSP), Payee Payment Service Provider (PSP), Remitter Bank, Beneficiary Bank, NPCI, Bank Account holders, and Merchants are all UPI participants.
- While many countries including Singapore, Bhutan, UAE, Oman, and others have adopted the UPI architecture, the government of India is already in talks with several countries to enable UPI payments in their countries.
- In this context, the NPCI’s latest move marks a significant moment for India’s UPI going global.
|National Payments Corporation of India
• It was set up as a “Not for Profit” company under Section 25 of the Companies Act of 1956 (now Section 8 of the Companies Act of 2013) with the goal of giving the Indian banking system the infrastructure it needs for both physical and electronic payment and settlement systems.
• The IMF is likely to get financial guarantees from the Paris Club about Sri Lanka’s debt.
- • The Paris Club is a loose group of countries that mostly come from the West and lend money.
- It started when Argentina and its public creditors met in Paris in 1956.
- Its goal is to help countries that can’t pay back their bilateral loans find long-term ways to get rid of their debt.
- The members of the Paris Club are also members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
- Members: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
• Since it started, the Paris Club has made 478 agreements with 102 different countries that owe money. These agreements have helped treat $614 billion in debt.
• The Paris Club is based on the ideas of consensus and unity, and any deal made with a debtor country applies to all Paris Club creditors in the same way.
• The club used to be the most important bilateral lender in the last century, but China has since become the largest bilateral lender in the world.
• Sri Lanka’s biggest bilateral creditors are China, Japan, and India. Japan is a member of the Paris Club.