Table of Contents
- The Delhi ordinance is an unabashed power-grab
Facts for Prelims
- Understanding the Kavach system
- Shanan Powerhouse
The Delhi ordinance is an unabashed power-grab
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) Act Amendment Ordinance.
- On May 19, the Union government issued an ordinance to amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) Act, 1991.
- This ordinance nullified the Supreme Court’s judgment on May 11 regarding the powers over bureaucratic appointments in Delhi.
- The Supreme Court had ruled that the elected government of Delhi had legislative and administrative powers over “services.”
Changes introduced by the ordinance:
- The ordinance removes the Delhi government’s control over services by eliminating Entry 41 (services) from the State List.
- It establishes a National Capital Civil Service Authority, consisting of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, and Principal Secretary-Home, to make decisions on service matters in Delhi.
- Decisions of the Authority will be made through majority voting, allowing two Union-appointed bureaucrats to overrule the Chief Minister.
- In case of disagreements between the Authority and the Lieutenant Governor (LG), the LG’s decision will prevail.
Implications and concerns:
- The ordinance raises legal and political questions regarding federalism, democracy, bureaucratic accountability, executive law-making, and judicial review.
- Several Opposition parties, except the Congress, have supported the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in opposing the ordinance.
- Scholars argue that Delhi’s unique position requires an understanding of asymmetric federalism, which accommodates the interests of different social groups through territorial units.
- The Supreme Court recognized the “asymmetric federal model” of Delhi, acknowledging its special status within India’s federal scheme.
Issues with the ordinance:
- The swift act of undoing a Constitution Bench judgment raises concerns about judicial independence.
- Executive law-making through an ordinance should be limited to extraordinary situations, not for political ends.
- Adding an additional subject to Delhi’s legislative power without amending the Constitution may be seen as constitutional subterfuge.
- Creating a civil services authority where bureaucrats can overrule an elected Chief Minister undermines established norms of bureaucratic accountability.
Need for opposition and a new politics of federalism:
- The ordinance directly undermines federalism and democracy.
- It requires opposition from those who value India as a federal democracy.
- However, political parties often fail to take a principled position on federalism, limiting its potential as a counter-hegemonic idea.
- In the face of threats to India’s constitutional foundations, there is a need for a consistent politics of federalism that reflects and articulates its underlying values.
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) Act Amendment Ordinance has raised concerns about federalism and democracy. By nullifying a Supreme Court judgment, it undermines the power of the elected government of Delhi and raises questions about judicial independence. The swift executive action through an ordinance is seen as an act of constitutional subterfuge. Opposition to this assault on federalism is crucial, but a consistent politics of federalism is needed to uphold its values and counter hegemonic tendencies.
Understanding the Kavach system
- A train accident occurred on June 2 at Bahanaga Bazaar railway station in Odisha, resulting in the death of over 288 passengers.
- The incident has highlighted the need for safety mechanisms to prevent such tragedies.
What is Kavach?
- Kavach is an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with the Indian industry.
- It is designed to ensure safety in train operations across Indian Railways.
- Kavach is an electronic system with Safety Integrity Level-4 (SIL-4) standards.
- Its main functions include preventing trains from passing a red signal and avoiding collisions.
- If the train driver fails to control the train according to speed restrictions, Kavach automatically activates the braking system.
- It also prevents collisions between locomotives equipped with the Kavach system.
- During emergencies, the system relays SoS messages, and train movements can be monitored centrally through the Network Monitor System.
- Kavach is a cost-effective technology with SIL-4 certification, offering a very low probability of error.
How does Kavach work on Railway Systems?
- Kavach utilizes the Traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS).
- Equipment on board the locomotive and transmission towers at stations communicate through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.
- This allows two-way communication between the station master and the train driver.
- The loco-pilot is provided with an instrument panel inside the cabin that displays signals and permissible speeds.
- If a red signal is disregarded and two trains approach each other on the same track, Kavach automatically applies sudden brakes.
- Additionally, the system activates a hooter when approaching a level crossing, which helps in low visibility conditions like fog.
Kavach Implementation and Challenges
- The Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express and the Yeshwanthpur-Howrah Express were not equipped with the Kavach system.
- Implementation of Kavach on the Howrah-Kharagpur-Chennai line is pending.
- A member of the Railway Board stated that the accident occurred due to a sudden obstruction and that no technology could prevent such accidents in those situations.
Where has Kavach been implemented?
- The Kavach working system was inspected by the Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the Gullaguda-Chitgidda Railway section.
- The South Central Railway (SCR) Zone has implemented Kavach over 1,465 km in 77 locomotives and 135 stations.
- The Indian Railways Institute of Signal Engineering & Telecommunications (IRISET) in Secunderabad hosts the ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Kavach.
IRISET is responsible for training the railway staff on Kavach through its dedicated lab.
Clusters of brown Sargassum seaweed reported to be infested by flesh-eating bacteria were recently found awash in Florida.
What are Seaweeds?
- Seaweeds are various species of plants and algae that grow in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.
- They come in different colors such as red, green, brown, and black and can vary in size from tiny to large underwater forests.
- Seaweeds are usually attached to the sea bottom or solid structures through rootlike structures called “holdfasts” that serve only for attachment and not for extracting nutrients like roots of land plants.
- They often form dense growths on rocky shores or accumulate in shallow water.
- They exhibit zonation in the sea, with specific types found at different depths of 50 meters or less.
Uses of Seaweeds:
- Some species of seaweed are edible and have commercial importance for human consumption.
- Seaweeds are used as fertilizers and sources of polysaccharides.
- The antioxidants in seaweed help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and protect cells.
- Studies on animals suggest that substances in seaweed can enhance the production of a protein that effectively metabolizes fat.
- Consuming seaweed may assist in managing diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.
- Many seaweeds contain anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compounds.
- Seaweeds are used as binding agents (emulsifiers) in products like toothpaste and fruit jelly.
They are also utilized as softeners (emollients) in organic cosmetics and skincare products.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister recently handed over legal documents regarding Shanan Powerhouse to the Union Power Ministry.
About Shanan Powerhouse:
- The Shanan Powerhouse is located in Joginder Nagar, in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, India.
History and Importance:
- It was commissioned in 1932 under a 99-year lease agreement between Raja Jogendra Sen of Mandi and Col BC Batty, the Chief Engineer of the Punjab Government, in 1925.
- The powerhouse was built amidst dense deodar forests.
- It is one of the oldest powerhouses in the country and used to supply electricity to the entire undivided Punjab, Lahore, and Delhi before India’s Independence.
- After the states were reorganized in 1966, the Shanan powerhouse was given to Punjab by the central government since the lease agreement was still in effect.
- Originally, the project had a capacity of 48 MW, but the Punjab government increased it to 60 MW in 1982. Later, an additional 50 MW was added, bringing its capacity to 110 MW.
Unique Feature: Four-Stage Haulage Trolley Service
- The Shanan powerhouse is known for its four-stage haulage trolley service.
- This trolley system was initially built to transport construction materials from Joginder Nagar to Barot for the construction of the Shanan powerhouse.
- It is a unique type of trolley that operates on a pulley system without an engine, steering wheel, gears, or brakes.
The trolley relies on the pulleys to move along the tracks, carrying materials without the need for traditional means of propulsion.