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Here are the topics covered for 13th October 2023:SC’s Deliberations on Money Bills , SC on Late-Term Pregnancy Termination, Inflation cooled to 5% , Stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI) , Hunger Index, Noctis Labyrinthus
Table of Content
GS-2: SC’s Deliberations on Money Bills , SC on Late-Term Pregnancy Termination
GS- 3: Inflation cooled to 5% , Stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI)
Facts for Prelims: Hunger Index, Noctis Labyrinthus
SC’s Deliberations on Money Bills
- The Supreme Court of India has said that it will “take a call” on a request from petitioners to give priority to a reference concerning the manner in which the Centre got crucial amendments passed in the Parliament as Money Bills.
- The Supreme Court’s reference involves questions about changes made in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) via Money Bills since 2015, granting the Enforcement Directorate extensive arrest and raid powers. While the court validated the PMLA amendments, the crucial question of their classification as Money Bills is deferred to the seven-judge Bench.
- Similarly, the case also raises questions about the passage of the Finance Act of 2017 as a Money Bill to alter the appointments to 19 key judicial tribunals, including the National Green Tribunal and Central Administrative Tribunal.
About Money Bill:
- A Money Bill is a financial bill that deals with matters such as taxation, public expenditure, and the regulation of government borrowing.
- Money bills have a number of special privileges in the Indian Parliament.
- First, only the Lok Sabha can introduce money bills. The Rajya Sabha cannot introduce money bills, and it can only recommend amendments to money bills.
- Second, the Lok Sabha has the final say on money bills. If the Rajya Sabha rejects a money bill or does not pass it within 14 days of receiving it from the Lok Sabha, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses.
The Money Bill Controversy:
- The petitioners in this case argue that the Central Government has been using the Money Bill procedure to circumvent the Rajya Sabha, where it does not have a majority. They argue that this is a violation of the Constitution, as Money Bills are meant to be used for financial matters only.
- The passage of amendments through Money Bills has been a subject of debate and legal challenge, with questions raised about their adherence to Article 110(1).
The Aadhaar Act and Legal Certainty:
- The Aadhaar Act, a cornerstone of India’s digital identity infrastructure, was among the key bills passed as a Money Bill.
- The legality of the Aadhaar Act and its certification as a Money Bill were subject to legal challenges. The Supreme Court upheld the Act’s validity in a majority verdict in 2021, despite dissent from Chief Justice Chandrachud.
Wider Implications for Legislation:
- These deliberations carry profound implications for India’s legislative process. Classifying bills as Money Bills denies the Rajya Sabha the chance to discuss or amend them. Additionally, it involves amendments to laws governing vital judicial tribunals, raising concerns about an increased concentration of executive control over these institutions.
- In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s ongoing deliberations on Money Bills and related constitutional matters carry significant weight for India’s legislative and political landscape. The outcomes will shape the balance of power between the two houses of Parliament and the interpretation of fundamental constitutional provisions. Beyond procedural details, these decisions are critical for democracy, accountability, and the protection of fundamental rights, ultimately influencing India’s legal and political future.
SC on Late-Term Pregnancy Termination
- The Supreme Court urged a woman to reconsider her decision to terminate the pregnancy, emphasizing the need to balance her reproductive autonomy with the rights of her unborn child.
- A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India made an appeal on Thursday to a married woman who had reached the 26-week mark in her third pregnancy.
- Chief Justice of India acknowledged and respected the woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, in accordance with Article 21, but emphasized that the court could not disregard the potential impact on the rights of the unborn child.
- The court raised the question of whether she wanted a judicial order instructing doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to perform a foeticide, which is the medical termination of a fetus.
- The woman had cited her inability to care for a third child and her struggle with depression as reasons for seeking pregnancy termination.
- In response, Chief Justice questioned what she had been doing for the past 26 weeks, as she was aware of her situation and had two other children. He asked whether she wanted the court to instruct doctors to end the pregnancy by ceasing the fetal heartbeat.
- The woman’s preference is a Cesarean section, citing a one-year-old second child and reluctance for a full-term pregnancy, but the court worries about potential risks with immediate intervention.
- Additional Solicitor General pointed out that the woman was in a vulnerable state and had been unsure about her decision. Efforts had been made to counsel her, and at one point, she had considered alternative options, including giving the baby up for adoption and addressing her mental health issues through AIIMS.
- The case was adjourned for further hearing on October 13, indicating that the court wanted to carefully consider all aspects of the situation before making a final decision.
Inflation cooled to 5%
- India’s retail inflation dropped significantly from 6.83% in August to 5.02% in September, ending a two-month period of exceeding the Reserve Bank of India’s tolerance threshold.
- This decline was influenced by factors such as base effects, a reduction in LPG rates, and a moderation in food price increases, down from almost 10% to 6.6%.
- In rural areas, inflation fell from 7% in August to 5.33% in September, while urban areas experienced a sharper drop from 6.6% to 4.65%.
- Notably, vegetable inflation decreased from 26.1% in August to 3.4% in September. However, cereals remained high at 11%, and pulse prices surged from 13% in August to 16.4% in September.
- A reduction in year-on-year inflation for fuel and light prices was due to LPG price cuts, resulting in -0.1% inflation in September, down from 4.3% in August. The easing of base effects from September 2022, when prices rose by 7.4%, contributed to this reduction, aligning closely with the central bank’s projections.
- The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised its average inflation projection for the July-to-September quarter to 6.4% and the National Statistical Office confirmed an average rate of 6.43%. The MPC anticipates 5.6% inflation for the current quarter and an average of 5.4% for the full fiscal year 2023-24.
- Thirteen states had higher inflation than the national average, with Rajasthan and Haryana having the highest rates at 6.5%. Chhattisgarh had the lowest at 1.98%, and eight other states had inflation below 5%.
- India’s future inflation is influenced by the Kharif harvest, the El-Niño effect in Asia, and Israel-Palestine developments. Rising service costs in health and personal care, as well as increased expenses in the airline and hospitality sectors, will impact inflation.
- In summary, India saw a substantial September inflation drop, but it remains a dynamic economic aspect shaped by various factors.
stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI)
- A recent study published in the journal Nature Food explores the potential consequences of a geoengineering technique known as stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI) on global food production.
- Stratospheric Aerosol Intervention (SAI) is a proposed solar geoengineering method designed to
- It entails the introduction of aerosols into the stratosphere, creating a cooling effect similar to natural volcanic eruptions, but with potential unintended consequences for the environment, including the ozone layer, hydrological cycle, monsoon systems, and crop yields.
- SAI, part of geoengineering, has implications for the environment and agriculture, demanding a thorough evaluation of benefits and risks in addressing climate change.
- Geoengineering encompasses deliberate large-scale interventions in Earth’s climate system to address climate change, falling into two categories: Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and Solar Radiation Management (SRM).
- The study underscores the extensive and intricate implications of SAI on global food production, emphasizing the necessity for comprehensive assessments of the potential benefits and risks of geoengineering techniques in addressing climate change.
- These assessments should consider not only agricultural impacts but also broader environmental and societal consequences.
Facts for Prelim:
- In the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2023, India’s ranking has fallen to 111 out of 125 countries, marking a decline from its 2022 position of 107 out of 121 countries.
- Recent reports highlighted concerning statistics for India. During the period from 2018 to 2022, India had the highest child wasting rate in the world, which was recorded at 18.7 per cent, indicating severe undernutrition.
- Additionally, the rate of undernourishment in India was 16.6 per cent, and the under-five mortality rate was 3.1 per cent. The report also pointed out that among women aged 15 to 24 years, the prevalence of anaemia was 58.1 per cent.
- India’s overall score in the ranking has been assessed at 28.7, falling within the category labelled as “serious.”
- The GHI is a comprehensive tool used to measure and monitor hunger on a global, regional, and national scale.
- It derives its scores from four key indicators: undernourishment based on caloric intake, stunting in children under the age of five based on height, wasting in children under the age of five based on weight, and child mortality before the age of five.
- These indicators are used to calculate a GHI score on a 100-point scale, which reflects the severity of hunger. A score of 0 represents the best possible scenario (no hunger), while a score of 100 represents the worst.
- This area is situated on Mars within the Phoenicis Lacus quadrangle, between Valles Marineris and the Tharsis upland.
- The region is renowned for its intricate network of deep valleys with steep walls, giving it a maze-like appearance.
- The valleys and canyons in this region are the result of faulting processes. Many of them exhibit classic characteristics of grabens, where the upland plain surface is preserved within the valley floor.
- The valley floors exhibit rougher terrain in certain parts of this region due to landslides. There are also areas where the land has seemingly subsided, creating pit-like formations.
- It is believed that the faulting in this region was initiated by volcanic activity in the Tharsis region.