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Here are the topics covered for 5th December 2023:
GS-2: All-India judicial service
GS-3: Extension of BSF Jurisdiction, Renewable Energy and Coal Dependency, United National Liberation Front (UNLF)
Facts for prelims: Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), MAHASAGAR Initiative
All-India judicial service
- In recent news, the President of India, during the Constitution Day celebration at the Supreme Court, advocated for the establishment of an \”all-India judicial service\” (AIJS) to recruit judges. The primary aim of AIJS is to enhance diversity in the judiciary by promoting the representation of marginalized social groups. This move is in alignment with Article 312 of the Constitution of India, which allows for the creation of an AIJS akin to central civil services.
- The creation of AIJS can be initiated if the Rajya Sabha, with the support of at least two-thirds of its present and voting members, declares it necessary in the \”national interest.\”
- Following this, Parliament can legislate to establish one or more all-India services common to the Union and the States, regulating the recruitment and service conditions of individuals appointed to such services.
- Under AIJS, posts are specified not to be inferior to that of a district judge, as defined in Article 236 of the Constitution.
- The primary purpose of AIJS is to centralize the recruitment process for judges at the level of additional district judges and district judges across all states.
- This proposed centralization contrasts with the existing system, where states conduct the Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam for the selection of judges up to the level of district judges.
- The idea of AIJS has historical roots, with recommendations from the Law Commission\’s 1958 report on judicial administration reforms and support from a 2006 Parliamentary Standing Committee report.
- Despite the Supreme Court\’s directive in 1992 to establish AIJS and subsequent initiatives by the Centre, the idea has not been implemented.
- Challenges include divergent opinions among stakeholders, lack of consensus during discussions with state governments and high courts, and failure to reach a conclusive decision on various aspects of AIJS in meetings chaired by the Minister of Law and Justice in 2017.
- the proposal for an all-India judicial service has been a longstanding subject of discussion, reflecting the ongoing efforts to address structural issues and streamline the recruitment process for judges.
- However, challenges and diverging opinions among stakeholders have hindered the implementation of AIJS, leaving the matter unresolved despite various deliberations and initiatives over the years.
Extension of BSF Jurisdiction
- The Supreme Court\’s recent clarification on the Centre\’s 2021 notification, expanding the Border Security Force\’s (BSF) jurisdiction in Punjab from 15 to 50 km, has stirred debates. This move replaces a 2014 order under the BSF Act, 1968, covering various states and union territories.
- The expanded jurisdiction empowers BSF to prevent offences like smuggling, illegal entry, and more.
- However, the BSF\’s role is limited to preliminary questioning, with suspects handed over to local police within 24 hours. Notably, the BSF lacks prosecutorial authority.
Issues Surrounding Jurisdiction Extension:
Federal Structure Concerns:
- The debate centres around the balance between public order, a state responsibility, and the security of the state, a union concern.
- Critics argue that the notification encroaches on state powers without obtaining state government concurrence, challenging the spirit of federalism.
Impact on BSF Functioning:
- Concerns are raised about the BSF\’s primary role as a border guarding force being compromised by engaging in policing in the hinterland.
- The move could potentially weaken BSF\’s capacity to fulfil its primary duty of guarding international borders.
- The extension from 15 to 50 km grants concurrent power with state police over cognizable offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
- In a smaller state like Punjab, major urban centres fall within the extended jurisdiction, posing unique challenges.
Constitutional Perspectives on Armed Forces Deployment:
Article 355 and 356:
- Article 355 permits the Centre to deploy forces to protect a state against external aggression and internal disturbance.
- If a state opposes such deployment, Article 356 (President\’s Rule) provides a course of action for the Centre.
The desirability of consulting state governments before deploying armed forces is emphasized, respecting existing relationships.
Background on BSF:
- Formed in 1965 post the India-Pakistan war, the BSF is one of India\’s seven Central Armed Police Forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Deployed along Pakistan and Bangladesh borders, as well as in anti-Naxal operations and UN peacekeeping missions.
- It is suggested that, given the security situation, consultation with state governments should precede armed force deployment.
- States are encouraged to work out short and long-term arrangements for strengthening their Armed Police, aiming for self-reliance.
- Neighboring states may consider standing arrangements for mutual use of Armed Police during crises, facilitated through regional forums like Zonal Council
India\’s Stance on Renewable Energy and Coal Dependency
- India has refrained from pledging to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 due to concerns over the draft text mentioning coal phase-out. Despite India\’s rapid expansion of renewable energy sources, it remains reliant on coal for electricity generation. The country\’s ambitious plans for achieving net zero are in contrast to its continued emphasis on coal.
Factors Contributing to Coal Dependency:
Surging Power Demand:
- India\’s power demand has grown by 8% in 2022, driven by increased economic activity. Industrial and commercial sectors are major energy consumers, with homes and agriculture also contributing significantly.
Energy Demand Projection:
- India is projected to experience the largest energy demand growth globally over the next 30 years, as per the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Increased Coal Production:
- India has doubled down on coal production, witnessing a 14% growth from 778 million tons in 2021-22 to 893 million tons in 2022-23. Future targets aim for 1.31 billion tons by 2024-25 and 1.5 billion tons by 2030.
Challenges with Renewable Energy:
- Only 22% of India\’s total energy comes from renewable sources, with fossil fuels, primarily coal, still providing 75% of power supply.
- Renewables are not yet a reliable source of power generation, necessitating heavy investments in battery storage. Grid-scale battery storage faces challenges due to supply chain disruptions
- Hydropower, a key renewable source, faces complexities, including ecological damage and concerns over water resources in the Himalayan region.
- India\’s plans for energy generation through nuclear power plants have not gained significant traction, contributing only about 3.15% of total electricity in 2021-22.
India\’s Future Plans:
- India aims to achieve 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, three times the current capacity of 180 GW.
- While implementing plans to reduce coal use, India emphasizes a phase-down approach rather than a complete phase-out.
COP28 Pledge Controversy:
- India refrained from endorsing a pledge to triple global renewable energy capacity at COP28, which included references to coal phase-out and an end to fresh investments in that sector.
- India is unlikely to endorse a health declaration at COP28, emphasizing its reluctance to align with sectoral approaches outside the UNFCCC framework.
- India\’s complex energy landscape involves balancing its growing energy demand, challenges in renewable energy adoption, and the need to address environmental concerns associated with coal.
- The country\’s strategic focus involves a gradual transition rather than an abrupt departure from coal in its energy mix.
United National Liberation Front (UNLF)
- The Union Home Ministry has reported that 25 leaders of the National Revolutionary Front Manipur (NRFM), a Meitei underground group, have joined the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) in a peace process. This development follows a peace agreement signed last month involving the NRFM, the Government of Manipur, and the Government of India. The Union government sees this as a positive momentum toward restoring peace and normalcy in Manipur.
Key Points and Implications:
- The peace agreement, signed recently, marked a significant step in addressing the long-standing issues and conflicts involving the NRFM.
- The decision of 25 NRFM leaders to join UNLF is seen as a crucial development, indicating a willingness to abandon the path of violence and engage in peaceful dialogue.
- The Union Home Ministry anticipates that this move will inspire other Meitei underground outfits to participate in the peace process and pursue their demands through democratic means.
- The Ministry highlights that such developments align with the government\’s vision of achieving an \”Insurgency-free and prosperous North East.\”
Background on NRFM:
- The NRFM, previously known as the United Revolutionary Front, was established in 2011 by cadres of three factions of the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), a Meitei underground outfit.
- Senior leaders of NRFM were known for operating from bases in neighbouring countries and were involved in activities such as violence and extortion in various parts of the Manipur Valley.
- The integration of NRFM leaders into the peace process, particularly joining UNLF, reflects a positive development in the ongoing efforts to bring stability and resolution to the complex issues in Manipur. The government sees this as a crucial step towards fostering dialogue and democratic avenues for addressing grievances, ultimately contributing to the broader vision of a peaceful and prosperous Northeast.
Facts for prelims:
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program was initiated by the Government of India in 1984, leading to the establishment of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to oversee its development.
- The LCA, known as Tejas, boasts features such as the capability to carry a diverse range of weapons, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, and precision-guided munitions. It is also equipped with air-to-air refuelling capability.
Tejas comes in various variants, each tailored to specific requirements:
- Tejas Trainer: A two-seater operational conversion trainer designed to train Air Force pilots.
- LCA Navy: Available in twin- and single-seat configurations, this variant is tailored for carrier operations in the Indian Navy.
- LCA Tejas Navy MK2: Representing the second phase of the LCA Navy variant, it incorporates advancements and improvements.
- LCA Tejas Mk-1A: An enhanced version of the LCA Tejas Mk1, featuring a higher thrust engine for improved performance.
On December 4, 2023, the inaugural session of MAHASAGAR, an initiative by the Indian Navy, convened maritime leaders from various nations in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- The theme centred around a \’Collective Maritime Approach towards Countering Common Challenges.’
- MAHASAGAR, shorthand for Maritime Heads for Active Security And Growth for All in the Region, seeks to establish a platform for high-level interactions to promote cooperation among IOR nations.
- Participants included Heads of Navies and Maritime Agencies from Bangladesh, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.
- Aligned with the Indian Government\’s SAGAR vision (Security and Growth for All in the Region), MAHASAGAR represents a strategic step in realizing shared security and growth objectives.
- This initiative builds upon India\’s 2015 vision for the Indian Ocean, emphasizing improved relations with maritime neighbours on economic and security fronts.