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6th September 2022

  • Published
    06 September 2022

Supreme Court issues notice to EC, Govt on parties using religious names, symbols

Context

Recently, Supreme Court issued notice to the election commission to cancel the registration of political parties that use religious symbols or names of religions in their nomenclature.

About

Registration of a political party in India:

  • According to the Election Commission, any party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days.
  • Following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Commission in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • The registration of all political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act 1951.

Why registering with the EC is important?

  • It is not mandatory to register with the Election Commission but registering as a political party with the EC has its advantage in terms of intending to avail itself of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • The candidates set up by a political party registered with the EC will get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols vis-à-vis purely independent candidates.



Issuing Symbols

An electoral symbol is a standardised symbol allocated to an independent candidate or political party by a country's election commission for use in election ballots.

  • The registered political parties can get recognition as a ‘state party’ or a ‘national party’ subject to the fulfilment of the conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968.

Significance of Election symbol

  • Symbols are used by parties in their campaigning, and printed on ballot papers where a voter must make a mark to vote for the associated party.
  • One of their purposes is to facilitate voting by illiterate people, who cannot read candidates' names on ballot papers.
  • They are easily identifiable real-world creatures, objects, or items such as the head of an elephant.

Related Judgements

  • Abhiram Singh vs C D Commachen: An appeal to vote on the ground of the religion (or caste, community, race or language) of a candidate or to refrain from voting for a candidate on the basis of these features would amount to a corrupt practice.

After INS Vikrant, India’s next steps should be a new carrier, submarines

Context

Recently, the government commissioned India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant which is built by Cochin Shipyard Limited.

  • Considering India’s crucial role in growing geopolitical threats, the third carrier is a necessity to counter.
About

About INS Vikrant:

  • IAC Vikrant is the largest warship to have ever been built in India and is also the first indigenously designed and built Aircraft Carrier for the Indian Navy.
  • IAC Vikrant is 262 m long and 62 m wide and displaces approx. 43000 T when fully loaded, having a maximum designed speed of 28 Knots with an endurance of 7500 NM.
  • Designed by the Indian Navy's in-house Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built by the CSL, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways
  • It is capable of carrying more than 30 assorted aircraft including combat jets and helicopters.
  • It boasts a fully-fledged state-of-art medical complex with the latest medical equipment facilities including major modular OT, emergency modular OT, physiotherapy clinic, ICU, laboratories, CT scanner, X-Ray machines, dental complex, isolation ward, and telemedicine facilities.

Indian Navy: National Security Plan

  • In 1999, the government approved a 30-year plan for 24 conventional submarines.
  • This was later modified to 18 conventional and six nuclear-powered submarines.
  • The plan was to build six under Project 75, six under Project 75(I), and six under Project 76.
  • Projects 75 and 75(I) were supposed to build design and manufacturing capability and facilitate the transfer of technology.
  • Project 76 was to build Indian-designed submarines.
  • The 75(I) and 76 were to be equipped with Air-Independent-Propulsion (AIP) systems that could boost underwater endurance, suppress noise, and increase stealth.
  • The aircraft carrier and the submarine are the prime platforms of India’s naval power.
  • INS Vikrant definitely gives us a cause to feel elated.

Indian Army Chief Manoj Pande conferred honorary rank of Nepal Army General

Context
  • Recently, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande was conferred the title of Honorary General of the Nepali Army by the Nepal President.
About

About Honour:

  • The tradition started in 1950. India also confers the honorary rank of "General of Indian Army" to the Nepal Army Chief.
  • Commander-in-Chief General KM Cariappa was the first Indian Army chief to be decorated with the title in 1950.
  • In November last year, the Chief of the Nepali Army, General Prabhu Ram Sharma was also made the Honorary General of the Indian Army by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in New Delhi.

India Nepal Relation:

  • The country shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states - Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
  • Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services.
  • Nepal is important for India in the context of its overall strategic interests in the region.
  • The leaders of the two countries have often noted the age-old "Roti Beti" relationship.

India to participate in ‘2+2’ dialogue in Japan

Context
  • The second India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Meeting will be held in Japan.
About

About the second India-Japan 2+2 dialogue:

  • India-Japan’s special strategic and global partnership is based on shared values of democracy, freedom, and respect for rule of law.
  • The ‘2+2’ dialogue with Japan was initiated in 2019. In the 2+2 dialogue, the two sides are expected to deliberate on ways to further expand bilateral cooperation in the areas of defence and security besides taking stock of the developments in the Indo-Pacific.


2+2 Dialogue:

  • It is an initiative to deepen bilateral security and defence cooperation further and bring greater depth to the special strategic and global partnership between the two countries.
  • India has the ‘2+2’ ministerial format of dialogue with very few countries, including the US, Japan, Australia, and Russia.

History of India-Japan Relations:

Cultural Connection:

  • The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilization ties.
  • The exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan.
  • Indian culture, filtered through Buddhism, has had a great impact on Japanese culture, and this is the source of the Japanese people’s sense of closeness to India.

Diplomatic Relations:

  • Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on 28th April 1952.
  • This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after World War II.
  • Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations.
  • In the Post-World War II period, India’s iron ore helped a great deal in Japan’s recovery from the devastation.

Regional Cooperation:

  • India-Japan has strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. They both are part of QUAD and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
  • India-Japan has a 2+2 Ministers Dialogue mechanism along with many other channels to strengthen India-Japan Relations.

Why states experiences divergence in inflation rates?

Context
  • Recently, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released the ‘State-wise Inflation measurement index’.
About

State-wise Inflation Ratio:

  • Inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) crossed the central bank’s upper tolerance limit of 6% in January and has averaged 6.8% till July 2022.
  • But an analysis of State-wise inflation prints for the period 2022 evaluated 14 States as well as three UTs.
  • India’s economy grew at a slower-than-expected 13.5% in the first quarter of the year.
  • Private consumption picked up, but inflation has been a dampener.

Why does it happen?

  • Food price inflation which dropped to a five-month low of 6.8% in July, is a key differentiating factor for States’ inflation experience, explained Bank of Baroda chief economist.
  • States that are not major crop producers have higher food inflation as transport costs are added on, and those with predominantly rural areas also clock more inflation as the CPI for rural areas assigns a higher weightage to food.
  • Rural inflation has averaged more than urban inflation at 7.07% from January to July, and 7.6% in the four months since it peaked at 8.38% in April.
  • Urban inflation crossed 6% in March 2022, has averaged 6.47% through 2022 and fallen 0.6 percentage points by July from its 2022 high of 7.09% in April.

Divergence in inflation:

  • Consumption patterns and divergences in different item price trends also influence variations among States.
  • While the share of private consumption has spiked to nearly 60% of GDP in Q1 2022-23.
  • This persistently high inflation has dented spending propensity, particularly in rural India which is facing more price pressures.
  • According to CRISIL’s chief economist, Private consumption is improving, with urban demand getting support from contact-intensive services. If it had not been for high inflation and subdued rural demand due to negative real rural wage growth, private consumption would have grown faster.

Editorial

The difficult path to India-Pakistan peace

Context:

  • Pakistan which has been in a marred financial crisis is unable to overcome domestic pressure to seek the economic benefit of trading essential commodities with India. It shows how difficult is the path to peace for India and Pakistan.

Present Situation:

  • The serving Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif is supposedly not doing enough to alleviate stresses on Pakistan’s flailing and cash-strapped domestic economy, which is on the verge of defaulting widening current account deficit and high inflation brought by the after-effects of a global coronavirus pandemic, unprecedented floods, and decades of poor planning. More surprising is the fact that its Finance Minister has indicated his openness to import “vegetables and edible items from India”. On the contrary, Mr. Sharif has stressed on government’s commitment to prioritizing a resolution of the Kashmir dispute before normalization of bilateral relations.

Domestic Pressure:

  • Despite the economic benefit of seeking trade in essential commodities with India, Pakistan is unable to overcome the pressures of domestic public opinion in Pakistan. The government has been forced to introduce austerity measures and roll back public subsidies to meet the IMF’s demands to qualify for its financial assistance.
  • A simple application of rational choice theory would suggest that Pakistan's choice is fairly straightforward and it must seek cooperation from the large agricultural producer in the neighborhood, to provide it essential aid in its moment of crisis. Possibly Pakistan could not muster the political will to serve Pakistan’s short-term interests.
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ThinkQ

Mains Question:

Q1. Discuss why the difference between rural and urban inflation is much wider in states with relatively higher inflation, compared with states that have relatively lower inflation. (150 words)

Approach 

-Introduction- briefly introduce about difference between Urban and rural areas (list names if possible)

-Discuss what is causing the difference across states

-Elaborate more about main reason behind gap- food price inflation 

-Conclude accordingly 

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