Government policies & Schemes
Inter-State Council reconstituted with Prime Minister as chairman
- ISC (Inter State Council ) is set up on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Constitution of India by the Presidential Order, 1990 based on the recommendation of Sarkaria Commissions.
- The Article 263 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council which is mandated to inquire into and advise upon disputes which may arise between states, investigate and discuss subjects in which some or all of the states, or the Union and one or more of the states, have a common interest.
Why in news
- The Inter-State council has been reconstituted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its chairman and six Union ministers and chief ministers as members.
- In another notification, the government reconstituted the standing committee of the Inter-State Council with the chairmanship of Home Minister Amit Shah.
Composition of new ISC ( Inter State Council )
- Members: The chief ministers of all states and Union Territories (having legislative Assembly), Six Union Ministers.
- However, administrators of Union Territories which do not have legislative Assembly are also members of the Council.
- The Union Ministers: The Home Minister, the Finance Minister, the Defence Minister, the External Affairs Minister, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting and for Road Transport Highways and also Shipping Minister.
Significance of the ISC
- Unlike other platforms (NITI AYOG ) for Centre State cooperation, ISC has constitutional backing which puts the states on more solid footing.
- In times of different political parties heading the Centre and various states the need for dialogue assumes a greater importance. Thus, ISC provides a platform for states to discuss their concerns.
- Resolving disputes linked to state-state & Centre-state.
- If the goal of a more decentralized polity, which needs interaction between various levels of government, is to be achieved, Interstate Council is a crucial first step.
- Given its status as a platform for dialogue and discussion, it makes the governments, both at the Centre and state level, more accountable for their actions.
Issues in functioning of ISC
- Till date ISC has not performed to its potential.
- There is no compulsion on the government of the day to accept the outcomes of the meetings. Sometimes, Centre has seemed to attach low importance to ISC.
- In the entire 10 year term of UPA govt, there were only 2 meetings, and none from 2006 to 2014.
Recommendation to make ISC effective
- A few things could be done to make ISC more effective, LOP in LS and RS (Council of States) should be made permanent invitee to ISC. This will give due importance to voice of States ruled by opposition parties.
- PM should appraise LS of the deliberations of ISC.
- The return of the single-party majority government at the Centre has necessitated the strengthening of inter-governmental mechanisms for the harmonious working of the federal structure through institutions like ISC.
- Sarkaria Commission recommended that it needs to be given all the powers contemplated in the Constitution like Art 263(a) which gives it the power to investigate issues of inter-state conflict but was dropped in the Presidential order of 1990.
- Moreover, it should provide some greater opportunities to civil society institutions and also the corporate sector to make their representations.
- Further, its secretariat may be shifted from the Union Home Ministry to the Rajya Sabha secretariat so that it would be under the direction of a neutral federal functionary, the vice-president of our India rather than the Union home minister.
- It should be strengthened as a forum for not just administrative but also political and legislative give and take between centre and states. For instance, while legislating on subjects that have been transferred from the state list to the concurrent list such as education and Forests, the centre must consult states more extensively and offer them greater flexibility.
- The Inter-State Council must meet at least thrice in a year on an agenda evolved after proper consultation with States.( Punchhi Commission )
- The Council should have the functional independence with a professional Secretariat constituted with an experts on relevant fields of knowledge which is supported by the Central and State officials on deputation for limited periods.
- Moreover, after ISC is made a vibrant, negotiating forum for policy development and conflict resolution, the Government may consider the functions for the National Development Council also being transferred to the ISC.
International Current Affairs
Business and Economy / International
German economy shrinks in Q2 as exports fall on weak demand, trade disputes
- The German economy shrank in the second quarter, dragged down by a slump in exports, as manufacturers in Europe’s largest economy struggle against weaker foreign demand and trade disputes.
- Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.1% quarter-on-quarter after a confirmed growth rate of 0.4% in the first three months of the year.
- Besides Brexit, this is above all the U.S.-Sino trade dispute and possible U.S. tariffs on European cars.
- Construction declined in the second quarter after the sector pushed up overall growth in the first three months due to an unusually mild winter.
- The development of foreign trade slowed down economic growth because exports recorded a stronger quarter-on-quarter decrease than imports.
- Following release of the data, the yield on Germany’s benchmark 10-year government bond dropped to a record low of -0.623%.
India contributes USD 1 million to UN fund
- India has contributed USD one million to the UN Special Purpose Trust Fund for the Resident Coordinator System.
What is SPTF
- The Special Purpose Trust Fund (SPTF) is a specific fund housed within the UN Secretariat established to receive, consolidate, manage and account for all contributions and financial transactions of the new Resident Coordinator system in a transparent and effective way, according to the UN information.
- The SPTF web portal, displays in real-time all commitments, contributions and expenditures recorded for the fund.
- Funding sources include voluntary contributions from the Member States, the doubling of cost-sharing amounts from the UN entities who are members of the United Nations development system and a one percent levy applied to contributions for UN development-related activities earmarked to a single agency, single programme or project.
Defence Current Affairs
People/Awards & Recognition
IAF’s Abhinandan Varthaman gets Vir Chakra
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who downed an enemy jet during an aerial combat with Pakistan in February and was held captive for three days, has been conferred the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest war time gallantry medal.
Awards & Recognition/National
President approves 132 Gallantry awards
President Ram Nath Kovind, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, has approved 132 awards to armed forces personnel and members of the paramilitary forces.
I-Day awards: Kirti Chakra for soldier Prakash Jadhav
- The Kirti Chakra, the third highest military honour awarded during peacetime, will be conferred on soldier Prakash Jadhav, who died in a gunfight with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, on Independence Day.
- Eight soldiers will be honoured with the Shaurya Chakra, which is also awarded for gallantry during peacetime.
- Five of these awards will be presented posthumously.
- Defence Ministry sources said that pilots of the five Mirage-2000 fighter jets who bombed a terror launch pad in Balakot in Pakistan in response to the Pulwama terrorist attack will be honoured with Vayu Sena medals.
Medal of excellence in investigation awarded to 96 police personnel
- The award was instituted in 2018 with the objective of promoting high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognise such excellence in investigation by officers.
- Ninety-six police personnel, including 15 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers, have been awarded the “Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation”
- Among the personnel receiving these awards, 11 are from Maharashtra Police, 10 are from Uttar Pradesh Police, 9 are from Kerala Police, 8 are from Madhya Pradesh Police, 6 are from Delhi Police and Karnataka Police and the remaining from the other States/UT and Central Investigating Agencies,
Sports /People/Awards & Recognition
Deepak Punia becomes India’s first junior World Champion in 18 years
Wrestler Deepak Punia has become India’s first junior World Champion in 18 years. He claimed a gold medal at the Junior Worlds with a win over Russia’s Alik Shebzukhov at Tallinn, Estonia.
PT Usha becomes AAA Athletes Commission member
Usha will be one of the six members of the AAA Athletes Commission, which will be headed by 1992 Olympics gold medallist hammer thrower Andrey Abduvaliyev of Uzbekistan