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Monday, 12 March 2018

The Hindu Editorial : Bifurcation And Blame


Title: Bifurcation And Blame

(It’s misleading to blame the 14th Finance Commission for not according special category status)

To be sure, the terms of reference of the FFC did not require it to deal with the categorisation of States into the “special category” and “non-special category”. Therefore, it was not required to make any recommendation on the issue. Nor is the classification of States into general and special categories the creation of the Constitution and therefore, the Finance Commission, which was formed under Article 280 of the Constitution, has no business to make any recommendations on the issue.

ü  The principal task of the Finance Commission is to assess(calculate) the revenue and cost disabilities of the States and make recommendations to offset these disabilities through tax devolution and grants so that all the States are enabled to provide comparable levels of services at comparable revenue effort.

ü  The only reference to categorisation was where the report stated, “We did not make a distinction between special and general category states in determining our norms and recommendations. We believe that while there are certain common factors that impact cost disability and fiscal capacity of States, there exist circumstances that are unique to individual States.

An executive decision

There are asymmetric(विषम) arrangements laid down in the Constitution, such as Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir, and in Articles 371A to H for the States in the Northeast, and even these are under the “temporary, transitional and special provisions” (Part XXI). Asymmetric arrangements on discretionary (voluntary) and political grounds will only weaken the fabric of federalism(संघवाद).
Thus, nowhere has the FFC referred to the issue of desirability or of according special category status in its report. Therefore, attributing blame to the FFC for the inability to accord special category status is clearly misleading. The decision to give and not accord special category status in the past was taken by the erstwhile National Development Council on the recommendation of the Planning Commission based on aforementioned factors and this was entirely an executive decision. Neither the Constitution nor the FFC have had anything to do with this.

Title: Under a humane Constitution

(The Supreme Court’s judgment on passive euthanasia must compel more debate on technological self-determination)

Common Cause v. Union of India, the Supreme Court ruled that every individual has the right to die with dignity. It upheld the practice of passive euthanasia — the removal of life-support mechanisms.
The individual’s choice

ü  A number of terms have been invoked to identify the case. It has been called the “living wills case”, the “passive euthanasia case”, the “right to die with dignity case”, or even simply the “euthanasia case”.

ü  Each of the four opinions are organised around the constitutional values of personal autonomy, bodily integrity and human dignity. And these values, in turn, are expressed in the language of an individual’s choice to receive or decline medical intervention or medical treatment.

The primacy of consent (agreement)

ü  Individuals have the right to engage with technological systems on their own terms, the right to opt into or opt out of such systems without suffering for it, and the right not to be subjected to technological intervention without being given meaningful choice.

ü  Let us call this the principle of technological self-determination: or the right of every individual to determine how, on what terms, and to what extent, she will engage with technological systems. This, of course, is closely related to the question of the relationship between technology and human empowerment.

Judicial legislation

ü  As a final point, it must be noted that the court — speaking through the Chief Justice — laid down detailed procedures for the implementation of the advance directives. These safeguards are quasi-legislative in nature, (having a partly legislative character by possession of the right to make rules and regulations having the force of law)and the court justified them by citing the famous Vishaka judgment, which had held that when there is a legislative vacuum, the court can step in and fill the gap until a law comes into force.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

ü  Objective is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
ü  This initiative was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in November 2015 at Wembley Stadium, in which he referred to sunshine countries as Suryaputra ("Sons of the Sun").
ü  The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.
  • Founded at - Paris, France
  • Purpose - Bring together a group of nations to endorse clean energy, sustainable environment, public transport and climate
  • Headquarters - Gwal Pahari, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
  • Region served  - Countries between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn
  • Fields  -   Renewable energy
  • Membership (As of 2017) - 121 nations

Vocabulary words:
  • Evacuate (verb)  = Remove, move out (छोड़कर अन्यत्र जाना)
  • Besiege (verb)  = Surround or harass (घेरना)
  • Rebel (noun)   = Rioter, insurgent (विद्रोही)
  • Regime (noun) = An authoritarian one (शासन)
  • Bombardment (noun)  = A continuous attack with bombs (बमबारी)
  • Apocalypse (noun)  = An event involving destruction or damage (कयामत)
  • Hostility (noun)  =  Unfriendliness or opposition (शत्रुता)
  • Eerie (adj) = Strange, frightening (भयानक)
  • Suburb (noun) = An outlaying district of a city (उपनगर)
  • Prolong (verb) =  Extend the duration (बढ़ाना)

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