- Citing economic recovery, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday restored the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) that was suspended in April 2020 subsuming the funds for the scheme in the consolidated fund of India.
- The scheme was suspended for two financial years (2020-21 and 2021-22).The MPs will get ₹2 crore instead of the annual approved ₹5 crore.
- When the suspension was announced last year, the Government had claimed that ₹8,000 crore that would have otherwise been spent under the scheme will go to the consolidated fund of India and will be used for fighting the pandemic.
- The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) has enabled MPs to play a leadership role in the developmental process of his constituency and sort out its day to day problems.
- Implementation of these projects is done by district level officers under the vigilant eye of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- First, the scheme violates one of the cardinal principles, which though not specifically written down in the Constitution, actually permeates the entire Constitution: separation of powers.
- Simply put, this scheme, in effect, gives an executive function to legislators (read legislature)
- The projects are implemented according to the Ministry’s guidelines. Furthermore, the Scheme undergoes an impartial and meticulous auditing.
- CAG-Expenditure incurred by the executing agencies being less than amount booked. Utilization of funds between 49 to 90% of the booked amount
- Third, there are wide variations in the utilization of the MPLAD amount in various constituencies.
- Reports of underutilization and mutualisation of MPLADS funds continue to surface at regular intervals but there seems to have been no serious attempt to do anything about it till now.
Regional security dialogue
- The Third Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan held here on Wednesday called for “urgent humanitarian assistance” to the Afghan people.
- The call was given in the meeting chaired by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who urged close cooperation and consultation among the regional countries over the Afghan scenario.
- “This is the third meeting of the process that was initiated by Iran in 2018.
- A joint statement titled the ‘Delhi Declaration’ issued after the meeting called for “collective cooperation” against terrorism and drug trafficking in the region and “expressed concern over the deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and underlined the need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan”
Will US apply CAATSA on India?
- The Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, CAATSA, is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
- The U.S.-India ‘Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership’ is expanding and strengthening, including in its security aspects.
- Apart from the investments both countries are making in the partnership for its own sake, India is also a key element of the U.S’s overall strategy in the Indo-Pacific.
- India is vital to the U.S.’s interests in the Indo-Pacific. “One thing that plays in India’s favor is that its importance to the United States as part of its own overall China strategy has increased dramatically.
Person in news
- Nepal Army Chief General Prabhu Ram Sharma was on Wednesday conferred the honorary rank of General of the Indian Army by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
- It is a customary practice by the two countries to confer the honorary rank of General on each other’s Army Chiefs.
Defence and environment
- The Supreme Court said a balance between Defence and environmental concerns is a better goal to achieve rather than to pit one interest against the other.
- The court was hearing a plea against the environmental clearance given to widen the Char Dham roads by felling trees.
- These Himalayan roads are crucial to the defense preparedness along the Indo-China border.
- “The Forces have to take heavy vehicles, tanks, self-propelled artillery and troops to the Indo-China border.
- It is the specific need of the armed forces to defend the country against any possible external aggression at the northern border.
Recent decisions of CCEA
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a slew of measures that will support farmers growing sugar cane, cotton and jute.
- The CCEA increased the price of ethanol extracted from sugar cane juice for blending in petrol to ₹63.45 a liter in the coming sugar marketing season starting December.
- This is an 80 paise hike from the previous years. The rate for ethanol extracted from C-heavy molasses has been increased by 97 paise a litre, while that of ethanol extracted from B heavy molasses is up ₹1.47 as well.
- Ethanol blending with petrol is expected to reach 10% next year and 20% by 2025.
- Oil marketing companies buy ethanol from sugar mills and distilleries at the rate set by the Government
- The CCEA also approved a committed price support of ₹17,408.85 crore to the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) as reimbursement for its losses in procuring crops from farmers at minimum support prices (MSP) over the past seven years.
- The CCI is mandated to procure all Fair Average Quality grade cotton from farmers without any quantitative ceiling, as and when prices follow below the MSP rates set by the Centre, in a bid to protect farmers from distress sales.
- The CCEA approved reservation norms for the mandatory use of jute in packaging this year, stipulating that 100% of food grains and 20% of sugar must compulsorily be packed in jute bags.
- Such reservation consumed two thirds of the total raw jute production last year.
India aim towards carbon neutrality
- The Government of India has, for the first time, made a commitment to achieve the net zero target by 2070.
- India has neither historically emitted nor currently emits carbon anywhere close to what the global North has, or does, in per capita terms, it has no reason to commit to declining dependence on coal, at least in the near future.
- Recent data show that the levelized cost of electricity from renewable energy sources like solar (photovoltaic), hydro and onshore wind has been declining sharply over the last decade and is already less than fossil fuel-based electricity generation.
- India’s net coal import went up from ₹782.6 billion in 2011-12 to ₹1,155.0 billion in 2020-21. India is among the largest importers of coal in the world, whereas it has no dearth of solar energy.
- The abundance of renewable natural resources in the tropical climate can give India a head start in this competitive world of technology.
- South-South collaborations can help India avoid the usual patterns of trade between the North and the South, where the former controls technology and the latter merely provides inputs.
- And the high-employment trajectory that the green path entails vis-à-vis the fossil fuel sector may help address the issue of surplus labor, even if partially.
- Such a path could additionally provide decentralized access to clean energy to the poor and the marginalized, including in remote regions of India.
- So, it simultaneously addresses the issues of employment, technology, energy poverty and self-reliance.
- The framework of addressing global injustice in terms of a carbon budget is quite limiting in its scope in more ways than one.
- Such an injustice is not at the level of the nation states alone.
- There is such injustice between the rich and the poor within nations and between humans and non-human species.
- Global South, especially its poor, will unduly bear the effect of climate change because of its tropical climate and high population density along the coastal lines.
Climate performance ranking: India in Top 10
- The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2022 report has found that Major emitting economies that announced their Net Zero emission release targets fared poorly in their climate change performance over 2021.
- India maintained its 10th rank. It continued to be among the top-performing countries within Group of 20.
- As an independent monitoring tool, the CCPI has a leading role providing information on the Paris Agreement’s implementation phase. The CCPI has provided analysis of countries climate protection performance since 2005.
- The CCPI evaluates 60 countries and the European Union, which together generate more than 90 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The CCPI looks at four categories, with 14 indicators
- Greenhouse gas emissions (40 per cent of the overall score), renewable energy (20 per cent), energy use (20 per cent) and climate policy (20 per cent).
- There have been initiatives to promote more electric vehicles in the transport sector.
- India should set Net Zero target for 2050 and leverage its domestic success on renewables and emissions intensity into international initiatives. More could be done to strengthen policies on climate vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience building. Equity and social development should also feature more strongly in the energy transition.