Recently, the President of India has decided to commute the death sentence of an accused (convicted over the assassination of then Punjab Chief Minister) as a humanitarian gesture ahead of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
- In the last nine years, the President commuted at least 20 death sentences to life imprisonment, based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Constitutional Provision to Grant Pardon: Article 72
- Article 72 of the Constitution empowers the President to grant pardons to persons who have been tried and convicted of any offence in all cases where the:
- Punishment or sentence for an offence against a Union Law,
- Punishment or sentence is by a court-martial (military court), and
- Punishment is a Death sentence.
Pardoning Power of President
- Article 72 empowers the President the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence. The meaning of these terms is as follows:
- Pardon: It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments, and disqualifications.
- Commutation: It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment with a lighter form of punishment. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment.
- Remission: It implies reducing the period of the sentence without changing its character. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for five years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year.
- Respite: It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
- Reprieve: It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.
Procedure Followed for Granting Pardon
- The process starts with filing a mercy petition with the President under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution.
- Such a petition is then sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs for consideration which is then consulted with the concerned State Government.
- After the consultation, recommendations are made by the Home Minister and the petition is sent back to the President.
Purpose of Granting Pardon
- Pardon may substantially help in saving an innocent person from being punished due to miscarriage of justice or in cases of doubtful conviction.
- The object of conferring this power on the President is two-fold:
- To keep the door open for correcting any judicial errors in the operation of law;
- To afford relief from a sentence, which the President regards as unduly harsh.
Judicial Stand on Pardoning Powers
- In Maru Ram v Union of India case (1980), the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India held that the power under Article 72 is to be exercised on the advice of the Central Government and not by the President on his own at his discretion. And that the advice of the Government is binding on him.
- The Supreme Court in Epuru Sudhakar v Ors. case (2006) to rule out any case of arbitrariness or executive mala fide upheld that the granting of clemency by the President or Governor can be challenged in court on various grounds such as, the order has been passed without application of mind, or the order is mala fide, or the relevant material has been kept out of consideration.
Difference Between Pardoning Powers of President And Governor
- The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161 which differs in the following two ways:
- The power of the President to grant pardon extends in cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial but Article 161 does not provide any such power to the Governor.
- The President can grant pardon in all cases where the sentence given is the sentence of death but the pardoning power of the Governor does not extend to death sentence cases.
The World Economic Forum’s 33rd India Economic Summit took place in New Delhi from 3rd - 4th October 2019.
- Hosted in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the theme of the Summit was: ‘Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World’.
- Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina co-chaired the Summit with Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
- The India Economic Summit came to a close with more than 800 participants meeting from across the region and around the world.
- Challenge of Global Inequality: There is a growing inequality in terms of wealth and income--both within countries and across countries.
- The challenge of Gender Equality - both in the region and across the globe.
- Vision For Agriculture: More than 70 global and regional leaders committed to supporting investments in integrated food value chains throughout the country.
- The Co-chairs called for improved regional cooperation in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
- Bilateral cooperation and innovation is crucial for ‘shared prosperity’.
- Innovation can lift-up the region to become a ‘great area’ for development of cutting-edge technology.
Aspects Related to India
- The India Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2019 are Shanti Raghavan & Dipesh Sutariya of EnAble India.
- EnAble India changed the mindsets of 729 businesses and built frameworks for inclusion in universities and government agencies for the employment of persons with disabilities in formal and informal sectors across India.
- Foreign Policy Aspect: In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Union Minister for External Affairs said that the entire neighbourhood, minus one, has been a fairly good story for regional cooperation.
- Economic Aspect: India expressed cautious optimism about a potential free trade agreement between India and the United States.
- Access to Health: Drones will soon deliver life-saving medical supplies and vaccines to rural communities in Telangana.
- The government will begin a drone delivery programme built on a World Economic Forum and Apollo Hospital Group framework.
- Sanitation: To support Prime Minister’s initiative of ending open defecation, the Forum’s Young Global Leaders community will mobilize more than $3.5 million in resources to finance the urban sanitation ecosystem in 10 Indian cities.
- Smart Cities: The Smart Cities Mission India joined the G20 Smart City Alliance, chaired by the World Economic Forum, to establish universal norms and guidelines for safe and responsible implementation of smart city technology.
- E-Mobility: People in Punjab will soon be driving down a 100km electric vehicle corridor, which is part of a sustainable pilot project with the World Economic Forum's Moving India initiative.
- Clean fuel: Clean India will fly 1 million airline passengers between Delhi and Mumbai by 2030 as the SpiceJet and others have joined the Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow Project, promoting the use of biofuels and blended fuels through public-private partnership.
World Economic Forum
- It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
- It engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Confederation of Indian Industry
- CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India's development process.
- Founded in 1895, it has around 9000 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from around 276 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.
- It works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.
Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India has launched ‘Youth Co:Lab’ which aims at accelerating social entrepreneurship and innovation in young India.
- It was co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation and is operational in 25 countries across the Asia Pacific region.
- The initiative aims to create an enabling ecosystem to promote youth leadership, innovation, and social entrepreneurship.
- ‘Youth Co:Lab’ in India:
- For Promoting Entrepreneurship: The initiative will convene a series of youth dialogues across several cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote entrepreneurship across India.
- Focus on Youth and SDGs: AIM and UNDP are collaborating to spread awareness about different issues pertaining to youth, the future of work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- Promoting Innovation: The initiative will convene social innovation challenges at the national and sub-national level, which will invite young people in the age group of 18-29 years and start-ups to showcase their proposed ideas and solutions to tackle some of the region’s biggest social challenges.
- They will also get the opportunity to pitch their ideas at the UNDP’s regional centre in 2020.
Atal Innovation Mission
- AIM including Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) is Government of India’s endeavour to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Its objective is to serve as a platform for the promotion of world-class innovation hubs, grand challenges, start-up businesses and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.
- The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on 1st January 2015.
- The Government of India constituted the NITI Aayog to replace the Planning Commission instituted in 1950.
- It is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs.
- While designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States.
- The Governing Council of NITI, with the Prime Minister as its Chairman, comprises Chief Ministers of all States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories (UTs).
United Nations Development Programme India
- UNDP works in almost 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion, while protecting the planet.
- UNDP has worked in India since 1951 in almost all areas of human development, from systems and institutional strengthening to inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods.
- UNDP India's country programme for 2018-2022 has three major focus areas:
- Inclusive growth
- Environment and energy
- Strengthening systems and institutions
- UNDP Country Office is located in New Delhi.
The Government of India has approved amendments in Electric Vehicle (EV) charging guidelines and specifications.
- The revised guidelines include:
- A phase-wise installation of charging infrastructure :
- The first phase ( 1-3 years) : All megacities and connected expressways with a population of 4 million-plus as per census 2011.
- The second phase (3-5 years) : State capitals, UT headquarters.
- At least one charging station to be set up in a grid of 3 km X 3 km in the cities
- One charging station at every 25 km on both sides of highways/roads.
- Fast charging station at every 100 kms (one on each side of the highways).
- Private charging at residences/offices to be managed by DISCOMs.
- The Public Charging Stations (PCS) to be a de-licensed activity, implying that any individual/entity is free to set up public charging stations.
- Freedom to PCS owners to install the chargers (various types and numbers) as per the market requirement.
- The tariffs to be charged in accordance with the tariff policy issued under Electricity Act 2003.
- Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) will be the Central Nodal Agency, while State Nodal Agency for the respective states to be set up.
- A phase-wise installation of charging infrastructure :
- The revised policy is expected to help for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
- The BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
- It assists in developing policies and strategies with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.
- BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organizations to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
India’s first e-waste clinic for segregating, processing and disposal of waste from household and commercial units will soon be set-up in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) for its establishment.
- The clinic is a three-month pilot project. If it would be a success, then the same would be replicated throughout the country.
- Electronic waste will either be collected door-to-door or could be deposited directly at the clinic by individuals.
- The CPCB will provide technical support at the unit and the collected hazardous waste will then be sent to Bengaluru for recycling.
- This would ensure scientific handling and disposal of electronic waste generated from households and commercial establishments.
- The clinic is being conceived in compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. These rules also focus on segregation of waste at source and charge user fees for collection, disposal, and processing from the bulk generator.
- In the absence of a safe disposal mechanism, currently, the electronic waste which includes defunct and useless electrical or electronic devices is being discarded along with other household waste. Therefore, there was a dire need for such a clinic that could efficiently and safely segregate and dispose off the hazardous waste.
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
- It is a statutory organization that was constituted in September 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
- CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
- Principal functions of the CPCB are:
- to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States through prevention, control, and abatement of water pollution, and
- to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.
- It also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests regarding the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- The breaking of iceberg D28 is part of the normal cycle of ice shelves, which are an extension of the ice cap thus the event is not related to climate change.
- The shelf is essentially the floating extension of a number of glaciers that flow off the land into the sea.
- Thus ice streams maintain equilibrium by losing such bergs to balance the input of snow upstream.
- It is a part of the Amery ice shelf which is the third-largest ice shelf in Antarctica.
- The name D28 comes from a classification system run by the US National Ice Center, which divides the Antarctic into quadrants.
- The D quadrant covers the longitudes 90 degrees East to 0 degrees, the Prime Meridian.