Polity & Governance
- Lok Sabha clears Aadhaar Bill
- Ethics panel to probe bribery charges against TMC MPs
- Rajya Sabha passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- India ranks 118th in UN’s world happiness index
Polity & Governance
Lok Sabha clears Aadhaar Bill
The Lok Sabha has finally cleared the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, as a money Bill despite protests by the Opposition.
- The Aadhaar Bill was tabled in Parliament as a money Bill by the Lok Sabha Speaker, which meant that the Upper House could only ‘recommend’ amendments, which are not binding on the Lok Sabha.
- According to the Constitution, the Speaker’s veto on the issue cannot be challenged.
Previously, the opposition in Rajya Sabha had recommended five amendments to the Bill. However, Lok Sabha has not incorporated any of these amendments.
Five changes to aadhaar bill:
Rajya Sabha has recommended following five changes in the Bill to the Lok Sabha, which later rejected all these changes.
- Clause 3
An individual who does not wish to continue as a holder of Aadhaar number should be permitted to have his number deleted from the Central Identities Data Repository. A certificate shall be issued within fifteen days of the request.
- Clause 7
If an Aadhaar number is not assigned to or if an individual chooses not to opt for enrolment, the person shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidy, benefits, or service.
- Clause 33
For the words “national security”, the words “public emergency or in the interest of public safety” be substituted.
- Clause 33
The Oversight Committee (which will take a decision on whether to agree to a request to share biometric data of an individual for national security) should also include the central vigilance commissioner or the ‘comptroller and auditor general’.
- Clause 57
This clause be deleted. Clause 57states that “nothing contained in this Act shall prevent the use of the Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the state or anybody, company or person.”[Ref: Hindu; BS]
Ethics panel to probe bribery charges against TMC MPs
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has referred the matter pertaining to bribery charges against Trinamool Congress (TMC) members to the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha for an examination.
- Recently, certain acts of alleged unethical conduct on the part of certain members of the House have been reported in the press and the matter was also raised by members in Parliament.
- The Speaker pointed out that these allegations are very serious in nature and seek to impact upon the very credibility of parliamentarians and Parliament as an institution and therefore need to be examined.
About Ethics Committee:
- The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha was constituted in the year 2000 as an adhoc committee.
- However, in August 2015 it was given permanent Standing Committee status.
Currently, the ethics committee in the Lok Sabha has 15 members chaired by LK Advani.
Functions of Ethics Committee:
- The Ethics Committee examines every complaint relating to unethical conduct of a member referred to it.
- It is also free to take up suo motu investigation into matters relating to ethics, including matters relating to unethical conduct by a member wherever felt necessary and make such recommendations as it may deem fit.
Rajya Sabha passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Rajya Sabha has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
- The Bill proposes to amend some provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 retrospectively with effect from October, 2003.
- The amendment bill removes exception given to Sahjdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the parent Act.
- The proposed amendment was carried out by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Notification dating October 2003 that had debarred Sahjdhari Sikhs voting rights.
- The notification was issued in exercise of the powers conferred by the Parliament under section 72 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966.
- The Bill was proposed after the MHA’s notification was quashed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Since 1949, Sehajdhari Sikhs are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.
India ranks 118th in UN’s world happiness index
According to The World Happiness Report 2016, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations, India has been placed at 118th position out of 156 countries in a global list of the happiest nations.
Indicators of the Happiness report:
The report takes into account following indicators-
- GDP per capita,
- Life expectancy,
- Social support and
- Freedom to make life choices
Highlights of the report:
- India ranked 118th, down from 117th in 2015.
- India comes below nations like Somalia (76), China (83), Pakistan (92), Iran (105), Palestinian Territories (108) and Bangladesh (110).
- India was among the group of 10 countries witnessing the largest happiness declines along with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Botswana.
- The report notes that Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi are the least happiest countries.
- The US is ranked 13th, coming behind Australia (9) and Israel (11).
- Previous reports have argued that happiness provides a better indicator of human welfare than do income, poverty, education, health and good government measured separately.
- This report for the first time gives a special role to the measurement and consequences of inequalityin the distribution of well-being among countries and regions.
- Now experts point out that the inequality of well-being provides a broader measure of inequality. People are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness.
- They also find that happiness inequality has increased significantly (comparing 2012-2015 to 2005-2011) in most countries, in almost all global regions, and for the population of the world as a whole.
Implications of new report:
- This new report reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness as a criterion for government policy and can also be used effectively to assess the progress of nations.