Today Current Affairs English 31 January 2022

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Limitation on the Power of Suspension of MLAs

What is the issue?

The Supreme Court has overturned 12 BJP MLAs’ one-year suspension from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, ruling that the sentence was unconstitutional, substantively illegal, and illogical.

 

What was the plea before the Supreme Court?

On July 5, 2021, Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis objected to a resolution demanding that the Centre share statistics on OBCs so that seats in local bodies in Maharashtra might be reserved for them.

Several BJP MLAs protested by entering the well, grabbing the mace and uprooting microphones.

Some BJP MLAs allegedly entered his chamber and intimidated, harassed, and misbehaved with him after MLA Bhaskar Jadhav, who was in the chair, postponed the House for 10 minutes.

Anil Parab, the Maharashtra Parliamentary Affairs Minister, then moved a motion suspending 12 BJP MLAs for a year.

 

What had both sides argued?

The MLAS’s stance is as follows: The MLAs claimed that their suspension was based on a denial of natural justice principles and a violation of established process.They claimed that they were denied the opportunity to submit their case, infringing on their constitutional right to equality before the law under Article 14.They also said that they were denied access to footage of the House’s proceedings and that it was unclear how they were recognised.The MLAs argue that the power to suspend can only be exercised by the Speaker under Rule 53 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, and that it cannot be submitted to a vote in a resolution.

The Assembly and the State’s Point of View- They claimed that the measure was conducted because the MLAs were acting in an unruly and unfit manner.It was maintained that the House had operated within its legislative authority, and that courts do not have power to investigate legislative procedures under Article 212.A seat does not automatically become empty if a member does not attend the House for 60 days, according to the state, but only if the House declares it so.The House is not required to declare such a seat vacant, according to the argument.

 

What did the court say?

The court agreed with the MLAs and stated that a member’s suspension should be used as a short-term or temporary disciplinary remedy to restore order in the Assembly.Rule 53 only allows for a member’s removal for the remainder of the day or, in the case of repeated misconduct in the same session, for the remainder of the session, according to the statement.The court stated that under this provision, a member’s membership can only be revoked if the member’s behaviour is “grossly disruptive.”

Because of the year-long suspension, the constituency will remain unrepresented, and there will be no vacancy to fill through a by-election.

It was noted that a coalition administration with a slim majority may use such suspensions to control opposition party members, reducing their ability to participate effectively in discussions and debates.

It also determined that legislative methods can be challenged in court if they are unconstitutional, blatantly illegal, illogical, or arbitrary.

The decision serves as a reminder to legislative bodies that their operations are governed by constitutional guidelines.

 

Can members be suspended beyond the remainder of the session?

“If an MLA of a State is gone for a period of 60 days without permission from the House and absent from all meetings of the House, the House may declare his seat vacant,” the bench said, referring to Article 190 (4) of the Constitution.

“A bye-election for filling any vacancy shall be held within a term of 6 months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy,” says Section 151 (A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Anything above that, according to the court, would be an illogical suspension, resulting in the constituency’s loss of representation in the House.

It further stated that if a member’s conduct is egregious enough to warrant his expulsion from the Assembly for a longer period of time, the House can employ its inherent authority of expulsion.

 

Are there any similar rules for Parliament?

Rules 373, 374, and 374A of the Lok Sabha Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business provide for a member’s withdrawal if his or her behaviour is highly disruptive.It allows for the suspension of anyone who breaks the House’s rules or purposefully obstructs its business.According to these Rules, the maximum suspension is for 5 consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is shorter.The Rajya Sabha’s maximum suspension under Rules 255 and 256 is similarly limited to the balance of the session.

Role of Diplomacy in Ukraine Crisis

Why in News?

After receiving a written response from Washington to Moscow’s security requests, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Russia does not desire wars, raising prospects for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine situation.

 

What is the scope for diplomacy in resolving Ukraine crisis?

A flurry of diplomatic activity was launched in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.The written response from the United States to Russia might pave the way for more diplomatic talks in the coming weeks.Emmanuel Macron, the French president, met with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.According to reports, France and Germany are attempting to restart the halted Minsk process, which aimed to find a peaceful settlement to Ukraine’s internal conflict between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists.

 

What did Russia gain from the crisis?

Mr. Putin has already accomplished a great deal without firing a single shot, so there is a strong case for de-escalation.He has persuaded the Western leaders to meet with him to discuss the contentious topic of NATO expansion, which Russia has long objected to.Nobody has threatened to sanction Russia for the takeover of Crimea in 2014 and Moscow’s continued support for separatists in Ukraine.The United States has stated that it is willing to talk about some of Russia’s security concerns, such as missile deployments in Eastern Europe and military drills in sensitive areas.

What concerns are still lingering?

According to Mr. Putin, the US answer does not address Russia’s main security concerns.Russia, which has massed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border, in Belarus to the north, and in Transnistria to the south, has a clear military superiority.There are still concerns about a military conflict.

 

What lies ahead?

Accept the US suggestions, de-escalate the Ukraine conflict, and engage in deeper dialogue on vital matters such as NATO’s eastward expansion.Russia may be able to militarily take over Ukraine, but what happens next in Europe’s largest country is as unpredictable as it gets.The United States’ post-9/11 military actions have taught us that large nations can win quick wins over weaker countries but then fail miserably to maintain those victories.Russia must not repeat the same error, which would plunge Europe back into the dark days of the Cold War.

Reverse Repo Normalisation

Why in news?

In a recent report, the State Bank of India, the country’s largest public sector bank, claimed that the stage is now prepared for reverse repo normalisation.

 

What is monetary policy normalisation?

The RBI, India’s central bank, uses two techniques to change the overall quantity of money in the economy to guarantee smooth functioning. Monetary policy that is too loose Monetary policy restraint When the RBI aims to increase economic activity, it uses a loose monetary policy.The RBI purchases government bonds on the open market and pays bondholders back, so pumping more money into the economy. To incentivize banks, the RBI lowers the interest rate it charges them when it loans them money (repo rate). Significance Increases consumption- It now costs less for a consumer to maintain money in the bank, incentivizing current consumption. Boosts production- Borrowing money makes more sense for businesses and entrepreneurs because interest rates are lower.Tight monetary policy entails the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hiking interest rates and draining liquidity out of the economy through bond sales (and taking money out of the system).When a central bank notices that a loose monetary policy is becoming counterproductive (generating to increased inflation), it tightens the monetary policy stance to restore normalcy.

 

What is reverse repo and how does it fit into policy normalisation?

The interest rate paid by the RBI to commercial banks when they park excess liquidity (money) with the RBI is known as the reverse repo.The use of a repo rate- The repo rate becomes the benchmark interest rate in the economy under normal circumstances (when the economy is growing at a healthy pace).This is due to the fact that it is the lowest interest rate at which funds can be borrowed.All other interest rates in the economy, such as the interest rate on a vehicle loan or a home loan, or the interest you earn on your fixed deposit, are based on the repo rate.

When the RBI pours additional liquidity into the market, but there are no takers for new loans, either because banks are unwilling to lend or because there is no genuine demand for new loans in the economy, the reverse repo rate is used.Because banks are no longer interested in borrowing money from the RBI, they are instead interested in parking their surplus liquidity with the RBI, the action changes to reverse repo rate.This is how the reverse repo becomes the economy’s true benchmark interest rate.

 

What is the situation now?

Since the beginning of the Covid epidemic, the reverse repo has become the benchmark rate in India.To make it less appealing for banks to merely lodge their funds at the RBI, the RBI expanded the gap between repo and reverse repo rates.

Banks were pushed to extend more new loans in the economy by a lower reverse repo rate.

 

What does reverse repo normalisation mean?

Reverse repo rates will rise as a result of reverse repo normalisation.

Inflation is on the rise.The RBI is expected to hike the reverse repo rate and narrow the spread between the two rates.SBI expects the reverse repo rate to increase from 3.35 percent to 3.75 percent, while the repo rate would remain at 4%.This will encourage commercial banks to store excess funds at the RBI, removing liquidity from the system.

Raising the repo rate would be the next step.

This normalisation process will not only remove excess liquidity in the Indian economy, but it will also result in higher interest rates across the board.

Other Important Current Affairs

Vellalore Lake

The Vellalore Lake has become a butterfly hotspot because to a miyawaki forest canopy with towering native trees and a dense belt of floral plants.Vellalore Lake is a 90-acre lake near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.Even during the rainy season, this lake was previously dry.The channel connecting it to the Noyyal River, however, was desilted and encroachments along the river were eliminated, so it was filled.The nesting site for spot-billed pelicans is this lake.


Intranasal Covid-19 Vaccines

The trials of intranasal booster dosages against Covid-19, which is developed by Bharat Biotech, the producer of Covaxin, have been approved by India’s Drugs Controller General.Vaccines are frequently administered in a variety of ways.

Injectable shots given into the muscles (intramuscular) or the tissue immediately between the skin and the muscles are the most prevalent (subcutaneous).

Other methods of distribution, particularly for child immunizations, include taking the liquid solution orally rather than injecting it.The vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils and inhaled via the intranasal method.Many viruses, including the coronavirus, enter the body through the mucosa, eliciting a distinct immune response from the cells and chemicals found there.

[The mucosa is the soft, wet tissue that lines the nose, mouth, lungs, and digestive tract.]

Immunizations in Action – In general, each of the aforementioned forms of vaccines cause a blood response.

Antibodies, including IgG (a particularly effective disease-fighter), would be produced by B cells and distributed throughout the body in quest of the virus.T cells would either assist B cells in the production of antibodies or seek out and destroy contaminated cells.Intranasal vaccinations, on the other hand, would tap into a different collection of immune cells that hang around mucosal tissues when given into the nose or mouth.

Furthermore, surrounding T cells will be able to remember the infections they encountered and will patrol the locations where they were originally encountered for the rest of their lives.

Importance – Intranasal vaccinations are simple to administer.As they penetrate a mucosal surface, they will most likely be confined (and there will be a lesser risk of safety occurrences).

By eliminating the need for needles and syringes, intranasal vaccinations attempt to address possible challenges with mass vaccination while also lowering costs.

These vaccines should also reduce the need for a variety of qualified persons to give the vaccine.

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