The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

Following are some important features of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, passed by Parliament on Jan 18, 2013.

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Central Information Commission of India

The Central Information Commission (CIC) set up under the Right to Information Act is the authorised body, established in 2005, under the Government of India to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.

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National Human Rights Commission of India

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).

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National Development Council

The National Development Council (NDC) is the apex body for decision making and deliberations on development matters in India, presided over by the Prime Minister. It was set up in 1952. The Council comprises the Prime Minister, the Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers of all States or their substitutes, representatives of the Union Territories and the members of the Commissions.  Ministers of State with independent charge are also invited to the deliberations of the Council.

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Planning Commission of India

Planning Commission of India  was established in accordance with article 39 of the constitution which is a part of directive principles of state policy.

Rudimentary economic planning, deriving the sovereign authority of the state, first initiated in India in 1938 by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose when he was the Congress president and drafted by Meghnad Saha.

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Constitutional Body : Election Commission of India

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, constitutionally established federal authority responsible for administering all the electoral processes in the Republic of India. Under the supervision of the commission, free and fair elections have been held in India at regular intervals as per the principles enshrined in the Constitution. The Election Commission has the power of superintendence, direction and control of all elections to the Parliament of India and the state legislatures and of elections to the office of the President of India and the Vice-President of India.

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National Skill Development Agency

NSDA is an autonomous body which will coordinate and harmonize the skill development efforts of the Government and the private sector to achieve the skilling targets of the 12th Plan and beyond and endeavour to bridge the social, regional, gender and economic divide 
(i) by ensuring that the skilling needs of the disadvantaged and marginalized groups like SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women and differently-abled persons are taken care of through the various skill development programmes and 
(ii) by taking affirmative actions as part of advocacy by the NSDA. The Central Ministries and NSDC will continue to implement schemes in their remit. The NSDA will anchor the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) and facilitate the setting up of professional certifying bodies in addition to the existing ones. 

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The Government of India Act 1833

This Act was also known as Saint Helena Act 1833. This Act extended the charter by 20 years. It contained the following provisions:

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Charter Act of 1793 and 1813

Charter Act of 1793
Charter Act of 1793 renewed the charter issued to the British East India Company for 20 years, and continued the Company's rule in India. The Act made only fairly minimal changes to either the system of government in India or British oversight of the Company's activities.

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Pitt Act of 1784

The Regulating Act of 1773 had proven to be a failure within a few years and the British government decided to take a more active role in the affairs of the Company.  In 1781, British Parliament passed an amendment act called the Act of Settlement.

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Regulating Act of 1773

The Regulating Act of 1773 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain planned to regulate  the management of the East India Company's rule in India

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Constituent Assembly of India

The idea of a  Constituent Assembly was formulated by M.N. Roy in 1936 Faizpur session of Congress, presided by Nehru. The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India, and served as its first Parliament as an independent nation.

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Why Food Security Bill is Important to India

History of National Food Security Bill

Chairperson of the National Advisory Council,Smt Sonia Gandhi, wrote to the Prime Minister in 2010 forwarding the basic framework of the proposed National Food Security Bill (NFSB). She suggested a close examination of the proposal of the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to replace the existing BPL survey with a socio economic census to be conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.

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Basics of Indian Constitution | Introduction to Constitution of India

In 1934, the Indian National Congress made the demand for a Constituent Assembly. During the Second World War, this assertion for an independent Constituent Assembly formed only of Indians gained momentum and this was convened in December 1946. Between December 1946 and November 1949, the Constituent Assembly drafted a constitution for independent India. Free to shape their destiny at last, after 150 years of British rule, the members of the Constituent Assembly approached this task with the great idealism that the freedom struggle had helped produce. The result was the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, which is safeguarding the democratic nature of our country for the last 65 years.

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Right to Education Act | Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), describes the modalities of the provision of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010. Recently the Centre is seriously exploring ways to bring pre-school education under Right to Education Act to provide free and compulsory education to children between the age group of four and six. The move has been initiated following a recommendation made by National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, which stressed that bringing pre-school education under the ambit of RTE Act would ensure continuity in the child’s education.

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National Symbols of India

National Flag
  • The National Flag is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. 
  • In the centre of the white band is a navy-blue wheel which represents the Ashoka Chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
  • The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 22 July 1947. The flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya.

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Lokayukta: Setup and Functions

Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman organised at the state-level.The Administrative Reforms Commission(ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on "Problems of Redressal of Citizen's Grievances' in 1966. In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as 'Lokpal' and 'Lokayukta' for the redressal of citizens' grievances.

Appointments of Lokayukta 
  • Lokayukta shall be appointed by the Governor of the state in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.

Qualifications of Lokayukta
  • Chief Justice (retired) of any high court in India, or a judge of a high court for seven years. Lokayukta shall not be a member of Parliament or a member of the Legislative of any state or Union Territory and shall not hold any other office of profit and shall not be connected with any political party or be carrying on any business or practice any profession. The office has a term of five years.

  • The LokAyukta helps people bring corruption to the fore mainly amongst the politicians and officers in the government service. It is to be noted that the LokAyukta conducts raids. But surprisingly, it does not have binding powers to punish anyone but only recommend punishment. Reduction in rank, compulsory retirement, removal from office, stoppage of annual increments and censure are some of the frequently seen recommendations given by the Lokayukta to the government. The state can either accept the recommendations or modify them. The public servant concerned can challenge the decision in the state high courts or specialised tribunals.

  • Written complaints are required from complainants by the Lokayukta office for investigation. If the complaint takes the form of an allegation, the office insists on the filing of an affidavit. Most of the complainants received turned out to be “anonymous, pseudonymous, and trivial in nature or not made on prescribed forms or were submitted without affidavits. “Many did not pursue their allegations when asked to file them in an affidavit format. Lokayuktas can either investigate the complaints using their suo motu powers under the state Act concerned or forward them to the heads of the departments under the scanner for action or act as a mediator between the citizen and the government servant against whom the complaint is made.

Major shortcomings of Lokayukthas:
  • Its a one man army with limited resources and powers, and the success of the entire mechanism depends solely on the personal qualities of the individual Lokayukta
  • Non uniformity of Acts in states
  • Many areas of administration are outside the jurisdiction of Lokayukta
  • Some states have prescribed fee for lodging complaints, for example Madhya Pradesh is one of them.
  • Non-cooperative attitude of authorities and lack of independent investigating authority
  • Orissa was the first state to pass the Ombudsman legislation in 1970 and also the first to abolish it in 1993.

Future of Lokayukta
  • An amendment to the Constitution has been proposed to implement the Lokayukta uniformly across Indian States. The proposed changes will make the institution of Lokayukta uniform across the country as a three-member body, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or high court chief justice and comprise the state vigilance commissioner and a jurist or an eminent administrator as other members.
Latest News on Lokayukta
  • 28-July-2011 : Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde submits illegal mining report

Planning Commission of India : Setup and Functions

  • Planning Commission of India was set up on 15 March 1950, with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the chairman. Planning Commission is a non statutory as well extra constitutional body and has been brought by an executive order.
  • With the Prime Minister as the ex-officio Chairman, the committee has a nominated Deputy Chairman, who is given the rank of a full Cabinet Minister. Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia is presently the Deputy Chairman of the Commission.
  • Cabinet Ministers with certain important portfolios act as part-time members of the Commission, while the full-time members are experts of various fields like Economics, Industry, Science and General Administration.

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Writs in Indian Constitution - Definitions and Examples

We might have a thought of how our Fundamental Rights are protected and what are the safe guarding measures granted by our Constitution for the proper enforcement of Fundamental Rights.Here comes the importance of Writs,more precisely Prerogative writs. Indian Constitution has adopted 5 Prerogative writs. Article 13 clearly states that Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights are void.The Supreme Court (Under Article 32) and the High Courts (Under Article 226) are empowered to issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights against any authority of the State. 

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Polity : Emergency Provisions in the Constitution of India

Part 18 (352 - 360) of Indian constitution deals with various emergency provisions. Three types of emergencies are envisaged in the Constitution of India

National Emergency
  • Under Article 352, President of India can make proclamation of emergency in case the security of India or any part of the territory is threatened by war, external aggression or armed rebellion. The President has the power to declare an emergency even if there is a chance (before the actual occurrence) for any of the above mentioned cases. 
  • A Proclamation issued may be revoked by a subsequent proclamation by the President.
  • The President shall not issue a Proclamation without the written permission of the Union Cabinet ( Council consisting of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of Cabinet rank under Article 75) . 

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