5thFebruary,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 5thFebruary,2022

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint


  • Can a Private Member’s Bill Amend the Preamble to the Constitution? (TH, pg 8)
  • Essential Commodities Act (TH, pg 10)
  • Iceland Announces Plan to End Whaling in 2024 (TH, pg 11)
  • Golden Langur(TH, pg 8)
  • New Era Relations between China and Russia (TH, pg 11)
  • Welfare of Women Belonging to Economically Weaker Section (PIB)


  1. Can a Private Member’s Bill Amend the Preamble to the Constitution? (TH, pg 8)

  • Context:Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman deferred the introduction of a Private Member Bill.
  • A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of the Rajya Sabha, K.J. Alphons, has sought to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Preamble of the Constitution.
  • “The position which I had made clear was that the question of ultra vires will not be decided by the Chair, but that it may be left to the House. If it comes to the conclusion that it is ultra vires, the House may reject the Bill. If the House accepts the Bill for consideration, then the party aggrieved has his remedy in the Supreme Court or other courts,” the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman said.


Amenability of the Preamble

  • The question as to whether the Preamble can be amended underArticle 368 of the Constitution arose for the first time in the historicKesavananda Bharati case (1973).
  • The Supreme Courtheld that the Preamble is a partof the Constitutionand heldthat the Preamble can be amended, subject to the condition thatno amendment is done to the ‘basic features’.
  • In other words, theCourt held that the basic elements or the fundamental features ofthe Constitution as contained in the Preamble cannot be alteredby an amendment under Article 368.
  • The Preamble has been amended only once so far, in 1976, bythe 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, which has added threenew words–Socialist, Secular and Integrity–to the Preamble. Thisamendment was held to be valid.

Private Members and their Bills

  • Any Member of Parliament who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member.
  • Both Ministers and private members contribute to the law-making process.
  • Bills introduced by Ministers are referred to as government bills.
  • Private member’s bills are piloted by non-Minister MPs. Their purpose is to draw the government’s attention to what individual MPs see as issues and gaps in the existing legal framework, which require legislative intervention.
  • Government Bills enjoy greater chances of being accepted by the House than Private Members’ Bills.

Introduction in the House

  • The admissibility of a private member’s Bill is decided by the Rajya Sabha Chairman. (In the case of Lok Sabha, it is the Speaker; the procedure is roughly the same for both Houses.)
  • The Member must give at least a month’s notice before the Bill can be listed for introduction.
  • Private members can introduce up to three Bills per session.
  • While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.
  • In Lok Sabha, the last two and a half hours of a sitting on every Friday are generally allotted for transaction of Private Members’ Business, i.e., Private Members’ Bills and Private Members’ Resolutions.

Procedure for introduction

  • On the scheduled Friday, the private member moves a motion for introduction of the Bill, which is usually not opposed.
  • Only a fraction of private member’s bills that are introduced, are taken up for discussion.
  • A private member’s Bill that is introduced but not discussed in Rajya Sabha, lapses when Member retires.

After discussion ends

  • Upon conclusion of the discussion, the Member piloting the Bill can either withdraw it on the request of the Minister concerned, or he may choose to press ahead with its passage.
  • In the latter case, the Bill is put to vote and, if the private member gets the support of the House, it is passed.
  • The last time a private member’s Bill was passed by both Houses was in 1970. This was the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968.

Procedures regulating the consideration of such Bills

  • In respect of the Private Members’ Bills, the Members may not have access to expert advice, and there are certain procedures regulating the consideration of such Bills.
  • The first and foremost requirement in the case of a Private Member’s Bill is that it should be within the legislative competence of the Parliament.
  • In other words, the subject of the Bill should relate to the subjects included in the Union or Concurrent List contained in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • In addition to the Statement of Objects and Reasons, a Bill involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India must also give an estimate of recurring and non-recurring expenditures likely to be involved in case the Bill is passed into law.
  • A Bill involving proposals for the delegation of legislative power to any executive authority should be accompanied by a memorandum explaining such proposals.
  • If the Bill is one which, under the Constitution, cannot be introduced (Articles 3 and 274 of the Constitution) without the previous sanction or recommendation of the President, the member-in-charge of the Bill should annex to the notice, a copy of such sanction or recommendation.
  • While Article 3 deals with the formation of new states or alternation of names or boundaries of existing States, Article 274 deals with Bills affecting taxation in which states are interested.
  • A Bill which, if enacted, would involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, cannot be taken into consideration or referred to a Select/Joint Committee unless the member-in-charge obtains the requisite recommendation of the President for consideration of the Bill under Article 117(3) of the Constitution.
  • Article 117(3) states that ‘A Bill which, if enacted and brought into operation, would involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India shall not be passed by either House of Parliament unless the President has recommended to that House the consideration of the Bill.’

Private Members’ Bill passed by Parliament

  • No Private Members’ Bills have been passed by the Parliament since 1970.
  • Till date, Parliament has passed 14 Private Members’ Bills— five of which were introduced in Rajya Sabha. Six of these were passed in 1956 alone. The last Private Members’ Bill passed by Parliament was ‘The Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1968’ that became an Act on 9th August, 1970.

Do you know?

Amendment of the Constitution and Private Members

  • The procedure for the amendment of the Constitution as laid down in Article 368 is as follows:
  • An amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament and not in the state legislatures.
  • The bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member and does not require prior permission of the President.

Money Bills and Private Members

  • Money bills can be introduced in the Parliament only with the prior recommendation of the President.
  • Article 110 of the Constitution deals with the definition of money bills.
  • The Constitution lays down a special procedure for the passing of money bills in the Parliament.
  • A money bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and that too on the recommendation of the President.
  • Every such bill is considered to be a government bill and can be introduced only by a minister (so a Money Bill can’t be introduced by a Private Member).
  • State bills which impose restriction upon freedom of trade under Article 304 also require prior permission of the President.
  1. Essential Commodities Act (TH, pg 10)

  • Context:The Centre has imposed stock limits for retailers, outlets of big chains and wholesalersacross the country till June 30, after most State governments failed to implement a previous order to do so.


What is the definition of an ‘essential commodity’?

  • There is no specific definition of essential commodities in The EC Act.
  • Section 2(A) of the act states that an “essential commodity” means a commodity specified in the “Schedule” of this Act.
  • The Act gives powers to the central government to add or remove a commodity in the “Schedule.”
  • The Centre, if it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in public interest, can notify an item as essential, in consultation with state governments.
  • At present, the “Schedule” contains 9 commodities
  • drugs;
  • fertilisers, whether inorganic, organic or mixed;
  • foodstuffs, including edible oils;
  • hank yarn made wholly from cotton;
  • petroleum and petroleum products;
  • raw jute and jute textiles;
  • seeds of food-crops and seeds of fruits and vegetables, seeds of cattle fodder, jute seed, cotton seed;
  • By declaring a commodity as essential, the government can control the production, supply, and distribution of that commodity, and impose a stock limit.

Essential Commodities Amendment Act

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Essential Commodities Amendment Act by a voice vote.
  • The Act deregulated the production, storage, movement and sale of several foodstuffs, including cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes, except in the case of extraordinary circumstances.
  • Under the amended EC Act, agri-food stuffs can only be regulated under extraordinary circumstances such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise, and natural calamity.
  • It says stock limits can only be imposed if retail prices surge 50% above the average in the case of non-perishables and 100% in the case of perishables.

So, why was an amendment needed in The EC Act?

  • The EC Act was legislated at a time when the country was facing scarcity of foodstuffs due to persistent abysmal levels of foodgrain production.
  • The country was dependent on imports and assistance (such as wheat import form US under PL-480) to feed the population.
  • In this scenario, to stop the hoarding and black marketing of foodstuffs, The Essential Commodities Act was enacted in 1955.
  • But now the situation has changed.In fact, India has now become an exporter of several agricultural products. With these developments, the EC Act has become anachronistic.

What will be the impact of the amendments?

  • The move is expected to attract private investment in the value chain of these commodities.
  • While the purpose of the Act was originally to protect the interests of consumers by checking illegal trade practices such as hoarding, it has now become detrimental for investment in the agriculture sector in general, and in post-harvesting activities in particular.
  • The private sector has so far hesitated investing in cold chains and storage facilities for perishable items as most of these commodities are under the ambit of the EC Act, and can attract sudden stock limits.


  1. Iceland Announces Plan to End Whaling in 2024 (TH, pg 11)

  • Context:Iceland will bring an end to its commercial whaling practices by 2024 due to dwindling economic benefits.


  • Iceland is one of the only countries that allow commercial whaling, along with Norway and Japan.
  • The practice frequently draws the attention and anger of environmentalists and animal rights activists.
  • One of the favored targets, the fin whale — which is only second in size to the blue whale — is an endangered species.
  • Icelandic whalers have seen little activity in the past three years, with only one whale being killed during that timeframe.
  • Japan’s return to whaling in 2019, after a 30-year hiatus, decreased the demand for Icelandic-caught whales in the Asian country.
  • The loss of this key market meant Iceland’s whalers have found it increasingly difficult to justify the costs of an expedition.
  • A no-fishing coastal zone has also meant that the few boats that still make the trip are having to travel further into the Atlantic Ocean, raising costs.
  • Norway has had a similar experience, with fewer whalers and smaller catches.
  • At the same time, Iceland has seen a boom in its tourist industry as hundreds of thousands flock to witness the creatures swim in the waters off the Atlantic Island.
  1. Golden Langur(TH, pg 8)

  • Context:Neighbours of a golden langur habitat in western Assam’s Bongaigaon district have opposed a move by the State government to upgrade it to a wildlife sanctuary.


  • Kakoijana Reserve Forest is one of the better-known homes of the golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) found only in Assam and Bhutan and a Schedule-I species under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • It is listed as among the world’s 25 most endangered primates.

In News: June 2020

Golden Langurs suffer forced abortion, infanticide (The Hindu)

  • An endangered species of monkey, found only in Assam and parts of Bhutan, has a far-from-golden trait — forced abortion.
  • The Gee’s golden langur, endemic to the semi-evergreen and mixed-deciduous forests straddling India and Bhutan, induce stillbirth of babies killed inside the womb of females, besides practising infanticide.
  • Forced abortion and infanticide happen when a new male takes over. He often kills the baby of a lactating female or hits the abdomen of a female impregnated by the deposed male till the point of abortion.
  • Chakrashila is India’s first wildlife sanctuary with golden langur as the primary species.


  1. New Era Relations between China and Russia (TH, pg 11)

  • Context: China and Russia on Friday outlined a sweeping vision for the future of their already close relations as their two leaders met in Beijing in the backdrop of Beijing Olympics.


  • Their joint statement said both sides “remain highly vigilant about the negative impact of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy on peace and stability in the region” and called for “building an equitable, open and inclusive security system in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR)”. Both China and Russia do not use the term “Indo-Pacific”.
  • The two sides said they “stand against the formation of closed bloc structures and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region”.
  • Chinese experts have sometimes referred to the U.S., India, Australia, Japan Quad as a “closed” group.
  • The two sides said they were “seriously concerned about the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom (AUKUS)”.
  • On Taiwan, Russia said it supports “the One-China principle” and “confirms that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan.”
  • On the multilateral front, the joint statement said both sides would deepen cooperation with India through the Russia-India-China (RIC) framework and also work to boost the BRICS grouping.
  • Russia-India-China (RIC) as a strategic grouping first took shape in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance.”
  • Primakov, a Russian politician and diplomat who was also the prime minister of Russia from 1998 to 1999, is credited with the idea for RIC.
  • The group was founded on the basis of “ending Russia’s subservient foreign policy guided by the U.S.,” and “renewing old ties with India and fostering the newly discovered friendship with China.”
  • The two sides also announced a number of agreements, including energy deals as well as an agreement to cooperate on building complementarity between their two global satellite navigation systems, GLONASS and BeiDou.

Navigational Systems around the globe

  • GPS (Global Positioning System): US
  • Glonass: Russia
  • Galileo: Europe
  • Beidou: China
  • Japan: QZSS
  • Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or NavIC: India


  1. Welfare of Women Belonging to Economically Weaker Section (PIB)

  • Context:The Government is implementing several schemes for the welfare of women belonging to economically weaker and socially backward sections.


  • Swadhar Greh Scheme (Ministry of Women and Child Development)caters to primary needs of women in difficult circumstances – women and girls rendered homeless due to family discord, crime, violence, mental stress, social ostracism or are being forced into prostitution and are in moral danger.
  • The scheme through the provisions of shelter, food, clothing, counseling, training, clinical and legal aid aims to rehabilitate such women in difficult circumstance economically and emotionally.
  • Ujjawala Scheme(Ministry of Women and Child Development) aims to
  • (i) prevent trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation through social mobilization and awareness generation programmes,
  • (ii) facilitate rescue of victims from the place of their exploitation and place them in safe custody,
  • (iii) provide rehabilitation services through basic amenities/needs such as shelter, food, clothing, medical treatment including counselling, legal aid and guidance and vocational training,
  • (iv) facilitate reintegration of victims into the family and society at large, and
  • (v) facilitate repatriation of cross-border victims to their country of origin.
  • One Stop Centre Scheme (OSCs)is a centrally sponsored scheme being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, for addressing the problem of violence against women(including sexual harassment).
  • It aims to facilitate women affected by violence (including domestic violence and sexual harassment)both in private and public spaces with a range of integrated services under one roof such as Police facilitation, medical aid, legal aid and legal counselling, psycho-social counselling, temporary shelter, etc.
  • The OSC supports all women including girls below 18 years of age affected by violence, irrespective of caste, class, religion, region, sexual orientation or marital status.
  • One Stop Centres (OSCs) arepopularly known as Sakhi Centres.
  • Women Helpline (WHL) Scheme(Ministry of Women and Child Development) provides 24 hours emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence, both in public and private spaces by linking them with appropriate authority such as Police, One Stop Centre, Hospital, Legal Services, etc.
  • WHL also supports women in distress with rescue van and counselling services in addition to providing information about women welfare schemes and programs across the country. Women can dial 181 short code to avail services from Women Helpline.
  • National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) (Ministry of Rural Development) is a fully funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the under-privileged identified by the States and UTs. The objective of NSAP is to provide a basic level of financial support.
  • In alignment with the goals under Nation Health Policy (NHP) 2017, the Government announced the ambitious and holistic Ayushman Bharat Programme(Ministry of Health and Family Welfare)with its twin pillars of Health and Wellness Centres and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) in September 2018. Under Jan Aarogya Yojana, coverage is provided to poor and vulnerable families. This will help improve women’s access to health care services.
  • Government of India launched the Stand Up Indiascheme (Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance)in April 2016 to promote entrepreneurship amongst women, SC and ST categories, i.e., those sections of the population understood to be facing significant hurdles due to lack of advice/ mentorship as well as inadequate and delayed credit.
  • The Scheme facilitates bank loans between Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 1 crore to at least one scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch of Scheduled Commercial Banks for setting up Greenfield enterprises in trading, manufacturing and services sector.
  • Government has set up Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendrasunder Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship)across the country.
  • Emphasis has been laid on creating additional infrastructure for training and apprenticeship for women etc.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA)seeks to ensure employment in rural households, mandating that at least one third of the jobs generated should be given to women.
  • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM)(Ministry of Labour & Employment)has been launched to ensure old age protection for unorganised workers including women who are not covered by any other pension scheme.
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY)(Ministry of Finance) has been initiated by Government, inter alia, for facilitation of self-employment. Under PMMY, collateral free loans upto Rs. 10 lakh are extended to micro/small business enterprises and to individuals to enable them to setup or expand their business activities. Majority of the beneficiaries under this yojna are women.
  • Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) (Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment) is a central sector scheme which aims to:
  • (i) provide grant-in-aid to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for projects relating to rehabilitation of persons with disabilities with a view to enabling persons with disabilities to reach and maintain their optimal, physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric and socio-functional levels,
  • (ii) create an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities, equity, social justice and empowerment of persons with disabilities, and
  • (iii) encourage voluntary action for ensuring effective implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
  • Incentives Scheme for Providing Employment to Persons with Disabilities in the Private Sector: As per the Scheme, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) will make payment of employers’ contribution to the EPF and ESI for 10 years, there will be no salary ceiling for the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) employees and DEPwD will bear one-third of the gratuity amount due and admissible to PwD employees.
  • Prime Minister Awaas Yojana (PMAY-G) (Ministry of Rural Development) aims to provide ‘Housing for All’ through provision of pucca house with basic amenities to all houseless households and households living in kutcha and dilapidated house in rural areas by 2022. This will also benefit the neglected, abandoned and destitute widows.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY-U)(Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs)is a Scheme with the vision to facilitate Housing for All by 2022. Under this scheme, central assistance is provided to States/UTs in addressing the housing requirement of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) including slum dwellers in the urban areas.
  • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM)(Ministry of Rural Development)is implemented in statutory towns to reduce poverty and vulnerability of urban poor households, for improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis.
  • The mission provides for broadening of coverage to include families of disadvantaged groups like SCs, STs, women, minorities, disabled, etc. subject to a maximum of 25 percent of the above urban poor population.
  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY)(Ministry of Finance)is implemented with an objective to create a universal social security system for all Indians, especially the poor, under-privileged and workers in the unorganized sector.
  • The scheme is open to all citizens of India between 18-40 years of age having a savings bank account in a bank or post office.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is implementing a Central Sector Scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) since 1992 with the objective of improving the quality of life of senior citizens, including women, by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical case and entertainment opportunities and by encouraging productive and active ageing.
  • Under this Scheme, financial assistance is provided to Non-Governmental/Voluntary Organisations, Panchayati Raj Institutions etc. for running and maintenance of projects like Old Age Homes, Physiotherapy Centres, Day Care Centres, etc.
  • Scheme for Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs): There are certain groups among Scheduled Tribes which have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.
  • These groups are among the most vulnerable sections of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development and generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • 75 such groups in 18 States and one UT have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the 100% Central Sector Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them.

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