Categories
Tech

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: From Montreal to Katowice

The world is facing climatic changes due to increased anthropogenic interventions in natural cycles in the industrial age. It was realized by the end of the twentieth century that the international fraternity should act together to halt adverse climatic changes produced by industrial and other activities, especially the activities which produce green house gases and excessive carbon emissions, two most important reasons of climatic changes, among others. The following international agreements were made to halt climatic changes:

The Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on 26 August 1987, and entered into force on 16 September 1989, following a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone nine revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1998 (Australia), 1999 (Beijing) and 2016 (Kigali). As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering. Climate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and 2070. Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international co-operation.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty adopted on 9 May 1992 and opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. It then entered into force on 21 March 1994, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified it. The UNFCCC objective is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The framework sets non-binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. Instead, the framework outlines how specific international treaties (called “protocols” or “Agreements”) may be negotiated to specify further action towards the objective of the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC has 197 parties as of December 2015. The convention enjoys broad legitimacy, largely due to its nearly universal membership.[

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This protocol commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) it is extremely likely that human-made CO2 emissions have predominantly caused it. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There are currently 192 parties (Canada withdrew from the protocol, effective December 2012) to the Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to reduce the onset of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to “a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” (Article 2). The Kyoto Protocol applies to the six greenhouse gases listed in Annex A: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: it acknowledges that individual countries have different capabilities in combating climate change, owing to economic development, and therefore puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. A second commitment period was agreed in 2012, known as the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, in which 37 countries have binding targets: Australia, the European Union (and its 28 member states), Belarus, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have stated that they may withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol or not put into legal force the Amendment with second round targets. Japan, New Zealand, and Russia have participated in Kyoto’s first-round but have not taken on new targets in the second commitment period. Other developed countries without second-round targets are Canada (which withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012) and the United States (which has not ratified). As of May 2019, 128 states have accepted the Doha Amendment, while entry into force requires the acceptances of 144 states. Of the 37 countries with binding commitments, 7 have ratified. Negotiations were held in the framework of the yearly UNFCCC Climate Change Conferences on measures to be taken after the second commitment period ends in 2020. This resulted in the 2015 adoption of the Paris Agreement, which is a separate instrument under the UNFCCC rather than an amendment of the Kyoto Protocol.

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2016. The agreement’s language was negotiated by representatives of 196 state parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. As of March 2019, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, and 186 have become party to it. The Paris Agreement’s long-term goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels; and to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, since this would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change.

Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming. No mechanism forces a country to set a specific target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets. In June 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement. Under the agreement, the earliest effective date of withdrawal for the U.S. is November 2020, shortly before the end of President Trump’s current term. In practice, changes in United States policy that are contrary to the Paris Agreement have already been put in place.

In July 2017 French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced a plan to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles in France by 2040 as part of the Paris Agreement. Hulot also stated that France would no longer use coal to produce electricity after 2022 and that up to €4 billion will be invested in boosting energy efficiency. To reach the agreement’s emission targets, Norway will ban the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2025; the Netherlands will do the same by 2030. Electric trains running on the Dutch national rail network are already entirely powered by wind energy. The House of Representatives of the Netherlands passed a bill in June 2018 mandating that by 2050 the Netherlands will cut its 1990 greenhouse-gas emissions level by 95%—exceeding the Paris Agreement goals.

COP24: Katowice Climate Package

After the historic Conference of Parties (COP) in 2015 that concluded with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, climate diplomacy has reached another major milestone: delegates at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, agreed on the ‘Katowice Climate Package’ which defines how the Paris Agreement will be implemented globally. It includes provisions on:

  • what information needs to be communicated in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs);
  • how the enhanced transparency framework (ETF) will be operationalised;
  • the process for establishing new targets for climate finance;
  • how to conduct the Global Stocktake;
  • how to assess progress on the development and transfer of technology.

Work on decisions on market mechanisms will be continued at the upcoming negotiations.

One major element of the Katowice package is the adoption of ETF modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs). These apply to all Parties, while providing flexibility for those developing country Parties that need it in the light of their capacities. Such flexibility is self-determined, and countries making use of it will need to explain how they apply it, what the capacity constraints are, and provide time frames for improvements in relation to those capacity constraints. Additionally, information on how a country is improving its reporting should be part of the biennial transparency report.

The MPGs cover the following:

  • national inventory report on anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases;
  • information necessary to track progress made in implementing and achieving NDCs;
  • information related to climate change impacts and adaptation;
  • information on financial, technology development and transfer and capacity building support provided and mobilised;
  • information on financial, technology development and transfer and capacity building support needed and received;
  • technical expert review;
  • facilitative, multilateral consideration of progress.

The first biennial transparency report and national inventory report are to be submitted by 2024 at the latest.

Some further work remains to be done in relation to the ETF. In the period up to COP26 in 2020, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice has to develop a) common reporting tables and tabular formats for the electronic reporting of different types of information, b) outlines of the biennial transparency report, national inventory document and technical expert review report, and c) a training programme for technical experts participating in the technical expert review.

Implementing the ETF

In 2019, all countries will start to reflect on how they can begin implementing the ETF in the light of the MPGs and in their specific country context, including identification of potential support needs. Arrangements for capacity building will continue to provide support to developing countries, with the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) remaining a major source to this end. The CBIT was established under Paris Agreement and provides support for developing countries to build institutional and technical capacity for meeting enhanced transparency requirements.

Categories
International Current Affairs

Fresh Sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

According to the US Treasury statement (March  2019), the United States, in coordination with Canada and the European Union, has slapped new sanctions on more than a dozen Russian officials and businesses, citing Moscow’s “continued aggression in Ukraine. Six Russian officials, six defence firms and two energy and construction firms were targeted, either over the seizure of Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, or for their activities in Russian-annexed Crimea or separatist eastern Ukraine. Measures target Russian officials over Moscow’s actions against Ukraine, including 2018 naval clash in the Kerch Strait.  These countries and EU have shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin’s attempts to disregard international norms and undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The US sanctions freeze all property and interests in property belonging to the designated individuals and entities, and prohibits US persons from transacting with them. Four of the individuals are border guard or coastguard officials, singled out for their role in a November 25, 2018, naval confrontation, in which Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels in the narrow Kerch Strait linking the Black and Azov seas near Crimea. The Russian navy captured 24 Ukrainian sailors during the clash. Canada imposed sanctions on 114 people and 15 entities in response to Russia’s military action against the Ukrainian ships, while the EU sanctioned eight more Russians over the standoff.

The decision takes the number of people blacklisted by the bloc over the crisis in Ukraine to 170 persons and 44 entities.  The EU said its sanctions affected senior security service officials and military commanders accused of preventing Ukrainian ships from reaching port. The US also imposed sanctions on two Ukrainian separatists – Aleksey Naydenko and Vladimir Vysotsky – involved in organising November elections in the breakaway east, which Washington says were a “sham”. The six defence firms were targeted over their operations in Crimea, where the US says several “misappropriated Ukrainian state assets to provide services to the Russian military”. Among them are Russian shipbuilding giant Zelenodolsk, the hydroacoustic equipment producer Okeanpribor, a diesel engine supplier to the Russian military, Zvezda, and an electronic parts supplier to the military, Fiolent.

Meanwhile, the US, Canada and the EU again pressed for Moscow to release the detained Ukrainian crew. Canada and its allies expressed their unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, said that Russia’s provocations in the Kerch Strait and its illegal invasion and ongoing occupation of Crimea will not go unchecked. Robert Palladino, a spokesman for the US State Department, called on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They called upon Russia to immediately return to Ukraine the seized vessels and arrested crew members, and keep the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov open to ships transiting to and from Ukrainian ports.

Meanwhile, Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska sued the US alleging that it had overstepped its legal bounds in imposing sanctions on his companies for political reasons. The billionaire was slapped with sanctions in April last year, which targeted tycoons with close ties to the Kremlin. In a legal filing, Deripaska asked the US District Court in Washington to block the US Treasury Department from using the “devastating power” of such economic sanctions. He claimed his net worth has dropped by $7.5bn because of the measures.

Background

A prolonged crisis in Ukraine began on 21 November 2013 when then-president Viktor Yanukovych suspended preparations for the implementation of an association agreement with the European Union. The decision sparked mass protests from the proponents of the agreement. The protests, in turn, precipitated a revolution that led to Yanukovych’s ousting. After the ousting, unrest enveloped in the largely Russophone eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, from where Yanukovych had drawn most of his support. Subsequently, an ensuing political crisis developed after Russia invaded said regions and annexed the then-autonomous Ukrainian region of Crimea. As Russia’s invasion emboldened the Russophone Ukrainians already in upheaval, the unrest in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts devolved into a subnational war against the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government. Then, as that conflict progressed, the Russophone Ukrainian opposition turned into a pro-Russian insurgency often supported and assisted by the Russian military and its special forces.

Categories
Tech

ISRO: Major Launches in 2018-19 and past

ISRO, India’s pride

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)) is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.” Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was established by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the Indian Government  under the DAE in 1962, with the urging of scientist Vikram Sarabhai recognizing the need in space research. INCOSPAR grew into ISRO in 1969 also under the DAE.In 1972 Government of India setup a Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS), bringing ISRO under the DOS. The establishment of ISRO thus institutionalized space research activities in India. It is managed by the Department of Space, which reports to the Prime Minister of India.

India’s first satellite Aryabhata was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975 from Kapustin Yar using a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle. (It was built by the ISRO) to gain experience in building and operating a satellite in space. India has launched 100 Indian satellites of many types as on 31 January 2018. Satellites have been launched from various vehicles, including those launched by Russian, European and American rockets, as well as those launched indigenously by India. The organisation responsible for India’s satellite program is the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

ISRO also launches satellites for foreign countries. As of November 2018, ISRO has launched 239 satellites for 28 foreign countries. In January 2017, India launched 104 satellites in a single mission, out of which 96 were from the United States and the rest from the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Israel, UAE and India, by using a single launch vehicle. This eclipsed the previous record of 37 held by Russia.

ISRO Missions in 2018

GSLV-F11 / GSAT-7A Mission- GSLV-F11 successfully launched GSAT-7A, ISRO’s 39th communication satellite, on December 19, 2018 at 1610 hrs (IST) from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.

GSLV-F11-GSLV-F11 is the 13th flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and its 7th flight with indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).

GSLV – F11- GSLV – F11 is ISRO’s fourth generation launch vehicle with three stages. The four liquid strap-ons and a solid rocket motor at the core form the first stage. The second stage of the vehicle is equipped with high thrust engine using liquid fuel. The Cryogenic Upper Stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle.

GSAT-7A – GSAT-7A with a lift-off mass of 2250 kg, is a geostationary satellite carrying communication transponders in Ku-band. The Satellite is built to provide communication capability to the users over the Indian region.

GSAT-11 Mission-India’s next generation high throughput communication satellite, GSAT-11 was successfully launched on December 05, 2018 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5 VA-246. Weighing about 5854 kg, GSAT-11 is the heaviest satellite built by ISRO.
GSAT-11 is the fore-runner in the series of advanced communication satellites with multi-spot beam antenna coverage over Indian mainland and Islands. GSAT-11 will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications. GSAT-11 was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and subsequently ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan taken over the control of GSAT-11 to perform the initial orbit raising maneuvers using the Liquid Apogee Motor of the satellite for placing it in circular Geostationary Orbit

PSLV-C43 successfully places HysIS- On November 29, 2018  the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) workhorse, the PSLV, carrying 31 satellites, soared in a trajectory crossing the path of the Sun and sped to inject the country’s Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS), dubbed ‘Sharp Eye’, in its intended orbit. The PSLV C-43 inserted 30 small commercial satellites from various countries into the orbits requested by the customers. The HysIS is is an Earth observation satellite primarily to assist in a wide range of applications in agriculture, forestry, geological environments, coastal zones, among others. The 30 satellites are one each from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Malaysia, Netherlands and Spain, and 23 from the USA.

GSAT-29- GSAT-29 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3423 kg, is a multi-beam, multiband communication satellite of India, configured around the ISRO’s enhanced I-3K bus. This is the heaviest satellite launched from India. GSAT-29 carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders which will bridge the digital divide of users including those in Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern regions of India. It also carries Q/V-band payload, configured for technology demonstration at higher frequency bands and Geo-stationary High Resolution Camera. carried onboard GSAT-29 spacecraft. An optical communication payload, for the first time, will be utilized for data transmission.

EMISAT- EMISAT is a satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 bus weighing about 436 kg. The satellite was successfully placed in its intended sun-synchronous polar orbit of 748 km height by PSLV-C45 on April 01, 2019. The satellite is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement.India’s PSLV-C45 successfully injected EMISAT and 28 international customer satellites into their designated orbits. The PSLV-C45 lifted off at 09:27 Hrs (IST) on April 01, 2019 from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota in its 47th flight. This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-QL, a new variant of PSLV with four strap-on motors.

Some Important Missions of ISRO in  past

Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar probe. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisations in October 2008, and operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. The mission was a major boost to India’s space program, as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon. The vehicle was successfully inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008.

Mars Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan is a spacecraft orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is India’s first interplanetary mission and ISRO has become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency. It is the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt.

ASTROSAT is the first dedicated Indian Astronomy satellite mission launched by ISRO on 28 September 2015, which will be helpful in enable multi-wavelength observations of the celestial bodies and cosmic sources in X-ray and UV spectral bands simultaneously. The scientific payloads cover the Visible (3500–6000 Å…), UV (1300–op Å…), soft and hard X-ray regimes (0.5–8 keV; 3–80 keV). The uniqueness of ASTROSAT lie in its wide spectral coverage extending over visible, UV, soft and hard X-ray regions.

South Asia Satellite was launched on 5 May 2017.This is a satellite which has been developed by ISRO for South Asian Nations. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this in November 2014 during the 18th SAARC session.

Future Launches

Chandrayaan-2

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III). Chandrayaan-2 launch is tentatively scheduled between 9 to 16 July 2019, with landing expected on 6 September 2019.  It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed indigenously. Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft land a lander and rover in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south. If successful, Chandrayaan-2 will be the first mission to land a rover near the lunar south pole According to ISRO, this mission will use and test various new technologies and conduct new experiments. The wheeled rover will move on the lunar surface and will perform on-site chemical analysis. The data will be relayed to Earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which will piggyback on the same launch. Chandrayaan-2 will make India the 4th country in the world to soft-land on the moon, a feat achieved only by US, USSR and China till now.

Gaganyaan

Gaganyaan (“Orbital Vehicle”) is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft intended to be the basis of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. The spacecraft is being designed to carry three people, and a planned upgraded version will be equipped with rendezvous and docking capability. In its maiden crewed mission, Indian Space Research Organisation’s largely autonomous 3.7-tonne capsule will orbit the Earth at 400 km (250 mi) altitude for up to seven days with a three-person crew on board. The crewed vehicle is planned to be launched on ISRO’s GSLV Mk III in December 2021. This HAL-manufactured crew module had its first un-crewed experimental flight on 18 December 2014. As of May 2019, design of crew module has been completed.[

ISRO’S 7 Expeditions Including Venus

Six years after landing on Mars, ISRO has decided to step on Venus on 2023. Venus and Earth share similarities in mass, size, composition, density and gravity. K Sivan, Chairman of ISRO, reported that the agency is working on 7 interplanetary missions for the next decade. The whole set include:

  1. Exposat Planetary exploration, to study cosmic radiations in 2020
  2. Aditya L1, to the sun in 2021
  3. Mars Orbiter Mission -2 IN 2022
  4. Mission to Venus in 2023
  5. Chandrayan 3 or Luner Polar Exploration, in 2024
  6. Exoworlds, an exploration outside the solar system in 2028

Understanding PSLV and GSLV

Both PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) are the satellite-launch vehicles (rockets) developed by ISRO. PSLV is designed mainly to deliver the “earth-observation” or “remote-sensing” satellites with lift-off mass of up to about 1750 Kg to Sun-Synchronous circular polar orbits of 600-900 Km altitude.

The remote sensing satellites orbit the earth from pole-to-pole (at about 98 deg orbital-plane inclination). An orbit is called sun-synchronous when the angle between the line joining the centre of the Earth and the satellite and the Sun is constant throughout the orbit.

Due to their sun-synchronism nature, these orbits are also referred to as “Low Earth Orbit (LEO)” which enables the on-board camera to take images of the earth under the same sun-illumination conditions during each of the repeated visits, the satellite makes over the same area on ground thus making the satellite useful for earth resources monitoring.

Apart from launching the remote sensing satellites to Sun-synchronous polar orbits, the PSLV is also used to launch the satellites of lower lift-off mass of up to about 1400 Kg to the elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

PSLV is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stage using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines. It also uses strap-on motors to augment the thrust provided by the first stage, and depending on the number of these strap-on boosters, the PSLV is classified into its various versions like core-alone version (PSLV-CA), PSLV-G or PSLV-XL variants.

The GSLV is designed mainly to deliver the communication-satellites to the highly elliptical (typically 250 x 36000 Km) Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite in GTO is further raised to its final destination, viz., Geo-synchronous Earth orbit (GEO) of about 36000 Km altitude (and zero deg inclination on equatorial plane) by firing its in-built on-board engines.

Due to their geo-synchronous nature, the satellites in these orbits appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth, thus avoiding the need of a tracking ground antenna and hence are useful for the communication applications.

Two versions of the GSLV are being developed by ISRO. The first version, GSLV Mk-II, has the capability to launch satellites of lift-off mass of up to 2,500 kg to the GTO and satellites of up to 5,000 kg lift-off mass to the LEO. GSLV MK-II is a three-staged vehicle with first stage using solid rocket motor, second stage using Liquid fuel and the third stage, called Cryogenic Upper Stage, using cryogenic engine.

Categories
Prizes and Awards

Grammy Awards 2019: 61st Annual Grammy Awards

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony took place on February 10, 2019, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys hosted. The ceremony recognized the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, which ran from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018. Nominations were announced on December 7, 2018. Dolly Parton was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year two days prior to the Grammy Awards on February 8, 2019. Kendrick Lamar received the most nominations, with eight. Childish Gambino and Kacey Musgraves tied for the most wins of the night with four each.

Here is the complete list of Grammys 2019 winners

  • Album of the Year– Kacey Musgraves, “Golden Hour”
  • Record of the Year– Childish Gambino – “This Is America”
  • Song of the Year– Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
  • Best New Artist– Dua Lipa
  • Best Pop Solo Performance– Lady Gaga, “Joanne” (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)
  • Best Pop Duo/Group Performance– Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, “Shallow”
  • Best Country Album– Kacey Musgraves, “Golden Hour”
  • Best Pop Vocal Album– Ariana Grande, “Sweetener”
  • Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album- Willie Nelson, “My Way”
  • ​Best Rap Performance- Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake, “King’s Dead” Anderson Paak – “Bubblin”
  • Best Rap/Sung Collaboration- Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
  • ​Best Rap Song– Drake, “God’s Plan”
  • Best Rap Album– Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy
  • Best Rock Performance– Chris Cornell, “When Bad Does Good”
  • Best Metal Performance– High on Fire, “Electric Messiah”
  • Best Rock Song– St. Vincent, “Masseduction”
  • Best Alternative Music Album– Arctic Monkeys, “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino”
    Best Rock Album– Greta Van Fleet, “From the Fires”
  • Best R&B Performance– H.E.R., “Best Part” [ft. Daniel Caesar]
  • Best Traditional R&B Performance– Leon Bridges, “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand”
  • Best R&B Song– Ella Mai, Boo’d Up
  • ​Best Urban Contemporary Album– The Carters – “Everything Is Love”
  • Best R&B Album– H.E.R., “H.E.R.”
  • Best Dance Recording- Silk City & Dua Lipa, “Electricity” [ft. Diplo and Mark Ronson]
  • Best Dance/Electronic Album– Justice, “Woman Worldwide”
  • Best Comedy Album- Dave Chappelle, “Equanimity & the Bird Revelation”
  • Best Remixed Recording– HAIM, Walking Away (Mura Masa remix)
  • Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media– “The Greatest Showman”
  • Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media– Ludwig Göransson, “Black Panther”
  • Best Song Written for Visual Media– Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”
    Best Recording Package
    – St. Vincent, “Masseduction”
  • Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package– “Weird” Al Yankovic, “Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of “Weird Al” Yankovic”
  • Best Album Notes– Various Artists, Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris (David Evans)
  • Producer of the Year, Non-Classical- Pharrell Williams
  • Music Video/Film– Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
  • Best Music Film– “Quincy”

 

 

About Grammy Award

A Grammy Award, originally called Gramophone Award  is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually (between the American Music Awards in the Fall, and the Billboard Music Awards in the Summer). It shares recognition of the music industry as that of the other performance awards such as the Academy Awards (film), the Emmy Awards (television), and the Tony Awards (theater). The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959, to honor and respect the musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958. Following the 2011 ceremony, the Academy overhauled many Grammy Award categories for 2012.

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards, honoring the best achievements from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, were held on February 10, 2019, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Categories
Geography (English)

Great Geographical entities on earth: Where are they located?

The Himalayas

The Himalayas form a mountain range in Asia, separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many of the Earth’s highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft) in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-metrepeaks. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia (Aconcagua, in the Andes) is 6,961 m (22,838 ft) tall Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long. Its western anchor, Nanga Parbat, lies just south of the northernmost bend of Indus river. Its eastern anchor, Namcha Barwa, is just west of the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River (upper stream of the Brahmaputra River). The Himalayan range is bordered on the northwest by the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush ranges. To the north, the chain is separated from the Tibetan Plateau by a 50–60 km (31–37 mi) wide tectonic valley called the Indus-Tsangpo Suture. Towards the south the arc of the Himalaya is ringed by the very low Indo-Gangetic Plain. The range varies in width from 350 km (220 mi) in the west (Pakistan) to 150 km (93 mi) in the east (Arunachal Pradesh). The Himalayas are distinct from the other great ranges of central Asia, although sometimes the term ‘Himalaya’ (or ‘Greater Himalaya’) is loosely used to include the Karakoram and some of the other ranges.

The Alps

The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe,  separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries (from west to east):  France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).The altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe; in the mountains precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m (11,155 ft), and plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Paleolithic era. A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991.

Mariana Trench

Mariana Trench, also called Marianas Trench, deep-sea trench in the floor of the western North Pacific Ocean, the deepest such trench known on Earth, located mostly east as well as south of the Mariana Islands. It is part of the western Pacific system of oceanic trenches coinciding with subduction zones—points where two adjacent tectonic plates collide, one being forced below the other. An arcing depression, the Mariana Trench stretches for more than 1,580 miles (2,540 km) with a mean width of 43 miles (69 km). The greatest depths are reached in Challenger Deep, a smaller steep-walled valley on the floor of the main trench southwest of Guam. The Mariana Trench, which is situated within the territories of the U.S. dependencies of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, was designated a U.S. national monument in 2009. The first attempt to measure the depth of the trench was made in 1875 during the Challenger Expedition (1872–76), when a sounding of 26,850 feet (8,184 metres) was obtained near the southern end of the trench. In 1899 Nero Deep (31,693 feet [9,660 metres]) was discovered southeast of Guam. That sounding was not exceeded until a 32,197-foot (9,813-metre) hole was found in the vicinity 30 years later. In 1957, during the International Geophysical Year, the Soviet research ship Vityaz sounded a new world record depth of 36,056 feet (10,990 metres) in Challenger Deep. That value was later increased to 36,201 feet (11,034 metres). Since then several measurements of the Challenger Deep have been made, using increasingly sophisticated electronic equipment.

The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle or Hurricane Alley, is a loosely-defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery. The vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle is amongst the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, with ships frequently crossing through it for ports in the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean islands. Cruise ships and pleasure craft regularly sail through the region, and commercial and private aircraft routinely fly over it. Popular culture has attributed various disappearances to the paranormal or activity by extraterrestrial beings. Documented evidence indicates that a significant percentage of the incidents were spurious, inaccurately reported, or embellished by later authors. The earliest suggestion of unusual disappearances in the Bermuda area appeared in a September 17, 1950, article published in The Miami Herald (Associated Press) by Edward Van Winkle Jones. Two years later, Fate magazine published “Sea Mystery at Our Back Door”, a short article by George X. Sand covering the loss of several planes and ships, including the loss of Flight 19, a group of five US Navy Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers on a training mission.

The Gobi Desert 

The Gobi Desert is a large desert or brushland region in Asia. It covers parts of Northern and Northeastern China, and of southern Mongolia. The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains and the grasslands and steppes of Mongolia on the north, by the Taklamakan Desert to the west, by the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau to the southwest, and by the North China Plain to the southeast. The Gobi is notable in history as part of the great Mongol Empire, and as the location of several important cities along the Silk Road.The Gobi is a rain shadow desert, formed by the Tibetan Plateau blocking precipitation from the Indian Ocean reaching the Gobi territory.

The Sahara Desert

The Sahara or ‘the Great Desert’) is a desert located on the African continent. It is the largest hot desert in the world, and the third largest desert overall after Antarctica and the Arctic.Its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi) is comparable to the area of China or the United States.The name ‘Sahara’ is derived from a dialectal Arabic word for “desert”, ṣaḥra. The desert comprises much of North Africa, excluding the fertile region on the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Atlas Mountains of the Maghreb, and the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan. It stretches from the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, where the landscape gradually changes from desert to coastal plains. To the south, it is bounded by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna around the Niger River valley and the Sudan Region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Sahara can be divided into several regions including: the western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Aïr Mountains, the Ténéré desert, and the Libyan Desert.

The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savanna in Southern Africa extending for 900,000 square kilometres (350,000 sq mi), covering much of Botswana, parts of Namibia and regions of South Africa. It is not to be confused with the Angolan, Namibian and S. African Namib coastal desert, whose name is of Khoekhoegowa borigin and means “vast place”. Drainage of the desert is by dry valleys, seasonally inundated pans and the large salt pans of the Makgadikgadi Pan in Botswana and Etosha Pan in Namibia. The only permanent river, the Okavango, flows into a delta in the northwest, forming marshes that are rich in wildlife. Ancient dry riverbeds—called omuramba—traverse the central northern reaches of the Kalahari and provide standing pools of water during the rainy season. A semi-desert, with huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains, the Kalahari supports more animals and plants than a true desert, such as the Namib Desert to the west. There are small amounts of rainfall and the summer temperature is very high. The driest areas usually receive 110–200 millimetres (4.3–7.9 in) of rain per year, and the wettest just a little over 500 millimetres (20 in). The surrounding Kalahari Basin covers over 2,500,000 square kilometres (970,000 sq mi) extending further into Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and encroaching into parts of Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Numerous pans exist within the Kalahari, including the Groot-vloer Pan and Verneukpan where evidence of a wetter climate exists in the form of former contouring for capturing of water. This and other pans, as well as river bottoms, were written about extensively at Sciforums by an article by Walter Wagner regarding the extensive formerly wet areas of the Kalahari. The Kalahari is extensive and extends further north where abandoned extensive roadways also exist

The Thar Desert

The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi) and forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. It is the world’s 17th largest desert, and the world’s 9th largest subtropical desert. About 85% of the Thar Desert is located within India, with the remaining 15% in Pakistan. In India, it covers about 170,000 km2 (66,000 sq mi), and the remaining 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi) of the desert is within Pakistan. The Thar desert forms approximately 5%(~4.56%) of the total geographic area of India. More than 60% of the desert lies in the state of Rajasthan, and extends into Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana.The desert comprises a very dry part, the Marusthali region in the west, and a semidesert region in the east with fewer sand dunes and slightly more precipitation.

Arabian Desert

The Arabian Desert is a vast desert wilderness in Western Asia. It stretches from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and Oman to Jordan and Iraq. It occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula, with an area of 2,330,000 square kilometers (900,000 sq mi). It is the fifth largest desert in the world, and the largest in Asia. At its center is Ar-Rub’al-Khali (The Empty Quarter), one of the largest continuous bodies of sand in the world.Gazelles, oryx, sand cats, and spiny-tailed lizards are just some of the desert-adapted species that survive in this extreme environment, which features everything from red dunes to deadly quicksand. The climate is mostly dry (the major part receives around 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain per year but some very rare places receives down to 50 mm), and temperatures oscillate between very high heat and seasonal night time freezes. It is part of the deserts and xeric shrublands biome and the Palearctic ecozone.

Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert  is a desert plateau in South America covering a 1000-km (600-mi) strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. The Atacama desert is one of the driest places in the world (the driest being the McMurdo Dry Valleys , as well as the only true desert to receive less precipitation than the polar deserts. According to estimates, the Atacama Desert occupies 105,000 km2 (41,000 sq mi), or 128,000 km2 (49,000 sq mi) if the barren lower slopes of the Andes are included. Most of the desert is composed of stony terrain, salt lakes (salares), sand, and felsic lava that flows towards the Andes. The desert owes its extreme aridity to a constant temperature inversion due to the cool north-flowing Humboldt ocean current, and to the presence of the strong Pacific anticyclone. The most arid region of the Atacama desert is situated between two mountain chains (the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range) of sufficient height to prevent moisture advection from either the Pacific or the Atlantic Oceans, a two-sided rain shadow.

Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert  is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert. The desert contains a variety of unique and endemic plants and animals, such as the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) and organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi).

Amazon River

The Amazon River  in South America is the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world, and by some definitions it is the longest. The headwaters of the Apurímac River on Nevado Mismi had been considered for nearly a century as the Amazon’s most distant source, until a 2014 study found it to be the headwaters of the Mantaro River on the Cordillera Rumi Cruz in Peru.The Mantaro and Apurímac join, and with other tributaries form the Ucayali River, which in turn meets the Marañón River upstream of Iquitos, Peru, to form what countries other than Brazil consider to be the main stem of the Amazon. Brazilians call this section the Solimões River above its confluence with the Rio Negro to form what Brazilians call the Amazon at the Meeting of Waters  at Manaus, the river’s largest city. At an average discharge of about 209,000 cubic metres per second (7,400,000 cu ft/s; 209,000,000 L/s; 55,000,000 USgal/s)—approximately 6,591 cubic kilometres per annum (1,581 cu mi/a), greater than the next seven largest independent rivers combined—the Amazon represents 20% of the global riverine discharge to the ocean. The Amazon basin is the largest drainage basin in the world, with an area of approximately 7,050,000 square kilometres (2,720,000 sq mi). The Amazon River is disputed longest river in the world (Brazilian government claims it to be longer than the Nile, while every other nation claims that the Nile is the longest River in the world). The portion of the river’s drainage basin in Brazil alone is larger than any other river’s basin. The Amazon enters Brazil with only one-fifth of the flow it finally discharges into the Atlantic Ocean, yet already has a greater flow at this point than the discharge of any other river.

Brahamaputra River

The Brahmaputra is one of the major rivers of Asia, a trans-boundary river which flows through China, India and Bangladesh. As such, it is known by various names in the region such as   Brohmoputro noi in Assam, masculine form of the tatsama ‘nodi “river”) Brohmoputro; Brahmaputra in Sanskrit ;  and yar klung gtsang po Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan language. It is also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra (when referring to the whole river including the stretch within Tibet). The Manas River, which runs through Bhutan, joins it at Jogighopa, in India. It is the ninth largest river in the world by discharge, and the 15th longest. With its origin in the Manasarovar Lake region, located on the northern side of the Himalayas in Burang County of Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo River, it flows across southern Tibet to break through the Himalayas in great gorges (including the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon) and into Arunachal Pradesh (India). It flows southwest through the Assam Valley as Brahmaputra and south through Bangladesh as the Jamuna (not to be mistaken with Yamuna of India). In the vast Ganges Delta, it merges with the Padma, the popular name of the river Ganges in Bangladesh, and finally the Meghna and from here it is known as Meghna before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. About 2,899.9 km (1,801.9 mi) long, the Brahmaputra is an important river for irrigation and transportation. The basin, especially south of Tibet, is characterized by high levels of rainfall. Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) is the only peak above 8,000 m, hence is the highest point within the Brahmaputra basin.

Ganges River

The Ganges  flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India. After entering West Bengal, it divides into two rivers: the Hooghly and the Padma River. The Hooghly, or Adi Ganga, flows through several districts of West Bengal and into the Bay of Bengal near Sagar Island. The other, the Padma, also flows into and through Bangladesh, and joins the Meghna river which ultimately empties into the Bay of Bengal.

The Ganges is highly polluted. Pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin. The Ganges is a major source of global ocean plastic pollution. The levels of fecal coliform bacteria from human waste in the waters of the river near Varanasi are more than 100 times the Indian government’s official limit. The Ganga Action Plan, an environmental initiative to clean up the river, has been a major failure thus far, due to rampant corruption, lack of will on behalf of the government and its bureaucracy, lack of technical expertise, poor environmental planning, and lack of support from religious authorities.

The Indus River

The Indus River (locally called Sindhu) is one of the longest rivers in Asia. Originating in the Tibetan Plateau in the vicinity of Lake Manasarovar, the river runs a course through the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, India, towards the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan and the Hindukush ranges, and then flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh. It is the longest river and national river of Pakistan. The river has a total drainage area exceeding 1,165,000 km2 (450,000 sq mi). Its estimated annual flow stands at around 243 km3(58 cu mi), twice that of the Nile River and three times that of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers combined, making it one of the largest rivers in the world in terms of annual flow. The Zanskar is its left bank tributary in Ladakh. In the plains, its left bank tributary is the Panjnad which itself has five major tributaries, namely, the Chenab, Jhelum, the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej. Its principal right bank tributaries are the Shyok, the Gilgit, the Kabul, the Gomal, and the Kurram. Beginning in a mountain spring and fed with glaciers and rivers in the Himalayas, the river supports ecosystems of temperate forests, plains and arid countryside.

The Yellow River

Yellow River or Huang He  is the second longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the sixth longest river system in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi). Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of Western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province. The Yellow River basin has an east–west extent of about 1,900 kilometers (1,180 mi) and a north–south extent of about 1,100 km (680 mi). Its total drainage area is about 752,546 square kilometers (290,560 sq mi). Its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. There are frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed, sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields.

Volga

The Volga  is the longest river in Europe with a catchment area of 1,350,000 square kilometres. It is also Europe’s largest river in terms of discharge and drainage basin. The river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, and is widely regarded as the national river of Russia.

Eleven of the twenty largest cities of Russia, including the capital, Moscow, are located in the Volga’s drainage basin. Rising in the Valdai Hills 225 meters (738 ft) above sea level northwest of Moscow and about 320 kilometers (200 mi) southeast of Saint Petersburg, the Volga heads east past Lake Sterzh, Tver, Dubna, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan. From there it turns south, flows past Ulyanovsk, Tolyatti, Samara, Saratov and Volgograd, and discharges into the Caspian Sea below Astrakhan at 28 meters (92 ft) below sea level. At its most strategic point, it bends toward the Don (“the big bend”). Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, is located there. The fertile river valley provides large quantities of wheat, and also has many mineral riches. A substantial petroleum industry centers on the Volga valley. Other resources include natural gas, salt, and potash. The Volga Delta and the nearby Caspian Sea offer superb fishing grounds. Astrakhan, at the delta, is the center of the caviar industry.

The Danube River

The Danube is Europe’s second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe. The Danube was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, and today flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for 2,850 km (1,770 mi), passing through or bordering Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before draining into the Black Sea. Its drainage basin extends into nine more countries. The Danube river basin is home to fish species such as pike, zander, huchen, Wels catfish, burbot and tench. It is also home to a large diversity of carp and sturgeon, as well as salmon and trout. A few species of euryhaline fish, such as European seabass, mullet, and eel, inhabit the Danube Delta and the lower portion of the river. Since ancient times, the Danube has become a traditional trade route in Europe, nowadays 2,415 km (1,501 mi) of its total length being navigable. The river is also an important source of energy and drinking water.

Rhine River

The Rhine  is one of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in a mostly northerly direction through Germany and The Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea. The largest city on the Rhine is Cologne, Germany, with a population of more than 1,050,000 people. It is the second-longest river in Central and Western Europe (after the Danube), at about 1,230 km (760 mi),with an average discharge of about 2,900 m3/s (100,000 cu ft/s). The Rhine and the Danube formed most of the northern inland frontier of the Roman Empire and, since those days, the Rhine has been a vital and navigable waterway carrying trade and goods deep inland. Its importance as a waterway in the Holy Roman Empire is supported by the many castles and fortifications built along it. In the modern era, it has become a symbol of German nationalism.Other important cities on the Rhine are Düsseldorf (Germany), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Strasbourg (France) and Basel (Switzerland).

The Kama

The Kama is a river 1,805 kilometres (1,122 mi) long in Russia. It is the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge. At their confluence, in fact, the Kama is even larger than the Volga. It starts in the Udmurt Republic, near Kuliga, flowing northwest for 200 kilometres (120 mi), turning northeast near Loyno for another 200 kilometres (120 mi), then turning south and west in Perm Krai, flowing again through the Udmurt Republic and then through the Republic of Tatarstan, where it meets the Volga.

The Moskva River

The Moskva River  is a river of western Russia. It rises about 140 km (90 mi) west of Moscow, and flows roughly east through the Smolensk and Moscow Oblasts, passing through central Moscow. About 110 km (70 mi) south east of Moscow, at the city of Kolomna, it flows into the Oka River, itself a tributary of the Volga, which ultimately flows into the Caspian Sea. The river is 503 km (313 mi) long, with a vertical drop of 155 m (509 ft) (long-term average In Moscow, the river freezes occasionally; during an unusually warm winter in 2006–2007, ice began melting on January 25.

The Seine

The Seine  is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre (and Honfleur on the left bank). It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in Paris, lined with top monuments including Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Musée d’Orsay.

Tigris River

The Tigris is the eastern of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq and empties into the Persian Gulf. The Tigris is 1,750 km long, rising in the Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey about 25 km southeast of the city of Elazig and about 30 km from the headwaters of the Euphrates. The river then flows for 400 km through Turkish territory before becoming the border between Syria and Turkey. This stretch of 44 km is the only part of the river that is located in Syria. Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, stands on the banks of the Tigris. The port city of Basra straddles the Shatt al-Arab. In ancient times, many of the great cities of Mesopotamia stood on or near the Tigris, drawing water from it to irrigate the civilization of the Sumerians. Notable Tigris-side cities included Nineveh, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia, while the city of Lagash was irrigated by the Tigris via a canal dug around 2900 B.C.

Potomac River

The Potomac River is located within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and flows from the Potomac Highlands into the Chesapeake Bay. The river (main stem and North Branch) is approximately 405 miles (652 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 km2). In terms of area, this makes the Potomac River the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the United States and the 21st largest in the United States. Over 5 million people live within the Potomac watershed. The river forms part of the borders between Maryland and Washington, D.C., on the left descending bank and West Virginia and Virginia on the river’s right descending bank. The majority of the lower Potomac River is part of Maryland. Exceptions include a small tidal portion within the District of Columbia, and the border with Virginia being delineated from “point to point” (thus various bays and shoreline indentations lie in Virginia). Except for a small portion of its headwaters in West Virginia, the North Branch Potomac River is considered part of Maryland to the low water mark on the opposite bank. The South Branch Potomac River lies completely within the state of West Virginia except for its headwaters, which lie in Virginia.

Hudson River

The Hudson River is a 315-mile (507 km) river that flows from north to south primarily through eastern New York in the United States. The river originates in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, flows southward through the Hudson Valley to the Upper New York Bay between New York City and Jersey City. It eventually drains into the Atlantic Ocean at New York Harbor. The river serves as a political boundary between the states of New Jersey and New York at its southern end. Further north, it marks local boundaries between several New York counties. The lower half of the river is a tidal estuary, deeper than the body of water into which it flows, occupying the Hudson Fjord, an inlet which formed during the most recent period of North American glaciation, estimated at 26,000 to 13,300 years ago. Tidal waters influence the Hudson’s flow from as far north as the city of Troy. The river is named after Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who explored it in 1609, and after whom Hudson Bay in Canada is also named.

Nile River

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, and is the longest river in Africa and the disputed longest river in the world (Brazilian government claims that the Amazon River is longer than the Nile). The Nile, which is about 6,650 km (4,130 mi) long, is an “international” river as its drainage basin covers eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of the Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.The river Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the Nile itself. The Blue Nile, however, is the source of most of the water and silt. The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda or Burundi. It flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet just north of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The northern section of the river flows north almost entirely through the Sudanese desert to Egypt, then ends in a large delta and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian civilization and Sudanese kingdoms have depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along river banks.

Congo River

The great Congo River , formerly known as the Zaire River under the Mobutu regime, is the second longest river in Africa, shorter only than the Nile, as well as the second largest river in the world by discharge volume, following only the Amazon. It is also the world’s deepest recorded river, with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 ft). The Congo-Lualaba-Chambeshi River system has an overall length of 4,700 km (2,920 mi), which makes it the world’s ninth-longest river. The Chambeshi is a tributary of the Lualaba River, and Lualaba is the name of the Congo River upstream of Boyoma Falls, extending for 1,800 km (1,120 mi). Measured along with the Lualaba, the main tributary, the Congo River has a total length of 4,370 km (2,715 mi). It is the only river to cross the equator twice.The Congo Basin has a total area of about 4,000,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi), or 13% of the entire African landmass.

The Niger River

The Niger River  is the principal river of West Africa, extending about 4,180 km (2,600 mi). Its drainage basin is 2,117,700 km2 (817,600 sq mi) in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea. It runs in a crescent through Mali, Niger, on the border with Benin and then through Nigeria, discharging through a massive delta, known as the Niger Delta or the Oil Rivers, into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, exceeded only by the Nile and the Congo River (also known as the Zaïre River). Its main tributary is the Benue River. The Niger River is a relatively “clear” river, carrying only a tenth as much sediment as the Nile because the Niger’s headwaters lie in ancient rocks that provide little silt. Like the Nile, the Niger floods yearly; this begins in September, peaks in November, and finishes by May. The Niger takes one of the most unusual routes of any major river, a boomerang shape that baffled geographers for two centuries. Its source is just 240 km (150 mi) inland from the Atlantic Ocean, but the river runs directly away from the sea into the Sahara Desert, then takes a sharp right turn near the ancient city of Timbuktu (Tombouctou) and heads southeast to the Gulf of Guinea. An unusual feature of the river is the Inner Niger Delta, which forms where its gradient suddenly decreases. The result is a region of braided streams, marshes, and lakes the size of Belgium; the seasonal floods make the Delta extremely productive for both fishing and agriculture.

The  Andean Mountains

The  Andean Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700 km (120 to 430 mi) wide (widest between 18° south and 20° south latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Along their length, the Andes are split into several ranges, separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes are the location of several high plateaus – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Cali, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, Mérida and La Paz. The Altiplano plateau is the world’s second-highest after the Tibetan plateau. These ranges are in turn grouped into three major divisions based on climate: the Tropical Andes, the Dry Andes, and the Wet Andes.The Andes Mountains are the world’s highest mountain range outside Asia. The highest mountain outside Asia, Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,961 m (22,838 ft) above sea level. The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorian Andes is farther from the Earth’s center than any other location on the Earth’s surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth’s rotation. The world’s highest volcanoes are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina border, which rises to 6,893 m (22,615 ft). The Andes are also part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western “backbone” of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.

The Tibetan Plateau

The Tibetan Plateau is a vast elevated plateau in Central Asia and East Asia, covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai in western China, as well as Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) and Lahaul & Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) in India. It stretches approximately 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) north to south and 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) east to west. With an average elevation exceeding 4,500 metres (14,800 ft), the Tibetan Plateau is sometimes called “the Roof of the World” because it stands over 3 miles (4.8 km) above sea level and is surrounded by imposing mountain ranges that harbor the world’s two highest summits, Mount Everest and K2, and is the world’s highest and largest plateau, with an area of 2,500,000 square kilometres (970,000 sq mi) (about five times the size of Metropolitan France). Sometimes termed the Third Pole, the Tibetan Plateau contains the headwaters of the drainage basinsof most of the streams in surrounding regions. Its tens of thousands of glaciers and other geographical and ecological features serve as a “water tower” storing water and maintaining flow. The impact of global warming on the Tibetan Plateau is of intense scientific interest.

Categories
International Current Affairs

US will not reissue waivers for Iran oil imports

In an effort to increase economic pressure on Iran, US announced (April 22. 2019) to end waivers for countries importing Iran oil. The Trump administration told that waivers given by US to five countries – Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India with regard to importing oil from Iran would no more be available. The US sanctions on importing oil from Iran now would hold or apply in case of these countries as well.  – that they would no longer be exempt from US sanctions if they continued to import oil from Iran after their waivers ended on May 2. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters after the White House made the announcement in a statement,  “There are no (oil) waivers that extend beyond that period, full stop.” adding that there would be no grace period for those economies to comply. “We’re going to zero. We’re going to zero across the board.” Waivers according to the US ‘won’t serve regional stability.Since November, three of the eight countries receiving waivers – Italy, Greece and Taiwan – have stopped importing oil from Iran. The other five, however, have not, and have lobbied for their waivers to be extended.

The purpose of sanctions on Iran oil

The United States which has engaged in a maximum pressure campaign against Tehran since Donald Trump came to office, had been giving the countries time to wean themselves off Iranian oil, but has decided that waivers would no longer be issued. Pompeo said, “The goal remains simply: To deprive the outlaw regime of the funds that it has used to destabilise the Middle East for decades and incentivise Iran to behave like a normal country.” The administration granted eight oil-sanctions waivers when it re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Trump pulled the US out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The waivers were granted in part to give those countries more time to find alternate energy sources but also to prevent a shock to global oil markets from the sudden removal of Iranian crude.

Alternative sources of oil to maintain supply of oil in the world

The White House also claimed that the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market”. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement that the kingdom was closely monitoring the oil market and “will coordinate with fellow oil producers to ensure adequate supplies are available to consumers while ensuring the global oil market does not go out of balance”.

Tehran’s reactions on sanctions of its oil exports

Tehran remained defiant over Washington’s decision, saying it was prepared for the end of the waivers, while the Revolutionary Guards repeated its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipment channel in the Gulf, Reuters news agency reported, citing Iranian media. Such a move, the Trump administration said, would be unjustified and unacceptable. Iran’s foreign ministry said the US decision had “no value” but that Tehran was in touch with European partners and neighbours and would “act accordingly”, Iranian news agencies reported. It added that the sanctions were “illegal”. “The waivers … have no value but because of the practical negative effects of the sanctions, the Foreign Ministry has been … in touch with foreign partners, including European, international and neighbours and will… act accordingly,” the agencies quoted the ministry as saying.

Turkey not happy with embargo on Iran oil by the US

 NATO ally Turkey had made perhaps the most public case for an extension, with senior officials telling their US counterparts that Iranian oil was critical to meeting their country’s energy needs. They have also made the case that as a neighbour of Iran, Turkey cannot be expected to completely close its economy to Iranian goods.  Turkey slammed the US decision, saying it would not serve regional peace and stability. Turkey “rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how we build our relationship with our neighbours,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted. “The US decision … will harm Iranian people.” The presidential spokesman and senior adviser Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Washington, DC, that “people should not expect Turkey to turn its back on Iran just like that”. Turkey did not support US sanctions policy on Iran and did not think it would yield the desired result, Kalin said at the time, but added that Ankara would not want to violate sanctions if a waiver was not extended.”We will look for alternatives in terms of transactions and other things. We don’t want to break or violate the sanctions but at the same time we don’t want to be deprived of our right to buy oil and gas from Iran,” Kalin said last week.

China’s and others’reactions on sanctions on Iran oil imports

Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Monday that it opposed unilateral US sanctions against Iran and that China’s bilateral cooperation with Iran was in accordance with the law. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying the South Korean government had been negotiating with the US at all levels to extend the waivers and that it would continue to make every effort to reflect Seoul’s position until the May 2 deadline. In India, refiners have started a search for alternative supplies but the government declined to comment officially. Embassies of India, China and South Korea in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, along with Japan, whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be in the US capital on Friday for an official visit.

Implications: Oil prices rise

Oil prices rose following the Trump administration’s announcement. In morning trading on April 23, benchmark US crude surged $1.52, or 2.4 percent to $65.57 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, jumped $1.84, or 2.6 percent to $73.80. Ritterbusch and Associates, an oil trading advisory firm, said in a morning note that “a complete elimination of Iranian exports is nearly impossible and that a reduction beyond current levels will likely prove limited”. It said that the overall effect “will hinge to a large degree on the Saudis’ response to what is likely to be some strong requests from the Trump administration to increase productions appreciably”.

Peter Kiernan, an energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said: “A severe loss in (Iranian) volumes will put pressure on the supply side, given the political uncertainty currently blighting other oil exporters, such as Venezuela and Libya.” According to some analysts, ending the waivers was expected to hit Asian buyers, including China and India, the hardest. Kim Jae-kyung of the Korean Energy Economics Institute said the move “will be a problem if South Korea can’t bring in cheap Iranian condensate (for) South Korean petrochemical makers”. Takayuki Nogami, a chief economist at Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), said ending the waivers was “not a good policy for Trump”. Nogami said he expected oil prices to rise further because of US sanctions and OPEC-led supply cuts.

So far in April, Iranian exports were averaging below one million barrels per day (bpd), according to Refinitiv Eikon data and two other companies that track exports and declined to be identified. That is lower than at least 1.1 million bpd estimated for March, and down from more than 2.5 million bpd before the renewed sanctions were announced last May.

Categories
Polity and International Relations (English)

Making of Constitution of India: How did it evolve?

India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic which is governed by Constitution of India adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November, 1949. The Constitution is a set of laws and rules that set sets up the machinery of the Government of a state, and which defines and determines the relations between the different institutions and components of the government, the executives, the legislature, the judiciary, the central and the local government. The Indian constitution came into force on 26th January, 1950. It provides for a Parliamentary form of government with a federal in structure with certain unitary features. When the Indian constitution was made, it had 395 articles which were distributed in 22 parts and 8 schedules. January 2019, there have been 124 Amendment Bills and 103 Amendment acts to the Constitution of India since it was first enacted in 1950.

 At present, there are 448 articles present in the Indian constitution which are distributed in 25 parts, 12 schedules, and 5 appendices.

The Constitutional heads

The constitutional head of the Executive of the Union is the President. As per Article 79 of the Constitution of India, the council of the Parliament of the Union consists of the President and two Houses known as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). Article 74(1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to aid and advise the President, who shall exercise his/her functions in accordance to the advice. The real executive power is thus vested in the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head.

The makers of Indian constitution

The making of the Indian constitution was a long drawn process in which many illustrious leaders and experts from India participated. Some of most well known participants in the process of constitution making included Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Sanjay Phakey, Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Kanaiyalal Munshi, Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar, Sandipkumar Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Nalini Ranjan Ghosh, and Balwantrai Mehta etc. The first draft of the Indian Constitution, which was completed on 26th November 1949 is no less than a masterpiece. While Nandalal Bose and his students designed the borders of every page and adorned it with beautiful art pieces, it was the singlehanded effort of Prem Behari Narain Raizada (Saxena) that brought the primary contents and the preamble to the Constitution, to life. Shri Prem Behari was born on 17 December 1901, in a family of traditional calligraphists.

The Constituent Assembly of India

An idea for a Constituent Assembly was proposed in 1934 by M. N. Roy, a pioneer of the Communist movement in India and an advocate of radical democracy. It became an official demand of the Indian National Congress in 1935, C. Rajagopalachari voiced the demand for a Constituent Assembly on 15 November 1939 based on adult franchise, and was accepted by the British in August 1940. On 8 August 1940, a statement was made by Viceroy Lord Linlithgow about the expansion of the Governor-General’s Executive Council and the establishment of a War Advisory Council. This offer, known as the August Offer, included giving full weight to minority opinions and allowing Indians to draft their own constitution. Under the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946, elections were held for the first time for the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution of India was drafted by the Constituent Assembly, and it was implemented under the Cabinet Mission Plan on 16 May 1946. The members of the Constituent Assembly were elected by the provincial assemblies by a single, transferable-vote system of proportional representation. The total membership of the Constituent Assembly was 389: 292 were representatives of the states, 93 represented the princely states and four were from the chief commissioner provinces of Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg (Near Madikeri) and British Baluchistan.

The elections for the 296 seats assigned to the British Indian provinces were completed by August 1946. Congress won 208 seats, and the Muslim League 73. After this election, the Muslim League refused to cooperate with the Congress, and the political situation deteriorated. Hindu-Muslim riots began, and the Muslim League demanded a separate constituent assembly for Muslims in India. On 3 June 1947 Lord Mountbatten, the last British Governor-General of India, announced his intention to scrap the Cabinet Mission Plan; this culminated in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and the separate nations of India and Pakistan. The Indian Independence Act was passed on 18 July 1947 and, although it was earlier declared that India would become independent in June 1948, this event led to independence on 15 August 1947. The Constituent Assembly (elected for an undivided India) met for the first time on 9 December 1946, reassembling on 14 August 1947 as a sovereign body and successor to the British parliament’s authority in India. As a result of the partition, under the Mountbatten plan, a separate Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was established on 3 June 1947. The representatives of the areas incorporated into Pakistan ceased to be members of the Constituent Assembly of India. New elections were held for the West Punjab and East Bengal (which became part of Pakistan, although East Bengal later seceded to become Bangladesh); the membership of the Constituent Assembly was 299 after the reorganization, and it met on 31 December 1947.

Constituent Assembly

The Constituent Assembly of India came into existence as per the provisions of Cabinet Mission Plan of May 1946. Its task was to formulate constitution/s for facilitating appropriate transfer of sovereign power from British authorities to Indian hands.The Assembly was to have proportional representation from existing provincial legislatures and from various princely states. Bulk of these elections was completed by the end of July 1946, under the supervision of Reforms Office under Governor General (Viceroy). The Assembly was to have three sections: Punjab & North-West, Bengal-Assam and Rest of India. The Constitutions were to be formulated for Indian Union, each Section and for each of the Provinces therein. The Muslim League, which had won bulk of the 80 Muslim seats and dominated two smaller Sections, chose not to participate so the Assembly never convened separately in sections. Assembly held 12 sessions, or rounds of sittings.

Chairman of the drafting committee: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar- Upon India’s independence on 15 August 1947, the new Congress-led government invited Ambedkar to serve as the nation’s first Law and Justice Minister, which he accepted. On 29 August, he was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, and was appointed by the Constituent Assembly to write India’s new Constitution. Ambedkar was a wise constitutional expert, he had studied the constitutions of about 60 countries. Ambedkar is recognised as the “Father of the Constitution of India”. In 1990, the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, was posthumously conferred upon Ambedkar.

Chairman of Constituent Assembly of India- Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Indian National Congress- Upon independence in 1947, Prasad was elected as President of the [Constituent Assembly of India], which prepared the [Constitution of India] and served as its provisional parliament. He was elected the President of Constituent Assembly on 11 December 1946. Two and a half years after independence, on 26 January 1950, the Constitution of independent India was ratified and Prasad was elected the nation’s first president. The Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan were open to public for about a month for the first time during his tenure.  In 1962, after serving twelve years as the president, he announced his decision to retire. After relinquishing the office of the President of India on May 1962, he returned to Patna on 14 May 1962 and preferred to stay in the campus of Bihar Vidyapeeth. He was subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian award.

Interim Chairman: Sachchidananda Sinha, Indian National Congress-. He was named the Interim President of the Constituent Assembly of India on 9 December 1946. He was replaced by Dr. Rajendra Prasad after indirect election on 11 December 1946. Sinha began his career as an advocate in 1893 practicing in the Calcutta High Court. He subsequently practiced in the Allahabad High Court starting 1896 and Patna High Court starting 1916.In his early years, Sinha was a member of the Indian National Congress, from 1899 till 1920, serving one term as secretary. He participated in the Home Rule League Movement. He was a member of the Imperial Legislative Council from 1910 to 1920 and the Indian Legislative Assembly. He was Deputy President of the Assembly in 1921. He also held the office of the President in the Bihar and Orissa Legislative Council. He was appointed Executive Councillor and Finance Member of the Government of Bihar and Orissa, and, thus, was the first Indian who was ever appointed as a Finance Member of a Province.

Features of the Indian Constitution

  • The bulkiest constitutionof the world
  • Rigidity and flexibility
  • Parliamentary system of government
  • Adult Suffrage
  • Federal system with a unitary bias
  • Fundamental rights and fundamental duties
  • Directive principles of state policy
  • Secularism
  • Independent judiciary

 

Influence on Indian constitution

India became independent on 15th August 1947. The Indian constitution was made keeping in view the noble and great values of freedom struggle on one hand and taking the best features of other constitution  to make India a modern and progressive state in true sense. The Indian constitution enshrines in a way what is called “the idea of India.”Notwithstanding the fact that the Indian Constitution is byproduct of wisdom of Indian leaders, it borrowed good elements from elsewhere. In this sense it is unique in its contents and spirit.

The best features drawn by Indian constitution from other countries are listed below

Name of Countries  Features drawn from other Constitutions
         Britain  1. Parliamentary government

2. Rule of Law

3. Legislative procedure

4. Single citizenship

5. Cabinet system

6. Prerogative writs

7. Parliamentary privileges

8. Bicameralism

         Ireland

 

 1. Directive Principles of State Policy

2. Method of Election of the president

3. Members nomination to the Rajya Sabha by the President

   Unites States of America  1. Impeachment of the president

2. Functions of president and vice-president

3. Removal of Supreme Court and High court judges

4. Fundamental Rights

5. Judicial review

6. Independence of judiciary

7. Preamble of the constitution

  Canada

 

 1. Centrifugal form of federalism where the centre is  stronger than the states.

2. Residuary powers vest with the centre

3. Centre appoints the Governors at the states

4. Advisory jurisdiction of the supreme court

  Australia

 

 1. Concept of Concurrent list

2. Article 108 i.e. Joint sitting of the two houses

3. Freedom of trade and commerce

  USSR (Now Russia)

 

 1. Fundamental duties

2. The ideals of justice (social, economic and political),  expressed in the Preamble.

  France

 

 1. Concept of  “Republic”

2. Ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity(contained in the Preamble)

  Germany

 

 1. Fundamental Rights are suspended during Emergency
  South Africa

 

 1. Election of members of the Rajya Sabha

2. Amendment of the Constitution

  Japan  1. Concept of “procedure established by Law”

Important Amendments to Indian Constitution

First Amendment of the Constitution of India: The Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951, enacted in 1951, made several changes to the Fundamental Rights provisions of the constitution. … It was moved by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, on 10 May 1951 and enacted by Parliament on 18 June 1951.

22nd Amendment- Passed by Congress in 1947, and ratified by the states on February 27, 1951, the Twenty-Second Amendment limits an elected president to two terms in office, a total of eight years. However, it is possible for an individual to serve up to ten years as president.

52nd Amendment Act, 1985- Constitution 52nd Amendment Act, 1985 provided provisions related to anti-defection in India. In this amendment, articles 101, 102, 190 and 191 were changed. It laid down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection and inserted schedule 10.Sep 12, 2016

73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1993: The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act was passed by the Parliament in April1993. The Amendmentprovided a Constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions in India through insertion of Article 243 to Part IX of Indian Constitution.Nov

74th Amendment and Municipalities in India. Constitution Act, 1992: has introduced a new Part IXA in the Constitution, which deals with Municipalities in an article 243 P to 243 ZG. This amendment, also known as Nagarpalika Act, came into force on 1st June 1993.

80th Amendment- The Constitution (80th Amendment) Act, 2000. 1. It deals with an alternative scheme for sharing taxes between the Union and the States.

86th Amendment (2002) has a great importance in our Constitution which provide us the main fundamental right that is “Right to education”. … 21-A: The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between the age of 6 and 14 years in such manner as the State may by law determine”.

Constitution (100th Amendment) Act 2015: Constitution (100th Amendment) Act 2015 ratified the land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh. The act amended the 1st schedule of the constitution to exchange the disputed territories occupied by both the nations in accordance with the 1974 bilateral LBA.

122nd Amendment to constitution of India

GST or Goods & Service Tax , was introduced by the Constitution Amendment Bill 122, and when successfully passed it was named as 101 Act. GST was implemented after it was introduced in the Lok Sabha and then passed in both the Houses of the Parliament by means of “The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014”.

123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill: for Granting NCBC constitutional status has been passed both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. With the assent from the President for the same it is deemed to be the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act. The Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill with over two-third majority on August 2, 2018.

The Bill was passed superseding the amendments by the Rajya Sabha which seeks to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). All 406 members present in the House voted in favour of it.

The 124th Amendment to Indian constitution

The 124th Constitutional Amendment received the President’s assent on January 12, 2019.

This amended two fundamental rights: (1) Article 15, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, caste, sex or place of birth, and (2) Article 16 which prohibits discrimination in employment in government office. The amendment provides for the advancement of the “economically weaker sections” of the society. It also makes a note of the Article 46, which asks the government to promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society. It provides reservation for:

  1. People who have an annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh, or
  2. People who own less than five acres of farm land, or
  3. People who have a house less than 1,000 sq feet in a town (or 100 sq yard in a notified municipal area).

Some of the important amendments are listed below:

Provisions related to reservation

  • For Scheduled Tribes, 47 seats are reserved in Lok Sabha. … For Scheduled Castes, 84 seats are reserved in Lok Sabha. As per article 80 of the Constitution, the composition of Council of States(Rajya Sabha) 12 members are nominated by the President. There is no provision for reservation of SC/ST in Rajya Sabha.
  • The Constitution of India states in article 15(4): “Nothing in [article 15] or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially, educationally and economically backward classes of citizens of or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.”
  • In central-government funded higher education institutions, 22.5% of available seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students (7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs). This reservation percentage has been raised to 49.5% by including an additional 27% reservation for OBCs.
  • In 1995, the 77th amendment to the Constitution was made to amend Article 16 before the five-year period expired to continue with reservations for SC/STs in promotions. It was further modified through the 85th amendment to give the benefit of consequential seniority to SC/ST candidates promoted by reservation.
  • The 81st amendment was made to the Constitution to permit the government to treat the backlog of reserved vacancies as a separate and distinct group, to which the ceiling of 50 per cent did not apply. The 82nd amendment inserted a provision in Article 335 to enable states to give concessions to SC/ST candidates in promotion.
  • 93rd Constitutional Amendment
  • Constitution 93rd Amendment Act, 2006-The act aims to provide greater access to higher education including professional education to a larger number of students belonging to the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.

Amendment Year Outcome
7 1956 Reorganisation of states on linguistic basis and abolition of Class A, B, C and D states and introduction of Union Territories.
9 1960 Adjustments to Indian territory as a result of agreement with Paksitan.
10 1961 Dadra, Nagar and Haveli included in Indian Union as a Union Territory on acquisition from Portugal.
12 1961 Goa, Daman and Diu included in Indian Union as a Union Territory on acquisition from Portugal.
13 1962 The state of Nagaland formed with special protection under Article 371A on 01 Dec 1963.
14 1962 Pondicherry incorporated into Indian Union after transfer by France.
21 1967 Sindhi added as language in the 8th schedule.
26 1971 Privy purse paid to former rulers of princely states abolished.
36 1975 Sikkim included as an Indian state.
42 1976 Fundamental Duties prescribed, India became Socialist Secular Republic.
44 1978 Right to Property deleted from the list of fundamental rights.
52 1985 Defection to another party after election made illegal.
61 1989 Voting age reduced from 21 to 18.
71 1992 Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali added as languages in the Eighth Schedule.
73 1993 Introduction of Panchayati Raj, addition of Part IX to the Constitution.
74 1993 Introduction of Municipalities.
86 2002 Free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 14 years.
92 2003 Bodo, Dogri, Santhali and Maithli added to the list of recognised languages.
8,23,45,62, 79 and 95 1960, 1970, 1980, 1989, 2000 and 2010 Extension of reservation of seats for SC/ST and nomination of Anglo-Indian members in Parliament and State Assemblies.
96 2011 Substituted Odia for Oriya in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution
97 2012 Introduction of Part IXB in the Constitution pertaining to Co-operative Societies
101 2016 Introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST)
102 2018 Establishment of National Commission for Backward Classes
103 2019 Reservation for economically weaker sections of the society
The 42nd amendment was the most comprehensive amendment which had 59 clauses and carried out so many changes that it has been described as a “Mini Constitution”.
The 52nd amendment was the only amendment to be unanimously adopted by the Parliament.

Categories
Polity and International Relations (English) Review Articles

Making of the Indian Constitution: a simplified brief

On the occasion of 70 years of the Constituent Assembly of India, Down to Earth explains the incremental stages of formulation of the Constitution

Exactly 70 years ago the Constituent Assembly of India sat for the first time on December 9, 1946. Thus started a historical journey which saw India attainting independence, deciding on its national flag, national insignia, national anthem; and ultimately adoption of the Constitution which made our country a democratic republic. On this occasion, Down to Earth is putting together a special package in collaboration with Jana Vidhi Muhim,which is working on spreading constitutional literacy; especially on countering ignorance and misinformation. It is desirable that Constitution becomes accessible by common citizen and doesn’t just remain preserve of lawyers and scholars. We present this package with a hope that more and more people will realise that the Constitution is not a holy book but a functional manual.

SALIENT FEATURES OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA

The Constituent Assembly of India came into existence as per the provisions of Cabinet Mission Plan of May 1946. Its task was to formulate constitution/s for facilitating appropriate transfer of sovereign power from British authorities to Indian hands.

The Assembly was to have proportional representation from existing provincial legislatures and from various princely states. Bulk of these elections was completed by the end of July 1946, under the supervision of Reforms Office under Governor General (Viceroy).

The Assembly was to have three sections: Punjab & North-West, Bengal-Assam and Rest of India. The Constitutions were to be formulated for Indian Union, each Section and for each of the Provinces therein. The Muslim League, which had won bulk of the 80 Muslim seats and dominated two smaller Sections, chose not to participate so the Assembly never convened separately in sections.

Assembly held 12 sessions

Assembly held 12 sessions, or rounds of sittings: 1). December 9-23, 1946, 2).January 20- 25, 1947, 3). April 28- May 2, 1947, 4). July 14- 31, 1947, 5). August 14- 30, 1947, 6). January 27, 1948, 7). November 4, 1948-January, 1949, 8). May 16- June 16, 1949, 9). July 30-September 18, 1949,10). October 6-17, 1949, 11). November 4-26, 1949, and 12). January 24, 1950.

Membership of the Assembly kept varying for different reasons, other than resignation and death. Many public figures showed keenness to enter the Assembly but its membership was also denounced by certain groups like Muslim League, Communists and Socialists. These attitudes changed too. After passage of the Indian Independence Act by British Parliament it was decided that those members who wish to retain their seats in provincial legislature would vacate their seats in the Assembly. But several members of provincial legislature continued to come and partake in the Assembly until the provision against this was made in the Constitution itself. Biggest change in membership was caused by the declaration of Partition of India. Certain members like Dr. Ambedkar, who were elected from territories assigned to Dominion of Pakistan, lost their seats. Muslim League members elected from United Provinces, Bihar and elsewhere came to occupy their seats after partition. Such members were humiliated on many occasions and Patel even told them to go to Pakistan. After initial disinterest, the princely states started negotiating with a committee of the Assembly for their representation. Over a period, hundreds of princely states were grouped into larger associations and provisions were made for them to elect their representatives to the Assembly. Till the last day of the Assembly, new members kept joining in. Hyderabad did not send any representative till the end. The total number of people who sat as members of the Assembly at any time has not been calculated by any official or scholar. Records show that maximum membership towards the end of tenure of Assembly was 307.

The Assembly took help of several non-members in formulation of the Constitution. Eminent public figures outside the Assembly were requested to work as members of committees formed by the Assembly for focused deliberations on specific features or segments.

Much of constitution-making took place in these committees, both from procedural and substantive viewpoint. Till date, no official report has appeared in public domain on the exact number of committees formed by the Constituent Assembly. Resolutions were moved for setting up committees as and when the need arose, and adopted after discussion. Depending on swiftness of nomination or election of members of respective committees, their formal appointment took few hours, days or weeks from the adoption of resolution.

Committees of the Constituent Assembly

Some of the known committees were:

Organisational Committees

1.1- Rules of Procedure Committee (appointed on December 11, 1946. 15 members, Chairperson- Rajendra Prasad, ex-officio. Worked till 20 Dec. 1946)

1.2- Steering Committee (appointed on January 21, 1947. 19 members, Chairperson- Rajendra Prasad, ex-officio. Worked till the end.)

1.3- Staff and Finance Committee (appointed on December 23, 1946. 11 members, Chairperson- Rajendra Prasad, ex-officio. Worked till the end.)

1.4- Credentials Committee (appointed on December 23, 1946. 5 members, Chairperson- A.K. Ayyar. Worked till the end.

1.5- Order of Business Committee (appointed on January 25, 1947. 3 members, Chairperson- K.M. Munshi. Worked till July 14, 1947)

1.6- States (Negotiating) Committee (appointed on December 21, 1946. 6 members, Chairperson- J.L. Nehru. Worked till June 5, 1947)

1.7- Flag Committee (appointed on June 23, 1947. 12 members, Chairperson- Rajendra Prasad, ex-officio. Worked till July 22, 1947)

1.8- Committee on Functions of Constituent Assembly, under the Indian Independence Act (appointed on August 20, 1947. 7 members, Chairperson- G.V. Mavlankar. Worked till August 25, 1947)

Principal Committees and their sub-committees

2.1- Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities, Tribal Areas and Excluded Areas (appointed on 24 Jan. 1947. 57 members, Chairperson- Sardar Patel. Worked till 26 May 1949)

2.2- Union Powers Committee (appointed on 25 Jan, 1947. 12 members, Chairperson- J.L. Nehru. Worked till 26 Aug. 1947)

2.3- Union Constitution Committee (appointed on 4 May. 1947. 12 members, Chairperson- J.L. Nehru. Worked till 31 July, 1947.)

2.4- Provincial Constitution Committee (appointed on 4 May. 1947. 21 members, Chairperson- Sardar Patel. Worked till 21 July, 1947.)

2.5- Drafting Committee (appointed on 29 Aug. 1947. 8 members, Chairperson- Dr. Ambedkar. Worked till 17 Nov. 1949)

Other Sectoral Committees

3.1- Ad-hoc Committee on Citizenship (appointed on 30 April, 1947. 7 members, Chairperson- S. Varadachariar. Worked till 12 July. 1947)

3.2- Committee on Chief Commissioner’s Provinces (appointed on 31 July, 1947. 7 members, Chairperson- N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar. Worked till 21 Oct. 1947)

3.3- Experts Committee on Financial Provisions of Constitution (appointed in Nov. 1947. 3 members, Chairperson- N.R. Sarkar. Worked between 17 Nov.- 5 Dec. 1947)

3.4- Sub-Committee on Minority safeguards for West Bengal and East Punjab (appointed on 24 Feb. 1948. 5 members, Chairperson- Sardar Patel. Worked till 23 Nov., 1948.)

Curiously, the so-called Special Committee was constituted to decide the future course of action after comments had arrived in response to the Draft Constitution of February 1948. Neither a resolution for its constitution existed, nor anybody cared to inform the Assembly later on how and why this committee of great consequence was formed. In all, 32 members attended meetings of Special Committee on April 10-11, 1948, which were chaired by JL Nehru.

Office bearers of the Constituent Assembly

Rajendra Prasad was the elected President of Constituent Assembly while VT Krishnamachari and HC Mookerji served as Vice-Presidents. HVR Iyengar was the secretary general of the Assembly, and SN Mukherji was the Chief Draftsman.

After authentication of copies of the Constitution, the Constituent Assembly got naturally dissolved with its Chairperson having been elected the President of India, and its staff diverted to other avenues. But bulk of the Assembly continued functioning as provisional Parliament of India till first general elections were held. Indeed the first amendment to the Constitution of India was made by this provisional Parliament in the summer of 1951.

Preparation of Memorandum

Making of Constitution has been a controversial issue for a long time. This controversy consumes much public energy that can better be utilised in improving our collective understanding of the Constitution. Many experts have written dedicated books on making of constitution but a simplified brief on incremental stages of its formulation was missing.

  1. Dissemination of Constitutional Advisor’s Brief (pamphlets) & Questionnaire (September 1946-November 1947)

B N Rau was appointed Constitutional Advisor by the-then Viceroy Lord Wavell to head the Constituent Assembly Secretariat sometime in late July 1946. He had retired from civil service in January 1944 but remained active. He offered his honorary services to the Viceroy, which was accepted most probably due to his stint in Reforms Office soon after the enactment of Govt. of India Act, 1935. Rau prepared number of pamphlets on various aspects of impending constitution and also collected text of some important constitutions of the world, to facilitate informed discussion by the members of Assembly. Jawaharlal Nehru, as vice-president of Viceroy’s Executive Council, approved dissemination of these briefs on September 16, 1946. Later on, Rau also circulated focused questionnaire on certain aspects of federal constitution in March 1947, and focused Notes to various committees on occasion.

  1. Preparation of Memorandum by the Advisor based on responses; Submission of notes by certain members (February-November 1947)

Based on responses to his briefs and questionnaire, Rau prepared his Memorandum which included blueprints of probable provisions of impending constitution. Certain members chose to send their own individual notes which were to be placed before committees of the Assembly.

  1. Deliberations in Principal Committees, including joint and sub-committees, and their Reports (February-August 1947)

The second session of constituent Assembly- In the second session of Assembly, its Chairman constituted four principal committees: Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal Areas & Excluded Areas, Provincial Constitution Committee, Union Constitution Committee and Union Powers Committee. Of these committees, first two were chaired by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel while the latter two were chaired by Nehru. Most of these committees appointed their sub-committees for more focused work on particular segment. Two or three of these committees also sat jointly to consider matters lying in overlapping zones of consideration. These committees finished bulk of their work by August 1947, but work of first committee went on for a long time on account of concerns of minorities. Partition is often cited as an excuse for delay but the crucial declaration was made on June 3, 1947 while these principal committees were tasked to finish their work by April-May 1947 itself. Anyway, their reports to Assembly included draft provisions of the constitution and some explanatory notes. Usually, the chairperson of the respective committee submitted the report to the President of Assembly, as also presented it in the Assembly and explained or defended it.

[Working of Constituent Assembly, including nomination of acting President, election of regular President and formation of operational committees was decided by an unofficial Experts’ Committee of Congress in July-August 1946. It was this committee which prepared the draft of Objective Resolution which was moved in the first session by Nehru.]

  1. Discussion on Reports in Constituent Assembly and adoption of principles (April-Aug. 1947)

The Assembly discussed the reports of principal committees in detail and adopted the principles therein. More than two thirds of the final constitution Bill was covered in these discussions.

  1. Preparation of First Draft by Constitutional Advisor (July-October 1947)

Constitutional Advisor started putting together first draft of constitution by aligning the reports already discussed and adopted. He also augmented it by filling obvious gaps himself in the form of suggestions, or indicated certain spaces that would only be filled after reports of sectoral committees came in. This was the stage of first major delay in completion of work since the first draft missed the deadline of August-September and arrived only on October 27, 1947.

Deliberations and recommendations

  1. Deliberations in Sectoral Committees and their Reports (April-December 1947)

Various sectoral committees commenced and finished their deliberations, and this activity went on over a long period. These sectoral committees were assigned very definite tasks either by the Chairman of Assembly or by one of the committees itself. Many of these reports couldn’t be utilised in the first draft of constitutional advisor or in the Draft Constitution, and were incorporated in later stages.

  1. Deliberations in Drafting Committee and resultant Draft Constitution (October 1947- February 1948)

Assembly had resolved in July 1947 to constitute a drafting committee which will attune the constitution Bill from the perspective of legislative language and other such aspects. On August 29, 1947 this drafting committee was elected by the Assembly, while the committee chose its Chairman in its first meeting. Primary contribution of drafting committee was refining and expanding the draft of constitutional advisor (240 Articles, 13 Schedules) in its sitting held almost continuously. It produced the draft constitution by February 21, 1948 which contained 315 Articles and 8 Schedules. It was published on February 26 and circulated widely among official and non-official circles, to elicit comments. This was second major stage of delay in formulation of constitution since it was supposed to finish its work in a month and Dr. Ambedkar even informed midway through this round of sittings that assigned work would be finished within December 1947.

  1. Consideration of Responses by Drafting Committee, and its recommendations (March 23, 24 and 27, 1948)

Responses were invited on draft constitution by March 22, 1948. Soon, thereafter, the drafting committee sat down to consider these responses as presented by the assembly secretariat. Recommendations emanating from these sittings were duly forwarded to the Chairman of Assembly.

  1. Deliberations on Responses in Special Committee, and its decisions (April 10-11, 1948)

Chairman of Assembly decided that responses on draft constitution and recommendations of drafting committee should be considered by a Special Committee, which was to consist of members of Committees on Union Powers, Union Constitution and Provincial Constitution. Nehru chaired the sittings attended by some 30 members. This Committee resolved some matters and held over some of them for later consideration. It recommended that call for amendments from members of Assembly may be issued. This Committee was supposed to reconvene on May 11, 1948 but apparently, it never did. It remains a mystery, unanswered by any participant or scholar, as to what caused the official inactivity on formulation of Constitution for six long months.

  1. Deliberations in Drafting Committee for parallel/official amendments (October 18-20, 1948)

Finally on October 18, 1948 the drafting committee picked the cue and decided in its sittings over three days that a reprint of draft constitution will be issued containing the amendments that the committee was willing to sponsor, parallel to relevant Article or Schedule. Approach taken at these two stages ensured that the Assembly would have to go through discussion and voting again and again on several segments. Lack of clarity and interest shown by Nehru and Patel in this phase expanded the role and authority of the Drafting Committee. Neither of the two de-facto leaders of the Assembly came forward to get a proper second draft prepared and to steer it in the Assembly.

  1. Publication of bound books of proposed amendments, both officially sponsored and private member’s amendments (October 26, 1948)

As per the resolution of the drafting committee, a reprint of draft constitution was issued to all members of the Assembly. Critique of the rationale behind this strange draft has been consistently avoided, and thus, it remains out of print despite the fact that the Assembly considered this version and not the oft-cited Draft Constitution of February 1948. Simultaneously, the President of the Assembly ensured printing and distribution of bound volumes of amendments proposed by individual members. During the course of debates in the Assembly, amendments were referred to by sequential number and book number.

Final voting

  1. Discussions and voting in meetings of Congress Assembly Party, held in Constitution House (October 1948-November 1949)

Since the Assembly was dominated by representatives from the Congress, party whip played a great role. However, certain individual members did express their views in Assembly, even at the risk of challenging the party whip. The Assembly Party meetings were open to non-congressmen who cared to attend. The Party took care not to enforce strict discipline on emotional issues and allowed open discussion in the Assembly, though in the end final decision on almost every segment of constitution was taken herein. The Constitution Bill being such a bulky document, the party whip issued to all members mimeographed lists of Articles and the decisions taken thereon.

  1. Discussion and voting on Draft Constitution and amendments, in the Assembly (November 4, 1948 –October 17, 1949)

Most visible part of constitution-making was the year-long discussions in Assembly. For official purposes, this was called the first-reading. The discussion wasn’t always conducted in sequential order that articles were arranged in the draft constitution but was decided by the Steering Committee. Very few unofficial amendments were accepted by the Assembly at the voting. Even if they are not withdrawn, they were often negated. Some of the unofficial amendments were accepted by the Drafting Committee during discussion and thus, they were not voted upon. KM Munshi played a crucial role of a regular link between the Drafting Committee and the Congress Assembly Party.

  1. Preparation of so-called Final Draft, by Drafting Committee (November 3, 1949)

Discussion in the Assembly was rather haphazard insofar not being in sequential order of the Draft Constitution. Several matters, already decided after discussion and voting, were revisited for deliberations and often, changes of drafting nature were left to the Drafting Committee. It was obvious that a clean draft was required and therefore, the Drafting Committee submitted such a draft. In doing so, certain unapproved changes were introduced by the committee which required deliberation and decision of the Assembly. Individual members received it around November 6, 1949 and were given opportunity to propose amendments to these new changes.

  1. Discussion for three days and final voting for amendment of certain clauses (November 14-16, 1949)

Officially called the second-reading of constitution Bill, this phase witnessed 170 amendments being moved. Only 88 were accepted, 30 withdrawn and 52 negated. With this, the real work of formulation of Constitution got over.

  1. Discussion on ‘settled-by-Assembly’ version of Constitution Bill (November 17-26 1949)

This was a beginning of a largely ceremonial phase, officially called third-reading. In the discussion that ensued, most of the speakers (more than 100) explain their take on merits and shortcomings of the Constitution. Dr Ambedkar and the President of the Assembly gave their views in the end.

  1. Final adoption, enactment through signing by Chairman of Assembly; and partial commencement (November 26, 1949)

With the last voting on the Constitution, it was adopted by the Constituent Assembly. The President of the Assembly signed a copy of the Constitution to officially bring it in force, although partially, because only 16 of the 395 Articles came into force at that point in time.

  1. Signing of calligraphed version of the Constitution by all members of Assembly (January 24, 1950)

Proceedings of the day began by the declaration of the President of the Assembly having been elected as the President of India. Then, all members signed three copies, the English print version and calligraphed version in English and Hindi, of the Constitution. Nehru was the first and Prasad was the last to sign these copies.

  1. Formal Commencement (January 26, 1950)

As per the provisions in the Constitution, it formally commenced on January 1950, bringing it in force in its entirety. This date was most probably chosen to commemorate the declaration of ‘Poorna Swaraj’ (Total Independence) by Nehru at an annual session of the Congress in Lahore in 1929. This day was used to be celebrated as Independence Day by the Congress for many years but circumstances (and the sudden decision of British authorities to grant independence) made it Republic Day.

Categories
International Current Affairs

US hikes tariffs on Chinese goods, Beijing retaliates

President Donald Trump’s administration again hiked tariff on Chinese goods, effective from May 10, 2019, much to the dismay of China which said it would retaliate. The negotiators from China and the US met On May 09, 2019 and the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin briefed President Trump on the negotiations, before dining with the Chinese negotiators. The Chinese delegation was led by Vice Premier Liu He,.who asserted that he “came with sincerity.” He appealed to Washington to avoid more tariff hikes, saying they are “not a solution” and would harm the world.“We should not hurt innocent people. But all these gestures were of no avail and negotiations could not settle the issue.

Us Slaps another tariff hike on China

Another bout of tariff hike has escalated trade war between the two countries. The US is bothered about its highly skewed and adverse balance of payments, lack of market access provided to US products in Chinese markets and a concern against China’s technology ambitions efforts to become a world power.  The Trump administration raised duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. China’s Commerce Ministry said would take “necessary countermeasures” but gave no details. This a matter of concern for the global economy as the trade war between the countries has disrupted billions of dollars in trade and shaken global financial markets. This hike in tariffs took place while the Chinese authorities tried to negotiate with the US. American officials accuse Beijing of backtracking on commitments made in earlier rounds of negotiations.

China retaliates as the trade battle goes ahead

The latest increase extends 25% U.S. duties to a total of $250 billion of Chinese imports. The US President later said he might extend penalties to all Chinese goods shipped to the United States. The latest higher U.S. import taxes don’t apply to Chinese goods shipped before May 10, 2019. By sea, shipments across the Pacific take about three weeks, which gives negotiators a few more days to reach a settlement before importers may have to pay the increased charges.

Beijing had set additional rates of 5% and 10% on 5,207 U.S. products worth $60 billion in September, in response to the U.S.’s initial 10% duty on the $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and warned at the time that it would counter any higher tariffs imposed by Washington. It is notable that Beijing has so far retaliated for previous tariff hikes by raising duties on $110 billion of American imports before the latest retaliation. It is reported that Chinese regulators are running out of U.S. goods for penalties due to the lopsided trade balance. Chinese officials have targeted operations of American companies in China by slowing customs clearance for their goods and stepping up regulatory scrutiny that can hamper operations.

China didn’t want to escalate the trade war with the US. But when the US proceeded with its latest move of tariff hike against the Chinese products, China retaliated three days after. On May 13, 2019 China retaliated saying it would impose higher tariffs on most U.S. imports on a revised $60 billion target list, indicating further escalation of a bitter trade war. A total of 5,140 U.S. products will be subject to additional tariffs of 5%, 10%, 20% and 25% starting June 1, the finance ministry in Beijing said in a statement. The escalation, from rates of 5% and 10%, was announced hours after Trump warned China not to retaliate against the latest U.S. tariffs hike. The additional tariff of 25% will be levied against 2,493 goods including liquefied natural gas, soy oil, peanut oil, petrochemicals, frozen vegetables and cosmetics, the ministry said, and of 20% on 1,078 products.

Way ahead- No early signs of reconciliation?

China reiterated that its adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to U.S. unilateralism and protectionism,” the ministry said. “China hopes the U.S. will get back to the right track of bilateral trade and economic consultations and meet with China halfway.” The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and pressures American companies into handing over trade secrets, part of an aggressive campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries. The latest Chinese retaliation came as U.S. President Donald Trump signaled his intent to slap tariffs on all Chinese imports if Beijing does not give in, suggesting a prolonged standoff between the world’s two largest economies that could roil global markets for weeks or months to come. It does not seem that the two countries are inclined to resolve their problems by accommodation and understanding. China is a rising global power driving its power from its deep pocket resulting from trade surplus with its most of the big trade partners. The economies like the US feel that their technology and manufacturing jobs have been stolen by China which is indulging in exchange rate manipulation, patent violations, theft of technology and reverse technological innovation, all of which are eroding America’s comparative advantage. The battle does not show any sign to relent in immediate terms.

Categories
Polity and International Relations (English) Readings for Prelims

Constitutional Amendments in India

The Indian Constitution

The constitution of India is the supreme law of India .at present there are, 448 articles in 25 parts, 12 schedules, 5 appendices and 101 amendments in the Indian Constitution. Initially, i.e in 1949, the Constitution had 395 articles. But many new articles came into play and we total have now 469 articles. Since society and its needs are ever-evolving, constitution needs to keep pace, and therefore amendments to the Indian constitution have been taking place from time to time. As of March 2019, there have been 103 amendments to the Constitution of India since it was first enacted in 1950.

The procedure of amendment

The procedure of amendment in the constitution is laid down in Part XX (Article 368) of the Constitution of India. This procedure ensures the sanctity of the Constitution of India and keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament of India. The amendment of the Indian constitution is done through a well laid out procedure and there is ample provision to avoid conflict between judiciary i.e., the Supreme Court and legislature, i.e., the Parliament of India, The use of discretionary power to amend constitution by parliament is subject to certain rules and doctrines as interpreted by the Supreme Court. There are laid down doctrines or rules in this regard for checking the validity/legality of an amendment undertaken by parliament, One such doctrine, the most important one is about the Basic structure doctrine as laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala.

The original constitution provided for three categories of amendments.

Category 1- by simple majority

The first category of amendments are those contemplated in articles 4 (2), 169, 239A (2), 239AA (7b), 243M (4b), 243ZC (3), 244A (4), 356 (1)c, para 7(2) of Schedule V and para 21(2) of Schedule VI. These amendments can be effected by Parliament by a simple majority such as that required for the passing of any ordinary law. The amendments under this category are specifically excluded from the purview of article 368 which is the specific provision in the Constitution dealing with the power and the procedure for the amendment of the Constitution.

Article 4

Article 4 provides that laws made by Parliament under article 2 (relating to admission or establishment of new States) and article 3 (relating to formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States) effecting amendments in the First Schedule or the Fourth Schedule and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters, shall not be deemed to be amendments of the Constitution for the purposes of article 368.

For example, the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, which brought about the reorganization of the States in India, was passed by Parliament as an ordinary piece of legislation. In Mangal Singh v. Union of India (A.I.R. 1967 S.C. 944), the Supreme Court held that power to reduce the total number of members of Legislative Assembly below the minimum prescribed under article 170 (1) is implicit in the authority to make laws under article 4. Article 169 empowers Parliament to provide by law for the abolition or creation of the Legislative Councils in States and specifies that though such law shall contain such provisions for the amendment of the Constitution as may be necessary, it shall not be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution for the purposes of article 368.

The Fifth Schedule

The Fifth Schedule contains provisions as to the administration and control of the Schedule Areas and Scheduled Tribes. Para 7 of the Schedule vests Parliament with plenary powers to enact laws amending the Schedule and lays down that no such law shall be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution for the purposes of article 368. Under Para 21 of the Sixth Schedule, Parliament has full power to enact laws amending the Sixth Schedule which contains provisions for the administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. No such law will be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution for the purposes of article 368.

Category 2- by special majority

The second category includes amendments that can be effected by Parliament by a prescribed ‘special majority’;

Category 3- by special majority plus ratification by at least one half of state legislatures- The third category of amendments includes those that require, in addition to such “special majority”, ratification by at least one-half of the State Legislatures. The last two categories are governed by article 368.

Amendment under article 368

Part-xx Article 368 (1) of the Constitution of India grants constituent power to make formal amendments and empowers Parliament to amend the Constitution by way of addition, variation or repeal of any provision according to the procedure laid down therein, which is different from the procedure for ordinary legislation.

Article 368. Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and Procedure therefor:

(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.

(2) An amendment of this Constitution may be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament, and when the Bill is passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting, it shall be presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill and thereupon the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill:

Provided that if such amendment seeks to make any change in –

(a) article 54, article 55, article 73, article 162, article 241 or article 279A or

(b) Chapter IV of Part V, Chapter V of Part VI, or Chapter I of Part XI, or

(c) any of the Lists in the Seventh Schedule, or

(d) the representation of States in Parliament, or

(e) the provisions of this article,

the amendment shall also require to be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States by resolutions to that effect passed by those Legislatures before the Bill making provision for such amendment is presented to the President for assent.

(3) Nothing in article 13 shall apply to any amendment made under this article.

(4) No amendment of this Constitution (including the provisions of Part III) made or purporting to have been made under this article whether before or after the commencement of section 55 of the Constitution (Forty Second Amendment) Act, 1976 shall be called in question in any court on any ground.

(5) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that there shall be no limitation whatever on the constituent power of Parliament to amend by way of addition, variation or repeal the provisions of this Constitution under this article.

As per the procedure laid out by article 368 for amendment of the Constitution, an amendment can be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament. The Bill must then be passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting. There is no provision for a joint sitting in case of disagreement between the two Houses. Total membership in this context has been defined to mean the total number of members comprising the House irrespective of any vacancies or absentees on any account vide Explanation to Rule 159 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.

The Bill, passed by the required majority, is then presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill. If the amendment seeks to make any change in any of the provisions mentioned in the proviso to article 368, it must be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States. These provisions relate to certain matters concerning the federal structure or of common interest to both the Union and the States viz., the election of the President (articles 54 and 55); the extent of the executive power of the Union and the States (articles 73 and 162); the High Courts for Union territories (article 241); The Union Judiciary and the High Courts in the States (Chapter IV of Part V and Chapter V of Part VI); the distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States (Chapter I of Part XI and Seventh Schedule); the representation of States in Parliament; and the provision for amendment of the Constitution laid down in article 368. Ratification is done by a resolution passed by the State Legislatures. There is no specific time limit for the ratification of an amending Bill by the State Legislatures. However, the resolutions ratifying the proposed amendment must be passed before the amending Bill is presented to the President for his assent.

Article 368 was amended by the 24th and 42nd Amendments in 1971 and 1976 respectively. New clauses 368 (1) and 368 (3) were added by the 24th Amendment in 1971, which also added a new clause (4) in article 13 which reads, “Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under article 368.”The provisions in italics were inserted by the 42nd Amendment but were later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Minerva Mills v. Union of India in 1980. After the 24th amendment, Article 4(2), etc. of the constitution are superseded/made void by article 368 (1) which is the only procedure for amending the constitution however marginal may be the nature of the amendment. The Supreme court ruled that the constituent power under article 368 must be exercised by the Parliament in the prescribed manner and cannot be exercised under the legislative powers of the Parliament.