Indian Polity - Current Affairs for January,2017

Month and Year:   
▼ Goa: First state to opt for electronic transmission of postal ballot   [01-25-17]

In the upcoming assembly polls, Goa will become the first state in the nation to opt for electronic transmission of postal ballot. CEC Syed Nasim Zaidi announced this move to service voters.

Returning officers will transfer postal ballots to service voters by electronic means. Service voters can now download it,, fill and send it through email to the returning officer.

Sending ballot papers through electronic means is time conserving. In fact, this is the first service not only in the region, but around the world.

Goa has 822 service voters in defence, para military forces or diplomatic missions.

Goa is the first state where assembly constituencies will be covered by VVPAT or Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machines.

This will ensure the vote goes to the right candidate and transparency of the process is available for the voter.

IT based initiatives and schemes have also been put in place. Samadhan, an online scheme addresses complaints. Permission clearance system Suvidha will have modifications to make it work better.

Polling will take place in free and fair manner, with measures taken by ECI like strict vigil on casinos, state borders and the airport.

DG Intelligence is also working on strategy, entry and exit from casinos, movement of loose cash, setting up of static surveillance team, flying squads and certain action by Income Tax department,” he said.

Air Intelligence unit has been set up at the Dabolim international airport. It is set to check movement of money or any undesirable elements through air.

I-T department is keeping special eye on clandestine currency exchanges and the movement of money through banking channels.

Special surveillance would be mounted on cross border movement of liquor, money and gifts.

In order to check misuse of liquor, excise department has to launch a special drive.

Goa Government: Know More

  • Governor: Mridula Sinha
  • Chief Minister: Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP)
  • Legislature: Unicameral (40 seats)
  • Parliamentary constituency: 2
  • High Court Bombay High Court - Panaji, Goa Bench

▼ Congress forges alliance with Samajwadi Party in UP   [01-23-17]

Congress party finally announced on 23rd Jan 2017 that it has forged an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP).

It will contest from 105 seats in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections .

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav earlier said he wouldn't offer the Congress a chance to contest from more than 100 seats.

The Congress wanted to contest as many as 121 seats.

Akhilesh said his final offer was 99-100 seats for the Congress.

It was when Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi stepped in that the alliance fructified.

The Samajwadi Party and the Congress will fight the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections together.

This is a move that both parties hope will help them consolidate the Muslim vote, a significant 19 per cent of the electorate.

Two parties agreed on a seat sharing formula under which the Congress will contest 105 seats while the SP will battle it out in 298 seats under Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The Congress emerged a winner from the deal as it got thrice the number of seats than its 2012 tally of just 28.

The SP had won 224 seats.

Samajwadi Party: Know More

  • Abbreviation: SP
  • President: Akhilesh Yadav
  • Lok Sabha leader: Mulayam Singh Yadav
  • Rajya Sabha leader: Ram Gopal Yadav
  • Founder: Mulayam Singh Yadav
  • Founded: 10 April 1992
  • Headquarters: 18 Copernicus Lane, New Delhi, India
  • Newspaper: Samajwadi Bulletin

▼ Union Government clears TN Ordinance on Jallikattu   [01-23-17]

The Union Government has Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to promulgate an ordinance to hold Jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport.

The Union Ministries of Home, Law and Environment has vetted the state’s draft ordinance and cleared the amendment.

Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao has promulgated an Ordinance (as per Article 213 of Constitution).

This was paving way for resuming Jallikattu game in the state.

With the ordinance, people from Tamil Nadu now for conducting the bull-taming game that banned by Supreme Court in May 2014.

Earlier, Central government had given for the draft of the state ordinance after it was endorsed by President, enabling the approval of the state Governor.

Jallikattu: Know More

  • Jallikattu is bull-taming sport.
  • It is an age-old annual event celebrated during Pongal (Harvest festival).
  • It is celebrated in in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is one of the oldest living ancient traditions practiced in the modern era.

▼ J&K Assembly passes resolution calling for return of Kashmiri pandits   [01-20-17]

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly passed a unanimous resolution calling for the return of those who have migrated, including Kashmiri Pandits on 19th Jan 2017.

Former CM and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah proposed to move a resolution.

It seeks to favour the return of all sections of people who have migrated in the last 27 years.

Speaker Kavinder Gupta read the resolution.

Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit families left the Valley when militancy broke out in 1989.

▼ BJP ex-MP Navjot Singh Sidhu joins Congress   [01-16-17]

INC on 15th Jan 2016 announced that cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu will formally join the party.

Sidhu will run for the Amritsar East seat previously held by his wife and a part of his former Lok Sabha seat of Amritsar.

Congress announced that former CM and state unit chief Amarinder Singh and Sidhu would visit Darbar Sahib on January 19.

Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur joined the party on November 28 along with former India hockey captain Pargat Singh, an Akali Dal legislator.

Pargat collaborated with Sidhu to form the Awaaz-e-Punjab outfit which has dissolved with its other component.

Ever since he resigned from Rajya Sabha and quit BJP, Sidhu and his associates have been looking to explore political options.

▼ CEC Nasim Zaidi sets new measures for upcoming state assembly elections    [01-5-17]

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi on Jan 4, 2016 announced a number of new measures for the upcoming assembly elections in five states.

Zaidi announced putting up of four posters at each polling station, informing the voters of locations of booths, and other Dos and Don'ts. Colourful voter guide with photo voter's slip to be introduced for the first time.

The posters were a statutory requirement at all polling stations, he said. A voting assistance booth would also be kept at the polling stations.

The height of the voting compartment would also be raised to 30 inches this time. This was done to conceal the upper part of the body of the voters, the movement of which might giveaway the button they were pressing. This is being done to maintain secrecy.

The five states going to polls this year were Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur.

Know More About CEC

  • Incumbent: Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi (since 19 April 2015)
  • Nominator: Government of India
  • Appointer: President of India
  • Term length: 6 yrs or up to 65 yrs of age (whichever is earlier)
  • Salary: ₹90,000 per month

▼ Judicial review powers to ordinances by Presidents/State Governors   [01-4-17]

SC on 2nd Jan 2017 passed a ruling stating that re-promulgation of an ordinance was a fraud on the Constitution.

It also ruled that ordinances passed by the President and State Governors by bypassing the legislature are not immune from judicial review.

Decision was taken by a constitution bench comprising 7 justices headed by CJ TS Thakur with a majority of 6-1.

The bench states that since an ordinance has the same force as law passed by legislature, it should be placed before the parliament at centre or state level.

Failure in placing the ordinance before the Parliament or state legislature would be a serious constitutional violation.

Apart from CJ Thakur, all others including Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, L. Nageswara Rao, Adarsh Kumar Goel and SA Bobde agreed to the decision.

The ruling also said the court would review if the President or Governor would implement the ordinance based on relevant or ulterior motives.

No legal rights will be given to beneficiaries of ordinance after expiry/withdrawal.

The riling came with the re-promulgation of the Bihar Sanskrit Schools Ordinance (1989).

The Bihar state govt approached SC following Patna HC verdict which stated repeated promulgation of the ordinance was unconstitutional.

▼ Mobile based monitoring system for Punjab elections   [01-3-17]

Election Commission of India has introduced mobile based monitoring system for the Punjab Assembly elections.

ECI has decided to introduce this system to ensure free and fair 2017 assembly elections in Punjab.

Mobile apps are for maintaining law and order and streamlining the functioning of polling staff.

These important features will enable real time data pertaining to polling by polling staff.

Complaints received by the ECI will also be dealt online.

Specialized training will be provided to poll officers and officials to get them aware of modern technology at the time of elections.

Election Commission of India

  • Formed: 25 January 1950 (Later celebrated as National Voters Day)
  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Agency executives:
  • Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi IAS, Chief Election Commissioner
  • Dilip Sharma IRS, Director General
  • Website: eci.nic.in

▼ Akhilesh Yadav appointed new SP President!   [01-3-17]

General Secretary of the Samajwadi Party, Ramgopal Yadav declared current UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as the new national president of the party on Jan 1, 2017. He replaced father Mulayam Singh Yadav as the new party president.

This announcement was made at the emergency party meeting held at Lucknow's Neshwar Mishra Park.

Akhilesh Yadav was selected as SP national president with a unanimous national executive board. He will now reconstitute all the party's state bodies.

Mulayam Singh Yadav was transferred to the post of supreme guide or margdarshak of the party, whose main job was to advise the new leadership.

Shivpal Yadav, president of the Samajwadi Party's UP unit was also removed from his post. Naresh Uttam has been appointed in his place.

An emergency convention was held by several party members and prominent leaders.

The move was followed by the recent expulsion of Akhilesh Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav from the party by then chief Mulayam Singh Yadav which was revoked a day later.

The meeting where Akhilesh was selected party president was called unconstitutional, undisciplined and against the party image by Mulayam Singh Yadav.

This suggests a party split.

Meanwhile, Mulayam Singh Yadav approached the EC to stake claim over the cycle symbol hours after canceling the Jan 5 party convention called by him.

Claiming to have the backing of the SP Parliamentary Board, he said the party symbol cycle belonged to the party president.

Ram Gopal Yadav moved a resolution at emergency convention of SP in Lucknow anointing Akhilesh as party president.

He said as per SP constitution, the decision needs the backing of the Parliamentary Board which was absent.

About the Samajwadi Party

  • Founded: October 4, 1992
  • Newspaper: Samajwadi Bulletin
  • Ideology: Left-wing populism, Democratic socialism
  • Political position: Left-wing politics
  • Alliance: Janata Parivar (2015-present), Left Front (1992-2015)
  • Founder: Mulayam Singh Yadav

▼ Pema Khandu joins BJP, forms government in Arunachal Pradesh   [01-2-17]

Chief Minister Pema Khandu and 32 other legislators of the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) switched loyalties on the last day of the year, gifting the BJP its first full-fledged government in the North East - though there was one for 44 days in 2003 under Gegong Apang - and the tenth in the country.

In the 60-member House, the BJP strength is now 45 and it has the support of two independents.

The PPA count is down to 10 while the Congress has only three members.

In the last twelve months, the state has had four chief ministers.

Khandu said the people of the state wanted a stable government “in line with” that of Narendra Modi at the Centre.

The Chief Minister assured the state that this would be the last change until the 2019 assembly elections.

Arunachal Pradesh becomes 10th BJP ruled state and 14th with BJP alliances.

Mr Khandu now has the support of 46 MLAs in the 60 member state legislative assembly, way ahead of the 31 seats - the magic number.

This is the second time BJP has come to power in Arunachal. Last time was in 2003 when under almost similar circumstances Gegong Apang took away MLAs from Congress and formed a BJP government only to return to the Congress fold.

Chronology of events
President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent for the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016. It makes holding of old 1,000 and 500 rupee notes after 31st March 2016 a offence that will attract a fine of Rs. 10000 or five times the cash held
Anil Baijal (70) took oath as the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. He was administered oath to the office by Delhi High Court chief Justice G Rohini at ceremony held in Raj Niwas, North Delhi.
The new President of Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh unit is Naresh Uttam
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kenya on bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.
The Supreme Court observed that tax break given to political parties is legal as they require donations from followers to project their political ideas and represent the people. The ruling was given by three-judge Bench led by CJI J.S. Khehar.
For first time as many as 46 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, where Assembly elections is scheduled in February 2017, will have voters’ list printed in Urdu along with Hindi and English.
The Union Government is discussing the issue of bringing water into concurrent list of VII schedule of Constitution with States.
The Supreme Court has ruled that Canon law and decrees of divorce given by ecclesiastical tribunals or ‘Church Courts’ cannot veto the statutory law of divorce.
The Election Commission (EC) has given its nod to the Union Government to present the Union Budget on 1 February 2017 ahead of the Assembly polls in five States viz. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Goa.
The special session of Tamil Nadu Assembly has unanimously passed Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 to overcome Supreme Court imposed ban on the traditional sport of Jallikattu.
Election Commission has given its nod to the Centre to present the Union Budget on 1st of February ahead of the Assembly polls in five States.
Election Commission of India celebrates 7th National Voters’ Day with theme “ Empowering Young & Future Voters.”