SC: Tribunal Appointments Being Taken Lightly


The Supreme Court said its judicial intervention saw the government make abrupt efforts to fill vacancies in tribunals some time back and nothing after that.

  • Earlier, The Supreme Court accused the Centre of “cherry-picking” names for appointments to tribunals groaning under backlog and left almost defunct by long-pending vacancies.

GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Interventions), GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Quasi-Judicial Bodies)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About the present vacancies in tribunals
  2. Constitutional provisions and mandates regarding Tribunals
  3. Issues with tribunalization/tribunals

About the present vacancies in tribunals

  • Chief Justice of India read out the details of over 240 vacancies in key tribunals with some tribunals even lacking presiding officers.
  • The tribunals included some critical ones like the National Green Tribunal, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and Central Administrative Tribunal among others.
  • The bench also lamented the fact that recommendations to the tribunals by the selection committees led by sitting Supreme Court judges have been largely ignored by the government.

Concerns regarding vacancies in tribunals

  • The large vacancies have made the tribunals ineffective and redundant.
  • The large vacancies mainly attributable to the delay in appointments have rendered the tribunals defunct and with High Courts having no jurisdiction over the areas of law wielded by tribunals, litigants have nowhere to go for justice and this would adversely impact the right of the people to access justice.

Constitutional provisions and mandates regarding Tribunals

  • The provision for Tribunals was added by the 42nd Constitutional amendment act which added two new articles to the constitution.
  • Article 323-A of the constitution which empowers the parliament to provide for the establishment of administrative tribunals for adjudicating the disputes relating to recruitment and conditions of service of a person appointed to public service of centre, states, local bodies, public corporations and other public authority.
  • Accordingly, the Parliament has enacted Administrative Tribunals Act,1985 which authorizes parliament to establish Centre and state Administrative tribunals (CAT & SATs).
Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT):
  • It was set up in 1985 with the principal bench at Delhi and additional benches in other states (It now has 17 benches, 15 operating at seats of HC’s and 2 in Lucknow and Jaipur.
  • It has original jurisdiction in matters related to recruitment and service of public servants (All India services, central services etc).
  • Its members have a status of High Court judges and are appointed by president.
  • Appeals against the order of CAT lie before the division of High Court after Supreme Court’s Chandra Kumar Judgement.
State administrative tribunals (SAT):
  • Central government can establish state administrative tribunals on request of the state according to Administrative tribunals act of 1985
  • SAT’s enjoy original jurisdiction in relation to the matters of state government employees.
  • Chairman and members are appointed by President in consultation with the governor.
  • Article 323-B: which empowers the parliament and the state legislatures to establish tribunals for adjudication of disputes related to following matters:
    • Taxation
    • Foreign exchange, Imports and Exports
    • Industry and Labour
    • Land reforms
    • Ceiling on Urban Property
    • Elections to parliament and state legislature
    • Food stuffs
    • Rent and Tenancy Rights

Issues with tribunalization/tribunals

  • Appeal: Administrative tribunals were originally set up to provide specialized justice delivery and to reduce the burden of caseloads on regular courts. However, appeals from tribunals have inevitably managed to enter the mainstream judicial system.
  • High Pendency: Many tribunals also do not have adequate infrastructure to work smoothly and perform the functions originally envisioned leading to high pendency rates thus proving unfruitful to deliver quick justice.
  • Appointments: Appointments to tribunals are usually under the control of the executive. Not only does the government identify and appoint the members of the tribunals, but it also determines and makes appropriate staffing hires. This is problematic because often there is a lack of understanding of the staffing requirements in tribunals.
  • There is a lack of information available on the functioning of tribunals. Websites are routinely non-existent, unresponsive or not updated.
  • Accessibility is low due to scant geographic availability therefore justice becomes expensive and difficult.
  • Against the principle of separation of powers: Tribunalisation is seen as encroachment of judicial branch by the government.

Initial Public Offering


Recently, the government-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) filed its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) for its mega Initial Public Offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

  • LIC is fully owned by the government. It was set up in 1956. It has the biggest share in India’s insurance business.

GS III- Indian Economy (Capital Market)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. What is Initial public offering (IPO)?
  2. Who fixes the price of securities in an issue?
  3. Who can invest in an IPO?

What is Initial public offering (IPO)?

  • An IPO or initial public offering is the process by which a privately held company, or a company owned by the government such as LIC, raises funds by offering shares to the public or to new investors. Following the IPO, the company is listed on the stock exchange.
  • While coming with an IPO, the company has to file its offer document with the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
    • The offer document contains all relevant information about the company, its promoters, its projects, financial details, the object of raising the money, terms of the issue, etc.
Criteria for companies can come out with an IPO:

In order to protect investors, SEBI has laid down rules that require companies to meet certain criteria before they can go to the public to raise funds.

  • The company must have net tangible assets of at least Rs 3 crore, and net worth of Rs 1 crore in each of the preceding three full years, and it must have a minimum average pre-tax profit of Rs 15 crore in at least three of the immediately preceding five years.
Proceeds of the IPO:
  • If the issue raises fresh capital, the proceeds of the IPO go to the company, and can be utilised for future growth, expansion, debt reduction, etc.
  • If the issue involves offer for sale by promoters or existing investors, then the money goes to them and not to the company. 
  • In the case of LIC, the issue is an offer for sale by the government, and the IPO proceeds will go to the Government of India.

Who fixes the price of securities in an issue?

  • The per-share price of the public issue is fixed by the issuer in consultation with the merchant banker.
  • They arrive at the total valuation of the company based on parameters such as assets, revenues, profits, and future cash flow projections, and the total value of the company is then divided by the post-offer shares outstanding to arrive at the price of each share.

Note: The regulator, SEBI, does not play a role in price fixation.

Advantages of listing a company:
  • It may help a company raise capital, and diversify and broaden its shareholder base.
  • Listing provides an exit to existing investors of the company.
  • A listed company can raise share capital for growth and expansion in the future through a follow-on public offering or FPO.

Who can invest in an IPO?

  • There are various categories of investors who can invest in an IPO.
  • Qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) is a category of investors that includes foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), mutual funds, commercial banks, insurance companies, pension funds, etc.
  • All individuals who invest up to Rs 2 lakh in an issue are classified as retail investors. Retail investors investing above Rs 2 lakh are classified as high net worth individuals.
  • You have to be 18 years of age to become an investor.
  • A brokerage account is needed to invest, and you have to be at least 18 years old to have one.
What should you look for before investing?
  • The credibility of the promoter should be the top consideration.
  • But investors must also do a financial analysis of the company, and compare it with peers in the same sector before investing in the IPO.
  • If there is a company in the same sector that is already listed, and if it has strong fundamentals and its shares are available at a competitive price, investors should consider that as well, rather than going for the public issue of a company that is proposing to list.
  • Investors must follow QIBs, who are perceived to have the expertise for assessment and evaluation, and a greater ability to do due diligence.
  • These institutional investors invest in the first few days of the issue opening, and retail investors, who have a wider window for investing, can assess the demand from the interest shown by the QIBs, and can simply follow them. If QIBs show a lot of interest, retail investors can go for the issue. If the QIBs are cold, it is better to avoid.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana Scheme


Recently, Maharashtra has signaled that it may opt out of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana Scheme.

Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab and West Bengal – all predominantly agriculture states – have already opted out of the scheme.


GS II- Welfare Schemes

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)
  2. Risks covered under the scheme

About Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) launched on 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an insurance service for farmers for their yields.
  • PMFBY is in line with One Nation – One Scheme theme.
  • The PMFBY will replace the existing two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme as well as the Modified NAIS.
  • The Scheme shall be implemented through a multi-agency framework by selected insurance companies under the overall guidance & control of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW), Government of India (GOI) and the concerned State in co-ordination with various other agencies.
  • Premium cost over and above the farmer share is equally subsidized by States and the Central Government of India. However, the Central Government shares 90% of the premium subsidy for North Eastern States to promote the uptake in the region.
  • To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
  • To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
  • To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
  • To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.

Beneficiaries: All farmers growing notified crops in a notified area during the season who have insurable interest in the crop are eligible.

Coverage of Crops:
  • Oil seeds
  • Food crop
  • Annual Commercial / Annual Horticultural crops.
  • In addition, for perennial crops, pilots for coverage can be taken for those perennial horticultural crops for which standard methodology for yield estimation is available.

Risks covered under the scheme

  • Prevented Sowing/Planting/Germination Risk: Insured area is prevented from sowing/planting/germination due to deficit rainfall or adverse seasonal/weather conditions.
  • Standing Crop (Sowing to Harvesting): Comprehensive risk insurance is provided to cover yield losses due to non-preventable risks, viz. Drought, Dry spell, Flood, Inundation, widespread Pests and Disease attack, Landslides, Fire due to natural causes, Lightening, Storm, Hailstorm and Cyclone.
  • Post-Harvest Losses: Coverage is available only up to a maximum period of two weeks from harvesting, for those crops which are required to be dried in cut and spread / small bundled condition in the field after harvesting against specific perils of Hailstorm, Cyclone, Cyclonic rains and Unseasonal rains
  • Localized Calamities: Loss/damage to notified insured crops resulting from occurrence of identified localized risks of Hailstorm, Landslide, Inundation, Cloud burst and Natural fire due to lightening affecting isolated farms in the notified area.
  • Add-on coverage for crop loss due to attack by wild animals: The States may consider providing add-on coverage for crop loss due to attack by wild animals wherever the risk is perceived to be substantial and is identifiable.
  • General Exclusions: Losses arising out of war and nuclear risks, malicious damage and other preventable risks shall be excluded.

India Lacks Solar Waste Handling Policy


The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimated that the global photovoltaic waste will touch 78 million tonnes by 2050, with India expected to be one of the top five generators of such waste.


GS III- Environment and Ecology, GS II- Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the article:
  1. Details
  2. Solar waste management by other countries-
  3. About IRENA


  • While India ramps up its solar power capacity, the nation does not yet have a firm policy on managing waste that results from used solar panels or from the manufacturing process.
  • India currently considers solar waste a part of electronic waste and does not account for it separately.
  • Minister for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said a committee had been constituted under the chairmanship of the Ministry’s Secretary to propose an action plan to evolve a “circular economy” in solar panel, through reuse/recycling of waste generated.
  • There was no commercial raw material recovery facility for solar e-waste operational in India, but a pilot facility for solar panel recycling and material recovery had been set up by a private company in Gummidipoondi in Tamil Nadu.
  • India has set a target of producing 100 GW of solar energy by 2022.
  • The cumulative capacity of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) installations is around 40 GW and of the current capacity, about 35.6 GW, is generated from ground-mounted plants and 4.4 GW from rooftop solar.

What is solar waste?

  • It is the electronic waste (e-waste) generated by discarded solar panels and Photo-voltaic (PV) devices.
  • Photovoltaic (PV) devices contain semiconducting materials that convert sunlight into electrical energy. 
  • A single PV device is known as a cell, and these cells are connected together in chains to form larger units known as modules or panels. 
  • Although up to 90% of the components are recyclable, many PV modules contain heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, antimony or selenium, and when they are taken out of service or broken, they may be classified as hazardous waste.
  • Solar panels have a life of 20-25 years, and it is likely that India will be faced with solar waste problems by the end of this decade. 
Solar waste management by other countries-
  • In Europe, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive of the EU imposes responsibility for the disposal of waste on the manufacturers or distributors who introduce or install such equipment for the first time.
  • The UK also has an industry-managed “take-back and recycling scheme”, where all PV producers will need to register and submit data related to products used for the residential solar market (B2C) and non-residential market.
  • While there are no federal statutes or regulations in the United States that talk about recycling, there are some states who have proactively defined policies to address end-of-life PV module management.
  • The federal government in Australia has acknowledged the concern and announced a $2 million grant as part of the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund to develop and implement an industry-led product stewardship scheme for PV systems.


  • IRENA has 150 member nations with Headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
  • The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy.
  • IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.
  • IRENA is an official United Nations observer.


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