Delimitation of Constituencies in J&K

Context: Members of the Jammu & Kashmir Delimitation Commission faced protests in Jammu as they embarked on a two-day visit to hold consultations with citizens, civil society groups and political parties.

Relevance: GS II- Governance, Representation Of People’s Act

Dimensions of this article :

  1. What is the role of the delimitation commission?
  2. Delimitation Commission Act, 2002
  3. Delimitation in J&K
  4. How many seats have been added?
  5. Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

What is the role of the delimitation commission?

  • The delimitation commission is an independent body constituted under Article 82 after the Parliament enacted a Delimitation Act after every census.
  • Interestingly, the J&K delimitation commission has not been clear to the associate members about the census report that was made as a base to carve out new constituencies in the Union Territory (UT).

Delimitation Commission Act, 2002

An Act to provide for the readjustment of:
  • The allocation of seats in the House of the People to the States
  • The total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of each State
  • The division of each State and each Union territory having a Legislative Assembly into territorial constituencies for elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the States and Union territories
  • and for matters connected therewith.
  • Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country to represent changes in population.
Delimitation is done in order to:
  • Provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
  • Fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
  • Follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.
The problems with delimitation are:
  • States that take little interest in population control could end up with a greater number of seats in Parliament. The southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced.
  • In 2008, Delimitation was done based on the 2001 census, but the total number of seats in the Assemblies and Parliament decided as per the 1971 Census was not changed.
  • The constitution has also capped the number of Lok Shaba & Rajya Sabha seats to a maximum of 550 & 250 respectively and increasing populations are being represented by a single representative.

Delimitation in J&K

  • In 1963, 1973, and 1995, assembly seats in J&K were delimited.
  • Prior to August 5, 2019, the J&K Constitution and the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957 were used to carve out Assembly seats in the state.
  • Until then, the Indian Constitution governed the delimitation of Lok Sabha seats in J&K.
  • However, the J&K Constitution and the J&K Representation of the People Act, 1957 controlled the delimitation of the state’s Assembly.
  • Because there was no census in 1991, the state did not establish a Delimitation Commission until the 2001 census.

How many seats have been added?

  • The Commission has, as per the mandate granted under the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, added seven assembly constituencies to J&K, increasing its strength from 87 to 90.
  • The interim report proposes an increase of six seats for the Jammu province, taking the number of constituencies to 43, and an increase of one seat in the Kashmir province, taking the seat strength to 47, almost bringing the two regions at par with each other.
  •  Of six seats, three assembly segments are from the Muslim-majority Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal valley, while three are in the Hindu Jammu-Samba-Kathua belt.
  • The Commission has also proposed to reserve seven seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) Hindus that mainly populate the Samba-Kathua-Jammu-Udhampur belt and nine seats for Schedule Tribes (STs) which will help Gujjar and Bakerwals, mostly non-Kashmiri speaking Muslims inhabiting the Rajouri-Poonch belt in the Jammu province.
  • Prior to the Centre’s move to end J&K’s special constitutional position on August 5, 2019, the erstwhile State had an 87-member assembly, with 37 constituencies in the Jammu region and 46 in the Kashmir division and four in Ladakh .
  •  Besides, 24 seats are reserved and vacant for Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on August 5, 2019 by the Minister of Home Affairs.
  • The Bill provides for reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • The Bill reorganises the state of Jammu and Kashmir into: (i) the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and (ii) the Union Territory of Ladakh without a legislature.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh will comprise Kargil and Leh districts, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will comprise the remaining territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be administered by the President, through an administrator appointed by him known as the Lieutenant Governor.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh will be administered by the President, through a Lieutenant Governor appointed by him.
  • The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir will be the common High Court for the Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.  Further, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have an Advocate General to provide legal advice to the government of the Union Territory.  
  • The Legislative Council of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be abolished.  Upon dissolution, all Bills pending in the Council will lapse. 

Air Quality Database 2022: WHO

Context:   World Health Organisation (WHO) has released Air Quality Database 2022, which shows that Almost the entire global population (99 %) breathes air that exceeds WHO’s air quality limits.

Relevance: GS III- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of Air Quality Database 2022
  2. About WHO’s Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) 2021
  3. India’s National Air Quality Index (AQI)
  4. Suggestions to improve Air quality
  5. About WHO

Highlights of Air Quality Database 2022

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has collected ground measurements of annual mean nitrogen dioxide concentrations for the first time (NO2). It also contains measurements of Particulate Matter with diameters of 10 m or less (PM10) or 2.5 m (PM2.5) (PM2.5).
  • As a result of the findings, WHO has emphasised the significance of reducing fossil fuel consumption and implementing other concrete efforts to lower air pollution levels.
  • More than 6,000 cities in 117 nations now monitor air quality, yet residents continue to breathe harmful amounts of small particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, with individuals in low and middle-income countries being exposed the most.
  • Up to 2,000 more cities and human settlements are now recording particulate matter, PM10 and/or PM2.5, ground monitoring data.
  • Since the database was created in 2011, there has been an almost sixfold increase in reporting.
  • Meanwhile, the evidence base for the harm caused by air pollution to the human body is fast developing, pointing to significant impairment caused by even low levels of several air contaminants.
  • Particulate matter, particularly PM 2.5, has the ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing Cardiovascular, Cerebrovascular (stroke), and Respiratory Effects.
  • NO2 is linked to respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, resulting in respiratory symptoms (such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing), hospitalizations, and emergency room visits.
  • In the 117 nations that monitor air quality, 17 percent of cities in high-income countries have air quality that falls below WHO’s PM 2.5 or PM 10 guidelines.
  • In low- and middle-income nations, air quality is only met in less than 1% of cities, according to WHO guidelines.

About WHO’s Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) 2021

  • WHO’s Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) outlines the recommended air quality levels to protect the health of populations based on the latest scientific evidence from across the world.
  • In 2021 WHO announced limits for six pollutant categories —particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and 10, ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) – and tightened global air pollution standards.
  • WHO’s latest move in 2021 tightening norms sets the stage for eventual shifts in policy in the government towards evolving newer stricter standards. I.e., this will soon become part of policy discussions — much like climate targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions keep getting stricter over time.
  • Once cities and States are set targets for meeting pollution emission standards, it could lead to overall changes in national standards.
  • The move doesn’t immediately impact India as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) don’t meet the WHO’s existing standards.

India’s National Air Quality Index (AQI)

  • The National Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched in New Delhi in 2014, under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board along with State Pollution Control Boards has been operating National Air Monitoring Program (NAMP) covering 240 cities of the country having more than 342 monitoring stations.
  • An Expert Group comprising medical professionals, air quality experts, academia, advocacy groups, and SPCBs was constituted and a technical study was awarded to IIT Kanpur.
  • IIT Kanpur and the Expert Group recommended an AQI scheme in 2014.
  • The continuous monitoring systems that provide data on near real-time basis are installed in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Understanding the scale
  • There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.
  • The proposed AQI will consider eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.
  • Based on the measured ambient concentrations, corresponding standards and likely health impact, a sub-index is calculated for each of these pollutants.
  • Likely health impacts for different AQI categories and pollutants have also been suggested, with primary inputs from the medical experts in the group.

Suggestions to improve Air quality:

  • Adopt or amend national air quality standards in accordance with the most recent WHO Air Quality Guidelines and put them into effect.
  • Air quality should be monitored and pollution sources should be identified.
  • Encourage people to switch to clean energy for cooking, heating, and lighting in their homes.
  • Build public transportation systems that are both safe and cheap, as well as networks that are favourable to pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Enforce higher car emissions and efficiency regulations, as well as required vehicle inspection and maintenance.
  • Invest in energy-efficient houses and alternative energy sources.
  • Increase the efficiency of industry and municipal waste management.

About WHO

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Its main objective is ensuring “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
  • The WHO’s broad mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well-being.
  • The World Health Assembly (WHA), composed of representatives from all 194 member states, serves as the agency’s supreme decision-making body.

Nepal PM Visits India

Context: The Prime Minister of Nepal visited India and held a summit meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.

Relevance: GS II- International Relations  (India and its neighbourhood)

Dimensions of this Article:

  1. Highlights of the Visit
  2. India-Nepal Ties
  3. Connectivity and Development Partnership between India and Nepal

Highlights of the Visit:

Border Issue:
  • The Prime Minister of Nepal has encouraged his Indian counterpart, to resolve a border conflict.
  • The Indian side made it clear that both countries must address the boundary problem through conversation and that such issues should not be politicised.
  • India has previously rejected Nepal’s unilateral move in 2020 to rewrite its constitution to include the Kalapani area for the first time in the country’s history.
Memorandum of understandings :
  • Nepal (as the 105th member country) has signed a framework agreement to join the India-led International Solar Alliance.
  • Three other agreements were signed: a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on expanding technical cooperation in the railways sector, and two agreements between Indian Oil Corporation and Nepal Oil Corporation for the supply of petroleum products for five years and technical expertise sharing.
Power Sector Cooperation:
  • India urged Nepal to seize all potential in the power industry, including joint development of power generation projects and cross-border transmission infrastructure development.
  • Through capacity building and direct support for generation and transmission infrastructure projects, India plays a critical role in the development of Nepal’s power sector.
  • Nepal also praised India’s recent cross-border electricity trading legislation, which have given it access to the Indian market and allowed it to sell power with the country. Nepal sells its excess electricity to India.
  • The two sides decided to speed up work on the long-delayed Pancheshwar multipurpose dam project (on the Mahakali River), which is seen as a game-changer for the region’s development.
Other Details:
  • The 35-kilometer cross-border railway line connecting Jaynagar, Bihar, and Kurtha, Nepal, was inaugurated.
    • This is the first broad-gauge passenger rail link between the two countries, and it will be extended to Bardibas in Nepal, thanks to a Rs 548 crore Indian contribution.
  • Under an Indian line of credit, the Indian side handed over the Solu Corridor, a 90-kilometer, 132-kV electricity transmission line.
    • By linking to Nepal’s national grid, the line would assist supply electricity to several isolated areas in northeastern Nepal.
  • In Nepal, India’s RuPay card was launched.
    • After Bhutan, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, Nepal is the fourth country to accept RuPay.

India-Nepal Ties:

  • Nepal is an important neighbour of India and occupies special significance in its foreign policy because of the geographic, historical, cultural and economic linkages/ties that span centuries.
  • There has been a long tradition of free movement of people across the open border.
  • Nepal shares a border of over 1850 km with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  • The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal.
  • Nepalese citizens avail facilities and opportunities on par with Indian citizens in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty. 
  • Nearly 8 million Nepalese citizens live and work in India.

Connectivity and Development Partnership between India and Nepal:

  • Government of India’s development assistance to Nepal is a broad-based programme focusing on creation of infrastructure at the grass-roots level, under which various projects have been implemented in the areas of infrastructure, health, water resources, education and rural & community development.
  • In recent years, India has been assisting Nepal in
    • development of border infrastructure through upgradation of 10 roads in the Terai area
    • development of cross-border rail links at Jogbani-Biratnagar, Jaynagar-Bardibas 
    • establishment of Integrated Check Posts at Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, and Nepalgunj.
    • The total economic assistance earmarked under ‘Aid to Nepal’ budget in FY 2019-20 was INR 1200 crore.
  • Apart from grant assistance, Government of India has extended Lines of Credit of USD 1.65 billion for undertaking development of infrastructure, including post-earthquake reconstruction projects.
  • In April 2018, the ‘India-Nepal New Partnership in Agriculture’ was launched with a focus on collaborative projects in agricultural research, development and education.

De- Notified Tribes

Context:  Recently, a standing committee of Parliament report has criticised the functioning of the development programme for de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.

Relevance: GS II- Polity and Governance (Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?
  2. What is the history of deprivation faced by these communities?
  3. Policy measures for DNTs:
  4. What is DWBDNC, and what is its role?
  5. Schemes for the welfare of the DNT’s

Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?

These are communities who are the most vulnerable and deprived.

  • Denotified tribes (DNTs): Communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminal’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
  • Nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes:  Communities are defined as those who move from one place to another rather than living at one place all the time.

What is the history of deprivation faced by these communities?

  • This has a long history, first during colonial rule, and then in independent India.
  • The Renke Commission said this is partly because these communities are largely politically ‘quiet’ — they do not place their demands concretely before the government for they lack vocal leadership and also lack the patronage of a national leader.
  • Many commissions and committees constituted since Independence have referred to the problems of these communities. These include
    • Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh),
    • Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee in 1949 (it was based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed),
    • Kaka Kalelkar Commission (also called first OBC Commission) constituted in 1953.
    • In 1965, an Advisory Committee constituted for revision of the SC and ST list under the chairmanship of B N Lokur referred to denotified tribes.
    • The B P Mandal Commission constituted in 1980 also made some recommendations on the issue.

Policy measures for DNTs:

  • The Government had constituted National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) to prepare a State-wise list of castes belonging to Denotified and Nomadic Tribes and to suggest appropriate measures in respect of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes that may be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Government.
  • The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.
  • The Idate Commission submitted its report in January 2018. It mentioned that a permanent commission for Denotified, Semi Nomadic, and Nomadic Tribes should have a prominent community leader as its chairperson, and a senior Union government bureaucrat, an anthropologist, and a sociologist as members.
  • A Development and Welfare Board for De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNCs) has been constituted and a Committee has also been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs).
  • The survey work of identification of DNT Communities and placing them in a category of SC/ST/OBC is also under process in NITI Ayog and Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI).

What is DWBDNC, and what is its role?

  • The commission report submitted in 2018 had recommended the setting of up a permanent commission for these communities.
  •  But since most DNTs are covered under SC, ST or OBC, the government felt setting up a permanent commission, which would deal with redress of grievances, would be in conflict with the mandate of existing commissions for SCs (National Commission for Scheduled Castes), STs (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes) and OBCs (National Commission for Backward Classes).
  • The government therefore set up the DWBDNCs under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the purpose of implementing welfare programmes.

Schemes for the welfare of the DNT’s:

Dr.Ambedkar Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarship for DNTs :
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme was launched w.e.f. 2014-15 for the welfare of those DNT students who are not covered under SC, ST or OBC.
  • The income ceiling for eligibility is Rs. 2.00 lakh per annum. The scheme is implemented through State Governments/UT Administrations.
  • The expenditure is shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25.
Nanaji Deshmukh Scheme of Construction of Hostels for DNT Boys and Girls:
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2014-15 is implemented through State Governments/ UT Administrations/ Central Universities.
  • The aim of the scheme is to provide hostel facilities to those DNT students; who are not covered under SC, ST or OBC; to enable them to pursue higher education. The income ceiling for eligibility is Rs. 2.00 lakh per annum.
  • The Central Government provides a maximum of 500 seats per annum throughout the country. The cost norm is Rs. 3.00 lakh per seat plus Rs. 5000/-per seat for furniture.
  • The expenditure is shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25.
Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNT Communities (SEED)
  • To provide coaching of good quality for DNT candidates to enable them to appear in competitive examinations.
  • To provide Health Insurance to them.
  • To facilitate livelihood initiative at community level; and
  • To provide financial assistance for construction of houses for members of these


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