Prelims Booster

15th September – Prelims Booster

Mahanadi Tribunal

The Central Government has constituted Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal on 12.03.2018 under Section 4 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 for adjudication of water dispute regarding the inter-state river Mahanadi.

At present the dispute is under adjudication in the Tribunal under Section 5 (2) of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.

What is Section 5(2) of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956?

  • As per Section 5(2) of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 – “The Tribunal shall investigate the matters referred to it and forward to the Central Government a report setting out the facts as found by it and giving its decision on the matters referred to it within a period of three years.
  • Provided that if the decision cannot be given for unavoidable reason, within a period of three years, the Central Government may extend the period for a further period not exceeding two years”.
  • Thereafter, under Section 5(3) of the said Act, the Central Government/State Government(s) may again refer the matter to the Tribunal for further consideration, which may then give its further report within one year, with the option to extend for such further period as Central Government considers necessary.

Inter-state water disputes –

Article 262 states that the Parliament may provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley. As per Article 262, the Parliament has enacted the following:

  • River Board Act, 1956 – This empowered the GOI to establish Boards for Interstate Rivers and river valleys in consultation with State Governments. Till date, no river board has been created.
  • Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956 – Under this act, if a state government or governments approach the Centre for the constitution of a tribunal, the government may form a tribunal after trying to resolve the dispute through consultations.

About Mahanadi water dispute –

  • The dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi began when Odisha alleged that the upper riparian state Chhattisgarh had “illegally” constructed a number of barrages across the river and its tributaries, which had seriously affected inflow into the Hirakud reservoir in Odisha, more so in the non-monsoon seasons.
  • The Odisha government has not only termed the construction of such barrages as “illegal“, it has also alleged that such barrages are killing the Mahanadi river.
  • As the matter remained unresolved, the Supreme Court directed the Union government to form a river dispute tribunal. The Union government has subsequently notified the formation of the Mahanadi river dispute tribunal on March 12, 2018.
  • At the heart of the dispute over Mahanadi water lies the huge Hirakud dam and reservoir. Odisha’s allegation of reduced flow to the Hirakud reservoir from Chhattisgarh triggered the dispute. The location of the Hirakud dam project makes it the crux of the dispute. Almost all of the reservoir’s catchment lies in Chhattisgarh.
  • Hirakud Dam is one of the important generators of hydro-power in Odisha, a large supplier of water to industrial and urban demands, and also has the objective to ensure flow in the Mahanadi to meet drinking water, ecological and other needs.

Transformation of Agriculture

Three bills aimed at transformation of agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ income were introduced in Lok Sabha recently to replace ordinances promulgated on 5th June 2020–

  1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020
  2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020
  3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020


  1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 –

It seeks to provide for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations; to provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Background –

  • Farmers in India suffered from various restrictions in marketing their produce. There were restrictions for farmers in selling agri-produce outside the notified APMC market yards. The farmers were also restricted to sell the produce only to registered licensees of the State Governments.
  • Further, Barriers existed in free flow of agriculture produce between various States owing to the prevalence of various APMC legislations enacted by the State Governments. This legislation is a historic-step in unlocking the vastly regulated agriculture markets in the country.
  • It will open more choices for the farmer, reduce marketing costs for the farmers and help them in getting better prices. It will also help farmers of regions with surplus produce to get better prices and consumers of regions with shortages, lower prices.

2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020

It seeks to provide for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Background –

  • Indian agriculture is characterised by fragmentation due to small holding sizes and has certain weaknesses such as weather dependence, production uncertainties and market unpredictability. This makes agriculture risky and inefficient in respect of both input & output management.
  • This legislation will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor and also enable the farmer to access modern technology and better inputs. It will reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers.
  • Farmers will engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realisation of price.
  • Farmers have been provided adequate protection. Effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided for with clear time lines for redressal.

3. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 –

  • It seeks to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
  • This will remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
  • The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into agriculture sector.

Background –

  • While India has become surplus in most agri-commodities, farmers have been unable to get better prices due to lack of investment in cold storage, warehouses, processing and export as the entrepreneurial spirit gets dampened due to Essential Commodities Act.
  • Farmers suffer huge losses when there are bumper harvests, especially of perishable commodities.
  • The legislation will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernisation of food supply chain. It will help both farmers and consumers while bringing in price stability.
  • It will create competitive market environment and also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) has been restructured in 2018 and is now being implemented in 1300 identified Minority Concentration Areas, with an objective of developing socio-economic infrastructure and basic amenities in the said areas.

For larger coverage of the scheme, the areas under PMJVK have been increased from 90 Districts originally to 308 Districts of the country, which include 870 Blocks, 321 Towns and 109 District Headquarters.

About Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram –

  • The erstwhile Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP), a centrally sponsored scheme has been restructured and renamed as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram.
  • MsDP, a centrally sponsored scheme, launched to address the development deficits in 90 minority concentration districts in the country to address the development deficits.
  • It has been identified as one of the Core of the Core Schemes under National Development Agenda.
  • It aims at improving the socio-economic parameters of basic amenities for improving the quality of life of the people and reducing imbalances in the Minority Concentration Areas.
  • Minority Concentration Areas have been identified based on both population data (25% of the total population belongs to minority communities) and backwardness parameters of Census 2001 of these areas.
  • The backwardness parameters are –
    • Religion-specific socio-economic indicators at the district level –
      • Literacy rate;
      • Female literacy rate ;
      • Work participation rate; and
      • Female work participation rate; and
    • Basic amenities indicators at the district level –
      • Percentage of households with pucca walls‘
      • Percentage of households with safe drinking water &
      • Percentage of households with electricity
  • The projects considered are additional class rooms, laboratories, school buildings, hostels, toilets, buildings for Polytechnics, ITIs, Community Health Centres, Primary Health Centres / Sub-centres, Anganwadi Centres, Rural Housing etc.
  • Education, Health and Skill are the priority under MsDP.
  • The projects are funded in the ratio of 60:40 and for NE and Hilly States at 90:10 between the Centre and States.

Aanganwadi Meals in Madhya Pradesh

Recently, the Women and Child Welfare Minister of Madhya Pradesh Government, Smt. Imarti Devi reiterated her proposal to provide eggs to children in anganwadis and pregnant women to fight malnourishment.

What is being proposed now?

The Minister said that she stick to her proposal to provide eggs to children and pregnant women, because eggs are high in nutrition. It would not be compulsory but only for those willing to eat eggs. For vegetarians, alternatives would be available in the form of milk and banana.

Malnutrition in Madhya Pradesh –

  • Madhya Pradesh is one of the worst affected states by malnourishment, with the state’s tribal population worst affected. According to the National Family Health Survey (NHF-4), at least 42% of children under age five are stunted while another 43% are underweight. Again, 26% are wasted (thin for their height) while 9% are severely wasted.
  • The lockdown has disrupted various government schemes for providing nutrition. A survey conducted by the NGO Vikas Samvad in 122 villages of six districts — Rewa, Satna, Panna, Umaria, Niwari and Shivpura — found that the nutrition intake dropped in children (by 51%), pregnant women (67%) and lactating mothers (68%). The majority of the residents in these villages were tribals and SCs.

Why to provide eggs?

Eggs are a complete food that contain all nutrients except vitamin C. For providing a wholesome meal for children, the right combination of various food including dal, rice, fruits and milk will have to be supplied in the right quantity if they are not given eggs.

What is the issue?

Over 40% of Madhya Pradesh’s population is vegetarian. The proposal has faced stiff opposition from various communities, notably the Jain community. In a post on social media, Jain community leaders have warned that only those parents who wished to have their children fed eggs should vote for Imarti Devi.

How many states provide eggs to children at anganwadi centres?

At least 14 states have so far been providing eggs as a part of the ICDS. According to the National Baseline Survey of 2014, in nine of these 14 states — Telangana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Kerala — 95% of the population is non-vegetarian. In the remaining five states — Tripura, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Chhattisgarh — over 70% of the population is non-vegetarian.

The Insurrection Act of 1807

Republican party supporters are suggesting that Trump should enforce martial law in the US and seize power if he loses the November-3 election. This martial law can be imposed through the Insurrection Act of 1807.

What is the Insurrection Act of 1807?

  • Under the US Constitution, the governors of states are responsible for maintaining law and order within state boundaries. A law called the Posse Comitatus Act, which reflects this principle, restricts the federal military’s participation in domestic law enforcement. The Insurrection Act creates an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act.
  • The Insurrection Act was framed during the era of Thomas Jefferson, the third US President, to prevent a suspected rebellion by Aaron Burr, his former vice-president.
  • The law has since been amended several times, and now consists of a group of statutes that empower the US President to use the National Guard or the military to deal with domestic crises, in certain circumstances.
  • The President does not require the state governor’s approval to send troops under some scenarios laid down by the law. A successful legal challenge to such use of the law is also “very unlikely”.
  • Although the Act has been enforced on numerous occasions in US history, its use in recent decades has been widely seen as unpopular. It has been used sparingly since the 1960s, and was last invoked during the Rodney King unrest of 1992.

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