In this issue we shall trace the history of the Lok pal Bill
Occupy Wall Street Movement
Strait of Hormuz crisis
Right to vote for women w.ref to Saudi Arabia
61. Current Affairs January 2012 First week Unit 3
In this issue we shall trace the history of the Lok pal Bill
16 thoughts on “61. Current Affairs January 2012 First week Unit 3”
The historic legislation on Lok Pal has a 40 years history. Parliament has failed to pass the Lokpal Bill during this long period. The following are the milestones in thei historyof Lok Pall Bill.
1.It was introduced for the first time in 1968 and was referred to select committee of parliament and passed in the Lok Sabha as the “the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill 1969 in the 4th Loksabha. However before the bill could be passed by the Rajya Sabha the 4th Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently the bill lapsed.
2.In 1971 another Lokpal and Lokayukta bill was introduced. It was neither refered to a committee nor by any House. It died a natural death upon the dissolution of the 5th Loksabha.
3.In 1977 in Lokpal Bill was again introduced and referred to a Joint select committees of both the houses of Parliament but before the recommendations of this considered the bill was then withdrawn by then government because of its inadequacy to cover different types of situations. But the administration promised that it would come up with a comprehensive bill for rederessal of public grievances.
4.Again it was introduced in 1989 towards the end of December in the 9th Loksabha. But within 3 months the Lok Sabha was dissolved in March 1991.
5.The United Front Government introduced anther Lokpal Bill in sept. 1996 and it was referred to the Parliamentary standing committee and Home affairs for examination and report. The standing committee took 9 months to suggest wide ranging amendments to the various provisions of the bill. But before the government could finalise it stand on various recommendations of the standing committee the 11th Loksabha was dissolved.
6.In the past decade the NDA government also made an unsuccessful attempt.
7.Consequent to the Anna Hazare Movement the UPA 2 government referred the bill to a select committee and after a acrynomous debate (rejection by team Anna) it was passed by the Lok Sabha.But in the Rajya Sabha it faced a stormy debate and the house was adjourned without a vote. The BJP the TMC, and the Left demanded the CBI under the Lokpal, non-interference by the government in the selection of the Lokpal and dropping of the provisions regarding Lokayuktas in States (on the ground it violated federal principle). However the government charged the opposition with placing 172 amendments and thereby blocking the passage of the bill. Commentators remarked that it was a shame parliament failed to act.
Government pays pensions to its employees when they retire. Hitherto the principle has been either pension benefit scheme or pension contribution scheme. Under the pension benefit scheme where an employee completes a certain period of service he gets pension. Government is expected to save a part of his salary into a pension fund and pay the pensions out of this fund. But this is not done. Pensions are paid out of taxes and today government is in a terrible financial position as regards pension. In the Railways alone pension liabilities will soon reach 5.5 lakh crores. The Railways have a separate budget since 1924 (separated from the General Budget). The idea behind this separation was to enable railways to function flexibly and also to contribute to general revenues. The Railways have not developed any pension fund. As with the railways so with the rest of the government.
Therefore since January 1st 2004 a new pension scheme have been introduced in which pensions are not paid according to the salary drawn but according to the fixed contributions by the employees and investment of these contributions. Employees are paid from out of their contributions, return on investments along with a matching contribution by the government. But pensioners under the old system wiil continue to get benefit only by 2040 when the new system of pension contribution will take full effect. Now the question is how should the enormous pension account will be invested.The private sector is demanding a share.
Occupy Wall Street Movement
It is movement by civil society in America and Europe. Ordinary people have been asking why 99% of the population should suffer to keep 1% of the population rich. So far the movement has been peaceful but one does not know when the movement will turn violent. Wall Street represents the Bankers and the Capitalists.
It was thought that the UPA2 government would introduce electoral reforms in the December session of Parliament. The government had promised the election commission to bring significant changes in the proposal to debar criminal candidates from contesting elections and to ensure transparency in electoral funding.
Trouble is growing between US and Iran
Iran has said that it will test-fire missiles in the strait of Hormuz . It will fire shorter and longer range, ground –sea and surface –to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, end Dec 2011.The US has warned that further sanctions would follow.Defiantly Tehran (capital of Iran) has been carrying out wargains in the strait of Hormuz. (a strait is a narrow stretch of water between two land masses like Pak strait between India and Srilanka.). Tehran has replied to US warning that if furtner sanctions were imposed not a drop of oil will pass to the strait of Hormuz. In short Iran will close the waterway (strait or Hormuz) through which more than a 3rd of of the world’s tanker borne oil passes. Study the map of stratit of Hormuz and the regions it links.
As a retaliatory measure Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia announced that it had signed a deal to buy 84 new US fighter jets to maximize its defence capability.
All about of State of Hormuz:
1.Also called oiled chicken neck. It links Iran and the Emirates.
2.It is a maximum width of 50 kms and and a maximum depth of 60 mtrs.
3.It is strategically important as 405 of the world’s sea bornes oil trans through it.
4.It links the Gulf of Oman, bordered by petroleum rich states like Bahrain, Quwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman.
5.Three strategic and disputed island of Greater Tumb, Lesser Tumb and Abu Mosa in the strait serve as the observation points on all gulf states.
6.Iran gained control of the islands in 1971.
7.Iran’s revolutionary guard controls naval operations in the Hormuz.
8.In the event of war the Islamic Republic of Iran has threatened to block access to the oil rich region.
9.The US maintain a naval presence maintains a naval presence in the gulf mainly to ensure that the passage remains free.
10.The emerging crisis portrait conflicts between Iran and US. Iran says it is merely protecting its vital interests.
11.The US Navy has entered a zone with Iran having wargain. The US has declared that it will not tolerate any interference iof the oil tankers passing through the region. Iranians palnes are following the US warships. The US is having its one of oits biggest warship. The USS John C.Tennis. a huge aircraft carrier Iran has already warned if the US strangled its economy it would attack the strait of Hormuz. This would create havoc on the world markets.
Right to vote for women
In the later years of the nineteenth century, women wanted one very basic right – the right to vote. This was strictly known as the right of suffrage (the right to vote) and the group that fought most for this right became known as the Suffragettes.
The original movement for women’s political rights was a non-violent one lead by Millicent Fawcett. Her movement was called the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. Fawcett believed in the power of change through persuasion. She argued that those women who had money and employed men as gardeners, cooks etc., were in the absurd position of note being able to vote yet those men employed in their employment did !! Another of Fawcett’s arguments was that those women that worked paid the same level of tax as men who were employed, but the men could vote and the women could not.
At first these demands were regarded outrageous by even such great thinkers like Rousseau and James Mill.
Such a reaction led to some women taking a more hard-line attitude and in 1903, the Women’s Social and Political Union was created by Emmeline Pankhurst. They became known as the Suffragettes.
She believed that if men would not listen to reasonable ideas, then women should use force to push for what they wanted – the right to vote. Their polices included the burning of churches, attacks on politicians, disrupting the day-to-day work of Parliament and, if arrested, going on hunger strike.
As a reward for war work done by women during the First World War and as a means of securing their support, Prime Minister Asquith introduced in British Parliament the Representation of People Bill which became law. The right to vote was given to women provided they were more than 30 years and either occupied some property or they were married to people who had some property or occupied it. In 1928 the final step in the introduction of adult franchise was taken where all women who had attained the age of 21 were given the right to vote. This resulted in, equality of the sexes with regard to franchise. Recently the qualifying age was lowered to 18.
Even today in the Islamic World women have no right to vote. In Pakistan there is an absurd law which says that the evidence of one man can overruke te evidence of ten women.
Against this background one should be happy that the Government of Saudi Arabia (the strong hold of Wahabist Islam – an extremely orthodox variety) has declared that women can go out to vote without their make escorts and permission. They can run for Municipal elections and vote from 2015.
In India the right to vote for women was never an issue. They automatically got the right under the Constitution. This does not mean that women still suffer from no disabilities in India; they have plenty to complain