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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Legislative Council

Why in news?   

Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has recently approved a statutory resolution seeking the abolition of the Legislative Council.

 

Background:

  • The Vidhan Parishad of united Andhra Pradesh was created on July 1, 1958, and dissolved on May 31, 1985. It was resurrected after 22 years, on March 30, 2007.
  • Since the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the Council has had 58 members.

Councils in other states:

  • Besides Andhra Pradesh, five other states have Vidhan Parishads — Bihar (58 members), Karnataka (75), Maharashtra (78), Telangana (40), UP (100). Jammu and Kashmir had a Council until the state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

What are the Legislative Councils, and why are they important?

India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.

Why do we need a second house?

  1. To act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House.
  2. To ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.
  3. Having a second chamber would allow for more debate and sharing of work between the Houses.

Arguments against having a second house:

  1. Rather than fulfilling the lofty objective of getting intellectuals into the legislature, the forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to get elected.
  2. It is also an unnecessary drain on the exchequer.
  3. Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack the constitutional mandate to do so. Legislative Assemblies have the power to override suggestions/amendments made to a legislation by the Council.
  4. While Rajya Sabha MPs can vote in the election of the President and Vice-President, members of Legislative Councils can’t.MLCs also can’t vote in the elections of Rajya Sabha members.
  5. As regards Money bills, only fourteen days’ delay can be caused by the Council, which is more or less a formality rather than a barrier in the way of Money Bill passed by the Assembly.

How is a legislative council created?

Under Article 169 of the constitution, Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.

 

Strength of the house:

As per article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution, the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall not exceed one third of the total number of the members in the legislative Assembly of that state and the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall in no case be less than 40.

How are members of the Council elected?

1.   1/3rd of members are elected by members of the Assembly.

2.   1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state.

3.   1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers.

4.   1/12th by registered graduates.

5.   The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.

Polycrack Technology

Why in News? The country’s first Government-owned Waste-to-Energy Plant was recently commissioned at the Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop in Odisha.

The plant, a patented technology called Polycrack, is first-of-its-kind in the Indian Railways and fourth in the country. It converts multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.

What is Polycrack?

It is the world’s very first patented heterogeneous catalytic process which converts multiple feedstocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon as well as water.

  • The waste generated will become the feeder material for the waste to energy plant.
  • The energy which will be produced at the plant, will be in the form of light diesel oil and this oil will be used to light furnaces.

The plant, having a capacity of 500 kg per batch can be fed with the following:

  • All kinds of existing plastic
  • Petroleum sludge
  • Un segregated MSW with moisture up to 50 per cent
  • E-waste
  • Automobile fluff
  • Organic waste including bamboo, garden waste
  • Jathropa fruit and palm bunch

Some of the advantages of this plant are as follows:

  • The pre-segregation of waste is not required for processing in the plant. The waste as collected from the source, can be directly fed into the polycrack plant.
  • The plant has high tolerance to moisture hence drying of the waste after treatment, is not required.
  • The waste is processed in the plant and reformed within a period of 24 hours.
  • The biological decomposition is not allowed as the waste is treated in the plant as it is received.
  • All the constituents are converted to valuable energy therefore, making it a zero discharge process through the plant.

Fact for Prelims

Shiv Bhojan Scheme:

  • It was recently launched by Maharashtra.
  • The scheme will offer meals at Rs 10 to the poor.
  • The scheme aims at providing affordable, quality food to all.

 

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