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Q.1) What is “Office of Profit”? Discuss the rationale behind disqualification for holding an office of profit. (GS-2)

What is “Office of Profit”?

  • An office of profit is a term used in a number of national constitutions to refer to executive appointments.
  • If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “office of profit”.
  • A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.
  • A number of countries forbid members of the legislature from accepting an office of profit under the executive as a means to secure the independence of the legislature and preserve separation of powers.
  • The word ‘office’ has not been defined in the Indian Constitution or the Representation of the People Act of 1951. But different courts have interpreted it to mean a position with certain duties that are more or less of public character.

In general, a person is considered to hold an office of profit if four conditions are met:

  1. He holds an office.
  2. The office is one of profit, that is, it carries some benefits.
  3. The office is under the control of the Central or the State government.
  4. The office is not that of a Minister or exempted by an Act of Parliament or State legislature.

Rationale for the disqualification for holding an office of profit:

  • This is to ensure the independence  of three branches (legislative, judiciary and executive) of the government and maintain checks and balances.
  • The object of enacting Article 102 and Article 191  is to ensure that there should not be any conflict between duties and interest of an elected member and to see that elected member carry on freely and fearlessly his duties without government pressure.
  • These articles are intended to eliminate the possibility of conflict between duty and interest so that purity of legislation is unaffected.

Q.2) India has recently admitted as the member of the Australia Group. In this context, discuss briefly about Australian Group. What are the significance of this development for India? (GS-2)

The Australian Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) and an informal group of countries established in 1985 to help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the speed of chemical and biological weapons.

Coordination of national export control measures assists Australia Group participants to fulfill their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention to the fullest extent possible

India was recently admitted as the 43rd member of the Australia Group, an informal bloc of countries that keeps a tight control over exports of substances used in the making of chemical weapons.

Significance of this development:

  • India’s entry shows that our export controls and safeguards for biological and chemical agents, equipments and technologies meet the benchmarks established by the international community
  • The entry is a show of support from the international community for India’s non-proliferation records
  • It is understood that the membership will also boost India’s membership bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group which is being opposed by China
  • The Australia Group works to counter the spread of materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development or acquisition of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) by states or terrorist groups.
  • With its admission into the Australia Group, India is now part of three of the four key export control groups in the world. This includes the Missile Technology Control Regime—an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries that regulates trade in sensitive equipment and technologies to ensure there is no proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying payloads above 500kg for more than 300km.
  • India recently joined the Wassenaar Arrangement, which is also an informal grouping of 42 countries, exercising control over the export of dual-use goods and technologies.
  • The only export control group that India is not a part of is the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which controls the export of sensitive nuclear technologies and equipment, with the aim of preventing nuclear weapons’ proliferation.

Q.3) Write a short note on any two of the following:

a) Parliamentary secretary

b) Missile Technology Control Regime

c) Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA)

a) Parliamentary secretary:

  • A Parliament Secretary is similar to a Minister of State who assists a Minister in his or her duties.
  • AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and this was described by petitioner Prashant Patel as them holding offices of profit.

b) Constitutional provisions:

  • Experts argue that the post of parliamentary secretary is in contradiction to Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution which provides for limiting the number of Ministers in the State Cabinets to 15% of the total number of members of the State Legislative Assembly. But, the number of Cabinet Ministers in Delhi cannot exceed 10% of the total 70 seats — that is seven — as per Article 239AA of Constitution.

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR):

  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is a multilateral export control regime.
  • It is an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying above 500 kg payload for more than 300 km.
  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) was established in April 1987 by the G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
  • The MTCR was created in order to curb the spread of unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons, specifically delivery systems that could carry a payload of 500 kg for a distance of 300 km.
  • With India’s recent admission into the Australia Group, India is now part of Missile Technology Control Regime—an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries that regulates trade in sensitive equipment and technologies to ensure there is no proliferation of missile .

c) Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA):

  • The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan has been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India.
  • The program aims to provide assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month. PMSMA guarantees a minimum package of antenatal care services to women in their 2nd/3rd trimesters of pregnancy at designated government health facilities.
  • The programme follows a systematic approach for engagement with private sector which includes motivating private practitioners to volunteer for the campaign; developing strategies for generating awareness and appealing to the private sector to participate in the Abhiyan at government health facilities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) has crossed one crore mark in antenatal check-ups.
  • While all States/ UTs have made significant efforts to reach out to pregnant women, Maharashtra has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Non-Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Rajasthan has reported the largest number of check-ups among the Empowered Action Group States.

 

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