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How tenable for states claim prevent CAA?

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As many as chief ministers of five states, West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, pompously declared that they would not implement the CAA. Newly elected Jharkhand Chief Minister also said the same thing. Though Maharashtra chief minister is silent, he may not move ahead displeasing his Congress and NCP allies. Already Kerala assembly passed a resolution in this regard.

Governments of both Telugu states are also expressing same sentiments. But how tenable their claims are legally tenable? If these states refuse to abide by a Parliament act, that would lead to constitutional crisis. Thus, that may warrant invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution of India or impose sanctions for compliance with the same.

Part XI of the Constitution of India pertains to the relations between the Union and the States. The concept of federalism is embedded in the said part in relation to the division of powers to make legislations inter-se between the Parliament and the State legislatures.

The Parliament has got exclusive power to make laws in respect of matters enumerated in list – I (union list) of Schedule 7 of the Constitution. The Constitution confers certain power upon the State to make its own legislation viz. the matters enumerated in the list – II (state list) and list – III (concurrent list). The states are bound by the legislation made by the Parliament which is applicable to whole of the territory in India.

Article 13 of the Constitution of India contains an inclusive definition of “law”. One of the major legal sources is enacted law. Article 246 confers exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in list one in the 7th Schedule. Entry seventeen (17) of list – I pertains to citizenship, naturalization and aliens.

Article 246(3) confers power on legislature of the States to make laws in respect of any matters enumerated in list – II of the seventh schedule only. And therefore, a State cannot make any legislation in respect of the matters enumerated in list – I of the seventh schedule. Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 is a legislation made by the Parliament and therefore a “law in force”.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 has been attacked on various grounds based on the circumstances prevailing in each State. One of the major two grounds are (1) on the legal ground i.e., it is in gross violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and (2) that the beneficiaries under the said Bill would compete with the existing citizens in the matters of admissions and employment and disturb the local fabric.

First issue has to be tested before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. In so far as latter is concerned, the five States i.e., West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh have declared that they would not implement the Legislation due to the local reasons. The question is whether such a power is vested with the said States or it can only be politically resolved.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 (Act) is duly made by the parliament by virtue of power under Article 246(1) of the Constitution of India. The State legislature does not have any power to make any legislation in respect of “citizenship” and therefore all the five States are bound by the law unless and until the same is held to be unconstitutional by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the ground that it is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The States cannot refuse to implement the said Act. Article 245(1) empowers the Parliament to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory in India. In case the States refuse to implement the said law, it would be in gross violation of the Constitution of India and there is a possibility of invoking Article 356 of Constitution of India.

Article 356(1) of the Constitution of India states that if the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of State cannot be carried in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of India, the President may by proclamation assume to himself all or any of the functions of the State and declare that the powers of the legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of the Parliament.By Narendra Chalasani

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Jagan Skips Key Issues; Proposes 26 Districts

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The much anticipated State Cabinet meeting under the helm of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was held today at Secretariat in Velagapudi. As expected few important issues were taken up for discussion and even decision on those issues were taken. But Jagan kept the aspect of Cabinet reshuffle and expansion at bay.

The all important aspect that was taken up was creation of new districts as per Parliamentary constituency areas. The cabinet discussed this issue and gave its approval for the formation of a study committee for the creation of new districts in the state. The formation of the study panel which will look into the feasibility of reorganizing the existing 13 districts into 25 districts was suggested. The panel has been given time till March 31, 2021 to complete the process of its study.

The committee will be headed by the chief secretary. The reorganization of the districts will be based on the Parliamentary constituencies in the state.

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While everyone agreed to this proposal, Deputy Chief Minister Pushpa Sri Vani came up with a valid suggestion and this was agreed upon by the CM also. She suggested that there should be in total 26 districts, instead of suggested 25 districts. She pointed out that Araku, which is going to be a new district post the restructuring, has a large geographical area and is spread across four districts.

Responding to this, the CM directed the authorities to study the possibility of carving Araku Parliamentary constituency into two districts.

After the cabinet meeting, Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Nani briefed the media about the decisions taken in the cabinet meeting and said that the cabinet has also passed a resolution permitting the establishment of a ‘Sand Corporation’ to monitor and address all issues related to sand mining, transportation and its sale. It will be a subsidiary entity under the mining
department.

He also stated that the cabinet has given its consent for the formation of a new corporation — Andhra Pradesh Rayalaseema Drought Mitigation Project Development Corporation Ltd — for implementing irrigation projects at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crores in the Rayalaseema region.

But notable issues that were left and left the media as well as the political circles disappointed are cabinet expansion and reshuffle; shifting of capital to Visakhapatnam; salaries of village volunteers; and also further strategy to handle and contain Covid-19 in the state. None of these issues were discussed.

Above all, Jagan also was to discuss about clearance of payments to vendors who have done work for the government since last October. None of ministers are informing if these issues came for discussion or not. Overall, the CM left everyone including vendors waiting for his orders to get payment for the work done. It is time Jagan clears all the old bills and invite to take up fresh works so that the state’s development activity will hit the right path!

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Guest Column

TS Govt Priorities: Roads not Human Lives!

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Going by the way the Telangana government is behaving, it looks like they are least bothered about the human lives. On the other hand we have daily announcements of starting new flyovers, repairing old roads, completion of steel bridges, etc. So it is clear that the government is more concerned about the roads and not the people who have to travel on these roads!

Undoubtedly, Covid-19 has given opportunity for our state government to complete all the pending projects, mostly the roads, bridges and flyovers. It is a good thing, but it cannot happen at the cost of negligence of human lives. Without proper infrastructure and medical staff in government hospitals, there is no point in building roads, say common people.

IT, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao is on inauguration spree. He is seen every day on media inaugurating or laying foundation stone to infrastructure projects. According to sources close to the minister, the state government was using this opportunity to make Hyderabad a global destination for MNCs to set up their base. “Unless good connectivity is available, companies that are planning to shift out of China will not come to Hyderabad. So the minister was trying to create an international environment for industry to thrive in Telangana,” the sources pointed out.

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A good move, but if a fraction of amount is spent on giving salaries to the medical staff working at Gandhi and Osmania Hospitals, things would be much better in Telangana. Around 217 patient care providers at Osmania General Hospital (OGH) have come out in public and are asking for payment of three months salaries.

The staff members, who have been working at the government hospital for the past three to 10 years, have also asked the Health department officials to regularise their jobs so that their salaries can be hiked. They work as pharmacists, lab technicians, data entry operators, in respiratory unit, and other sections of the hospital. One of the staff member, explaining about the risks involved in their job especially during Covid-19 pandemic, said, “We have been doing a job filled with risk. Our salary is only ₹12,000 per month. We want our jobs to be regularised so that our salaries can increase. Besides, we request officials to clear our pending salaries.”

On the other hand 700 outsourced employees of Gandhi Hospital went on indefinite strike demanding that their jobs be regularised. Talking to media about their plan of action, J Kumaraswamy, president of Telangana United Medical & Health Employees Union, said “The outsourced employees include 110 patient care providers, 200 sanitation staff, 100 security staff and over 200 Class-IV employees. They will be on indefinite protest from today till their demands are met.”

Instead of addressing the demands of so-called Covid-19 Warriors, the government has decided to completely ignore it as a non-issue. In fact the GHMC has made a proud claim that it has spent Rs 450 crores to relay around 250 kms of BT roads. In this scenario, it is clear that the priority of the government is not human lives but roads!

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Editorial

What should be our strategy with China?

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China is bothering India and Indians very much. One decade continued bonhomie smoothly and celebrated with ” Hindi- Cheenee bhai bhai” slogans on the streets of Delhi. Actually, India would have objected to Chinese invasion of Tibet in the year 1951 itself. It was a blunder committed by India headed by China fascinated Prime Minister Nehru. Our relations were never smooth since 1962. It was a hide and seek game. We, being exposed to China as a weak country in 1962, never recovered totally from that position. Reasons are many. Now, India is emerged as strong military power ( 4th largest in the world), 5th largest economy and also nuclear weapon country. India is no more weak country like 1962. This itself is bothering China. China over a period of time developed as one more super power like USA and wanted unquestioned leader in Asia but likely emergence of India one more powerful  country in near future is anathema to it. It is constructing a protection cover against India in our neighbourhood  by all means. We must view Chinese incursion into our territory from this background.

Historical factors

At the outset, the dispute is between Tibet and India but not between China and India. Tibet and India connected through historical ties since beginning. Our connection with China was through Karakorum Highway( only limited period and narrow path) and through Khyber pass since silk route years.  So, no direct boundary confrontation with China in the history. Our dispute is with Tibet only. Direct boundary conflict came when Pakistan ceded our territory to China in 1963.

Tibet was never part of China except small period during Mongolian rule. Tibet was a sovereign country but accepted Chinese ‘suzerainty’. It was a historical fact. For some period, Tibetan kingdom annexed  Chinese mainland and ruled. In 1911, Qing dynasty was collapsed and nationalist Government under charismatic leadership of Sun yet Sen formed. At this juncture, Tibet declared total Independence and ruled the country on its own. In the year 1914, British India wanted to settle peace with its northern neighbourhood. A tripartite convention was called in Simla and British India, Tibet and China agreed for draft convention. It not only demarcated India-Tibet border but also demarcated Tibet as Outer Tibet and Inner Tibet. Later, China retracted from it where as British India and Tibet signed the final Convention. McMahon represented India.

Tibet kingdom was originally consists of four traditional provinces. Out of these four, only two are now in Tibet Autonomous Region. This is broadly represents outer Tibet. The other provinces are merged into Chinese provinces by name Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan. The influence of Tibetan culture is gradually reduced to TAR, that too now a days filled with Han people. The 1914 treaty divided eastern sector between India and Tibet popularly known as McMahon line. Now, China says that 1914 Convention was finally between Tibet and India and it is not binding on them.

What is the dispute?

Dispute is on three sectors. Ladakh sector ( Western sector), Sikkim & Arunachal Pradesh ( Eastern Sector) popularly known as Tawang in Tibet and Shaksgam ceded by Pakistan. The Central sector ( Himachal & Uttarakhand border) is by and large not having many disputes.

Ladakh Sector: There was treaty in 1842 itself between Sikh Empire, China and Tibet. As per this agreement, Ladakh was part of Sikh empire. In 1846, British defeated Sikhs in Anglo-Sikh War and Ladakh was transferred to British. Then, it was passed over to Jammu Kingdom by British. This was the history. But the problem lies in land demarcation. Aksai Chin was part of Ladakh. It was situated on high altitude with desert climate with out any human habitation. In 1865, it was shown under Jammu& Kashmir ( popularly known as Johnson line). In 1899, it was shown under Xinjiang, popularly known as McDonald line. The ” Postal Atlas” of China showed it under Jammu and Kashmir between 1913-1933.

At the time of Independence to India, the map was shown clearly Aksai Chin as part of Jammu and Kashmir only. People’s Republic of China was formed in the year 1949. It annexed Tibet in the year 1951. India and China were moving together shoulder by shoulder bilaterally and also India supported  mainland China ruled by Communist Party  in all international forums against Taiwan where Sun Yet Sen party was ruling. However, surreptitiously China built a  1200 km road through Aksai Chin connecting Xinjiang and Tibet. It was not even noticed by India . It came very late to Indian notice through some by-passers. Then 1962 war occurred. Nehru was warned from the beginning by his colleagues. Vallabhai Patel expressed his reservation on China from the beginning. Dr Ram Manohar Lohia warned Nehru about China. Nehru was totally upset with China in the later period and he was shocked with Chinese aggression and people say that he never recovered from that pain. Even now, border demarcation is not clear in Ladakh area and China is taking advantage of the same.

Arunachal Pradesh: China claims that it is part of Tibet called as Southern Tibet. Famous Tawang monastry is situated there. Initially, it was called as North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). Later, it was named as Arunachal Pradesh and carved out from Assam as separate State. The McMahon line signed by Tibet and India was negated by China stating that it was Imperial British decided unilaterally. They claimed most of the State.

Shaksgam: It was not a dispute as far as China is concerned. It occupied illegally Indian territory by fraud. Pakistan did not have any title to the land to handover to China. Legally, it is the land belonging to India. It spread 5800 square kilometres.

What should be our strategy?

China’s actions continue at regular intervals. It will not stop even in future. Of late, China under Xi Jinping is behaving aggressively with all nations. The present intrusion is not like past occasional clashes. They planned well in advance, built permanent structures. Their intentions are deeper. They encroached our land. It is not that easy to reach a settlement for status quo prior to April. In my view, they will prolong the issue as it is to their advantage. We must plan in a different way fixing them to come to negotiations for status quo. Many political observers are expressing different reasons why they are behaving like this. It is not the issue now, issue is vacating them from our land that too before winter sets there.

The only answer to China is becoming stronger India and bargain from strength. Some people are arguing that we should maintain distance from USA to reduce tensions with China. It was a suicidal strategy. China will further dictate to us. China will listen to us when they understand that India is no more weak. We are now far better compared to 1962 . But China is  better than us, remember. Till we become further stronger, we have to strategically align with US in the present circumstances. There is no other alternative. Of course, we must keep Russia in good humour as it is friend in crisis. Indian policy should be Chinese and Pakistan centrist as long as our borders are under threat. We will avert direct war with China and use all diplomatic and military engagement. At the same time, we can not keep quite if our borders are insecure; if our land is permanently occupied; if diplomatic mission failed. Though China may be superior Army compared to India on paper, China’s war experience is limited. The last war it conducted was with Vietnam in 1979 and it was a failure. It exposed its weakness. Particularly, its capacity in war at high altitude is yet to be tested. It is not to say that China is a weak army but too much exaggeration of its strength is also not correct assessment. What ever strengths and weaknesses of both the countries, we have to defend our motherland at any cost. That is our patriotic duty. Let us deal as equal and strong neighbour with China and entire nation is behind the Government.

( Note: The Map is given for understanding the dispute but we committed to Indian map as shown by Government of India)

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