Constitution Current Affairs - 2019

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Draft Arms (Amendment) Bill

On October 10, 2019, the Union Home Ministry proposed an amendment to convict makers and users of illegal arms. According to the amendment, the makers of “prohibited” arms and those carrying such arms have to spend remainder of their life in prison if convicted.

The bill is to be introduced in the winter session of the parliament.

Main Features of the Amendment bill

  • Anyone possessing more than 2 licensed gun has to deposit the third one with the authorities. This is because GoI is planning to ban the practice of multiple licenses to individual
  • Section 25 (1AA) of Arms act 1959 is to be amended. According to the amendment punishment from usual 14 years to imprisonment for remainder of the person’s life.
  • The amendment also categorizes illegal import of guns and their sales as “illicit trade”. Also, it has provisions to send an authorized gun dealer to jail up to 7 years.
  • A sports person can possess a third weapon – 0.22 calibre rifle only, provided, if the user is a dedicated sports person whose participation is recognized in national and international events in the last 2 years.

Significance

India has a total of 35 lakh gun licenses. Around 13 lakh have licenses to carry weapons in UP alone. In J&K around 3.7 lakh citizens hold active gun licenses. These licenses were issued in the last two decades. Punjab has around 3.6 lakh active gun licenses. All these licenses were simultaneously issued when militancy has engulfed the state.

Arms Act, 1959

The act was legislated to consolidate and amend the laws related to arms and ammunition. It replaced the Arms Act 1878. The act has undergone many changes since 1959. The most recent change in the act was done in 2010 through an amendment for the arms act.

The act briefs rules and regulations about acquisition, manufacture, possession, sale, import and export ammunition in India. It also provides provisions related to licenses. The act lists the punishments associated with breaking rules related to the act. IT alsi provides details on powers that the officials possess to enact it.

Arms Act 1878

The act stipulated that no Indians shall be allowed to bear arms prior to proper permit. On the other hand, no such rules were imposed to the British living in India. The act was seen as a major humiliation for the newly emerging middle class. Surendranth Bannerjee called the act as a badge for racial inferiority.

The act was passed during the period when Lord Lytton was the Viceroy of India.

Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian appointed as Advisory Council Member in 15th Finance Commission

The Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) to Central government, Dr. Krishnamurthy Subramanian is appointed as twelfth (12) member of Advisory Council of Fifteenth (15th) Finance Commission (FCc).

Advisory Council

It now has 12 members, which include noted economists Surjit Bhalla, Arvind Virmani, Indira Rajaraman and M Govinda Rao among others.

Role and Function:

  • To is to advise FC on any relevant matter or subject related to Terms of Reference (ToR) of Commission.
  • To assists FC in preparing any research paper or study which would enhance commission’s understanding on issue contained in its ToR.
  • To help expand FC understanding in adopting best national and international practices on matters of fiscal devolution and
  • To help improve quality, reach and enforcement of FC recommendations.

Finance Commission

  • It is constituted under article 280 of Constitution by President of India. It mainly gives its recommendations on tax devolution i.e. distribution of tax revenues between Union and States and amongst states themselves.
  • It is appointed for a period of five years and comprise of five member including one chairman and four other members.
  • First FC was constituted under chairmanship of Shri K.C. Neogy on 6th April, 1952.

Fifteenth Finance Commission

  • It was constituted in November 2017, to give recommendations for tax devolution and other fiscal matter for five fiscal years, 1 April 2020- 31 March 2025.
  • It is chaired by N. K. Singh, and members Ajay Narayan Jha, Ashok Lahiri and Anoop Singh. Ramesh Chand is a part-time member in FC.