V-P Naidu says 'loopholes in anti-defection law, needs amendments'
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday called for an amendment in the anti-defection law, suggesting those lawmakers switching to other parties shouldn't be offered other posts before they are re-elected.
“The anti-defection law has certain loopholes. It allows wholesale defection," news agency ANI quoted the vice president.
If you want to leave a party, leave and resign from the post. If you want to get re-elected, it is okay. But during that period, you should not be offered any post,” he added while addressing an event on the 50th year of the Press Club in Bengaluru.
“This has to be followed by all. The time has come to amend the anti-defection law because there are certain loopholes,” the vice president said while expressing discontent over the non-effective method of dealing with defectors.
“I personally feel that every political party must have a self-code of conduct and see to it that their members follow it. I also feel that the political parties develop a code of conduct not only for their members inside the Parliament but also outside,” Naidu said.
The anti-defection law was brought into effect in 1985 to bring stability to the governments by discouraging lawmakers from switching to other parties.
In the last three years, states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka witnessed massive defections with Congress lawmakers quitting the party leading to the fall of the respective governments.
In Karnataka, the 2018 elections threw up a hung assembly. After the BharatiyaJanata Party failed to prove its majority after BS Yediyurappa took oath, the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular formed the government under the leadership of HD Kumaraswamy. But a year later, the resignations by Congress and JDS MLAs reduced the government to minority and the government later fell. The rebel MLAs were later elected on a BJP ticket in the by-elections.
In 2018, the Congress had won Madhya Pradesh elections and formed government under Kamal Nath. Less than a year later, 23 Congress MLAs including six ministers owing allegiance to JyotiradityaScindia resigned. After failing to pacify rebel MLAs, Nath resigned hours before he faced the trust vote.
The MLAs later joined the BJP government after winning by-elections.
Pakistan seeks to extend IMF loan for one year, minister says
Pakistan requested that the International Monetary Fund extend its loan program for a year and enhance the $6 billion funding to ease financing difficulties for the south Asian country as a new government stepped in this month.
Miftah Ismail, the nation’s finance minister, said the requests were made during “positive” talks with the fund in Washington for the resumption of loan program. The IMF has “largely agreed” to extend the current program for another year but details would be trashed out during a mission visit to Pakistan next month, he said at a news conference in Washington.
The IMF suspended its loan to Pakistan after political turmoil that led to the ouster of Imran Khan. Aid from the lender will be critical to bolster the country’s finances, after foreign exchange reserves fell to less than two months of import cover.
In a statement, IMF Mission Chief Nathan Porter said both the lender and Pakistan agreed that prompt action is needed to reverse the country’s unfunded subsidies, which have slowed discussions over the unlocking of billions of dollars in aid.
Coal stocks at non-pithead plants low at 26% of normative level
Coal stocks at non-pithead thermal power plants remained consistently low during the last week till Thursday at 26 per cent of the normative levels, showing shortage of the dry fuel amid rising electricity demand due to scorching heat.
Experts are of the view that coal shortage can lead to a possible electricity crisis and there is a need to scale up supplies as 26 per cent of the normative level of coal at non-pithead thermal power plants is not a good sign.
Non-pithead thermal power plants are situated at a distance from coal mines and stocks at these plants assume significance.
According to the latest data of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), coal stocks were 26 per cent of the normative levels at 155 pit head thermal power plants with total generation capacity of about 163 GW from Monday (April 18) to Thursday (April 21).
The CEA monitors coal stocks at 173 power plants with total generation capacity of about 202 GW that include 18 pit-head projects with a total generation capacity of about 39 GW.
The pithead thermal power plants are situated near the coal mines and generally there are no issues with coal supplies there.
The data showed that coal stocks were 14,610 thousand tonnes (26 per cent) at 155 non-pit head plants against the normative level of 57,033 thousand tonnes on Thursday April 21, 2022.
::Science and tech::
IISc studied microplastic found in Cauvery river
Pollutants like microplastics may be causing growth defects in fish, including skeletal deformities, in the Cauvery River, a new study reveals. Published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, the study was led by UpendraNongthomba, Professor at the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics (MRDG), in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
Nongthomba likes his fish. “Over the years, I have cherished going to the backwaters of the Krishna Raja Sagara [KRS] Dam and having fried fish on the Cauvery River bank,” he says. But in recent times, he has been noticing physical deformities in some of them. He began to wonder whether the quality of water may have something to do with it.
“Water is essential for everyone, including animals and plants. When it is polluted, it is capable of causing diseases, including cancer,” adds Abass Toba Anifowoshe, a PhD student in Nongthomba’s lab, and the first author of the study. Nongthomba’s lab, therefore, conducted a comprehensive study of pollution at the KRS Dam and its potential effects on fish. They collected water samples from three different locations with varying speeds of water flow – fast-flowing, slow-flowing, and stagnant – since water speed is known to affect the concentration of pollutants.
In the first part of the study, Nongthomba’s team analysed the physical and chemical parameters of the water samples. All but one of them fell within the prescribed limits. The exception was dissolved oxygen (DO), whose levels were much lower than they needed to be in samples collected from the slow-flowing and stagnant sites. Water from these sites also had microbes such as Cyclops, Daphnia, Spirogyra, Spirochaeta and E. coli, well-known bio-indicators of water contamination.
Kumari Chanda: Growing up in haze to chasing a clear 800m goal
The middle-distance runner who has qualified for this year’s Asian Games wants to become only the second Indian to break the 2-minute mark in the two-lapper
Her replies are short, but taking KumariChanda's reticence for timidity would be a grave miscalculation. “When I stand on my mark, I don't think of the medal or timing. I just want to beat the girl in front of me,” says the 20-year-old, fresh from winning the 800m and finishing third in 1500m at last month's Federation Cup meet in Kozhikode. She clocked 2:02:11 in the 800m to meet the qualifying mark for this year's Asian Games.
Chanda’s athletics world is far removed from Sonpur village in Uttar Pradesh, about 650 km from the national capital. There, in a thatched mud house with no toilet or water supply, her father SatyanarayanPrajapati is fighting what appears a losing battle against tuberculosis.