Parliamentary Committees Current Affairs

Union Government not in favour of new law for CBI

The Union Government has turned down the recommendation of Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee to come up with a new law for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The parliamentary committee has recommended replacing Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 which governs CBI. Government stated that it might impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution.

Recommendations of Committee
  • Powers given to the CBI under the DSPE Act are not adequate considering the pace of changing times as it has grown into a more dynamic agency specialising in prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes.
  • In this context, there is need for a separate statute for the CBI for making it an independent and accountable agency. 
Government’s Position
  • Separate statute for the CBI will necessitate amendment of Constitution which may also impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution.
  • The mandate of Parliament to enact a law which would be in conflict with Entry 2 of List II of the Seventh Schedule which is in the domain of the States.
  • In this case, CBI may be conferred with powers which will impinge on all the powers of investigation of offences which are conferred on the State police. 

About Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • CBI is the foremost investigative police agency in India. It is non constitutional and non-statutory body.
  • It was established in 1941 as Special Police Establishment and was renamed to present nomenclature in 1963.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Motto: Industry, Impartiality, Integrity.
  • It derives power to investigate from Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
  • It is under administrative control of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel.

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Parliamentary committee report highlights alarming rise in forest fires

According to report submitted by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, there is alarming rise in forest fires across India.

It says that the number of forest fires have touched 24,817 in 2016 from 15,937 fires in 2015. It shows alarming rise 55% in the past year.

The report primarily focuses on the prevention and containing of fires in the Himalayan forests spread across Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

Findings of Committee
  • There is increase in forest fires is seen even though 2015 was considered a drought year. But there is decline in frequency of forest fires by around 16%.
  • The three central States Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha contribute a third of the forest fires.
  • Madhya Pradesh has seen a nearly ten-fold increase in forest fires, from just 294 in 2015 to more than 2,600 in 2016.
  • In Himachal and Uttarakhand, over 17,502 acres have been ravaged in 2016 due to forest fires, a rise of over 171%.
  • Large number of posts of front line forest staff were lying vacant, while fire-fighting equipment is rudimentary in many cases.
Recommendations
  • National policy on managing forest fires must be framed.
  • Replacing pine reserve forests areas with “broad-leaf” plants.
  • Procurement of sweeping machines to clear roadsides of Chir pine needles.
  • Advocating large-scale incentives and programmes (including under MNREGA) to collect pines for use as fuel, and other incineration.
Background

The committee was formed after a series of devastating forest fires earlier in the year 2016 including the prolonged one that had charred 4,000 hectares of forest land across 13 districts of Uttarakhand in May 2016. The committee was headed by Rajya Sabha MP Renuka Choudhary.

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