1. Addressing the challenges in new-age digital Commerce
2.Climate Change and Paris Agreement.
3. Vice President’s Elections
4. Parliamentary Privileges
1. Addressing the challenges in new-age digital Commerce
The rise in Smartphone use fuelled by affordable data plans has catalyzed an online Revolution in the country.Online Dispute Resolution can help mitigate Litigation risk and provide Insights into Consumer Grievances.
Wider Choice and Access
A project on Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has been initiated by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
The pilot phase of Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a first-of-its-kind initiative globally to pave way for democratizing digital commerce to enhance the penetration of digital commerce in the country
Aim of ONDC
- The project ONDC is mainly aimed at curbing “digital monopolies”.
- ONDC, using open specifications and open network protocols independent of any specific platform aims at promoting open networks developed on open sourced methodology.
Significance of Open Network for Digital Commerce
- If the ONDC gets implemented and mandated, it would mean that all e-commerce companies will have to operate using the same processes.
- ONDC could give a huge booster shot to smaller online retailers and new entrants.
If ONDC is mandated, it could be problematic for larger e-commerce companies, which have proprietary processes and technology deployed for these segments of operations.
Recent report of the committee “Promotion and Regulation of E-commerce in India” :
Issues Highlighted by the Report
- Few platforms control a large part of the e-commerce market (which may lead to monopoly)
- Lack of platform neutrality, i.e., providing preferential treatment to selected sellers
- Deep discounting,e., discounts of preferred sellers are selectively funded by the platform
- Non-transparent search rankings
- Misuse of data
- Formulate a policy which clearly defines marketplace and inventory-based models of e-commerce.
- It recommended that marketplace-commerce entities should:
- not sell goods that it owns or controls
- not have any direct or indirect relationship with sellers who sell on the platform
- be prohibited from licensing their brand to third-party sellers on the platform
- Gatekeeper entities: Certain e-commerce platforms need greater scrutiny (as is applicable in other countries): It recommends India should select “gatekeeper” platforms of a specific scale that require more stringent supervision.
- Mandatory registration of e-commerce companies with DPIIT
- Create Digital Market Division to overcome regulatory gaps
- Implement the Personal Data protection bill (2019)
- DPIIT should address issues such as maintaining a level playing field between small businesses and e-commerce giants and provide technical support to small and local businesses.
- Obligations put on e-commerce entities through Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules 2020,(such as the appointment of the chief compliance officer, and setting up a grievance redressal mechanism) should be applicable to those entities above a certain threshold.
Innovation in disputes
- ODR has significantly large-scale potential for innovation. For instance, the feedback rating system in e-commerce, where parties to a transaction criticize or praise each other has incentivised developing a reputation for scaling activity through smooth transactions. In the Netherlands, the ‘Rechwizer’ system allows for family and debt disputes to be handled by an online negotiating process called ‘separating together’.
- In India, NPCI has mandated platforms in the UPI Ecosystem to adopt ODR for complaints and grievances connected to failed Transactions.
- Some Examples of ODR Systems in use in the country : Ingram, SEBI SCORES, RBI CMS,MahaRERA,MSME Samadhaan and RTIOnline.
Online Dispute Resolution
- It is the resolution of disputes, particularly small and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration.
- It utilizes information technology to carry out ADR.
- The information management and communication tools in ODR may apply to all or part of the proceedings and also have an impact on the methods by which the disputes are being solved.
ODR in India
- The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration in 1985 and the UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules in 1980.
- The UNGA has recommended the use of the said Model Law and Rules in cases where a dispute arises in the context of international commercial relations and the parties seek an amicable settlement of that dispute by recourse to conciliation.
- India has also incorporated these uniform principles of ADR in the Arbitration and Reconciliation Act 1996,which has been amended several times.
- The Arbitration Act provides for ADR mechanisms like arbitration, conciliations, etc. for national and international stakeholders.
Advantages of ODR
- Convenient, accurate, time-saving and cost-saving.
- Provides more, efficient, effective, scalable and collaborative mechanisms of containment and resolution.
2. Climate Change and Paris Agreement
Ahead of the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP-27), in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November,the Union Cabinet has approved India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
What is Climate Change?
- Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s,Human activities have been the main driver of Climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
- Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.
- Examples of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. These come from using gasoline for driving a car or coal for heating a building, for example. Clearing land and forests can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills for garbage are a major source of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main emitters.
Signed in 2016, it is considered to be the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement.
Paris Agreement aimed :
- Keep the global temperature well below 2°C above pre industrial times and endeavor to limit them even more to 1.5°C.
- Strengthen the nations’ ability to combat the adverse impacts of climate change.
- The Paris Accord calls for a reduction of the GHGs emitted due to human activities equal to that of the trees, soil and oceans so that they can be absorbed naturally.
- As per the Agreement, each country’s contribution towards cutting emission must be reviewed every 5 years.
- It also states that rich countries must help the poorer nations by providing them with “Climate finances” to make them shift towards renewable energy usage.
- The agreement is binding in some elements like reporting requirements. Other elements of the agreement are non-binding like the emission targets of the individual nations.
- The Paris Agreement necessitates all Parties to put forth their best efforts through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the future.
- This also includes the need for regular reporting emissions and implementation by the parties.
- India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) includes the reduction in the intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level. Additionally, it has pledged to increase the share of non-fossil fuel-based electricity by 40% by 2030. It has also agreed to enhance its forest cover, which will absorb 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
On October 2, 2015, India submitted its NDC to the UNFCCC. The 2015 NDC had eight goals; three out of eight have quantitative targets up to 2030.
These were :
- Cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources to reach 40 percent.
- Reduction of the emissions intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 per cent compared to 2005 levels.
- Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through other forest and tree cover.
The Newly Approved NDCs will translate the following into reality :
- Approval translates Prime Minister ‘Panchamrit’ announced at COP 26 into enhanced climate targets.
- A step towards achieving India’s long term goal of reaching net-zero by 2070
- India now stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030.
- Prime Minister’s concept of mass movement for ‘LIFE’– ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change"
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- It came to force on 21st March 1994.
- The 195 countries that have ratified it are called the Parties to the Convention.
- The UNFCCC is a Rio Convention, one of the three adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The others include the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
- The Joint Liaison Group was established to ensure cooperation among the three Conventions.
- Currently, it also consists of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
- The ultimate aim of the Convention is to stabilize the greenhouse gas concentration “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.
- It also aims to achieve the said level within a specific period so that the ecosystem is allowed to adapt naturally to climate change while also ensuring food security and sustainable economic development.
- Following its establishment, the COP1 (first Conference of Parties) was held in Berlin, COP2 was held in Geneva and the COP3 was held in Kyoto to adopt the “Kyoto Protocol” that ensures the implementation of the UNFCCC’s objective.
3. Vice President’s Elections
The term of office of Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice-President of India, is ending on 10 August 2022.
As per Article 68 of the Constitution of India, an election to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President is required to be completed before the expiration of the term.
- The opposition named former Governor and former union minister Margaret Alva as its candidate for Vice President.
- The ruling NDA has announced West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar will be its candidate for the post.
Election of Vice-President
- Article 324 of the Constitution read with the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, vests the superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of election to the office of the Vice-President of India in the Election Commission of India.
- The notification for election shall be issued on or after the sixtieth day before the expiration of term of office of the outgoing Vice-President.
- As per Article 66 of the Constitution of India, the Vice-President is elected by the members of the Electoral College.Electoral College consists of:
- Elected members of Rajya Sabha.
- Nominated members of Rajya Sabha.
- Elected members of Lok Sabha.
- Should be a citizen of India.
- Should have completed 35 years of age.
- Should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
- Should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or any local authority or any other public authority.
- The Vice President is the second highest constitutional office in India. He/She serves for a five-year term, but can continue to be in office. irrespective of the expiry of the term, until the successor assumes office.
- The Vice President may resign his office by submitting his resignation to the President of India. The resignation becomes effective from the day it is accepted.
- The Vice President can be removed from office by a resolution of the Council of States, passed by a majority of its members at that time and agreed to by the House of the People. A resolution for this purpose may be moved only after a notice of at least a minimum of 14 days has been given of such an intention.
- The Vice President is the ex-officio Chairperson of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and does not hold any other office of profit.
4. Parliamentary Privileges
Wrong notion about Immunity from action by agencies when House session is on.
The term 'privilege' implies certain rights, immunities enjoyed by the two Houses, their panels and MPs to enable them to discharge their functions efficiently
- Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.
- Parliamentary privileges are defined in Article 105 of the Indian Constitution and those of State legislatures in Article 194.
- When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offense is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.
Privileges of Parliamentarians
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedom from Arrest
- Exemption from attendance as witnesses
Freedom from Arrest: It is understood that no member shall be arrested in a civil case 40 days before and after the adjournment of the House (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) and also when the House is in session. It also means that no member can be arrested within the precincts of the Parliament without the permission of the House to which he/she belongs.
Privileges of the Parliament
- Right to publish debates and proceedings
- Right to exclude strangers
- Right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges
- Right to regulate the internal affairs of the House
What is the privileges committee?
In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths. A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report. The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House. A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed. In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, which consists of 10 members.