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Soil Forming/Soil Profile/Soil Types


Soil Characteristics and Soil formation process Soil Profiles and Horizons Type of Soils

Soil Forming

Soil can be defined as the solid material on the Earth’s surface that results from the interaction of weathering and biological activity on the parent material or underlying hard rock.
The salient characteristic features of soil are:
Soil Texture
• Textures range from clay, sand, and silt at the extremes, to a loam which has all three sized fractions present. The main influence of texture is on permeability which generally decreases with decreasing particle size.
Soil Air
• A certain amount of air is contained between the individual particles except for the waterlogged soils. The air in the soil helps in the process of oxidation which converts part of the organic material into nitrogen in a form readily available to the plants.
Soil water 
• In damp climates, especially in high latitudes where the evaporation rate is low, water tends to move predominantly downward, particularly in coarse-grained sandy soils. This dissolves the soluble minerals in the soil, together with soluble humus material and carries both downward, a process called leaching or eluviations.
• In a hot, arid climate, evaporation exceeds precipitation for greater part of the year, so the water tends to move upward and the soil dries out.
Soil Colour
• Generally soil colour is determined by the amount of organic matter and the state of the iron.
• Soil colour is also related to soil drainage, with free draining, well AERATED soils (with pore space dominated by oxygen) having rich brown colours.
• In contrast, poorly draining soils, often referred to as gleys, develop under ANAEROBIC conditions (the pore space dominated by water) and have grey or blue-grey colours.
Soil pH
• The reaction of a solution represents the degree of acidity or basicity caused by the relative concentration of H ions (acidity) or OH ions present in it. Acidity is due to the excess of H ions over OH ions, and alkalinity is due to the excess of OH ions over H ions. A neutral reaction is produced by an equal activity of H and OH ions.
a) Acidic: It is common in region where precipitation is high. The high precipitation leaches appreciable amounts of exchangeable bases from the surface layers of the soils so that the exchange complex is dominated by H ions. Acid soils, therefore, occur widely in humid regions and affect the growth of plants markedly.
b) Alkaline: Alkali soils occur when there is comparatively high degree of base saturation. Salts like carbonates of calcium, magnesium and sodium also give a preponderance of OH ions over H ions in the soil solution. When salts of strong base such as sodium carbonate go into soil solution and hydrolyze, consequently they give rise to alkalinity.
FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR SOIL FORMATION
Soil formation is the combined effect of physical, chemical, biological, and anthropogenic processes on soil parent material.
a) Parent material
• This is the material from which the soil has developed.
• The parent material can influence the soil in a number of ways: colour; texture; structure; mineral composition and permeability/drainage.
b) Climate 
• The absorption of the solar radiation at the soil surface is affected by many variables such as soil color, vegetation cover, and aspect. In general, the darker the soil color, the more radiation is absorbed and the lower the albedo. The absorption differs in areas with deciduous trees (soil surface is shaded by trees most of the year) and arable land (soil surface is not shaded throughout the year).
• Biological processes are intensified by rising temperatures. Reaction rates are roughly doubled for each 10°C rise in temperature, although enzyme-catalyzed reactions are sensitive to high temperatures and usually attain a maximum between 30 and 35°C.
c) Biological Factors
• The soil and the organisms living on and in it comprise an ecosystem. The active components of the soil ecosystem are the vegetation, fauna, including microorganisms, and man.
• Earthworms are the most important of the soil forming fauna in temperate regions, being supported to a variable extent by the small arthropods and the larger burrowing animals (rabbits, moles).
d) Time
• Time is a factor in the interactions of all the above factors as they develop soil.
e) Relief
• Relief is not static; it is a dynamic system (its study is called geomorphology). Relief influences soil formation in several ways:
I. It influences soil profile thickness i.e. as angle of slope increases so does the erosion hazard.
II. It has an effect on climate which is also a soil forming factor.
III. Gradient affects run-off, percolation and mass movement.
IV. It influences aspect which creates microclimatic conditions.

SOIL FORMING PROCESSES
The four major processes that change parent material into soil are additions, losses, translocations, and transformations.
• Leaching – leaching is the removal of soluable components of the soil column. As water washes down through the soil it can carry away bases such as calcium, held as exchangeable ions in clay-humus complexes, as well as acidification through the substitution of hydrogen ions.
• Eluviation – here soil particles held in suspension, such as clay, are removed (eg. washed away).
• Illuviation – here soil particles held in suspension, such as clay, are accumulated (eg. deposited).
• Podsolisation – podsolisation occurs when strongly acid soil solutions cause the breakdown of clay minerals. As a result silica, aluminium and iron form complexes with organic substances in the soil. These minerals are removed from the surface zone of the soil and can accumulate in distinct dark sub-surface layers – very evident on inspection. Upland heaths and moors often contain podsols.
• Gleying – gleying occurs in waterlogged, anaerobic conditions when iron compounds are reduced and either removed from the soil, or segregated out as mottles or concretions in the soil. Marshy wetlands often contain gleyed soils.

Administrative/Legislative/Financial Relations


Centre-State Administrative Relations Legislative and Financial Relations Committees on Centre-State relation

Administrative

The Constitution provides a federal system of government in the country even though it describes India as ‘a Union of States’. The term implies that firstly, the Indian federation is not the result of an agreement between independent units, and secondly, the units of Indian federation cannot leave the federation. The Indian Constitution contains federal and non- federal features.
The federal features of the Constitution include:
• A written constitution which defines the structure, organization and powers of the central as well as state government
• A rigid constitution which can be amended only with the consent of the state
• An independent judiciary which acts as the guardian of the constitution
• A clear division of powers between the Center and the States through three lists- Union list, State list and Concurrent lis
• The creation of an Upper House (Rajya Sabha) which gives representation to the states, etc.
The Constitution also contains a number of unitary features:
• The creation of a very strong centre
• The absence of separate constitutions for the states
• The right of Parliament to amend major portions of the constitution by itself
• A single citizenship for all
• Unequal representation to the states in the Rajya Sabha
• The right of Parliament to change the name, territory or boundary of states without their consent
• The presence of All- India Services which hold key positions in the Centre as well as the States appointment of the Governor by the President
• The granting of extensive powers to the President to deal with various kinds of emergencies
• The right of Parliament to legislate on state subjects on the recommendation of the Rajya Sabha
• The presence of a single judiciary with the Supreme Court of India at the apex
• The residuary powers under the Indian Constitution are assigned to the Union and not to the States.
• The exclusive right of Parliament to propose amendments to the Constitution.
• On account of the presence of a large number of non- federal features in the Indian Constitution India is often described as a ‘quasi-federal ‘country.
The relations between centre and state are divides as:
• Administrative relations
• Legislative relations
• Financial relations
• The administrative jurisdiction of the Union and the State Governments extends to the subjects in the Union list and State list respectively. The Constitution thus defines the clauses that deal with the administrative relations between Centre and States.
During Normal Times
1) Executive Powers of State be exercised in compliance with Union Laws: Article 256 lays down that the executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a state as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
2) Executive Powers of State not to interfere with Executive Power of Union: Article 257 of the Constitution provides that the executive power of every state shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the Union, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to giving of such directions to a state as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose. In short, the Union Government can issue directions to the state Government even with regard to the subjects enumerated in the state list.
3) Maintain means of communication of National or Military importance: The Union Government can give directions to the state with regard to construction and maintenance of the means of communication declared to be of national or military importance.
4) Protection of the Railways: Union can issue State Governments necessary directions regarding the measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the jurisdiction of the State. It may be noted that the expenses incurred by the State Governments for the discharge of these functions have to be reimbursed by the Union Government.
5) To ensure welfare of Scheduled Tribes in the States: Union can direct the State Governments to ensure execution of schemes essential for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the States.
6) To secure instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education: Union can direct the State Governments to secure the provision of adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.
7) To ensure development of the Hindi language: Union can direct the State Governments to ensure the development of the Hindi language.
8) To ensure government of a State is carried on in accordance with the provision of the Constitution: Union can direct the State Governments to ensure that the government of a State is carried on in accordance with the provision of the Constitution. If any State failed to comply with any directions given by the Union in exercise of its executive power, then President may hold that, a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Thus he may proclaim President’s Rule in that State.
9) Delegation of Union’s function to State: The President of India can entrust to the officers of the State certain functions of the Union Government. However, before doing so the President has to take the consent of the State Government. But the Parliament can enact law authorizing the Central Government to delegate its function to the State Governments or its officers irrespective of the consent of such State Government. On the other hand, a State may confer administrative functions upon the Union, with the consent of the Union only.
10) Appointment of High Dignitaries: Union has major say in appointment and removal of Governor and appointment of Judges of High Court and Members of State Public Service Commission.
11) All India Services: The presence of the All India Services – the Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Services – further accords a predominant position to the Union Government. The members of these services are recruited and appointmed by the Union Public Service Commission. The members of these services are posted on key posts in the states, but remain loyal to the Union Government.
12) Union to adjudicate Inter-State River Water Dispute: The Parliament has been vested with power to adjudicate any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in any Inter-State river or river-valley. In this regard, the Parliament also reserves the right to exclude such disputes from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or other Courts.
During Emergencies
1) Under President’s Rule: The State Governments cannot ignore the directions of the Union Government, otherwise the President can take the action against the Government of the State stating that the administration cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and thus can impose President’s rule on the State. In such an eventuality the President shall assume to himself all or any of the functions of the State Government.
2) Under Proclamation of National Emergency: During a Proclamation of National Emergency, the power of the Union to give directions extends to the giving of directions as to the manner in with the executive power of the State is to be exercised relating to any matter.
3) Under Proclamation of Financial Emergency: During a Proclamation of Financial Emergency, Union can direct the State Governments to observe certain canons of financial propriety and to reduce the salaries and allowances of all or any class of person serving in connection with the affairs of the Union including the Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. Union also requires all Money Bills or Financial Bills to be reserved for the consideration of the President after they are passed by the Legislature of the State.
It is thus, evident that in the administrative sphere the States cannot act in complete isolation and have to work under the directions and in cooperation with the Center.

Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North-East


Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North-East

• The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas has released the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North-east India to outline the long term and broad objectives for the exploration, exploitation of hydrocarbons in North east India and highlight its potential in the economic and social development of the region.
• The vision draft outlines steps to be taken to leverage the hydrocarbon sector for development of the region and vision to develop a common and shared aspiration for benefiting people of the north-east region.
• The objectives of Hydrocarbon Vision 2030:
a) The objectives of the plan are to leverage the region’s hydrocarbon potential, enhance access to clean fuels, improve availability of petroleum products, facilitate economic development and to link common people to the economic activities in this sector.
b) It outlines the steps to leverage the hydrocarbon sector for development of the region in Guwahati as well as in North-east region with involvement and inputs of various stakeholders, industry players and state governments. It not only includes the ambition for the region but also an actionable road map.
c) It rests on 5 pillars: People, Policy, Partnership, Projects and Production. It aims at doubling Oil and Gas production by 2030, making clean fuels accessible, fast tracking projects, generating employment opportunities and promoting cooperation with neighbouring countries.
d) The vision also focuses on other areas including exploring hydrocarbon linkages and trade opportunities with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan. It also aims at doubling Oil and Gas production by 2030, fast tracking projects, generating employment opportunities and promoting cooperation with neighbouring countries.

National Court of Appeal


National Court of Appeal

The National Court Appeal with regional benches in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata is meant to act as final court of justice in dealing with appeals from the decisions of the High Courts and tribunals within their region in civil, criminal, labour and revenue matters. In such a scenario, a much-relieved Supreme Court of India situated in Delhi would only hear matters of constitutional law and public law. A National Court of Appeal is being advocated as an intermediate forum between the Supreme Court and the various high courts of India.
The Supreme Court is saddled with civil and criminal appeals that arise out of everyday and even mundane disputes. As a result of entertaining these appeals, the Supreme Court’s real mandate – that of a Constitutional Court, the ultimate arbiter on disputes concerning any interpretation of the Constitution – is not fulfilled. By taking up the Supreme Court’s appeals jurisdiction, the NCA will give the former more time for its primal functions.
A National Court of Appeal will help clear the backlog of cases and maintain the Supreme Court’s position as the apex court of the land.
The NCA would relieve the Supreme Court of the weight of hearing regular civil and criminal appeals, allowing the court to concentrate on determining only fundamental questions of constitutional importance. Additionally, it has been argued that the NCA’s regional benches would allow greater access to litigants from remote parts of the country, for whom the distance to New Delhi acts as a grave barrier to justice.
A court of appeal can work as an excellent mechanism to sieve cases. If there are areas of law that are particularly unsettled and need clarification, the court of appeal can club them together and send these forward to the Supreme Court. Not only can a number of individual cases be disposed of but areas of law can also be settled and a clear precedent set.
The Supreme Court itself, as early as in 1986, had recommended establishment of an NCA with regional Benches at Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata to ease the burden of the Supreme Court and avoid hardship to litigants who have to come all the way to Delhi to fight their cases.
But subsequent Chief Justices of India were not inclined to the idea of bifurcation of judicial powers, and that of forming regional benches of the apex court. A government order in 2014 too rejected the proposal that such a court of appeal is constitutionally impermissible. The outlook changed in February 2016 when the Supreme Court admitted Chennai lawyer V. Vasanthakumar’s petition for setting up an NCA.
The Centre rejected Mr. Vasanthakumar’s proposal for a National Court of Appeal with regional Benches. The Ministry cited three grounds for rejecting the idea – The Supreme Court always sits in Delhi as per the Constitution; the Chief Justices of India in the past have “consistently opposed” the idea of an NCA or regional benches to the Supreme Court; and the Attorney-General said an NCA would “completely change the constitution of the Supreme Court”.
The Supreme Court in March 2016 decided to form a Constitution Bench to debate the idea of an NCA. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur said that it was time to debate if the Supreme Court was too burdened to provide equal justice to all. A verdict in favour of NCA would act as a great influence on Parliament to amend the Constitution itself to make room for NCA.
Ireland has enacted the law for NCA in 2013 after six years’ debate.
The government, however, holds that the idea is a “fruitless endeavour” and will not lessen the burden of 2 Crore cases pending in trial courts. On April 26, 2016, Attorney-General told the bench, “We will only be adding to lawyers’ pockets. The Supreme Court should not consider this when its own dockets are full.” Legal experts feel that setting up of regional benches will dilute the constitutional superiority of the Supreme Court. Dilution of the Supreme Court and its aura as an apex court may not be in line with the concept of the Supreme Court envisioned by the architects of the Constitution.
Ideally, there is only one Supreme Court. The issue of proximity is relevant only up to high courts and can’t be extended to the Supreme Court. There are enough high court benches to address that issue. Then you need to have a super Supreme Court to settle the difference of opinions between different benches.

Introduction of NOTA in Elections


Introduction of NOTA in Elections

• The Supreme Court in Writ Petition directed to provide a NOTA option on the EVM and ballot papers so that the electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their option in secrecy.
• The Supreme Court held that the provisions of Rule 49-O under which an elector not wishing to vote for any candidate had to inform the Presiding Officer about his decision, are ultra vires Article 19 of the Constitution and Section 128 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
• Rule 49-O was a rule in the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 of India, which governs elections in the country. It described the procedure to be followed when a valid voter decides not to cast his vote, and decides to record this fact.
• 49-O states that if an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form 17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.
• Positive features in NOTA:
a) Voter’s participation is an essence of democracy. Introducing a NOTA button can increase the public participation in an electoral process.
b) NOTA option gives the voter the right to express his disapproval with the kind of candidates that are being put up by the political parties.
c) For democracy to survive, it is essential that the best available men should be chosen as people’s representatives for proper governance of the country. Thus in a vibrant democracy, the voter must be given an opportunity to choose ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) button, which will indeed compel the political parties to nominate a sound candidate. This situation palpably tells us the dire need of negative voting.
• Negative features in NOTA:
a) As per the provisions of clause (a) of Rule 64 of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, read with Section 65 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the candidate who has polled the largest number of valid votes is to be declared elected by the Returning Officer. NOTA do not mean rejection. That may sound self-defeating to the whole point of NOTA but according to Indian democracy the rule of first past the post is declared the winner. Thus, if out of total 10,000 votes, 9999 voters elect NOTA option and just one candidate gets even a single vote, then the latter wins from that constituency.
• NOTA can only work only when it is paired with Right To Recall option where voters can recall candidates they have elected. This will instill fear in candidates to do well in office and also lead to giving NOTA importance because it acts as a pre-cursor to public displeasure. Currently, Right To Recall does not exist in the electoral process in the country, which only weakens NOTA.

Sai Praveen

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