On 5th of August 2019, the President of India promulgated the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019.
- The order effectively abrogates the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under the provision of Article 370 - whereby provisions of the Constitution which were applicable to other states were not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
- According to the Order, provisions of the Indian Constitution are now applicable in the State.
- This Order comes into force “at once”, and shall “supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954.”
- A separate Bill - the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 - was introduced to bifurcate the State into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature), and Ladakh (without legislature).
- Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 was also introduced to extend the reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in educational institutions and government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.
- J&K acceded to the Dominion of India after the Instrument of Accession was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947.
- Article 370 of the Indian Constitution provided that only Articles 1 and 370 itself would apply to J&K. The application of other Articles was to be determined by the President in consultation with the government of the state.
- The Constitution Order of 1950 specified the matters on which the Union Parliament would be competent to make laws for J&K, in concurrence with the Instrument of Accession - 38 Subjects from the Union List were added.
- The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 settled the constitutional relationship of J&K and the Union of India. It made the following provisions -
- Indian citizenship and all related benefits (fundamental rights) were extended to the 'permanent residents' of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 35A was added to the Constitution (empowering the state legislature to legislate on the privileges of permanent residents with regard to immovable property, settlement in the state and employment)
- The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India was extended to the State.
- Central Government was given the power to declare a national emergency in the event of external aggression. The power in case of internal disturbances could be exercised only with the concurrence of the State Government.
- Normalized the financial relations between the Centre and J&K
Article 370 - Features and Provisions
- Present in part XXI of the Indian Constitution which comprises of Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions with rest to various states of India.
- Forms the basis of the “Special Status” of J&K.
- Provides for a separate Constitution of J&K.
- Limits the Union Parliament’s power to make laws for J&K to those subjects mentioned in the Instrument of Accession (defense, foreign affairs, and communications) and others as and when declared by the Presidential Orders with the concurrence of the Government of the State.
- Specified the mechanism by which the Article shall cease to be operative. That is, on the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State before the President issues such a notification. However, this provision has been amended by the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019.
Was it Temporary
- The Article was introduced to accommodate the apprehensions of Maharaja Hari Singh who would not have acceded to India without certain concessions.
- Territorial integrity was of paramount importance to India post-independence, thus, such a special provision was inducted in the constitution.
- The provision, however, is part of the “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions” of our constitution.
- Moreover, Article 370 could be interpreted as temporary in the sense that the J&K Constituent Assembly had a right to modify/delete/retain it; it decided to retain it.
- Another interpretation was that accession was temporary until a plebiscite.
Issues in Revoking
- Article 370 is the bedrock of the constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India.
- It has been described as a tunnel through which the Constitution is applied to J&K.
- India has used Article 370 at least 45 times to extend provisions of the Indian Constitution to J&K. This is the only way through which, by mere Presidential Orders, India has almost nullified the effect of J&K’s special status.
- By the 1954 order, almost the entire Constitution was extended to J&K including most Constitutional amendments.
- However, abrogating the article altogether may threaten the peace in the state which is already a hotspot of conflicts and militancy.
- It will completely change the relationship between the state and the rest of India.
- It will also clear the path for abrogating Article 35A which would allow Indian citizens to purchase land and settle permanently in J&K.
- Thus, the move is bound to have a significant impact on the demography, culture, and politics of J&K.
As per the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), a rural settlement had thrived at Bharati Huda in Jalalpur village in Odisha’s Cuttack district, about 3600 years ago.
- This is based on the ancient artefacts and grain discovered by the ASI from the mentioned site in the year 2018.
- The age of the settlement was arrived at after radiocarbon dating of charcoal samples found at the site by the Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) in New Delhi using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).
- Chalcolithic Culture: The excavated remains indicate existence of Chalcolithic culture in the valley as attested by the presence of mud structural remains, large quantity of potsherds, ground and polished stone tools, bone tools, beads of semi-precious stones, terracotta objects, huge quantity of faunal remains and carbonized grains.
- The site has cultural similarity with Golabai Sasan, Suabarei and other excavated and explored sites in the Mahanadi delta and partial similarity with the chalcolithic sites of middle Mahanadi valley and sites of central and eastern India.
- Economy: The inhabitants practised agriculture and animal husbandry as attested by the findings of domesticated varieties of rice and jute and evidence of domesticated cattle among the faunal remains as well as terracotta bull figurine.
- Worship: A new religious belief emerged in the form of nature worship as evident from a single specimen of the Sun motif found arrayed in chocolate-slipped pottery.
- Sun worship dated back to 1099 BCE in the Prachi valley. Devotees from different parts of Odisha as well as the neighbouring States congregated at Chandrabhaga on the shore of the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of Magha Saptami to pay homage to Sun God.
- The world famous Sun temple of Konark, located some 30 kilometres from the excavation, was built in the 13th century CE. The tradition of Sun worship seems to have evolved with human settlements in the region.
- Co-existence: The excavation confirmed that a separate ethnic group that was using non-black-and-red ware might have existed during the early chalcolithic cultural horizon and a new class of ethnic group might have come into contact with the rural settlers at Bharati Huda during the mature phase of chalcolithic culture.
- As the name indicates, during the Chalcolithic (Chalco = Copper and Lithic = Stone) period, both metal and stone were utilized for the manufacture of the equipment in day-to-day life.
- It spanned around 2500 BC to 700 BC.
- Since this was the first metal age, copper and its alloy bronze which melt at low temperature were used for the manufacture of various objects during this period.
- By far the most important sites of this period are the Indus Valley Sites.
- Radiocarbon dating (usually referred to simply as carbon-14 dating) is a radiometric dating method. It uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years old.
- 14C is also used in climate studies, biomedicine applications and many other fields.
- Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is a highly sensitive method of counting atoms. The most widely used isotope studied with AMS is 14C. It is used to detect very low concentrations of natural isotopic abundances (typically in the range between 10*(-12) and 10*(-16)) of both radionuclides and stable nuclides.
Inter University Accelerator Centre
- The Inter University Accelerator Centre was the first Inter-University Centre to be established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1984.
- It was formerly known as Nuclear Science Centre.
- The primary objective of the Centre is to establish within the university system a world class facilities for accelerator based research.
- Its aim is to formulate common research programmes of research and development in collaboration with universities, IITs and other research institutions.
- It is located in New Delhi.
India is planning to launch its first Human Genome Mapping project.
- Project involves scanning of 20,000 Indian genomes (in the next five years) in order to develop diagnostic tests and effective therapies for treating diseases such as cancer.
- It is to be implemented by The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology.
Cancer Incidence in India
- According to the study, as India continues to age, cancer cases will double every 20 years.
- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha, will bear the biggest cancer burden in the next 10-20 years.
- According to Epidemiological Transition Level concept (ETL), number of patients with cancer started to increase as the life expectancy of Indians started to increase.
- The States with high ETL have a better development index and higher cancer rates.
- ETL is highest in Kerala and is lowest in Uttar Pradesh.
- Government should consider Bhore committee and Mudaliar committee report recommendations for cancer that include creation of a multidisciplinary cancer treatment unit in all medical colleges and setting up of a stand-alone cancer speciality hospital.
- The project is to be carried out in two phases:
- The first phase of the project involves sequencing the complete genomes of 10,000 healthy Indians.
- Second phase, involves genome sequencing of 10,000 diseased individuals.
- Data on human sequencing would be accessible to researchers through a proposed National Biological Data Centre envisaged in Biological Data Storage, Access and Sharing Policy.
- National Centre for Cell Sciences will collect samples of the microbiome from the human gut.
National Centre for Cell Science
- The National Centre for Cell Science is a national level, biotechnology, tissue engineering and tissue banking research center located at Savitribai Phule Pune University, Maharashtra.
- It is one of the premier research centers in India, which works on cell-culture, cell-repository, immunology, chromatin-remodelling.
- Healthcare: For new advancements in medical science (like predictive diagnosis and precision medicine, genomic information) and in disease management, genome sequencing can play a crucial role.
- Through genome sequencing methodology, researchers and clinicians can easily detect the disease related to genetic disorder.
- Genetic Screening: The genome project will lead to improved techniques of genetic screening for diseases prior to the birth.
- Evolution Puzzle: The genome project may answer questions regarding evolution by comparing human DNA with primate DNA.
- Discrimination: Discrimination based on genotype is a possible consequence of genome sequencing.For example, employers may obtain genetic information on employees prior to hiring them. If a certain employee is shown to be genetically susceptible to undesirable workforce traits they may be discriminated against their genotype.
- Ownership and Control: Apart from the issue of privacy and confidentiality, questions of ownership and control of genetic information becomes critical.
- Fair Use of Genetic Data: For insurance, employment, criminal justice, education, adoption, and military is necessary.
The central government is working on an initiative to move 10-12.5 million families within the ambit of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) out of poverty by imparting skills and creating durable assets.
- Under the Livelihoods in Full Employment (LIFE) project of the MGNREGA, started in 2015-16, the government provides training to eligible workers in the age group 15-35 years. However, this is restricted to MGNREGA workers who have completed 100 days’ work.
- In a mid-term review of the initiative, a lot of states complained of slow progress.
- States also complaint for absence of stipends (for loss of wages due to engagement in skilling),
- Candidates ineligibility for skilling due to the age criterion, was also one of the main complaints of the states.
New Initiative Features
- The government is planning to spend Rs 500-1,000 crore every year on this and it will not be limited to those who completed 100 days of work under the MGNREGA.
- As part of the proposed initiative, each year one member of 400,000-500,000 families will get training for 30-45 days.
- Stipends will be provided for compensation of any loss in wages that may arise.
- Training will be provided within the mandated 100 days (of MGNREGA) and conducted under skill-development initiatives such as the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), self-employment programmes run by banks, and the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
- The workers will be attached to Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and trained in grafting, horticulture, growing fruit-bearing crops, etc.
Livelihoods in Full Employment (LIFE) Project
- The Ministry of Rural Development has formulated a project for 'Livelihoods in Full Employment' under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Project LIFE-MGNREGA) in April 2015.
- The project aims to promote self reliance and improving the skill base of the MGNREGA workers, and thereby improving the livelihood of the workers, so that they can move from current status of partial employment to full employment status.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)
- The Ministry of Rural Development announced the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) Antyodaya Diwas, on 25th September 2014.
- It is the demand driven placement linked skill training initiative working under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
- It uses skill training and placement in wage employment as a tool to diversify income and enable sustained upward movement out of poverty.
- DDU-GKY is uniquely focused on rural youth between the ages of 15 and 35 years from poor families.
Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs)
- KVK, is an integral part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), which aims at assessment of location specific technology modules in agriculture and allied enterprises, through technology assessment, refinement and demonstrations.
- KVKs have been functioning as Knowledge and Resource Centre of agricultural technology supporting initiatives of public, private and voluntary sector for improving the agricultural economy of the district and are linking the NARS with extension system and farmers.
- The KVK scheme is 100% financed by the Government of India.
- KVKs are sanctioned to Agricultural Universities, ICAR institutes, related Government Departments and Non Government Organizations (NGOs) working in Agriculture
- The first KVK was established in 1974 at Puducherry.
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has inaugurated the TechEx - technology exhibition at IIT Delhi.
- TechEx was organized to demonstrate products and prototypes developed under the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT) and Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) schemes.
Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana
- UchhatarAvishkar Yojana (UAY) was announced with a view to promote innovation of a higher order that directly impacts the needs of the Industry and thereby improves the competitive edge of Indian manufacturing.
- The scheme focuses on a viable industry-academic collaboration where industry shares a part of the cost of research.
Other Initiatives/Schemes to Promote Research and Technology Ecosystem
- Setting up of Research Parks: The Government has approved setting up of Research Parks at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Gandhinagar and IISc Bengaluru.
- Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship: The scheme offers direct admission to meritorious students in the Ph. D programmes in IITs, IISERs and IISc.
- Smart India Hackathons: It is a nationwide initiative to provide students a platform to solve some of the pressing problems of daily lives.
- SETU (Self Employment and Talent Utilization): It is a techno- financial, incubation and facilitation program to support all aspects of start-up particularly in technology driven areas.
- Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) is established in Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) for promoting innovation ecosystem within their campus.
- Trainee Teacher Scheme: It had been initiated in National Institute of Technologies (NITs) with the objective to attract, motivate and sponsor best graduate engineers for part time M.Tech and Ph.D. programmes.
- VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty): This enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India through monetary support by the government.
- Prime Minister’s Science, Technology & Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC): It is an overarching body which assesses the status of specific S&T domains, comprehends challenges, formulates immediate, mid and long term interventions and presents a roadmap to the Prime Minister.
According to a University Grants Commission (UGC) notice, all universities in India will get final subscription to access the Swedish anti-plagiarism software ‘Urkund’ from September 1, 2019.
Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.
- The Urkund software was chosen through a global tender process.
- While Turnitin (US anti-plagiarism software) is more commonly used by global academics, it was found to be 10 times more expensive without a proportionate increase in features or reliability.
- The central government is following a two-pronged approach to prevent plagiarism.
- As a part of this process, in the coming years the software will be available free of cost to all 900 universities, including teachers, students and researchers.
- The Centre also notified the University Grants Commission (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2018 to prescribe the graded punishment for plagiarism.
UGC Panel on Improving Research Culture
- A UGC panel on improving research culture, headed by P. Balaram, noted that Indian academics have contributed 35% of all articles published in about 11,000 fake journals between 2010 and 2014.
- The panel found that most of these articles were in fake engineering journals, followed by articles in fake journals of biomedicine and social sciences.
- According to the panel report, primary responsibility to ensure high standards of academic research should lie with institutions themselves.
- Central rules and regulations can only complement the vigilant internal processes of institutions.
- The report submitted by the panel in July 2019 said that, ‘’Institutions must take the responsibility for ensuring academic standards and for emphasising, to both students and faculty, the importance of maintaining the highest standards of integrity in academic research.”
The Western and Central Railways have introduced a Biometric Token System (BTS) that seeks to streamline the process of boarding unreserved coaches (‘general’ compartment).
Biometric Token System
- Biometric Token System (BTS) is a system by which passengers travelling in the general coach, where seats are not reserved, are given a token roughly three hours before the train’s departure.
- These tokens are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and carry a serial number on them, which governs the order in which passengers will board the train.
- Tokens are issued after accepting biometric information of individual passengers.
- Passengers with valid tickets are required to place their fingers on a scanner, and are issued a token with a serial number against their biometric data.
- The biometric data captured in the machines will be stored locally with the authorities for a year.
- The data will be used to analyse the pattern of crowds and the number of people using a train.
- In case of a mishap, the railway authorities will have details of the passengers.
- The use of biometrics prevent black marketing of unreserved tickets.
- The token system helps in turning unmanageable crowds into well-managed, disciplined groups.
Hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to a Facebook event, promising to storm the alleged secret US military base, Area 51, located in the Nevada desert.
- On a Facebook event titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of us”, two million people on September 20, plan to storm a US Air Force facility called Area 51.
- Officially known as the Nevada Test and Training Range, Area 51 is part of the Nellis Air Force Base and is used as a training centre for the US Air Force. The name originates from its location of the Nevada map.
- With the facility shrouded in secrecy, several conspiracy theories have emerged over the years.
- Several Americans believed it was where the government hid the bodies of aliens and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), some believed it was where the government held “meetings” with extraterrestrials, and others speculated it was where the government developed “time travel” technology.
- The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to official documents, has been using the facility since 1955 to develop and test supersonic aircraft and stealth fighter jets.
- It was only in 2013 that the CIA published declassified documents admitting that the Area 51 is a secret military site.