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State PCS

  • 21 Feb 2024
  • 62 min read
Social Justice

Rights of Forest Dwellers and Thanthai Periyar Sanctuary

For Prelims: Thanthai Periyar Sanctuary, The Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, National Parks, Tiger Reserves, Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, Forest-Dwellers

For Mains: Forest Rights Act, Community Forest Resource Rights and Significance of the Recognition, Issues Faced By Tribes in India, Ways to Empower the Tribal Society of India

Source: TH

Why in News?

In recent events surrounding the notification of the Thanthai Periyar Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, forest-dwellers expressed concerns about the potential denial of their rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA).

What are the Concerns Regarding the Notification of the Thanthai Periyar Sanctuary?

  • The notification excludes six tribal forest villages from the sanctuary, confining them to a small area of 3.42 sq. km, without recognizing them as revenue villages.
  • The notification also imposes restrictions on cattle-grazing activities, which may affect the traditional practices of the Bargur cattle, , a traditional breed native to the Bargur forest hills.
  • The notification does not mention the consent of the forest rights holders or the gram sabha, as required by the FRA, 2006.

Note

  • In March 2022, the Madras High Court revised an older order imposing a total ban on cattle grazing in all the forests of Tamil Nadu and restricted the ban to National Parks, Sanctuaries, and Tiger Reserves.
    • Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country where there is such a ban.
  • This order is despite the FRA 2006, which acknowledges the grazing and traditional resource access of nomadic or pastoralist communities, this order applies to all forests, including National Parks, Sanctuaries, and Tiger Reserves. Grazing rights are community rights of the habitation-level villages and are to be regulated by their gram sabhas.

What is the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006?

  • About:
    • FRA, 2006 acknowledges the rights of forest-dwelling tribal communities and traditional forest dwellers to forest resources, essential for their livelihoods, habitation, and socio-cultural needs.
    • The Act rectifies the historical injustice faced by these communities by recognizing their symbiotic relationship with forests, which was previously overlooked by forest management policies.
  • Forest Dwellers Rights Under FRA, 2006:
    • Under the FRA, forest dwellers are granted individual rights such as self-cultivation and habitation, as well as collective or community rights including grazing, fishing, access to water bodies, and traditional seasonal resource access for nomadic and pastoral communities.
    • The Act also recognizes the rights of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), intellectual property rights, customary rights, and the right to protect, regenerate, or manage community forest resources sustainably.
    • Additionally, it provides for the allocation of forest land for developmental purposes to meet the basic infrastructural needs of forest-dwelling communities.
    • Importantly, the FRA works in conjunction with other relevant legislation such as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Settlement Act of 2013, to safeguard forest dwellers from eviction without proper rehabilitation and settlement.
    • The Act further enjoins upon the Gram Sabha (village assembly), to play a central role in the implementation of the Act.
      • The Gram Sabha is also a highly empowered body under the Act, enabling the tribal population to have a decisive say in the determination of local policies and schemes impacting them.
      • FRA requires and authorises the gram sabha to determine and recognise forest rights and protect and preserve the forests, wildlife, and biodiversity within their customary and traditional boundaries, including inside Protected Areas.
    • Violations of the FRA, particularly concerning Scheduled Tribes, are considered crimes under the 2016 amendment to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.
    • FRA states that converting forest villages into revenue villages is one of the forest rights of forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers.

Note

  • When notifying a Protected Area under the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WLPA), 1972, the government must assess rights under the FRA, 2006 and obtain consent from the gram sabhas.
    • FRA 2006, being a later law, supersedes the WLPA,1972. Any provisions in the WLPA that conflict with the FRA are considered null and void.

What are the Key Facts About Thanthai Periyar Sanctuary?

Comparison of Biosphere Reserve, National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Feature Biosphere Reserve National Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Purpose

Promote sustainable development, conserve biodiversity, cultural heritage, and natural resources

Conserve natural environment, protect from human interference Protect habitats of wild animals, promote breeding
Management Internationally recognized under the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) program and owned by the government. Government has complete power over the national parks. These can be under the government or owned under private entities.
Zones

Core zone (strictly protected), Buffer zone (limited human activities allowed), Transition zone (sustainable development encouraged)

Typically not divided into zones Generally not divided into zones
Human Activities Restricted in core zone, limited in buffer zone, encouraged in transition zone Restricted, mainly for recreational purposes Restricted to prevent disturbance to animals, limited educational access
Examples Nanda Devi (Uttarakhand), Nokrek (Meghalaya) Jim Corbett (Uttarakhand), Bandhavgarh (Madhya Pradesh) Gir National Park (Gujarat), Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary (Odisha)

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. At the national level, which ministry is the nodal agency to ensure effective implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006?

(a) Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
(b) Ministry of Panchayati Raj
(c) Ministry of Rural Development
(d) Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Ans: (d)

Q. Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. As per recent amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927, forest dwellers have the right to fell the bamboos grown on forest areas.
  2. As per the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, bamboo is a minor forest produce.
  3. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 allows ownership of minor forest produce to forest dwellers.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Q. Under which Schedule of the Constitution of India can the transfer of tribal land to private parties for mining be declared null and void? (2019)

(a) Third Schedule
(b) Fifth Schedule
(c) Ninth Schedule
(d) Twelfth Schedule

Ans: (b)

Q. If a particular area is brought under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which one of the following statements best reflects the consequence of it? (2022)

(a) This would prevent the transfer of land of tribal people to non-tribal people.
(b) This would create a local self-governing body in that area.
(c) This would convert that area into a Union Territory.
(d) The State having such areas would be declared a Special Category State.

Ans: (a)


Social Justice

Asia-Pacific SDG Progress Report 2024

For Prelims: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2024, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

For Mains: Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2024, Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Source: DTE

Why in News?

Recently, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) published the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2024. This report focuses on success stories, trends, and the distinct challenges encountered in various parts of the region in striving towards the SDGs.

What is Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report?

  • The Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report is one of the annual flagship publications of the United Nations ESCAP. It provides an overview of SDG Progress in the region which serves as a foundation for many other activities conducted by ESCAP and its partners.
  • It draws out the priorities for enhancing data availability on SDG indicators, especially for the most vulnerable population groups, which could help shape more equitable and inclusive development strategies.

What are the Key Highlights of the Report?

  • Overall Progress Delayed:
    • Progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains uneven and inadequate across various segments of the population and within the five subregions of Asia and the Pacific.
    • At the current pace, the region will not achieve all SDGs until 2062, which marks a significant 32-year delay from the target year of 2030.

  • Limited Progress on Measurable Targets:
    • Only 11% of the 116 measurable SDG targets are on track. By 2030, the region is projected to achieve only one-third of the required progress if the current trajectory continues.
  • Climate Action Lagging:
    • Progress on SDG 13 (Climate Action) remains critically behind, with all SDG 13 targets either stalled or reversing, highlighting the urgent need to incorporate climate action into national policies and strengthen resilience to cope with climate-related disasters.

  • Data Gaps Impede Monitoring:
    • Close to 67% of the 169 SDG targets in the Asia-Pacific region are currently not measurable.
      • 62.5% of indicators under the climate goal (SDG 13) lack the data required for monitoring progress.
    • Data availability has improved since 2017 but remains insufficient for 53 targets, including three climate-related ones.
  • Gender Inequality:
    • Despite overall progress in school enrolment rates, women and girls in the region continue to face considerable challenges when it comes to accessing education and employment opportunities.
    • They have lower enrolment rates and struggle with literacy. Young women also encounter difficulties accessing labour markets, leading to higher rates of youth unemployment.
    • Meanwhile, the challenges faced by men tend to be related to their health or personal safety.
      • They suffer from higher rates of suicide, chronic diseases and road traffic deaths.
  • Interconnectedness of Goals:
    • Progress on goals such as ending hunger (SDG 2), enhancing health and well-being (SDG 3), ensuring clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), expanding affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), and building sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) has also been limited.
    • These goals are closely linked with Climate Change and face challenges that could disrupt progress in the region.
  • Warning on Global Risks:
    • Climate change and extreme weather events are identified as severe global risks over the next decade, further emphasising the importance of addressing climate action to achieve SDG targets.
  • National Success Stories:
    • In the Philippines, dedicated research and analysis aimed at estimating the cost of supporting children living with a disability played a pivotal role in influencing recent legislation to provide a disability allowance, extending support to children with disabilities.
    • Nationwide digital training programmes in Vietnam have underscored the value of Public-Private Partnerships in accelerating digital transformation and bridging the skills and employment gap for youth and migrant workers.
    • Meanwhile, in North and Central Asia, national statistical systems in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have been upgraded to better support stateless populations.
  • Key Recommendations of the Report:
    • There is urgency in addressing inequalities that impact marginalised groups, including women, girls, rural populations and the urban poor, who continue to find themselves locked out of education and employment opportunities.
    • There is a need for a significant increase in investment in sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy sources to address the challenges posed by Climate Change and achieve various SDGs.
  • India's Progress on SDG as per the Report:
    • India’s overall SDG score improved by 6 points, rising from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020–21.
    • Notable achievements include Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), with composite goal scores of 83 and 92, respectively.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It has 53 Member States and 9 Associate Members from the Asia-Pacific Region including India.
  • Established: 1947
  • Headquarters: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Objective: To overcome some of the region’s greatest challenges by providing results-oriented projects, technical assistance and capacity building to member States.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. Consider the following statements: (2016)

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals were first proposed in 1972 by a global think tank called the ‘Club of Rome’.
  2. The Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Exp:

  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, are a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • They are built upon the success of the Millennium Development Goals, including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities.
  • The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
  • Adopted in 2015, SDGs came into effect in January 2016. They are meant to be achieved by 2030. Hence, statement 2 is correct.
  • The SDGs were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The Club of Rome advocated resource conservation for the first time in a more systematic way in 1968. Hence, statement 1 is not correct. Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

Mains

Q. Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. (2018)

Q. National Education Policy 2020 isin conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (2020)


Indian Polity

National Commission for Scheduled Castes

For Prelims: National Commission of Schedule Caste (NCSC), Article 338 of the Constitution of India, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).

For Mains: National Commission of Schedule Caste (NCSC), Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

Source: PIB

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment submitted the Annual Report 2022-23 of the National Commission of Schedule Caste (NCSC) to the President of India.

  • The reports contain various recommendations on the issues entrusted to the Commission regarding the protection of Constitutional Safeguards of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
  • As per the mandate given to the NCSC under Article 338 of the Constitution of India, it is the duty of the Commission to present to the President annually & at other times as the Commission may deem fit, report upon the working of the Constitutional Safeguards of the SCs.

What is the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSCs)?

  • About:
    • The NCSC is a Constitutional Body established with a view to provide safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Castes and to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests.
  • History:
    • Special Officer:
      • Initially, the constitution provided for the appointment of a Special Officer under Article 338. The special officer was designated as the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
    • 65th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1990:
      • It amended Article 338 of the Constitution and replaced the one-member system with a multi-member National Commission for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes(ST).
    • 89th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003:
  • Composition:
    • The NCSC comprises a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and three additional Members.
    • These positions are filled through the President's appointment, indicated by a warrant under his hand and seal.
      • Their conditions of service and tenure of office are also determined by the President.
  • Functions:
    • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the SCs and to evaluate their working;
    • To inquire into specific complaints concerning the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the SCs;
    • To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the SCs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union or a state;
    • To present to the President, annually and at such other times as it may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
    • To make recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or a state for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the SCs.
    • Till 2018, the commission was also required to discharge similar functions with regard to the other backward classes (OBCs). It was relieved from this responsibility by the 102nd Amendment Act, 2018.
  • Power of NCSC:
    • The Commission is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure.
      • The Commission, while investigating any matter or inquiring into any complaint, has all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters:
        • summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
        • receiving evidence on affidavits; and
        • requisitioning any public record from any court or office.
      • The Central and state governments are required to consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting the SCs.

What are the other Constitutional Provisions for the Upliftment of the SCs?

  • Article 15: The article specifically addresses the issue of discrimination based on caste, emphasising the protection and upliftment of SCs.
  • Article 17: Article abolishes Untouchability and prohibits its practice in any form. It seeks to eliminate social discrimination and promote the equality and dignity of all individuals.
  • Article 46: Article directs the State to promote the educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes and other weaker sections of society and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
  • Article 243D (4): The provision mandates the reservation of seats for SCs in Panchayats (local self-government institutions) in proportion to their population in the area.
  • Article 243T (4): The provision ensures the reservation of seats for SCs in Municipalities (urban local bodies) in proportion to their population in the area.
  • Article 330 and Article 332 provide for the reservation of seats in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and in the legislative assemblies of the States (respectively).

Way forward

  • Some critics argue that bureaucratic hurdles, political interference, and insufficient enforcement mechanisms have limited the NCSC's effectiveness.
  • Additionally, there have been concerns about delays in addressing complaints and inadequate representation of SC communities.
  • To address these issues, the NCSC could benefit from enhanced autonomy, increased resources, and more proactive measures to address systemic discrimination.
  • Strengthening outreach programs, ensuring transparency, and fostering collaboration with civil society organisations can also contribute to its effectiveness in safeguarding the rights of SCs.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. With reference to ‘Stand Up India Scheme’, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2016)

  1. Its purpose is to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women entrepreneurs.
  2. It provides for refinance through SIDBI.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c)

  • Stand Up India Scheme was launched on 5th April, 2016. It seeks to promote entrepreneurship among Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribe and Women. Hence, statement 1 is correct.
  • The Scheme is expected to benefit a large number of such entrepreneurs, as it is intended to facilitate at least two such projects per bank branch (Scheduled Commercial Bank) on an average one for each category of entrepreneur.
  • Refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) with an initial amount of `10,000 crore. Hence, statement 2 is correct.

Mains

Q.1 What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)? (2017)

Q.2 Has caste lost its relevance in understanding the multi-cultural Indian Society? Elaborate your answer with illustrations. (2020)

Q.3 “Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” Comment. (2018)

Q.4 Debate the issue of whether and how contemporary movements for assertion of Dalit identity work towards annihilation of caste. (2015)


Indian Polity

Right to Maintenance of Muslim Women

For Prelims: Divorced Muslim Women’s Right to Maintenance, Supreme Court (SC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 (1986 Act).

For Mains: Divorced Muslim Women’s Right to Maintenance, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has decided to examine if a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to a claim of maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) against her former husband — reigniting the debate on whether secular laws should be given precedence over distinct personal laws.

How has the Muslim Women Act, 1986 Evolved?

  • Pre-1986: Maintenance under Section 125 of CrPC:
    • Section 125 of the CrPC is a provision that provides maintenance to wives, children, and parents who are unable to maintain themselves.
      • It applies to all religions and is not specific to any particular religion.
    • The section was made legally available to Muslim women after intervention of the SC in the Shah Bano case, where the Supreme Court held that a divorced Muslim woman was entitled to maintenance from her former husband under Section 125 of the CrPC.
  • 1986 Act:
    • In response to the Shah Bano case, the Indian Parliament enacted the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, providing a specific mechanism for divorced Muslim women to claim maintenance.
    • It restricted the maintenance period to the iddat period and tied the amount to the mahr or dowry given to the woman.
      • Iddat is a period, usually of three months, which a woman must observe after the death of her husband or a divorce before she can remarry.
  • Danial Latifi v. Union Of India Case, 2001:
    • The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the 1986 Act but extended the right of a Muslim woman to get maintenance till she re-marries.
    • The Court ruled that Muslim husbands are liable to provide maintenance to their divorced wives beyond the iddat period till she re-marries.
  • 2009:
    • In 2009, the SC reiterated that divorced Muslim women could claim maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC, even beyond the iddat period, as long as they do not remarry.
    • This affirmed the principle that the CrPC provision applies irrespective of religion.
  • 2019:
    • The Patna High Court emphasised that divorced Muslim women have the option to seek maintenance under both Section 125 of the CrPC and the 1986 Act.
    • This underscores the concurrent applicability of both laws and ensures that Muslim women are not deprived of their rights under either provision.
  • Current Case:
    • The current case involves an appeal by the Appellant, whose former wife approached a family court in Hyderabad, alleging that he had given her triple talaq and claimed monthly maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC.
    • The husband argued that the provisions of the Muslim Women Act, 1986, being a special law, would prevail over Section 125 of the CrPC.
      • He contended that relief cannot be sought before the family court as the 1986 Act gives jurisdiction to the First-Class Magistrate to decide the issue of mahr and other subsistence.
      • He highlighted that the wife did not file any affidavit before the magistrate stating her preference for the CrPC provisions over the 1986 Act, as required by Section 5 of the latter.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019:

  • A Muslim woman who is divorced by her husband by pronouncing talaq can seek maintenance allowance under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019.
    • The Act declares any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, to be void and illegal.
    • The Act entitles a divorced Muslim woman to receive from her husband such amount of subsistence allowance, for her and dependent children, as may be determined by the Magistrate.
    • The Act is a special law that overrides the provisions of Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which deals with the maintenance of wives, children and parents.
      • However, a divorced Muslim woman can choose to not be governed by the Act and opt for other remedies available under any other law or custom.

What are the Supreme Court’s Observations Regarding the Case?

  • Interpretation of Section 3 of the 1986 Act:
    • The court pointed out that Section 3 of the 1986 Act does not bar alternative remedies for Muslim women under other laws such as Section 125 of the CrPC.
  • Amicus Curiae Submission:
    • The amicus curiae, concurred with the court's observation and emphasised the need for an authoritative pronouncement on whether the 1986 Act supersedes the right under Section 125 of the CrPC.
      • An amicus curiae is a person or entity who is not a party to the case but offers expertise or information to assist the court in making its decision.
  • Constitutional Principles:
    • The judges highlighted that the 1986 Act must be interpreted to ensure that divorced Muslim women are entitled to all maintenance rights available to other divorced women in the country.
    • They emphasised that treating Muslim divorced women less favourably would violate constitutional principles, including Articles 14, 15, and 21.
  • Legislative Intent:
    • Dismissing the petitioner's argument that the 1986 Act intended to debar Muslim women from seeking relief under Section 125 of the CrPC, the court asserted that if such was the legislative intent, it would have been explicitly stated in the Act.
    • The absence of such explicit language implies that there is no restriction on Muslim women from seeking relief under Section 125.

What are the Related Prior Judicial Precedents?

  • In the judgments such as Arshiya Rizvi v. State of U.P. Case, 2022, Razia v. State of U.P. Case, 2022, and Shakila Khatun v. State of U.P, Case, 2023, the Allahabad High Court has reaffirmed a divorced Muslim woman’s right to claim maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC even after the completion of the iddat period as long as she does not marry.
  • In Mujeeb Rahiman v. Thasleena Case, 2022, a single judge of the Kerala High Court observed that a divorced Muslim woman can seek maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC until she obtains relief under Section 3 of the 1986 Act.
    • Such an order will remain in force until the amount payable under Section 3 is paid.
  • In Noushad Flourish v. Akhila Noushad, Case 2023, the Kerala High Court ruled that a Muslim wife who effected her divorce by the pronouncement of khula (divorce at the instance of, and with the consent of the wife) cannot claim maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the CrPC.
    • When the wife affects divorce by khula to get her released from the husband, the same, in fact, is akin to the refusal of the wife to live with her husband, as provided under Section 125(4) of CrPC.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Prelims

Q. Which Article of the Constitution of India safeguards one’s right to marry the person of one’s choice? (2019)

(a) Article 19
(b) Article 21
(c) Article 25
(d) Article 29

Ans: (b)

Exp:

  • The right to marry is a component of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India which states that “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law”.
  • In Lata Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh 2006, the Supreme Court viewed the right to marry as a component of the right to life under Article 21 of Indian Constitution. Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

Mains

Q. Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree? (2020)


Agriculture

Global Pulses Conference

For Prelims: National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd, Global Pulse Confederation, Top Pulses Producing States, Minimum support price, National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Pulses, Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) Scheme, Price Stabilization Fund

For Mains: Status of Pulse Production in India, Concerns Related to Pulse Production in India.

Source: TH

Why in News?

The recent Global Pulses Conference, an annual gathering of pulses producers, processors, and traders, was recently jointly organised by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) and the Global Pulse Confederation.

  • India is aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in pulses by 2027, focusing on expanding cultivation and supplying new varieties of seeds.

What is the Global Pulses Conference?

  • The Global Pulse Confederation (GPC), represents all segments of the pulse industry value chain from growers, researchers, logistics suppliers, traders, exporters and importers to government bodies, multilateral organisations, processors, canners and consumers.
    • Its membership includes 24 national associations and over 500 private sector members.
  • It is based in Dubai and licensed by the Dubai Multi Commodity Centre (DMCC).

What is the Status of Pulse Production in India?

  • About: India is the largest producer (25% of global production), consumer (27% of world consumption) and importer (14%) of pulses in the world.
    • Pulses account for around 20% of the area under food grains and contribute around 7-10% of the total foodgrains production in the country.
  • Top Pulses Producing States: Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • Main Varieties: Pulses are grown throughout the agricultural year.
    • Rabi Pulses (contribute over 60%): Gram (chickpea), Chana (Bengal gram), Masoor (lentil), Arhar (pigeon pea).
    • Kharif Pulses: Moong (green gram), Urad (black gram), Tur (arhar dal).
      • Rabi crops require mild cold climate during sowing period, during vegetative to pod development- cold climate and during maturity/ harvesting - warm climate.
      • Kharif pulse crops require a warm climate throughout their life from sowing to harvesting.

  • Major Export Destinations (2022-23): Bangladesh, China, United Arab Emirates, USA and Nepal.
  • Significance:
    • Nutritional Powerhouses: Pulses are rich in protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, providing essential nutrients for human diets.
    • Soil Enrichment: They fix nitrogen in the soil, improving fertility and reducing the need for synthetic fertilisers due to their leguminous nature.
    • Climate Smart Crop: Pulses are drought-tolerant (water-efficient) crops and have a lower carbon footprint compared to many other crops, contributing to sustainability.
    • Crop Health and Rotation: Including pulses in crop rotations enhances soil structure, reduces disease cycles, and suppresses weeds, promoting healthier agricultural systems.
  • Related Concern:
    • Yield Gap: Lower productivity of pulses in India compared to other major producers, causing dependence on imports to meet demand.
    • Lack of Focus: Historical emphasis on rice and wheat cultivation led to insufficient R&D and infrastructure for pulses.
    • High Import Dependence: India needs to import certain pulses despite being the largest producer to meet its domestic demand, impacting self-sufficiency.
  • Related Government Initiatives:

What is NAFED?

  • National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. was established on the auspicious day of Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October 1958.
  • It is an apex organisation of marketing cooperatives for agricultural produce in India.
    • It is currently one of the largest procurers of agricultural products like onions, pulses, and oilseeds.

Way Forward

  • Towards Second Green Revolution: Facilitating the availability of certified high-yielding, disease-resistant pulse varieties adapted to local agro-climatic conditions.
    • Encouraging seed banks, community seed systems, and public-private partnerships to ensure the timely availability of quality seeds to farmers, which is essential for enhancing pulse production and productivity.
  • Product Diversification and Value Addition: Developing value-added products like pulse flours, snacks, and protein supplements to expand market reach and attract new consumers.
  • Comprehensive Farmer Support Programs: Implementing comprehensive support programs for pulse farmers, including access to credit, insurance coverage, and extension services.
    • Strengthening farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to empower farmers collectively and enhance their bargaining power in the market.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. With reference to pulse production in India, consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. Black gram can be cultivated as both kharif and rabi crops.
  2. Green-gram alone accounts for nearly half of pulse production.
  3. In the last three decades, while the production of kharif pulses has increased, the production of rabi pulses has decreased.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only 
(b) 2 and 3 only 
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (a)


Mains:

Q.1 What are the major reasons for declining rice and wheat yield in the cropping system? How crop diversification is helpful to stabilize the yield of the crops in the system? (2017)

Q.2 Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by United Nations. (2017)


Indian Economy

India's Industrial Sector

For Prelims: Premature deindustrialization, India's Industrial Sector, Information technology, Service sector, Periodic Labour Force Survey, Production-Linked Incentive, PM Gati Shakti- National Master Plan , Start-up India, Make in India 2.0, Atmanirbhar Bharat Campaign, Special Economic Zones

For Mains: Current Status of India’s Industrial Sector, Manufacturing v/s Sector Sector Growth

Source: TH

Why in News?

Despite a swift post-pandemic recovery, India experiences 'premature deindustrialization', exacerbating inequality as benefits of rapid growth favour a small minority, widening existing disparities.

What is Premature Deindustrialization?

  • Premature Deindustrialization refers to a phenomenon wherein the growth of an economy’s manufacturing sector begins to slow down prematurely in its path towards development.
    • This concept was popularized in 2015 by Turkish Economist Dani Rodrik.
  • Economists typically view economic development as a transition from agriculture to manufacturing and then to services.
    • However, some economies may experience premature shifts to the services sector, hindering manufacturing growth.

What is the Current Status of India’s Industrial Sector?

  • Status: Historically, India's industrialization progress has been inadequate, with manufacturing consistently contributing less than 20% to output and employment, except during 2003-2008 (Industrial growth during 2003–08 called as the ‘Dream Run’).
  • Factors Responsible for Stagnant Industrialization in India:
    • Inadequate Research and Development (R&D) Investment: It limits innovation and technological advancement in Indian industries, hampering their competitiveness globally.
    • Corruption and Red Tape: Rampant corruption and bureaucratic inefficiencies in obtaining permits, licences, and clearances create bottlenecks and add to the cost of doing business, deterring investment in the industrial sector.
    • Informal Economy Dominance: Competition from the informal economy, which operates outside regulatory frameworks and often evades taxes, creates an uneven playing field for formal industrial enterprises, impacting their growth prospects.
    • Skill Mismatch: Discrepancies between the skills demanded by industries and those possessed by the workforce contribute to underemployment and inefficiencies in the industrial sector.
      • As per the Skill India Report, only 5% of the Indian population is formally skilled compared to 68% in the UK, and 75% in Germany.
    • Supply Chain Vulnerabilities and Resilience: Dependency on imported raw materials makes Indian industries vulnerable to global supply chain disruptions, requiring strategies to strengthen domestic supply chains and promote local manufacturing.
  • Approach to Boost Industrial Sector: India needs an unconventional approach.
    • Prioritising high-skill services, particularly in information technology (IT), to stimulate manufacturing growth.
    • This contradicts the traditional view that service growth relies on a strong manufacturing base.

What are the Arguments in Favour of and Against the Service Sector Stimulating Manufacturing Growth?

  • Arguments in Favour:
    • Increased Consumer Demand: A thriving service sector creates jobs and disposable income, leading to increased consumer demand for goods, potentially benefiting manufacturers.
      • For example, the demand for infrastructure development in the service sector (such as transportation, communication, and IT) can drive the demand for manufactured goods like vehicles, machinery, and electronics.
    • Supply Chain Integration: Services like logistics, distribution, and supply chain management play a crucial role in connecting manufacturers with consumers.
      • A robust service sector can enhance the efficiency of supply chains, reducing costs and improving the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.
    • Complementary Expertise: Service industries can offer specialised expertise that manufacturers lack, such as design and branding.
      • Services can provide manufacturers with valuable data insights on customer preferences, market trends, and supply chain performance.
      • This data can be used to optimise production, pricing, and marketing strategies.
  • Arguments Against:
    • Deepening Inequality: The service sector demands highly skilled workers, which India struggles to supply adequately.
      • This creates a stark divide between college graduates and others, leading to greater inequality in earnings compared to manufacturing-led growth.
      • The Gini index of inequality for regular wages in the services sector was 44 compared to 35 for manufacturing, highlighting this disparity.
    • Limited Direct Linkages: While the service sector may create indirect demand for manufactured goods, the direct linkages between services and manufacturing are still limited.
    • Neglect of Basic Industries: Prioritising the service sector may lead to neglect of critical infrastructure for basic small-scale industries essential for manufacturing growth for countries like India, impeding long-term competitiveness and resilience.

What are the Recent Government Initiatives for the Growth of the Industrial Sector in India?

Way Forward

  • Shifting Focus to Deep Industrialization: India needs to move beyond just increasing output of manufacturing and also focus on adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, and digital twins to enable smart manufacturing processes.
  • Infrastructure Development: Improving power generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure to ensure a stable and cost-effective power supply.
    • Upgrading transportation networks like roads, railways, and ports to improve connectivity and reduce logistics costs.
    • Expanding access to high-speed internet to facilitate efficient communication and data exchange.
  • Rural Industrialization Models: Developing innovative models for rural industrialization that leverage local resources, skills, and community participation.
    • This could involve setting up decentralised manufacturing clusters or co-operative enterprises in rural areas, empowering local artisans and entrepreneurs.
  • Bio-based Manufacturing: India has the potential to lead in bio-based manufacturing by utilising renewable feedstocks, biomaterials, and biotechnological processes, thereby becoming a frontrunner in the bio-economy.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Prelims

Q. In the ‘Index of Eight Core Industries’, which one of the following is given the highest weight? (2015)

(a) Coal production
(b) Electricity generation 
(c) Fertilizer production 
(d) Steel production

Ans: (b)


Mains

Q.1 “Industrial growth rate has lagged behind in the overall growth of Gross-Domestic-Product(GDP) in the post-reform period” Give reasons. How far are the recent changes in Industrial Policy capable of increasing the industrial growth rate? (2017)

Q.2 Normally countries shift from agriculture to industry and then later to services, but India shifted directly from agriculture to services. What are the reasons for the huge growth of services vis-a-vis the industry in the country? Can India become a developed country without a strong industrial base? (2014)


Important Facts For Prelims

Global Initiative on Digital Health

Source: TH

Why in News?

During India’s G20 presidency in 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) virtually, focusing on one of the three priority areas agreed upon during this period.

  • GIDH will support countries in three ways by listening to their needs, by aligning resources to avoid fragmentation and overlap, and by providing quality-assured products.

What is the Aim of the GIDH?

  • About:
    • The new GIDH initiative will operate as a WHO-managed network and platform to support the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025.
      • The Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020-2025 outlines a comprehensive framework for leveraging digital technologies to enhance health and healthcare systems worldwide.
    • As a WHO Managed Network (“Network of Networks”), GIDH aims to consolidate and amplify recent and past gains in global digital health while strengthening mutual accountability.
  • Aim:
    • Developing clear priority-driven investment plans for digital health transformation.
    • Improving reporting and transparency of digital health resources.
    • Facilitating knowledge exchange and collaboration across regions and countries to accelerate progress.
    • Supporting whole-of-government approaches for digital health governance in countries.
    • Increasing technical and financial support to the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025 and its next phase.
  • Four Main Components:
    • Country Needs Tracker: A mechanism to identify and track the digital health needs of different countries.
    • Country Resource Portal: A map of available digital health resources within each country.
    • Transformation Toolbox: A repository of quality-assured digital tools for health transformation.
    • Knowledge Exchange: Facilitation of knowledge sharing among participating nations.
  • Role of India:
    • India played a crucial role in establishing this institutional framework for digital health during its G20 presidency.
    • India’s Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is working toward creating a seamless electronic health record system.

What is Digital Healthcare?

  • About:
    • Digital healthcare is a system of medical care delivery that uses an array of digital technologies to make quality medical care services accessible, affordable, and sustainable.
    • The broad scope of digital health includes categories such as mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalised medicine.

Initiatives of India Related to Digital Health


Rapid Fire

Shri Kalki Dham Temple Foundation Ceremony

Source: PIB

Recently, the Indian Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the Shri Kalki Dham Temple in Sambhal district, Uttar Pradesh.

  • It is dedicated to the Kalki Avatar (incarnation) that is yet to appear in the world. According to Hindu Mythology, it will be the Tenth and final incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
  • The temple is considered the world's most special due to being the first temple where God's temple was established before the incarnation.
    • Ten sanctums within the temple symbolise the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Read more: Temple Architecture


Rapid Fire

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti

Source: PIB

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti, is celebrated on 19th February every year.

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire, was born on 19th February 1630 at the Shivneri Fort in the Junnar district of present day Maharashtra.
    • He was born to Shahaji Bhosale and Jijabai.
  • He introduced the collection of two taxes called the Chauth and Sardeshmukhi. He also divided his kingdom into four provinces, each headed by a Mamlatdar.
  • He abolished the Jagirdari System and replaced it with the Ryotwari System.
  • He took on the titles of Chhatrapati, Shakakarta, Kshatriya Kulavantas and Haindava Dharmodhhaarak.

Read more: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj


Rapid Fire

REC Limited's Commitment to Armed Forces Welfare

Source: PIB

REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited), a Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Power, has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to the welfare of armed forces personnel through a substantial contribution to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF).

  • AFFDF has been established to assist Armed Forces veterans, widows and their dependents as well as the institutions and organizations created for the rehabilitation of paraplegic soldiers.
    • AFFD India, observed annually on December 7th since 1949, honours India's soldiers and veterans.
  • REC, registered with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as a Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) and Infrastructure Financing Company (IFC), finances various sectors including power infrastructure, renewable energy, and emerging technologies.
  • REC Ltd. Serves as a key player in government flagship schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGAYA), Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), National Electricity Fund (NEF) Scheme which resulted in strengthening of last-mile distribution system, 100% village electrification and household electrification in the country.

Read more: Maharatna Status to REC, Armed Forces Flag Day


Rapid Fire

Empowering Youth Through Skill India Centre

Source: PIB

Recently, the Union Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship inaugurated the first Skill India Centre (SIC) of the country in Sambalpur, Odisha, marking a significant step towards enhancing the skill set of India's youth.

  • The SIC in Sambalpur, Odisha, aims to upgrade the skills of the youth, particularly focusing on new-age job roles.
  • The SIC offers courses in high-demand trades such as Media & Entertainment, Leather, Tourism & Hospitality, and IT-ITeS.
  • The initiative complements the Kaushal Rath initiative launched earlier to provide skill training and certification across various districts of Odisha.
  • The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) will oversee the implementation of training programs to ensure adherence to quality standards and the overall functioning of the centre.

Read more: Skill Development in India, National Skill Development Corporation


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