IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 3rd December, 2015
General Studies 1:Modern Indian history- personalities
General Studies 2:Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, significant provisions and basic structure.
Parliament functioning, conduct of business, powers issues arising out of these.
Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections.
Constitution day and the question of basic human rights
In October 2015, while laying the foundation stone of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Memorial in Mumbai, the Prime Minister announced that this year onwards, November 26 would be observed as Constitution Day.
The Constitution Day events will be a part of the year-long nationwide celebrations to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar.
Fruitful parliamentary debates on the constitution day:
Indeed on the constitutional day much ground was covered during the parliamentary debates, including the need to move towards a comprehensive uniform civil code, systemic corruption, legislative reservations for women, social security and justice in development.
Parliament failure over guaranteeing basic human rights to people
The basic human rights under question?
Articles 17,23 and 24 are considered truly to be the gifts of Ambedkar , which guarantee the basic human rights to individuals.
Article 17:Abolition of Untouchability– Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of Untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour
Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law
Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc– No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
Statutory measures taken by government to abolish untouchability and to secure social justice
Protection of civil rights act
Prevention of atrocities act
Untouchability abolition act
Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act
No game changer for the “untouchables”:
However the above laws are not implemented with any firmness.
Atrocities against “untouchables” continue, and these notably include arson, rape and gangrape, mass and individual murder, stripping and parading as well as thousands of unspeakable daily horrors.
This is not to say that no change has occurred in the past six decades — it has, but at a very slow pace.
It now needs to be accelerated, indeed to a point and scale of war against untouchability in all its forms; only then will a celebration of Constitution Day be more apt.
The status of child labour:
Census 2001 figures revealed 1.26 crore working children in the age group of 5-14, as compared to the total child population of 25.2 crore, approximately 12 lakh children work in hazardous occupations/ processes.
Progress seems to have been made, if we take on board the National Sample Survey Organisation’s 2004-05 data, which estimates the number of working children at 90.75 lakh, and Census 2011, which places the number of working children in the age group of 5-14 years at 43.53 lakh, however it is not satisfactory.
Parliament failure to make note:
Significantly, though the above aspects were almost missing in the debate, no Constitution Day celebrations can be complete without a detailed recall of the communities of rights-less peoples.
These call for greater attention, alongside the varied groups of new rights-less people now created by the forces of globalisation, of which the constantly re-victimised people of the Bhopal catastrophe are, till today, the first grim
The traditionally impoverished groups also include communities of misfortune, such as people living with disabilities, people of different sexual orientation and conduct, people declared guilty and under trials etc.
The overall picture on the first constitutional day celebrations were distressing, as even after six decades of independence, ratio and extent of vulnerable population still continue to be higher.
Parliament and the Executive by taking adequate measures should try to visualise the basic human rights guaranteed to citizens in the constitution.
Connecting the dots:
Critically examine the contributions of Ambedkar to pre and post independent India.
What are the basic human rights guaranteed in the Indian constitution? Explain the measures taken by the government to promote them.
After the deluge- The Monsoon fury in Chennai lays bare the crisis of governance in the city.