IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 18th February, 2016
TOPIC: General studies 2
Welfare schemes for the vulnerable sections of population by Centre and state, Performance of schemes, laws, Institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable section.
Dalits and social justice: then and now
The Dalit mobilisation that is gaining momentum in the wake of Rohith Vemula’s suicide reflects structural issues in the system.
Certainly, reservations have given birth to Dalit entrepreneurs and a Dalit middle class benefiting from government jobs. But in spite of this, or because of this, anti-Dalit attitudes have been on the rise.
Discrimination against Dalits is rising despite stronger laws. Attitudes of police, judiciary must change
What do statistics say?
The number of registered cases of anti-Dalit atrocities, notoriously under-reported, jumped by 17.1 per cent in 2013 (compared to 2012) according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The increase was even more dramatic between 2013 and 2014 — 19.4 per cent.
What are the offences and atrocities mentioned under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (the PoA act), ?
if a person forces a Dalit or an Adivasi “to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance”,
If a person “forcibly removes clothes from the person of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or parades him naked or with painted face or body”,
If a person dispossesses Dalit “from his land”
If a person compels him to do “bonded labour”
If a person “exploits Dalit women sexually”
If a person “corrupts or fouls the water” he or she is using
If a person denies him or her “right of passage to a place of public resort”
If a person forces him or her “to leave his house, village or other place of residence”.
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (the PoA act)
The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The Act is popularly known as POA, the SC/ST Act, the Prevention of Atrocities Act, or simply the Atrocities Act.
Objective of the act states that the intention of the Indian state to deliver justice to SC/ST communities through affirmative action in order to enable them to live in society with dignity and self-esteem and without fear, violence or suppression from the dominant castes.
The provisions of SC/ST Act and Rules can be divided into three different categories, covering a variety of issues related to atrocities against SC/ST people and their position in society.
The first category contains provisions of criminal law. It establishes criminal liability for a number of specifically defined atrocities, and extends the scope of certain categories of penalizations given in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The second category contains provisions for relief and compensation for victims of atrocities.
The third category contains provisions that establish special authorities for the implementation and monitoring of the Act.
Provision in the Constitution:
Article 17 abolishes untouchability
Article 23 prohibits bonded labour
Article 15(2) stipulates that no citizen should be subject to restriction with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of entertainment, the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort on the grounds of caste.
Recently Indian Parliament made the existing legislation even more sophisticated:
This law provides stringent action against those who sexually assault Dalits and Adivasis and occupy their land illegally;
It also declares as an offence garlanding with footwear a man or a statue, compelling to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses or do manual scavenging.
What are the hindrances for effective implementation of POA act?
In spite of the fact that the PoA Act has introduced special courts for speedy trials, the conviction rate under this act has remained very low and has declined even — from 30 per cent in 2011 to 22.8 per cent in 2013 (more recent data are not available). And the percentage of “pending cases” has increased from 80 to 84 per cent.
To have a case registered under the PoA Act is in itself a problem. On average, only one-third of the cases of atrocities are registered under the PoA Act. The police is reluctant to do so because of the severity of the penalties likely to be imposed by the act.
Many Dalits do not know their rights anyway and cannot fight a legal battle that is costly in terms of time and money.
What was the picture depicted in 2011 census explaining their vulnerability?
Out of the 4,42,26,917 Dalit households in India, 74 per cent live in rural areas, where the per-household land area they own on an average is less than 0.3 ha — most of them are landless.
And only 34 per cent of them have toilets in their premises. More than 50 per cent Dalit households use firewood as their main fuel for cooking.
On positive side the literacy rate among Dalits is rising and in 2011, their literacy rate crossed the 66 per cent landmark (8 percentage points below the non-SC/STs). But they often face frustrating experiences of discrimination once they join Universities for higher education.
Discrimination against Dalits is rising despite stronger laws. Thus effective implementation in parallel with change in attitudes of police, judiciary will go long way in protecting them.
Creating awareness regarding the rights, provisions and remedy available to dalits.
Free legal aid for the needy and speedy trial is the need of the hour because social justice is not just means to an end but its end in itself.
Connecting the dots:
Justice delayed is Justice denied for the dalits can be changed with free legal aid and speedy trial to provide social justice. Comment?
TOPIC: General studies 2
Indian Culture: Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from Ancient to Modern times
Is death of Sanskrit nearing?
One of the languages of the Eighth Schedule
Official language of Uttarakhand
Census: Sanskrit as a ‘mother-tongue’
2001: 14,135 (Half: In Uttar Pradesh)
But where did the rest 35,000 Sanskrit speakers go?
Exaggeration in terms of Sanskrit’s death—
Extinction— Languages can become extinct
when there are no surviving speakers
Globalisation tugging the culture’s heart
Shifts in languages
35,000 disappearances— statistically wrong, so as to mention, as…
Data can be achieved w.r.t. Sanskrit-speaking abilities of Indians not from ‘mother-tongue’ but by the box mentioned as ‘other languages known’. But a fallacy exists stating that one can only list a maximum of two languages (highly unsatisfactory)
‘The manuscript detailing Kautilya’s Arthshastra was re-discovered by R. Shamasastry in 1904. Had he would it have known Sanskrit, the ‘Arthashastra’ would not have been translated into English in 1915’
Manuscript— A text more than seventy-five years old
In 2003, a National Mission for Manuscripts was set up to—
Currently, NAMAMI has listing/digitisation of- 3 million and 35 million estimated stock of manuscripts
Other issues with Sanskrit—
95% of the existing manuscripts have never been listed, collated or translated
Lack of learned people in Sanskrit who can actually translate the written word
Knowledge transmitted in the Sanskrit language was also rarely in a written format and with the collapse of the Gurukul systems and the guru—shishya tradition, the knowledge of Sanskrit has been lost as well
There can be no reason to regard Sanskrit as a dead language as more than 95% of the texts still remain un-deciphered. And therefore, more awareness needs to be generated by encouraging and energising the language and by bringing the language into the mainstream.
The language can be introducing in the school curriculum as well as constant monitoring of the usage and spread of language with formulation of more journals as well as various competitions can lead to its revitalisation in real senses.
Connecting the Dots:
Can there exist a trade-off between languages? Substantiate your answer by including your perspective w.r.t. languages
To what degree is culture of a particular place related with languages? Discuss.