IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 3rd February 2018
Jallikattu a cultural right or not?
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- The Supreme Court is considering the question of granting constitutional protection to jallikattu as a collective cultural right under Article 29 (1).
- Article 29(1) is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution to protect the educational and cultural rights of citizens.
- Though commonly used to protect the interests of minorities, Article 29(1) mandates that “any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”.
- People for Ethical Treatment of Animals and activists have filed petitions to strike down the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Conduct of Jallikattu) Rules of 2017.
They contended that the amended laws had opened the gates for the conduct of the popular bull-taming sport in the name of culture and tradition despite a 2014 ban by the Supreme Court.
- The PETA petition contends that the 2017 Jallikattu Act and Rules violate the five internationally recognised freedoms — the freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst; freedom from fear and distress; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.
- The Constitution Bench would also look into whether the 2017 jallikattu and bullock-cart races laws would actually sub-serve the objective of “prevention” of cruelty to animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.
- In 2014, in the A. Nagaraja judgment, the Supreme Court had held jallikattu as cruelty to bulls.
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Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Inclusive development
- The Centre has announced a ₹1.4 lakh-crore scheme for promoting decentralised solar power production of up to 28,250 MW to help farmers.
- The Centre will spend ₹48,000 crore on the ten-year scheme which was announced in the Union Budget 2018-19.
- Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan or KUSUM scheme will provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
- It would help in de-dieselising the sector as also the DISCOMS.
- India had about 30 million farm pumps that include 10 million pumps running on diesel.
The components of the scheme include-
- Building 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands and providing sops to DISCOMS to purchase the electricity produced.
- ‘Solarising’ existing pumps of 7250 MW as well as government tube wells with a capacity of 8250 MW and distributing 17.5 lakh solar pumps.
- The 60% subsidy on the solar pumps provided to farmers will be shared between the Centre and the States while 30% would be provided through bank loans. The balance cost has to be borne by the farmers.
- Promotion of decentralised solar power production.
- Reduction of transmission losses as well as providing support to the financial health of DISCOMs by reducing the subsidy burden to the agriculture sector.
- The scheme would also promote energy efficiency and water conservation and provide water security to farmers.
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Dust mitigation plan must for firms
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Environmental conservation
- The Environment Ministry has made it mandatory for companies seeking environment clearance to ensure that they put in place a dust mitigation plan.
- Requirements as notified:
Roads leading to or at construction sites must be paved and black-topped. There could be no soil excavation without adequate dust mitigation measures in place.
No loose soil, sand, construction waste could be left uncovered.
A water sprinkling system was mandatory, and the measures taken should be prominently displayed at the construction site.
The grinding and cutting of building materials in open area were prohibited and no uncovered vehicles carrying construction material and waste would be permitted.
- The standards were developed by the Central Pollution Control Board as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
- The organisation is now empowered to fine companies and agencies for not complying with norms.
- A study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and commissioned by the Delhi government reported, in 2015, that road dust, burning of biomass and municipal solid waste, constituted the lion’s share of the city’s air pollution.
- Road dust contributed 56% of all PM10 pollution, while it was 38% for PM2.5.
- Dust is a generic term for a vast mix of metals and non-metals — silicon, aluminium, titanium, manganese, copper, barium, antimony, selenium and zinc.
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