IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 30th November 2018
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Pakistan’s Prime Minister calls for fresh start
Part of: GS Mains II – India and its neighbours; International Relations
- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan called for India to make a fresh start during his term to revive the dialogue process between the two countries.
- The talks have been stalled on the issue of terrorism for more than a decade.
- Kashmir has been the bedrock issue between both the nations and has been an unresolved boundary dispute.
- Terrorism, particularly targeting India which is bred on Pakistani soil is yet another major issue which has mired the relationship.
- Pending investigations into the 1993 and 2008 Mumbai attacks
- Pending case against Dawood Ibrahim and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed
- Attack on the Indian Air Force Base in 2016 (Pathankot)
- Increased terrorist attacks on security forces and the attack on the Uri Army base camp in September 2016
- Kulbushan Jadhav case – a retired Indian Naval officer arrested near the Iran-Pakistan border in Baluchistan region by the Pakistani establishment and accused of espionage by Pakistan.
Farmers assemble in Delhi to demand policy change
Part of: GS Mains II and III – Farmers/Welfare issue; Agrarian crisis; Agriculture reforms
- All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee members and farmers demanded that the – government pass legislation guaranteeing loan waivers and remunerative prices for their crops.
- The last major farmers’ rally in the capital, organised by the Bhartiya Kisan Union on Gandhi Jayanti, resulted in violent clashes with the police.
- The farmers are demanding a special session of parliament to ensure minimum crop prices and a nationwide waiver of farm loans amid rising costs of fertilizers and agricultural inputs.
Do you know?
- PM Modi earlier this year approved a 50 per cent return over the cost of production. Still, prices of crops including rice, pulses and oil seeds in some wholesale markets are below the government-set rates.
- Lower prices, combined with inadequate government purchases, have triggered the protests.
- The government’s procurement agencies, which are mandated to purchase agricultural commodities at guaranteed rates to support prices, buy only a small portion of total output, leaving millions of farmers across the country at the mercy of middlemen.
Report cards to Teachers based on the performance of the students
Part of: GS Mains II – Education reforms; Government schemes and policies
- Karnataka government is all set to send out report cards that grade teachers on their performance.
- The State’s department of primary and secondary education has already prepared personalised report cards for teachers in government and aided schools based on the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) results, announced in May 2018.
- The report card will be based on the subject taught and how the class fared in it in the board exams. Teachers have been scored on a scale of zero to 10.
- The evaluation also takes into account the number of students the teacher taught that academic year, the pass percentage, and the average marks of the class.
- The personalised reports also offer suggestions on how teachers can improve their performance. Those who don’t get a good rating have been asked to put in more effort.
- The move is expected to motivate teachers to prepare their students more rigorously.
GST of 18% on tendu leaves: how it will impact tribals
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Welfare/social issues; government schemes and policies affecting tribals or vulnerable section
Quick facts about Tendu Leaves
- The tendu tree (Diospyros melanoxylon) is found widely across central India.
- Leaves plucked from its shrubs are used to wrap bidi, the poor man’s cigarette.
- Gathering tendu is labour-intensive and employs millions of tribals.
- Tendu leaf is the financial lifeline of the tribal people. Many tribals in central India depend of tendu leaf collection for subsistence.
- They collect the leaves as part of their right defined under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
- Madhya Pradesh is the biggest Tendu Leaves producing State of India.
- Tendu tree is endemic to Indian sub-continent. It is found in dry deciduous forests throughout India.
- GST imposed on tendu leaves, a Minor Forest Produce (MFP), is 18%. The 18 per cent GST is made up of 9 per cent central GST (CGST) and 9 per cent state GST (SGST). Central tax on the leaf was earlier zero.
- Now, as the tax is high, the traders who get the tender from state corporations to collect tendu leaves pay even less to the tribals collecting the leaves.
- The hike in taxation will surely take a toll on the tribals who depend on the leaves for subsistence.
Do you know?
- Minor Forest Produce (MFP) as defined by the Forest Rights Act (FRA) is “all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, Tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tuber and the like.” Tribals have the right to procure and sell these products.
#MeToo: GoM may review law
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Government policies and schemes; Social/Women issue
- Group of Ministers (GoM), which was constituted to examine sexual harassment at the workplace, may consider amending the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace law to ensure workplace safety.
- Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry had also shared its recommendations which include changes to the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
- The guiding principles for making the amendments would be the Vishaka guidelines.
Do you know?
- The Justice J. S. Verma panel had recommended an employment tribunal instead of an internal committee to probe complaints.
About Vishaka guidelines
- The Vishaka Guidelines was laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997.
- The guidelines lay the onus on the employer to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment, apart from “providing resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment.”
- Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace Act was result of Vishaka Guidelines.
- The Act lays down the duties of an employer: ensuring a safe working place, displaying penal consequences of sexual harassment, creating awareness, as well as facilitating an internal probe.
TOPIC:General studies 2
- Social issues; vulnerable sections of the society
- Government policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Without maternity benefits: NFSA and PMMVY
- The provision for maternity entitlements in the NFSA is very important for women who are not employed in the formal sector.
- The PMMVY, however, undermines this provision due to the dilution of the entitled amount and the exclusion criteria.
- Even in this restricted form, the scheme is yet to reach eligible women as the implementation record has been dismal till date.
Difference between National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013 and PMMVY
- Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013, every pregnant woman is entitled to maternity benefits of ₹6,000, unless she is already receiving similar benefits as a government employee or under other laws.
- The PMMVY announced in December 31, 2016 violated the NFSA on 3 grounds – First, the benefits have been reduced from ₹6,000 to ₹5,000 per child. Second, they are now restricted to the first living child. Third, they are further restricted to women above the age of 18 years.
- The application process is cumbersome and exclusionary.
- The compulsory linking of the applicant’s bank account with Aadhaar often causes problems.
- Further, the PMMVY provides little assistance to women who lose their baby, because the successive payments are made only if the corresponding conditionalities are met.
- Another problem faced by women is lack of funds and their inability to improve their nutritional intake or even to eat properly during pregnancy.
- The scheme largely defeats the purpose it is supposed to serve: according to a recent analysis, it excludes more than half of all pregnancies because first-order births account for only 43% of all births in India.
- Among those who were eligible, a little over half had applied for maternity benefits.
- The PMMVY could help protect poor families from these financial contingencies.
- The government’s maternity benefit programme must be implemented better and comply with the Food Security Act.
- Maternity benefits should be raised to ₹6,000 per child at least, for all pregnancies and not just the first living child.
Connecting the dots:
- Briefly examine the maternity benefits available in formal and informal sector in India.
TOPIC:General studies 2
- Protection of primitive tribes
- Social issues; vulnerable sections of the society
- Policy interventions and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Protect indigenous people
- The debates following the recent alleged killing of an American national by the Sentinelese have put the spotlight on the vulnerability of an indigenous community that has lived for thousands of years with little contact with outsiders.
- The Andaman Trunk Road, among other projects, has cut into the heart of the Jarawa reserve, which has not only disturbed their ecological environment but has also changed their lifestyle and dietary habits and endangered them.
- Implementation of the various provisions to protect the tribals of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been poor.
The tribes of Andaman and Nicobar
- Negrito tribal communities in Andaman – the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinelese
- Mongoloid tribal communities in Nicobar – the Shompen and Nicobarese
India’s policy towards Tribals
- Jawaharlal Nehru’s Tribal Panchsheel
- Non-imposition : People should develop along the lines of their own genius, and the imposition of alien values should be avoided.
- Tribal rights in land and forest should be respected. (Example: FRA 2006)
- Teams of tribals should be trained in the work of administration and development. Introducing too many outsiders into tribal territory should be avoided. (Example: PESA)
- Tribal areas should not be over administered or overwhelmed with a multiplicity of schemes.
- Results should be judged not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the human character that is evolved.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation (ANPATR), 1956
- This Regulation protected the tribals from outside interference, specified the limits of reserved areas and said no land in a reserved area shall be allotted for agricultural purposes or sold or mortgaged to outsiders.
- Those violating the land rights of the tribals were to be imprisoned for one year, fined ₹1,000, or both.
- Policy of non-intervention
- A committee was set up by the SC after a petition was filed in 1999 proposing to bring the Jarawas in mainstream.
- The committee recommended protecting the Jarawas from harmful contact with outsiders, preserving their cultural and social identity, conserving their land and advocated sensitising settlers about the Jarawas.
- 2005 ANPATR was amended; The term of imprisonment as well as the fine increased.
- 2012 ANPATR amendment
- ANPATR was amended yet again in 2012, creating a buffer zone contiguous to the Jarawa tribal reserve where commercial establishments were prohibited, and regulating tourist operators.
- Easing of the Restricted Area Permit
- Despite India’s domestic policy and the ANPATR, the government in August relaxed the Restricted Area permit for 29 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar, including North Sentinel Island.
- If the government intendeds to eventually ease these restriction, it could have an adverse impact on indigenous population in the long run.
- Such commercialisation of tribal spaces could lead to encroachment of land, as we see in other parts of the country.
- The Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) insisted on an integrationist approach towards tribal communities, whereas, the 1989 convention of the ILO insisted on a policy of non-intervention.
- India ratified the 1957 convention but has not ratified the 1989 convention.
Problems faced by these tribes
- The lifestyle and dietary habits of the Jarawa has been drastically changed after the Andaman Trunk Road was constructed, cutting right through the Jarawa reserve. For Jarawas, this had led to the spread of diseases, sexual exploitation, and begging.
- In spite of the 2005 amendment, videos of commercial exploitation of the Jarawas in the name of “human safaris” were widely reported in the media.
- Despite all the amendments and provisions, there continue to be numerous reports of civilian intrusion into the Jarawa tribal reserve.
- Government needs to reorient its policies and priorities to protect the indigenous tribes.
- India needs to sign the 1989 convention of the ILO, and implement its various policies to protect the rights of the indigenous population.
- It should also make efforts to sensitise settlers and outsiders about them.
Connecting the dots:
- Highlight the regulations and policy of the government towards protection of tribes of Andaman & Nicobar islands. Also throw light on ineffective implementation of these provisions in the light of recent death of an American National.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Which of the following was termed as the ‘Green Gold’ in the Budget 2018-19?
- Electric Vehicles
- Tendu tree
- Bonds issued to mobilize funds for Green energy projects
Q.2) Consider the following statements
- These have a parkland landscape.
- These are found in the rainier areas of peninsula.
- Transition to thorn forests towards the drier margins.
- Tendu, palas, amaltas, bel, khair, axlewood, etc. are the common trees of these forests.
Which of the following forests is best described by the above given statements?
- Semi Evergreen forests
- Moist Deciduous forests
- Littoral and swamp forests
- Dry Deciduous forests
Q.3) Consider the following statements:
- Forests Rights Act (FRA) includes timber in Minor Forest Produce (MFP).
- TRIFED fixes Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
Q.4) Consider the following statements about ‘Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006’
- It grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the forest laws
- It gives the community the right to protect and manage the forest
- It provides for rights to use and/or collect the following ‘Minor forest produce’
Select the correct statements
- 1 only
- 1 and 3
- 1, 2 and 3
- 2 and 3
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