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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 28th November to 5th December – 2020

  • IASbaba
  • December 7, 2020
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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 28th November to 5th December – 2020

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GS-2

India becoming pharmacy of the world

(Topic: India and COVID-19 related policies)

As the world races to develop the vaccine for Covid-19, India is looking to be self-reliant in both its development and production.  While at least five pharmaceutical companies of India are engaged in vaccine development, Serum Institute in Pune has been chosen for mass production of Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford –Astra Zeneca. The government has initiated a robust Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing and delivery ecosystem to meet the demand.

Launch of Mission COVID Suraksha

The Government of India (GOI) has announced the third stimulus package of Rs. 900 Crore for the Mission COVID Suraksha- The Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission. This grant will be provided to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for Research & Development of Indian COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVID-19 Vaccine development Mission with end-to-end focus from preclinical development through clinical development and manufacturing and regulatory facilitation for deployment, would consolidate all available and funded resources towards an accelerated product development. This will help accelerate development of approx. 5-6 vaccine candidates and ensure that these are brought closer to licensure and introduction in market for consideration of regulatory authorities for introduction in public health systems, to combat further spread of COVID infection.

The important objectives of the fund will be 

  • Accelerating pre-clinical& clinical development; licensure of COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are currently in clinical stages or ready to enter clinical stage of development, establishing clinical trial sites, and strengthening the existing immunoassay laboratories, central laboratories and suitable facilities for animal studies, production facilities and other testing facilities to support COVID-19 vaccine development. 
  • Supporting development of common harmonized protocols, trainings, data management systems, regulatory submissions, internal and external quality management systems and accreditations.   
  • Capabilities for process development, cell line development and manufacturing of GMP batches for animal toxicology studies and clinical trials will also be supported under the Mission. 
  • A key element will be development of suitable Target Product Profile so that vaccines being introduced through the mission have preferred characteristics applicable for India.

Led by Department of Biotechnology and implemented by a dedicated Mission Implementation Unit at Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC),the existing activities under National Bio Pharma Mission (NBM) and Ind-CEPI Mission will provide complementary strengths to this Mission.

Growing world interest in India’s pharma capability 

Ambassadors of 100 countries are scheduled to arrive in Pune on December 4, to visit Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharma.  Sweden has already acknowledged India’s role as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ and is focusing on expanding bilateral cooperation in the areas of health and life sciences in view of the Coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Luxembourg based company B Systems is partnering with India to produce portable vaccine refrigeration equipment, which will address the issue of vaccine distribution in India. 


Health Ministry’s telemedicine service e Sanjeevani completes 9 lakh consultations

(Topic: Government policies and interventions)

Completed 9 lakh consultations; over 7,16,000 consultations recorded on eSanjeevani OPD

  • Telemedicine is a new modality for remote diagnosis and treatment of patients over internet. eSanjeevani enables virtual meetings between the patients and doctors & specialists from geographically dispersed locations, through video conferencing that occurs in real time. 
  • At the end of these remote consultations, eSanjeevani generates an electronic prescriptions which can be used for sourcing medicines. In order to enable delivery of outpatient services remotely during COVID-19 pandemic as many as 28 States have on-boarded the Ministry of Health’s eSanjeevani initiative. These States are aggressively working towards long term enablement of telemedicine services.
  • This eSanjeevani platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations 
  • The former is being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme. 
  • The telemedicine platform is hosting over 40 online OPDs, more than half of these are speciality OPDs which include Gynaecology, Psychiatry, Dermatology, ENT, Ophthalmology, antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the AIDS/HIV patients, Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) etc.

Government constitutes High-level Ministerial Committee for implementation of Paris Agreement

(Topic: Government policies and intervention)

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has constituted a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) under the chairmanship of Secretary, MoEFCC.

The purpose of AIPA is to generate a coordinated response on climate change matters that ensures India is on track towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement including its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). 

Senior officials from fourteen ministries will serve as Members to AIPA who will oversee the progress in implementation of India’s NDC and receive periodic information updates to monitor, review and revisit climate goals to fulfil the requirements of the Paris Agreement. 

Key functions of AIPA would be 

  • To operate as a National Authority to regulate carbon markets in India under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement
  • Formulate guidelines for consideration of projects or activities under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement
  • Issue guidelines on carbon pricing, market mechanism, and other similar instruments that have a bearing on climate change and NDCs. 
  • It will take note of the contributions of the private sector as well as multi-/bi-lateral agencies in the field of climate change and provide guidance for aligning their climate actions with national priorities.

The year 2021 would mark the beginning of implementation of the Paris Agreement and constitution of AIPA is central to strengthening the national systems and institutional arrangements for implementation and monitoring of climate actions. It will also ensure that India maintains its climate leadership as one the few countries in the world whose climate actions are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.


WHO World Malaria Report 2020:  India continues to make Impressive Gains in reduction of Malaria Burden

(Topic: International Reports and India’s ranking)

The World Malaria Report (WMR) 2020 released by WHO, which gives the estimated cases for malaria across the world, based on mathematical projections, indicates that India has made considerable progress in reducing its malaria burden. 

  • India is the only high endemic country which has reported a decline of 17.6% in 2019 as compared to 2018. 
  • The Annual Parasitic Incidence (API) reduced by 27.6% in 2018 compared to 2017 and by 18.4% in 2019 as compared to 2018. India has sustained API less than one since year 2012.
  • India has also contributed to the largest drop in cases region-wide, from approximately 20 million to about 6 million. The percentage drop in the malaria cases was 71.8% and deaths was 73.9% between 2000 to 2019.
  • India achieved a reduction of 83.34% in malaria morbidity and 92% in malaria mortality between the year 2000 (20,31,790 cases, 932 deaths) and 2019 (3,38,494 cases, 77 deaths), thereby achieving Goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goals (50-75% decrease in case incidence between 2000 and 2019).

High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative

WHO has initiated the High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative in 11 high malaria burden countries, including India. Implementation of “High Burden to High Impact (HBHI)” initiative has been started in four states i.e. West Bengal and Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in July, 2019.  A key strategy to reignite progress is the “High burden to high impact” (HBHI) response, catalyzed in 2018 by WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria continued to make impressive gains in India, with 18% reductions in cases and 20% reductions in death respectively, over the last 2 years.


ADB, India sign $132.8 million loan to strengthen Meghalaya’s power distribution Sector

(Topic: International organisations)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a $132.8 million loan to strengthen and modernize the distribution network and improve the quality of power supplied to households, industries, and businesses in India’s northeastern state of Meghalaya.

The Benefits: The project supports the state government’s “24×7 Power for All” initiative and will help the state reduce its high technical and commercial losses through network strengthening, metering and billing efficiency improvements. Technological Improvements to the distribution network adapted to extreme weather, introduction of smart meters and online meter reading, billing, and collection systems will help improve operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of the state’s distribution system.

The Issue: Though Meghalaya has achieved 100% electrification, remote rural areas in the state suffer from frequent power interruptions due to overloaded distribution networks and substations that use outdated technology, resulting in high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. The Government of India and the state government of Meghalaya embarked on a joint 24×7 Power for All Meghalaya initiative to provide uninterrupted, quality, reliable, and affordable power supply to all electricity consumers.

The project will 

  • Construct 23 substations
  • Renovate and modernize 45 substations, including the provision of control room equipment and protection systems
  • Install and upgrade 2,214 kilometers of distribution lines and associated facilities covering three out of the six circles in the state. 

Installation of smart meters will benefit about 180,000 households. The loan is proposed to be supplemented by a $2 million grant from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction that will finance renewable energy mini-grids for improving power quality and supporting income generation activities, especially for women and other socially disadvantaged groups in three villages and three schools.

The project will help develop a distribution sector road map and a financial road map for the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL). These road maps will strengthen the capacity of MePDCL to operate and manage the distribution networks.


ADB, India sign $50 million loan to boost West Bengal’s digital platforms for public finance reforms

(Topic: International organisations)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $50 million policy-based loan to improve financial management procedures and operational efficiencies aimed at achieving more fiscal savings, promote informed decision making, and improve service delivery in the state of West Bengal.

  • Integration of the state’s financial and information systems through the programme’s whole-of-government approach will help improve delivery of public services and generate fiscal savings that could help the state augment growth-enhancing development financing.
  • Through support to interoperable e-Government platforms, the programme will ensure streamlining of social protection benefits such as pension and provident fund, facilitate gender-disaggregated data, tax payments, and revenue collection.
  • Development projects could be better tracked and monitored with the help of a new module within the integrated financial management system (IFMS) leading to improved project management. 
  • A centre for fiscal policy and public finance will be established to deepen capacity of the state government officials on public finance management while developing a web-based grievance redress system for transport corporations and urban local bodies will provide a credible citizen-government interface.

The loan builds up on past ADB policy-based programmes in 2012 and 2017, supporting the Government of West Bengal on sustainable public financial management reforms. These programmes helped develop and implement an IFMS, established successful e-Governance systems for improved revenue administration, undertook measures for expenditure rationalisation, and promoted the private sector’s involvement in service delivery.

The loan is proposed to be supplemented by a $350,000 technical assistance grant for capacity building, monitoring of IFMS reforms, and strengthening the integration of social and gender aspects in reform areas.


India, USA sign MoU on Intellectual Property cooperation

(Topic: India and USA relations)

The MoU aims at increasing IP co-operation between the two countries by way of:

  1. Facilitating exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP among the public, and between and among the industry, universities, research and development (R & D) organizations, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises through participation in programs and events organized singly or jointly by the Participants;
  2. Collaboration in training programs, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities;
  3. Exchange of information and best practices on processes for registration and examination of applications for patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, and industrial designs, as well as the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights;
  4. Exchange of information on the development and implementation of automation and modernization projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP Office services;
  5. Cooperation to understand various issues related to traditional knowledge, and the exchange of best practices, including those related to traditional knowledge databases and awareness raising on the use of existing IP systems for the protection of traditional knowledge; and
  6. Other cooperation activities as may be mutually decided by the Participants.

The two sides will draw up Biennial Work Plan to implement the MoU which will include the detailed planning for carrying out of the co-operation activities including the scope of action.

The MoU will go a long way in fostering the cooperation between India and USA, and provide opportunities to both countries to learn from the experience of each other, especially in terms of best practices followed in the other country. It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016.


GS-3

APEDA and NABARD sign MoU to work together to synergize the activities in the interest of agriculture and allied sectors for bringing better value to the stakeholders

(Topic: Agriculture)

APEDA has been focusing on collaborative approach to bring synergy with number of organisations and institutions having inherent professional and specialised expertise in different areas for capacity building of various stakeholders and providing solutions for addressing some of the identified interventions for the development of Agriculture and its export enhancement, in consonance with the objectives set under Agri Export Policy announced by Government of India. 

The Agriculture Export Policy was framed with a focus on agriculture export-oriented production, export promotion, better price realization to farmer and synchronization within policies and programmes of Government of India. 

  • It focuses on “Farmers’ Centric Approach” for improved income through value addition at source itself to help minimize losses across the value chain. 
  • Policy therefore suggests to adopt the approach of developing product specific clusters in different agro climatic zones of the country to help in dealing with various supply side issues viz., soil nutrients management, higher productivity, adoption of market oriented variety of crop, use of Good Agriculture Practices etc.

APEDA has been relentlessly engaged with State Govts. for the implementation of AEP. 

APEDA and NABARD have signed MoU to utilise their expertise by mutually working together to synergize the activities in the interest of agriculture and allied sectors for bringing better value to the stakeholders.

Areas of Cooperation:

  1. APEDA and NABARD would jointly work towards capacity development of various stakeholders.  
  2. APEDA and NABARD would jointly come towards organizing outreach programs, awareness programs and workshops for stakeholders.
  3. To enhance farmers income for doubling the farmers’ income as set out by the Government of India.
  4. Extending benefit of relevant schemes/other initiatives of NABARD & APEDA for development of FPOs.
  5. APEDA would formulate program in association with NABARD to provide technical knowhow to cooperatives/FPOs to upscale infrastructure created for post-harvest management for APEDA scheduled products to promote exports.
  6. To jointly identify clusters in various States for scaling up. APEDA will facilitate exports by the FPOs assisted/promoted by NABARD.

NABARD: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is established as a development bank for providing credit for promotion of agriculture, small scale, cottage and village industries, handicrafts and other allied activities in rural areas, with a view to promote integrated rural development and securing prosperity of the rural areas and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The NABARD Act, 1981, empowers NABARD to associate with various institutions for various developmental functions in the field of agriculture and rural development. NABARD has various schemes and programmes to assist farmers and has a field force spread across the country to regularly guide and support farmers.

Prelims oriented News

Navy Day: 4th December

Passage Exercise (PASSEX): Between Russian Federation Navy and Indian Navy in Eastern Indian Ocean Region

How stars explode due to neutrinos?

  • Scientists may soon find a clue to how stars explode due to neutrinos, one of the most abundant particles in the universe.
  • These sub atomic particles are extremely difficult to detect because of their limited interactions with matter. However, they are very important to the study of supernovas or powerful luminous stellar explosions, because they power the explosion and provide an early warning signal that allows scientists to look in the right direction before the supernova explosion takes place.

AI & Robotics Technologies Park (ARTPARK) 

  • Will promote technology innovations in AI (Artificial Intelligence) & Robotics leading to societal impact by executing ambitious mission mode R&D projects in healthcare, education, mobility, infrastructure, agriculture, retail and cyber-security focusing on problems unique to India.
  • ARTPARK, is a unique not-for-profit foundation established by Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru with support from AI Foundry in a public-private model
  • ARTPARK will develop AI & Robotics facilities to support technology innovations as well as capacity building through advanced skills training of students and professionals in these areas. Some of these facilities will be key enablers for whole new sets of technologies, products and services. It will develop DataSetu – that will enable confidentiality and privacy-preserving framework to share data and run analytics spurring the data-sharing ecosystem and create a data marketplace, boosting AI applications and solutions.
  • One such service will be BhashaSetu – that will enable real-time Indic language translation, both of speech to speech and speech to text. This will further unlock the economic potential of the country, and enable all Indian citizens to equitably participate in the economic progress, regardless of their language.

Developing improved disease-resistant banana plants

  • An improved understanding of Fusarium, a root pathogen infection in banana plant may soon help develop strategies to prevent the disease that causes wilting of the fruit crop that is grown in at least 5 major states of India.
  • India is the leading producer of banana in the world and the present cultivation is vulnerable to this fungal disease which dwells in soil as a saprophyte and shifts to the parasitic mode in presence of host roots. Scientists are trying to understand the disease paradigm for developing innovative management strategies.
  • Scientists are working towards studying the role of a protein complex that drives the expression of the effector genes required for pathogenicity. Understanding this complex regulatory network can help in improved knowledge on the basic biology of fungal infection in plants, evolution of virulent strains, lifestyle switching in Fusarium from saprophytic to parasitic mode and also investigation of banana defense responses in terms of resistance genes.

3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo (RE-Invest 2020):

    • Theme: Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition
    • A 3-day conference on renewables and future energy choices, and an exhibition of manufacturers, developers, investors and innovators
    • Aims to accelerate the worldwide effort to scale up development and deployment of renewable energy and connect the global investment community with Indian energy stakeholders. 
    • It aims to build upon the success of the first two editions held in 2015 and 2018 and provide an international forum for investment promotion in renewable energy.
  • India:
    • India has continued to innovate in Renewable Energy deployment by increasing capacities and adopting practical solutions, newer technologies and market mechanisms. 
    • Our adoption of floating solar, wind-solar hybrid contracts, peaking power, and venture into Round-the-Clock (RTC) procurement contracts are indications of such innovation.
    • India’s target – 450 GW by 2030 and through reduction of prices and use of clean fuels; India has installed about 136000 mw of RE capacity with capacity addition of another 57000 mw under implementation.
    • Increasing efficiencies in Solar PV and wind modules is bringing down prices, enhancing affordability and accessibility of energy and supporting better standards of living
    • As a policy, India will shift to ‘Green Ammonia’ from imported Ammonia, as well as add volumes in the usage of hydrogen.
    • Apart from 450 GW RE capacity we will also focus on building an integrated clean gas-based economy. Driving the use of biofuels and emerging hydrogen and providing digital innovations in the RE space. Biofuels is not just a science, it is a mantra.
    • ‘One Nation, One Gas Grid’ for city gas distribution, using LPG as a social change, and using biofuels in the aviation sector
    • One Sun One World One Grid is also a strategy that India continues to push for at an international level. 
    • India has targeted to have its Islands- A&N and Lakshadweep as Green Energy.
    • The signing of the 5 MW PPA under the World Bank Accelerating Sustainable Private Investments in Renewable Energy (ASPIRE) project is a historic moment in the renewable energy history of the Maldives. The project is the first of its kind in scale for the Maldives and achieved a tariff of US$ 10.9 cents. This is one of the lowest tariffs for a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) like the Maldives and helps them gain the pole position in trying to achieve their RE goals. Moving ahead, the World Bank is working closely alongside the Government of Maldives through the upcoming Accelerating Renewable Energy Integration and Sustainable Energy (ARISE) project in achieving their dream for a fossil fuel free future .

Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) served as a catalyst for nurturing innovation and industrial R&D by fostering bilateral academic industry and government collaborations.

  • PPP between Technology Development Board (TDB) of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Confederation of Indian Industry
  • Mandate: To stimulate industry investment in R&D and its demonstration to deliver commercialised products and services
  • DST through GITA has been able to successfully engage in implementation of bilateral industrial R&D projects in collaboration with some of the most innovative nations of the world such as Israel, Korea, Canada, Finland, Italy, Spain, and UK

First ever SCO Online International Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage

  • Launched during the 19th Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government (SCO CHG)
  • This SCO online International exhibition, first ever of its kind, is developed and curated by National Museum, New Delhi, in active collaboration with SCO member countries. The exhibition deploys state of the art technologies like 3D scanning, webGL platform, virtual space utilization, innovative curation and narration methodology etc.
  • Buddhist philosophy and art of Central Asia connects Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries to each other. This online international exhibition presents an excellent opportunity for visitors to access, appreciate and compare Buddhist art antiquities from SCO countries on a single platform and from the comfort of their home.  Such transnational online exhibition also has potential to connect, heal and rejuvenate communities in current pandemic times.

Successful Test Firing of BrahMos

BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile in Anti-Ship mode was successfully test fired today at 0900 hrs against a decommissioned Ship. The test firing was carried out by Indian Navy. The missile performed highly complex manoeuvres and hit Bull’s eye of the target. 

  • BrahMos is the supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by DRDO and NPOM of Russia as a Brahmos Aerospace joint venture, which became Brahmos Aerospace Private Limited. 
  • The missile has established itself as a major force multiplier in modern-day complex battlefields with its impeccable anti-ship and land-attack capabilities with multi-role and multi-platform abilities and has been deployed in all the three wings of the Indian Armed Forces. 
  • The first launch of Brahmos took place in 2001 and till date numerous launches have taken place from various ships, Mobile Autonomous Launchers and Su-30 MKI aircraft, making it a versatile weapon.

Personality in News

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

64th Death Anniversary – 6th December – Mahaparinirvan Diwas

Screening of the film “Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar”: The biopic on Bharat Ratna Dr. Ambedkar is an elaborate and analytical film on the great jurist-economist and social reformer, especially on his relentless campaign against oppression of the downtrodden and the pivotal role Dr Ambedkar played in drafting and framing the Constitution of India.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour.

He was independent India’s first law and justice minister, the principal architect of the Constitution of India, and a founding father of the Republic of India.

Birth Anniversary: 14th April

Known famously as: The Architect of Modern India

His autobiography: Waiting for a Visa

His books:

  • Annihilation of Caste – It strongly criticised Hindu orthodox religious leaders and the caste system in general, and included “a rebuke of Gandhi” on the subject.
  • Who Were the Shudras? – Ambedkar tried to explain the formation of untouchables. He saw Shudras and Ati Shudras who form the lowest caste in the ritual hierarchy of the caste system, as separate from Untouchables.

Constitution of Reserve Bank of India

Based on the ideas that Ambedkar presented to the Hilton Young Commission

Ambedkar was trained as an economist, and was a professional economist until 1921, when he became a political leader. He wrote three scholarly books on economics:

  1. Administration and Finance of the East India Company
  2. The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India
  3. The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution

Ambedkar and Untouchability

While practising law in the Bombay High Court, he tried to promote education to untouchables and uplift them. His first organised attempt was his establishment of the central institution Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha, intended to promote education and socio-economic improvement, as well as the welfare of “outcastes”, at the time referred to as depressed classes. 

For the defence of Dalit rights, he started five periodicals –

  1. Mooknayak (the leader of the dumb, 1920)
  2. Bahishkrit Bharat (Ostracized India, 1924)
  3. Samta (Equality, 1928)
  4. Janata (The People, 1930)
  5. Prabuddha Bharat (Enlightened India, 1956)

Manusmriti Dahan Din: In a conference in late 1927, Ambedkar publicly condemned the classic Hindu text, the Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), for ideologically justifying caste discrimination and “untouchability”, and he ceremonially burned copies of the ancient text. On 25 December 1927, he led thousands of followers to burn copies of Manusmrti. Thus, annually 25 December is celebrated as Manusmriti Dahan Din (Manusmriti Burning Day) by Ambedkarites and Dalits.

Kalaram Temple movement: About 15,000 volunteers assembled at Kalaram Temple Satyagraha, making one of the greatest processions of Nashik. The procession was headed by a military band, a batch of scouts, women and men walked in discipline, order and determination to see the god for the first time. When they reached to gate, the gates were closed by Brahmin authorities.

Poona Pact: In 1932, British announced the formation of a separate electorate for “Depressed Classes” in the Communal Award.

  • Gandhi fiercely opposed a separate electorate for untouchables, saying he feared that such an arrangement would divide the Hindu community. Gandhi protested by fasting while imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail of Poona. Following the fast, Congress politicians and activists such as Madan Mohan Malaviya and Palwankar Baloo organised joint meetings with Ambedkar and his supporters at Yerwada.
  • On 25 September 1932, the agreement known as Poona Pact was signed between Ambedkar (on behalf of the depressed classes among Hindus) and Madan Mohan Malaviya (on behalf of the other Hindus). The agreement gave reserved seats for the depressed classes in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate.
  • Due to the pact, the depressed class received 148 seats in the legislature, instead of the 71 as allocated in the Communal Award earlier proposed by British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
  • The text uses the term “Depressed Classes” to denote Untouchables among Hindus who were later called Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under India Act 1935, and the later Indian Constitution of 1950. In the Poona Pact, a unified electorate was in principle formed, but primary and secondary elections allowed Untouchables in practice to choose their own candidates.

Views of Dr. Ambedkar regarding the Indian Constitution

Ambedkar warned –

  • No democratic constitution can be modelled on the Hindu tradition of state and village panchayats.
  • What is the village, Ambedkar asked, but a sink of localism, a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism?

Sets Universal values –

  • The Constitution is a normative document, but the values it espouses are universal and ‘thin’. They do not reflect the belief system of one section of the population even if it is in a majority. Nor do these values dismiss the value systems of minority groups.

On Constitutional Morality –

  • Dr. Ambedkar talked of constitutional morality.
  • He said citizen will have deep respect or admiration for Constitution when they realize true intent of Constitution which helps them to possess freedom and rights. When they realize Constitution composes of thin conception of ‘good’ that can hold a plural and diverse people together.

Democracy is only a top-dressing for the Constitution of India

  • For Ambedkar, democracy is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.
  • It is the institutionalisation of constitutional democracy that has changed the way Indians think of themselves in relation to each other, and in relation to the state. The Constitution has managed to inculcate democratic sensibilities and spark yearnings for more democracy, not less.

Concept of Federalism: His concept of federalism meant that the State was a federation in normalcy, but unitary in emergency.

Centre Was Made Strong: 

  • In the Draft Constitution Dr. Ambedkar offered more powers to the Centre and made it strong. Some members of the constituent assembly criticized him on the ground that since Dr. Ambedkar postulated – the rights and values of each individual and the development of each province and each– village, it was contradictory of his part to make the Centre strong.
  • Justifying the provisions for a strong Central authority Dr. Ambedkar said that he made the Centre strong not only to ‘save minorities from the misrule of majority’ but also “for it is only the Centre which can work for a common end and for the general interests of the country as a whole.”

Equality of Opportunity: 

  • Of all the rights, Dr. Amebedkar observed “Equality of Opportunity” as the most important one. 
  • Regarding the constitutional remedies, he characterize Article 32 as the very soul of the Constitution and the very heart of it. 
  • To him, fundamental rights would mean establishment of equality and liberty in order to reform our social system, which is so full of inequalities discriminations, and other which conflict with our fundamental rights.

Directive Principles of State Policy: 

  • The Directive Principles of State Policy contained the positive obligations of the state towards its citizens
  • The Directives were meant to ensure social and economic democracy which was secured by the provisions of fundamental rights in a written Constitution. 
  • Dr. Ambedkar said: “What are called Directive Principles is simply another name for Instruments of instructions to the legislature and the executive…as to how they should exercise their power.”

Constitution, A Dynamic Document: The Constitution is a dynamic document it should grow with the growth of the nation and should suit the changing needs and circumstance. So Dr. Ambedkar urged the necessity of amendment.

Concept of Sovereignty and Suzerainty: Dr. Ambedkar’s concept of sovereignty and suzerainty and of the Indian States, i.e., integration of the native Indian Princely States which gave the shape to the rap of India as if is today, has indeed been prophetic. 

National Integration: In the Draft Constitution Dr. Ambedkar prescribed single citizenship, a single judiciary and uniformity in fundamental Laws to integrate Indian society which was not only divided into caste and class, but also into regions, religions, languages, traditions and cultures. Therefore, a strong Centre was indispensable to maintain territorial integrity and administrative discipline.

Dr Ambedkar said – power is one thing, wisdom is quite another thing. When deciding the destiny of nations, dignities of people, dignities of leaders and dignities of parties ought to count for nothing. The dignity of the country should count for everything.

Note: Dr. Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter-Caste Marriages (dalit)

  1. Encouraging the practice of inter-caste marriages – Indian society can only develop and progress if the curse of caste inequality is removed forever. The implementation of this program is a step towards achieving this goal. 
  2. Assisting young couples with money – Couples who opt for inter-caste are generally shunned by their families due to the rigidity of the caste system in India. They often face hardships, but with this grant, these couples will no longer have to worry about facing financial adversity during the initial days.
  3. Funded by the central government – All operational activities and financial requirements of this welfare scheme will be met for the coffers of central government. Money will be sent to each start or UT for its implementation.
  4. Bringing equality among all castes – The main aim of this scheme is to give a level ground to all castes. With this, the central government will be able to bring about equality among all castes, thereby eliminating caste related prejudices.

Must Read: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar insights on Labour Rights

Guru Nanak

  • Born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan
  • He advocated nirguna bhakti
  • He firmly repudiated practices of religions around him like sacrifices, ritual baths, idol worship, austerities, and scriptures of both Hindus and Muslims.
  • He took the god as formless which has no gender and proposed a simple way to connect to him by just remembering and repeating his name.
  • He set up rules for congregational worship (sangat) involving collective recitation.
  • He appointed Angad to succeed him as the Guru.
  • He never wished to establish new religion, but after his death his followers consolidated his practices and distinguished from both Hindus and Muslims by calling themselves ‘Sikhs’.
  • Fifth Guru Arjandev Ji compiled Guru Nanak, his successor, and other religious poets teaching in Adi Granth Sahib.

Values & teaching of Guru Nanak and present social challenges —

  • The time in which Guru Nanak lived and present time are not very different. Back then, caste system, idol worship, exploitation of poor and women, intolerance towards other religions, fraud godman, addiction of drugs and other problems were prevalent. Unfortunately, all of them are present today also.
  • Some basic teachings of Guru Nanak were —
    • Submission to the will of God (Waheguru)
    • One God
    • Goodwill for all
    • Speaking truth
    • Social Service
    • Overcoming 5 evils — Ego, Anger, Greed, Attachment and Lust
    • Adopting 5 virtues — Truth, Compassion, Contentment, Discipline and Contemplation
    • No discrimination
    • Stop following rituals/idol worship/superstitions
  • Guru Nanak opined that moral principles have great value not just in thinking but also in practical orientation in society. Therefore, social philosophy of Guru Nanak was primarily based on moral philosophy with support of religious outlook.
  • His teaching hold great value today in overcoming caste and religious discrimination, intolerance of other views, corruption, addiction of alcohol and drugs, clash of civilisations, terrorism and other social evils.
  • Problem with today’s generation is we have limited Guru Nanak and his teaching just to Guru Granth Sahib and have not adopted it, i.e., moral philosophy is lacking. Therefore, there is a strong need to revive the values and teachings of Guru Nanak.

Ik Onkar: Ek Onkar means “God is One”. The symbol is an emblem of the Sikh religion and is found on Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) around the world.

Kartarpur corridor

The four-lane “human corridor” i.e. Kartarpur corridor is hoped to pave the way for peace and greater progress of all people. The corridor will drastically cut down the journey pilgrims have to make from more than 200 km to just 6 km.

  • The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.
  • It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
  • The shrine is visible from the Indian side, Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak.
  • Access to gurdwaras in Pakistan: Sikh jathas from India travel to Pakistan on four occasions every year — for Baisakhi, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev. These Indian pilgrims are given access to all gurdwaras in Pakistan.

Dr Rajendra Prasad

  • The first President of India, in office from 1952 to 1962
  • A supporter of Mahatma Gandhi, Prasad was imprisoned by British authorities during the Salt Satyagraha of 1931 and the Quit India movement of 1942.
  • In office from 1952 to 1962
  • A supporter of Mahatma Gandhi, Prasad was imprisoned by British authorities during the Salt Satyagraha of 1931 and the Quit India movement of 1942
  • In his speech before the Constitution was adopted, Dr Rajendra Prasad rightly noted that the successful working of democratic institutions requires willingness to respect the views of others, and capacity for compromise and accommodation. He said, [quote] “Many things which cannot be written in a Constitution are done by conventions. Let me hope that we shall show those capacities and develop those conventions.” [Unquote] Seventy years later, we have reasons to believe that the nation has lived up to his hopes to a fair degree.

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