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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 12th April to 17th April – 2021

  • IASbaba
  • April 19, 2021
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IASbaba's Press Information Bureau, UPSC Articles
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GS-1

102nd Anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre 

(Topic: Indian History)

On: 13th April, 2021

  • On this day, soldiers of the British Indian Army, on the orders of Colonel Reginald Dyer, massacred peaceful and unarmed celebrators, including women and children, on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year (Baisakhi). 
  • This massacre is remembered as one of the deadliest attacks on peaceful civilians in the world.

Jallianwala Bagh’s importance lies not in the numbers killed but in what preceded it and in what followed –

1919 Rowlatt Act

  • The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919, popularly known as the Rowlatt Act, was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in Delhi on 10 March 1919.
  • The Act passed by the British Government was intended to give themselves greater power over the people.
  • Rowlatt Act allowed the British to arrest and jail anyone they wished without trial, if they were thought to be plotting against the British. The Viceroy Government also had the power to silence the press.
  • The Rowlatt Act sparked a large amount of anger with the leaders and common people of India. This however did not greatly affect the British as they were still able to keep control over the people.
  • To try and put an end to this, Gandhi and the other leaders called for a Hartal ( a time of fasting and suspension of work) to show the British the Indians’ discontent with their rule.
  • In the Punjab the protest movement was very strong, and two renowned leaders Dr Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kithlew were arrested on 10th April, 1919.
  • In order to protest against the arrest, public had held meeting on 13th April at Jallianwala Bagh in a small park. The meeting was attended by many women and children as well, and is considered to be a peaceful meeting.

What preceded after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre?

  • The perpetrator of the massacre, General Dyer, was honored and rewarded by the British public and this removed all illusions about benign British rule in the country.
  • It also marked the start of a liberation struggle like no other under Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The brutality of massacre stunned entire nation. Gandhiji overwhelmed by atmosphere of violence withdrew movement on April 18. Mahatma Gandhi gave up the title of Kaiser-i-Hind, bestowed by the British for his work during the Boer War.
  • Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in protest against Jallianwala Bagh incident.
  • Winston Churchill condemned the shooting as “monstrous.”
  • The insults and sufferings faced by the people of Punjab trickled through the gagged silence, reached every corner of India, and the universal agony of indignation roused in the hearts of people throughout the country.
  • This event caused many moderate Indians to abandon their loyalty to the British and become nationalists distrustful of the British.
  • The massacre stirred nationalist feelings across India and had a profound effect on one of the movement’s leaders, Mohandas Gandhi. After the Amritsar Massacre he became convinced that India should accept nothing less than full independence. To achieve this end, Gandhi began organizing his first campaign of mass civil disobedience against Britain’s oppressive rule.
  • In December 1919, the congress session was held at Amritsar. It was attended by a large number of people, including peasants. It was clear that the brutalities had only added fuel to the fire and made the people’s determination stronger to fight for their freedom and against oppression.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre marks a turn for revolutionary violent resistance against British raj. Series of new revolutionary leaders justified violence and started new organisations for the execution of the same. A new beginning in the freedom struggle can be witnessed in the incidents of April 1919.


GS-2

Simplification of process for re-issue of OCI Cards

(Topic: Policies and Interventions around Citizenship)

The OCI Card has proved to be very popular amongst foreigners of Indian Origin and spouses of foreign origin of Indian citizens or OCI cardholders, as it helps them in hassle free entry and unlimited stay in India. So far about 37.72 lakh OCI Cards have been issued by the Government of India.

As per the extant law, a foreigner of Indian origin or a foreign spouse of an Indian citizen or foreign spouse of an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder, can be registered as an OCI cardholder. OCI card is a life-long visa for entry into and stay in India with a number of other major benefits attached to it which are not available to other foreigners. 

Presently, the OCI card is required to be re-issued each time a new passport is issued up to 20 years of age and once after completing 50 years of age, in view of biological changes in the face of the applicant.   With a view to facilitate the OCI cardholders, it has now been decided by the Government of India to dispense with this requirement.  

A person who has got registration as OCI cardholder prior to attaining the age of 20 years will have to get the OCI card re-issued only once when a new passport is issued after his/her completing 20 years of age, so as to capture his/ her facial features on attaining adulthood.  If a person has obtained registration as OCI cardholder after attaining the age of 20 years, there will be no requirement of re-issue of OCI card.


Launch of Judgments & Orders portal and e-filing 3.0 module

(Topic: Judiciary)

The initiatives developed by Pune based e-Courts project team are aimed to strengthen legal system.

The Judgments and  Orders search portal is a repository of judgments pronounced by various High Courts in the country. It provides facility to search judgements and final orders based on multiple search criteria (data of 106 million cases which are being disposed of & are available & the total number of 141 million orders.) 

The main features of the portal are:

  • Free text search facilitates user to search judgments based on any keyword or combination of multiple keywords
  • Users can also search judgments based on various criteria like including bench, case type, case number, year, petitioner/ respondent name, judge name, act, section, disposal nature and decision date. Combination of several search options assist the users to get the desired results.
  • The embedded filtering feature allows further filters on available results, thus adding value to the search.

The e-filing 3.0 module, introduced by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, allows electronic filing of court documents. With the introduction of the new module, there will be no need for lawyers or clients to visit the court premises for filing of a case. The filing process can take place even when the court, client and lawyer are at three different locations. Version 3.0 is a much more user-friendly version which would simplify the registration of advocates on the efiling software, enable Advocates to add their partners and clients on the efiling module, provide online vakalatnama, readymade templates for pleadings, provision for online recording of oath, digital signing of case papers, multiple application filing besides enabling exchange of information and case papers effortlessly between advocates and courts without physical movement.


India Holds National Dialogue on UN Food Systems Summit 2021

(Topic: India and International Summits and organisations)

Background: The first ever UN Food Systems Summit is to be held in September 2021 to strategize the actions for positive change in Agri-food systems in the World to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Summit will focus on levers and pathways to shape food systems nationally and globally to accelerate progress in the SDGs, and independent consultation for the five Action Tracks related to 

  • Safe and nutritious food, 
  • Sustainable consumption patterns, 
  • Nature-positive production, 
  • Advance equitable livelihoods, and 
  • Resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress

The COVID-19 pandemic led vulnerability and challenges faced by the humanity in food and related system has further added to the need for reorienting our actions and strategies beyond specific cropping or farming systems to entire agri-food systems covering production, distribution and consumption.

India with close to 18% humanity on the Globe owes paramount stake in this Food System Summit. India has volunteered, but not limited to, to the Action Track 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods for the UN Food System Summit 2021.  To take the process further the Government has constituted a high level Interdepartmental Group along with the representatives from NITI Aayog, Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoAFW), Rural Development and others. 

The first National Level Dialogue on Agri-Food Systems-Advancing Equitable Livelihoods has been conducted – 

  • Urged the participants to share their ideas, experiences, success stories, transformative innovations, evidence based suggestions relating to policies, infrastructure, institutions, and the commitments India should be making to align food system to achieve SDGs towards 2030.
  • We should plan for the elimination of poverty, zero hunger, nutrition security and health for all, raising incomes across food value chains, and ensuring economic, social and environment sustainability.
  • Several game changing ideas for reimagining India’s Agriculture like agro climate based farming, agro-ecology based farming, farmers owned and manged value chain systems,  statutory backing for sustainable innovations, adopting best practices from the states, linking production incentives to nutrition goals, nutrition sensitive production and diets, regulatory framework for food safety of low income consumers, selective biofortification, FPOs of women farmers etc were suggested by participants.
  • State Governments have been requested to conduct the state-level dialogues with all the stakeholders involved directly or indirectly in the agri-food systems in India. Such grass root dialogues offer a unique opportunity to various stakeholders to involve and provide inputs for sustainable food systems in India. 

India-Denmark join hands through Atal Innovation Mission

(Topic: India and Denmark) 

As part of Indo-Danish bilateral Green strategic partnership, India is all set to take a giant leap towards building a world class innovation ecosystem as Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of India’s premier policy think tank NITI Aayog and Embassy of Denmark to India today officially announced their collaboration.

Under this ambitious partnership,Innovation Center Denmark in India will collaborate with AIM to support various current and future initiatives of AIM, NITI Aayog and its beneficiaries in India as well as develop global innovation Green economy partnerships addressing SDG goals.

The purpose of SoI is to jointly work towards promoting innovation and entrepreneurship amongst the aspiring entrepreneurs. The partnership would be executed through Innovation Center Denmark (ICDK) under the aegis of Embassy of Denmark.

Emphasis will be on: Water, Women, and the World – Water is the stream of life hence its importance for present and future generations cannot be stressed enough. Women empowerment is key to the growth of a nation and to the sustainability goals of the World. If we do not solve water management and challenges issue, regardless of the location, it will impact lives across the world.


GS-2

Findings of The National climate vulnerability assessment report

(Topic: Climate Change –  Reports and findings)

The report titled ‘Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework’, which identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India with respect to current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability, was released.

Has identified Jharkhand, Mizoram, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, and West Bengal as states highly vulnerable to climate change. These states, mostly in the eastern part of the country, require prioritization of adaptation interventions.

The need

  • Mapping the parts of India that are vulnerable to such changes will help initiating climate actions at the ground level. The report should be made easily accessible to all stakeholders so that it can benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.
  • Assessing vulnerability was the first step towards assessing climate risk. There are two other components like Hazard and Exposure that need to be also assessed to arrive at overall climate risk.
  • The assessment will help Policymakers in initiating appropriate climate actions. It will also benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.
  • In a developing country such as India, vulnerability assessment is considered as an important exercise to develop suitable adaptation projects and programmes. While climate vulnerability assessments for various states and districts already exist, the states and districts cannot be compared to each other as the framework used for assessments are different, thereby limiting decision-making capabilities at the policy and administrative levels. This necessitated an assessment using a Common Vulnerability Framework.

Scientists discover the farthest Gamma-ray emitting active galaxy with narrow emission lines

(Topic: Space)

Astronomers have discovered a new active galaxy identified as the farthest gamma-ray emitting galaxy that has so far been stumbled upon. This active galaxy called the Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxy, which is about 31 billion light-years away, opens up avenues to explore more such gamma-ray emitting galaxies that wait to meet us.

Ever since 1929, when Edwin Hubble discovered that the Universe is expanding, it has been known that most other galaxies are moving away from us. Light from these galaxies is shifted to longer (and this means redder) wavelengths – in other words, it is red-shifted. Scientists have been trying to trace such red-shifted galaxies to understand the early Universe.

Scientists from ARIES, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, in collaboration with researchers from other institutions, studied around 25,000 luminous Active galactic nuclei (AGN) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a major optical imaging and spectroscopic survey of astronomical objects in-operation for the last 20 years and found a unique object that emits high-energy gamma rays located at a high redshift (more than 1). They identified it as a gamma-ray emitting NLS1 galaxy, which is a rare entity in space.

Powerful relativistic jets, or sources of particles in the Universe traveling nearly at speed to light, are usually produced by AGN powered by large black holes and hosted in a giant elliptical galaxy. However, detection of gamma-ray emission from NLS1 challenges the idea of how relativistic jets are formed because NLS1s are a unique class of AGN that are powered by black hole of low mass and hosted in spiral galaxy. As of today, gamma-ray emission has been detected in about a dozen NLS1 galaxies, which are a separate class of AGN identified four decades ago. All of them are at redshifts lesser than one, and no method was present till date to find NLS1 at redshifts larger than one. This discovery opens up a new way to find gamma-ray emitting NLS1 galaxies in the early Universe.


New electronic nose with biodegradable polymer and monomer can detect hydrogen sulphide from sewers

(Topic: Development in Science and Technology)

Scientists have developed an electronic nose with biodegradable polymer and monomer that can detect hydrogen sulphide (H2S), a poisonous, corrosive, and flammable gas produced from swamps and sewers.

H2S is the primary gas produced from the microbial breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, and this necessitates easy detection of its emission from sewers and swamps.

Responding to this challenge, scientists from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bangalore, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, in collaboration with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, have developed an exceptionally sensitive and selective H2S Gas sensor developed by impersonating the neuron responsible for identification of airborne molecules or olfactory receptor neuron (ORN).

  • The fabricated sensor consists of a heterostructure consisting of two layers – the top layer a monomer and is realized with a novel chemical tris (keto-hydrazone), which is both porous and contains H2S specific functional groups, and the bottom layer is the active channel layer which plays a key role in altering the current and mobility of charge carriers.
  • Thus, the synergistic combination helps to pre-concentrate the H2S molecules, initiate an acid-base chemical reaction, and thereby brings a change in the majority carriers (holes) of the channel region in the device. 
  • The capacitance sensor (a sensor that detects nearby objects by their effect on the electrical field created by the sensor) developed by the scientists showed an excellent sensitivity in detecting H2S gas with an experimental limit of detection of around 25 parts per billion. 
  • It also has high ambient stability of around 8 months without compromising sensing performance.

Prelims oriented News

Chief Election Commissioner: Shri Sushil Chandra

World Heritage Day: 18th April, 2021

Launch of Online Grievance Management Portal for Persons from Scheduled Castes: On the occasion of 130th birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Baba Saheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar; NCSC Grievance Management portal would make it easier for Scheduled Castes population of our country to register their complaint from any part of the country. The portal shall enable them to file their application and other atrocity and services related grievances online and to get them addressed in a time bound manner.

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) was set up under the Article 338 of the Constitution of India with the objective to investigate and monitor all issues pertaining to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under any law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government of India. The Commission also enquires into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes. 

100th anniversary of the Kingdom of Jordan: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Jordanian King Abdullah II on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Jordan and hailed the Middle Eastern country as a global symbol of moderation. 

  • Highlighting the key role of King Abdullah II in the promotion of peace in West Asia, Prime Minister Modi noted that Jordan has today emerged as a “powerful voice and global symbol of moderation in an important region of the world”.
  • Noting the deepening of relations between India and Jordan, Modi recalled the historic visit of King Abdullah II to India in 2018, during which the Jordanian King had reiterated the Amman message of 2004 of tolerance, unity, and respect for human dignity. The prime minister noted that India and Jordan were united in the belief that moderation and peaceful co-existence were essential for peace and prosperity.
  • India’s history with Jordan:
    • The first bilateral agreement on cooperation and friendly relations was entered into soon after Indian independence in 1947.
    • Established diplomatic relations in 1950 after India became a Republic
    • The first ever visit by an Indian Head of State to Jordan took place in 2015 which provided a huge impetus to bilateral engagement between the countries

Raisina Dialogue-2021: An annual geopolitical event, organised by the Ministry of External Affairs along with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It is designed to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s integration with the larger world. It is predicated on India’s vital role in the Indian Ocean Region and how India along with its partners can build a stable regional and world order.

Launch of ‘Poshan Gyan’, a Digital Repository on Nutrition Information: NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University, has launched Poshan Gyan, a national digital repository on health and nutrition.

Real change can be brought about only throughchanging behaviours on the ground. High malnutrition persists despite India being a food-surplus nation, which points towards a clear need for behavioural change. With this context in mind, Poshan Gyan is an extremely important initiative, and can help make nutrition a Jan Andolan.

Launch of Aahaar Kranti

Mission: To spread the message of the need for a nutritionally balanced diet and to understand the importance of accessible to all local fruits and vegetables.

The `Aahaar Kranti’ movement is designed to address the peculiar problem being faced by India and the world called `hunger and diseases in abundance’. Studies estimate that India produces as much as two times the amount of calories that it consumes. However, many in the country are still malnourished. The root cause of this strange phenomenon is a lack of nutritional awareness in all sections of our society.

There is a need for a nutritionally balanced diet also in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. A healthy body would be able to handle the infection much better with greater immunity and higher resilience.

The United Nations has also declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, which vibes very well with Aahaar Kranti. Fruits and vegetables make a large part of a balanced diet. Further, UN sustainable goal # 3 that emphasizes on human well-being reads, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” This goal too makes Aahaar Kranti more meaningful. Diet and well-being are inseparable partners.

  • The movement proposes to address the current situation of hunger in abundance by working to rouse the people to the values of India’s traditional diet, to the healing powers of local fruits and vegetables, and to the miracles of a balanced diet.  It will renew the focus on nutritionally balanced diets – उत्तम एवं संतुलित आहार (Uttam evam santulit aahaar) replete in locally sourced fruits and vegetables.
  • The programme will focus on training teachers, who, in turn, will pass on the message to the multitudes of students, and through them to their families and finally the society at large. Such a strategy was adopted for the eradication of Polio and it turned out to be a grand success.
  • Vijnana Bharati (Vibha) and Global Indian Scientists’ and Technocrats’ Forum have aimed to set Aahaar Kranti as a model for the entire world to follow.

Gender Samvaad: A joint attempt between DAY-NRLM and the Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE) to create a common platform to generate greater awareness on gender related interventions under DAY-NRLM across the country and best practices, with a focus on hearing voices from the states and the field

Gender Samvaad provides states with opportunities to:

  • Understand best practices/initiatives that other states have been undertaking to improve women’s agency (e.g. facilitating women’s access to land rights, their engagement in farmer producer organizations (FPOs), best practices around Food, Nutrition, Health and Water and Sanitation (FNHW), in establishing strong institutions for public service delivery, and in protecting and providing redress to vulnerable groups within women (e.g. to victims of witch hunting));
  • Understand gender interventions globally;
  • Engage with experts and other colleagues on suggestions regarding how to handle issues/implementation barriers;
  • Contribute to creation of a ‘gender repository’ with resource materials on best practices for gender interventions across the country/other countries; and
  • Build advocacy around the need to focus on gender issues across SRLMs and the NRLM.

Van Dhan Vikas Yojana – Promoting and backing tribal entrepreneurship

The Van Dhan Vikas Yojana is a programme for value addition, branding & marketing of Minor Forest Produces by establishing Van Dhan Kendras to facilitate creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes. One major scheme that has contributed to increasing employment and income generation among the tribal population is the Van Dhan tribal start-ups programme, a component of the The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme.

The focus of these initiatives is to make India self-reliant under the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, with the motto, Go Vocal for Local Go Tribal – Mera Van Mera Dhan Mera Udyam. Manipur, in particular, which has emerged as the Champion state where the Van Dhan programme has emerged as a major source of employment for the local tribals.

Sankalp se Siddhi” – Village & Digital Connect Drive: 

  • It is a 100 day drive which was started from April 1, 2021.
  • It will entail 150 teams visiting ten villages each.
  • Aim: To activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in these villages.
  • The visiting teams will also identify locations and shortlist potential Van Dhan Vikas Kendras for clustering as TRIFOOD, and Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries- (SFURTI) units as larger enterprises.
  • TRIFOOD aims to enhance the income of tribals through better utilization of and value addition to the Minor Forest Produce collected by the tribal forest gatherers.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana

  • As a part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat 3.0 package, the Central Govt has launched the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana (ABRY) to incentivize creation of new employment opportunities during COVID-19 recovery phase by providing financial assistance to employer of establishments registered with EPFO to recruit unemployed persons including giving re employment to those who rendered unemployment during the Pandemic. i.e between March ,2020 to September 2020.
  • Under The Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana (ABRY), Central Government will pay both the employees’(12% of wages) and employer’s (12% of wages) share of contribution payable under the EPF & MP Act, 1952 or only the employees’ share, depending on the employment strength of the establishment, directly to the Universal Account Number of eligible employee maintained by the EPFO. 

Launch of Infant Toddler and Caregiver-friendly Neighbourhoods (ITCN) Training and Capacity Building Programme: By National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in partnership with Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF).

  • The Programme is designed to help build capacities of city officials and young professionals for developing young children and family-friendly neighbourhoods within cities in India.
  • The programme is envisioned with the twin objectives: first, embedding the learnings from the inventory of knowledge developed by NIUA and BvLF within the on-going and proposed urban development initiatives at neighbourhood and city level; and second, handholding participants to embed learnings into the various initiatives of the cities which take into account the everyday needs of young children and caregivers. In addition, an academic certified course for young professionals has been planned to sensitize them about the needs of young citizens (0-5 years) in the city and to equip them with the adequate tools for the purpose.

Launch of e-SANTA: An electronic marketplace providing a platform to connect aqua farmers and the buyers

It will enable the farmers to get a better price and the exporters to directly purchase quality products from the farmers enhancing traceability, a key factor in international trade. e-SANTA will RAISE the lives & income of farmers by:

  • Reducing Risk
  • Awareness of Products & Markets
  • Increase in Income
  • Shielding Against Wrong Practice
  • Ease of Processes

e-SANTA is a Digital Bridge to end the market divide and will act as an alternative marketing tool between farmers & buyers by eliminating middlemen. It will revolutionize traditional aquafarming by providing cashless, contactless and paperless electronic trade platform between farmers and exporters. e-SANTA can become a tool to advertise collectively the kind of products the buyers, fishermen & fish producing organisations are harvesting, so people in India & internationally can know what is available & in the future, it can become an auction platform.

e-SANTA is a completely paperless and end-to-end electronic trade platform between Farmers and exporters. The farmers have the freedom to list their produce and quote their price while the exporters have the freedom to list their requirements and also to choose the products based on their requirements such as desired size, location, harvest dates etc. This enables the farmers and buyers to have greater control over the trade and enables them to make informed decisions.

Launch of India Energy Dashboards (Version 2.0) by NITI Aayog: India Energy Dashboards (IED) is an endeavour to provide single-window access to the energy data for the country. 

Energy data published/provided by: Central Electricity Authority, Coal Controller’s Organisation, and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

The key features of India Energy Dashboards Version 2.0, are – 

  • The IED provides time series data from FY 2005-06 until FY 2019-20;
  • Enhanced data download – It enables easy downloading of data into convenient spreadsheet formats in a cleaner, more intuitive way;
  • IED provides data at sub-yearly frequencies as well. This includes monthly data and API linked data from some portals maintained by the government agencies. The monthly data is sourced from the monthly reports that are regularly published for the electricity, petroleum and natural gas sectors. API linked data from Saubhagya,  UJALA, PRAAPTI, and Vidyut PRAVAH has been incorporated in the portal;
  • A ‘Feedback and Suggestions’ forum for the engagement of energy data user community has been incorporated;
  • A semi-automated workflow/ issue-tracking system for managing periodic updates to the IED. The workflow system performs basic checks and data validation, helping to avoid incorrect data entry;
  • Addition of technical and financial data of electricity utilities available from the regulatory documents in the state of Maharashtra. Regulatory data specifically for the area served by the state-owned distribution utility – MSEDCL has been added. The Dashboards will include other states data in future.

Personality in News

Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

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

6th December – Mahaparinirvan Diwas

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

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