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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

16 Mar, 2021

63 Min Read

Stages of Communalism

GS-I : Social issues Social issues

Stages of Communalism

What is communalism?

  • Bipan Chandra, in his book, “Communalism in Modern India”, defines as “Communalism is an ideology based on the belief that Indian society is divided into religious communities, whose economic, political, social and cultural interests diverge and are even hostile to each other because of their religious differences.”

3 stages of communalism

  • In this context, it is important to be aware of the three important phrases which the great historian, Bipan Chandra, mentioned in his book, “Communalism in Modern India”.

1. First Stage-Communal Consciousness

  • The 1st stage of communalism, according to Bipan Chandra, originated mainly in the second half of the 19th Century, due to the social religious reform movement.
  • If we closely look at the social religious reform movement- this was not aimed against a particular community.
  • Most of these reform movements were brought about to bring certain positive changes in their respective communities.
  • This ‘communal consciousness’ can be explained through the basis of the below example. When a Hindu begins to think of himself as ‘Hindu’ and a Christian begins to think of himself as ‘Christian’.
  • When a peasant for example starts recognizing himself as a ‘peasant’, or a worker in a mill starts recognizing himself as a ‘mill-worker’, then this is referred to as the beginning of a ‘class consciousness’.

2. Second Stage-Liberal Communalism

  • This stage is marked by the development where a particular group of people or community starts believing that their political, economical, social and religious interests are different from the other community.

3. Third Stage– Extreme Communalism

  • The third stage of communalism is when a group of people, start believing that their interests are not only divergent but also begin to clash, or are contradictory.
  • It is this that leads to violence.

Thus the 2nd stage is the result of the 1st stage of communalism, and the 3rd, the result of the 2nd stage of communalism, according to Bipan Chandra.

Source: TH

State Election Commission-recent Supreme Court ruling on its autonomy

GS-II : Indian Polity Election commission

State Election Commission-recent Supreme Court ruling on its autonomy

Introduction

  • This article discusses about the inadequate devolution of powers to urban and rural local bodies as a self-contained third tier of governance.

Poor conduction of fair elections at the local level

  • The manner in which their representatives are elected is often beset by controversies.
  • Local polls are often marred by violence, and charges of arbitrary delimitation and reservation of wards.

Need for an independent and autonomous State Election Commission (SEC)

  • A key factor in any local body polls being conducted in a free and fair manner is the extent to which the State Election Commissioner, the authority that supervises the elections, is independent and autonomous.

Decline in the confidence on State Election Commissioner

  • Unfortunately, most regimes in the States appoint senior bureaucrats from among their favourites to this office.
  • In practice, SECs frequently face charges of being partisan.
  • Routine exercises such as delimiting wards, rotating the wards reserved for women and Scheduled Castes and fixing dates for the elections become mired in controversy as a result, as the Opposition tends to believe that the exercise is being done with the ruling party’s interest in mind.
  • Even though this cannot be generalised in respect of all States and all those manning the position, it is undeniable that SECs do not seem to enjoy the confidence of political parties and the public to the same extent as the Election Commission of India as far as their independence is concerned.

Supreme Court’s judgement

  • It is in this backdrop that the Supreme Court’s judgment declaring that a State Election Commissioner should be someone completely independent of the State government acquires salience.
  • It has described the Goa government’s action in asking its Law Secretary to hold additional charge as SEC as a “mockery of the Constitutional mandate”.
  • By invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Court has asked all SECs who are under the direct control of the respective State governments to step down from their posts.

In Practice

  • In practice, most States appoint retired bureaucrats as SECs.
  • Whether the apex court’s decision would have a bearing on those who are no more serving State governments remains to be seen.
  • More significantly, the Court has boosted the power of the election watchdog by holding that it is open to the SECs to countermand any infractions of the law made by the State government in the course of preparing for local body polls.

Way forward

  • However, it is clear that these governments will now have to find a way to appoint to the office only those who are truly independent and not beholden to it in any manner.
  • The verdict will help secure the independence of SECs in the future.

Source: TH

National Capital Territory of Delhi Bill, 2021

GS-II : Indian Polity Federal structure

National Capital Territory of Delhi Bill, 2021

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday in which it proposed that the “government” in the National Capital Territory of Delhi meant the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.
  • The Bill proposes to amend Sections 21, 24, 33 and 44 of the 1991 Act.
  • The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • The proposed legislation also seeks to ensure that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give her or his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.
  • Section 44 of the 1991 Act says that all executive actions of the L-G, whether taken on the advice of his Ministers or otherwise, shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the L-G.
  • The MHA’s statement on “objects and reasons” of the Bill stated that Section 44 of the 1991 Act deals with conduct of business and there is no structural mechanism for effective time-bound implementation of the said section. “Further, there is no clarity as to what proposal or matters are required to be submitted to Lieutenant-Governor before issuing order thereon,” the statement said.

What is there in Constitution of India?

  • Delhi is a Union Territory with a legislature and it came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991.
  • As per the existing Act, the Legislative Assembly has the power to make laws in all matters except public order, police and land.
  • Three decades after it was enacted, significant amendments have been proposed to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, bringing contradictions between the Central and Delhi governments to the fore once again.
  • The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has on many occasions challenged the BJP-ruled Centre regarding administrative matters in the National Capital.

Analysis of NCT (Amendment) Bill, 2021

  • While some were of the opinion that the new Bill will seek to render the office of the Chief Minister a vestigial organ in the name of simplifying administration, others argued that the amendments will iron out “needless” issues arising out of politics in a city where the Lieutenant-Governor had “always been the government”.
  • Senior advocate at the Supreme Court Rebecca John said the Bill would snatch away from the residents of Delhi the accountability and answerability they sought from the elected representatives and hand them to a nominated official.
  • Professor Pradip Kumar Datta, an independent academic formerly associated with JNU, said the Bill seemed to go against the federal principles and was a setback for popular representation. “Centralisation has been increasing in both formal and informal ways after this government came to power at the Centre. This [Bill] will seemingly just speed up the pace of centralisation of power,” he said.
  • S.K. Sharma, a constitutional expert said the two governments — the Centre and the Delhi government — were not concurrent. The first one is the actual government while the other falls under the definition of what B.R. Ambedkar called local administration.

Source: TH

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

  1. It was started in 2015 under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It is a sub component of Soil Health Management under National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture.
  2. MP has largest area under Organic certification followed by Rajasthan, Maharashtra and UP.

Features of PKVY

  1. Produce Agri products free from chemicals and pesticides.
  2. Cluster approach in input production, quality assurance and value addition.
    • For more than 50 farmers. Total area = 50 acre (20 ha).
    • It is for 3 years.
    • Farmers will get Rs. 20000 per acre.
    • The amount covers all expenses.
  3. Out of total farmers in clusters
    • 65% should be Small and Marginal Farmers.
    • Atleast 30% Budget to women
  4. It includes Direct Marketing through innovative means.
  5. Participatory Guarantee Systems provides certification to organic products.

Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP),

  • Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP), is introduced as a sub scheme of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2020-21 for the promotion of traditional indigenous practices including natural farming.
  • The scheme mainly emphasises on
  1. exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs and promotes on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomass mulching;
  2. use of cow dung-urine formulations;
  3. plant based preparations and
  4. time to time working of soil for aeration.
  • Under BPKP, financial assistance of Rs 12200/ha for 3 years is provided for cluster formation, capacity building and continuous handholding by trained personnel, certification and residue analysis.

Source: PIB

AstraZeneca- Reports of blood clots

GS-III : S&T Health

AstraZeneca- Reports of blood clots

Data of global Covid-19 vaccination

  • A little over 392 million doses of vaccine have been administered globally, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, with India accounting for around 9% of them.

Reports of blood clot

  • In the last week, there have been a flurry of reports from Europe, of blood clots developing in a very small fraction of those vaccinated and leading to a cascade of European countries announcing a temporary halt to their vaccination programmes involving the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.
  • WHO and the European Medicines Agency have underlined that there is no causal link between vaccines and the occurrence of such clots.
  • In fact, there are less than 40 such occurrences reported so far, and that is much below the background of about 1,000 to 2,000 blood clots every single day in the general population, say studies based on the U.S. population.

Note:

  • By far the largest user of the AstraZeneca vaccine is India. India is using two vaccines -- the AstraZeneca (a.k.a COVISHIELD)shot made by Serum Institute of India, and another one by Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech (COVAXIN/PFIZER) -- to immunize its vast population

  • These organisations advocate that the ongoing vaccination drives continue, even accelerate, as the rate of vaccination is not keeping pace with what is required to control the pandemic.

Issues with the approved Covid vaccines

  • The AZ, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been released under emergency use authorisations, meaning that the entire profile of risks associated with them have not been thoroughly studied.
  • History is replete with instances of vaccines that have been taken off even years after approval after a slight increase in untoward complications.
  • As of now, the risk of dying from serious COVID-19 far outweighs that from vaccine reactions and it is such a calculation that weighs on the minds of regulators before approving vaccines.
  • Unlike drugs administered to the sick, vaccines have a higher bar of proving themselves safe as they are given to the healthy.
  • Regulators of all countries rely on the experiences of others, as exemplified in India alone where it was AZ trials in the United Kingdom that paved the way for approval in India.
  • Therefore, a warning in one country must immediately activate the sensors in another.
  • India has a long experience with vaccinations as well as expertise in evaluating risk; however, transparency and prompt data sharing, thereby building public trust, is not one of its strong suits.
  • This was evidenced by the approval of vaccines in spite of scant efficacy data.
  • There is almost no information by the National Committee on Adverse Events Following Immunisation on the nature of serious adverse events following immunisation.
    • This is in contrast to the frequent analyses shared by organisations such as the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on adverse events.

Way ahead

  • Public trust is a key ingredient to successful vaccination programmes and this can be only earned by the government’s zealous attention to allaying concerns.

What is Vaccination hesitancy ?

  • Refers to delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite

availability of vaccine services.

  • Is complex and context specific varying across time, place and vaccines.
  • Is influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence.

Source: TH

Project RE-HAB-National Honey Mission

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Wildlife & Fauna

Project RE-HAB-National Honey Mission

  • An initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) intends to create “bee fences” to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees.

  • Project RE-HAB is a sub-mission of KVIC’s National Honey Mission.
  • That is how the authorities intend to mitigate human-elephant conflict that seems to continue unabated in Kodagu and other parts of south Karnataka region.
  • A pilot project launched in Kodagu entails installing bee boxes along the periphery of the forest and the villages with the belief that the elephants will not venture anywhere close to the bees and thus avoid transgressing into human landscape.
  • This idea stems from the elephants’ proven fear of the bees.
  • These spots are located on the periphery of Nagarahole National Park and Tiger Reserve, known conflict zones.
  • The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from progressing further.
  • Bee boxes have been placed on the ground as well as hung from the trees.
  • High resolution, night vision cameras have been installed at strategic points to record the impact of bees on elephants and their behaviour in these zones.

Data of human fatalities

  • Between 2015 and 2020, nearly 2,500 people have lost their lives in elephant attacks across India out of which about 170 human fatalities have been reported in Karnataka alone, according to KVIC.

Source: TH

Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Animals

Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts

  • It is one of the heaviest Flight birds. They have weak eyesight. Habitat is grassland (not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980).
  • It is endemic to Indian subcontinent found in Central India, west India and eastern Pakistan.
  • Bustard species found in India: Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican and Bengal Florican; Houbara Bustard in Pakistan.
  • It is considered as the flagship/ indicator grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology. No species can replace it.
  • It has an L shaped habitat = Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • Largest population is in Rajasthan. It is also Rajasthan’s State Bird. There are 150 Great Indian Bustards (GIB) in Rajasthan’s Desert National Park (DNP).
  • Other important Sites: Great Indian Bustard WS (Maharashtra), Naliya (Gujarat), Warora (Maharashtra) and Bellary (Karnataka); Rollapadu WS (Andhra Pradesh) and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary (MP); Lala Sanctuary in Kutch.

Conservation Efforts

  • Protection under Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972; Appendix I of CITES; CMS/ Bonn Convention & Critically Endangered under IUCN.
  • Rajasthan State has started Project Godawan for its conservation at Desert National Park in Jaisalmer.
  • It is 1 of the species under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat's Species Recovery Programme. The important objective of this programme is to build up captive population of GIB and to release the chicks in the wild for increasing the population.
  • Decline in the Population of Great Indian Bustard
  • MoEF initiated a project of 34 crore for conservation and protection of GIB. Only 130 individuals are left.

Reason for decline:

  • Hunting, poaching, habitat erosion, 'greening' projects that transform arid grasslands to wooded areas, change of land use from grassland to farmland, fast moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages.
  • In recent times, death due to collision with wind turbines and power transmission lines has emerged as major factor.
  • Grassland is not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

What is the news?

  • The Supreme Court on Monday intervened on behalf of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustards over the birds falling dead after colliding with power lines running through their dwindling natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde will examine on a priority basis whether overhead power cables can be replaced with underground ones to save one of the heaviest flying birds on the planet.
  • Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Power Ministry, however submitted that only low voltage lines can go underground but not the high voltage ones.
  • The court found further that an alternative mechanism — to install flight bird divertors — to guide the birds away from the power lines would be expensive.
  • The court discovered that the divertors, with their recurring costs, would end costing more than installing and maintaining underground lines. But the court suggested treading the middle path.
  • “Wherever there is high voltage power lines, they can use flight bird divertors even if the recurring costs are high. Wherever there are overhead low voltage lines, these lines can be placed underground,” Chief Justice Bobde remarked.
  • Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for some power companies, objected to the court passing any sort of blanket ban which would affect over 50 lakh jobs.
  • Mr. Singhvi said the greater threat to the birds was from their diminishing habitat, flattened for agriculture.

For more information about Great Indian Bustard: click here

Source: TH

Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture

Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium

  • Government of India through Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), a registered society under Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, is promoting Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) by mobilizing the farmers and helping them in registering as companies and providing them with handholding support and training for their sustainability.
  • SFAC handles Prize Stabilization Fund too (PT Pointer).
  • SFAC has undertaken various FPO promotion programmes in the country such as through Vegetable Initiative for Urban Cluster (VIUC), Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD), National Food for Security Mission (NFSM), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) etc.
  • SFAC has promoted 910 FPOs in the country out of which 58 FPOs are from Uttar Pradesh.
  • Government of India has launched a Central Sector Scheme of “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)” on 29th February, 2020 for providing better facilities to farmers due to economy of scale and better bargain power of FPOs thus improving income of the member farmers.
  • Under this scheme, provision is made for professional handholding support for a period of five years to new FPOs formed.
  • Further, a provision has been made for matching equity grant upto Rs. 2,000 per farmer member of FPO with a limit of Rs. 15.00 lakh per FPO and a credit guarantee facility upto Rs. 2 crore of project loan per FPO from eligible lending institution to ensure institutional credit accessibility to FPOs. Suitable provision for training and skill buildings of the FPOs has also been made.
  • Already more than 2200 FPOs produce clusters have been allocated during 2020-21 for formation of FPOs.

Source: PIB

Low Efficacy of Adenovirus Based Vaccines

GS-III : S&T Health

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, produced from harmless adenovirus have low efficacy compared to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are produced from mRNAs.

About Adenovirus:

  • Adenoviruses are common viruses that cause a range of illnesses.
  • They can cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhoea and conjunctivitis.
  • Adenoviruses are non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses.

Adenoviruses Transmission:

  • Adenoviruses are usually spread from an infected person to others through close personal contact.

Treatment:

  • There is no specific treatment for people with adenovirus infection.

Source: TH

Mera Ration Mobile App

GS-II : Governance e-Governance

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution launches the ‘Mera Ration’ mobile app.

About Mera Ration Mobile app:

  • Mera Ration Mobile app will facilitate the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ system.
  • It aims to help those ration cardholders who migrated to new areas for livelihoods.
  • Its developed by National Informatics Center(NIC).

Features of the app:

  • The application allows beneficiaries to
    • Find out the nearest fair price shop available according to the location.
    • Users can check details of a) Recent transactions b) Status of the Aadhaar seeding and c) entitlement of the amount of rations available to them.
    • Migrant beneficiaries can also register their migration details through the application.

About One Nation-One Ration Card System:

  • Launched by Department of Food & Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • The system envisages inter-state portability of ration cards under National Food Security Act, 2013.
  • NFSA beneficiaries & migrant beneficiaries can claim foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) in the country through existing ration cards with biometric/Aadhaar authentication in a seamless manner.
  • The system also allows their family members back home to claim the balance of foodgrains on the same ration card.
  • Not all states have enrolled for the scheme yet.
  • At present 32 States/UTs are covered under ONORC and integration of the remaining 4 States/UTs is expected to be completed in the next few months.

Source: TH

Support to State Extension Programs for Extension Reforms

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government Schemes & Programmes

About the Scheme:

  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • Popularly known as ATMA Scheme - under implementation since 2005.
  • Not implemented in all of India. Only in 28 states.
  • The scheme promotes decentralized farmer-friendly extension system in the country.
  • Under the scheme grants-in-aid is released to the State Governments with an objective to support State Government’s efforts to make available the latest agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices
  • Includes farmer training for multi-layer farming.

Source: PIB

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