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Q.1) Recently, the incident of Indian child “Sherin” raised the concern regarding adoption of India children by foreign parents. Discuss the adoption guidelines and the legal process followed by the prospective parents to adopt an Indian Child abroad. (GS-1)

Adoption of an Indian child

  • According to adoption guidelines notified in January this year, prospective adoptive parents have to be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable and should not have a life-threatening medical condition.
  • Singles are eligible, but a single male cannot adopt a girl child.
  • A couple must be married at least two years and their cumulative age at the time of adoption cannot exceed 110 years (55 in case of a single parent).
  • The minimum age difference between the child and either adoptive parent should not be less than 25 years.
  • Preference shall be given to place the child in adoption with Indian citizens and with due regard to the principle of placement of the child in his own socio-cultural environment, as per the Fundamental Principles of Adoption.

Formalities must for the prospective parents’ residing outside

  • All prospective parents irrespective of nationality have to register with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
  • After registration, children are assigned by turn, and foreign couples are treated at par with Indian ones.
  • Any Non-Resident Indian, Overseas Citizen of India or foreign prospective adoptive parents, living in a country which is a signatory to The Hague Adoption Convention and wishing to adopt an Indian child, can approach the authorized foreign adoption agency or the central authority for preparation of their home study report.
  • Alternatively, they can approach the government department or Indian diplomatic mission concerned in that country.
  • The home study report, which looks at the couple’s family, circumstances, etc., is prepared by the adoption agency. It remains valid for two years, and is the basis of any adoption attempts that the couple make during that period.
  • Parents are given a chance to adopt on a first registered, first served basis. They are shown photographs, child study reports and medical examination reports of up to six children in their preferred category. The process of matching must be completed in 15 days.

Child’s eligibility to get adopted

  • A child has to be declared legally free to be adopted before being shown to a couple for adoption.
  • When a missing child is found, the District Child Protection Unit has to advertise the particulars and photograph in a state-level newspaper with wide circulation within 72 hours of receiving the child.
  • Local police have to submit a report about the child’s parents or any living family. The Child Welfare Committee declares the child legally free for adoption as per laid down procedures.

The legal process to adopt an Indian Child

  • The adoption petition is filed in court by the adoption agency.
  • Adoption proceedings have to be completed within two hearings and the petition has to be disposed of within two months of its filing.
  • The certified copy of the order has to be obtained by the agency within 10 days. It must also obtain the birth certificate of the child with the names of the adoptive parents.

Q.2) The government is all set to begin work to connect around 60 of India’s largest rivers despite several issues still awaiting to be sorted. Discuss the significance and scope of National River Linking Project in this context. Also elaborate the benefits and the criticism related to interlinking of rivers. (GS-3)

The significance of the National River Linking Project (NRLP)

  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) is a proposed large-scale project that aims to link Indian rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals
  • It aims at reducing persistent floods in Eastern India and water shortages in Southern and Western India
  • The project aims to transfer water from water ‘excess’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity

The scope of the NRLP

  • The National River Interlinking Project will comprise of 30 links to connect 37 rivers across the nation through a network of nearly 3000 storage dams

The NRLP has three major donor river basins:

  • the Brahmaputra in the Himalayan component
  • Mahanadi and the Godavari in the peninsular component
  • The Himalayan component proposes to transfer 33 BCM of water through 16 river links.

It has two sub component linking:

  • Ganga and Brahmaputra basins to Mahanadi basin and
  • Eastern Ganga tributaries and Chambal and Sabarmati river basins
  • The Peninsular component proposes to transfer 141 BCM water through 14 river links.

It has four sub component linking:

  • Mahanadi and Godavari basins to Krishna, Cauvery and Vaigai rivers
  • West-flowing rivers south of Tapi to the north of Bombay
  • Ken River to Betwa River and Parbati, Kalisindh rivers to Chambal rivers
  • Some West flowing rivers to the East flowing rivers

The proposed benefits of river interlinking?

Irrigation Benefits:

  • The project is expected to provide additional irrigation to 35 million hectares in the water-scarce western and peninsular regions.
  • This will further create employment, boost crop outputs and farm incomes
  • The irrigation benefits would also ensure food security in the country.

Transport:

  • The project is expected to offer potential benefits to the transport sector through navigation
  • River transports is cheaper
  • It is a non-polluting transport Alternative-It has a low carbon footprint.

Hydropower Development

  • The river interlinking project claims to generate total power of 34,000 MW (34 GW)

Water Supply

  • The project envisages supply of clean drinking water and water for industrial use amounting to 90 and 64.8 billion cum. respectively with a view to meet the demand by 2050.

Flood and Drought Mitigation

  • The project is expected to eradicate the flooding problems which recur in the northeast and the north every year
  • It is also expected to mitigate drought conditions in rainfall deficit areas

Dry Weather Flow Augmentation

  • Transfer of surplus water stored in reservoirs during monsoon and releasing it during dry season will ensure a minimum amount of dry weather flow in the rivers

Increased Employment opportunities in rural areas

  • The proposed link canals and the storages are expected to create large employment opportunities for the rural youths.

Defense

  • The Project is expected to provide for enhancing the security of the country by an additional waterline of defense

Major criticisms of interlinking of rivers in India

Environmental Impacts:

  • If the glaciers don’t sustain their glacier mass due to climate change, the very concept that the donor basin (mostly Himalayan rivers) has surplus water that can be made available for the recipient basin, will change.

Submergence of vast areas of land in reservoirs

  • linking of the Ken and Betwa rivers at the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is expected to submerge an important wildlife habitat which is home to many endangered species

Threat to Himalayan Forest

  • The Ganga basin’s topography is flat, building dams would not substantially add to river flows and these dams could threaten the forests of the Himalayas. This may impact the functioning of the monsoon system.

Loss of livelihood and displacement of people:

  • Loss of land, forests and fisheries on which most of the poor and tribal people sustain their livelihood

Geopolitical Constraints:

  • Some of the inter-linking of rivers schemes has international implications, with a possible impact on countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh strongly objects to transferring the Brahmaputra water to the Ganga

Massive investment required for implementation

  • The estimated cost for the implementation of the project at 2000 price index is Rs.5.6 lakh crores, which is likely to further increase manifold.

Inter-state disputes

  • In India ‘s constitution, water is essentially a state subject.
  • Several states including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim have already opposed ILR projects

Flood Control

  • It is doubtful whether interlinking projects can provide flood proofing.
  • Theoretically, a large reservoir can help moderate floods in the downstream areas.

Non-viability of large hydropower projects:

  • Interlinking of rivers will need more power to lift the water than what it is likely to produce.

Q.3) A diverse group of eight Indian citizens submitted a draft Progressive Uniform Civil Code to the Chairman of the Law Commission. Briefly discuss the necessity of Uniform Civil Code for India and the hindrances coming in the way of its implementation. Elucidate a little on the new draft Progressive Uniform Civil Code. (GS-2)

Uniform Civil Code: Introduction

  • The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.
  • The demand for a uniform civil code was first put forward by women activists in the beginning of the twentieth century, with the objective of women’s rights, equality and secularism.
  • Article 44 of the Directive Principles sets its implementation as duty of the State.

Provision in Indian constitution for Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

  • The constitution has a provision for Uniform Civil Code in Article 44 as a Directive Principle of State Policy
  • It states that “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

Necessity of UCC for India

To provide equal status to all citizens

  • In the modern era, a secular democratic republic should have a common civil and personal laws for its citizens irrespective of their religion, class, caste, gender etc.
  • To promote gender parity
  • It is commonly observed that personal laws of almost all religions are discriminatory towards women.
  • Men are usually granted upper preferential status in matters of succession and inheritance. Uniform civil code will bring both men and women at par.

To accommodate the aspirations of the young population

  • contemporary India is a totally new society with 55% of its population is below 25 years of age.
  • Their social attitudes and aspirations are shaped by universal and global principles of equality, humanity, and modernity.
  • Their view of shedding identity on the basis of any religion has to be given a serious consideration so as to utilize their full potential towards nation building.

To support the national integration

  • All Indian citizens are already equal before the court of law as the criminal laws and other civil laws (except personal laws) are same for all.
  • With the implementation of Uniform Civil Code, all citizen will share the same set of personal laws.
  • There will be no scope of politicization of issues of the discrimination or concessions or special privileges enjoyed by a particular community on the basis of their particular religious personal laws.

To bypass the contentious issue of reform of existing personal laws

  • Existing personal laws are mainly based on the upper-class patriarchal notions of the society in all religions.
  • The demand of UCC is normally made by aggrieved women as a substitute for existing personal laws as patriarchal orthodox people still deem the reforms in personal laws will destroy their

Hindrances in the implementation of UCC

Practical difficulties due to diversity in India

  • It is practically tough to come up with a common and uniform set of rules for personal issues like marriage due to tremendous cultural diversity India across the religions, sects, castes, states etc.

Perception of UCC as encroachment on religious freedom

  • Many communities, particularly minority communities perceive Uniform Civil Code as an encroachment on their rights to religious freedom.
  • They fear that a common code will neglect their traditions and impose rules which will be mainly dictated and influenced by the majority religious communities.

Interference of state in personal matters

  • The constitution provides for the right to freedom of religion of one’s choice. With codification of uniform rules and its compulsion, the scope of the freedom of religion will be reduced.

Sensitive and tough task

  • Such a code, in its true spirit, must be brought about by borrowing freely from different personal laws, making gradual changes in each, issuing judicial pronouncements assuring gender equality, and adopting expansive interpretations on marriage, maintenance, adoption, and succession by acknowledging the benefits that one community secures from the others.
  • This task will be very demanding time and human resource wise. The government should be sensitive and unbiased at each step while dealing with the majority and minority communities. Otherwise, it might turn out to be more disastrous in a form of communal violence.

Time is not yet suitable for this reform

  • Considering a major opposition from Muslim community in India over this issue overlapping with controversies over beef, saffronization of school and college curriculum, love jihad, and the silence emanating from the top leadership on these controversies, there needs to be given sufficient time for instilling confidence in the community.
  • Otherwise, these efforts towards common will be counterproductive leaving minority class particularly Muslims more insecure and vulnerable to get attracted towards fundamentalist and extremist ideologies.

The new draft Progressive Uniform Civil Code

  • Eight citizens — writers, artists, activists, an Armyman, a lawyer and two Magsaysay Award winners — have submitted a draft “Progressive Uniform Civil Code” to the Law Commission Chairman.
  • Their move is based on the idea that a UCC must be progressive rather than majoritarian
  • The draft addresses the diversity of Indians and opens new debates, while significantly also speaking for individual rights.
  • Article 44 has over the decades come to be seen as an issue of the Hindu Right alone — the draft Progressive UCC imagines an alternative that is neither Hindu nor majoritarian.
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