16th Census of India likely to postpone to 2022
What is the News?
The Government of India is likely to postpone the 2021 census to 2022, due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the country.
First phase of the Census was scheduled to be rolled out on 1st April 2020. Under this phase, House Listing & Housing Census and updating of the National Population Register (NPR) was to be completed.
Key Features of the Upcoming 16th Census of India:
- India’s last census or 15th Census of India was carried out in 2011.
- The data collected by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India during the Census will be stored electronically.
- The census will be conducted in 18 languages out of the 22 scheduled languages (under the 8th schedule) and English.
- The option of “Other” under the gender category will be changed to “Third Gender”.
- The data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app by the enumerators, and they will receive an additional payment as an incentive.
- The Census of India counts and collects demographic and socio-economic information on the Indian population. It is the largest such exercise.
- The first non-synchronous census was conducted between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country.
- However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
- Since 1949 the census has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
Difference Between NPR and Census:
- The census involves a detailed questionnaire. In the 2011 Census, there were 29 items to be filled up aimed at eliciting the particulars of every person, including age, sex, marital status, children, occupation, birthplace, mother tongue, religion, disability, and whether they belonged to any Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
- On the other hand, the NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.
- The census is legally backed by the Census Act,1948. The NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act,1955.
Source: The Hindu
Assam and Mizoram conflict
Background of Assam and Mizoram conflict
- The boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram is 165 km long and the issue over that dates back to the colonial era when Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills, a district of Assam.
- The genesis of present conflict is rooted in the British led demarcated internal boundaries on grounds of administrative needs.
- Government of Mizoram demands that present boundaries must be demarcated based on the 1875 notification, which was notified under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873, also known as the Inner Line Regulation (ILR). Whereas the Assam government follows the 1933 demarcation.
- While 1873 notification demarcated a line between the plains of Assam (Cachar) and neighbouring hill areas (Lushai) inhabited by tribal communities in Mizoram, 1933 notification was issued after the annexation of the Lushai Hills demarcates a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
What is the present Issue?
- According to an agreement between governments of Assam and Mizoram some years ago, the status quo should be maintained in no man’s land in the border area.
- As per the recent info., People from Lailapur (Assam) broke the status quo and allegedly constructed some temporary huts, in response people from Mizoram side went and set fire on them.
- Mizoram civil society groups blame “illegal Bangladeshis” on the Assam side who came and destroyed huts, cut plants and pelted stones on policemen.
Issue of “love jihad”: Right of “free consent” for Marriage
Context: Many state governments have announced that they are considering enacting an appropriate law to stop marriages which they term as “love jihad”.
What are the recent cases?
- A Muslim girl by birth converted to the Hindu religion and just after a month, she married a Hindu man according to Hindu rites and rituals.
- The Allahabad court directed the girl to appear before a magistrate to record her statements.
- The purpose was to check whether the girl converted with her consent or not.
- In another matter, a Hindu girl by birth converted to Islam and married a Muslim. The High Court recorded her statement and after its subjective satisfaction that she, being a major, had acted of her own volition.
What was the basis of observations?
- Lily Thomas (2000) and Sarla Mudgal (1995): In both the cases, the issue was of Hindu married men committing bigamy to avail a second marriage, without dissolving the first just by converting from Hinduism to Islam.
- Section 494 and second marriage: Both judgments concluded that the second marriage of a Hindu husband, after his conversion to Islam, would not be valid in view of Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. The Court clarified that a marriage solemnised as a Hindu marriage cannot be terminated by one spouse converting to another religion.
What are the arguments against such laws?
- No legal basis: The concept of “love jihad” has no legal or constitutional basis, it has been concocted for the last few years.
- Fundamental right: The right to marry a person of one’s choice is a guarantee under Article 21. At the same time, freedom of conscience, the practice and propagation of a religion of one’s choice, including not following any religion, are guaranteed under Article 25.
- Avoid mixing of issues: Polygamy, polyandry, kidnapping, coercion, etc. are separate issues covered under existing provisions of the IPC.
- Fundamental freedoms: The right to marry a person of one’s choice flows from the freedom of individuality, naturally available to any individual.
- Supreme court views: The view of the Supreme Court (1965) that a marriage is not approved unless the essential ceremonies required for its solemnisation are proved to have been performed can only be read if one partner denies the marriage.
- Marriage is the very foundation of civilised society: the observation that “marriage is the very foundation of civilised society” and without which no civilised society can exist have become obsolete given the recent judgments by larger benches of the Supreme Court.
- Sub-judice: The legality of legislation like the Citizenship Amendment Act, which excludes only one religion from its purview, criminalisation of pronouncements of triple talaq and taking away the special status of Jammu & Kashmir are pending consideration in the Supreme Court.
The Courts needs to examine if the individual concerned has exercised their right of “free consent”.
Guidelines for matrimonial cases
Context – The Supreme Court has laid down the guidelines for payment of maintenance in matrimonial cases.
What are the impacts of early marriage?
- Health issues – Girls are married off early and bear children long before they should. This triggers a state of poor maternal health and is one of the root causes of high levels of child stunting and wasting in India.
- Dependency – Since girl brides are not able to complete their education, they remain dependent and underpowered which acts as a big hurdle towards achieving gender equality.
- There is also the possibility of a marriage not working out for varied reasons, leaving the girl or young woman in extreme distress because often she is not financially independent.
What did the Court say?
As per the Supreme Court guidelines-
- Deserted wives and children are entitled to alimony/maintenance from the husbands from the date they apply for it in a court of law.
- A violation would lead to punishments such as civil detention and even attachment of the property of the latter.
- The plea of the husband that he does not possess any source of income ipso facto does not absolve him of his moral duty to maintain his wife, if he is able-bodied and has educational qualifications, the court declared.
- Both the applicant wife and the respondent-husband have to disclose their assets and liabilities in a maintenance case.
- Other factors such as “spiraling inflation rates and high costs of living” should be considered, but the wife should receive alimony which fit the standard of life she was used to in the matrimonial home.
- Overlapping jurisdiction under different enactment– Husband doesn’t have to pay maintenance in each of the proceedings under different Maintenance laws.
- The Court also added how an “order or decree of maintenance” may be enforced under various laws and Section 128 of the CrPC.
Why such a judgment?
- Usually, maintenance cases have to be settled in 60 days, but they take years, in reality, owing to legal loopholes.
- The top court said women deserted by husbands are left in dire straits, often reduced to destitution, for lack of means to sustain themselves and their children.
- Despite a plethora of maintenance laws, women were left empty-handed for years, struggling to make ends meet after a bad marriage.
What are the other laws where women can make a claim for alimony in India?
- Maintenance under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956.
- Child maintenance under section 125 CrPC.
- Maintenance under Section 26 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
- Protection of Women from the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Maintenance laws have been enacted as a measure of social justice to provide recourse to dependent wives and children for their financial support, so as to prevent them from falling into destitution and vagrancy.
Communalism and Secularism
Demands for Delinking of State and Religion
Some religious groups in Tamil Nadu are demanding delinking of state from religious affairs. However, minimal state intervention to promote justice and equality is permitted by the constitution.
- Amidst the electoral process, some Religious groups are demanding delinking of state and religion in Tamil Nadu.
- They are opposing laws like Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Act 1959. The law allows the state to intervene in the affairs of Hindu public endowments.
- Under this, the government can appoint a State Commissioner for general superintendence over all Hindu religious endowments.
- The commissioner will further appoint executive officers to temples. They will ensure that the funds are being properly applied.
Arguments by protestors in favour of delinking:
- Firstly, intervention by the state is against the secular and democratic credentials of India.
- Secondly, intervention undermines their freedom of religion which is guaranteed by the constitution under Articles 25 and 26.
- Article 25 gives the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.
- Article 26 protects group rights. It grants to every “religious denomination” the right:
- to establish institutions;
- to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
- also, to own and acquire property; and
- administer that property in accordance with law
- Thirdly, there is an unequal degree of control amongst religions. They argue that the states show a lenient attitude towards other religions like Islam and Christianity.
Arguments against Delinking:
- Firstly, No credible successor: Apart from the state, no institution or group can curtail the evil practices surrounding a religion.
- Secondly, Strengthening Evil practices: Delinking might uphold the interest of dominant communities and strengthen the evil hierarchical division in society.
- For instance, the government of Madras formulated a law in 1927 to intervene in the management of religious establishments. As powerful castes and communities within the Hindu fold appropriated control over them.
- Thirdly, Indian Concept of Secularism: The constituent assembly adopted a model based on the notion of principled distance and not complete isolation like the western model. It allows intervention for establishing a free and egalitarian society.
- Fourthly, Constitutional Provisions: Articles 25 and 26 are subject to public order, health, and morality. This gives ample scope to the state to frame a law regulating any economic, financial, or other secular activity associated with religion.
- Using this, the government of Madras enacted a Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act in 1951. The 1959 Act later replaced it.
- Fifthly, Judicial Backing: The supreme court in Shirur Mutt Case (1954) case upheld the 1951 Act. The court said the act was in consonance with the state’s power under Articles 25 and 26.
- Sixthly, Laws for other religions: There are laws for other religions as well. The amount of intervention depends on the gravity of the situation.
- For instance, the Waqf Act 1995 gives the government substantial supervisory control over the management of properties dedicated for religious purposes under Muslim law.
- Complete state isolation is not possible as per the constitutional directives. Although the deficiencies in HR&CE law must be re-examined on its merits.
- People should constantly demand transparency and hold the state responsible to the administrative standards prescribed under the law.
Source: The Hindu
Report on Racial Discrimination against Northeast People
What is the News? Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) releases a study on racial discrimination and hate crimes against people from the northeastern States.
About the study:
- Conducted by: The Centre for Criminology and Victimology at the National Law University(NLU), Delhi conducted the study, under the aegis of the ICSSR.
- Purpose: The study analysed the prevalence of hate crimes against the people of the North East region in six metropolitan cities — Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Key Findings of the Study:
- Racial Discrimination: Around 78% of the interviewed people from the region believes that physical appearance was the most important reason for prejudice.
- Mumbai (44.7%) reported the highest number of racial hatred incidents against the North-East People.
- Further, the acts of racial discrimination, against people from the North-East Region, increased after the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020.
- Offensive and abusive language were most common across all six cities. Mumbai recorded the highest offensive and abusive language-related crime(74%). It was followed by Chennai (72%), Pune (67.3%), Delhi (64%), Hyderabad (48.7%) and Bengaluru (43.3%).
- The incidence of non-reporting of the incidents was 32.3%. Further, as many as 34% of persons faced a common issue of refusal to file FIR by the police.
- Impact: More than 60% said their studies and work hampered seriously by such experiences.
Suggestions against Racial Discrimination against Northeast People:
M.P. Bezbaruah Committee was set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It looked into the concerns of the citizens from the North Eastern States. Thus, It suggested remedial measures including legal measures that government could take. The important recommendations are:
- Policing: It recommended amendments to the IPC by creating new offences under Section 153C and 509A. Sections will deal with comments, gestures and acts intended to insult a member of a particular racial group.
- New law: Either a new law should be promulgated or the offences should be made ‘cognizable’ and ‘non-bailable’. It should have imprisonment extendable up to three years or five years with a fine.
- Social media: Government should set up dedicated Facebook, WhatsApp, helpline and email support for reaching out to North-Eastern people living in the rest of India.
- Dedicated Public Prosecutors: Set up a dedicated panel of lawyers to fight cases for North Eastern victims.50% of these lawyers should be women.
- Nodal Police Stations: Nodal police stations for North Easterners. So that the police officer can immediately register FIR instead of asking the victim to go to other stations.
- Fast-track courts: The Committee suggests the creation of fast-track courts for handling the cases relating to the North East people.
Note: The Supreme Court in Karma Dorji & Others vs Union of India & Others (2014) has also made several recommendations for the prevention and monitoring of racial hatred and violence. However, not much seems to have been done.
Source: The Hindu
People are Free to Choose Religion: Supreme Court
What is the News?
The Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to the Centre to ban black magic, superstition, and deceitful religious conversion.
What was the case?
- A petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking to control black magic, superstition & mass religious conversion of SC/STs. The petition also mentions the religious conversions through intimidation, threats & gifts.
- The plea argued that such forceful religious conversions by use of black magic are common throughout the country.
- These incidents are against Articles 14 (right to equality), 21(right to life), and 25 (right to religious freedom). Also, they are against the principles of secularism(part of the basic structure of the Constitution).
- The plea also said that the Centre and States are obligated under Article 46 to protect the SC/ST community from social injustice and other forms of exploitation.
- The petitioner also referred to the 1977 Stanislaus vs State of Madhya Pradesh and Others case.
- In this case, the Supreme Court Constitution bench explained the “word ‘propagate’ used in Article (25). The court held that it means transmitting or spreading information from person to person or from place to place.
- Further, the court also held that the Article does not grant the right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
What has the Supreme Court said?
- The Supreme Court refused to entertain the petition. It observed that there is no reason why a person above 18 can’t choose his religion.
- The Court observed that the fundamental right under Article 25 provides people to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion. It is subject to public order, morality, and health.
- Further, the court said that the Religious faith is a part of the fundamental right to privacy. Hence, every person is the final judge of their own choice of religion. Courts cannot sit in the judgment of a person’s choice of religion or a life partner.
Note: In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India(2017), the Supreme Court ruled that Fundamental Right to Privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty. Thus, it comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
Source: The Hindu
Gyanvapi Mosque dispute and the Places of worship Act 1991
Synopsis: The recent ruling by Varanasi civil court in the Gyanvapi Mosque dispute threatens the secular feature of India.
- Earlier, the representatives of the Hindu faith had filed a petition to reclaim the Gyanvapi mosque land.
- Now, a civil court in Varanasi directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey. In that, the ASI will confirm whether the Gyanvapi mosque was built over a demolished Hindu temple or not.
- But any attempt to bring back the buried disputes is a threat to secularism and peaceful coexistence
What does the Place of worship act 1991 say in this regard?
- The Places of worship Act declares that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947.
- It says no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
- Exemptions under the Act: There are few exceptions under the Act. Such as,
- The Act will not apply to ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites. This is because these are covered under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
- The Act exempted the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
Challenges with the recent Case:
- One, it will open the floodgates for another prolonged religious dispute.
- Two, the order is a gross violation of the Place of worship act that prohibits any litigation over the status of places of worship.
- Three, the Allahabad High Court reserved its order on the maintainability of the suit on March 15. Further, the High Court is yet to pronounce its ruling. So, the implementation of the judgement might change after the High Court Judgement.
Source: The Hindu
China’s shift from “one-child policy” to “three-child policy”
What is the News?
China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.
About China’s One-Child Policy:
- China’s One-Child Policy was announced in 1980 by then-leader Deng Xiaoping.
- The policy was adopted out of fear that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.
- The policy was implemented through several means. Such as, incentivising families financially to have one child, making contraceptives widely available and imposing sanctions against those who violated the policy.
- However, the policy was also a source of discontent as:
- The state used brutal tactics such as forced abortions and sterilisations.
- Controversial for violating human rights
- Being unfair to poorer Chinese since the richer ones could afford to pay economic sanctions if they violated the policy.
Was the One Child Policy successful?
- The policy has been blamed for making China’s population aged faster than other countries, impacting the country’s growth potential.
- It is also suggested that because of the one-child policy, China would be unable to reap the full benefits of its economic growth and will need other ways to support it.
China’s Two-Child Policy:
- In 2016, China relaxed its One Child Policy. It allowed two children per couple. However, the policy change did little to change the rapid fall in population growth.
- According to Census 2020, around 12 million babies were born in 2020. This is a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016 and also the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s.
- Hence, this was the reason why China has now relaxed its two-child policy and has allowed couples to have up to three children.
Will the Three-child policy increase childbirth?
The experts have said that relaxing limits on reproductive rights alone cannot go a long way in averting an unwanted demographic shift. They have said that the reasons for fewer children being born in China are:
- Rising costs of living, education and supporting ageing parents.
- Country’s pervasive culture of long working hours.
- Culture Shift with many couples believing that one child is enough and some expressing no interest in having children.
Source: The Hindu
Supreme Court’s Directions for Welfare of Migrant Workers
What is the News?
The Supreme Court has passed a number of directions in connection with the problems faced by the migrant labourers and workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
What was the issue?
- A petition was filed in the Supreme Court in connection with the problems faced by migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The petitioners asked the court to issue directions. It is to ensure that migrant workers are not deprived of ration and food security. Also, they should be able to travel back to their homes at nominal cost amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the directions issued by the Supreme Court?
- Firstly, the Supreme Court has asked the Central Government to complete the process of the National Database for Unorganised Workers(NDUW).
- The database would make it easier for the government to identify and provide essentials; such as food and dry rations to stranded migrant labourers and workers.
- Secondly, the court directed states to provide migrant workers with dry ration under the Atma Nirbhar Scheme or any other suitable scheme.
- Thirdly, the court directed the states and Union territories to open sufficient community kitchens. It is to provide cooked food for the migrant workers.
- Fourthly, the court asked the Central government to clarify what steps it had taken under the Code of Social Security of 2020. The code provides for the registration of unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers.
- Lastly, the Court underlined the need for a suitable mechanism. It is to monitor and supervise whether the benefits of the welfare schemes are reaching the intended beneficiaries.
Source: The Hindu
Significance of Rent Waiver in tackling Reverse Migration
Synopsis: State support for food and income along with rent waiver during the pandemic to workers and migrants can stop reverse migration.
Why waive rents for migrants during the pandemic crisis?
- One, According to the findings by the RMKU and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) in Jaipur, on a survey of 500 domestic workers, rent formed the majority component of debt post lockdowns.
- Two, it is one of the leading causes of mass reverse migration, according to the reports by the Stranded Workers Action Network.
Why the steps taken by the government to waive rent for migrants failed during the first covid wave?
Last year, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in an order stated that the landlords should not demand rent from the workers, including the migrants for a period of 1 month. However, this measure was largely a failure due to the following reasons.
- One, lack of clarity. The order did not state clearly whether the rent to be waived or just deferred.
- Two, no incentives for Landlords. Many landlords, especially the old-aged population rely on rent for their sustenance. Thus, lack of incentives from the government for the needy resulted in noncompliance.
- Three, lack of enforceable mechanism. There was no creation of a regulation body to monitor the enforcement of this order.
Solutions to address this issue?
- First, a moratorium should be announced with a clearer enforcement mechanism, with a clear distinction between deferment and rent waivers.
- Second, the state should provide compensation to Landlords for lost rent, at least a partial amount.
- Third, direct cash transfer for rent support based on rental market conditions can be a part of the solution.
- Fourth, limited waivers on utility expenses of workers. For example, partial waiver on electricity bills and penalties charged on non-payment.
Returning to their villages is not a willful choice for migrants, as villages are lacking employment, no skills for agricultural employment, and the absence of social ties. Yet, they are forced to take this painful journey due to a lack of livelihood options in urban areas. State support for basic food (PDS), shelter (Rent waiver), and direct cash transfer for basic sustenance can halt the reverse migration of migrants.
Source: The Hindu
Government’s Apathy towards Migrant communities
Synopsis: The government is not showing any Apathy towards Migrant communities to address the challenges faced by them. It is despite their increased vulnerability to the shocks in the economy.
- The second wave of the Pandemic has once again led to the enforcement of Strict to moderate lockdowns in states.
- This has resulted in a loss of jobs for Informal workers employed in many industries. Majority of the migrants work in the informal sector.
- Despite their increased vulnerability in the informal sector, government efforts to support them through policymaking have been inadequate.
- Migrants are ‘mobile by default’, They are a product of growing rural distress and inadequate official policies failing to support the ailing rural economy.
- They benefit the urban economy by providing cheap labor to manufacturing units and cheap services to households.
What are the challenges faced by the migrant population?
- Unemployment in urban areas due to Pandemic induced Economic distress.
- Lack of access to accommodation.
- A lack of sustainable income and savings to ensure food due to near insolvency.
- Reverse migration by paying exorbitant costs for travel.
- Falling victim to COVID-19.
- Lack of livelihood opportunities in their hometowns in the rural economies.
- Lack of new job opportunities, due to shrinking National Rural Employment Guarantee Act allotments by the government.
- Lastly, Lack of legal status as a working population.
What needs to be done?
The recent official announcement of a free ration of 5 kg cereals to 80 crore families is the only benefit visible so far. However, it is not sufficient;
- Government should strive to calculate the official estimate of migrant workers, either incoming or reverse. This will help in objective policy planning.
- Need to alleviate rural distress by providing support to the ailing agriculture economy.
- There is a need to provide some short-term relief for migrant workers and their families to support their livelihood during the Pandemic.
- Migrant workers should be provided with legal backing.
- Modifications in the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 are required to strengthen the health and safety conditions of workers in establishments
Source: The Hindu
Delhi Development Authority (DDA) releases Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041
What is the News?
Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041 has been released in the public domain by Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Suggestions and objections have been invited from the public.
About Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041:
- Draft Master Plan for Delhi has been prepared by Delhi Development Authority(DDA) in partnership with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA).
- NIUA is India’s leading national think tank on urban planning and development. In 1976, NIUA was appointed as an apex body to support and guide the Government of India in its urban development plans.
- Since then, it has worked closely with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, alongside other government and civil sectors
- Objective: The plan has been prepared as a set of guidelines meant to be used in the policies for housing, construction, transport and environment over the next 20 years in Delhi.
- Vision: The vision for the plan is to “Foster a Sustainable, Liveable and Vibrant Delhi by 2041”.
- First Master Plan: The first master plan for Delhi was promulgated in 1962 under the Delhi Development Act of 1957. It was followed by the master plans of 2001 and 2021.
Key Focus Areas of the Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041:
- Green Development Area (GDA) to be set up for incentivizing large-scale implementation of green economies.
- The polluting industries will not be permitted to operate within Delhi. The list of polluting industries will be periodically updated by the Delhi government and DDA.
- Enhancement of a “Green-Blue Infrastructure (GBI)” by taking into account the Aravali ridge, the Yamuna, forests, wetlands, parks and other assets.
- GBI is an interconnected network of natural and designed landscape components, including water bodies and green and open spaces.
- Blue infrastructure refers to infrastructure related to hydrological functions. This includes rainwater and urban stormwater systems as well as surface water
- Green infrastructure refers to green spaces like parks, natural vegetation like trees etc.
- Dust management plan at construction sites
- Creation of a tree directory in order to preserve count the number of trees
- Promoting clean economic activities and minimized vehicular pollution by creating multimodal hubs and encouraging green mobility.
Read Also :-The Constitutional status of Article 35A
- Promoting the concept of ‘24-hour city’ by fostering a night-time economy
- No new mixed-use streets: This means no commercial streets will be declared in residential areas
- New industrial areas to be developed as a hub of the clean economy (tech and cyber parks etc)
- Multi-use community work centres or co-working spaces to be developed
- Development of business promotion districts in industrial areas
- Providing infrastructure for the informal sector
- Introduction of congestion pricing and dynamic parking charges
- Restriction of on-street parking
- Development of e-vehicles infrastructure
- Development of ‘cycling highways and enhancing walkability
- Promotion of rental housing (permission to develop it in industrial areas, etc)
- Online portal for rental housing scheme
- Development of large-scale housing using land-pooling
- Redevelopment of unauthorized colonies
Heritage Public Places:
- Area-based improvement approach for revitalizing the commercial and socio-cultural hubs of the city. This includes areas like Connaught Place, Mandi House, Pragati Maidan and Shahjahanabad (Walled City).
Read Also :-India’s maritime domain
Source: The Hindu
Govt launches “Eatsmart Cities Challenge” and “Transport 4 All Challenge”
What is the News?
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the EatSmart Cities Challenge and Transport 4 All Challenge.
About EatSmart Cities Challenge:
- EatSmart Cities Challenge is organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The challenge is organised in association with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Aim: The aim is to motivate Smart Cities to develop a plan that supports a healthy, safe and sustainable food environment.
- This plan would receive support from institutional, physical, social, and economic infrastructure. Along with that the application of ‘smart’ solutions to combat food-related issues.
- Key Features of the Challenge:
- As part of the Challenge, competition will organize among cities to recognize their efforts. This includes efforts in adopting and scaling up various initiatives under Eat Right India.
- This will create an environment of the right food practices and habits. It also strengthens the food safety, regulatory environment and build awareness among the consumers.
- Eligibility: The challenge is open to all Smart Cities, capital cities of States /UTs, and cities with a population of more than 5 lakh.
- Selection: At the end of the first phase of the challenge, 11 cities will be selected. After that, these cities will go for deeper engagement for an extended period to implement their vision.
About Transport 4 All (T4All) Challenge:
- The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched Transport 4 All challenge. The ministry is collaborating with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy(ITDP), a Non-governmental organization.
- Aim: The aim is to develop digital solutions that will make public transport safe, affordable, comfortable, and reliable for all.
- Key Features:
- Firstly, at the core of the challenge are citizens. They will not only define the problems and create solutions. But also help start-ups and cities to refine the solutions to meet their needs.
- Secondly, the first edition of the T4All Challenge focuses on digital innovation. Thus, cities and start-ups will receive guidance to develop and test various solutions, learn from them and scale them. All this will build people’s trust in public transport and enhance their mobility.
- Further, the solutions will make public transport—formal as well as informal— safe, convenient, and affordable for all.
- Eligibility: All the Smart Cities Mission cities, capitals of states and union territories (UTs), and all cities with a population of over 5 lakhs—are eligible for the Challenge.
“ITCN Training Programme” Launched
What is the News?
National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA) in partnership with Bernard van Leer Foundation(BvLF) has launched the “Infant Toddler and Caregiver-friendly Neighbourhoods (ITCN) Training and Capacity Building Programme”.
About the ITCN Programme:
- The ITCN Programme is designed to build capacities of city officials and young professionals. It is for developing neighbourhoods within Indian cities that are friendly to young children and families.
Key Features of the ITCN Programme:
- Firstly, under the programme, city officials and young professionals will get skills through certified training and capacity building modules.
- Secondly, the training will take place through well-structured training modules. These modules are provided online through the National Urban Learning Platform (NULP).
About National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA):
- National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA) was established in 1976. It is a premier institute of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs,
- Purpose: It aims to bridge the gap between research and practice on issues related to urbanization. Further, it suggests ways and mechanisms to address urban challenges in the country.
- Significance: The institute has utilized its competencies in research, knowledge management, policy advocacy and capacity building to address urban challenges. Further, NIUA continuously strives to develop sustainable, inclusive and productive urban ecosystems in the country.
About National Urban Learning Platform(NULP):
- National Urban Learning Platform (NULP) is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA).
- Aim: The platform aims to empower India’s urban functionaries, administrators, elected representatives, civil society, industry actors and other ecosystem players. The NULP also aims to empower them to build smart, inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities.
“Miyawaki method” to create dense green patches
What is the News?
Bombay Municipal Corporation(BMC) has been using the Miyawaki method to create tiny urban forests in the Metropolitan areas of Mumbai.
What is the Miyawaki Method?
- Miyawaki is an afforestation method based on the work of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki in the 1980s.
Process of Miyawaki Method:
- Initially, native trees of the region are identified and divided into four layers — shrub, sub-tree, tree, and canopy.
- After that, The quality of soil is analysed and biomass is mixed with it. Biomass mixing help to enhance the perforation capacity, water retention capacity, and nutrients.
- A mound is built with the soil and the seeds are planted at a very high density. Furthermore, the ground is covered with a thick layer of mulch.
- Multi-layered saplings are planted close to each other. This blocks sunlight from reaching the ground and prevents weeds from growing. It also keeps the soil moist.
- The close cropping also ensures that the plants receive sunlight only from the top. It enables them to grow upwards rather than sideways.
Benefits of Miyawaki Method:
- Faster Process and Dense Forest: This method creates mini forests. They grow 10 times faster and become 30 times denser and 100 times more biodiverse than those planted through conventional methods.
- Faster Regeneration of Land: Miyawaki forests are designed to regenerate land in far less time. It takes over 70 years for a forest to recover on its own.
- Self Sustainable: The saplings become self-sustainable after the first three years.
- Environmental Benefits: These mini forests help lower temperatures in concrete heat islands, reduce air and noise pollution, attract local birds and insects, and create carbon sinks.
Source: Indian Express
Women and Organisations
Education Minister Presents AICTE “Lilavati Awards” 2020
What is the News?
Union Minister of Education has presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards 2020 on women empowerment to the winners.
About Lilavati Awards:
- Lilavati Award is an initiative of the All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE). It aims to recognise efforts by AICTE-approved institutions to treat women with equality and fairness.
- Named after: The award has got its name after the 12th-century book called “Lilavati”. The Mathematician Bhaskara II wrote this book.
- Objective: The objective is to create awareness about issues like sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, literacy, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skill development, natural resources, and rights among women.
- Areas Covered: Women’s health, self-defence, sanitation, literacy, entrepreneurship, and legal awareness.
- Theme: Women Empowerment
- Prize: In each sub-category, the top three winners will receive award certificates as well as prize money.
- The first prize winner will get Rs. 1 lakh, the second winner will get Rs. 75,000 and the third winner will get Rs. 50,000.
- Significance: The award ensures the participation of women and enables them to hold higher positions in educational institutions.
All-Woman crew of SCI Vessel makes history
What is the News?
Union Minister has flagged off an all-women crew onboard Shipping Corporation of India(SCI) vessel named “MT Swarna Krishna”. This initiative was taken to celebrate International Women’s Day.
What is the significance of this initiative?
- This is the first time in the world maritime history that a ship is being sailed by all women officers.
- The move also demonstrated the gradual shift in the perception of seafaring as a male-oriented profession and the principles of Diversity & Inclusion that SCI upholds.
MT Swarna Krishna Vessel:
- MT Swarna Krishna was built in 2010. It is a shipping tanker of the Shipping Corporation of India Limited(SCI).
Shipping Corporation of India Limited(SCI):
- Established in: SCI is a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise. It was established in 1961 by an amalgamation of Eastern Shipping Corporation and Western Shipping Corporation.
- Purpose: It operates and manages vessels that service both the national and international lines.
- Strategic Disinvestment: In 2019, the Union Cabinet had accorded ”in-principle” approval for strategic disinvestment of SCI.
- Headquarters: Mumbai.
International Women’s Day:
- International Women’s Day(IWD) (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
- In 1975, the United Nations celebrated Women’s day for the first time. Then in 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Women’s Day.
- Theme for 2021: The theme is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. And the campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge.
Source: The Hindu
World Bank Signs $500 Million Project to Develop Green, Resilient and Safe Highways in India
What is commission for air quality management
News: The Government of India and the World Bank has signed a $500 million Green National Highways Corridors Project.
- Objective: To demonstrate safe and green National Highway corridors in selected States and enhance the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.
- States covered under the project: Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
- Key Features of the Green National Highways Corridor Project:
- The project supports an in-depth analysis of gender-related issues in the transport sector along with help in creating jobs for women by training women-led micro enterprises and women collectives to implement green technologies in the highway corridors.
- The project will also strengthen and widen existing structures; construct new pavements, drainage facilities and bypasses; improve junctions and introduce road safety features
Women in science
Context: The new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy is currently being drafted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
More on news:
- Its aim will be to increase the participation of women in science.
- The DST will incorporate a system of grading institutes depending on the enrolment of women and the advancement of the careers of women faculty and scientists.
What is Athena SWAN?
- The Athena SWAN Charter: It is an evaluation and accreditation programme in the UK enhancing gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
- Function:Participating research organisations and academic institutions are required to analyse data on gender equity and develop action plans for improvement. The programme recognises such efforts with bronze, silver or gold accreditation.
- Institutions that sign up commit to:
- Addressing unequal gender representation.
- Tackling the gender pay gap.
- Removing the obstacles faced by women in career development and progression.
- Discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
- Gender balance of committees and zero tolerance for bullying and sexual harassment.
How well has it worked?
- In 2019, a report by Ortus Economic Research:In partnership with Loughborough University found that 93% of participants believed the programme had a positive impact on gender issues.
- 78% said it had impacted equality and diversity issues positively, and 78% noted a positive impact on the career progression of women.
- A study in BMJ: It found that in the five-year period since the scheme was started, participating institutions had a higher number of female leaders than non-Athena institutions, and gender diversity in leadership positions also improved.
Why does India need such a programme?
- GATI: In India, it will be called GATI (Gender Advancement through Transforming Institutions). India is ranked 108 out of 149 countries in the 2018 Global Gender Gap report.
- According to DST figures: In 2015-16, the share of women involved in scientific research and development was 14.71%.
- The DST has also found that women are either not promoted, or very often drop out mid-career to attend to their families.
What are the challenges ahead?
- Institutions lack control:To get as many institutions as possible to sign up, the DST will need to manoeuvre around government red tape as most universities, barring the IITs and NITs, are run and funded by the government as well.
- This means that these institutions don’t have direct control over institutional policies, recruitment and promotions.
What are the steps of DST towards ensuring gender equity?
- Gender equity:The DST has tied up with National Assessment and Accreditation Council, under the UGC, aiming to push gender equity through them.
- Gender sensitisation: The DST plans to run intensive gender sensitisation programmes, especially for the top leadership of institutions, and work within existing rules such as pushing for women members on selection committees during recruitment processes.
- Policy changes: In the future, the DST is likely to consider policy changes such as those brought about in the UK providing financial incentives through grants to institutes.
- For the pilot, 25 institutes will be shortlisted to carry out self-assessment on gender equity in their departments. The British Council is assisting the DST and will facilitate collaboration between selected institutions under GATI with Athena SWAN-accredited institutions in the UK, with each institute here having a partner institute in the UK for guidance.
Urbanisation and Globalisation
Need for Gated globalization in India
Synopsis: Post pandemic era will be giving rise to new world order and create uncertainties. India should use a “Gated Globalisation” framework to handle this change.
The 3rd decade of the 21st century will witness a multipolar world and the rise of this New World Order will be driven by reliability of partners, national interest, and economic factors.
New developments are being witnessed with the development of vaccines. Nations are forging alliances for the vaccine supplies. Trust factor will also dominate these alliances as seen in the doubts raised over vaccines by China and Russia and this factor will not be limited to vaccines only.
Although security interest will continue to drive partnerships, it will not be the sole criterion as seen in the Israel and Arabs relations and BREXIT
What is the gated globalization framework?
Gated globalization advocates selective trade policies with selective trade partners like creating walls with restrictive gates, opened on certain conditions.
The Gated Globalisation framework doesn’t have a place for “Non-alignment” and will be a test of “strategic autonomy” of India. As per the framework, India needs Solid boundaries but building new partnerships (like the Quad) based on trust and common interests is equally important, as necessitated by Doklam and Ladakh clash with China.
- Firstly, India will have to make partnership choices, beyond security, on the basis of trade, capital flows and the movement of labour.
For instance, India has chosen to stay out of RCEP and the UK has left the EU.
- Secondly, technology flows and standards will also define gated communities. The Great Firewall of China has shut out many of the big tech players like Google, Facebook and Netflix.
Instead, China has its Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. The introduction of 5G technology, will deepen the issues of trust.
- Third, the EU-crafted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a brilliant example of Gated Globalisation. The EU has set the terms of engagement; those who do not obey will be kept out.
The Indian law on data protection that is currently being discussed follows a similar sovereign route.
- Lastly, India and other countries have similar policies where they put restrictions on trade with nations that are unfavourable to their interest and build stronger financial relationships with other countries within their gated communities.
For instance, India has imposed restrictions on trade with China but this does not stop enhanced capital flows from new partners. To prevent the inflow of illegal funds, India has barred capital from poorly-regulated authorities.
- India’s global scattering is now over 30 million and sends more through transfers ($80 billion per year) than foreign capital inflows. The Indian diaspora is now increasingly impacting policy in countries like the US, UK and Australia where it has contributed politicians and technocrats, innovators and influencers, billionaires and cricket captains.
- During these fast-changing post-pandemic realities, India has to be quick in identifying partners whom it can trust and who will help protect and further its national interests.