86% polling in Tripura amid sporadic violence
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security.
Sporadic incidents of violence, alleged booth jamming, and intimidation marred the election to the 60-member Tripura Assembly.
● Tripura, literally meaning “land adjoining water“, is located in the extreme southwest corner of the Northeast.
● Following India’s independence in 1947, Tripura acceded to the Indian Union in 1948 as a “C” category state.
● It became a Union Territory in November 1956 and attained full statehood on 21 January 1972.
- Tripura’s demography underwent a major change as a result of illegal migrants and refugees from former East Bengal and subsequently from Bangladesh.
- Tripuris were pushed to the hills and the politics and administration in the state became dominated by Bengali-speaking immigrants.
- It was the particular reason which had created national consciousness among the local populations. The continuous neglect of the immigration issue led to a direct confrontation between Indian nationalism and the newly created Tripuri nationalism.
- The parallel rise of nationalism in the other states of Northeast India had further complicated the situation, resulting in a deadly armed conflict between India and rebel groups thus, creating the insurgency on ethnic lines as a Tribal versus Bengali conflict.
- The first militant outfit to form was Tripura National Volunteers (TNV). It was active until 1988.
- The most prominent ones were the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF).
- These groups had various demands. NLFT wanted to establish an independent Tripura and ATTF wanted to finalize the Tripura merger agreement. However, all of them wished to remove Bangladeshis immigrants who had entered Tripura after 1950 despite their ideological differences.
- United Bengali Liberation Front: Anti-Bengali sentiments of Tripuri rebel groups had given birth to the United Bengali Liberation Front. The group wanted to protect Bengalis in Tripura from militants. This group was supported by the Bengali Dominated Communist Party which supplied arms and infrastructure.
- Since the end of 2020, the resurgence has occurred led by the NLFT with incidents of kidnapping workers and the killing of a trader marking the emergence of insurgency in the state again.
|Constitutional provision for North East
● Article 244 (1) provides that – Provisions of the 5th schedule shall apply to the admin. or control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
● Article 244 (2) provides that – Provisions of the 6th schedule shall apply to the admin. or control of Schedule areas, in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram to create Autonomous Districts Councils in these states.
✔ In pursuance of these provisions, various autonomous district has been created to contain the demands of various ethnic groups like Karbi Anglong, Khasi hill district, Chakma district etc.
● Under Article 371 (A) Nagaland has been accorded special status.
Migratory bird among 231 bird species spotted at Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution, and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
- Authorities have confirmed the presence of a migratory bird for the first time inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR). The fourth bird survey held at the PTR has spotted 231 bird species in total, including 14 threatened and 20 endemic species.
- According to officials, some of the major bird species spotted in the survey include the Nilgiri wood pigeon, Chestnut-winged cuckoo, Large hawk-cuckoo, Malayan night heron, Legge’s hawk-eagle, Greater spotted eagle, Lesser fish eagle, Besra, Pallid harrier, Sri Lanka Bay Owl, Great hornbill, White-bellied sholakili, Palani chilappan, Kashmir flycatcher and Orange-breasted green pigeon.
Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR)
- It falls in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala (saddled in the southern region of Western Ghats).
- The major rivers through the reserve are Mullayar and Periyar.
- There are six tribal communities nestled inside the reserve such as Mannans, Paliyans, Malayarayans, Mala Pandarams, Uralis, and Ulladans.
AMASR amendment Bill to come up in Parliament
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -1: Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- The government is all set to reintroduce the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) (Amendment) Bill in the forthcoming second half of the Budget session.
- The proposed legislation would allow the Centre to allow public works based on the recommendation of the National Monuments Authority, on an application forwarded by a Central government department that seeks to carry out construction for public purposes in a prohibited area.
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR)
- The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 is one of the landmark laws for the –
- Preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance (over 100 years old).
- Regulation of archaeological excavations and
- Protection of sculptures, carvings and other like objects.
- The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) functions under the provisions of this act.
- India has a total of 3,695 Centrally Protected Monuments or Sites in the country, under the protection of the ASI.
- The monuments are regularly inspected by the ASI officials to assess their present condition and the necessary conservation and preservation works are taken up as per the requirement.
- The AMASR Act 1958, was amended in 2010 to strengthen its penal provisions, to prevent encroachments and illegal construction close to the monuments – which was happening on a large scale.
- The main features of the amendments: Creation of a –
- Prohibited area 100 metres around every national monument where no construction, public or private is permitted,
- Regulated area 200 metres beyond the prohibited area, where any construction requires the permission of a newly constituted National Monuments Authority.
Amendment Bill, 2022
- In the current law, Section 20 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958, last amended in 2010, prohibits construction within a 100-metre radius of all Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments and regulates activities within another 300-metre
- The new Bill proposes to revise this section.
- Henceforth, expert committees will decide on the extent of the prohibited and regulated areas around each monument and the activities permitted herein.
- The ASI would be given enforcement powers such as in the Forest Act which would empower it to act against those encroaching at protested sites.
- Archaeological Sites across India have become common for human and animal communities.
- Altering land around ASI-protected monuments into industrial, commercial, or even residential plots will thus deprive human and animal communities of much-needed commons.
- Permitting construction work risks weakening the foundations of centuries-old edifices.
- Also construction machines may disturb the art facets near the site, thus making the task of undertaking new research more difficult
- Domestic waste and greywater regularly seep into ancient sites any changes in protection status now will aggravate this problem.
- In recent years, the Government has built new highways, metro-rail systems, and industrial parks without methodical archaeological impact assessments.
- These projects have led to the shattering of an untold number of historical artefacts and the casual collection of many others. We cannot afford to lose more of our tangible heritage.
India’s foreign policy seeks more fairness: Jaishankar
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- India’s foreign policy aims to uphold “greater fairness and justice”, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Thursday, adding that India was looking for partners to “transform” the world.
- Jaishankar was addressing a community gathering in the Fijian capital of Suva, where he participated in the 12th World Hindi Conference, co-hosted by the governments of India and Fiji.
- He also met Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and was welcomed into a session of the Fijian parliament.
- Fiji, in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, is an archipelago of 332 islands of which around one-third are inhabited permanently. The total land area is 18,333 square km.
- English, Fijian, and Hindi are widely spoken. Main ethnic groups include Fijian, Indian, European, other Pacific Islanders, and Chinese.
India’s links with Fiji:
- India’s links with Fiji commenced in 1879 when Indian laborers were brought here under the indenture system to work on sugarcane plantations.
- Between 1879 and 1916 around 60,000 Indians were brought to Fiji. Beginning with the early 20th century, Indian traders and others also started arriving in Fiji.
- Currently, of the 849,000 population (2009 estimates), 37% are people of Indian origin.
Present India and Fiji Relations
- Mr. Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Fiji in 33 years in Nov 2014, also announced visa-on-arrival for Fijians which would boost tourism and people-to-people connect.
- Both countries complied to widen their defense and security cooperation, including support in defense training and capacity building.
- India contributed new assistance projects in Fiji, including a Parliament Library together with a fund of $5 million to foster small business and village enterprises in Fiji.
- India is ready to extend cooperation in renewable energy, particularly solar and wind energy, and additionally capacity building to adapt to climate change.
- To strengthen its role in the pacific islands India could seek membership in the Pacific islands forum beyond its present dialogue partner status.
- It should commit to extending diplomatic missions in the South Pacific region and promote developmental activities there.
- The extended Look East policy i.e ‘Act east policy’ of PM Modi should be extended to cover the South Pacific Ocean in general and Fiji in particular.
- India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy would be the answer to china’s Yuan diplomacy to appeal to both native Fijians and Indo-Fijiian community which would strengthen India’s role and presence in Pacific Islands and would catalyze south–south
|12th World Hindi Conference
● Theme- “Hindi – Traditional Knowledge to Artificial Intelligence”
● Fiji is hosting the conference for the first time and is home to a large Indian diaspora.
● The conference will feature exhibitions on the evolution of Hindi. Indian Council for Cultural Relations has also proposed cultural programs and Kavi Sammelan.
● World Hindi Day is celebrated each year on 10 January.
Deep sea fish conservation must not go adrift
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution, and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
The Supreme Court of India has given permission to fishermen using purse seine fishing gear to fish beyond territorial waters (12 nautical miles) and within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (200 nautical miles) of Tamil Nadu, but observing certain restrictions.
|Purse seine fishing gear
A purse seine is a large wall of netting deployed around an entire area or school of fish. The seine has floats along the top line with a lead line threaded through rings along the bottom. Once a school of fish is located, a skiff encircles the school with the net.
Issue with Bottom trawling:
- Bottom trawling, an ecologically destructive practice, involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea floor, causing great depletion of aquatic resources.
- Bottom trawling captures juvenile fish, thus exhausting the ocean’s resources and affecting marine conservation efforts.
- This practice was started by Tamil Nadu fishermen in Palk Bay and actively pursued at the peak of the civil war in Sri Lanka.
Conservation and conventions
- Under Articles 1(a) and 56.1(b)(iii) of UNCLOS, coastal states have sovereign rights to ensure that the living and non-living resources of the EEZ are used, conserved, and managed, and not subject to overexploitation.
- Access to the zone by foreign fleets is also solely within the coastal state’s discretion and subject to its laws and regulations.
- In order to prevent overexploitation, coastal States must determine the total allowable catch (TAC) in the EEZ (Articles 61(1) and (2) of UNCLOS) in light of the best scientific evidence available.
- The guidance from the Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna 1993 (SBT) could have also been sourced by the top court to enable the recovery of depleted fishing stocks.
Solution to the bottom trawling
- The activity of catching fish that live in the deep parts of the sea/ocean is called deep-sea fishing.
- The boats are designed in such a way that fishermen get access to the deeper parts of the ocean and fish species.
- It is practiced worldwide, especially in coastal areas with no ecological damage.
- The depth of water should be at least 30 meters to be considered a deep-sea fishing zone.
Murari committee report
- Fishing vessels of length 15 m or more be allowed to operate in EEZ (between 22 km and 370 km beyond territorial waters) after getting a letter of permission from the centre.
- The report notes that productivity from the coastal zones has either plateaued or is on the decline due to over-exploitation. There is, therefore, little scope for raising fish output in waters up to a depth of 200 metres.
- The report notes that the Indian fishing industry is ill-equipped – both in terms of technology and finance. Thus resources remain untapped.
- The panel asks to create a buffer zone between the near-shore and offshore regions (between 200 metres and 500 metres in depth) to augment resources in the coastal as well as deep-sea regions.
|The Palk Bay scheme:
● Launched in July 2017 under the Blue Revolution programme.
● The scheme is financed by the Union and the State Governments with beneficiary participation.
● It had envisaged the provision of 2,000 vessels in three years to the fishermen of the State and motivate them to abandon bottom trawling.
India accounts for 52% of the world’s new leprosy patients, says Mandaviya
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
- With a renewed focus on tackling leprosy, the Union Health Ministry has devised a strategic roadmap for achieving zero cases of infection by 2030.
- Despite India being declared “Leprosy Eliminated” in 2005, the country still accounts for over half (52%) of the world’s new leprosy patients, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a written message of the National Strategic Plan and Roadmap for Leprosy 2023-2027.
- Leprosy is a chronic bacterial infection, which affects the skin, nerves, lungs and eyes.
- In 2021-22, a total of 75,394 new cases were detected in India.
National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP)
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the umbrella of the National Health Mission (NHM).
- India has achieved the elimination of leprosy as a public health problem i.e., defined as less than 1 case per 10,000 populations, at the National level.
- The NLEP aims at eliminating leprosy in each of the districts by 2030.
|● In 2017, SPARSH Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC) was launched to promote awareness and address the issues of stigma and discrimination.
● In 2019, the Lok Sabha passed a bill seeking to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce.
● NIKUSTH, real-time leprosy reporting software across India was introduced.
Now, no age bar to register for cadaver organ transplants
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources.
- In a major tweak to the organ donation policy, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday said that the clause that people beyond 65 years could not receive cadaver organ transplants had been removed.
- India has a dismal 0.65 per million populations (PMP) organ donation rate and around 5 lakh people die every year in India due to the unavailability of organs.
- The Health Ministry is charting a ‘One Nation One Policy,’ for organ donation and transplantation.
- According to data accessed from the Health Ministry, the numbers of organ transplants have increased by over three times from 4,990 in 2013 to 15,561 in 2022.
Issues Related to Organ Donation
- There is a huge scarcity of Organ Transplant and Retrieval Centres in the country. Currently, for an organ transplant, there exists only 1 fully equipped hospital for around 43 lakh people.
- An altruistic donation has been the major source of organ transplants in the country. However, a false negative perception has been growing against private hospitals of their nexus related to organ transplants.
- A majority of donors are from the lower middle class and below, while the majority of organ recipients are from the small number of persons who can afford transplant surgery and costly lifetime medication thereafter.
- It is a common misconception that organ donation disfigures the deceased donor’s body, which prevents people from enrolling into the donation.
Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994
- Transplantation of Human Organs Act was passed in 1994. It provides various regulations for the removal of human organs and their
- Main Provisions
- The act recognizes brain death identified as a form of the death process and defines criteria for brain death.
- It provides regulatory and advisory bodies for monitoring transplantation activity.
- It also provides for the maintenance of a registry of donors and recipients of human organs and tissues.
- For increasing the accessibility of donated organs to weaker sections, public hospitals need to increase the infrastructural capacity to carry out transplantation and provide affordable proper treatment to the poor.
- The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, needs to be amended to substitute the rigid bureaucratic procedure of hospitals by self-declaration and mandatory verification involving civil society.
- Removing the misconceptions and myths about organ donation can play a significant role in addressing organ deficiency in the country.