Current Affairs Nov 17 , 2021

SC on temple rituals

  • The Supreme Court on said constitutional courts could not interfere with the day-to-day rituals and ‘sevas’ performed in temples on the basis of “public interest” petitions.
  • Religious scholars and priests were best equipped to go into the question whether rituals in temples were being conducted in accordance with customs and traditions.
  • The writ jurisdiction of a constitutional court under Articles 226 and 32 was limited. Whether a particular ritual was being performed in the right way or not was a “disputed question of fact”, the court explained.


DUARE scheme

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on launched an ambitious “Duare Ration” scheme for providing food grains under the public distribution system at the doorstep for the entire population.
  • “This scheme will help 10 crore people of the State.
  • Delhi Regional Security Dialogue and India’s dilemma.
  • India’s advances to court the Taliban and attempts to evolve a regional consensus on Afghanistan might deteriorate India-Pakistan relations and pose challenges for India in Kashmir.
  • The recently-held Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan on November 10, 2021 was an important initiative to help Afghanistan stabilize.
  • Russia or the Central Asian states have neither the ability nor the desire to pursue a role in Afghanistan autonomous from the larger Chinese or Pakistani designs there.
  • Iran has limited interests in Afghanistan and is unlikely to go against the Chinese plan for the region, especially in the broader context of being under United States sanctions.
  • While China seems to be approaching the Taliban-led Afghanistan in a cautiously slow manner, it is clearly poised to be in the driving seat of the regional, if not global, engagement with the region in the months ahead.
  • It is a matter of time before Beijing recognizes the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, and it is likely to coordinate its recognition along with that of Russia and Pakistan.
  • China’s long-term vision for Afghanistan revolves around the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project of which Afghanistan has been a part since May 2016.
  • The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is also viewed as a key component within the larger Chinese BRI project and Afghanistan could eventually become part of CPEC if and when the Taliban regime stabilizes itself in the country.

West constraint

  • Taliban and Pakistan refer to the U.S.-led coalition as ‘colonizers’ who just vacated the Afghan territory; and in the same breath, they seek assistance from those very ‘former colonisers’.
  • Second, if the U.S. and the West indeed send aid to Afghanistan, it may or may not reach the people.
  • India now faces a new dilemma in Afghanistan the first one was to decide whether to engage the Taliban or not.
  • More so, it is likely that the more India gets close to the Taliban, the more the Pakistani side will increase the heat (read ‘attacks’) in Jammu and Kashmir.


Tribal outreach

  • Despite a place for tribals in Indian culture and history, the enactment of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 by the British government, branded the very ‘descendants’ of Guha (tribe) as criminals.
  • With its racist overtones and the stereotyping of tribes as uncivilized, this Act aimed to create a sense of fear against tribal communities.
  • From Birsa Munda and Tanita Bhil in the north and central parts, Komaram Bheem and Thalakkal Chandu in the south to the likes of Rani Gaidinliu in the northeast, tribal movements in different regions of the country waged spirited battles against the British colonial rule.
  • The aim of commemorating November 15, the birthday of Bhagwan Birsa Munda, as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas is to ensure that the freedom fighters from various tribal communities who fought for India’s Independence get their rightful recognition.
  • It will also ensure that the heritage, culture and the values of the 705 tribal communities (Scheduled Tribes) that constitute approximately 10% of our population is protected and is made accessible across the nation.
  • Apart from political representation, it is also important to ensure that tribal communities see economic progress and better human development indicators.
  • After close to 90 years, the Indian Forest Act of 1927 was amended in 2017 (The Indian Forest (Amendment) Act, 2017; so that bamboo is no longer classified as a tree.
  • This has allowed for the economic value of bamboo to be leveraged to its fullest potential and also brought the Act in consonance with the Forest Rights Act of 2006. The biggest beneficiaries of this are the forest dwelling tribal communities who are now able to use such forest produce to make value-added utility products.
  • Sustainable development also needs to ensure that human development indicators (HDIs) in nutrition, health and education are being improved.
  • The National Education Policy (NEP) acknowledges the additional focus required for tribal communities to address issues such as higher dropout rates.
  • The NEP, by ensuring that the medium of instruction until at least Class 5, will be the mother tongue or local language of the child has ensured that tribal languages are protected and are treated on a par with languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The expansion of the Eklavya Model Residential Schools, from 90 new schools sanctioned in the UPA years to 472 new schools sanctioned since 2014, will ensure that tribal children will see better education outcomes.
  • Bhagwan Birsa Munda was only 25 when he died in prison (1900). He fought bravely against the exploitative system of the British Raj and spearheaded a movement against the British colonial oppressive system.
  • There are records of over 200 tribal freedom fighters across India who participated in about 85 instances of revolts and uprisings against colonial rule.
  • To recognise this, 10 tribal freedom fighter museums are being set up in the States of Andhra Pradesh (Lambasingi), Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Goa (Ponda), Gujarat (Rajpipla), Jharkhand (Ranchi), Kerala (Kozhikode), Madhya Pradesh (Chhindwara), Manipur (Taminglong), Mizoram (Kelsey) and Telangana (Hyderabad) will showcase the contribution of tribal freedom fighters and are at different stages of construction and completion.


CBI and ED tenure extension

The Central government’s decision to give a five-year tenure to heads of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has drawn a lot of flak.

  • A two-year tenure for a CBI head is too short for any officer to make an impact on the organization.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation chief in the U.S. gets a 10-year term.
  • This provides them the much-needed continuity that a Director needs in an outfit charged with the task of conducting highly sensitive investigations, which sometimes impinge on the longevity and stability of a democratically elected government.
  • We will have to wait for a few years to gauge the impact of the change in tenure rules.
  • Of course, as a measure of accountability, the Director will have to keep the government informed of all major administrative decisions. He or she should inform the executive but not take orders from it.
  • The only problem with the latest ordinance is that, at the end of the mandatory two year tenure, the government will have to issue orders granting one-year extensions at a time.
  • It would have better if there was a straight five-year term for the Director.
  • The rule about three annual extensions can be misused by a tendentious government.
  • Successive chiefs have suggested the drafting of a CBI Act to ensure that the organization is not dependent on the State governments, many of which have withdrawn consent for the CBI to function in that State.
  • The Supreme Court has recently made caustic references to this objectionable development. Eight States West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram have withdrawn the general consent.
  • The CBI should be made to derive its authority for launching investigations from its own statute instead of depending on the Criminal Procedure Code, which makes the CBI a police organization.