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IAS PARLIAMENT

A Shankar IAS Academy Initiative

Economic and Political Weekly

JANUARY - 2017

TM
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INDEX

Sl.No. Titles Page No.

1. SEZ: Who Are the Beneficiaries?................................................................................................................ 3

T
2. Why It Was Important to Win the Silicosis Case in Supreme Court?................................................. 4

N
3. Problematic Uses and Practices of Farm Ponds in Maharashtra....................................................... 6

E
4. Turning the Tide in Forest Rights?............................................................................................................ 8

5. Naga Women Fight Back............................................................................................................................ 10

M
6. Off the Rails.................................................................................................................................................. 11

A
I
7. Buried under Neglect.................................................................................................................................. 13

L
8. Where Does India Stand on the Right to Self-determination?......................................................... 14

R
9. Tenancy Reforms......................................................................................................................................... 16

A
10. Menacing Stratagem................................................................................................................................. 18

P
11. Sectarian Appeals in Elections.............................................................................................................. 19

12. Surrogacy and the Laws on Maternity Benefits.................................................................................. 21

S
13. Limiting Gender Variance....................................................................................................................... 22

I A
14. ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor .................................................................................................... 24

15. Conservation Agriculture........................................................................................................................ 26

16. Non-Lapsable Defence Modernisation Fund....................................................................................... 28

17. Indias UNSC Bid: Is it different this time?.......................................................................................... 30

18. Security Council Resolution 2322 ......................................................................................................... 31

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EPW - January - 2017

1. SEZ: Who Are the Beneficiaries? who is a member of the inter-ministerial


committee on private SEZ, is consulted while
Why the SC has issued notices? considering the proposal.
In just two years after the SEZ Act, 2005 Why the SEZs are not fulfilling their

T
came into effect, its implementation has been intended purpose?

N
marred by allegations of coercion towards
landowners, mostly farmers, to part with The SEZ policys objectives are to promote

E
their land and irregularities by the SEZ economic development, infrastructure,
promoters. promotion of exports of goods, investment

M
and employment generation etc., all over
On 9 January, in response to a plea seeking India.

A
return of unused land acquired by SEZs to

I
farmers, the SC issued notices to 7 states But, more than 77% of the notified SEZ

L
and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. land is concentrated in four statesAndhra
Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil

R
The petition states that 80% of the land Nadu.

A
acquired in the last five years is lying
unutilised according to the CAG report of These states already have better infrastructure

P
201213. and are also more developed than the rest
of India.

S
What is a SEZ?
Therefore, the generous concessions in terms

A
Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a specifically

I
of taxes, implementation of labour welfare
delineated duty-free enclave and shall laws and incentives in the SEZs are not being
be deemed to be foreign territory for the utilised for the benefit of the more backward
purposes of trade operations, duties and states.
tariffs.
Besides, where the SEZs are operating,
In order words, SEZ is a geographical region
neither the farmers and small landholders
that has economic laws different from a nor their dependents have got jobs except in
countrys typical economic laws. Usually the the lowest non-skilled categories.
goal is to increase foreign investments.
The CAG report notes that of the 12,47,000
State governments will have a very important
job opportunities the SEZs were intended to
role to play in the establishment of SEZs.
create, only 42,000 were actually created.
Representative of the state government,

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In many parts of the country, farmers are So, the petition has requested the SC
demanding the unused land back through to direct governments to undertake a
organised agitations or court cases. comprehensive social-impact study on the
farmers concerned so as to determine the
Some of these demandsare even successful,
compensation due to them for taking away
like in states where public awareness is high
their livelihoods.
as in Maharashtra or Goa.
What are the larger issues? What is the way forward?

The larger issue is impact of the SEZs on Going by the reports of the SEZs record

T
agriculture and food production as the land in attracting investment and generating

N
acquired is mainly fertile. employment, the SEZ policy needs a serious
review.

E
Anti-SEZ agitators in Maharashtra points
out that while much is made of farmer A majority of jobs are in the information

M
suicides and compensation, there is no focus technology sector while the manufacturing
on how the government starves agriculture sector is lagging.

A
of basic resources and support.

I
The government should also put performance-
Another aspect of such land acquisition is measuring mechanisms in place so that the

L
the question of water use by the SEZs. promoters can be held accountable.

R
Why a social impact study is necessary? 2. Why It Was Important to Win the
Silicosis Case in Supreme Court?

A
The social costs of the SEZ policy have
been almost as high if not greater than the
Who are the petitioners and what happened

P
economic costs.
to them?
More than 2.1 million hectares of agricultural

S
The petitioners were an unorganised group
land was transferred between 1990 and 2003
of workers who live in a Hilly area in

A
but there is no info on how much of it had
western MP. For years, the workers had

I
belonged to poor and marginalised.
been migrating to Gujarat to work in quartz-
The bulk of the land acquired for these zones crushing factories there.
is fertile agricultural land.
The quartz stone of this region contains 97%
In many cases state governments have acted 99% silica and is very valuable. However,
as facilitators and negotiators on behalf of crushed silica sand, if inhaled, is a toxic
corporate and industry interests. chemical.
The state industrial development corporations After working for three to six months in these
have first acquired lands under the land units, workers contract a life-threatening
acquisition laws at lower rates for public lung disease known as silicosis.
purpose, let them lie unused, and then
later sold them at market rates to the SEZ Silicosis damages the lining of air sacs and
promoters. leads to the permanent scarring of lungs.

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The patient experiences breathlessness and factories and had allowed them to continue
becomes anorexic. employing workers.

There is no treatment for this condition. So, both the states should be held accountable
Normally, silicosis takes 1520 years to for the loss of life because of this issue.
develop, but the Gujarat silica is so toxic that
Quartz-crushing units are in general subject
it kills workers in one to two years.
to very stringent regulations because of the
Has the ESI become anti-worker toxicity of the silica dust that is generated.
organization?
But despite the clearances given by factory

T
Traditionally, any worker who suffers from officials and pollution control boards
an occupational disease or injury must apply (PCB), the situation on the ground remains

N
for employees state insurance (ESI) to claim extremely pathetic.

E
under the ESI Act.
What is the history of events?
But over the years, the ESI has become

M
In 200607, complaints were filed in the
an anti-worker organisation that avoids
NHRC. The commission took the issue very

A
addressing workers claims by entangling
seriously and undertook an independent

I
claimants in mind-boggling procedures.
investigation.

L
A worker who contracts an occupational
On 12 November 2012, recommended that
disease is at the mercy of the employer, who

R
the stone-crushing units be closed, and
often simply removes him from employment.

A
action be taken against the delinquent
The worker and their family are left to fight officials of Gujarat state.

P
a lone battle against the factory owner and
In 2006, a public interest litigation (PIL) was
the ESI. In most cases, the poor and diseased

S
filed and the case has been going on for 10
workers are denied any compensation.
years. In this PIL, the NHRC also became a

A
What is the role of the state govts in petitioner and presented all the facts that it

I
this tragedy? had gathered during its 2007 independent
investigation.
A survey report -Destined to Die IV 2016,
revealed that the govt benefits paid to the On 2010, the NHRC announced the
villagers under MGNREGA and housing, or compensation award, but the Government
agriculture-related schemes were very small. of Gujarat refused to pay the compensation
and kept postponing it.
The MGNREGA was also not implemented
properly. This failure of the MP govt was one Then the petitioner moved the Supreme Court
of the reasons why the workers had sought in 2014, highlighting the non-compliance.
employment in quartz factories.
Finally, on 4 May 2016, the Court took the
At the same time, the Gujarat government Gujarat government to task for not obeying
had failed to monitor these unregulated its previous decision.

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Why the present case is significant? We must hope that after the recent SC
order, the govt of Gujarat will wake up and
The present case is the first time that a group
strengthen its regulatory system. And, the
of workers went past the ESI to claim their
govt of M.P. will focus more on out-migration,
dues.
strengthen the MGNREGA and other basic
The judgment holds the state governments social security schemes.
responsible and has directed them to
3. Problematic Uses and Practices of
compensate the workers first and then
Farm Ponds in Maharashtra
recover the amount from the ESI.

T
What happened?
According to this order, the Government of

N
Gujarat is liable to pay Rs 7.14 crore to the During the green revolution, widespread

E
families of the 238 workers who died. electrification and deep borewell technology
at the farm level drastically increased the
The Court went beyond providing interim

M
amount of groundwater extraction from wells
relief to make two more organisations
and surface storages.
accountablethe Central Pollution Control

A
Board (CPCB) and the ESI.

I
Years later, even after drilling many vertical
and lateral borewells, farmers have failed to

L
The CPCB is the apex body in the country to
extract even a small amount of groundwater.
monitor all types of pollution. Following this

R
judgment, the ESI will need to pull its act Many of them were forced to cut down their
together and be more sensitive to workers matured horticulture yards, mainly of sweet

A
claims. lemon and pomegranate.

P
What is the way forward? As a result of no livelihood opportunities
and acute water scarcity, rural masses

S
Occupational health is a neglected field
in India. Factory owners do not enforce are migrating in huge numbers. These are

A
adequate precautions to prevent work- not just migrants but ecological refugees

I
related injuries and disease. who have been forced to leave their native
settlements in search of livelihoods.
The state labour departments, which are
supposed to enforce the law, work at the What is a Farm Pond?
behest of the powerful factory owners.
Post 1990s, farm pond technology was
There are very few workers organisations introduced. They were originally conceived to
which fight for occupational health rights. collect and store rainwater so as to provide
Most take up other labour issues like wage protected irrigation to crops during periods
increase, regular employment, etc., of water scarcity.

The state governments also need to ensure The advantage of farm pond, which ensured
workers health by strengthening the that water was available throughout the year,
administrative framework of the labour even in water stressed conditions, attracted
departments and the ESI. a large number of irrigating farmers.

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Realising the advantages of the farm pond The second key concern is the overall absence
strategy, the state and the central govt came of regulation and appropriate planning while
up with schemes to promote and subsidise sanctioning farm ponds and in its actual
the construction of the ponds on a large construction.
scale, while applying a plastic lining inside it. There are many villages in the state where
In the current drought situation, Maharashtra farm ponds are abundant; in one of the
CM has already announced that anyone micro-watershed villages, there are over 325
fully-functional large-sized farm ponds.
who demands a farm pond will get one. The
scheme is Magel Tyala Shet Tale. Along with the number of unregulated farm

T
ponds, another concern is the possibility that
Additionally, the central governments
farmers are in violation of the approved size

N
budget for 201617 set an ambitious target for building a farm pond.
to construct five lakh farm ponds and wells

E
within a year in rainwater-scarce areas of The third concern is the increasing rate of
the country. evaporation of the overall surface water and

M
particularly the water stored in farm ponds.
What are the issues of Farm Ponds?

A
In many water-scarce regions of the state,

I
Although, rainwater harvesting is one of farm ponds have already created an acute

L
the main objectives behind the farm pond water shortage for drinking and domestic
strategy, most of the farm pond owners still needs.

R
extract groundwater and then store it in the What can and should be done?

A
farm ponds.
Ban on extracting groundwater to store

P
Therefore, farm ponds have become the new in farm ponds.
way for groundwater extraction and have
Limitation on the number of farm ponds

S
increased the competition amongst farmers
in the village or watershed area.
to further extract groundwater.

A
Controlling the size of farm ponds.

I
Farm ponds were conceived as an important
strategy for groundwater recharge through Changes required in the provision of
subsidy.
percolation.
Alternatives to the plastic lining:
However, in practice, high-micron plastic
Likeapplying a mixture of soil and
paper is applied to stop the seepage of stored
cement in appropriate proportion. Would
water. Even the state is promoting the use reduce the total cost by 50% and will
of plastic lining. also allow water seepage from the pond.
In some farm ponds, inlet and outlet valves, Construction of a common farm pond to
which are mandatory by design to receive secure the drinking water needs.
the rainwater and discharge the additional
water, are non-existent. Measures to reduce the rate of
evaporation: Immediate measures, like

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reducing the surface size and increasing Why the High Court is wrong?
the depth of farm pond structures, and
applying floating covers on the surface On 9 October 2015 order, the HC directed the
can be promoted. deputy commissioners-to take expeditious
steps to evict the inhabitants from certain
Concluding remarks:
areas inside the KNP.
Although, the groundwater depletion is a
result of multiple factors and the problem has It even rejected the argument that certain
multidimensional aspects, the mushrooming villages were revenue villages, which would

T
of farm ponds should be seen as one of the have make them immune from any kind of
major factors contributing to water scarcity. eviction.

N
Hence, before it is too late, it is wise to The HC based its judgment on the notion of

E
implement preventive measures, to avoid the larger public interest and in this process
adverse effects that farmers and villagers are declared the communities living in and near

M
facing today. KNP as suspected communities, who could

A
At the same time, there is a need to explore indulge in poaching/aid the poachers.

I
the opportunities in the farm pond strategy
There are at least three limitations which

L
to make it more appropriate for securing
drinking in water-scarce villages. the HC overlooked legal/constitutional

R
developments related to the governance of
4. Turning the Tide in Forest Rights? forests.

A
What is the news? The HC relied on the provisions of Forest

P
On 19 September 2016, two persons were Conservation Act, 1980 and the definition of
killed in police firing in a village near the forest given by the Supreme Court, though

S
Kaziranga National Park in Assam while it has on other occasions focused on the FRA
doing a peaceful demonstration. or more progressive decisions given by SC.

I A
The protestors were demanding resettlement
and compensation for the villagers as the
villagers were being evicted from their homes,
following a Guwahati High Court order.
The HC also overlooked the process
established by the Forest Rights Act, which
saysonly a gram samiti can take a final
decision on this issue, but the high court
The protestors were not even opposed to the constituted its own committees.
eviction but only wanted the government
to give them proper compensation and Lastly, the committees constituted by the
rehabilitation. court had no local representation.

The state government did not heed their This judgment represents an extreme strand
plea and the court even rejected their claim of conservationist thinking and used the
of grazing rights in the Kaziranga National notion of national interest to give validity to
Park (KNP). its arguments.

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What are the arguments against HCs park for three generations and 75 years, as
judgment? required by the FRA.

The judgment clarified that the concept They have claimed the community rights
of national park in Wild Life Act that given in the FRA, but the administration
contemplates that there should be no human seems to be on only one agenda, which is
habitation in Protected Areas (PAs). relocating these communities outside the
park.
But in the past, it was realised that creating
human-less PAs was not a viable option as It has imposed many restrictions on the

T
very few villages could be relocated (even activities of Van Gujjars, and herethe park
after a decade) after the in enactment of Wild administration refuses to acknowledge even

N
Life (Protection) Act, 1972. the existence of the FRA.

E
During the enactment of the FRA, a new They also slapped many cases of poaching on
category of PA called critical wildlife habitats tribal men and women, mainly because they

M
(CWHs) came into existence. The court are demanding their legal right over forest

A
completely failed to consider CWHs. land and resources.

I
According to this, the rights of forest-dwelling

L
In the Sundarbans, the forest department
communities will be recognised in PAs. But has a monopoly over fisheries and honey

R
if a particular part of a PA is deemed vital collection.
for the existence of wildlife, humans will be

A
relocated and rehabilitated at some other Concluding remarks:

P
place.
With the FRA giving rights to local

S
But, after the enactment of the FRA, no communities, officials have become
national park administration has ever used less influential. So, in most cases forest

A
the provision of the CWH. departments use the faade of wildlife

I
conservation to ensure their monopoly over
Is there a Hegemony of Conservation? forest resources.
The forest departments have continuously Undoubtedly, the judgment of the high court
worked to scuttle the community rights reflects the hegemonic idea of conservation
given by the FRA and have used the idea of that prevails among policymakers and
human-free conservation for this. administrators.
For example, in the Rajaji National Park, Van
This is that local communities are dangerous
Gujjars have been fighting for community
to wildlife, and that their relocation and
rights for many decades.
a more centralised administration are the
It is difficult for them to present proof of their panacea for all ills.
residence on a particular piece of land in the

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They are not ready to accept that this idea In the meantime, the states growing urban
is unviable, and are reluctant to accept an areas have suffered from lack of governance
alternative model where local communities and funds to provide basic civic services.
become assets to protect wildlife.
In June 2011, civil society groups filed a writ
The need is to counter this hegemonic petition challenging the state governments
idea of conservation.Without recognising refusal to hold municipal elections despite
and settling the rights of forest-dwelling the law.
communities, the aim of proper conservation

T
will remain a mirage. In October, the court upheld the petition
and ordered the state government to hold

N
5. Naga Women Fight Back elections by June 2012.

E
What is the news? The state government managed to get a stay
order but in April 2016, in response to a

M
Can women demand political representation, special leave petition, the Supreme Court
if, under customary law, only men are vacated the stay.

I A
entitled to run institutions of governance?
As a result, the state government was left

L
This is the crux of the tussle underway in with no option but to call for municipal
Nagaland where women argue that they are elections.

R
entitled to 33% reservation in urban local
Is Nagaland a gender-just society?

A
bodies (ULBs) and that this provision does
not in any way violate customary law. With an overall literacy rate of 79.55% and

P
a female literacy rate of 76.11%, Nagaland
This has been met with vehement opposition, is well ahead of other Indian states.

S
who believe Naga tribal customs must
remain sacrosanct. Yet, there has only ever been one Naga

A
woman elected to Parliamentand not even a

I
History of Events: single woman to the state assembly.

Even though the 74th constitutional Also, despite the high level of education,
amendment was passed in 1993, providing womens right to ownership of land remains
reservation for women in ULBs, Nagaland highly restricted.
adopted it in 2006, with the passage of the They cannot inherit ancestral property and
Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act. can only get a share of acquired property as
a gift.
But since then, this law has remained in
suspension as the arguments over whether Thus, their fight for electoral representation
it violates provisions of Article 371A of the includes a demand for a gender-just society.
Constitution,which guarantees protection of
Nagalands customary laws.

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What are different arguements? What happened on the election day?


At the heart of the disagreement is an Two persons were killed while several others
understanding of what constitutes womens suffered injuries in clashes between the
rights and where customary law should be police and a mob on February 1, 2017, the
applied. day of ULB election.
The Naga Hoho, the apex body representing
On February 9, 2017, the Nagaland Governor
16 tribal groups, insist that the provision of
33% reservation for women violates Article declared the entire process of elections to
371A of the Constitution. ULBs as null and void.

T
They argue that they are not against womens 6. Off the Rails

N
representation in these bodies but against
What is the news?

E
them standing for elections.
For the first time in nearly 92 years, the rail

M
They hold that as elections are all about
budget will be part of the general budget
money, liquor and guns, women are not

A
this year.

I
equipped to contest. They prefer to nominate
women rather than have them stand for Attention will be focused on the allocations

L
elections. for rail safety considering the three train

R
derailments in quick succession in the last
Others, including civil society groups, two months, the recent one being Hirakhand

A
emphasise that this provision has not come Express derailment leading to 41 deaths.

P
about through an act of Parliament but, it is
a part of the Constitution under Article 243T. What is the govts response to the
derailment?

S
They also point out that ULBs are not a part
The govt floutedsabotage theories and

A
of traditional Naga society, hence customary

I
blamed both Maoists and Pakistans ISI
laws cannot be applied to the way urban
alternately.
areas are governed.
Also, the announcement of an inquiry into
They also point out that since 1989, under the causes of the latest accident was greeted
Section 50 of the Nagaland Village and Area with grim cynicism, by both the public and
Council Act, 1978, there is 25% reservation the media.
for women in village development boards that
What is the crux of the issue?
manage developmental funds.
If appointment of safety review committees
Tribal bodies have raised no objection to this
and submission of their reports were the only
reservation. Hence, the opposition to women criteria involved, Indian railways would be
being elected to ULBs appears illogical. the safest in the world.

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The plethora of reports of inquiries into works under tremendous pressure and
accidents as well as those by high-level substandard working conditions.
committees, contain recommendations that
What are the other issues?
cover almost every aspect of the railways
functioning, especially on safety. The Depreciation Reserve Fund (DRF)
and Development Fund have been getting
The crux of the issue is about implementing
increasingly exhausted and the railway
these suggestions and finding the financial
experts conclude that this is why the railways
resources to do so.
are not generating enough cash surplus.

T
What did the standing committee
The DRF is the source to replace and

N
report said?
maintain tracks, rolling stock and signalling

E
The Standing Committee on Railways, systems.
headed by Sudip Bandopadhay,gave its
report on Safety and Security in Railways The Railway Minister has been criticised

M
in December 2016, has again pointed to key for making an inadequate provision of Rs

A
areas that need urgent attention. 3,200 crore for the DRF in the 2016 budget,

I
cutting down the amount from that of the
These include the setting up of a separate previous year.

L
department with safety as its sole priority.
His proposal seeking Rs 1,19,183 crore for

R
Underinvestment in railways has led to safety
a dedicated Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh
compromises and congested routes.
(National Rail Safety Fund) was rejected. The

A
Unmanned level crossings continue to be finance ministry agreed to provide only 25%

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the biggest cause of casualties. In 2015 of the amount.
16, nearly 84% of accidents were due to
On what, the govt is more focussed on?

S
derailments.
Pleasing sections of vote banks and wooing

A
The railways should completely switch to the
others with announcements of new train

I
Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches that
do not witness higher casualties in case of halts and services has dominated almost
derailments as the coaches do not pile upon every railway ministers record.
each other. The NDA govtwas also been accused of laying
More than half of the accidents are due more stress on public pleasing measures like
to carelessness of the railway staff, poor introducing free Wifi services at stations and
maintenance work, adoption of short-cuts upgrading catering and other allied services
and non-observance of laid down safety rules rather than attending to core issues like
and procedures. safety.

It must be noted here that the railway workers Prime Minister has also announced ~1 lakh
unions have for long been complaining of crore MumbaiAhmedabad bullet train
the 1.42 lakh posts for safety lying vacant project, at the time when 3 derailments have
across the country and that security staff taken place.

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So, the safety measures like maintenance of What are the issues that needs to be
sleepers, rolling stock and tracks has been considered?
paid very scant attention in the past two
years. It draws attention to number of serious
issues related to mining in India. These
The reports of the Anil Kakodkar High Level include,
Safety Review Committee and the Sam
Pitroda panel on railways, successive reports abysmal safety conditions for workers;
of the CAG are all gathering dust. outsourcing by public sector companies
Concluding remarks: to private that are lax in following rules

T
and regulations;
For the vast majority of Indians, the railways

N
constitute the cheapest and easiest form of environmental degradation;
commute and long-distance travel.

E
violation of human rights of locals who
It is nothing short of criminal that successive are predominantly tribal;

M
ministers, continue to play with the lives of
hiring of contract labourers from outside
our people while only making unimportant

A
to circumvent protests by locals;

I
changes.
corruption in sanctioning projects that

L
7. Buried under Neglect
exploit the minerals;

R
What is the news?
illegal mining that employs marginalised;

A
On the night of 29 December 2016, 23 and
workers trapped under debris at the Lalmatia

P
open-cast coal mine in Jharkhands Godda employment of child labour.
district. 18 bodies were pulled out the next

S
A number of reports have shown how the
day. tribal populations of these mineral-rich areas

A
What is annoying is that the director general live in utter poverty. Many of them displaced

I
of mines safety announced that it was neglect and others in continual fear of displacement.
of basic safety principles and not complex
Is safety still not a priority?
technical factor that was responsible for the
accident. Even though, theCoal Mines (Nationalisation)
Act of 1973 took over the private sector mines
This accident is nothing unusual in an
which were accused of neglecting safety
industry that is considered along with
procedures, safety is still not a priority in
shipbuilding to be the most hazardous
the state-owned mines.
industry in India.

Though the work was part of the state- According to official data, 65 mining fatalities
owned Coal India Limited (CIL), it had have occurred (including the 18) in coal and
been outsourced to the private Mahalaxmi non-coal mines in 2016.
Company.

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Many fatalities and serious accidents also What is the way forward?
occur during transportation and use of
There is no doubt that the mining sector in
explosives.
India, whether privately operated or state-
Worker have complained about cracks in the owned, needs to devise a multi-pronged
slope formed by the excavated earth but were strategy that covers occupational safety,
told to continue doing their jobs. protection of the rights of local residents and
the environment.
The Lalmatia tragedy also underscores
the fact that the knowledge of the workers 8. Where Does India Stand on the

T
gained by long experience is not given the Right to Self-determination?

N
due importance it deserves.
What happened at JNU?
How the people are getting affected?

E
At the JNU, a few students were arrested and
The state government has announced charged with sedition.

M
compensations as well as an inquiry. An
One of the allegations were, students
Inquiry hardly elicits information that is

A
important and its report will always be organised a cultural event where slogans

I
relegated to the shelves. about Indias disintegration and the right to

L
self-determination of the Kashmiri people
People also complained that getting the were raised.

R
compensation whether for an injury or for
death on the job is a long and drawn-out In relation to this incident, some students

A
process. Since many of these workers are on were charged under Section 124A of the
contract and not eligible for welfare benefits, Indian Penal Code for the crime of sedition.

P
compensatory amount is all they have.
It is important to know whether the slogans

S
The Human Rights Watch report Out of chanted would amount to sedition or not,
Control: Mining, Regulatory Failure and and this would be decided by the courts of

A
Human Rights in India,shows how mines law.

I
operating with the approval of government
regulators are able to violate the law with However, the larger question is, what
complete impunity. constitutes nation and nationalism,
particularly in the context of the demand
Mix ofbad policies, weak institutions and for the right to self-determination?
corruption, government oversight and
ineffectual regulation of the mining industry What is right to self-determination?
are the reasons for continuing accidents.
It is a historical fact that the right to
The report also details how iron ore self-determination took on its character
mining activities wreck havoc on local of a legally claimable right against the
farmers destroying their crops through the background of struggles against political
environmental degradationthus resulting in and economic domination in the context of
economic and health ruin. colonialism.

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The underlying elements of this right As international legal obligations are largely
include collective political and economic consent-based, Indias acceptance of the
independence from any external forces. human rights covenants including the right
to self-determination should be read along
Thus, the substantive element of the right to with this international declaration. Thus, it
self-determination is not colonialism, per se, is limited certain contexts only.
devoid of any form of domination.
The consequence of this position is that this
Self-determination is claimed because right cannot be extended to any situation
colonialism is a form of political, economic,
in India as it can be argued that it is not a
cultural, and social domination and
context of foreign or colonial domination,

T
subjugation.
with India having attained independence

N
Self-determination at the International from colonialism.
Level:

E
Countries like France, Germany, the
The principle of self-determination attained Netherlands, and Pakistan objected to Indias

M
a concrete character in the form of a right declaration as limiting the scope of the right
when it was included in the International to self-determination.

A
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural

I
Prior to this declaration too, India had voiced
Rights and the International Covenant on
a similar view. When the Friendly Relations

L
Civil and Political Rights adopted in 1966.
Declaration of 1970 was drafted, India stated

R
Article 1 of both the covenants states that all that this right did not apply to sovereign
peoples have the right of self-determination. states or to integral parts of their territory,

A
By virtue of that right they freely determine or to a section of people.

P
their political status and freely pursue their
Constitutional and Statutory Position:
economic, social and cultural development.

S
Indias constitutional and statutory position
With the inclusion of this provision in
does not prohibit the possibility of claims for

A
both the covenants the principle of self-
right to self-determination and secession of

I
determination has been elevated to the level
territories from India.
of a claimable right.
Despite the absence of any specific reference
The current status of the right to self-
to this right, it cannot be argued that this
determination under international law has
right cannot be claimed.
to be understood with reference to this
provision in the covenants along with the On the contrary, there is a possibility of
UN Charter. claiming the right to self-determination, and
the Supreme Court also ruled in favour of
India and Self-determination:
the possibility of cession of territory by India.
Neither the Indian Constitution nor any
In India, any demand for the right to self-
statute expressly defines the right to self-
determination leading to secession needs to
determinationor explains the position of
be evaluated in the existing constitutional
India on the right to self-determination.
and statutory scheme before determining

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whether such a demand would amount to is no prohibition on cession of territories by


any crime under the existing criminal laws. the Indian state.
The relevant provisions in the Constitution Is self-determination vying secession
are related to the territory of India. Article a crime?
1 of the Constitution describes the territory
of India. As held by the Supreme Court, it can be
argued that it cannot be a crime to demand
However, neither this provision nor any other the right to self-determination leading to
provisions in the Constitution mention the secession.

T
cession in parts or in full of the existing
territory. When it is a sovereign right to cede a part of

N
the territory, it cannot be a crime to demand
What did the SC say?

E
that the Indian state cede a territory to a
particular group of people living on Indian
The Supreme Court was confronted with a
territory.

M
situation of cession of parts of territory and
its validity under the Constitution in The However, the conduct of the people involved

A
Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves

I
in pursuing that political demand may be
v Reference under Article 143(1) of the criminalised if they are engaged in any

L
Constitution of India (1960). violent action.

R
The issue before the Supreme Court involved Therefore, criminal law provisions that
the settlement of the dispute between India criminalise any claims for cession or

A
and Pakistan and the transfer and/or secession of a part of the territory of India

P
cession of territories. should be read along with the constitutional
and sovereign position of India in terms of
SC said, Based on the related constitutional

S
cession of a part of the territory.
provisions, the acquisition and cession of
territory are sovereign rights and therefore, Concluding remarks:

I A
they are outside the Constitution.
India understands the right to self-
This view is particularly relevant to the determination under international law as
demands for the right to self-determination limited to situations of foreign domination
and secession of territories. and colonialism, and declines to extend it to
postcolonial and other situations.
As ceding a part of the territory is outside the
constitutional framework, it is not prohibited Its constitutional and statutory frameworks
to demand the exercise of this sovereign are silent on the issue.
right by the Indian state by a group of people
under the right to self-determination. Based on the SCs view, it can be concluded
that the right to self-determination leading
Therefore, a secessionist demand in the to secession cannot be prohibited as long as
name of the right to self-determination is very there exists a sovereign right of the state to
much within the legal limits as long as there cede its territory.

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9. Tenancy Reforms The model act goes on to say that the lease
agreement may or may not be registered
Tenancy is seen as one way of correcting the depending on the mutual agreement of the
mismatch between the distribution of land two parties.
and that of labour in the agricultural sector.
It also states that the owner will not interfere
Land Leasing: as long as the tenant does not default in the
payment of lease amount or cause damage to
The issue of land leasing and tenancy has soil health or use the land for other purposes
acquired renewed policy focus with the Niti and does not sublease land to any other
Aayog bringing out two reports on the farm

T
person.
sector recently, with one focus specifically on

N
the issue of land leasing and draft a model The tenant will not have any right to
land leasing act. build any structures without the express

E
permission of landowner.
Microstudies from different states show

M
that the proportion of leased-in land is The model act specifies that the tenant will
significantly higher (1050%) than what is pay the lease in time as specified in the

A
agreement, and any delay in payment beyond

I
reported.
three months shall constitute default and

L
Also, it is the marginal, small and landless will entitle the landowner to issue a notice
farmers who lease-in a large amount of of termination of the lease.

R
land. 92% leasers being from marginalised

A
categories. The dispute resolution is generally left to third
party mediation or the village panchayat, a

P
What are the provisions & drawbacks tehsildar or an equivalent within a period of
in Land Leasing Act? four weeks.

S
It specifies that the leassor and the leassee Further, it recommends a special land

A
shall enter into a written lease agreement for tribunal headed by a retired high court or

I
which it even provides a model agreement. a district court judge at the state level to
resolve disputes as a final authority.
But, at the same time, it also provides
for an oral lease to be legal to protect the What are the other forms of tenacy?
landowner. This is contradictory, as if an oral
The standard lease agreement provides
lease can be legal, then why should a written
foronly fixed quantity or share of harvested
lease agreement be prescribed?
crop as the two types of tenancy.
It also recommends the government not to It ignores many other forms and systems of
fix a minimum or maximum lease amount. payment such as labour tenancy in many
This again is not well founded as there have parts of India.
been cases of excessive lease rates being
charged in many parts of India.

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In Gujarat, there is labour tenancy (the While the ban on tenancy by corporate
bhagidar system), wherein the tenant agencies must continue, leasing-in by
provides only labour, and in turn, gets a individuals, farming groups suitably defined
share of crop/produce which varies from to prevent bogus entities acting as fronts for
33% in food crops to 25% in cash crops. corporate agents, should be encouraged.

There is also the supervision or management This will also put to rest the case for
tenancy in Gujarat, where a tenant does removal of ceilings on landholdings for
not contribute the labour component, but large landowners or corporate business to

T
only organises labour and supervises farm reap economies of scale, on grounds of size
operations. He gets one-tenth of the produce limitation.

N
called pavda bhaag for this role. 10. Menacing Stratagem

E
In parts of North India, there is a practice of What is the news?
another form of labour tenancy where the

M
permanent worker provides only labour and On 26 December 2016, India tested Agni-V,
gets a certain percentage of produce, and its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

A
shares input costs in that proportion after that has been claimed to be independently

I
accounting. developed by DRDO, and is said to be capable

L
of delivering nuclear weapons.
There is even water tenancy emerging in
Agni-Vs exact range is between 5,500 and

R
some parts of India like Gujarat, where water
5,800 kilometres.
provision to a farmer gets a share in produce

A
from the farm. This event was followed by a defence analyst,

P
bragging that India can now threaten major
The Niti Aayog report does not show any Chinese targets.
awareness of these types of tenancy.

S
But, Indias big media failed to point out
Concluding Remarks: that India developing ICBMs capable of

A
delivering nuclear weapons is in violation of

I
There should be ceiling on the amount
UN Security Council Resolution 1172.
of land leased by a person/entity so that
concentration of leased land does not take Are India violating UNSC Resolution
place beyond a point. 1172?
The land ceiling limits for ownership in The UNSC resolution 1172 called upon India
each state can be considered as ceilings and Pakistan immediately to stop their
for leasing-in of land to prevent excessive nuclear weapon development programmes,
concentration of operated land in a few to refrain from weaponisation or from the
hands. deployment of nuclear weapons, to cease
development of ballistic missiles capable of
Though Niti Aayog also suggests this, it only delivering nuclear weapons and any further
refers to private investors in this context, and production of fissile material for nuclear
not local large and medium farmers. weapons ...

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The resolution was passed unanimously in The US pressures, thus removed all the
June 1998 in the aftermath of the nuclear hurdles on nuclear trade with India. New
tests conducted first by India and then by Delhi is now better able to focus the resource
Pakistan. base of its nuclear programme on the
development of its nuclear arsenal.
Much has happened since then, but India
has still not been willing to address one Why Indian was made an exception?
of the root causes of the tensions between
India is U.S. global-strategic Major Defence
Islamabad and New Delhi, namely, the
Partner with access to the USs advanced
question of Kashmir.
weaponry.

T
U.S. made India an exception: It is in close collaboration, bilaterally and

N
In 2008, with the signing of the IndoUS trilaterally, with Washingtons main regional

E
civilian nuclear deal, U.S. granted India de allies, Australia and Japan.
facto recognition as a nuclear-weapons state.
India also backs U.S.A. on the disputes in

M
This literally means unilaterally throwing the South China Sea.

A
NPT out of the window, which has been for U.S. fighter aircraft and warships can now

I
decades the core of the international nuclear use Indian military bases to refuel and avail

L
regulatory framework. of their necessary supplies.

R
Also in mid-2016, Washington backed With the ICBMs soon to be in place, and a
Indias application for NSG membership, new 17 Mountain Strike Corps with quick

A
knowing full well that complete and effective reaction ground offensive capabilities in the

P
implementation of the NPT was the basis of making, the Indian army has transformed
NSG membership, and India was not even its posture against China from dissuasion

S
an NPT signatory. to deterrence, and from there to credible
deterrence.

A
Yet Washington pushed for an exception to

I
be made for India. This did not find favour With the new U.S. administrationnot bound
with a number of NSG members including by the ChinasOne China policy, India
Brazil, China and Switzerland. seems to have been further emboldened to
When Beijing reminded India of the UNSC equating Washingtons strategic objectives
resolution, the Indian media went on a in Asia with its own.
China-bashing campaign, accusing Beijing 11. Sectarian Appeals in Elections
of blocking Indias NSG membership.
What is the news?
But, China was only asking for the NSG to
stick to its membership rules. The Supreme Courts judgment in Abhiram
Singh v C D Commachen (2017), widening
It was U.S. that had been insisting on Indias the ban on sectarian appeals during election
NSG membership outside the framework of campaigns, must be welcomed as a positive
the NPT.

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and necessary step towards free and fair appeals based on sectarian, linguistic or
elections. caste considerations.

The interpretation of the word his as it The majority view ruled in favour of a purposive
occurs in Section 123(3) of the Representation interpretation.Justice SA Bobdestated that
of the Peoples Act, 1951was with what his would mean religion of candidate, his
seven judges in Abhiram Singh versus CD agents, voters as well as any other person
Commachen were concerned, and managed who, with the candidates consent, brings
to deliver four opinions between them. up religion in an appeal for the furtherance

T
of the prospects of the election.
A thin majority of four judges gave the word

N
a wide interpretation and the minority, a CJI T.S.Thakurs opinion is premised on the
narrow interpretation. The interpretation of principle that appeals to religion tend to erode

E
this word has large implications for the way the secular character of the Constitution and
our elections are conducted. the wider interpretation must be preferred to

M
What is Section 123 (3) of RPA? keep such religious appeals out of the picture

A
during elections.

I
This provision of law considers an appeal
made by a successful candidate to voters The minority judgment, authored by

L
based on religion, caste, creed, language Justice DY Chandrachud, calls for a literal
etc., be a corrupt practice, which can result interpretation of the concerned provision,

R
in the election being annulled, and such holding that the term his can only refer to

A
candidate disqualified from elections. the candidates identity or affiliation.

P
The point of difference was this: Did this He doesnt entirely discard the purposive
clause simply prohibit a candidate from interpretation either, finding that the

S
using appeals to her (or her opponents) own merit of the narrow interpretation is that it
religion, caste etc., or did it prohibit all such enables appeals made to protect the rights

A
appeals irrespective of the candidates own of religious, linguistic and caste minorities

I
religion? in India.

What views were expressed by the Apart from debates when literal and
bench? purposive interpretations are to be preferred,
the minoritys judgment is somewhat nave
In Abhiram Singh v C.D. Commachen
about the cynical use of appeals to religion
by a 4-3 majority ruling, a seven-judge
and caste in modern electioneering.
Constitution Bench held that an election will
be annulled if votes are sought in the name What the majority view means?
of the religion of the candidate.
The State being secular in character will not
The majority view interpreted Section 123(3) identify itself with any one of the religions or
of the RPA to mean that this provision was religious denominations.
laid down with an intent to clearly forbid

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This necessarily implies that religion will not What is the news?
play any role in the governance of the country
Would a woman employee who has had
which must at all times be secular in nature.
a child through surrogacy be entitled to
The elections to the State legislature or to the maternity leave?
Parliament or any other body in the State is
Five high courts have decided cases on
a secular exercise.
this issue. All of them have uniformly held
The Constitutional ethos forbids mixing of that a woman employee is entitled to such
religions or religious considerations with maternity leave irrespective of the manner
the secular functions of the State and that in which her child was born.

T
religion remains a matter personal to the What is Maternity Benefit Act, 1961?

N
individual with which neither the State nor
any other individual has anything to do. The first maternity benefits legislation in

E
India was the Bombay Maternity Benefit Act,
The concerns under Section 123(3) of the Act 1929 passed in the Bombay Province.

M
have increased with the tremendous reach
Subsequently, 12 other laws were passed at

A
already available to a candidate through the
the state level, till they were all consolidated

I
print and electronic media.
in the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.

L
Therefore, now, it is necessary to ensure
that the provisions of Section 123 (3) are not The 1961 act, which applies to all factories,

R
exploited by a candidate or anyone on his mines, and any other establishment with more

A
behalf by making an appeal on the ground than 10 workers, guarantees a minimum of 6
weeks of paid holiday for women employees

P
of religion.
after delivery of the child, miscarriage, or
So Section 123(3) was interpreted in termination of pregnancy. At present, there

S
a manner that leaves no scope for any is a proposal to increase this time period.

A
sectarian caste or language-based appeal.
Maternity Benefits for Surrogates:

I
Concluding remarks:
The earliest case that seems to have addressed
Getting the law right is only half the battle the issue of maternity leave in the case of
in cleaning up the electoral process in India. children born of surrogacy is K Kalaiselvi v
Chennai Port Trust (2013).
The task of effective enforcement, here
resting on the overburdened high courts who The Judgeinterpreted regulations relating to
decide election petitions under the RoPA, still maternity to include surrogacy as well, and
lies ahead if this ruling isnt to remain just he also found that there was no reason to
nice words on paper. deny such leave even if there is no specific
mention of surrogacy.
12. Surrogacy and the Laws on
Maternity Benefits The Kerala High Courts judgment in P
Geetha v the Kerala Livestock Department

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(2015)was Surrogacy is not purely a legal Some hard questions:


fiction as the child shares the genetic
material of the mother, yet the child is not It is important to note here that there is a
born of the mother. certain class similarity to all the litigants.
They are all white-collar employees: teachers,
While citing and following the Kalaiselvi case, managerial level employees etc.,.
the Kerala HC, however, limits the benefits,
and, even excludes those leave benefits So, we do not know how the courts would
relating to the health of the mother because have addressed the issue if say a working-

T
a surrogate mother does not actually deliver class woman who gave birth to a surrogate
the child. child sought maternity leave and approached

N
the court.
The Delhi High Courts judgment in Rama

E
The reasons for trying to understand the
Pandey v Union of India (2015), categorically
underlying thinking in these judgments come
rejects the argument that maternity benefits

M
into sharp focus because of the proposed
were meant only to protect the health and
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill.

A
safety of the woman and the child.

I
With commercial surrogacy proposed to
The judge interpreted the word maternity
be banned, how will courts approach the

L
to include not just biologically giving birth
question of the validity of such a ban?
to a child, but also adoption and surrogacy.

R
Will the courts see it from the point of view
The Bombay High Courts judgment in Dr

A
of the women who provide surrogacy services
Hema Vijay Menon v State of Maharashtra
or those who obtain such services?

P
(2015), goes further in trying to understand
what motherhood means, legally. Concluding remarks:

S
The Judge relied on logic (and perhaps What these judgments make clear is that the
court sees women who get a child through

A
life experience) to point out that maternity

I
leave is not just about the physical aspects surrogacy as no different from women who
of pregnancy, but the emotional and give birth to a child.
psychological ones too, especially the bond
But, will the court see women who give birth
between the mother and the child.
to a child for commercial reasons as being
The latest judgment isSadhna Agrawal v the same as those who give birth to a child
State of Chhattisgarh (2017). It grounds its to build a family?
interpretation not only textually, but on the 13. Limiting Gender Variance
Constitution too.
What is the news?
It reads in the right to motherhood under
the right to life protected under Article 21. The Supreme Court in National Legal
Services Authority v Union of India and
Others (NALSA Judgment)upheld the

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transgender persons right to decide their C h a p t e r 2 o f t h e b i l l p r o h i b i t s t h e


self-identified gender, and also directed the discrimination against a transgender
centre and state governments to grant legal person, including denial of service or unfair
recognition of their gender identity as male, treatment.
female, or as third gender.
It is important to note that the language
What are the criticisms on judgment? of the bill is negative, unlike the positive
language of the previous bill, which was
Even though it was considered path-
affirmative and had a rights-based approach.
breaking, the judgment was not immune
from criticism. Chapter 3 deals with recognition of the identity

T
A clarification was requested from the of transgender persons and aggravates the
ambiguity as it provides for application for

N
SC by the Ministry of Social Justice and
Empowerment (MSJE) on some of the the certificate of identity.

E
contentiousness, like who are considered There is also a district screening committee
as transgender persons in the context of for the purpose of recognition of transgender

M
the judgment, the interchangeable use of persons. Sections 68 provide for the detailed

A
the word eunuch (a castrated man), the
procedure for issuance of the certificate of

I
feasibility of the implementation time, etc.,
identity.

L
Subsequently, a private members bill, the
Such a procedure is in prima facie
Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was

R
contradiction with the rights granted by the
introduced in the Rajya Sabha and passed
SC with respect to self-identification in the

A
unanimously.
National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

P
In 2016,the Transgender Persons (Protection judgment.
of Rights) Bill, 2016 was presented in the
The presence of the chief medical officer

S
Lok Sabha, with some much needed rights
were removed from theprivate members bill. in the district screening committee also

A
This gap has created a furore amongst the suggests some medical checks.

I
affected community.
The inclusion of only one transgender
What are the major issues with the person from the community might lead to
bill? internal conflicts as the politically connected
would secure this covetedposition. This
The bill does not honour the rights of
can also result in power politics within the
transgender people to self-determine their
community.
gender identity. Many sociocultural identities
such as Shiv Shaktis and Jogappas are also Many recommendations sent to the earlier
removed from the definition. bill by transgender groups, demanded for a
The implication of the weak drafting of change from the language ofrehabilitation to
this major provision is that it restricts the a language of rights is not even adressed in
understanding of a trans gender identity to the current bill.
the gender binary of male and female.

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It is also important to note that the issue of Yet, the chapter is silent on the atrocities
reservation in employment and in education committed by the police against the
has been clearly avoided. community, which is one of the major issues
faced by the transgender community.
Section 13(1) states that No transgender
person shall be separated from parents or
Concluding remarks:
immediate family on the ground of being
a transgender except on an order of a The parliamentary panel which was
competent court, in the interest of such examining the bill had invited suggestions

T
person.
from the public seeking wider consultations.

N
This also leaves us with a question as to
It is hoped that better sense prevails, and
what would be the consequences in the cases

E
where a transgender child suffers violence that the infirmities are adequately corrected
at home. and the right to self-identify ones gender is

M
legally implemented.
It isto be noted that separate wards for

A
transgender persons have been dropped from 14. ChinaPakistan Economic

I
this bill even though they were mentioned in Corridor

L
private members bill.
Why in news?

R
It is also criticised that this bill confuses
The 3,000 km-long CPEC consisting of
intersex variations and they are pushed

A
highways, railways, and pipelines is the
under the umbrella of transgender persons.

P
latest irritant in the IndiaChina relationship.
Chapter 7 provides for a National Council
China invited India to be a part of the CPEC,

S
for Transgender Persons. The council would
but India has declined the offer.
not have powers similar to a civil court, as

A
compared to the previous bill, and it can What is CPEC?

I
arguably end upbecoming a toothless body.
An extension of OBOR is the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC) which was
Chapter 8 provides for Offences and
conceived in 2014.
Penalties. The bill states that begging,
forced or bonded labour, denial of use CPEC aims at rapidly expanding and
of a public place, denial of residence in upgrading Pakistans infrastructure and
household, village, and physical, sexual, strengthening the economic ties between the
verbal, emotional and economic abuse attract China and Pakistan.
punishment by imprisonment between six CPEC eventually aims at linking the city
months and two years, and a fine. of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to
Chinas North Western region Xinjiang
through a vast network of infrastructure.

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Why India is not interested in joining? grounds that it is inimical to the interests of
their state.
India feels that the corridor infringes on its
sovereignty because it passes through Gilgit Residents of Balochistan fear that new roads
Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir will bring in outsiders, which will alter the
(PoK). demography of the state and cause greater
ethnic tension.
Connectivity with Central Asia and Europe
through its northern frontiers would be Some extremist outfits in Pakistan have
economically more beneficial for India than begun to target Chinese workers engaged
continued reliance on the shipping lanes. in the construction of mega projects there.

T
The problem is that the Indian strategic Besides, environmentalists are equally

N
psyche is fixated on seeing control of oceans unhappy with the adverse impact that rapid
and massive development will have on the

E
as the only means to acquire greatness.
fragile ecosystem in the mountainous region.
Economics positives aside, it is the geopolitical

M
ramifications of the deal that has military It is assessed that mega projects, which

A
analysts worried. include the KarachiLahore rail link, coal-

I
based power plants, are likely to quicken the
Once completed, the CPEC project would pace of climate change in the region.

L
enlarge Chinas strategic footprints in the
Indian Ocean and would change the regional Why CPEC is a game-changer?

R
power matrix forever.
The CPEC, once completed is expected to cut

A
The CPEC project would mean that the short the trade route for Chinas oil imports

P
Chinese presence in entire Pakistan, by 6000 miles.
including Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,
The CPEC also brings in Chinese investments

S
becomes all pervasive and powerful.
to the tune of $46 billion and a promise to

A
Border disputes should not be allowed to infuse fresh energy into Pakistans economy.

I
interfere with land lanes of communication.
Reports claim that this project will likely add
In fact, India should welcome the revival about 7 lakh direct jobs between 2015 and
of the old Silk Road as it gives India more 2030 and add about 2-2.5 percentage points
choices and reduces its dependence on trade to the Pakistani GDP.
routes controlled by the U.S.
Many also see the CPEC as an opportunity
Why there is dissent in Pakistan over to break the umbilical cord that has kept
CPEC? Pakistan tied to the West.Affluent China is
seen as a potential counterweight to the US.
Much like in India, there are many in
Pakistan opposed to the concept of the CPEC. The corridor opens up a major new global
trade route, not just Pakistan and China,
Several rebel and separatist organisations in
but also India which is quite strategically
Balochistan are opposed to the CPEC on the

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located on the corridor, may see positive Under conventional agriculture, continued
spillover effects from burgeoning trade with loss of soil has become crucial and critical
West Asia or Africa. for global agricultural production.

It is expected to open up a brand-new The emerging issue of global warming


strategic gateway for China to tap into coupled with green house gases emissions
African, West Asian and South Asian trade. has further aggravated the scenario.

Way ahead: How conservation agriculture could


help?

T
Currently, there is little that India can
do to stall CPEC except for diplomatically Conservation agriculture (CA) is a concept

N
articulating its objections and make it un- of resource-saving agricultural crop

E
implementable. production system that strives to achieve
maximum acceptable profits together with
But it is unlikely that diplomatic statements

M
high and sustained production levels while,
alone will cause the projects deferment.
concurrently conserving the environment.

A
Isolated statements from China and Pakistan

I
In CA, modern and scientific agricultural
soliciting Indias participation in CPEC could
technologies are applied to improve crop

L
be part of a strategic mind-game to evoke
production by mitigating reductions in
a sympathetic line of thinking about CPEC
soil fertility, topsoil erosion and runoff;

R
inside India.
and improving moisture conservation and

A
Meanwhile, India must uphold its specific environmental footprints.

P
reservations on the project and draft a
CA helps to improve biodiversity in the
strategy to revert suitably in case CPEC is
natural and agro-ecosystems. Moreover, the
offered formally through official channels.

S
yield levels in CA systems are comparable
Till things crystallise further, India must and even higher than traditional intensive

A
wait, watch, weigh and exercise options at tillage systems.

I
hand, and allow the confusion to prevail some
CA improves soil water-use efficiency,
more as the ambitious project, shrouded in
enhances water infiltration, and increases
layers of uncertainty, rolls out.
insurance against drought.
15. Conservation Agriculture Thus, CA is based on the integrated
What is the problem with conventional management of soil, water and agricultural
agriculture? resources in order to reach the objective
of economically, ecologically and socially
Faulty conventional agricultural practices, sustainable agricultural production. It,
like excessive tillage and crop residue mainly, has three major principles:
burning have substantially degraded the soil
resource base with a resultant reduction in 1. Minimal soil disturbance by direct
crop production capacity. planting through the soil cover without
seedbed preparation;

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2. Maintenance of a permanent vegetative achieving more stable yields, particularly in


soil cover or mulch to protect the soil dry areas;
surface; and
gradually increasing yields with decreasing
3. Diversified crop rotation in case of inputs; and
annual crops or plant associations in
case of perennial crops. increased profit (from the beginning or after
few years).
Also, nutrients and weed management
sounds equally strong to be other principle The benefits at the global level include:
of CA. less leaching of soil nutrients into ground

T
water; less pollution of water; practically no
However, a CA system, involving the three erosion; re-charge of aquifers through better

N
major principles is a true conservation agri infiltration; less fuel use in agriculture; and
system, which would be a more sustainable

E
carbon sequestration.
cultivation system for the future.
What is Laser Land Levelling?

M
Current scenario of conservation
agriculture: The laser-assisted precision land leveling,

A
popularly known as laser land levelling (LLL)

I
In India, efforts to adapt and promote is a prerequisite for adopting CA practices

L
resource conservation technologies have like zero tillage and bed planting.
been there for nearly a decade, but it is only

R
recently, that the technologies are finding It provides a very accurate, smooth and
properly levelled field, otherwise, crop seed

A
acceptance by the farmers.
will not be placed at proper depth and

P
Efforts to develop and spread CA have been germination will not be uniform.Fertilizer
made through the combined efforts of several and water also will not be uniformly available

S
State Agricultural Universities, ICAR and the to crops.
CGIAR system.

A
LLL improves crop establishment, increases

I
Unlike in rest of the world, the spread of about 3-4% net cultivable area due to fewer
these technologies is taking place in the requirements of bunds and channels, can
irrigated regions of the Indo-Gangetic Plains increase water application efficiency and
of India. saves approximately 20-25% irrigation water.

CA systems have not been tried or promoted It also increases nutrient use efficiency and
in other major agro-eco regions like rainfed reduces weed problems and improves weed
semi-arid tropics, arid regions or mountain control efficiency. All these factors lead to
agro-ecosystems. about 1-2% increase in yield.

Usefulness of conservation agriculture: What are some of the best practices?


A CA-based direct-seeded rice (DSR)
reduction in labour, time, & farm power;
with other plants residues retention has
reduction in cost of cultivation; great potential for minimizing the cost of

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production, soil health hazards and the Conclusion:


negative impacts on the succeeding crops.
Conservation Agriculture has potential to
DSR does not affect rice quality and can be improve the use efficiencies of natural and
practised in different ecologies like upland, man-made resources, carbon sequestration
lowland, deep-water and irrigated areas. and soil health.
Brown manuring. Sesbania plants are However, the utilization of the CA practices
allowed to grow with rice for 25-30 days, and needs to be optimized across locations,
then, knocked down. crops and cropping systems based on sound

T
benefit-cost economics.
Sesbania while growing with rice smothers

N
weeds, reduces herbicide use and irrigation It needs interventions at all levels: by farmers,

E
water and facilitates better emergence of rice researchers, extension personnel and policy
where soil usually forms crust, conserves makers to analyse and understand how

M
moisture with brown mulch. conservation theologies integrate with other
technologies that promote CA.

A
No-till/zero till (ZT) system with residue

I
retention, soil is not ploughed, but disturbed It is, therefore, a challenge for both the
scientific community and farmers to

L
to the smallest possible extent, and crop
seeds are placed by a specially designed overcome the past mindset and explore the

R
seed drill. opportunities that Conservation Agriculture
offers for sustainable agriculture.

A
It reduces soil erosion, compaction and
organic matter loss; prevents wheat crop
Non-Lapsable Defence Modernisation

P
Fund
from lodging at maturity; provides a wayfor
wheat cropto escape from terminal heat What is the news?

S
stress.
The creation of a non-lapsable defence

A
modernisation fund (DMF) to harvest the

I
Permanent bed with residue retention:crops
are sown on raised beds (narrow or broad) money that remains unspent during a fiscal
alternated by furrows. year, was an idea that resurfaced while
discussing defence budget.
The furrow irrigated raised-bed system of
wheat usually saves seed by 25-40%, water Since the total unspent balance during the
by 25-40% and nutrients by 25%, without last two fiscal years was approximately Rs 21
crore, the Standing Committee on Defence
affecting the wheat grain yield.
has been assiduously advocating for such
Further, it reduces lodging owing to less a fund.
physical contact of irrigation water with
What are the arguments for?
wheat culms, and vacant spaces in the form
of furrows, facilitating easy air movement. If this amount had been transferred to the
fund, it alone would have sufficed for signing

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contracts worth approximately Rs 1,50,000 Also, there is no guarantee about the


crore, since it is only 15% advance needed complete absence of problems in exercising
when a contract is signed. delegated financial powers.

Further, the amount available for signing What are the possibilities & the
new contracts in the next fiscal would problems associated with it?
be sufficient for signing contracts worth
The unspent balance is rolled over to the
approximately Rs. 50,000 crore.
next year and added to that years budgetary
Thus, it gives a huge push to defense allocation to constitute a pool of funds from
modernisation. which money could be withdrawn.

T
What are the arguments against? Any such appropriation will require approval

N
of parliament. And if the money in the DMF
The idea of a DMF has been around for more

E
is to be used, the MoF will have to raise it. It
than a decade. The problem which stood
cannot do so at anytime when MoD asks for
out, lies with the merit and workability of

M
it during the year.
the fund.

A
It will have to be done necessarily as a part
The objective of setting up a DMF is to make

I
of the budgetary process in the beginning of
sure that defence procurements do not suffer

L
on account of shortage of funds. But, in the the year. And that brings the case for setting
backdrop of underutilisation of funds, it is up a DMF back to square one.

R
rather weak to argue that the procurements

A
are affected by shortage of funds. Two, the unspent amount is withdrawn from
the Consolidated Fund of India and kept

P
Some would argue that underutilisation of aside in some account to be used as and
funds is not for real and that it is the result when required.

S
of manipulation by the Ministry of Finance

A
which deliberately delays the process of The problem with this move is that the

I
financial sanction for individual procurement
government does not earn as much as it
proposals.
spends, which implies that the amount
Also, it is difficult to visualise how the issues in question would largely come out of
of bureaucratic or ministry of finances borrowings.
financial sanction delay would be taken care
of by the DMF, unless the role of the MoF in It would make little sense to borrow money,
approving expenditure were to be eliminated pay interest on it, and keep it idle till such
simultaneously. time as the need arises for using it.
This can be done by delegating full powers to
Concluding remarks:
the defence ministry in relation to financial
sanctions. But even that would not solve the The Standing Committee on Defence has
problem of availability of funds. been assiduously advocating the setting up

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of the fund despite being informed of the Most reform proposals revolved around the
reasons why the idea was given up. five core issues of membership categories,
the question of the veto held by the five,
It has, in fact, advised the MoD to process regional representation, the size of an
the creation of DMF with suitably changed enlarged Council, and Council working
modalities so that the modernisation methods.
programme can be carried forward smoothly
at the desired pace without any need to seek G-4(Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) seek
the Parliamentary approval again and again. four permanent seats for themselves, and

T
one more seat for the African continent.
Apart from there being little discussion on

N
The coalition demands expansion of both
what kind of changes need to be made, the
categories of membership permanent and
question whether it will serve the intended

E
non-permanent so as to make the Council
purpose continues to be debatable.
more representative.

M
17. Indias UNSC Bid: Is it different In addition to G-4, some other coalitions
this time?

A
(Ex.UfC) have also proposed reforms in

I
What is the news? accordance with their own particular

L
interests and preferences.
On Nov 7, 2016, the United Nations General
Indias Aspiration: What would it take?

R
Assembly (UNGA) debated UN Security
Council (UNSC) reform. Indias quest for a permanent seat in the

A
UNSC has a long history stretching back to
Reports say that many states favoured Indias

P
two and a half decades.
candidature for permanent membership and
demanded that an updated UNSC reflect the India was one of the leading countries of

S
far reaching changes the world has witnessed the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), which

A
since the formation of the UN. initiated a draft resolution of 1992 in the

I
UNGA on equitable representation.
What were the demands and proposals?
A careful reading of the deliberations of the
The world has witnessed a redistribution of
UNGA on November 7, 2016 would suggest
power and emergence of new power centres, that nothing has changed at the ground level.
however, as a global institution to promote
international peace and security, the UNSC In a repeat of the scenario of past debates,
has not responded to these changes due to USA and Russia, are inflexibly opposed
many reasons. any alteration to the existing veto system.
France and the UK, extended their support
The only change hitherto has been an to reform. China, as in the past, took an
increase in the number of non-permanent ambiguous position.
members in the UNSC from six to ten, that
too as far back as 1965. The debate witnessed a division of opinion
among the P5 members, whose unanimous

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consent is a pre-requisite for any reform, However, looking at Indias engagements


particularly on the question of veto. with the UN combined with its growing
indifference towards multilateralism in the
While Russia continues to back Indias claim recent past, such a development is unlikely.
for a permanent seat from among the G-4, its
opposition to changes in veto has generated The second option is to push for Security
an apprehension that it is now inclined to Council reform without changing the current
support India as a permanent member only status of veto power.
without veto power.
Since having a seat without veto is almost
The possibility of changes in the positions of similar to not having a place in the Council,

T
the US and Russia are unlikely since they the likelihood of such a move from India is

N
are in a state of relative decline. even less.

E
Since it is their current status in the Council Third, is for India to accept the fact that,
that provides them pre-eminence on issues given the current pace and momentum,

M
related to international peace and security, Security Council reform is never going to
they are not expected to support any move happen and to consequently search for

I A
that reduces their say in global politics. alternatives to push the agenda of emerging
powers.

L
Moreover, reading the text of the November
7 debate makes it clear that additional Given the miserable fate of such alternatives,

R
permanent seats with veto power is at best for example, BRICS , this option would also

A
a distant possibility. be a great gamble.

P
The P5 are unlikely to approve the promotion 18. Security Council Resolution 2322
of any states to permanent status due to the

S
fact that such a change would eventually What is the news?

A
dilute their power.
On 12 December, 2016 the UN Security

I
What are the possible scenarios Council unanimously adopted a resolution
regarding Indias quest? on strengthening international judicial
cooperation in countering terrorism.
First, India takes the leadership of reform
calls and actively and relentlessly pushes Resolution 2322 aims to enhance the efficacy
other countries in that direction. of international legal and judicial systems
in their fight against terrorism through
Its latent power, remarkable economic growth, operational collaboration.
rapidly increasing defence capabilities,
status as a nuclear weapons power, and What are the major highlights?
contributions to UN peacekeeping all give
The Resolution emphasises five major issues
it the right and privilege to assume such a
related to counter terrorist activities:
responsibility.

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mutual legal assistance and extradition; As a means to curb financial assistance to


terrorist groups, it suggests that States make
the issue of foreign terrorist fighters and
returnees; financing of terrorism as a serious criminal
offense in domestic law, and also enhance
financing of terrorism; international cooperation to deny safe haven
increasing role of information technology to terror financiers.
in gathering and sharing evidence, and
It also proposes the integration of the
role of multilateral agencies such as INTERPOLs I-24/7 police information

T
UNDOC (United Nations Office on Drugs network beyond National Central Bureaus
and Crime) and INTERPOL in preventing

N
to other law enforcement entities such as.
terrorist activities.

E
The resolution also asks the States to
It emphasises the necessity of simplifying
ensure that their counter-terrorism laws are
bilateral and multilateral treaties of

M
compliant with international human rights
extradition and suggests the need for
and humanitarian laws.

A
mutual legal assistance in matters related

I
to counter-terrorism. Can the resolution strengthen

L
What were the majorly highlighted multilateral cooperation in counter-
issues? terrorism?

R
Resolution 2322 debates one of the most

A
The resolution underlines the importance of
international cooperation in stemming the significant practical challenges of countering

P
flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and their transnational terrorism, the lack of judicial
return from conflict zones. cooperation.

S
This was one of the fundamental problems in
It urges States to share available information

A
prosecuting most terrorism cases in the past,
regarding foreign terrorist fighters including

I
especially in cases where foreign terrorist
their biometric and biographic information
groups were involved.
to multilateral screening databases.
In most of the recent cases, including cases
At present, information sharing is primarily
in Mumbai, Paris, Istanbul and so on,
based on the bilateral legal assistance
significant components of the case, such as
mechanism between States.
evidence were spread across the jurisdictions
The Resolution also calls for the easing of of several States.
transfer of criminal proceedings from the
The lack of cooperation amongst police
court of one country to those countries where
forces, judiciary, and absence of international
the main act of terrorism took place.
databases has hampered terrorism cases
significantly.

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So, Resolution 2322 provides an opportunity Concluding remarks:


to strengthen the multilateral counter-
terrorism endeavours in many ways such as: In short, the Security Council resolution
on international judicial cooperation is a
the proposed judicial cooperation would help significant development in countering the
in mobilizing evidence to ensure that those scourge of terrorism.
evidence were gathered in a form which could
be used in courts. It can be viewed as the first step to overcome
the practical challenges associated with the
a systematic use of international databases prosecution of terrorists in their country of

T
would be helpful in preventing terrorists origin or elsewhere.
from entering from the territory of one State

N
to another. As the resolution says, the entire world

E
is facing a unique threat. Hence it seems
active legal cooperation at the international logical that the response should also be at
level, would open ways to end the stalemate

M
global level.
in extradition of wanted terrorists.

A
However, to make it work, it is necessary

I
Since the resolution has been initiated under
to cover the gap between adoption and

L
Chapter VII of the UN Charter, constructive
implementation of the resolution.
efforts are expected from member States to

R
enhance international judicial cooperation

A
in their fight against terrorism.

P
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A S
I

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