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1. Supercomputers Pratyush And Mihir

1.1. More on news

  • MoES has acquired a high performance computing (HPC) system which is an array of computers jointly hosted by IITM, Pune and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, Noida.

  • The HPC at Pune is named Pratyush with a capacity of 4 petaflops (a measure of a computer's processing speed expressed as a quadrillion floating point operations per second )and HPC at Noida named Mihir with capacity of 2.8 petaflops giving a total capacity of 6.8 petaflops.

  • It is India’s first multi-petaflop supercomputer and is the fourth fastest super-computer in the world which is dedicated to weather and climate research after Japan, U.S.A and United Kingdom.

  • It will also take India up from the present 365th position to top 30 in the infrastructural ranking of Top 500 HPC facilities in the world.

  • Other top five super computers of India are SahasraT (Cray XC40), Aaditya (IBM/Lenovo system), TIFR Colour Boson (Cray XC-30), IIT Delhi HPC and Param Yuva 2.

  • The HPC facility is expected to improve following services o Weather forecasts at block level over India which can predict extreme weather events

  • o of active or break spells of Monsoon

  • o High resolution coupled model for prediction of cyclones with more accuracy and lead time

  • o including marine water quality forecast

  • o with greater lead time

  • o Air Quality forecast and Climate projections

2. PSLV C40

Significance of the launch

  • The launch marks the roll out of the 100th satellite by ISRO It is also significant in the sense that India failed in its last attempt to launch its backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H on board PSLV- C39 failed.

  • It is the second time that ISRO will be achieving the two orbits feat. This was done through the “multiple burn technology” under which the rocket’s engine is switched off and then switched on to control its height.

  • It reinstates India’s position as a successful multiple satellite launcher.

  • Government recently also announced funding to develop an exclusive Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) to cater mini and micro satellites exclusivelyCartosat-2 series: It a earth observation satellite whose high resolution scene specific spot images will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps and change detection to bring out geographical Land Information Systems and Geographical Information System applications.

3. Nasa Missions For 2018

Major Projects

  • Parker Solar Probe

  • It will study how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.

  • It will travel directly into the sun's atmosphere about 4 million miles from its surface and thus help study Corona.

Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS)

  • SPARCS is a space telescope to study the habitability and high-energy environment around M-dwarf stars.

  • o Dwarf stars are generally cooler and they may be surrounded by many habitable zones.

  • o The telescope will study the Ultra-Violet light emitted by dwarf stars.

 

GOLD and ICON mission:

  • o They refer to Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) and Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) respectively.

  • o ICON will be in low-Earth orbit at 560 km above Earth and GOLD will be at 35398 km above earth surface in a geostationary orbit.

  • o They will study the Ionosphere region or the Geo Magnetic Storm: A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs due to exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth.

  • They create beautiful auroras or the Polar Lights, but they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and pipelines.

  • Boundary area between Earth and the  space where electrically-charged electrons and ions by the Sun’s radiation are present.

  • The missions will help in understanding  how upper atmosphere changes in  response to hurricanes and geomagnetic  storms.

 

Dwarf Stars

  • A dwarf star form at the end of star’s evolutionary phase. It has a mass of up to about 20 sols (Our Sun), and luminosity of up to about 20,000 sols.

  • Chandrasekhar limit is the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star and a mass greater than the limit will turn the star into a neutron star or black hole at the end of its life.

 

Other Projects

  • Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to  study exoplanets in orbit around the brightest  stars in the sky. TESS will monitor more than 00,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits.

  • InSight Mars lander for Mars (Red Planet) which will study the interior of Mars and listen for Marsquakes.

  • OSIRIS-Rex: launched earlier in 2016 is scheduled to arrive at the near-Earth asteroid Bennu in August 2018.

  • Next generation of ICESat-2 and GRACE satellites to observe Earth’s ice sheets, sea level, and underground water reserves.

4. Blue Moon

About the news

  • It was a rare moment as blue moon, a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse fell on same day after more than 150 years.

  • Blue Moon: When two full moons appear in the same calendar month, the second is termed a “blue moon". First full moon occurred on Jan 1, 2018.

  • Super Moon: occurs when the full moon is at the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, which is also called the perigee. The moon appears 30% brighter and 14% bigger than the apogee full moon

  • Blood Moon: The moon turns into red color during the height of the eclipse as some light does reach it even though the moon is in the shadow of the Earth. Fine particles in the atmosphere scatter (Rayleigh scattering) the blue component of solar spectrum, & what reaches us is the longer wavelength red light.

  • A lunar eclipse happens whenever the moon passes through Earth’s shadow, also known as its umbra.

5. The Remove debris Mission

Significance

  • There is almost 7,000 tons of active space debris—from old satellites and spacecraft to lost components and spent rocket parts-orbiting Earth at any given moment which may take years to disintegrate.

  • More debris, could lead to more collisions - a cascade effect known as the Kessler syndrome which may render space eventually inoperable for important services like navigation, communications, weather forecasting etc.

  • The Remove Debris satellite platform will showcase four methods for release, capture and deorbit two space debris targets, called DebriSATs:

  • Net capture: It involves a net that will be deployed at the target CubeSat.

  • Harpoon Capture: Which will be launched at a target plate made of “representative satellite panel materials”

  • Vision-based navigation: Using cameras and LiDAR (light detection and ranging), the platform will send data about the debris back to the ground for processing.

  • De-orbiting process: As it enters Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft will burn up, leaving no debris behind.

  • The mission will demonstrate key Active Debris Removal (ADR) technologies in orbit which will have significance for future missions as well.

5.1. Sagarmala Initiative

  • It is an initiative Ministry of Shipping and has 4 Pillars:

  • o Port modernization & new port development

  • o Port connectivity enhancement through rail corridors, freight-friendly expressways and inland waterways

  • o Port-linked industrialization through CEZs, SEZs and Manufacturing Clusters and

  • o Coastal Community development

  • It is estimated that Sagarmala could boost India’s merchandise exports to $110 billion by 2025 and create an estimated 10 million new jobs.

5.2. Other Steps taken by government

  • Permitting 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under the automatic route

  • Allowing income tax incentives under the Income Tax Act, 1961

  • Formation of joint ventures between major ports and foreign ports, non-major ports and private companies

  • Proposal for replacement of the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 with the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016

  • Standardisation of bidding documents.

5.3. Issues related to PPPs in Port development Sector

  • There have been various challenges that have inhibited private sector participation in port development in India.

  • Inadequacies in Infrastructure: Existing ports have poor road network within port area, inadequate cargo-handling equipment and machinery, navigational aids, insufficient dredging capacity and lack of technical expertise for port development

  • Sharing of project risks: The risks related to logistics sector or government policies are currently born solely by concessionaire which warrants an urgent intervention.

  • Financial Unviability: Greenfield port projects in India are usually in remote locations requiring government support for basic infrastructure and access to the site.

  • Lack of Market determined tariffs: Currently tariffs for Major ports are fixed by Tariff Authority of Major Ports (TAMP) which has no standard methodology in applying tariff regulations to major ports and terminals.

  • Absence of a grievance redressal mechanism: The current MCA does not have provisions for a grievance redressal mechanism thus parties end up in litigations which lingers the issues for years and reduce efficiency.

  • Dominance of Public Sector: The public sector has maintained dominance in the sector and excessive regulation of sector has inhibited competition.

  • Labour Issues: Most of the major ports are overstaffed with unskilled and untrained labour and the development of such ports suffer due to frequent labour strikes, inefficiency and low labour productivity

5.4. Key Provisions of Revised MCA

  • Exit clause: It provides an exit route to developers where they can divest their equity up to 100 per cent after completion of two years from the Commercial Operation Date (COD).

  • Changes in Royalty arrangements: The royalty to the developer will be charged on basis of per million tonne of cargo handled and will be linked to wholesale price index thus reducing discretion of tariff setting by TAMP.

  • Lower Land Charges: Land rent has been reduced from 200% to 120% for additional land.

  • Mechanism for Grievance redressal: MCA envisage constitution of the Society for Affordable Redressal of Disputes - Ports (SAROD-PORTS) as dispute resolution mechanism.

  • Enabling Capacity expansion: The concessionaire would be free to deploy higher capacity equipment, facilities, technology and carry out value engineering for higher productivity and cost saving.

  • New definition of "Change in Law" to provide for compensation to concessionaire in case of changes in TAMP guidelines, labour laws or environmental laws.

  • A complaint portal for port users and a monitoring arrangement has also been introduced for keeping periodical status report of the project.

 

Implications

  • The revised Model Concession Agreement will attract investment for port development.

  • Easier exit norms will simplify the route for mergers and acquisitions in Port sector.

  • It will also result in better utilisation of physical assets by private developers as they can start operations before getting all certifications.

  • It will also bring the provisions of MCA in line with Major Ports Authority Bill, 2016 which had provided that concessionaire will be free to fix the actual tariffs based on market conditions.

6. UDAN 2

Details

  • The States with maximum number of airports and helipads which will see activation under UDAN 2 scheme include Uttarakhand (15), Uttar Pradesh (9), Arunachal Pradesh (8), Himachal Pradesh (6), Assam (5) and Manipur (5).

  • This was the first time bids were received from helicopter operators under the scheme.

  • The scheme will provide around 26.5 lakh seats per annum that will be covered with airfare cap of ₹2,500/hr of flying. In addition, around two lakh RCS (regional connectivity scheme) seats per annum are expected to be provided through helicopter operations.

  • The Centre has decided not to increase the ₹ 5,000 regional air connectivity levy charged from airlines flying on major routes to fund the UDAN scheme. It would now be partly funded by the dividend that AAI (Airports Authority of India) paid to the Government of India.

About ‘UDAN’ scheme

  • UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market. The objective of the scheme was “Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik”.

 

Key Features

  • UDAN will be applicable on flights which cover between 200 km and 800 km with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions.

  • The scheme seeks to reserve a minimum number of UDAN seats i.e. seats at subsidized rates and also cap the fare for short distance flights.

  • This would be achieved through two means:

  • A financial stimulus in the form of concessions from Central and State governments and airport operators like tax concessions, exemptions from parking and landing charges etc.

  • A Viability Gap Funding to the interested airlines to kick-off operations from such airports so that the passenger fares are kept affordable. Such support would be withdrawn after a three year period, as by that time, the route is expected to become self-sustainable.

  • A Regional Connectivity Fund would be created to meet the VGF requirements under the scheme. The RCF levy per departure will be applied to certain domestic flights along with 20% contribution from states.

  • For balanced regional growth, the allocations under the scheme would be equitably spread across the five geographical regions of the country viz. North, West, South, East and North-east.

  • The scheme UDAN envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports.

  • The scheme would be in operation for a period of 10 years.

Significance

  • The scheme would ensure affordability, connectivity, growth and development.

  • This would help in generating employment.

  • It provides an additional business opportunity by increasing the potential for moving existing perishable cargo, fragile goods and high-value export-oriented products by air.

  • The state governments would reap the benefit of development of remote areas, enhance trade and commerce and more tourism expansion through the introduction of small aircrafts and helicopters.

Criticisms

  • Airlines represent luxury. In a poor country like India it seems a case of misplaced priorities when governments and passengers have to bear the cost of additional subsidies to connect regional air routes.

  • India is the fastest growing aviation market in terms of passenger traffic. State subsidies, therefore, are best used elsewhere.

7. PICTORIAL WARNING ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS

Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling Rules) amendment rule 2017.

  • It was mandated that “the specified health warning shall cover at least eighty-five per cent (85%) of the principal display area of the package.

  • Sixty per cent (60%) shall cover pictorial health warning and twenty-five per cent (25%) shall cover textual health warning 

 

Other initiatives to control tobacco use

  • India had ratified WHO the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2004.

  • MPOWER- (a policy package intended to reduce the demand of Tobacco) initiative of WHO is being implemented in India.

  • National Tobacco Control Programme: for greater awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use and tobacco control law.

  • National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) nodal agency for overall policy formulation, planning, monitoring and evaluation of the different activities.

  • The Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Act 2000: prohibited tobacco advertising in state controlled electronic media and publications including cable television.

  • Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Production Supply and distribution) act 2003: prohibition of smoking in public places, selling to minors, and ban on sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of all educational institutions.

  • Prevention of Food Adulteration Act mandates statutory warnings regarding harmful health effects for paan masala and chewing tobacco.

  • Higher Tax: Under GST, there will be an additional cess charged on the tobacco-related products, over and above the GST charged at the rate of 28%.

 

Related Information

  • India is the second largest consumer and producer of tobacco-based products.

  • Nearly one million tobacco-related deaths take place in India every year. The tobacco related health burden amounts to about one lakh crore rupees and government's earning from tobacco excise duty is only 17 % of health burden.

  • High percentage of chewable tobacco used by economically weaker section.

  • According to Global Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2009, nearly 15% Children in India in the 13-15 age group used some form of tobacco.

  • According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17 62% of cigarette smokers and 54% of bidi smokers had thought of quitting because of the 85% warnings on the packets.

  • The health warnings health knowledge about the harms of tobacco, prevent relapse in former smokers and deter youth and adults from initiating use and experimentation.

  • Recently the government also asked the Supreme court to classify tobacco as “”, which is a Latin phrase for “outside commerce” o have been consistently challenged by industry. This move is part of the government’s effort to regulate the tobacco companies looking to challenge tough regulations pertaining to the industry.

Impact of Tobacco

  • On Health: Biological- It causes Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like ischemic heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases.

  • Psychological: Low emotional stability and risk taking behavior are more common in tobacco users. Existence of some mental disorders also increases the risk of tobacco use.

  • Effects on New born: Maternal tobacco use during pregnancy and exposure of child to second hand smoke in childhood is known to be a risk factor for various conditions like increased risk of allergies, high BP in childhood, increased likelihood of obesity, stunted growth, poor lung function, etc.

  • Social and Environmental: Parental influence, lower education status, attraction towards role models, cultural practices, etc.

  • On Wealth: The total costs attributable to tobacco use as on 2011 was estimated to be 12% more than the combined state and central government expenditure on healthcare in that year, and 1.16% of India’s GDP.

8. India's Spending On R&D

Details

  • While India spent 0.69 per cent of its GDP on R&D in 2014-15, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa spent 1.24%, 1.19%, 2.05 % and 0.73% respectively while USA (2.8%) and S Korea (4.2%) spend much more.

  • India topped the list with regard to the government’s participation in R&D but hit the bottom in terms of participation of institutions of higher education.

  • The central government accounted for 45.1 per cent of total expenditure, followed by private sector industries (38.1 per cent), state governments (7.4 per cent), higher education sector (3.9 per cent) and the public sector industries (5.5 per cent).

  • Women’s participation in extra mural R&D projects has increased significantly from a mere 13% in 2000-01 to 29 % in 2014-15.

  • The country's share in global research publications increased from 2.2 per cent in 2000 to 3.7 per cent in 2013 while the number of researchers per million population increased from 110 in 2000 to 218 in 2015.

  • Recently Ministry of Science & Technology announced four new schemes to promote young scientists and researchers in the country.

8.1. About the schemes

Teacher Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE) Scheme

  • It aims to tap the latent potential of faculty working in state universities, colleges and private academic institutions who are well trained but have difficulty in pursuing their research due to reasons like lack of facilities, funding and guidance.

  • The scheme facilitates mobility of such faculty members to carryout research in well-established public funded institution such as IITs, IISc, NITs, CSIR, ICAR, etc. Up to 500 TAs (Teacher Associates) will be supported under this scheme.

 

Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship (OVDF)

  • This has been instituted for enhancing the international mobility of Indian research students with potential to create a talented pool of globally trained manpower.

  • It offers opportunities for up to 100 PhD students admitted in the Indian institutions for gaining exposure and training in overseas universities for period up to 12 months during their doctoral research.

 

Distinguished Investigator Award (DIA)

  • This has been initiated to recognize and reward Principal Investigators (PIs) of Science and Engineering Research Board/Department of Science and Technology projects who have performed remarkably well.

  • It is a one-time career award devised to specifically cater to the younger scientists who have not received any other prestigious awards or fellowships.

Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) scheme

  • This has been initiated to encourage, empower and endow popular science writing through newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media, etc. by young PhD Scholars.

  • The scheme aims to tap the tremendous potential in the country to popularize & communicate science and also to inculcate scientific temperament in the masses.

Analysis

  • The lack of focus on R&D is costing India dearly with even home grown companies such as the Tatas choosing to invest millions in globally recognised institutions such as Harvard and Yale for top-end research instead of betting on India.

  • Lack of quality faculty and low research capability is plaguing the Indian research scenario. Therefore, the first step should be a public-private initiative to launch faculty development programmes in leading universities in India and focus on more outcome-based research.

  • Additionally, industry should participate in developing the entrepreneurial culture in India by setting up incubation centres and research parks for innovative research.

  • Other steps may include investing in educating its youth in science and mathematics, taking a more mission-driven approach in areas such as dark matter, genomics, etc.

9. Women Set To Be Inducted In Territorial Army

Context

  • Section 6 of the Territorial Army Act,1948 lays down rules on who is eligible for enrolment in the Territorial Army, which is also known as the second line of defense after the regular Army.

  • As per the rules, TA recruited only gainfully employed men and thus barring women’s entry in infantry units in army.

  • A PIL under article 226 of constitution (power of HCs to issue writs) was filed in Delhi High Court claiming that not allowing women to join amounted to “institutionalized discrimination” and went against the Constitution’s spirit.

Observations of Delhi High Court

  • The two judge High Court bench held that policy of restriction on enrolment of women is ultra vires of  Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

  • It also held that “any person” in Section 6 shall include both men and women.

Inclusion of women in Defence forces

Pros

  • Ability is not gender specific- Women  soldiers have found to be equally  capable as men after proper training. Also, in the 21st century battles aren’t always fought with swords and guns.

  • Influx of applicants leading to a bigger and better pool of candidates.

  • Effectiveness- The blanket restriction for women limits the ability of commanders in theater to pick the most capable person for the job. Central government has also sanctioned the raising of a Territorial Army (TA) battalion to clean Ganga.

  • The initiative has been taken under National Mission to clean Ganga aiming to clean it by 2020.

  • The task force comprises ex-servicemen, and will be based in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.

  • The funding for the initiative has been provided by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

  • Nine Ecological Task Force (ETF) battalions of TA have been raised to execute specific environment-related projects as part of Namami Gange Programme till now.

  • Some key functions of the task force are going to be:

  • To manage public awareness campaigns

  • Patrol sensitive river areas for the protection of biodiversity

  • Keep a tab on the river pollution levels

  • Assist the government in enforcing pollution control measures,

  • Support local civil administration and police in managing the ghats and

  • Provide support and assistance if and when there is a flood or natural disaster in the region.

 

Cons

  • Physical incapability for combat is the most common example provided against women joining army.

  • Abuse by colleagues and, if captured, by the enemy are conditions that lays down an ethical conundrum regarding the issue.

  • The traditional mindset and belief where men have problems and issues accepting orders from women are yet another hindrance in their acceptance in defence positions.

 

Current Status of women in Defence forces:

  • The Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the IAF allow women in various courses but till recently restricted their entry into combat roles.

  • Indian Airforce and Indian Navy in 2015 and Indian Army in 2017 allowed women in combat roles taking cue from various western countries and further instil gender parity in Defence forces in India.

10. Online portals ‘nari’ and ‘e-samvaad’

NARI

  • Due to scattered information on various women centric schemes/legislations there is a lack of awareness among people regarding the same. To address this problem government launched NARI portal as a single window access to information and services.

  • It is a Mission Mode Project under the National E-Governance Plan (designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology).

 

e-samvaad Portal

  • It is a platform for NGOs and civil society to interact with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) by providing their feedback, suggestions, put up grievances, share best practices etc.

  • This will help in formulation of effective policies and measures for welfare of women and children.

11. Habitat Rights To Pvtgs

Details

  • Mankidia is a marginalised group that  critically depends on making rope / bags with siali fibre that’s richly available in Similipal Tiger Reseve.

  • In Odisha, processes have been initiated for according habitat rights to PVTGs such as Bondas, Didai, Hill Khadia and Paudi Bhuyan.

  • Had it been approved, the Mankidia would have been the first PVTG to have habitat rights.

  • Mankidia would now be deprived of the non-timber forest produce for their livelihood.

11.1 Reasons for not providing rights

  • The State Forest Department has objected on grounds that tribals could be attacked by wild animals.

  • Further, habitat rights would create barriers for free movement of tigers and other animals.

  • The District Level Committee (DLC) advocated that habitat rights to PVTG should be confined to STR’s buffer zone.

11.2. Criticisms of the move

  • According to FRA activists there is no record of people from Mankidia tribe facing wildlife attack.

  • “‘Habitat’ as defined under Section 2(h) of the FRA (Forest Rights Act) includes the area comprising the customary habitat and such other habitats in reserved forests and protected forests of primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities and other forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes”.

11.3. About Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups. They were later renamed as PVTG.

  • States/UTs submit proposals to the Central Ministry of Tribal Welfare for identification of PVTGs.

  • Some basic characteristics of PVTGs are:

  • Mostly homogenous

  • A small population

  • Relatively physically isolated

  • Primitive Social institutions

  • Absence of written language

  • Relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change

  • Their livelihood depends on food gathering, Non Timber Forest Produce, hunting, livestock rearing, shifting cultivation and artisan works.

What is the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006?

  • It came into force in 2006. The Nodal Ministry for the Act is Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

  • It has been enacted to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation of forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have been residing in such forests for generations, but whose rights could not be recorded.

  • It not only recognizes the rights to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood, but also grants several other rights to ensure their control over forest resources.

  • The Act also provides for diversion of forest land for public utility facilities managed by the Government, such as schools, dispensaries, fair price shops, electricity and telecommunication lines, water tanks, etc. with the recommendation of Gram Sabhas.

12. Report Of National Commission For Nomadic Tribes

Background

  • Government of India has constituted a National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic & Semi-Nomadic Tribes with a mandate to identify and prepare a state-wise list of DNT/NT, apart from assessing the status of their inclusion in SC/ST/OBC, identification of areas where they are densely populated, reviewing the progress of development and suggesting appropriate measures for their upliftment.

 

Who are Denotified tribes?

  • The people, who were notified as Criminal Tribes during British rule and were denotified after independence in 1952, have been known as denotified tribes, based on the report of Ananthasayanam Ayyangar in 1949-50. There are also many nomadic tribes who were part of these DNT communities.

  • “These communities were the most oppressed” although they did not undergo the social untouchability as in the case of caste.

12.1.  Problems faced by these tribes:

  • People of these communities continue to be stereotyped. A large number of them have been labeled ex-criminal tribes.

  • They also face alienation and economic hardships. Most of their traditional occupations such as snake charming, street acrobatics and performing with animals have been notified as criminal activity making it difficult for them to earn a livelihood.

  • Many of the denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes are spread among SC/ST/OBC but are still not classified anywhere and have no access to socioeconomic benefits whether education, health, housing or otherwise.

  • Grievances of these groups include food, drinking water, sanitation, education, health, housing, poor infrastructure, etc. Many also complain about not getting caste certificates, not having ration cards, voter ID cards, aadhaar cards, etc.

  • There are many anomalies in terms of identification of these communities, from state to state. There is a lack of awareness about these tribes and about authority looking after their grievances.

  • As a result of all these problems many communities are facing decline in population.

12.2. Recommendations of the report

  • Since basic census data is not available on these tribes/communities there is a need to undertake a socio-economic survey through some reputed social science institutes.

  • The Centre should carve out sub-categories DNT-SC, DNT-ST and DNT-OBC, with dedicated sub-quota for them. While sub-categorisation of SCs and STs may prove complicated, it can be done immediately among the OBCs since the Centre has already formed a commission headed by Justice Rohini Kumar to sub-divide the central list of OBCs according to the developmental status of member communities.

  • A permanent commission may be constituted for the purpose which may take care of these communities/tribes independently on regular basis.

  • Seeking "destigmatisation" of denotified tribes, the panel has recommended that the Centre repeal the Habitual Offenders Act of 1952.

Way forward

  • Some suggestions for up liftment of these tribes include:

  • Unification of DNT/NT in one category,

  • Special DNT/NT economic plan in the budget,

  • Housing facility, agricultural land, livelihood promotion,

  • Facilities for education, health, protection of women,

  • Protection from police harassment, abolition of child labour and bondedlabour, abolition of Habitual Offenders Act, etc.

12.3. Habitual Offenders Act of 1952

  • It recommended suitable steps to be taken for amelioration of the pitiable conditions of the Criminal Tribes rather than stigmatising them as criminals. As a result, the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 was repealed in 1952 and the Habitual Offenders Act was enacted in its place.

January Science and Technology

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