Topic 1 : Economics Nobel 2023
Why in news: The Nobel Prize in Economics for 2023 was awarded to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University professor, for having advanced our understanding of women’s labour market outcomes.
- Goldin’s pathbreaking work has shed light on the participation of women in the labour market over the past 200 years.
- She also explained why the pay gap between men and women refuses to close even as many women are likely to be better educated than men in high income countries.
- While her research focused on the US, her findings are applicable to many other countries.
- Older data gave more perspective
- Goldin reached back to older data to reveal that before industrialisation, more women were likely to have been involved in economic activity related to agriculture and various cottage industries.
- With greater industrialisation, work was concentrated in factories, and women found it difficult to leave their homes and travel to work.
- This trend reversed in the early 20th century, with the growth of the services sector.
- The limitations of marriage
- Goldin’s work found that by the beginning of the 20th century, while around 20 per cent of women were gainfully employed, the share of married women was only five per cent.
- Goldin noted that legislation known as “marriage bars” often prevented married women from continuing their employment as teachers or office workers
- Goldin also demonstrated that there was another important factor in the slow reduction of the gap between men’s and women’s rates of employment, namely women’s expectations for their future careers.
- Women’s expectations were based on the experience of their mothers, and thus their educational and professional decisions were not taken with the expectation of having a long, uninterrupted, and fruitful career.
- Contraceptive pills
- By the end of the 1960s, as easy-to-use contraceptive pills became more popular, women could exercise greater control over childbirth and actually plan careers and motherhood.
- Women also ventured beyond the services sector, studying subjects like law, economics, and medicine.
- Now, women were catching up in terms of education and fields of employment.
- However, one glaring gap still remained and continues to this day — the gender-based pay gap.
- Pay gap and parenthood
- Till the time men and women worked in factories, where the pay depended on the day’s countable output, the pay gap was not too high.
- It became wider when monthly pay contracts came into the picture.
- One factor significantly impacted how men were paid versus women — childbirth.
- Once a child was born, they were also punished for this at the work front in terms of a slower rise on the payscale.
About the Economics Nobel
- A Nobel Prize in Economics was not part of Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will that established the other prizes.
- The prize is based on a donation received by the Nobel Foundation in 1968 from Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank), on the bank’s 300th anniversary.
- It is formally called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
- Goldin is only the third woman to win this honour.
- In 2009, Elinor Ostrom got the award along with Oliver E Williamson.
- In 2019, Esther Duflo shared it with Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer.
Topic 2: Aadi Mahotsav
Why in news: Union Tribal Affairs Minister inaugurates National Tribal Festival – ‘Aadi Mahotsav’ in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
About ‘Aadi Mahotsav’:
- The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Limited (TRIFED), which is part of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, organises the annual ‘Aadi Mahotsav’.
- It honours the spirit of tribal culture, crafts, gastronomy, trade, and traditional art.
- It is a national level tribal festival that honours the products, culture, and heritage of Indian tribes.
|Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Limited (TRIFED)It is a national-level apex body operating under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.It offers services to tribal communities, enabling them to market their products effectively.It aims to equip tribal people with the necessary knowledge, tools, and resources to streamline their operations.It also aims to promote the socioeconomic development of tribal communities by marketing tribal products, including metal crafts, tribal textiles, pottery, tribal paintings, and more.|
Topic 3: The state of India’s Scheduled Areas
Why in news: India’s 705 Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities — making up 8.6% of the country’s population — live in 26 States and six Union Territories.
- Article 244, pertaining to the administration of Scheduled and Tribal Areas, is the single most important constitutional provision for STs.
- Article 244(1) provides for the application of Fifth Schedule provisions to Scheduled Areas notified in any State other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
- The Sixth Schedule applies to these States as per Article 244(2).
What are Scheduled Areas?
- Scheduled Areas cover 11.3% of India’s land area, and have been notified in 10 States:
- Andhra Pradesh,
- Madhya Pradesh,
- Maharashtra, and
- Himachal Pradesh.
- Exclusion of certain areas:
- In 2015, Kerala proposed to notify 2,133 habitations, five gram panchayats, and two wards in five districts as Scheduled Areas but it awaits the Indian government’s approval.
- Despite persistent demands by Adivasi organisations, villages have been left out in the 10 States with Scheduled Areas and in other States with ST populations.
- As a result, 59% of India’s STs remain outside the purview of Article 244.
- They are denied rights under the laws applicable to Scheduled Areas, including the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 and the Biological Diversity Act 2002.
- Non-implementation of Bhuria committee recommmendations:
- In 1995, the Bhuria Committee, constituted to recommend provisions for the extension of panchayat raj to Scheduled Areas, recommended including these villages, but this is yet to be done.
- The absence of viable ST-majority administrative units has been the standard bureaucratic response.
How are Scheduled Areas governed?
- The President of India notifies India’s Scheduled Areas.
- The Fifth Schedule confers powers exclusively on the President to declare any area to be a Scheduled Area.
- In 2006, the Supreme Court held that the identification of Scheduled Areas is an executive function.
- In 2016, the Jharkhand High Courtdismissed a challenge to the notification of a Scheduled Area because the ST population there was less than 50% in some blocks.
- The court observed that the declaration of a Scheduled Area is within the exclusive discretion of the President.
- An advisory council:
- States with Scheduled Areas need to constitute a Tribal Advisory Council with up to 20 ST members.
- They will advise the Governor on matters referred to them regarding ST welfare.
- Powers of Governor:
- The Governor will then submit a report every year to the President regarding the administration of Scheduled Areas.
- The Governor can repeal or amend any law enacted by Parliament and the State Legislative Assembly in its application to the Scheduled Area of that State.
- The Governor can also make regulations for a Scheduled Area, especially to prohibit or restrict the transfer of tribal land by or among members of the STs, and regulate the allotment of land to STs and money-lending to STs.
- Powers of central government:
- The national government can give directions to the State regarding the administration of Scheduled Areas.
- Application of PESA:
- It was only when Parliament enacted the provisions in various laws applicable to Scheduled Areas, including the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, or PESA, in 1996 that the intent of the Constitution actually came alive.
- PESA empowered the gram sabhas to exercise substantial authority through direct democracy, and stated that structures at the higher level do not assume the powers and authority of the gram sabha.
How are Scheduled Areas identified?
- Neither the Constitution nor any law provides any criteria to identify Scheduled Areas.
- Based on the 1961 Dhebar Commission Report, the guiding norms for declaring an area as a Scheduled area are:
- preponderance of tribal population;
- compactness and reasonable size of the area;
- a viable administrative entity such as a district, block or taluk; and
- economic backwardness of the area relative to neighbouring areas.
- No law prescribes the minimum percentage of STs in such an area nor a cut-off date for its identification.
- The 2002 Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission had recommended that all revenue villages with 40% and more tribal population according to the 1951 Census may be considered as Scheduled Area.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs communicated this to the States in 2018 for their consideration.
- Compactness of an area means that all the proposed villages need to be contiguous with each other or with an existing Scheduled Area.
- If not, they will be left out.
- But contiguity is not a mandatory demarcating criterion.
- One example is Kerala’s pending proposal, which ignores the conditions.
- The Bhuria Committee recognised a face-to-face community, a hamlet or a group of hamlets managing its own affairs to be the basic unit of self-governance in Scheduled Areas.
- But it also noted that the most resource rich tribal-inhabited areas have been divided up by administrative boundaries, pushing them to the margins.
- Therefore, determining the unit of the area to be considered gave way to arbitrary politico-administrative decisions.
PESA gave the solution:
- PESA’s enactment finally settled this ambiguity in law.
- The Act defined a ‘village’ as ordinarily consisting of a habitation or a group of habitations, or a hamlet or a group of hamlets comprising a community and managing its affairs in accordance with traditions and customs.
- All those whose names are included in the electoral rolls in such a village constituted the gram sabha.
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, also known as the FRA Act, adopted this definition.
- Here, too, the gram sabhas are the statutory authority to govern the forests under their jurisdiction.
- As a result, the definition of a village expanded beyond the Scheduled Areas to include forest fringes and forest villages as well.
- However, gram sabhas are yet to demarcate their traditional or customary boundaries on revenue lands in the absence of a suitable law.
- FRA 2006 requires them to demarcate ‘community forest resource’, which is the customary common forest land within the traditional or customary boundaries of the village or seasonal use of landscape in the case of pastoral communities, including reserved forests, protected forests and protected areas such as Sanctuaries and National Parks to which the community had traditional access.
- The traditional or customary boundary within revenue and forest lands (where applicable) would constitute the territorial jurisdiction of the village in the Scheduled Area.
- Considering the incongruous villages:
- All habitations or groups of habitations outside Scheduled Areas in all States and Union Territories where STs are the largest social group will need to be notified as Scheduled Areas irrespective of their contiguity.
- Extension of community forest resource:
- The geographical limit of these villages will need to be extended to the ‘community forest resource’ area on forest land under the FRA 2006 where applicable.
- It also need to be extended to the customary boundary within revenue lands made possible through suitable amendments to the relevant State laws.
- Redrawing of the boundary limits:
- The geographical limits of the revenue village, panchayat, taluka, and district will need to be redrawn so that these are fully Scheduled Areas.
Topic 4: Why Gandhi opposed a Jewish nation-state in Palestine
Why in news: Amidst the latest war in the history of Israel and Palestine, we look back at what Gandhi had to say on this, in Gandhi’s own words, “very difficult question”.
Gandhi’s sympathy towards the Jewish people:
- The Mahatma always made it clear that he had deep sympathies for the Jewish people who had historically been unjustly persecuted for their religion.
- He also wrote that the German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history.
- He expressed his concern with Britain’s policy of placating Adolf Hitler at the time (before World War II broke out).
- The Mahatma declared that for the cause of humanity and to prevent the persecution of the Jewish people, even a war with Germany would be completely justified.
Opinion for a Zionist state in Palestine:
- He said that it is wrong and inhumane to impose the Jews on the Arabs.
- It would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.
- His opposition to the creation of a Zionist state in Palestine was based on two principalbeliefs.
- First, that Palestine was already home to Arab Palestinians, and the settlement of Jews, which Britain actively enabled, was fundamentally violent.
- Second, Gandhi felt that the idea of a Jewish homeland was fundamentally antithetical towards their fight for greater rights elsewhere in the world.
Gandhi’s position on Israel influenced India’s foreign policy:
- The Mahatma’s position was in no way was unique.
- Leaders across the Arab world and anti-imperialists beyond were appalled by Britain’s administration of Palestine, and the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised Jews a homeland in the British Mandate.
- Gandhi’s opinions, and his own anti-imperialism had a profound impact on Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, and was responsible for shaping the country’s foreign policy for decades.
- In many ways, Nehru inherited this perspective from Mahatma Gandhi.
- India voted against UN Resolution 181 which partitioned Palestine between Jews and Arabs.
- While it did recognise the state of Israel in 1950, official diplomatic relations were not established till 1992, under Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
Topic 5: Garba folk dance
Context: Women in traditional attire rehearses Garba folk dance, ahead of the Navratri festival, in Ahmedabad.
About Garba dance:
- Garba is a dance form native to Gujarat, performed in honour the Hindu Deity of Divinity, Goddess Durga.
- Though Garba is mainly an event for Navaratri celebrations, this folk dance is performed on almost every special occasion in Gujarat as a sacred tradition.
- Even though men participate in some of these dances, Garba performers are typically women and young girls.
- Origin of Garba
- The term “Garba” comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “womb” or “deep” and bears a deep symbolic interpretation.
- Garba is also known as Garbha, Garbha Deep and Garbhi, varying with local dialects of language.
- The dance celebrates fertility and is performed as a tribute to womanhood.
- Garba in Indian Mythology
- In Hindu mythology, when Goddess Durga defeated Evil, Navaratri was celebrated to commemorate her victory and Garba was an integral part of expressing the deity’s power.
- Dandiya sticks used in Garba signify the goddess’ sword and invincibility.
- Types of Garba Dance
- According to the Gujarati language, taali Garba and tran taali Garba are the two types of the dance forms meaning 2-clap Garba and 3-clap Garba respectively.
- It is mandatory to perform Garba barefoot and dancers do it on all kinds of surfaces.
- Traditional Costumes of Garba
- The traditional costume for males is kediyu which consists of a kafni pajama, a round kurta and a turban embellished with sequins for the head.
- Women wear chaniya choli which is a three-piece dress.
Topic 6: Bima Vahaks
Why in news: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) issued guidelines on Bima Vahaks, the women-centric, dedicated distribution channel to enhance insurance inclusion with a focus on rural areas.
About Bima Vahak:
- Bima Vahak is another initiative by the IRDAI which would help reach the last mile.
- Each Gram Panchayat would have a ‘Bima Vahak’ who would be tasked to sell and service simple parametric bundled insurance products.
- Bima Vahak intends to form a women-centric insurance distribution channel.
- The initiative is likely to foster greater trust and build awareness about insurance products in the rural areas of India.
|What is IRDAI?The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) is an autonomous and statutory body which is responsible for managing and regulating insurance and re-insurance industry in India.Irdai is a 10-member body-a chairman,five full-time members andfour part-time members.It was constituted under an Act of Parliament in 1999.Headquarters: Hyderabad.Role:It has to protect the interests of insurance policy holders and ensure that they are treated in a just manner.It also has to monitor policy issuers to ensure that the common man’s interests are not subverted.|
Topic 7: Joint Hadr Exercise Chakravat
Why in news: The Annual Joint HADR Exercise (AJHE) is being hosted by the Indian Navy at Goa.
- Since its first edition in 2015, the Annual Joint HADR Exercise, CHAKRAVAT, has transformed itself into a multi-agency endeavor.
- It involves participation of all three Services, Paramilitary Forces, as well as several disaster response organisations, NGOs, academic institutions and international organisations.
- The 2023 edition would further synergise efforts at the national level among all stakeholders, as well as witness participation from eight countries of the Indian Ocean Region.
- IOR countries includes:
- India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Thailand.
- IOR countries includes:
- The exercise has been conducted by Indian Army, Indian Navy (IN) and Indian Air Force (IAF) in rotation since 2016.
- The last edition of the exercise was conducted at Agra by IAF. The 2023 edition of the exercise from 09 to 11 Oct 23.
Topic 8: Israel-Saudi agreement
Why in news: The recent tensions between Israel and Hamas can affect the deal brokered by the US that would formalise ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
About the deal:
- The US has been working for months to broker a deal that would improve relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia
- The highlight of the deal is that Saudi Arabia will recognise Israel for the first time since the latter’s establishment in 1948.
- The kingdom has so far shied away from formalising ties with the Jewish state primarily because of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
- Since the beginning, the Saudis have been demanding Palestinian statehood.
- Saudi Arabia wants an agreement with the US that would be as close as possible to a mutual defence pact — in which any attack on the kingdom would be seen by Washington as an attack on the US.
- The deal also includes US support for a Saudi civilian nuclear programme and US approval for the sale of sophisticated weapons to the kingdom.
- Israel, which is technologically advanced in a wide range of fields, will also help Riyadh move its economy beyond oil.
How will the formalisation of ties help various stakeholders?
- Economic benefits:
- Saudi Arabia is the richest and most powerful of the Arab countries.
- A formal relationship will bring economic benefits to Israel.
- It would give legitimacy to the State of Israel in the mostly-Muslim region and help the country become a significant player in West Asia.
- Political gains:
- The deal will bestow political gains upon Israel Prime Minister, who is battling deep divisions in Israeli society over the policies of his far-right governing coalition.
- A deal with Saudi Arabia would shift the focus to a source of national pride and unity.
- Economic benefits:
- The United States
- Containing Chinese influence:
- The US is looking at the growing Chinese influence in the region.
- The US hopes that giving security guarantees to Saudi Arabia will stop the kingdom from getting closer to China.
- Beijing successfully mediated an agreement that restored formal ties between the Saudis and Iran, long-time rivals in the region.
- This signalled the arrival of China as a global power-broker, a role for which only the US has so far had the required influence and financial strength.
- Improving relations with Saudi:
- Washington also wants to improve its fraught relations with Riyadh.
- They have been traditional allies, but in recent years, the two countries have had several confrontations, including over the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.
- Containing Chinese influence:
- Saudi Arabia has publicly said it remains fully committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, in which Arab nations offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians, and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.
- The kingdom’s officials, however, have indicated that a deal is possible even if it falls short of providing Palestinians an independent state.
- The Palestinians are not directly involved in the negotiations of the deal.
Will the Israel-Hamas conflict affect the deal?
- The war and Israel’s ferocious counterattack have thrown the deal timeline off-track.
- It has also triggered sympathy for the Palestinians in the wider Arab world.