Topic 1: Khalistan Movement
Context: Hundreds of followers of a radical preacher and pro-Khalistan leader, clashed violently with police near Amritsar.
What is the Khalistan movement?
- The Khalistan movement is a fight for a separate, sovereign Sikh state in present day Punjab (both India and Pakistan).
- The movement was crushed in India following Operation Blue Star (1984) and Operation Black Thunder (1986 and 1988).
- The origins of the movement have been traced back to India’s independence and subsequent Partition along religious lines.
- The political struggle for greater autonomy began around the time of Independence, with the Punjabi Suba Movement for the creation of a Punjabi-speaking state.
- The States Reorganisation Commission, in its 1955 report rejected this demand.
- In 1966 the state of Punjab was reorganised to reflect the Punjabi Suba demand.
- The erstwhile Punjab state was trifurcated into:
- the Hindi-speaking
- Hindu-majority states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana
- the Punjabi-speaking, Sikh-majority Punjab
- Anandpur Sahib Resolution
- The Punjabi Suba movement had galvanised the Akali Dal which became a major force in the new Sikh-majority Punjab.
- The party met at the sacred town of Anandpur Sahib in 1973, and released a list of demands that would guide the political path of the Akali Dal.
- Among other things, the Anandpur Sahib Resolution demanded autonomy for the state of Punjab, identified regions that would be part of a separate state and sought the right to frame its own internal constitution.
- Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
- In 1982, Bhindranwale, with support from the Akali Dal’s leadership, launched a civil disobedience movement called the Dharam Yudh Morcha.
- He took up residence inside the Golden Temple, directing demonstrations and clashes with the police.
- Indira Gandhi’s government declared the movement tantamount to secession and ordered Operation Blue Star.
- Operation Blue Star and its impact
- Indira Gandhi took the decision to order the Indian Army to flush out militants from the Golden Temple and neutralise Bhindranwale.
- While the operation was ostensibly successful in its aims, it gravely wounded the Sikh community around the world.
- It also galvanised the demand for Khalistan.
- On October 31, 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards.
- This triggered the worst communal violence since Partition.
Topic 2: Caveat in petition
Context: A Supreme Court bench reprimanded a law student for filing a caveat in “Shailendra Mani Tripathi v. Union of India & Others”, a petition seeking menstrual leave for female students and working women across Indian institutions.
What is a caveat?
- In common parlance, a caveat refers to “warning” or “caution”.
- Legally it connotes a formal notice requesting the court to refrain from taking some specified action without giving prior notice to the person lodging the caveat.
- The person lodging the caveat is called a “caveator”.
- When aperson has a right to lodge a caveat?
- Any person claiming a right to appear before the Court on the hearing of an application may lodge a caveat.
- The caveator or the person lodging is also required to serve a notice of the caveat by registered post to the person on whose plea they are lodging the application
- Is the term defined?
- The term “caveat” is not expressly defined anywhere except in the Calcutta High Court’s 1978 ruling .
- Here the court defined the term as :
- a caution or warning giving notice to the Court not to issue any grant or take any step without notice being given to the party lodging the caveat.
- it is a precautionary measure taken against the grant of probate or letters of administration, as the case may be, by the person lodging the caveat.
Topic 3: Section 153A
Context: The Supreme Court granted interim bail to chairman of the media and publicity department of the All India Congress Committee, who had been arrested for alleged hate speech by Assam Police earlier in the day.
- Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) penalises promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
- This is punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine, or with both.
- The provision was enacted in 1898 and was not in the original penal code.
- At the time of the amendment, promoting class hatred was a part of the English law of sedition, but was not included in the Indian law.
- Along with Section 153A, Section 505, which penalises statements conducing to public mischief was also introduced.
- In 1969, the offence was amended to enlarge its scope to prevent communal tensions.
- In the same amendment, the offence was also made cognisable, which means a police officer can make an arrest without a warrant.
- Safeguards against misuse
- Sections 153A and 153B require prior sanction from the government for initiating prosecution.
- But this is required before the trial begins, and not at the stage of preliminary investigation.
- To curb indiscriminatearrests, the Supreme Court laid down a set of guidelines in its 2014 ruling in Arnesh Kumar v State of Bihar.
- As per the guidelines, for offences that carry a sentence of less than seven years, the police cannot automatically arrest an accused before investigation.
- In a 2021 ruling, the SC said that the state will have to prove intent for securing a conviction under Section 153A.
- Sections 153A and 153B require prior sanction from the government for initiating prosecution.
Topic 4: Menstrual Leave Policy in India
Context: A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India asked the petitioner to approach the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development Ministry to frame a policy for menstrual leave.
- Bihar and Kerala are the only States that allow menstrual pain leave.
- The petitioner sought a direction from the court under Section 14 the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
- Section 14 under the Act deals with appointment of inspectors and says appropriate governments may appoint such officers and may define the local limits of jurisdiction within which they shall exercise their functions under this law.
- No government in India has created the post of inspectors.
What are menstrual leaves?
- Menstrual leave refers to a specific form of time off for those who experience period/menstruation pains.
- It recommends that workers be given leave from work while menstruating, just as they would for any illness.
- These leaves are not covered and are taken in addition to the usual sick leaves provided to all employees.
How menstruation is neglected and tabooed
- Due to its taboo nature, menstrual hygiene continues to be one of the most neglected issues that Indian women face.
- In a country where more than 355 million women are in the menstrual age, it is saddening to know that more than 75 per cent of them use unhygienic methods of protection.
- Reasons for the neglect and taboo:
- societal restrictions
- poor access to sanitation facilities and menstrual products
Menstrual leave policies around the world
- Nearly 100 years ago, in the 1920s and 30s, Soviet Russia relieved menstruating women from paid labour to safeguard their reproductive health, thus originating the idea of formal menstrual leave policy.
- In the late 1920s, labour unions in Japan popularised the concept, subsequently codified in Japanese Law in 1947.
- South Korea:
- In South Korea, period leave was implemented in 1953.
- Certain regions, businesses, and provinces are rapidly enacting menstrual leave laws in China that include a variety of privileges.
- Taiwan, Indonesia, Zambia are a few more countries that recognise menstrual leave and is a part of their employee leave policy.
Status of menstrual leave in India
- The Menstruation Benefit Bill, a private member’s bill, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2017 to provide women working in public and private sectors with two days of paid menstruation leave each month.
- Since 1992, the Bihar government has granted two days of period leave to female employees.
- A Kerala girls’ school has provided menstruation leave to its students since 1912.
- Many companies like Zomato, Mathrubhumi (Malayalam News Channel), etc. have introduced the menstrual leave policy in their organisations.
Biological significance of menstrual leaves
- Women experiencing menstrual discomfort of any degree and suffering from illnesses related to menstruation, including dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and mood disorders, may benefit from menstrual leave.
- Menstruation symptoms can disrupt some women’s daily lives, making it harder for them to attend to routine daily tasks.
- According to a study conducted in 2012, 20 per cent of women have painful cramps that significantly affect their everyday activities.
- A 2017 study on Dutch women also showed that productivity was below par on more than 23 days of the working year with lost productivity totalling about nine days every year.
- The study also found that women experiencing menstrual symptoms were less productive for a third of the time (33 per cent).
Arguments against menstrual leave policy
- It is a normal phenomenon:
- The first argument is how women have been in the workforce for decades, and they have been managing well.
- It has been normalised for women.
- It will lead to less women being employed:
- If menstrual leaves come into the picture, more organisations will further restrain from hiring women.
- Economically unviable:
- Many people argue that menstrual leaves hinder business and can prove to be economically harmful.
- The concept and idea of menstrual leaves is not foreign to our culture.
- It needs to be used, accepted, and normalised more.
- Therefore, menstrual leave legislation needs to be implemented in workplaces, so that women can take the necessary time off, every month, to recover and maintain their physical and mental well-being.
- A workplace’s culture can only be considered truly inclusive, if it takes into consideration the needs of its diverse workforce.
- Creating policies that understand the actual practical needs of the employees can go a long way, in creating a healthy work life balance.
- Policies that are employee centric such as the Menstrual Leave Policy, can lead the way into creating a welcoming professional space for women who wish to join the workforce.
Topic 5: Orangutans
Context: A gang smuggling orangutans in India has escaped through Chennai, allegedly with the help of some police personnel.
- Orangutans are native to the rainforests of Malaysia and Indonesia.
- They are now found only in parts of Borneo and Sumatra
- The orangutans are the only surviving species of the subfamily Ponginae, which diverged genetically from the other hominids (gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans).
- Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates.
- All three orangutan species are considered critically endangered.
- poaching (for bushmeat and retaliation for consuming crops)
- habitat destruction and deforestation (for palm oil cultivation and logging)
- illegal pet trade
- IUCN status:
- Critically endangered.
- CITES status:
- Appendix I which prohibits their unlicensed trade.
Topic 6: Sushi terrorism
Context: Japan’s signature cuisine is at the centre of a police investigation after customers at revolving sushi restaurants posted video clips of themselves interfering with food and playing pranks on other customers.
- What is Sushi:
- Sushi is a Japanese dish featuring specially prepared rice and usually some type of fish or seafood, often raw, but sometimes cooked.
- Sushi is one of the most popular and celebrated dishes in Japan and visitors often look forward to dining in Kaitenzushi, also known as conveyer belt sushi or sushi train.
- Here the conveyor belt carries plates of sushi past the diners, who can take whatever they wish.
- The issue of Sushi terrorism:
- These sushi conveyor belts have horrified the Japanese after a number of viral videos show people violating all food and hygiene norms in these eateries.
- This behavior has been termed as ‘sushi terrorism’ on Japanese social media.
- The video show pranksters messing up with food items, eating others’ orders, and putting saliva on them.
Topic 7: National Geospatial Policy 2022
Context: Experts suggested ways of pushing forward the new Geospatial Policy and harnessing it for National Development at the two-day conference on “Geospatial Policy for National Development”.
What is the National Geospatial Policy?
- The new Geospatial Policy will replace the National Map Policy, 2005.
- Aim and purpose:
- It aims to strengthen the location-centric industry to support the information economy.
- It aims to make India a global leader in Global Geospatial space.
- It uses guidelines for acquiring and producing geospatial data and related services including maps as its foundation.
- The DST guidelines deregulated the geospatial sector and liberalised the acquisition, production, and access of data in the field.
- The government aims to employ geospatial technology and data towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- The policy emphasises the importance of locally available and locally relevant maps and geospatial data.
- It also aims to support innovation and creation in the field, bridging the geospatial data divide.
- It seeks to create long-term, sustainable geospatial information management through capacity development and education programmes.
- Role of Survey of India:
- The SoI will play the lead role in maintaining high resolution/high spatial accuracy orthoimagery (geometrically corrected image to remove geographical and optical distortion)
- Actual collection and collation of data will be increasingly done with private sector participation.
- The government hopes that the policy will encourage open standards, open data and platforms.
- The policy is structured to contribute towards the democratisation of data.
- Survey of India (SoI) topographic data and other geospatial data produced using public funds would be treated as common goods and made easily available.
- Liberalisation in the field has the potential to support the government’s ease of doing business policy.
- Organisational Structure:
- The Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee:
- At the national level it shall be the apex body for formulating and implementing strategies related to promotion of the Geospatial sector.
- It would replace the National Spatial Data Committee (NSDC) constituted in 2006.
- Department of Science and Technology:
- Department of Science & Technology shall be the nodal Department.
- The above Committee shall make recommendations to DST in the discharge of its functions relating to the Geospatial regime.
- The Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee:
What is geospatial data?
- Geospatial data are descriptions of events or occurrences with a location on or near the surface of the earth.
- This location can be:
- static – relating to earthquakes, vegetation, etc.,
- dynamic – a person walking on the road, a package being tracked, etc.
- Securing complex data such as geospatial data poses major challenges and bottlenecks that are yet to be fully understood and addressed.
- Importance has to be given to addressing the National security concerns, such as:
- access control
- securities and privacy policies
- the development of GIS applications in the areas of Defence
- The simple integration of data from the diﬀerent repositories makes it more vulnerable and there are chances of data misuse and privacy violations.
|The Survey of IndiaThe Survey of India is India’s central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying.It was set up in 1767 to help consolidate the territories of the British East India Company.It is headed by the Surveyor General of India. ResponsibilitiesAdvisor to the Indian Government:It acts as an adviser to the Government of India on all cartography-related matters.Geo names:Survey of India is responsible for the naming convention and spellings of names of geographical features of India.Certification and publication:Scrutiny and certification of external boundaries of India and Coastline on maps published by the other agencies.SurveysNational borders:Demarcation of the borders and external boundaries of India as well as advice on the demarcation of inter-state boundaries.Oceanic tidal predictionUndertake prediction of tides at 44 ports including 14 foreign ports.Research and developmentTraining
Topic 8: Borthekera plant
Context: A medicinal plant commonly called ‘Borthekera’ in the Assamese language has been found to protect from heart diseases.
About the plant:
- Commonly known as ‘Borthekera’ in Assamese, Garcinia pedunculata, a medicinal plant has been found to protect from heart diseases.
- Traditionally forbidden for raw consumption, in Assam, dried slices are used for preparing delicacies like “tenga diya masor jol” (sour fish curry).
- Administration of the dried pulp of the ripe fruit of the medicinal plant reduced cardiac hypertrophy indicators and oxidative stress and heart inflammation brought on by ISO.
- The sun-dried slices are known to have therapeutic properties like:
- neuroprotective activity.