1. Uniform Civil Code
- Stating that the Uniform Civil Code “is a necessity and mandatorily required today,” the Allahabad High Court has called upon the Central government to forthwith initiate the process for its implementation.
- The UCC cannot be made ‘purely voluntary’ as was observed by Dr. B.R Ambedkar 75 years back, in view of the apprehension and fear expressed by the members of the minority community,
- The court directed the Centre to consider the constitution of a committee or commission for implementing the mandate of Article 44, as directed by the Supreme Court.
- Article 44 corresponds with Directive Principles of State Policy stating that the State shall endeavor to provide for its citizens a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.
- A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws which have conflicting ideologies.
- No community is likely to bell the cat by making gratuitous concessions on this issue.
- It is the State which is charged with the duty of securing a uniform civil code for the citizens of the country and, unquestionably, it has the legislative competence to do so.
Uniform Civil Code Debate
Pre-Independence (colonial era)
- The Lex Loci Report of October 1840- It stressed the importance and necessity of uniformity in the codification of Indian law, relating to crimes, evidence and contract.
- But, it also recommended that the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims should be kept outside such codification.
- The Queen’s 1859 Proclamation- It promised absolute non-interference in religious matters.
- while criminal laws were codified and became common for the whole country, personal laws continue to be governed by separate codes for different communities.
Post-Colonial era (1947-1985)
- During the drafting of the constitution, prominent leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr B.R Ambedkar pushed for a uniform civil code.
- However, they included the UCC in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP, Article 44) mainly due to opposition from religious fundamentalists and a lack of awareness among the masses during the time.
- A Uniform Civil Code is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.
- Article 44, one of the directive principles of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
- These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.
Why need UCC?
- UCC would provide equal status to all citizens
- It would promote gender parity in Indian society.
- UCC would accommodate the aspirations of the young population who imbibe liberal ideology.
- Its implementation would thus support the national integration.
Issues with UCC
- There are practical difficulties due to religious and cultural diversity in India.
- The UCC is often perceived by the minorities as an encroachment on religious freedom.
- It is often regarded as interference of the state in personal matters of the minorities.
- Experts often argue that the time is not ripe for Indian society to embrace such UCC.
A greater role for State
- Fundamental rights are enforceable in a court of law.
- While Article 44 uses the words “the state shall endeavor”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall, in particular, direct its policy”; “shall be the obligation of the state” etc.
- Article 43 mentions “state shall endeavor by suitable legislation” while the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44.
- All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.
2. Smart Policing Index
- Assam Police have secured the third position among 29 states and Union Territories in the Indian Police Foundation’s list of ‘Smart Policing’ index.
- As per the list, Assam Police has secured the third rank in the country with an overall rating of 7.89 out of 10.
- Andhra Pradesh is ranked first with a score of 8.11 and Telangana secured the second position with 8.10 points.
- The Indian Police Foundation (IPF), a multidisciplinary think tank and policy advocacy platform, conducted the “IPF SMART Policing Survey 2021” in 29 states and Union Territories of the country and published its report.
IPF Smart Policing survey 2021
- The SMART Policing idea was envisioned, articulated, and introduced at the Conference of DGPs of State and Central Police Organizations, held at Guwahati, in 2014.
- It was envisaged systemic changes to transform the Indian police to be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsive, techno-savvy and trained.
- The purpose of the IPF survey was to gather information on citizens’ perceptions of the impact of the SMART policing initiative and to gauge public perceptions of the quality of policing in India and the level of public trust in the police.
- The experts from various Institutions of repute, including IIT-Kanpur and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai were involved in this survey.
- Uttar Pradesh stands in 28th position in the list with a 5.81 score and Bihar stands in the last position with 5.74.
- The IPF designed the survey questionnaire around 10 areas of SMART policing, comprising six indicators of competence, three indicators of values and one on public trust and the SMART scores are set on a scale of 1 to 10 and are indicative of the levels of citizen satisfaction, a score of 10 being the highest level of satisfaction.
3. Project Samhati
The new National Education Policy lays emphasis on imparting teaching in mother tongue in primary classes. Thus, Odisha has launched the Samhati project for imparting its various tribal languages. The project will help save endangered tribal languages.
- According to the Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA), more than 302 textbooks and 2,500 supplementary reading materials including storybooks and pictures charts in 21 tribal languages have been developed.
- Under Samhati, all teachers of the primary level would be provided functional knowledge of tribal languages.
- Implemented by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI) and the Academy of Tribal Language and Culture (ATLC), Bhubaneswar
- Of the 21 languages, Santhali — the only language which has been included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution — is taught in its own ol Chiki script while the rest of the tribal languages have Odia scripts.
- Odisha is home to 62 different tribal communities including 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), making it the state with the most diverse indigenous communities in the country.
- Of Odisha’s 21 tribal languages, Santhali — the only language which has been included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution — is taught in its own ol Chiki script while the rest of the tribal languages have Odia scripts.
4. Cryptocarya muthuvariana
A new tree species of the genus Cryptocarya spotted in Edamalakkudy in the Idukki district has been named after a tribe from the locality.
‘Cryptocarya muthuvariana’ has been named so to honor the Muthuvar tribe and as it was discovered in their neighborhood.
- Belonging to the Lauraceae family, the genus Cryptocarya comprises over 300 species that are widely distributed over South America, South Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australia, and Oceania.
- The researchers came across the new species during surveys on endemic and threatened species of the Western Ghats. Detailed studies showed it to be a distinct species.
- ‘Cryptocarya muthuvariana’ grows to a height of about 10 to 15 m and is characterized by not-too-broad leaves.
- The researchers managed to spot only around 10 individual trees of the species in the locality.
- The Western Ghats is home to around nine species of the genus Cryptocarya.
- The team has underscored the need to study aspects related to ecological importance, medicinal value, and sustainable use of the new tree species.
5. China-ASEAN virtual summit
- The China-ASEAN virtual summit, which is being held to celebrate 30 years of dialogue, would help regional peace, stability, and development.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping told leaders of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a summit on November 22 that Beijing would not coerce its smaller regional neighbors.
- China would never seek hegemony nor take advantage of its size to “bully” smaller countries and would work with ASEAN to eliminate “interference”.
- The summit started without a Myanmar representative present. The reason for the non-attendance was not immediately clear, and a spokesperson for Myanmar’s military government did not answer calls seeking comment.
Click here to know more
6. A Study by UNESCO
Educational disruption due to prolonged closure of schools across the globe will not only have alarming effects on learning loss but also poses threat to gender equality, a new study by UNESCO has pointed out.
The global study titled “When schools shut: Gendered impacts of COVID-19 school closures” brings to the fore that girls and boys, young women, and men were affected differently by school closures, depending on the context.
- At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1.6 billion students in 190 countries were affected by school closures.
- Not only did they lose access to education, but also to the myriad benefits of attending school, at an unparalleled scale.
- Educational disruption of this extent has alarming effects on learning loss and school dropout.
- Beyond this, it poses threats to gender equality, including effects on health, well-being, and protection that are gender-specific.
- Drawing on evidence from about 90 countries and in-depth data collected in local communities, the report shows that gender norms and expectations can affect the ability to participate in and benefit from remote learning.
- In poorer contexts, girls’ time to learn was constrained by increased household chores.
- Boys’ participation in learning was limited by income-generating activities.
- The study pointed out that the digital gender divide was already a concern before the COVID-19 crisis.
Click here to know more
7. Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme
- The government of India launched the Special Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme for the services sector.
- The scheme will help in meeting the technology-related requirements of enterprises in the services sector
- It has a provision of 25 percent capital subsidy for procurement of plant and machinery and service equipment through institutional credit to the SC-ST MSEs without any sector-specific restrictions on technology up-gradation
- Government also felicitated SC/ST Entrepreneurs of the North-eastern region and urged the youth to take up the entrepreneurship to become job givers than job seekers, the statement said.
- He assured the youth that no stone will be left unturned by the Ministry of MSME in their journey to become successful entrepreneurs.
8. Indira Gandhi Prize
- Pratham, a civil society organization dedicated to improving the quality of education among underprivileged children in India and across the world, has been conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament, and Development for 2021.
- The 2021 Prize is awarded to Pratham for its pioneering work over more than a quarter-century in seeking to ensure that every child has access to quality education
- The prize was given for its programs to provide skills to young adults, for its regular evaluation of the quality of education, and for its timely response in enabling children to learn during the COVID-19 related school closures.