Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020
Current Affair 1:
India submitted Voluntary National Review (VNR) document
Recently, India has represented the second voluntary national review of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report titled as ‘Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local’ to the United Nations High-level Political Forum.
What exactly is this Voluntary National Review (VNR)?
Voluntary National Review (VNR) is a process through which countries assess and present progress made in achieving the global goals and the pledge to leave no one behind. The purpose of VNRs is to present a snapshot of where the country stands in SDG implementation, with a view to help accelerate progress through experience sharing, peer-learning, identifying gaps and good practices, and mobilizing partnerships.
What CEO of NITI Aayog has to say about India’s VNR? It will give you more clarity.
The preparation for the VNR was set in motion in October 2019 with NITI Aayog - the nodal agency for overall coordination on SDGs in the Union Government, preparing the VNR action plan.
In this document basically, what progress has been made is mentioned by the government. Just for idea, we will give you few images. No need to know everything, government has mentioned in the report.
Now, we will learn about the United Nations United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). We have already asked this in Daily Quiz, but here also we will learn.
- The establishment of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was mandated in 2012 by the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), "The Future We Want".
- The Forum meets annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council.
- The Forum’s first meeting was held on 24 September 2013.
- It replaced the Commission on Sustainable Development, which had met annually since 1993.
- The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level.
Current Affair 2:
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Now, we will learn most important FRA, 2006. It is a bit long explanation but
To address the adverse living conditions of many tribal families living in forests was on account of non-recognition and vesting of pre-existing rights, a landmark legislation viz. Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, has been enacted. See the objective of this Act given below.
The eligible forest-dwellers under this Act include individuals and communities of both Scheduled Tribes (STs) as well as non-tribals, knows as Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs).
Other important Provisions of this Act:
- Section 2(i) of the said Act defines a Minor Forest Produce (MFP) as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, Tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tuber and the like.
- Section 3(1)(c) of the Forest Rights Act 2006 defines forest rights as inclusive of ‘Right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce which have traditionally been collected within or outside village boundaries.
Individuals, communities and gram sabhas having rights under this particular section of the Act will not only have the rights to use but also rights of ownership over MFPs. This goes beyond the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to The Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA Act) which had authorized states to entrust panchayats and gram sabhas as the owners of MFP.
- Critical Wildlife Habitat has been defined under this Act: Just see definition and remember that it is defined in FRA Act, 2006, not any other Act. Very important.
CWLHs are meant to be areas of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that are required to be kept as inviolate for the purpose of wildlife conservation. Inviolate’ is a general term used to indicate no human settlement and usage. The identification of CWLH is done based on scientific and objective criteria and it mandatorily requires settlement of forest rights under FRA. The Act lays out approach to be adopted which requires forest rights to be first recognised and vested in all eligible claimants in all forests, including all categories of Protected Areas (PAs).
Ok, here don’t get confused with Critical 'tiger' habitats (CTHs).
One of the contrasting features is: Critical Wildlife Habitat once established cannot be subsequently diverted for any other use by any entity. Whereas state government shall de-notify a tiger reserve, except in public interest, with the approval of the Tiger Conservation Authority and the National Board for Wildlife.
The notification of CWLHs can only be done with the consent of the Gram Sabhas. Remember these things, no one will teach you.
- Definition of Other Traditional Dwellers:
- Under Section 3(1)(h) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, the rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitations, un-surveyed villages and other villages in forest, whether recorded, notified, or not, into revenue villages have been recognized as one of the forest rights of forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes (ST) and other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD) on all forest lands.
- 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.
- No member of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition and verification procedure is complete.
- Duties of Holders of Forest Rights:
- Offences by members or officers of authorities and Committees under this Act.
- No court shall take cognizance of any offence under section (h) (mentioned above).
Amendment Rules, 2012:
The government notified the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Amendment Rules, 2012 on September 6, 2012. These Rules amend the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rules, 2008, notified under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
The amending Rules introduce the process to be followed by the Gram Sabha and district level committee, the process for the recognition of rights and amends certain definitions. Some of the key amendments include:
- The Gram Sabha shall monitor the committee constituted for the protection of wildlife, forest and biodiversity. It has to approve all decisions of the committee pertaining to the issue of transit permits to transport minor forest produce, use of income from sale of produce, or modification of management plans. The collection of minor forest produce is to be free of all fees. The committee has to prepare a conservation and management plan for community forest resources.
- The Forest Rights Committee (FRC) of the Gram Sabha shall not reexamine recognised forest rights or interfere in the verification of claims that are pending.
- The number of Scheduled Tribes represented on the FRC has increased from one-third to two-thirds.
- The quorum of the Gram Sabha meeting has been decreased from two thirds to one-half of the members. At least one-third of the members present shall be women. While passing a resolution regarding the claims of forest rights, at least 50 per cent of the claimants to forest rights or their representatives should be present.
District level committee
The committee should ensure that a certified copy of the record of the right to community forest resource is provided to the Gram Sabha.
State level monitoring committee
The committee should meet at least once in three months to monitor the recognition, verification and vesting of forest rights, and furnish a quarterly report to the central government.
- ‘Bonafide livelihood needs’ refers to the fulfillment of livelihood needs (earlier sustenance needs). These can be fulfilled through the sale of surplus produce.
- A definition of ‘community rights’ was added and includes rights such as (a) ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce, (b) fishing and grazing, and (c) conversion of all forest villages into revenue villages.
- ‘Disposal of minor forest produce’ includes individual or collective processing and storage by the Scheduled Tribes. The produce can be transported through appropriate means of transport (earlier transportation was only permissible by headloads, bicycle and handcarts).
Process of recognition of rights
A process to identify unrecorded or un-surveyed settlements or forest villages by every Panchayat was introduced. A process of recognition of individual rights and community rights has been incorporated. The delineation of community forest resources may include existing legal boundaries such as reserve forests, protected forests and national parks.
We have covered almost all-important points. So, no need to worry about anything now.
Current Affair 3:
Language of the Tangams
Recently, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh has released a book titled “Tangams: An Ethnolinguistic Study of The Critically Endangered Group of Arunachal Pradesh”.
Who are the Tangams?
The Tangams are a little-known community within the larger Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and reside in the hamlet of Kugging in Upper Siang district’s Paindem circle.
Tangam is an oral language that belongs to the Tani group, under the greater Tibeto-Burman language family. It has been marked ‘critically endangered’ by the UNESCO World Atlas of Endangered Languages (2009).
No need to know more about Tangams.
Current Affair 4:
First real-time digital platform to monitor rice fields
The world may soon get its first real-time paddy-field monitoring platform, which will give information on the quantity of rice planted and the harvest achieved. The app, being built by researchers from the University of Sydney, can help meet the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goal No.2 — of ‘Zero Hunger’.
The project has been undertaken in collaboration with Google Earth and the Group on Earth Observations.
The mobile monitoring app Paddy Watch will allow farmers, scientists and agricultural economists to:
How will it work?
The real-time land-use data will be generated using Google Earth and will be verified by field operators in India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. This will allow the agricultural scientists to monitor and ensure their accuracy worldwide.
These five countries hold the position of the largest rice-producing countries across the globe. Among these, India, China and Indonesia are the world’s three largest producers of rice and together account for about 60 per cent of the total world production.
Few important Facts for Prelims:
India is the largest exporter of Rice in the World.
West Bengal topped the chart for the highest production of Rice (Thousand Tonnes) from 2013-14 to 2017-18 while for the same period Sikkim stood at the bottom of the chart.
Current Affair 5:
Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/ST quota: SC
The Supreme Court has observed that people suffering from disabilities are also socially backward and are thus entitled to the same benefits as given to the Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes candidates.
What was the petition?
The petitioner, who is intellectually challenged to the extent of 50%, had applied for a diploma course in Fine Art for physically/mentally challenged students. He filed a writ petition challenging certain provisions of the prospectus issued by a College contending that there must be a bifurcation of the total available seats between physically challenged students and mentally/intellectually challenged students. He also prayed that an intellectually/mentally challenged student should be exempted from taking Aptitude Test.
What SC upheld?
The Court has upheld a 2012 judgment of the Delhi High Court in Anamol Bhandari (minor) through his father/Natural Guardian v. Delhi Technological University in a significant decision. The court stated:
“we follow the principle laid down in the Delhi High Court's judgment in Anamol Bhandari (Minor) through his father/Natural Guardian v. Delhi Technological University 2012 (131) DRJ 583 in which the High Court has correctly held that people suffering from disabilities are also socially backward, and are therefore, at the very least, entitled to the same benefits as given to the Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes candidates”.
Referring to the prospectus, the Court observed that as the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes candidates require 35 per cent to pass in the aptitude test, the same shall apply so far as the disabled are concerned in future.
We will also see what Delhi High Court observed in Anamol Bhandari Judgment.
The Court observed that reservation for disabled is called horizontal reservation which cuts across all vertical categories such as SC, ST, OBC & General. It had observed thus:
“Therefore, what was recognized was that since PWDs belonging to SC/ST categories, i.e., vertical categories enjoyed the relaxation which is provided to SC/ST categories, there is no reason not to give the same benefit/concession to those disabled who are in General Category or Other Backward Class Category as that process only would bring parity among all persons? disparity irrespective of their vertical categories. It demonstrates that the people suffering from disabilities are equally socially backward, if not more, as those belonging to SC/ST categories and therefore, as per the Constitutional mandates, they are entitled to at least the same benefit of relaxation as given to SC/ST candidates."
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