IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


7th January, 2020


Students in the vanguard of democratic struggle

The conflict across campuses in the country is over the concept of a ‘student’ and correspondingly, over the concept of a ‘university’.

Concept of student:

-       An individual who is socially sensitive.

-       Uses education in the service of building a democratic, secular and egalitarian India.

-       One who subjects everything, including government policy.

Government concept of student:

-       Self-centred, self-absorbed buyers of education.

-       Do not concern themselves with social issues

-       Concentrate their energies on becoming successful sellers of labour-power on the job market.

-       Inert, passive mass of skill-buyers.

Concept of University:

-       A site where there is intense and informed critical engagement with the burning issues of our time.

-       Full of political activities.

-       Open to all students.

-       Inclusive in nature.

Government Concept of university:

-       A site where skills (which are not the same as education) are sold.

-       Apolitical in nature

Methods to make universities apolitical:

-       Alter the student composition, by raising fees (as in JNU) so that only rich and career-oriented students come to the university.

-       Opening new departments that reduce the weight of critical disciplines like the humanities, social sciences and basic sciences.

-       Doing away with reservations in admissions for students from socially deprived backgrounds, so that campuses cease to have an inclusive character.

-       Prevent students from participating in demonstrations.

-       Call the police to the campus to unleash brutality on students.

-       Book ‘inconvenient’ students under one or the other of the draconian laws that exist on our statute books.

-       Recognition of a students’ union articulating students’ perspective goes against the very conception of a “student”.

-       Move to privatise and commercialise education.


In JNU, the students’ union has not even been recognised by the authorities despite a government-appointed committee of experts reportedly recommending talks with the union leadership.

Need for Political Universities:

-       Students are the most youthful, energetic and active elements of the intelligentsia.

-       The intelligentsia has an important role to play in confronting the currency of unreason, which substitute’s mythology for history, beliefs for facts, and superstition for science.

-       Students engages on many issues going from issues of campus democracy, to broader issues like the CAA and the National Register of Citizens.

-       They display among themselves the inclusiveness they would like to see in society.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/students-in-the-vanguard-of-democratic-struggle/article30496667.ece?homepage=true

A case for including Tulu in the Eighth Schedule

According to the 2001, Census, India has 30 languages that are spoken by more than a million people each.

Constitutional Provisions for languages:

-       Article 29 of the Constitution provides that a section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture have the right to conserve the same.

-       The Constitution has 22 blue-eyed languages. They are protected in Schedule VIII of the Constitution.

-       Under the Constitution, provision is made for the appointment of Special Officer for linguistic minority with the sole responsibilities of safeguarding the interest of language spoken by the minority groups.

-       The language policy of India provides a guarantee to protect the linguistic minorities.

Need for new languages in 8th schedule:

-       Many languages that are kept out of this favoured position are in some ways more deserving to be included in the Eighth Schedule. Sanskrit has only 24,821 speakers (2011 Census). Manipuri has only 17,61,079 speakers.

-       Many unscheduled languages have a sizeable number of speakers: Bhili/Bhilodi has 1,04,13,637 speakers; Gondi has 29,84,453 speakers; Garo has 11,45,323.

-       Most of the languages and dialects are restricted to specific regions and many of them are on the verge of extinction.

-       The language diversity is under threat as speakers of diverse languages are becoming rare and major languages are adopted after abandoning the mother tongues.

-       Multilingualism is the way of life in India as people in different parts of the country speak more than one language from their birth and learns additional languages during their lifetime.

Advantage of being in 8th schedule:

-       Gets recognition from the Sahitya Akademi.

-       Books are translated into other recognised Indian languages.

-       Members of Parliament and MLAs could speak in language in Parliament and State Assemblies, respectively.

-       Candidates could write all-India competitive examinations like the Civil Services exam.

-       Placing of all the deserving languages on equal footing will promote social inclusion and national solidarity.

-       It will reduce the inequalities within the country to a great extent.

Need for Protection of language:

According to the Yuelu Proclamation of UNESCO:

-       The protection and promotion of linguistic diversity helps to improve social inclusion and partnerships.

-       Helps to reduce the gender and social inequality between different native speakers.

-       Guarantee the rights for native speakers of endangered, minority, indigenous languages.

-       Enhance the social inclusion level and social decision-making ability by encouraging them to participate in a series of actions to promote cultural diversity.


ICAR to set up Farmers’ Innovation Fund

Details of the fund:

-       An innovation centre will be established in New Delhi where the innovations will be scientifically validated.

-       Farmers will also be allowed to pursue research under the system.

-       The main intention was to link farmers and farming with science and to ensure that their farm practices are science-based.

-       Various revolutions in agricultural and allied sectors, including green revolution and white revolutions, happened because of scientific approach and use of technology.

-       As part of efforts to encourage the use of technology in the farm sector, a linkage had been created between 105 start-ups and farmers.

About ICAR:

-       The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India.

-       It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture.

-       The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.

-       ICAR provides accreditation to agriculture universities, colleges and programmes, through its accreditation unit, National Agricultural Education Accreditation Board (NAEAB).

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/icar-to-set-up-farmers-innovation-fund/article30495824.ece


Delhi polls on Feb. 8, counting of votes on Feb. 11

Elections to the 70-member Delhi Legislative Assembly would be held on February 8 and the votes counted on February 11.

Election Commission of India comment:

-       If an “extraordinary situation” arose in the polling process, the ECI had the option of deferring elections.

-       The Model Code of Conduct had come into effect and “No state-specific schemes” or “achievements” can be announced in the general Budget.

-       Postal ballot facilities would be provided to persons with disabilities and senior citizens over the age of 80 in selected constituencies in Delhi.

About Election Commission:

-       The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.

-       The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies in India and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.

Article related to election :

-       Art.324: Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.

-       Art.325: No person to be ineligible for inclusion in, or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.

-       Art.326: Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage.

-       Art.327: Power of Parliament to make provision with respect to elections to Legislatures.

-       Art.328: Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature.

-       Art.329: Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.

Function of Election Commission:

-       The most important function of the commission is to decide the election schedules for the conduct of periodic and timely elections, whether general or bye-elections.

-       The Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.

-       The Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-to-go-to-polls-on-feb-8/article30493327.ece

State can regulate minority institutions, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court held that the state is well within its rights to introduce a regulatory regime in the “national interest” to provide minority educational institutions with well-qualified teachers in order for them to “achieve excellence in education.”

Background details:

-       The judgment came on a challenge to the validity of the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act of 2008.

-       The State Act mandated that the process of appointment of teachers in aided madrasahs, recognised as minority institutions, would be done by a Commission, whose decision would be binding.

TMA Pai judgement :

-       A regulation framed in the national interest must necessarily apply to all institutions regardless whether they are run by majority or minority.

-       Essence of Article 30(1) is to ensure equal treatment between the majority and minority institutions.

-       An objection can certainly be raised if an unfavourable treatment is meted out to an educational institution established and administered by minority.

Court verdict:

-       Article 30(1) (Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice) was neither absolute nor above the law.

-       Upheld the validity of the 2008 Act, saying the Commission was composed of persons with profound knowledge in Islamic Culture and Islamic Theology.

-       Provisions of the Act were “specially designed” for madrasahs and the madrasah education system in West Bengal.

-       Act was “not violative of the rights of the minority educational institutions on any count.”

Court comment:

-       In the judgment, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit said the regulatory law should, however, balance the dual objectives of ensuring a standard of excellence as well as preserving the right of the minorities to establish and administer their educational institutions.

-       The court explains how to strike a “balance” between the two objectives of excellence in education and the preservation of the minorities’ right to run their educational institutions.

-       For this, the court broadly divides education into two categories – secular education and education “directly aimed at or dealing with preservation and protection of the heritage, culture, script and special characteristics of a religious or a linguistic minority.”

-       When it comes to the latter, the court advocated “maximum latitude” to be given to the management to appoint teachers.

-       The court reasons that only “teachers who believe in the religious ideology or in the special characteristics of the concerned minority would alone be able to imbibe in the students admitted in such educational institutions, what the minorities would like to preserve, profess and propagate.”

-       However, minority institutions where the curriculum was “purely secular”, the intent must be to impart education availing the best possible teachers.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/state-can-regulate-minority-institutions-says-supreme-court/article30496632.ece


Stressed urban cooperative banks to face PCA-like curb

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to impose restrictions on urban cooperative banks (UCBs) for deterioration of financial position, in line with the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework that is imposed on commercial banks.

Supervisory Action Framework (SAF) :

UCBs will face restrictions for worsening of three parameters:

-       Net non-performing assets exceed 6% of net advances.

-       When they incur losses for two consecutive financial years or have accumulated losses on their balance sheets.

-       If capital adequacy ratio falls below 9%.

RBI plan to deal with governance issues:

-       UCBs will be asked to submit a board-approved action plan to correct the situation like reducing net NPAs below 6%.

-       For restoring the profitability and wiping out the accumulated losses.

-       Increasing capital adequacy ratio to 9% or above within 12 months.

-       The board of the UCB will be asked to review the progress under the action plan on quarterly/monthly basis.

-       Submit the post-review progress report to the RBI.

-       Seek a board-approved proposal for merging the UCB with another bank or converting itself into a credit society if CAR falls below 9%.

-       Impose restrictions on declaration or payment of dividend or donation without prior approval if any one of the risk thresholds is breached.

-       Restrict fresh loans and advances carrying risk-weights more than 100% on incurring capital expenditure.

-       Imposition of all-inclusive directions under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

-       Issue of show-cause notice for cancellation of banking licence.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/stressed-urban-cooperative-banks-to-face-pca-like-curbs/article30496445.ece


New data relay satellites to keep Gaganyaan crew in touch with Earth

India plans to ring in its own era of space-to-space tracking and communication of its space assets this year by putting up a new satellite series called the Indian Data Relay Satellite System.

Significance of IDRSS:

-       Will track constantly Indian satellites, in particular those in low-earth orbits, which have limited coverage of earth.

-       It is vital to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), as roadmap is dotted with advanced LEO missions such as space docking, space station, as well as distant expeditions to moon, Mars and Venus.

-       Useful in monitoring launches.

-       First beneficiary would be the prospective crewmembers of the Gaganyaan mission of 2022, who can be fully and continuously in touch with mission control throughout their travel.

About IDRSS:

-       Older space majors such as the U.S. and Russia started their relay satellite systems in the late 1970s-80s.

-       They have used them to monitor their respective space stations Mir and the International Space Station, and trips that dock with them.

-       Work on the two IDRSS satellites planned initially has begun.



Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-satellites-will-help-gaganyaan-crew/article30496759.ece?homepage=true


China's PLA begins major military exercises in Tibet

The Chinese army has begun major military exercises in the high-altitude Tibet bordering India, deploying latest weapons including the Type 15 light battle tank and the new 155-MM vehicle-mounted howitzer.

Details of exercise:

-       The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Command started its New Year exercises in which it has deployed helicopters, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles across the region from Lhasa, capital of Tibet, to the border defence front lines with elevations of more than 4,000 metres.

-       Both the tank and howitzer, which were revealed to the public on the National Day military parade in 2019, are specifically designed with advantages for plateau regions and can play important roles in safeguarding border areas.

-       Their deployment in the Tibet Military Command will enhance PLA combat capability in the plateau regions.

Reference: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/chinas-pla-begins-major-military-exercises-in-tibet/articleshow/73117556.cms


HC asks Centre to fund care for LSD patients

The Madras High Court directed the Centre to consider providing medical care to economically poor patients suffering from the rare Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSD), a group of more than 50 genetically inherited and potentially fatal disorders.

Court direction:

-        Explore the possibility of encouraging domestic pharmaceutical companies to manufacture the drugs required for treating LSD patients.

-       The judges pointed out that Article 21 (fundamental right to life) coupled with Article 47 (duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health) of the Constitution makes the Centre as well as the State government obligated to provide health care to LSD patients.

About Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSD) :

-       Lysosomal storage diseases are a group of about 50 rare inherited metabolic disorders that result from defects in lysosomal function. They are inherited metabolic diseases.

-       Lysosomes are sacs of enzymes within cells that digest large molecules and pass the fragments on to other parts of the cell for recycling. This process requires several critical enzymes. If one of these enzymes is defective, because of a mutation, the large molecules accumulate within the cell, eventually killing it.

-       Lysosomal storage disorders are caused by lysosomal dysfunction usually as a consequence of deficiency of a single enzyme required for the metabolism of lipids, glycoproteins (sugar-containing proteins), or so-called mucopolysaccharides.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hc-asks-centre-to-fund-care-for-lsd-patients/article30497971.ece