IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


28th May, 2020


The echo of migrant footfalls and the silence on policy

Data on Internal Migrants:

- Across the world, every year, people migrate for work, livelihoods, marriage, seeking refuge, business and even peace of mind.

- According to World Bank, “The number of internal migrants in India was 450 million as per the most recent 2011 Census. Close to 1/3rd of the population in India are migrants.

- The figure 450 million is more than double the population of Bangladesh and more than the population of US.

- The scale of the movement across India, within States, not just across inter-State borders is breathtaking.

- Most of them are unskilled, semi-skilled labour or skilled labour.

Suggested ways to deal with Migrant crisis:

- The military should open up its sprawling and efficient networks, processes and personnel for transport of migrants.

Issue with this idea: Army’s personal protective equipments are meant for biological warfare and should not be used for regular work.

-  Resort to army should be the last option for any democratic government because it delegitimises the civilian administration.

Way Forward:

- Decentralise the power to states. Kerala successful dealing with crisis shows that powerful states can achieve what couldn’t be from the centre.

- Centre should release more funds to the states.

- Centre role should be to share the best practices, reward the best performing states.

Future vision for a sustainable economy:

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-echo-of-migrant-footfalls-and-the-silence-on-policy/article31689921.ece


A moment to trust the teacher


- Tamil Nadu has decided to conduct board exam from 15th June.


- Increased number of centres to provide distant seating.

- Not more than 10 students would sit in a single room.

- All the precautions regarding the physical distance would be taken up.

Exams mere a ritual

- Children are converted into candidates.

- Their name is replaced by roll numbers.

- Schools become the exam centre.

- Board exam has little relevance to the school education. Teacher knows how to make possible the rote learning and children knows how to vomit it out in the exams.

- Exams imbibe negative values in children: like sacrifice of joy, fear of failing and selfish competitiveness.

- Today, annual exams are mere culmination of the academic calendar for the government.

- Almost close to 100% students pass through the exams, hence it makes no sense to conduct it during pandemic.

- The exams are outcome more of ritual than of reasoning.

Way forward:

- Government can consider a middle path.

- National curriculum framework has recommended to make 10th board exams as voluntary in nature.

- Government can pass the students and forward them in next class while conduct a voluntary exam later in the year for the intended students.

- Matriculate exams also help in choosing the subject stream in 11th class. This cannot be a strong reason to go through this pandemic.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/a-moment-to-trust-the-teacher/article31689913.ece



Governor modifies law on forest rights


- Maharashtra Governor has modified the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, allowing rightful claimants of forest rights to appeal against decisions of the district level committee (DLC).


- Changed the law through the power vested in him by schedule V of constitution.

- The Governor’s office said the notification is important to provide justice to tribals whose ‘individual or community forest right’ has been rejected by the DLC.

- The notification applies to areas covered in the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act in the State and allows appeal provision against the DLC’s decision.

- The notification states that divisional level committees under the chairmanship of divisional commissioners have been constituted to hear the appeals against the DLC’s decisions.

The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the scheduled Areas) Act, 1996

- Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India to cover the "Scheduled areas", which are not covered in the 73rd amendment or Panchayati Raj Act of the Indian Constitution.

- It was enacted on 24 December 1996 to enable Gram Sabhas to self-govern their natural resources.


- “Scheduled Areas” means the Scheduled Areas as referred to in Clause (1) of Article 244of the Constitution.

-  The Act extended the provisions of Panchayats to the tribal areas of nine states that have Fifth Schedule Areas.


- A state legislation on panchayats in the scheduled area should take care of the customs, religious practices and traditional management practices of community resources

- Every village shall contain a Gram Sabha whose members are included in the electoral list for the panchayats at village level

- The recommendation of the Gram Sabha is mandatory for granting mining licenses in the scheduled areas

- Planning and management of minor water bodies are entrusted to the Panchayats.

Forest Rights act:

The act recognises mainly two types of forest dwellers:

1. Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe

2. Other traditional forest dwellers.

- It gives these communities the right to cultivate the land maximum up to 4 hectare.

Aims of act:

- Grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the forest laws.

- Makes a beginning towards giving communities and the public a voice in forest and wildlife conservation.

Types of Rights granted:

1. Land Rights:

- Forest dwellers get the right maximum up to 4 hectares.

- The land cannot be sold or transferred to anyone except by inheritance.

- Those who are cultivating land but do not have document can claim up to 4 hectares, as long as they are cultivating the land themselves for a livelihood.

2. Use Rights:

1. Minor forest produce things like tendupatta, herbs, medicinal plants etc “that has been traditionally collected (see section 3(1) (c)). This does not include timber.

2. Grazing grounds and water bodies

3. Traditional areas of use by nomadic or pastoralist communities i.e. communities that move with their herds, as opposed to practicing settled agriculture.

3. Right to Protect and Conserve:

- For the first time, this law also gives the community the right to protect and manage the forest.

- Section 3(1) (i) provide a right and a power to conserve community forest resources.

- Section 5 gives the community a general power to protect wildlife, forests, etc.

Procedure of Rights:

- The Gram Sabha (full village assembly, NOT the gram panchayat) makes a recommendation – i.e. who has been cultivating land for how long, which minor forest produce is collected, etc.

- The Gram Sabha’s recommendation goes through two stages of screening committees at the taluka and district levels.

- The district level committee makes the final decision.

- At both the taluka and the district levels, any person who believes a claim is false can appeal to the Committees.

- One cannot appeal beyond the district level committee. It is at this level, governor has made the changes.

Challenges with governor order:

- Delay in implementation

- Increased chances of fake claims

-The appeal committee would be at district HQ. It will remain out of access to the farmers.

- Already, the act is not being implemented in letter and spirit.

About Fifth Schedule:

In the Article 244(1) of the Constitution, expression Scheduled Areas means such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas.

The President may at any time by order

- Direct that the whole or any specified part of a Scheduled Area shall cease to be a Scheduled Area or a part of such an area;

- Increase the area of any Scheduled Area in a State after consultation with the Governor of that State;

- Alter, but only by way of rectification of boundaries, any Scheduled Area;

- On any alteration of the boundaries of a State on the admission into the Union or the establishment of a new State, declare any territory not previously included in any State to be, or to form part of, a Scheduled Area;

- Rescind, in relation to any State of States, any order or orders made under these provisions and in consultation with the Governor of the State concerned, make fresh orders redefining the areas, which are to be Scheduled Areas (SA).

Power of governor:

The Governor may make rules prescribing or regulating

1. The number of members of the Tribal advisory Council, the mode of their appointment and the appointment of the Chairman of the Council and of the officers and servants thereof,

2. The conduct of its meetings and its procedure in general; and

3. All other incidental matters.

- The Governor may, by public notification, direct that any particular Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of the State shall or shall not apply to a SA or any part thereof in the State, subject to such exceptions and modifications, as specified.

- The Governor may make regulations for the peace and good government of any area in the State which is for the time being a SA.

- In making such regulations, the Governor may repeal or amend any Act of Parliament or of Legislature of the State or any existing law after obtaining assent of the President.

At present, 10 States namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana have Fifth Schedule Areas.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-otherstates/governor-modifies-law-on-forest-rights/article31691547.ece



U.S. strips Hong Kong of special trading status

US Comment:

- Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997.

- No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground. It will affect trading activities of HongKong with the China.

About Possible Chinese Law:

- Chinese government powers would likely be restricted to intelligence gathering and an advisory role.

- Enforcement of lawsshould remain with the Hong Kong government under the proposal, which would ban secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.

- Mainland Chinese authorities could join Hong Kong police to investigate criminal suspects under the planned security law.

- It urges Hong Kong’s legislature to pass national security laws “as soon as possible”.

- Else, the bill leaves open the possibility that Beijing could bypass LegCo, declaring that the NPC is “authorized to draft laws” on security for Hong Kong.

- There is a new provision for China’s national security organs to “set up institutions” in the Special Administrative Region.

HongKong Status:

- Under the city’s mini-constitution, local police are responsible for law enforcement but mainland police officials are allowed to operate within the territory.

- Hong Kong has its own legal system and a degree of autonomy through the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement under which Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997.

-Currently, only defence and foreign affairs are to be handled by Beijing.

- Article 23 of the law requires Hong Kong to pass national security legislation, but the law makes clear it is Hong Kong’s legislature that enjoys the power to make and repeal laws — the bedrock of the “one country, two systems” model.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/hong-kong-body-will-play-an-advisory-role/article31691214.ece



Invasive mussel spreads in backwaters


- An invasive mussel native to the South and Central American coasts is spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala.

- The rapid spread of the Charru mussel (Mytellastrigata) may have been triggered by Cyclone Ockhi, which struck the region in 2017.

About Mussel:

- Externally, the Charru mussel resembles the green and brown mussels (kallummekka in Malayalam), but is much smaller in size.

- Its colour varies from black to brown, purple or dark green.

- In Ashtamudi Lake, the Charru mussel had established breeding populations in 2018 and 2019, acquiring the moniker ‘varathankakka’ (alien mollusc).

About Invasive Species:

- An alien plant is one that has been introduced by humans intentionally or otherwise through human agency or accidentally from one region to another.

- Those naturalized aliens that become as successful as to spread in the flora and displace native biota or threatens valued environmental, agricultural or personal resources by the damage it causes are considered invasive.

- According to the Convention for Biological Diversity, invasive alien species are the second largest cause of biodiversity loss in the world and impose high costs to agriculture, forestry, and aquatic ecosystems.

Impact of Invasive Species:

- It is recognized as a primary cause of global biodiversity loss.

- It is homogenizing world fauna and flora.

- Bio-invasion may be considered as a form of biological pollution and significant component on global change and one of the major causes of species extinction.

- Some alien species have the ability to displace or replace native plant and animal species, disrupt nutrient and fire cycles, and cause changes in the pattern of plant succession.

Characteristic of Invasive Species:

- Invasive species possess characteristic features like “pioneer species” in varied landscapes,

- Tolerant of a wide range of soil and weather conditions,

- Generalist in distribution produces copious amounts of seed that disperse easily,

- Grows aggressive root systems, short generation time,

- High dispersal rates, long flowering and fruiting periods, broad native range, abundant in native range.

Most Serious Invasive Species in India:

Alternantheraphiloxeroides, Cassia uniflora, Chromolaenaodorata, Eichhorniacrassipes, Lantana camara, Partheniumhysterophorus, Prosopisjuliflora

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/invasive-mussel-spreads-in-backwaters/article31689771.ece


Locust threat is bigger this year, warns Agriculture Ministry monitor


- The threat of locusts, which have invaded vast swathes of land in Rajasthan and entered neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, is bigger this year in comparison with the damage caused to standing crops in a limited area in 2019.

- The locusts are immature and have crossed the India-Pakistan border soon after their birth.

- Immature locusts, which are not fully grown, have the capacity to cause more harm as they have a longer lifespan.

Government actions:

State Level

- The Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare has stepped up locust control operations in the affected states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

- Around 200 Locust Circle Offices (LCO) are conducting survey and control operations in close coordination with the district administration and agriculture field machinery of the affected states.

- 89 fire brigades for pesticide spray; 120 survey vehicles; 47 control vehicles with spray equipments and 810 tractor mounted sprayers have been deployed for effective locust control. It will also deeply drones in the work.

- The Uttar Pradesh state government has set up a Disaster Relief Team, headed by the Deputy Director, Agriculture Directorate, to deal with locust attacks in various parts of the state.

- Teams have been formed and control rooms established to track the movement of locusts at the state level.

District Level

- At the district headquarter level, a nodal officer has been appointed, and a task force and control-room already set up.

- An advisory was also issued to beat drums, tin containers, metal plates and create noise to shoo the locusts in case of an attack.

- Swarms of locusts are being scared away by the district administration in Panna using police sirens.

- Noises and pesticides are the two solutions to deal with locust attacks.

- District agriculture officers have been asked to purchase chemicals as per their requirements to contain any locust attack.

What are locusts:

- Locusts are the oldest migratory pests in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

- The locusts, which are considered to be among the most dangerous pests known to humanity, reproduce fast — 20-fold within three months — the FAO experts noted.

- An adult locust can eat quantity equal to its weight daily, and just a single square kilometre of the swarm can contain up to 80 million adults.

- Locusts can fly up to 150km daily and a one square km swarm can eat as much food as 35,000 people in terms of weight in a single day.

Difference from Grasshopper:

- These insects differ from ordinary grasshoppers in their ability to change behaviour and form swarms that can migrate over large distances.

- The most devastating of all locust species is the Desert Locust (schistocercagregaria), according to the FAO.

Reasons behind Locust attack:

- The recent locust outbreak along the India-Pakistan border may have been driven by the longer-than-usual monsoon across the region, and frequent cyclones in the Indian Ocean.

- The outbreak started after heavy amounts of rains over east Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

- Heavy rain triggers the growth of vegetation in arid areas where desert locusts can then grow and breed.

- Recently, climate change accentuated the phenomenon called the “Indian Ocean Dipole”, with warmer than usual waters to its west, and cooler waters to its east.

- Current locust invasion in India by an unprecedented number of swarms originated in southern Iran from their breeding in spring last year.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/locust-threat-is-bigger-this-year-warns-lwo/article31689657.ece



Loans to MSMEs may get ‘risk-free’ tag


- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to allow banks to assign zero risk weight for loans that will be extended to the micro, medium and small enterprises (MSMEs) under the ₹20 lakh crores economic package announced by the government earlier this month.

Government announcement:

- As a part of the package, a ₹3 lakh crore loan for the MSME sector was announced.

- This will be guaranteed by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) in the form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.

- Though primarily meant for the MSME sector, other small borrowers including non-banking financial companies can also avail themselves of the scheme.

- The scheme will be applicable till October 31, or till an amount of ₹3 lakh crore is sanctioned, whichever is earlier.

- The tenure of loan under this scheme will be four years, with a moratorium period of one year on the principal amount.

- The interest rate under the scheme is 9.25% if the loan is extended by banks and financial institutions, and 14% if by NBFCs.

About the Risk Free:

- Zero risk would mean that banks will not have to set aside additional capital for these loans.

- The move is aimed at encouraging lenders to extend credit, as banks have turned risk averse and have been reluctant to lend.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/loans-to-msmes-may-get-risk-free-tag/article31689534.ece