Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 22nd November – 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 22-11-2021

                                                                                                  

 

Topics

  • Alexander and Chandragupta Maurya:
  • The Uniform Civil Code
  • The three contentious farm laws
  • National Digital Drugs Databank
  • The ‘Samhati’ for tribal languages

 

 

1. Alexander and Chandragupta Maurya:

#GS1:Indian culture -Art Forms, Literature and Architecture

Context:

  • Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, recently claimed that Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan empire in the 4th century BC, had vanquished Alexander of Macedon in combat, but historians have decided to name the latter “great.”

In depth information

Alexander’s and Chandragupta’s Legacies:

  • Alexander was born in 356 BC in Pella, Greece, and at the age of 20 succeeded his father, King Phillip II, to the throne.
  • Because of his massive military conquests, he earned the title of “great.”
  • Before he turned 30, he had founded the world’s largest empire, spanning current western and central Asia from Greece to India’s northeastern border.
  • Following that, Ghenghis Khan (1162-1227) expanded his empire over Asia and Europe, while conquerors like Tamerlane, Atilla the Hun, and Charlemagne, as well as Ashoka, Akbar, and Aurangzeb, established their own vast empires.

His journey to India:

  • In 327 BC, Alexander reached the Indus River, the former Persian empire’s farthest frontier, and launched a two-year campaign in India.
  • Taxila’s ruler submitted to Alexander.
  • Alexander defeated King Porus in the battle of Hydaspes that followed.
  • Alexander wanted to march on into the middle of the Gangetic basin after defeating Porus, but his generals refused to proceed any further when they reached the Beas, the last of Punjab’s five rivers.
  • Alexander was compelled to turn around and follow the Indus south to its delta, where he dispatched a portion of his army by sea to Mesopotamia while leading the rest overland along the Makran coast.

Legacy:

  • Despite his failed Indian war, Alexander is thought to have died unbeaten in battle, thus fulfilling the oracles’ predictions that he would conquer the entire world.
  • Alexander had travelled 1,000 miles from Macedonia, conquering seven nations and more than 2,000 cities, according to legend.
  • He planned to reach the sea, solve the “problem of the ocean” that Greek philosophers had debated, and then sail to conquer additional new territories.

Chandragupta:

  • He was the architect of an empire that spanned the Indus and Ganga plains and reached all the way to the eastern and western oceans.
  • The Mauryan Empire unified most of South Asia for the first time, with Pataliputra as its imperial capital.
  • Chandragupta established a vast and effective system of centralised administration and tax collecting, which served as the foundation of his empire.
  • With the construction of infrastructure and the standardisation of weights and measures, trade and agriculture were reformed and regulated, and plans were made for a huge standing army.
  • According to certain Greek sources, Chandragupta and Alexander may have communicated during Alexander’s Indian war.

Legacy:

  • Chandragupta deposed Dhana Nanda, the last ruler of the Nandas, and took seized his city, Pataliputra.
  • Chandragupta set about achieving his imperial objectives, guided by Kautilya’s guile and strategy, as well as his own considerable military prowess.
  • After establishing his control over the Ganga plains, he moved north-west to fill the power vacuum created by Alexander’s army’s retreat.
  • The Mauryan Empire’s territorial base had been formed, with Chandragupta dominating the Indus and Ganges Plains, as well as the borders – a formidable empire by any measure.

What are the connections between Chandragupta and Alexander?

  • Historians place Chandragupta’s ascension to power somewhere from 324 and 313 BC, but it is widely assumed that he ascended the throne in 321 BC.
  • This would put him after Alexander’s departure from India and before the Greek emperor’s death in Babylon.
  • According to Greek sources, Chandragupta and Alexander may have communicated during Alexander’s Indian war.
  • According to A L Basham, classical sources mention a young Indian named Sandrocottus who is the same person as the Chandragupta Maurya.
  • Basham came to the conclusion that the emperor Chandragupta Maurya, who ascended to power shortly after Alexander’s invasion, had at least heard of the conqueror and probably drew inspiration from his accomplishments.

What is the perspective that excellence is linked to?

  • The emperors Ashoka, Rajaraja and Rajendra Chola, and Akbar, among others, have been referred to be “great” in Indian history.
  • The Roman emperor Constantine, the Persians Cyrus and Darius, Herod, King of Judea, Catherine and Peter of Russia, and Frederick of Prussia are all noted as major figures in world history.
  • Because historians are emphasising on the rulers’ culture, economy, art, and architecture rather than their political victories, the suffix ‘great’ has become less prominent in modern history writing.
  • They have re-evaluated previous sources and referred to those that have been unearthed more recently to give the monarchs’ apparent magnificence fresh perspectives.

 

2. The Uniform Civil Code

#GS2-Government Policies & Interventions

Context

  • The Allahabad High Court has ordered the central government to begin the process of implementing the Uniform Civil Code as soon as possible.
  • The court ordered the Centre to consider forming a committee or commission to carry out the Supreme Court’s directive to implement Article 44’s mandate.

Important Points

Background:

  • The HC made the remarks while considering a slew of 17 petitions submitted by interfaith couples seeking protection of their life, liberty, and privacy under Article 21, as well as the right to live independently as men and women without interference from their families or others.
  • The court’s observation is that there has been a sharp increase in inter-community, inter-caste, and interfaith marriages and relationships in recent decades. As a result, the country demands a comprehensive Family Code that is up to date with the times.
  • The court pointed out that while the new anti-conversion law in Uttar Pradesh does not outlaw interfaith marriage per se, the requirement of district clearance could make it difficult for such couples.

What is the UCC (Uniform Civil Code)?

Meaning:

  • In topics like as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) argues for the creation of a single law for India that would apply to all religious sects.

Uniform Civil Code (UCC):

  • It dates back to colonial India, when the British government issued a report in 1835 emphasising the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidence, and contracts, and specifically recommending that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be kept separate from such codification.
  • In 1941, the government formed the B N Rau Committee to codify Hindu law in response to a surge in legislation dealing with personal concerns at the end of British rule.
  • The Hindu Law Committee was tasked with determining whether or not common Hindu laws were necessary. According to Vedas, the committee advocated a codified Hindu rule that would grant women equal rights. The 1937 Act was examined, and the committee suggested that Hindus have a civil law of marriage and succession.

Provisions of the Constitution:

  • “The State shall endeavour to provide for the citizens of India a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India,” says Article 44.
  • Article 37 states that the “state shall endeavour through adequate legislation,” yet Article 44 does not include the words “by suitable legislation.”
  • Inclusion in the DPSP is based on the following criteria:
  • Because of the following reasons, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) was included in the

Directive Principles rather than the Fundamental Right that is enforceable by the Court of Law:

  • Muslims in the Constituent Assembly were against it (CA).
  • On a religious level, the agony of partition had not subsided.
  • R. Ambedkar argued in the Constituent Assembly that while a UCC is desirable, it should remain optional for the time being.

Advantages:

  • National Integration: A unified civil code will aid national integration by removing uneven loyalties to laws with opposing philosophies.
  • In Line With Changing Times: In recent years, there has been a significant increase in inter-community, inter-caste, and interfaith marriages and relationships.
  • A complete UCC will also be in line with the changing circumstances, given the rise in the number of single women.
  • Protection of Vulnerable Sections of Society: The UCC attempts to give protection to vulnerable sections of society, including as women and religious minorities, as envisioned by Ambedkar.
  • Secularism is the goal expressed in the Preamble, and a secular republic requires a common law for all citizens rather than differentiating standards based on religious customs.
  • Laws will be simplified: The code will make the complicated laws of marriage ceremonies, inheritance, succession, and adoptions more accessible to everyone. All citizens, regardless of their faith, will be subject to the same civil law.

Challenges

  • Religious organisations oppose a uniform civil code because it would interfere with religious concerns, which would be a violation of basic rights protected by Article 25 of the constitution.
  • Reduces diversity: By painting everyone in the same colour, the nation’s diversity would be reduced.
  • Tribes have their own set of rituals and traditions that are specific to their culture. The tribals may experience an identity crisis if their customs and traditions are replaced with a uniform law. This could exacerbate societal tensions.
  • Communal politics: It would be a form of tyranny for the minority, and if enacted, it might cause widespread turmoil in the country.
  • Threat to Multiculturalism: Indian society has a distinct identity in the form of multiculturalism, and a single legislation could obliterate these distinctive features of the country.
  • Lack of political will: The UCC is a touchy subject, and achieving political consensus on it is difficult. The majority decides under a multiparty system and democratic structure.
  • Minorities are consistently treated as vote banks by political parties, posing a barrier to the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.

Various Decisions

  • Ms Jordan Diengdeh case: In 1985, the Supreme Court ordered that the verdict in Ms Jordan Diengdeh be sent to the Ministry of Law for action.
  • However, it has been more than three decades since then, and it is unknown what efforts have been taken to date in this regard.
  • The comments on the UCC were made in response to a petition challenging the application of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to a couple from the Meena group.
  • Despite the fact that the marriage was solemnised according to Hindu rites, the wife claimed in response to her husband’s divorce petition that the Act did not apply to them because they were members of a notified Scheduled Tribe in Rajasthan and thus covered by an exclusion under Section 2 (2) of the Act.
  • The court concluded in Sarla Mudgal vs Union of India (1995) that a Hindu marriage solemnised under Hindu law can only be dissolved on one of the grounds listed in the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
  • Converting to Islam and remarrying would not automatically invalidate the Hindu marriage under the act, hence a second marriage solemnised after converting to Islam would be illegal under section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • Union of India vs. John Vallamathon (2013): Ensure that the citizens of India have access to an unified civil code across the country.
  • The Supreme Court refused to issue a directive in 2015, stating that it “cannot direct Parliament to establish the Uniform Civil Code.” It is up to Parliament to make a decision.
  • Shah Bano Case (2017): The Supreme Court deemed Triple Talaq (talaq-e-bidat) to be unconstitutional and constituted it a crime.
  • Uniform Civil Code is neither required nor desirable, according to the Law Commission.

Conclusion

  • The Constitution’s basic principles recognise variety while attempting to create consistency among persons of various denominations.
  • Although a consistent legislation is desired, it may be detrimental to the nation’s unity and integrity.
  • As a result, only those aspects of customs and traditions that cause injustice to individuals should be incorporated into a unified legislation.
  • Personal laws have some excellent and equitable elements that should be included in the unified law.
  • At the same time, good practises and traditions must be preserved in order to preserve the indigenous culture. It will assist India in preserving its strength, which is unity in diversity.
  • A slow progressive transformation and order must be brought about in a democracy and the rule of law.
  • The BJP government has already handled major difficulties such as the Ayodhya Dispute and the removal of Article 370, so UCC may be implemented with enough political will.
  • All personal laws should be codified, as advised by the Law Commission.
  • Rather than imposing a Uniform Civil Code, one can arrive at certain universal principles through the codification of many personal laws.

 

3. The three contentious farm laws

#GS2-ParliamentIndian Constitution

Context

  • The Prime Minister of India recently indicated that in the approaching winter session of Parliament, the three contentious farm laws passed in 2020 will be overturned.

In depth information

What were the agricultural laws that were repealed?

  1. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act of 2020, which aims to allow agricultural produce to be traded outside of the existing APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis;
  2. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act of 2020, which aims to establish a framework for contract farming;
  3. Cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion, and potato would be removed from the list of essential commodities under the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act of 2020.

What does it signify when a law is overturned?

  • One method of nullifying a law is to repeal it. When Parliament determines that the statute is no longer necessary, it is overturned.
  • Legislation can also include a “sunset” clause, which specifies a date after which it will no longer be valid.

How does the government get rid of a law?

  • Article 245 of the Constitution grants Parliament the right to create laws for the entire country or for any part of it, while state legislatures have the power to make laws for their respective states.
  • The same article gives Parliament the authority to repeal a legislation.
  • Parliament has the same ability to repeal as it does to create a law under the Constitution.
  • A law can be repealed in its entirety, in part, or only to the extent that it is in conflict with other laws.
  • Legislation can also include a “sunset” clause, which specifies a date after which it will cease to exist.
  • The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987, widely known as TADA, for example, had a sunset clause and was permitted to expire in 1995.
  • Repealing: To repeal a statute that does not include a sunset clause, Parliament must approve new legislation.

Laws can be abolished in one of two ways: through ordinances or legislation.

  • Ordinance: If an ordinance is employed, it must be superseded within six months by a legislation passed by Parliament.
  • The repealed law can be reinstated if the ordinance fails due to Parliament’s failure to adopt it.
  • Repealing Farm Laws Through Legislation: Before the farm laws are repealed, the government must approve legislation in both Houses of Parliament and get the President’s consent.
  • A single piece of legislation may eliminate all three agriculture laws.
  • Typically, Repealing and Amendment Bills are introduced for this purpose. It goes through the same process as all other bills.
  • The Repealing and Amending provision was last used in 2019, when the Union government attempted to repeal 58 outdated laws and make minor changes to the Income Tax Act of 1961 and the Indian Institutes of Management Act of 2017.

 

4. National Digital Drugs Databank

#GS3- Indian Economy & Related Issues , Science & Technology

Context

  • To increase price competition among generic pharmaceuticals in India, the Competition Commission of India (CC) has advocated the construction of a National Digital Drugs Databank and strong enforcement of drug quality standards.

The report’s major highlights are as follows:

  • The goal of the National Digital Drugs Databank is to: To overcome information asymmetry in the sector, it will be developed and made available to regulators, industry, physicians, and consumers.
  • It will be crucial in mapping the regulatory demands of various states.
  • Findings of importance:
  • Despite the fact that generic medications are functionally and chemically identical, the CCI discovered that brand competition rather than price competition drives the market for generic drugs.
  • Generic medications are chemically equivalent to pharmaceuticals that were originally protected by a patent.
  • According to the CCI analysis, pharmaceuticals, including generic medications, account up around 43.2 percent of out-of-pocket healthcare spending in India and 62.7 percent of total health spending.

Major issues:

  • According to the report, brand distinction in terms of perceived quality levels and trade margins offered to entice pharmacists were important drivers of brand competitiveness in India’s generics marketplaces.
  • On chemically identical pharmaceuticals, manufacturers who focus their efforts on building brand image and brand loyalty have been able to extract a price premium.
  • The perception of disparities in medicine quality among manufacturers, according to CCI, also contributes to brand differentiation.
  • Manufacturers focus on raising sales volume by increasing trade margins for retailers, incentivizing them to strive for brand sales.

Recommendations:

  • In the case of generics, effective price competition can benefit consumers and increase access to inexpensive healthcare.
  • Quality requirements were not enforced and interpreted uniformly among states, and various regulatory and testing capacities resulted in varying quality standards being followed.
  • Under the auspices of the CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organization), a method might be established to raise awareness about quality issues, improve capacity, and harmonise training.
  • The CCI also advised that drug testing be done more frequently and that drug testing lab capacity be increased.
  • To address information asymmetries in the sector, the National Digital Drugs Databank was formed and made available to regulators, industry, physicians, and consumers.

Suggestions

  • Self-regulatory procedures should be implemented by online pharmacies in the areas of data collecting, use, sharing, and privacy.
  • Regulations are required, however, to preserve patient privacy and sensitive personal medical data until the government passes a data protection law.

 

5. The ‘Samhati’ for tribal languages

#GS2- Education

Context

  • In primary school, the new National Education Policy emphasises the importance of teaching in the home tongue.
  • Odisha has therefore created the Samhatiprogramme to teach its diverse indigenous languages.
  • The project will assist in the preservation of endangered tribal languages.

The Samhati project in Odisha

  • More than 302 textbooks and 2,500 supplemental reading resources, including narrative books and graphic charts, have been prepared in 21 tribal languages, according to the Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA).
  • All elementary school teachers would be equipped with functional understanding of indigenous languages under Samhati.
  • The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI) and the Academy of Tribal Language and Culture (ATLC), both in Bhubaneswar, are in charge of implementation.
  • Santhali, the only tribal language mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Constitution, is taught in its unique olchiki alphabet, while the other tribal languages use Odia scripts.

Do you have any idea?

  • Odisha has 62 tribal communities, including 13 especially vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), making it the country’s state with the most diverse indigenous communities.
  • Santhali, the sole tribal language included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution, is taught in its unique olchiki alphabet, whereas the rest of the tribal languages use Odia scripts.

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