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10th January Current Affairs

Jallikattu

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

With a steep rise in the daily cases of COVID-19, the district administration in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet and Tirupattur, have banned the conduct of Jallikattu events, ahead of Pongal festival, as part of safety measures.

What is Jallikattu?

The bull-taming sport is popular in Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts known as the Jallikattu belt.

Jallikattu is celebrated in the second week of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.

A tradition over 2,000 years old, Jallikattu is a competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull owners who rear them for mating.

It is a violent sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.

Why is Jallikattu important in Tamil culture?

Jallikattu is considered a traditional way for the peasant community to preserve their pure-breed native bulls.

At a time when cattle breeding is often an artificial process, conservationists and peasants argue that Jallikattu is a way to protect these male animals which are otherwise used only for meat if not for ploughing.

Why has Jallikattu been the subject of legal battles?

Jallikattu first came under legal scrutiny in 2007 when the Animal Welfare Board of India and the animal rights group PETA moved petitions in the Supreme Court against Jallikattu as well as bullock cart races.

The Tamil Nadu government, however, worked its way out of the ban by passing a law in 2009, which was signed by the Governor.

In 2011, the UPA regime at the Centre added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition is prohibited.

In May 2014, days before the BJP was elected to power, the Supreme Court banned the bull-taming sport, ruling on a petition that cited the 2011 notification.

So, is it legal or banned now?

In January 2017, massive protests erupted across Tamil Nadu against the ban, with Chennai city witnessing a 15-day-long Jallikattu uprising.

The same year, the Tamil Nadu government released an ordinance amending the central Act and allowing Jallikattu in the state; this was later ratified by the President.

The amendment was subsequently approved by the President of India, effectively overturning the Supreme Court ban and allowing the sport to be played without any legal hurdle.

PETA challenged the state move, arguing it was unconstitutional (Article 29(1)).

In 2018, the Supreme Court referred the Jallikattu case to a Constitution Bench, where it is pending now.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel has been appointed vice-president of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Details:

Mr.Patel will serve a three-year term as one of the multilateral development bank’s five vice-presidents.

What is AIIB?

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond.

The Parties (57 founding members) to agreement comprise the Membership of the Bank.

It is headquartered in Beijing.

The bank started operation after the agreement entered into force on 25 December 2015, after ratifications were received from 10 member states holding a total number of 50% of the initial subscriptions of the Authorized Capital Stock.

Aim:

By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors today, it aims to connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.

Membership:

There are more than 100 members now.

Voting Rights:

China is the largest shareholder with 26.61 % voting shares in the bank followed by India (7.6%), Russia (6.01%) and Germany (4.2 %).

The regional members hold 75% of the total voting power in the Bank.

Various organs of AIIB:

Board of Governors: The Board of Governors consists of one Governor and one Alternate Governor appointed by each member country. Governors and Alternate Governors serve at the pleasure of the appointing member.

Board of Directors: Non-resident Board of Directors is responsible for the direction of the Bank’s general operations, exercising all powers delegated to it by the Board of Governors.

International Advisory Panel: The Bank has established an International Advisory Panel (IAP) to support the President and Senior Management on the Bank’s strategies and policies as well as on general operational issues.

Mekedatu issue

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

Tamil Nadu grabs every opportunity to make its position clear on the Mekedatu dam issue. The state government has been opposing the project to be constructed near its border with neighbouring Karnataka and has even knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court to guard their rights over the Cauvery waters.

Details:

Karnataka, however, continues to dig in its heels claiming that the project will help them to solve Bengaluru’s water woes.

The Opposition Congress party in Karnataka too is building up momentum to drum up support for the construction of the reservoir Mekedatu in Ramanagara district by embarking on a 90-km-long padayatra.

What’s the issue? Why the project is being delayed?

Tamil Nadu has protested against Karnataka’s move to build a reservoir on river Cauvery at Mekedatu. It is “not acceptable” to the state that Karnataka wants to utilise 4.75 tmc as drinking water from a reservoir with a storage capacity of 67tmc ft.

However, the Karnataka Government has asserted that there is no “compromise” on the Mekedatu project and the state wants to undertake the project.

Water sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu:

Karnataka is supposed to release Cauvery water from three sources:

One being the water flowing in the areas downstream River Kabini, catchment areas of Krishnarajasagar reservoir, the sub-basins of Shimsha, Arkavathi, and Suvarnavathi rivers, and the water from minor rivers.

Secondly, water is released from Kabini dam.

The third source is water that is released from Krishnarajasagar dam.

In the case of the second and third sources, which are under the control of Karnataka, water is released to TN only after storing sufficient water for their use.

Since there is no dam in the first source, water from these areas have been freely flowing into TN without a hitch.

But now, TN state government felt that Karnataka was “conspiring” to block this source as well through the Mekedatu dam.

Mekedatu zone represented the last free point from where Cauvery water flowed unrestricted into the downstream state of TN from the upstream Karnataka.

What’s the way out then?

The Centre has said the project required the approval of the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s (CWMA).

The Detail Project Report (DPR) sent by Karnataka was tabled in the CWMA several times for approval, but the discussion on this issue could not take place due to a lack of consensus among party states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Also, as per the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal‘s final award, which was modified by the Supreme Court, acceptance of CWMA would be a prerequisite for consideration of the DPR by the Jal Shakti Ministry.

Since the project was proposed across an inter-state river, it required approval of lower riparian state(s) as per the interstate water dispute act.

About the Project:

Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project.

It involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district in Karnataka.

The project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighboring areas (4.75 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power.

The estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore.

Why Tamil Nadu is against this project?

It says, the CWDT and the SC have found that the existing storage facilities available in the Cauvery basin were adequate for storing and distributing water so Karnataka’s proposal is ex-facie (on the face of it) untenable and should be rejected outright.

It has also held that the reservoir is not just for drinking water alone, but to increase the extent of irrigation, which is in clear violation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Award.

Award by the tribunal and the Supreme Court:

The tribunal was set up in 1990 and made its final award in 2007, granting 419 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry. The tribunal ordered that in rain-scarcity years, the allocation for all would stand reduced.

However, both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka expressed unhappiness over the allocation and there were protests and violence in both states over water-sharing. That saw the Supreme Court take up the matter and, in a 2018 judgment, it apportioned 14.75 tmcft from Tamil Nadu’s earlier share to Karnataka.

The new allocation thus stood at 404.25 tmcft for Tamil Nadu while Karnataka’s share went up to 284.75 tmcft. The share for Kerala and Puducherry remained unchanged.