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September 15, 2021
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September 17, 2021
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16th September Current Affairs

The ‘Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights Act)’

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

Individual and community right certificates were recently handed over to the beneficiaries of Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi communities in Jammu and Kashmir under the Forest Rights Act.

Details:

The Act is being implemented from December 1, 2020. Before 2019, many Central laws were not implemented in Srinagar.

About the Forest Rights Act:

The Act passed in 2006 grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities.

Rights under the Act:

Title rights – i.e. ownership – to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers as on 13 December 2005, subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family as on that date, meaning that no new lands are granted.

Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.

Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.

Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.

Eligibility criteria:

According to Section 2(c) of Forest Rights Act (FRA), to qualify as Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe (FDST) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, three conditions must be satisfied by the applicant/s, who could be “members or community”:

Must be a Scheduled Tribe in the area where the right is claimed; and

Primarily resided in forest or forests land prior to 13-12-2005; and

Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

And to qualify as Other Traditional Forest Dweller (OTFD) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, two conditions need to be fulfilled:

  • Primarily resided in forest or forests land for three generations (75 years) prior to 13-12-2005.
  • Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

Process of recognition of rights:

The gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised.

This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level.

The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

(GS-II: India and neighbourhood relations)

In News:

Hundreds of protesters recently took to streets of the Pallandari region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) demanding independence from Pakistani clutches.

What’s the issue?

Accusing Islamabad of giving second-class citizen treatment to them for the past seven decades, the protestors said that their rights were trampled upon. Additionally, the country’s administration is also accused of exploiting the citizens politically and economically.

Present position of PoK:

PoK is called “Azad Jammu & Kashmir” (“AJK” in short).

It came into being after the 1949 ceasefire between India and Pakistan.

It comprises the parts of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir that were occupied by the Pakistani forces.

Pakistan’s constitutional position on PoK is that it is not a part of the country, but the “liberated” part of Kashmir.

However, Article 257 of Pakistan’s Constitution says: “When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.”

Political structure and how is it administered?

The constitution of Pakistan lists the country’s four provinces — Punjab, Sind, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

For all practical purposes, PoK is run by the Pakistan government through the all-powerful Kashmir Council, a nominated 14-member body headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The Assembly has a five-year term. The legislators elect a “prime minister” and a “president” for the territory.

While PoK is ostensibly an autonomous, self-governing territory, the Pakistan Army is the final arbiter on all matters Kashmir.

India’s stand on PoK:

The fact that PoK is an integral part of India has been our consistent policy ever since 1947.

India has also made clear to the world that any issue related to PoK is the internal matter of India.

Please note that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is part of the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, while Gilgit-Baltistan is in the UT of Ladakh in the fresh maps released by the government.

National Engineer’s day

(GS-III: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology)

In News:

Every year on September 15, India along with Sri Lanka and Tanzania celebrate National Engineer’s day to recognise and honour the achievements of the great engineer Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya.

Details:

The day is observed to commemorate the great work of engineers and to encourage them for improvement and innovation.

This year marks the 160th birth anniversary of M Visvesvaraya who was born on September 15, 1861, in the Muddenahalli village of Karnataka.

About Sir M Visvesvaraya:

An expert in irrigation techniques and flood disaster management, Sir MV was not just a great civil engineer but also served as the 19th Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1919.

While serving as the Diwan of Mysore, in 1915 he was awarded ‘Knight’ as a commander of the British Indian Empire by King George V.

Key contributions:

Patented and installed an irrigation system with water floodgates at the Khadakvasla reservoir near Pune to raise the food supply level and storage to the highest levels known as ‘block system’ in 1903.

The same system was also installed at Gwalior’s Tigra Dam and Mysuru’s Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) dam, the latter of which created one of the largest reservoirs in Asia at the time.

He played an important role in the foundation of Government Engineering College at Bangalore in 1917. The college was later renamed after him as University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE).

He is the one who designed a plan for road construction between Tirumala & Tirupati.

He played a key role in developing a system to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion.

He also commissioned several new Railway lines in Mysore state.

He had designed and carried out the waterworks for the Municipality of Sukkur in 1895.

Legacy:

For his contribution to the building of India, the government awarded him with India’s highest honor ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1955.

In 2018, Google launched a Doodle on his birthday to celebrate his genius works whose endeavors led to the Tata Steel engineers invent an armored vehicle that was used in WWII and could withstand bullets.

He was awarded an Honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for an unbroken 50 years.

Books Written by him:

‘Reconstructing India’ and ‘Planned Economy of India’.

Delhi High Court observations on the ‘Right to be Forgotten’

(GS-II: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure)

In News:

Last week, the Delhi High Court upheld the view that the “Right to Privacy” includes the “Right to be Forgotten” and the “Right to be Left Alone”.

Details:

The court said this in an order passed in response to a suit filed by an unnamed Bengali actor.

Background:

Earlier in July, Ashutosh Kaushik who won reality TV shows Bigg Boss in 2008 and MTV Roadies 5.0 approached the Delhi High Court with a plea saying that his videos, photographs and articles etc. be removed from the internet citing his “Right to be Forgotten”.

What is the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context?

The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy, which is governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.

In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).

The court said at the time that “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.

What does the Personal Data Protection Bill say about this?

Right to privacy is also governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.

The bill exclusively talks about the “Right to be Forgotten.”

Broadly, under the Right to be forgotten, users can de-link, limit, delete or correct the disclosure of their personal information held by data fiduciaries.

But, what are the issues associated with this provision in the Bill?

The main issue with the provision is that the sensitivity of the personal data and information cannot be determined independently by the person concerned, but will be overseen by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).

This means that while the draft bill gives some provisions under which a user can seek that his data be removed, but his or her rights are subject to authorisation by the Adjudicating Officer who works for the DPA.