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20th May Current Affairs

Raising marriage age of women

(GS-I: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues)

In News:

The India Child Protection Forum [ICPF] has opposed the move to raise the marriage age of women.

Details:

ICPF is an umbrella body of child rights organisations launched by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.

It recently appeared before the parliamentary panel studying the Bill on raising the age of marriage for women to 21 from 18 years.

Why ICPF is against raising the age?

Because, raising the age of marriage for women to 21 will result in criminalising young adults entering into wedlock, especially those who marry against the consent of their parents.

It will empower the patriarchal violence against women’s autonomy” when they exercise their choice to marry.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021:

It proposes to raise the age of marriage for women to 21 from 18 years,

The Bill would amend:

  • The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1972.
  • The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.
  • The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.
  • The Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  • The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  • The Foreign Marriage Act, 1956.

What the law says?

Currently, the law prescribes that the minimum age of marriage is 21 and 18 years for men and women, respectively.

The minimum age of marriage is distinct from the age of majority, which is gender-neutral.

An individual attains the age of majority at 18 as per the Indian Majority Act, 1875.

For Hindus, Section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets 18 years as the minimum age for the bride and 21 years as the minimum age for the groom. Child marriages are not illegal but can be declared void at the request of the minor in the marriage.

In Islam, the marriage of a minor who has attained puberty is considered valid under personal law.

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 also prescribe 18 and 21 years as the minimum age of consent for marriage for women and men respectively.

Pangong lake in Ladakh

(GS-II: India and neighbourhood relations)

In News:

India is closely monitoring the construction of a bridge by China on the Pangong Tso (lake) in eastern Ladakh.

What’s the issue?

On the north bank, there is a PLA garrison at Kurnak fort and on the south bank at Moldo, and the distance between the two is around 200 km.

The new bridge between the closest points on two banks, which is around 500 m, will bring down the movement time between the two sectors from around 12 hours to three or four hours.

This will significantly bring down the time for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to move troops and equipment between the two sectors.

The bridge is located around 25 km ahead of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

About Pangong Tso:

Pangong Tso literally translates into a “conclave lake”. Pangong means conclave in Ladakhi and Tso means lake in Tibetan language.

Situated at over 14,000 feet, the Lake is about 135 km long.

It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.

The Karakoram Mountain range, which crosses Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India, with heights of over 6,000 meters including K2, the world’s second highest peak, ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso.

Its southern bank too has high broken mountains sloping towards Spangur Lake in the south.

The lake’s water, while crystal clear, is brackish, making it undrinkable.

Why there is a dispute here?

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the line that separates Indian and Chinese troops since 1962 – generally runs along the land except for the width of Pangong Tso. Here, it runs through water.

Both sides have marked their areas announcing which side belongs to which country.

India controls about 45 km stretch of the Pangong Tso and China the rest.

What are fingers?

The lake has mountain spurs of the Chang Chenmo range jutting down, referred to as fingers.

There are eight of them in contention here. India and China have different understanding of where the LAC passes through.

India has maintained that the LAC passes through Finger 8, which has been the site of the final military post of China.

India has been patrolling the area – mostly on foot because of the nature of the terrain – up to Finger 8. But Indian forces have not had active control beyond Finger 4.

China, on the other hand, says the LAC passes through Finger 2. It has been patrolling up to Finger 4- mostly in light vehicles, and at times up to Finger 2.

Why does China want to encroach areas alongside Pangong Tso?

Pangong Tso is strategically crucial as it is very close to Chusul Valley, which was one of the battlefronts between India and China during the 1962 war.

China appears to keep India constricted in the region by taking strategic advantage of looking over the Chusul Valley, which it can do if it advances along Pangong Tso.

China also does not want India to boost its infrastructure anywhere near the LAC. China fears it threatens its occupation of Aksai Chin and Lhasa-Kashgar highway.

Any threat to this highway also puts Chinese rather imperialist plans in Pakistan-occupied territories in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, and beyond in Pakistan.

New Development Bank (NDB)

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

In News:

New Development Bank (NDB) is setting up a regional office in Gujarat, India for funding and monitoring infrastructure projects in that country and Bangladesh.

About NDB:

It is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

It was agreed to by BRICS leaders at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa in 2013.

It was launched in 2015, at the 6th BRICS Summit at Fortaleza, Brazil.

The bank is set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.

Headquartered in Shanghai, China.

In 2018, the NDB received observer status in the United Nations General Assembly, establishing a firm basis for active and fruitful cooperation with the UN.

Voting:

Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.

Roles and functions:

The Bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

What is the Puri heritage corridor?

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

In News:

According to ASI, the Odisha state government was constructing the Puri Heritage Corridor project without proper licence in protected and controlled areas of the monument.

Details:

A PIL has been filed in court against the proposal, which has prompted worries about its influence on the structural safety of the Puri temple.

What is the Puri heritage corridor project?

Conceived in 2016, the Project aims to transform the holy town of Puri into an international place of heritage.

The project includes redevelopment of Puri lake and Musa river revival plan.

About Puri Jagannath Temple:

It is an important Vaishnavite temple dedicated to Jagannath, a form of Sri Krishna in Puri in Odisha.

The temple is believed to have been constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.

Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.

The Puri temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars.