District Good Governance Index (DGGI)
(GS-II: Governance and transparency related issues)
Union home minister Amit Shah recently launched the District Good Governance Index (DGGI) in Jammu and Kashmir, which is the first Union Territory to have such an index.
About the index:
Launched for 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
It has been prepared by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) in partnership with the Union Territory’s administration.
Under the index, the policies, schemes and programs of the central as well as the state governments have been monitored at the district level.
Significance of the index:
The beginning of this index in Jammu and Kashmir will slowly expand to all other states and a good governance competition will start in every district of the country.
The index covered 10 sectors and 58 indicators.
The index will benefit residents of Jammu and Kashmir in a big way as it will work towards improving the district machinery, make districts result-oriented and also improve their delivery mechanism.
Highlights of the index:
Jammu district topped the composite ranking, followed by Doda and Samba districts of the Jammu Division.
This was followed by Pulwama district of the Srinagar Division at fourth spot and Srinagar district at the fifth.
The district of Rajouri finished at the last spot, while Poonch and Shopian districts also featured towards the end of the rankings.
Srinagar district bagged the first rank in Public Infrastructure and Utilities sector.
Srinagar also ranked in the top 5 districts in Composite GGI in Kashmir Division with a score of 5.313 points.
Kishtwar topped in ‘Agriculture and Allied Sector’, Pulwama topped in ‘Human Resource Development’, Reasi topped in ‘Public Health’, Ramban topped in ‘Social Welfare and Development’, and Ganderbal topped in the ‘Financial Inclusion’ sector.
Performance of J&K in the National Good Governance Index:
Previously, the Centre had released the National Good Governance Index on December 25 last year that indicated Jammu and Kashmir saw an increase of 3.7% in Good Governance Indicators from 2019 to 2021.
The strong performance of J-K was also noted in the fields of commerce and industry, agriculture, judiciary and public infrastructure among others.
4th Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation was recently organised by the Government of Malaysia and Global Tiger Forum (GTF).
The conference is an important event for reviewing progress towards the Global Tiger Recovery Programme and commitments to tiger conservation.
Outcome: The Kuala Lumpur Joint Statement was adopted.
India’s statement at the summit:
India will facilitate Tiger Range Countries towards finalisation of New Delhi declaration for the Global Tiger Summit to be held at Vladivostok, Russia later this year.
A “Pre-Tiger Summit” meeting was held at New Delhi in 2010, wherein the draft declaration on tiger conservation for Global Tiger Summit was finalised.
India’s efforts in tiger conservation:
India has achieved the remarkable feat of doubling the tiger population in 2018 itself, 4 years ahead of the targeted year 2022.
The model of success of India’s tiger governance is now being replicated for other wildlife like the Lion, Dolphin, Leopard, Snow Leopard and other small wild cats.
The budgetary allocation for tiger conservation has increased from Rs 185 crore in 2014 to Rs 300 crore in 2022.
14 Tiger Reserves in India have already been awarded with international CA|TS accreditation and efforts are on to bring in more Tiger Reserves under CA|TS accreditation.
Approximately 4.3 million man-days of employment are being generated by 51 Tiger Reserves in India and funds from Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) are being utilized for promoting voluntary village resettlement from core areas of the Tiger Reserves.
India is one of the Founding members of the intergovernmental platform of Tiger Range Countries – Global Tiger Forum, and over the years, GTF has expanded its programme on multiple thematic areas, while working closely with the Government of India, tiger states in India and tiger range countries.
Global Tiger forum is the only intergovernmental international body established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the tiger.
Two legal instruments that have enabled tiger recoveries in India are:
Conservation Status of Tiger:
Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List: Endangered.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I.
What is Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS)?
CA|TS has been agreed upon as an accreditation tool by the global coalition of Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) and has been developed by tiger and protected area experts.
CA|TS is a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.
It was officially launched in 2013.
The Global Tiger Forum (GTF) and World Wildlife Fund India are the two implementing partners of the National Tiger Conservation Authority for CATS assessment in India.
Rivival of Saraswati river
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
The governments of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have entered into an agreement to build a dam at Adi Badri in Yamunanagar district, which, among others, will rejuvenate the mythical Saraswati river.
Adi Badri, situated in Haryana near the Himachal Pradesh border, is believed to be the river’s origin point.
Committee to study the river:
The Centre, in 2021, reconstituted an advisory committee to chalk out a plan for studying the mythical Sarasvati river for the next two years, after the earlier panel’s term ended in 2019.
The ASI had first set up the committee on December 28, 2017 for a period of two years.
The river, which had originated from Kapal tirith in the Himalayas in the west of Kailash, was flowing southward to Mansarovar and then taking a turn towards west.
The river flowed through Haryana, Rajasthan and North Gujarat. It also flowed through Pakistan before meeting Western Sea through Rann of Kutch and was approximately 4,000 km in length.
The river had two branches: western and eastern. The Himalayan-born Satluj “of the PAST”, which flowed through the channels of present-day Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets, represents the western branch of the ancient river.
On the other hand, Markanda and Sarsuti represented the western branch of Saraswati, known as Tons-Yamuna.
The confluence of the branches was near Shatrana, 25 km south of Patiala. And suddenly, it flows crossing the dessert (Rann of Kutch) and meet gulf of western sea.
The Sarasvati River is one of the main Rigvedic rivers mentioned in the scripture Rig Veda and later Vedic and post-Vedic texts.
Book 6 of the Rig Veda includes a hymn called the ‘Nadistuti Sukta’, which sings praises of the Saraswati as being “perfect mother, unsurpassed river, supreme goddess”.
For 2000 years, between 6000 and 4000 B.C., the Saraswati flowed as a great river.
Consent of AG to initiate contempt proceedings
(GS-II: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure)
Attorney General K K Venugopal has granted consent to initiate contempt proceedings against ‘Dharam Sansad’ leader Yati Narsinghanand over his alleged remarks against the Constitution and the Supreme Court.
Need for consent:
As per Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, the nod of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is a condition precedent to set the criminal contempt proceedings in motion before the apex court.
What is the law on contempt of courts?
The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 defines civil and criminal contempt, and lays down the powers and procedures by which courts can penalise contempt, as well as the penalties that can be given for the offence of contempt.
Contempt of court is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court.
Why is the consent of the Attorney General required to initiate contempt proceedings?
The objective behind requiring the consent of the Attorney General before taking cognizance of a complaint is to save the time of the court.
This is necessary because judicial time is squandered if frivolous petitions are made and the court is the first forum for bringing them in.
The AG’s consent is meant to be a safeguard against frivolous petitions, as it is deemed that the AG, as an officer of the court, will independently ascertain whether the complaint is indeed valid.
Under what circumstances is the AG’s consent not needed?
The AG’s consent is mandatory when a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against a person.
However, when the court itself initiates a contempt of court case the AG’s consent is not required.
This is because the court is exercising its inherent powers under the Constitution to punish for contempt and such Constitutional powers cannot be restricted because the AG declined to grant consent.
What happens if the AG denies consent?
If the AG denies consent, the matter all but ends.
The complainant can, however, separately bring the issue to the notice of the court and urge the court to take suo motu cognizance.
Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.