Official language in Courts
(GS-II: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure)
Underlining the need to “encourage the use of local languages in courts” since a large section of the country’s population “finds it difficult to understand the judicial process and rulings of the court,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that such a move would help the common man relate to the judiciary.
What the Constitution says?
Article 348 (1) of the Constitution of India provides that all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High court shall be in English Language until Parliament by law otherwise provides.
Under Article 348 (2), the Governor of the State may, with the previous consent of the President, authorize the use of the Hindi language or any other language used for any official purpose of the State, in the proceedings of the High Court having its principal seat in that State provided that decrees, judgments or orders passed by such High Courts shall be in English.
Section 7 of the Official Languages Act, 1963, provides that the use of Hindi or official language of a State in addition to the English language may be authorized, with the consent of the President of India, by the Governor of the State for purpose of judgments etc. made by the High Court for that State.
The provision of optional use of Hindi in proceedings has already been made in the High Courts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
Language of Subordinate Courts:
The language of all courts subordinate to High Courts generally remains the same as the language on the commencement of the Civil Procedure Code 1908, till the state government determines.
There are two provisions regarding the use of language in subordinate courts. Under Section 137 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the language of the district courts shall be similar to the language of the act.
The state government has the power to declare any regional language as an alternative for the proceedings of the court.
Why are electric vehicles catching fire?
(GS-III: Developments in Science and Technology)
The Union Government has constituted an expert panel to probe the recent series of battery explosions in electric vehicles (EVs).
Reasons for the recent increase in demand for electric vehicles:
Concern over climate change.
Cost of Li-ion (Lithium-ion) battery technology has decreased.
Governments providing incentives to usher in the transition and private industry ramping up plans for capturing the market.
Vehicle companies, battery manufacturers, and material suppliers vying with each other for market share.
Hurrying the development of this complex technology without careful safeguards can lead to increasing safety incidents, as evidenced recently on Indian roads.
Why do these batteries catch fire?
Batteries do store energy in a small package and if the energy is released in an uncontrolled fashion, the thermal event can be significant.
Battery fires, like other fires, occur due to the convergence of three parts of the “fire triangle”: heat, oxygen, and fuel. If an adverse event such as a short circuit occurs in the battery, the internal temperature can raise as the anode and cathode release their energy through the short.
How to prevent it?
Safety is a must and is an important consideration that battery and vehicle manufacturers can design for at multiple levels from the choice of battery material to designs at the cell, pack, and vehicle level.
Preventing fires requires breaking the fire triangle. Battery cathodes are a leading cause of the heat release. Some cathodes, such as ones with lower nickel content or moving to iron phosphate, can increase safety.
Tightly controlled manufacturing (Like adding Ceramic layer) will prevent accidental shorts in the cells, eliminating a leading cause of fires.
Protecting the cell with robust thermal management is critical, especially in India where ambient temperatures are high.
Battery packs need to be protected from external penetration.
Various measures undertaken by the Centre and States include:
PLI Scheme For Auto Sector: In September 2021 this year, the Union Cabinet approved a Rs 26,058 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to accelerate domestic manufacturing of electric and fuel cell vehicles and drones in India.
FAME II Amendment: Under FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles-II) scheme, the government significantly reduced the price gap between petrol-powered two-wheelers and electric ones by increasing the subsidy rate for electric two-wheelers.
Scrappage Policy: In August this year, the government launched the Vehicle Scrappage Policy virtually at the Gujarat Investor Summit. The policy aims to phase out unfit and polluting vehicles in an environment-friendly manner.
Along with the Centre, state governments are also leaving no stone unturned to promote faster adoption of EVs in India. To increase penetration and adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), governments of around 20 states in India, including Delhi, Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra and Rajasthan have already come up with either a draft or final state level EV policies.
The Indian electric vehicle (EV) market currently has one of the lowest penetration rates in the world.
Capital costs are high and the payoff is uncertain.
Local production of inputs for EVs is at just about 35% of total input production.
The production will be severely affected in terms of production costs.
An uncertain policy environment and the lack of supporting infrastructure are major roadblocks.
Need of the hour:
Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelers because two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
Workplaces in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)
Basava Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Lord Basavanna, the 12th-century poet-philosopher, and the founding saint of the Lingayat faith.
This year it falls on 3rd May 2021.
About Basavanna, his thoughts and contributions:
Basavanna was a philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka.
Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as
Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals.
He introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”), which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.
As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.
Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga.
The Sharana movement he presided over attracted people from all castes, and like most strands of the Bhakti movement, produced a corpus of literature, the vachanas, that unveiled the spiritual universe of the Veerashaiva saints.
The egalitarianism of Basavanna’s Sharana movement was too radical for its times.
Stubble Burning Issue
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
With wheat yield down this year, the rate of tudi is very high and farmers can earn huge profits by selling it. But despite that, 3,895 field fires have been reported from April 1 to April 29 in Punjab.
Why do farmers opt for stubble burning?
They do not have alternatives for utilising them effectively.
The farmers are ill-equipped to deal with waste because they cannot afford the new technology that is available to handle the waste material.
With less income due to crop damage, farmers are likely to be inclined to light up their fields to cut costs and not spend on scientific ways of stubble management.
What is stubble burning?
It is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.
Impact: Stubble burning results in emission of harmful gases such carbon diaoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.
Advantages of stubble burning:
Effects of Stubble Burning:
Pollution: Open stubble burning emits large amounts of toxic pollutants in the atmosphere which contain harmful gases like methane (CH4), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Volatile organic compound (VOC) and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They may eventually cause smog.
Soil Fertility: Burning husk on ground destroys the nutrients in the soil, making it less fertile.
Heat Penetration: Heat generated by stubble burning penetrates into the soil, leading to the loss of moisture and useful microbes.
Alternative solutions that can avoid Stubble Burning:
Promote paddy straw-based power plants. It will also create employment opportunities.
Incorporation of crop residues in the soil can improve soil moisture and help activate the growth of soil microorganisms for better plant growth.
Convert the removed residues into enriched organic manure through composting.
New opportunities for industrial use such as extraction of yeast protein can be explored through scientific research.
What needs to be done- Supreme Court’s observations?
Incentives could be provided to those who are not burning the stubble and disincentives for those who continue the practice.
The existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) Scheme must be so interpreted as to enable the States concerned to wholly or partly deny the benefit of MSP to those who continue to burn the crop residue.
An innovative experiment has been undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government by setting up gauthans.
A gauthan is a dedicated five-acre plot, held in common by each village, where all the unused stubble is collected through parali daan (people’s donations) and is converted into organic fertiliser by mixing with cow dung and few natural enzymes.
The scheme also generates employment among rural youth.
The government supports the transportation of parali from the farm to the nearest gauthan.
The state has successfully developed 2,000 gauthans.