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8th April Current Affairs

Happiness Curriculum

In News:

Uttar Pradesh government is likely to introduce a ‘happiness curriculum’ as a pilot project from this academic session.

To be called ‘realisation curriculum’, it would be introduced in Mathura schools this session onwards.

Objectives:

The purpose to launch the curriculum in UP is to support students in their journey to sustainable happiness through engagement in meaningful and reflective stories and activities.

What is Happiness Curriculum?

The happiness curriculum was first introduced by the Delhi government in 2018.

The curriculum calls for schools to promote development in cognition, language, literacy, numeracy and the arts along with addressing the wellbeing and happiness of students.

How is the curriculum implemented?

The curriculum is designed for students of classes nursery through the eighth standard.

Group 1 consists of students in nursery and KG, who have bi-weekly classes (45 minutes each for one session, which is supervised by a teacher) involving mindfulness activities and exercise. Children between classes 1-2 attend classes on weekdays, which involves mindfulness activities and exercises along with taking up reflective questions.

The second group comprises students from classes 3-5 and the third group is comprised of students from classes 6-8 who apart from the aforementioned activities, take part in self-expression and reflect on their behavioural changes.

The learning outcomes of this curriculum are spread across four categories:

Becoming mindful and attentive (developing increased levels of self-awareness, developing active listening, remaining in the present).

  • developing critical thinking and reflection (developing strong abilities to reflect on one’s own thoughts and behaviours, thinking beyond stereotypes and assumptions).
  • developing social-emotional skills (demonstrating empathy, coping with anxiety and stress.
  • developing better communication skills) and developing a confident and pleasant personality (developing a balanced outlook on daily life reflecting self-confidence, becoming responsible and reflecting awareness towards cleanliness, health and hygiene).

How assessment is carried out?

For the evaluation, no examinations are conducted, neither will marks be awarded. The assessment under this curriculum is qualitative, focusing on the “process rather than the outcome” and noting that each student’s journey is unique and different.

Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) scheme

In News:

The Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) scheme has been launched in 10 States this year and will be rolled out across the country by March 2022.

This plan has been laid out in a parliamentary standing committee report submitted to the Lok Sabha, as part of the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) which began in 2008 and has been expanded several times.

About the Scheme:

Under the scheme, a 14-digit identification number will be issued to every plot of land in the country.

It is being described as “the Aadhaar for land” — a number that would uniquely identify every surveyed parcel of land and prevent land fraud, especially in rural India, where land records are outdated and disputed.

The identification will be based on the longitude and latitude of the land parcel, and is dependent on detailed surveys and geo-referenced cadastral maps.

Benefits:

The benefits of ULPIN are multitudinous. The single source of information can authenticate the ownership and in turn it can end the dubious ownership. It will help identify the government lands easily and protect land from shabby land transaction.

Freedom of Religion

In News:

A public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking declaration of 26 verses of the Quran as unconstitutional, non-effective and non- functional on the ground that these promote extremism and terrorism and pose a serious threat to the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country.

Can such a belief be protected under freedom of religion?

Certainly not, as freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to public order, health, morality and other fundamental rights.

No one can take away anybody’s life as it would be contrary to Article 21, which guarantees right to life and personal liberty to everyone.

What’s the issue now?

The petitioner has named three secretaries of the Centre as respondents. But, in purely legal terms, the writ jurisdiction lies against the “state’” and all these persons named as respondents are certainly not ‘state’ within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution.

Also, Under Indian law, only a “law” can be challenged as unconstitutional (Defined under Article 13(3)). Any religious scripture including the Quran is not considered a law. The divine books can be sources of law but not law in themselves.

Uniform Civil Code

In News:

Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde recently lauded Goa’s Uniform Civil Code, and encouraged “intellectuals” indulging in “academic talk” to visit the state to learn more about it.

UCC in Goa applies in marriage and succession, governing all Goans irrespective of religious affiliation.

Background:

Whereas the founders of the Constitution in Article 44 in Part IV dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy had hoped and expected that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territories of India, till date no action has been taken in this regard.

What is uniform civil code?

A generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.

What the constitution says?

Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Since the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them.

India needs a Uniform Civil Code for the following reasons:

A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.

Gender justice: The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. Many practices governed by religious tradition are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.

Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.

Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?

Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters – Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act etc. States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and therefore in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws.

Why is UCC not desirable at this point?

Secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.

Cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.