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26th August 2022

Smritivan Museum

Context

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate Smritivan, a museum in Gujarat's Kutch built as a tribute to those who died in the 26 January 2001 Gujarat earthquake. 

About

Smritivan museum:

  • In Bhuj, Kutch, the 470-acre Smritivan Memorial Project is situated atop Bhujiyo Dungar.
  • The eight blocks that make up the museum include Rebirth, Rediscover, Restore, Rebuild, Rethink, Relive, and Renew among other names. 
  • Each block has a different attraction based on its name.
  • In addition to providing a glimpse of the rich Harappan civilisation, the science of seismology, Gujarat's legacy, culture, and art, and real-time emergency circumstances via a control room.
  • The journey of Bhuj following the 2001 earthquake is narrated in the form of a presentation.
  • The museums' floors and walls were created from indigenous Kutch stone.
  • This stone's fascinating trait is that it only gets stronger with use.
  • The project boasts of an earthquake museum spanning over 11,500 square metres, 50 check dams, sun point and pathways with an overall length of eight kilometres.


2001 Bhuj Earthquake:

  • On 26 January, 2001, India was struck by one of the worst earthquakes in its history.
  • Gujarat’s Kutch district reported a powerful quake of 7.7 magnitude, which upended the lives of around 3.78 crore people.
  • Tens of thousands of people were killed and around 1.5 lakh others were injured due to the earthquake.

The One Nation One Fertiliser scheme

Context

The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers announced recently to implement One Nation One Fertiliser.

About

About “One Nation One Fertiliser” scheme:

  • The scheme would be done by introducing a “Single Brand for Fertilisers and Logo” under the fertiliser subsidy scheme named “Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna” (PMBJP).
  • The scheme would extend to all four fertilisers – Urea, Di-Ammonium Phosphate, Muriate of Potash and complex NPK – with BHARAT pre-fixed.
  • India is among the world’s largest buyers of fertiliser, besides China, Brazil, and the US.
  • India imports four types of fertilisers:
    • Urea
    • diammonium phosphate (DAP)
    • muriate of potash (MOP)
    • nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium (NPK)
  • The single brand name would be BHARAT UREA, BHARAT DAP, BHARAT MOP and BHARAT NPK etc. respectively for all Fertiliser Companies, State Trading Entities (STEs) and Fertiliser Marketing Entities (FMEs).
  • Under the scheme, companies are allowed to display their name, brand, logo and other relevant product information only on one-third space of their bags.
  • On the remaining two-thirds space, the “Bharat” brand and Pradhanmantri Bharatiya Jan Urvarak Pariyojana logo will have to be shown.

Government’s argument for introducing this scheme:

  • Uniformity: It will bring uniformity in fertiliserbrands across the country.
  • Stop crisscross movements: It will stop crisscross movement of fertilisers, specially urea, which leads to its diversion for industrial purposes.
    • Brand-wise demand of fertilisers in specific areas by farmers is one of the reasons of crisscross movement of fertilisers. Since fertiliser companies get the freight subsidy, they do not hesitate moving bags a longer distance.

Central government subsidy on fertilizers

  • Fertiliser sector is highly subsidised area wherein the maximum retail price (MRP) is fixed for urea and subsidy is fixed for non-nitrogenous fertiliser phosphate and potassium (P and K).
    • Nearly 80 per cent of the cost of production of urea and P&K is being paid to fertilisers manufacturers in the form of central government subsidy.
    • As for freight subsidy, about Rs 3,038 crore per annum for urea and Rs 3,300 crore per annum for P&K would be paid out this fiscal year.

‘The drawbacks of the scheme:

A couple of issues are immediately apparent:

  • It will disincentivise fertiliser companies from undertaking marketing and brand promotion activities.
  • Under this programme, fertiliser companies are expected to get reduced to just contract manufacturers and importers for the government.
  • As of now, the company is blamed in case any bag or batch of fertiliser is not up to the standards. But after the scheme's implementation, the onus may be put on the government.

EC recommends disqualification of Jharkhand CM

Context

The Election Commission of India has recommended disqualification of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren from state Assembly for "violating electoral law" by allegedly extending a mining lease to himself.

About

Constitutional provisions pertaining to disqualification

  • The criteria for disqualifications from membership of a state legislature are mentioned in the Article 191 of the Constitution of India.
    • This Article is similar to the disqualification laid down in the Article 102 relating to the membership of both the houses of Parliament.
  • Article 192 of the Constitution states that on rulings regarding a MLA's disqualification, the question shall be referred to the governor who in turn "shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion”.

Criteria for Disqualification of MLAs in India:

According to the constitution (Article 191), a person shall be disqualified as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of Legislative Council (MLC) if:

  • he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or a state or an office declared by a law of the state,
  • any competent court declares any member to be of unsound mind,
  • he is charge-sheeted, bankrupt or insolvent,
  • he is not a citizen of India,
  • has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance or adherence to a foreign state.

Office of profit under Indian Constitution:

  • The term office of profit has not been defined in the Constitution.
    • But, articles 102 (1) and 191 (1) - which give effect to the concept of office of profit -- prescribe restrictions at the central and state level on lawmakers accepting government positions.
    • Any violation attracts disqualification of MPs or MLAs, as the case may be.
  • Principles of declaring Office of Profit:
  • Four broad principles have evolved for determining whether an office attracts the constitutional disqualification.
  • Whether the government exercises control over appointment, removal and performance of the functions of the office.
  • Whether the office has any remuneration attached to it.
  • Whether the body in which the office is held has government powers (releasing money, allotment of land, granting licences etc.).
  • Whether the office enables the holder to influence by way of patronage.

According to Schedule 10 (Anti-Defection Act), a person shall be disqualified as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of Legislative Council (MLC) if:

  • an elected member voluntarily gives up his membership of a political party,
  • an elected member votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party or anyone authorised to do so, without obtaining prior permission.

According to Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951 a person shall be disqualified as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of Legislative Council (MLC) if:

  • one is found guilty of an illegal practice in relation to election, and
  • a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3).

‘Arth Ganga’, a new model for the river’s sustainable development

Context

The Director General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, spoke about the Arth Ganga model during his virtual keynote address to the Stockholm World Water Week 2022 recently.

Background
  • PM Modi first introduced the concept during the first National Ganga Council meeting in Kanpur in 2019, where he urged for a shift from Namami Gange, the Union Government’s flagship project to clean the Ganga, to the model of Arth Ganga.

What is Arth Ganga Model?

  • Arth Ganga focuses on the sustainable development of the Ganga and its surrounding areas, by focusing on economic activities related to the river.
  • Under Arth Ganga, the government is working on six verticals.
    • Zero Budget Natural Farming: involves chemical-free farming on 10 km on either side of the river and the promotion of cow dung as fertiliser through the GOBARdhan scheme.
    • Monetization and Reuse of Sludge & Wastewater: seeks to reuse treated water for irrigation, industries and revenue generation for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
    • Livelihood Generation Opportunities: by creating haats where people can sell local products, medicinal plants and ayurveda.
    • Increase public participation: by increasing synergies between the stakeholders involved with the river.
    • Promote the cultural heritage and tourism of Ganga and its surroundings, through boat tourism, adventure sports and by conducting yoga activities.
    • Promote institutional building by empowering local administration for improved water governance.

World Water Week:

  • World Water Week is observed in the last week of August every year.
  • The week is marked by a conference organised every year by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). 
  • World Water Week was initially started as the Stockholm Water Symposium in 1991 in the Swedish capital. 
  • The 2022 theme, “Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water”, helps us view water in new and fascinating ways. 

Stockholm International Water Institute

  • The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) works globally to change how water is understood, valued and managed. 
  • It is a not-for-profit institute.
  • SIWI organizes the world’s leading water conference, World Water Week, and awards the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize. 

Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022

Context

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change published the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 recently to ensure environmentally sound management of waste batteries.

Background

Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022:

  • New rules will replace Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001.
  • The rules cover all types of batteries, viz. Electric Vehicle batteries, portable batteries, automotive batteries and industrial batteries.

EV Market in India

  • The Indian automobile industry is the fifth largest in the world and is expected to become the third largest by 2030.
  • As per India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), the Indian EV industry is expected to expand at a CAGR of 36%.
  • Important Schemes
    • Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) India Scheme
    • Production Linked Incentive for Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage (PLI-ACC) scheme
    • Battery Swapping Policy

Salient Features of the new Rules:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): The rules function based on the concept of EPR where the producers (including importers) of batteries are responsible for collection and recycling/refurbishment of waste batteries and use of recovered materials from wastes into new batteries.
  • EPR mandates that all waste batteries to be collected and sent for recycling/refurbishment, and it prohibits disposal in landfills and incineration.
  • Penalty: The rules also have a provision for penal action on violation and imposition of environmental compensation.
    • The ministry has also set a minimum recovery percentage target for recovered materials out of dry weight batteries.
    • These recovered materials will be then used for producing new batteries.
    • The recovery target set for FY25 is set at 70%, which increases to 80% in FY26 and to 90% in FY27 and onwards.
  • Online registration & reporting, auditing, and committee for monitoring the implementation of rules and to take measures required for removal of difficulties are salient features of rules for ensuring effective implementation and compliance.
  • On the principle of Polluter Pays Principle, environmental compensation will be imposed for non-fulfilment of Extended Producer Responsibility targets, responsibilities and obligations set out in the rules.
  • The funds collected under environmental compensation shall be utilised in collection and refurbishing or recycling of uncollected and non-recycled waste batteries.

Environmental threats posed by EV

  • Lack of infrastructure: India currently lacks a commercial-scale recycling system. Retired batteries are piled up and discarded in landfills without being adequately treated.
  • Hazardous elements: Lithium (which spontaneously reacts with moisture, causing explosions), nickel, and cobalt are all hazardous elements included in Lithium-ion Batteries.
  • Leading to pollution: Lithium mining requires a massive amount of water. Further, lithium mining causes water, soil, and air pollution.
  • Release of high amount of lithium-ion waste. 
  • Toxic chemicals like hydrochloric acid used in the mining process can leak from evaporation pools and contaminate the surrounding area.

Benefits of recycling

  • A majority of India’s lithium-ion batteries are imported from China. Recycling will
    • lower the cost of EV batteries
    • accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles
  • EV waste could be a significant source of minerals if recycling can be ramped up. By 2040, recycling could meet up to 12% of the EV industry’s mineral needs in a sustainable development scenario.

Lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper used in those batteries were all extracted from the Earth at one time. India have limited stock of them.

Manusmriti

Context

The Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, recently criticised the Manusmriti, the ancient Sanskrit text, over its gender bias.

About
  • In keynote address at the B.R. Ambedkar Lecture Series, organised by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in New Delhi, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, JNU’s first woman V-C, said that according to “Manusmriti, women have no designated caste”.
  • She said that the Manusmriti has categorised all women as “shudras”, which is “extraordinarily regressive”. 

Manusmriti:

  • The M?navadharma??stra, also known as Manusmriti or the Laws of Manu, is a Sanskrit text belonging to the Dharma??stra literary tradition of Hinduism.
  • Composed sometime between the 2nd century BCE and 3rd century CE, the Manusmriti is written in sloka verses, containing two non-rhyming lines of 16 syllabus each.
  • Many have argued that it was compiled by many Brahmin scholars over a period of time.
  • However, Indologist Patrick Olivelle (Manus Code of Law: A Critical Edition And Translation Of The M?nava Dharma??stra, 2005) argues that Manusm?iti’s “unique and symmetrical structure,” means that it was composed by a “single gifted individual,” or by a “strong chairman of a committee” with the aid of others.
  • The Manusmriti is encyclopedic in scope, covering subjects such as
  • the social obligations and duties of the various castes and of individuals in different stages of life,
  • the suitable social and sexual relations of men and women of different castes,
  • on taxes,
  • the rules for kingship,
  • on maintaining marital harmony and the procedures for settling everyday disputes
  • It has been argued that the text is about dharma, which means duty, religion, law and practice.
  • It also discusses aspects of the Arthashashtra, such as issues relating to statecraft and legal procedures.

Its significance:

  • According to Doniger and Smith, “by the early centuries of the Common Era, Manu had become, and remained, the standard source of authority in the orthodox tradition for that centrepiece of Hinduism, var???rama-dharma (social and religious duties tied to class and stage of life)”.
  • It was the first Sanskrit text to be translated into a European language, by the British philologist Sir William Jones in 1794.
  • Subsequently, it was translated into French, German, Portuguese and Russian, before being included in Max Muller’s edited volume, Sacred Books of the East in 1886.
  • For colonial officials in British India, the translation of the book served a practical purpose.
  • In 1772, Governor-General Warren Hastings decided to implement laws of Hindus and Muslims that they believed to be “continued, unchanged from remotest antiquity,”

Why is it controversial?

  • The ancient text has 4 major divisions:
    1. Creation of the world.
    2. Sources of dharma.
    3. The dharma of the four social classes.
    4. Law of karma, rebirth, and final liberation.
  • The third section is the longest and most important section. The text is deeply concerned with maintaining the hierarchy of the four-fold varna system and the rules that each caste has to follow. 
  • There are many verses in the text that are considered controversial, including a few mentioned below:
  • Chapter 8, sloka 21: “When a Sudra interprets the Law for a king, his realm sinks like a cow in mud, as he looks on helplessly”
  • Chapter 8, sloka 129: “Even a capable Sudra must not accumulate wealth; for when a Sudra becomes wealthy, he harasses Brahmins.”
  • Chapter 8, sloka 371: “When a woman… becomes unfaithful to her husband, the king should have her devoured by dogs in a public square frequented by many.”
  • Chapter 5, sloka 148: “As a child, she must remain under her father’s control; as a young woman, under her husband’s; and when her husband is dead, under her sons’. She must never seek to live independently”
  • Chapter 2, sloka 13: “It is the very nature of women here to corrupt men. On that account, prudent men are never off guard in the presence of alluring young women.”

Do You Know?

On December 25, 1927, Dr B R Ambedkar had famously burned the Manusm?iti, which he saw as a source of gender and caste oppression.

Editorial

Stepping up to the world

Context:

India’s proximity with the west and its ties with other powers is giving an advantage to its foreign policy and positions. India is successfully emerging as a balancer and a leader.

Changing perceptions of India:

  • Effective growth: India has experienced the painful trauma of partition and the economic challenges of feeding its population until the 1960s. Now India has emerged as the fifth largest economy.
  • Major stakeholder in the comity of nations: Presently, India’s ties with countries across the globe show it to be an aspiring, as well as a major player on the world stage.
    • India is a leading member of the UN
    • an oft-invitee to the G7
    • a founding member of the BRICS
    • a pivotal part of the G20 now ready to take over as its chair

Stakes involved in India’s foreign policy:

  • National security is always the key driver in India’s proposition. External relationships accelerate with the desire to enhance the nation’s standing externally and the impulse to do good for the world. In the past too, it has accorded the highest priority to India’s immediate neighbors.
  • In the post-Cold War period, India has moved more time and resources to careful nurturing of relations with the major powers — the US, EU, especially France and Germany, the UK, Japan, Russia, and China.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 26th August 2022

Mains Question:

Q1. Given the boom in Electric Vehicle in India, the country needs to focus on developing and effective blueprint to recycle EV batteries and other related waste. Discuss (150 words)

Approach

  • Introduction- Brief about EV batteries & it different types
    • Lead-acid batteries
    • lithium-ion batteries
  • Environmental threat
    • Carbon footprint
    • exposure to lead can cause memory loss, damage cardiovascular system, miscarriages and premature deliveries
    • soil pollution and the plundering of water reserves
  • Government’s recent schemes/Current policy structure
    • FAME, PLI, Battery Swap Policy
    • Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022
  • Suggest measures for battery recycling
  • Conclude accordingly
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