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Current Affairs 13 January 2023

CONTENTS

  1. National Commission for Scheduled Castes
  2. Curative Petition
  3. Swami Vivekananda
  4. BIMSTEC
  5. Neelakurinji

National Commission for Scheduled Castes


Context:

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) issued notice to the district authorities of Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand after it took cognisance of reports that a Dalit youth was beaten up for entering a temple. The youth was allegedly beaten up with a burning piece of wood all night for entering the temple premises. 

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Commission for Scheduled Castes
  2. Functions

National Commission for Scheduled Castes

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes is an Indian constitutional body established with a view to provide safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Castes and Anglo Indian communities to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests, special provisions were made in the Constitution. 
  • Article 338 of the Indian constitution deals with National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
Composition:
  • It consists of:
    • Chairperson.
    • Vice-chairperson.
    • Three other members.
  • They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

Functions:

  • The commission’s responsibilities include monitoring and investigating issues related to safeguards for Scheduled Castes (SCs) under the constitution
  • Enquiring into complaints regarding the deprivation of rights and safeguards for SCs
  • Advising and participating in the planning of socio-economic development for SCs
  • Regularly reporting to the President on the implementation of these safeguards
  • Recommending steps to further the socio-economic development and other welfare activities of the SCs
  • Any other function related to the welfare, protection, development, and advancement of the SC community
  • The commission is also responsible for similar functions for the Anglo-Indian community
  • Previously, the commission also had similar responsibilities for other backward classes (OBCs) but was relieved of this responsibility in 2018 through the 102nd Amendment Act.

Source: The Hindu


Curative Petition


Context:

Recently, Supreme Court told the Central Government that it cannot decide its curative plea seeking an additional Rs 7,844 crore from the successor firms of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) for giving compensation to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy as a lawsuit.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Curative Petition:
  2. Criteria for acceptance of a Curative Petition:
  3. Procedure for Hearing Curative Petitions:

About Curative Petition:

  • Background: The concept of curative petition originated from the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs. Ashok Hurra and another case (2002) where the question arose before the court of law- ‘whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgment/order of the Supreme Court, after the dismissal of a review petition?’.
  • Definition: A curative petition is the final and last option for people to acquire justice as mentioned and promised by the Constitution of India. It may be filed after a review plea against the final conviction is dismissed.
  • Objective: The objective of a curative petition is to ensure there is no miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of process.

Criteria for acceptance of a Curative Petition:

  • The petitioner must demonstrate that there was a violation of the principles of natural justice, and that they were not given a hearing before the court passed its order.
  • The court will also consider petitions where a judge failed to disclose facts that raise the apprehension of bias.
  • The Supreme Court has emphasized that curative petitions should be rare and considered with caution.
  • A curative petition must be accompanied by a certification from a senior advocate, outlining substantial grounds for its consideration.

Procedure for Hearing Curative Petitions:

  • A curative petition is initially circulated to a bench of the three senior-most judges, and the judges who passed the concerned judgment if they are available.
  • The matter will only be listed for hearing if a majority of the judges conclude that it requires further consideration.
  • The decision is usually made by judges in chambers, unless a specific request for an open-court hearing is granted.
  • The Bench may ask a senior counsel to assist as amicus curiae at any stage of consideration of the curative petition.
  • If the Bench determines that the petition is without merit and vexatious, it may impose exemplary costs on the petitioner.

Source: The Hindu


Swami Vivekananda


Context:

January 12 this year marks the 161st birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, observed as National Youth Day.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Swami Vivekananda
  2. Vedantic Humanism
  3. His teachings

About Swami Vivekananda

  • The Swami Vivekananda ji’s original name was Narendranath.
  • He was born on 12th January, 1863 at Kolkata , the Swamiji’s Jayanti i.e. birth anniversary is celebrated as the “National Youth Day“. 
  • Spiritual primacy is the central theme of Vivekananda’s teachings, through which human beings can succeed in every sphere of their lives.
  • Nevertheless, he urges people, especially the youth, to never let go of reason.
  • Instead, he premises his philosophy, ideas and life work on the premise of reason.
  • The three instruments of knowledge that he propounded are instincts, reason, and inspiration.

Vedantic Humanism

  • Swami Vivekananda believed that there is only one Self in the universe. There is only one Existence. He saw the entire universe as a manifestation of the absolute One.
  • On the coexistence of various faiths, he believed religious acceptance, and not tolerance was important. He claimed that tolerance comes out of a superiority complex.
  • For Vivekananda, the most desirable path for self-realisation was the selfless service of man.
  • Some ways through which the essential unity of all human beings can be realised are unconditional love for all, judicious detachment, and expansion of self through service of fellow humans despite any sectarian difference, he believed.
  • He was an exponent of vedantic humanism.
  • He did not propagate a world-negating concept of spirituality, rather he said that each and every chore of your life should be done with divinity.
  • He articulated that external rituals of religion are of secondary importance but the spiritual essence of a religion should be preserved and accepted.

His teachings

Divinity within ourselves
  • “Infinite power is in the soul of man, whether he knows it or not. Its manifestation is only a question of being conscious of it. With the full consciousness of his infinite power and wisdom, the giant will rise to his feet.”
  • Swami Vivekananda asserted that each soul is potentially divine.
  • The goal of human beings should be to manifest this divinity within, which can be done by controlling nature, external and internal.
Karma Yoga
  • Swami Vivekananda, emphasising the importance of work, said that God can be attained through work.
  • He said that in every society there are people whose minds cannot be concentrated on the plane of thought alone.
  • He stressed that a lot of people fritter away a great amount of their energies because they are oblivious to the secret of work. The key to this secret lies in Karma Yoga, as it teaches how to employ to the maximum advantage all our energies in our work.
  • Karma-Yoga teaches how to work for work’s sake, unattached to the results.
  • A Karma Yogin works out of her nature as she feels it is the right thing for her to do and that is the sole objective of her work. “Whatever you do, let that be your worship for the time being,” he said.
Bhakti Yoga
  • Bhakti Yoga teaches that love is a vital element of all human beings.
  • It teaches how to love bereft of any ulterior motives.
  •  “All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying,” said Swami Vivekananda.
Raja Yoga
  • Raja Yoga opens up the psychological way to union with God.
  • This Yoga teaches that in order to acquire knowledge, we’d have to use a method called concentration.
  • Swami Vivekananda, to explain this Yoga, gives an example of a chemist who works in her laboratory, concentrating all the powers of her mind, bringing them into one focus, and throwing them onto the elements; the elements stand analysed and thus her knowledge comes.
  • “The more this power of concentration, the more knowledge is acquired. The stronger the power of concentration, the better will that thing be done.”
Faith in oneself
  • He emphasises that the ideal of faith in ourselves is of the greatest help to us as whatever “you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.”
  • One has to know that all knowledge, power, purity, and freedom are in oneself.
  • Swami Vivekanand also urges people to not shy away from taking responsibility for their actions.
  • “We, as Vedantists, know for certain that there is no power in the universe to injure us unless we first injure ourselves. Let us blame none, let us blame our own karma. The effect is here and the cause is here too. We are to blame. Stand up, be bold, and take the blame on your own shoulders.”

Source: Indian Express


BIMSTEC


Context:

While the efficacy of multilateral cooperation is often questioned amidst the compelling the politics of force and global power politics, the world simply does not yet have any other alternative to structured cooperation. Much like the progress and relevance of multilateral cooperation, the fate of BIMSTEC too needs to contextualized in a world order that demands action and resolve.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests, Important International groupings), Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About BIMSTEC
  2. History of Formation of the BIMSTEC
  3. Significance of BIMSTEC

About BIMSTEC

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia:
    • Bangladesh
    • Bhutan
    • India
    • Nepal
    • Sri Lanka
    • Myanmar (South-east Asia)
    • Thailand (South-east Asia)
  • Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are the member states dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
  • Its members lie in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. BIMSTEC not only connects South and Southeast Asia, but also the ecologies of the Great Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.
  • Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.
  • The permanent secretariat of the BIMSTEC is in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • The BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship which has been taken in rotation commencing with Bangladesh (1997–1999).

History of Formation of the BIMSTEC

  • In 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • In 2004, at the first Summit the grouping was renamed as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.

Significance of BIMSTEC

  • BIMSTEC acts as a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.
  • Around one-fourth of the world’s traded goods cross the Bay of Bengal every year.
  • Important Connectivity Projects related to BIMSTEC
  • Kaladan Multimodal Project – links India and Myanmar.
  • Asian Trilateral Highway – connecting India and Thailand through Myanmar.
  • Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement – for seamless flow of passenger and cargo traffic.

Strategic Significance for India

  • BIMSTEC Enables India to pursue three core policies:
    • Neighbourhood First- primacy to the country’s immediate periphery;
    • Act East- connect India with Southeast Asia; and
    • Economic development of India’s North Eastern states- by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • India has moved from Look East Policy to Act East Policy and Indo Pacific cooperation through its diaspora, culture and connectivity. This has led to India’s goodwill in the region.
  • Allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Physical connectivity with BIMSTEC would also help India integrate itself with ASEAN’s Master Plan of Connectivity 2025.
  • A new platform for India to engage with its neighbours with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.
  • BIMSTEC suddenly received special attention as New Delhi chose to treat it as a more practical instrument for regional cooperation over a faltering SAARC.

-Source: The Hindu


Neelakurinji


Context:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has listed Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 including it on the list of protected plants.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Neelakurinji
  2. Threats

About Neelakurinji

  • In the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India, you can find the shrub known as Kurinji or Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthianus).
  • The name Nilgiri Hills, which means “blue mountains” in Sanskrit, derives from the lilac-blue blooms of Neelakurinji, which bloom only once every twelve years.
  • With documented bloomings in 1838, 1850, 1862, 1874, 1886, 1898, 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018, it is the most rigorously demonstrated.
  • Once every seven years, certain Kurinji flowers blossom before passing away. Then, their seeds germinate, continuing the cycle of life and death.
  • It served as a guide for the tribal Paliyan people of Tamil Nadu when figuring out their ages.

Threats

  • About 1,000 ha of forestland, grantis and eucalyptus plantations and grasslands have been destroyed in the fire.
  • These large-scale wildfires on the grasslands where Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiiana) blossomed widely last year after a period of 12 years could have wiped out all the seeds of the endemic flowers.
  • There are allegations that the areas coming under the proposed Kurinji sanctuary were set on fire with a motive to destroy the germination of Neelakurinji seeds.

-Source: The Hindu


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