Contents

  1. Govt unveils Rs. 6L-crore monetisation scheme
  2. Why does Malabar rebellion of 1921 still court controversy?
  3. Gujarat’s anti-conversion law
  4. Afghan returnees to be vaccinated against polio

Govt unveils Rs. 6L-crore monetisation scheme

Context:

The government will raise ₹88,000 crore this year by leasing infrastructure assets of central government ministries and state-run companies under a ₹6 trillion National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) it unveiled recently.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Industrial Development, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) scheme
  2. Key Challenges in the NMP scheme
  3. Union Budget 2021-22 laying the foundation for NMP scheme

About the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) scheme

  • With the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) launched by the government, it aims to raise $81 billion by leasing out state-owned infrastructure assets over the next four years (2021-25). The funds will then be used to build new infrastructure assets, helping boost economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.
  • NMP is envisaged to serve as a medium-term roadmap for identifying potential monetisation-ready projects, across various infrastructure sectors.
  • The framework for monetisation of core asset monetisation has three key imperatives:
    1. Monetisation of rights not ownership (this means the assets will have to be handed back at the end of transaction life,
    2. brownfield de-risked assets and stable revenue streams, and
    3. structured partnerships under defined contractual frameworks with strike KPIs and performance standards.
  • Annual targets under the four-year pipeline have been set at ₹1.62 trillion for FY23, ₹1.79 trillion for FY24 and ₹1.67 trillion in the following year.
  • The top five sectors by value under the government’s asset monetization programme are roads (27%), railways (25%), power (15%), oil and gas pipelines (8%) and telecom (6%).
  • NMP report has been organised in two volumes which were released today in the presence of Vice Chairman (Niti Aayog), CEO (Niti Aayog), and secretaries of infrastructure line ministries.
  • NMP will create employment opportunities, thereby enabling high economic growth and seamlessly integrating the rural and semi-urban areas for overall public welfare.

Key Challenges in the NMP scheme

  1. Lack of identifiable revenue streams across various assets,
  2. Lack of level of capacity utilisation across gas and petroleum pipeline networks,
  3. Lack of a dispute resolution mechanism,
  4. Absence of regulated tariffs in power sector assets,
  5. Low interest among investors for national highways below four lanes.

-Source: Hindustan Times


Why does Malabar rebellion of 1921 still court controversy?

Context:

  • Recently, RSS leader at a meeting to commemorate the victims of the rebellion, had stated that the movement was one of the first manifestations of the Taliban mindset in India and it was later reported that Malabar Rebellion leaders Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, Ali Musaliar and 387 other “Moplah martyrs” will be removed from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle.
  • However, a three-member committee appointed by the Indian Council of Historic Research (ICHR) to review the entries in the ‘Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)’ is understood to have left the martyrs of the Left movement untouched and Martyrs of the communist movement of Kerala will remain as freedom fighters in the annals of India’s struggle for independence
  • August 20, 2021, marks the centenary (100 years) of the Malabar rebellion, which is also known as the Moplah (Muslim) riots. 

Relevance:

GS-I: History (Modern Indian History, Indian National Movement)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Malabar Rebellion (Moplah/Mappila riots)
  2. Reasons for the Moplah/Mappila riots
  3. Split in views regarding the Malabar Rebellion and the Controversies 

About the Malabar Rebellion (Moplah/Mappila riots)

  • The Malabar rebellion of 1921 (also known by the names Moplah riots, Mappila riots) happened from August 20, 1921 to 1922 in the Malabar region of Kerala.
  • It started as a resistance against the British colonial rule in Malabar and soon, it was also a revolt against the prevailing feudal system in Kerala controlled by elite Hindus. (The British had appointed high caste Hindus in positions of authority to get their support, this led to the protest turning against the Hindus.)
  • The main leaders of the rebellion were Ali Musliyar, Variankunnath Kunjahammad Haji, Sithi Koya Thangal, Chembrasery Thangal, K. Moideenkutti Haji, Konnara Thangal, Pandiyatt Narayanan Nambeesan, and Mozhikunnath Brahmadathan Nambudiripad.
  • There were a series of clashes between the Mappila peasantry and their landlords, supported by the colonial government, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • In the initial stages, the movement had the support of Mohandas Gandhi and other Indian nationalist leaders, and a number of clashes took place between Khilafat volunteers and other religious communities, but the violence soon spread across the region.
  • At the time, the Indian National Congress repudiated the movement and it remained isolated from the wider nationalist movement.
  • By the end of 1921, the rebellion was crushed by the British who had raised a special battalion, the Malabar Special Force for the riot.
  • In November 1921, 67 Moplah prisoners were killed when they were being transported in a closed freight wagon from Tirur to the Central Prison in Podanur. They died of suffocation. This event is called the Wagon Tragedy.

Reasons for the Moplah/Mappila riots

  1. The trigger of the uprising came from the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by the Congress in 1920 along with the Khilafat agitation.
  2. The anti-British sentiment fuelled by these agitations affected the Muslim Mapillahs (also known as Moplahs) of south Malabar region of Kerala.
  3. After the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799 in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, Malabar had come under British authority as part of the Madras Presidency. The British had introduced new tenancy laws that tremendously favoured the landlords known as Janmis and instituted a far more exploitative system for peasants than before.
  4. Most of the landlords were Namboodiri Brahmins while most of the tenants were Mapillah Muslims. Fuelled by the fiery speeches by Muslim religious leaders and anti-british sentiments, the Mopillahs launched a violent rebellion. Numerous actions of violence were reported and series of persecutions were committed both against the British and the Hindu landlords.

Split in views regarding the Malabar Rebellion and the Controversies 

  • Contemporary colonial administrators and modern historians differ markedly in their assessment of the incident, debating whether the revolts were triggered off by religious fanaticism or agrarian grievances.
  • However, some contemporary Indian evaluations now view the rebellion as a national upheaval against colonial rule and the most important event concerning the political movement in Malabar during the period.
  • It has often been perceived as one of the first nationalist uprisings in southern India. It has even been described as a peasant revolt. In fact, in 1971, the then Kerala government had included the participants of the rebellion in the category of freedom fighters.
  • The riots, which had led to the deaths of hundreds of Hindus in the Malabar region, still remains a debated topic among historians. The current central government said that history was distorted, and the Malabar uprising, which began as part of the Khilafat Movement, ended up with the massive killings of Hindus.
  • A review report of 2016 noted that “almost all the Moplah outrages were communal. They were against the Hindu society and done out of sheer intolerance.” The report also said that none of those who died in the Wagon Tragedy were freedom fighters of India as they hoisted the Khilafat flag and established Khilafat and Khilafat courts for a brief period.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express


Gujarat’s anti-conversion law

Context:

The Gujarat High Court recently, stayed key provisions of The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 pertaining to marriages involving religious conversion of either of the two parties. 

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of Policies), GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Fundamental Rights), GS-I: Indian Society

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Freedom of religion in our Constitution 
  2. What is Religious Conversion?
  3. What is ‘Love Jihad’?
  4. Anti-Conversion laws in Indian States
  5. About the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021
  6. Why have the laws been criticised?
  7. Important Cases Regarding Marriage and Conversion of Religion

Freedom of Religion in our Constitution

  • Right to freedom of faith is not a conferred right but a natural entitlement of every human being. In fact, the law does not assign it but it asserts, protect and insurers its entitlement. Indian Society has nourished and nurtured almost all the established religion of the world like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc. from its time immemorial.
  • Article 25: All persons are equally entitled to “freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.” subject to public order, morality and health, and to the other fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
  • Article 26: gives every religious group a right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes, manage its affairs, properties as per the law. This guarantee is available to only Citizens of India and not to aliens.
  • Article 27: This Article mandates that no citizen would be compelled by the state to pay any taxes for promotion or maintenance of particular religion or religious denomination.
  • Article 28: This Article mandates that No religious instruction would be imparted in the state-funded educational institutions.

What is Religious Conversion?

  • Religious conversion has always been a very sensitive social issue not only because of the reasons that it has psychological concerns of religious faith but also because it has wider socio-legal and socio-political implications.
  • Religious conversion means adopting a new religion, a religion that is different from his previous religion or religion by his birth.
  • There are various reasons for which people convert to different religion:
    1. Conversion by free will or free choice
    2. Conversion due to change of beliefs
    3. Conversion for convenience
    4. Conversion due to marriage
    5. Conversion by force

Reasons for Religious Conversions

  • Religious Conversion is a multifaceted and multi-dimensional phenomenon. Indian society is a pluralist and heterogeneous society with the multiplicity of races, religions, cultures, castes and languages etc. Religious Conversion has always been a problematic issue in India.
  • The reasons for religious conversions in India can be–
    • Rigid Hindu caste system
    • Polygamy prevailing in Islam
    • To get rid of matrimonial ties.
    • To get reservation benefits.

What is “Love jihad”?

  • The term “love jihad” was first mentioned in around 2007 in Kerala and neighbouring Karnataka state, but it became part of the public discourse in 2009.
  • Love Jihad is an unsubstantiated campaign defined as an activity under which Muslim men target women belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love.

Why do the state governments want to enact the law to curb it?

  • The state governments have argued that it is the duty of the state to protect the dignity of women from the men, by concealing their identities and operating secretly.
  • The UP government referred to a recent order of the Allahabad High Court which said religious conversion for the sake of marriage is unacceptable.
  • The Allahabad court in its order in the Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case (Allahabad HC) 2020, observed that conversion “just for the purpose of marriage”, and where the religious belief of the party involved is not a factor, is unacceptable.
  • The Allahabad High Court also ruled that the freedom to live with a person of one’s choice is intrinsic to the fundamental right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. Hence, the order recognised that our society rested on the foundations of individual dignity, that a person’s freedom is not conditional on the caste, creed or religion that her partner might claim to profess, and that every person had an equal dominion over their own senses of conscience.

Anti-Conversion laws in Indian States

  • To date, there have been no central legislations restricting or regulating religious conversions.
  • Further, in 2015, the Union Law Ministry stated that Parliament does not have the legislative competence to pass an anti-conversion legislation.
  • Apart from UP and Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh too, have also enacted similar laws.
    • In 1967-68, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh enacted local laws called the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act 1967 and the Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantra Adhiniyam 1968. Chhattisgarh inherited the law when it was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.
    • The Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 1978 was enacted to prohibit the conversion from one religious faith to any other by use of force or inducement. As the state has not formulated rules, the law is yet to be implemented in the State.
    • The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Ordinance was promulgated by the Governor on October 5, 2002 and subsequently adopted by the State Assembly. However, this law was repealed in 2004.
    • The Rajasthan Assembly passed an Act in 2006, however, the Presidential assent is still awaited.
    • The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020: The law makes conversion non-bailable with up to 10 years of jail time if undertaken unlawfully and requires that religious conversions for marriage in Uttar Pradesh to be approved by a district magistrate. The proposed law does not include any restriction on interfaith marriage.

About the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021

  • The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 was brought in line with several similar laws enacted last year by BJP-ruled states, starting with Uttar Pradesh, to amend the 2003 Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act.
  • The laws ostensibly seek to end conversion through unlawful means, specifically prohibit any conversion for marriage, even if it is with the consent of the individual except when prior sanction is obtained from the state.

Why have the laws been criticised?

  • The new anti-conversion laws shift the burden of proof of a lawful religious conversion from the converted to his/her partner.
  • They define “allurement” for religious conversion in vague, over-broad terms; prescribe different jail terms based on gender.
  • The new laws legitimise the intrusion of family and the society at large to oppose inter-faith marriages.
  • They also give powers to the state to conduct a police inquiry to verify the intentions of the parties to convert for the purposes of marriage.
  • Legal experts have pointed out that the laws interfere in an individual’s agency to marry a partner from a different faith and to choose to convert from one’s religion for that purpose.
  • Apart from being vague and sweeping, the laws also test the limits to which the state can interfere in the personal affairs of individuals.
  • The freedom to propagate one’s religion and the right to choose a partner are fundamental rights that the new anti-conversion laws impinge upon.

Important Cases Regarding Marriage and Conversion of Religion

  • Lata Singh Case 1994 – The apex court held that India is going through a “crucial transformational period” and the “Constitution will remain strong only if we accept the plurality and diversity of our culture”. Relatives disgruntled by the inter-religious marriage of a loved one could opt to “cut off social relations” rather than resort to violence or harassment.
  • Hadiya Judgement 2017 – Matters of dress and of food, of ideas and ideologies, of love and partnership are within the central aspects of identity. Neither the State nor the law can dictate a choice of partners or limit the free ability of every person to decide on these matters.
  • Soni Gerry case, 2018 – The SC warned judges from playing “super-guardians”, succumbing to “any kind of sentiment of the mother or the egotism of the father”.
  • Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case (Allahabad HC) 2020 – The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty (Article 21). It also held that earlier court rulings upholding the idea of religious conversion for marriage as unacceptable are not good in law.

-Source: Indian Express


Afghan returnees to be vaccinated against polio

Context:

India has decided to vaccinate Afghanistan returnees against polio for free as a preventive measure against the wild polio virus.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Health, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Polio?
  2. Recent Outbreaks of Polio
  3. Polio in India
  4. India’s Pulse Polio Programme
  5. Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India

What is Polio?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) defines polio or poliomyelitis as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.”
  • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g., contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
  • Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs.
  • In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.
  • There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.
  • There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains:
    1. Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)
    2. Wild Poliovirus type 2 (WPV2)
    3. Wild Poliovirus type 3 (WPV3)
  • Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death.
  • However, there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains separate viruses which must each be eradicated individually.

Recent Outbreaks of Polio

  • In 2019, polio outbreaks were recorded in the Philippines, Malaysia, Ghana, Myanmar, China, Cameroon, Indonesia and Iran, which were mostly vaccine-derived in which a rare strain of the virus genetically mutated from the strain in the vaccine.
  • Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries that are having the most trouble in controlling the spread of Polio effectively.
  • In 2018, a total of 8,60,000 children in Afghanistan did not receive polio vaccine due to security threats.

Polio in India

  • India received polio-free certification by the WHO in 2014, after three years of zero cases.
  • This achievement has been spurred by the successful pulse polio campaign in which all children were administered polio drops.
  • The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on 13th January 2011.

India’s Pulse Polio Programme

  • With the global initiative of eradication of polio in 1988 following World Health Assembly resolution in 1988, Pulse Polio Immunization programme was launched in India in 1995. Children in the age group of 0-5 years administered polio drops during National and Sub-national immunization rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.
  • The Pulse Polio Initiative was started with an objective of achieving hundred per cent coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine.
  • It aimed to immunize children through improved social mobilization, plan mop-up operations in areas where poliovirus has almost disappeared and maintain high level of morale among the public.

Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India

  • Maintaining community immunity through high quality National and Sub National polio rounds each year.
  • An extremely high level of vigilance through surveillance across the country for any importation or circulation of poliovirus and VDPV is being maintained.
  • All States and Union Territories in the country have developed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country.
  • To reduce risk of importation from neighbouring countries, international border vaccination is being provided through continuous vaccination teams (CVT) to all eligible children round the clock.
  • Government of India has issued guidelines for mandatory requirement of polio vaccination to all international travelers before their departure from India to polio affected countries namely:  Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.

-Source: The Hindu

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