Daily News Analysis
20 September 2022
INCLUSION/EXCLUSION OF SCHEDULED TRIBES
O GS Paper 2: Government policies and interventions
O Prelims exam: Tribes in news, constitutional provision regarding Tribes
O Mains exam: Empowerment of SC/STs
Why in news
The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to add several tribes to the list of Scheduled Tribes in States such as Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.
New inclusion in Tribes list
O Hatti tribe in the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh
O The hill tribes of Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran of Tamil Nadu
O The Binjhia community in Chhattisgarh
O The Gond community in certain districts of Uttar Pradesh
Process for addition and removal of communities from SC, ST lists
O The process begins at the level of a State or Union Territory, with the concerned government or administration seeking the addition or exclusion of a particular community from the SC or ST list.
O The final decision rests with the President’s office issuing a notification specifying the changes under powers vested in it from Articles 341 and 342.
P Article 342(2) specifies that Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes. This means that exclusion or inclusion in the list of scheduled tribes is only possible through a law of Parliament.
O The inclusion or exclusion of any community in the Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes list come into effect only after the President assents to a Bill that amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, as is appropriate, after it is passed by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
O A State government may choose to recommend certain communities for addition or subtraction from the list of SCs/STs based on its discretion.
P The proposal to include or remove any community from the Scheduled List is sent to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs from the concerned State government.
O After this, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs examines the proposal, and sends it to the Registrar General of India (RGI).
O Once approved by the RGI, the proposal is sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes or National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, following which the proposal is sent back to the Union government.
O The Union government then introduced the bill to amend the scheduled tribes list in Parliament.
Definition of Scheduled Tribes
The tribal communities in India have been recognized by the Indian Constitution under ‘Schedule 5’ of the constitution.
O GS Paper 3: Major crops and crop Diversity
O Prelims exam: Facts related to ITPGRFA
O Mains Exam: Food and nutritional security challenges for India and World
O Article 366 (25) defined scheduled tribes as“such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution”.
O Article 342 prescribes procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.
O Article 342 deals with the provisions related to Scheduled Tribes. It states that the President may, with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a state, after consultation with the Governor thereof by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall, for the purposes of this constitution, is deemed to be scheduled tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory, as the case may be.
O Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community, but save as aforesaid, a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.
O Thus, the first specification of Scheduled Tribes in relation to a particular State/ Union Territory is by a notified order of the President, after consultation with the State governments concerned.
O These orders can be modified subsequently only through an Act of Parliament.
Why in news
The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has inaugurated the Ninth Session of the Governing Body(GB9) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in New Delhi.
Theme of the GB9: Celebrating the Guardians of Crop Diversity: Towards an Inclusive Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
The theme aims to highlight the contribution of the world’s small farmers to the effective management of PGRFA and provide an opportunity to consider how the treaty and its community can contribute to the new global biodiversity architecture.
What is ITPGRFA
O The ITPGRFA is a legally binding comprehensive agreement signed during the 31st session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome in November, 2001, which took effect on 29 June 2004.
O Currently ITPGRFA has 149 Contracting Parties including India.
O The Treaty recognizes the significant contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world, and seeks to protect traditional knowledge and increase participation in decision-making processes.
Objective of the Treaty
O This treaty, in consonance with the Convention on Biological Diversity, seeks to achieve food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), equitable sharing of profits from its use, as well as playing an important role in the recognition of rights of farmers.
P PGRFA provides scale-free solutions to achieve food and nutritional security as well as climate resilient agriculture.
P Countries are mutually interdependent for the PGRFA, leading to the need for a global system to facilitate access and profit sharing.
Main provision of the Treaty
O Global information system: The Contracting Parties agree to make available information which shall, inter alia, encompass catalogues and inventories, information on technologies, results of technical, scientific and socio- economic research, including characterization, evaluation and utilisation, regarding those plant genetic resources for food and agriculture under the Multilateral System.
O Participation and capacity building: The sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture may include promoting plant breeding efforts which, with the participation of farmers, strengthen the capacity to develop varieties particularly adapted to social, economic and ecological conditions as a way to promote sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
O Benefit sharing: The Contracting Parties recognize the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world have made. The Contracting Party will take measures to protect and promote Farmers’ Rights, including the right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilisation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
Article 9 of the ITPGFRA deals with the rights of farmers, which India is fully compliant with and relevant provisions are contained in the PPV&FR Act, 2001.
PPV&FR Act, 2001
O The Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers Rights Act, 2001 (PPV&FR Act) has been enacted to fulfil India’s obligation under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organization.
O It aims to stimulate investment in Research and Development for the development of new plant varieties which will facilitate the growth of the seed industry and ensure the availability of high quality seeds to the farmers.
O The act makes provision for an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
O The act recognises and protects the rights of farmers in respect of their contributions made in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties.
O The act facilitates the growth of the seed industry in the country.
NEW WAY OF VERIFYING TRANSACTIONS ON THE BLOCKCHAIN
O GS Paper 3: Developments in Science and Technology, Applications of scientific developments in everyday life
O Prelims exam: Blockchain, proof of work and proof of stake
Why in news
Ethereum blockchain fully transitioned to a new way of processing transactions, which is known as the‘proof-of-stake’ consensus mechanism. This will cut Ethereum’s energy consumption by 99.95%.
Problem with the earlier mechanism
O Ethereum’s former method, ‘proof-of-work’, which is also used by Bitcoin, needs powerful mining hardware that consumes a lot of electricity and generates enormous amounts of heat.
O This energy is then used to process extremely difficult mathematical puzzles, the solution of which would let new transactions be added to the blockchain so as to reward the miners with crypto.
O Many environmentalists, policy makers, and regulators have strongly criticised the impact of Bitcoin mining on local communities.
O Crypto’s total annualised power consumption nearly matches that of Finland while its carbon footprint is comparable to Switzerland.
What is proof-of-work and proof-of-stake consensus mechanism
Proof of Work consensus: It is the mechanism of choice for the majority of cryptocurrencies currently in circulation. The algorithm is used to verify the transaction and create a new block in the blockchain.
O The PoW consensus algorithm involves verifying a transaction through the mining process. This section focuses on discussing the mining process and resource consumption during the mining process.
O The Proof of Work consensus algorithm involves solving a computationally challenging puzzle in order to create new blocks in the Bitcoin blockchain. The process is known as‘mining’, and the nodes in the network that engage in mining are known as ‘miners’.
P The incentive for mining transactions lies in economic payoffs, where competing miners are rewarded.
Proof-of-stake consensus mechanism: Proof-of-stake reduces the amount of computational work needed to verify blocks and transactions that keep the blockchain, and thus a cryptocurrency, secure.
O Proof-of-stake changes the way blocks are verified using the machines of coin owners. The owners offer their coins as collateral for the chance to validate blocks. Coin owners with stacked coins become “validators.”
O Validators are then selected randomly to“mine,” or validate the block. This system randomises who gets to“mine” rather than using a competition-based mechanism like proof-of-work.
O To become a validator, a coin owner must “stake” a specific amount of coins.
O Blocks are validated by more than one validator, and when a specific number of the validators verify that the block is accurate, it is finalised and closed.
How Is Proof-of-Stake(PoS) Different From Proof-of-Work(PoW)?
O PoS, block creators are called validators. A validator checks transactions, verifies activity, votes on outcomes, and maintains records. Under PoW, the creators are called miners. Miners solve complex mathematical problems to verify transactions; in return.
O To “buy into” the position of becoming a block creator, investors need only to purchase the sufficient limit of coins or tokens required to become a validator for a PoS blockchain. For PoW, miners must invest in processing equipment and incur heavy energy charges to power the machines attempting to solve the computations.
O The equipment and energy cost under PoW mechanisms are expensive, limiting access to mining and strengthening the security of the blockchain. However, PoS blockchains often allow for more scalability due to their energy efficiency.
ROAD BUILDING IN INDIA
O GS Paper 3: Infrastructure
O Prelims exam: NHAI
O Mains Exam: Road infrastructure in India and its challenges
Why in news
After a record 37km per day in FY21, the pace of highway building fell to 29km per day in FY22, and has slowed further in FY23.
O India aims to have a 200,000-km national highway network by FY25.
O This requires building 20,000 kms of national highways every year for the next three years.
O The target includes 34,800 km of Bharatamala highways to improve connectivity of national highways as well.
O The NHAI also aims to build greenfield expressways of about 8,000 km over the next three years.
O In the FY23 budget speech the finance minister pledged to add 25,000 km to the national highway net-work in FY23.
O This, however, includes new construction, widening works, and converting state highways into national highways.
Progress in highway building
O The pandemic year of FY21 was exceptional, with a record 13,327 km constructed at 37 km per day.
O This happened because road contractors got enough time to organise their work, aided by reduced road traffic due to lockdown conditions.
O However, construction fell over 20% to 10,457 km or just 29 km/day in FY22.
O Construction slowed further in FY23, with the pace falling 13% in the April-August period to just 2,912 km, slower than even the 3,355 km built during the peak of the second wave of the covid pandemic that resulted in large scale disruption in economic activity.
Reasons of slow road building
O Building new roads requires land acquisition, financial closure of contractors, and various clearances.
O According to the road ministry, the major reasons for the slow progress are delays in land acquisition and the jump in land prices.
O Covid and the extended monsoonin FY22 dampened construction, and may hurt this year as well.
Expectation for current financial year
O India expects to build 12,000 km of highways in FY23, led by complex six and eight-lane roads, and access control highways.
O Greenfield projects take long, but in terms of lane kilometres, the actual construction this year may cross the target.
O Construction may pick up after September as rains draw to a close.
O NHAI is already trying to speed up the construction and the road transport ministry has set a goal of 60 km of road building per day for the rest of FY23.
Funding of construction activity
O The Centre has given the highest ever budgetary allocation to the road ministry for FY23.
O The allocation is up 52% from the revised estimates for FY22 to ₹1,99,108 crore.
O Of the total allocation to the ministry, the highest is for NHAI at ₹1,34,015 crore, up 67% from FY22.
O This is expected to give enough funds to NHAI, the prime builder of highways in the country, to boost the pace of construction.
O NHAI is also looking to monetise about 1,700 km of highways in FY23 to raise additional funds.
O National Highways Authority of India was set up by an act of the Parliament, NHAI Act, 1988 “An Act to provide for the constitution of an Authority for the development, maintenance and management of national highways and for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
O It has been entrusted with the National Highways Development Project, which along with other minor projects, has vested in it 50329 kms of National Highways for development, maintenance and management.
O NHAI is mandated to implement National Highways Development Project (NHDP) which is India’s largest ever Highways Project in a phased manner.
O To develop, maintain and manage National Highways vested in it by the Government.
O To collect fees on National Highways, regulate and control the plying of vehicles on National Highways for its proper management.
O To develop and provide consultancy and construction services in India and abroad and carry on research activities in relation to the development, maintenance and management of highways or any other facilities there at.
O To advise the Central Government on matters relating to highways.
O To assist on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon, any State Government in the formulation and implementation of schemes for highway development.