Har Ghar Gangajal scheme
GS Paper: 2- Government policies and interventions
Prelims exam: Har Ghar Gangajal project
Mains exam: Need and benefits of the scheme
Why in News?
The Har Ghar Gangajal project, which will be launched by the Bihar government, will bring water from the Ganga river to the state’s parched districts that are not located along the river’s path.
What is Har Ghar Gangajal scheme?
As part of the Har Ghar Gangajal project, excess Ganga river water will be collected during the monsoon season and piped to Rajgir, Gaya, and Bodhgaya, which have historically relied on adjacent districts’ tankers for drinking water during the dry season.
- The project will be launched as a part of the Jal, Jeevan, Hariyali scheme of the state government.
- A budget of Rs. 4,000 crore would be used to carry out the project’s initial phase.
- Large pumps will lift Ganga water from Hathidah, near Mokama, as part of this phase, supplying water to about 7.5 lakh houses in Rajgir, Bodhgaya, and Gaya.
- The collected water will first be kept in Rajgir and Gaya reservoirs before being sent to three treatment and purifying plants.
- Through pipelines from Hathidah, the public will receive the treated water.
- To reach every household that will benefit, the project will use new, renovated, and existing water connections.
- The project’s second phase, which is expected to begin in 2023, will provide Ganga water to Nawada.
- Every individual beneficiary of this programme will receive 135 litres (two huge buckets) of Ganga water each day for drinking and household usage.
What is the need of the scheme?
- The area surrounding Rajgir is rocky and lacks water. Unplanned and indiscriminate use of groundwater has depleted the subterranean reservoirs, lowered the water table, and impacted Gaya and Rajgir’s water quality.
- Tube wells continue to deliver a large portion of urban water supply. Water tables have depleted by 2 to 4 metres as a result between 2014–15 and 2020–21. In order to provide drinking water in the town areas during the summer, district administrations of these regions have set up water tankers. This is a temporary and unreliable solution to the water shortage in these arid areas. This problem is what the Har Ghar Gangajal project aims to solve.
Benefits of the scheme
- Even though the monsoon rainfall in Bihar is not exceptionally heavy, the riverbed has been heavily silted, particularly in Mokama, Hathidah, Barh, and Lakhisarai, and the release of water from dams upstream in Nepal has caused floods. The Har Ghar Gangajal programme will assist ease the suffering caused by annual flooding of the Ganga River banks while also providing water supplies for dry areas.
- The scheme will be implemented for the four months of the monsoon season, when the Ganga river has surplus water. By doing this, it is made sure that the diversion of water does not lead to depletion of the river, disturb its natural flow and potential changes in its course. . To store the future diverted floodwaters, the state government is currently planning to construct 13 new reservoirs in Gaya and Rajgir.
Right to religion does not include right to convert
GS Paper: 2- Fundamental Rights
Prelims exam: Article 25 (right to freedom of religion)
Mains exam: Anti-Conversion laws in India
Why in News?
The right to religion does not include the right to convert other people to a particular religion, especially through fraud, deception, coercion, allurement and other means, the Home Ministry told the Supreme Court.
What is religious conversion?
- Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination to the exclusion of others. Thus “religious conversion” would describe the abandoning of adherence to one denomination and affiliating with another.
- For instance, Shi’a Muslims to Sunnis and Baptist Christians to Methodists or Catholics.
- Religious conversion can often be symbolised by special rituals and “marks a transformation of religious identity”.
Supreme court observations
- On November 14, the apex court observed that fraudulent religious conversions “ultimately affect the security of the nation and freedom of religion and conscience of citizens”.
- “There may be freedom of religion but there may not be freedom of religion by forced conversion. Everybody has the right to choose their religion, but not by forced conversion or by giving temptation
Status of Anti-Conversion laws in India
- The word ‘propagate’ in Article 25 (right to freedom of religion) does not include the right to convert. It is rather in the nature of a positive right to spread one’s religion by exposition of its tenets.
- No one, however, should be forced to follow a religion against their will or forced to adhere to their religious views.
- There is no national legislation that prohibits or controls religious conversions.
- To govern religious conversions, however, Private Member Bills have often been submitted in Parliament since 1954 (although never passed by the body).
- Additionally, the Union Law Ministry stated in 2015 that Parliament lacks the legislative authority to enact legislation prohibiting conversion.
Anti-Conversion law in various states
- Several states have passed ‘Freedom of Religion’ laws over the years to prohibit forced, fraudulent, or coerced conversions to another religion.
- Orissa’s 1967 Freedom of Religion Act, Gujarat’s 2003 Freedom of Religion Act, Jharkhand’s 2017 Freedom of Religion Act, Uttarakhand’s 2018 Freedom of Religion Act, and Karnataka’s 2021 Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act are all examples of state laws that protect religious freedom.
What is the need of Anti-Conversion law?
- It prohibits conversion of religion through “coercion, force, misrepresentation, undue influence, and allurement” as well as fraud, or marriage and prohibits a person from “abetting, and conspiring” to such conversions, with It has the provision to declare such conversions “null and void”.
- “Fraudulent or induced conversion impinged upon the right to freedom of conscience of an individual apart from hampering public order.
- No Right to Proselytise: Article 25(1) of the Constitution says “all persons,” not just Indian citizens, are equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practise and propagate religion freely.
- Trying to convert someone from the convertee’s religion to the converter’s religion is known as proselytising.
- One cannot interpret a collective right to proselytise by extending an individual’s right to freedom of conscience and religion.
- Because both the person seeking to be converted and the person who is converting have a right to religious freedom.
- Fraudulent marriages: The practise of forcing the other person to change to one’s own religion after being married has been observed in several recent cases when people have married members of different religions by concealing or misrepresenting their own religion.
Issues associated with anti-conversion law
- There is a considerable potential for misuse when terms like misrepresentation, force, fraud, and allurement are used.
- These definitions are either excessively vague or overly general, covering topics that go well beyond the defence of religious freedom.
- The fact that the current anti-conversion laws place more of an emphasis on outlawing conversion in order to achieve religious freedom is another problem.
- However, officials might oppress and discriminate against minorities using the permissive legislation’s broad language.
- The secular fabric of India and the international perception of our society’s fundamental values and legal structure may be threatened by these laws.
SARAS 3 telescope
GS Paper: 3- Science and technology
Prelims exam: SARAS 3
Mains exam: Radio wave and Radio telescope
Why in News?
SARAS 3, a radio telescope designed and built at the Raman Research Institute (RRI) here has provided clues to the nature of the Universe’s first stars and galaxies.
About SARAS 3
- SARAS is a niche high-risk high-gain experimental effort of Raman Research Institute (RRI).
- In order to detect extremely faint radio wave signals from the past, from our “Cosmic Dawn,” when the first stars and galaxies formed in the early Universe, SARAS aims to design, build, and deploy a precision radio telescope in India.
About Radio wave and Radio telescope
- Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with the longest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, typically with frequencies of 300 gigahertz (GHz) and below.
- Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation best-known for their use in communication technologies, such as television, mobile phones and radios. These devices receive radio waves and convert them to mechanical vibrations in the speaker to create sound waves.
- Radio waves are generated by charged particles undergoing acceleration, such as time-varying electric currents. Naturally occurring radio waves are emitted by lightning and astronomical objects, and are part of the blackbody radiation emitted by all warm objects.
- A radio telescope is a specialized antenna and radio receiver used to detect radio waves from astronomical radio sources in the sky.
- Radio telescopes are the main observing instrument used in radio astronomy, which studies the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by astronomical objects.
- SARAS 3, a radio telescope designed and built at the Raman Research Institute (RRI) has provided clues to the nature of the Universe’s first stars and galaxies.
- Using data from the telescope which has been deployed over the Dandiganahalli Lake and Sharavati backwaters since 2020, astronomers and researchers have been able to determine properties of radio luminous galaxies formed just 200 million years post the Big Bang, a period known as the Cosmic Dawn.
- Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, along with collaborators at the University of Cambridge and University of Tel Aviv, have used data from SARAS 3 to throw light on the energy output, luminosity, and masses of the first generation of galaxies that are bright in radio wavelengths.
- “The results from the SARAS 3 telescope are the first time that radio observations of the averaged 21-centimetre line have been able to provide an insight into the properties of the earliest radio loud galaxies that are usually powered by supermassive black holes.
SARAS 3 had improved the understanding of astrophysics of Cosmic Dawn by telling astronomers that less than 3% of the gaseous matter within early galaxies was converted into stars, and that the earliest galaxies that were bright in radio emission were also strong in X-rays, which heated the cosmic gas in and around the early galaxies.
Austra Hind 22
GS Paper: 3- Internal Security
Prelims exam: Austra Hind 22
Mains exam: Objectives of Austra Hind exercise
Why in News?
Bilateral training exercise—Austra Hind 22— between contingents of the Indian Army and the Australian Army, is scheduled to take place at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges (Rajasthan).
About Austra Hind 22
- The Australian Army and the Indian Army are participating in a bilateral training exercise called the Austra Hind 22.
- From November 28 to December 11 this year, it will take place at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges (Rajasthan).
- The Australian Army contingent comprising soldiers from the 13th Brigade of the 2nd Division has arrived at the exercise location.
- The Indian Army is represented by troops from the Dogra Regiment.
- The ‘Austra Hind’ will be a yearly event that will be conducted alternatively in India and Australia.
What are the Objectives of Austra Hind exercise?
- This is the first exercise in the series of Austra Hind with participation of all arms and services contingent from both armies.
- The aim of the exercise is to build positive military relations, imbibe each other’s best practices and promote the ability to operate together while undertaking multi-domain operations in semi-desert terrain under a UN peace enforcement mandate.
- This joint exercise will enable the two armies to share best practices in tactics, techniques and procedures for conducting tactical operations at company and platoon level for neutralising hostile threats.
About Dogra Regiment
- The Dogra Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army. The regiment traces its roots directly from the 17th Dogra Regiment of the British Indian Army.
- The regiment was formed in 1922 through the amalgamation of three separate regiments of Dogras into the 17th Dogra Regiment.
- When transferred to the Indian Army like its sister regiments, the numeral prefix (in the case of the Dogra Regiment, 17) was removed.
- Units of the Dogra Regiment have fought in all conflicts that independent India has been engaged in, making it one of the most prestigious and most decorated regiments of the Indian Army.
Collegium system law of the land
GS Paper: 2- Judiciary
Prelims exam: Collegium system, National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)
Mains exam: National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), Appointment of judges
Why in News?
The Supreme Court linked the bitter failure of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) to the government’s willingness to “cross some Rubicons” and take on the judiciary by delaying Collegium recommendations.
About Collegium system
It is the system of judicial appointment and transfer of judges that has developed through SC rulings, not by a law passed by Parliament or by a provision in the Constitution.
- The appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts is dealt by Articles 124(2) and 217 of the Indian Constitution.
Evolution of the System:
First Judges Case (1981): It stated that “cogent reasons” may be given for rejecting the “primacy” of the CJI’s (Chief Justice of India) recommendation on judicial appointments and transfers.
- For the following 12 years, the court’s decision gave the executive branch precedence over the judiciary in appointing judges.
Second Judges Case (1993): Considering “consultation” to actually mean “concurrence,” SC established the Collegium system.
- It was further stated that this was not the CJI’s personal opinion, but rather an institutional judgement developed after consultation with the SC’s two most senior judges.
Third Judges Case (1998): The Collegium was increased to a five-member panel by the SC on the President’s referral (Article 143), which included the Chief Justice of India and four of his most senior colleagues.
Head of the Collegium System
- The SC collegium, which consists of the four senior-most judges of the court, is led by the CJI (Chief Justice of India).
- The current Chief Justice and the two other senior most judges of the High Court serve as a collegium.
- The government has a role only once the collegium system has decided on names for judges of the higher judiciary, who are only recruited through collegium system.
National Judicial Appointments Commission
- The NJAC Act, 2014 was enacted to provide rules for the selection process for the Chief Justice of India, other Supreme Court judges, Chief Justices of High Courts, and their transfers.
- By 99th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2014, the commission was established.
- According to the Act, the members of NJAC would be composed of representatives from the judicial, legislative, and civil society sectors.
- The Supreme Court, however, declared in October 2015 that the Constitutional amendment creating the NJAC was unconstitutional.
- In a 4:1 split, the five-judge panel invalidated both the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act and the NJAC Act.
Rational behind bringing NJAC
- The NJAC amended the Constitution; so, the second judges case that established the collegium is no longer applicable because the current Constitution differs from the one that existed at the time.
- The NJAC demands that no organ of the state, including the court, enjoys unlimited freedom, which is desirable for democracy (which is also a basic structure of the Constitution).
- The requirement for checks and balances on the judiciary as well as the independence of the judiciary must both be taken into consideration when making judicial appointments.
- A simple and transparent method is used to appoint judges under the NJAC Act.
- The lack of transparency in the collegium system was obviously demonstrated by the fact that collegium are inaccessible to the public.
- The executives who possess administrative machinery are viewed as having the ability to significantly and valuable contribute to the selection process.
- The creation of a culture of “reciprocity” could result from the legislature’s involvement in the appointment of judges.
- It is unrealistic to expect independence of thought from judges selected in the future under NJAC.
- The member of the commission in charge of their appointment is the Union Law Minister.
- The NJAC Act would violate the guarantee of judicial independence provided by the existing collegium structure.
- The judiciary’s exclusive responsibility for selecting judges is enshrined in the Constitution’s basic structure.
- The NJAC Act gives the legislative branch and the executive branch the arbitrary power to choose two notable individuals to join the NJAC body.
- It was assumed that the two prominent individuals’ application of veto power was biased.
- The Supreme Court linked the bitter failure of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) to the government’s willingness to “cross some Rubicons” and take on the judiciary by delaying Collegium recommendations.
- The Supreme Court mentioned Some names are pending for the last one and half years.
- The Supreme Court expressed anguish over the Centre not clearing names recommended by the collegium.
- Government occasionally chooses just one name from the list of Collegium recommendations, completely upsetting the seniority.
- The SC also emphasised that its 2021 ruling establishing a timeframe for those participating in the selection process was not being adhered to.
- The Centre must make the appointment right away, the apex court said, or it may send the recommendation back for reconsideration.
- Within three to four weeks, if the names are reiterated, they should be appointed.
- Since the Centre was not given a deadline to submit its recommendations, the appointment of judges was delayed significantly.