Jharkhand tribal bodies to urge law panel to drop UCC plan
At a gathering in the State capital, they express apprehensions that the Uniform Civil Code might dilute several tribal customary laws and rights
Representatives of more than 30 tribal bodies in Jharkhand gathered in Ranchi under the banner of Adivasi Samanwai Samiti (ASS) to discuss the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) on Sunday and resolved that the UCC might dilute tribal customary laws and rights.
The tribal bodies have decided to urge the Law Commission to withdraw UCC as it may put their identity in danger. They also decided to launch a protest against the fresh consultation on the UCC by the Law Commission.
“In the meeting, we have decided to write to the Law Commission,” ASS member Dev Kumar Dhan said. The tribal bodies would stage a demonstration against the UCC near Raj Bhavan on July 5 and submit a memorandum to the Governor.
Former Bihar legislator Devendra Nath Champia said, on the basis of the Constitution, the 5th Schedule is applicable in the Scheduled Areas. “Common law is not applicable there and that is why tribals have not been included in the Indian Succession Act and Hindu Marriage Act,” he said.
Facts about the News
- A UCC would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities, in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.
- In other words, UCC is a set of rules/regulations, which proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.
Current situation in India
- Currently, Indian personal law is fairly complex, with each religion adhering to its own specific laws.
- Separate laws/ customs govern Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhist, Muslims, Christians, and followers of other religions.
- Moreover, there is diversity even within communities. All Hindus of the country are not governed by one law, nor are all Muslims or all Christians.
- For instance, in the Northeast, there are more than 200 tribes with their own varied customary laws.
- The Constitution itself protects local customs in Nagaland. Similar protections are enjoyed by Meghalaya and Mizoram.
- The exception to this rule is the state of Goa, where all religions have a common law regarding marriages, divorces, and adoption.
– Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a UCC for citizens throughout the territory of India.
- Article 44 is among the Directive Principles of State Policy.
- Directive Principles are not enforceable by court, but are supposed to inform and guide governance.
Please read- Shah Bano judgement
Stand of the 21stLaw Commission on the matter
- In 2018, 21st Law Commission underlined that the Uniform Civil Code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage.
- It argued for reform of family laws of every religion through amendments and codification of certain aspects so as to make them gender-just.
- It further said that cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.
Need for UCC
- To promote national unity
- Different personal laws are put to subversive use
- To promote gender justice
- Not in the domain of religious activities
- Vision of constitution makers
Arguments against UCC
- Diversity cannot be compromised for uniformity
- Violation of fundamental rights
- Constitution recognises the customary laws and procedures prevailing in NE states
- Detrimental to communal harmony of India
Modi, Sisi ink deal on strategic partnership
India and Egypt on Sunday signed an agreement on a strategic partnership as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo. The Government of Egypt bestowed the highest honour of the land — the Order of the Nile — on the visiting Indian leader and Mr. Modi described his first state visit to Egypt as “historic”.
“The four agreements that were signed during the visit (June 24-25) of the honourable Prime Minister — first, the most important, and a landmark development in the history of bilateral relationship was the signature on the strategic partnership between India and Egypt. It was signed by the Honourable Prime Minister Modi and the Honourable President El-Sisi of Egypt,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra announced.
He said green and renewable collaboration will be an important part of future partnership with Egypt because of the importance the two sides attach to clean energy.
Modi, Sisi ink deal on strategic partnership
Three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in the fields of agriculture, archaeology and antiquities, and competition law were also signed, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The two sides discussed multilateral cooperation at the G-20 and other subjects such as food, energy security and climate change. Earlier on Sunday, in a special gesture from Mr. Sisi, Mr. Modi received the Order of the Nile, the topmost state honour of Egypt. Among the past recipients of this honour were the late Sultan Qaboos (the ruler of Oman), Nelson Mandela and Suharto, former President of Indonesia. “It is with great humility that I accept the ‘Order of the Nile’. I thank the Government and people of Egypt for this honour. It indicates the warmth and affection they have towards India and the people of our nation,” Mr. Modi said after receiving the honour.
During the official discussion held at the Al-Ittihadiya Palace of Cairo, the two leaders noted that the newly formed ‘India Unit’ in the Egyptian Cabinet will be a “useful tool in steering bilateral collaborations”, the Ministry of External Affairs said. Mr. Modi and Mr. Sisi had a “one to one” conversation, Mr. Kwatra added. Mr. Modi visited the Heliopolis Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery which paid homage to over 4,300 Indian soldiers who had perished in Egypt and Aden during World War I. He met members of the Indian community as scheduled and visited the Al Hakim mosque.
Did climate change really make U.P.’s deadly heatwave twice as likely?
A deadly heatwave over Uttar Pradesh recently claimed as many as 100 lives. There were subsequently several reports saying that according to a model called the ‘Climate Shift Index’, developed by a reputable U.S. nonprofit called Climate Central, this heatwave was made twice as likely by climate change
A deadly heatwave over Uttar Pradesh recently claimed as many as 100 lives. There were subsequently several reports saying that according to a model called the ‘Climate Shift Index’ (CSI), developed by a reputed U.S. nonprofit called Climate Central, this heatwave was made twice as likely by climate change.
What is the scientific confidence level in such local attribution of individual weather events to climate change? And what are the consequences of such claims?
Climate change and weather
An exercise to determine climate change’s influence on a weather event involves two exercises: detection and attribution. A heatwave is defined based on the normal temperature of a region; ‘normal’ in turn is defined based on long-term historical data. The temperatures in Uttar Pradesh during the June 14-16 period met the definition of a heatwave. Put another way, a heatwave was definitely detected. Next, in terms of attribution, the CSI implies that the heatwave was made twice as likely due to global warming.
Several scientific and socioeconomic questions arise with such proclamations from trusted climate organisations.
Equally important, the experts who developed methods to rapidly compute the extent to which a weather event can be attributed to climate change have set out caveats and shortcomings — and these tend to get lost when the impact of climate change on a particular event is reported to the general public in a context-agnostic manner.
Scientifically speaking, an attribution exercise compares real conditions that have occurred with a so-called counterfactual world – a hypothetical world where climate change has not occurred. Scientists create counterfactual worlds for these weather events using historical weather data and model simulations. The observations are constrained by limitations and the models are never accurate. Setting them aside, we must also take a fuller view of attributions and their associated claims.According to Climate Central, its CSI is “grounded” in work described in a paper published in June 2022.
Experts developed rapid attribution methods to help with policies, climate adaptation, and for health-impact studies. On the other hand, the outcomes of heatwaves and such extreme weather events are related to the vulnerability of the population exposed to the hazard, which attributions must account for – but they don’t.
Attributions also do not account for the confluence of multiple natural weather conditions as well as human decisions that led to a heatwave being so deadly. (The most dire consequence of natural hazards often tends to be the product of too little attention being paid to early warnings that may already have been issued.) Our historic analysis of temperatures allows us to say, with high confidence, that in the past few decades, heatwaves have been getting worse over many parts of India even as other parts of the country appear to be cooling. On the other hand, our confidence in the changes in extreme rainfall events is not as high. This is partly due to the smaller spatial scales at which rainfall events happen and their ability to change at shorter timescales.
Some of the low-confidence in historic changes is also related to a lack of reliable data with sufficient spatial and temporal coverage, even though India has some of the best rainfall data among the world’s countries. Poor data coverage in turn affects the counterfactual world built by combining the sparse data and imperfect models. Ultimately, This is how the inferred impact of climate change on a particular weather event can be erroneous. In fact, we must accept that there is really no way to scientifically ensure the accuracy of such attributions.
In this context, we need to ask some key science questions. A rather unique set-up of events — including warming of the northern Indian Ocean from January onwards and the cyclones and typhoons during May and June — have disrupted the normal march of the southwest monsoon this year. Also playing out in the background is the world’s transition from a La Niña winter in 2022-2023 to the emerging El Niño summer of 2023.
These events also underscore the fact that natural variability — i.e. natural variations in the climate — always adds to or subtracts from the effects of climate change at the local level. For example, South India can have its hottest summer and in the same season Chennai can have its coolest day in June.
Climate change also affects the natural variability itself. The number and intensities of tropical cyclones as well as the El Niños and the La Niñas are also likely being affected by climate change. But the models do not agree on some of these estimates; the models used for attributions don’t even simulate cyclones!
The U.P. heatwave
The attribution approach that the CSI has taken does not consider such local weather systems. Studies have found that even irrigation can affect heatwaves, but neither the attribution data nor the models in the Uttar Pradesh case represent such effects.This brings us to the socioeconomic and sociopolitical implications of claims that climate change made the heatwave X-times more likely. What is the longer-term context? Should farmers worry about what it means for the rest of the agricultural season? Should people start moving? Should businesses and investors begin to reconsider their plans in the State?
It is naïve to assume that limited indices – which have their purpose in a specific context, in a supplementary capacity – will only impel climate adaptation, to deal with heatwaves, and not have other off-target consequences.
So, we desperately need a 360-degree view of such claims, especially in light of their potential deficiencies. Event-by-event attribution on a daily timescale is neither possible with sufficient accuracy nor is it practically valuable. It can also divert resources away from other, more worthy efforts, such as improving early-warning systems.
Raghu Murtugudde is a visiting professor at IIT Bombay and an emeritus professor at the University of Maryland.
The experts who developed methods to rapidly compute the extent to which a weather event can be attributed to climate change have set out caveats and shortcomings – and these tend to get lost when the impact of climate change on a particular event is reported to the general public in a context-agnostic manner
Historic analysis of temperatures allows us to say, with high confidence, that in the last few decades, heatwaves have been getting worse over many parts of India even as other parts of the country appear to be cooling
Natural variations in the climate alway adds to or subtracts from the effects of climate change at the local level. For example, South India can have its hottest summer and in the same summer Chennai can have its coolest day in June.
The India-U.S. deal for 31 MQ-9B drones
What are the capabilities of the soon-to-be procured MQ-9B High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial vehicles? What is the process to be followed for timely delivery?
The story so far:
U.S President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed India’s plans to procure General Atomics MQ-9B High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV), the joint statement issued last week after talks between the two leaders said. This sets the stage for the acquisition of 31 of these armed UAVs, 15 SeaGuardians for the Indian Navy and 16 SkyGuardians — eight each for the Indian Army and Air Force.
What is the cost and the process to be followed?
Giving more details on the nature of purchase, the joint statement said that the MQ-9Bs, which will be assembled in India, will enhance the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of India’s armed forces across domains. “As part of this plan, General Atomics will also establish a Comprehensive Global Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in India in support of India’s long-term goals to boost indigenous defence capabilities.”
The procurement process has commenced with the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh according the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) on June 15, the first step in the process. The deal will be executed through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of the U.S. government and is expected to take a few months to be concluded.
On this a Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement said the AoN noted the estimated cost of $3,072 million provided by the U.S. government. “However, price will be negotiated once policy approval of the US Government is received. The MoD will compare the acquisition cost with the best price offered by General Atomics (GA) to other countries. The procurement is in progress and would be completed as per the laid down procedure.” The price and other terms and conditions of the purchase are yet to be finalised and are subject to negotiations, the MoD statement noted.
According to a senior MoD official, India is negotiating to increase the indigenous content under the deal. “The current indigenous content proposed is 8-9% while India is hoping it can be increased upto 15-20%. Discussions are underway. General Atomics is positive to it and the U.S. government has to accept it,” the official said. General Atomics is in talks with several Indian companies for domestic manufacture of components as part of the deal, officials said. This could expand further to potentially include the manufacture of some electronics, sensor and avionics if the indigenous content goes up.
Detailing the process to be followed, the MoD statement said that under the FMS route, a Letter of Request (LOR) would be sent to the U.S. government where tri-services requirements, details of equipment and terms of the procurement would be included. “Based on the LOR, the U.S. government and the MoD will finalise the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) where details of equipment and terms of the procurement would be negotiated and finalised in accordance with the FMS programmeand the price and terms offered by the U.S. Government and General Atomics to other countries”, the Ministry detailed. The U.S. Administration will have to notify the U.S. Congress of the sale, expected to be a formality in this case. In the penultimate step, the deal has to be approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security after which the contract will be concluded.
What do the UAV’s bring in terms of capability?
The MQ-9B has two variants — the SkyGuardian and the SeaGuardian, its maritime variant. The MQ-9B is designed to fly over the horizon via satellite for up to 40 hours, depending on configuration, in all types of weather and safely integrate into civil airspace, according to its manufacturer. For instance, the SeaGuardian configuration can include a 360-degree surface-search maritime radar, automatic identification system, sonobuoy monitoring system, and sonobuoy dispensers for persistent anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions.
According to General Atomics, the MQ-9B can provide roughly 80% of the capability of a large human-flown maritime patrol aircraft at about 20% of its cost per hour. That makes it much more economical for navies to, for example, send out SeaGuardians to clear big volumes of air or sea and then, if anything of interest is discovered, vector in a human-crewed aircraft to save it the time, cost, and wear that it otherwise might have expended, the company stated. This is the primary reason the Indian Navy is keen on these UAVs as it significantly reduces the wear and tear on manned aircraft, its fleet of 12 P-8I long range maritime patrol aircraft, as well as reduce crew fatigue in keeping an eye over the wide expanse of the Indian Ocean Region and beyond.
For the Army and Air Force, the MQ-9Bs can provide round-the-clock surveillance looking far beyond the borders, for instance on the movement of Chinese military buildup and troop movement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and deep inside. It also seamlessly integrates with other U.S.-origin platforms that India operates, the P-8Is, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters among others expanding MQ-9B’s multi-domain mission set.
What UAVs are already in service?
The Indian Navy has leased two MQ-9As from General Atomics with the maiden flight taking place on November 21, 2020. In their two years of operation till November 2022, they had completed 10,000 flight hours, and “helped the Indian Navy to cover over 14 million square miles of operating area”, General Atomics has announced.
At Aero India in Bengaluru in February 2023, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and General Atomics announced that the turbo-propeller engines which power the MQ-9B will be supported by HAL’s engine division for the Indian market. “The companies are looking to formulate a comprehensive engine MRO programme for upcoming HALE Remotely Piloted Aircraft projects,” a joint statement said.
The MQ-9 is a significant technological leap from the original RQ-1/MQ-1Predator that heralded the arrival of long endurance armed drones at the end of the twentieth century. Armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, the Predator became a symbol of the U.S. war on terror after the 9/11 attacks, with their extensive employment in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan in the early 2000s. The RQ-1 Predator, which was first flown by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in 1995, was retired in 2018 and replaced by the MQ-9 Reaper.
According to the USAF, the Reaper is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets. “Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons, it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.”
U.S President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed India’s plans to procure General Atomics MQ-9B High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV), the joint statement issued last week after talks between the two leaders said.
According to a senior MoD official, India is negotiating to increase the indigenous content under the deal. “The current indigenous content proposed is 8-9% while India is hoping it can be increased upto 15-20%.”
The MQ-9B has two variants — the SkyGuardian and the SeaGuardian, its maritime variant. The MQ-9B is designed to fly over the horizon via satellite for up to 40 hours, depending on configuration.
Pricing, terms of MQ-9B drone deal with U.S. yet to be finalised, says govt.
Ministry says it will compare the acquisition cost with the best price offered to other countries by General Atomics; adds ‘speculative reports’ on social media were aimed at derailing the process
Rejecting “speculative reports” on social media with regard to the price and other terms of purchase of 31 MQ-9B High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from the U.S., the Defence Ministry on Sunday said the estimated cost provided by the U.S. government was $3.072 billion, but the price and other terms and conditions of the purchase were “yet to be finalised”.
The Ministry said it would “compare the acquisition cost with the best price offered” by General Atomics (GA) to other countries.
The Defence Acquisition Council accorded the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) on June 15 for the acquisition of 31 MQ-9B — 16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian — UAVs for the three services through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route. The AoN included the number of UAVs to be procured along with associated equipment.
“The AoN noted the estimated cost of $3,072 million provided by the U.S. government. However, price will be negotiated once policy approval of the U.S. Government is received. The MoD will compare the acquisition cost with the best price offered by General Atomics (GA) to other countries,” a Ministry statement said.
Letter of Request
“The procurement is in progress and would be completed as per the laid down procedure.”
Detailing the process to be followed, the Ministry said that under the FMS route, a Letter of Request (LOR) would be sent to the U.S. government where tri-services’ requirements, details of equipment and terms of the procurement would be included.
“Based on LOR, the U.S. Government and MoD will finalise the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) where details of equipment and terms of the procurement would be negotiated and finalised in accordance with the FMS program and the price and terms offered by the U.S. Government and GA to other countries,” it stated.
In this regard, referring to the “speculative reports” on social media with respect to the price and other terms of purchase, the Ministry said these were “uncalled for, have ulterior motives and aimed at derailing the due acquisition process”. “Price and other terms and conditions of the purchase are yet to be finalised and subject to negotiations,” the statement added requesting not to spread fake news and misinformation which can have a serious impact on the “morale of the armed forces and adversely impact the acquisition process.”
As reported by The Hindu earlier, the LoR is expected to be sent to the U.S. government in the first week of July and defence officials said the process was expected to take a few months.
India is also negotiating to increase the indigenous content in the deal, from the current 8%-9% to 15%-20% which will significantly increase sourcing from Indian industry.
Vikram, Pragyan to return for another tryst with the moon
Chandrayaan-3 lander, rover named after those in the previous mission; India’s third moon exploration mission slated for mid-July launch
India’s third moon exploration mission, slated for a mid-July launch, will share the names associated with the 2019 Chandrayaan-2 lunar adventure.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to retain the names of the Chandrayaan-2 lander and rover for their Chandrayaan-3 equivalents as well, ISRO Chairman S. Somanath told The Hindu. This means, the Chandrayaan-3 lander will bear the name Vikram (after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme) and the rover, Pragyan.
Much to its disappointment, the ISRO had lost the Chandrayaan-2 lander-rover configuration and the payloads aboard after Vikram crashed on the lunar surface while attempting a soft landing. Earlier this month, Mr. Somanath announced ISRO’s plans to launch the third moon mission in mid-July aboard the LVM3 (formerly GSLV Mk-III) rocket from Sriharikota. A propulsion module will carry the lander-rover configuration to a 100-km lunar orbit. Once the Vikram lander module makes it safely to the moon, it will deploy Pragyan, “which will carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during the course of its mobility”, the ISRO said.
The lander, rover and the propulsion module will have payloads for performing experiments designed to give scientists new insights into the characteristics of earth’s lone natural satellite. The lander will have four payloads — Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), Chandra’s Surface Thermo physical Experiment (ChaSTE), Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) and the LASER Retroreflector Array (LRA).
The six-wheeled rover will have two payloads — the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the LASER Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS).
In addition to these, there will be one payload on the propulsion module, the Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE).