GS Paper II Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Nagaland Issue

What’s Happening-
Chief Minister TR Zeliang has announced 33% reservation for women in municipal elections was approved by the state government through cabinet decision meeting held at his office.
The Nagaland Government has decided to conduct elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) under Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 by granting 33 per cent women reservation.
Tribal bodies enforced bandh across Nagaland from Jan 28.
Although elections took place in several places. But Nagaland govt declared the elections ‘null and void’.

Key Points discussed were:

  • Article 371(A) inserted in the Constitution when Nagaland state was created in 1963, provides “special provision” saying “Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,
  • No Act of Parliament in respect of
  1. (i) religious or social practices of the Nagas,
  2. (ii) Naga customary law and procedure,
  3. (iii) administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law,
  4. (iv) ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides.”
  • Reservation for women is necessary in patriarchal societies like Naga society, for instance, where there is a historical culture of inequalities even though Nagas don’t practise sati, female foeticide and infanticide, and do not believe in dowry or the caste system. But Naga customs, culture and traditions preclude women from inheriting land and participating in the decision-making process, which is exactly what Article 371(A) protects.

Conclusion:

  • 33% reservation for women in ULBs elections aims to translate to idea of gender equity under the Naga Customary Law.
  • “women are not second to men in Naga society”
  • Naga customary law needs to reform to share 50/50 basis for men and women in decision making process.

NOTE: Nagaland govt didn’t conduct elections to civic bodies for over 10 years due to opposition.

Background-
All-male tribal bodies bodies including the Naga Hoho – the apex body or all 18 tribes of the hill state have been against the 33% reservation for women in ULBs in Nagaland right from the time the Nagaland government enacted the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act in 2006, on the grounds that reservation for women in ULBs would violate Article 371(A) of the Constitution & infringe on Naga culture, traditions and customary laws.
The Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA), which has been spearheading the movement for granting reservation to women.

GS Paper III & I – current affairs

Ken-Betwa river-linking project faces new hurdle

What’s Happening-
A new hurdle has come in the way of the marquee Ken-Betwa river interlink project in its terms of financing.
The NITI Aayog has recommended that Madhya Pradesh contribute 40 per cent of the project cost, with the Centre contributing 60 per cent.
The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) has opposed this and requested that 90 per cent of the funds be routed through the Centre.
A lack of clarity on the funding leading to delays to the Rs 10,000-crore project that would be the first ever inter-State river interlinking project.

Environmental effects: Submerging tiger habitat:

  • The Rs. 10,000-crore Ken-Betwa project will irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region but, in the process, also submerge about 10 per cent of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, feted as a model tiger conservation reserve.
  • A key point of contention between wildlife experts associated with the impact assessment and dam proponents in the MoWR was whether the height of the Daudhan dam could be reduced to limit the water overflow.

Main feature of the project:

  • It is a 230-km long canal and a series of barrages and dams connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers
  • It will irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares in Madhya Pradesh and 14,000 hectares of Uttar Pradesh in Bundelkhand.
  • The key projects are the Makodia and Dhaudhan dams.
  • responsible for submerging 10% of tiger habitat in the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Background-
Ken-Betwa link project envisages diversion of surplus waters of Ken basin to water deficit Betwa basin.
This link canal will provide irrigation to water short areas of upper Betwa basin of Madhya Pradesh by way of substitution and also enroute to areas of Madhya Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh.

Sources-The Hindu, The Indian Express. Page 5