1.Red alert: 50 years of Naxal uprising (Live Mint)
2.Zika grips India: WHO (Down to Earth)
3.New cattle trade rules: All animals are equal (The Hindu)
1.Red alert: 50 years of Naxal uprising (Live Mint)
Synoptic line: It throws light on the menace of Naxalism in India and its related security challenges. (GS paper II)
- India has got one of the fastest rates of growth across developing countries in the world. It is one the most populous democratic nations that has got the resources and potential to become a superpower. However, there are many key challenges in the existing globalised environment. One of such challenges faced by India since last so many years is the threat of Naxalites.
- The Naxalites are hampering economic reforms by creating problems in developing the regions where they rule. Also, the resources that should be used for nation’s overall development is spent on internal security so as to control the Naxalite activities.
- The year 2017 marks 50-year anniversary of naxal uprising, hence it becomes crucial to track down the deadly insurgency.
- The Naxal movement finds its origin from the Naxalbari incident that happened on 25 May 1967 at Bengai Jotevillage in Naxalbari, located in the Siliguri subdivision of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
- It is here in northern West Bengal, 50 years ago, that the armed insurgency that we now call Naxalism was born. The incident that bears the Naxalbari name was triggered at the nearby village of Jote when police opened fire on a peasant uprising, killing nine adults and two children.
- A Communist-inspired peasant movement had begun decades earlier in many parts of eastern and central India, but particularly in Telangana. The Telangana Struggle, a collective movement of about 2,000 villages, and the associated political philosophy enunciated in the Andhra thesis, received a shot in the arm from Mao’s revolution in China. The seeds of the Naxalbari incident were sown when the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, decided to join mainstream Indian politics and split from the rest of the Communist Party in 1964.
- Charu Majumdar of the CPM, born to a landed family in Siliguri but drawn to the cause of peasants, supported his comrades Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal in the militant uprising that took place in Naxalbari in 1967.
- This group came to be known as the founding Naxalites and codified their views in a set of articles written by Majumdar called the Historic Eight Documents. Majumdar first founded the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR) and then two years later the CPI (Marxist-Leninist). Majumdar died in police custody in 1972.
- Charu Mazumdar is now hailed as the father of Naxalism in India and also the first Maoist of India.
- When the Naxal uprising began in 1967, the Indian government looked at it as a law and order problem. It did not analyze the causes of the movement and the extent of mobilization of people. Hence, it believed that it could and would put an end to it in a short span of time using force.
- So, while Charu Mazumdar named the 1970’s the “Decade of liberation”, the Indian state chose to make it the “decade of repression”
- As a government it could not let any violent uprising threaten its legitimacy, even if the cause was morally valid. The government chose to react based on the latter point and so launched a massive police operation that drove the movement underground and brought most of its leaders under police custody within four months of the uprising.
- The emergency in 1975 was a period of carte-blanche to the state authorities to crush the movement. It lead to the legitimization of violation of human rights by the state. But ironically, the movement arose again in a more violent form after the emergency.
The modern revolution
- After suffering significant setbacks in the late 1970s and 1980s, the modern rejuvenation of this militant struggle began with the founding of the CPI (Maoist), constituted in 2004 by the merger of the CPI (M-L) People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI).
- The CPI (Maoist) is designated a terrorist organization under Indian law and now conducts Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in the guise of a peasant revolution in the Red Corridor. That corridor spans parts of 10 states: Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
What needs to be done (Way ahead)?
- First, urban India should be made aware that a Maoist ideology is outmoded and deeply flawed. Maoist networks often collaborate with other forms of terror organizations and with foreign groups seeking to destabilize India. Even though infrastructure, opportunity and a fair share is not generally available to the Adivasis in the affected areas, a violent Maoist solution should be roundly condemned.
- Equally, civil society must hold both the federal and state governments accountable to provide access and opportunity to these poor, rural and often marginalized populations. Any extra-constitutional methods should be eschewed in favour of systematic soft and hard development. It is a vexing problem, but sustained development combined with an engagement with the people is the way forward.
- There is no doubt that Naxalites problem is one of the major threats to India’s internal security. It has got multi-dimensional adverse impact on nation. Moreover, failure to stop the internal threat is an open invitation to external threats.
- However, the main culprit behind the Naxalite problem is poor governance. Until and unless, the political mess is not cleared, the problems of Naxalites can never be solved. Therefore, the real threat is not the Naxalites but the real threats are the political parties and the system which has failed to contain the problem in so many years.
Question: What policy measures are needed to fight insurgency in LWE areas? How is it different from insurgency in North-East?
2.Zika grips India: WHO (Down to Earth)
Synoptic line: It throws light on impending threats of zika virus in India and some facts related to the virus. (GS paper III)
- India has reported three cases of the Zika virus for the first time, including two pregnant women who delivered healthy babies. The three patients were from Gujarat state and have recovered.
- The three patients had not travelled overseas and had acquired the infection locally. Hence, it becomes crucial to tame the movement of virus.
What is Zika virus?
- The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection. It is now known that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects in newborn called microcephaly – condition defined by small heads and brain damage, along with other defects like blindness, deafness, seizures and other congenital defects.
- Zika virus can also lead to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a form of temporary paralysis in adults, that has links to other neurological complications.
What are the symptoms of Zika infection?
- The symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue, and include fever rarely higher than 102 degrees, skin rashes, bloodshot eyes, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
How do people become infected?
- Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected female mosquito, primarily the Aedes aegypti. This mosquito also spreads yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon/evening.
- Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people. During outbreaks, health authorities may advise that spraying of insecticides be carried out. Insecticides recommended by the WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme may also be used as larvicides to treat relatively large water containers.
- Basic precautions for protection from mosquito bites should be taken by people traveling to high risk areas, especially pregnant women. These include use of repellents, wearing light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
Government apathy and weak response
- A fallout of this political apathy has been the failure of the government to adapt to the changing nature of Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for the diseases plaguing the country.
- Normally, the mosquito would breed only in clean stagnant water accumulated in potholes, discarded containers and tyres. Not only has intermittent rains associated with climate change increased breeding places for the mosquito, the vector is also adapting to newer environments. Now there is evidence that it can grow in dirty water, using it as a habitat throughout the year.
- A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2015shows that Aedes mosquitoes that breed in dirty water are bigger and have longer wing spans. The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme’s 2016 Urban Vector-Borne Disease Scheme does not consider dirty water as a breeding area. The authors of the 2015 study suggest that the country’s vector control programme should include sewage drains as breeding habitats of dengue vector mosquitoes.
- The scheme includes methods such as controlling mosquito breeding sites, use of anti-larval methods with approved larvicides and biological control through larvivorous fishes and biolarvicides. And even these are not being employed properly, which is clear from the current outbreak.
- Sri Lanka is the second country in Southeast Asia to eradicate malaria. Last year, WHO had declared the Maldives malaria-free. The country has not reported malaria cases since 1982. The country maintained strong epidemiological and entomological surveillance to sustain its malaria-free status for the past three decades. The same strategy is adopted in India but the reason for Sri Lanka’s success is that they were consistent with the effort. “Unlike us, Sri Lanka continued its efforts even after it had brought down the number of malaria cases.
- Hence, need of the hour is to formulate a coherent policy and sustained efforts should be carried in this regard.
Question– What are the the demographic threats of vector borne disease in India? What should be the government strategy in this regard?
3.New cattle trade rules: All animals are equal (The Hindu)
Synoptic line: It throws light on issue of new cattle trade rules as notified by Government.(GS paper III)
- In a move amounting to a virtual ban on unregulated trade of cattle, the Centre has banned the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across the country. The centre under a notification the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 mention that those who wish to sell cattle bulls, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and camels may do so, only after they formally state that the animals have not been “brought to the market for sale for slaughter”.
- The rules will bring in new norms for the functioning of well-known livestock markets or annual cattle fairs like the ones at Sonepur (Bihar) and Pushkar (Rajasthan) or in other states including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
- According to the government, the aim of the rules is only to regulate the animal market and sale of cattle in them and ensure welfare of cattle dealt in them.
- According to Section 22 of the rules that deals with sale of cattle, which is defined as “a bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels”, both the seller and the buyer must give an undertaking that the cattle will not be traded for slaughter or sacrifice for religious purposes.
- The rules provide for setting up a district-level authority to enforce animal protection laws on the ground, including those against illegal slaughter. As part of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, it makes a provision of constitution of Animal Market Committee for management of animal markets in the district”.
- According to the rules framed, buyers must verify they are agriculturists and sellers must furnish photo identity proof and written declarations stating that the cattle are not brought to the animal market for slaughter. Only the purchase or sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets has been prohibited, however the legal slaughter houses can directly procure animals from farms.
- Under the rules, no animal market will be allowed in a place that is within 25 km from any state border or that is within 50 km from any international border. Besides unfit animals, pregnant animals, animals who have not been vaccinated and animals under six months of age cannot be displayed or sold at any of the cattle market anywhere in the country.
- The market committee will have to keep a record of name and address of the purchaser and procure his identity proof. The committee will also have to ensure that the purchaser of the animal gives a declaration that he shall not sell the animal up to six months from the date of purchase and shall abide by the rules relating to transport of animals made under the Act or any other law for the time being in force.
Impact on industry
- The new rules will have far-reaching socio-economic impact that a struggling country will be unable to cope with. The adverse impact on industry, employment as well as the export sector. Among the Indian states, India accounts for nearly 13 per cent of the global market in hides and skins and more than half of its leather industry employees are less than 35 years of age.
- The worst affected will be Uttar Pradesh that consumes the highest quantity of beef, which incidentally is only buffalo meat because cow-slaughter is banned in the state. According to the latest Basic Animal Husbandry Survey, the state also slaughters the highest number of buffalos in India around 6.2 million.
- It’s not just cattle meat based economy, state’s autonomy, people’s rights, food habits, nutrition, jobs and direct export earnings that the de factoban will affect, but also other industries such as leather and pharmaceuticals. Leather and leather goods, that’s solely dependent on cattle-slaughter.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, enacted on December 1960, however does not impose any such restriction. It does not ban a cattle owner to sell the carcass of his animals for leather. The legislative intent of the 1960 Act is to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
- Though Section 38 of the 1960 Act confers the Centre the power to make rules, several judicial precedents hold that this rule-making power does not allow going “beyond the scope of enabling Act or which is inconsistent therewith or repugnant.”
- Activists mentioned that, it becomes impossible to trace an animal back to its farm of origin, the rules intend to promote the concept of ‘farm to fork’, which revolves around the traceability of food products as they move through the supply chain.
- According to the opponents, a government deciding what people should or shouldn’t eat is a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to life (Article 21). Legally, it has long been established that right to food is an integral part of right to life.
- Though the issues relating to cow slaughter come under the ‘state’ subject in terms of making law and framing the rules, but the new central rules are notified under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960 that gives the Centre power over animal welfare.
- A graduate farmer, who is the president of a milk producers cooperative society in Tamil Nadu said that, none of the farmers, want to see their cow or bull slaughtered, however our economic situation and the non-viability of profitable farming force us to sell the cattle if they fall ill or are far beyond their productive years, so how can that not be allowed?
- There have been question in the framework of rules, such as-
- If the main subject of the notification was the regulation of livestock markets, why was it issued by the Ministry of Environment and not the Animal Husbandry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, which deals directly with this issue?
- On what ground can the slaughter of any animal for food be prevented under the PCA, when it explicitly recognizes that animals may constitute “food for mankind”.
- Though it will help in better tracking and adherence of safety standards, but this fails to take into account that rural farming economy.
- The biggest impact will be on India’s largely non-mechanized rural economy, in which the life cycle of bulls and bullocks provides farmers with a sustainable economic model. According to the dairy owners, it will be difficult for them to purchase and transport animals due to the rigorous paperwork and undertakings required, as also explaining to vigilantes on the street that the animals they are transporting are not for slaughter.
- There is need to address the concerns of the trade.
Question– India has one of the largest cattle population in the world. What will be the implications of new cattle rules on animal husbandry?