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PM IAS ACADEMY

PM IAS OCT 31 NEWS ANALYSIS

Presidential vs Parliamentary Form of Government

In Context

  • Recently, West Bengal Chief Minister alleged that attempts are being made for a Presidential form of government in India.

About the Presidential & Parliamentary form of government

  • About:
    • Modern democratic governments are classified into parliamentary and presidential.
    • This division is broadly on the basis of the nature of relations between the executive and the legislative organs of the government.
Parliamentary form of government:Presidential form of government:
Elections:It refers to a system of governance in which the citizens elect representatives to the legislative Parliament. As a result of the elections, the party with the greatest representation forms the government. Prime Minister:Its leader becomes the Prime Minister and performs various executive functions along with the members of Parliament appointed by the Prime Minister to the cabinet. Dissolution of lower house:The Prime Minister can dissolve the lower house.Responsible GovernmentA Parliamentary form of democracy is also known as the Cabinet form of government or the ‘Responsible Government’. This Parliament is responsible to make the decisions and laws for the state. It is also directly answerable to the people. In this, is the one in which the executive is responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts. Global presence:The parliamentary government is prevalent in Britain, Japan, Canada, India among others.Merits & Demerits:Merits:Harmony between legislatureand executive.Responsible government.Prevents despotism.Wide representation.Demerits:Unstable government.No continuity of policies.Against separation of powersGovernment by amateurs.Elections:In this, the President is directly elected by the people or the electoral college.President:President does not have nominal powers. He is both the head of the executive and the head of the state. As the head of the executive, he has a ceremonial position. As the head of the government, he acts as the chief real executive. Single executive:Thus, the Presidential system is characterised by a single executive concept.Dissolution of lower house:The President cannot dissolve the lower house.Responsibility:It is one in which the executive is not responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts, and is constitutionally independent of the legislature in respect of its term of office.Global presence:The presidential government is prevalent in USA, Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka among others.Merits & Demerits:Demerits:Conflict between legislature andexecutive.Non-responsible government.May lead to autocracy.Narrow representation.Merits:Stable government.Definiteness in policies.Based on separation of powers.Government by experts

Reasons for adopting the Parliamentary form of government

  • A plea was made in favour of the US presidential system of government in the Constituent Assembly. But, the founding fathers preferred the British parliamentary system due to the following reasons:
  • Familiarity with the System: 
    • The Constitution-makers were somewhat familiar with the parliamentary system as it had been in operation in India during British rule.
  • Preference to More Responsibility:
    • Dr B R Ambedkar pointed out in the Constituent Assembly that ‘a democratic executive must satisfy two conditions: stability and responsibility.
  • Need to Avoid Legislative—Executive Conflicts: 
    • The framers of the Constitution wanted to avoid the conflicts between the legislature and the executive which are bound to occur in the presidential system prevalent in the USA. 
    • They wanted a form of government that would be conducive to the manifold development of the country.
  • Nature of Indian Society:
    • India is one of the most heterogeneous States and most complex plural societies in the world. 
    • Hence, the Constitution-makers adopted the parliamentary system as it offers greater scope for giving representation to various sections, interests and regions in the government. 
    • This promotes a national spirit among the people and builds a united India.

Difference between Indian and British Parliamentary model

  • In India, the system of democracy that exists is Parliamentary Democracy. This model has been borrowed from the UK, but there are certain differences:
  • Republican vs monarchical system:
    • Head of the State in India (that is, President) is elected, while the Head of the State in Britain (that is, King or Queen) enjoys a hereditary position.
  • Prime Minister:
    • While in the UK, the Prime Minister can only be from the lower house, in India, the Prime Minister can be from both Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.
  • Legal responsibility:
    • Britain has a system of legal responsibility of the minister while India has no such system.

Way ahead

  • Way of adoption of these forms of government:
    • Both of these systems come with their own advantages and disadvantages. A country chooses the system which suits it the most.
    • There are some countries that have adopted a mixture of both these types as well. 
      • These systems have multiple differences based on separation of powers, accountability, executives etc.
  • In India:
    • Whether the parliamentary system should be continued or should be replaced by the presidential system has been a point of discussion and debate in our country since the 1970s. 
    • This matter was considered in detail by the Swaran Singh Committee appointed by the Congress government in 1975.
    • The committee opined that the parliamentary system has been doing well and hence, there is no need to replace it by the presidential system.

Need of Anti-superstition Law

In News

  • In the aftermath of the alleged human sacrifice of two women in Kerala, the state has stressed the need for a new legislation to curb such superstitious practices and urged strict implementation of the existing laws in this regard.

Introduction 

  • It is an irrational belief related to “ignorance or fear and characterized by obsessive reverence for omens, charms, etc” or “reverence for the supernatural”.
  • The term ‘Superstition’ has been taken from the Latin word ‘Superstitio’, which indicates extreme fear of the god.
  • Superstitions are not country, religion, culture, community, region, caste, or class-specific, it is widespread and found in every corner of the world. 
Facts/ DataPresently there exists no nationwide legislation to deal with superstitious practices, black magic, or human sacrifice in particular. Over recent decades, around 800 women in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have been killed for practising witchcraft.

Arguments in favour/ Need of the law 

  • The IPC is not equipped to deal with crimes on account of black magic and other superstitious practices.
  • Certain practices like throwing children on thorns, parading women naked, etc harm others and can’t be allowed in the name of religion.

Counter arguments/ we do not need a separate law 

  • Enacting special laws for each set of crimes is no solution and makes the problem worse.
    • An anti-superstition law may seem necessary, but it cannot take cognisance of all realities.
  • The domain of such a law is to curb superstition, associated primarily with religious and occult practices. 
    • Almost everything associated with any religion can be considered superstitious for the simple fact that there is no scientific rationale behind the same.
  • No scientific data: Going to a temple, a mosque, or a church can be termed superstitious because there is no scientific data to support the fact that such a practice yields any good. 
    • Such practices can’t be curbed because they don’t harm anyone.
  • The fundamental tenets of a liberal democracy give us the freedoms of conscience and to believe in things even when science and rationality don’t support them. 
  • The substantive legal framework of our country is sufficiently adequate to address such crimes.
    • For instance, throwing a child on thorns is an offence under Sections 307 and 323 of the IPC. Similarly, parading a woman naked can also be addressed specifically by Section 354B of the IPC. 
  • These superstitions can be addressed by amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act.

Major Challenges  

  • Violation of fundamental rights: Witch-hunting and broader superstition related crimes violate basic fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14, 15, and 21 of the Indian Constitution. 
  • Violation of various conventions: Such acts also violate several provisions of various International legislations to which India is a signatory, such as the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948’, ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966’, and ‘Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979’.
  • Bad implementation: Law and order is a State subject, so States are free to enact specific criminal laws. In the same way, States are also free to make amendments to Union laws.
  • Lack of effective governance: If the executive is serious about curbing such practices, active implementation and enforcement of existing laws need to be made more effective.
  • Certainty of punishment: Studies in criminology have established that certainty of punishment curbs the rate of crime and not the type or the quantum of punishment.
  • Bad implementation: We already have a reputation of having good laws but bad implementation. In legal parlance, it is known as ‘over-criminalisation’ — more laws but less ‘rule of law’.
  • Religions are aware that faith is vulnerable to improper use: stories of fake sadhus and deceitful sanyasis have long been around.  

Related Laws

  • Eight states in India have witch-hunting legislations so far. These include Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Assam, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • The state of Bihar emerged the pioneer in enacting a law to deal with superstitious practices in 1999. 
  • The Prevention of Witch Practices Act was amongst the first in India to address witchcraft and inhumane rituals.
  • The state of Maharashtra followed in 2013 to enact the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, which banned the practice of human sacrifice in the state. 
  • Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015: This Act would be applied along with Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. This Bill was turned into Act almost after 3 years that the Assembly had passed it. 
  • The state of Karnataka too affected a controversial anti-superstition law in 2017 known as the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Act.
    • It comprehensively counters “inhumane” practices linked to religious rituals including performing any inhumane act, evil practices and black magic in search of treasure, bounty, tantric acts including physical and sexual assault, creating impression of ‘possession’ and exorcism or assaulting people under the garb of exorcism, making claims of healing power, coercing people to perform fire-walking, and so on.
  • Kerala Prevention of Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices, Sorcery and Black Magic Bill’ in 2019 which called for imprisonment of up to seven years for convicts and up to Rs 50,000 fine along with the punishments for offenses under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
    • But it failed as it was not introduced, discussed, or passed in the state legislative assembly.

Way Forward/ Suggestions 

  • Need of sensitisation: Every superstition cannot be removed by the force of law. For that, a mental sensitisation is necessary.
  • The anti-superstition law also makes it possible to curtail activities of so-called godmen before they become too powerful.
  • Accessible criminal justice: The enforcement machinery needs a major overhaul to make criminal justice more accessible.
  • Article 51A (h) of the Indian Constitution makes it a fundamental duty for Indian citizens to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • Provisions under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act of 1954 also aim to tackle the debilitating impact of various superstitious activities prevalent in India. 

BCCI announces Pay Parity

In News

  • Recently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a “pay equity policy”, saying that its centrally-contracted men and women players would get the same match fees.

Key Points

  • This is the first step towards tackling discrimination. Pay equity policy is being implemented for contracted women cricketers.
  • Both men and women cricketers will be paid: 
    • ?15 lakh for Tests, 
    • ?6 lakh for one-day internationals and 
    • ?3 lakh for Twenty20 internationals. 

Gender Pay Gap in India

  • Gender pay gap refers to the difference in earnings between women and men in the paid employment and the labour market.
    • It is a measure of the gap in the overall earnings of men and women. 
    • It is calculated by considering several parameters applied to the total number of employed members of both genders. 
    • This means that it does not account for women who have voluntarily stayed out of the workforce or have taken a sabbatical.
  • There are two distinct numbers: 
    • The unadjusted pay gap: It differentiates between mean and median wages of the two genders 
    • The adjusted pay gap: It takes into account differences in factors such as occupation, education and job experience.
    • So, the difference is starker if you consider the unadjusted figure.
  • Unequal pay refers to situations where women are paid less than men for doing the same work. 
    • To counter this, equal pay is legally enforced in most organized sectors. 

Reasons for Pay Gaps in India

  • Poor access to the education system and work experience: 
    • Girl children are sometimes kept out of schools or made to drop out of school early. 
    • Even if they are educated, many women are not allowed to work by their families.
  • A large segment of the well qualified women want to join the workforce because of household responsibilities or social status:
    • Women who do join the workforce often need to take extended leaves for maternity and child care, and even the healthcare of other family members. 
  • Drop in employment: 
    • A massive drop in casual employment for women in urban areas during the first quarter of the pandemic.
  • Social stigma: 
    • Till India’s social stigma against women in the workforce and the general environment of social injustice against women is not tackled, the gender pay gap may not show any sign of closing.
    • Societal and Employers prejudices are responsible for women’s lower wages.

Constitutional Provisions and Efforts Taken to Address the Pay Gap

  • The Supreme Court recognised the right to equal pay for equal work to be a constitutional goal under Articles 14, 16, and 39 (d) of the Constitution of India. 
  • Article 39(d) of the Constitution of India for instance seeks to achieve social justice through the principle of equal pay for equal work. 
  • Social justice and equality go hand in hand and therefore it can be said that this principle has evolved as a socio-legal imperative.
  • The rule of equality under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution in the first instance prohibits any special treatment or privilege and ensures that equal people are treated alike in equal circumstances. 
  • The Supreme Court has identified several grounds which were held proper for creating wage differences.
    • Educational qualification was held to be a valid ground for wage difference.
    • Even for similar posts, if there is a difference in nature of work done and extension of reliability and responsibility of one more than the other person.
    • A rational basis to give a higher wage to a junior is also identified under the test of reasonable classification.
    • If duties and responsibilities are not the same, even though functions are similar.

Way Ahead

  • Actively enforce legislation for the protection of the right to equal wages and work.
  • Need for work to actively incentivise the participation of women in the workforce, including enhancements in pay, upskilling, job reservations, easy return-to-work options, particularly after maternity leave, and the option to work from home, wherever possible.
  • Need to ensure a more equitable distribution of household work and childcare duties between women and men.
  • Implementing “living wages” as opposed to minimum wages, particularly for all informal workers, and formalise contractual, temporary, and casual labour as much as possible.
  • This decision will inspire young talents to pursue their passion for the sport and that other sports organisations would follow the example established by the BCCI.

Doctrine of Pleasure

In News

  • Kerala Governor and the State government have major differences over multiple issues. 

About Controversy

  • The latest controversy arose after the Governor sought the resignation of several vice-chancellors following a Supreme Court judgement setting aside the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of a technology university. 
  • As a fallout of comments made by the State’s Finance Minister, K. N. Balagopal, the Governor, has also sought his dismissal from his Cabinet, declaring that he has withdrawn the pleasure of having him in the Council of Ministers.

Doctrine of Pleasure

  • Origin: 
    • The pleasure doctrine is a concept derived from English common law.
    • Under it, the crown can dispense with the services of anyone in its employ at any time. 
  • Article 310 of Indian Constitution: 
    • It says every person in the defence or civil service of the Union holds office during the pleasure of the President, and every member of the civil service in the States holds office during the pleasure of the Governor
  • Article 311:
    • It imposes restrictions on the removal of a civil servant. 
    • It provides for civil servants being given a reasonable opportunity for a hearing on the charges against them. 
    • There is also a provision to dispense with the inquiry if it is not practicable to hold one, or if it is not expedient to do so in the interest of national security. 
    • In practical terms, the pleasure of the President referred to here is that of the Union government, and the Governor’s pleasure is that of the State government.
  • Article 164: 
    • The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor; and the other Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the CM’s advice. 
    • It adds that Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the Governor
    • In a constitutional scheme in which they are appointed solely on the CM’s advice, the ‘pleasure’ referred to is also taken to mean the right of the Chief Minister to dismiss a Minister, and not that of the Governor. 
    • In short, the Governor of an Indian State cannot remove a Minister on his own.

Supreme Court on one Vice-Chancellor’s appointment

  • In a case challenging the appointment of Dr. M.S. Rajasree as V-C of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram, the Supreme Court held that her appointment was contrary to the regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC)
  • Protocol was not followed: 
    • The particular infirmity was that the Search Committee had identified only one candidate and recommended the name to the Chancellor for appointment. 
    • Under UGC regulations, a panel of three to five names should be recommended so that the Chancellor has a number of options to choose from. 

Governor’s Reaction

  • The Governor, in his capacity as Chancellor of universities, responded by directing the V-Cs of nine universities to resign the very next day, contending that the infirmities pointed out by the Supreme Court in one case also vitiated their appointments. 
  • The apex court had declared that an appointment not in line with the UGC regulations would be ab initio void that is invalid from the very beginning. 
  • Each of those appointments were either made on the basis of a single recommendation or were recommended by a panel in which the Chief Secretary was a member (contrary to the Regulations that say its members should be persons of eminence in the field of higher education). 

Governor

  • About: 
    • He/she is the Chief Executive Head of a State.
    • Like the President of India, he is a nominal (titular or constitutional) head and also acts as an agent of the central government. Therefore, the office of governor has a dual role.
  • Articles 153 to 167 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the State Executive, which comprises the Governor, the Chief Minister, the Council of Ministers and the Advocate General of the State.
    • There is no office of Vice-Governor (in the state) like that of Vice-President at the Centre.
    • Usually, there is a governor for each state, however, the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 facilitated the appointment of the same person as a governor for two or more states.
  • Appointment
    • The Governor is neither directly elected by the people nor indirectly elected by a specially constituted electoral college as is the case with the President.
    • He/she is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
      • As held by the Supreme Court in 1979, it is an independent constitutional office and is not under the control of or subordinate to the Central government.
    • While drafting the Constitution, the Canadian model of Governor’ appointment by the Centre was accepted in the Constituent Assembly.
  • Oath
    • The Governor has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation, which is administered by the Chief Justice of the concerned State’s High Court and in his/her absence, the senior-most judge of that court available.
  • Qualifications
    • The Constitution lays down only two qualifications for the appointment of a person as a governor.
      • He/she should be a citizen of India.
      • He/she should have completed the age of 35 years.
    • Additionally, two conventions have also developed in this regard over the years. 
      • He/she should be an outsider, meaning not belonging to the State of appointment so as to remain free from the local politics.
      • While appointing the Governor, the President is required to consult the Chief Minister of the State concerned, so that the smooth functioning of the constitutional machinery is ensured.
  • Conditions
    • Should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If any such person is appointed as governor, he/she is deemed to have vacated his/her seat in that House on the date on which he/she enters upon the office as the Governor.
    • Should not hold any other office of profit.
    • Entitled without payment of rent to the use of official residence (the Raj Bhavan).
    • Entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament.
    • When the same person is appointed as the governor of two or more states, the emoluments and allowances payable to him are shared by the states in such proportion as determined by the President.
    • Emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.
    • During the term of office, he/she is immune from any criminal proceedings, even in respect of personal acts and cannot be arrested or imprisoned.
      • However, after giving two months’ notice, civil proceedings can be instituted against during the term of office in respect of his personal acts.
  • Tenure:
    • A Governor holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he/she enters upon the office.
    • However, this term of five years is subject to the pleasure of the President.
      • However, the Constitution does not lay down any grounds upon which a Governor may be removed by the President.
      • The Supreme Court in 2010 held that the Governors cannot be changed in an arbitrary and capricious manner with the change of power. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan held that a Governor can be replaced only under “compelling” reasons for proven misconduct or other irregularities.
    • Further, he/she can resign at any time by addressing a resignation letter to the President.
    • The President may transfer a Governor appointed to one state to another state for the rest of the term. Further, a Governor whose term has expired may be reappointed in the same State or any other State.
  • Functions and Powers
    • Executive Powers
    • Legislative Powers
    • Financial Powers
    • Judicial Powers
    • The Governor has no diplomatic, military or emergency powers like the President.

Way Ahead

  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution appointed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000 recommended significant changes in the selection of Governors.
    • The Commission suggested that the Governor of a State should be appointed by the President, after consultation with the Chief Minister of that State.
    • Normally the five year term should be adhered to and removal or transfer of the Governor should be by following a similar procedure as for appointment i.e., after consultation with the Chief Minister of the concerned State.
  • The Sarkaria Commission:
    • That was set up in 1983 to look into Centre-state relations, and proposed that the Vice President of India and Speaker of Lok Sabha should be consulted by the Prime Minister in the selection of Governors.
  • The Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi Committee
    • That was constituted in 2007 and proposed in its report that a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Vice President, Speaker, and the concerned Chief Minister should choose the Governor.
    • It recommended deleting the Doctrine of Pleasure from the Constitution, but backed the right of the Governor to sanction the prosecution of ministers against the advice of the state government. 
    • It also argued for a provision for impeachment of the Governor by the state legislature. 

DNA Testing & Surrounding Legislations in India

In Context

  • Recently, the Supreme Court has voiced concerns over the increasing use of DNA testing to prove a case.

More about the news

  • Issue:
    • More and more complainants are seeking DNA tests –  such requests are increasing by around 20% each year
    • DNA Forensics Laboratory Private Limited says it tests around 300-400 samples each month that are both private requests and court-mandated. 
      • The numbers were only around 30-40 till five years ago.
        • DNA Forensics Laboratory Private Limited is one of the biggest centres which is accredited with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
  • Justice vs privacy:
    • The Supreme Court has recently held that compelling an unwilling person to undergo a DNA test would be a violation of his/her personal liberty and right to privacy.
    • The court is turning the spotlight on the spreading use of a technology that aids the cause of justice on the one hand but violates privacy on the other.
  • Global scenario:
    • While the 3,000-odd DNA tests Indian labs perform annually is minuscule compared to the 70 other countries that rely on DNA technology.

More about the DNA testing

  • About:
    • DNA is a very powerful tool for investigation because no two people can have the same DNA except in the case of identical twins. 
    • DNA/Genetic tests are performed on a sample of blood, hair, skin, amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds a fetus during pregnancy), or other tissue.
  • Where is it used?
    • Crime scenes:
      • DNA tests are used in the criminal investigation by the police where they find the suspect by matching the DNA samples of the crime scene with the suspected person’s DNA. 
    • Finding inheritance:
      • DNA test is the only tool that can deliver justice in cases of abandonment of mothers and children.
        • It is also a very powerful tool in civil cases where the court has to decide the matter relating to the maintenance and find the parents of the child.
  • Legislation on DNA testing:
    • There is no legislation present in India which can provide specific guidelines to the investigating agencies or the court for dealing with DNA testing.
    • Section 53 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973
      • This section authorized a police officer for getting the assistance of a medical practitioner in good faith for the purpose of the investigation
      • The section does not enable to collect blood semen etc. for bringing the charges against a person.
    • Courts’ stands:
      • Courts are also reluctant to use the DNA test technique because there are serious questions raised regarding the right of privacy which comes under Article 21 of the Constitution and the right against self-incrimination which comes under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.
  • The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019:
    • About:
      • The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha, commonly known as DNA profiling Bill.
      • This bill tries to establish a regulatory framework for the usage of DNA information.
    • Data Bank:
      • The bill also seeks to establish a Nationwide data bank of DNA where crime scene index, suspects or offenders, missing or unknown person indices will be maintained.
    • Specifically listed matters for testing:
      • DNA testing will only be allowed for the identification of the person with is related to the matter which is listed in the bill which is as follows:
        • Offences under the IPC which is useful for investigating offences.
        • Offences which are in special laws such as immoral trafficking, domestic violence, civil right violation, motor vehicle Act, etc.
        • In civil matters in which there is a parental dispute where it is necessary for a DNA tests for the identification of parents of the child.
    • Offences: 
      • The Bill specifies penalties for various offences, including: 
        • For disclosure of DNA information, or 
        • Using DNA sample without authorization.

Challenges & way ahead

  • Complex procedure:
    • Although, there is a common consensus within the scientific community that DNA profiling can yield results with a very high probability, the complex procedure of DNA profiling is not without problems.
  • Possibility of abuse of data:
    • The surge of requests belies fears about privacy and concerns about possible abuse of data.
  • It can be safely concluded that the Supreme Court is yet to reflect with detailed insight on constitutional validity of DNA testing and its methods.
Autosomal DNA technique  It is a term used in genetic genealogy to describe DNA that is inherited from the autosomal chromosomes. An autosome is any of the numbered chromosomes, as opposed to the sex chromosomes. The autosomal DNA technique can be used even when very limited genetic data are available.Autosomal DNA tests can be used to confirm relationships with a high level of accuracy for parent/child relationships and all relationships up to the second cousin level. For all relationships additional contextual and genealogical information is required to confirm the nature of the relationship

Miya Museum

In News 

Local authorities in Assam sealed a Miya Museum two days after it was inaugurated by an organisation representing migrant Muslims.

Rationale behind the move 

  • The action was taken as a house allotted under the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana-Gramin scheme was converted into a museum in violation of the rules.
  • The genesis of the controversy lies in the politics of polarisation in Assam fuelled by the fear of a demographic invasion by the so-called “illegal immigrants” or “Bangladeshis”. 
    • Some legislators and former MLAs of the BJP interpreted the museum as a cultural aggression and asked the government to pull it down. 

About Miya Museum

  • ‘Miya’ : It is a pejorative term used primarily by the indigenous communities to mean Bengal or Bengali-origin Muslims who have settled down in Assam since the late 1890s, initially brought by the British for commercial farming.
    • The migrant Muslims form the bulk of Assam’s Muslims accounting for more than 34% of the State’s 3.3 crore people. 
  • Museum: A private centre showcasing the culture and heritage of Bengal-origin or Bengali-speaking Muslims was inaugurated primarily by members of the All Assam Miya Parishad at Dapkarbhita in the Lakhipur circle of Goalpara district. 
    • They named it the Miya Museum. 

Curcumin Compound to Treat Infection in Cattles

Context

  • In a major breakthrough in creating immunity in cattle against infectious diseases including mastitis, researchers have successfully validated the immunomodulation ability of a natural phytochemical compound with curcumin as the active ingredient.
    • Mastitis is an infectious disease condition resulting in an inflammatory reaction in the mammary gland of the cow.

What is Curcumin?

  • It is a yellow pigment found primarily in turmeric. It is a polyphenol with anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to increase the amount of antioxidants that the body produces.
  • Research revealed that Curcumin offers immunity in dairy cattle against infectious diseases including mastitis by increasing complementary protein, Interferon, Immunoglobulin (IgM), lymphocytes and monocytes.
  • The compound will create appropriate immunity and facilitate increased milk production by 10 percent.

Significance

  • The economic loss due to mastitis in India exceeds ?13,000 crore annually. 
  • No vaccination is available against mastitis. 
  • Antibiotics have been used to manage various infections in cattle. However, it has been noticed that the uncontrolled use of antibiotics results in increased antibiotic resistance. 
  • The irrational use of antibiotics for treating mastitis resulted in inter-species and inter-genus transfer of antibiotic resistance and creation of various multi-drug resistant microorganisms in the environment, which affects immunity of livestock and human health.

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