Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- C-295 and aircraft industry
- Inclusion of scheduled Tribe
- Universal periodical Review at HRC
- Special status under 6 th schedule of Constitution
- Facts for Prelims
1 . C-295 and aircraft industry
Context: The foundation stone for the C-295 transport aircraft manufacturing facility was laid in Vadodara. It will be set up by Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL). This is the first time a private sector company would be manufacturing a full aircraft in the country. This is a huge step forward for India in the global aircraft manufacturing domain.
What is the C-295MW transporter?
- The C-295MW is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tons capacity which will replace the legacy Avro aircraft in the Indian Air Force (IAF) procured in the 1960s.
- With the set-up of the final assembly line in Vadodara, the Tata Group will now be able to take aluminium ingots at one end of the value stream and turn it into an Airbus C-295 aircraft for the IAF.
- Of the 56 aircraft contracted, 16 will come in fly-away condition from Spain between September 2023 and August 2025.
- The remaining 40 will be manufactured here to be delivered between September 2026 and 2031 at the rate of eight aircraft per year.
- Nearly 240 engineers will be trained at the Airbus facility in Spain for the project.
- The C-295 has very good fuel efficiency and can take off and land from short as well as unprepared runways.
- With the procurement of these aircraft, India has become the 35th C-295 operator worldwide.
- With 285 aircraft ordered and 38 operators in 34 different countries, the aircraft has achieved more than 5,00,000 flight hours.
- The Navy and the Coast Guard have also expressed interest in the C-295 and it can be used in civilian roles as well as exported in the future.
- The C-295 is also a potential replacement for the AN-32 aircraft, the workhorse of the IAF with over 100 of them in service.
How will this affect the domestic aircraft manufacturing ecosystem?
- Over the last two decades, Indian companies, both public and private, have steadily expanded their footprint in the global supply chains of major defence and aerospace manufacturers supplying a range of components, systems and sub-systems.
- Eg: Boeing’s sourcing from India stands at $1 billion annually, of which over 60% is in manufacturing, through a growing network of 300+ supplier partners of which over 25% are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
- Tata in a joint venture (JV) with Boeing, manufactures aero-structures for its AH-64 Apache helicopter, including fuselages, secondary structures, vertical spar boxes fuselages and vertical fin structures for the 737 family of aircraft.
- Similarly, Lockheed Martin has joint ventures with TASL in Hyderabad which has manufactured more than 180 empennages for the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft and delivered 157 S-92 helicopter cabins.
- Eg: Boeing’s sourcing from India stands at $1 billion annually, of which over 60% is in manufacturing, through a growing network of 300+ supplier partners of which over 25% are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
- The U.S. simplifying its export regulations for India, through a series of measures, has added further impetus to Indian defence manufacturing industry.
- As U.S. and India pursue the Indo-Pacific strategy, India’s strengths coupled with U.S. and European technology prowess can be a force for good in the world.
- The domestic defence manufacturing ecosystem will get a boost with the C-295 project as it will lead to the development of a strong private industrial aerospace ecosystem not only in and around Vadorara but across the country.
- Bengaluru and Hyderabad already have developed such aerospace and defence domains over the years.
- The C-295 project is expected to create more than 15,000 skilled direct and indirect jobs across the aerospace ecosystem, with more than 125 suppliers qualified on global quality standards across India.
Is India’s civil aviation sector growing?
- India has a much bigger footprint in civil aviation manufacturing than defence, in addition to being a major market itself. Both Airbus and Boeing do significant sourcing from India for their civil programmes.
- India, which is moving ahead with the mantra of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for the Globe’, continues to enhance its potential by becoming a major manufacturer of transport planes, and in future world’s biggest passenger planes will also be manufactured in India and will also carry the tag of ‘Make in India’.
- Since 2007, Airbus has had a wholly domestic-owned design centre in India which has more than 650 engineers who specialize in high-tech aeronautical engineering and work across both fixed- and rotary-wing Airbus aircraft programmes.
- India has world’s fastest growing aviation sector, and it is about to reach the top three countries in the world in terms of air traffic.
- Another major growing area is Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) for which India can emerge as the regional hub.
- However, the private defence sector is still nascent and a conducive and stable regulatory and policy environment will be an important enabler.
- This moment is akin to the automobile clusters that have emerged in the country turning India into a major exporter of cars to the world. With the right momentum, a realistic roadmap and enabling policy framework, a similar story can be scripted to make the country a hub for aircraft manufacturing.
2 . Inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes
Context: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has now cleared the way for the inclusion of the ‘Pahari ethnic group’ on the Scheduled Tribes list of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The proposal also called for the inclusion of the “Paddari tribe”, “Koli” and “Gadda Brahman” communities to be included on the ST list of J&K.
- This comes within a month of the announcement by the union Home Minister that the Pahari community would be given reservations in jobs and education.
- The commission has examined the proposal received from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- The commission supports the proposal on the basis of the recommendation of the Office of the Registrar General of India [RGI].
- The suggestion for the inclusion had come from the commission set up for socially and educationally backward classes in the Union Territory, headed by Justice (Retd.) G.D. Sharma.
- The Pir Panjal valley is also home to Gujjars and Bakarwals, who are already categorised as STs, and have expressed resentment over the possibility of the inclusion of Paharis in the ST list.
- While promising Paharis ST status, government had also vowed that it will not dilute the share of benefits available to Gujjars and Bakarwals in the area and sought the support of all three communities.
- Once the NCST and the Office of the RGI have approved the proposal for inclusion, all that remains to be done is for the Union Cabinet to give the final nod.
How is a community added or removed from SC, ST lists?
- The process begins at the level of a State or Union Territory, with the concerned government or administration seeking the addition or exclusion of a particular community from the SC or ST list.
- The final decision rests with the President’s office issuing a notification specifying the changes under powers vested in it from Articles 341 and 342.
- The inclusion or exclusion of any community in the Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes list come into effect only after the President assents to a Bill that amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, as is appropriate, after it is passed by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
- A State government may choose to recommend certain communities for addition or subtraction from the list of SCs/STs based on its discretion.
- This recommendation may come from studies it commissions like in the case of classifying the Hatti community in Himachal Pradesh.
- Following this, the proposal to include or remove any community from the Scheduled List is sent to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs from the concerned State government.
- After this, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, through its own deliberations, examines the proposal, and sends it to the Registrar General of India (RGI).
- Once approved by the RGI, the proposal is sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes or National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, following which the proposal is sent back to the Union government, which after inter-ministerial deliberations, introduces it in the Cabinet for final approval.
What is the criteria to begin the process?
- To establish whether a community is a Scheduled Tribe, the government looks at several criteria, including its ethnological traits, traditional characteristics, distinctive culture, geographical isolation and backwardness.
- However, earlier this year the Supreme Court said it wanted to fix fool-proof parameters to determine if a person belongs to a Scheduled Tribe and is entitled to the benefits due to the community.
- It said the judiciary was no longer sure about an “affinity test” used to sift through distinct traits to link a person to a tribe. There is the likelihood, it said, that contact with other cultures, migration and modernisation would have erased the traditional characteristics of a tribe.
How many Scheduled Tribes are there officially?
- According to the Scheduled Tribes in India as revealed in Census 2011, there are said to be 705 ethnic groups listed as Scheduled Tribes under Article 342.
- Over 10 crore Indians are notified as STs, of which 1.04 crore live in urban areas. The STs constitute 8.6% of the population and 11.3% of the rural population.
2 . Universal Periodic Review at HRC
Context: Apart from the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of India at the Human Rights Council (HRC), Indian diplomacy is faced with an additional challenge as Germany’s Foreign Minister has demanded a special session of the council on Iran’s crackdown on peaceful protesters.
About United Nations Human Rights Council
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
- It is made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.
- It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.
- It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
- The Human Rights Council replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
What is the Universal Periodic Review?
- The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.
- The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries.
- It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The UPR also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe. Currently, no other mechanism of this kind exists.
- Ultimate goal of UPR is the improvement of the human rights situation in every country with significant consequences for people around the globe. The UPR is designed to prompt, support, and expand the promotion and protection of human rights on the ground. To achieve this, the UPR involves assessing States’ human rights records and addressing human rights violations wherever they occur. The UPR also aims to provide technical assistance to States and enhance their capacity to deal effectively with human rights challenges and to share best practices in the field of human rights among States and other stakeholders.
- Reviews are conducted by the UPR Working Group which consists of the 47 members of the Council; however any UN Member State can take part in the discussion/dialogue with the reviewed States. Each State review is assisted by groups of three States, known as “troikas”, who serve as rapporteurs. The selection of the troikas for each State is done through a drawing of lots following elections for the Council membership in the General Assembly.
3 . Special Status under Sixth Schedule
Context: Ladakh’s districts of Kargil and Leh witnessed street protests to press for demands of statehood and special status under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
- In Leh, the street protest was spearheaded by the Apex Body-Leh (ABL), an amalgam of religious and political parties in the district.
- They want Government of India to pay heed to their demand to grant statehood.
- In case statehood is difficult to grant, let Ladakh be a U.T. with a legislature.
- In January 2021, the Union Home Minister constituted a committee under Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy to have a dialogue with the representatives from Ladakh “to find an appropriate solution to the issues related to language, culture and conservation of land in Ladakh”.
- The KDA and Apex Body-Leh (ABL) have been jointly fighting for the restoration of statehood and special status on the lines of the rights granted to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to safeguard local culture, language and demography.
- The government issued a notification empowering the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Ladakh to make rules for recruitment to the Public Services Group-A and Group-B Gazetted posts.
What is the Sixth Schedule?
- The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
- ADCs have up to 30 members with a term of five years, and can make laws, rules and regulations with regard to land, forest, water, agriculture, village councils, health, sanitation, village- and town-level policing, inheritance, marriage and divorce, social customs and mining, etc.
- The Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam is an exception with more than 40 members and the right to make laws on 39 issues.
- The Sixth Schedule applies to the Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram (three Councils each), and Tripura (one Council).
Can Ladakh be included in Sixth Schedule?
- Buddhist-dominated Leh district had long demanded UT status because it felt neglected by the erstwhile state government, which was dominated by politicians from Kashmir and Jammu.
- In September 2019, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes recommended the inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule, noting that the new UT was predominantly tribal (more than 97%), people from other parts of the country had been restricted from purchasing or acquiring land there, and its distinct cultural heritage needed preservation.
- Notably, no region outside the Northeast has been included in the Sixth Schedule.
- In fact, even in Manipur, which has predominantly tribal populations in some places, the autonomous councils are not included in the Sixth Schedule. Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, which are totally tribal, are also not in the Sixth Schedule.
- Ladakh’s inclusion in the Sixth Schedule would be difficult. The Constitution is very clear, Sixth Schedule is for the Northeast. For tribal areas in the rest of the country, there is the Fifth Schedule.
- However, it remains the prerogative of the government — it can, if it so decides, bring a Bill to amend the Constitution for this purpose.
4 . Facts for Prelims
Saffron harvest festival
- Saffron festival 2022 was organised by the Department of Tourism at Pampore in Jammu & Kashmir.
- The initiative was to bring saffron from the agricultural field to the tourist map. Kashmir’s saffron is renowned the world over. All the things associated with saffron like art, culture, music needs to be brought together on a platform
- The harvesting time of saffron is like a festival, say local saffron growers of Pampore.
- The J&K administration is committed to promote the saffron industry and increase the income of saffron farmers. Plans are on to bring saffron at the heart of tourism.
- Just as tourists come to see the Tulip gardens they can visit to see rows of saffron crocus from which are extracted the crimson threads or dried stigmas considered to be one of the most precious spices on earth.
- Senna spectabilis is a plant species of the legume family (Fabaceae) in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae native to South and Central America.
- They are often grown as an ornament in front yards, parks, gardens, buildings etc. due to their bright yellow flowers that bloom during the summer months.
- They are also known as golden wonder tree, American cassia, popcorn tree, Cassia excelsa, golden shower tree or Archibald’s cassia.
- The plant has become an invasive alien species in parts of Africa such as Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda, and also in South-India, after it was introduce for resources such as firewood as well as to help combat deteriorating ecosystems affected by deforestation and desertification.
- Currently, S. spectabilis is overtaking native tree species of forestry ecosystems around the world because of its ability to grow quickly.
Madumalai Tiger reserve
- This is the first Sanctuary to be set up in India and forms part of the Jawharlal Nehru National Park.
- It is located 36 kms from Ooty from Kalhatty and 67 kms via Gudalur. From Mysore it is 91 kms away.
- This Sanctuary extends over an area of 321 sq.kms in the junction of the three states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
- A variety of habitats ranging from tropical evergreen forest, moist deciduous forest, moist teak forest, dry teak forest, secondary grasslands and swamps are found here.
- It is rich in wildlife, like Elephants, Gaur, Tiger, Panther, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Porcupine etc., birds like-minivets, hornbill, fairy Blue Birds, Jungle Fowls etc., and reptiles like python, Monitor Lizards Flying Lizards etc.
- Indian Prime Minister called for preparing a road map to develop Mangarh Dham in Rajasthan’s Banswara district as a tribal destination with a prominent identity at the global level.
- Mangarh Dham, situated near the Rajasthan-Gujarat boundary, is known for the massacre of tribespeople by the British Indian Army in 1913.
- The memorial raised at the place was a symbol of bravery and sacrifice of tribal people.
- Nearly 1,500 Bhil tribals and forest dwellers were killed in a hill in Mangarh on November 17, 1913, when the British Indian Army opened fire on the protesters who were demanding abolition of bonded labour system and relaxation in heavy agricultural taxes imposed by the rulers of princely states.
- The tribes in the southern Rajasthan region were led by Govind Guru.
- Since Mangarh Dham was a shared heritage of the people of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the governments of the four States could work together and prepare a road map to bring the memorial site on the world map.
- The development of Mangarh Dham will make this area a place of inspiration for the new generation.
- The elected representatives of the tribal-dominated areas in Banswara and Dungarpur districts have been demanding for a long time that Mangarh Dham be declared a monument of national importance.
- These are regions on the sun’s surface from where fast solar wind gushes out into space.
- Because they contain little solar material, they have lower temperatures and thus appear much darker than their surroundings.
- Here, the magnetic field is open to interplanetary space, sending solar material out in a high-speed stream of solar wind. Coronal holes can last between a few weeks to months.
- The holes are not a unique phenomenon, appearing throughout the sun’s approximately 11-year solar cycle.
- They can last much longer during solar minimum – a period of time when activity on the Sun is substantially diminished, according to NASA.
- These ‘coronal holes’ are important to understanding the space environment around the earth through which our technology and astronauts travel.
- While it is unclear what causes coronal holes, they correlate to areas on the sun where magnetic fields soar up and away, without looping back down to the surface as they do elsewhere.
- The greater one-horned rhino (or “Indian rhino”) is the largest of the rhino species.
- Once widespread across the entire northern part of the Indian sub-continent, rhino populations plummeted as they were hunted for sport or killed as agricultural pests.
- The Great one horned rhino is commonly found in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and in Assam, India.
- It is confined to the tall grasslands and forests in the foothills of the Himalayas.
- The Indian Rhinoceros can run at speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h) for short periods of time and is also an excellent swimmer. It has excellent senses of hearing and smell, but relatively poor eyesight.
- However, no more than 2,000 remain in the wild, with only two populations containing more than 100 rhinos: Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India (1,200) and Chitwan National Park (CNP), Nepal (600).
- Despite joint efforts between Bhutan and India, the survival of a small population of rhinos living along the Indo-Bhutan border in Manas still remains doubtful.
- The horns of rhinoceroses may have become smaller over time from the impact of hunting, according to a recent study.
- Rhinos have long been hunted for their horns. The five surviving rhino species are threatened by habitat loss and hunting.
- Elaben Bhatt was a Gandhian and leading women’s empowerment activist.
- She was the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).
- She was the recipient of several national and international awards, including the Padma Bhushan, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize.
- She was globally recognised as a woman leader who carried out pioneering work in organising the informal sector for self-employment and empowerment of women not only in India but across South Asia.
- Elaben was the Chairperson of the Sabarmati Ashram and recently resigned as the Chancellor of the Mahatma Gandhi-founded Gujarat Vidhyapith.
- In 2007, she became part of a group of world leaders called the Elders, founded by Nelson Mandela to promote human rights and peace across the world.
- She was also a member of the Rajya Sabha and the Planning Commission in the 1980s.
- She served in many international organisations, including Women’s World Banking, a global network of microfinance organisations, which she co-founded.
- She also served as an Adviser to the World Bank.
Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
- It was founded by Elaben Bhatt in 1972.
- SEWA is one of the largest cooperatives working for women, with a base of over two million members from as many as 18 States in the country and in neighbouring nations.
- SEWA was born as a trade union of poor self-employed women in 1972, in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
- It grew out of the Women’s Wing of the Textile Labour association, TLA, India’s oldest and largest union of textile workers founded in 1920 by Anasuya Sarabhai and Mahatma Gandhi.
- The original purpose of the Women’s Wing was to provide training in sewing, spinning, knitting, embroidery, and other welfare activities to the wives and daughters of mill workers.
- Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a successful maiden flight-test of Phase-II Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) interceptor AD-1 missile with large kill altitude bracket from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha
- The flight-test was carried out with participation of all BMD weapon system elements located at different geographical locations.
- The AD-1 is a long-range interceptor missile designed for both low exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of long-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.
- It is propelled by a two-stage solid motor and equipped with indigenously-developed advanced control system, navigation and guidance algorithm to precisely guide the vehicle to the target.