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Here are the topics covered for 10th October 2023: The state of India’s scheduled areas, Urban consumer confidence, Unemployment rate declined, Smart Fence Along Myanmar Border , Central Bureau of Communication, The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
Table of Content
GS-2: The state of India’s scheduled areas
GS-3: Urban consumer confidence, Unemployment rate declined, Smart Fence Along Myanmar Border
Facts for Prelims: Central Bureau of Communication, The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
The State of India’s Scheduled Areas
- Despite persistent demands from Adivasi organizations, a significant portion of India’s Scheduled Tribes (STs) remains excluded from the provisions of Article 244.
- This article explores the geographical distribution and challenges faced by India’s ST communities in their homeland
- India’s Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities, constituting 8.6% of the population, are spread across 26 states and six Union Territories.
- Article 244 of the Indian Constitution is crucial for STs, outlining the administration of Scheduled and Tribal Areas. It applies to several states except Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram, where the Sixth Schedule takes precedence.
- Scheduled Areas encompass 11.3% of India’s land area, notified in ten states. Kerala has proposed additional areas awaiting government approval.
- Despite demands from Adivasi organizations, many villages in states with Scheduled Areas, and in other states with ST populations, remain outside Article 244’s purview.
- The absence of ST-majority administrative units has been a bureaucratic argument for not including these villages.
- Governance in Scheduled Areas involves the President of India’s notification, the establishment of Tribal Advisory Councils in states with Scheduled Areas, and powers to make regulations for these areas.
- Parliament enacted the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) in 1996, empowering gram sabhas (village assemblies) in ST areas with substantial authority.
- The identification of Scheduled Areas rests with the President, guided by criteria like tribal population, area compactness, administrative viability, and economic backwardness.
- PESA defined a village as a habitation or group of habitations managed by a community according to traditions and customs, expanding the concept beyond Scheduled Areas to forest fringes.
- Notification of Scheduled Areas: Habitations outside Scheduled Areas in states with ST majorities should be notified as Scheduled Areas, irrespective of contiguity.
- Extending Geographical Limits: The geographical limits of these villages should include “community forest resource” areas on forest land under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006, where applicable. It should also encompass customary boundaries within revenue lands through suitable amendments to state laws.
- Redrawing Geographical Limits: Geographical boundaries of revenue villages, panchayats, talukas, and districts should be redrawn to fully include Scheduled Areas.
- This approach ensures greater inclusivity and recognition of ST communities’ rights and traditional governance structures, aligning with the intent of the Constitution and PESA.
Smart Fence Along Myanmar Border
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has revealed its intentions to implement an advanced smart fencing system, covering a distance of 100 kilometers along the India-Myanmar border.
- This move aims to bolster the existing surveillance infrastructure, as detailed in the 2022-23 annual report released last week.
- Unfenced border and unregulated migration from Myanmar have led to ethnic violence in Manipur, resulting in over 175 casualties since May 3.
- In 2022, there were 201 insurgency-related incidents in the northeastern states, with 137 occurring in Manipur.
- Manipur faces multiple insurgent groups, including the Meitei, Naga, Kuki, Zomi, and Hmar factions. Twenty-three underground outfits under UPF and KNO have been under Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreements with the Government of India since August 2008.
- A Free Movement Regime (FMR) allowed residents of hill tribes within 16 kilometers of the Indo-Myanmar border to cross with a border pass, suspended by Manipur in 2020 due to COVID-19.
- Northeastern states’ security challenges stem from difficult terrain, socio-economic factors, language diversity, tribal tensions, migration, resource control, and porous borders. This has led to violence, extortion, and demands from Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) based in neighboring countries.
- Assam Rifles, guarding the Myanmar border, apprehended 128 Myanmar nationals, 330 civilians, and 140 arms dealers and drug peddlers between April and December 2022.
- Sixteen insurgent organizations in the northeastern states are designated as “unlawful associations” or “terrorist organizations” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, of 1967, with eight operating in Manipur.
- The decision to implement a 100-kilometer smart fencing system along the India-Myanmar border signifies India’s commitment to enhance border security and curb illegal activities and insurgent movements in the region.
- This initiative aligns with broader efforts to address the complex security challenges posed by the northeastern states’ unique geographical and socio-economic dynamics.
Urban consumer confidence
- Urban consumer confidence in India remained weak in October 2023, according to a survey by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The survey found that the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) fell to 55.1 in October, from 55.8 in September.
About Consumer Confidence Index (CCI):
- The CCI is a measure of consumer sentiment towards the current economic situation and their expectations for the future. It is based on a survey of consumers in six major Indian cities.
- The decline in the CCI in October was driven by a fall in consumer confidence about the current economic situation. The Current Situation Index (CSI) fell to 48.6 in October, from 49.4 in September.
- The CSI is based on consumer assessments of their current financial conditions, employment prospects, and the general economic situation.
- The survey also found that consumer confidence about the future economic situation weakened in October. The Expectations Index (EI) fell to 61.6 in October, from 62.2 in September.
- The EI is based on consumer expectations about their future financial conditions, employment prospects, and the general economic situation.
- The RBI survey found that the decline in consumer confidence was broad-based, affecting all income groups and age groups.
- The RBI survey also found that consumer confidence about the future economic situation weakened in October. The Expectations Index (EI) fell to 61.6 in October, from 62.2 in September.
- The decline in urban consumer confidence in India is a worrying sign, as consumer spending is a key driver of economic growth. There are a number of factors that could be contributing to the decline in consumer confidence, including the high rate of inflation, the rising cost of living, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Urban consumer confidence in India is uncertain due to high inflation and rising living costs. However, there’s hope in expected economic growth and government efforts to curb inflation.
- The government should act to combat inflation and higher living costs through tax cuts, subsidies for low-income citizens, and increasing essential goods supply. Simultaneously, it should focus on stimulating economic growth, job creation, and transparent communication with the public about its plans.
Unemployment rate declined
- The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has reported that India’s unemployment rate declined to 7.09% in October 2023, from 8.10% in September 2023. This is the lowest unemployment rate since September 2022.
Why there is a decline in unemployment?
- The decline in unemployment was driven by a fall in both rural and urban unemployment rates. The rural unemployment rate fell to 6.20% in October, from 7.11% in September, while the urban unemployment rate fell to 8.94% from 10.09% in the same period.
- One factor is the pickup in economic activity after the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another factor is the government’s focus on job creation through initiatives such as the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).
- Declining unemployment is a positive sign of economic recovery in India, though the rate remains high. More job creation is still needed.
- The government must prioritize job creation and economic growth via infrastructure, education, and skill development investments. Incentives for business investment and job creation are also essential.
- To bridge skill gaps, the government should implement training and skill development programs.
- The government should prioritize rural job creation to curb rural-urban migration via investments in agriculture, agro-processing, and rural infrastructure.
Facts for Prelims
Central Bureau of Communication
- The Central Bureau of Communication was established on December 8, 2017. HQ: New Delhi
- It serves as the central agency of the Government of India for managing advertising initiatives across various government ministries, public sector undertakings, and autonomous bodies.
- It operates under the administrative control of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- It was formed by the integration of three previous media units: the Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP), the Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP), and the Song & Drama Division (S&DD).
- The Central Bureau of Communication is primarily involved in interpersonal communication.
- It conducts campaigns aimed at informing and educating both rural and urban populations about government policies and programs.
- These campaigns utilize various communication channels, including print, audio-visual, outdoor, digital, and new media, to reach a wide audience effectively.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
- It is an inter-governmental organization established in Mauritius on March 7, 1997. It has 23 member states and 11 dialogue partners. IORA’s headquarters is located in Ebene, Mauritius.
- IORA’s vision is to promote sustained growth and balanced development within the Indian Ocean region. It aims to strengthen regional cooperation and dialogue through its six priority areas:
- Maritime security
- Trade and investment facilitation
- Fisheries management
- Disaster risk reduction
- Academic and scientific cooperation
- Tourism promotion and cultural exchanges
- IMSSC: The IORA Maritime Safety and Security Centre (IMSSC) was established in 2010 to enhance maritime safety and security. It provides training, coordinates responses to incidents, and builds capacity.
- TIFI Centre: The IORA Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIFI) Centre, established in 2012, focuses on reducing trade barriers and supporting trade and investment within the region.
- IAG: The IORA Academic Group (IAG) promotes academic and scientific cooperation. It facilitates research collaboration and organizes conferences and workshops.