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My Notes 3-Feb-2018 03-02-2018
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03 February 2018

News

Return of long term capital gains tax spooks markets

Centre has introduced long term capital gains in this budget. The objective is to bring parity among various asset classes. It has sent wrong signals to market and it crashed.

 

Jallikattu pleas go to constitutional bench

Constitutional bench is to decide whether Jallikattu is a cultural right under Art 29(1) of the constitution or not. Prevention of cruelty to animals (amendment) act of 2017 states Jallikattu as a cultural sport of Tamil Nadu.

 

FCRA changes will help BJP, Cong

Union Government has amended foreign contribution regulation act retrospectively to redefine the word foreign. Before the amendment any company that has foreign investment more than 50% is considered as a foreign entity and political parties are prohibited to accept donations from them. After amendment, companies which are in India and having an Indian directors and employees are treated as Indian subsidiaries.

 

Forging a new nuclear deal

India - USA nuclear deal appears obsolete in the changing circumstances. India needs to carefully reevaluate the deal for the following reasons.

  1. Energy mix across the world is changing. There is a clear preference towards renewables like solar, wind energy. Nuclear energy is expensive with lot of sunken costs.
  2. India - USA energy co-operation has shifted towards fossil fuels like shale oil.
  3. Track record of westing house, a company appointed to build reactors in India is not very appreciative. In USA, delays have created a cost overrun of $15bn.
  4. Suppliers liability provisions are not clear yet. Public sentiment in India is clearly against them.
  5. India has announced to build its own indigenous pressurised nuclear reactors to add a capacity of 7000MW.

 

Tugging at the centre

BJP wants to expand its presence in to North East India to get pan India appeal. The Upcoming elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland is an opportunity.

In tripura, BJP has replaced congress as an alternative for ruling left Government. It formed an alliance with indigenous people’s front of Tripura.

In Meghalaya, it formed an alliance with National people’s party.

In Nagaland, there is a call to ban elections. Ruling naga people front is also a pat of the boycott. Here, BJP plans to contest elections alone.

 

Get tracking

In Budget 2017-18, centre has announced Ayushman Bharat / National health protection scheme. The plan has components of opening health centres for diagnostics, care and distribution of essential drugs as envisaged in national health policy. It also aims to provide a coverage up to 5 lakhs rupees per household per Annum for 10 crore population.

Issues here are

  1. It aims to bring in universalisation of health through Market mechanisms. If costs are not  regulated they are expected to go up. Across the world, Government has actively regulated health costs for treatment of various diseases and diagnostics. Ex - japan.
  2. The scheme provides for protection only to hospitalisation and burden of disease to poor includes loss of income and out of pocket expenditure.

 

 

La Excellence IAS - Explanation  series

Topic 1 - Jallikattu

 

What is Jallikattu?

Jallikattu is a traditional bull-taming sport organised in Tamil Nadu during Pongal. According to some historical accounts, the practice dates back to as far as 2000 years ago. The sport involves a natively reared stud that is set free inside an arena filled with young participants(mostly men in their 20s). The challenge lies in taming the bull with bare hands. 

 

Where is the sport famous?

It mainly was active in the districts of Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul of Tamil Nadu until its ban in 2011. 

 

What are the arguments?

1.   Cultural argument : Organisers of Jallikattu and bullock-cart races argue that these are traditional practices closely associated with village life, especially in the southern districts. The bulls are specifically identified, trained and nourished for these sporting events, and their owners spend considerable sums on their upkeep. No tickets are sold for Jallikattu or bullock-cart races, and not much pain or suffering is caused to the animal. Thus, they argue, while these events may be regulated, they ought not to be completely prohibited. In this context, SC of India also held that Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu act,2009 as violative of the provisions of constitution.

2.   AWBI argument : It  has argued that Jallikattu bulls are physically and mentally tortured for the pleasure and enjoyment of human beings. They have also produced visual evidence for torture and cruelty to bullocks in Maharashtra’s bullock-cart races. According to AWBI, Jallikattu or bullock-cart races conducted in this way have no historical, cultural or religious significance in Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra, and that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, must supersede any such practice.

3.   Bio centric ethics Vs anthropomorphic vision of rights : The SC ruling against Jallikattu had underlined the need to move towards a bio-centric ethics, instead of an anthropomorphic vision of rights.  A top-down approach that does not recognise communitarian sentiments is only likely to harden the conservative position and make reforms near impossible. The argument to move from an anthropocentric vision and adopt a biocentric ethics will have to be discussed and negotiated in cultural terms as well.

4.   Rural distress: The Jallikattu has emerged as a lightning rod for a spectrum of issues, ranging from drought relief to farm debt in the state. In fact, protestors across Tamil Nadu have hinted that their passion for Jallikattu stems from anguish over rural distress. The political economy of Jallikattu is easier to explain: it is about showcasing the quality of cattle, the breeding skills of cattle rearers, the centrality of cattle in an agrarian economy, and the power and pride they bring to farmers and land-owning castes in rural Tamil Nadu. Jallikattu is a cultural manifestation of this political economy

5.   Constitutional argument – Jallikattu is an expression of social and cultural right of people and community guarnteed by constitution.

6.   Caste -  For agrarian communities like Thevars and Maravars, Jallikattu is one of the few markers of their social standing and identity in a fast-changing world. 

7.   Dravidian Nationalism - Pride in Tamil culture is central to Dravidian nationalism, which continues to shape the political discourse in Tamil Nadu.

8.   A cultural resistance to Urban Modernity : The contest, which evidently celebrates masculinity, is almost an act of cultural resistance to an urban modernity that tends to marginalise rural and agrarian values. 

 

 

Why did the Supreme Court ban Jallikattu?

History of the case

A)  Back in 1991, the Environment Ministry had banned the training and exhibition of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and dogs. The notification was challenged by the Indian Circus Organisation before the Delhi High Court, and after prolonged litigation, the legality of the notification was upheld.

B)  2011 Notification by environment Ministry –  it included bulls in the list of animals prohibited from being exhibited or trained as performing animals.

C)  2014 Judgement of Supreme court – Supreme court of India has upheld Environment Ministry s Notification and held that Jallikattu involves an inherent act of cruelty to animals.

It also held that bulls cannot be allowed as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the state of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.”

 

The SC order also identified “the five freedoms” of animals, including

1.   freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition,

2.   freedom from fear and distress,

3.   freedom from physical and thermal discomfort,

4.   freedom from pain, injury and disease, and

5.   freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.

It asked Parliament to “elevate rights of animals to that of constitutional rights, as done by many of the countries around the world, so as to protect their dignity and honour”.

In 2016 – A plea for the review of the 2014 Judgement was again dismissed by the SC in 2016.

D)  January 7, 2016 Notification of centre – In 2016, the Environment Ministry modified its earlier notification (issued by UPA in 2011) and declared that the sport could continue despite the existing ban. It need to be properly regulated. This was in direct contravention with the top court order, and was duly challenged by animal welfare organisation such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Subsequently, a stay order was issued by the court.

 What are the after affects of the Notification?

PETA had challenged the 2016 Environment Ministry notification by the NDA government. Through various reports, affidavits and photographs, The Animal Welfare Board of India(AWIB) has argued that Jallikattu bulls are physically and mentally tortured for the pleasure and enjoyment of human beings.

 

 

What has to be done now to conduct Jallikattu?

1.   Prevention of cruelty to animals has to be amended.

2.   Environment Ministry shall denotify  bulls from the prohibited category.

 

Prevention of cruelty to animals ( Tamil Nadu Amendment ) act – 2017, prevention of cruelty to animals (conduct of Jallikattu) rules 2017. It allows for Jallikattu as a sport of cultural significance.

 

 

Certain facts to remember

1.   Art 48 of the constitution enjoins upon the state to take steps for preserving and improving the breeds and prohibiting the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle.

2.   Art 29(1) guarantees cultural and education rights of citizens.

 

 

 

 

Question

1.   Do you think animal rights in India shall precede over cultural factors? Discuss relevant court Judgements and examples.

 

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