Meghalaya Current Affairs - 2019

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AFSPA withdrawn partially from Arunachal Pradesh

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh but would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar.

The State of Arunachal Pradesh had inherited AFSPA since the day of its formation. AFSPA enacted by Parliament in 1958 and was applied to the entire State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur. After Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland came into being, the Act was appropriately adapted to apply to these states as well.

Controversial Provisions of AFSPA

  • Section 4 of the AFSPA empowers an authorised officer in a disturbed area with certain powers. The authorised officer has the power to open fire at any individual even if it results in death if the individual violates laws which prohibit (a) the assembly of five or more persons; or (b) carrying of weapons. However, the officer has to give a warning before opening fire.
  • The authorised officer is also empowered to (a) arrest without a warrant; and (b) seize and search without any warrant any premise in order to make an arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunition.
  • AFSPA mentions that individuals who have been taken into custody have to be handed over to the nearest police station as soon as possible. There is no prescribed time limit for detention.
  • Prosecution of an authorised officer requires prior permission of the Central government.

Observations made by Various Committees

Justice Santosh Hegde Committee found four out of six deaths it was inquiring in Manipur have similar patterns of cause of death and could be cases of fake encounters.

Justice Santosh Hegde Committee report also concluded that AFSPA has not been able to achieve peace in the Northeast, and on the contrary, it has widened the distance between the people of these areas and the mainland.

J.S. Verma Committee (2012) and the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee (2005) have found the law arbitrary and have recommended the repeal of AFSPA.

Month: Categories: StatesUPSC

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Climate Vulnerability Index for India

Department of Science and Technology has decided to commission a study to assess the climate risks faced by States in India. This decision comes in the backdrop of completion of vulnerability study across 12 Himalayan States.

Vulnerability Study by the Himalayan States

The study was undertaken in the 12 Himalayan states viz. Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The vulnerability was measured on a scale 0-1 with 1 indicating the highest possible level of vulnerability. The study indicates that:

  • Assam and Mizoram with a vulnerability score of 0.72 and 0.71 topped the vulnerability index.
  • Sikkim with the score of 0.42 was relatively less vulnerable.
  • The scores of other states are Jammu & Kashmir (0.62), Manipur (0.59), Meghalaya and West Bengal (both 0.58), Nagaland (0.57), Himachal Pradesh and Tripura (0.51 both), Arunachal Pradesh (0.47) and Uttarakhand (0.45).
  • Assam is highly vulnerable to climate change because of factors like low per capita income, deforestation, a large number of marginal farmers, least area under irrigation, lack of alternative sources of income and high rates of poverty.
  • The report finds that low per capita income, low open forest area per 1,000 households and lack of irrigation coverage as the most important drivers of vulnerability in Himalayan states.
  • Other indicators include the percentage of area under slope, yield variability of food grains, forest cover, irrigation cover and access to healthcare.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, the key factors are low female literacy and a high percentage of population above BPL.
  • In Nagaland, the key issues are the loss of forest cover, steep slope and high yield variability.

The vulnerability score was calculated based on eight parameters such as  percentage of area in districts under forests, yield variability of food grain, population density, female literacy rate, infant mortality rate, percentage of population below poverty line (BPL), average man-days under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), and the area under slope > 30%.

Month: Categories: EnvironmentUPSC

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