Daily Mains Newsletter for UPSC 14 Jun 2022

Daily Mains Newsletter For
UPSC | RaghukulCS

14 June 2022 - Tuesday


Table of Contents

Maize Fortification Technique of the Mayas

Why in the news?

A new study has shed light on how the Maya fortified their maize through a chemical process known as ‘nixtamalisation,’ as well as created indoor toilets in pits cut into the limestone bedrock of Mesoamerica’s Yucatan peninsula.

What did the Mayas look like?

  • The Maya are an indigenous people of Mexico and Central America who have lived continuously throughout modern-day Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico, as well as Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras.
  • The Maya are the most well-known of Mesoamerica’s classical civilizations.
  • The Yucatan Peninsula was the birthplace of the Maya civilization. It is well-known for its towering architecture and excellent knowledge of mathematics and astronomy.
  • The Maya’s rise began around 250 CE, and what archaeologists call the Classic Period of Mayan society lasted until around 900 CE. At its peak, Mayan civilisation had more than 40 cities, each with a population of 5,000 to 50,000 people.
  • But later, between 800 and 950 CE, many of the southern cities vanished. This time is known as the collapse of the Classic Maya civilisations, and it baffles modern-day scientists.
  • The Maya resided in towns and created an agriculture based on the production of corn (maize), beans, and squash as early as 1500 BCE; by 600 CE, cassava (sweet manioc) was being farmed.
  • They began to construct ceremonial centres, which by 200 CE had grown into towns with temples, pyramids, palaces, ball courts, and plazas.
  • The ancient Maya quarried vast amounts of building stone (typically limestone), which they carved using harder stones like chert. They mostly used slash-and-burn agriculture, although they also used innovative irrigation and terracing techniques. They also created a hieroglyphic writing system as well as highly advanced calendrical and astronomical systems.
  • The Maya produced paper from the inner bark of wild fig trees and used it to write hieroglyphs on books. These books are known as codices.
  • The Maya also created a complex and magnificent technique of relief carving and sculpture.
  • The primary sources of information on the early Maya include architectural works, stone inscriptions, and reliefs.

What is the Maya Nixtamalisation Technique?

  • Nixtamalisation is a procedure used by ancient Mesoamerican peoples such as the Maya to soak and cook their maize in an alkaline solution to make it more delicious, nutritious, and non-toxic. Nixtamal comes from the Nahuatl term nextamalli, which means “nixtamalized maize dough.”
  • Maize is the main crop of the Americas and has been grown for millennia. The ‘Three Sisters,’ maize, beans, and squash, constituted the foundation of nutrition throughout pre-Columbian North and Mesoamerica.
  • The researchers discovered that nixtamalisation was the primary cause of maize spread in the Americas.
  • The method guarantees that the maize has amino acids, calcium, and Vitamin B2, which the human body can use. It also removes mycotoxins (toxins produced by certain moulds (fungi) and found in food) from maize.
  • Maize-dependent communities were at increased risk of pellagra (Vitamin B2 deficiency), calcium deficiency, and mycotoxin toxicity in the absence of this treatment.
  • Nejayote, a byproduct of nixtamalisation, could have been used to lime the chultunes while they were in use as latrines. Like today, this was done to manage odours and restrict insect and microbe growth.

CORPAT 38th India-Indonesia

Why in the news?

The 38th India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) is taking place in the Andaman Sea and the Malacca Straits.

What are the main points?

  • Since 2002, the two Navies have been conducting CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
  • It emphasises the two friendly Navies’ mutual trust, synergy, and cooperation.
  • India and Indonesia have particularly close links, encompassing a wide range of activities and contacts that have become stronger through time.
  • Its goal is to make the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping, international trade, and lawful maritime activities.
  • The Indian Navy has been proactively engaging with countries in the Indian Ocean Region for coordinated patrols, cooperation in Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance, passage exercises, and bilateral/multilateral exercises as part of the Government of India’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region).
  • CORPATs aid in the development of understanding and interoperability among navies, as well as the implementation of measures to prevent and repress illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery, and piracy.
Other joint exercises between India and Indonesia include:
  • A bilateral marine exercise called Samudra Shakti.
  • A joint military exercise called Garuda Shakti.

Law Prohibiting Demolition Drives

Why in the news?

  • For the past two weeks, the country has been witnessing a frenzy of demolition drives. Article 300A of the Indian Constitution declares unequivocally, “No one shall be deprived of his property except by the authority of law.”
  • The concept of serving ‘justice’ quickly and coldly using bulldozers originated in Uttar Pradesh. Following protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government issued orders to recoup damages from people accused of harming public property.
  • According to the state government, these demolitions are in response to illegal encroachments.
  • However, the fact that these random demolitions are being carried out against suspected rioters from a single neighbourhood and in the immediate aftermath of the riots indicates that their goal appears to be to impose collective punishment.

What are the drawbacks of such demolition drives?

Affordability of Housing:
  • Article 21 of the Indian Constitution recognises the right to housing as a basic right.
  • ICESCR: Article 11.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognises “everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing, and housing, as well as the right to continuous improvement of living conditions.”
  • Furthermore, countries are required to take “necessary efforts” to ensure the realisation of certain rights, such as the right to adequate housing, under Article 11.1.
  • States may limit the rights recognised by the ICESCR only if the limitations are set by legislation in a manner compatible with the nature of these rights and solely to promote the general welfare of society.
  • However, any constraint put on the Covenant’s rights, such as the right to appropriate housing, cannot result in the abolition of these rights.
  • Article 5 of the ICESCR expressly recognises this.
International Human Rights Law Framework:
  • It is also a well-documented right under international human rights law, which India is bound by.
  • For example, Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) specifies that “everyone has the right to a standard of living suitable for his or her own and his or her family’s health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing, and medical treatment.”
  • Furthermore, international law forbids arbitrary interference with an individual’s right to property.
  • Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, specifies that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his private, family, home, or communications, nor to attacks on his honour and reputation.”
  • According to Article 12, “everyone has the right to the protection of the law from such interference or attacks.”
  • Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that everyone has the right to own property alone or in conjunction with others, and that no one’s property shall be unfairly taken away.
  • As a result, arbitrary interference with an individual’s property is a flagrant breach of the ICCPR.

What are the relevant Supreme Court decisions?

  • Olga Tellis et al. v. Bombay Municipal Corporation et al.
  • The Supreme Court held in this case that evicting pavement dwellers with undue force without giving them a chance to explain is unconstitutional.
  • It is a violation of their right to subsistence.
Maneka Gandhi versus Union of India (1978):
  • In this case, the Supreme Court held that “due process of law” is an inherent aspect of “procedure established by law,” explaining that such procedure must be fair, just, and reasonable.
  • If the procedure established by law is imaginative, harsh, or arbitrary in nature, it should not be deemed procedure at all, and thus not all of Article 21’s qualifications would be met.
Ludhiana Municipal Corporation v. Inderjit Singh (2008):
  • In this instance, the Supreme Court declared unequivocally that if the duty of giving notice is mandated by local legislation, it must be strictly enforced.
  • The country’s highest court has stated unequivocally that no authority may proceed with demolitions, even of illegal structures, without providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to the inhabitant.
Other Significant Cases:

 In cases such as Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980), Vishaka vs State of Rajasthan (1997), and most recently in Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court established the principle that the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution must be read and interpreted in a way that enhances their conformity with international human rights law.

The Way Forward

  • As the keeper of India’s constitutional order, the judiciary must act and place appropriate checks on the executive’s uncontrolled exercise of power.
  • To oppose the nationalist-populist narrative, courts should use international law.
  • Any basis for a demolition drive as a punishment for a criminal crime is completely contrary to recognised criminal justice canons.
  • The conduct of demolition drives as a retaliatory action, even with the stated goal of reducing violence, is a clear violation of the premise of the rule of law.

Authority for Regulations Review

Why in the news?

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Regulations Review Authority has recommended the deletion of 714 regulatory instructions that have either become obsolete or superfluous.
  • This is one of the RRA 2.0 suggestions on topics such as compliance ease.
  • Regulatory burden reduction
  • Streamlining instructions and communication, rationalisation of reporting method

What are the RRA’s Recommendations?

  • Complete elimination of paper-based returns and identification of 65 regulatory returns that should be discontinued, integrated with other returns, or converted to online returns.
  • The Review and revocation of time-barred and obsolete regulations for alignment with recent circulars may be undertaken, and this activity can be institutionalised in such a way that only current and updated instructions are available in the public domain.
  • It has proposed that regulatory or supervisory results be reviewed at least once every three years.
  • A new web page, titled ‘Regulatory Reporting,’ on the RBI website, to combine all information relevant to regulatory, supervisory, and statutory returns in a single source on the RBI website.

What is the role of the Regulations Review Authority?

  • Background:
  • On April 1, 1999, the RBI established the first RRA for a one-year period.
  • This is for revising rules, circulars, and reporting systems based on public, bank, and financial institution comments.
  • RRA 2.0: RRA 2.0 intends to streamline regulatory instructions in order to reduce the compliance burden on organisations subject to rules. This will be accomplished through the RRA 2.0 by streamlining procedures and decreasing reporting requirements whenever practicable.
  • The RBI established RRA 2.0 in the year 2021 in order to lessen the compliance burden on regulated firms and streamline regulatory instructions.
RRA 2.0 Terms of Reference:
  • Increasing the effectiveness of regulatory and supervisory guidance by eliminating redundancies and duplications.
  • Obtaining feedback from regulated entities on procedure simplification and simplicity of compliance.
  • RRA will lower the compliance burden on regulated entities by streamlining the reporting method and, if necessary, revoking obsolete instructions.
  • Examine and recommend modifications to the distribution procedure of RBI circulars/instructions.
  • To aid the process, all regulated entities and other stakeholders must be engaged both internally and externally.

Mission Jal Jeevan

Why in the news?

The Centre recently announced that more than half of rural households now have access to running water.

What exactly is the Jal Jeevan Mission?


 It was launched in 2019 with the goal of providing 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household via Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.

JJM hopes to establish a jan andolan for water, making it a priority for everyone.

It is overseen by the Jal Shakti Ministry.

The mission’s goals are to ensure the functionality of current water supply infrastructure and water connections, water quality monitoring and testing, and sustainable agriculture.

  • It also guarantees that conserved water is used in conjunction with drinking water source augmentation, drinking water supply system, grey water treatment, and reuse.
  • JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side water management at the local level.
  • Local infrastructure for source sustainability measures, such as rainwater collecting, groundwater recharge, and domestic wastewater management for reuse, is being built in tandem with other government programs/schemes.
  • The mission is founded on a community-based approach to water, with substantial information, education, and communication as major components.
Funding Pattern:

The Centre and states split funds 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern states, 50:50 for other states, and 100 percent for Union Territories.

How has the JJM performed thus far?

  • According to the JJM dashboard, around 9.65 crore homes (50.38 percent) have tap water connections across the country as of June 10th, 2022.
  • Goa, Telangana, and Haryana have attained 100 percent tap connectivity to all households in their respective states.
  • Union territories such as Puducherry, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and Daman & Diu have also supplied tap water connections to 100% of their households.
  • Punjab has 99.72 percent FHTC (Functional Household Toilet Coverage), Gujarat has 95.91 percent, Himachal Pradesh has 93.05 percent, and Bihar has 92.74 percent FHTC coverage.
  • Rajasthan has the lowest FHTC coverage at 24.87 percent, Chhattisgarh has 23.10 percent, Jharkhand has 20.57 percent, and Uttar Pradesh has 13.86 percent.

What exactly is Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban)?

  • Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) has been declared in the Budget 2021-22 under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to ensure universal coverage of water supply to all households through functioning taps in all statutory towns in compliance with SDG-6.
  • It supplements the Jal Jeevan Mission (Rural), which aims to provide 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household by 2024 through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC).
Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) Goals:
  • Securing the water and sewer lines
  • Water body rejuvenation leads to a cyclical water economy.
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