GS 1: Indian History
- The Beta Analytic Testing Laboratory in Miami, U.S., released the test report.
- This report highlighted that a carbon dating analysis of rice with soil, found in a burial urn at Sivakalai in Thoothukudi district in southern Tamil Nadu, has yielded the date of 1155 BCE.
- This indicates that the Thamirabarani civilization dates back to 3,200 years.
- Encouraged by this finding, Tamil Nadu Government announced the establishment of Porunai Museum in Tirunelveli at a cost of ₹15 crore.
- The finding has established that the Porunai river [Thamirabarani] civilization dates back to 3,200 years.
- Archaeological excavations would be carried out in other States and countries in search of Tamil roots.
- In the first phase, studies would be undertaken at the ancient port of Musiri, now known as Pattanam, in Kerala.
- The research will be done jointly with Kerala archaeologists to establish the ancientness and culture of the Chera country.
Research in Egypt
- Similar studies would be conducted at Vengi in Andhra Pradesh, Thalaikadu in Karnataka and Palur in Odisha.
- Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department would conduct research at Quseir alQadim and Pernica Anekke in Egypt, which were once part of the Roman empire, as well as in Khor Rori in Oman, to establish the Tamils’ trade relations with these countries.
- Pot shreds with Tamil scripts have been found in these countries.
- Studies would also be conducted in southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, where king Rajendra Chola had established supremacy.
- The outcome of recent excavations in Keeladi, Kodumanal and other sites in Tamil Nadu, including NBP, black slipped ware and good number of potsherds with Brahmi inscriptions, have corroborated the view that contacts between South India and North India might be as early as 600-700 BCE or even earlier.
Kerala Control of Organised Crimes Bill
GS 3: Internal Security
- Recently, a draft of the Kerala Control of Organised Crimes Bill has allowed Police to not to wait for official approval to curb organised crimes.
- The police can listen in on any communication, without waiting for official approval of the competent authority, to curb organized crimes.
- The draft Bill suggests that an officer not below the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) can authorise an application made by the investigating officer within 48 hours of interception.
- The ADGP can permit the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication if he ‘reasonably determines’ that an emergency situation involving ‘conspirational activities threatening the security or interest of the State’ or ‘imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person’ exists.
- When there is an absence of an order approving the interception or the communication sought is obtained or when the application for the order is rejected, whichever is earlier, the draft bill further states that the interception shall immediately terminate.
- The evidence collected through such interception will be admissible against the accused in the case.
- The contents of the intercepted communication shall be, if possible, recorded on tape or wire or other comparable devices.
- Under normal circumstances, the Act suggests that a police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police can approach the competent authority to be formed for the purpose of seeking permission for interception.
- A panel led by the State Chief Secretary shall review the orders of the competent authority in 10 days, it was proposed.
Criminalisation of Martial Rape
GS 1: Women related issues
- In 2017, the Supreme Court, in Independent Thought v. Union of India, refused to delve into the question of marital rape of adult women while examining an exception to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which allows a man to force sex on his wife.
- Recent rulings by High Courts have been contradictory — one backed marital rape as a valid ground for divorce, while another granted anticipatory bail to a man while concluding that forcible sex is not an “illegal thing”.
- Section 375 of the IPC defines the offence of rape. It lays down which physical acts are required to make out the offence, and it is a very broad definition.
- The second important element of this definition is consent where these acts are done without the consent of the woman, then the offence of rape is made out. This is the general rule, but there is an exception.
- Exception is that sexual acts by a husband with his wife, if she is 18 years of age and above, would not be rape.
- While the rest of the provision is centred on consent, this exception does not talk about consent at all.
- It creates the legal fiction that a wife always consents to her husband, which in effect means that her non-consent is irrelevant.
- Marital rape may be recognised as a form of cruelty, it may be a ground for divorce, but it is not punished as rape, which is a very distinct wrong and has very distinct terms. That is where the lacuna in the law lies.
- Insofar as fixing it is concerned, either Parliament may legislate and remove this exception, or a constitutional court has to strike it down.
Legal and Constitutional Rights
- At the time the IPC was drafted in the 1860s, a married woman was not considered an independent legal entity.
- It was based on the Victorian patriarchal norms that did not recognize men and women as equals, did not allow married women to own property, and merged the identities of husband and wife under the “Doctrine of Coverture.”
- Marital rape violates the right to equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Indian constitution.
- The purpose of Section 375 of IPC is to protect women and punish those who engage in the inhumane activity of rape.
- However, exempting husbands from punishment is entirely contradictory to that objective, as the consequences of rape are the same whether a woman is married or unmarried.
- Moreover, married women may actually find it more difficult to escape abusive conditions at home because they are legally and financially tied to their husbands.
Indian Citizens to Work in Portugal
GS 2: International Relations
- Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the signing of an agreement between India and Portugal on the recruitment of Indian citizens to work in that European country.
- The present agreement would set an institutional mechanism for partnership and cooperation between India and Portugal on sending and accepting Indian workers.
- Implementation Strategy:
- Under this agreement, a Joint Committee will be set up to follow up the implementation of the same.
- This agreement will add a new destination for Indian migrant workers in an EU member nation, especially in the context of many Indian workers who have returned to India following the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Indian workers would have enhanced job opportunities to work in Portugal.
- The Government-to-Government mechanism proposed in the agreement will ensure that the movement of workers happens smoothly with maximum support from both sides.
- It will provide new opportunities for skilled Indian workers and professionals.
MSP for Rabi Crops
GS 3: Agriculture
- The Centre has increased the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat for the upcoming rabi season to Rs. 2,015 per quintal, a 2% hike from last year.
- Oilseeds and pulses such as mustard, safflower and masoor dal saw higher MSP increases of up to 8% in a bid to encourage crop diversification.
Benefits of Increasing MSP:
- It will promote farmers to diversify the farm produce and encourage pulses and oilseeds like masoor and sarson (mustard) rather than mere wheat and rice.
- It would ensure remunerative prices to farmers and also encourage them for sowing operations.
- The assured prices guarantee farmers a fair price for their crops.
- This augmented and assured income can be used to reduce the debt and increase the investment. It will also reduce Farmer’s Suicide.
- As the growing Food Crop remains profitable due to MSP, farmers tend to grow them. It ensures food safety in India.
- To some extent, agriculture is a fall back option for many Indians as evident from COVID pandemic.
- During strict lockdown due to the pandemic, agriculture showed a positive growth unlike the manufacturing and service sector.
World’s Northernmost Island
GS 1: Geography
- A team of Arctic researchers from Denmark say they accidentally discovered what they believe is the world’s northernmost island located off Greenland’s coast.
- The scientists from the University of Copenhagen initially thought they had arrived at Oodaaq, an island discovered by a Danish survey team in 1978, to collect samples during an expedition that was conducted in July.
- They instead wound up on an undiscovered island further north.
- “Island hunters” are known as adventurers whose hobby it is to search for unknown islands.
- The yet-to-be-named island is 780 meters (about 850 yards) north of Oodaaq, an island off Cape Morris Jesup, the northernmost point of Greenland and one of the most northerly points of land on Earth.
- The tiny island, apparently discovered as a result of shifting pack ice, is about 30 by 60 meters (about 100 by 200 feet) in size and rises to about three to four meters (10 to 13 feet) above sea level.
- The research team reportedly doesn’t consider the discovery to be a result of climate change and has allegedly proposed naming the island Qeqertaq Avannarleq, which means “the northernmost island” in Greenlandic.