Dongria kondh tribal group vs Vedanta in Niyamgiri Hills(Odisha)
- Niyamgiri, scene of the iconic fight between the Dongria Kondh tribal group and Vedanta, a powerful multinational corporation bent on mining in the area.
- The Dongria Kondh in southwestern Odisha is one of India’s so-called “particularly vulnerable tribal groups.” They retain world views and practices that go back millennia, and embody forms of knowledge and relationship with nature that have been lost to many of the so-called “civilized” peoples.
- They have triumphed over a private corporation with all the “civilized” powers at its command. As per news, Vedanta continues to hope for a reversal of the decision to disallow it from mining in the area, especially now that BJP is more corporate-friendly than the Congress. The Dongria Kondh are, however, alert, and absolutely sure they will not allow any incursion by the company.
- The village is governed as Niyam Raja, the spiritual source of the territory, included the protection of forests and rivers, common custodian of resources rather than individual property, and sharing of labor and its fruits. In such a situation, major incursions like mining and big roads and factories were simply taboo.
- Leaders of the tribe have realized that getting individual plots under Forest Right Act could encourage individualization and promote deforestation, the community has demanded that the entire territory be recognized as a habitat right under the Forest Right Act, with a single title in the name of Niyam Raja.
- Even before receiving permission to mine, Vedanta built a refinery in the town of Lanjigarh, and started to work on the conveyor belt that would bring the bauxite straight down from the hills to the refinery. The refinery was approved by the government on the condition that no forest would be used; yet the claim was ‘patently false’ – Vedanta annexed 60 hectares of village forest, vital for local communities. The refinery also completely destroyed Kinari village, displacing over a hundred Majhi Kondh families to a settlement known locally as ‘the rehab colony’. This is a walled compound of concrete houses, circled with barbed wire. Residents have no farmland, and although some work as labourers for Vedanta, most survive on handouts.
- The Dongria Kondh of India’s Niyamgiri Hills have won a heroic victory against mining giant Vedanta Resources to save their sacred hills. The Supreme Court told Vedanta in 2013 that the Dongria must decide whether to allow mining on the Mountain of the Law. The Dongria answered with an unequivocal ‘No’.
- You can’t destroy the faith of those people. They believe their god is on the hilltop. Can you tell them, ‘take away your God to another place?’ Are you banishing the God?’— Judge on hearing
- Forest Right Act
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers(Recognition of Forest Rights) Act,2006 or Forest Right Act passed by Indian Parliament in 2006. The Act was came into force on 31 October,2007.
Basic points of the Act:
- Right to hold and live in the forest under the individual or common occupation for the habitation, or self-cultivation for livelihood by a member or members of a forest dwelling scheduled tribes or other forest dwellers.
- Community rights under whatever name called.
- Right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce(all non-timber forest produce of plant origin) which has been traditionally collected inside or outside village.
- Other community rights of use of entitlements like fish, and other products of water bodies, grazing, traditional seasonal resource access of nomads or pastoralist communities.
- Right in or over disputed land s under any nomenclature in any State where claims are disputed.
- Right of access to biodiversity and community rights to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and culture diversity.
- Resettlement of the people to some other area for wildlife conservation, but first it need to show that relocation is rational and the only choice available.
- Eligibility - The rights under the act confined to those who are "permanent dwellers of the forest" and who depends on forests and forest land for livelihood. Further the claimant must be a member of Scheduled Tribes scheduled in that area or must have been residing in the forest for not less than 75 years.
Why prices of crude oil is falling
- Saudi Arabia has helped drive drown prices from $ 100 barrel (oil barrel - 159 litres) to $ 60 barrel of crude oil by refusing to cut its production down in the face of a global surplus and unwillingness of other producers to cut their output. The question is whether the Saudis will hold to this strategy until enough high-cost producers - including some U.S. shale oil operators - are driven from the market or whether they're seeking some sort of production-sharing agreement with major exporters inside and outside of OPEC. What is clear is that Saudi Arabia doesn't want to cut output unilaterally.
- The remarkable fall in global oil prices is continuing because of mismatch between Demand and Supply. Demand is down because of eurozone's economic stagnation, Japan's slipping into recession and China's slowdown. Output, on the other hand, is rising on the account of U.S. shale boom.
- There is also playing politics in price reduction with three objectives: of hurting Iran and Russia's oil income and rendering the U.S. shale production unviable (meaning of unviable - not capable of working successfully; not feasible). The threat from the U.S's shale project to the oil producers being that U.S. is projected to become a net petroleum exporter before 2020.
- The shale gas is the gas trap in its rock, therefore rock is also the reservoir. Introduction of new technologies like hydraulic fracturing technology and horizontal drilling, development of new sources of shale gas increased the production output of shale gas in the U.S. Oil shale is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical comounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced.
- OPEC stands for Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is formed by 12 member nations - Algeria, Angola, Ecuador,Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya,Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Venezuela. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria and formed in 1960. OPEC sets production target for its member nations, and when the production target reduces, oil prices increase.
NITI Aayog in place of Planning Commission
- Modi government set up NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog in place of Planning Commission on the first day of January, 2015.
- The Prime Minister will head the Aayog and the governing council will replace the National Development Council that is presided ove by the P.M. and comprise the Chief Ministers and the Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories.
- The Prime Minister will appoint the Aayog's Vice-Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer. Asian Development Bank's Chief Economist Arvind Pangariya to be the first Vice-Chairperson.
- The new panel will have a vice-chairperson and a chief executive officer, in addition to four cabinet ministers as ex-officio members, five full-time members and two part-time members from universities and research organisations on a rotational basis.
- A cabinet resolution passed last week said the Aayog will evolve a “framework national agenda” for the PM and chief ministers, adding that it will create knowledge support through a community of national and international experts. For that, it will have domain experts as special invitees.
- The NITI Aayog seeks substitute centralised planning with a ‘bottom-up’ approach where the body will support formulation of plans at the village level and aggregate them at higher levels of government. In short, the new body is envisaged to follow the norm of cooperative federalism, giving room to States to tailor schemes to suit their unique needs rather than be dictated to by the Centre. This is meant to be a recognition of the country’s diversity.
- The resolution said the Planning Commission was no longer relevant as it was set up when India was an under-developed economy and is now emerging as one of the largest in the world.
- The Aayog will recommend a national agenda, including strategic and technical advice on elements of policy and economic matters. It will also develop mechanisms for village-level plans and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.
Lakhvi remanded in judicial custody
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, was on 1 January, 2015 sent back to a Rawalpindi jail after a court here remanded him in 14 days of judicial custody for the abduction of an Afghan national, amid a row with India over his release in the 26/11 case.