Frontline Magazine October 2011 | Online Notes


Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA)
Wada na Todo Abhiyan is a national coalition of 3000 civil society organisations and networks in India. Recently they compiled the recommendations and proposals that came up through a year-long consultative process into a document for the next five year plan of India. Titled “Approaching Equity, Civil Society Inputs for the Approach Paper – 12th Five Year Plan” it summarises the recommendations and thematic inputs in as many as 40 categories. It pointed out that certain groups and communities faced social and economic exclusion and political marginalisation owing to their caste, class, gender, age, religious affiliation, region, sexuality, disability, marital status, education, or HIV infection and/or other stigmatised health conditions. 

VVER-1000
The VVER, or WWER, (Water-Water Energetic Reactor) is a series of pressurised water reactors (PWRs) originally developed by the Soviet Union, and now Russia, by a company called OKB Gidropress. NTPC is building 2 VVER-1000 nuclear reactors in Koodamkulam, TamilNadu. 

Mamata's victory in Singur case
West Bangal government won the case against Tata Motors in the Constitutional validity of the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011. The principal objections of the Tatas were that the State Act was unconstitutional since it infringed upon the provisions of the existing land acquisition of 1894, which is in the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution (Entry 42 of List III). According to Tata Motors, the State Act might have been valid if it had the President's assent, but no such assent had been taken. Secondly, it maintained that it did not voluntarily “abandon” the project but was forced to shift because of difficult conditions, “amidst violence, disruption of activities, damage to property, threats to personnel”. 

Origin of Islam in India
Islam did not come to India from the north as is commonly believed. It came through Arab traders to the Malabar region in Kerala, and Muslims flourished as a trading community there. Since ancient times, India has had considerable trade contact with the Arab world. In the 1st century A.D., the Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote about the existing routes to India and the July monsoon winds that traders used to catch to reach the Indian coast. He spoke about a ship that left the coast of Arabia and took 40 days to reach Muziris, which was then the name of present-day Kodungalloor. With the advent of Islam, Arab traders became the carriers of the new faith. The first mosque in India was built at Kodungalloor by the Chera King Cheraman Perumal in A.D. 629, within the lifetime of the Prophet. This is one of the oldest mosques in the world. 

Islam in North India
Islam came to the north of India through different invasions, starting with the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni, who came as far as Gujarat. Thereafter, there was the peaceful contribution of different Sufi saints, traders and other individuals who moved to the northern region of India because of political instability or dynastic changes that were taking place in and around Central Asia and Afghanistan at that time. Gradually, a small community developed and increased its strength once Turkish rule was established in north India. The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque was the first mosque built in north India, in A.D. 1193. 

Qutb Minar
Qutb Minar was built in Delhi, early 13th century. In 1206, Mohammed Ghori was assassinated and his realm was divided among his slaves. One of them, Qutbuddin Aibak, assumed control over Delhi. He built the Qutb Minar near the Quwwat-ul-Islam ("might of Islam") mosque. One of the world's tallest minarets, it is 72.5 metres high. 

Agra Fort
Agra Fort, UP, was built in 16th-17th century. Akbar, one of the greatest Mughal emperors (reign 1556-1605), was a brilliant intellectual and ruler. A remarkable monarch whose empire rivalled that of Asoka, he built a network of fortresses and palaces between 1565 and 1571. The first of these was the fort at Agra. His successors Jahangir and Shah Jahan added many sections within the fort. 

Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal was built in 1648 by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Arjumand Banu Begum, known to the world as Mumtaz Mahal. The construction of the Taj Mahal was a stupendous engineering feat. It is built of marble and is finely inlaid with semi-precious stones. As many as 20,000 workers and master craftsmen laboured for 17 years to erect this magnificent edifice. 

Prerogative powers of President of India
Indian president has only two prerogative powers. One is the appointment of the Prime Minister and the other is the dissolution of Parliament. 

Justice Soumitra Sen escaped impeachment
Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court resigned, days before the Lok Sabha was to hear him and discuss the impeachment motion against him. As a result, the Lok Sabha decided to drop the impeachment proceedings against him. Earlier, Rajya Sabha passed the impeachment motion against him with overwhelming support from all parties. The judge would have been impeached if the Lok Sabha, too, passed the motion within the same session of Parliament. Justice Sen came close to becoming the first judge to be impeached by Parliament. In 1993, the motion to impeach Justice V. Ramaswami of the Supreme Court failed because the Congress members abstained from voting. A member of the higher judiciary, which means the Judges and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India and the state High Courts, can be removed from service only through the process of impeachment under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution on grounds of proven misbehaviour or incapacity.
As per the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, a complaint against a Judge has to be made through a resolution either by 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 Rajya Sabha members. After the MPs submit a duly signed motion to this effect to their respective presiding officers — Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or Speaker of the Lok Sabha — the presiding officer constitutes a three-member committee comprising two Judges — one from the Supreme Court and one Chief Justice of a High Court if the complaint is against a HC Judge; and two Supreme Court Judges if the complaint is against a sitting Judge of the apex court — and a jurist to probe the complaint and determine if it is a case fit for initiating the process of impeachment. 

Tin Bigha Corridor
The Tin Bigha Corridor is a strip of land belonging to India on the West Bengal–Bangladesh border, which in September, 2011, was leased to Bangladesh so that it can access its Dahagram–Angarpota enclaves. The corridor was previously open for 12 daylight hours only, causing great hardships for the inhabitants of the enclave, given the fact that the enclave has no hospitals or law enforcement facilities. Following a treaty signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh in September, 2011 in Dhaka, it was agreed that the corridor would be open for 24 hours for Bangladeshis in the enclave to access the mainland. 

Rohanpur-Singhabad route
Rohanpur-Singhabad route will facilitate rail transit between Bangladesh and Nepal through Indian territory. This was agreed during the visit of Sheikh Hasina to India in 2010. Singhabad belongs to West Bengal, India. 

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament this year. This bill is meant to regulate surrogacy in India. Official estimates on the number of surrogate pregnancies in India are not available. SAMA, a women's health organisation, says the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry in India, which includes surrogacy, is estimated at Rs.25,000 crore. In India, Anand, Gujarat is famous for surrogate mothers.

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