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Domicile rules in J&K: Nationalist pitch vs local sentiments

Anurag Mishra and Paras Ratna

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A woman rows a ‘Shikara’ filled with fodder for cattle in the interiors of Dal Lake, in Srinagar on Monday. (ANI Photo)

A year after scrapping Article 370 and the subsequent bifurcation of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state into union territories, it is pertinent to analyse the aftereffects of the same. The issue was seemingly falling into oblivion amidst the Covid-19 pandemic but it was partially and briefly resuscitated on 31 March when the Union Home Ministry notified the promulgation of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order 2020 for the Union Territory.

After initial fumbling with the domicile requirements in the first order, the Union Home Ministry came out with a second order within three days which restored roughly the pre-amendment situation vis-à-vis employment. As things stand today, for eligibility to both gazetted and non-gazetted employment under the Jammu and Kashmir government, the applicant needs to fulfil the twin requirements of permanent residency and residency of the district/division.

What is worth mentioning is that while the first order made the domiciliary requirement mandatory only for the low rank jobs, the second order extended it to all posts. Practically barring all non-domicile/non-residents from obtaining a job under the J&K administration, even the dispossessed Kashmiri Pandits.

The domicile question

Article 370 and Article 35A played a crucial role in materialisation of distinctive Kashmiri identity. Article 35A, which empowered the state government to define the “permanent residents” of the state, along with Article 370, secured for the permanent residents a first and an exclusive right to all state’s resources and benefits.

 With the Centre coming out with another set of presidential orders — first watering down the effects of Article 35A and then introducing a domicile rule which more or less restores the status quo, the domicile question has come back in a full circle. The matters which hold significance here are the domicile requirements for employment and the period of residency for being considered a permanent resident.

While domiciliary quota for employment under a state government is not unheard of, a blanket order which reserves all employment such as the one aforementioned is a peculiar case. The closest parallel can be found in Article 371D of the Constitution of India, which provides for reservation to a class of employment created exclusively for locals in the state of Andhra Pradesh. However, very recently a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court struck down the Andhra Pradesh government’s provision for 100% reservation for local tribes as constitutionally invalid.

 It is interesting to see how the J&K domicile rules which harbour a similar spirit will survive judicial scrutiny. Also, the mandatory period of residence required for a person to be considered a permanent resident of Union Territory of J&K is also rather unusual. While most states of the Indian union require five to ten years of residence to be considered a domicile/residents, Jammu and Kashmir, both the erstwhile state and the newly formed union territory keep it at fifteen years. The recent orders leave it untouched.

Concerns have been raised, most pressingly by the local parties of Jammu and Kashmir, regarding the new domicile order as an attempt to bring about demographic change in the Union Territory. However, the domicile order can be validly construed as an attempt to address the long pending demand of the “unrecognised” residents of the erstwhile state with regard to right of public employment and property. It is pertinent to note that the new domicile order doesn’t throw open the gates for the Indian citizens at large. Rather, it attempts to broaden the beneficiary base for the ones who have resided/served in Jammu and Kashmir for the stipulated period of time. Besides, the claim of significant demographic change stands on weak ground as the number of people likely to benefit from the domicile order is too little to cause such an effect.

 Walking the tightrope

The Union government’s aforementioned dilemma is symbolic of the broader struggle to strike a fine balance between nationalist pitch and local aspirations. The extension of all constitutional provisions to J&K was aimed at socio-economic-political integration with the rest of India. It seems sub-national interest developed and nurtured, under special status granted to erstwhile J&K state is there to stay and assert itself. Therefore, unsurprisingly, local units of the ruling BJP were at the forefront in the display of concerns and discontent with the domicile order. Interestingly, demand for justice voiced as the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits has been one of the cardinal principles of the BJP’s politics since the late 1980s. However, the exclusion of dispossessed Kashmiri Pandits from the domicile rules for employment effectively closes a potent channel for resettlement.

Sub-nationalism based on local identity/aspiration is not new to the Indian republic. In a way, it reflects the diversity it encompasses. There are constitutional safeguards for preserving local interest/norms/culture in many states. The recent domicile order by reserving all government jobs for locals intends to further/safeguard subnational interests. An important dimension of J&K is the weaponisation of Kashmiri identity and involvement of external actors. This graduates sub-nationalism (for which there are constitutional provisions) into secessionism challenging India’s territorial sovereignty. Therefore, amendment to the domicile rule aimed at accommodating local sentiments is being criticised by the ones who supported amendments to Article 370 last year, on the grounds of impeding national integration. It is viewed as a dilution of the ruling party’s resolve/vision with respect to the relationship of the Union Territory of J&K with the rest of India.

The balancing act?

On the flip side, this shows that the ruling dispensation in New Delhi is cognisant of local needs. This highlights local electoral logic-induced tampering of the ideological pitch. It contradicts the motive of demographic change that was being attributed in the wake of constitutional amendments last year. In fact, the major demographic change that the erstwhile state of J&K has witnessed is the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. A consequence of weaponisation of Kashmiri identity against the natives itself.

It could also be seen as a measured attempt at the partial dilution of the strict regimen of Article 35A. Previous arrangement had a ‘no-doors-open’ policy to anyone who was not a permanent resident. The new order does open a few windows to fill the gaps like making eligible West Pakistani refugees, Gurjars, Bakarwals, Valmikis, women marrying outside communities, displaced people, etc.

 An important question to reflect is the trade-offs that the Indian State confronts in maintaining a fine balance between upholding over-arching constitutional obligations and accommodating local aspirations. This assumes special significance when local resentments find expression in terrorism aided by external actors. It can be argued that risking the tranquility in the Valley would open an additional front for the Government of India which is currently tackling Covid-19 coupled with Chinese transgressions. Therefore, it is imperative to keep in mind broader geopolitical calculus and constraints before boxing the recent backtracking on J&K domicile rules into a pro/anti framework.

Anurag Mishra is an LLM from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; and Paras Ratna is a research associate at Vision India Foundation, New Delhi.

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DPS R.K. Puram: Celebration of an odyssey of 50 years

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Delhi Public School R.K. Puram, one of the most prestigious schools in India, was founded in 1972 in New Delhi. The school upholds the founders’ commitment to excellence in the all-round development of the students, with emphasis on its motto Service Before Self. The school is extremely proud of its illustrious alumni who continue to uphold the ideals of the school and have impacted society greatly in every sphere of life. DPS R.K. Puram has received the Education World Award as the No.1 Day-cum-Boarding School (2020-21) in India.

On 2 October, Delhi Public School, R. K. Puram organised a curtain-raiser to the official launch of the six-month-long celebration of the golden jubilee of the institution. The event was attended by renowned alumni of the school. The school plans to organise a plethora of activities to commemorate the 50 years of excellence by organising alumni guest speaker programmes, alumni reunions in different parts of the world, cultural programmes involving the present and former students, collage of video messages of alumni from all over the world to inspire the current students and the culmination of all these events at the grand celebration in 2022.

The event commenced with a lively dance performance by the students as an ode to Lord Ganesha with drum beats followed by a graceful Garba performance. The chief guest, VK Shunglu, Chairman of the DPS Society and DPS RK Puram Managing Committee inaugurated the ceremony by lighting the lamp and unveiling the logo of the 50th anniversary. A cake baked by Aadishwar Singh, a student of class XII was cut to mark the occasion. It was followed by a splendid rendition of ‘Vaishnav Jana Toh’ through Indian and Western instrumental fusion. This was followed by a nostalgic presentation of DPS R.K. Puram through ages.

The Principal, Padma Srinivasan warmly welcomed the Chairman along with the former Principals; Shyama Chona and D.R. Saini. She quoted Mahatma Gandhi, by saying that with the burning passion within each individual one can alter the course of history. She said, while we must reflect on the glories of the past, we must also look to the future and aim to transform lives with education as the school has done so ably in the past five decades. She thanked the chairman, V.K. Shunglu for his guidance, constant unceasing support, his spirit of empathy in covid times and for being a leader who thinks from the heart. She further emphasised how 1972 and 2022 are connected by a belief that transcends time; that education can transform lives. To conclude her address, she asked the alumni present to start a movement and give back to the society what the school has given to them and firmly stand by the motto of ‘Service before Self.‘ Following this was a graceful Kathak dance rendition on the song ‘Ghar More Pardesiya.’

Sooraj Dhawan and Sudeepta Chaterjee coordinated and compèred the programme for the alumni group and presented video messages from them. A video showcasing the drone footage of Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, Vasant Vihar and East of Kailash was screened, magnifying the nostalgia of the alumni in the audience. A self-composed song by the alumni and the students helped reminisce the years gone by and rejoice in the celebrations.

V.K. Shunglu, in his address, reiterated the importance of focusing on what we do in the next fifty years so that we modernise at a fast pace and keep abreast with the challenges of a fast-moving world and keep the banner of the school flying high. The vote of thanks was proposed by the Vice Principal, Renu Nayyar. In the closing note, Padma Srinivasan expressed her appreciation for the alumni who actively participated in the cultural programmes of the day. The programme concluded with the national anthem.

The school plans to organise a plethora of activities to commemorate the 50 years of excellence by organising alumni guest speaker programmes, alumni reunions in different parts of the world, cultural programmes involving the present and former students, collage of video messages of alumni from all over the world to inspire the current students and the culmination of all these events at the grand celebration in 2022.

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Water ioniser: A boon for healthy living

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As per Medical research, the major root cause for more than 90% of modern-day health disorders includes heart stroke, cancer, diabetes, thyroid, gastric, and many other issues are oxidative stress, acidic environment, and hypoxia.

OXIDATIVE STRESS

Oxidative Stress caused by free radicals makes a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases, ischemic diseases, gastric ulcers, hypertension, and preeclampsia and neurological disorders.

ACIDIC ENVIRONMENT

The second major threat to our health is caused by stress caused by the acidic environment around us.

HYPOXIA

The third threat to our well-being is hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is lacking adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level.

The food we take, the water we drink, the air we inhale, our habits, genetic conditions all contribute to our overall lifestyle. A good lifestyle is the best practice to be healthy, happy, and fit enough. Our drinking water plays a very crucial role in our overall healthy lifestyle. At every point, we should not only need to check the safety of our drinking water, but more importantly, we also need to be sure it is healthy or unhealthy.

Drinking water which undergoes reverse osmosis type of purification is dead water without useful minerals, acidic in nature making internal body pH balance tough, having bigger clusters difficult to get absorbed by body cells. Most importantly the oxidant nature combined with the acidic nature of reverse osmosis purified water adds extra free radicals that weaken our immunity power. Oxidative stress and free radicals are the biggest threat and root cause of more than 75% of health disorders.

For complete family health protection, switch on to Ionised alkaline water which has rich sources of essential alkaline minerals and selective Anti-Oxidant molecular hydrogen.

Ionised alkaline water helps in restoring the right pH balance between the acidic and alkaline conditions in the human body. It neutralises disease-causing free radicals, helps in reducing inflammation.

Ionised alkaline water is micro-clustered. This helps our body cells to absorb more water easily, quickly, and with effective transportation of oxygen and important nutrients to vital organs of the body. This further improves Hydration and detoxification levels. It helps in reducing joint pains, improves metabolism and energy, slows down the aging process and helps in boosting immunity.

The research on molecular hydrogen on Covid-19 has shown promising results where the antioxidant nature of hydrogen helps in preventing the disease onset and also helps in reducing the disease severity in Covid-19 affected patients.

By looking at the enormous health benefits of the Hydrogen-rich Ionised Alkaline water, Medilight Pvt Ltd thought of introducing water ioniser machines in India. Medilight Private Limited found the perfect product which uses a fourth-generation technology water ioniser machine which is a solution to battle air, water and food pollution. This worldwide patented fourth-generation Disc Ionisation technology is available only in Taiwan.

Early in the year 2016 Medilight bought that technology and introduced their own brand name “H Rich” alkaline water Ioniser. In the year 2017, Medilight collaborated with the world-renowned water ioniser brand “Tyent”, a Japanese technology-made water ioniser machine from South Korea which has extensive market coverage in the USA, Europe and Australia.

Health benefits are clinically tested and certified by research. In short, your healthy drinking water can drive your metabolism on the right track in the correct way. It’s a good solution and an investment idea for your family’s health for the next 20 years.

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FOCUSED ON GIVING BEST TECHNOLOGY AT AFFORDABLE PRICING: AVNEET SINGH MARWAH

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX India A-List, Avneet Singh Marwah spoke about what sets his company Super Plastronics Ltd apart from other players, expectations from the festive season, impact of pandemic, and much more.

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Avneet Singh Marwah, Director & CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Avneet spoke about what sets his company Super Plastronics Ltd apart from other players, expectations from the festive season, impact of Covid and much more.

Giving us an insight into Super Plastronics Ltd and what sets it apart from other players in this competitive market, Avneet said, “Super Plastronics is about a 30-year-old company. We started with plastic moulding of television back then for CRT and then we started manufacturing CRT. We are a complete backboned integrated plant and that experience was forward toward manufacturing LCDs and now LEDs, 4K TVs, USDs. The company invested. Back then, we were completely “Atmanirbhar” for CRT televisions, now we are again in LED televisions. We are a complete backbone integrated plant and we have everything in house, from plastic molding to SMDs to cleanroom and assembly line. Currently, we have about five brands, starting from Kodak, then Thomson-we launched in 2018, after that we launched Globewarm, recently we launched Westinghouse televisions and then we have white Westinghouse by Electrolux- our appliance in washing machine brand. We are one of the largest brand licenses in India and second-largest television manufacturing in India right now.”

He added, “In terms of selling, we currently selling more than 18,000 pin codes in India. We are on top 2 of online selling brands. Our major strategic partner is Flipkart. For Kodak, it is available across online and offline, both. We have a vast service network of more than 550 service center that are company-owned and about 20 warehousing, we have one manufacturing unit in Noida and there are two manufacturing units that are coming up.”

Talking about his expectations from this festive season, Avneet said, “The festive season for any electronic brand is about 35% to 40% of the year. As I told you that we are online and offline, so there are three major sales that come to online. This time, the sales started a bit early, so it is a very important month for us, then the Dussehra sales comes and then “Dhanteras”. The majority of the season is covered in this. We have done a couple of new launches. There are more launches that are coming up this festive season. The company is completely focused on how we can give you the best technology at affordable pricing.

When asked whether there has been an issue of demand-supply gaps because of the Covid situation, Avneet responded, “When the first wave hit, there was a lot of pent-up demand. One of the reasons was the whole world was on screen and work from home. Classes were going online, and then there were OTT platforms to entertain you in the evening. At that point of time, there was a huge spike in terms of buying of screens and televisions, smart TVs plays a very vital role in that. There was about 30% growth but things changed after the second wave. The kind of second wave that hit India, people start saving and they were not spending their disposable incomes. The mortality rate was very high. India is a very big saving economy. After June, I would say, in April and June, the market got stagnant. But, as the economy is recovering, and the first sales show a very encouraging sign. We saw about 80% year on year growth on Big Billion days sales and Amazon’s The Great India festive sale. I think its recovering. We are hoping that Diwali has good numbers. If wave three is not hit, I think the market will recover and you will see the growth in smart TV market.”

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Around 53 Egyptian vultures spotted on Yamuna river in Delhi

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As many as 53 Egyptian vultures were spotted two days ago by an ecologist on a sandy mid-island on the Yamuna river in Delhi.

While talking to ANI, TK Roy, who is an ecologist, said, “I found 53 Egyptian vultures here two days back in Delhi, which is the largest number in the last five years. This place is suitable for them.”

Roy further informed us that there are around 47 Egyptian vultures in the area at present.

“The population is slowly rising because of a ban on diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that has a toxic effect on vultures and awareness among people on vulture conservation,” the ecologist added.

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TRAFFIC FREE, PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY ‘EK SHAAM CHARMINAR KE NAAM’ PROGRAMME BEGINS

The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun, and frolic event.

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A traffic-free and pedestrian-friendly “Sunday Funday” programme titled “Ek Shaam Charminar ke naam” is being held at the historic Charminar of Hyderabad.

The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun and frolic event. This event will also be used to spread awareness about various issues of public importance.

The event is inspired by the continuation of a similar programme for eight weeks now at the upper Tank Bund road of Hyderabad.

“With the success of Sunday Funday programme at upper Tank Bund road which has been happening in Hyderabad for last eight weeks now, we felt that the iconic place of Charminar is also another place which can be used for similar entertainment, fun and frolic and intermingling of people,” said Anjani Kumar, Police Commissioner, Hyderabad.

“Through such events, communities can be educated and made aware about several things such as how to prevent theft by servant, drivers theft, and other similar programmes. So we look forward to have a successful program at Charminar,” he added.

The event was inaugurated with the performance of the Hyderabad police band.

“The police department is also actively participating in this programme, the event was inaugurated with Hyderabad police band which is quite famous and subsequently it will be used for various police initiatives which are citizen-centric,” said the Police Commissioner.

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PEOPLE HAVE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT SEX EDUCATION MEANS: KARISHMA SWARUP

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, Karishma Swarup opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.

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Karishma Swarup, Sexuality Educator, recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Karishma opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.

Speaking about what exactly comes under the ambit of sexual education, Karishma said, “I feel like in India today, we don’t have a standardised sex education curriculum that is applied across schools, so a lot of people have misconceptions around what sex education even means. People seem to think that just talking about biology pieces that they studied in biology class might be considered sex education, but in reality, sex education is so much more than that. It involves biology but in the context of understanding anatomy. Understanding and not the teacher being like, oh! This is out of syllabus. Being able to discuss what are your body parts, how do those body parts function, whether or not it’s in a sexual situation. Right, so that is the first piece of it, just the anatomy bit of it.”

The second piece is, of course, the sexual health piece of it. That involves contraceptives, how condoms work and how to prevent STI transmissions. Just generally how to be safe and have safer sex. You cannot have any conversation about sex without talking about consent and consent is something that we talk about in the context of abuse but not necessarily in the context of teaching people what is the correct way of having a healthy relationship, what is the correct way to ask for consent in a certain situation. All of this is also influenced by things like gender and people’s personal identities. Good comprehensive sexuality education takes into consideration what are the different ways and aspects people are bringing into their experience of sexuality. So, that could include the LGBT community, it includes one’s gender. It can also include other intersections such as how does your class or other religion influences you, how you relate to other concepts so comprehensive sexuality or CSE is this holistic picture that goes so much more than telling young people to have sex and if anything the countries where they offer CSE at an early age young people tend to delay their onset of sexual activity rather than doing it earlier,” she added.

Talking about your educational background and whether or not from where you see it it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it, Karishma stated, “I myself have done science my whole life. I did science in school. I did those biology classes, I was referring to. I went and studied geology biology while I was at Brown University as well. A large bulk of my learning came from working with this NGO named Plant Parenthood, which is a really big organisation in the US that offers different sexual health and reproductive health services including sex ed. I was a part of a student organisation there, we went out and taught sex ed to high students in the area. Working with them, I got 3 years of field experience. I got trained by this NGO, which had years and years of grass-root teaching experience and i think it goes beyond the question of having a degree especially with sexual health. It is a topic that is so widely ignored around the world, in most places really like, it is a question of who is doing it.

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