Prelim Bits 21-12-2023 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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December 21, 2023

Dhangar Community in Maharashtra

The Dhangar community’s demand for ST status has been dismissed.

  • Dhangars – They are large cluster of pastoral groups and they live mostly in Western Maharashtra and Marathwada.
  • Population – In Maharashtra, they are estimated to range from 4 to 12% of the total population (unofficially estimate).
  • Reservation status – In Maharashtra, there is an exclusive quota of 3.5% under a separate category called NT (No Tribe).
  • In central list, they are recognised as Other Backward Classes (OBC) community.
  • Demand for ST statusIt started in 1955, when there was no reservation for them either in the state or at the Centre.

click here to know about ‘Inclusion procedure in ST list’.

  • Reason for demand Better constitutional safeguards to SC and ST than to OBCs.

Article 340 directs the President to constitute a commission to identify backward communities and make recommendations for their upliftment.

  • Discretion of executive government in implementing welfare activities for OBC
    • The 1st BC commission’s (Kaka Kelkar) report came in 1955, whose recommendations were never implemented.
    • The 2nd BC Commission’s (Mandal) report came in 1980 whose recommendations were implemented partially only in 1990.

Historical background of Dhangar

  • Economic activity – British identified 23 subgroups of the Dhangars, many specialising in livestock activities.
  • While mostly settled as agriculturalist, some within the cluster were nomadic.
    • The Dange Dhangars herd buffaloes in high-rainfall forest tracts of the Western Ghats.
  • Social status – British recognised them as a tribe for their nomadic nature and lower status in Maharashtra.
  • However, few were privileged and even have royal antecedents.
    • Ahilyabai Holkar, the queen who reigned the Malwa region in the 18th century was a Dhangar.


The Indian Express| Demand for ST status by Dhangar community


Sahitya Akademi Awards for 2023

The Sahitya Akademi Awards for 2023 were announced and will be presented at the award presentation function in 2024.

  • Established in – 1954 by Sahitya Akademi
  • Awarded to – The most outstanding books of literary merit published in the languages recognised by the Sahitya Akademi.

The Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters was founded in 1954, an autonomous body under the Union Culture Ministry and registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It is dedicated to the promotion of literature in Indian languages.

  • The award – It is in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl, and Rs.1,00,000 (since 2009).
  • Languages recognised24 including 22 languages listed in 8th schedule of Indian constitution along with English and Rajasthan.
  • Procedure – The distinguished jury members recommend awards which are approved by the Executive Board of the Akademi.
  • Criteria – It relate to books 1st published during the 5 years immediately preceding the year of award.
  • 2023 Awards – 9 books of poetry, 6 novels, 5 short story collections, 3 essays and 1 literary study.






Rajasekaran (Devibharathi)


Neervazhi Padooum


Patanjali Sastry

Short story collection

Rameshwaram Kaakulu Marikonni Kathalu


E.V. Ramakrishnan

Literary study

Malayala Novelinte Deshakalangal


Lakshmisha Tolpadi

Essay collections

Mahabharatha Anusandhanada Bharathayatre


Swapnamay Chakrabarti


Jaler Upar Pani


Neelum Saran Gour


Requim in Raga Janaki




Mujhe Pahachaano.

Some authors who will receive the honour for their poetry collections are Vijay Verma in Dogri, Vinod Joshi in Gujarati, Manshoor Banihali in Kashmiri, Ashutosh Parida in Odia, and Arun Ranjan Mishra in Sanskrit.


  1. The Hindu| Sahitya Akademi Awards 2023
  2. Sahitya Akademi| Sahitya Akademi Awards


National Policy on Child Labour - An Assessment

Recently, a detailed report on the implementation of the Centre’s policy on child labour was tabled in Parliament.

Based on the recommendations of Gurupadaswamy Committee, the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act was enacted in 1986 and the National Policy on Child Labour was declared in August, 1987.

  • Prepared by – The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour.
  • Findings - The number of working children has decreased from 1.26 crore (2001 census) to 1.01 crore (2011 census) and has decreased from 57.79 lakh (2001 census) to 43.53 lakh (2011 census) in the age group of 5-14 years.
  • It is practically not possible to meet the international commitment to eliminate child labour by 2025.
  • RecommendationImprove coordination between various Ministries of the centre and the states.
  • Improve data collection – Data on children between 14 to 18 years be collected during the next census exercise.
    • Ministry of Labour & Employment to conduct periodic survey particularly in urban areas to identify child labours.
    • Centre can direct states to conduct surveys along with their suggestions to address the problem.
  • Examine various child welfare acts – To reduce any ambiguity or delay in securing justice for aggrieved children by rectifying the
    • Discrepancies in criteria of determining age of the child and the nature of offence as cognisable/non-cognisable

Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 are important child welfare acts.

  • Award stricter punishments – Like cancellation of license, attachment of property, etc., and fix the accountability on the principal employer and traffickers.

To know about Covid’s impact on Child Labour, click here


The Hindu| National Policy on Child Labour – An Assessment



Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhyuday Yojana is a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the welfare of Scheduled Caste (SC) population.

  • Launched in – 2021-22.
  • Launched by – Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • It has been framed after merging the 3 erstwhile schemes
    • Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY)
    • Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCA to SCSP)
    • Babu Jagjivan Ram Chatrawas Yojana (BJRCY)
  • Objectives
    • To increase the income of SC population by income generating schemes, skill development and infrastructure development.
    • To reduce the poverty among the SC population and bring them above the poverty lines.
    • To increase literacy and enrolment of SCs in schools and higher education institutions.
  • 3 components
    • Development of SC dominated villages into an ‘Adarsh Gram’.
    • Grants-in-aid for district/state-level projects for socio-economic betterment of SCs.
    • Construction of hostels in higher educational institutions.
  • Eligibility Criteria - For income generating and skill development schemes, the SC persons belonging to BPL category are eligible.
  • In case of infrastructure development, the villages having 50% or more SC population are eligible.
  • Coverage – It is implemented in 28 States/UTs.
  • Budget – It is Rs. 2050 crore for FY 2023-24.


  1. PIB| PM-AJAY For Upliftment of SC Community
  2. PMAJAY| Details of the Scheme PM-AJAY


Religious character of a place of worship

Recently, Allahabad High Court said that the religious character of a place of worship can be decided only in a trial.

  • Gyanvapi case – The Hindu plaintiffs claim that the entire area, including the Gyanvapi mosque site, belonged to a temple of Swayambhu Lord Adi Vishweshwar.

A plaintiff is a person who starts a legal action against somebody in a court of law.

  • They said the temple was brought down by the ‘Farman of Emperor Aurangzeb in the year 1669’, much before the commencement of the 1991 Act.

Places of Worship Act, 1991 mandates that the religious identity of a place of worship, as it existed on August 15, 1947, should be retained except Ayodhya.

  • Court order1991 Act is not an absolute bar on litigants from approaching courts to define the religious character by referring to Sub-section (3) (d) of Section 4.
  • A place of worship cannot have a dual religious character at the same time, rather it can be either a temple or a mosque.
  • Religious character can only be determined in a trial, based on documentary and oral evidence, on a case-to-case basis.
  • Once a temple always a temple is a judicially recognised principle of law.
  • The religious character of Swayambhu deity cannot be lost, not even by destruction.


The Hindu| HC rulings on Religious character of place of worship


Other Important News

Blue dragons (Glaucus atlanticus)

  • The blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus) is a small, shell-less, blue sea slug that floats upside down in the open ocean.
  • It is also known as the blue sea dragon, blue angel, sea swallow, and blue ocean slug.
  • They are found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
  • Blue dragons are mobile prey feeders, meaning they prey on organisms that move on their own.
  • Conservation Status
    • IUCN – Endangered.

Blue Dragons

Bhoomi Rashi Portal

  • Aim – It is a single point platform for online processing of land acquisition notifications to accelerate highway infrastructure development projects in India.
  • Ministry - Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Telecommunication Bill, 2023

  • The Telecommunication Bill, 2023 seeks to replace the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933.
  • The Bill seeks to reform and simplify the regulatory and licensing regime for telecommunications and remove bottlenecks in creating telecom infrastructure.
  • It also allows the government to temporarily take control of telecom services in the interest of national security and provide a non-auction route for the allocation of satellite spectrum.

Bills to replace criminal Laws

Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project

  • The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) is a 272-kilometer railway track that will connect the Kashmir Valley with the rest of India.
  • The project was declared a "National Project" in 2002 due to its importance in providing seamless connectivity to Kashmir.
  • Chenab Rail Bridge, world’s highest railway bridge, over the Chenab river in Reasi district, Jammu & Kashmir is also a part of this project.

Ennore Creek

  • The Ennore Creek is a backwater located in Thiruvallur District, Tamil Nadu.
  • As an arm of the Kosathalaiyar River, the Creek meets the Bay of Bengal at Mugathwara Kuppam, while the northern channel of the creek connects to the Pulicat Lake.
  • This creek has been demarcated as Coastal Regulation Zone IV (Water Body) in the coastal zone management plan by the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority.
  • Undertaking any reclamation, bunding, construction or altering the water bodies is illegal under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 & Environment Protection Act, 1986.

Valmiki reserve

  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve lies in the West Champaran district of Bihar.
  • It forms the eastern most limit of the Himalayan Terai forests in India, and is the only tiger reserve of Bihar.
  • It is situated in the Gangetic plains and the forest has combination of bhabar and terai tracts.
  • Rivers Gandak, Pandai, Manor, Harha, Masan and Bhapsa flow through various parts of the reserve.



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