1. CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONER AND OTHER ELECTION COMMISSIONERS
News: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday appointed Anup Chandra Pandey, a retired Uttar Pradesh-cadre IAS officer, to the post of Election Commissioner. The Law Ministry notified the appointment late on Tuesday evening.
About Election Commission of India (ECI):
The Election Commission of India is a permanent and independent body established by the Constitution of India directly to ensure free and fair elections in the country.
Article 324 of the Constitution provides that the power of superintendence, direction, and control of elections to parliament, state legislatures, the office of the president of India, and the office of vice-president of India shall be vested in the election commission.
Thus, the Election Commission is an all-India body in the sense that it is common to both the Central government and the state governments.
The body of administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, State Legislative Councils and the offices of the President and Vice President of the country.
It is a permanent constitutional body.
The commission was established in 1950 and originally only had a Chief Election Commissioner.
Two additional Commissioners were appointed to the commission for the first time on 16 October 1989 (on the eve of the 1989 General Election), but they had a very short tenure, ending on 1 January 1990.
“The Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989” was adopted on 1 January 1990 which turned the commission into a multi-member body: a 3-member Commission has been in operation since then and the decisions by the commission are made by a majority vote.
The Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners who are usually retired IAS officers draw salaries and allowances at par with those of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India as per the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1992.
The Chief Election Commissioner of India can be removed from their office in a manner similar to the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court of India which requires a resolution passed by the Parliament of India a two-thirds majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
Other Election Commissioners can be removed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner. A Chief Election Commissioner has never been impeached in India.
2. GUIDELINES FOR DIGITAL EDUCATION RESOURCES
News: The Education Ministry has laid down new guidelines for producing digital education resources for children with disabilities, after a year in which the COVID-driven shift to online education has spotlighted the lacunae in such resources.
The guidelines are based on four guiding principles, stipulating that all resources must be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust for disabled students.
They recommend that all textbooks be made digitally accessible in a phased manner, so that they are available in multiple formats such as text, audio, video and sign language with turn-on and turn-off features.
The guidelines provide strategies to produce supplementary content for varying disabilities, including students who face visual and hearing challenges, those on the autism spectrum, those with intellectual or special learning disabilities, and those with multiple disabilities.
They note that learning activities must include audio, visual and tactile experiences, while evaluation must be multimodal.
Ironically enough, while the guidelines call for the use of image descriptions wherever pictures are used in order to be accessible to visually challenged students using screen readers, this is not even followed by the guidelines document itself.
About Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.
Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy full equality under the law.
The Convention serves as a major catalyst in the global disability rights movement enabling a shift from viewing persons with disabilities as objects of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing them as full and equal members of society, with human rights.
The Convention was the first U.N. human rights treaty of the twenty-first century.
India is a signatory to this convention.
There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention, delineated in Article 3:
Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons
Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
Equality of opportunity
Equality between men and women
Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities
3. RENGMA TRIBE
News: The Rengma Nagas in Assam have written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding an autonomous district council amid a decision by the Central and the State governments to upgrade the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) into a territorial council.
About Rengma Tribe:
Rengma is a Naga tribe found in Nagaland and Assam states of India. According to the 2011 Population Census of India, Rengma population stands at 62,951.
The traditional Rengma clothing consists of various types of clothes, which are indicative of the status and position of the weavers.
A man who has not been able to offer a great feast, or has never killed an enemy may wear an ordinary type of cloth called Rhikho. Rhikho is a white cloth with four narrow black bands. The number of black bands varies with the age of the wearer.
Moyet tsu is another ordinary type of cloth, worn by the young men. It is a dark blue cloth with a very broad median band, and embroidered with a thin zigzag pattern in red at the edges.
Alungtsu is a cloth for well-to-do men, who have not yet offered a great feast.
Teri Phiketsu is a shawl, which requires the wearer to perform the head hunting ceremony.
The harvest festival of the Rengmas is called Ngada.