The National Mineral Policy 2019 lays a systematic foundation for the implementation of the Intergenerational Equity Principle. While rooted in the Constitution, some steps need to be taken quickly to reduce uncertainty to the mining industry.
The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by a social activist and practising lawyer from Sambalpur district of Odisha, Mohammed Mustaq Ansari. In his petition, he highlighted the practice of ostracism/social boycott in the state of Odisha and pointed out the blatant failure of State mechanisms in wiping out the inhumane practice.
“Any injunction would also be in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. The right to life with human dignity of a person is a fundamental right of every citizen for pursuit of happiness and excellence,” the court order read, adding that “Liberty aims at freedom not only from arbitrary restraint but also to secure such conditions which are essential for the full development of human personality.”
Like Bernie Sanders in USA and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, who are leading the young brigade giving the hope of a new society based on socialist ideals, it’s Rahul Gandhi’s mandate to reconfigure socialist ideals for the 21st century. The Congress has to take the major role in framing the common minimum programme of the anti-BJP opposition for the 2019 Lok Sabha election putting this basic minimum programme as the prime agenda. The other should be the free medicare for the poor and the senior citizens.
“We have no other economic demands on the table. The 4 lakh workers from 42 state-owned ordnance factories, DRDO units, all the Military Engineering Service (MES) centres and Army Station Workshops are challenging the government at the policy level. Put an end to privatising defence production. In a sense, the strike is historic. This is for the first time that all the civilian employees under the Department of Defence have come together for a strike action. Earlier workers of only some ordnance production units used to come together.”
The challenge in these petitions is mainly based on the ground that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis for reservations under the Constitution. To buttress this argument, petitioners have relied upon the Constitution bench judgment in Indira Sawhney Vs. Union of India. In addition, petitioners have asserted that 50 percent ceiling limit for reservation which has been laid down in M Nagaraj v. Union of India & Ors., cannot be violated as the same has been culminated as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution i.e. equality, in the present case.
A country which has the fourth largest reserves in the world, mining industry which contributes 2.5% to the GDP, it is disheartening to see that this incident not just brings out the disregard for Human Rights and Labour Rights but is also a proof of the severe apathy on part of both the Central Government and the State Government
Because the powers that be usually turn a blind eye to illegal mining, for the safety enforcement authorities such mines do not exist. There is no question of enforcing any safety standards in them. For instance, on the official website of the Director General of Mining Safety there is not a single reference to rat-hole mining or the Meghalaya tragedy. Such indifference is a greater tragedy that could pave the way for many more Meghalaya-like tragedies.
Caste-based discrimination and resultant socioeconomic disadvantage is therefore more fundamental a problem than simple economic disadvantage, and it’s the former that reservation has been constitutionally mandated to address. Economic disadvantage is usually a consequence of a vulnerability, and thus it is that vulnerability which needs to be tackled for effective poverty alleviation, which is exactly what the drafters of the Indian Constitution had understood to be the purpose of reservation.