Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

New regulations for Lakshadweep


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lakshadweep and its location

Mains level : Not Much

A series of regulations proposed by the Lakshadweep administrator has caused widespread resentment and fear among its residents.

What are the new regulations?

[1] Cow slaughter & beef

  • An order from the Administration seeks to ban the slaughter of cow, calf, bull, and buffalo without a certificate from a competent authority.
  • It prohibits the sale, transport, and storage of beef and beef products. Penalties include a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs 10,000.
  • The Administration has not provided an explanation on why the rule was brought in.
  • Residents view the rule as a direct infringement on their culture and eating habits. They allege the rule was decided without consultation with local bodies.

[2] Two-child policy

  • Under the Draft Panchayat Regulation 2021, the Administration aims to bar people with more than two children from becoming a member of the gram panchayat.
  • For those who already have more than two children, the regulation does not disqualify them provided they do not have further children after the date on which the rule comes into effect.

[3] Serving liquor to tourists

  • The Administration has decided to allow liquor to be served at resorts on inhabited islands.
  • Currently, prohibition is in place on all inhabited islands, with liquor served only at resorts on the uninhabited Bangaram Island.
  • The Dist Collector clarified that liquor permits would be given only to resorts for tourists, not for locals.
  • Residents have alleged that the move will lead to a proliferation of liquor sales on the island, which had been observing near-prohibition until now.

[4] Land acquisition powers

  • The Administration brought in a draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR) to oversee the development of towns on the islands, with sweeping changes in the way land can be acquired and utilized.
  • It talks of the declaration of ‘planning areas’ and constitution of ‘planning and development authorities’ for preparing a land-use map and register, ostensibly for large projects.
  • Residents have protested against the way it was prepared and pushed through without consultation.
  • They fear large infrastructure and tourism projects can destabilize the ecology, and that the notification gives powers to the Administration to remove small landholdings of ST residents.

[5] Anti-social activities regulation

  • The draft Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation provides for powers to detain a person for up to one year to prevent him from “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
  • It allows for detention for anti-social activities from six months to a year without legal representation.
  • The Collector said while the island remains peaceful, there have been reports of drugs being found along with weapons and live ammunition.
  • He said the regulation is required to keep the “youth from getting misguided by illegal businesses”.
  • Residents are skeptical of the need for such stringent law in a UT with one of the lowest crime rates in the country. They allege it has been brought in to arrest those opposed to the Administration.

Back2Basics: Lakshadweep Islands

  • There are 36 islands across 12 atolls, closest to Kerala, on which it depends for essential supplies. Only 10 of the islands are inhabited.
  • Once a part of the Malabar district of the Madras Presidency, Lakshadweep was given Union Territory status following Kerala state’s formation in 1956.
  • With a population of 65,000 (2011 Census), Lakshadweep is India’s smallest Union Territory.
  • It has the highest population share of Muslims (96%) and Scheduled Tribes (94.8%) among the UTs.
  • Residents speak Malayalam and Dhivehi.

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