tt on editorials civils360
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


September 18, 2017

Gun rise: Illegal factories in Bihar, Bengal make a killing

  • The tribals in Bastar use it. The Maoists in Dandakaranya swear by it. The gangs of Mumbai kill with it, and poachers in Tamil Nadu hunt with it. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the trade in illegal, country-made weapons thrives. Such guns include the kind suspected to have been used to murder people like Gauri Lankesh and Gulshan Kumar of T-series.
  • There are many variants, to suit every purse and purpose. The tribals in south Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra call it Bharmar, a muzzle loading gun. Easy to make, it can be fired only once but 5 to 6 bullets can be fired at a time. Widely used, especially among the lower rung Maoists. The police in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra continue to recover Bharmars.
  • The Maharashtra State Crime Records Bureau statistics show, for instance, that in 2015, there were 36 cases of murder by firearms. All of them were unlicensed weapons. In Bengaluru, country-made weapons are favoured by gangsters. Over the last two years, the police have seized 11 of them.

No longer crude

  • Mumbai police officers scoff at the term ‘country-made gun’ or ‘desi/gavthi katta’. The original katta had just a basic barrel and a trigger mechanism, and each round had to be loaded separately. But today’s country-made guns are superior. They are made in factories now by illegal gun manufacturers.
  • Retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Ambadas Pote adds, “The supply chain is highly organised. Once the manufacturers have an order, facilitated through an agent, they hand over the consignment to clients at spots like bus stops, lodges or secluded spots on highways.”

PDS digitisation moving at snail’s pace

  • The Narendra Modi government’s claim to ensure end-to-end digitisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) is coming to naught even after three years of being in mission mode. At least 11 States have not taken the elementary step of digitising fair price shops and nine other States, including Uttar Pradesh, have hardly made any progress.
  • The project was launched in 2012 at a cost of Rs. 884 crore to ensure that, at every step from field to fork, the government would be able to track the movement of foodgrains so that they reached the right beneficiaries. As part of the effort, all fair price or ration shops were to be digitised. But out of 5.26 lakh ration shops, only 51% have been digitised in three years, it was found at a review meeting chaired by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan, on Friday.

Connectivity issues

  • The numbers are most stark in the northeast. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland have cited connectivity issues for their inability to commence the process of digitisation.
  • Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal fall in this category of non-starters, too.
  • Another nine States have made meagre progress. In Bihar, less than 1% of ration shops are digitised; the figure is 1% for Tripura, Delhi and Uttarakhand. Uttar Pradesh fares better with 16% shops digitised.
  • The project also calls for automation of the supply chain — online monitoring of stock positions in godowns, tracking the movement of the food grains from the godowns to the fair price shops, SMS alerts to beneficiaries, etc. Thirteen States are yet to take the first step in this direction.
  • The Centre, meanwhile, has sought to present the digitisation of 23.11 crore ration cards as a great success, in the process uncovering 2.48 crore bogus cards, which have been deleted to save the nation a subsidy of Rs. 15,000 crore per annum.



Frame policy to curb celebratory firing: HC to Centre

  • The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and other authorities to frame a policy within three months to curb the practice of celebratory firing.A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar told authorities that the plea for stringent norms to curb the practice was certainly not adversarial and was in public interest.

‘Obnoxious practice’

  • The plea, moved by Mr. Shyam Sunder Kausal, whose daughter died in April last year as a result of celebratory firing that took place during a marriage procession, had contended that the act at weddings and other functions, was an “obnoxious practice” which “causes terror in the general public”.

Deaths on the rise

  • Mr. Kausal’s counsel Akash Vajpai said the practice was not under check and consequently the numbers of deaths were increasing.
  • He further added that “carrying of a gun in a marriage procession is illegal under Arms Act, 1959, and Indian Penal Code, 1860, and terms of the licence also forbade the taking of the gun to public assemblage.”

’Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ has helped sex ratio’

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the ‘Beti Bachao—Beti Padhao’ campaign has helped improve the State’s sex ratio which crossed the 950 girls per 1,000 boys mark. “The sex ratios in districts such as Sonipat and Panipat were quite low, but now it has crossed the mark of 950 girls per 1,000 boys,” he said.