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Daily Current Affairs – 2019
Topic: For Prelims and Mains
Doctrine of Essentiality
15th November 2019
The doctrine of “essentiality” was invented by a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the ‘Shirur Mutt’ case in 1954.
The court held that the term “religion” will cover all rituals and practices “integral” to a religion, and took upon itself the responsibility of determining the essential and non-essential practices of a religion.
Five-judge Constitution Bench judgment in ‘Dr M Ismail Faruqui and Ors vs Union Of India and Ors’ (October 24, 1994), ruled that “A mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open.”
In some cases Supreme Court have relied on religious texts to determine essentiality, in others on the empirical behavior of followers, and in yet others, based on whether the practice existed at the time the religion originated.
Why in news?
In line with Government’s objective of bringing Good Governance through Transparency, Participation and Accountability in all Government Schemes, Ministry of Rural Development has decided to institutionalize social audits in its major schemes.
To begin with, Social Audit Guidelines have been released for National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana –Grameen (PMAY-G).
Ministry of Rural Development also released the report ‘Status of Social Audits in India’.
What is social audit?
Social Audit is recognized by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), as a powerful tool to enforce transparency and accountability.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was the first Act to mandate Social Auditsby the Gram Sabha of all the projects taken up in the Gram Panchayat.
According to MGNREGA act, 2005: ‘The Gram Sabha Shall Conduct Regular Social Audits of all the Projects under the scheme taken up within the Gram Panchayat’.
MGNREGA Audit of Schemes Rules was passed by the Central Government, in consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) in 2011.
Front runner states in social audit programme:
Meghalaya Legislature has enacted ‘The Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act, 2017’ which mandates social audit in 26 different schemes in Education, Health, Rural Development and other areas.
Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) audits are done in Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and West Bengal.
National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) audits are done in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Facts for Prelims
Ultima Thule, the farthest cosmic body ever visited by a spacecraft, has been renamed Arrokoth, or “sky” in the Native American language.
Arrokoth is icy rock, which orbits in the dark and frigid Kuiper Belt about a billion miles beyond Pluto.
Arrokoth is an example of a “cold classical object” which has remained undisturbed since the solar system formed some 4.5 billion years ago.
It was surveyed by the NASA spaceship New Horizons in January 2019, with images showing it consisted of two spheres stuck together in the shape of a snowman.