Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 28th August-2020

 

1) Sub Categorisation in Reservation:

Context: Supreme Court constitutional bench led by Justice Arun Mishra held that States can Sub-classify among scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes in the central list to provide preferential treatment the weakest of the weak.

  • Reservation has created inequalities within the reserved castes itself, there is a caste struggle within the reserved classes as the benefit of reservation are being usurped by a few.
  • Justice Mishra bench ruled in favour of giving preferential treatment to certain scheduled castes over others to ensure equal representation of all scheduled castes.
  • Citizens cannot be treated to be socially and educationally backward forever, those who have come up must be excluded like the creamy layer.
  • The scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes in the central is do not contain a homogeneous group the central list of scheduled caste and tribes is notified by president under article 341 and 342 of the constitution.
  • This view is contrary to the view of a 2004 judgement delivered in decision in EV Chennai versus state of Andhra Pradesh and others, the Supreme Court ruled that only the president has the power to notify the inclusion or exclusion of a cast as a scheduled caste and state cannot tinker with the list
  • The state submitted that the law was enacted as state has the power to legislate on the subject of education and reservation in admission fell within its legislative domain the court however rejected this argument.
  • The Chennaiah judgement had held that allowing states to unilaterally make a class within a class of members of the scheduled caste would amount to tinkering with the presidential list. The consent of the Parliament is required to exclude or include caste in the list state cannot unilaterally add or pull out the caste from the list.

Reservation current scenario:

Reservation category         Reservation quota percent
ST                                                     7.5
SC                                                     15
OBC                                                  27
EWS                                                  10
Total                                                59.50

What is reservation?

  • Reservation is a form of positive discrimination created to promote equality among marginalised sections so as to protect them from social and historical injustice.
  • Generally it means giving preferential treatment to marginalised sections of the society in employment and access to education it was originally developed to correct years of discrimination and to give a boost to disadvantaged groups
  • In India people have been historically discriminated on the basis of caste

Why sub-categorisation of scheduled castes?

  • Some remain grossly underrepresented, despite reservation in comparison to other scheduled castes
  • To correct the historical injustice faced by backward classes in the country
  • To provide a level playing field for backward sections
  • To ensure adequate representation of backward classes in state services
  • For advancement of backward classes
  • To ensure equality on the basis of meritocracy that is old people must be brought to the same level before judging them on the basis of merit

Initiatives by states:

  • For example in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tamilnadu, and Bihar special quotas were introduced for the most vulnerable Dalits
  • In 2007 Bihar set up the Mahadalit commission to identify the caste with in a series that were left behind.
  • In Tamilnadu 80% Quota within SC quota is accorded to Arundhathiyar caste, in 2008 legislature based on the findings of justice Ramachandra Raju Report passed a law re organising 57 scs into subgroups and the 15% quota in educational institutions and government jobs was in proportion to their population, However this was declared unconstitutional in the set 2005 Supreme Court ruling that held States did not have the power to Tinker with the presidential list that identifies scs and sts
  • Haryana cabinet has recently approved the draft bill, Haryana scheduled caste (Reservation in Admission in Educational Institutions) bill, 2020. The bill provides quota within quota for scs in the state

Against Sub-categorization

  • In the case in 2005 the court held that special protection of SC is based on the premise that all scheduled caste can and must collectively enjoy the benefits of reservation regardless of interest inequality because the protection is not based on each educational economic or other such factors but solely on those who suffered untouchability.
  • The states have argued that the classification is done for a certain reason and does not violate the right to equality this would also mean giving the backwards real equality or proportional equality
  • Decision will be made to appease one vote bank or the other
  • Objective of reservation is to ensure that all the backward classes March hand in hand and will not be possible if only a select few get all the coveted services of the government

No community has been specified as SC in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep

Suggestions:

  • The reservation benefits should flow to the vast majority of underprivileged children from deprived classes not a few privileged children with a cast tag
  • Officials families high-income professionals and other above a certain income should not get the reservation benefits especially in government jobs
  • Fair and practical ways to help needy person from each community through reservation is possible and necessary.

 

2) Borrow from RBI to Bridge GST gap:

Context: The centre acknowledged that states are likely to face GST revenue gap of rupees 3 lakh crore this year as the economy may contract due to covid-19.

  • Compensatory cess collections are only expected to bridge 22% of this cap
  • The centre then offered States two options for borrowing to meet the shortfall
  • Option 1 : a special window could be provided in consultation with RBI so that the states can get this rupees 97,000 crore at a reasonable rate of interest and this amount can be repaid after 5 years through the collection of Cess
  • Option2: this entire gap of rupees 2.35 lakh crore can be made by borrowing by the states
  • For States using the first option the government would be willing to remove conditions around a further 0.5% relaxation in the borrowing limit under the FRBM act

Concerns by states:

  • It was unfortunate that Centre was not honouring this commitment to pay them GST compensation at 14% and help in the state Starving for revenues
  • There is a serious flow in the GST act as producing states are losing and consumer states are gaining under the present in GST regime.
  • GST council is increasingly adopting a majoritarianism approach instead of consensus which was the practice earlier.
  • States appeal to the centre to activate the dispute resolution mechanism in the Council as provided for in article 279 of the constitution
  • Kerala has reiterated that the centre should take a loan and provide GST compensation to the states

 

3) Particularly vulnerable tribal groups
Context: Great andamanese tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group has tested positive for covid-19.

  • The great andamanese are one of the five pvtgs , one of the first cases of covid-19 infection among the endangered species of the region .
  • Pvtgs residing in the Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarawas , shompens, sentinelese

Who are pvtgs:

  • Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness. Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy. These groups are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • Pvtgs are categorized by ministry of Home Affairs.

 

4) Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
Context: Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana completed its six years of journey. The Ministry of Finance has shared its achievements in a series of tweets.

The scheme is a national mission for financial inclusion. Around 40.35 crore beneficiaries were banked under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana since its inception.

It was launched in 2014. The scheme was a huge success as it opened 12.54 crores of accounts within a year of its launch. It was also certified by Guinness World Records for its achievement that 18,096,130 accounts were opened within one week as a part of Financial Inclusion Campaign.

The key features of the scheme are as follows

  • The scheme benefits both urban and rural dwellers
  • No minimum balance is required to open an account under the scheme
  • Rs 5,000 over draft facility was provided for Aadhar linked accounts
  • Rs 1 lakh accident insurance cover was provided

 

5) Kiran helpline service for mental health rehabilitation

  • Launched by Union Minister of Social justice and empowerment
  • Aims to provide support for early screening for state psychological support, distress management,mental well-being, preventing deviant behaviour, psychological crisis management among others.
  • Kiran targets to resolve issues of people across the country experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, panic attack, adjustment disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, pandemic induced psychological issues and mental health emergency.

 

6) Kaziranga National Park

Context: plants various measures for safety of wildlife

  • National Park in Assam
  • Single largest and disturb and representative area in Brahmaputra valley flood plain
  • It is declared as National Park in 1974
  • Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985
  • Home to world’s most famous one horned Rhino
  • National Highway 37 passes through the park area

 

7) Digital health ID

Context: Recent announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on creation of digital health ID for every Indian citizen’s health records

Digital health ID, 14 digit ID, voluntary, with the help of this 14 digit ID it is possible to get all information regarding the health of a particular person and history of the diseases and in line of treatment of that person.

Advantages Of digital health ID:

  • Well functioning health system and integration of data
  • Integrated management of health data
  • Candidate will be able to get the benefits of the schemes provided by government, after Aadhar is linked with this ID
  • Individuals can avail telemedicine facility in more effective manner
  • Act as a step towards Universal health coverage

Concerns:

  • Real-time authentication mechanism needed ,along regulation of the private Healthcare sector
  • Data should be used taking into account citizens privacy data protection act is essential
  • Knowing health status of the individuals Might lead to stigma against the individuals also leading to employment loss
  • In the absence of these conditions digital health ID will be of Limited use

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