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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 10 September 2020

Contents

  1. NSO: 1 in 3 high schoolers gets private coaching
  2. 4,442 cases pending against India’s legislators
  3. Defence exports increased 700% in 3 years
  4. SC stays implementation of Martha Reservation
  5. Data law: RBI seeks exemption

NSO: 1 IN 3 HIGH SCHOOLERS GETS PRIVATE COACHING

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

According to the National Statistical Organisation’s (NSO) latest report on education – One in three high schoolers gets private coaching and the fees for that make up for almost 20% of their total cost of education.

Details

  • One in five students in India supplements school education with private coaching, including almost one in three at the secondary school level or Classes 9 and 10.
  • Private coaching fees make up almost 20% of the total cost of education for those in secondary and higher secondary school.
  • In some States, such as West Bengal, students actually spend more on private coaching than on their regular school.
  • In the 75th round of the National Sample Survey on consumption related to education – it shows that 19.8% of students at all levels — from pre-primary to graduate students — take some form of private coaching. Among Class 9 and 10 students, starting to prepare for the crucial board exams and admission tests, more than 30% do so.
  • Among these secondary school students, those from the cities and upper castes are able to access private coaching at far higher levels.
  • More than 52% of urban upper caste boys take coaching, in comparison to just 13.7% of rural boys and girls from scheduled tribe communities.

-Source: The Hindu


4,442 CASES PENDING AGAINST INDIA’S LEGISLATORS

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

  • A report submitted in the Supreme Court has said there are a total 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country.
  • The apex court had sought the amicus report on the basis of a petition highlighting the criminalisation of politics.
  • Recently the Supreme Court had taken a timely decision by agreeing to hear a plea from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to direct political parties to not field candidates with criminal antecedents.

Details

  • Of the massive 4,442 cases pending against legislators – cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures was more than 2,500.
  • The cases were pending in various special courts exclusively set up to try criminal cases registered against politicians, it said.
  • The cases against the legislators include that of corruption, money laundering, damage to public property, defamation and cheating.
  • A large number of cases were for violation of Section 188 IPC for wilful disobedience and obstruction of orders promulgated by public servants.
  • There are more than 400 cases in respect of offences, which are punishable with imprisonment for life, out of which in 174 cases sitting MPs/ MLAs are accused.
  • The trial of more than 350 cases had been stayed by High Courts and the apex court.
  • A large number of cases were pending at the appearance stage and even non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued by courts have not been executed.
  • As per the report, Uttar Pradesh tops the chart.

Way Forward

  1. Judicial pronouncements on making it difficult for criminal candidates to contest are necessary, only enhanced awareness and increased democratic participation could create the right conditions for the decriminalization of politics.
  2. There needs to be an increased and sincere monitoring the affidavits of candidates.
  3. Working with the Election Commission in monitoring compliance with the Supreme Court judgment to see if details of tainted candidates are promptly put up on their websites, and on their social media handles, along with proper reasons for giving them ticket.
  4. Voters also need to be vigilant about misuse of money, gifts and other inducements during elections.
  5. Voters also need to be wary of fake news, trolling, and fanciful claims.
  6. Discouraging political parties from fielding criminals as candidates
  7. Adequate security measures during elections
  8. Role of money in election should be lowered

-Source: The Hindu

DEFENCE EXPORTS INCREASED 700% IN 3 YEARS

Focus: GS-III Internal Security, Indian Economy

Why in news?

  • In the last three years, the country witnessed a “staggering” 700% growth in defence exports which is an all-time high and 19th in the list of defence exporters in 2019, according to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
  • India is the third largest spender on defence around the world – the only net importer in the category and account for 9.2% of global arms imports.

Details on what was done

  • With the aim to achieve a manufacturing turnover of $25 bn including exports of $5 bn in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025, the Defence Ministry issued a draft ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020’.
  • A series of measures had been taken since 2014 to boost exports, including simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export control and grant of No Objection Certificates (NOC).
  • Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has facilitated a Line of Credit for foreign countries to import defence products.
  • Defence Attaches in Indian missions were empowered to promote defence exports which would also strengthen defence diplomacy.

Way Forward suggested by the CDS

  • We must move out of the constant threat of sanctions of dependency on individual nations for military requirements.
  • We must carry out a realistic analysis and have a hard look at the distribution of our budget expenditure.
  • Where feasible, defence exports can also be financed through the Exim Bank.

Click Here to read more about the Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020)

-Source: The Hindu


SC STAYS IMPLEMENTATION OF MARTHA RESERVATION

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

  • A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court referred a group of petitions challenging the Maratha reservation law to a Constitution Bench and found merit in the arguments made by senior lawyers that a larger Bench should examine the issue of reservation for the Maratha community.
  • The three-judge Bench had reserved orders on pleas to refer the case to a larger Bench.

The Court’s Views

  • The court said the Maratha quota, meanwhile, will not apply for admissions and appointments made in the State for 2020-21.
  • However, the postgraduate admissions which have already been made will be left unaltered.

What are the petitions about?

  • The petitions challenge the reservation granted to the Maratha community in education and jobs in Maharashtra.
  • The appeals challenging the Maratha quota law contend that the statute provides 12 to 13% quota for the community in Maharashtra.
  • This has breached the 50% cap declared by a nine-judge Bench of the apex court in 1992.

Who are the Marathas?

  • The Marathas are a group of castes comprising peasants, landowners among others.
  • Not all Marathi-speaking persons belong to Maratha community.
  • A politically dominant community in Maharashtra, it comprises nearly one-third of the population of the state.
  • Historically, Marathas have been identified as a ‘warrior’ caste with large land-holdings.

What did the Bombay HC rule?

  • In 2019, a division bench commenced hearing in petitions filed by advocate Jishri Laxmanrao Patil and others.
  • The Bombay HC held that the limit of reservation should not exceed 50%.
  • It ruled that the 16% quota granted by the state was not ‘justifiable’.
  • It reduced the quota to 12% in education and 13% in government jobs.
  • For this, the court relied on findings of the 11-member Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).
  • It also said that in exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations, this 50% limit can be crossed.
  • This limit should be subject to availability of contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration.
  • The Court had said that while the backwardness of the community was not comparable with SCs and STs.
  • It was comparable with several other backward classes (OBCs), which find place in the list of OBCs pursuant to the Mandal Commission.

What is MSBCC?

  • The MSBCC surveyed about 45,000 families from two villages from each of 355 talukas with more than 50% Maratha population.
  • It reported that the Maratha community is socially, economically and educationally backward.
  • The HC observed that the Commission had conclusively established the backwardness of the community.
  • It had also established inadequacy of representation of the Maratha community in public employment in the state.

What is the existing reservation in Maharashtra post HC verdict?

  • In Mandal Commission case 1993, the SC had ruled that total reservation for backward classes cannot go beyond the 50%-mark.
  • Maharashtra is one of the few states that are an exception to this.
  • Following the 2001 State Reservation Act, the total reservation in the state was 52%.
  • Along with the 12-13% Maratha quota, the total reservation is 64-65%.
  • The 10 % Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota announced by the Centre is also effective in the state.

-Source: The Hindu


DATA LAW: RBI SEEKS EXEMPTION

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

The Reserve Bank of India has sought exemption from the country’s proposed Personal Data Protection Law for its regulatory, policy, and supervisory functions, and also does not want financial data of individuals to be classified as sensitive personal data, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the law is yet to be finalised.

Details

  • RBI said that eating financial data as sensitive personal data may have a “dampening effect” on India’s efforts at financial inclusion.
  • RBI routinely deals with lots of data on banks and financial institutions in its role as a regulator and supervisor and has data on the clients of banks; and much of this is needed to ensure compliance, prevent frauds, and ensure the smooth running of the system.

The Cost involved

  • Objecting to classification of financial data as sensitive personal data, RBI’s note maintained that this would lead to higher compliance and explicit consent, which would translate to increase in costs for providing services to customers.
  • Financial inclusion efforts rely on lower service charges for offering basic banking services.
  • The increase in costs would compel banks to increase the charges associated with offering banking services.

How it is dealt with in other coutries?

  • The UK and Europe’s data protection laws exempt central banks from their purview, and also do not classify financial data as sensitive personal data; only biometric and health data, and such things as sexual orientation, religious beliefs, union membership and political opinion are classified as sensitive personal data in these countries.
  • The latter require special and extra security while processing.

Personal Data Protection Bill and the DPA

  • The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 entrusts the DPA with the mammoth task of protecting the right to privacy of 1.3 billion Indians by regulating approximately 600 million entities, including the proliferating digital ecosystem of both the government of India and the states.
  • As opposed to a sectoral regulator like SEBI, IRDA, TRAI etc, it is a sector agnostic body and has wide powers cutting across different sectors and economic spheres with powers to penalise not only both central and state governments but also other fourth branch watchdogs such as Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Election Commission and even more significantly, the legislature and judiciary itself.
  • For impartial and effective discharge of its crucial role, there is a need for the DPA to have sufficient capability to discharge its functions.
  • The independence of the DPA is the foremost criterion for meeting such a requirement and a necessary prerequisite for a free and fair cross border transfer of data.

-Source: Hindustan Times

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