- Taking Stock of the Social Sector
- Too Many PILs: What courts can’t fix, good politics can
- Streamed education is diluted education
TAKING STOCK OF THE SOCIAL SECTOR
Focus: GS-III Indian Economy
Why in news?
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) recently published the report of the working group for setting up a social stock exchange (SSE).
Details of recommendations
- The committee has adopted a holistic sector development approach.
- Standardised impact measurement frameworks and reporting norms for entities seeking to raise funds from SSE have been suggested.
- A capacity building fund of ₹100 crore for sector development is proposed, which will also prioritise support to smaller NPOs. If this vision is realised, India’s SSE will be a globally unique initiative in social finance.
- The report recommends the promotion and increased use of already available structures like social venture funds (SVFs) and mutual funds (MFs) for funding social causes, and proposes a new ‘zero coupon zero principal bond’.
- This bond will effectively be a donation, but issued as an instrument that can be listed on SSE, providing NPOs improved visibility and access to additional pools of capital.
- Common minimum reporting standards for entities seeking to raise money on SSE have been suggested, including reporting on social impact, governance and financials.
Other Countries and India on SSEs
- Countries like Brazil, South Africa and Singapore also have SSEs. But they are mainly matchmaking or discovery platforms.
- The SSE envisioned for India goes well beyond these models. It proposes innovations in funding instruments and structures, enhances reporting standards, and promotes vital sectoral institutions.
- SSE represents a bold vision for creating a supportive ecosystem for the sector.
What are Social Stock Exchanges (SSEs)?
- An SSE is a platform which allows investors to buy shares in social enterprises vetted by an official exchange.
- The SSE will function as a common platform where social enterprises can raise funds from the public.
- It will function on the lines of major stock exchanges like BSE and NSE. However, the purpose of the Social Stock Exchange will be different – not profit, but social welfare.
Why does India need SSEs?
- India needs massive investments in the coming years to be able to meet the human development goals identified by global bodies like the UN.
- This can’t be done through government expenditure alone. Private enterprises working in the social sector also need to step up their activities.
- Currently, social enterprises are very active in India. However, they face challenges in raising funds.
- There is a great opportunity to unlock funds from donors, philanthropic foundations and CSR spenders, in the form of zero-coupon zero principal bonds. These bonds will be listed on the SSE.
-Source: Economic Times
TOO MANY PILS: WHAT COURTS CAN’T FIX, GOOD POLITICS CAN
Focus: GS-II Governance
Why in news?
- Parties across Tamil Nadu’s political spectrum, seeking a direction to the Centre to implement 50% reservation for Backward Classes in the State in All India Quota seats for medical and dental courses, withdrew their petitions from the Supreme Court.
- The political parties accused the Centre of “violating the “right of the people of Tamil Nadu to have a fair education” by not implementing the 50% quota for Backward Classes and Most Backward Classes for the All India Quota seats in medicine and dental science courses — both undergraduate and postgraduate levels — offered by institutions within Tamil Nadu.
- Supreme Court recently observed that reservation cannot be claimed by any community as a fundamental right.
- Right to equality has weakened over time with community after community demanding and securing reservation.
- Attempts to fix systemic shortcomings through PILs, have propelled judiciary rush into law-making and governance domains.
Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
- The Supreme Court has defined the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) as “a legal action initiated in a court of law for the enforcement of public interest or general interest in which the public or a class of the community have pecuniary interest or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected.”
- The concept of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) originated and developed in the USA in the 1960s, where it was designed to provide legal representation to previously unrepresented groups and interests.
- In India, the PIL is a product of the judicial activism role of the Supreme Court, which was introduced in the early 1980s.
Who can approach the Court with a PIL?
- The introduction of PIL in India was facilitated by the relaxation of the traditional rule of ‘locus standi’.
- According to this rule, only that person whose rights are infringed alone can move the court for the remedies, whereas, the PIL is an exception to this traditional rule.
- Under the PIL, any public-spirited citizen or a social organisation can move the court for the enforcement of the rights of any person or group of persons who because of their poverty or ignorance or socially or economically disadvantaged position are themselves unable to approach the court for the remedies.
-Source: Times of India
STREAMED EDUCATION IS DILUTED EDUCATION
Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
Recently, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Grants Commission had issued a circular to universities encouraging them to adopt massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered on its SWAYAM platform for credit transfers in the coming semesters.
Criticism: Dangers of rushing into Streaming Education
- It poses great danger since it is also being seen as an instrument to achieve the country’s target Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education (envisioned to be 30% by 2021; it was just over 25% in 2017–18).
- Instead of expanding the network of higher educational institutions across the country and increasing seats, the government plans to make online degree programmes available for students to enrol and graduate from and add to GER.
- MOOC-based e-learning platforms tend to reinforce a top-down teacher-to-student directionality of learning whereby the teacher ‘creates’ and the student ‘consumes’.
- Such platforms must be seen only as stop-gap variants that help us get by under lockdown situations and complement classroom lectures.
What is missed out from Classroom Learning?
- In education, the classroom acts as a space where skills such as dialogue, debate, disagreement, and friendship are learnt and practised – which will all be missed out in online learning.
- Classroom and campus spaces offer the potential for solidarity in the face of discrimination, social anxiety, and stage fear, paving the way for a proliferation of voluntary associations that lie outside the realm of family, economy, and state.
-Source: The Hindu