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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 9 March 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. SC seeks states’ response on allowing 50%+ quota
  2. Only NRI quota seats for OCI cardholders: MHA
  3. Tap water supply for government schools, anganwadis

SC SEEKS STATES’ RESPONSE ON ALLOWING 50%+ QUOTA

Context:

The Supreme Court sought responses from all states on whether the 50% ceiling limit on reservation needs to be reconsidered.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance, Social Justice (Social Empowerment, Issues Related to OBCs, SCs & STs, Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Constitutional Provisions regarding reservation
  2. Why is reservation needed in India?
  3. Indra Sawhney Case
  4. Other important cases regarding reservation
  5. The Story so far: Regarding Maratha quota
  6. The recent developments in Supreme Court regarding the reservation matter

Constitutional Provisions regarding reservation

  1. Article 15 (4) allows the State to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. This provision was extended to admission in educational institutions by 93rd Amendment Act, 2006 (except minority educational institutions).
  2. Article 16 (4) allows State to make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  3. Article 16(4A), empowers state to make provisions for reservation in matters of promotion to SC/ST employees.
  4. Article 46 states that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
  5. Article 243D provides reservation of seats for SCs and STs in every Panchayat.
  6. Article 243T provides reservation of seats for SCs and STs in every Municipality.
  7. Article 330 states that seats shall be reserved in the Lok Sabha for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.
  8. Article 332 of the Constitution of India provides for reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assemblies of the States.

Why is reservation needed in India?

  • To correct the historical injustice faced by backward castes in the country.
  • To provide a level playing field for backward section as they cannot compete with those who have had the access of resources and means for centuries.
  • To ensure adequate representation of backward classes in the services under the State. For advancement of backward classes.
  • To ensure equality as basis of meritocracy i.e. all people must be brought to the same level before judging them on the basis of merit.

Indra Sawhney Case

Regarding cap on reservation quota

  • The Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India had ruled that the total number of reserved seats/places/positions cannot exceed 50% of what is available, and that under the constitutional scheme of reservation, economic backwardness alone could not be a criterion.
  • While 50% shall be the rule, it is necessary not to put out of consideration certain extraordinary situations inherent in the great diversity of this country and the people.
  • It might happen that in far-flung and remote areas the population inhabiting those areas might, on account of their being out of the main stream of national life and in view of conditions peculiar to and characteristic to them, need to be treated in a different way, some relaxation in this strict rule may become imperative.
  • In doing so, extreme caution is to be exercised and a special case made out.

Regarding Promotions

  • On June 17, 1995, Parliament, acting in its constituent capacity, adopted the seventy-seventh amendment by which clause (4A) was inserted into Article 16 to enable reservation to be made in promotion for SCs and STs.
  • The validity of the 77th and 85th amendments to the Constitution and of the legislation enacted in pursuance of those amendments was challenged before the Supreme Court in the Nagaraj case.
  • In its landmark 1992 decision in Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, the Supreme Court had held that reservations under Article 16(4) could only be provided at the time of entry into government service but not in matters of promotion.
  • It added that the principle would operate only prospectively and not affect promotions already made and that reservation already provided in promotions shall continue in operation for a period of five years from the date of the judgment.

It also ruled that the creamy layer can be and must be excluded.

  • Upholding the validity of Article 16 (4A), the court then said that it is an enabling provision. “The State is not bound to make reservation for the SCs and STs in promotions.
  • But, if it seeks to do so, it must collect quantifiable data on three facets — the backwardness of the class; the inadequacy of the representation of that class in public employment; and the general efficiency of service as mandated by Article 335 would not be affected”.
  • The court ruled that the constitutional amendments do not abrogate the fundamentals of equality.

Other important cases regarding reservation

M. Nagaraj vs. Union of India (2006)

  • In the M. Nagaraj vs. Union of India case, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court validated parliament’s decision to extend reservations for SCs and STs to include promotions with three conditions:
  • State has to provide proof for the backwardness of the class benefitting from the reservation.
  • State has to collect quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment.
  • State has to show how reservations in promotions would further administrative efficiency.

Jarnail Singh v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta (2018)

  • The Supreme Court held that the government need not collect quantifiable data to demonstrate backwardness of public employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (SC/STs) to provide reservations for them in promotion.
Dr. Rajkumar Academy for Civil Services

The Story so far: Regarding Maratha quota

  • In 2018, a Maratha quota law originally provided 16% reservation to Marathas and came after years of protests by the community.
  • In 2019 however, the Bombay high court said the 50% cap could be breached in exceptional circumstances. It trimmed the quantum of the quota to 12% in education and 13% in jobs.

Situation of Marathas

  • The Marathas are a politically dominant community who make up 32% of Maharashtra’s population.
  • They have historically been identified as a ‘warrior’ caste with large landholdings.
  • Eleven of the state’s 19 chief ministers so far have been Marathas.
  • While division of land and agrarian problems over the years have led to a decline of prosperity among middle- and lower middle-class Marathas, the community still plays an important role in the rural economy.

The recent developments in Supreme Court regarding the reservation matter

  • The request to seek a response from all states was raised by Maharashtra, which has maintained that it is justified in exceeding the 50% ceiling in the state to benefit Marathas.
  • A five-judge bench, hearing a challenge to a law passed by Maharashtra in 2018 providing reservation to Marathas, said that it will examine whether the 50% rule laid by the 1992 decision needs to be reconsidered.
  • The bench also asked states to respond to a 2018 Constitution (102nd amendment) Act brought about by Parliament, which gave constitutional recognition to National Commission for Backward Classes.
  • Article 342A was introduced via the amendment, by which the competence of states to make laws on reservation for Backward classes was taken away.

-Source: Hindustan Times, The Hindu


ONLY NRI QUOTA SEATS FOR OCI CARDHOLDERS: MHA

Context:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reiterated through a gazette notification that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders can lay claim to “only NRI (Non-Resident Indian) quota seats” in educational institutions based on all-India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or other such all-India professional tests.
  • The gazette notification imposing restrictions on Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) from practising journalism or research, and engaging in Tabligh or missionary activities, has effectively granted legal sanction to what was earlier only a set of guidelines in an official brochure.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Citizenship of India)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Who is an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)?
  2. Benefits to OCI Card Holders
  3. Limitations on OCI Card Holders
  4. Highlights of the recent changes made by the Ministry of Home Affairs

Who is an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)?

  • An Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) is a person who is technically a citizen of another country having an Indian origin.
  • They are defined as a person who: Was a citizen of India on or after 26th January 1950; or Was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950; or Is a child or grandchild of such a person, among other eligibility criteria.
  • According to Section 7A of the OCI card rules, an applicant is not eligible for the OCI card if he, his parents or grandparents have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh.
  • The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005 in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora, particularly in developed countries.
  • Multi-purpose and life-long visa are provided to the registered Overseas Citizen of India for visiting India and are also exempted from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India.

Benefits to OCI Card Holders

  1. OCI cardholders can enter India multiple times, get a multipurpose lifelong visa to visit India, and are exempt from registering with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
  2. If an individual is registered as an OCI for a period of five years, he/she is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
  3. At all Indian international airports, OCI cardholders are provided with special immigration counters.
  4. OCI cardholders can open special bank accounts in India, buy the non-farm property and exercise ownership rights and can also apply for a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.

Limitations on OCI Card Holders: What do OCI miss out on compared to normal Citizens?

  1. They are not covered by Right to equality of opportunity under article 16 of the Constitution with regard to public employment.
  2. They lack the benefit of Right for election as President and Vice-President under article 58 and article 66 respectively.
  3. They are not entitled to the rights under article 124 and article 217 of the Constitution.
  4. They are not given Right to register as a voter under section 16 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950(43 of 1950).
  5. They Lack Rights with regard to the eligibility for being a member of the State Council/Legislative Assembly/Legislative Council.
  6. They are not eligible for appointment to the posts of Public Services and Union Affairs of any State.
  7. They cannot purchase agricultural or farmland.
  8. They cannot travel to restricted areas without government permission.

Highlights of the recent changes made by the Ministry of Home Affairs

  • OCI cards would need prior permission for a set of activities that include research, journalism, mountaineering, missionary or Tablighi work, and visits to restricted areas.
  • OCIs can appear for all-India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or such other tests to make them eligible for admission only against any NRI seat or any supernumerary seat.
  • The OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens.
  • OCI cardholders will enjoy parity with NRIs in adoption of children, appearing in competitive exams, purchase or sale of immovable property barring agricultural land and farmhouses, and pursuing professions such as doctors, lawyers, architects, and chartered accountants.
  • OCI cardholders will be entitled to get multiple entry lifelong visas for visiting India for any purpose. They are exempted from registration with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) for any length of stay in India.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express


TAP WATER SUPPLY FOR GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS, ANGANWADIS

Context:

According to information provided to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources, only half of government schools and anganwadis have tap water supply.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to health, Management of Social Sector)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Jal Jeevan Mission
  2. About the 100-day campaign under Jal Jeevan Mission
  3. Report on progress of providing tap-water connections

About the Jal Jeevan Mission

  • Jal Jeevan Mission, a central government initiative under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, aims to ensure access of piped water for every household in India.
  • National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) was restructured and subsumed into Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) – to provide Functional Household Tap Water (FHTC) to every rural household with service level at the rate of 55 lpcd i.e., Har Ghar Nal Se Jal (HGNSJ) by 2024.

Implications

  • Supply of water to all households is a basic necessity
  • Reduction in water borne diseases which was due to due to consumption of substandard water

Challenges

  • Critical situation of Decrease in ground water table.
  • Water demand and supply is a miss match
  • Contamination of local ground level sources of water like, ponds lakes and wells.
  • Sustaining the provision of water to all households is a challenge, not just starting it.

About the 100-day campaign for 100% coverage of Tap water connections in Schools and Anganwadis

  • Marking the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2020, the Ministry of Jal Shakti conducted a 100-days campaign to provide piped potable water connections to all schools and Anganwadi Centres in the country.
  • The campaign is under the aegis of the Union government’s ambitious welfare scheme, Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
  • 15 lakh schools and about 14 lakh Anganwadi Centres in rural-India had been identified regarding the campaign.
  • As a “nodal department”, the Public Health Engineering Department of States will spearhead the campaign by involving Gram Panchayats along with other departments including Education, Women & Child Welfare, Panchayati Raj & Rural Development, Tribal Welfare.

Report on progress of providing tap-water connections

  • Only 48.5% of anganwadis and 53.3% of schools had tap water supply.
  • Seven States — Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Punjab — achieved 100% coverage.
  • Less than 8% of schools in Uttar Pradesh and 11% in West Bengal have tap water supply, while tap water supply is available in only 2-6% of anganwadis in Assam, Jharkhand, U.P., Chhattisgarh and Bengal.
  • A number of other States also made significant progress in that time, and 1.82 lakh grey water management structures and 1.42 lakh rainwater harvesting structures were also constructed in schools and anganwadi centres.
Only half of government schools, anganwadis have tap water supply

-Source: The Hindu

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