Contents

  1. Reservation for OBCs and EWS in national medical seats
  2. Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill, 2021
  3. Inland Vessels Bill, 2021
  4. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment Bill), 2021
  5. AERA Amendment Bill, 2021

Reservation for OBCs and EWS in national medical seats

Context:

The Union Health Ministry has announced reservation for the OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) for medical / dental courses.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Social Sector & Social Services, Education and Health related Issues, Government Policies and initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The present situation of Medical Education and Healthcare workforce
  2. New reservations under AIQ
  3. What is the All India Quota?

The present situation of Medical Education and Healthcare workforce

Regarding Medical Education

  • In the last six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56% and the number of PG seats by 80%. In the last six years, almost 180 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has more than 500 medical colleges (of which only around 290 are government colleges).
  • Medical education is the bedrock on which the needs of ‘human resources for health’, one of the major building blocks of any health system, are met.
  • Today’s health professionals are required to have knowledge, skills, and professionalism to provide safe, effective, efficient, timely, and affordable care to people.

Regarding Healthcare workforce

  • India’s availability of doctors per thousand population does come close to the World Health Organisation’s prescribed doctor-patient ratio of 1:1000 if we include all the registered allopathic, homeopathic, ayurvedic and unani doctors. But the number of doctors who practise is much lower.
  • It is also far lower than many countries including Russia, the USA, and all the European Union countries where the ratio is above 3 doctors per one thousand population. Unless we increase the ratio to the level of better performing countries on the health front, poor people in India will continue to suffer.
  • As a major impediment for achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) there is a serious shortage of health workers, especially doctors, in some northern States.
  • Health workers are critical not just for the functioning of health systems but also for the preparedness of health systems in preventing, detecting and responding to threats posed by diseases such as COVID-19.
  • The doctor-population ratio in northern States is far short of the required norm, while the southern States, barring Telangana, have enough doctors in possession- hence, the healthcare workforce crisis has been aggravated by the imbalances within the country.
  • The problem of shortage of doctors and other support staff has been allowed to linger for the past several decades due to short-sighted policies of the institutions such as Medical Council of India

New reservations under AIQ

  • The Union Health Ministry has announced 27% reservation for the OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) scheme for undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) medical / dental courses (MBBS / MD / MS / Diploma / BDS / MDS) from 2021-22 onwards.
  • National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is the uniform entrance examination for medical and dental colleges across the country in which the new reservations for the OBC and EWS will be having a strong impact.
  • Although the same NEET examination is held across the country, a chunk of the seats in state medical/dental colleges is reserved for students domiciled in their respective states. The remaining seats: 15% in UG and 50% in PG are surrendered by the states to the All India Quota.
  • This would benefit every year nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 such students in postgraduation and around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1,000 such students in postgraduation.
  • The OBC students from across the country shall now be able to take the benefit of this reservation in AIQ to compete for seats in any State. Being a Central scheme, the Central List of OBCs shall be used for this reservation.

How the present reservations came to be?

  • Initially, there was no reservation in the AIQ up to 2007 – but in 2007 the Supreme Court introduced the reservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the scheme.
  • When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective in 2007, providing for uniform 27% reservation to the OBCs, the same was implemented in all the Central Educational Institutions. However, this was not extended to the AIQ seats of State medical and dental colleges.
  • The denial of OBC and EWS reservations has been the subject of protests for years.
  • In July last year, the Madras High Court ruled that OBC students too can avail reservation in the AIQ.
  • It held that the reservation could not be implemented for the then academic year for want of time, and can be implemented from 2021-22.

What is the All India Quota?

  • The AIQ scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free, merit-based opportunities to students from any state to study in a good medical college in any other state.
  • A student domiciled in Uttar Pradesh, for example, may be eligible for admission to a seat in a state government medical college in West Bengal, provided she scores high enough in the national merit list. If her score is not high enough for AIQ, she may still hope for admission under the state quota in her home state.
  • In deemed/central universities, ESIC, and Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), 100% seats are reserved under the AIQ.

-Source: The Hindu


Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill, 2021

Context:

In the Rajya Sabha, the important Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 (without any discussions due to disruptions).

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues Related to Children, Governance and Government Policies, Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
  2. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 replaced the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 to comprehensively address children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
  • The Act changes the nomenclature from ‘juvenile’ to ‘child’ or ‘child in conflict with law’.
  • Also, it removes the negative connotation associated with the word “juvenile”.
  • It also includes several new and clear definitions such as orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children; and petty, serious and heinous offences committed by children.
  • The 2015 law also included special provisions to tackle child offenders committing heinous offences in the age group of 16-18 years.
  • It mandates setting up Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in every district. Both must have at least one-woman member each.
  • A separate new chapter on Adoption to streamline adoption procedures for an orphan, abandoned and surrendered children,
  • Also, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) was granted the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
  • All Child Care Institutions, whether run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organisations are to be mandatorily registered under the Act within 6 months from the date of commencement of the Act.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

  • Now, “Serious offences” will also include offences for which maximum punishment is imprisonment of more than seven years, and minimum punishment is not prescribed or is of less than seven years. [Serious offences are those for which the punishment under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being is imprisonment between three and seven years.]
  • The Juvenile Justice Board inquiries about a child who is accused of a serious offence.
  • The Bill amends the present act to provide that an offence which is punishable with imprisonment between three to seven years to be non-cognizable (non-cognizable where arrest is allowed without warrant).
  • Presently, the adoption order issued by the court establishes that the child belongs to the adoptive parents. The Bill provides that instead of the court, the District Magistrate (including Additional District Magistrate) will issue such adoption orders.
  • The Bill provides that any person aggrieved by an adoption order passed by the District Magistrate may file an appeal before the Divisional Commissioner, within 30 days from the date of passage of such order.

Changes to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC)

  • The amendment provides Additional Functions of the District Magistrate as the supervising the District Child Protection Unit, and also mandates the District Magistrate to conduct a quarterly review of the functioning of the Child Welfare Committee.
  • The amendments include authorizing District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.It provides that a person will not eligible to be a member of the CWC if he/she:
    1. has any record of violation of human rights or child rights,
    2. has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude,
    3. has been removed or dismissed from service of the central government, or any state government, or a government undertaking,
    4. is part of the management of a child care institution in a district.

-Source: The Hindu


Inland Vessels Bill, 2021

Context:

The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, was passed in the din without debate in the Lok Sabha.

Relevance:

GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives), GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Inland Canals and Waterways in India
  2. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)
  3. Legislations regarding Inland Waterways in India
  4. Inland Vessels Bill, 2021

Inland Canals and Waterways in India

  • India has an extensive network of inland waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters and creeks. The total navigable length is 14,500 km (9,000 mi), out of which about 5,200 km (3,200 mi) of river and 4,000 km (2,500 mi) of canal can be used by mechanized crafts. About 44 million tonnes (49,000,000 short tons) of cargo are moved annually through these waterways using mechanized vessels and country boats.
  • Cargo transported in an organized manner is confined to a few waterways in Goa, West Bengal, Assam and Kerala. Inland waterways consist of the Ganges-Bhagirathi-Hooghly rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Barak river, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari-Krishna rivers.
  • As per the National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 water ways have been declared as National Waterways (NW) and these National Waterways pass through 24 states and two union territories, with an approximate total length of 20274 km.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)

  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India, constituted under IWAI Act-1985 and headquartered in Noida, UP.
  • It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.
  • The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of Inland Waterway Terminal infrastructure on National Waterways through grant received from Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Road Transport and Highways.

Legislations regarding Inland Waterways in India

  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India Act, 1985: The Act provides for the constitution of an Authority for the regulation and development of inland waterways for purposes of shipping and navigation and for matters related to it (IWAI). The Inland Waterways Authority of India was formed in 1986.
  • Indian Vessels Act of 1917 (amended in 2007): It deals with the survey and registration of inland vessels, removal of obstructions in navigation, carriage of goods and passengers, prevention and control of pollution etc.
  • Inland Water Transport Policy 2001: Policy talks about IWT being economic, fuel-efficient and environment friendly mode of transport. It advocates large-scale private sector participation both for creation of infrastructure and for fleet operations.
  • National Waterways Act 2016: The Act declared 111 rivers or river stretches, creeks, estuaries as National (inland) Waterways. It enables the Central Government to regulate these waterways for development with regard to shipping, navigation and transport through mechanically propelled vessels.

Inland Vessels Bill, 2021

  • The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 seeks to do away with separate rules framed by the States and instead incorporate a uniform regulatory framework for inland vessel navigation across the country.
  • The Inland Vessels Bill 2021 provides for maintaining a central database, an electronic centralised record of data on inland vessels, which will include all information about registration of vessels, vessel crew and certificates issued.
  • The registration certificate provided under the new law will be considered valid all over the country and there will be no need of separate permissions from the states.
  • The bill provides that all such vessels must have a registration certificate and survey certificate to operate in inland waters. The registration certificate will be valid across India. The survey certificates will be given by state governments. 
  • Under the law, the centre will prescribe the classification, standards of design, construction, and crew accommodation and type and periodicity of surveys for these vessels. The Bill also defines mechanically propelled inland vessels to include boats, ships, container vessels, sailing vessels and ferries
  • The bill also proposes that the vessels will have to follow certain specifications for signals and equipment to ensure navigation safety. This would be specified by the central government. 
  • The bill proposes that all accidents aboard such vessels must be reported to the head officer of the nearest police station and to the state government-appointed authority. The state may require the District Magistrate to inquire into such matters and submit a report recommending actions to be taken.
  • The Bill also states that all vessels will be required to discharge or dispose of sewage, as per the standards specified by the centre.
  • The Inland Vessels Bill 2021 also provides to set up a development fund that will be utilised for various purposes such as for emergency preparedness, containment of pollution and boosting inland water navigation. 

-Source: The Hindu


Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment Bill), 2021

Context:

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment Bill), 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha (without any discussions due to disruptions).

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Banking Sector & NBFCs, Growth & Development of Indian Economy), GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016
  2. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019
  3. Issues with Implementation of IBC
  4. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment Bill), 2021

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016

  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals.
  • The Government implemented the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to consolidate all laws related to insolvency and bankruptcy and to tackle Non-Performing Assets (NPA), a problem that has been pulling the Indian economy down for years.
  • Objectives of IBC
    1. To consolidate and amend all existing insolvency laws in India.
    2. To simplify and expedite the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Proceedings in India.
    3. To protect the interest of creditors including stakeholders in a company.
    4. To revive the company in a time-bound manner.
    5. To promote entrepreneurship.
    6. To get the necessary relief to the creditors and consequently increase the credit supply in the economy.
    7. To work out a new and timely recovery procedure to be adopted by the banks, financial institutions or individuals.
    8. To set up an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.
    9. Maximization of the value of assets of corporate persons.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • The amendment also intends to provide protection to a corporation from criminal proceedings against offences committed by previous management or promoters.
  • Additionally, it also provides a faster revival process for stressed companies.
  • The amendment brings the much-awaited changes needed in the insolvency sector. It clears the air on various aspects and provides relief to both corporate debtor as well as the creditors.
  • The thresholds introduce will prevent admission of unnecessary cases to the insolvency court.
  • However, even after anticipation, cross border insolvency framework has not been included in the amendment.

Issues with Implementation of IBC

  • In India there are not many strategic investors and an asset will have interest or value only if there are more people who are ready to buy. Therefore, better asset value realization will lead to faster resolution of stressed companies (happy creditors).
  • There are delays in implementation of IBC whether it’s in terms of approvals, having an application admitted itself.
  • A lot of IBC cases are very old cases related to the stock of NPAs [Non-Performing Assets]. So, once this round is over, in future, perhaps, there will be fewer cases and IBC will be able to perform better than before.
  • There is shortage of NCLT member, lot of vacancies & delays in appointments all of which has a bearing on IBC working efficiency.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment Bill), 2021

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment Bill), 2021 introduced an alternate insolvency resolution process for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with defaults up to Rs 1 crore called the Pre-packaged Insolvency Resolution Process (PIRP).
  • The Pre-packs are largely aimed at providing MSMEs with an opportunity to restructure their liabilities and start with a clean slate while still providing adequate protections so that the system is not misused by firms to avoid making payments to creditors.
  • A pre-pack is the resolution of the debt of a distressed company through an agreement between secured creditors and investors instead of a public bidding process. Unlike in the case of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP), debtors remain in control of their distressed firm during the PIRP.
  • CIRP is a time taking resolution and one of the key reasons behind delays in the CIRPs are prolonged litigations by erstwhile promoters and potential bidders.
  • The PIRP also allows for a Swiss challenge to the resolution plan submitted by a CD in case operational creditors are not paid 100 % of their outstanding dues.
  • Distressed Corporate Debtors (CDs) [a corporate person who owes debt to any other person] are permitted to initiate a PIRP with the approval of two-thirds of their creditors to resolve their outstanding debt under the new mechanism.
  • Besides offering a way for MSMEs to restructure their debts, the pre-pack scheme could also reduce the burden on benches of the NCLT by offering a faster resolution mechanism than ordinary CIRPs.

-Source: The Hindu


AERA Amendment Bill, 2021

Context:

The Lok Sabha passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) Amendment Bill, 2021 (without any discussions due to disruptions).

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth & Development of Indian Economy, Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA)
  2. AERA Amendment Bill, 2021

Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA)

  • The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008 established the Statutory body – Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA).
  • AERA was established to ensure that private airport operators do not misuse their monopoly, the need for an independent tariff regulator in the airport sector was felt.
  • AERA regulates tariffs and other charges for aeronautical services provided at civilian airports with annual traffic above 15 lakh passengers.
  • It also monitors the performance standard of services across these airports.

AERA Amendment Bill, 2021

  • The AERA Amendment Bill, 2021 proposes to amend the definition of major airport to include a group of airports.
  • It will allow AERA to regulate tariff and other charges for aeronautical services for not just major airports with annual passenger traffic of more than 35 lakh, but also a group of airports.
  • The government will be able to club profitable and non-profitable airports as a combination/package to bidders to make it a viable combination for investment under PPP (Public-Private Partnership) mode.
  • It will help in expanding the air connectivity to relatively remote areas and as a result, expediting the UDAN regional connectivity scheme.
  • Lack of clarity in the bill on the criterion for deciding which airports will be clubbed together to qualify under ‘a group of airports’ definition, whether it will be the passenger traffic of more than 3.5 million or some other factors too.

-Source: The Hindu

Share this article on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enable Notifications    OK No thanks