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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 7 October 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Govt. asks SC to set norms for quota in promotions
  2. CEEW analysis: U.P. top in fine particulate matter emission
  3. Cabinet approves setting up new PM MITRA textile parks
  4. Chemistry Nobel for developing tool to build molecules

Govt. asks SC to set norms for quota in promotions

Context:

  • The Supreme Court asked the Government to justify reservations in promotions and asked what exercise it had undertaken to justify its decisions.
  • The Government has said that the time has come for the Supreme Court to “give concrete basis for the SC, ST and OBC to fill up vacancies” while stating that “there is no need to verify any further or collect quantifiable data after the roster system.”

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives, Issues related to Minorities), GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Important Judgements)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Constitutional Provisions on Reservation
  2. Is reservation in promotions a fundamental right?
  3. Need for “Quantifiable Data”
  4. Arguments for applying reservation in promotions
  5. Indra Sawhney case, 1992
  6. M. Nagaraj case, 2006
  7. Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta case, 2018
  8. About the Recent SC Hearings on Reservation in Promotion

Constitutional Provisions on Reservation

  • Article 16(4) empowers the 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.
  • By way of the 77th Amendment Act, a new clause (4A) was added to Article 16, empowering the state to make provisions for reservation in matters of promotion to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe employees if the state feels they are not adequately represented in services.

Is reservation in promotions a fundamental right?

  • The scope for reservation for the Backward Classes is promised in Part III of the Constitution under Fundamental Rights.
  • Articles 16(4) and 16(4A) empowers the state to provide reservation for SCs and STs in public employment.
  • The right to equality is enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution.
  • Many see that the reservation is against Article 16 (Right to equality).
  • But there is an absence of equal opportunities for the Backward Classes due to historic injustice by virtue of birth entails them reservation.
  • Articles 16 (2) and 16(4) are neither contradictory nor mutually exclusive in nature, but are complementary to each other.

Need for “Quantifiable Data”

  • There is a question whether the quantifiable data for inadequate representation is a must for giving reservation in promotions.
  • This question has been addressed by Article 16(4) in the Constitution.
  • It reads that the State can make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which in the State’s opinion, is not adequately represented in the State services.
  • Here, “in the State’s opinion” should not be construed as the discretion of the state to give the reservation or not.
  • On the contrary, it means if the state feels that SCs and STs are under-represented, it is in the domain of the state to provide reservation.
  • There is no mention in the Constitution about quantifiable data.
  • Even after 70 years of SC/ST reservation, their representation is as low as 3%.

Arguments for applying reservation in promotions

  • As there is a peculiar hierarchical arrangement of caste in India, it is obvious that SCs and STs are poorly represented in higher posts.
  • Denying application of reservation in promotions has kept SCs and STs largely confined to lower cadre jobs.
  • Hence, providing reservation for promotions is even more justified and appropriate to attain equality.
  • This judgment destabilises the very basis of reservation, when there is no direct recruitment in higher posts.
  • This delineation of the scope of reservation as at the entry level and in promotions will only lead to confusion in its implementation.
  • Now, by declaring that reservation cannot be claimed as a fundamental right is a dangerous precedent in the history of social justice.

Indra Sawhney case, 1992

  • 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.
  • 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.

M. Nagaraj case, 2006

  • The constitutional validity of Art 16(4A) was upheld by the Supreme Court in the M. Nagaraj v. Union of India 2006 case; however, State is not bound to make such reservations in promotions.
  • If the states seek to make reservation in promotions, then it must collect quantifiable data on three parameters
    1. The backwardness of the class
    2. The inadequacy of the representation of that class in public employment;
    3. The general efficiency of service would not be affected

Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta case, 2018

  • In Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta case of 2018, the Supreme Court held that reservation in promotions does not require the state to collect quantifiable data on the backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • The court upheld the argument that once various caste groups were listed as SC/ST, this automatically implied they were backward.
  • That judgment had, while modifying the part of the Nagaraj verdict which required States to show quantifiable data to prove the ‘backwardness’ of a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community to provide quota in promotion in public employment, rejected the Centre’s argument that Nagaraj misread the creamy layer concept by applying it to SC/ST.

About the Recent SC Hearings on Reservation in Promotion

What the Supreme Court said?

  • The Supreme Court (on 6th October 2021) asked the Centre what it had done to collect quantifiable data —in accordance with its constitution bench decisions — to show, among others, inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) members in public employment under it to back its policy to provide them reservation in promotions and to produce the data, if any, before it.
  • The Supreme Court said that it will first deal with the issue whether reservation in promotion has been implemented on the basis of such quantifiable data.
  • The SC also called it “disturbing” that the Union government did not discontinue reservation in promotion for people belonging to SC/STs even after their numbers exceeded the upper ceiling of 15% and 7.5% respectively, of positions in some classes of central government jobs.

The Government’s response

  • The Union government urged the Supreme Court to do away with the requirement of collecting quantifiable data by the Centre and states to determine the representation of people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) while implementing reservation in promotion.
  • The Govt. said that there is a roster system in place in every cadre of the government departments to ascertain the posts required to be filled up by SCs/STs, and therefore the prerequisite of quantifiable data (as was laid down by two Constitution bench judgments of the apex court) should NOT remain.
  • Seventy-five years of Independence have not been able to bring members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on par with the forward classes of society.

-Source: The Hindu


CEEW analysis: U.P. top in fine particulate matter emission

Context:

Uttar Pradesh is the largest emitter of PM2.5, the class of particulate matter considered most harmful to health, according to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water ( CEEW).

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of Environment and Ecology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)
  2. Highlights of the CEEW report

About the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)

  • The Council on Energy, Environment and Water, commonly known as CEEW, is a Delhi-based not-for-profit policy research institution.
  • The think-tank advises the Indian government. The organisation is also involved in organising conferences about environmental topics.
  • Some of CEEW’s research areas include:
    • resource efficiency and security;
    • water resources;
    • renewable energy;
    • sustainability finance;
    • energy-trade-climate linkages;
    • integrated energy, environment and water plans;
    • climate geoengineering governance.

Highlights of the CEEW report

  • The five data sources used are:
    1. Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), maintained by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre;
    2. Evaluating the Climate and Air Quality Impacts of Shortlived Pollutants (ECLIPSE), maintained by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA);
    3. Regional Emission Inventory in Asia (REAS), maintained by the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan (NIES);
    4. Speciated Multipolluter Generator (SMoG),maintained by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay); and
    5. Spatially resolved pollution emission inventory for India, maintained by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
  • The CEEW analysis found “significant variation” in the estimates by various sources going up to as much as 37% for particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), Nitrogen oxide (NOx), Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO). These differences had to do with the way each agency calculated emissions and the data sources they relied on.
  • Because of the extent of variation, the Council said India ought to “develop and maintain a comprehensive inventory of baseline emissions” to evaluate if its policy and technological interventions were succeeding in reducing air pollution.

How did the States Perform?

  • Uttar Pradesh is the largest emitter of particulate matter and this was largely due to a significant share of PM2.5 emissions from solid-fuel use in households and, by virtue of being India’s most populous State, had a higher proportion of households relying on this form of fuel.
  • Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and the Northeastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram, were among the lowest emitters of PM2.5.
  • Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan too feature in the list of top polluters but are differently ranked by the five sources. Only Uttar Pradesh is at the top of everyone’s list.

Click Here to read about India’s National Air Quality Index (AQI) and National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

-Source: The Hindu


Cabinet approves setting up new PM MITRA textile parks

Context:

The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of seven Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks at an outlay of ₹4,445 crore.

Relevance:

GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Textile Industry, Government Policies and Initiatives, Industrial Policy)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About PM Mega Investment Textiles Parks (PM MITRA) scheme
  2. Latest updates on MITRA scheme
  3. Significance of Textile Sector in India

About PM Mega Investment Textiles Parks (PM MITRA) scheme

  • The PM Mega Investment Textiles Parks (PM MITRA) scheme was launched in 2020 with a plan to establish Seven textile parks which will have a world-class infrastructure over three years.
  • These parks will also have plug-and-play facilities (business facilities will be available ready-made) to help create global champions in exports in the textile sector.

Aims and Significance of MITRA

  • The Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) Scheme aims to enable the textile industry to become globally competitive and boost exports.
  • The scheme also aims to boost employment generation within the textile sector and also attract large investment.
  • The scheme was launched in addition to the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.
  • The scheme will create a level-playing field for domestic manufacturers in the international textiles market.
  • It will also pave the way for India to become a global champion of textiles exports across all segments.
  • MITRA will lead to increased investments and enhanced employment opportunities with the support from the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.

Latest updates on MITRA scheme

  • The mega parks scheme will include brownfield and greenfield projects, spread over five years.
  • The Cabinet approved the MITRA Parks at an outlay of ₹4,445 crore.
  • The parks would be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) owned by the Central and State governments and would get two kinds of support:
    1. Development Capital Support, aimed at helping develop infrastructure, would fund 30% of the project cost with a cap of ₹500 crore for greenfield projects and ₹200 crore for brownfield projects.
    2. A Separate Competitiveness Incentive Support would be limited to ₹300 crore per park.
  • As many as 10 States including Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Gujarat had already shown interest
  • States offering the cheapest land (contiguous and encumbrance-free land of minimum 1,000 acres) and facilities such as adequate electricity and water would be selected through a transparent challenge route.
  • The SPV would select a Master Developer to set up and maintain the park for a specified period.

Significance of Textile Sector in India

  • The Textile Sector accounts for 7% of India’s manufacturing output, 2% of GDP, 12% of exports and employs directly and indirectly about 10 crore people.
  • Owing to the abundant supply of raw material and labour, India is the largest producer of cotton (accounting for 25% of the global output) and second-largest producer of textiles and garments and man-made fibres (polyester and viscose).
  • The availability of a strong domestic market in India is a major reason that increases the importance of the sector.

-Source: The Hindu


Chemistry Nobel for developing tool to build molecules

Context:

The Nobel Prize for chemistry has been awarded to German scientist Benjamin List of the Max Planck Institute and Scotland-born scientist David WC MacMillan of Princeton University for their work in developing a new way for building molecules.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Chemistry Nobel laureates and their work
  2. What is Organocatalysis?

About the Chemistry Nobel laureates and their work

  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Germany’s Benjamin List and David MacMillan of the United States for “their development of a precise new tool for molecular construction: organocatalysis.”
  • Mr List and Mr MacMillan in 2000 independently developed a new way of catalysis.

Significance of their discovery

  • Many research areas and industries are dependent on chemists’ ability to construct molecules that can form elastic and durable materials, store energy in batteries or inhibit the progression of disease.
  • This work requires catalysts, which are substances that control and accelerate chemical reactions, without becoming part of the final product.
  • Prior to the work of the laureates, scientists believed there were only two types of catalysts, metals and enzymes.
  • In 2000, the researchers, working independently of each other, developed a third type, called “asymmetric organocatalysis”, which relies on small organic molecules.
  • List was the first to prove that the amino acid “proline,” which he called his favourite catalyst, could drive an aldol reaction, which is when carbon atoms from two different molecules are bonded together. Compared to both metals and enzymes, proline is very simple, cheap and environmentally friendly molecule.

What is Organocatalysis?

  • In organic chemistry, organocatalysis is a form of catalysis in which the rate of a chemical reaction is increased by an organic catalyst.
  • This “organocatalyst” consists of carbon, hydrogen, sulfur and other nonmetal elements found in organic compounds.
  • Because of their similarity in composition and description, they are often mistaken as a misnomer for enzymes due to their comparable effects on reaction rates and forms of catalysis involved.
  • Primary advantage of Organocatalysis is that there is no need for metal-based catalysis thus making a contribution to green chemistry.

-Source: The Hindu

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