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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 03 August 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 03 August 2023


Contents

  1. Indian reservations and their subcategories
  2. Coastal Observation and Deep Sea Mining Advance India’s Maritime Frontiers

Indian reservations and their subcategories


Context

The President Droupadi Murmu has received the Justice G. Rohini Commission’s report on the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). In order to ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits among diverse OBC populations, the paper tries to correct distortions in the quota scheme. This examination explores the fundamental components of subcategorization, the Rohini Commission’s mandate, and the studies carried out during that time.

Relevance: 

GS Paper 2: Government Policies and Intervention – Reservation

Mains Question

What is the goal of sub-categorization under India’s Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation system, and how does it work to guarantee benefits are distributed fairly? (150 Words)


What does OBC “sub-categorization” mean?

  • There is a 27% reservation for OBCs in positions with the central government and in educational institutions.
  • There are over 2,600 entries on the Central List of OBCs, although only a few wealthy communities are thought to benefit from the quota.
  • To guarantee that benefits are distributed fairly, sub-categorization tries to pinpoint quotas within the 27% reservation.

Terms of Reference of the Rohini Commission:

The commission was initially tasked with investigating the unequal distribution of reservation benefits among the OBC castes or communities listed centrally, as well as with developing a scientific method to sub-categorize OBCs and classify them into appropriate sub-categories. Later, a further term was added to study and recommend corrections for any errors in the Central List of OBCs.

Studies Performed by the Commission:

  • In 2018, the commission examined information on 1.3 lakh positions with the central government and OBC admissions to central higher education institutions throughout particular time periods.
  • The data showed that only 10 OBC communities received 24.95% of these benefits, while 97% of jobs and seats went to 25% of OBC castes.
  • Surprisingly, 983 OBC communities (37% of the total) had no representation in employment or educational settings, and only 2.68% of 994 OBC sub-castes were represented in hiring and admissions.

India’s reservation system,:

It has its roots in the traditional caste system, tries to correct historical injustices suffered by particular groups of the population. Reservation aims to give populations that have experienced socioeconomic and educational disadvantage access to opportunities through affirmative action in government employment, educational institutions, and legislatures.This system is governed by a number of constitutional requirements, and the courts have reviewed how it has been put in place. While the reservation has significantly contributed to the advancement of marginalised groups, it has also provoked discussions and calls for reform.

Background information:

William Hunter and Jyotirao Phule came up with the concept of the caste-based reservation system in 1882.The ‘Communal Award’ was introduced by British Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald in 1933, though, and this is when the reservation system as we know it today began to take shape. Separate electorates were made available for Dalits, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Anglo-Indians, and Europeans, among other communities. Following talks, Gandhi and Ambedkar signed the “Poona Pact,” creating a unified Hindu electorate with some reservations for underprivileged groups.

Reservation Expansion:

  • Initially, following India’s independence, only Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) were eligible for reservations.
  • On the Mandal Commission’s advice, the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) were included to the scope of reservation in 1991. On the basis of eleven measures of social, educational, and economic backwardness, the Mandal Commission, established pursuant to Article 340 of the Constitution, designated the backward classes. It resulted in the formation of two lists: one OBC list for all of India with 3,743 castes and a list for the more disadvantaged “depressed backward classes” with 2,108 castes.

Judicial Review of Reservation:

In India, reservation rules were greatly influenced by the Supreme Court. Indra Sawhney v. Union of India (1992) case upheld the 27% quota for backward classes but overturned the government’s notification reserving 10% of government jobs for economically backward classes among higher castes. The “State of Madras v. Smt. Champakam Dorairajan” (1951) case resulted in the First Amendment in the Constitution, introducing Clause (4) in Article 15 to allow reservations for backward classes in education. Additionally, it established the rule that the overall number of reservation recipients should not be greater than 50% of India’s population.

Recent Developments:

  • The “Constitutional (103rd Amendment) Act of 2019” established a 10% reservation for the “economically backward” in the unreserved category in government positions and educational institutions. The reservation ceiling was increased by this addition to 100%.
  • Reservations are viewed as a cure for the negative effects of poorly thought-out development strategies, rural distress, and stagnant employment growth, which are factors driving up demand for reservations.
  • Due to the lack of comparable advantages, some groups in society worry about losing their privileges and feel disadvantageous while applying for government jobs.

Objections to reservations

  • Discord and hostility among employees as a result of reservations about government services have a negative effect on the work environment.
  • Reservation does not end caste-based discrimination; rather, it maintains the idea of caste in society, impeding real social equality.
  • The reservation system’s implementation has been flawed, with the benefits frequently appropriated by the dominant and elite within backward castes, leaving the most marginalised still in need.

Current Debates and Recommendations:

  • Reservation should be directed at the most disadvantaged people rather than a select few privileged members from each caste.
  • To keep wealthy people out of special categories, the idea of a “creamy layer” should be carefully applied.
  • To help marginalised groups, the education system needs to undergo fundamental adjustments at the local level.
  • Raising awareness is essential to ensuring that those in need from reserved segments can take advantage of reservation arrangements.
  • Reservation practises shouldn’t undermine social cohesiveness or serve as a vehicle for particular political agendas.

Conclusion
In conclusion, India’s reservation policy has been crucial in rectifying historical injustices and giving marginalised people chances. To ensure its efficacy and equitable application, it also confronts criticism and calls for revision. A more inclusive and affluent society must strike a balance between social justice, equity, and meritocracy. Reservation policies in India must continue to develop with a strong political commitment and a comprehensive strategy for elevating the underprivileged.


Coastal Observation and Deep Sea Mining Advance India’s Maritime Frontiers


Context

The development of deep-sea mining and coastal observation systems in India is a significant step towards realising the full potential of its maritime resources. The Deep Ocean Mission and the creative construction of coastal surveillance infrastructure are what are propelling the nation’s scientific and technological accomplishments. These accomplishments raise questions regarding the influence on the environment and the requirement for sustainable practises, nevertheless.

Relevance:

  • GS Paper 1: Resource,
  • GS Paper 3: Security

Mains Question

Discuss how India’s Deep Ocean Mission is important for expanding scientific knowledge and supporting the sustainable use of deep-sea resources. How can the mission support India’s attempts to switch to green energy? (250 Words)


Oceanic Resource Unlocking through Deep Sea Mining

Deep sea mining negotiations are about to pick up again at the International Seabed Authority, a United Nations regulatory body. This type of mining entails removing metals and mineral reserves from the ocean’s seabed, including priceless components essential for the switch to green energy. However, worries about its effects on the environment and the requirement for regulatory measures continue

Understanding Deep Sea Mining:

Deep sea mining includes the extraction of metals and mineral deposits from the ocean’s bottom. The three primary forms are mining large seabed sulphide deposits, gathering poly-metallic nodules, and removing cobalt crusts from rocks. These deposits contain cobalt, nickel, and rare earth elements, which are necessary for batteries, everyday electronics, and renewable energy technology.

How is deep sea mining regulated? What does the International Seabed Authority do?

  • About: The ISA is an independent body operating within the common system of the United Nations, with its main office in Kingston, Jamaica.
  • The Authority is one of three international institutions established by UNCLOS, the other two being the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The Authority has 168 members total, including the European Union.

Objective:

  • Its main purpose is to control the exploration for and exploitation of deep seabed minerals found in “the Area,” which is defined by the Convention as the seabed and subsoil beyond the borders of national jurisdiction, i.e., beyond the outer limits of the continental shelf.
  • In contrast to the high seas and the international ocean floor, which are governed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, maritime territories and exclusive economic zones are managed by individual nations. This agreement provides a thorough framework for regulating deep sea mining operations and is applicable to all governments, regardless of whether they have signed or ratified it.

Environmental Issues

  • The possible harm to ecosystems caused by deep-sea mining is one of the main issues. Conservationists are concerned about the effects of mining operations without adequate environmental regulations because so little of the deep seafloor has been studied. Noise, vibration, light pollution, leaks, fuel and chemical spills, and sediment plumes produced during mining operations are just a few of the environmental effects that could occur.
  • Risks are substantial when mining processes produce sand plumes. When valuable resources are extracted, slurry sediment plumes are occasionally pushed back into the water, endangering marine life in many ways. These plumes have the potential to injure fragile creatures, disrupt ecosystems, and change the quality of the water.
  • To reduce the threats to the environment, development and conservation must coexist in harmony.

Empowering India’s Maritime Advancements with the Deep Ocean Mission

The Deep Ocean Mission of India is a multifaceted project that focuses on discovering, protecting, and using deep-sea resources. An essential part of this task is the development of manned submersibles and integrated mining systems. India wants to take use of bio-prospecting prospects for the sustainable exploitation of marine resources by investigating the deep-sea biodiversity. Additionally, the investigation of offshore ocean thermal energy conversion shows promise for the generation of both energy and freshwater.

Weather Forecasting is Boosted by Coastal Observation Systems

India’s dedication to enhancing weather forecasting in coastal regions is demonstrated by its cutting-edge coastal surveillance and water quality nowcasting system. Accurate weather forecasts can be made many hours in advance thanks to the fusion of radar and satellite measurements. This system provides timely information to coastal communities, businesses, and government to enable intelligent resource management.

Initiatives for a Blue Economy that Support Sustainable Development

Numerous projects have been started to promote sustainable coastal development in keeping with India’s commitment to the blue economy. The Sagarmala project, O-SMART, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, National Fisheries Policy, and the India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy all highlight the country’s commitment to responsibly utilising marine resources. These programmes seek to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development.

Conclusion

India has made great achievements in its maritime industry, as seen by its efforts in coastal observation systems and deep sea mining. The Deep Ocean Mission and coastline monitoring facilities serve as examples of the country’s dedication to sustainable practises and responsible exploration. Deep-sea mining presents prospects for resource extraction, but it is crucial to mitigate environmental damage through strict restrictions. India’s future as a responsible keeper of its marine frontiers will be shaped by the fusion of cutting-edge technology and sustainable practises.


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