August 2018
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[op-ed snap]Checking the new abnormal

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Salient features of Indian Society

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Rise in lynching incidents across India and need for a strong anti-lynching law.


News

Moving over and above anti-lynching law

  1. Concerned by the increasing number of cases of lynching, the Supreme Court observed highlighted the responsibility of the States to prevent untoward incidents and to prevent crime.
  2. As the court noted that when any core group with some kind of idea take the law into their own hands, it ushers in anarchy, chaos, disorder and, eventually, there is an emergence of a violent society.

Maximum by the Courts: Preventive Guidelines

  1. Towards this goal, in Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India (July 17, 2018), the court directed that certain guidelines be implemented.
  2. The preventive guidelines require every State to designate a senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, as the Nodal Officer in each district.
  3. This officer will constitute a special task force to collect intelligence on persons likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speech, provocative statements and fake news.
  4. Nodal Officers have been directed to take steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material through different social media platforms or any other means.
  5. Additionally, both the Central and State governments have been directed to broadcast public notifications on radio, television and other media platforms informing the public of the consequences of taking the law into their hands.

Bigger Role for Nodal Officer

  1. In case of an incident of lynching or mob violence, the jurisdictional police station shall immediately lodge a first information report (FIR).
  2. The Station House Officer, in whose police station such an FIR is registered, shall intimate the Nodal Officer whose duty it will be to ensure that the victim’s family members are not further harassed.
  3. Nodal Officers should be made duty-bound to ensure that investigation and prosecution of such cases is strictly carried out, the charge sheet filed within the prescribed time period, and the trial concluded through fast-track courts within six months.

Learning from US example

  1. In the course of arguments, reference was made to the US where lynching was, at one point, rampant, and several American judgments were cited to emphasise that every citizen must abide by the law.
  2. This may be an oversimplification, for in the case of the US it took almost a hundred years between the Civil War (1861-1865) and the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) for the practice of mob violence to be wiped out.
  3. Eventually, in 2005, the U.S. Senate formally apologised for not passing an anti-lynching law when it was most needed.

Way Forward

  1. In case of lynching, it is not just the attackers who must be brought to justice; the role of the police must reformed.
  2. We need more than just laws to deal with the deep-rooted hate which appears to have set in below the surface, and is corroding our moral fibre.
  3. Most cases of lynching have the appearance of premeditated acts of violence.
  4. Deep-seated insecurities are being stoked, especially among young people frustrated by the lack of employment opportunities, to spread a fundamentalist agenda.
  5. As a nation, India cannot wait that long. The executive must immediately implement the directions of the Supreme Court.
Minority Issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Centre pushes for quota in promotion for SCs/STs

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Indian Constitution | Significant provisions and basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of all the Judgments mentioned, Various Amendments related to the Issues

Mains level: Issue of Reservations of SCs/STs in Promotions


News

Govt. pushes for re-examining Nagaraj Judgment

  1. The Government said it wanted a total of 22.5% (15% for SC+7.5% for ST) posts reserved for promotion for SC/ST in public employment.
  2. It began its push for providing “accelerated promotion with consequential seniority” for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) members in public employment.
  3. It wants another five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra to refer the 2006 verdict to a larger Bench for a re-examination.
  4. It said that the 2006 verdict had created an “impossible situation” for providing accelerated promotions with consequential seniority for SC/ST communities in government services.

2006 Nagaraj Ruling

  1. The 2006 Nagaraj judgment was pronounced by a five-judge Constitution Bench.
  2. A/c to this the government cannot introduce a quota in promotion for its SC/ST employees unless they prove that the particular Dalit community is backward, inadequately represented and such a reservation in promotion would not affect the overall efficiency of public administration.
  3. The opinion of the government should also be based on quantifiable data.
  4. It is made clear that even if the state has compelling reasons, the state will have to see that its reservation provision does not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend reservation indefinitely.

Presumed backwardness

  1. The SC/ST communities have faced centuries of deprivation at the hands of society. They have been deprived of access to temples, schools and the basic facilities of life argued the AGI.
  2. But CJI said the three criteria backwardness, inadequacy and administrative efficiency were “compelling reasons” so that reservation by government was not excessive.
  3. The three qualifiers were meant to prevent reservation from making an inroad into the right of equal opportunity in public employment.
  4. The Nagaraj judgment was meant to find a stable equilibrium between justice to the backwards, equity for the forwards and efficiency for the entire system.
  5. In fact, the Nagaraj judgment said the three qualifiers were meant to prevent “reverse discrimination” by State.

Creamy Layer Row

  1. In November 2017, a two-judge Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Kurian Joseph, had re-opened the issues of creamy layer and quota in promotions for SC/ST by referring them to a Constitution Bench.
  2. It was based on a series of questions of law, including clarity on:
  • Article 16 (4), which deals with the State’s powers for providing for appointments or posts for “any backward class of citizens”;
  • On Article 16 (4A), which arms the state with power to make provisions for quota in promotion with consequential seniority to SC/ST communities; and finally
  • Article 16 (4B), which deals with unfilled vacancies of a year reserved for SC/ST kept from being filled up.
Minority Issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Who was Pingali Venkayya?

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Freedom Struggle| Various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Contribution of Pingali Venkayya

Mains level:  Read the attached story


News

The story of Indian Flag

  1. Pingali Venkayya was a freedom fighter and the designer of the Indian National Tricolour who went on to become synonymous with the spirit of free and independent India.
  2. Venkayya earlier served as a soldier in the British Army in South Africa during the Anglo Boer war in Africa.
  3. A firm believer in Gandhian principles and an ardent nationalist, Venkayya met the Mahatma during the war.
  4. Between 1918 and 1921, Venkayya raised the issue of having an own flag in every session of the Congress. Back then, he was working as a lecturer in the Andhra National College in Machilipatnam.
  5. He met the Mahatma once again in Vijayawada and showed him his publication with the various designs of the flag.
  6. Acknowledging the need for a national flag, Gandhi then asked Venkayya to design a fresh one at the national congress meeting in 1921.
  7. Initially, Venkayya came up with saffron and green colours, but it later evolved with a spinning wheel at the centre and a third colour-white.
  8. The flag was officially adopted by the Indian National Congress in 1931.
History- Important places, persons in news

Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Initiative to address Unemployment related issues


News

Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam- a Pension Scheme

  1. The AP government has launched this  scheme through which an allowance of Rs 1000 per month will be provided to unemployed youth in the state.
  2. About 12 lakh youths in the age group of 22-35 years will get the benefit of the scheme.
  3. The registration for the scheme will start mid-August.
  4. The scheme will be extended to all those eligible even if there are more than one beneficiary in a family.
  5. It will implement the scheme in a very transparent manner like pension scheme.
  6. The money will be credited directly into the bank accounts through biometric authentication.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

[pib] ‘Paryatan Parv’ to be organized nationwide from 16th to 27th September, 2018

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Paryatan Parv, 2018

Mains level: Not Much


News

Paryatan Parv, 2018

  1. Nodal Ministry: Union Ministry of Tourism
  2. Aim: drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.
  3. The Paryatan Parv will have three main components as like last year, viz.
  • Dekho Apna Desh: Encouraging Indians to visit their own country. It will focus on domestic tourists especially to sensitize youth.
  • Tourism for All: Organizing tourism events (Paryatan Mahotsav) across all destinations in the country.
  • Tourism & Governance: It will have interactive sessions and workshops with stakeholders on varied themes like Skill Development in Tourism Sector, Innovation in Tourism etc.
  1. The Paryatan Parv will start with the India Tourism Mart 2018 which will further ensure wide participation from outside the country.
  2. It shall conclude with the World Tourism Day celebrations on 27th September 2018.
Tourism Sector

[pib] E-Pashudhan Haat Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Economics of animal-rearing

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Read the attached story


News

E-Pashu Haat portal

  1. Nodal Agency: Department of Animal Husbandry Dairying & Fisheries (DADF), Ministry of Agriculture
  2. Aim: To connect breeders and farmers regarding availability of bovine germplasm.
  3. Government has launched e-Pashu Haat portal (www.epashuhaat.gov.in) for connecting breeders and farmers of indigenous breeds.
  4. The portal has been launched under the scheme “National Mission on Bovine Productivity.”
  5. This provides direct access to the farmers/ breeders to various organizations/sources wherein frozen semen, embryos and livestock certifications are available.
  6. This portal is playing crucial role in development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
Agricultural Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

[pib] Introduction of E-way Bill System

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: e-way bill, GST

Mains level: Issues related to the implementation of GST


News

E-way Bill System

  1. The E-way Bill System has been introduced nation-wide for inter-State and intra-State movement of goods.
  2. The objectives of E-way bill system are as below:
  1. single and unified E-way bill for inter-State and intra-State movement of goods for the whole country in self-service mode,
  2. enabling paperless and fully online system to facilitate seamless movement of goods across all the States,
  3. improve service delivery with quick turnaround time for the entire supply chain and provide anytime anywhere access to data/services,
  4. to facilitate hassle free movement of goods by abolishing inter-State check posts across the country.
  1. The Government undertook various corrective steps in this regard viz., new Information Technology (IT) infrastructure including high end servers were installed to handle the increased load on the system.
  2. The upgraded system is capable of handling a peak load of 75 lakh E-way bills per day.

Back2Basics

E-way bill

  1. EWay Bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the eWay Bill Portal
  2. Transport of goods of more than Rs. 50,000 (Single Invoice/bill/delivery challan) in value in a vehicle cannot be made by a registered person without an eway bill
  3. When an eway bill is generated a unique eway bill number (EBN) is allocated and is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter
  4. An e-way bill is valid for 1 day for distance less Than 100 Kms and additional 1 day for every additional 100 Kms or part thereof
  5. The validity of Eway bill can be extended
Goods and Services Tax (GST)

[pib] Strategic Investment Fund under NIIF

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NIIF, Strategic Investment Fund

Mains level: Government initiatives for reviving infrastructure sector and providing required capital to the sector.


News

Strategic Investment Fund (under NIIF)

  1. Three funds have been established by the Government under the NIIF platform and registered with SEBI as Category II Alternative Investment Funds.
  2. NIIF II (“Strategic Fund”) is one of those three funds. The other two funds are NIIF (or Master Fund) and NIIF Fund of Funds – I.
  3. The objective of this strategic fund is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments.
  4. It will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.
  5. The NIIF Funds work on a model whereby equity participation from strategic partners (including overseas sovereign / quasi-sovereign / multilateral / bilateral investors) is invited, alongside Government’s contribution.
  6. Government’s contribution / share in the corpus will be 49% in each entity set up as an AIF and will neither be increased beyond, nor allowed to fall below 49%.
  7. The whole of 49% would be contributed by the Government of India directly.

Back2Basics

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

  1. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country.
  2. This is different from the National Investment Fund.
  3. Objective: to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects. It could also consider other nationally important projects, for example, in manufacturing, if commercially viable.
  4. NIIF was proposed to be set up as a Trust, to raise debt to invest in the equity of infrastructure finance companies such as Indian Rail Finance Corporation (IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB).
  5. NIIF is envisaged as a fund of funds with the ability to make direct investments as required. As a fund of fund it may invest in other SEBI registered funds.
  6. The functions of NIIF are as follows:
  • Fund raising through suitable instruments including off-shore credit enhanced bonds, and attracting anchor investors to participate as partners in NIIF;
  • Servicing of the investors of NIIF.
  • Considering and approving candidate companies/institutions/ projects (including state entities) for investments and periodic monitoring of investments.
  • Investing in the corpus created by Asset Management Companies (AMCs) for investing in private equity.
  • Preparing a shelf of infrastructure projects and providing advisory service
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

[pib] Vidyalakshmi Portal for Education Loan

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Initiative

Mains level: Effective step of speedy credit facilitation for students


News

Vidyalakshmi Portal

  1. Vidya Lakshmi Portal provides a single window for students to access information and make application for Educational Loans provided by Banks.
  2. This portal has been developed under the guidance of Department of Financial Services (Ministry of Finance), Department of Higher Education (Ministry of Human Resource Development) and Indian Banks Association (IBA).
  3. Students can view, apply and track the education loan applications to banks anytime, anywhere by accessing the portal
  4. It was launched by the Government on August 15, 2015 to ensure that students can avail loans easily through single window system of banks for education loans.
  5. Banks follow Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) guidelines in this regard which stipulates that education loan applications have to be disposed off, in the normal course, within a period of 15 to 30 days.