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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 6 August 2021

 

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically. 


 

Do we need a caste-based census for India?

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

 

Context:

The Bihar chief minister wants the central government to reconsider its refusal to hold a caste-based census, as he feels such data can help his government design more focused policies for the really needy among OBCs.

However, the Government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in Census.

 

How have caste details been collected so far?

  1. While SC/ST details are collected as part of the census, details of other castes are not collected by the enumerators. The main method is by self-declaration to the enumerator.
  2. So far, backward classes commissions in various States have been conducting their own counts to ascertain the population of backward castes.

 

What kind of caste data is published in the Census?

Every Census in independent India from 1951 to 2011 has published data on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but not on other castes. Before that, every Census until 1931 had data on caste.

 

What is SECC 2011?

The Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011 was a major exercise to obtain data about the socio-economic status of various communities.

  • It had two components: a survey of the rural and urban households and ranking of these households based on pre-set parameters, and a caste census.
  • However, only the details of the economic conditions of the people in rural and urban households were released. The caste data has not been released till now.
  • SECC 2011 was conducted by three separate authorities but under the overall coordination of Department of Rural Development in the Government of India.
    • Census in Rural Area has been conducted by the Department of Rural Development (DoRD).
    • Census in Urban areas is under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA).
    • Caste Census is under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs: Registrar General of India (RGI) and Census Commissioner of India.

 

Difference between Census & SECC:

  • The Census provides a portrait of the Indian population, while the SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.
  • Since the Census falls under the Census Act of 1948, all data are considered confidential, whereas all the personal information given in the SECC is open for use by Government departments to grant and/or restrict benefits to households.

 

Pros of caste census:

The precise number of the population of each caste would help tailor the reservation policy to ensure equitable representation of all of them.

 

Concerns associated:

  • There is a possibility that it will lead to heartburn among some sections and spawn demands for larger or separate quotas.
  • It has been alleged that the mere act of labelling persons as belonging to a caste tends to perpetuate the system.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics? What were the other contents of this? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a census?
  2. Statutory provisions in this regard.
  3. How is the census carried out?
  4. Highlights of the Census 2011.
  5. About the National Commission for Backward.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of caste based census.

Sources: the Hindu.

Bill to amend Scheduled Tribes list:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Context:

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill removes the Abor tribe from the list of identified STs in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It replaces certain STs with other tribes. This includes Tai Khamti, Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi) and Taraon (Digaru Mishmi).

 

Who has the power to modify the list of notified STs?

The Constitution empowers the President to specify the Scheduled Tribes (STs) in various states and union territories. Further, it permits Parliament to modify this list of notified STs.

 

Definition of STs:

The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes.

  • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
  • Article 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.

 

Constitutional Safeguards for STs:

I. Educational & Cultural Safeguards:

  1. Art. 15(4):- Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes(which includes STs);
  2. Art. 29:- Protection of Interests of Minorities (which includes STs);
  3. Art. 46:- 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.
  4. Art. 350:- Right to conserve distinct Language, Script or Culture;
  5. Art. 350:- Instruction in Mother Tongue.

 

II.Social Safeguard:

  1. Art. 23:- Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar form of forced labour;
  2. Art. 24:- Forbidding Child Labour.

 

III. Economic Safeguards:

  1. Art.244:- Clause(1) Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule, under Clause (2) of this Article.
  2. Art. 275:- Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.

 

IV. Political Safeguards:

  1. Art.164(1):- Provides for Tribal Affairs Ministers in Bihar, MP and Orissa;
  2. Art. 330:- Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;
  3. Art. 337- Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;
  4. Art. 334:- 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period);
  5. Art. 243:- Reservation of seats in Panchayats.
  6. Art. 371:- Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim.

 

V. Service Safeguards:

(Under Art.16(4),16(4A),164(B) Art.335, and Art. 320(40).

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about Shilpgram and Octave Schemes? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. V. Chinnaiah case is related to?
  2. Powers of President under article 341(1).
  3. Who can include or exclude groups from the central list?
  4. Various benches of the Supreme Court.
  5. Power of the Supreme Court to review its own judgment.

Mains Link:

There is a “caste struggle” within the reserved class as benefit of reservation are being usurped by a few. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Mekedatu issue:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Context:

Tamil Nadu has protested against Karnataka’s move to build a reservoir on river Cauvery at Mekedatu. However, the Karnataka Government has asserted that there is no “compromise” on the Mekedatu project and the state wants to undertake the project.

 

What’s the way out then?

Meanwhile, the Centre has said the project required the approval of the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s (CWMA).

  • The Detail Project Report (DPR) sent by Karnataka was tabled in the CWMA several times for approval, but the discussion on this issue could not take place due to a lack of consensus among party states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Also, as per the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal‘s final award, which was modified by the Supreme Court, acceptance of CWMA would be a prerequisite for consideration of the DPR by the Jal Shakti Ministry.

Since the project was proposed across an inter-state river, it required approval of lower riparian state(s) as per the interstate water dispute act.

 

About the Project:

  • Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project.
  • It involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district in Karnataka.
  • The project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighboring areas (4.75 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power.
  • The estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore.

 

Why Tamil Nadu is against this project?

  1. It says, the CWDT and the SC have found that the existing storage facilities available in the Cauvery basin were adequate for storing and distributing water so Karnataka’s proposal is ex-facie (on the face of it) untenable and should be rejected outright.
  2. It has also held that the reservoir is not just for drinking water alone, but to increase the extent of irrigation, which is in clear violation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Award.

 

Award by the tribunal and the Supreme Court:

The tribunal was set up in 1990 and made its final award in 2007, granting 419 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry. The tribunal ordered that in rain-scarcity years, the allocation for all would stand reduced.

However, both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka expressed unhappiness over the allocation and there were protests and violence in both states over water-sharing. That saw the Supreme Court take up the matter and, in a 2018 judgment, it apportioned 14.75 tmcft from Tamil Nadu’s earlier share to Karnataka.

  • The new allocation thus stood at 404.25 tmcft for Tamil Nadu while Karnataka’s share went up to 284.75 tmcft. The share for Kerala and Puducherry remained unchanged.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that in 2018 the Supreme Court of India directed the Centre to notify the Cauvery Management Scheme? What are the components of the scheme? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Tributaries of Cauvery.
  2. Basin states.
  3. Important falls and dams across the river.
  4. Where is Mekedatu?
  5. What is the project related to?
  6. Beneficiaries of the project.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Mekedatu project.

Sources: the Hindu.

Centre moves bill in House to stop retrospective tax:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Context:

The government has introduced the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha.

 

The Bill aims to:

  1. Amend the Income Tax Act, 1961, and the Finance Act, 2012.
  2. Prevent the income tax department from raising tax demands retrospectively.

 

Implications:

  1. Now, no tax demand shall be raised in future on the basis of the said retrospective amendment for any indirect transfer of Indian assets if the transaction was undertaken before 28th May, 2012 (i.e., the date on which the Finance Bill, 2012, received the assent of the President).
  2. The demand raised for indirect transfer of Indian assets made before 28th May, 2012 shall be nullified on fulfilment of specified conditions.
  3. It is also proposed to refund the amount paid in these cases without any interest thereon.

 

Eligibility:

To be eligible, the concerned taxpayers would have to drop all pending cases against the government and promise not to make any demands for damages or costs.

 

What’s the issue? When was the retrospective tax introduced? What were its implications?

  1. The retrospective tax law was introduced through the Finance Act, 2012 after Vodafone won a case in the Supreme Court against the I-T department’s demand of ₹11,000 crore in tax dues.
  2. This law became necessary after the Supreme Court, in 2012, ruled that gains arising from indirect transfer of Indian assets were not taxable under existing laws.
  3. The retrospective tax provisions were also applied to Cairn, when it was exiting from Cairn India Ltd in January 2014. The initial demand was for ₹10,570 crore.

 

Significance of the move:

  • The move attempts to end long-pending disputes with foreign firms such as Vodafone Plc.
  • The move is also investor-friendly, and also brings to an end messy litigation and arbitration, especially with Cairn, which has seen the company staking claim to India’s overseas assets.

 

What is retrospective taxation?

  • It allows a country to pass a rule on taxing certain products, items or services and deals and charge companies from a time behind the date on which the law is passed.
  • Countries use this route to correct any anomalies in their taxation policies that have, in the past, allowed companies to take advantage of such loopholes.
  • Retrospective Taxation hurts companies that had knowingly or unknowingly interpreted the tax rules differently.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know what Flat Tax is? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. PCA- composition, functions and members.
  2. Are PCA rulings binding on parties.
  3. Clause 9 of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) signed between India and the Netherlands in 1995.
  4. What is retrospective taxation?
  5. Overview of UNCITRAL.

Mains Link:

Discuss the functions and significance of PCA.

Sources: the Hindu.

‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme 2.0’ to continue till 2026:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to Education.

 

‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme 2.0’

Context:

The Centre has approved the continuation of the ‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme’ for school education for the next five years till March 31, 2026. The scheme has also been revamped now with the addition of new Components/initiatives based on the recommendations of the NEP 2020.

 

Components of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) 2.0:

  1. In order to enhance the direct outreach of the scheme, all child-centric interventions will be provided directly to the students through DBT [or direct benefit transfer] mode on an IT-based platform over a period of time.
  2. This DBT would include RTE entitlements such as textbooks, uniforms and transport allowance.
  3. Keeping with the NEP’s recommendations on encouraging Indian languages, it has a new component for appointment of language teachers, which includes salaries, and training costs as well as bilingual books and teaching learning material.
  4. It will have the NIPUN Bharat initiative for foundational literacy and numeracy, which will get an annual provision of ₹500 per child for learning materials, ₹150 per teacher for manuals and resources and ₹10-20 lakh per district for assessment.
  5. As part of digital initiatives, there is a provision for ICT labs and smart classrooms, including support for digital boards, virtual classrooms and DTH channels.
  6. It includes a provision to support out of school children from age 16 to 19 with funding of ₹2000 per grade to complete their education via open schooling.
  7. It also has a provision for an incentive of up to ₹25000 for schools that have two medal-winning students at the Khelo India school games at the national level.

 

Samagra Shiksha:

  1. Samagra Shiksha is an integrated scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
  2. It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  3. The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving the quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
  4. The scheme mainly aims to support States in the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  5. The Scheme is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. It involves a 60:40 split in funding between the Centre and most States.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Samagra Shiksha.
  2. New components.
  3. About RTE.
  4. Article 21A.
  5. About the National Education Policy, 2020.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of RTE.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Agalega island:

  • It is an island in Mauritius.
  • It is located about 1,000 km north of the archipelago’s main island.
  • It was in news because some reports said Mauritius has allowed India to build a military base on this island.
  • However, Mauritius has now clarified that no such agreement exists with India.

Diego Garcia:

  • It is an island of the British Indian Ocean Territory, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.
  • It is the largest of 60 small islands comprising the Chagos Archipelago.
  • The Portuguese were the first Europeans to find it and it was then settled by the French in the 1790s and transferred to British rule after the Napoleonic Wars.
  • In 1965, Britain separated the Chagos Islands from Mauritius and set up a joint military base with the United States on Diego Garcia.
  • Britain insists the islands belong to London and has renewed a lease agreement with the United States to use Diego Garcia until 2036.

 

EOS-03:

  • It is an earth observation satellite.
  • The satellite, EOS-03, will be carried on board the 14th flight of the GSLV, the GSLV-F10.
  • The satellite will be placed in the geostationary orbit.
  • The EOS-03 is a state-of-the-art agile satellite that will enable real-time monitoring of natural disasters, waterbodies, crops, forest cover changes, among others.
  • It is capable of imaging the whole country four to five times every day.

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