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Table of Contents
GS Paper 2:
1. What is the procedure to arrest a cabinet minister in India?
2. SC sets aside Haryana order creating a sub-category of creamy layer.
3. UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
GS Paper 3:
1. Kalaignar Urban Development Scheme.
2. GM soya cake imports.
Facts for Prelims:
2. INS Chilka.
GS Paper-2: Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Union minister Narayan Rane was arrested after his statement against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
So, what is the procedure of arresting a Union minister?
A Union minister or a Member of Parliament enjoys certain privileges but most of them are available when Parliament is in session.
If Parliament is not in session, police or other law enforcement agencies may arrest a Union cabinet minister in a criminal case.
- But, under Section 222A of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of the Rajya Sabha, the police or a judge issuing an arrest order is required to intimate the Rajya Sabha Chairman about the reason for and place of arrest. The Chairman gets it published in a Rajya Sabha
Is there any protection available to Union ministers?
A Union minister or an MP enjoys protection from arrest 40 days before the start of a Parliament session, during its sittings and 40 days after its conclusion.
So, under Section 135 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Narayan Rane has the protection from arrest in a civil case as Parliament’s Monsoon Session ended earlier this month.
- However, his arrest came in a criminal case. And, the protection from arrest does not cover criminal offences or preventive detention.
Did you know that arrests cannot be made on the floors or premises of either House of the Parliament unless express permission from the presiding authority of the House — the speaker of Lok Sabha or the chairman of the Rajya Sabha? Reference: read this.
- About Collective Responsibility.
- Union Ministers- appointment and removal.
- Breach of privileges.
- Procedure for arrests.
Discuss about the Parliamentary Privileges available to Union Cabinet Ministers.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Context: Supreme Court has quashed Haryana government’s notification. It said economic criterion can’t be sole basis to decide ‘creamy layer’.
What is Reservation?
In simple terms, it is all about reserving access to seats in the government jobs, educational institutions, and even legislatures to certain sections of the population.
- Also known as affirmative action, the reservation can also be seen as positive discrimination backed by the Indian Constitution.
Constitutional and legal backing related to reservation:
- Article 14: Equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
- Articles 15(1) and 15(2): Prohibit the state from discriminating against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth.
But clauses (3) to (5) of Article 15 empower the state to provide for positive discrimination in favour of the grossly underrepresented and neglected sections of the society in order to promote substantive equality or better to say EQUITY.
Article 16: Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
- Article 16 clause (4)Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making 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.
Why Supreme Court had to intervene?
Two notifications were issued by the Haryana government sub-classifying backward classes solely on economic basis while fixing the criteria for creamy layer.
- The apex court held that the Haryana’s notifications have violated the law declared in the Indra Sawhney judgment by identifying creamy layer only on the basis of income.
- Apart from the economic criterion, social, educational and other factors must also be taken into account before defining a “creamy layer” among the backward classes.
What is the creamy layer?
It is a concept that sets a threshold within which OBC reservation benefits are applicable. While there is a 27% quota for OBCs in government jobs and higher educational institutions, those falling within the “creamy layer” cannot get the benefits of this quota.
- Based on the recommendation of the Second Backward Classes Commission (Mandal Commission), the government on August 13, 1990 had notified 27% reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) in vacancies in civil posts and services that are to be filled on direct recruitment.b
- After this was challenged, the Supreme Court on November 16, 1992 (Indira Sawhney case) upheld 27% reservation for OBCs, subject to exclusion of the creamy layer.
Few categories defined under Creamy Layer:
Income beyond 8 lakh: For those not in government services, the current threshold is an income of Rs 8 lakh per year.
Parents’ rank: For children of government employees, the threshold is based on their parents’ rank and not income.
Take away from Indira Sawhney case:
A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney case of 1992 specifically answered the question “whether backward classes can be identified only and exclusively with reference to the economic criterion.”
- The constitution bench had categorically ruled that a backward class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion. The bench had held that economic criterion may be a consideration or basis along with, and in addition to, social backwardness, but it can never be the sole criterion.
Reservation based entirely on economic criteria is not an all-in-one solution, though family income can be one of the parameters. Also, its time to fix a time period for the reservation system – rather than extending it to eternity. Moreover, the reservation is not a poverty alleviation scheme. There is a need to adopt MADHYAM MARG to award excellence and merit along with providing equal opportunity to vulnerable sections.
Parliament has passed Constitution 127th Amendment Bill to Restore States’ Power to Specify SEBCs. Know more about this here.
- About Creamy layer.
- Its evolution.
- Constitutional backing to reservation.
- About Indira Sawhney Judgment.
Discuss the significance of Indira Sawhney Judgment.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
World leaders are planning to meet to discuss the renewal of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which expires on September 17.
Taliban has launched a major nationwide offensive in the wake of the withdrawal of foreign troops over the past few months.
What is UNAMA?
- UNAMA was established on 28 March 2002 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1401.
- It was basically established to assist the state and the people of Afghanistan in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development.
- Its original mandate was to support the implementation of the Bonn Agreement (December 2001).
- Reviewed annually, this mandate has been altered over time to reflect the needs of the country.
- UNAMA is an integrated mission. This means that the Special Political Mission, all UN agencies, funds and programmes, work in a multidimensional and integrated manner to better assist Afghanistan according to nationally defined priorities.
What is the Bonn Agreement?
- Bonn was a closed-door negotiation; participants were isolated, outside contact was limited during the negotiations, and there was no publicity until after the agreement was signed.
- The existing nominal head of state (Rabbani) was sidelined and did not participate, and the Taliban were completely excluded from the Bonn negotiations.
- The United Nations and several other international actors played major roles in pushing the negotiations forward, and the Bonn Agreement was blessed by the U.N. Security Council.
The Bonn Agreement set an ambitious three-year political and administrative roadmap which was, by and large, followed:
- The Emergency Loya Jirga (grand council) of June 2002 established the transitional administration, a new Constitution was ratified in early 2004, and presidential and parliamentary elections were held in 2004 and 2005.
What are UN special political missions?
The term ‘Special Political Mission’ encompasses entities that are not managed or directed by the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) such as the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.
What is Sharia law? How are rulings made? Reference
- About UNAMA.
- What are UN Special Missions.
- What is Bonn Agreement?
Comment on Afghan Crisis.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
This is an urban employment scheme proposed to be implemented by Tamil Nadu Government on the lines of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
- It seeks to improve the livelihood of urban poor.
- Unlike other States, the urban population in Tamil Nadu is growing fast and it would reach 60% of the total population by 2036.
- A total of four crore people are now living in urban areas, accounting for 53% of the total population.
But, many of them had lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Implementation and key features:
Under the scheme, workers will be used for activities such as desilting of water bodies and maintenance of public parks and other places.
The scheme was introduced in 2005 as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.
- The key tenet of this social measure and labour law is that the local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.
- Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
- Proactively ensuring social inclusion by strengthening the livelihood base of rural poor.
- Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
- Reduce urban migration from rural areas.
- Create rural infrastructure by using untapped rural labour.
The following are the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:
- Must be Citizen of India to seek MGNREGA benefits.
- Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
- The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
- Applicants must volunteer for unskilled labour.
Implementation of the scheme:
- Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
- Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
- Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
- The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands.
- It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.
Did you know that the Indian Constitution does not explicitly recognise the ‘right to work’ as a fundamental right? Then, how is it treated under the Constitution? Reference: read this.
- Under MGNREGA, what are the roles of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, States, State Food Commission, Centre?
- What are job cards, who issues them?
- Who sets up the State Employment Guarantee Fund?
- What is Wage employment?
- Who conducts social audits?
Discuss the key features and significance of MGNREGA.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
With rising soyabean prices escalating the poultry industry’s costs, the Centre has allowed the import of 1.2 million metric tonnes of crushed and de-oiled genetically modified (GM) soya cake till October 31, 2021.
Soyabean meal is an essential raw material for the poultry industry, but prices have more than doubled over the past couple of months. Besides, protein sources like fish, meat and milk have recorded high inflation.
Status of GM Soybean and soyabean seeds in India:
India allows the import of GM soybean and canola oil. Import of GM soya bean seeds was so far not approved in India.
Concerns/criticisms associated with the latest move:
- Environmental activists have raised concerns about the permission given for something derived from a genetically modified plant to enter the human food chain, given that India’s regulatory system has yet to approve GM foods.
- Besides, the 1989 rules of the Environment Protection Act applied not just to GM organisms, but also products and substances thereof.
Approval Process for GM crops in India:
- The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.
- Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 years and fine of Rs. 1 lakh under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the authorised body to regulate the imported crops in India.
What are Genetically Modified crops?
- A GM or transgenic crop is a plant that has a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.
- GM crop can contain a gene(s) that has been artificially inserted instead of the plant acquiring it through pollination.
Did you know that Bt cotton is the only GM crop that is allowed in India? How is it different from Herbicide Tolerant Bt (Ht Bt) cotton? Reference: read this.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:.
- It is a Geospatial Planning Portal for facilitating Gram Panchayat level planning of MGNREGA. It is a new portal under ‘Bhuvan’.
- Launched by the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
- The platform will serve as a repository of assets (Geotags) created under various national rural development programmes i.e. MGNREGA, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Per Drop More Crop and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, etc.
- INS Chilka is the only ab-initio training establishment of the Indian Navy, which trains more than 6600 raw recruits annually to make them able-bodied sailors.
- INS Chilka was commissioned in 1980 and is located in Odisha in the vicinity of Chilika Lake.