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TOPIC : GS 2 Polity and Governance

Income and quotas

What is the news?

  • The Supreme Court’s ruling that economic criterion alone cannot be used to classify a member of Backward Class as belonging to the ‘creamy layer’
  • It adds an interesting shade of affirmative action. There was a time when backwardness was primarily related to the inadequate social and educational advancement of a group.
  • Ever since the Court, in Indra Sawhney  introduced the concept of ‘creamy layer’ a term describing the well-of among the Backward Classes and declared that this section should be denied reservation benefits
  • The original idea of including groups based on social backwardness was matched by a parallel exercise to exclude the more advanced among them. This position has crystallized into law.
  • Many support the formulation that once caste is accepted as a basis for determining backwardness, there is nothing wrong in excluding the affluent among the eligible castes.
  • The Union government has unreservedly accepted the ‘creamy layer’ rule, and formulated criteria for identifying those who fall under the category.

The proponents of economic criteria

  • Genuine social justice means reservation benefits should be restricted to the poorer among the backward while sections championing Backward Class assertion disfavor any dilution of the social basis for reservation.
  • The Court’s latest judgment in a Haryana case corrects a grave error by the State.
  • It has struck down a notification fixing an annual income of 6 lakh as the sole criterion to identify whether a family belongs to the creamy layer.

 

 

Contradictions

  • It was contrary to Indra Sawhney that had spoken of diferent criteria, including
  • Being the children of high-ranking constitutional functionaries
  • Employees of a certain rank in the Union and State governments
  • Those affluent enough to employ others, or with signifcant property
  • Agricultural holdings and, of course, an identified annual income.
  • The Court has found that the Haryana criterion based on income alone was contrary to its own law that specifies that the creamy layer would be identified through social, economic and other factors.

Way Forward

  • The Constitution permitted special provisions in favour of ‘socially and educationally backward classes’ through the first Amendment, as well as reservation in government employment for ‘backward classes’.
  • Judicial discourse introduced a 50% ceiling and the creamy layer concept as constitutional limitations on reservation benefits.
  • The 103rd Constitution Amendment, by which 10% reservation for the ‘economically weaker sections’ (EWS) has been introduced, has significantly altered the affirmative action programme.
  • With the current income ceiling being 8 lakh per annum for availing of both OBC and EWS quotas, there is a strange
  • Questionable balance between the OBC and EWS segments in terms of eligibility, even though the size of the respective quotas vary.

Mains question

Why SC lays bare the limits of using economic criterion to determine reservation eligibility ?

 

 

Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/income-and-quotas-the-hindu-editorial-on-creamy-layer-and-economic-criterion/article36106349.ece

 

PRELIMS PUNCHERS

  1. The Barents Sea

It is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia and divided between Norwegian and Russian territorial waters. Known among Russians in the middle Ages as the Murman Sea (Norwegian Sea), the current name of the sea is after the historical Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz.

This is a rather shallow shelf sea, with an average depth and it is an important site for both fishing and hydrocarbon exploration. The Barents Sea is bordered by the Kola Peninsula to the south, the shelf edge towards the Norwegian Sea to the west, and the archipelagos of Svalbard to the northwest, Franz Josef Land to the northeast and Novaya Zemlya to the east. The islands of Novaya Zemlya, an extension of the northern end of the Ural Mountains, separate the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea.

Sources : https://frontline.thehindu.com/world-affairs/waves-of-tension-us-showcases-global-military-might-through-many-military-and-naval-exercises-it-conducts-from-latin-america-to-africa-to-asia/article35509683.ece

 

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

It is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations mandated to provide objective scientific information relevant to understanding human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options. It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with subsequent endorsement by the United Nations General Assembly the same year. Membership is open to all member states of the WMO and UN, and currently comprises 195 countries.

The IPCC does not conduct original research nor monitor climate change; rather, it undertakes a systematic review of all relevant published literature to provide a comprehensive update on climate change, its effects, and potential strategies. Thousands of scientists and other experts volunteer to review and surmise the data which can span tens of thousands of studies—and compile key findings into “Assessment Reports”. The review process emphasizes transparency and rigor, involving multiple rounds of critique and commentary  it has been described as the biggest peer review process in the scientific community. IPCC reports contain a “Summary for Policymakers” subject to line-by-line approval by delegates from all participating governments, which often represent more than 120 countries.

Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/south-india-to-see-more-rain-as-planet-heats-up/article35823915.ece

 

  1. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

It is a disabled nuclear power plant located on site in the towns of Ōkuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The plant suffered major damage from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The chain of events caused radiation leaks and permanently damaged several reactors, making them impossible to restart.

First commissioned in 1971, the plant consists of six boiling water reactors. These light water reactors drove electrical generators with a combined power of 4.7 GWe, making Fukushima Daiichi one of the 15 largest nuclear power stations in the world. Fukushima was the first nuclear plant to be designed, constructed, and run in conjunction with General Electric and Tokyo Electric Power Company

 

Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/fukushima-nuclear-water-to-be-released-via-undersea-tunnel/article36106566.ece

 

  1. Maniram Dutta Baruah

He is also popularly known as Maniram Dewan , was an Assamese nobleman in British India. He was one of the first people to establish tea gardens in Assam. A loyal ally of the British East India Company in his early years, he was hanged by the British for conspiring against them during the 1857 uprising. He established his own Cinnamara tea garden at Cinnamara in Jorhat, thus becoming the first Indian Tea Planter to grow tea commercially in Assam. He established the world’s first tea research laboratory established in 1911 as Tocklai Experimental Station. He also established another plantation at Selung

When the Indian sepoys started an uprising against the British, Maniram saw it as an opportunity to restore the Ahom rule. With help from messengers disguised as fakirs, he sent coded letters to Piyali Baruah, who had been acting as the chief advisor of Kandarpeswar in his absence. In these letters, he urged Kandarpeswar Singha to launch a rebellion against the British, with help from the sepoys at Dibrugarh and Golaghat.

Sources : https://www.indiaonline.in/about/personalities/freedom-fighters/maniram-dewan

 

PRELIMS QUESTIONS

  1. Consider the following statement with regard to The Barents Sea
  2. It is located off the northern coasts of Norway and Switzerland
  3. Ural Mountains separate the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea.

 

Select the correct statement using code given below.

(a). 1only       (b) 2 only

(c).Both       (d). None of above

Answer : B

It is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia and divided between Norwegian and Russian territorial waters. Known among Russians in the middle Ages as the Murman Sea (Norwegian Sea), the current name of the sea is after the historical Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz.

This is a rather shallow shelf sea, with an average depth and it is an important site for both fishing and hydrocarbon exploration. The Barents Sea is bordered by the Kola Peninsula to the south, the shelf edge towards the Norwegian Sea to the west, and the archipelagos of Svalbard to the northwest, Franz Josef Land to the northeast and Novaya Zemlya to the east. The islands of Novaya Zemlya, an extension of the northern end of the Ural Mountains, separate the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea.

 

  1. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is located in
  2. Japan
  3. North Korea
  4. South Korea
  5. USA

Answer: A

It is a disabled nuclear power plant located on site in the towns of Ōkuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The plant suffered major damage from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The chain of events caused radiation leaks and permanently damaged several reactors, making them impossible to restart.

First commissioned in 1971, the plant consists of six boiling water reactors. These light water reactors drove electrical generators with a combined power of 4.7 GWe, making Fukushima Daiichi one of the 15 largest nuclear power stations in the world. Fukushima was the first nuclear plant to be designed, constructed, and run in conjunction with General Electric and Tokyo Electric Power Company

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