Explained: How states are split into seats

Headline : Explained: How states are split into seats

Details :

Context of the topic:

  • The bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir state into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh calls for delimitation of their electoral constituencies.
  • While the government has not formally notified the Election Commission yet, the EC has held internal discussions on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, particularly its provisions on delimitation.

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Theme of the Topic: The topic discusses about Delimitation in India and need of delimitation in state of Jammu and Kashmir.

About: Delimitation in India

  • Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
  • Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats to represent changes in population.
  • In this process, the number of seats allocated to different states in Lok Sabha and the total number seats in a Legislative Assembly may also change.
  • Objective:
    • To provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
  • Aim:
    • Fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.

Which body carries out Delimitation?

  • Delimitation is carried out by an independent Delimitation Commission a Boundary Commission.
  • The Delimitation Commission is composed of a retired Supreme Court judge, the Chief Election Commissioner and the respective State Election Commissioners.
  • The Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.
  • These orders come into force on a date to be specified by the President of India in this behalf.
  • The copies of its orders are laid before the House of the People and the State Legislative Assembly concerned, but no modifications are permissible therein by them.

How is delimitation carried out?

  • Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census. After the act comes in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
  • The Constitution mandates that the number of Lok Sabha seats allotted to a state would be such that the ratio between that number and the population of the state is, as far as practicable, the same for all states
  • On the basis of the latest Census, the Commission determines the number and boundaries of constituencies in a way that the population of all seats is the same as far as possible.
  • The Commission is also tasked with identifying seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; these are where their population is relatively large.
  • In case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.
  • The draft proposals of the Delimitation Commission are published for public feedback, objections and suggestions and carries out changes, if any, in the draft proposal.
  • The final order is published in the Gazette of India and the State Gazette and comes into force on a date specified by the President.

History of Delimitation in India:

  • The first delimitation exercise was carried out in 1950-51 by the President (with the help of the Election Commission), as the Constitution at that time was silent on who should undertake the division of states into Lok Sabha seats.
  • This delimitation was temporary as the Constitution mandated redrawing of boundaries after every Census.
  • Hence, another delimitation was due after the 1951 Census.
  • The Election Commission advised the government that all future exercises should be carried out by an independent commission. This suggestion was accepted and the Delimitation Commission Act was enacted in 1952.
  • Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
  • The last Delimitation Commission was setup in 2002 in India. It was constituted under the chairmanship of Justice Kuldeep Singh, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Note: There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.

Why was there no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses?

  • The provision of allotting Lok Sabha seats to a state in accordance with the population of the state defeats the population control policy of the country and the southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced.
  • To allay these fears, the Constitution was amended during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule in 1976 to suspend delimitation until 2001.

Exceptions:

  • Despite the ban, there were a few occasions that called for readjustment in the number of Parliament and Assembly seats allocated to a state.
  • These include statehood attained by Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram in 1986, the creation of a Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory of Delhi, and creation of new states such as Uttarakhand.

Note: Although the freeze on the number of seats in Lok Sabha and Assemblies should have been lifted after the 2001 Census, another amendment postponed this until 2026, hoping a uniform population growth rate would be achieved throughout the country by 2026.

Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir Lok Sabha Seats

  • Delimitation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Lok Sabha seats is governed by the Indian Constitution.
  • The last Delimitation Commission of 2002 was not entrusted with delimitation of Lok Sabha’s seats. Hence, J&K parliamentary seats remain as delimited on the basis of the 1971 Census.

Delimitation of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly seats:

  • Earlier (before the abrogation of special status), delimitation of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly seats was governed separately by the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957.
  • Although the delimitation provisions of the J&K Constitution and the J&K Representation of the People Act, 1957, are similar to those of the Indian Constitution and Delimitation Acts, they mandate a separate Delimitation Commission for J&K.
  • In actual practice, the same central Delimitation Commission set up for other states was adopted by J&K in 1963 and 1973.

Note: While the amendment of 1976 to the Indian Constitution suspended delimitation in the rest of the country till 2001, no corresponding amendment was made to the J&K Constitution. Hence, unlike the rest of the country, the Assembly seats of J&K were delimited based on the 1981 Census, which formed the basis of the state elections in 1996.

  • There was no census in the state in 1991 and no Delimitation Commission was set up by the state government after the 2001 Census as the J&K Assembly passed a law putting a freeze on fresh delimitation until 2026. This freeze was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly seats:

  • The J&K Assembly has 87 seats i.e. 46 in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu and 4 in Ladakh.
  • Twenty-four seats are reserved for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019,

  • Under this law, delimitation of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in J&K UT will be as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
  • Unlike Ladakh, the Act provides for an elected legislative assembly and council of ministers headed by the chief minister for the UT of J&K.
  • The Act also states that in the next delimitation exercise, the number of Assembly seats will increase from 107 to 114. These 114 seats include 24 seats reserved for representatives from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • In the state of J&K, the cabinet had a strength of 24 members including the chief minister, cabinet ministers and junior ministers.
    • But in a major decision, the council of ministers in the UT of J&K shall not consist of more than 10% of the total number of members in the legislative assembly, with the chief minister at the head to aid and advise the lieutenant-governor.
    • The new arrangement implies that the total number of ministers in the cabinet including the chief minister shall not exceed 10.
  • With the reorganisation of the state, the J&K Legislative Council, also known as Upper House or House of Elders, has been abolished.
  • The J&K high court shall be common for both UTs.
  • At least 106 new Central laws have become applicable to the UT.
    • Some of them include the National Human Rights Commission Act, Central Information Act, the Enemy Property Act and The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
  • Under the reorganisation Act, various laws related to owning land and property in the UT of J&K have been amended to omit different provisions.
  • As per provisions of the Act, at least 153 state laws have been repealed under the reorganisation Act, along with 11 under the Governor’s Act.

Section : Polity & Governance

Mid-Monsoon 2019 Lightning Report

Headline : Mapping lightning across India

Details :

In News:

  • For the first time, a report called Mid-Monsoon 2019 Lightning Report has mapped lightning strikes across the country, and the lives they have claimed.

About the report:

  • The Mid-Monsoon 2019 Lightning Report has been prepared by Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), a non-profit organisation that works closely with India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • The report is part of effort to prepare a lightning risk map of India and identify lightning hotspots.

Institutes involved in report preparation:

  • The report has been prepared by using IMD’s lightning forecasts including Nowcast, Indian Institute of Tropical Management-Pune’s lightning network data, NRSC, ISRO inputs, other satellite data and ground-based impacts reports received from the active network of Lightning Resilient India Campaign.
  • The network includes state governments, NGOs, media, etc.

Key Findings of the report

  • During April 2019- July 2019:
    • There were about 65 lakh lightning strikes in India, of which about 23 lakh (36 per cent) happened to be cloud-to-ground lightning (the kind that reaches the Earth).
    • The other 41 lakh (64 per cent) were in-cloud lightning, which remains confined to the clouds in which it was formed.
    • Lightning strikes have caused at least 1,311 deaths in this period in India.
  • Odisha recorded over 9 lakh incidents of lightning (both kinds), the maximum for any state but fewer deaths than Uttar Pradesh, which had 3.2 lakh incidents.

How Odisha reduced lightning related fatalities:

  • The proactive role of the state has resulted in fewer deaths in Odisha inspite of highest number of lightning strikes.
  • The steps taken by the state are as follows:
    • After receiving alerts from IMD, state send pre-fixed messages to the grassroots utilising their network.
    • Vulnerable people have been trained how to respond after hearing the warning siren.
    • Safe shelters were created.
    • Lightning arresters have been installed on many buildings.
    • The state took proactive measures like changing housing patterns, providing education.
    • They planted palm trees, which attract high-voltage electricity.

Role of state governments in identifying lightning hotspots:

  • IMD-installed sensors across India have been giving alerts since April 2019.
  • State governments should take the data and start an emergency response system and relay the information to the district level.
  • Location-based SMS services is available, but this is not done in many states, resulting in high casualties.
  • States like Odisha, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh are doing this systematically.

Connection between lightning and climate change

  • The study found that areas prone to heatwaves were also prone to lightning.
  • Pollution increases aerosols in the atmosphere, which in turn increases lightning.
  • There have been at least two or three instances of lightning strikes without rainfall, killing persons in Jharkhand.

Protecting the tribals in some lightning prone regions:

  • The Chhotanagpur plateau, which is inhabited by tribals, is the most lightning-prone area. The area is electrostatically and thermodynamically charged, resulting in lightning.
  • East Singhbhum has the highest number of lightning strikes compared to any other district in India.
  • These areas are predominantly inhabited by tribals who need to be relocated to safer spaces, else their population will go extinct.
  • The study stress lightning protection to prevent extinction of tribal communities such as Birhor, Pahadiya

Significance of the Report:

  • Between 2,000 and 2,500 people are estimated as killed every year in lightning strikes in the country.
  • The report will be significant to create a database that can help develop an early warning system for lightning, spread awareness, and prevent deaths.

In Focus: Lightning

What is Lightning?

  • Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between clouds, the air, or the ground.
  • It is a result of the difference in electrical charge between the top and bottom of a cloud.

How is lightning formed?

  • The lightning-generating clouds are typically about 10-12 km in height, with their base about 1-2 km from the Earth’s surface.
  • The temperatures at the top range from -35°C to -45°C.
  • As water vapour moves upwards in the cloud, it condenses into water due to decreasing temperatures. A huge amount of heat is generated in the process, pushing the water molecules further up.
  • As they move to temperatures below zero, droplets change into small ice crystals. As they continue upwards, they gather mass, until they become so heavy that they start descending.
  • It leads to a system where smaller ice crystals move upwards while larger ones come down.
  • The resulting collisions trigger release of electrons, in a process very similar to the generation of electric sparks.
  • The moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons; a chain reaction is formed.
  • The process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged while the middle layer is negatively charged.
  • The electrical potential difference between the two layers is huge, of the order of billions of volts.
  • In little time, a huge current, of the order of lakhs to millions of amperes, starts to flow between the layers.
  • The flash of lightning temporarily equalizes the charged regions in the atmosphere until the opposite charges build up again.
  • Lightning can occur between opposite charges within the thunderstorm cloud (intra-cloud lightning) or between opposite charges in the cloud and on the ground (cloud-to-ground lightning).

Thunder:

  • Lightning produces heat, leading to the heating of the air column between the two layers of cloud. It is because of this heat that the air column looks red during lightning.
  • The heated air column expands and produces shock waves that result in thunder sounds.

How does lightning strike Earth?

  • Earth is a good conductor of electricity and electrically neutral.
  • Being relatively positively charged compared to the middle layer of the cloud, an estimated 20-25 per cent of the current flow gets directed towards the Earth.
  • It is this current flow that results in damage to life and property.

Why there is greater probability of lightning striking raised objects on the ground, such as trees or buildings.?

  • Air is a bad conductor of electricity, the electrons try to find a better conductor and also the shortest route to the relatively positively charged Earth’s surface.
  • Thus, when they are sufficiently near the ground, about 80-100 m from the surface, they tend to redirect their course to hit the taller objects.

Note: Thousands of thunderstorms occur over India every year. One thunderstorm can involve more than 100 lightning strikes.

Lightening Prediction:

  • The prediction is made possible through study and monitoring of the in-cloud lightning strikes.
  • It is possible to predict lightening 30-40 minutes in advance before lightning strike heads towards Earth.

Section : Science & Tech

What are NBFCs? What is a debt instrument?

What are NBFCs?

  • Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) are financial institutions that offer various banking services, but do not have a banking license.
  • Generally, these institutions are not allowed to take deposits from the public, which keeps them outside the scope of traditional banking regulations.
  • NBFCs can offer banking services such as loans and credit facilities, retirement planning, money markets, underwriting and merger activities.

 

What is a debt instrument?

  • Finance companies normally source funds by issuing a debt instrument, which is a paper or electronic obligation that enables the issuing party to raise funds by promising to repay a lender in accordance with the terms of a contract, and loans from banks.
  • Indian NBFCs issue debt instruments like bonds, non-convertible debentures (NCDs), certificates of deposits, commercial papers (CPs), mortgages, leases, or other agreements between a lender and a borrower.
  • Debt papers are issued at a specific interest rate linked to the market rate.
  • CPs and NCDs are two widely used debt instruments used by Corporates to raise money.
  • The IL& FS group defaulted on CP, which is an unsecured money market instrument issued in the form of a promissory note with a maximum validity of one year.

 

How did the IL& FS default play out?

  • The infrastructure lender has a total consolidated debt of close to Rs 1 lakh crore, and it started to miss deadlines on its debt obligations beginning August 27, 2018.
  • It has already defaulted on around Rs 450 crore worth of inter-corporate deposits to Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), and more defaults are likely in the coming weeks.
  • Following the defaults, rating agencies ICRA, India Ratings and CARE abruptly downgraded IL&FS and its subsidiary from high investment grade (AA plus and A1 plus) to junk status, indicating actual or imminent default.
  • Insurance companies, state-owned banks and their provident funds and pension funds, and mutual funds (MFs) have exposure to the debt papers of IL&FS; state-owned banks have also extended term loans to IL&FS.
  • As the group’s financial health weakened, several listed entities of the company saw a sharp decline in their share prices.

 

How has this situation hurt NBFCs?

  • Many corporates, mutual funds, and insurance companies have invested in CPs and NCDs of the IL&FS group, and there is fear that in the wake of the default, their funds could be locked in IL&FS debt instruments, leading to a liquidity crunch.
  • The situation has created a liquidity shortage of close to Rs 1 lakh crore in the system, and fears have intensified that the funding cost for NBFCs will zoom, and result in a sharp deterioration of their margins.
  • Default by a big corporation like IL&FS is likely to keep away potential investors in debt instruments of HFCs and NBFCs.
  • Sharp losses in NBFC stocks have triggered a vicious cycle — losses in leveraged positions are leading to selling in other stocks to cover those losses, which is in turn fuelling further losses in the market.
  • According to a Kotak Securities report, the probability of a full-fledged liquidity crisis is currently low — however, the pressure in the NBFC debt space may continue for some time, with a consequent hardening of short-term interest rates.
  • As short-term rates harden, the funding cost of most NBFCs (and companies) will rise in the near term.
  • Borrowing costs in general have been adverse over the past few quarters as the debt markets have priced in concerns on systemic liquidity, fiscal slippages, and policy rate hikes by the RBI.

 

What is the exposure of banks to NBFCs?

  • Banks are a big source of funds for HFCs and NBFCs. The exposure of banks to NBFCs had shot up by 27%, or over Rs 1 lakh crore, to Rs 496,400 crore in the span of six weeks in March 2018.
  • However, banks have cut their exposure since April this year, leading to a 4.6% decline in their exposure to NBFCs, according to RBI data.
  • The sudden spike in banks’ exposure to NBFCs prompted the RBI to direct them to bring it down.
  • There is no concern on liquidity of NBFCs in view of their liquid cash position and availability of committed lines.
  • The RBI has initiated supervisory action against NBFCs that are non-compliant, inactive, and do not meet the minimum Net Owned Fund (NOF) criteria.

 

What is the exposure of MFs to NBFCs?

  • In line with rising inflows into MFs and growth of NBFCs, the MF exposure to debt papers of NBFCs has gone up significantly over the last five years, raising their vulnerability in the event of NBFC books coming under pressure.
  • NBFCs and HFCs have raised their borrowing from MFs significantly over the last few years.
  • While MFs had an exposure of Rs 98,738 crore to CPs and CDs of NBFCs in August 2014, the exposure jumped to Rs 2.65 lakh crore in August 2018.
  • A rush to liquidate such holdings may put more pressure on NBFCs.

 

Could this situation spill over into the broader market?

  • The panic in the fixed income market due to the IL&FS default has led to a liquidity freeze, and it is putting pressure on the equity markets too, especially on HFC and NBFC stocks.
  • With the panic in the market around liquidity, corporates are redeeming their investments in debt schemes of mutual funds, which is leading to a further liquidity issue in the market.
  • If the liquidity situation does not stabilise soon, it may lead to a bigger issue in the near term, and may hurt both the debt and the equity markets.
  • Investors were earlier not too worried about concerns around currency and rising crude oil prices; however, with the liquidity issue in the fixed income market following the IL&FS default, they have started looking at those headwinds, too.

 

Section : Economics

Legislative Council

Legislative Council

  • Article 169 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of a Vidhan Parishad.
  • Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad is the upper house in bicameral legislatures in some states of India.
  • While most states have unicameral legislature with only legislative assembly, currently, seven states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh have legislative councils.
  • They are elected by local bodies, legislative assembly, governor, graduates, teacher, etc.
  • The members are known as Members of Legislative Councils (MLCs).
  • Legislative council is a permanent body (term 6 years) & not subjected to dissolution.
  • After every 2 years, 1/3rd of its members retire.

Establishing Councils:

  • Power of abolition or creation of Legislative council lies with the Parliament.
  • To set up the council, the legislative assembly of state must pass a resolution by a majority of total membership & not less than 2/3rd of the members of the assembly present & voting.
  • However, a resolution passed by legislative assembly of state for creation or abolition of its council is not binding on the Parliament. Parliament may or may not approve the resolution with simple majority.

Membership Qualification

  • Must be citizen of India
  • Must be of 30 years of age for Legislative Council
  • Must not hold any office of profit
  • Must not be of unsound mind
  • If a situation arises for disqualification of a member, Decision of Governor shall be final (Governor must obtain opinion of election commission of India prior to action)

What is Eco-Tourism? Do you think it should be promoted in India? Why? Critically analyze.

What is Eco-Tourism? Do you think it should be promoted in India? Why? Critically analyze.

Approach:

  • At the introduction write the concept of Eco-Tourism
  • Then write the benefits of Eco-Tourism
  • After that write the Potential adverse impacts of Eco-tourism
  • At the end conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Ecotourism is defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education. It is a sustainable alternative to the use of our natural resources without destroying, removing, extracting or mining these same resources.

Benefits of Ecotourism

  • Ecotourism can bring about economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits for the government, private sector and local communities if well implemented.
  • Revenue from tourist visits help create job opportunities for locals, which in turn, lead to more diversified economy for them.
  • Ecotourism can support conservation and environmental management if properly carried out.
  • Further, resource generation by the way of ecotourism can be further invested in conservation efforts. For example, entry fees imposed on visitors can be channeled towards the maintenance and management of the areas.
  • Ecotourism can also be a tool to raise awareness about the environment and to educate the public on conservation.

Potential adverse impacts of Eco-tourism include:

  • Soil erosion or compactionfrom poorly designed roads and trails that do not follow natural contours and off-road or off-trail traffic to view unique wildlife or resource features.
  • Deterioration of water resources and qualitydue to inappropriate design and siting of latrines, septic tanks, and solid waste.
  • Deforestationfrom firewood harvesting, camping, and construction.
  • Destruction of unique flora.
  • Changes in animal behaviordue to human interference.
  • Pollutionfrom litter, oil residues, or vehicle exhaust.
  • It can also adverselyaffect local resource users living near protected areas.
  • Tourists can have a significant impact on  local community’s cultural and economic integrity.
  • An increase in employment, infrastructure (roads, electricity, telecommunications) technical assistance, or services (education, healthcare) can stimulate people to migrate to the vicinity of a protected area.
  • Also, improved economic conditions are often accompanied by increased production of solid waste.

The arguments give a clear picture of the way forward i.e. Eco-tourism should be allowed in India but adequate regulatory framework with efficient implementation of environmental laws should be pursued. Utilizing local expertise with comprehensive rehabilitation measure shall be sustainable strategy forward biotech.

 

Subjects : Ecology and Environment

In brief: Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019

Background

  • China in the recent years has embarked upon military modernization, and laser-based weapon system is one of them.
  • The US has reported use of low-powered laser beams by China in South China Sea, East China Sea and Djibouti in the horn of Africa where both China and USA have naval bases.
  • The Chinese low-powered lasers are particularly deployed on fishing vessels.
  • The fishing boats have played an important role in China’s maritime militia asserting its territorial claims in the disputed East and South China Seas.
  • The Low-power laser guns are used to dazzle or blind the enemy from a short range.
  • Also called cat grade lasers, they are not military grade but only tactical weapons to create disruptions in enemy movements.

 

In brief: Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019

  • Australia is increasingly trying to embark upon its role as a major maritime power in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • In that direction, it announced the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019.
  • Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 involves exercises and cooperation with 7 countries in the IOR including Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore.
  • AUSINDEX 2019, the bilateral naval exercise between India and Australia held in April 2019 was also a part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 of Australia.

 

Laser-based Directed Energy Weapon System

  • Laser-based weapons are advanced directed energy weapon systems that can be mounted on a truck, a vessel, used as close-in weapons on aircraft making up for the sixth generation fighters.
  • They range from low-powered tactical beam emitters to a high-energy strategic weapons system.
  • They can be used tactically to blind the enemy personnel, damage or destroy enemy’s facilities, aircraft, anti-personnel weapon systems, missiles, even space assets.

USA’s HELIOS

  • HELIOS is US Navy’s high power laser weapon system.
  • The high-energy fiber laser is designed to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and small boats.
  • Sensors that ensures long-range ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability:
  • A counter-UAS dazzler capability: A dazzler that can obscure adversarial UAS-based ISR capabilities.

China’s LW-30

  • It is China’s vehicle-based laser defence weapon system.
  • Usually truck-mounted, they are used to intercept aerial targets including UAVs, drones, guided bombs etc.

India’s Laser Weapon System

  • DRDO is developing a laser weapon system.
  • In this direction, it has tested a high-powered laser of 2KW in July 2018.
  • Other systems such as cooling system and optoelectronics involving lenses etc are in the process of development.
Section : Defence & Security

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Headline : Census 2021 to collect OBC data, use maps

Headline : Census 2021 to collect OBC data, use maps

Details :

The News

  • In a first, Census 2021 will collect data on Other Backward Classes (OBC).

 

Key features of Census 2021

  • The decennial exercise of Census headcount will begin from February 2021.
  • About 25 lakh enumerators are being trained for accurate collection of data.
  • For the first time, geo-referencing using maps at the time of house listing might be undertaken.
  • While the 2011 included a separate column for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes, in 2021 OBCs would also be an option in the column.
  • Further the Census data will be released within three years after conducting of Census.
  • Currently it takes seven or eight years to release the data.
  • Besides for the first time the data collected, in the form of ‘schedules’, will be stored electronically.

 

Background

  • Collecting data on OBC will signify caste as an index in population enumeration.
  • The last time data on caste was collected was in Census 1931.
  • Following this it was decided in 2011 to conduct caste census.
  • However the 2011 caste data collected as part of the Socio-economic Caste Census (SECC) is yet to be released because the data was full of anomalies.
  • This is because SECC 2011 was a response-based exercise.
  • It consists of more than 46 lakh castes, sub-castes, clans etc.
  • Thus sub-categorising them has become difficult.
  • Thus to avoid this, the government has decided to have a separate column with pre-decided list of castes in 2021 census.

 

 

 

Significance of collecting OBC data

  • It will give a correct perspective on the social status of OBCs in the country.
  • OBC data of Census 2021 will complement a commission that was constituted in 2017 to examine sub-categorisation of OBCs.
  • In 2017, a 5-member commission under Justice Rohini was constituted for sub-categorisation of OBCs in the central list.
  • It will help in scientific determination of inequitable distribution of reservation benefits.
  • It will also help in scientific approach for sub-categorisation.

 

Section : Polity & Governance

Headline : Census 2021 to collect OBC data, use maps

Headline : Census 2021 to collect OBC data, use maps

Details :

The News

  • In a first, Census 2021 will collect data on Other Backward Classes (OBC).

 

Key features of Census 2021

  • The decennial exercise of Census headcount will begin from February 2021.
  • About 25 lakh enumerators are being trained for accurate collection of data.
  • For the first time, geo-referencing using maps at the time of house listing might be undertaken.
  • While the 2011 included a separate column for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes, in 2021 OBCs would also be an option in the column.
  • Further the Census data will be released within three years after conducting of Census.
  • Currently it takes seven or eight years to release the data.
  • Besides for the first time the data collected, in the form of ‘schedules’, will be stored electronically.

 

Background

  • Collecting data on OBC will signify caste as an index in population enumeration.
  • The last time data on caste was collected was in Census 1931.
  • Following this it was decided in 2011 to conduct caste census.
  • However the 2011 caste data collected as part of the Socio-economic Caste Census (SECC) is yet to be released because the data was full of anomalies.
  • This is because SECC 2011 was a response-based exercise.
  • It consists of more than 46 lakh castes, sub-castes, clans etc.
  • Thus sub-categorising them has become difficult.
  • Thus to avoid this, the government has decided to have a separate column with pre-decided list of castes in 2021 census.

 

 

 

Significance of collecting OBC data

  • It will give a correct perspective on the social status of OBCs in the country.
  • OBC data of Census 2021 will complement a commission that was constituted in 2017 to examine sub-categorisation of OBCs.
  • In 2017, a 5-member commission under Justice Rohini was constituted for sub-categorisation of OBCs in the central list.
  • It will help in scientific determination of inequitable distribution of reservation benefits.
  • It will also help in scientific approach for sub-categorisation.

 

Section : Polity & Governance

Headline : New quota and basic structure

Headline : New quota and basic structure

Details :

The news

  • The 10% quota for economically weaker sections has been challenged in the Supreme Court on grounds of violating the ‘basic structure’ of Constitution.

 

Background

  • The 124th Constitutional Amendment has been recently passed by the parliament.
  • This amended two fundamental rights:
  • Article 15
    • The Bill seeks to add clause 15 (6) which permits the government to provide special provisions for the advancement of “economically weaker sections”.
    • Further, up to 10% of seats may be reserved for such sections for admission in educational institutions except minority educational institutions.
  • Article 16
    • The Bill seeks to add clause 16 (6), which permits the government to reserve up to 10% of all posts for the “economically weaker sections” of citizens.
  • It also makes a note of the Article 46, which asks the government to promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society.
  • Thisconstitutional amendment has been challenged by an NGO, Youth for Equalityon the ground of violating the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • This article explains the relation between 124th constitutional amendment and Basic structure doctrine.

 

Evolution of concept of Basic Structure

  • The idea of basic structure was originally suggested by Justice M Hidayatullah& Justice J R Mudholkar in Sajjan Singh (1965).
  • It has been borrowed from Germany.
  • In Shankari Prasad (1951) and Sajjan Singh (1965), SC conceded absolute power to Parliament in amending the Constitution.
  • In Golaknath (1967) held that Parliament does not have the power to amend the Constitution.
  • In KesavanandaBharati (1973), the Supreme Court held that Parliament can amend the Constitution but does not have power to change its “basic structure”, which is yet undefined.
  • From the various judgements, the following have emerged as elements of theBasic structure:
    • Supremacy of the Constitution, Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity, Secular character of the Constitution, Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary and federal character of the Constitution.
    • Unity and integrity of the nation, Welfare state (socio-economic justice), judicial review, harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, Principle of equality, Independence of Judiciary, and Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution, etc.
  • Significance of Basic structure doctrine
    • It works as a safety valve against majoritarianism and authoritarianism.
    • It safeguards citizens’ liberties and preserves the ideals on which the Constitution is based.

 

Application of Basic structure doctrine on 124th constitutional amendment

  • To decide any element of basic structure, the Supreme Court looks into the intent of the constitution makers for any provision of the constitution.
  • For the intent of reservation under article 15 and 16 the Supreme Court can look into the basic philosophy behind reservation.
  • All the provisions related to the reservation whether, article 15, 16, 17, 46, 338, 338 (A), 339 and 335 are based on social and educational backwardness and not on economic backwardness.
  • While the 124th Amendment makes departure from social and educational backwardness by extending reservation to the economically disadvantaged.

 

Violation of basic structure by 124th amendment

  • To determine this, the Supreme Court has to examine the principles on which affirmative action is based.
  • Firstly, as per M Nagraj (2006), the amendment act has to justified on following grounds-
    • Quantitative limitations such as violation of the 50% ceiling for all reservations taken together.
    • Exclusion of creamy layer or qualitative exclusion.
    • Compelling reasons such as backwardness of the economically weaker sections for which this reservation has been made.
    • Overall administrative efficiency is not obliterated by the new reservation.
  • Secondly, Supreme Court will examine if the amendment alters the identity of the Constitution.
  • Equality has to be maintained in order to protect identity of the constitution.
  • This would require that the state’s decision is rational and non-arbitrary.
  • The amendment can only sustain if SC doesn’t considers past injustices and social backwardness necessary for affirmative action.
  • The government has to provide empiral evidences to prove backwardness of advance classes, as it was done by Mandal commission.
Section : Polity & Governance