Beyond The Editorial
Reservation policy - Creamy layer to SC and ST
- The Centre asked the Supreme Court to refer to a seven-judge Bench the question whether the creamy layer concept should apply or not to the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes while providing them reservation in promotions.
- On September 26 last year, a five-judge Bench in the Jarnail Singh case unanimously agreed with a 2006 judgment of another five-judge Bench in the M. Nagaraj case, which had upheld the application of the creamy layer principle in promotions.
Constitutional Provisions Governing Reservation in India
- Article 330 and 332 provides for specific representation through reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the Parliament and in the State Legislative Assemblies respectively.
- Article 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution enabled the State and Central Governments to reserve seats in government services for the members of the SC and ST.
- The Constitution was amended by the Constitution (77th Amendment) Act, 1995 and a new clause (4A) was inserted in Article 16 to enable the government to provide reservation in promotion.
- Later, clause (4A) was modified by the Constitution (85th Amendment) Act, 2001 to provide consequential seniority to SC and ST candidates promoted by giving reservation.
- Constitutional 81st Amendment Act, 2000 inserted Article 16 (4 B) which enables the state to fill the unfilled vacancies of a year which are reserved for SCs/STs in the succeeding year, thereby nullifying the ceiling of fifty percent reservation on total number of vacancies of that year.
- Article 243D provides reservation of seats for SCs and STs in every Panchayat.
- Article 335 of the constitution says that the claims of STs and STs shall be taken into consideration constituently with the maintenance of efficacy of the administration.
Judicial scrutiny of reservation policy
- The State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan (1951) case was the first major verdict of the Supreme Court on the issue of Reservation.The case led to the First amendment in the constitution.
- The Supreme Court in the case pointed out that while in the case of employment under the State, Article 16(4) provides for reservations in favour of backward class of citizens, no such provision was made in Article 15.
- Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order in the case the Parliament amended Article 15 by inserting Clause (4).
- In Indra Sawhney v. Union of India (1992) case the court examined the scope and extent of Article 16(4).
- The Court has said that the creamy layer of OBCs should be excluded from the list of beneficiaries of reservation, there should not be reservation in promotions; and total reserved quota should not exceed 50%.
- The Parliament responded by enacting 77th Constitutional Amendment Act which introduced Article 16(4A).
- The article confers power on the state to reserve seats in favour of SC and ST in promotions in Public Services if the communities are not adequately represented in public employment
- The Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj v. Union Of India 2006 case while upholding the constitutional validity of Art 16(4A) held that any such reservation policy in order to be constitutionally valid shall satisfy the following three constitutional requirements:
- The SC and ST community should be socially and educationally backward.
- The SC and ST communities are not adequately represented in Public employment.
- Such reservation policy shall not affect the overall efficiency in the administration.
- In Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta case of 2018, Supreme Court holds that reservation in promotions does not require the state to collect quantifiable data on the backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. But the other 2 criteria’s should be satisfied
- The Court held that creamy layer exclusion extends to SC/STs and, hence the State cannot grant reservations in promotion to SC/ST individuals who belong to the creamy layer of their community.
Why reservation is needed?
- To correct the historical injustice faced by backward castes in the country.
- To provide a level playing field for backward section as they cannot compete with those who have had the access of resources and means for centuries.
- To ensure adequate representation of backward classes in the services under the State.
- For advancement of backward classes.
- To ensure equality as basis of meritocracy i.e all people must be brought to the same level before judging them on the basis of merit.
Arguments against Reservation
- Reservation in state services led to divisions and enmity among government employees, vitiating the atmosphere at workplace.
- Caste Based Reservation helped to perpetuate the notion of caste in society.
- It has become a tool to meet narrow political ends through invoking class loyalties and primordial identities.
- The dominant and elite class within the backward castes has appropriated the benefits of reservation and the most marginalised within the backward castes have remained marginalised.
Reasons behind increasing demands of Reservation
- Reservation is increasingly seen as a remedy for the adverse effects of ill-thought out development policies.
- In developed states like Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra, in spite of their economies being relatively better, three things have been worrying the people:
- Acute agrarian distress,
- Stagnation in employment growth and
- Distortions in the development trajectory.
- In this backdrop, for governments, it is easier to talk of reservation than to make a course correction.
- Increasing reservation demands among upper castes also arising from the fear of losing privilege and the inability to cope with change
- Upper castes have begun to feel disadvantaged especially in context of government jobs as they don’t get similar advantages like backward classes.
- The reservation benefits should flow to the vast majority of underprivileged children from deprived castes; not to a few privileged children with a caste tag.
- High ranks officials families, high income professionals and others above a certain income should not get the reservation benefits especially in government jobs.
- Fair and practical ways to help needy person from each community through reservation is possible and necessary.
- The process of reservation should filter the truly deprived individuals and bring them all to justice
- Revolutionary changes in the education system at the grass-roots level is need of the hour.
- There is also need for awareness generation because while the unreserved segments, keep on opposing the provision, the neediest sections from within the reserved segments are hardly aware about how to get benefited from the provision or even whether there are such provisions exists.
- Reservation is fair, as far as it provides appropriate positive discrimination for the benefit of the downtrodden and backward Sections of the society.
- The communities excluded from reservations harbour animosity and prejudice against the castes included in the reservation category.
- When more people aspire for backwardness rather than of forwardness, the country itself stagnates.
- A strong political will is indispensable to find an equilibrium between justice to the backwards, equity for the forwards and efficiency for the entire system.
Relevance: GS 2 – Government’s Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Extrajudicial killings by Security forces
- V.K. Agarwal judicial enquiry commission submitted its report that no evidence existed to support the claim that the 17 people who died in the “encounter” on the night of June 28-29, 2012, in three villages in Bijapur and Sukma districts were “Naxalites”.
- The findings make it clear that the entire operation was botched from the start by poor intelligence, inadequate training, lack of communication, and hasty reaction.
RSTV BIG PICTURE
Union cabinet cleared citizenship amendment Bill
- The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship
- North east people opposing it due to the fear of change in demography of the region
- Against the rights of indigenous community, their cultural identity may erode
- Barak valley people in Assam are welcoming it
- Brahmaputra valley people in Assam are opposing it
- Many political parties including Congress, CPI opposed this bill that citizenship cannot be granted on the grounds of religion
- Political and populist in measure
- Communal in nature as it lead to polarisation in the society
- Infringes on article 14
- Constitution doesn’t allow granting citizenship on the grounds of religion
- Muslim minorities in the above nations such as Ahmediyas are not eligible for citizenship.
Relevance: GS 2 – Citizenship
Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018
Why in news: The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of the Personal Data Protection Bill in Parliament
- The draft bill was prepared by a high-level expert committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna
- The Bill deals with the broad guidelines on the collection, storage, and processing of personal data, the consent of individuals, penalties and compensation, and a code of conduct.
- Sensitive personal data according to the bill : passwords, financial data, health data, sex life, sexual orientation, biometric data, genetic data, transgender status, intersex status, caste or tribe, and religious or political belief or affiliation
- Such sensitive personal data can be processed only with the explicit consent of the person, and this consent needs to be informed, clear, and specific.
- Right to be forgotten: The person shall have the right to restrict or prevent continuing disclosure of personal data.
- Critical personal data: The central government to notify categories of personal data as critical personal data, which will then be only processed in a server or data centre located in India.
- Penalties for not following its provisions: ₹5 crore or 2% of turnover if no action is taken on a data leak.
Relevance: GS 2 - Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors
Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)
Why in news: Government approved the launch of an exchange traded fund for bonds.
- An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a type of security that involves a collection of securities—such as stocks—that often tracks an underlying index.
- ETFs are in many ways similar to mutual funds; however, they are listed on exchanges and ETF shares trade throughout the day just like ordinary stock.
- So basically an exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a basket of securities that trade on an exchange, just like a stock.
- ETF share prices fluctuate all day as the ETF is bought and sold; this is different from mutual funds that only trade once a day after the market closes.
- ETFs can contain all types of investments including stocks, commodities, or bonds.
- The Bharat bond ETFs are expected to offer CPSEs, CPSUs, CPFIs and other government organisations an additional source of meeting their borrowing requirements, apart from bank financing.
- It would be the first corporate bond ETF in the country.
- The ETF will comprise a basket of bonds issued by the CPSEs, CPSUs, CPFIs, and other government organisations
- Each ETF will have a fixed maturity date and initially they will be issued in two series, of three years and 10 years.
Relevance: Prelims – Indian Economy
PM – AASHA
- Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)
- Aimed towards ensuring remunerative prices to farmers for their produce
Why in news: Less than 3% of this season’s sanctioned amount of pulses and oilseeds have actually been procured so far under the PM-AASHA scheme
Components of PM-AASHA:
The new Umbrella Scheme includes the mechanism of ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers and is comprised of
Price Support Scheme (PSS)
- Under the PSS, Central nodal agencies will procure pulses, oilseeds and copra with proactive role of state governments.
- The Food corporation of India (FCI) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) will help implement the scheme.
- The procurement expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by Central Government as per norms.
- The government will procure 25% of the marketable surplus of farmers for eligible crops.
- Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
- Under the PDPS, the state will provide the difference between the prices prevailing in mandis and the MSP.
- All oil-seeds are to be covered under PDPS.
- This scheme is modelled on the Bhawantar Bhugtan Yojana that has been implemented by the Madhya Pradesh state government as well as Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana of Haryana Government.
- There will be no physical procurement of crops.
Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS).
- In lieu of PSS and PDPS, in certain pilot districts the PPPS will be tried out.
- Private agencies will procure oilseeds in coordination with the government.
- The selected private agency shall procure the commodity at MSP in the notified markets during the notified period from the registered farmers in consonance with the PPSS Guidelines, whenever the prices in the market fall below the notified MSP and whenever authorized by the state/UT government.
Relevance: Prelims – Schemes and Initiatives