Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - September 01, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

States can have sub-groups among SCs/STs: SC

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Social empowerment.


Context

Recently, A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that States can sub-classify Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Central List to provide preferential treatment to the “weakest out of the weak”.

Background

  • The judgment is based on a reference to the Constitution Bench the question of law involving Section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006.
  • The legal provision allows 50% of the reserved Scheduled Castes seats in the State to be allotted to Balmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs. 

About the Highlights

  • The court ruled that there is a “caste struggle” within the reserved class as a benefit of reservation is being usurped by a few. 
  • The constitutional goal of social transformation cannot be achieved without taking into account changing social realities. 
  • The million-dollar question is how to trickle down the benefit to the bottom rung.
  • It is clear that caste, occupation, and poverty are interwoven.
  • The State cannot be deprived of the power to take care of the qualitative and quantitative difference between different classes to take ameliorative measures”.
  • It mentions that “once a mortgage always a mortgage” cannot be pressed into service for submitting that once a backward class of citizens, always such a backward class and citizens cannot be treated to be socially and educationally backwards till perpetuity; those who have come up must be excluded like the creamy layer. 
  • The Bench took a contrary view to a 2004 judgment delivered by another Coordinate Bench of five judges in the E.V. Chinnaiah case. 
  • The Chinnaiah judgment had held that allowing States to unilaterally “make a class within a class of members of the Scheduled Castes” would amount to tinkering with the Presidential list. 
  • As two numerically equal Benches of judges holding contrary viewpoints, the issue has been referred to a seven-judge Bench of the court.

Source: The Hindu.

Department of Economic Affairs & UNDP India Launched Sustainable Finance Collaborative to Promote Sustainable Finance in India

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context

  • On August 26, 2020, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India launched the Sustainable Finance Collaborative (SFC).
  • In this regard, a three days consultation centered on the broad scope of Sustainable Finance architecture in India was held to accelerate green finance by bringing together leading experts and organizations.
Background
  • The thematic discussions included critical elements such as the barriers to deploying new and innovative financing such as impact investing, role of blended finance instruments, green finance instruments for sustainable development, need for taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities, sustainability related disclosures by corporates, and preparing the financial sector for the risks posed by climate change and other environmental and social issues.
  • Notably, before COVID-19, it was estimated that India needs over USD 2.6 trillion to meet the SDG targets by 2030. 

About the Highlights

  • It was attended by around 220 eminent thought leaders, partner organizations, different ministries and departments of Government of India (GOI), and key stakeholders across the sustainable finance landscape including Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Aid agencies, International Organizations, the United Nations (UN) system, multilateral development banks, financial institutions, impact and commercial investors, industry associations and private sector partners .
  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission (XV FC) has submitted its interim report for the period FY 2020-21 and the Government of India has accepted its recommendations in respect of the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs).
  • The commission has recommended the grant of Rs.60,750 cr for the period FY 2020-21 for RLBs.
  • This is the highest ever allocation made by the Finance Commission in any single year.

Source: PIB.

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PM Modi Pays Tribute To Social Reformer Mahatma Ayyankali

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.


Context

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tribute to social reformer Mahatma Ayyankali, saying his work towards social reforms and empowering the downtrodden will always inspire people.
  • "India remains indebted to greats like Mahatma Ayyankali. His work towards social reform and empowering the downtrodden will always inspire. Remembering him on his Jayanti. A few years ago, had attended a programme to mark his Jayanti. Here is my speech..., " he said in a tweet.

About Mahatma Ayyankali

  • Born on August 28th, 1963 in a small village in the princely state of Travancore, now within the south of the modern-day nation of Kerala, Ayyankali efforts influenced many changes that improved social wellbeing of those people, who are today referred to as Dalits.
  • Ayyankali was the first of eight children born to Ayyan and Mala, who were members of the Pulayar community of untouchable people.
  • Growing up illiterate and seeing that many Pulayars had been efficaciously rural slaves, Ayyankali resolved to do what he should to get rid of boundaries of the caste system.
  • Ayyankali became a stated protestor for Pulayar rights.
  • Because of the protests led through Ayyankali, in 1907 a decree turned into issued to confess students from the untouchable network to government schools.
  • When a school was burned down because a Puluyar female had attempted to enroll, Ayyankali organised a strike by way of the rural workers within the location.
  • Ayyankali led to large scale changes in the social outlook of the southern Indian state of Kerala.
  • The messiah of the Pulaya community of Kerala, describes Ayyankali as a 'Raja'.
  • Mahatma Gandhi called Ayyankali as 'Pulaya king'. Indira Gandhi described him as 'India's greatest son'.
  • Ayyankali, who has been described as "the most important Dalit leader of modern Kerala" passed away in 1941.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Centre to develop three Bamboo Clusters in Jammu, Katra and Samba areas of J&K

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.


Context

  • Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh has said that three Bamboo Clusters will be developed in Jammu, Katra and Samba areas for making of Bamboo basketry, Agarbatti and Bamboo Charcol.
  • He said it will provide direct employment  to nearly 25 thousand people.

About the Highlights

  • Apart from this a Mega Bamboo Industrial Park at Ghati near Jammu and Bamboo Technology Training Centre will also come up in the region.
  • Bamboo is being used in low cost housing and as construction material.
  • Bamboo Awareness camps will be organized in different parts of the country in this regard.

Source: DD News.

14th India-Singapore Defence Policy Dialogue via video conferencing

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

  • The 14th India-Singapore Defence Policy Dialogue (DPD) was held via video conferencing.
  • It was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and Permanent Secretary (Defence), Singapore Mr Chan Heng Kee.

About the Highlights

  • Both sides held discussions on a number of issues of bilateral defence engagements between India and Singapore.
  • Both sides committed to further enhance the security partnership between the two countries.
  • At the end of the DPD, the Implementing Arrangement on Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) between India and Singapore was also signed.

Source: AIR News.

PM Modi inaugurates college, administration buildings of Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University in Jhansi

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated college and administration buildings of the Rani Lakshmi Bai (RLB) Central Agricultural University in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi through video conferencing.
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Kailash Choudhary also attended the virtual event.
Background
  • The RLB Central Agriculture University is located in Jhansi and is a prominent institute in the Bundelkhand region.
  • The University has started its first academic session in 2014-15 and is offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

About the Highlights

  • It is currently operating from the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi as the main buildings were getting ready.
  • Prime Minister Modi said this would improve the education infrastructure and contribute to cutting edge research in agriculture as well as further farmer welfare.

Source: DD News.

Centre Explores Possibility Of Single Voter List For All Polls: Report

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

  • The government is discussing the possibility of having a common electoral roll for Lok Sabha, assembly and local body elections to avoid discrepancies and bring uniformity in the voters list, officials said.
  • At present, the Election Commission prepares the electoral roll or voter list for Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

Background

  • The state election commissions, which are altogether separate bodies as per constitutional provisions, hold elections for local bodies such as municipalities and panchayats in their respective states based on their own voter lists.
  • Several state election commissions use the draft voter list of the EC to formulate their own rolls.
  • The draft EC roll is often divided into wards for local body elections.

About the Highlights

  • There are provisions in the Constitution that empower states to formulate their own laws to hold panchayat and municipal polls.
  • States also have powers to either have their own voter lists or to adopt the one prepared by the EC for assembly polls.
  • The government is discussing whether there can be a single electoral roll for these three types of elections.
  • Now, states have to be persuaded to adopt the central electoral roll (the one prepared by EC).
  • According to another functionary, it is "desirable" to have one common electoral roll as at present an entire exercise gets repeated for the same purpose.
  • Often discrepancies have been noticed when names of voters are missing in one of the lists.
  • The Election Commission, the Law Commission and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Personnel Ministries have supported the idea of a single voter list in the past also.

Source: The Hindu.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Barn Owls:
  1. It is the most widely distributed species of owl.
  2. It is found almost everywhere in the world except polar and desert regions, in Asia north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific islands.
  3. The IUCN status is Vulnerable.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

Solution: A

2. Consider the following:

  • The IUCN status is Least Concern.


Major Dhyan Chand is related to:

      A. Kho-Kho
      B. Athletics
      C. Badminton
      D. Hockey

Solution: D

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