Current Affairs 14th February, 2019

PAPER – 1 and PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. Society

2. Governmental intervention in protecting the vulnerable sections of India

Upper caste Hindus richest in India, own 41% of total assets; STs own 3.7%

upper caste hindus wealth, upper caste wealth, wealth survey jnu, jnu, sppu, dalit wealth percentage

What to read?

Prelims – DPSP

Mains – Highlights of the study

A two-year-long study jointly undertaken by the SPPU, JNU and Indian Institute of Dalit Studies has revealed that only 22.3 per cent of the country’s higher caste Hindus own 41 per cent of the country’s total wealth.

Directive Principles of State Policy

  • ARTICLE 38: STATE TO SECURE A SOCIAL ORDER FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE

  • (1) The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
    (2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.

Highlights of the study

  •  Only 22.3 per cent of the country’s higher caste Hindus own 41 per cent of the country’s total wealth and form the richest group, whereas 7.8 per cent of Hindu Scheduled Tribes own only 3.7 per cent, or the lowest wealth share of the country’s assets, finds the study.

  • The top 1 per cent (in terms of wealth) of the total households own 25 per cent of the country’s total assets, while the top 5 per cent owned 46 per cent of it.

  • The bottom 40 per cent households were found to own just 3.4 per cent of the country’s total assets, which was Rs 3,61,919 billion, as per the All India Debt and Investment Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office in 2013.

  • Similarly, Hindu STs were richer in rural areas and owned 10.4 per cent wealth, in comparison to a mere 2.8 per cent per cent wealth share owned by their urban counterparts.

  • The study also highlighted that five states — Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Haryana — owned about 50 per cent of the country’s total wealth. The wealthiest states, according to the study, included Maharashtra (with 17 per cent of the country’s wealth share), UP (11.6%) and Kerala (7.4%), whereas the poorest states were Odisha(1%), Jharkhand (1%), Himachal Pradesh (1%) and Uttarakhand (0.9%)

  • Implication of the study

    https://images.indianexpress.com/2019/02/graph-4.jpg

    • Caste still continues to determine the level of education, nature of profession and resultant income and assets that an individual will own in this country.

    • The researchers have also found a marked divide in wealth distribution depending on whether members of a particular caste lived in urban or rural areas.

    • A very small number of Hindu STs migrate to urban areas either for an education or a job, both earned through some reservation.

    • However, a majority of the ST migrant population land up working in unorganised sectors and have poor income. That is precisely why Hindu STs are a majority among slum-dwellers in cities.


    PAPER – 2

    Topics Covered

    1. Polity

    2. Non -Statutory bodies

    3. Governmental Intervention to protect the weaker sections of the society

    National Commission on Safai Karmacharis

    Image result for National Commission on Safai Karmacharis

    What to read?

    Prelims and Mains – About NCSK

    The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for Extension of tenure of the National Commissionfor SafaiKarmacharis (NCSK) beyond 31.3.2019 for three years.

    Salient Features:

    The NCSK was established in the year 1993 as per the provisions of the NCSK Act 1993 initially for the period upto 31.3.1997. Later the validity of the Act was initially extended upto 31.3.2002 and thereafter upto 29.2.2004. The NCSK Act ceased to have effect from 29.2.2004. After that the tenure of the NCSK has been extended as a non-statutory body from time to time. The tenure of the present Commission is upto 31.3.2019.

    Major impact:

    The major beneficiaries of the proposal would be the SafaiKaramcharis and persons engaged in manual scavenging in the country since the NCSK will work for their welfare and upliftment. The number of Manual Scavengers identified under the MS Act Survey as on 31.01.2019 is 14226 and under the National Survey undertaken by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment at the behest of NITI Aayog is 31128 on 31.01.2019.

    Background:

    Image result for National Commission on Safai Karmacharis

    The NCSK has been giving its recommendations to the Government regarding specific programmes for welfare of SafaiKaramcharis, study and evaluate the existing welfare programmes for SafaiKaramcharis, investigate cases of specific grievances etc.

    Also as per the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, the NCSK has been assigned the work to monitor the implementation of the Act, tender advice for its effective implementation to the Centre and State Governments and enquire into complaints regarding contravention/non-implementation of the provisions of the Act.

    Though the Government has taken many steps for the upliftment of the SafaiKaramcharis, the deprivation suffered by them in socio-economic and educational terms is still far from being eliminated.

    Further the practice of manual scavenging is still prevalent in the country and its eradication continues to be an area of the highest priority for the Government.

    Hence, the Government feels that there is a continued need to monitor the various interventions and initiatives of the Government for welfare of SafaiKaramcharis and to achieve the goal of complete eradication of the practice of manual scavenging in the country.

    Therefore, the Cabinet has approved the present proposal for grant of extension of the tenure of National Commission for SafaiKaramcharis (NCSK) for three more years beyond 31.3.2019.


    PAPER – 2 and 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Governance

    2. Cyber Security

    Centre to seek advice on deletion of UID data

    What to read?

    Prelims – UIDAI

    Mains – what is the amendment? Benefits of such amendment.

    The government will seek legal counsel on whether it can delete the biometric data of young people who choose to quit Aadhaar once they turn 18.

    Image result for Centre to seek advice on deletion of UID data

    • The Union Cabinet recently approved amendments to the Aadhaar Act, including a provision that gives a child, on attaining maturity (18 years), the power to withdraw his/her Aadhaar details

    • This entails that the Unique Authority of India to remove all the details of such people from its servers, including biometrics.

    Concerns in the move

    • Regarding the biometric data, that is something to take a legal opinion because if the biometric data is deleted , then suppose that person comes again and does enrolment, then how will that operate is uncertain.

    • The proposal to allow those turning 18 years of age to withdraw from Aadhaar will not benefit those who want to file income tax returns as it is now mandatory to provide Aadhaar details while filing taxes.

    Related Authority

    1. UIDAI

    Image result for uidai image

    • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (“Aadhaar Act 2016”) on 12 July 2016 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

    • Prior to its establishment as a statutory authority, UIDAI was functioning as an attached office of the then Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog)

    • UIDAI was created with the objective to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as "Aadhaar", to all residents of India that is

      • (a) robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and

      • (b) can be verified and authenticated in an easy, cost-effective way.

    Fact - The first UID number was issued on 29 September 2010 to a resident of Nandurbar, Maharashtra.


    PAPER – 2

    Topics Covered

    1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

    Minority Status of Aligarh Muslim University

    Image result for Minority Status of Aligarh Muslim University

    What to read?

    Prelims – Minority status and constitutional provisions related.

    Mains - Controversy over issuance of minority status to AMU- should it be given?

    The Supreme Court has referred the petition seeking withdrawal of minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University to a seven-judge bench.

    The matter has been referred to the larger bench to determine the correctness of minority status of AMU and to define the parameters for granting minority status to the institution.

    What’s the issue?

    In 1981, an amendment was brought in to accord the university minority status, which was held as unconstitutional by the Allahabad High Court. The Attorney General had told the Supreme Court that the Aligarh Muslim University could not be categorised as a minority institution.

    After the Allahabad High Court recognised the university as a non-minority institution in 2006, the Congress-led UPA government had filed a plea challenging the verdict.

    The NDA government in 2016 told the Supreme Court that it was withdrawing the appeal filed by the previous government saying that the university was set up by a Central Act, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had held it as a “central university” and not a minority institution.

    What is the ‘minority character’ of an educational institution?

    • Article 30(1) of the Constitution gives all religious and linguistic minorities the right to set up and run educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities.

    • The law guarantees that governments will not discriminate in giving aid on the basis of their being ‘minority’ institutions, thus sealing in a commitment by the Government of India to allow minorities to flourish.

    Why this provision was included in the constitution?

    This was done to assure minorities of being able to maintain and propagate their unique and special educational aspects.

    Background

    AMU was founded as the Madrasatul Uloom in 1875 in Aligarh, and evolved into the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College. The seeds of Jamia Millia Islamia were sown in Aligarh by a group of nationalist students and members who formed a camp there as Jamia Millia Islamia, which later moved to Delhi. Leaders like M A Ansari, Zakir Husain and Mahatma Gandhi encouraged the university to push nationalist values and ideas.

    However, there was friction between JMI and AMU along political lines, as a significant section at AMU was said to be tilting towards the Muslim League, while the ‘nationalist’ JMI was wholeheartedly supported by the Congress.


    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Energy

    2. Infrastructure

    Only 84% rural households have electricity in four States

    What to read?

    Prelims and Mains – Highlights of the study, Saubhagya Scheme

    According to the data in the survey report by SmartPower, the 84% figure for households with electricity connections could actually be even lower. 

    Highlights of the study

  • Only 84% of rural households have electricity connection in the four States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan.

  • The report said that 90% of the households surveyed had an electric connection or “electric pole within 50 m distance”. Within this figure, 84% of the households were the ones with an actual electricity connection

  • The report also found that only 75% of all households used electricity from the grid, suggesting that there were several households that relied on off-grid sources of electricity despite having a connection.

  • Despite the increasing footprint of grid-electricity, this study finds that several non-grid sources are in use; these include, primarily, solar home systems, followed by rechargeable batteries, mini-grid electricity, and diesel generators,” the report said. “Overall 16% of households use non-grid-electricity sources, half of which also have grid connections.”

  • 80% of the households with electricity infrastructure within 50 m said they did not make use of an electricity connection because they could not afford one.

  • Other reasons for choosing off-grid sources included unreliable supply of electricity, inadequate supply of electricity and lack of residence proof.

  • https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/3pt4mh/article26261476.ece/alternates/FREE_660/TH14Powercol

    Saubhagya Scheme

    • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ was launched in September, 2017.

    • Under Saubhagya free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas will be provided.

    • Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency for the Saubhagya scheme.

    • The scheme aims to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country.

    • All DISCOMs including Private Sector DISCOMs, State Power Departments and RE Cooperative Societies shall be eligible for financial assistance under the scheme in line with Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

    Eligibility

    • The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme would be identified using SECC 2011 data. However, un-electrified households not covered under SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs. 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 instalments through electricity bill.

    Scope of the Scheme:

    • Providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all un-electrified households in rural areas.

    • Providing Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) based standalone system for un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible villages / habitations, where grid extension is not feasible or cost effective.

    • Providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining economically poor un-electrified households in urban areas. Non-poor urban households are excluded from this scheme.