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OBC list to be sub-categorized

News:

In a move that could have a far-reaching political and social impact, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to set up a commission which will examine the issue of sub-categorization of the Other Backward Classes (OBC).

Beyond News:

  • The committee has a three-point mandate. One, it has to examine the “extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation” among various castes and communities that come under the Central OBC list.
  • The committee also has to work out the mechanism, criteria and parameters for the actual sub-categorization. This will be tricky.
  • The actual reservation will continue to be 27% and within this the committee will have to do the re-arranging.

Examples:

  • If the committee comes to the conclusion that in the last many years Yadavs have benefited far more than Khatiks or Sainis then the amount of reservation for them will be increased vis-à-vis the Yadavs.

What Senior minister said?

  • “Of course, some castes will suffer a few cuts, but ultimately it will facilitate better distribution of benefits,”.
  • The third task is bringing order to the Central list of OBCs by removing any repetitions.
    The committee will work on a tight schedule and have to deliver the report in 12 weeks.

Post-talaq verdict, Centre issues advisory to States

  • The Union Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all States to “keep a close watch to avoid any untoward incident in the wake of a Supreme Court judgment declaring instant talaq illegal and unconstitutional.”
  • The advisory is part of general instructions issued on the occasion of Bakrid, which falls on September 1.
  • The Ministry issues instructions ahead of every major festival asking States to be vigilant against any terror attack or a communal flare-up.

A BIT of critique

News:

The recent report of the Justice B.N. Srikrishna committee, constituted to prepare a road map to make India a hub of international arbitration, has recommended many changes in Indian arbitration law and institutional mechanisms to promote arbitration in India.

Beyond News:

  • Its recommendations on bilateral investment treaty (BIT) arbitration assume importance as India is currently battling 20-odd BIT disputes. These recommendations are largely on the issue of managing and resolving BIT disputes.
  • For better management of BIT disputes, the committee recommends the creation of an inter-ministerial committee (IMC), with officials from the Ministries of Finance, External Affairs and Law.

Recommendations: 

  • Hiring external lawyers having expertise in BITs to boost the government’s legal expertise;
  • Creating a designated fund to fight BIT disputes; appointing counsels qualified in BITs to defend India against BIT claims;
  • Boosting the capacity of Central and State governments to better understand the implications of their policy decisions on India’s BIT obligations.

Understanding work

  • The Global Commission on the Future of Work, established on Monday, has a critical role in addressing the decent jobs deficit that affects the lives of roughly three billion working people.
  • The body, which includes two representatives from India, is to present a report at the 2019 commemoration of the centenary of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
  • Experts will build on recent dialogues in over 100 states on the implications for individuals and societies from the changing dynamics of work, production processes and rapid technological transformation.

‘Banks must tighten bankruptcy norm’

News:

  • To expedite stress resolution in the banking system, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor Viral Acharya said banks must initiate bankruptcy proceedings against loan defaulters if the lenders are unable to resolve bad loans in three months.

Beyond News:

  • Most banks in the country do not make adequate provisioning — above the regulatory mandate — which could be used when non-performing assets are increasing.
  • The Indian banking sector has been battling a surge in bad loans over the last three years with gross NPAs climbing to about Rs. 8 lakh crore.
  • In percentage terms, gross NPA (GNPA) ratio of the banking system is at 9.6% and the stressed advances ratio at 12% as of March 31, 2017.
  • Recently, RBI Governor Urjit Patel had said that it was a matter of concern that 86.5% of the GNPAs were accounted for by large borrowers, that is borrowers with aggregate exposure of Rs. 5 crore and above.

[Op-Ed] Two cheers for the Supreme Court

On the 4th of November, 1948, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar rose to address the Constituent Assembly, and proudly stated that “the… Constitution has adopted the individual as its unit”.

  • This constitutional vision, under siege for much of India’s journey as a democratic republic, came within a whisker of destruction at the hands of the Supreme Court.
  • But when all the dust had cleared in Courtroom No. 1, it finally became evident that Chief Justice J.S. Khehar had been able to enlist only one other judge, out of a Bench of five, to support his novel proposition that the religious freedom under the Indian Constitution protected not just individual faith, but whole systems of “personal law”, spanning marriage, succession, and so on.
  • Had the Chief Justice managed to persuade one other judge to sign on to his judgment, we would have found ourselves living under a Constitution that sanctions the complete submergence of the individual to the claims of her religious community.
  • A reminder, perhaps, of how even the most basic constitutional values, often taken for granted, hang by nothing more than the most fragile of threads.
  • By a majority decision, instantaneous triple talaq is now invalid, a significant victory that is the result of many decades of struggle by the Muslim women’s movement for gender justice. That is something that must be welcomed.
  • However, the value of a Supreme Court judgment lies not only in what it decides, but also in the possibilities and avenues that it opens for the future, for further progressive-oriented litigation.
  • In that sense, the triple talaq verdict is a disappointment, because even the majority opinions proceeded along narrow pathways, and avoided addressing some crucial constitutional questions.

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