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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th May 2021

  • IASbaba
  • May 6, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


New framework for implementation of the SVAMITVA Scheme

Part of: GS Prelims And GS-II – Policies and interventions 

In news

  • Union Minister for Panchayati Raj released the new framework for implementation of the SVAMITVA Scheme to mark the nationwide roll-out of the SVAMITVA Scheme.
  • It provides a detailed roadmap and guidelines for the various States in terms of the Scheme objectives, coverage, various components involved, year-wise funding pattern, survey approach and methodology, stakeholders involved and their roles and responsibility, monitoring and evaluation, and deliverables.

Important value additions 

SVAMITVA

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme. 
  • Ministry: Ministry of Panchayati Raj 
  • It was nationally launched by the Prime Minister on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2021 after successful completion of the pilot phase of the Scheme in 9 States.
  • Aim: To provide property rights to the residents of rural inhabited areas in India by using Drone survey and CORS Networks which provides mapping accuracy of 5 cms.
  • In the States, the Revenue Department/Land Records Department will be the Nodal Department and shall carry out the scheme with the support of State Panchayati Raj Departments.

Asiatic lions test positive for SARS-CoV2 virus in Hyderabad zoo

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Biodiversity; Sci & tech; Conservation 

In news

  • Based on reports by CCMB-LaCONES, it has now been confirmed that eight Asiatic lions housed in Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), Hyderabad have tested positive for SARS-CoV2 virus.

Important value additions

  • LaCONES or Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species, is a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research lab located in Hyderabad.
  • It is a part of CCMB (centre for cellular and molecular biology).
  • It was conceptualised by Lalji Singh.
  • It is India’s only research facility engaged in conservation and preservation of wildlife and its resources. 
  • This lab strives to promote excellence in conservation biotechnology and serve for conservation of endangered wildlife in India.
  • It was established in 1998 with the help of Central Zoo Authority of India, CSIR and the government of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It was dedicated to the nation in 2007 by then President of India APJ Abdul Kalam.

Asiatic Lion

  • It is a Panthera leo population in India.
  • Its current range is restricted to the Gir National Park and environs in the Indian state of Gujarat.
  • It is one of five pantherine cats inhabiting India. Others are:
    • Bengal tiger
    • Indian leopard 
    • Snow leopard 
    • Clouded leopard
  • It is also known as the “Indian lion” and the “Persian lion”. 
  • Status: 
    • Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972
    • Appendix I of CITES
    • Endangered on IUCN Red List.
  • It is slightly smaller than African lions.
  • The most striking morphological character is a longitudinal fold of skin running along the belly of Asiatic Lions.


VINCOV-19

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Sci & tech; Biotechnology 

In news

  • The CSIR- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has developed, possibly the first specific drug for COVID-19 treatment, which contain therapeutic antibodies.

Key takeaways 

  • The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) has given its approval for human trials, Phase-I and Phase-II for the VINCOV-19 and expected to be tried in Delhi and Rajasthan soon.
  • The VINCOV-19 is a collection of antibodies from Horses after they got injected with inactivated Corona virus.
  • The approval for its emergency use is expected once the results of phase I and II are declared.
  • It works best when given during early stage of infection.

“Cooperation for a Resilient Future” seminar – Part of ADB’s annual meeting 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International relations

In news

  • Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs and Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Governor for India Nirmala Sitharaman participated in the Governor’s Seminar on “Cooperation for a Resilient Future”, held as part of ADB’s annual meeting 2021.

Important value additions 

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • It was conceived in the early 1960s when a resolution was passed at the first Ministerial Conference on Asian Economic Cooperation held by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East in 1963.
  • The institution was opened in 1966 at Manila, Philippines with 31 initial members.
  • Headquarters: Manila, Philippines
  • Members: It has 67 members—of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside. 
  • India is one of the founding members.
  • Objective: A financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world.
  • ADB provides loans, technical assistance and grants.
  • Working: The ADB was modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
  • As of 31 December 2016, Japan and USA hold the largest proportion of shares (15.607%), China holds 6.444%, India holds 6.331%, and Australia holds 5.786%
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer.

(Mains Focus)


GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure 
  • GS-2: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these

Supreme Court’s Maratha quota verdict

Context: A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has struck down the Maharashtra law granting reservation to the Maratha community in admissions and government jobs in the state.

Background of the issue

  • 2018 Maharashtra law gave 16% reservation to the Maratha community in jobs and admissions by terming them socially and educationally backward class in the state. 
  • This law got past the scrutiny of the Bombay High Court in June 2019 but the quantum of reservation stood reduced to 12% in admissions and 13% in jobs.
  • With the introduction of this Act, the reservation benefits in the state exceeded 50 per cent.

The court had framed six questions of law on the issue; it unanimously agreed on three of those issues, while the verdict was split 3:2 on the other three.

Issue 1: On revisiting the Indra Sawhney ruling

The nine judge SC bench when looking into Constitutional validity of OBC reservations in Indra Sawhney Case had laid down two important precedents 

  • First, the criteria for a group to qualify for reservation is “social and educational backwardness”. 
  • Second, reservations should not exceed 50% so as to ensure “efficiency” in administration. However, this limit can be breached in “exceptional circumstances.”

State Government Argument: Indra Sawhney verdict must be referred to a 11-judge Bench for reconsideration since it laid down an arbitrary ceiling which the Constitution does not envisage. 

SC Verdict: The court held that there is no need to revisit the case. The court said that the 50% ceiling, although an arbitrary determination by the court in 1992, is now constitutionally recognised. Exceeding the ceiling limit above 50% without exceptional circumstances violates Article 14.

Issues 2&3: On whether the Maratha law can be saved under the exception

  • Since the 50% ceiling is held valid, the court looked into whether the Maratha quota law falls under the exceptional circumstances contemplated in Indra Sawhney’s case.
  • The court also looked into the Maharashtra State Backward Commission report that the Maharashtra government had relied on while granting reservations.

State Government Argument: Since the population of backward class is 85% in Maharashtra State and reservation limit is only 50%, an increase in reservation limit would qualify as an extraordinary circumstance.

SC Verdict: All five judges disagreed with the above argument. The bench also found that the M.G. Gaikwad Commission too did not articulate any exceptional circumstances to justify the excess quota. SC held that Marathas are dominant forward class and are in the main stream of National life. The above situation is not an extra-ordinary.

Issues 4, 5 & 6: On state’s power to identify SEBCs, and 102nd Amendment

  • 102nd Constitutional Act, 2018 gives constitutional status to the National Backward Classes Commission. 
  • The Amendment also gives the President powers to notify backward classes. 

State government argument: It raised questions on the interpretation of the Amendment and argued that the Power of President to notify BC curtails their powers of States (violation of spirit of Federalism)

SC Verdict: The Bench unanimously upheld the constitutional validity of the 102nd Amendment but differed on the question whether it affected the power of states to identify socially and economically backward classes (SEBCs).

Majority Verdict with regard to Power of President & States

  • Final Say with President: Three judges on the bench held the view that final say with regard to inclusion or exclusion (or modification of lists) of SEBCs is firstly with the President, and thereafter, in case of modification or exclusion from the lists initially published, with the Parliament”.
  • Space for States: They also said that while the identification of SEBCs will be done centrally, state governments retain power to determine the extent of reservation and make specific policy in the spirit of “cooperative federalism”.
  • Fresh SEBC List: The majority opinion by Justice Bhat essentially says that now the National Backward Classes Commission must publish a fresh list of SEBCs, both for states and the central list.

Dissenting View: Justice Bhushan and Justice Nazeer, however, preferred a textual reading of the Amendment and said it does not take away the state’s powers to identify SEBCs.

Critical Analysis of the above Judgement

  • Crossing 50% limit can perpetuate Caste: SC observed that “To change the 50% limit is to have a society which is not founded on equality but based on caste rule”.
  • Equality Upheld: The SC held that to dilute the 50% benchmark further, would be to effectively destroy the guarantee of equality, especially the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of caste (under Articles 15 and 16).
  • Slippery Slope: SC also observed that if the reservation goes above 50% limit it will be slippery slope and the political pressure will make it difficult to reduce the same.
  • Similar Laws will be scrutinised: The ruling is likely to have an impact on several laws passed by various state assemblies reserving in excess of the 50% ceiling under the category of “extraordinary circumstances”. 
  • Impact on EWS reservation: The ruling may also have an impact on the reservations for economically weaker sections (EWS), introduced by the Central government through 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, in excess of the 50% ceiling.

Read Related Articles


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 SVAMITVA Scheme comes under which of the following Ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Environment 
  2. Ministry of Finance 
  3. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs 
  4. Ministry of Panchayati Raj 

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Asiatic lions:

  1. It is Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972
  2. It is categorised as Endangered on IUCN Red List.

Which of the above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  2. 2 only 
  3. Both 1 and 2 
  4. Neither 1 nor 2 

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  1. Its headquarters is in Shanghai.
  2. India is one of its founding members.

Which of the above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  2. 2 only 
  3. Both 1 and 2 
  4. Neither 1 nor 2 

ANSWERS FOR 5th May 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 A

Must Read

On caution to be exercised regarding CT Scan for COVID:

The Hindu

On sudden death of IPL 2021:

The Hindu

About critical analysis of India’s Covid vaccination claim:

The Indian Express

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