Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
HC stays quota for Jats
The Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the Haryana governmentâ€™s decision to grant reservation to Jats and five other communities in jobs and educational institutions under the newly created Backward Class â€˜Câ€™ category.
The Haryana assembly passed the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act, 2016. The Act provides 10 per cent quota in Class III and IV posts and educational institutions and six per cent quota in Class I and II posts to Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Bishnois, Tyagis and Muslim Jats in Schedule-III.
Why has the HC stayed quota for Jats? – The Haryana government has provided reservation to the Jat community on the basis of a report by Justice K C Gupta. However the Supreme court has quashed the committee report in an earlier judgement.
The reservation policy violates the reservation ceiling of 50 per cent imposed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme court has also laid down that economic backwardness cannot be the sole criteria for reservation.
Source: The Indian Express
Frame National Policy for Relief to rape victims: SC
The Supreme Court asked the Centre to frame a uniform national policy to financially compensate rape victims. Â Setting up of the Nirbhaya fund is not enough.
A Vacation Bench led by Justice P.C. Pant said there was too much dichotomy and contradiction among States regarding compensation schemes for rape survivors. The Bench issued notice to the Centre, States and Union Territories on the question of effective implementation of Section 357 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
What is Section 357A of the IPC? – Section 357A relates to Victim Compensation. Every State Government in co-ordination with the Central Government shall prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victim or his dependents who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who, require rehabilitation.
If the trial Court, at the conclusion of the trial, is satisfied, that the compensation awarded under section 357 is not adequate for such rehabilitation, or where the cases end in acquittal or discharge and the victim has to be rehabilitated, it may make recommendation for compensation.
What is the Nirbhaya Fund? – Nirbhaya Fund is a Indian rupee 10 billion corpus announced by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget. The fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India.
India to approach WTO panel US visa fee issue
India will soon ask the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body to establish a panel of experts to adjudicate its dispute with the U.S. over the increase in visa fees.
As per the WTO rules, India notified the WTO Secretariat that it has â€œinitiated a WTO dispute proceeding against the U.S. regarding measures imposing increased fees on certain applicants for two categories (H-1B and L-1) of non-immigrant temporary working visas into the U.S., as well as measures relating to numerical commitments for some visas.â€
According to India, the measures appear to be inconsistent with the U.S. commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
What is Indiaâ€™s stance? – India said the visa fee increase is â€œdiscriminatoryâ€ against Indian firms as these (H-1B and L-1) are the same categories that are most extensively used by Indian service suppliers, especially in the information technology sector.
The justification given by USA for increasing the visa fee is to raise revenue to finance a biometric tracking system and healthcare requirements of the 9/11 terror attack victims.
India warned that the U.S.â€™s decision to continue with the implementation of the visa fee increase could result in other nations deliberately raising customs duties on goods to increase revenue for their domestic programmes. This is because the applied duties on many goods in several countries are much lower than the duty levels on those goods they have legally committed – or bound – in the WTO, giving them ample room to increase their â€˜applied â€™duties up to the â€˜boundâ€™ level. This would in turn hurt global trade.
What is USAâ€™s stance? – The U.S. denied that there was anything in its legislation specifying that the visa fee hike is applicable only to Indian companies. The U.S. said there was nothing discriminatory in the legislation against Indian information technology companies, adding that since the visa fee increase is general in nature, it was not violative of any WTO rule.
As per WTO norms, member countries are not allowed to normally discriminate between their trading partners.Washington also informed that the visa fee hike was part of a legislation (the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016), and therefore it would not be possible to make any changes without addressing the legislation as a whole.
HC stays ban on new diesel vehicles
Kerala High Court stayed for two months a directive of the National Green Tribunalâ€™s (NGT) Kochi Special Circuit Bench to the State government not to allow registration of new diesel vehicles of 2,000 cc and above.
However, the other directive of the tribunal to the government not to permit diesel vehicles older than 10 years in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, and Kannur cities will stand.
The applicants have argued that the NGT has not collected any evidence or any data on pollution available through standard procedures. The applicants sought only a final order after a detailed study of the quality and standard of pollution in the State through the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
Can the order against NGT be appealed in High Court? – The provision in NGT Act for appealing against its order before the Supreme Court does not preclude the High Â Court from entertaining a petition filed under Art 226 of the constitution in view of various Supreme Court orders.
North-East resource centre may be established
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at the possibility of upgrading the North Eastern Council (NEC) as a state-of-the-art resource centre capable of meeting the aspirations of the people, at the plenary session of NEC.
â€œTo meet the growing aspirations of the people, it is important that the NEC introspect and assess the extent to which it has been able to achieve its objectives,â€ he said. It should be developed as a â€œstate-of-the-art resource centre for the north-eastern States with necessary resources, knowledge and skills.â€ It could enable the States and the implementing agencies to properly plan and execute projects, promote research and innovations and provide strategic policy vision for the region.
What is the North East Council (NEC)? – The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament.The constitution of the Council Â has marked the beginning of a new chapter of concerted and planned endeavour for the rapid development of the Region.
Over the last thirty five years, NEC has been instrumental in setting in motion a new economic endeavour aimed at removing the basic handicaps that stood in the way of normal development of the region and has ushered in an era of new hope Â in this backward area full of great potentialities.
Chhattisgarh tribals using art to document killings
Villagers in the heavily militarised areas of south Chhattisgarh have embraced the traditional Gond art to document fake encounters that are not uncommon in that part of India.
The last moments of Gond tribals, as they are killed by the security forces, are narrated on stone plaques called Mritak Sthamv.
Where is the Gond tribe located? – The Gondi or Gond people are a Dravidian people of central India, spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Western Odisha. With eleven million people, they are the second largest tribe in Central India.
What is the Gond art? – The Gonds paint their walls with vibrant depictions of local flora, fauna and gods such as Marahi Devi and Phulvari Devi (Goddess Kali). Traditionally made on festive occasions such as Karwa Chauth, Diwali, Ashtami and Nag Panchmi, Gond painting depicts various celebrations, rituals and manâ€™s relationship with nature. The artists use natural colors derived from charcoal, colored soil, plant sap, leaves, and cow dung. This mystical art form is created by putting together dots and lines. The imaginative use of the line imparts a sense of movement to the still images. The paintings are an offering in worship of nature, and are also a mode of seeking protection and warding off evil.
Committee Report on Â New Education Policy
The committee constituted under TSR Subramaniam has submitted its report on the evolution of a new education policy.
The panel has recommended one-lakh scholarships for meritorious students from poor families and socially and educationally backward communities to pursue higher education. This step will promote inclusive education.
The committee has proposed to link autonomy for universities with their rating. The Â committee has also recommended that institutions being rated in the lowest category should close down. Higher the rating, more the autonomy. For those getting rated in the highest category, the report has recommended full academic autonomy.
The committee also proposed greater professionalism in rating. As of now, NAAC under the University Grants Commission rates institutions across India. While a government body like the UGC should set standards, the inspection or assessment of institutions based on these standards needed greater professionalism, and agencies/companies that are trained to evaluate should be entrusted with the task.
The committee has also called for an â€˜Indian Education Serviceâ€™ with selections done by the UGC for pulling in greater talent into teaching. It has also underlined the need for greater quality in school education, suggesting a no-detention policy only till Class V, instead of Class VIII at present.
The report has also recommended the inculcation of values – peace, harmony, respect for diversity, equality, truth, dharma and non-violence among others – in students and has said that pride in the nation should be one of the values education should promote.
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