Current Affairs – March 2017

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Cabinet approves setting up of National Commission for Socially and Educationally backward classes

The Union Cabinet approved setting up of National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) as a constitutional body.

In this regard, constitutional amendment bill for amending Constitution mainly by insertion of Article 338B will be soon introduced in the Parliament.

Union Cabinet has approved
  • Creation of a National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) under new Article 338 B.
  • Composition of the new NSEBC will include Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and three other Members.
  • Insertion of provision after Article 341 and 342 by inserting Article 342 A to provide for Parliament’s approval for every inclusion into and exclusion from the Central List of Other Backward Class (OBCs).
  • Insertion of a new Clause (26C) under Article 366 of the Constitution to define Socially and Educationally Backward Classes;
  • Repealing of National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 and Rules framed under it. Dissolution of the Commission constituted under the Act of 1993;
Background

There have been demands in Parliament for grant of constitutional status to the NCBC to enable it to hear the grievances of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the same manner like that of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (constituted under Article 338) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (constituted under Article 338A) hear complaint.

About National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

  • NCBC was established in pursuance to the Supreme Court judgement in the Indra Sawhney case (Mandal case) as per the NCBC Act, 1993.
  • Function of NCBC: Examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists.
  • Hear complaints of under-inclusion or over-inclusion of any backward class in such lists.
  • Tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate.
  • Its advice was ordinarily binding upon the Central Government.

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Cabinet approves of proposal to establish a Fund of Fund for Start-ups

The Union Cabinet has approved proposals to tweak Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) rules to enable greater flow of resources. FFS was established in June 2016 with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores.

The proposals approved are
  • Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) supported by FFS shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received from FFS in Start-ups.
  • Further, if the amount committed for a Start-up in whole has not been released before a Start-up ceases to be so, the balance funding can continue thereafter.
  • The operating expenses for carrying out due diligence, legal and technical appraisal, convening meeting of Venture Capital Investment Committee, etc. will be met out of the FFS.
  • These expenses will be to an extent of 0.50% of the commitments made to AIFs and outstanding. This will be debited to the fund at the beginning of each half year i.e. April 1 and October 1.
Background
  • The Union Cabinet in June 2016 had approved the proposal to establish a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) with a total corpus of Rs.10000 crore.
  • It was approved with contribution spread over the 14th & 15th Finance Commission (FC) cycles based on progress of implementation and availability of funds.
  • It was decided that the FFS shall contribute to the corpus of AIFs for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages.
  • The FFS is being managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). It contributes to SEBI registered AIFs that may go up to maximum of 35% of the corpus of the AIF concerned.

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