India Current Affairs 2017

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Union Cabinet gives nod to amend Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order Amendment Bill, 2015 in the Parliament.

The Bill seeks to amend Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 in order to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in respect of 5 States viz. Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal.

Key facts

  • The Bill also modifies the Central List of Other Backward Classes of 3 states viz. Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Kerala.
  • Chhattisgarh: Sais, who are also known as Sahis, Sarathi, Soot-Sarathi and Thanwar are eligible for their inclusion in SC category.
  • Haryana: Two castes have been included in the SC list. These are Aheria (also called Aheri, Hari, Heri, Thori and Tur) and Rai Sikh.
  • Kerala: Peruvannan caste has been included the SC list. While, Malayan community area has been extended.
  • Odisha: Bariki and Kummari castes been excluded from the OBC list consequent upon their inclusion in SC list.
  • West Bengal: The area restriction of the inclusion of Chain caste has been removed.
  • After the Bill becomes an Act, the members of these communities will be included in the list of Scheduled Castes.
  • They will be able to derive benefits meant for Scheduled Castes under the existing Government schemes. In addition they will also be entitled to the benefits of reservation in services and admission to educational institutions.

Background

  • The Constitution of India provides certain privileges and concessions to the members of Scheduled Castes that are notified under the provisions of Article 341 of the Constitution.
  • Article 341 says that 1st list of Scheduled Castes in relation to a States/UTs has to be issued by a notified Order of the President after consultation with the respective State Government.
  • Clause (2) of Article 341 mentions that any subsequent inclusion or exclusion particular community from the list of Scheduled Castes can be envisaged through an Act of Parliament.
  • Modalities in regard to modifications in the lists of SCs/STs: In 1999, Union Government had approved Modalities for considering proposals in regard to modifications in the lists of SCs/ST. It was amended in June 2002.
  • Under it amending legislation to the concerned Constitution Order is proposed only in respect of such proposals of the concerned State Government/UT Administration.
  • Such proposal must have been agreed to both by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) as well as Registrar General of India (RGI).

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World Bank offers $1.5 billion loan for Swachh Bharat Mission

The World Bank has approved a 1.5 billion dollars loan to support the Union government’s flagship cleanliness drive Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

The loan funds would be used for SBM Support Operation Project and shall support SBM’s rural component known as SBM-Gramin (SBM-G). The loan has a maturity of 18 years including a grace period of 5 years.

Key facts

  • SBM Support Operation Project aims at strengthening the implementation of the SBM initiative of the government.
  • The project will support SBM-Gramin over a 5 year period using a new performance-based program.
  • Two important components of this project are incentivising good performance by states and the focus on behavioural changes.
  • Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) will be nodal agency for overseeing and coordinating role for the programme and support the participating states.
  • The loan funds will be mainly used to develop the capacity of MDWS in program management, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation.

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM): Aims to ensure that all citizens have access to improved sanitation such as a toilet or latrine. It mainly focuses on changing behaviour of citizens in ending the practice of open defecation by 2019.

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SC appoints Virendra Singh as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh

The Supreme Court has appointed Justice (Retd) Virendra Singh as new Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh.

The first of its kind order given , the SC has invoked its constitutional power and appointed retired HC judge as UP Lokayukta after state machinery failed to appoint it. The order was given as per Article 142 of Constitution.

The Supreme Court observed that

  • The failure of constitutional functionaries to comply with the orders of the apex court of the country is deeply regretted and astonishing.
  • Expressed displeasure that Chief Minister, leader of opposition and Chief Justice of High Court failed to comply with its order.

Justice (Retd) Virendra Singh is a native of western Uttar Pradesh. He has served as Judge of Allahabad High Court from 2009 to 2011 and had superannuated in 2011.

Background

The Supreme Court’s order came after State Selection Panel of Lokayukta comprising Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, leader of Opposition (LoP) Swami Prasad Maurya and Chief Justice of Allahabad high court Justice DY Chandrachud could not reach on any consensus.

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