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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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India ranks 131 in 2016 Human Development Index

India was ranked 131 in the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) among the 188 countries.  India scored 0.624 and was placed in medium human development category.

The index was unveiled recently as part of the Human Development Report (HDR) 2016 titled Human Development for Everyone published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

Key Highlights of 2016 HDR
  • Top three countries: Norway (0.949 score), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).
  • SAARC countries: Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105) were placed in “high human development” category, followed by India (131), Bhutan (132), Bangladesh (139), Nepal (144), Pakistan (147) and Afghanistan (169).
  • BRICS Countries: India ranks lowest among BRICS nations. Russia (49), Brazil (79), China (90), South Africa (119) and India (131).
  • India related facts: India’s HDI value increased from 0.428 in 1990 to 0.624 in 2015. However, its average annual growth in HDI (1990-2015) was higher than that of other medium HDI countries.
  • In 2015 HDI, India ranked 130 with score of 0.609 and was placed in the medium human development category.
  • Life expectancy at birth: In India, it has increased from 68 years to an average of 68.3 years — 69.9 years for women and 66.9 years for men.
  • Access to knowledge: India’s expected years of schooling remains at 11.7 years, while mean years of schooling increased from 5.4 to 6.3 years.
  • India’s Gross National Income (GNI) based on per capita purchasing power parity (PPP): It has risen from $5,497 to $5,663.
  • Gender Inequality Index (GII): India ranked 125 among 159 countries. Only 12.2% of Parliament seats are held by women.
  • 8% of women above the age of 15 years are part of India’s labour force — compared to 79.1% men. The ratio of maternal mortality is 174 against every 100,000 live births.
  • Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI): It is difference between the HDI and IHDI, expressed as a percentage of the HDI, indicating the loss in human development due to inequality.
  • India’s HDI was pegged at 0.624, but its value falls 27.2% after being adjusted for inequalities, resulting in a HDI value of 0.455.
  • Life expectancy adjusted with inequalities between 2010 and 2015 fell 24%, resulting in a value of 0.565.
  • The percentage of inequality in education in 2015 was 39.4% or 0.324 and inequality in income 16.1% or 0.512. 

About HDI

The HDI is a measure for assessing countries progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life (life expectancy), access to knowledge and access to a decent standard of living. Countries are ranked based on scale ranging between 0 (low) to 1 (high).

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India’s first sign language dictionary to come up soon: Government

The Union Government will soon launch country’s first-of-its-kind Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary which aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people.

It is being developed in both print and video format by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC).  It will give an uniform language to 50 lakh hearing and 20 lakh speech impaired people in the country.

Key Facts
  • ISL dictionary will contain graphic representations of popular signs used by the hearing impaired and also their regional variations. It will also have legal, technical and medical terms
  • It will help bridge the communication gap by promoting the use of sign language for hearing impaired students at schools and colleges.
  • It will also enable government officials, teachers, community leaders, professionals and the public at large to learn and use sign language.
  • It will enable the public utility organisations like hospitals, banks, courts, airports, and others to utilise the services of interpreters.
  • So far, it has compiled 6,032 Hindi and English words and their corresponding graphic representation of the signs which are used in daily life.

About Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC)

ISLRTC is an autonomous organization under the aegis of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was established under Society Registration Act, 1860. Its main objectives are to develop manpower for teaching and conducting research in Indian Sign Language (ISL), promote use of ISL as an educational mode in collaboration with universities, national and international bodies.

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