Social Issues Current Affairs - 2019
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According to the 2016 Indian Exclusion Report (IXR) released by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES), in terms of exclusion from access to public goods, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims continue to remain the worst-hit communities. The report has found out that the same historically disadvantaged groups such as Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and persons with disabilities and age-related vulnerabilities continue to remain as the most severely and consistently excluded groups of the society.
The 2016 IXR Report determines exclusion by taking into account four public goods, namely, pensions for the elderly, digital access, agricultural land, and legal justice for undertrials.
With the respect to the criteria of agricultural land as a public good, the report has found that the landowners to be invariably belonging to the upper castes, cultivators to be belonging to the middle castes. Dalits and Adivasis remain largely as the agricultural workers and landlessness was highest among Dalits (57.3%). Also, 52.6% of Muslims and 56.8% of women-headed households were landless. In addition, Adivasis constituted around 40% of all those displaced by the developmental activities.
The report has highlighted that the Land reform efforts have not benefited Dalits, women or Muslims significantly. The land holdings of Dalits, Muslims and women were found to be meagre in size. Also, it has noted that the Land allotments to SC/ST households were not implemented efficiently.
The report has observed that even though India has been ranked among the top five nations in terms of the number of internet users, almost 1.063 billion Indians were found to be offline. It has cited Poverty and geographic location to be the two major barriers to digital access.
The report has cited problems like poor infrastructure, inadequate institutional frameworks, low literacy in the targeted areas, and poor cooperation from government officials as the major reasons behind poor implementation of government schemes aimed at enhancing digital access. The report has also cited the reluctance on the part of government to be a signatory to a non-binding UN Human Rights Council resolution to protect human rights on the Internet.
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;
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.