1. ₹8 lakh income ‘reasonable’ cap for EWS quota, Centre tells SC
The criterion is ‘more stringent’ than the one for OBC creamy layer, the govt. says
A government committee report in the Supreme Court has said that “income” is a “feasible criterion” for defining the “Economically Weaker Sections” (EWS) in society, and the annual family income of ₹8 lakh is a “reasonable” threshold to determine EWS in order to extend reservation in admissions and jobs.
“A feasible criterion for defining EWS can be based on income [family income]. A threshold of ₹8 lakh of annual family income, in the current situation, seems reasonable for determining EWS,” the report of the committee, submitted as part of a government affidavit, concluded.
The committee did not agree with the notion that the Union government had “mechanically adopted” ₹8 lakh as a number because it was also used for the OBC creamy layer cut-off.
It said the income criterion for EWS was “more stringent” than the one for the OBC creamy layer.
“Firstly, EWS’s criteria relates to the financial year prior to the year of application whereas the income criterion for the creamy layer in OBC category is applicable to gross annual income for three consecutive years,” the committee said.
About EWS Quota:
The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act provides for 10% reservation in government jobs and
educational institutions for the economically weaker section in the unreserved category.
The Act amends Article 15 and 16 to provide for reservation based on economic backwardness.
More about EWS quota:
It is in addition to 50% reservation already provided to SC, ST and OBC communities.
Declaration of EWS is based on fulfilling of following criteria:
Income should be less than 8 Lakh per annum.
One should not have more than 5 acre farm land.
Home size should be less than 1000 sq. feet.
Positives of EWS reservation:
It provides legitimacy to already existing reservation. Now, universities won’t be segregated between merit candidates and reserved communities.
It is secular in nature and includes all religions: Muslims, Christians
Economic justice is the philosophy behind it. In an increasing economic society, class becomes a tool of oppression.
It address contemporary reservation movements like Jats reservation, Patel reservation.
8 Lakh is creamy layer identified in OBC reservation. Hence, 8 Lakh is justified as a basis of class criteria.
Concerns/drawbacks of EWS reservation:
It violates Indira Swahney judgement of Supreme court which applied 50% cap on the reservation.
Social justice has been the philosophy behind reservation. Upper caste are at the top of caste pyramid and doesn’t require any reservation.
It is not based on any scientific data. A survey of 450 educational institutions had found 28% students belonging to EWS section.
The criteria qualifies around 90-95% population.
The reservation doesn’t make any sense when jobs are on the rise in private sector. Public sector is already declining and not creating many jobs.
This reservation move can be abused by changing the economic status by selling property or showing lower income.
2. Census first phase, NPR data collection deferred till Sept.
The exercise was scheduled to begin in April 2020
The first phase of census and the collection of details to update the National Population Register (NPR) have been postponed at least till September.
The Registrar-General of India (RGI) had in December informed the States that the freezing of boundaries of districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas and police stations had been postponed till June 2022, a senior official said on Sunday.
Freezing of boundary limits of administrative units, at least three months prior to the exercise, is a pre-requisite for conducting the census. Even if the RGI issues an order in June to freeze the boundaries again, the exercise can take place only in September.
The first phase of Census 2021 — the Houselisting and Housing Census along with updating the NPR — was scheduled to be held between April and September 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.
What is a Census?
Census includes the total process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing and disseminating statistical data regarding the population and its characteristics.
Population characteristics include demographic, social and economic data and are provided as of a particular date (reference period).
Census provides detailed information on economic activity, literacy and education, housing and household amenities, urbanisation, fertility and mortality, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, language, religion, migration, disability and many other socio-cultural and demographic data.
Census in Ancient and Medieval India
- The earliest literature ‘Rig-Veda’ reveals that some kind of population count was maintained in during 800-600 BC in India.
- The celebrated ‘Arthashastra’ by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation.
- It contained a detailed description of methods of conducting population, economic and agricultural censuses.
- During the regime of the Mughal king Akbar, the administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
Census in Modern Times
- The first complete census of India was conducted in 1830 by Henry Walter in Dacca (now Dhaka)part of India at that time. In this census the statistics of the population with sex, broad age group, and the houses with their amenities were collected.
- Second Census was conducted in 1836-37 by Fort St.George (according to the government website of Census India.)
- A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non-synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country.
- This effort culminating in 1872 has been popularly labeled as the first population census of India under British Viceroy Lord Mayo.
First synchronous census
- The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881 by W.C. Plowden, Census Commissioner of India.
- In this census, the main emphasis was not only laid on complete coverage but also on the classification of demographic, economic and social characteristic took in the entire continent of British India (except Kashmir).
- Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten year.
- Post 1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- All the censuses since 1951 were conducted under the 1948 Census of India Act.
- The last census was held in 2011, whilst the next will be this year in 2021.
Census 2011: The latest one
- Census 2011 was the 15th National Census of the country since 1872 and the 7th after Independence.
- This census was conducted in two phases which are as follows:
- House Listing or Housing Census
- Population Enumeration
Census: Important pointers
Important points to know about the Census process:
- Questions and forms
Census data is taken by visiting each and every household and gathering particulars by asking questions and filling up census forms.
- Confidential information
The information collected during the process is confidential. In fact, this information is not even accessible to the courts of law.
- Transportation to data processing centres
The forms are transported to data processing centres located at 15 cities across the country.
- Intelligent Character Recognition Software (ICR):
This technology came in India in Census 2001 and has become the benchmark for censuses all around the globe.
- Scanning and extraction of data
This involves the scanning of the census forms at high speed and extracting the data automatically using computer software.
Utility of Census
Administration and Policy
- One of the most basic of the administrative uses of census data is in the demarcation of constituencies and the allocation of representation on governing bodies. (Delimitation Exercise)
- The social and cultural data collected in the census is employed to determine the total number of seats to be reserved for members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the House of People and the Legislative Assemblies of the States.
- Information on the geographic distribution of the population, its size and its other characteristics is essential for evaluation of economic and social problems, which must precede the determination of policy affecting economic and social development.
- The changing patterns of urban-rural concentration, the development of urbanised areas, the geographic distribution of population according to occupation and education, the sex and age structure of population, social and economic characteristics of population are the questions of scientific interest which are of importance both to research and practical problems of industrial and commercial growth and management.
Business and Industry
- Reliable estimates of consumer demand for variety of goods and services depend on accurate information on the size of the population and its distribution.
- These characteristics heavily influence the demand for housing, furnishing, clothing, recreational facilities, medical supplies and so forth.
- The census data is indispensable for social and economic planning of the Country.
- The census data also prove useful in national income estimates and estimates on differential personal incomes in rural and urban areas.
- An analysis of areas of different population size with different characteristics serves as a basis for Government plans and investigations in basic social capital.
- The data on economic activity and educational levels of the individual as collected in the census is very important for manpower planning.
- In a nutshell, the census data can prove very useful in the formulation of policies on education, health, agriculture, food and development of road, rail transport etc.
- Census data serve as denominators for the computation of vital rates.
- Example: Migration Statistics, birth and death rates, fertility rates, gross and net birth rates.
- Census data on fertility can provide a bench-mark check on the reliability of current birth statistics.
Targeted distribution of Tax Revenues
- This is because population plays a key role in routing revenue.
The 2021 Census: What’s new?
- For the first time the data will be collected digitally via mobile applications.
- There will be a provision of working in offline mode.
- This would fetch results almost immediately, unlike earlier cases where it used to take multiple years for the data to be analyzed and the reports published.
- No document will be required by the citizens to be shown as proof.
- A self-declaration will be enough.
- The data collected by enumerator on his/her phone will be registered with the Census authorities.
- Officials involved in Census will provide multi-language support through Census Monitoring & Management Portal – the single source for all Census related activities.
- 2021 Census will not collect caste data.
- For the first time that information of households headed by a person from the transgender community and members living in the family will be collected.
3. This NSP cannot change Pakistan’s direction
Without cooperative ties with India, the Pakistan people may not have human security or a successful economy
At its 36th meeting on December 27, 2021, Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) approved the country’s “first ever” National Security Policy (NSP). Seven years in the making, the NSP is designed to be a “Comprehensive National Security Framework” and covers a five-year period from 2022-26. The NSP seeks to ensure the “safety, security and dignity of the citizen of Pakistan”. To achieve this objective, it puts “economic security” at its “core”. Apart from economic and military matters the NSP also covers issues relating to foreign policy, terrorism, water security and demographics. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who chaired the NSC meeting, called the NSP’s approval a “historic moment”. Pakistan’s cabinet endorsed the NSP on December 28.
Marks a fundamental change
Significantly, a public version of the NSP has not been released as yet. According to a press release by the office of the Pakistan Prime Minister it will be done “in due course”. However, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser, Moeed W. Yusuf said on December 28 that it will be done within a week to 10 days. Should it be released soon, it would show that a kind of consensus has been achieved between the elected government and the Pakistan Army on the NSP. A delay, however, could be indicative of remaining difficulties.
But even if the army is ostensibly on board, the question is whether it is willing to turn Pakistan away, in the true sense, from being a hard military security state into a state where the military competes for resources with other state institutions and the final decision is taken by the political leadership. The logic of giving primacy to the economy is that national policies will be directed through resource allocation towards development. That would mark a fundamental change in Pakistan’s direction, for it would reduce the army’s demand for resources.
It’s the Army first
The Pakistan Army has always laid first claim on the country’s revenues. It has never allowed light to fully shine on the defence expenditure. Nor, for that matter, does it allow scrutiny of its vast network of business enterprises and real estate for the benefit of its officers and men. From time to time, some officers have laid stress on the importance of “geo-economics” but seldom has the army shown any willingness to divert resources from defence to other areas. And, it has convinced the majority of the people that sacrifices have to be made for national defence because of enemies external, principally India, and internal.
More than 40 years ago during Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq’s period, a Pakistani comparing India to his own country told me that his country’s army controlled everything in the name of defence, but “what is it really defending but itself”? Despite the passage of time and the geo-political global and regional transformation, the veracity of my interlocutor’s assertion holds true today too. Thus, if the NSP is to mark a substantial change in Pakistan’s systems and governance, the first step has to be transparency in actual military expenditures and the dismantling of what the brave Pakistani scholar Ayesha Siddiqa terms as “Mil.Inc.”. That does not seem to be on the horizon.
An ‘India obsession’
In the NSP’s context, the question that Pakistan also needs to ask itself is this: can it ever achieve human security for its people and put the country on the path of normalcy and growth without radically changing its India policy? As the product of the two-nation theory, Pakistan has defined its very identity — to put it crudely but bluntly — thus: it is what India is not. Almost 75 years since its creation, Pakistan continues its search for a positive identity which will allow it to give up its India obsession. Its so-called commitment to the ‘Kashmir cause’ is a sub-set of its overall negative approach to India. This deep-seated hostility has prevented it from adopting rational policies towards India. Rational approaches would have enabled it to ‘legally’ adhere to its positions but ‘practically’ have ties with India in areas that would be in its national interest.
An example of its irrational approach is the position it has taken on the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) issue after the constitutional changes of August 5, 2019. Pakistan could have maintained its stand on J&K and yet traded with India as that was in its interest to do so. Instead, it decided to suspend the abridged commercial relationship that existed. Countries can adopt selective approaches to register protests. A sacrifice of interests is especially futile where such sacrifice does not yield results as it obviously has not, from Pakistan’s standpoint, on J&K developments, post 2019.
While Pakistan’s ideology and mindset prevents it from developing realistic ties with India, it also has a bearing on its social development and the economic management of the country apart from draining resources from development to defence. Pakistan aspires to become a society imbued with moderate Islamic faith. However, its security apparatus has actively sought to use Islamism against India. This has led it to pander to violent sectarian groups and marginalise progressive elements of civil society. The culture of Islamism is illustrated by the veneration of the grave of Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. It is astonishing that Qadri who was executed for the crime of murdering one he was duty bound to protect was lauded by millions for serving the cause of Islam by killing Taseer who was perceived to be sympathising with a blasphemy accused. There is another aspect. Islamist forces are also allies of feudal elements in the Pakistani political elite, and together they support inimical and irrational policies towards India, including in economic and commercial sectors.
China as anchor
The natural economic partner for a country such as Pakistan is a large neighbour. This is especially so in an era when economies are not barricaded as some were for several decades in the second half of the previous century. Stoutly refusing to open up trade with India, Pakistan has looked to other economic and commercial partners among whom China is by far the most important. The security relationship was the anchor of the China-Pakistan ties. Now, Pakistan hopes that China will offer its assistance to transform its economy. It looks to the mechanisms under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to play a crucial role through connectivity, port development, power production and other investments. All this may be of some help but they cannot be a substitute to be integrated with a large neighbouring economy.
That can only come about with the opening of trade and connectivity with India. Over 25 years ago, Chinese President Jiang Zemin had, in an address to the Pakistani Senate, spoken of the need to temporarily shelve disputes so that they do not impact inter-state ties. He may have mentioned this in the context of Chinese-South Asian ties, but these comments applied to Pakistani approaches to its neighbours as well. But Jiang Zemin’s words were simply ignored by the Pakistanis. Today, with the regional and international context entirely changed, it is unlikely that President Xi Jinping will give Pakistan the same advice. However, that does not erode the veracity of Jiang Zemin’s views.
Thus, irrespective of what the NSP may state, the Pakistan people can neither have human security nor a successful economy without cooperative ties with India. That the Pakistan Army and the political elite are unwilling to have. The NSP, therefore, cannot change Pakistan’s unhappy direction.
4. Draft national air sports policy pushes for safety standards
It will cover activities like aerobatics, ballooning, paragliding and microlighting
The government on Sunday released a draft national policy for air sports in the country that will require entities providing these services and their equipment to be registered, as well as be liable for penalties.
The policy proposes a two-tier governance structure for air sports in the country, which will include an apex governing body called the Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI) and associations for each air sport. It will cover activities like aerobatics, aeromodelling, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, ballooning, drones, gliding, hang gliding, paragliding, microlighting, paramotoring, skydiving, and vintage aircraft.
The ASFI will be an autonomous body under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and will represent India at the Lausanne-headquartered Fédération Aéronaautique Internationale (FAI) and other global platforms related to air sports. It will provide governance over various aspects of air sports, including regulation, certification, competitions, awards and penalties.
Each air sports association will lay down its safety standards for equipment, infrastructure, personnel and training, and specify the disciplinary actions to be taken in case of non-compliance. Inability to do so may lead to penal action by the ASFI.
All persons and entities providing air sports services will be required to register as members of the respective air sports associations. Key equipment used will also have to be registered.
It is proposed that popular air sports attractions in the country such as Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh, Gangtok in Sikkim, Hadapsar in Maharashtra and Vagamon in Kerala can be declared as a “control zone” for air sports in order to ensure the safety of other manned aircraft.
Schools and colleges will be encouraged to include air sports in their curriculum and their students will have the opportunity to participate in the FAI’s international competitions.
The draft policy also aims to promote domestic design, development and manufacturing of air sports equipment under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan; waive import duty on equipment for a few years; as well as request the GST Council to consider rationalising the GST rate on air sports equipment to 5% or less.
5. ‘Malabar is the most complex naval exercise’
While the Navy gears up to hold its largest multilateral exercise ‘Milan’ at the end of February, there are requests from several countries for various formats of exercises, defence officials said, pointing out that Malabar is the most complex naval exercise India does with any other country.
Meanwhile, China continues to expand its presence and assistance in the region, the latest being the delivery of Ming class diesel-electric submarine to Myanmar, its second submarine after the first one given by India.
“The tempo of exercises has been very high last few years and more and more countries want to exercise with us,” one defence official said. This could see some consolidation with expansion of existing bilateral or trilateral exercises into larger formats, which could bring down the overall number while increasing the engagements, an official stated.
These engagements are further amplified by the bilateral logistics agreements, Navy to Navy agreements and information sharing agreements that India has concluded with several countries. Some countries require a Navy to Navy agreement for their bureaucratic process, the official explained.
India also exchanges maritime Information bilaterally with friendly foreign countries to create Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region.
|1.||Australia||AUSTRA HIND, AUSINDEX, PITCH BLACK|
|2.||Bangladesh||SAMPRITI, IN-BN CORPAT, IN-BN BILAT, IN-BN SF, TABLE TOP, SAMVEDNA|
|3.||Brazil and South Africa||IBSAMAR|
|4.||China||HAND IN HAND|
|6.||France||SHAKTI, VARUNA, GARUDA|
|7.||Indonesia||GARUDA SHAKTI, IND-INDO CORPAT, IND-INDO BILAT|
|9.||Japan||DHARMA GUARDIAN, JIMEX|
|12.||Malaysia||HARIMAU SHAKTI, IN-RMN BILAT, HOP EX|
|15.||Myanmar||IMBEX, IMCOR, IN-MN, BILAT, TABLE TOP|
|17.||Oman||AL NAGAH, NASEEM-AL-BAHR, EASTERN BRIDGE|
|18.||Qatar||ZA’IR AL BAHR|
|21.||Singapore||SIMBEX, JOINT MILITARY TRAINING|
|22.||Sri Lanka||MITRA SHAKTI, SLINEX, IN-SLN SF, SAMVEDNA|
|23.||Thailand||MAITREE, INDO-THAI CORPAT, SIAM BHARAT|
|25.||UK||AJEY WARRIOR, KONKAN, INDRADHANUSH|
|26.||USA||YUDHABHAYAS, VAJRA PRAHAR, SPITTING COBRA, SANGAM (IN-USN EOD), RED FLAG, COPE INDIA|
|28.||Vietnam||VINBAX, IN-VPN BILAT|
|37.||Multilateral||ADMM PLUS EXERCISES|
|41.||Multilateral||IONS WORKING GROUP EXERCISES|