Karnataka Cabinet panel to study promotions for SCs and STs

Image: Karnataka Cabinet panel to study promotions for SCs and STs
Image Source: ToI

The Karnataka Cabinet on Wednesday decided to setup a Cabinet sub-committee to study the recent SC order that struck down reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe employees.

The State has had reservation in promotions for SC, ST employees since 1978 – 15% for SCs and 3% for STs – which has been struck down by the SC. The State has already filed a review petition challenging the order.

The issue has political implications in poll-bound Karnataka, with Dalit groups demanding that the government find ways to circumvent the order.

What was the SC judgement?

On February 9, the SC declared the Karnataka Determination of Seniority of the Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation Act invalid to the extent it accorded consequential seniority to SC and ST employees in public offices without carrying out the requisite exercise under Article 16(4A). The Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj’s case of 2006 as well held that the State must demonstrate backwardness, inadequacy of representation and maintenance of efficiency before providing reservation in promotion under Article 16(4).

The SC added that if the state has not conducted the requisite exercise under Article 16(4A), the judicially evolved ‘catch-up’ rule will fully apply to control the extent of reservation.

What is consequential seniority?

Consequential Seniority in laymen terms means the seniority attained as a consequence of promotion. Suppose A and B are on the same post at a given point of time, but A is 2 years senior than B. B get promoted earlier than A due to his SC status. Now when A will get promotion to the post that B got promoted to earlier, B will be senior to A by the number of years after which A got the promotion to the same post. This despite the fact that initially A was senior than B.

What is the judicially evolved ‘catch-up’ rule?

The ‘catch-up’ rule was explained in the Nagaraj judgement, holding that if a senior general candidate was promoted after SC and ST candidates, he would gain his seniority on promotion in relation to the juniors who had been promoted against reserved vacancies.



The Hindu Newspaper (You can download the newspaper for free through a link given on this page – UPSC Aspirants Forum).



Odisha plans development for tribal areas

Image: Special Development Councils for tribals in Odisha
Image Source: tribestourorissa.com

The Odisha Cabinet on Wednesday decided to establish Special Development Councils for nine tribal dominated districts in Odisha. These councils will take up cultural, educational and economic development in harmony with the unique identity and ethos of the people.

The formation of these councils is significant as many small tribal groups do not get represented directly in higher decision making in a democratic system based on majority.

The councils will have representation from every tribe present in the district and will have decision making powers and financial resources to preserve, promote and develop their unique socio-cultural identities and their economic capacities.

Odisha government will be spending a total of Rs. 175.50 crore per annum and cover each block under these councils.

Tribals in Odisha constitute 22% of the State’s population and nearly 10% of the nation’s tribal population. Of the 62 distinct STs in the State, 13 belong to the particularly vulnerable tribal groups.

Tribal Areas in India and the Constitutional Provisions related to them:

Image: Special Development Councils for tribals in Orissa

Article 244 in Part X of the Constitution envisages special system of administration for certain areas designated as ‘scheduled areas’ and ‘tribal areas’.

The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the administration of the tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. It contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the above mentioned four northeastern states.

The rationality behind this special arrangement for them is that they have not assimilated much the life and ways of the other people in these four states. The tribal people in other parts of India have more or less adopted the culture of the majority of the people in whose midst they live.

These areas are, therefore, treated differently by the Constitution of India and sizeable amount of autonomy has been given to these people for self-government.



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Indian Polity by Laxmikanth.

Privacy is a fundamental but wholly qualified right

Supreme Court of India image

The Centre on Wednesday told the SC that privacy was indeed a fundamental right, but a “wholly qualified” one.

This led a nine-judge Constitutional Bench headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar to sum up Attorney General K.K. Venugopal’s submission – Right to Privacy is a fundamental right. But not every aspect of it (privacy) is a fundamental right. It depends on a case-to-case basis. Mr. Venugopal agreed to the court’s interpretation of the government’s stand.

On July 18, the five-judge SC Bench which was to deal with pleas challenging the validity of the Aadhar scheme and the right to privacy attached to it, referred the question whether ‘Right to Privacy’ is a constitutional right to a larger nine-judges Bench of the SC.

The Centre cited the SC judgement of 1954 (M.P. Sharma judgement) and 1962 (Kharak Singh judgement) – where it (the SC) held that the ‘Right to Privacy’ was not a fundamental right –in front of the five-judge Bench of the SC after which the Bench referred the question to a larger nine-judge Bench.

The hearing is to continue on Thursday.

Earlier position of the SC on ‘Right to Privacy’

The SC in various judgements have declared that the Right to Privacy is a part of Article 21 of the Constitution. Article 21 guarantees the fundamental right to life and liberty.

At the same time, the SC in the 1954 M.P. Sharma judgement and the 1962 Kharak Singh judgement have held that the Right to Privacy is not the fundamental right.

It is to correctly interpret the Constitution that the five-judge SC Bench, on July 18, referred the question whether the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right or not to a larger nine-judge bench.


Reference (s):

The Hindu (You can download the newspaper for free from a link given on this FB page – UPSC Aspirants Forum)

Sri Lanka clears revised deal for Hambantota port

Image: Sri Lanka clears revised deal for Hambantota port
Image Source: The New Indian Express

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet on Tuesday cleared a revised deal for the Chinese-built port in Hambantota, the government said. The modified agreement, the government added, was more profitable to Sri Lanka and also addressed security concerns raised by other countries.

Sri Lankan Minister said the Cabinet gave final approval to sell 70% stake in the southern port to the state-run China Merchants Port Holding. He also highlighted that some diplomatic missions were worried that the port would be used as a naval military base which Sri Lanka has addressed in the revised agreement. He said, though the Chinese would manage port operations, no naval ship (including Chinese ones) can come at Hambantota without our permission.

India has repeatedly raised its concern with Sri Lanka regarding China’s ambition to have control in the strategic Indian Ocean. India considers China’s aim to get hold of the Hambantota port as part of a strategy to encircle India. Some experts have termed this theory as “String of Pearls”.

About Hambantota Port Issue:

Selling stake of the Hambantota Port to the Chinese is the main issue which is being opposed both domestically within Sri Lanka as well as by India.

Under former Sri Lankan President’s tenure, massive loans were borrowed and invested on huge infrastructure projects in Hambantota including a $1.4 billion deep sea port, a large industrial zone, an LNG plant, an international airport, to name a few. To finance these projects, he looked upto China for the loans; China embraced this opportunity with both hands by giving $8 billion in soft loans.

Now that the projects are struck in b/w and no source of continuous cash flow is available with the Sri Lankan government to take the projects forward, amid its high debt-to-GDP of around 95%, Sri Lankan government has decided to lease the port for 99 years to the Chinese.

This was opposed by the Sri Lankans whose lands were taken to build the industrial zone, where the Sri Lankan government is planning to invite China for setting up its industries.

India opposed the move owing to strategic concerns. Indian experts consider it as a strategy of China to control the strategic Indian Ocean and encircle India – a theory popularly known as “String of Pearls”.



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India rejects OIC move on vigilantism

Image: India rejects OIC move on vigilantism
Image Source: Times of India

India on Tuesday strongly rejected the resolutions of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that had expressed concern about the recent attacks on people by cow-vigilante groups. An official statement from the Ministry of External Affairs stated that the resolution adopted at the Organisation’s latest foreign ministers’ meeting were “factually incorrect”.

The MEA statement pointed that the OIC, during its 44th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, has again adopted certain resolutions which contain factually incorrect and misleading references to matters internal to India, including the Indian state of J&K, which is an integral part of India.

The MEA added that the OIC has no locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action) on India’s internal affairs. We strongly advise the OIC to refrain from making such references in future.

About Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:

Image: Lofo of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an international organisation founded in 1969, consisting of 57 members, to represent a “collective voice of the Muslim world”. It works to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

The OIC has permanent delegations to the UN and the EU.



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India’s concerns slowing RCEP talks

Image: India's concerns slowing RCEP talks
Image Source: asean.org

India’s reservations regarding the potential adverse impact of eliminating duties on its local manufacturing and job creation is understood to be slowing down the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.

The RCEP is a proposed mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA) involving 16 Asia Pacific nations including India and China, and aims, among other things to liberalise investment norms in the region, besides boosting trade by dismantling most tariff and non-tariff barriers.

Many economists and scholars have pointed that the growth potential of Asia Pacific region is immense and if we remove or reduce barriers in trade, we can reap its full potential. However, the pace at which RCEP (which seeks to remove such trade barriers) negotiations are going, it is not expected to see the light of day any soon.

Also read: Forum concerned at ‘secret’ RCEP talks

Also read: Zero duty to hit Indian dairy industry:Amul

On Indian side, Indian companies and trade bodies, including CII, are pointing out their concerns. They are of the opinion that the RCEP will lead to low or no import duties which would hit the Indian industries and eventually render people jobless. They also opine that it will hit Indian manufacturing industries and eventually ‘Make in India’ initiative would be affected.

About Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):

To know in detail about the organisation, read this International Organisation: Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridor

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) b/w the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), viz. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements, viz. Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Image: RCEP member countries infographics

RCEP will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues.


The Hindu (You can download ‘The Hindu’ newspaper for free from a link given on this FB page – UPSC Aspirants Forum)



Image: Zero duty to hit Indian dairy industry amul
Image Source: verka.coop

The Indian dairy sector, providing livelihood to 15 crore farmers, would be severely hit if import duties on milk and milk products were eliminated under any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), according to the local dairy cooperative Amul.

Separately, farmers’ organisations have threatened to hold nationwide protests if the dairy sector is opened up under the RCEP – the proposed mega-regional FTA involving 16 Asia-Pacific nations including India – or any other FTA including those proposed separately with Australia or New Zealand.

Also read: Forum concerned at ‘secret’ RCEP talks

Zero duty or reduced import duty under any FTA will risk the indigenous dairy industry due to influx of cheaper dairy products, particularly from RCEP members like Australia and New Zealand. Currently, the duty on milk and milk products ranges from 40% to 60%, which gives the local industry enough protection to build its competitiveness.

Australia and New Zealand control more than 35% of the global dairy trade and more than 50% of the intra-RCEP trade.

About Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):

To read in detail about RCEP and its pros and cons for our country, read this: About RCEP.

RCEP is a proposed free-trade FTA b/w the ten member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements.

Image: RCEP member countries infographics

RCEP was set up in November 2012 in Cambodia.

Cumulatively, the grouping of 16 nations include more than 3 billion people and has a combined GDP of $17 trillion. It accounts for about 40% of world trade.



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