Polity - Current Affairs, August 2016 UPSC Notes | EduRev

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POLITY

1.1. URBAN GOVERNANCE: DIRECTLY ELECTED MAYORS
Why in News?

A private member’s bill was introduced in the parliament to make provisions for direct election and empowerment of the office of mayor in country.

Background
 The passage of the 74th Constitution Amendment in 1992 resulted in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) — Nagar Panchayats, Municipal Councils and Municipal Corporations — becoming a constitutionally recognised “institution of self-government”.
 However, it did not prescribe the manner of election, tenure or powers of the Mayors/Chairpersons of ULBs.
 The bill seeks to alter this. It mandates the direct election of the Mayor, fixes the Mayor’s term to be coterminous with that of the municipality, and makes the Mayor the executive head of the municipality.

Need
 While there are multiple reasons for India’s urban woes, one of the underlying problems is the absence of powerful and politically accountable leadership in the city.
 Our cities have a weak and fragmented institutional architecture in which multiple agencies.

Present Position
 Mayor is the head and official in charge of the Municipal Corporations in India.
 Executive Officers monitor the implementation of all the programs related to planning and development of the corporation with the coordination of Mayor and Councilors.
 At present, six states namely Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, UP and Tamil Nadu, provide for mayors that are elected directly by voters for a five-year term.

Proposed Changes
 The bill aims for strong leadership for cities by providing for a directly elected and empowered Mayor.
 It also suggests the reforms such as mandating the constitution of area sabhas and ward committees and strengthening the devolution of functions to local governments.
 It makes the Mayor the executive head of the municipality.
 It also gives Mayor veto powers over some of the council’s resolutions and also lets the Mayor nominate members of the Mayor-in-Council.
 

Impact
 Mayor can be held accountable for the irregularities as they will be directly elected by people.
 It will also encourage better financial management of our municipalities.
 It will be helpful in creating more transparency as communication and reporting will be directly done by mayor.
 It will create the office of Mayor politically relevant, hence it will create a culture of meritocracy, performance and accountability.

Challenge
 The first challenge is the status quo itself and the vested interests it has entrenched. State governments do not wish to delegate more authority to city-level institutions.
 Even if some powers are delegated to the municipality, the state governments have in place municipal commissioners to perform executive functions, again cutting the mayor to size, nature of mayoral election notwithstanding. However Bill rectifies this by making the mayor the executive head of the municipality.
 A fundamental issue with a directly elected Mayor is that instead of enabling efficiency, it might actually result in gridlock in administration, especially when the Mayor and the majority of elected members of the city council are from different political parties.

 And this apparently became a reason for the current govt. in Himachal Pradesh to scrap the system of direct election.
 There is little evidence to suggest that directly elected mayors are better. States like Rajasthan and HP which introduced directly elected Mayors reversed the decision due to the difficulties posed by such a system.

Way forward
 For responsive urban governance, we need a powerful political executive in the city with more autonomy, whether directly or indirectly elected.
 However, local government is still under List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Hence only the State is empowered to make laws on this subject.

 In such a federal system, constitutional provisions should only lay down the broad institutional framework for local governments.

1.2. COMPETITIVE FEDERALISM
Why in news?

 Recent studies show signs of successful competitive federalism in Indian economy especially in terms of ease of doing business. States are trying to attract investments by facilitating reforms.

___________________________________

Example- Labour reforms
Gujarat: In 2015, passed a series of labour law reforms, making it more difficult for utility workers to go on strike, reducing the time employees have to seek redress for dismissal, and more.
Karnataka: In 2016, the government announced a new retail trade policy that allows establishments to be open longer, relaxes labour laws and stocking limits, and also allows women to work at night.
Rajasthan: In Nov 2014 itself, Rajasthan govt. got President’s assent on its modification of 3 labour laws that relaxed norms like allow companies employing up to 300 staffers to lay off workers or close down without taking the government's prior approval.

___________________________________

What is competitive federalism?
 Competitive federalism is a concept where centre competes with states and vice-versa, and states compete with each other in their joint efforts to develop India.
 The policy of one-size-fit-all is replaced with different policies of various states based on the own priorities with in the state.
 Competitive federalism follows the concept bottom-up approach as it will bring the change from the states.
 As a concept, competitive federalism originated in countries such as the US.
 The meaning of competitive federalism as espoused by the Liberty Foundation in the US would entail a system that allows States to compete with each other over a broad range of issues to provide citizens with the best value goods and services at the lowest cost.

Competitive federalism in India
 In India, the government replaced Planning Commission by establishing NITI Aayog, with one of the mandates to develop competitive federalism in India.
 Now, state governments do not look towards centre for policy guidance and fiscal resources completely.
 The centre has increased the share of states in central tax revenue from the earlier 32% to 42%.
 The government also declared that the states will have freedom to plan their expenditure based on their own priorities and the states are free to change centrally sponsored schemes.
 However, the states should work within the context of shared national objectives.

Progress in terms of competitive federalism
 The concept of competitive federalism is driving the Indian states to rush in for reforms to make processes easy for doing business in their state and expediting the pending project clearances.
 The concept of getting states to compete for investment is not a novel idea. We had observed this phenomenon between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, actively pursuing investors to help build out their main technology hubs of Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

 The progress of competitive federalism can be felt from the way states have competed for investments by bringing various reforms in last one year.

________________________________________

Example - Land reforms
Gujarat: In 2016, amended its Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, eliminating the requirement of a social impact assessment and consent clauses for certain types of development projects.
Maharashtra: In 2016 Amended the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, allowing the sale of certain publicly-owned lands that were previously slated only for leasing. In 2015, amended its Gunthewari Act, allowing mid-size plots to be divided, and easing the process to sell such plots.
Andhra Pradesh: In 2015, the Andhra Pradesh legislature passed a bill extending land leases from the government to private entities from 33 years to 99 years.
Rajasthan: In 2016, passed the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bill, 2016, which offers a state guarantee of title after a land purchase.
Uttar Pradesh: In 2016, UP assembly approved the Uttar Pradesh IT & Start-Up Policy 2016 to encourage start-up growth.

________________________________________

Way forward
 The above observations clearly suggest that India is on right track of competitive federalism.
 However not all states have yet embraced the concept of competitive federalism.
 Only a handful of states are taking steps to strengthen their business environments, including initiating difficult reforms on land acquisition and labour flexibility, at a time when national reforms in these areas are politically stuck.
 The deficit states like Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, NE states etc. need special attention in which the central government has to provide special funds to these states. Without special funding these states cannot imagine their participation in competitive federalism.

1.3. ISSUES RELATED TO REGULATORY BODIES IN INDIA
Why in news?

 Recently, Urjit Patel was named as new RBI governor.
 The issue is of independence v/s accountability of regulatory bodies, as the head of many regulatory bodies
are appointed by the government.

________________________________________

Current Procedure
RBI Governor and Deputy Governors are appointed by the Central Government.
Their names are cleared by Cabinet Committee on appointments.

________________________________________

Need for Regulatory Bodies
There are four sets of justifications for regulatory interventions:
 Market Economy
 Prevention of Market Failure. For ex: SEBI, RBI.
 To check anti-competitive practices: A natural monopoly. For ex: CCI
 Minimize Asymmetric information: This creates a role for regulation of market transactions or provision of information by a third party to remove or minimize information asymmetries.
 Determine monetary policy to run the govt. For ex: RBI

 Fair play, consumer protection and increasing efficiency
 CERC and TRAI
 AERB - Atomic Energy Regulatory Body
 DGCA - Directorate General of Civil Aviation
 RERA – Real Estate Regulatory authority

 Prevent Externalities
 Environmental Regulation: CPCB
 Health and safety: Ex: FSSAI
 Standard setting: National Film certification board, Advertisements Standards council etc.

 To promote the public interest: Ensuring fair access, non-discrimination, affirmative action
 Support Pricing: Government offering to buy wheat or rice from farmers at a price which is higher than the market price. For ex: CACP deciding MSPs.
 Public Distribution System: Supply of food grains at a price which is lower than the market price
 Free Distribution: Distribution of piped water and free power to agriculture (CERC), which is a regulatory decision to levy zero tariffs, stemming from policy stances.
 NABARD and SIDBI are involved in various government schemes. For ex: Standup India, National Skilling mission.
 NHB – National Housing Bank is involved in inclusive housing.

Issues with regulatory bodies
 

 Independence
 This is a prerequisite for effective regulation that enables them to perform without political interference.
 Also ‘state’ is a major market participant in many economic sectors.
 Not all regulators are equally independent, since the laws establishing them do not follow a uniform standard.
 Independence in status (statutory authority), finances and administratively independent from the government.
 Discretion in how the regulator hires and manages personnel.
 

 Non-accountability
 Regulators do not answer questions related to them during different Parliament discussions. It is the minister of the associated ministry who is answerable. This is futile since the minister is not responsible for the regulator's functioning and is yet made answerable.
 Scrutiny of the regulators is often ignored. In the 16th Lok Sabha, (till March, 2016), only 2 questions pertained to regulators.
 Regulators do not submit annual reports to Parliamentary Standing Committees. Ad-hoc committees are ineffective.
 

 Effectiveness
 Regulation to be effective: for example, the capacity and expertise of the Motor Vehicles Department has not kept pace with the explosive growth of vehicles on the road.

 Overlapping domains – need for regulatory convergence
 Both SEBI and IRDA were claiming regulatory right over ULIPs thus harming consumer in process.
 RBI and CCI (Competition commission of India) regulation tussle over merging of banks.
 

 Regulatory sprawl
 Recently, there have been proposals for a biotechnology regulator, a real estate regulator, a coal regulator, and even a roads regulator.
 In the 12th report titled, “Citizen Centric Administration”, the 2nd ARC noted: Regulation only where
necessary.

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 Judicial framework
 The increasing specialization in the administration of justice through the establishment of sector specific tribunals also has repercussions for the broader system of administration of justice.

 Transparency
 Regulations which are issued by regulators have the full status of law.
 But regulations are written by unelected officials, while the power to make law is restricted to those who have won elections.
 So, a sound transparent regulation-making process is needed, through which unelected officials do not have arbitrary law-making power.

Suggested Reforms
Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) recommends physical, legal and administrative separation of the regulator from the government, implying that regulators must have independent infrastructure, personnel.
1. Financial independence, FSRLC recommends independent sourcing of finances from sources such as fees.
2. Strengthening accountability, FSLRC recommends that regulators

(a) Be given clear, precise regulatory objectives
(b) Explain their regulatory actions to the general public, and regulatory changes be made after prior consultation with the public, and
(c) Report to Parliament on how they fared on pursuing their regulatory objectives, and the outcomes achieved.

3. Structural: Merging of Regulators: as recommended by FSLRC; for example of IRDA and PFRDA.
4. Setting up of Independent regulators – to oversee functioning of all regulators. (Punchhi Commission).
5. Procedural: Establishing a comprehensive and enforceable code of conduct.
6. The Second ARC recommended ways to strengthen legislative oversight
(a) Regulators should be present before the Parliamentary Committees to answer questions
(b) They should submit annual reports on progress made, which should be accessible to public
(c) Their recommendations should be scrutinized by sector-specific committees
7. Need for greater uniformity in the terms of appointment, tenure and removal of various regulatory authorities. (ARC)
8. The appointment of the Chairman and Board Members for all such regulatory authorities should be done by the Union/State Governments after an initial screening and recommendation of a panel of names by a Selection Committee. (ARC)

1.4. DEMAND FOR SPECIAL CATEGORY STATUS
Why in news?

 A demand for Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh has led to State-wide protests in AP, and heated debates in Parliament.
 The demand has been present since the bifurcation of the state. Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and
Rajasthan have been demanding this status for quite some time now.

_________________________

Status after 14th Finance commission recommendations
After the constitution of the NITI Aayog and recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission (FFC), Central plan assistance to SCS States has been subsumed in an increased devolution of the divisible pool to all States (from 32% in the 13th FC recommendations to 42%).
The FFC also recommended variables such as “forest cover” to be included in devolution, with a weightage of 7.5 in the criteria and which will benefit north-eastern States that were previously given SCS assistance.

_________________________

Background
 The concept of a special category state was first
introduced in 1969 by the 5th Finance
Commission.
 The rationale for special status was that certain
states, because of inherent features, have a low
resource base and cannot mobilize resources for
development.
 Some of the features required for special status
were:
 hilly and difficult terrain;
 low population density or sizeable share of tribal population;
 strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries;
 economic and infrastructural backwardness;
 non-viable nature of state finances.
 The decision to grant special category status was earlier with National Development Council.

Benefits to Special Category States (SCS)
The nature of benefits to Special Category states create further demand by many states to crave for this status. The major benefits of SCS are
 A major portion of the Normal Central Assistance (56.25%) is distributed to 11 Special Category States and the remaining (43.75%) among 18 General Category States.
 Only Special Category States receive Special Plan Assistance and Special Central Assistance grants.
 The assistance for Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) flows to Special category States as 90 per cent grant whereas for General Category States, it flows as loans.

 The state share in Centrally Sponsored Schemes is usually lower for Special Category States as compared to General Category States.
 Special-category states get a significant excise duty concession & other such tax breaks that attract industries to relocate/locate manufacturing units within their territory.
 There is no preferential treatment to SCS when it comes to sharing of the central tax revenue.

Issues with the working of Special Category status
 The way Special Category Status were assigned to a state has been a matter of debate.
 There is no consensus among states related to principles used for granting the SCS.
 From the earlier experience, there is no guarantee that even after awarding Special category status, economic progress will take place.
 This means that for economic development, it is important to follow sound economic policies. The positives of SCS may act as a stimulus but everything depends on the each state policy.
 The amount of proceeds that states receive has increased after 14th finance commission recommendations have been accepted. SCS may lose relevance altogether.

Way ahead
 Granting special status to any new State may result in domino effect and lead to demands from other States.
 It is also not economically beneficial for States to seek special status as the benefits under the current dispensation are minimal.
 States facing special problems should try and seek a package from centre for focussed development. The packages provided by centre could be in tranches and incentive based after assessing the progress of states.

1.5. PENDENCY OF CASES IN COURTS IN INDIA
Why in news?

 The long pendency of cases and shortage of judges are frequently
discussed crises of the Indian judiciary.
 A first-of-its kind study has now estimated their precise magnitude
and identified, through the analyses of publicly available data, from
cause lists, websites of courts, and the e-courts websites.

____________________________

The State of the Indian Judiciary report by DAKSH is based on data collected from 21 high courts and 475 subordinate courts in the country.
The database created for the report included 3,514,486 cases from the high courts and subordinate courts

_____________________________

Pendency
 Among the High Courts, pendency in Allahabad is the longest and Sikkim has the shortest pendency of cases.
 As adequate data was not available for all high courts, the report found that in Bombay, Gujarat, Kerala and Orissa high courts, over 86 per cent of cases had taken 10-15 years to be disposed of.
 The major cause of delay, the report claims, is that in the 21 surveyed high courts, judges hear between 20 and 150 cases a day, averaging 70 hearings per day for a judge.
Workload
 Judges in high courts hear between 20 and 150 cases every day, or an average of 70 hearings daily.
 The average time that the judges have for each hearing, derived from the number of cases they hear and the daily working hours that they put in, could be as little as 2 minutes.
 Calcutta HC has the most frequent hearings, Delhi has the least.
 The frequency of hearings is closely linked with efficiency, and has an impact on the concept of fair hearings.

Analysis of survey
 According to the survey, inadequate data on pending cases and “lack of scientific maintenance” of data makes it difficult to analyse problems and propose sustainable solutions for the judiciary.
 “Discrepancies” in the data available with National Court Management Systems Committee, the Court News published by Supreme Court, the National Judicial Data Grid and various court websites and states that there is “no unanimity on the number of judges in the country”.

 Delays in disposal of cases due to inefficient case management and vacancies on the bench are two major problems before the Judiciary.
 The report points that 31 per cent of individuals accused of bailable offences claimed that they continue to be in jail as they cannot afford bail or guarantors to stand surety.
 It also shows that less than 3 per cent of litigants used legal aid, despite being eligible to take the benefit of government-appointed lawyers.

Way forward
 The need of the hour is to take the report on judiciary in serious consideration. The report can be used to resolve major impediments in the judicial systems.
 The report pinpoints the problem areas specifically which can be rectified. For example high criminal cases in Jharkhand HC than civil cases. The pending cases can be disposed off by incorporation of special benches.
 The issue of the appointments in higher judiciary should be resolved soon. The judiciary and executive must reach a common ground and prepare a workable memorandum of procedure.
 This would help in filling up vacancies in higher judiciary soon.

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1.6. ECI SEEKS MORE POWERS
Why in news?

 Election Commission of India (ECI) was forced to resort to extraordinary powers to restrict political advertisements in newspapers ahead of recent polls in Bihar, Assam and WB.
 The ECI, under Article 324 of the Constitution, had imposed an unprecedented restriction on political advertisements in print, a day ahead of Bihar elections last year.
_____________________________

About Totalizer machine
Totaliser machine mixes votes from various booths for counting.
In the current system votes from each Electronic voting machine are counted separately and hence reveal the voting trends in each polling station.
This leaves the voters in that vicinity open to harassment, intimidation and post-election victimisation.

______________________________

Electoral reforms sought by ECI
 The section 126 of RPA currently prohibits publication of ads by
political parties in electronic media (TV, radio) and recently added
social media, 48 hours before voting ends. The ECI wants print media to be included in Section 126 of the RP Act.
 Equal constitutional protection to all three election commissioners  ECI seeks to introduce totaliser machines for counting of votes.
 Multiple cut-off dates for voter registration.
 Disqualification of a candidate from contesting elections if a court has framed charges against him. Currently a candidate is disqualified if convicted for crime bearing sentence more than 2 years.

 ECI wants bribery during election season as cognizable offence.
 ECI also supports making paid news an electoral offence punishable by two years of imprisonment.

Way forward
 The ECI is one of the watchdogs of Indian democracy mandated my constitution of India. It needs to have autonomy and powers to perform its constitutional duty of conducting free and fair elections.
 The proposed changes by ECI are forward looking and should be implemented as it would enhance the credibility of election results and thus ECI itself.
 Many of the proposed reforms are already recommended by various law commissions. Thus it supports for argument to bring the changes necessary for making elections in India free and fair.

1.7. MONSOON SESSION OF PARLIAMENT-ASSESSMENT
Why in news?

 The Monsoon Session of Parliament adjourned sine die on August 12, 2016.
 Both LS and RS functioned at near 100% productivity, signalling an improvement in the government-opposition working relationship when compared to last year monsoon session.

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Significance
 The monsoon session showed the maturity of the democracy that India has attained.
 Irrespective of the major problems in Kashmir, there was due deliberation and debate on many important bills including situation in Kashmir.
 The landmark GST bill was passed in this session, the unanimous passage showed the ability of parliament to build consensus among different stakeholders.
 The same enthusiasm and energy should be carried on in future parliament sessions for fruitful results that will take India ahead, instead of policy of blockade and adjournment.

1.8. THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016
Why in news?

 The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha by Ministry of Home Affairs. The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.
 The bill raised an issue of biased citizenship due to its contentious provisions.

Background
 The Citizenship Act, 1955 provides various ways in which citizenship may be acquired. It provides for citizenship by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and by incorporation of territory into India.
 The Act prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship. It defines an illegal migrant as a foreigner: (i) who enters India without a valid passport or travel documents, or (ii) stays beyond the permitted time.

 to apply for citizenship by naturalisation, person must have resided in India or been in service of the central government for at least 11 years before applying for citizenship.
 The Act provides that the central government may cancel registration of OCIs on certain grounds. These include: (i) if the OCI has registered through fraud, or (ii) within five years of registration has been sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more, or (iii) it becomes necessary in the interest of sovereignty and security of India, etc.

Key changes to the act
 The Bill amends the Act to provide that that the following groups of persons will not be treated as illegal migrants: Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
 The Bill creates an exception for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, with regard to citizenship qualification. The 11 years’ requirement will be reduced to six years.
 The Bill adds one more ground for cancelling registration, that is, if the OCI has violated any law that is in force in the country.

Issues raised against the bill
 The issue was raised by opposition members that the amendments seek to give the granting of citizenship a communal angle.

Government Stand on the Issue
 In Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, religious minorities face severe discrimination that is often state sanctioned and even institutionalized, especially in Pakistan.
 These communities have meagre representation in government jobs, police, military or judiciary;
 Women face major brunt, sometimes stalked, molested and raped with no reprieve from state due to poor laws and apathy from the state
 Their areas of residence are targeted during riots, bombings, terrorist attacks etc.
 Several refugees living across the country have been victimized and were forced upon to convert, before fleeing to India.

Way forward
 India is the most successful emerging economy and is attractive for migrants crossing the border into India in search of work and a better life.
 The issue of citizenship should be dealt impartially. It is not advisable to selectively outcast one religion, especially since many minority sects within Islam like Ahmaddiya and even Shias have been prosecuted in these countries.
 India is a secular nation and should maintain the status. The amendments should be forwarded to a select parliamentary committee for deliberation and then arrive at a common consensus after taking all stakeholders in confidence.

1.9. INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016
Why in news?

 The Parliament has passed the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to set up six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

Key Features of Bill
 The Bill seeks to amend the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, which declares certain Institutes of Technology as institutions of national importance.
 Six new IITs will be in Palakkad (Kerala), Tirupati (AP), Goa, Dharwad (Karnataka), Bhilai (Chhattisgarh) and Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir).
 It also seeks to bring the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad within the ambit of the Act.
 All these institutions will be declared as institutions of national importance.

Way forward
 Before a new IIT is announced, it should be ensured they should be well planned at least in terms of financial inputs and infrastructure.
 From previous expansion we have seen most new IITs had to delay their construction work for years because the land was not available.
 This expansion should be designed such that it can partly come from expansion of existing IITs and partly from creating new IITs.
 A full time Director and faculty should be recruited at least a year before the first admissions take place.

1.10. THE LOKPAL AND LOKAYUKTAS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016
Why in news?
 The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the parliament.
 The bill was introduced by Ministry for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

Features of the Bill
 The Bill amends the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 in relation to declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants.
 It amends Section 44 dealing with declaration of assets and liabilities of public servants.
 It defines “public servants” as a range of persons including the Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs, and officials of the government or of any organisation, trust or NGO that gets Rs 10 lakh as foreign aid or Rs 1 crore as government aid.
 The Lokpal Act requires a public servant to declare his assets and liabilities, and that of his spouse and dependent children. Such declarations must be made to the competent authority within 30 days of entering office.
 The public servant must file an annual return of such assets and liabilities by July 31st of every year.
 The Lokpal Act also mandates statements of such declarations be published on the website of the relevant Ministry by August 31 of that year.
 The amendment extends the deadline for declaring assets and liabilities indefinitely.

What are the Issues?
 The amendments were sought to be passed hurriedly without due debate and deliberation.
 Industry lobby groups and trusts, NGOs under FCRA want the definition of “public servant” to be revised.
 Government interventions would create disruptions in the working of trusts, societies, charitable and non-profit organisations.
Way forward
 The bill aims at providing 5th extension for disclosure of assets indefinitely which should be made time bound.
 The Parliamentary Standing committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, is going to assess the bill again and suggest changes to Section 44, and submit its report by the next session of Parliament.
 The panel is also expected to define “public servant” taking into consideration inputs from different stakeholders.

1.11. SAURASHTRA NARMADA AVTARAN IRRIGATION (SAUNI) PROJECT

Why in News?
 Prime Minister recently inaugurated the first phase of SAUNI project in which nearly 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi would be filled up with the water of Narmada river.

Details
 Sauni Yojana has been launched to divert one MAFt excess over flowing flood water of Narmada allocated to Saurashtra Region.

 SAUNI is an out-and-out irrigation and drinking water project designed solely for the Saurashtra peninsula.
 SAUNI is an out-and-out irrigation and drinking water project designed solely for the Saurashtra peninsula.
 Unique Feature: SAUNI will have pipe canals instead of conventional open canals.
 SAUNI’s massive pipelines will run underground, require no land acquisition, and involve less loss of water as compared to conventional canals.

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1.12. RESERVATION FOR ECONOMICALLY BACKWARD CLASSES
Why in news?

The Gujarat high court quashed the state government's ordinance granting 10% reservation for the economically backward classes (EBCs).
______________________

Background
In May 2016, besieged with agitation by Patidar community, Gujarat govt. issued Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections Ordinance, 2016 to provide 10% quota in admission for students belonging to EBCs with effect from current academic year.
The ordinance capped the income limit of Rs. 6 lakh to avail the benefits of quota under the scheme.

________________________

Key features of Judgment
 The high court held that no quota can be granted on
the basis of economic criteria as it is not provided for
in the Constitution.
 Constitution allows quotas on socially backwards and Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
 The HC also observed that the ordinance is unconstitutional as the total reservation exceeds 50 percent which is the limit set by supreme court.
 The HC stated that there was no survey conducted to grant this ECB quota in Gujarat.
 The judgment relies on earlier Supreme Court order in the Indra Sawhney case which had challenged reservations granted to OBCs on recommendation of the Mandal commission.

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Polity - Current Affairs

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August 2016 UPSC Notes | EduRev

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August 2016 UPSC Notes | EduRev

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