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Important to note:

  • At present, the functions of the commission are limited to examining the requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class.
  • Hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in the existing quota and advise the Central government.

The Bill states in its intent:

  • That in order to safeguard the interests of the socially and educationally backward classes more effectively, it is proposed to create a National Commission for Backward Classes,
  • with constitutional status at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

Source: The Hindu

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs

U.S., Germany slam India for NGO funding norms

Peer reviews:

  • NGOs must abide by India’s laws, the UN’s Human Rights Council at Geneva, as the government faced a tough peer review by other countries at the Council.
  • The Council members recommended a revision in India’s Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act (FCRA), a repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, decriminalisation of homosexuality and the inclusion of marital rape in Indian laws on sexual violence.
  • The main critic points;Supported by a rights-oriented constitutional framework, secular polity, independent judiciary, free and vibrant media, vocal civil society, and a range of national and State-level commissions that monitor compliance with human rights, India continues with its endeavours towards observance of human rights.
  • The FCRA is a legitimate law that NGOs wishing to operate in India must follow.
  • The attack on the FCRA act came from nearly a dozen countries, mostly from Europe, who called the Act and the government’s actions arbitrary.
  • India must defend the right to freedom of association, which includes the ability of civil society organisations to access foreign funding, and protect human rights defenders effectively against harassment and intimidation.
  • U.S. envoy decried the complete lack of transparency in the implementation of the FCRA.
  • Australia, Ireland, Norway, South Korea, Denmark and the Czech Republic were among other countries calling for a review of the FCRA that has led to the licencesof about 14,000 of NGOs being cancelled because of alleged violations.
  • Pakistan’s statement, accusing India of failing to protect minorities especially Muslims from mob violence and attacks by extremist groups affiliated to the government.
  • Attacks on Africans in India appeared as a new subject of concern at the HRC proceedings, and the government said it accepted responsibility and had sought to prosecute all those responsible for the brutal beating of students at a mall in Noida in March 2017.
  • Nearly all 112 countries at the 5-yearly review of India’s record called for India to ratify the UN Additional Convention Against Torture (CAT).
  • India is one of only nine countries which haven’t yet implemented the Torture convention, despite signing on to it in 1997.
  • Responding to criticism from the countries over the Armed Forces Special Powers act, that gives forces operating in states like Jammu Kashmir and Manipur immunity from prosecution, India said the Act applies only to disturbed areas where the law and order machinery is dealing with exigent circumstances like terrorism.
  • Apart from criticism,neighbor countries believe that True to its multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic characteristics, India has been successful in upholding the ethos of respect for diversity and plurality in the country.

Source: The Hindu

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

Rise & fall of Swachh cities

Brief:

  • Why did some cities rise and others fall in the ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’ ranking?
  • It was not the ‘independent observation’ score that dragged past high performers down, but the ‘public feedback’ score.
  • Chandigarh slipped to the 11th spot from number 2 last time, which is blamed on ‘public feedback’.
  • Indore got to the top spot among all the entries due to a “mega public movement and wholehearted people’s participation”
  • Indore’s municipal corporation was aided by a public movement spearheaded by the MahanagarVikas Kendra Parishad.
  • Tirupati, making an entry at number nine into the national top 10, scored with a mix of beautification measures and proliferation of public toilets.
  • Tirupati also bet on WoW (Well-being out of Waste), increasing door-to-door waste collection, waste segregation, placing litter bins at commercial complexes and using GPS-fitted dumpers, besides starting a biogas plant.
  • Visakhapatnam, ranked third this year, built over 12,000 individual household toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission and was certified Open Defecation-Free by the Quality Council of India.
  • Surat rose to number four from six, after it segregated waste more, covering 300 societies, cleaned roads, bridges, underpasses and gardens twice a week and ordered compulsory cleaning of all public and private buildings.
  • Mysuru City Corporation failed to complete 406 individual toilets on time and fell to 5th rank from first.
  • Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, ranked 22, got an overall score of 1,605 out of 2,000 based on citizen feedback, municipal self declaration and on-site observation.
  • Over 2.3 lakh citizens voted in the city, which was ahead of Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai.

Source: The Hindu

‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Land reforms in India

Govt. plans steel plants with private players on PSU land

You should know:

  • Move stems from existing issues with land acquisition
  • The government plans to set up new steel plants on surplus land available with PSUs by forging partnerships with the private sector to help more than double steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030.
  • The Cabinet approved the New Steel Policy that aims to achieve 300 million tonnes of capacity by 2030 with an additional investment of ₹10 lakh crore.
  • At present, the steel production capacity is 126 million tonnes.
  • Stating that the land acquisition is an issue under the new law, the government plans to utilise the surplus land of steel PSUs to set up new plants through joint ventures with private firms.
  • If we have to create steel-making capacity of 300 million tonnes, we cannot wait for [a] long time, said an official.

State-owned SAIL:

  • The proposed joint venture between state-owned SAIL and ArcelorMittal to set up a ₹5,000 crore auto-grade steel plant may be finalised this month, the minister said.
  • May is the last month to click or not to click. Government may clinch this deal.

Source: The Hindu