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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Indian Government Schemes 2020 PDF Notes Download In Hindi For Competitive Exams

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Indian Government Schemes 2020 PDF Notes Download In Hindi For Competitive Exams

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Question & Answer: Citizenship amendment law explained

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The newly passed amendment to the Citizenship Act redefines the way migrants from three countries can become Indian citizens, linking this to their religion. What are the concerns about it nationwide, and why has it faced such fierce resistance in Assam? How does it relate to government’s plans for an all-India NRC?

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The HINDU Notes – 14th December 2019

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๐Ÿ“ฐ Britain votes for Brexit

With a thumping win, this is Boris Johnson’s opportunity to refashion the U.K. according to his beliefs

•The British election results are the political equivalent of an earthquake. It is an unambiguous signal that in the months and years ahead, the United Kingdom will become a very different country — politically, economically, possibly territorially but certainly in terms of its international standing. After almost a decade of weak or coalition prime ministers, Boris Johnson will be a powerful head of government, strengthened not just by his sizeable majority of 78 but also by the weakest Labour opposition since almost 1935.

•The first big change will be Brexit. Britain will leave Europe on January 31, 2020. Yet that will also constitute the first big challenge. Mr. Johnson has 11 months to secure a trade deal not just with the European Union but also with Britain’s other significant trading partners such as the United States, Australia, China and India. Can it be done in such a short time? It won’t be easy and if he fails the transition period will end with the equivalent of the hard Brexit everyone wants to avoid.

Working class vote

•A lot will turn on the political and economic changes Mr. Johnson’s victory heralds. With 364 seats and 45% of the vote his Conservatives have achieved their best result since Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1987. In fact, in vote share terms it is the best outcome since 1970. More significantly, the party has made major gains in Labour strongholds in the midlands, north-west and north-east. Tony Blair’s Sedgefield has fallen to them. More tellingly, Stoke-on-Trent and Great Grimsby, which have never been won by the Tories, are now in their possession. In Bassetlaw the swing from Labour to Tories was an astonishing 18%. Even London constituencies such as Kensington, which voted 70% to Remain in 2016, have gone their way. So it is no exaggeration to say the Conservatives have transformed from a party of the shires to one that also represents the working classes and London.

•In contrast Labour is diminished. This is the party’s worst defeat since 1935. The 203 seats it has won are less than the 209 delivered by Michael Foot in 1983. At the time the party’s manifesto was dubbed ‘the longest suicide note in history’. Mr. Corbyn’s could quite possibly have buried the party.

•Not surprisingly, Mr. Corbyn has announced he will not lead Labour into the next elections. Though he wants to continue over the period of reflection that must follow it is hard to believe his party will let him. The truth is Labour was defeated not just by Brexit but also because Britain was not prepared to accept Mr. Corbyn’s socialist policies. He cannot shrug off personal responsibility for this debacle.

The Sturgeon factor

•It has also been a disappointing election for the Liberal Democrats whose leader, Jo Swinson, lost her seat. The party ended up with just 11 MPs, one less than it had. But across the border in Scotland it was a brilliant outcome for Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Nationalists. Of the 59 seats to be won her party got 48, increasing its tally by 13 and securing a vote share of 45%. Along with Boris Johnson she is the other champion winner of this election.

•Without doubt the Scottish Nationalists will demand a second referendum on independence for Scotland. They believe they have a mandate for it. Mr. Johnson, on the other hand, has already said he will not agree. With both politicians triumphant there’s a clear and unavoidable clash looming ahead.

•In these circumstances, what sort of prime minister will Mr. Johnson seek to be? First, he is the undisputed leader of his party which, in turn, has a firm and unshakeable grip on Parliament. He can do virtually what he wants. This is his opportunity to refashion the U.K. according to his beliefs.

•In terms of political positioning, his victory speech suggests he might move from the right towards the centre. He defined the Conservatives as a “one-nation” party. As he put it, “we must change too”. So will he distance himself from Tory right-wingers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the leaders of the eurosceptic European Research Group? Yesterday, speculation on the BBC suggested this could happen. And, certainly, if Mr. Johnson wants to retain his party’s hold on the seats it has won in northern and midland Labour strongholds, this would be necessary.

What next for Labour?

•Much the same could also happen to Labour. If the party is to recover from the grim defeat Mr. Corbyn has led it to then it can only be by returning to the centre ground Tony Blair identified in 1997 and which gave the party three consecutive election victories. Of course, a lot depends on who emerges as Labour’s new leader. The Momentum lobby might want a younger version of Mr. Corbyn but the parliamentary party will undoubtedly opt for a social democrat who will harken back to Mr. Blair’s style and tone.

•The paradox is whilst both parties might see virtue in moving politically to the centre, economically Mr. Johnson could incline towards the right. As leader of the Brexit movement in 2016 he made it clear he did not share the protectionism, anti-globalism and even the rigid anti-immigration stand of many Brexiteers. Now, as Prime Minister, he may not subscribe to the Singapore-on-Thames vision of the Brexit hard-wing but his first budget speech in March is likely to introduce radical tax reform, reduce regulation whilst substantially boosting incentives for enterprise and, in particular, The City.

•However, this is likely to happen alongside several significant welfare measures. Mr. Johnson’s victory speech also committed him to increasing public spending, particularly on infrastructure and health. The National Health Service, which Labour claimed could be in danger in his hands, will be a significant beneficiary.

•In foreign policy terms Mr. Johnson will forge a close relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump who, anyway, regards him as a friend. But he will be equally conscious of the need to maintain effective ties with Europe. He has repeatedly said he is not anti-European. Little England or British isolationism is not part of his thinking.

For India

•We, in India, can expect in Mr. Johnson a British Prime Minister with affection for and a substantive understanding of our country. Though separated from his wife Marina, who is half-Indian, his four children have Indian blood. He is a frequent visitor, including an unpublicised trip to Ranthambore last year.

•The only concern could be his response to Mr. Narendra Modi’s policies like the National Register of Citizens, the Citizenship Amendment Act and the broad stress on Hindutva. He may not criticise in public but he could express disapproval behind closed doors.

•The final irony is whilst Britain distances itself from Europe, the world will be intently watching to see how much it changes and in which direction. The elections of 1945 and 1979 were turning points. This one is no less. It is even possible Mr. Johnson, who used to be considered a bumbling non-serious politician, could one day be compared to Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher.

๐Ÿ“ฐ EU warns of ‘challenging’ timeframe for U.K. trade deal

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Vision IAS Prelims 2020 Test 16 With Solution PDF

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Vision IAS Prelims 2020 Test 16 With Solution PDF


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Daily Current Affairs, 14th December 2019

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1) Defence Minister chairs Parliament’s meeting of Consultative Committee
•Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliament for the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi. The subject of the meeting was Border Roads Organisation (BRO). During the meeting, BRO was appreciated for the in building border infrastructure and contributing to the improvement of lives of people residing in the border areas.

2) Maldives signs contract with JV of Indian companies for development of Addu
•Maldives government has signed a contract with a joint venture of Indian companies. The contract aims to prepare project report and the development of Addu, which is the second biggest city in the island nation. The contract was signed L & T engineering limited and Lea associates south asia for the Addu Road and Reclamation Project. The project includes land reclamation, construction of roads and storm water drainage system in Addu. This will upgrade existing infrastructure and mitigate the flood situation in Addu.

•Financing of the project will be done by EXIM bank of India through line of credit of USD 800 million.

3) National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions held in New Delhi
•The 37th National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions held in New Delhi. It Symposium was organized by Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D). The theme of the Symposium was ‘Optimal Utilization of Resources-Through Sharing and Networking’. A Directory of Indian Police Training Institutions (DIPTI) which has information on the resources of around 300 Police training institutions all over the country, was also released during the event.

4) Amazon’s Audible launches app “Audible Suno” in India



•Amazon’s audiobook company Audible has launched a new app “Audible Suno” in India. This app features original audio series which aims to expand Audible’s reach in India’s highly competitive digital entertainment and streaming space.

•The platform features hundreds of hours of Audible’s original audio series across a plethora of genres, steered by entertainers such as Amitabh Bachchan, Nawaazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Tabu, Neena Gupta and Vir Das.

5) Rohit Sharma becomes brand ambassador of La Liga in India
•The top tier of Spanish club football “La Liga” has announced cricketer Rohit Sharma as its brand ambassador in India. Rohit Sharma is the first non-footballer in the 90 year-old history of the league to have become a brand ambassador.

•The top tier of Spanish club football has been ramping up its fan base in India through a series of initiatives. These initiatives includes grassroot development programme like La Liga Football Schools and a digital broadcast deal with Facebook.

6) FIH unveils new world ranking system for 2020
•The International Hockey Federation unveiled a new world ranking system for 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The new method will come into effect from the 1st January 2020. The new ranking will be match-based instead of tournament-based calculation.

•The new model is expected to remove the subjectivity surrounding continental weighing by creating a system which is fair to all. The outgoing world ranking system was in existence since 2003. It was originally devised to allocate teams into pools at tournaments.



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THE HINDU NEWSPAPER IMPORTANT ARTICLES 14.12.2019

Daily Current Affairs, 13th December 2019

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1) ISRO begins preparations for setting up 3rd rocket launchpad
•Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has begun preparatory works for setting up a 3rd rocket launchpad in the small coastal hamlet of Kulashekhrapattinam in the Thuthukudi district of Tamil Nadu. At present, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has two launch pads at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The demand for additional launch pads has arisen as a result of the increase in the number of satellite launches from India, both for domestic and international customers.

2) National Tribal Dance Festival to be held in Raipur
•A National Tribal Dance Festival will be held in Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur from December 27 to 29. In the event, international folk artists from 23 states and six other countries are expected to take part and portray their respective tribal folk culture. Nearly 1,400 artists belonging to 151 art troupes from 23 states and guest artists from six countries including Sri Lanka, Belarus, Uganda and Bangladesh will participate in the three-day programme.

3) Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approves Disha Bill 2019
•The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet approves the A.P. Disha Bill, 2019 (A.P. Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019) paving the way for awarding the death penalty for the offences of rape and gang-rape and expediting the verdict in trials of such cases to 21 days.

•The Cabinet also gave its nod for introduction of the A.P. Special Court for Specified Offences against Women and Children Bill, 2019, for dealing with offences against women and children, including rape and gang-rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, sexual harassment and cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

4) US, Mexico, Canada sign USMCA trade deal
•The representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada inked a revamped version of their regional trade pact after months of negotiations. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will now go to the countries’ legislatures for final approval. The accord is meant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal in place since 1994.

5) Puducherry government unveils start-up policy




•The Puducherry government unveiled a start-up policy. The policy, launched by Minister for Industries M.O.H.F Shahjahan, aims to create a corpus fund of ₹10 crores to support the setting up of start-up incubators and to develop co-working spaces.

•The department plans to provide a grant of ₹3 lakh to projects recommended by incubators established by the government/private sector/academic institutions as a start-up grant. The committee of experts constituted by the government under the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Committee will approve of the projects and monitor their progress.

6) Nirmala Sitharaman 34th among world’s 100 most powerful women: Forbes
•Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been ranked 34th by Forbes in ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’. HCL Corporation CEO and Executive Director Roshni Nadar Malhotra and Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw are two other Indians who also featured in the above list.

•The Forbes 2019 list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ has been topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde in the 2nd spot and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, ranked 3rd. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also featured on the list on the 29th position.

7) International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems begins in New Delhi
•The  ‘International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems’ for BIMSTEC countries began in New Delhi. The objective of this International Seminar is to have experience sharing to enable improvement of tropical smallholder farming systems for greater productivity and resilience to climate change through ecological approaches. Some of the success stories shall be shared as case studies for the benefit of the BIMSTEC countries.

8) Gurgaon-based startup won ‘Space Oscar’ award
•The Gurugram-based startup blue Sky Analytics has created an application called ‘Zuri’ that won the Copernicus Masters Award also called Space Oscars, under the Social Entrepreneurship category. The award was given by the Earth observation program managed by the European Commission (EU) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).

•The application uses satellite data to provide improved monitoring, supply chain and pricing analysis as well as the allocation of crop waste to be used as raw materials in other industries. The application includes an AI (Artificial Intelligence)- based tool to measure and monitor farm fires and stubble burning across India, million tons of crops are being burnt in India on farms to clear the field for new crops every winter, as a result releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases which have led to increased level of pollution in New Delhi and other parts of the country.

9) Mongla and Chattogram declared as Ports of Call under the “Coastal Shipping Agreement’
•The Ministry of Shipping (MoS) announced that Mongla and Chattogram (Both in Bangladesh) have been declared as Ports of Call under “Coastal Shipping Agreement” between India & Bangladesh. The Port of Mongla is declared as Port of Call under PIWT&T (Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade ) and Chattogram port is not part of PIWT&T.

•An MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), agreement and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the use of Chattogram Port & Mongla Ports for goods movement between India and Bangladesh has been signed between both the nations. The Ports of Call in India are Kolkata (West Bengal), Haldia (West Bengal), Pandu, Karimganj (Assam), Silghat (Assam), Dhubri (Assam).

10) Rani Rampal, Saurabh Chaudhary Win Top Honours at FICCI India Sports Awards
•Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal and ace pistol shooter Saurabh Chaudhary won the Sports Person of the Year awards at the FICCI India Sports Awards 2019. The FICCI India Sports Awards are an attempt by FICCI to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of sportspersons and various stakeholders who deliver excellent results throughout the year.

•Rani played a crucial role in India’s qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, scoring the winning goal in the two-legged qualifier against the US in November. Saurabh, on the other hand, is touted as India’s biggest hope for a medal in shooting in Tokyo. He won gold at the 2018 Asian Games and has since won a number of individual and team honours at shooting World Cups.




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Employment News 14 December to 20 December 2019 Download pdf

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Download Employment News pdf of this week 14 December to 20 December 2019. Check latest job recruitment

Employment News pdf 01 December to 07 December 2018 download

Employment News pdf This Week - 14 December to 20 December 2019.

Hey Aspirants, its the latest for free of Employment Weekly Magazine. You can check latest job recruitment at various office/board. You can check upcoming vacancies and for this week/month. To download this employment magazine click on the link given below.



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Friday, December 13, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 13th December 2019

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๐Ÿ“ฐ Should the creamy layer norm be extended to SC/STs?

Reservation for Dalits is not to undo economic backwardness, but as remedy for untouchability

•The Centre has called upon the Supreme Court to constitute a seven-judge Bench to examine whether the ‘creamy layer’ concept should be applied to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) for promotions in service. In a conversation moderated by K. Venkataramanan, Sukhadeo Thorat (former chairman, UGC, Professor Emeritus, The Centre for Study of Regional Development in the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University) and Ashwini Deshpande (Professor of Economics, Ashoka University) discuss the basis for reservation and the myths associated with it. Edited excerpts:

Can you give us a perspective on the idea of applying the creamy layer concept to reservation and, in particular, to SCs and STs?

•Sukhadeo Thorat: Reservation in politics, services and institutions is given to SCs particularly because they were denied the right to property, education and industries for nearly 2,000 years. Besides they were treated as untouchables. Discrimination continues even today in society. The argument was that to provide them the safeguard [against discrimination] and compensate them to some extent for past exclusions, they should be given representation as per their population share. Because otherwise, due to persisting discrimination in services, enterprises and agriculture, they won’t get their due share.

•They continue to be landless. I think there the policy should have been reparation or compensation. That has not been done. What we are doing is simply giving some protection against discrimination in the present, and giving a share in proportion to the population. So, instead of going to the Supreme Court, the government should have set up a committee and checked whether people in service face discrimination or not. And I have a feeling that there is a huge discrimination once you get into service. There are about 12,000 cases lying with the SC/ST Commission, complaining about discrimination in service. Therefore, they need protection in promotion also.

•Ashwini Deshpande: I agree that the reason for having reservation, at the entry level and then in promotions, is to combat discrimination, which can be economic or social. But reservation is not an anti-poverty programme. The more advantageous sections of all caste groups are able to enter higher education. So, if we want to make sure that the poor are getting represented, we need a separate set of policies.

•We have to recognise that while both OBCs and SCs get reservation, the social reality under which Dalits live and the situation under which OBCs live are very different. So, I would make a case for justifying the ‘creamy layer’ exclusion from within the OBCs, because for them a lot of it is economic backwardness. And if you are rich enough to cross a certain threshold, there isn’t the kind of social discrimination that happens towards Dalits. In fact, there is an argument in the U.S. that richer Blacks face greater discrimination because the Whites resent their entry into areas that are considered privileged for the Whites. So, in a way, there is some evidence to show that discrimination actually increases with a rise in economic position. Even after Dalits get entry into jobs or higher education, there are little micro-aggressions that they face. For example, in educational institutions students complain of harassment because they came in through reservation. We need more data, but to link it with economic status is wrong.

How far do you think the test of backwardness, the adequacy of representation, and the impact of reservations on the efficiency of administration affect or do not affect the prospects of SC/ST candidates?

•Sukhadeo Thorat: The reservation policy type of affirmative action is against discrimination; it is not based on economic consideration because the discrimination is independent of your economic standing. Women are asking for reservation. Have they ever raised the issue that relatively better-off women should not get political reservation? Because they are discriminated based on gender, poor or non-poor. So, I think this clarity has to be there.

•I take the view that economic concessions should not be given. Don’t give them subsidies, scholarships, because some of them are economically better-off, but you cannot extend that argument to say that reservation should not be given to the economically better-off. So, I think the Supreme Court has to understand the point academically; I don’t think the issue is legal.

•If there is a question of limit, the limit can be modified. If promotion harms others, there are other ways of helping them. The Supreme Court should not put a legal limit on it, 50% or otherwise. Find out the alternative ways of benefiting non-SCs/STs, while retaining reservation for SCs/STs.

•Ashwini Deshpande: One more point. If you treat the unfilled vacancies as a separate unit to be filled, you actually don’t even exceed the 50%. In any case, the 50% limit is a bit arbitrary. It also has to be rethought. But even if you don’t go into that today, the point is that if you consider the unfilled vacancies as a separate unit, and not club that with upcoming vacancies, it is possible to not violate that 50%.

One more aspect is the test of backwardness. In Jarnail Singh, the court felt that the test of backwardness should not be made applicable at all to SC/STs. But at the same time it advocated the creamy layer concept to be applied. Isn’t there some contradiction here?

•Sukhadeo Thorat: Yeah, I think there is a contradiction. On the one hand, they say that no criteria or indicator should be applied of backwardness to the SCs and STs. And on the other, they are trying to apply the same economic criteria to exclude some of the relatively economically better-off SCs. And if at all the Supreme Court has to take a position, it should ask the government to set up a comprehensive committee to study the practice of untouchability and discrimination faced by SCs and STs. The court should revise its position, and see where they continue to face discrimination in all spheres of life. If a community does not face discrimination, then you can develop an anti-poverty policy for the poor. But when there is discrimination, you have a separate policy all over the world.

•Ashwini Deshpande: The point that both of us are repeating is that the reason for reservations for Dalits is not economic backwardness. It is the stigma that comes on account of the untouchable status. And even though legally untouchability has been abolished, there is a lot of data that show that people still practise untouchability. So the stigma that comes on account of an untouchable status... reservation is only a tiny remedial measure for that. This continuous clubbing together of economic backwardness and stigma because of the untouchable status is wrong. Because you can talk about economic backwardness, but for Dalits you have to address the stigma.

One argument was that while at the entry level a person is genuinely deprived, and reservation is a remedial measure, as he goes up the ladder in both income and status there may not be any need for reservation in promotions. And that the creamy concept should be applied at that level.

•Sukhadeo Thorat: We are emphasising the point that the policy of reservation or affirmative action is based on discrimination, that is denial of equal opportunity which others enjoy. And the economically better-off also face discrimination, in service and many other spheres. They also need a safeguard and that safeguard is the affirmative action policy. What I had also said is that since they are economically better-off, don’t give them economic advantages like subsidies. They can afford that but you cannot extend this argument to say reservation should be withdrawn for the better-off. There is need for reservation in promotions because they face discrimination in promotions. We don’t have studies on this. The Supreme Court and government should undertake a study.

•Reservation is sort of peanuts. The public sector accounts for a small portion of jobs. And it is there they get some share. In private, they have no protection against discrimination. What you require is compensation for 2,000 years of repression. We have to give them land, funding to start industries, and for education. So, you require a large policy of compensation, reparation, supplemented by reservation.

There is a provision in Article 335 on how affirmative action should be subject to overall efficiency. A Division Bench recently rejected the idea that reservation will have an impact on efficiency, but even then I think the view is still prevalent.

•Ashwini Deshpande: This belief that reservations affect the efficiency of public services is a complete myth. I have done a study with the Indian Railways. And that is the only long-term, big-scale study to actually empirically estimate the effect of reservations on efficiency. Reservations have no negative effect on efficiency. If anything, at the top level, they actually have a positive effect. Recently, another study came out looking at IAS officers’ performance indicators, and that study reached the same conclusion. There is another study too. The point is that this myth is so strong that people are not willing to publicise the rigorous examination of this question.

The courts insist on quantifiable data – whether it is on backwardness, on inadequacy of representation or the question of efficiency. Do you think it’s too onerous a requirement for the government to demonstrate everything through quantifiable data?

•Ashwini Deshpande: I strongly support a data-based, evidence-based approach to judging reservations. We need to have greater transparency and data-based evidence to support any claims.

•Sukhadeo Thorat: I would like to add that under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Civil Rights Act, it is the government’s responsibility to undertake a study every five years, to bring out the nature of discrimination and untouchability faced by Dalits. The government’s SC/ST Commission report is supposed to have a separate chapter on untouchability. That report has not been brought out in the last 20 years or so. The government has also not done any study. There are quantitative techniques that will capture qualitative relationships but unfortunately such surveys have been bypassed by the NSSO.

•The reservation policy as it exists has been helpful and is a pro-poor policy. More than 60% of government employees are Class 3 or Class 4 employees and are poor and less educated. At the same time, there is massive privatisation of public sector jobs and the public sector is increasingly taking on contractual jobs for which there is no reservation. There is a need to extend reservation to the private sector as well.

•Ashwini Deshpande: We need a strong anti-discrimination framework. There are so many barriers for the oppressed to approaching the justice system that it is difficult for somebody with genuine grievances about discrimination to seek justice. There is now a greater awareness about gender discrimination and institutions are making sure they develop structures to tackle it. We need similar structures for caste discrimination in the workplace.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Bangladesh Ministers call off trips

Dhaka hasn’t spelt out reasons, but MEA says ‘domestic issues’

•Bangladesh on Thursday cancelled the scheduled India visits by its Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momin and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, diplomatic sources said.

•Dhaka has not yet given a reason, but it is understood that it is a sign of its displeasure over repeated reference by the Indian political leadership to alleged minority persecution in Bangladesh.

•Mr. Momin was supposed land on Thursday on a three-day visit from December 12 to 14. He is one of the first foreign leaders to respond to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s reference to “atrocities” against Hindu women in Bangladesh, while introducing the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

•“There are very few countries where communal harmony is as good as in Bangladesh. If he [Amit Shah] stayed in Bangladesh for a few months, he would see exemplary communal harmony,” Mr. Momin said.

‘No persecution’

•He told the Bengali service of BBC that religious persecution did not exist in Bangladesh. “We believe that religion is a personal affair, but festivals belong to all.”

•Mr. Momin, who should have been the keynote speaker at Friday’s combined session of Delhi Dialogue XI and Indian Ocean Dialogue VI, said: “We can say that the condition of the minority communities in Bangladesh is very good now. Those who went abroad earlier are now returning home.”

•Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan was expected to attend an event in Shillong on Friday to pay tribute to the sacrifice of the guerrillas of Mukti Bahini who assisted India in the war against Pakistan in 1971.

•It is learnt that Dhaka was concerned about the law and order situation in Meghalaya, where protests were reported following the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in Parliament.

•Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar maintained that Dhaka had conveyed that its Ministers cancelled their India visit because of “domestic issues pertaining to the commemoration of the ‘Victory Day’ in Bangladesh on December 16”.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Not many lessons learnt from water planning failures

In the absence of scientific planning and implementation, measures like Jal Shakti Abhiyan may not be successful

•Following the massive water crisis across India in the summer of 2019, the Central government hurriedly launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), a time-bound, mission-mode water conservation campaign to be carried out in two phases, across the 255 districts having critical and over-exploited groundwater levels. This campaign, however, was not intended to be a funding programme and did not create any new intervention on its own. It only aimed to make water conservation a ‘people’s movement’ through ongoing schemes like the MGNREGA and other government programmes.

•The JSA is partly modelled and driven by some sporadic success stories such as NGO Tarun Bharat Sangh’s experiment in Alwar, Rajasthan and Anna Hazare-led efforts in Ralegan Siddhi, Maharashtra. These projects primarily involved building tanks and ponds to capture rainwater and building recharge wells to recharge groundwater. However, it is unclear whether they were based on reference to watershed management or groundwater prospect maps.

Planning scientifically

•Water planning should be based on hydrological units, namely river basins. And, political and administrative boundaries of districts rarely coincide with the hydrological boundaries or aquifer boundaries. However, contrary to this principle of water management, JSA was planned based on the boundary of the districts, and to be carried out under the overall supervision of a bureaucrat. This resulted in the division of basins/aquifers into multiple units that followed multiple policies. There was no data on basin-wise rainfall, no analysis of run-off and groundwater maps were rarely used. As a result, one never came to know whether water harvested in a pond in a district was at the cost of water in adjoining districts.

•The JSA also fundamentally ignored the fact that most of India’s water-stressed basins, particularly those in the peninsular regions, are facing closure, with the demand exceeding supply. Hence, groundwater recharge happened at the cost of surface water and vice versa. This is where an absence of autonomous and knowledge-intensive river-basin organisations is acutely felt.

•As on date, the JSA’s portal displays impressive data, images and statistics. For example, it claims that there are around 10 million ongoing and completed water conservation structures; 7.6 million recharge structures. The website also says that one billion saplings have been planted and that six million people participated in awareness campaigns. But, data and statistics can deceive or lie, as claimed by journalist Darrel Huff in his 1954 book How to Lie with Statistics.

•For example, the data displayed on JSA portal do not speak anything about the pre-JSA water levels, the monthly water levels and impact of monsoon on the water levels across the 255 districts with critical and over-exploited blocks. They also don’t convey anything about the quality of the structures, their maintenance and sustainability. Even if the water levels had been measured, it is unknown whether the measurement was accurate. Many such queries remain unanswered and hidden behind these data and statistics. The results for a 2016 study conducted by the Central Groundwater Board showed that water levels always increase post-monsoon. Therefore, it will require long-term monitoring of water level data to determine the actual impact of a measure like JSA. At present, there is no such parameter to measure the outcome of such a mission-mode campaign. The rat race among districts for ranking has turned out to be meaningless.

Facile assumptions

•True, the aim and intent of JSA are noble. But the assumptions are distorted. For example, it assumes that common people in rural areas are ignorant and prone to wasting water; on the contrary, they are the ones who first bear the brunt of any water crisis. The per capita water allocation to those living in rural areas is 55 litres, whereas the same for urban areas like Delhi and Bengaluru is 135-150 litres.

•Therefore, the JSA’s move to reach out to poor people and farmers, asking them to ‘save water’, appears hypocritical, particularly when district administrations blatantly allow the sewage generated from towns and cities to pollute village water sources such as tanks, ponds and wells.

•Moreover, it is difficult to say whether measures like JSA can provide long-term solutions. Most of the farm bunds built with soil can collapse within one monsoon season due to rains and/or trespassing by farm vehicles, animals and humans. Further, there are issues like lack of proper engineering supervision of these structures, involvement of multiple departments with less or no coordination, and limited funding under MGNERGA and other schemes. Finally, there have hardly been many efforts undertaken to dissuade farmers from growing water-intensive crops such as paddy, sugarcane, and banana, when it is widely known that agriculture consumes 80% of freshwater.

•The summer water crisis has not led to our policymakers learning many lessons, and the country just seems to have returned to a business-as-usual situation.
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