News: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the 127th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021, with unanimous support from the House and not a single vote against, with Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar stating that there was a need for careful examination of the demand made by several Lok Sabha MPs to remove the 50% cap on reservation currently in place.
In the Indra Sawhney case the court has observed that the limit can be increased beyond the 50% but only in certain special circumstances.
The current Constitution Amendment Bill was historic legislation as 671 castes in the country would benefit from it and restore the States’ rights to make their own list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and should be considered as the 105th Constitution Amendment Bill after being renumbered.
The legislation aims at restoring the power of the States and the Union Territories to make their own OBC list. During the division of the votes, 385 members in Lok Sabha voted in the favour of the bill, and none were against it.
The Central Government on August 9, 2021, had introduced a key constitution amendment bill in Lok Sabha that seeks to restore the state’s power to make their own OBC lists.
The Government introduced the bill in the Parliament to clarify some provisions in the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Bill to restore the power of the states to identify the backward classes.
As per the Indian Constitution, Articles 15 (4), 15 (5), and 16 (4) confer power on the State Government to declare and identify the list of socially and educationally backward classes. As a practice, separate OBC lists are drawn up by the Central Government and each State concerned.
The latest amendment was necessitated after the Supreme Court in its Maratha reservation ruling in May 2021 upheld the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act but stated that the President, based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), will determine which communities will be included on the state OBC list.
The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act of 2018 had inserted the Articles 338B and Article 342 A (with two clauses) after Article 342.
Articles 338B deals with the structure, powers, and duties of the National Commission for Backward Classes. Article 342A says that the President, in consultation with the Governor, will specify the educationally and socially backward classes.
The 127th Constitution Amendment Bill is designed to clarify that the State Governments can maintain the ‘state list’ of OBCs as was the system prior to SC judgment. Articles 366 (26c) define the socially and educationally backward classes.
About Indra Sawhney & Others Vs Union of India:
Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India (also known as the Mandal verdict) was an Indian public interest litigation case.
The constitution recognized social and educational backwardness, but not economic backwardness.
The court upheld separate reservation for OBC in central government jobs, but excluded these to the “creamy layer” (the forward section of a backward class, above a certain income).
At no point should the reservation exceed 50%.
2. TELEROBOTIC ULTRASOUND SYSTEM
News: Researchers at IIT-Delhi and AIIMS have developed a Telerobotic Ultrasound System that allows remote ultrasound access through a robotic arm.
Telerobotic Ultrasound System that allows remote ultrasound access through a robotic arm.
The need for this innovation arose during the first nationwide lockdown in 2020 when COVID-19 cases and deaths were shooting up sharply.
The researchers said the prevailing situation impacted regular healthcare services, especially those involving direct physical contact with patients like ultrasound scanning, and they got to work to ensure the safety of healthcare professionals by leveraging their expertise in robotic technology.
The new system will allow doctors and radiologists to perform scans by maintaining stringent social distancing and not coming into contact with the patient.
Ultrasonography is a non-invasive, non-ionising, cost-effective, rapid, bedside, and readily available modality with immense use in point-of-care and follow-up examinations.
3. UJJWALA 2.0
News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched the second phase of the Ujjwala gas connection scheme for the poor, and said that it would provide the biggest relief to lakhs of migrant worker families in the country.
Under Ujjwala 2.0 (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana), migrant workers would no longer have to struggle to get address proof documents to get the gas connections.
Now migrant workers would only be required to submit a self-declaration of their residential address to get the gas connection.
Under his government, 11,000 new LPG distribution centres had come up in the country, Mr. Modi said, adding that the figure had doubled in Uttar Pradesh from fewer than 2,000 to 4,000.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.
In India, the poor have limited access to cooking gas (LPG).
Under the scheme, an adult woman belonging to a poor family not having LPG connection in her household, is an eligible beneficiary under the expanded scheme.
Release of LPG connection under this Scheme shall be in the name of the women belonging to the BPL family.
Initially, the Government covered the following categories under the Scheme:
Beneficiaries listed in the SECC 2011 list
All SC/STs households beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(PMAY) (Gramin)