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    Current Affairs – 26th November 2021


    • News: The Union Government on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that it had taken a “considered decision” to revisit the “criteria” for determining Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to provide them reservation.
    • About Solicitor General of India:
      • The Solicitor General of India is subordinate to the Attorney General for India. They are the second law officer of the country, assists the Attorney General, and is assisted by Additional Solicitors General for India. Currently, the Solicitor General of India is Tushar Mehta.
      • Like the Attorney General for India, the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General advise the Government and appear on behalf of the Union of India in terms of the Law Officers (Terms and Conditions) Rules, 1972.
      • However, unlike the post of Attorney General for India, which is a Constitutional post under Article 76 of the Constitution of India, the posts of the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General are merely statutory.
      • Solicitor general works under The attorney general of India Duties of Solicitor General are laid out in Law Officers (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1987:
      • to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time, be referred or assigned to him by the Government of India.
      • to appear, whenever required, in the Supreme Court or in any High Court on behalf of the Government of India in cases (including suits, writ petitions, appeal and other proceedings) in which the Government of India is concerned as a party or is otherwise interested;
      • to represent the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution; and
      • to discharge such other functions as are conferred on a Law Officer by or under the Constitution or any other Law for the time being in force.
      • As law officers represent the Government of India, there are certain restrictions which are put on their private practice. A law officer is not allowed to:
      • hold briefs in any court for any party, except the Government of India or the government of a State or any University, Government School or College, local authority, Public Service Commission, Port Trust, Port Commissioners, Government aided or Government managed hospitals, a Government company, any Corporation owned or controlled by the State, any body or institution in which the Government has a preponderating interest;
      • advice any party against the Government of India or a Public Sector Undertaking, or in cases in which he is likely to be called upon to advise, or appear for, the Government of India or a Public Sector Undertaking;
      • defend an accused person in a criminal prosecution, without the permission of the Government of India; or
      • accept appointment to any office in any company or corporation without the permission of the Government of India;
      • advise any Ministry or Department of Government of India or any statutory organisation or any Public Sector Undertaking unless the proposal or a reference in this regard is received through the Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs.


    • News: The Union Government has taken a considered decision to revisit the criteria for determining the economically weaker sections in terms of the provisions of the Explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act 2019.
    • About 103rd Constitutional Amendment, 2019:
      • The One Hundred and Third Amendment of the Constitution of India, officially known as the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, introduces 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society for admission to Central Government-run educational institutions and private educational institutions (except for minority educational institutions), and for employment in Central Government jobs.
      • The Amendment does not make such reservations mandatory in State Government-run educational institutions or State Government jobs. However, some states have chosen to implement the 10% reservation for economically weaker sections.
      • Currently, the quota can be availed by persons with an annual gross household income of up to ₹8 lakh (US$11,000). Families that own over 5 acres of agricultural land, a house over 1,000 square feet, a plot of over 100-yards in a notified municipal area or over a 200-yards plot in a non-notified municipal area cannot avail the reservation.
      • Persons belonging to communities that already have reservations such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the “creamy layer” of Other Backward Classes are also not eligible for reservation under this quota.


    • News: The Finance Ministry has allocated additional funds of ₹10,000 crore as an interim measure for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) after it ran out of funds allocated in the budget, according to the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
    • About Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005:
      • Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA), is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’.
      • This act was passed in 23 August 2005 under the UPA government of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
      • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
      • The act was first proposed in 1991 by P.V. Narasimha Rao.
      • It was finally accepted in the parliament and commenced implementation in 625 districts of India. Based on this pilot experience, NREGA was scoped up to cover all the districts of India from 1 April 2008.
      • Another aim of MGNREGA is to create durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds and wells).
      • Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.
      • If work is not provided within 15 days of applying, applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance. That is, if the government fails to provide employment, it has to provide certain unemployment allowances to those people. Thus, employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.
      • MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs). The involvement of contractors is banned.


    • News: The fourth Scorpene class conventional submarine, INS Vela, was commissioned into the Navy in the presence of Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh at a ceremony.
    • Details:
      • With this, the Navy currently has 16 conventional and one nuclear submarines in service. It includes eight Russian Kilo class submarines, four German HDW submarines, four French Scorpene submarines and the indigenous nuclear ballistic missile submarine INSArihant.
      • Vela is named after a type of Indian fish belonging to the stingray family, and the crest depicts the fish swimming across the blue seas.
      • The submarine’s mascot is the Sub-ray which is an amalgamation of the submarine and the stingray which symbolises the metamorphosis of the submarine’s character with the qualities of a stingray.
      • Six Scorpene submarines are being built under Project-75 by Mazagaon Dock Ltd. (MDL), Mumbai, under technology transfer from Naval Group of France under a $3.75-bn deal signed in October 2005.
      • The first submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned in December 2017, second submarine INSKhanderi in September 2019 and third one INS Karanj in March 2021.
      • The fifth submarine, Vagir, was launched in November 2020 and is undergoing sea trials while the sixth one Vagsheer is in advanced stage of outfitting.
      • The Navy has a 30-year submarine building programme and after the P-75I, the Navy intends to design and build conventional submarines indigenously.
    • News: The fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has confirmed signs of a demographic shift in India.
    • Details:
      • For the first time since the NFHS began in 1992, the proportion of women exceeded men: there were 1,020 women for 1,000 men. In the last edition of the survey in 2015-16, there were 991 women for every 1,000 men.
      • Only the decadal Census is considered the official marker of population trends in India and has a wider surveillance programme. The NFHS surveys are smaller, but are conducted at the district level and are a pointer to the future.
      • However, sex ratio at birth for children born in the past five years only improved from 919 per 1,000 males in 2015-16 to 929 per 1,000, underscoring that boys, on average, continued to have better odds of survival than girls.
      • Most Indian States and Union Territories (UTs) had more women than men, the NFHS-5 shows.
      • A State-wise breakup of the NFHS data also show that India is on its way to stabilising its population, with most States and UTs having a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of less than two.
      • A TFR of less than 2.1, or a woman on average bearing two children over a lifetime, suggests that an existing generation of a people will be exactly replaced.


    • News: Australia announced on Thursday it is sending police, troops and diplomats to the Solomon Islands to help after anti-government demonstrators defied lockdown orders and took to the streets for a second day in violent protests.