Current Affairs 8 November

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Current Affairs 8 November

EWS Quota
The Black Sea Grain Initiative
Types of Taxes  

GS 2

Constitutional Provisions

EWS Quota

Context-Supreme Court, in a majority verdict, upholds the EWS quota

The 103rd Constitutional Amendment, 2019

The said amendment provides the 10% reservation to economically weaker sections (EWS) of society in government jobs and educational institutions.

Economic reservation was introduced by amending Articles 15 and 16 and adding clauses empowering the State governments to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.

EWS Quota: A background

The 10% reservation was introduced through the 103rd Constitution Amendment and enforced in January 2019.

It added Clause (6) to Article 15 to empower the Government to introduce special provisions for the EWS among citizens except those in the classes that already enjoy reservation.

It allows reservation in educational institutions, both public and private, whether aided or unaided, excluding those run by minority institutions, up to a maximum of 10%.

It also added Clause (6) to Article 16 to facilitate reservation in employment.

The new clauses make it clear that the EWS reservation will be in addition to the existing reservation.


The Constitution initially allowed special provisions only for the socially and educationally backward classes.

The Government introduced the concept of EWS for a new class of affirmative action program for those not covered by or eligible for the community-based quotas.

What are the court’s questions about the criteria?

Reduction within general category: The EWS quota remains a controversy as its critics say it reduces the size of the open category, besides breaching the 50% limit on the total reservation.

Arbitrariness over income limit: The court has been intrigued by the income limit being fixed at ₹8 lakh per year. It is the same figure for excluding the ‘creamy layer’ from OBC reservation benefits.

Socio-economic backwardness: A crucial difference is that those in the general category, to whom the EWS quota is applicable, do not suffer from social or educational backwardness, unlike those classified as the OBC.

Metropolitan criteria: There are other questions as to whether any exercise was undertaken to derive the exceptions such as why the flat criterion does not differentiate between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas.

OBC like criteria: The question the court has raised is that when the OBC category is socially and educationally backward and, therefore, has additional impediments to overcome.

Not based on relevant data: In line with the Supreme Court’s known position that any reservation or norms for exclusion should be based on relevant data.

Breaches reservation cap: There is a cap of 50% on reservation as ruled in the Indira Sawhney Case. The principle of balancing equality ordains reservation.

What is the current status of the EWS quota?

The reservation for the EWS is being implemented by the Union Government for the second year now.

Recruitment test results show that the category has a lower cut-off mark than the OBC, a point that has upset the traditional beneficiaries of reservation based on caste.

The explanation is that only a small number of people are currently applying under the EWS category — one has to get an income certificate from the revenue authorities — and therefore the cut-off is low.

However, when the number picks up over time, the cut-off marks are expected to rise.

Practical issues with EWS Quota

The EWS quota will come in for judicial scrutiny soon. But it’s not only a matter for the judiciary, India’s Parliament should revisit the law too.

Hasty legislation: This law was passed in haste. It was passed in both the houses within 48 hours, and got presidential approval the next day.

Minority appeasement: It is widely argued that the law was passed to appease a certain section of upper-caste society and to suppress the demands for minority reservations.

Morality put to question: Imagine! A constitutional amendment has been made with few hours of deliberation and without consultation of the targeted group. This is certainly against constitutional morality and propriety.

Substantial backing is missing: This amendment is based on a wrong or unverified premise. This is at best a wild guess or a supposition because the government has not produced any data to back this point.

Under-reservation of Backward Classes: The assertion is based on the fact that we have different data to prove the under-representation of SC, ST, OBCs. That implies that ‘upper’ castes are over-represented (with 100 minus reservation).

Rationale of 10%: There is one more problem in this regard. The SC and ST quota is based on their total population. But the rationale for the 10 per cent quota was never discussed.

Principle of Equality: Economic backwardness is quite a fluid identity. It has nothing to do with historic wrongdoings and liabilities caused to the Backward Classes.

Way forward

Preserving the merit: We cannot rule out the sorry state of economic backwardness hampering merit in our country.

Rational criteria: There has to be collective wisdom to define and measure the economic weakness of certain sections of the society in order to shape the concept of economic justice.

Judicial guidance: Judicial interpretation will pave the wave forward for deciding the criterion for EWS Quota.

Targeted beneficiaries -The centre needs to resort to more rational criteria for deciding the targeted beneficiary of this reservation system. Caste Census data can be useful in this regard.

Income study: The per capita income or GDP or the difference in purchasing power in the rural and urban areas, should be taken into account while a single income limit was formulated for the whole country.


Context-POCSO Act forces Adivasis in Nilgiris into conflict with law, say activists

Salient features of the POCSO Act

  • “Children” according to the Act are individuals aged below 18 years. The Act is gender-neutral.
  • Different forms of sexual abuse including but not limited to sexual harassment, pornography, penetrative & non-penetrative assault are defined in the Act.
  • Sexual assault is deemed to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances such as when the child is mentally ill. Also when the abuse is committed by the person in a position of trust such as a doctor, teacher, policeman, family member.
  • Adequate provisions are made to avoid re-victimization of the Child at the hands of the judicial system. The Act assigns a policeman in the role of child protector during the investigation process.
  • The Act stipulates that such steps must be taken which makes the investigation process as child-friendly as possible and the case is disposed of within one year from the date of reporting of the offence.

POCSO Act – General Principles

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 mentions 12 key principles which are to be followed by anyone, including the State Governments, the Child Welfare Committee,

  1. Right to life and survival – A child must be shielded from any kind of physical, psychological, mental and emotional abuse and neglect
  2. Best interests of the child – The primary consideration must be the harmonious development of the child
  3. Right to be treated with dignity and compassion – Child victims should be treated in a caring and sensitive manner throughout the justice process
  4. Right to be protected from discrimination – The justice process must be transparent and just; irrespective of the child’s cultural, religious, linguistic or social orientation
  5. Right to special preventive measures – It suggests, that victimised children are more likely to get abused again, thus, preventive measures and training must be given to them for self-protection
  6. Right to be informed – The child victim or witness must be well informed of the legal proceedings
  7. Right to be heard and to express views and concerns – Every child has the right to be heard in respect of matters affecting him/her
  8. Right to effective assistance – financial, legal, counselling, health, social and educational services, physical and psychological recovery services and other services necessary for the child‟s healing must be provided
  9. Right to Privacy – The child‟s privacy and identity must be protected at all stages of the pre-trial and trial process
  10. Right to be protected from hardship during the justice process – Secondary victimisation or hardships for a child during the justice procedure must be minimised
  11. Right to safety – A child victim must be protected before, during and after the justice process
  12. Right to compensation – The child victim may be awarded compensation for his/her relief and rehabilitation.

International Relations

The Black Sea Grain Initiative

What is the Black Sea Grain Initiative?

The Black Sea Grain deal endeavours to tackle escalating food prices emanating from supply chain disruptions because of Russia’s actions in the world’s ‘breadbasket’.

The deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, was signed in Istanbul on July 22 this year. Initially stipulated for a period of120 days, with an option to extend or terminate after November.

The deal was to provide for a safe maritime humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian exports (particularly for food grains) from three of its key ports, namely, Chornomorsk, Odesa and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.

The central idea was to calm markets by ensuring an adequate supply of grains, thereby limiting food price inflation.

GS 3

Indian Economy

Types of Taxes

Context ‘Single GST rate, direct tax sans exemption will be ideal’

Mainly, there are two kinds of taxes defined under the Indian tax system, which get further sub-divided into other categories:

1. Direct taxes in India

2. Indirect taxes in India

Let’s understand direct and indirect taxes applicable in India.

1. Direct Taxes in India

As per the Indian tax system, direct taxes in India are the ones that are directly levied on an individual or taxpayer’s income. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) overlook the direct taxes in India, and they cannot get transferred to any other individual or legal entity.

What are the different types of Direct Taxes in India?

 The following are the types of direct taxes in India, as defined under the Indian tax system:

1. Income tax

The tax that gets levied on the annual income or the profits of an individual or an entity is Income Tax. Therefore, the Indian tax system recognises both salaried and self-employed individuals who are earning an income, to be liable to pay income tax. Also, there is also a tax exemption limit of up to Rs.2.5 lakh per annum under the Indian tax system, given to individuals below 60 years of age.

Similarly, the Indian tax system provides a tax exemption limit of up to Rs.3 lakh for individuals of the age of 60 or above but less than 80. The limit is Rs.5 lakh for individuals of the age of 80 or above. The tax slabs differ with income.

2. Securities Transaction Tax

The securities transaction tax, as defined under the Indian tax system, gets levied on the stock market and securities trading. This tax is imposed on the price of the share and the traded securities traded on the ISE (Indian Stock Exchange).

What Other Taxes are Under Direct Taxes in India?

The following are some other common types of direct taxes in India:

1. Professional Tax

2. Property Tax

3. Capital Gains Tax

4. Gift Tax

5. Fringe Benefits Tax

2. Indirect taxes in India

Taxes that get imposed on products and services when they are bought and sold are called indirect taxes in India. The sellers of the service or products collect these taxes under the Indian tax system. The tax gets levied as an addition to the original price of the product or service, which increases their cost. Following are the different types of indirect taxes in India.

Goods and Services Tax

Goods or Services Tax (GST) is a consumption tax imposed on services and goods supply and has completely replaced the indirect taxes in India. The Indian tax system stipulates that every stage of the goods production process and value-added services is under the obligation to pay GST.

The introduction of GST under the Indian tax system has resulted in the abolition of other kinds of indirect taxes in India and charges like Value Added Tax (VAT), OCTROI, Central Value Added Tax (CENVAT), and also custom and excise taxes.

As per the Indian tax system, an exemption is given to the products or services such as electricity, alcoholic drinks, and petroleum products that do not get taxed under GST. This tax is imposed according to the previous tax regime decided by the different state governments.

What Are Some Other Indirect Taxes in India? 

A number of indirect taxes in India have been discontinued after introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India. The following are some of the common indirect taxes applicable to Indian tax payers:

1. Value Added Tax (VAT)

2. Customs Duty

3. Excise Duty

4. Service Tax

5. Securities Transaction Tax

What are the Differences between Direct Taxes and Indirect Taxes in India?

Direct TaxesIndirect Taxes
It is imposed on income and conducted activities.It is imposed on products and services.
The load of tax cannot be shifted in case of direct taxes in India.The load of tax can be shifted for indirect taxes in India.
  The concerned person directly pays direct taxes in India.One person pays indirect taxes in India but recovers the same from another person, i.e. a person who actually bears the burden is ultimately the consumer.
Direct taxes in India are paid only after the taxpayer receives an income.Indirect taxes in India are paid before the service or goods reach a taxpayer.
Examples of direct taxes in India are wealth tax and income tax.Examples of indirect taxes in India are GST, excise and custom duties.

What are the benefits of paying taxes?

Paying income tax might be a compulsion as per the Indian tax system but is hugely beneficial for individuals who earn taxable salaries (especially the one that surpasses the necessary exemption limit) and file their income tax returns.

As per the Indian tax system, in case the tax liability is zero after deductions, the case remains the same. Also, if your income is lesser than the basic exemption limit, there are many benefits to filing taxes defined under the Indian tax system. Here are some of the advantages of paying your taxes on time:

· Faster Loan Approval

Major Banks request a copy of your income tax returns when you apply for a loan, be it a home loan or a vehicle loan.  As per directives defined under the Indian tax system, the income tax returns filed for the previous 2-3 years can help get a higher loan amount. The reason behind asking for ITR files is to calculate an individual’s ability to repay the loan based on his income.

· Faster Visa Processing

During Visa Interviews, most foreign embassies necessitate the provision of income tax returns for the previous years. The UK, US, Europe, and Canada consulates consider it as a mandate, while the South East Asian countries and the Middle East do not always ask for ITR files. As per the Indian tax system, these ITR files act as evidence that you are not exiting the country to avoid taxes.

As per the directives of the Indian tax system, it is prudent to carry your ITR file receipts with you while you are travelling abroad, be it for work or leisure as it comes in handy in cases of emergency, and you need to seek the help of the embassy.

· Income Proof for the Self-Employed

According to the directives of the Indian tax system, Form 16 is not available for individuals who are freelancers, consultants, businesspersons, and partners of companies. If the yearly income exceeds the basic exemption limit as defined under the Indian tax system, then ITR file receipts can be provided as an income proof. Also, ITR receipts are useful during any financial or business transaction as sanctioned under the Indian tax system.

· Easier Refund Claims

The only way one can claim any refunds due from the Income Tax Department, as defined under the Indian tax system, is when the ITR has been filed. Even if the income is under the tax exemption bracket, the Indian tax system says that there could be refunds from various savings tools that can be claimed this way.

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