Cabinet Approves 10% Quota for Economically Backward Upper Castes
With an eye on the upper caste vote in the coming Lok Sabha elections, the Union Cabinet on Monday approved 10% reservation for economically backward people in general category in jobs and educational institutions.
 
The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took the decision to provide for 10% quota for people belonging to 'unreserved categories', including Christians and Muslims, in jobs and education with an annual income limit of Rs8 lakh and land-holding ceiling of about five acres, highly-placed sources said.
 
A Constitution Amendment bill for the purpose is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
 
The sources said the proposed move will not disturb the existing 50% reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
 
"The quota will include sections not falling under any provision of reservation such as Brahmins, Banias, Thakurs, Jats, Gujjars, Muslims and Christians," a source privy to the decision told IANS. 
 
He said that rules will be framed in due course to implement the Cabinet decision. 
 
The decision comes four months before the Lok Sabha polls and after the reverses suffered by BJP in the Assembly polls in the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. 
 
The BJP was said to have faced the wrath of the upper castes, especially in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, over the amendment brought by the Central government to nullify the Supreme Court judgement in the SC-ST Act last year.
 
Reacting to the decision, BJP MP Udit Raj said it was a 'bold' decision. 
 
However, former Union minister, Yashwant Sinha, said the proposal was "nothing more than a jumla" which bristles with legal complications and there was no time for getting it passed in both the Houses of Parliament.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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COMMENTS

shadi katyal

2 months ago

What kind of game is being played with the lives of the nation and now we have a new class of reservations namely for all but economically backward people.
Is the nation going to keep suffering due to this quota alotment for votes?
Modi has blamed Congress of Vote banks but what this allocation is if not vote bank? We have seen no new jobs and industry but keep blaming all the sins on Congress. Where are we going?

Deepak Narain

2 months ago


Why not apply this criteria for all reservations? Abolish reservations based on caste, religion, gender, physical disability, etc.

K V RAO

2 months ago

A long overdue decision. Kudos to the govt at the centre. If one feels, all these are election stunts, nothing wrong. BJP has read Congress book!

REPLY

shadi katyal

In Reply to K V RAO 2 months ago

What is overdue is jobs, industry, edu8cation and medical facilities for people and not these gimmicks. What a double standard, one side Nodi blames for such quotas and now for votes, he creates a new class. Did the loss in Hindu states make it a necessity for such vote banks?

SC seeks response from Centre, EC on tallying of VVPAT
The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) seeking direction to the poll panel to increase the tallying of VVPAT from the current 10% to 30% for this year's general elections.
 
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul issued the notice.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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The Government’s Knee-jerk, Hurried and Scorched-earth Policy!
Whichever way one looks at it, we are staring at a bleak year for the nation, as we get ready for another general election and the prospect of several months of horse-trading, compromises and the most self-serving political alliances, both before and after the general elections. 
 
The promises of 2014 look like a pie-in-the-sky; while much harm has been caused by overambitious (and sometimes senseless) schemes and their poor implementation. The biggest proof of this is the sharp revival of the Congress Party. Far from wiping out the Congress (Congress-mukt-Bharat), a nation that was fed up of unbridled corruption and cronyism of the United Progressive Alliance 2 (UPA2), gave victories in three significant states to the Congress, in the run up to 2019. 
 
A resurrected Congress, waiting to forge crooked alliances with the same old parties and the same corrupt politicians, waiting to grab malaidaar portfolios, is hardly comforting. However, the remarkable improvement in Rahul Gandhi’s confidence, stature and willingness to tease and heckle the ruling alliance and prime minister (PM) Modi, in their own style and tone, is clearly rattling the government. 
 
While diehard supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will talk about the introduction of GST (goods and services tax), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and a few infrastructure projects as big achievements, the truth is that the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) has botched up an extraordinary opportunity to permanently set India on a path of productive growth.
 
The reason: poor sequencing, absurd decisions (demonetisation was bad for the economy, the people and the BJP itself), arrogance (talking to only to a few chosen ones) and needless emphasis on event management and false optics. The hurried, midnight launch of GST; fixing the ease-of-doing business ranking; and converting the highly laudable Swachh Bharat campaign into one of celebrity photo-opportunities (instead of working with pioneering reformers such as Sulabh Shauchalaya) are prime examples.
 
In the process, the BJP ignored the core promises that had swung the non-politically committed voters in its favour in 2014. They had voted for economic development, good governance and less corruption. They got none of these.
 
Having ignored most constituents for over four years (this column will not go into the tacit encouragement of fringe elements to foment religious intolerance, leading to lynching and unrest) the government now seems to be gearing up for a knee-jerk appeasement of various vote banks before the elections. Here are a few examples. 
 
MSME (medium and small enterprises): They are the lifeblood of the economy, but neglected and exploited for over 70 years. They pay the highest interest rates, are harassed by all civic and inspection agencies of government, and treated with utter callousness even if they get access to bank loans. The MSME segment has been a big supporter of the NDA; but the past four years have seen it battered by demonetisation and the malfunctioning GST system, with no improvement in ease of doing business. 
 
The government has yet to acknowledge that GST is called the Gabbar Singh Tax not because every businessman is a crooked, tax-evader, but because the hurriedly launched system is still not working efficiently. Under pressure from a swadeshi ideologue to offer a bailout or carrot to this segment, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed a committee to examine how the MSMEs can be won over. Even before the committee’s report is out, RBI has allowed a one-time restructuring of certain loans of up to Rs25 crore which is, essentially, a bailout.
 
Farmer Bailout: Farmers are another constituency that the NDA has ignored and even the long march to Mumbai and then to Delhi did not signal any urgency to address their real issues, not even in states where the BJP was in power. Finally, Rahul Gandhi’s loan waivers for farmers seem set to trigger a knee-jerk response which, like bank recapitalisation, will apply a band-aid without offering any real solution. 
 
Business Today reports, “The Centre will likely announce direct benefit transfer (DBT) worth Rs 4,000 per acre per season plus interest-free crop loan up to Rs1 lakh per farmer in an instant two-fold relief to the farmers.” It estimates that this will cost Rs2.3 lakh crore which, many speculate, will come from RBI’s reserves and was the reason for RBI governor Urjit Patel’s abrupt resignation in December. The next government will have to deal with the consequences of this decision.
 
Systematic Destruction of Public Sector Banks (PSBs): Despite the much publicised gyan-sangams and announcement of Banks Board Bureau for PSB appointments, the NDA systematically decimated PSBs and did nothing to address the core problems of behest lending, corrupt appointments and accountability of top management. For much of NDA’s tenure, PSBs were kept headless, while being whipped to fulfil Jan-Dhan account enrolment targets.
 
As an aside, is it credible that 336.6 million persons deposited a whopping Rs86,320 crore in Jan-Dhan accounts, when banks expropriated over Rs10,000 crore from ordinary depositors for not maintain average minimum balances in their savings account?
 
Post-demonetisation, PSBs were told they were useless and needed to be merged, purged and cut to size. There is no mention of improving management accountability, tackling fraud or recognising that they remain the primary access to banking in rural India, and it will be long time before everybody has the connectivity and confidence to switch to a PayTM or GooglePay. 
 
Like banks, depositors have also been hassled. Unconscionable charges, the threat of confiscating deposits under the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill (dropped in August 2018, after it threatened to cause a run on PSBs), and harassment over mandatory linking of Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts, phones, etc, until it was finally halted by a Supreme Court order, are examples.  
 
The NDA’s most touted economic achievements are the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill, the introduction of GST and infrastructure development. All three are work-in-progress and, even if the government denies it vehemently, we have anecdotal evidence of how empowering tax officials with draconian powers has only led to an exponential increase in corruption. 
 
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill: The new legislation and action against defaulters, like Vijay Mallya, has, indeed, scared wilful defaulters; but the biggest of them all shows no sign of being cowed down. The Essar group has spun a googly by offering to pay back all it owed, suddenly, and has only managed to delay what would have been the showpiece of the bankruptcy action.  The government’s silence and the fact that promoters Shashi and Ravi Ruia have been chosen guests at the PM’s swearing-in ceremony and all overseas delegations are indicative. Ravi Ruia even obtained permission to travel abroad, despite a lookout notice in the 2G scam-related cases because he was invited to be part of the PM’s delegation.
 
But the entire achievement on this front has been eclipsed by Nirav Modi, Geetanjali Gems, Suraj Diamonds and Sterling Biotech scams, not to mention the massive systemic shock and fraud that has erupted at Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS). Moreover, the average recovery in bankruptcy cases is likely to remain below 20%-30% of what was owed to banks.
 
Infrastructure Development: This, too, is a mixed bag. Many completed projects were started by the UPA. Mumbai’s expensive coastal road is being pushed to help developers, while the trans-harbour link, which has been pending for over 60 years, and could expand the city and reduce realty prices, is moving at a snail’s space. Very little has happened on use of water transport and the multi-modal transport hub (MIHAN project) is languishing, even though it is located at Nagpur, Nitin Gadkari’s home city and the RSS headquarters. 
 
Unfortunately for most of us, voting out the BJP is not the answer. The arrogant old guard of Congress, which was gave us one of the most corrupt administrations and was voted out in 2014, is alive and kicking. 
 
In fact, UPA-2 was responsible for making draconian changes to key statutes, ensuring that financial regulators are accountable only to the finance minister and not the public, and tying up corporate India in endless litigation leading to direct benefits for key ministers. 
 
No right thinking Indian wants a return of UPA-2. Although Rahul Gandhi now excels at heckling the PM, he has yet to engage on core issues or show us how his government will be different, if it comes back to power. In fact, if the choice of chief ministers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is any indication, we may see the same old UPA ministers grabbing key portfolios in a Congress-led government. 
 
If we, the people, want to ensure that we do not slip back into an economic mess, we need to demand better accountability from our government. The Election Commission of India can ensure this in two ways: first, ensure that political parties do not back away from the commitments made to people in their election manifestoes and campaign speeches (so no about–turn, like the PM did on Aadhaar). Secondly, give teeth to the ‘none-of-the-above’ (NOTA) button on voting machines by declaring a re-election, if the number of votes polled by NOTA is the highest. The latter is crucial, because a mere announcement to this effect will force political parties to think of better candidates and discourage them from splitting votes by fielding dummy candidates.
 
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COMMENTS

B. KRISHNAN

2 months ago

It is a sign of our times that such a surgical examination of the govt is conducted, which has been in office barely 4 years! We gave Congress 60 years, why cant we give another 5 years to a man who seems to be at least decisive and scrupulously honest! I am a bit surprised at the allegation that NDA has "institutionalized" corruption. This is without any basis whatsoever. If any, the babus are now made to work from 10 to 5 which was not the case earlier. Also from 2014 till now has any case of corruption against any member of the Central cabinet surfaced? The cases of Nirav, Mallya, etc. are the result of pre-2014 actions. Instead of NOTA, I would suggest the slogan "TINA" .. There Is No Alternative but to vote Modi back for a second term!

REPLY

K V RAO

In Reply to B. KRISHNAN 2 months ago

Well said Krishnan. We all have become intolerant towards Modi. 60 Vs 5. How we can compare? Indian economy has been subjected to many I'll conceived policies. If it is still doing well means it's a miracle. An expert said recently that Indian business will do well with or without Government. So much is it's strength. Our public sector banking system has been ruined. That implies absence of responsible financial system. Private sector banking is filling up the space to some extent.
.

Nikhil B

2 months ago

All said and done as a nation we are in trouble.The only solution like you suggested is to make NOTA all powerful.

Amit Jain

2 months ago

Needless ranting...

Ashish M

3 months ago

Hello Sucheta,

This is one of your finest political analysis. I agree that Modi govt has failed on several fronts and is nowhere close to what we hoped it to be.

In 2019, our choice would be to select the 'least worst option' and that name still is NAMO, like it or not. For all your praises of Rahul, I still believe that most of his talks / Twitter feeds, etc. is scripted by expensive content writers and Mr. Gandhi himself it yet to demonstrate a single action to establish his competence. His only claim to fame till date is winning the ovarian lottery of being born in a famous family. That's it.

Even if I don't like Mr. Modi, I won't waste my vote on #NOTA as that only helps to elect more worst options as demonstrated by MP elections. Our task as of today is to select the least worst option.

REPLY

K V RAO

In Reply to Ashish M 2 months ago

A succinct explanation. Your views confirm 2019 tragedy of choices. NOTA helps Congress. You will agree with me India has always faced this type of political bankruptcy. It looks as if democracy is failing! Do you think a group of benevolent dictators will be able to steer the course? No doubt a wishful thinking but unable to suggest any viable political alternative. Finally being sounding philosophical, I believe collective destiny of people gives a set of our rulers.

Ashish M

In Reply to K V RAO 2 months ago

Unfortunately the vote bank politics at lower economic segments (most voters in lowest strata of society gets bribe from political parties and vote for cash), apathy of middle class to vote and crony capitalism amongst rich is making a deadly cocktail which is holding back India from achieving its potential.

Meenal Mamdani

3 months ago

An excellent analysis of the ills of the economy and a brave prescription for what will not work to right the listing ship.
I agree that Congess under Rahul is a mess. Look at what has happened in Chattisgarh. Persons, who were shunted to the periphery because of their murderous records, have been brought back. Similarly, in MP, Kamal Nath, who should be on his way to prison if Mr. Phoolka is able to continue his judicial onslaught, has given so many sops to the preceding BJP stalwarts, that it is a joke.
I certainly do not want the Congress to win, but I hope that BJP will win with a distinctly lower margin, so BJP can jettison the arrogant Modi/Shah duo, and get someone more in tune with the grassroots like Gadkari.
I never thought that I would be wishing for a return of BJP but that is what we have been reduced to.

SuchindranathAiyerS

3 months ago

To add to the author's observations,

New Investments in India have collapsed due to the Sovereign Risks (or the Government Policies, laws, rules, and regulations and the free for all extortion these enable). I have warned the deaf BJP Satraps of this since 2014.
The most egregious example is that of Retrospective Taxation. As usual, the Indian Rapeublic brought out a flawed law. On this basis, Vodafone filed suit against the Tax Demand and won in the Supreme Court. Pranab Mukherjee then filed a work around “Retrospective Law” with the full backing of Parliament and went after Vodafone, over riding the Supreme Court. When Modi and gang took office, Modi publicly stated that “Retrospective Tax laws” would be retracted. (Such “retrospective” laws are not made in civilized countries, but only in Banana Republics and Communist-Totalitarian States like Soviet Union, China, Zimbabwe or North Korea)”. Jaitley then modified this to say that the law would remain on the statute book but would not be enforced. He then went after Vodafone Cairn and others with the retrospective laws.
The Modi Sarkar has formalized and legalized corruption from the grassroots to the political level with four significant moves: (1) Retrospective exemption of political parties from the FCRA, (2) the creation of “election bonds”, (3) the exemption of lawyers from GST to enable corruption of Judges, and (4) the criminalizing of the victims of extortion to grant impunity to Judges, Bureaucrats, Police and politicians to extort money and wealth.
India has a hoary and hallowed tradition of corruption in place which makes doing business here extremely difficult in the best of times.
In India, since Independence, Government employs ten Constitutionally Certified Congenital Cretins to do the job that one competent person can do. Out of these ten persons, nine are dedicated solely to tending meaningless laws and rules designed to harass the ordinary citizen to pay “bribes” i.e. succumb to extortion by employees of the State. All ten of them are not only over paid but very highly over paid and form the top percentiles in the income and perquisites (cost to country) brackets of the Nation. This is an enormous burden that has to be borne in terms of taxes, deficit finance and inflation by the economy. Apart from this there is the black money and wealth that goes to maintain the life styles of these cretins at an even more lavish level than already provided by the State.
Now, there is a ceiling on what the market, already impoverished by taxes, inflation and extortion can pay to buy goods. Hence the quality of the goods have to be compromised to make them affordable despite the enormous overheads that I have described above.
So, India produces inferior quality and high priced, non exportable goods, while those on Government payroll, and their cronies, buy high quality imported goods.
In India, the culture of entitlements is pervasive and overflows from Government and the legal privileges that it has dished out since 1947 on the basis of caste, tribe, religion and so on into all sections of society. So exacting performance or expecting active learning from employees is largely hit and miss. The competence of most Indians are entirely unrelated to their qualification but derive more from their community and family background.
All persons on Government pay roll in India, from Judges to runners are like Card Carrying members of China’s Communist Party in the sense that they are unaccountable, incompetent, corrupt and cannot be expected to deliver even if you meet their extortion demands for what you might take for granted in civilized countries, like water, power, sanitary conditions, rule of law or even legitimate certifications that you have met the required standards for.
The purpose of the Indian State and its laws is to mulct all those not in its employ for the benefit of those in its employ. So business men are extended tax collectors who mulct the customer, primarily for the state and its employees and, thereafter, for themselves. To this end, the State has created a plethora of laws and regulations that can be used by myriad employees of the State from runners and junior clerks to Judges to Super Cops and top Bureaucrats to enrich themselves in the guise of protecting the State, the Nation and citizen/ customers from the evil machinations of profiteers (honest businessmen not in the good books of those who matter). In other words, taxation both financial and extortion through the thousand cuts!
India is not exactly a business or investment friendly environment.

K V RAO

3 months ago

The writer is attacking both UPA and NDA. Madam, aiming for a perfect combination of political parties to be in charge of the nation is only a dream. Situations as they pan out will be same through out the Kaliyuga if you believe in it. Even in Dwapara Yuga, Krishna could not prevent war but according to Him ALL HAPPENS FOR GOOD. Only we need to have patience and go ahead with or without our rulers. An expert recently said Elections has little impact on stock market irrespective of NDA/UPA coming to power. Temporarily there may be some impact but it will resume it's onward journey. Business will take care of itself if there is some sort of Government. If I sound philosophical, please excuse me.

REPLY

SuchindranathAiyerS

In Reply to K V RAO 3 months ago

I agree fully with the author of the article.

A few key points that make Modi Sarkar out to be a Congress Sarkar (which was rejected in 2014) in disguise include:
(1) Profligate Pay and Perks Hikes to Netas, Babus, Cops and Milards;
(2) Attempts to financially crush the lower middle class by lowering interest rates, attempting to tax EPF etc. while fanning the flames of inflation through economic mismanagement, profligacy and corruption;
(3) Atrocities Act to circumvent a rare Supreme Court judgement that actually upholds the near extinct notion of “equity” in India,
(4) Championing corruption by criminalizing the victims of extortion while granting immunity to Govt extortionists, retrospective (i.e. Pranab Mukerjee type) law exempting political parties from Foreign Currency Regulation Act; exempting lawyers from GST to facilitate bribery of Judges, election bonds to formalize/legalize political corruption;
(5) Pampering and appeasing Moslems, Dalits etc,
(6) Criticising Gau Rakshaks and otherwise persecuting the much persecuted and maligned “Hindoos”,
(7) Banks under the Mahdi-Jet Lee Sarkar extorted 50, 000 Crores from you and me in unjustifiable charges such as minimum balance etc.:
(8) The absurd, stupid and vicious way in which Demonetization, GST and other Tax matters have been handled.
(9) Doing nothing at all about any of its election promises but, instead, pursuing all the policies of the rejected opposition. For example, the very first law made by the BJP was the Congress Bill to send Neta-Babus abroad with family and friends for medical treatment at my expense, while ordinary, Non Governmental Indians are denied proper medical services and even proper Doctors who are, nowadays, all created, not by merit or competence, but by caste and bribes!
In 2014, in very many constituencies, the BJP won thanks to marginal vote swings created by a coagulation of Savarna sentiment and the lower middle classes (Internationally,"Poor"). This then is the constituency that has requited the BJP's betrayal, along with all those others who hoped for change in 2014.

Suketu Shah

3 months ago

Modi's biggest failure is totally ignoring Dr Swamy.Once he did this for almost 5 yrs,nothing much was going to be achieved.One cannot sympathise with Modi govt as it is a self-inflicted tragedy of ignoring the most capable leader of the country.

REPLY

K V RAO

In Reply to Suketu Shah 3 months ago

Like all we believed Modi will do the trick, our friend is focusing on Swamy. No one or two persons howsoever they are eminent can do the trick when there are mamoth issues. Unless our political leaders and a major portion of citizens work for the nation, we will continue to face problems.

Shankeran MV

In Reply to Suketu Shah 3 months ago

Hope they learn and admit that they lost a good chance of managing the good governance. Though memory of the electorate is short sighted and they would have forgotten the misdeeds of UPA-2. The conclusion in the article is better way forward and suggestive that of not to write off NDA.

Prakash Patel

3 months ago

It is a lost opportunity. The Indian voters, forgetting cast and religion had voted BJP government to power with much hope but if history is any guide like failed Janta govt experiment after the emergency, will throw them out and will never forgive BJP. Then the country will plunge into coalition politics for decades. The people have learnt a hard lesson that BJP and Congress are the sides of the same coin.
The only solution left is to choose candidates before contesting an election based on merit. Citizens should have a say in choosing candidates of all parties, as late Shri Nani Palkhiwala had suggested through Citizen's council under the supervision of the Election Commission, then only quality representation in Parliament and state assemblies will happen and also voters should have the power to call back their representatives if they fail to perform.

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