Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
- President’s Standard and Colour and the Indian Navy Crest
- OBC Sub categorization Panel
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Context: The 17th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is scheduled to be held 6 to 9 December 2022 in Singapore to discuss concrete steps to drive job-rich growth that is inclusive and transformative.
- The APRM will bring together over 350 ILO constituents representing Governments, workers and employers from Asia and the Pacific and the Arab States, as well as representatives of international organizations, and civil society. Some 15 ministers from across the two regions will also attend.
- This will be the first APRM for new ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo. President of Singapore H.E. Halimah Yacob will give a special opening address.
- The event will help forge commitment among the constituents on common priorities for action that will help shape ILO’s work in both regions for years to come.
Theme: Integrated policy agenda for a human–centred recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
- Strengthening tripartism and social dialogue to address issues in employment in the region.
- Pitching for strong and effective gender-responsive policies and institutions of work that are oriented towards a human-centred recovery after the pandemic and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
- Encouraging governments in the region to increase investments in social justice for the achievement of decent job-rich growth, universal social protection, respect for rights at work and inclusive social dialogue.
ILO report on the theme
- The Russian aggression against Ukraine has led to major new disruptions to energy and food supply chains as well as rising inflation, with impacts that are filtering down to the Asia and the Pacific and the Arab States regions, adversely impacting the prospects for labour market recovery.
- Poverty in general, as well as working poverty, increased for the first time after having trended downwards for decades in the Asia and the Pacific regions as well as in the Arab States.
- The report added that in the absence of effective institutionalised support, households relied on limited savings to meet basic needs or went into debt.
- According to ILO estimates, the number of working women and men living in extreme poverty [below US$1.90 a day] increased by 2.1 million people in Asia and the Pacific in 2020, bringing the total to 64.5 million [3.5% of total employment].
- The number of employed persons living in extreme or moderate poverty [below US$3.20 a day] increased by 3.7 million to reach 304 million [15.8% of total employment] as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Recommendations made by the report
- The governments and social partners must not miss the opportunity to join forces and channel investments towards a human-centred recovery, while “gradually removing the longer-term structural barriers to decent work and inclusive growth”.
- To tackle the root causes of inequalities and socio-economic insecurities, ILO must take action towards making progress on universal social protection, youth employment, gender equality, just transitions towards digital and environmentally sustainable economies, formalisation, fair labour migration, building labour market resilience in fragile settings and decent work in supply chains.
- Strengthening good governance, with a priority focus on improving the ratifications and application of international labour standards, tripartism and social dialogue, implementation of strong and effective gender-responsive policies and institutions of work that are oriented towards a human-centred recovery are important.
2 . President’s Standard and Colour and Indian Navy crest
Context: The President of India has approved the introduction of a new design for the President’s Standard and Colour and the Indian Navy Crest, which were unveiled at Visakhapatnam on Navy Day on December 4.
About President’s Standard and President’s Colour
- The President’s Standard and President’s Colour are awarded to static and mobile formations of the Navy respectively, to acknowledge their distinguished and meritorious service to the nation.
- While the practice of carrying the Standards or Colours — a symbolic flag — into battle is long gone, the tradition of receiving, holding and carrying them continues even today in the Indian Armed forces.
- The Navy was the first among the three Services to be awarded the President’s Colour on May 27, 1951 by the then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
- The new design of President’s Standard and Colour highlights India’s glorious maritime heritage and also symbolises a powerful, courageous, confident and proud Indian Navy
- Changes made-
- The erstwhile design comprised one horizontal and vertical red band intersecting at the centre, known as St George’s cross and the national emblem inserted at their intersection. The national flag was at the upper left canton adjacent to the flagstaff and a golden elephant was at the lower right canton on the fly side. This design was inspired by the erstwhile naval ensign.
- The erstwhile design of the President’s Standard and Colour for Navy was instituted on September 6, 2017.
- The new design of President’s Standard and Colour comprises three main constituents — the national flag in the upper left canton adjacent to the staff, the State Emblem underscribed with ‘Satyamev Jayate’ in golden colour on the upper right canton on the fly side, and a Navy blue-gold octagon below the golden state emblem.
- The octagon has twin golden octagonal borders, encompassing the golden national emblem — lion capital of Ashoka – under-scribed with ‘Satyamev Jayate’ in blue Devnagri script resting atop an anchor, and superimposed on a shield.
- Below the shield, within the octagon, in a golden bordered ribbon, on a navy blue background, is inscribed the motto of the Indian Navy ‘Sham No Varunah’ in golden devnagri script.
- The motto has been taken from Vedas and means ‘may the ocean God be auspicious unto us’.
- The phrase was adopted as the motto of the Indian Navy at the suggestion of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the first Indian Governor General of Independent India.
New Navy Crest-
- The new crest of the Navy does away with the symbolic nautical rope which was there in the earlier crest, a change already introduced in the new ensign.
- The new ensign crest of the Indian Navy on a navy blue background encompassed an octagon representing the royal seal or Rajmudra of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
- The anchor inside the octagon, which was earlier a ‘foul anchor’ — entangled in a nautical rope — was replaced with a ‘clear anchor’ — without the rope ‘underscoring the steadfastness of the Indian Navy.’
- PM Modi had dedicated the new ensign to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
3 . OBC Sub- Categorization Panel
Context: After more than five years of its formation, the commission for the sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) is now in the final stages of finishing its task of coming up with a formula to further classify the nearly 3,000 caste groups and preparing a report on it, according to multiple officials aware of the developments.
What is sub-categorization of OBCs?
- OBCs are granted 27% reservation in jobs and education under the central government.
- The idea is to create sub-categories within the larger group of OBCs for the purpose of reservation.
- For OBCs, the debate arises out of the perception that only a few affluent communities among the over 2,600 included in the Central List of OBCs have secured a major part of the 27% reservation.
- The argument for creating sub-categories within OBCs is that it would ensure “equitable distribution” of representation among all OBC communities.
About Justice Rohini commission
- The five-member commission, headed by Justice G. Rohini (retd), was constituted in October 2017.
- It was set up under Article 340 of the Constitution.
- It was tasked with sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and equitable distribution of benefits reserved for them.
- Its initial deadline to submit its report was 12 weeks — by January 2, 2018.
- Since then, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has extended the deadline more than 10 times, first citing the additional time required by the commission to gather information and data and then the pandemic.
- The latest deadline for the commission has been set for January 31, 2023.
Commission’s terms of reference
- To examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of OBCs with reference to such classes included in the Central List.
- To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such OBCs.
- To take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories. A fourth term of reference was added on January 22, 2020.
- To study the various entries in the Central List of OBCs and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription.
Commission’s Findings so far
- In 2018, the Commission analysed the data of 1.3 lakh central jobs given under OBC quota over the preceding five years and OBC admissions to central higher education institutions, including universities, IITs, NITs, IIMs and AIIMS, over the preceding three years.
- The findings were: 97% of all jobs and educational seats have gone to just 25% of all sub-castes classified as OBCs; 24.95% of these jobs and seats have gone to just 10 OBC communities; 983 OBC communities — 37% of the total — have zero representation in jobs and educational institutions; 994 OBC sub-castes have a total representation of only 2.68% in recruitment and admissions.
Need for sub-categorization
- The relatively rich and dominant sections among the backward castes have tended to take up a disproportionately larger share of the reservation pie.
- Presently, half of these 1,900-odd castes have availed less than three per cent of reservation in jobs and education, and the rest availed zero benefits during the last five years.
- The National Commission for Backward Classes had recommended sub-categorisation in 2011 and the Standing committee too had recommended this.
- Sub-categorisation is a very simple way of addressing this inequality within the OBCs.
- Absence of data for the population of various communities to compare with their representation in jobs and admissions.
- It is likely to hurt the dominant OBC groups. The regional parties championing the interests of dominant OBC castes are likely to oppose such sub-categorisation.
- Vote-bank politics has a lot to do with the prioritising of caste-based categorisation over income-based differentiation to identify reservation beneficiaries.
4 . Facts for Prelims
National Single Window System
- In a bid to smoothen business activities and to make business approvals in the country easier, the Central government soft launched the National Single Window System last September.
- The NSWS can be described as a one-stop platform for businessmen seeking regulatory approvals and services related to investments. The platform would help businesses in identifying and applying for required approvals to start or run their businesses.
- The digital platform has applications for various approvals from 26 Central Departments and 16 State Governments. Businessmen can apply for these approvals through NSWS.
- Since its launch, 27 central government departments and 19 States/Union Territories, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, have integrated into the National Single Window System.
- By December 15, five more states and union territories, Haryana, Andaman and Nicobar, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Arunachal Pradesh, will be integrated under it.
- The platform will allow online filing and tracking of all applications and clearances.
- This would help investors to obtain clearances from different stakeholders without visiting different government offices physically.
- At present, 13 different business IDs like EPFO, ESIC, GSTN, TIN, TAN, and PAN are being used to apply for various government approvals in the system.
- But the Centre is planning to let businesses use Permanent Account Number (PAN) as a unique identifier to apply on the platform to get different clearances and approvals of central and state departments.
Permanent Account Number (PAN)
- A permanent account number (PAN) is a ten-character alphanumeric identifier.
- It is issued by the Indian Income Tax Department under the supervision of the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT).
- PAN enables the department to identify/ link all transactions of the PAN holder with thedepartment. These transactions include tax payments, TDS/TCS credits, returns of income, specified transactions, correspondence etc, and so on. It facilitates easy retrieval of information of PAN holder and matching of various investments, borrowings and other business activities of PAN holder.
- It is also issued to foreign nationals (such as investors) subject to a valid visa, and hence a PAN card is not acceptable as proof of Indian citizenship.
- A PAN is necessary for filing income tax returns.
- It is issued in the form of a laminated “PAN card”, by the Indian Income Tax Department, to any “person” who applies for it or to whom the department allots the number without an application. It can also be obtained in the form of a PDF file.
- The Supreme Court, for the first time in its 72-year history, is hosting a ‘hackathon’ event, a clear signal that it is looking to the public and the youth of the country to bring innovations to make justice delivery system more efficient.
- The goal is to bring in evolution by inclusion of a new methodology for upgrading the ecosystem by generating out-of-the-box, open, innovative ideas.
- The event brings to focus the court’s efforts to find an independent and exclusive online platform to livestream proceedings of courts around the country for public consumption.
- Recently, the Supreme Court Registry candidly admitted that it had neither technical nor infrastructural expertise to independently host live streaming of apex court hearings and was constrained to depend on third-party apps and solutions.
- The court is currently live-streaming its Constitution Bench hearings through the National Informatics Centre (NIC) webcast on YouTube.
- The court is conscious that edited snippets of the court proceedings are being used by third parties without context.
- Presently, the court has lawyers joining in for hearing both physically and virtually.
- There is an app for registered lawyers and journalists on the Supreme Court website.
- Virtual links on WebEx are also shared with lawyers and litigants who appear in person for their cases.’
- Chief Justice Chandrachud, who had chaired the e-committee of the court through the pandemic days, said that more thought ought to be given to provide seamless access to lawyers and litigants who may not even have a laptop or a mobile phone to access justice in the Supreme Court.
- Further, the court is moving towards becoming completely paperless.
- The court is also looking to improve its system for filing of cases and an automated system for listing them before various Benches with minimum human interface.
- The Supreme Court thus launched a hackathon to look for “practical propositions” to better its day-to-day functioning.
- The hackathon event would be organised under the supervision of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
- Presentations of 18 of the best ideas would be made before the Chief Justice, apex court judges and others.
- Suggestions made by the participants should be within the ambit of the provisions of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013.
Exit Polls & Opinion Polls
- Exit polls are conducted by researchers asking voters how they have voted just after they have left the polling station after casting their ballot
- Such polls are aimed at predicting result of an election based on the info collected from voters on election day
- Section 126 A of the RPA 1951 bans exit polls from the beginning of the polls until half an hour after the final phase of voting has been held
- How it is different from Opinion Poll
- An opinion poll is a voter behaviour survey conducted in order to find out the opinion of the people, including those who may or may not vote, before voting takes place
- An exit poll is done after people have voted on an election day