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SC upholds Karnataka Law on SC/ST promotion quota

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • Supreme Court upheld Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the posts in the civil services of the state) Act, 2018 which grants reservation in promotion and consequential seniority to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the government services in the state.
  • Countering arguments that reservation in promotion would affect administrative efficiency and erode merit , the court said that administrative efficiency is an outcome of the actions taken by officials after they are appointed or promoted. It is not tied to the selection method itself.
  • It also said that establishing the position of the SCs and STs as worthy participants in affairs of governance is intrinsic to an equal citizenship.
  • The decision comes on the back of an important judgement in 2018 regarding reservation in promotions for SC/STs called the Jarnail Singh vs. Lachhmi Narayan Gupta


What are the judicial pronouncements regarding this issue?

    • Indra Sawhney case (1993) : It began with the landmark verdict by a nine-judge bench on Indra Sawhney v Union of India, which, among other things, held reservation in promotions to be unconstitutional and restricted it to entry-level positions.
    • In response, Parliament added Clause 4A to Article 16 of the Constitution allowing reservation in promotions for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, provided they were not adequately represented.
    • M Nagaraj case (2007): It was challenged in M Nagaraj v Union of India as being against the basic structure of the Constitution. The Supreme Court upheld this clause but with two riders: the creamy layer had to be excluded and the state needed to assess the backwardness of the classes for which reservation was intended.
    • It was these riders that were in dispute in the Jarnail Singh case. Attorney General of India argued  that the Constitution determined the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes to be “backward”, and no further tests could be imposed to verify their “backwardness”. Also, the concept of “creamy layer” applied to the Other Backward Classes, not to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
    • Jarnail Singh case (2018): The Constitution bench judgement, authored by Justice Rohinton Nariman, held that reservation in promotions does not require the state to collect quantifiable data on the backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, yet makes the “creamy layer” in either group ineligible for the benefit.




Chandrayaan 2 will carry 14 payloads from India

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • Chandrayaan 2, the lunar lander mission planned for July, 2019 will have 14 Indian payloads.

The 3,800 kg spacecraft includes:

  1. an orbiter which will circle the moon at 100 km (8 payloads)
  2. Five-legged lander called Vikram that will descend to the surface (4 payloads)
  3. Robotic rover called Pragyan that will probe the lunar terrain (2 payloads)


What is the Chandrayaan -2 Mission?

  • It is a fully indigenous mission being launched by India to study the moon.
  • It will orbit around the moon to collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
  • It will be launched on board the GSLV-MkIII rocket. Its predecessor, Chandrayaan 1 was launched on the PSLV.
  • It is scheduled to be launched between 9-16 July. The lander will descend to the surface of the moon around September 6 near the lunar south pole

Cyclone Fani creates four new mouths in Chilika Lake

Paper : Prelims Specific, General Studies 1

Why in news?

  • Cyclone Fani has created four new mouths in Chilika lake in Odisha due to wave energy with high tidal prism.
  • Due to this, there has been a salinity surge in the Lake as a lot of sea water has been able to enter.
  • This ingression will lead to increased fish migration and richer biodiversity in the short term but its long term impacts are hard to predict.


About Chilika Lake

  • Chilika lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lake located in the state of Odisha off the coast of Bay of Bengal
  • It is the largest coastal lagoon in India
  • It sustains more than 150,000 fisher–folk living in 132 villages on the shore and islands.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian subcontinent.The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here.
  • It is the single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world, listed as endangered on the IUCN red list
  • It was also India’s first site on the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance
  • Nalbana Bird Sanctuary is also located within the lake.


CCI probes Google for unfair practices

Paper : General Studies 2


Why in news?

Competition Commission of India has started a probe against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices with respect to its popular android platform for mobile phones.


What is the Competition Commission of India?

  • Statutory body set up under the Competition Act, 2002
  • CCI used to consist of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government. Now, the Government has approved reduction of the membership from 6 to 3. The number of members will not exceed 10.
  • In addition, the Government of India may appoint a Director-General as many Additional/Joint/Deputy / Assistant Director-General as it deems fit, along with other advisors, consultants and officers to assist Commission in performing its function.
  • It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
  • The  activities that it will seek to curb are anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.


IIP at a 21 month low as manufacturing slows down

Paper : Prelims Specific, General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • Index of Industrial Production has contracted 0.1% for the first time since June 2013 in March. It had grown 5.33% in the same month last year.
  • Within the IIP, the manufacturing sector contracted 0.43% in March.
  • One of the primary reasons for the slowdown is the little room left for the government to provide any impetus due to it breaching the limit of the fiscal deficit.


What is the Index of Industrial Production?

  • The all India index of Industrial Production (IIP) is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation six weeks after the reference month ends.
  • Industrial production for the purpose of IIP is divided into three sectors, i.e, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity. In ‘Sectoral’ classification, relative weights of Manufacturing, Mining and Electricity are 75.5%, 14.2% and 10.3% respectively.
  • The general scope of IIP, as recommended by United Nations Statistics Division includes Mining & Quarrying, Manufacturing, Electricity, Gas steam, Air conditioning supply, Water supply, Sewerage, Waste management and Remediation activities. But, in India, due to constraints of data availability and other resources, the index is compiled using figures of mining, manufacturing and electricity sectors only.