Balancing Social Justice: SC/ST Creamy Layer

The Supreme Court is currently entertaining a petition on banishing the SC and ST candidates who fall in the creamy layer from availing the benefits of the reservation policy meant for the social upliftment of the castes falling in the schedules.

The move dates back to the birth of the new republic which believed in doling out social benefits to one and all in the society. The Mandal commission and VP Singh years are still remembered as there has been a wide debate on the basis and the need for reservations in all.

Today, the Indian society is going through the same ages of history where the issues of caste and reservations are debated rigorously on all the platforms of social discourse.

Need for Reservations:

The State tried to provide a level playing field to the downtrodden castes, and tribes by providing them support from the State, wherein they got the opportunity to pursue higher education at affordable prices, and also got employment under the State owing to their depressed background.

The reservations came as a blunt attack on the social ostracization that remained in place for so many years, because of which the communities that were subjected to it lived deplorable lives. The benefits were also doled out to people from the backward classes, that were dominant at one point in time, but due to lack of social opportunities failed in gaining education and employment.

All in all the move was aimed to create a better social and economic parity while at the same time it became a vote getter for the political parties.

Scenario Today:

Since almost two generations have had the opportunity to gain inclusion in modern education and employment, the communities that got the benefits of reservations may not have shown an upward trend altogether, but those who got the benefits, have outshone others. Their children today stand in a better position than their ancestors, and to everyone’s opinion do not deserve any favourable treatment from the State.

While those people belonging to the communities getting reservation, remain in the need of urgent help who have no means to even reach the platform to avail the benefits of the reservation policy because of their condition that could not change substantially.

Future:

With the Supreme Court dealing with the issue, and the creamy layer in the OBC already being barred from availing  any benefits from the reservation policy, the matter deserves a value judgement now for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

We saw the Patidars, and Jats agitating on the streets for reservations, therefore taking a cue from the recent events, we must focus on the larger section of the people who though under the umbrella, but are not available to reap the benefits of the social benefits granted to them .

Thus, the Supreme Court must consider that in the times when the government claims to have put in place a tax compliant and transparent regime, it will be easier to grant benefits to those who are in actual need of the benefits.

Bisexuality added another layer to Khilji’s complex personality, says Ranveer Singh

The superstar Ranveer Singh, who is receiving miraculous reviews for his latest film Padmaavat, has lastly ended his self-imposed silence on the film and his character, Sultan Alauddin Khilji. While giving one of his interviews with Mid-Day, Singh talked about his role of Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat.

“I was apprehensive about taking up the role as it was a big risk. Sanjay Sir (Bhansali, director) laid out the cards right at the start and told me that my character is bisexual, so I could make an informed choice. I think the bisexuality added another layer to Khilji’s complex personality; it was a complete dismantling of a traditional moral compass,” Singh said. The actor added that “But, this is a profession where taking big risks defines people. People I look up to —Johnny Depp, Daniel Day-Lewis and Steve Jobs – they are all mavericks and I find myself drawn to their spirit”.

In an earlier interview with HT, Singh talked how he prepared for the role and said that “I did prep [for it] the way I usually do for my other films. I locked myself up for three weeks. I worked on various aspects [of the character] because this is not a character that I can relate to. I don’t have that kind of greed, manipulation or ambition in me. I had to do a lot of study to generate that conviction [in me] that there are people, who think that way. To understand his worldview took a little bit of processing on my part but I created the foundation and then Sanjay sir freestyled with the character. It was a big risk to take up such a character and it’s wonderful to see my gamble pay off. Such validation also gives me the confidence to take bigger risks, challenge stereotypes and push the envelope further”.

Bhansali’s command has helped the 32-year-old actor in several previous collaborations too. “In Bajirao Mastani (2015), he was very hands off but this time, he was very hands-on, so it’s very fulfilling experience now that the film has finally got a release and the kind of things people are saying about my performance and the response that I am getting. God knows that I had my share of struggles while I was doing it but today, I just feel very fulfilled, and above all, happy for Mr. Bhansali because he is the one who had the vision and he fought for it,” the actor added.

The Bhansali’s magnum opus also stars Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, which is making quite a moolah at the box office. Till now, the film has earned Rs 110 crore at the domestic box office. Padmaavat is all set to enjoy a dream run at the box office for another week as Akshay Kumar’s Padman will release by February 9.

Padmaavat box office collection day 4: This Deepika starrer crosses the 100-crore mark

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat finally released on January 25 after much delays it had witnessed. This historical drama has been praised by both critics as well as the general public. From Shahid’s powerful act to Deepika’s honesty as Rani Padmini, the leading actors received a lot of praise for their roles. But Ranveer Singh as intimidating Alauddin Khilji just outshined everyone else. The audiences are going over Singh’s acting as the power-voracious Khilji.

The collections are the reflecting how much the public liked the film as Padmaavat has earned Rs 114 crore at the domestic box office in just four days. Despite the fact that the film had not been screening in few states due to protests, Bhansali’s film is still doing outstandingly well business at the box office. The film would have easily touched Rs 30 crore on its opening day if it had a smoother release. However, it made Rs 24 crore and that’s not bad at all. “Protests… Disturbances… No screening in few states… Yet, #Padmaavat does EXCELLENT biz in its extended weekend… The film lost out on substantial biz [approx ₹ 35 cr / ₹ 37 cr], but the SUPERB trending in other circuits helped put up a MAJESTIC total,” trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted.

“Looking at the overall scenario, #Padmaavat has put up FANTASTIC numbers in its extended weekend… Crosses ₹ 100 cr mark… Wed [limited previews] 5 cr, Thu 19 cr, Fri 32 cr, Sat 27 cr, Sun 31 cr. Total: ₹ 114 cr. India biz.,” Adarsh took to Twitter and wrote it. Adding to it, the film is doing some good numbers in the overseas markets as well. Padmaavat has earned Rs 8.88 crore in Australia, Rs 7.59 crore in UK/Ireland, Rs 1.95 crore in New Zealand/Fiji. Bhansali’s magnum opus film also beaten records created by Aamir Khan’s PK in North America. Going by the numbers, it is expected that this Sanjay Leela Bhansali film may break several records in the coming days. Keep checking this site for the latest box office collections of Padmaavat.

Budget session 2018 Live: World is optimistic about India, says PM Modi

On Monday, the Budget session of the Parliament will commence. The Economic Survey will be presented in the Parliament today. On February 1, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget 2018-19. There are no less than 28 bills are anticipated to be tabled in the Lok Sabha this session, whereas 39 bills are listed for the Rajya Sabha. The Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is one of the key bills that will be presented in the house. Some other key bills like the Codes of Wages Bill, triple talaq bill, Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education are also going to be tabled.

Here are the live updates:

11 am: The President Ram Nath Kovind reached the Parliament. At the beginning of the Budget session, President Kovind will be addressing both the houses.

10.50 am: The President Ram Nath Kovind will address the Joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in a while.

10.41 am: Prime Minister Modi appeals that all political parties to make Triple Talaq Bill pass in the Budget session of the Parliament.

10.40 am: “We should make use of our system of parliamentary committees and discuss aspects of the Budget. We should think about the well-being of rural India, farmers, Dalits, tribal communities and labourers,” says PM Modi.

10.25 am: The Parliament Budget session will start at 11 am with the speech of President Ram Nath Kovind.

9.30 am: As the Triple Talaq Bill had been cleared in the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session, the focus will be in the Rajya Sabha this session.

9 am: At an all-party meeting on Sunday, the government said it would “leave no stone unturned” to make sure the way of the Triple Talaq Bill. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the meeting that the Budget Session was “very important” and that the government takes recommendations given by all political parties “very seriously”.

The Caste Patronization Needs to End

With Karni Sena grabbing the spotlights and Mr Jignesh Mewani calling the status of the scheduled castes in India as deplorable, the patronization of castes by political parties needs to come to an end.

Since Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014, India has witnessed several caste agitations demanding something or the other. The stirs began from Jats in Haryana trying to muscle-flex the Khattar government, and then spread to Patels and Brahmins in Gujarat.  The recent Gujarat elections saw a Dalit saga rising up to the fore and giving a walk over to Jignesh Mewani to the legislative assembly.

The loudest caste assertion and muscle flexing has been that has been done by the Karni Sena of Thakur Kalvi and Surya Pal Singh Amu. The Karni Sena threatened not just the cinema hall owners, but the entire governments of various states with stir over Rajput pride being traded for money and entertainment.

The movie, Padmaavt/i got unprecedented publicity under the loud protests of Karni Sena. The extent and the support from various governments shook the Constitutional machinery.

The caste plays, but a very important role in the Indian political scenario. The various quarters and math that applies to the possibilities of the candidates’ winning an election, are purely reliant on the caste combination of votes.

The Indian political discourse before BJP also was defined by caste and communal considerations.

Today, it was the Karni Sena that tried to blot the image of India, y staging protests and riots across India, some other organization may do it some other day.

With the advent of liberalisation, and a shift towards capitalism today, the Indian political narrative must be about class friction and segregation over castes.

The dominant castes of the yester years are the deprived classes today, while the deprived ones are dominant.

This pattern will result in deeper caste divide, thus at the right time, specially when the tax compliance becomes the new normal, the Indian governments must implement the class based social support system.

The blunt patronisation of a caste and its struggles must be done away with through a common consensus to promote nation building over community building.

The seeds that we sow today will reap rich dividends in the future, and there may be a stable sociological equation than the one we have today.

The incidents like Karni Sena must not be allowed to brew in the future as they divide the masses purely on hypothetical schisms that do not exist in reality. The works of literature, art and culture are beyond the divide that humans create.

It is not about any Utopia that we are trying talk about here but, it is just what the  world deserves. A nation.

The Aadhar and Adhikaar of Aam Aadmi

While the Supreme Court examines the validity of the Aadhar, and the privacy invasion that will follow it, the issues that loom now around the master project are smeared with mismanagement and confusion.

The only ones who suffer are the ones in the lower social rungs. This is another aspect, while the master-hacks that were brought to light by The Tribune’s Richa Khaira, have raised serious concerns about the privacy of the Aadhar card holders who may have lost almost all of their critical information to unknown persons.

Today, the malady of the Aadhar is spreading to every corner of the nation, where a biometric identity card, which was not intended to be used as a physical identity proof, is being sought almost everywhere, from educational institutions to financial institutions.

The idea of using the Aadhar as the social security identity of the US, in India is good, no denying the fact that it breeds great statesmanship to have a vision of that magnitude, while the practical deficiencies have not been catered to and will possibly not be addressed in the immediate run.

Today, while there has been a massive data leak, there is a risk of other card-holders loosing their identities to the hands of fraudsters who may gain an access to all the valuable data of an individual who may not be able to move ahead with his life, if he is deprived of the things that an Aadhar card goes down with.

The Aadhar as a necessity, specially for financial inclusion has to be dealt with in a perspective that ensures delivery of service over denial of service. There are several people who are unable to open bank accounts because they do not have their Aadhar addresses in the districts where they want their accounts, also the services that any operator provides, is expecting to do it only with the Aadhar, and when they find the address to be different, then all that is left is a denial of service.

Today, we need aadhar for various purposes, that include delivery of subsidies, tax transparency and citizen database, which will surely make things easier, though the administrative and technical deficiencies, are not being catered to satisfactorily.

The Aadhar Act, needs certain amendments, which specify the purposes for which it is intended, while the service providers of all hues may extort the customers with their private information only on the basis of rumours.

The linking of assessee accounts with aadhar, and linking of cellphone numbers with aadhar will boost tax compliance and also promote a cyber law compliant society, but, the data that the service providers get to lay their hands on, is not a good sign. Thus the Act, which is silent on all the services that come under the aadhar, and who may access the same, need to be addressed immediately.

Hope, that UIDAI and the Indian Government soon create a plan to put  the fallacies in line with a vision of the future also, over shallow populism, which comes with policy demeanours.

Moving Towards a New Public Distribution System

While Indians showcase their strengths at the World Economic Forum, Davos, the bigger problem that we need to address is that of avoiding the branding of India as a poor country.

The WEF poverty survey 2017-2018 put 60% of the Indian population below poverty, which is equal to the $ 1.21 per person per day. The Tendulkar committee has also mentioned a figure somewhat the same, and when we add the 10% gross inflation to the prices in 2009-2010, the figures touch Rs 2000/- per person per day.

Now, since Indian economy has had one of the most historic reforms, DeMo and GST implementation, it is time we choose to move towards a more meaningful distribution system .

There has been an argument where the community leaders and economists have suggested that India must move towards Universal Basic Income, and do away with all sorts of public distribution systems.

The PDS has been marred by 70% leakages, as has been found in the official surveys. The number of Indian poor, has though considerably reduced, there remains a greater role to be played by the governments today to combat the woes faced by Indian PDS.

The Indian PDS has also seen non-target delivery of benefits which also adds to the biggest leak, whereby several thousand of people remain in lurch of necessities.

In most cases the PDS suffers because the ability of a third quarter of Indian population to earn a basic sum to feed themselves is an illusory expectation which shall never materialise.

Moreover, the informal employment has its own flaws which need to be addressed, thus just a blunt provision of raw materials at supported prices will not feed the ever increasing population of people.

The Indian state with the impetus that it has been giving to Aadhar, and the linking of accounts, underway, the new systems that must be in place for supporting the downtrodden, are ready to implement.

The future of Indian PDS is Direct Transfer of Benefits, not the Distribution system . The DBT will offer a target, time bound delivery of support which will rid the administration of burdensome mapping, and reach, while the controlled prices may be transferred through the Aadhar itself.

The shift towards UBI with DBT is also called for because, the Indian economic system is now buoyant with new taxpayers, and increased revenues due to GST implementation.

While the actual 37% of the Indian population needs a monthly support of Rs 2000, per month, the expenditure that the government shall incur will be around 2.4 million per annum, which is far less than the PDS system which consumes 2.7 million (USD) per annum and gives a 30% delivery.

The announcement may be expected from the Finance Minister in the budget 2018, where the Indian investors gets a signal that the country has balanced credentials of a middle level income group.