Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Feb 11, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Quantifiable Data on reservation in Promotions


The recent judgement of the Supreme Court in Jarnail Singh v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta has once again turned the spotlight on one of the most emotive and volatile issues in India, that is, reservation for Scheduled Castes ("SCs") and Scheduled Tribes ("STs").

The judgement was:

While refusing to express any view on discontinuation of reservation in public employment, the Supreme Court opined that the data collected to establish inadequacy of representation, which forms the basis for providing reservation for promotions, should be reviewed periodically.

The case reached the Supreme Court on account of multiple High Courts striking down the policies of reservation in promotions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes ("SCs and STs") framed by the Central and State Governments, on the basis of a 2006 judgement of a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India, (2006).

What SC observed in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India, (2006)?

The Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj had upheld the power of the Government, as enshrined in Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution of India, to provide for reservation in promotions.

However, while doing so, it had laid down multiple pre-conditions on the exercise of such power, which are,

  1. the requirements of collecting "quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment",
  2. in addition to ensuring that the efficiency of administration was not compromised with.

Though the requirement of collecting quantifiable data showing the backwardness of SCs and STs was done away with in the 2018 constitution bench judgement of the Supreme Court in Jarnail Singh v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta, the latter requirement of collecting quantifiable data showing the inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs in public employment still remained. It is on account of non-compliance of this pre-condition that multiple High Courts across the country had struck down policies of reservation in promotion framed by the Centre and States.

Now, what is recent judgement?

On wisdom of state:

The recent judgement has further developed the jurisprudence on this pre-condition, clarifying multiple aspects of it on the asking of the Governments. As regards the yardstick to be applied for determining inadequacy of representation, the Court left the determination of such yardstick to the wisdom of the State Governments, as "the prevailing local conditions, which may require to be factored in, might not be uniform". A one-size-fits-all approach was thus rightly rejected.

The Court further negated the suggestion of the Attorney General for India that the proportion of SCs and STs to the population of India should be the test for determining inadequacy of representation, again leaving it to the wisdom of the States to assess such inadequacy at their own level.

As regards the unit to be applied for the collection of quantifiable data, the Court held in categorical terms that such unit is to be the 'cadre'. It defined 'cadre' as "the grade/category of posts to which promotion is sought". It further distinguished 'cadres' from Classes/Groups such as Class I, Class II and so on, or Group A, Group B and so on, on the basis of which services, both at the Centre and States, are normally organized. As an example of separate 'cadres', the Court cited the posts of Director and Deputy Director, which may however, belong to the same Class/Group. It thus declared as bad law its 2019 judgement in B.K. Pavitra v. Union of India, (2019) 16 SCC 129 ("B.K. Pavitra II") which had approved the collection of quantifiable data on the basis of Groups and not 'cadres'.

It should be periodically reviewed:

Interestingly, the Supreme Court held that the data collected to determine adequacy of representation should be periodically reviewed, thereby introducing a requirement not there in M. Nagaraj, and thus ensuring that reservations, howsoever validly provided initially, do not become cast in stone. The Court, however, stopped short of laying down an exact period of review, again leaving it to the Governments to decide with the only caveat being that it should be "reasonable".

It thus appears that while Governments have the discretion in determining the test for adequacy or in deciding the time period of review, they have no discretion whatsoever in applying any unit other than a 'cadre' for the collection of data.

At first glance, collecting data on the basis of 'cadres' may seem an uphill task for the concerned Government. For instance, as per the data submitted before the Supreme Court, the Central Government alone has around 30 lakh employees working in around 90 different Ministries/Departments, and as per the data received from 44 Ministries/Departments, there are about 3800 cadres existing in these 44 Ministries/Departments alone.


Daunting as these numbers may seem at first, one should not lose sight of the fact that it is the very same Government that conducted the Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011, enumerating not just a population of over 1.2 billion but also collecting information about their caste. Data-driven governance and IT solutions may further simplify the exercise of collecting data based on 'cadre'.

Current Affair 2:
Why UNESCO wants to map 80% of the world‘s seabed?


Around 80 per cent of the world’s ocean floors will be mapped by 2030, pledged the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) February 10, 2022.

At present, only 20 per cent seabed has been mapped and studied, the UN agency in charge of ocean sciences said.

The repository of knowledge will be gained through studying the topology and depth of seafloors to identify the following:

  • Location of ocean faults
  • Workings of ocean currents and tides
  • Transport of sediments

Data gathered from this survey will help understand

  1. seismic and tsunami risks, sustainable fisheries resources, ways to deal with oil spills, air crashes and shipwrecks as well as potential for offshore infrastructure.
  2. They also have a major role to play in assessing the future effects of climate change, whether it be temperature increases or sea level rise.

The UN agency called for mobilisation of the 150 member states of its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the private sector to carry out this exercise.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is the UN agency in charge of ocean sciences. Founded in 1960, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), brings together 150 countries, coordinates global programmes such as ocean mapping, ocean health monitoring and tsunami risk prevention, as well as numerous scientific research projects. The agency is also the custodian of unique ocean places, through 232 marine biosphere reserves and 50 marine World Heritage sites of outstanding universal value.


UNESCO is leading the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021 to 2030), which this year will see the organization of several major international summits that will help to amplify the collective mobilization in this field.


About Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC):

  1. It is the United Nations body responsible for supporting global ocean science and services.
  2. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together to protect the health of our shared ocean by coordinating programmes in areas such as ocean observations, tsunami warnings and marine spatial planning.
  3. Since it was established in 1960, the IOC has provided a focus for all other United Nations bodies that are working to understand and improve the management of our oceans, coasts and marine ecosystems.
  4. Today, the IOC is supporting all its Member States to build their scientific and institutional capacity in order to achieve the global goals including the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.

India is a member of the Commission.

Recently launched :

Welcome to Generation Ocean - a new global movement to grow awareness and drive action to protect the ocean by UNESCO.

Launched on 1 February 2022 as the official public-facing campaign of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, Generation Ocean (GenOcean) uses transformative storytelling to connect citizens with ocean knowledge and drive action to restore, protect, and live better with the ocean.


Current Affair 3:
Sea cucumbers turns India-Sri Lanka waters into trafficking hotspot

Source Link



  • From 2015 to 2020, authorities in Sri Lanka and India seized nearly 65 metric tons of sea cucumbers worth more than $2.8 million and arrested 502 people in connection with the attempted trafficking.
  • The sea cucumber fishery is banned in India and restricted under a licensing system in Sri Lanka, but growing demand for the animals in East Asia has turned the waters between these South Asian countries into a hotspot for the illegal trade.
  • The overharvesting of sea cucumbers has severely depleted their populations; from 21 species of sea cucumber deemed commercially viable for fishing in 2008, there were only nine by 2015, according to surveys.

Despite their name, sea cucumbers aren’t vegetables; they’re echinoderms, from the same phylum of marine animals that includes starfish and sea urchins, and live on the sandy bottoms of oceans, where they perform the important ecological function of nutrient cycling.


Sea cucumbers play a vital role in marine ecosystems

  • Many species of sea cucumber burrow in the sea bed, and this action is a major source of bioturbation (the disturbance of sedimentary deposits by living organisms.), which allows other species to flourish on the seabed.
  • As deposit feeders, sea cucumbers play an important role in nutrient cycling. Their actions reduce organic loads and redistribute surface sediment, and the inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus they excrete enhances the benthic habitat. In this way, they make excellent bioremediators.
  • These same actions increase seawater alkalinity, which helps create local buffers against ocean acidification, supporting the survival of coral reefs.
  • Sea cucumbers are food for others species, and also have complex symbiotic relationships with others.

The biodiversity-rich Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay areas, the main stretches of water between India and Sri Lanka, are the current hotspot for sea cucumber poaching.

Current Affair 4:
Reimagining Healthcare in India through Blended Finance Framework: NITI Aayog

Source Link



Read introduction part:

What is blended finance? How does blended finance work?

Blended finance is an approach towards financing where catalytic funding (e.g., grants and concessional capital) from public and philanthropic sources is utilized to mobilize additional private sector investment to realize social goals and outcomes.

Blended finance is the strategic use of concessional capital and private capital in projects where the perceived risks are too high for private players to participate alone. By combining concessional and commercial capital, blended finance can achieve acceptable risk/return profiles for different types of financing partners, including private capital.

There are huge opportunities in health sector in India and hence, the blended finance framework is going to work.



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