1. The Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016 that received Presidential assent last week disallows social boycott in the name of caste, community, religion, rituals or customs. Discuss the need for such a law. How does the Act seek to prevent social boycott?(GS 2) The Hindu | Indian Express Introduction :-
- In India social boycott is an extrajudicial form of punishment, used to perpetuate caste and religion-based discrimination. But that’s about to change; in one state.
- The Act is the first law of India to punish social boycott, and will regulate organisations like the ‘jat’ (caste) panchayat.
Why India needs social boycott laws?
- There are growing incidents of atrocities on individuals by jati panchayats wielding extra-judicial powers.To prevent this such acts are necessary.
- Prevailing laws are frequently challenged in the court, or loopholes are used to escape punishment.
- Such law is required in the backdrop of prevailing atrocities inflicted on people in the name of tradition, caste and community.
- Marginalized communities have been denied rights, the struggle to climb to the top, the need for recognition, being on the receiving end of violent acts. They are denied the resources for education, livelihood, self-improvement and are cast into a vicious circle of isolation and destitution. Social boycott law can atleast prevent such acts.
How this act seeks to prevent social boycott?
- It’s the first step towards a caste-less society in India.
- The law takes a realistic consideration of what the oppressed communities face, and fights against it for them.
- Social boycott officers are to be recruited who will be given special training in dealing with cases of boycott.
- The victim or the family of the victim can file a compliant either with the police or directly with the magistrate.
- A Collector or District Magistrate, on receiving information of the likelihood of unlawful assembly for imposition of social boycott can, by order, prohibit the assembly.
- Even there is imprisonment and penalty charged as social boycott is a punishable offence
- The new Act facilitates the framing of changes under Indian Penal Code Sections 34, 120-A, 120-B, 149, 153-A, 383 to 389, and 511 if there is concrete evidence to substantiate an accusation of social boycott.
- The Act also makes provisions for six-month long speedy trials
- With the law coming into effect, atrocities based on caste, especially upjaati (sub-caste), are expected to decline over time.
- Following the recommendations of the Nachiket Mor Committee ,RBI has granted temporary licenses to eleven organizations to operate as payment banks
- These payment banks with the mandate of financial inclusion will help provide basic banking facilities in the country, where less than half the adult population has a bank account.
- Extension of operations:
- Despite having the status of a bank, their services are somewhat limited than that of traditional banks
- Types of accounts that can be opened:
- With these banks, customers can only open current and savings accounts.
- Maintaining minimum balance:
- There is no restriction on the income level to open an account and no need to maintain a certain level of balance.
- Payments banks offer online utility bills payment option like any other traditional bank. But the process is more convenient.
- Cost of transfer:
- Money can be transferred from a payments bank account to other accounts using NEFT,IMPS and RTGS mechanisms. Compared to traditional banks, the cost of transfer is much less.
- Products offered:
- Payments banks can distribute only risk-free simple financial products like insurance and mutual funds
- Who do they cater to?
- Payments banks cater to the banking needs of low-income households, small businesses, the unorganized sectors of the economy and migrant labor force, not covered by the traditional banking system.
- Start up capital:
- start-up capital required opening a payments bank is much lower than that of a full-service bank.
- These banks are not allowed to have subsidiaries or to perform non-banking activities
- While commercial banks in India can lend, payment banks cannot lend.
- Payment banks to start off cannot collect deposits in excess of Rs 1 lakh. What this means their scope maybe restricted more to semi-urban areas and rural areas. Commercial banks do not have any such restriction.
- Payment banks are not allowed to issue credit cards. However, they are allowed to issue debit cards. Commercial banks can issue both.
- Payment banks can act as business correspondents
- These banks can align with other commercial banks in the country and act as business correspondents. This will allow both the entities to leverage on opportunities.
- The minimum capital requirement is ₹100 crore.
- Prepaid payment instruments issuers, Professionals, NBFCs, Telecom companies, Supermarket Chains, Corporates etc.,
- The Payments Banks would be required to use the word ‘Payments’in its name to differentiate it from other banks.
- They would initially be restricted to holding a maximum balance / deposit of Rs 100,000 per customer.
- A Payments bank will be required to invest 75% of its demand deposits balances in Government Securities (G-Sec) & Treasury Bills. They have to meet CRR and SLR requirements set by RBI. A maximum of 25% of its deposits will have to be held in current and fixed deposits with other scheduled commercial banks.
- 25% of its branches must be in the unbanked rural area.
For the first five years, the stake of the promoter should remain at least 40%.
3. It is time that NITI Aayog realizes that it needs to transform into an organization which can transform implementation of policy reforms in the country. Comment critically.(GS 3) Live MInt Introduction :-
- The NITI Aayog which was formed in 2015 is a policy think tank of the government.Recently there have been recommendations that it play a major role for improving implementation of policy reforms.
Yes,change is needed:-
- Independent monitoring and evaluation is important but not sufficient to ensure the success of policy reforms as challenges are not resolved.
- It aids in identifying implementation-related challenges but falls short of transforming implementation.
- Interaction with key stakeholders in different states suggests that owing to self-ranking by states sans independent review, reforms remain mostly on paper with key concerns remaining unaddressed.
- Moreover, such approach might result in a race to the bottom, as legitimate beneficiaries get excluded by lowering of targets.
- The vision at the top level of polity and bureaucracy is unable to percolate to the middle and entry levels, resulting in limited change on the ground.
- The mandate for which NITI Aayog was formed is different as implementation of policies is in the domain of states and this institution tries to monitor the policies and enhance cooperative federalism.
- NITI Aayog has already done a great job :-
- contributed to policy for forward looking regulation of urban taxi services
- argued robustly for simultaneous polls and for making the calendar year the fiscal year
- enabled the drafting of the National Medical Commission Bill
- ranked states on reforms for agricultural markets
- helped create a basket of PSUs that could be put up for disinvestment and for strategic sale.
- It has also enabled a rewards contest for digitised transactions
- Too much focus on implementation by NITI Aayog threatens states autonomy which was one of the arguments why planning commission was disbanded
- NITI Aayog is already engaged in outcome-based monitoring with states in sectors such as healthcare, education and water supply. It is now mooting the idea of ranking each state based on health, education and water index, and identifying “champion states”. For instance, it has developed a composite water management index.
- Without resource allocation in the domain of NITI Aayog it is not possible for it to make implementation totally successful
What can be done?
- It needs a comprehensive strategy to transform implementation. Such strategy must comprise working with key stakeholders to identify implementation-related challenges and design solutions.
- Further, a rigorous independent ex-ante and ex-post assessment of solutions is necessary.
- NITI Aayog will need to design customized solutions depending on the impediment and customized training could be needed to deal with capacity constraints.
- In designing these relevant solutions, NITI Aayog should bank on external experts.
NITI Aayog must transform the policy implementation strategy by letting review done by independent bodies, data collection by external authority etc . This will solve the basic problem related to governance and administration and help in transforming India.