INTRODUCTION

The Indian caste system and its social-stratification gave rise to few disadvantaged castes such as Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). “Scheduled Castes”is defined under article 366(24) as castes, races, tribes, or parts of groups which are deemed under article 341 to be Scheduled Castes. To provide safeguards against discrimination and to uplift the community socially and economically, the commissioner for SC/ST was assigned, under article 338, to report matters relating to their safeguards to the President.

As the need arose to replace the commissioner with a multi-member system that can better monitor the implementation of the constitutional safeguards, the Government set up the “Commission for SC/ST”(Vide Ministry of Home Affairs Resolution No.13013|9177-SCT [IV] dated 21.7.1978) in 1978 but its functions were modified and it was renamed as “National Commission for Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes” in 1987. The constitutional status was given to the commission in 1990 through the 65th amendment act. It was finally through the 89th Amendment act, 2003 which replaced the commission into-

1.      National Commission for Scheduled Castes; and

2.      National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) comes under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

FUNCTIONS

The commission comprises a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and three other members, appointed by the President of India under Article 338(2). The functions of the NCSC are listed in Article 338(5) of the constitution which includes the duty to investigate, monitor, and evaluate the laws for the SCs, inquire into complaints that are related to their rights and safeguards and get involved with the state in formulating plans for their socio-economic development. They are required to present periodical reports to the President containing statistics and recommendations/ measures to be taken for the community. The commission is obliged to function for-

a.      Services safeguards- Deal with complaints relating to promotion, harassment, discrimination, in workplaces.

b.      Educational development- focuses on literacy, scholarships-schemes, and checks the issue of “false community certificates.”

c.       Reducing atrocities- monitors the implementation of legal provisions, the case disposal rates, set up special courts, and conduct inquiries against atrocities.

d.      Economic development- monitors poverty alleviation schemes, recommends for land reforms, land revenue administration, etc.

EVALUATION

The functioning of the “services safeguard” is the most effective one in the commission as it properly inquires into complaints and undertakes specific measures to check violations and improve the situations. But, the commission’s efforts in tackling atrocities have not been up to the mark. Even though the commission collects data related to atrocities, looks into its speedy disposal, and, sets up special courts but it has never presented any detailed study with a comprehensive set of recommendations on the same issue. It has been reluctant to play a role in analysing social realities for any fundamental changes.[i]

After a PIL was filed stating that there were vacant head-posts in NCSC and they failed to look into the Hathras case, it was alleged that the commission is a paper tiger, which has become non-functional.[ii] This reflects the inefficiency in the commission’s work.

A study by “Centre for policy research”[iii] revealed that due to lack of institutionalization in procedures of the appointment to the commission it is difficult to get competent and committed members so it suggested that appointment process should be made more autonomous of the government so that the commission could easily venture into areas like assessing political safeguards given to SCs. L C Jain suggested that the chairman of the commission should be ex-officio Member of the Planning commission (like finance minister), should be invited to Cabinet meetings which consider matter relating to backward-classes and should be given a cabinet rank, if higher rank is not possible.[iv]

 

 

 

 

REFORMATIVE MEASURES:

1.      The NCSC enjoys a constitutional status but its recommendations and decisions are only advisory and not binding.Article 338 is deeply ambiguous on this issue and it gives the commission quasi-judicial powers of investigation but doesn’t mention the form in which its judgment of any issue would be delivered and implemented.[v] The central and state government consults the commission concerning policy-making and measures to be taken for the community but if the same is not binding then often it happens that these are not implemented or taken seriously by authorities which defeats the essence of the existence of such commissions. For this reason, it is justifiable to amend article 338, so that the directions and recommendations of the commissions could be implemented effectively by either making them binding or forming a strict mechanism that would ensure whether relevant suggestions of the commissions are implemented by the authorities or not. This will make the commission’s working more fruitful by executing their recommendations which will ultimately help in improving the condition of SCs. And as far as quasi-judicial power of investigation is concerned, the amendment needs to elaborate on the judgment delivering mechanism and its nature.

2.      The Annual Reports which are presented to the President for discussion in Parliament usually takes two years to be tabled in Parliament after its submission. Such delay happens due to the reason that Action Taken Report (ATR) has to be attached to the main report. The constitution doesn’t fix any period for the same. Also, the reports are not properly debated and these situations contribute to the non-implementation of recommendations. So, the ATR can be delinked from the main report, so that the latter can be tabled in parliament within 3 months[vi] for quick and thorough discussions. An amendment is required to fix a period for discussion of the recommendations in the report.

The reports of NCSC depend majorly on quantitative data than qualitative ones. So, the commission should also undertake qualitative studies through social scientists and this would help people to understand societal issues like intra-group conflicts and contemporary social changes in a better manner. The NCSC publishes special reports very rarely. It needs to publish more special reports dealing with specific issues like education, non-employment, reservations, etc for a thorough analysis of each aspect of problem area relating to SC which would help to take quicker follow-up action.



[i]‘Social Inequality and Institutional Remedies: A study of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes’ (2010), Centre for policy research.

[ii]Ashish Tripathi, ‘Supreme Court notice to Centre on plea for appointment in SC/ST panels’ [2021] Deccan Herald <https://www.deccanherald.com/national/north-and-central/supreme-court-notice-to-centre-on-plea-for-appointment-in-sc/st-panels-936527.html > accessed 2 April 2021.

[iii]Supra Note i.

[iv]L C Jain, 'Emancipation of Scheduled Castes and Tribes: Some Suggestions' (1981) 16 Economic and Political Weekly 325, 331.

[v]Supra Note i.

[vi]‘4th Report’ (1998), National Commission for Scheduled Caste.

AUTHORED BY: KRITIKA PATNAIK

She is a first year law student from National Law University, Odisha. She has deep interest in researching and writing papers. She aspires of exploring her acquired legal knowledge as a corporate lawyer one day. Along with the corporate world, she has inclination towards LGBTQ and women rights. She is passionate about art, sports, and photography and was certified as an "All-Rounder" during her school times.

The `positive' sense of the word `liberty' derives from the wish on the part of the individual to be his own master. [1] In pluralistic society, socio-political justice is conceived as people having different views, morals, values, and the purpose of life which needs to co-exist within a broad framework of legal protections. According to Immanuel Kant, the role of the government was to protect freedom and that people should be left to pursue their own ends as long as they do not harm the freedom of others. [2] Similarly, in “On Liberty”, J.S. Mill [3] insists that one's liberty holds more significance than protecting people from themselves. He argued that interference with liberty can only be justified when it is restricted to prevent harm to others. [4]                                        

Justice Benjamin Cardozo’s statement that “every adult human being of sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body.”[5] He did not comment on the quality of the decision i.e. whether it is a “good” decision or a “bad” decision rather emphasized the individual’s right to make that decision. Similarly, Isaiah Berlin writes “I am the possessor of reason and will; I conceive ends and I desire to pursue them; but if I am prevented from attaining them I no longer feel master of the situation.”[6] Therefore the question arises what is the limit of paternalistic laws? Who should define my liberty?  Whether I remain the owner of my choices anymore or not?

Liberals believe that, as long as a rational human being is not causing harm to others, they should be free to act in any way they choose, even if their acts harm themselves whereas utilitarian argues that if by making legislation brings about the greatest overall utility, then such legislation is justified. [7]

Exemption from wearing a helmet granted to pillion riders was set aside by the Kerala High Court in 2019.[8] Likewise, Supreme Court Committee has also emphasised on strict implementation of helmet rules in the Union Territory of Puducherry.[9] According to Section 129 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, it is mandatory to wear helmets as per Indian Standards while riding. Legislation for compulsory helmets can be done in the name of utility i.e. helmets reduce head injuries, therefore harm caused may be considered to outweigh relative rarity. Thus, a policy that reduces such injuries gives its impact on the overall utility level.[10] Ronald Dworkin[11] thinks paternalism can be justified in cases where a person makes a decision that imposes significant risk which they would not make in a rational and informed state of mind. But, is the person who decides whether or not to wear a helmet, not taking this decision in an informed state?  Is his decision not a rational person’s decision? What are the criteria to demarcate the same?

In 2019, the top Federal Administrative Court of Germany held that a Sikh person is not exempted from wearing a helmet by citing religious practices. The Court ruled that one’s liberty to practice his religion is not hampered by complying with an obligation to wear a helmet. Even it went on to say that one must forego motorcycling if one wants to comply with his religious requirement to wear a turban. It was also noted that not wearing a helmet has an impact on the legally protected rights of third-party by explaining that not wearing a helmet, affects the physical as well as psychological interests of rescuers and other accident participants. [12] At first glance, so-called “harm” may seem to be a strong argument, however, its major premise needs to be qualified. Society is so highly intertwined, that it is hard to justify that an act causes no harm to others. For instance when one gets injured while not wearing a helmet in a motor vehicle accident, it can be argued that in addition to the harm caused to that person alone, it also caused harm to his loved ones, it negatively impacted innumerable others, as the cost of medical and police services that would be required by taxpayer’s money. In short, one’s actions frequently impact others, whether directly or indirectlyor remotely, and it could be argued that almost all acts influence others unless one lives and dies as a hermit.

Therefore, all self-harm will virtually cause harm to others too. Hence virtually every corner of life could be regulated by law. This should not be done as not all harm to others is wrong and not all wrongful harm could be regularised.  If the law starts prohibiting such indirect harm, that would not only include helmet laws but also dangerous sports, unhealthy lifestyles, eating junk foods, bungee jumping, etc. that is, virtually every corner of life on this logic will come in the domain of being regulated by the State. 

Paternalistic laws may be permissible if it is not taking any important right. The right not to wear helmets may seem not an important right. However, conceptually, the right not to wear helmets is part of a more important right to determine how much risk to take with one’s health. [13] Of course, there may be a limit to allow risk over one’s health but then who decides that threshold, and what should be the threshold? Some would argue that a threshold beyond which the risks with one's own health becomes too great can be made justifiable. But this again is a debatable area.

From a normative point of view, many egalitarian and liberal accounts of justice would regard any attempt to force people to bear the costs of their health-affecting behaviour as a moral travesty. Luck egalitarians would defend the idea that costs ought to be borne by those who voluntarily chose to engage in them.[14] Thus, if riders are going to be forced to take fewer risks, then, in the name of consistency and fairness, everyone ought to be required to reduce the comparable risks they run in other aspects of their lives. For example skateboarders, skydivers, and even pedestrians are required to wear helmets too. In fact, by extension, people can be forced to wear spine protectors and other protective devices too.

However, there are certain situations where the costs to an individual’s liberty are trivial as compared to other values, such as health which can be protected by restricting liberty. Liberty is an essential value, but it’s not the ‘only’ value. It follows that upholding the autonomy principle absolute does not force one to condemn all paternalism. So, it depends on your rational thinking whether you want to justify paternalistic law on helmets as a matter of efficient public policy or curtailment of your liberty. The helmet lies on your head.

AUTHORED BY: KRITIKA


[1] Isaiah Berlin, “Two Concepts of Liberty,” Four Essays on Liberty, Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 118-172.

[2] Susan Meld Shell, “Kant and the Limits of Autonomy”, Harvard University Press, 2009

[3] J.S. Mill, “On Liberty,” London: Longman, 1998

[4] Bruce Baum, "J. S. Mill on Freedom and Power." Polity 31, no. 2 (1998): 187-216

[5] Schoendorff v. Society of New York Hosp., 105 N.E. 92, 93 (N.Y.1914)

[6] Supra note 1

[7] Piers Norris Turner, “‘Harm’ and Mill’s Harm Principle.” Ethics, vol. 124, no. 2, 2014, pp. 299–326, available atwww.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673436  Accessed 4 May 2021.

[8]George John and Ravindran T.U. v The Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, WP(C).No.25181 of 2010(S)

[9]S. Prasad, SC Panel wants helmet rule enforced. The Hindu, February 27, 2019, available at https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/sc-panel-wants-helmet-rule-enforced/article26380210.ece

[10] C. Hooper, J. Spicer, “Liberty or death; don't tread on me,” Journal of Medical Ethics 2012; 38: 338-341.

[11]Paternalism and Irrationality, May 2017, 2010 available athttps://ocw.mit.edu/courses/linguistics-and-philosophy/24-235j-philosophy-of-law-spring-2012/assignments/MIT24_235JS12_Paternalism.pdf.

[12]German Court: Sikhs have to wear helmets on motorbikes, July 7, 2019, available athttps://www.dw.com/en/german-court-sikhs-have-to-wear-helmets-on-motorbikes/a-49475615.

[13] Michael N. Goldman and Alan H. Goldman, “Paternalistic Laws”, Philosophical Topics, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1990, pp. 65-78, available atwww.jstor.org/stable/43154065.

[14] Lamont, Julian and Christi Favor, "Distributive Justice", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), available athttps://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/justice-distributive/

 

 

Introduction:

Internet has become a part of our lives and we’re all in a constant touch with it. It helps us to explore this limitless world by sitting in our houses. It helps connecting us with the people who are far away from us. It helps us clearing our doubts whether they be small or big,easy or tough. In fact, the times we’re living in, the pandemic we’re fighting with, internet is being quite miraculous by helping those who are quarantined in their homes and is also helping to circulate the important information. In short, internet has brought the world on our fingertips. But, as every coin has two sides, advancement of technology has also brought the unforeseen event of cybercrimes. Cyber bullying is one such crime.It is a form of harassment intentionally done by an individual through the medium of internet. It not only concern adults but cyber bullying has spread its roots to children as well. It can happen at anytime and at any place, even the boundaries of our home offer no protection from cyberbullying. In this article, I will be discussing about the definition, types and effects of cyberbullying along with some points of how cyberbullying can be stopped. I will also be talking about the cyberbullying laws in the end.

 

Definition:

Before understanding what cyberbullying is, let us under the term “bullying” by a definition given by The Bar Association of India. It said “Bullying means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. It is further defined as unwanted and repeated written, verbal, or physical behaviour, including any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, by a student or adult, that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment; cause discomfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation; and may involve but is not limited to: teasing, social exclusion, threat, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, theft, sexual, religious, or racial harassment, public humiliation, or destruction of property.”[1]

Cyberbullying do not have any official definition. But we can define it as an act or crime which is of aggressive nature and is repeatedly committed by an individual or a group of people through the medium of internet. There are different types of cyberbullying like spreading fake news about someone across online platforms, demeaning someone or some group by spreading negative content through SMSs or texts or causing humiliation by sharing malicious and nasty information.

 

Types of Cyberbullying:

There are different types of cyberbullying that can eventually lead to criminal charges. These are-

·         Harassment – It is a form of cyber stalking and one is always in a constant fear of threat to life and rude messages. The bully sends malicious message and even threat the victim. This crime can eventually lead to physical harassment.

·         Flaming – It is similar to harassment. The only difference is that it is fight between two or more people or groups that occurs online which is done via email, text and chat. The fight can lead to some very serious outcomes which include harsh language and images shared about a particular person.

·         Exclusion – This act is of singling out or cornering a person and leaving him/her out of an online group. After doing this, the other members of the same group will then harass the person that was removed from the group.

·         Outing – We come to hear about this one more often in our life. When someone shares the personal and private information of a person online including the images and videos in some cases, then this is known as outing. The victim of act is said to have been “outed” if his/her information is widely available online.

·         Masquerading – For this act, the bully creates a false identity and harasses the other person on some anonymous basis. The cyberbullying may masquerade as another person so that he/she can send nasty massages in another person’s name.

·         Fraping – When someone logs into the victim’s social media account and pretends to be him, it is called fraping. This act maybe amusing for someone of that sort but it is a very serious crime and can ruin the victim’s reputation.

·         Trolling – This act is done intentionally by a person in order to get a response online by using bad languages and insulting the other person on social media platforms. It is the most common form of cyberbullying in these days.

 

Effects:

Cyberbullying can have an adverse effect on people. They are as follows:

·         Tendency to separate themselves from other people and start staying alone

·         Lack of self-esteem

·         Changes in nature or becoming more irritated

·         Feeling unsafe and humiliated

·         Making different excuses to stay away from school or friends

·         Decline in academic grades, sports and extra-curriculum activities

·         Not letting parents or any other family member to use their mobile phones or computer

·         Changes in personality and experiencing depression and anxiety

·         Sudden loss of weight and changes in sleeping and eating patterns

·         Injury marks on skin which indicates self-harm and hiding it by wearing long clothes.

 

How cyberbullying can be stopped:

In-order remove cyberbullying from the society, one should take certain steps to safeguard themselves. Here are steps that can help to irradicate cyberbullying:

·         Saving the evidence – In case anyone is being bullied online, that person should act smartly by saving the proof that they are being the victims of this act. This means that one should save the posts, comments or texts that are being used against him/her, even if it’s saved with that person in form of a screenshot.

·         Do not response –The main aim behind cyberbullying is to humiliate or anger somebody while the wrongdoer enjoys these reactions. The best way to avoid this situation is by not responding to it and hence taking away the power of the perpetrator of inflicting any damage.

·         Ask for help –If a person is being a victim of cyberbullying, the best thing for him/her is to share it with others and ask for their help. Also, one should reach out to the concerned authorities (Cyber Crime Division) for they will not only listen to the victim but will also assist the person to move towards a reasonable solution.

·         Out of sight, out of mind – If a person is being bullied on social media, the most common and used method to put an end to it is by blocking or reporting that person’s account.

·         Keeping your social profile and social media safe – One should follow the below mentioned steps to keep their social profile and social media safe.

o   One should be very careful before opening an email and should never open any email from unverified sources.

o   One should not be so blinded and be careful of what they post online.

o   One should never hurt someone else’s feelings or should never post something hurtful.

o   It is important that one keeps his/her profile under his/her complete control and ensure that who can see the contents of his profile.

 

Cyberbullying laws in India:

In India, there is no particular law for cyberbullying. However, there are various provisions of the existing act which can be related to the cyberbullying act. The IT (Information Technology) act is enacted to primarily deal with matters related to social media.

 

·         Chapter 11 of the Information Technology Act deals with offenses in which the definition of offense of cyberbullying is not clear. Still, the act provides aide under section 66 and section 67.

 

Sec 66A [2] that provides relief against sending offensive messages through communication service etc.

 

The Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal and Ors. Vs. Union of India [3], struck down section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The court found the cyberlaw provision vague and unconstitutional as it was believed that it restricts the Indian citizens’ right to speech.

 

Sec 66C deals with Identity Theft [4]

Sec 66D deals with Cheating by personation by using the computer resources [5]

Sec 66E deals with Violation of Privacy [6]

Sec 67B deal Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children any sexually explicit act etc. in electronic form [7]

Sex 72 deals with Breach of confidentiality and privacy [8]

 

Conclusion:

The advance technology helps us in becoming a developed country. It makes our world a simple place to live in. It Helps us to enhance our knowledge, to know that there’s no limit to knowledge. But all this at the cause of some innocent people being traumatised by cyberbullies. Yes, the freedom of speech guaranteed by our constitution is an essential component for people to live. One’s opinion should be respected and expressing oneself on any matter is the matter of individuality. But using this freedom to mentally torture and harass someone should noy be entertained.

 

Footnotes:

1.Anti-bullying laws in India” Bar Association of India, 2015, < https://www.indianbarassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Anti-bullying-laws-in-India.pdf.

2. The Information Act, 2000 § 66 (A).

3. Shreya Singhal and Ors. v Union of India, [1982] 2 S.C.R. 272.

4. The Information Act, 2000 § 66 (C).

5. The Information Act, 2000 § 66 (D).

6. The Information Act, 2000 § 66 (E).

7. The Information Act, 2000 § 67 (B).

8. The Information Act, 2000 § 72.

AUTHORED BY: ANANYA TEWARI


The article is written by Sneha Mahawar, a  law student at Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies. The article discusses the important highlights and gives an overview of the Budget 2021-22. 

Introduction of Budget 

As per Article 112 of the Constitution of India, 1949, it requires the government to present to parliament a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure in respect of every financial year- 1st April to 31st March. In our Indian Constitution budget is written as an Annual Financial Statement. It is a spending plan formulated by the government mentioning their expenditure and revenue for a certain time period. 

However, in the general sense, budget is regarded as the amount of money or resources earmarked for a particular institution, activity, or time frame. It is an itemized summary of intended expenditure usually coupled with expected revenue. 

Important highlights of Budget 2021-22

  • On 1st February 2021, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman presented in the Parliament the budget for 2021-22 the financial year starting from 1st April 2021 and ending on 31st March 2022. 

  • While presenting the Union Budget for 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Budget proposals for this financial year rest on six pillars- Health and Well-being, Physical and Financial Capital and Infrastructure, Inclusive Development for Aspirational India, Reinvigorating Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, and Minimum Government and Maximum Governance. 

  • Moreover, other significant announcements included a slew of hikes in customs duty to benefit Make in India, a proposal to disinvest two more PSBs and a general insurance company, and numerous infrastructure pledges to poll-bound States. The fiscal deficit stands at 9.5% of the GDP and is estimated to be 6.8% in 2021-22. Personal income tax slabs remain as it is.  

  • The budget seeks to reduce the compliance burden on senior citizens who are of 75 years of age and above. Such senior citizens having only pension and interest income will be exempted from filing their income tax returns.  

Six pillars of Budget 2021-22

  1. Health and Wellbeing 

  • In the budget 2021-22 the government announced that PM AatmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana will be launched with an outlay of about Rs. 64,180 crore over 6 years. This will benefit in developing capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary health care systems. 

  • The primary health care system deals with the health care system at the village level. 

  • The secondary health care system deals with the health care system of the city hospitals. 

  • The tertiary health care system deals with the health care system of the super-specialty hospital such as AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). 

  • A provision was created of Rs. 35,000 crore for the covid-19 vaccine in Budget estimate 2021-22. 

  • The government will merge the Supplementary Nutrition Programme and Poshan Abhiyan and launch Mission POSHAN 2.0.  

  • Poshan Abhiyan targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women, and adolescent girls), and reduce low birth weight. 

  • Supplementary Nutrition Programme is a scheme under which infants were provided with supplementary nutrition. 

  • A Voluntary Vehicle Scrapping Policy was announced to phase out old and unfit vehicles. 

  • The Voluntary Vehicle Scrapping Policy is expected to increase the production and capacity utilisation of vehicles. 

  • The Voluntary Vehicle Scrapping Policy is seen as an attempt by the government to boost automobile demand. 

  • Fitness test has been proposed in automated fitness centres after 20 years in the case of personal vehicles, and after 15 years in the case of commercial vehicles. 

  1. Physical and Financial Capital and Infrastructure

Roads and Highways Infrastructure

  • More than 13,000 km length of roads, at a cost of Rs. 3.3 lakh crore, has already been awarded under the 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojna Project of which 38,000 km has been constructed. 

  • By March 2022, the government would be awarding another 8,500 km and complete an additional 11,000 km of national highway corridors. 

Railway Infrastructure 

  • Indian railways have prepared a National Rail Plan for India- 2030. 

  • The plan is to create a “future-ready” railway system by 2030. 

  • The core strategy to enable “Make in India” is to bring down the logistic costs for our industry. 

  • By June 2022, it is expected that Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) will be commissioned. 

  • Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) starts at Sahnewal (Ludhiana) in Punjab and ends at Dankuni in West Bengal. 

  • Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) is from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai, touching all major ports along the way.  

Urban Infrastructure 

  • The government announced that a new scheme will be launched at a cost of Rs. 18,000 crore to support the augmentation of public bus transport services. 

  • Two new technologies namely, MetroLite and MetroNeo will be deployed to provide metro rail systems at a much lesser cost with the same experience, convenience, and safety in Tier-2 cities and peripheral areas of Tier-1 cities.

Petroleum and Natural Gas increasing 


  • Following key initiatives are being announced:

  • Ujjwala Scheme is a scheme under which women under Below Poverty Line (BPL)are provided free LPG cylinders which have benefitted 8 crore households will be extended to cover 1 crore more beneficiaries. 

  • The government will add 100 more districts in the next 3 years to the City Gas Distribution network. 

  • A gas pipeline project will be taken up in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Increasing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Insurance Sector

  • It was proposed to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the permissible FDI limit from 49% to 74% and allow foreign ownership and control with safeguards. 

Disinvestment and Strategic Sale 

  • The Finance Minister said several transactions namely BPCL, Air India, Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, BEML, Pawan Hans, Neelachallspat Nigam limited among others would be completed in 2021-22. (Disinvestment)

  • Other than IDBI Bank, Government proposes to take up the privatisation of two public sector banks and one general insurance company in the year 2021-22. 

  • In 2021-22, the government would also bring the IPO of LIC for which the requisite amendments will be made in the session itself. 

  1. Inclusive Development for Aspirational India

Agriculture 

  • The Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime has undergone a sea change to assure a price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities. 

  • To provide adequate credit to our farmers, the government has enhanced the agricultural credit target to Rs. 16.5 lakh crore in Fiscal Year 2022. 

  • To boost value addition in agriculture and allied products and their exports, the scope of ‘Operation Green Scheme’ that is presently applicable to tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP), will be enlarged to include 22 perishable products. 

Migrant Workers and Labours 

  • The government has launched the One Nation One Ration Card scheme through which beneficiaries can claim their rations anywhere in the country. One Nation One Ration Card plan is under implementation by 32 states and union territories, reaching about 69 crore beneficiaries (86% beneficiaries covered). The remaining 4 states and union territories will be integrated in the next few years. 

  • Government proposes to conclude a process that began 20 years ago, with the implementation of the 4 labour codes. For the first time globally, social security benefits will extend to gig and platform workers. 

  1. Reinvigorating Human Capital

Education 

  • The Finance Minister said that the National Education Policy (NEP) announced recently has had good reception while adding that more than 15,000 schools will be qualitatively strengthened to include all components of the National Education Policy.

  • It was further announced that 100 new Sainik schools will be set up in partnership with NGO’s/private schools/states. 

  • For accessible higher education in Ladakh, the government proposed to set up a Central University in Leh. 

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare 

  • The government has set a target of establishing 750 Eklavya model residential schools in tribal areas with an increase in the unit cost of each such school from Rs. 20 crore to Rs. 38 crore, and for hilly and difficult areas, to Rs. 48 crore. 

  1. Innovation and R&D

  • The government will undertake a new initiative- National Language Translation Mission (NLTM). This will enable the wealth of governance-and-policy-related knowledge on the internet to be made available in major Indian languages. 

  • The New Space India Limited (NSIL), a PSU under the department of space will execute the PSLV-CS51 launch, carrying the Amazonia Satellite from Brazil, along with a few smaller Indian satellites. 

  1. Minimum Government and Maximum Governance

  • The government announced that the forthcoming Census could be the first digital census in the history of India and for this monumental and milestone-marking task, Rs, 3,768 crores allocated in the year 2021-22. 

  • The Finance Minister has stated that the fiscal deficit is RE 2020-21 is pegged at 9.5% GDP.

  • The fiscal deficit in BE 2021-22 is estimated to be 6.8% of GDP.

  • The government plan to continue the path of fiscal consolidation and intend to reach a fiscal deficit level below 4.5% of GDP by 2025-26 with a fairly steady decline over the period. 

Conclusion 

Hence, budget 2021-22 covers various aspects such as health, sanitization, infrastructure, education, tax, economy, finance, agriculture, employment, etc. It also includes economic reform schemes, direct tax proposals, indirect tax proposals, etc. 

References