Long overdue: On OBC reservation in All-India Quota medical seats

Reservation for students from Backward Classes in seats surrendered by States to an ‘All-India Quota’ (AIQ) in medical colleges run by State governments was long overdue. The Centre’s decision to extend its 27% reservation for ‘other backward classes’ to all seats under the AIQ is a belated, but welcome development, as Other Backward Class (OBC) candidates have been denied their due for years. And in concord with its keenness to balance OBC interests with those of the socially advanced sections, the Union government has also decided to provide 10% of the AIQ seats to those from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). This is almost entirely the outcome of a Madras High Court verdict and the efforts of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which approached the court with the demand. The AIQ is a category created by the Supreme Court to free up some seats from residential or domicile requirements in some States for admissions to their medical colleges. Introduced in 1986, the AIQ comprised 15%

Elusive gold: On India’s Olympic quest

India at the Olympics has always been about feverish hopes, bruising anguish and a few medals. Since its debut at the Games in 1900, the world’s second most populous nation has ended up with either a single-digit tally or none at all. That familiar tale is being repeated a week after the Tokyo Olympics commenced and India is currently assured of three medals. One, a silver claimed by weight-lifter Mirabai Chanu in the 49kg category. And second, a minimum of a bronze guaranteed as boxer Lovlina Borgohain qualified for the semifinal in the welter-weight segment. The bout will be held on Wednesday. Badminton star P.V. Sindhu too joined the party, seizing her bronze after defeating China’s He Bingjiao 21-13, 21-15 during Sunday’s third-place play-off. Through their exploits Mirabai and Lovlina, hailing from Manipur and Assam, respectively, have revealed the rich sporting ability shimmering in the North-eastern States linked to the mainland through the chicken’s neck above Bangladesh.

Law and lawmakers: On criminal acts and legislative privilege

The Supreme Court ruling that legislative privilege cannot be extended to provide legal immunity to criminal acts committed by lawmakers ought to be welcomed for two reasons. It lays down that legislators charged with unruly behaviour that results in offences under penal laws cannot be protected either by their privilege or their free speech rights. Second, the decision revivifies the law relating to a prosecutor’s role in withdrawing an ongoing criminal case. The LDF government in Kerala has suffered a setback as it strongly favoured the withdrawal of cases against six members sought to be prosecuted for creating a ruckus in the Assembly on March 13, 2015, when they boisterously tried to interrupt the presentation of the Budget presented by the erstwhile UDF regime. Their action resulted in destruction or damage to some items, amounting to a loss of ₹2.20 lakh. Based on the Assembly Secretary’s complaint, the police registered a case and later filed a charge sheet against them for


Patchwork progress: On insured bank deposits repayment

The Government hopes to ring in fresh changes to the 1961 Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation law in the monsoon session, after the Cabinet nod this week. From savers’ perspective, the most significant modification on the anvil is a 90-day deadline for the Corporation (DICGC) to remit the insured deposits of customers in troubled banks. As per the plan, once the RBI imposes curbs on a bank, the clock will start ticking and by the 91st day or thereabouts, account holders will get their outstanding balance back with a cap of ₹5 lakh. While Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said this will not apply retrospectively, she did indicate that this would apply to cases of lenders already under a moratorium. In the last two years, Yes Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank and the PMC Bank, have faced such a bar on depositors seeking to withdraw. PMC Bank accounts still face such curbs, even as savings parked in other co-operative lenders that have gone under continue to elude their rightful


Shared values: On India and the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s day-visit to Delhi this week was heavy on discussions and understandably light on deliverables. The visit, the third by a senior U.S. official of the Biden administration, was meant to prepare the way for more substantive meetings in Washington later this year, including the U.S.-India “2+2” of Foreign and Defence Ministers, the Quad summit of its leaders, and a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joseph Biden. Public statements by Mr. Blinken and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and readouts, indicate that most of their conversations are focused on Quad cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, Afghanistan, and in discussing the state of democracy and rights. On the Quad, they showed full convergence. On Afghanistan, Mr. Jaishankar said that there were “more convergences than divergences” on the common positions that there is no military solution to conflict, and that neither country would recognise a

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