QUESTION : Explain the reasons why Supreme Court has struck down part of the 97th constitutional amendment and its impact on federal principles in India.
The Hindu Editorial Topic : A JUDGEMENT THAT MUST BE TAKEN IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT
97th Constitutional Amendment Act
WHY IN NEWS ?
In Union of India vs Rajendra N. Shah, the Supreme Court of India partially struck down the 97th Constitutional Amendment.
97TH CAA – BACKGROUND :
- The 97th Constitutional Amendment came into effect from February 15 2012.
- The amendment added “cooperative societies” to the protected forms of association under Article 19(1)(c), elevating it to a fundamental right.
- It also inserted Part IXB in the Constitution which laid down the terms by which cooperative societies would be governed, in more granular detail than was palatable.
REASONS BEHIND STRIKING DOWN OF 97TH CAA :
- The Constitution can be amended only by the procedure provided in Article 368.
- The amendment procedure requires a majority of the total strength of each of the Houses of Parliament and two-thirds majority of those present and voting.
- A proviso to the Article lists out some articles and chapters of the Constitution, which can be amended only by a special procedure.
- The special procedure requires that the amendment will also have to be ratified by the legislatures of half of the States.
- It is precisely on the grounds of violation of this additional requirement that the 97th Constitutional Amendment was challenged.
- The Gujarat High Court struck down the amendment in 2013 on the grounds that it had failed to comply with the requirements under Article 368(2) by virtue of not having been ratified by the States and had also given an additional finding that the 97th Amendment violated the basic structure of the Constitution.
- The Union Government challenged the Gujarat High Court judgment before the Supreme Court, arguing that the amendment neither directly nor effectively changed the scheme of distribution of powers between the Centre and the States.
- The court took the example of the 73rd and 74th Amendments which were similar in impact on the legislative power of the States, had been passed by the special procedure involving ratification by State legislatures.
- Procedural lacuna: The court noted that the procedure had not been followed in this case.
- The Supreme Court clarified that the does not go into the question of the amendment being violative of the basic structure of the Constitution.
- The judgment makes a distinction between cooperative societies operating in one State and multi-State cooperative societies and holds that while a ratification by half the State legislatures would have been necessary insofar as it applies to cooperative societies in one State.
INCREASING CONTROL OF UNION GOVERNMENT :
- Union government has been acquiring incrementally greater control of cooperative societies over the years.
- Cooperative banks have been brought under the purview of the Reserve Bank of India.
- Union Government recently established Union Ministry for Cooperation.
ISSUES WITH CENTRAL CONTROL OVER COOPERATIVE SECTOR :
- Domain of States: The idea that the cooperative sector ought to be controlled at the State level and not at the central or Union level goes back all the way to the Government of India Act, 1919 which placed cooperatives in the provincial list.
- Part of State list: Entry 32 of the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution confer power on the State legislatures to make laws pertaining to incorporation, regulation and the winding up of cooperative societies.
- The cooperative sector has always been in the domain of the States or provinces.
- Different organising principles: The organising principles and mechanism of these cooperatives differ from area to area and depend on the industry or crop which forms the fulcrum of the cooperative.
- Homogeneity nor require: Homogeneity in this area would only result in the creation of round holes in which square pegs no longer fit.
- They also would not really serve to break the control some political interests have taken over cooperatives.
ABOUT COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES :
- A co-operative society is a voluntary association of individuals having common needs who join hands for the achievement of common economic interest.
- Its aim is to serve the interest of the poorer sections of society through the principle of self-help and mutual help.
- Part IX B of the Constitution, inter alia, seeks to empower the Parliament in respect of multi-State co-operative societies and the State Legislatures in case of other co-operative societies to make appropriate law, laying down the following matters, namely:
o provisions for incorporation, regulation arid winding up of co-operative societies based on the principles of democratic member-control, member-economic participation and autonomous functioning;
o specifying the maximum number of directors of a cooperative society to be not exceeding twenty-one members;
o providing for a fixed term of five years from the date of election in respect of the elected members of the board and its office bearers;
o providing for a maximum time limit of six months during which a board of directors of co-operative society could be kept under supersession or suspension;
o providing for independent professional audit;
o providing for right of information to the members of the co-operative societies;
o empowering the State Governments to obtain periodic reports of activities and accounts of cooperative societies;
o providing for the reservation of one seat for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes and two seats for women on the board of every co-operative society, which have individuals as members from such categories;
o providing for offences relating to co-operative societies and penalties in respect of such offences.
It is best that the Government takes this judgment in the right spirit and stays away from further meddling in the cooperative sector, notwithstanding the creation of the new Ministry.
QUESTION : Discuss the major issues and challenges of education sector in India when we consider the education model of Japan.
The Hindu Editorial Topic : JAPANESE EDUCATION SPELLS HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT
Japanese Model of Education
WHY IN NEWS ?
The novel coronavirus pandemic has given us an opportunity to re-evaluate how our schools should expand our capabilities.
- While academic prowess in math, science and language is essential, moral & value education is missing in India’s education system.
- Japanese Education system provides important lessons for India to make our Education system human-centric in nature.
JAPANESE MODEL OF EDUCATION :
Japanese curriculum emphasis on both cognitive & non-cognitive elements.
- Moving Beyond Academic Prowess
o ‘Chi-Toku-Tai’ is the defining features of Japanese schooling.
Chi, which translates to ‘know’ lay an emphasis on building strong academic abilities.
Toku, translates to ‘virtue’ and refers to mindfulness, self-discipline, and cooperative abilities.
Tai, translates to ‘body, and refers to physical and mental well-being.
o This philosophy focuses on holistic ability extending beyond academic prowess to include ‘kansei’ which roughly translates to ‘sensitivity’.
o This approach aims at developing a knowledgeable mind which can appreciate beauty and nature, hold a sense of justice, and respect life and labour.
- Shaping Social Behaviour
o The elementary school curriculum is supplemented with subjects, namely moral education, integrated studies and special activities. This plays a tremendous role in building courteous and mindful societies.
o Moral education includes norms that define socially responsible and considerate behaviour towards everyone including nature.
o Students as young as first graders take turns to clean their classrooms, washrooms, serve school lunches, and water the plants at school.
o Such a system reaps several benefits. As students do various chores, it builds respect for labour, humility at a young age and encourages responsible and mindful behaviour towards the community.
- Experiential learning
o Integrated studies encompass experiential learning and independent thinking where students identify problems in their local communities and think of solutions.
o For example, children may create a disaster preparedness map based on their own research. Activities such as these integrate schools with community.
o If we can train our children in identifying problems in their local communities such as health ailments, pollution, waste disposal, etc. and coach them in developing solution road maps, the gains to both sides can be immense.
o Any solution & analysis inculcates the practise of ‘kaizen’ — the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement.
- Emphasis on Unity
o Another notable aspect that defines Japanese society and education system is ‘collectivism’.
o Unlike the West, Japan is a collectivist society. Working as a group and group harmony is fundamental to this society.
o The belief that one wins only when the group wins, generates equitable and united societies.
o Education includes activities which promotes the idea of Unity & Collectivism.
ISSUES IN INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM :
- Inadequate government Funding: The country spent 3% of its total GDP on education in 2018-19 according to the Economic Survey which is very less in comparison to the developed and OECD countries.
- Lack of infrastructure: Most of the schools are not yet compliant with the complete set of RTE infrastructure.They lack drinking water facilities, a functional common toilet, and do not have separate toilets for girls.
- Poor global ranking of institutes: Very few Indian universities are featured in the top rankings of the world primarily due to low faculty-student ratio and lack of research capacity.
- No coherence between education and demand of Industry: Industries in India face problems to find suitable employees as education provided is not suitable for directly working in industry and hence have to spend large amounts on providing training for employees.
- Inadequate teachers and their training: The 24:1 ratio of India is way lower than Sweden’s 12:1, Britain’s 16:1, Russia’s 10:1 and Canada’s 9:1. Moreover the quality of teachers who are sometimes appointed politically or are not trained adequately is another huge challenge.
- Quality of Education: The ASER reports present a very dismal picture of learning outcomes in India.
WAY FORWARD FOR INDIA :
- Implementation of the spirit and intent of the Policy is the most critical matter.
- It is important to implement the policy initiatives in a phased manner, as each policy point has several steps, each of which requires the previous step to be implemented successfully.
- Prioritization will be important in ensuring optimal sequencing of policy points, and that the most critical and urgent actions are taken up first, thereby enabling a strong base.
- Next, comprehensiveness in implementation will be key; as this Policy is interconnected and holistic, only a full-fledged implementation, and not a piecemeal one, will ensure that the desired objectives are achieved.
- Since education is a concurrent subject, it will need careful planning, joint monitoring, and collaborative implementation between the Centre and States.
- Timely infusion of requisite resources – human, infrastructural, and financial – at the Central and State levels will be crucial for the satisfactory execution of the Policy.
- Finally, careful analysis and review of the linkages between multiple parallel implementation steps will be necessary in order to ensure effective dovetailing of all initiatives.
- The Japanese education philosophy transitioned from an extremely examination-focused, rote memorisation-based approach to the ‘Chi-Toku-Tai’ approach in the 1970s.
- The results are visible with high Civic Consciousness among Japanese as well as top rank in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
It is the high time that India can learn from this model.