Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The House of Representatives passed its Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, significantly increasing funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and programs that support and maintain waterways functions.“Soybean farmers commend the House for its leadership and for placing a priority on funding to support our waterways transportation network,” said Wade Cowan, American Soybean Association (ASA) president. “The waterways and ports are vital to the efficient transportation of soybeans and other major commodities and a key factor in maintaining competitiveness for U.S. soybeans in global export markets.”Within the Corps of Engineers Construction account, the bill provides $340 million from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund for priority navigation projects, which utilizes all the revenues received into the trust fund, including increased revenues resulting from the barge fuel fee increase enacted by Congress in 2014.For the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), the committee’s appropriation of $1.178 billion was amended on the floor to increase the level to $1.25 billion, which is $150 million or 14% higher than last year’s $1.1 billion, and well above the $915 million than the Administration requested from the HMTF.The Corps’ Operations & Maintenance (O&M) account funding level is $3.094 billion, the highest ever appropriated to this account in an annual appropriation bill, and the third consecutive year of record-level O&M funding. It is nearly $390 million higher than the Administration’s FY16 requested level.While the bill has passed the House, the Senate must still act on a bill and it could face a potential veto by President Barack Obama. The White House has issued a statement indicating that the president’s advisors would recommend that he veto the bill in its current form citing reductions to certain energy programs that are priorities for the Obama Administration.
The court held that the classification “complies with the twin test of reasonable classification permissible under Article 14 (equality before the law) of the Constitution of India, namely, intelligible differentia and rational nexus to the object sought to be achieved.”It stated, “We, however, hold that the quantum of reservation set out by the Maharashtra State Reservation for seats for admission in educational institutions in the State and for appointments in the public services and posts under the State for SEBC as 16% is not justifiable and we quash and set aside the quantum of reservation under the said provisions over and above 12% and 13% respectively as recommended by the Commission.”Senior counsel Anil Sakhare appearing for the State told The Hindu, “we will definitely go in appeal to the Supreme Court on the limited point of 12% for education and 13% for jobs and will bring it back to 16%.”Advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, opposing the verdict, also said, “We will appeal in the Supreme Court as the reservation is against the spirit of the Constitution and breaks the 50% mandate of reservation in the State. It is reverse discrimination against general category.” Also Read MSBCC justifies 16% Maratha reservation The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld reservation for Marathas in the State but quashed the 16% quota by calling it “not justifiable”. The court said it should not exceed 12% for education and 13% for jobs as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).A Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre said, “We hold and declare that the State possesses the legislative competence to enact the Maharashtra State Reservation for Seats for Admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for appointments in the public services and posts under the State (for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) SEBC Act, 2018, and the State’s legislative competence is not in any way affected by the Constitution.”Welcoming the verdict, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the Assembly, “The court has upheld the extraordinary and exceptional circumstances mentioned in the report to provide quota to Marathas, due to which the reservation quantum in the State has crossed 50%.”Extraordinary situation In the 487-page judgment, the Bench noted, “We hold and declare that the report of the Gaikwad Commission has set out the ‘exceptional circumstances and extra-ordinary situations’ justifying crossing of the limit of 50% reservation as set out in the Indra Sawhney case (Supreme Court).”The court recorded, “The 50% limit of reservation can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration.”The judgment said the classification of the Maratha class into “Socially and Educationally Backward Class” was justified.