Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 December 2016

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 December 2016


Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


DoPT’s fresh guidelines on sexual harassment at workplace


The Department of Personnel and Training has issued fresh guidelines regarding sexual harassment of women at workplace.


Key facts:

  • It has been asserted in the guidelines that the enquiry of cases must be completed within 30 days and under any circumstances within 90 days from the date of the complaint.
  • The ministries and departments have to keep a watch on the complainant so as to ensure that she is not victimised in any manner because of her having filed the complaint.
  • All ministries have to submit a monthly progress report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development so that the progress can be monitored.
  • As per the guidelines the aggrieved woman has been given further option to send representation to the Secretary or head of the organisation in case she feels that she is being victimised because of her complaint. The concerned authority will be required to dispose of this complaint within 15 days.
  • Brief details of the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act including the number of cases received and disposed shall form a part of the Annual Report of all ministries and departments.



The Act seeks to cover all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protect them against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organized or unorganized.

  • Building on the Vishakha guidelines, the Act calls for the formation of an internal complaints committee and a local complaints committee at the district level. It came into force on December 9, 2013.


Some important provisions of the Act:

  • The Act defines sexual harassment at the work place and creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints. It also provides safeguards against false or malicious charges.
  • The definition of “aggrieved woman”, who will get protection under the Act is extremely wide to cover all women, irrespective of her age or employment status, whether in the organized or unorganized sectors, public or private and covers clients, customers and domestic workers as well.
  • While the “workplace” in the Vishaka Guidelines is confined to the traditional office set-up where there is a clear employer-employee relationship, the Act goes much further to include organisations, department, office, branch unit etc. in the public and private sector, organized and unorganized, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, sports institutes, stadiums, sports complex and any place visited by the employee during the course of employment including the transportation.
  • Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees. The District Officer is required to constitute a Local Complaints Committee at each district, and if required at the block level.
  • The Committee is required to complete the inquiry within a time period of 90 days. On completion of the inquiry, the report will be sent to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be, they are mandated to take action on the report within 60 days.
  • The Complaints Committees have the powers of civil courts for gathering evidence.
  • The Complaints Committees are required to provide for conciliation before initiating an inquiry, if requested by the complainant.
  • Penalties have been prescribed for employers. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine of up to 50,000. Repeated violations may lead to higher penalties and cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.  


Cabinet approves Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely “Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas” to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts from security angle.

Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas

Key facts:

  • The project will be implemented as a vertical under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to provide connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures in 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts, critical from security and communication point of view. The roads will be operable throughout the year irrespective of all weather conditions.
  • Under the project, construction/upgradation of 5,411.81 km road and 126 bridges/Cross Drainage works will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.11,724.53 crore.
  • The fund sharing pattern of LWE road project will be same as that of PMGSY i.e. in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States for all States except for eight North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.
  • Ministry of Finance will have to allocate to Ministry of Rural Development Rs.7,034.72 crore for this project during the period of implementation 2016-17 to 2019-20. Ministry of Rural Development will be implementing Ministry of this project.


About PMGSY:

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched on 25th December, 2000 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the objective to provide all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas of the country.

  • The programme envisages connecting all eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 500 persons and above (as per 2001 Census) in plain areas and 250 persons and above (as per 2001 Census) in Special Category States and in Select Tribal and Backward Districts (as identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs/Planning Commission).
  • For most intensive Integrated Action Plan (IAP) blocks as identified by Ministry of Home Affairs the unconnected habitations with population of100 and above (as per 2001 Census) are eligible to be covered under PMGSY.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Cabinet approves International Solar Alliance (ISA)


The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the proposal of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) for ratification of ISA’s Framework Agreement by India.


Key facts:

  • ISA was launched jointly by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30th November, 2015 at Paris on the side-lines of the 21st CoP meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • The ISA aims to bring together more than 121 solar resource rich nations for coordinated research, low cost financing and rapid deployment.
  • The foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters was laid at Gwal Pahari, Guragaon in Haryana.
  • India has already committed the required support of operationalization of ISA. ISA will put India globally in a leadership role in climate and renewable energy issues. It will also give a platform to showcase its solar programmes.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)


The Agreement was opened for signature on the sidelines of 22nd CoP meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco. The Agreement invokes the Paris Declaration on ISA and encapsulates the vision of the prospective member nations. UNDP and World Bank have already announced their partnership with the ISA. Till now, 25 nations have signed the Framework Agreement.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


Union Home Minister chairs Southern Zonal Council meeting


The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the 27th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council at Thiruvananthapuram recently.


Key facts:

  • The Council reviewed progress of implementation of various recommendations made in the last meeting relating to issues of fishermen, Peninsular Region Industrial Development Corridor, Extension of High Speed Rail Corridor and Amendments to the New Road Transport & Road Safety Bill.
  • The Council also took up issues which relate to uniformity in allocation of funds for scholarships in proportion of population of SC/ST for all courses, revision of ceiling on profession tax by Government of India, prevention of communicable diseases, Naxalism, promotion of oilseeds and oil palm cultivation and development of Puducherry Airport.



The five Zonal Councils were set up under the States’ Reorganization Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State cooperation and coordination among the States.

  • The Zonal Councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on the matters of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities and inter-State transport etc.
  • They are regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other geographically, economically and culturally.
  • Being compact high level bodies, especially meant for looking after the interests of respective Zones, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional factors, while keeping the national perspective in view.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.  


Centre’s nod for apex corridor development body


The Centre has approved the re-designation of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project Implementation Trust Fund as National Industrial Corridor Development & Implementation Trust (NICDIT) — the apex body to oversee development of all industrial corridors across the country.

  • Alkesh Kumar Sharma, the current chief executive of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, will have additional charge as the member secretary and the chief executive of the NICDIT.
  • The body assumes importance as central government funds, meant for the development of all industrial corridors, will be routed through it.  


Key facts:

  • As an apex body, the NICDIT will help streamline activities and better coordination of the industrial corridor projects.
  • The DMICDC, which is currently developing the western corridor, will serve as the Knowledge Partner (KP) to the NICDIT for all the industrial corridors until the KPs for them are in place.
  • The NICDIT has also been sanctioned an additional ₹ 1,584 crore besides the balance available from ₹ 18,500 crore already sanctioned to the DMIC-Project Implementation Trust Fund for project activities.
  • NICDIT will implement all the five proposed industrial corridors, together covering 15 States. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the first of the planned corridors, is under development. The Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor, Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor and the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor are in various stages of planning.
  • The NICDIT’s board of trustees will be chaired by the secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The board also includes secretaries of the departments of expenditure, economic affairs, road transport & highways and shipping, apart from the chairman of the Railway Board and the chief executive of the NITI Aayog as members.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Its illegal to hold old notes post March 31


The Cabinet has approved the promulgation of an ordinance extinguishing the Reserve Bank of India’s liability for cancelled`500 and `1,000 notes as the logical conclusion to the government’s demonetisation initiative.


Key facts:

  • The move will give the finance ministry enough time to factor into the budget the amount of cash that hasn’t been returned to the system if required.
  • It will provide a limited window for depositing the cancelled notes at select RBI branches until March 31and also prescribes a monetary penalty for anyone holding such currency in large quantities after the deadline.
  • The ordinance will end the central bank’s liability with regard to the notes that are not returned to the system as also those that were deposited. The amount of extinguished currency that is not deposited is expected to flow to the government or be used by the central bank for any other purpose approved by its board.
  • The ordinance also seeks to make possession of more than ten `500 or `1,000 notes after deadline a penal offence attracting monetary fine of `10,000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.  


Centre okays Rs 266 crore for AMRUT work


The Centre has approved Rs 266 crore for augmenting water supply and sewerage networks in Delhi under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) in 2016-17.


Key facts:

  • The entire cost is being provided as central assistance to the Delhi government under AMRUT.
  • Out of this, Rs 215 crore will be invested in improving water supply, and Rs 254 crore for augmenting sewerage networks and septage management. Another Rs 8 crore will be utilised for drainage networks and Rs 12 crore for developing open and green spaces.
  • Delhi government is now required to submit AMRUT action plan for the remaining three years in one go for advance approval.


About AMRUT:

AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). It adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.

  • Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  • AMRUT will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above. It would cover some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few state capitals and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
  • Under this mission, states get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring. States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central government will not appraise individual projects.
  • Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
  • Under the mission, states will transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds to be made failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.


AIRIA ties up with Tripura University for imparting rubber technology programmes


The All Indian Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA), the apex body of Rs 75000 crore rubber industry in India, has joined hands with Tripura University for imparting programmes in rubber technology.


Key facts:

  • The purpose of the collaboration is to facilitate rubber education, rubber skills training and research co-operation between the two organizations in rubber technology and polymer science.
  • The collaboration is a win-win industry-academia venture. It will make available trained personnel at various levels to meet the demand for manpower and accelerate the development of the industry. At the same time, the courses would enhance the employability of students of TU by equipping them with industry/ business relevant skills.
  • The MoU will also provide the university access to industrial environments for applied and problem based research activities.
  • The agreement will also help existing work force in rubber in getting certified in the skills through RSDC making them readily employable.

Sources: et.