Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 January 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 January 2017


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


N.K. Singh panel submits report on FRBM Act


A committee constituted by the government last year to set a new fiscal consolidation roadmap has submitted its report. The panel has submitted its report on revising the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act to the finance minister.



The five-member committee was constituted in May 2016 following Mr. Jaitley’s announcement, in Budget 2016-17, of the creation of a panel to review the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

The government had mandated the committee to explore whether it should adopt a flexible fiscal deficit target instead of a fixed number every year.


Highlights of the report:

  • The committee has recommended major changes in the 13-year-old Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act and suggested ways to ensure responsible and higher growth, sources said.
  • The committee says, “a new FRBM Act is critical to create better conditions for co-ordination between monetary and fiscal policy and also usher in a low interest rate regime.”
  • There is also a suggestion that fiscal expansion or contraction should be aligned with credit contraction or expansion respectively in the economy.


FRBM act:

The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 (FRBMA) is an Act of the Parliament of India to institutionalize financial discipline, reduce India’s fiscal deficit, improve macroeconomic management and the overall management of the public funds by moving towards a balanced budget.


Need for review of FRBM act:

Since its introduction, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act has been facing a rocky road in terms of implementation. Paused four times since its enactment in August 2003, including for a reset of the fiscal deficit target in 2008-09 following the global financial crisis, the FRBM Act has become a subject of animated debate.

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.


Rubber Soil Information System (RubSIS) for Rubber Growers


The government recently launched Rubber Soil Information System (RubSIS).


What is it?

It is an online system for recommending application of appropriate mix of fertilizers to the specific plantations of rubber growers depending upon their soil nature.


Key facts:

  • RubSIS is developed by Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) under the Rubber Board in collaboration with three agencies viz Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala, National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, ICAR and National Remote Sensing Center, ISRO
  • It brings soil data to the fingerprints of rubber growers and recommends the optimum mix and quantities of chemical fertilizers that his holding requires.
  • It is a cost effective tool for sustainable &scientific management of rubber growing soils.
  • Apart from preventing indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and soil degradation, adoption of RubSIS will lead to reduction in the cost of production of rubber, increase in productivity and reduction in environmental pollution.

Sources: pib.


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


Budget before polls gets green light from SC


Noting that there is “nothing concrete” to back the notion that presentation of the annual budget can sway the minds of people during the State Assembly polls, the Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking the postponement of the Central budget till the Assembly elections in five States.



A petition was filed in the Supreme Court contending that policies like giving homes to the economically-deprived in States introduced in the annual budget influence people to vote in a particular fashion.

“They present schemes like these in the budget to control the minds of the citizens. These schemes declared during election time are against the Model Code of Conduct,” the petitioner had argued.


Budget on February 1:

The government last year decided to advance the presentation of budget. The objective behind this move is to have the Budget constitutionally approved by Parliament and assented to by the President, and all allocations at different tiers disseminated to budget-holders, before the financial year begins on April 1. The proposal for a change in the budget presentation date was first mooted by some of the government’s senior most bureaucrats as part of a ‘Transforming India’ initiative in January 2016.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


India rejects attempts by EU, Canada for global investment agreement


India, along with Brazil, Argentina and some other nations, has rejected an informal attempt by the European Union (EU) and Canada to work towards a global investment agreement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)-level that would incorporate a contentious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.


Why is it being opposed?

The ISDS mechanism has become contentious as it permits companies to drag governments to international arbitration without exhausting the local remedies and claim huge amounts as compensation citing losses they suffered due to reasons, including policy changes.


What’s the demand now?

Countries opposing this move say, “Only after all local options have been exhausted for settling disputes between a corporate and a government, do we want to permit issues to be taken up in international arbitration tribunals.”

Also, they want such provisions to be a part of bilateral agreements only and not be allowed in a multilateral agreement.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.


Graft probe against babus must conclude in 90 days: Government


The Ministry of Personnel has come out with fresh rules for enquiries against officers of all India services– Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS)– to provide for stage-wise specific time-lines for completion of the enquiries.

  • The rules have been amended to bring in more accountability and time-bound completion of every exercise in the course of governance.


Key facts:

  • As per the new rules, all departmental enquiries against IAS and IPS officers to probe corruption charges and other irregularities need to be concluded within a maximum period of 90 days.
  • A time limit of six months has been fixed for completion of departmental enquiry and submission of report. In case it is not possible to complete the enquiry within six months for justifiable reasons to be recorded in writing, additional time limit not exceeding six months at one time can be granted by the Disciplinary Authority, thereby ensuring accountability for completion of enquiry.
  • 30 days’ time-line has been fixed for delinquent officers to give their representation to the charge sheet which can be extended to not more than 30 days by the Disciplinary Authority and, in any case, no extension will be provided beyond 90 days.
  • In order to check delay in completion of probe, the new rules have made it mandatory for an inquiry officer to submit its report within six months time. However, the time-limit can be extended for a further period not exceeding six months at a time for any good and sufficient reasons.
  • Similarly, a period of 15 days has been provided to send a representation on the advice of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which is the recruiting agency, regarding the penalty to be imposed on the delinquent officer and for such representation also, no extension will be provided beyond 45 days.


Significance of this move:

The change is to ensure that the guilty is punished swiftly. This will also send a message to all employees that they need to perform up to expectation and without any acts of omission and commission.

The change in rules will also serve as stimulant for officers to perform and will certainly strengthen the culture of working within deadlines and time-lines without showing any slackness.

Sources: et.


Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.


Supreme Court suggests invoking Art 224-A to resolve Tripura HC problem


Faced with a unique problem of recusal by judges at the Tripura High Court, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to explore the possibility of using an article of the Constitution on appointment of judges of other High Courts as sitting judges to address the issue of recusal.


Which provision of the constitution?

The court has asked the government to consider invoking Article 224-A by which a judge could be appointed.

Article 224-A of Constitution says “the Chief Justice of a High Court for any State may at any time, with the previous consent of the President, request any person who has held the office of a Judge of that Court or of any other High Court to sit and act as a Judge of the High Court for that State.”


What’s the issue?

The issue came up after Tripura High Court Chief Justice T Vaiphei wrote a letter to Chief Justice of India J S Khehar that due to shortage of judges, it became difficult to set up a separate bench if a judge recused himself from hearing a particular case on grounds of conflict of interest.



The Tripura High Court at Agartala, which was established on March 23, 2013, has a sanctioned strength of four judges including the Chief Justice, and currently there are three serving judges. There are at least 26 cases in which recusal has been sought by the judges there.

Sources: et.


Facts for Prelims


National Bravery Awards:

  • National Bravery Awards for the year 2016 were recently presented by the Prime Minister.
  • The awards were first introduced in 1957. Since then, the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) has been giving the National Awards for Bravery every year to children from various parts of the country.
  • The main objective of the awards is to give due recognition to children who perform acts of bravery and inspire other children to follow their example.
  • The national bravery awards to children are given in 5 different categories: Bharat Award, Geeta Chopra Award, Sanjay Chopra Award, Bapu Gaidhani Awards and General Awards.
  • Eligible awardees will be granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling. Some State Governments also provide financial assistance to them. In addition, ICCW provides financial assistance under its Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme to those undertaking professional courses such as engineering and medicine. 
  • For the others, this assistance is provided till they complete their graduation. The Government of India has reserved some seats for the awardees in medical and engineering colleges and polytechnics.