Insights Daily Current Affairs, 04 April 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 04 April 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

 

HRD Ministry releases India Rankings 2017

 

Union Human Resource and Development Ministry has released the Indian rankings 2017 with the inclusion of two new categories: Common Overall Rank and the General Degree.

 

nirf

Key facts:

  • The India rankings 2017 were done under the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) that considered more than 3,300 institutes across 20 parameters.
  • Regional diversity, gender equity, the inclusion of disadvantaged sections were among some of the specific parameters in the India Rankings 2017.
  • India Rankings 2017 would be used to improve the educational institutions of the country. According to the HRD ministry, nearly 705 of the research output in the country came from these institutions, while the top 100 academic institutions of the country accounted for nearly 80% of the output.

 

Performance of various colleges:

  • According to the India Rankings 2017, the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Madras tops the list in the Engineering category while IISC, Bangalore sits at the top of the Common Overall Rankings, followed by IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi, JNU, IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee respectively.
  • In the list of the best Management institutes in the country, the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Ahmedabad gets the top spot while being followed by IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode respectively.
  • Similarly, IISc Bangalore tops the list of the best universities in the country, followed by JNU, Delhi and the BHU, Varanasi. Meanwhile, in the list of top colleges in the country, Miranda House, Delhi leads the way with Loyola College, Chennai & Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi following it respectively.
  • In the list of the top pharma institutions, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi tops the chart, while being followed by the National Institute of Pharma. Education and Research, Mohali.

 

Observations:

Although the Central Government funded institutions, in general continue to do well, some of the state-funded universities also are prominent. Some private institutions and universities have also been quietly climbing up to take high positions, thus offering value for money to their students, going by their ranks. Some of these institutions have consistently maintained or improved their positions of last year, clearly indicating that it was not a one-time fluke event. This is clearly a satisfying development in Higher Education.

Finally, a very exciting feature of this year’s Rankings is the ranking of General Degree Colleges in Arts and Sciences from across the country. While many of the names appearing in the top-100 list are well known and famous, there are many others who may not be so well known but have fared well. Clearly these need to be watched out for in future.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

African Development Bank to hold 52nd annual meet in Gujarat

 

India is hosting 52nd annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Ahmedabad.

 

abdg bank

About African Development Bank Group:

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries.

  • The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.
  • The AfDB’s mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the region.
  • Governing: The AfDB is controlled by a Board of Executive Directors, made up of representatives of its member countries.
  • Voting: The voting power on the Board is split according to the size of each member’s share, currently 60%-40% between African (or “regional”) countries and “non-regional” member countries (“donors”). The largest African Development Bank shareholder is Nigeria with nearly 9% of the vote.
  • Representation: All member countries of the AfDB are represented on the AfDB Board of Executive Directors. Member governments are officially represented at the AfDB by their Minister of Finance, Planning or Cooperation who sits on the AfDB Board of Governors. The AfDB Governors meet once a year to take major decisions about the institution’s leadership, strategic directions and governing bodies.
  • Unit of account: The African Development Bank is using a Unit of Account which is registered as XUA as ISO 4217 standard currency code. It is not exchanged directly by individuals, it is used for accounting between state members.

 

India and the African Development Bank:

India joined the African Development Bank in 1982. The country is a key member of the institutions 24 Non-Regional Member Countries, which support the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional resource window of the Bank. In 2013, Delhi increased its contribution to the 13th replenishment of the fund by 57.28% to USD 18.5 million, among other investments.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Centre clears proposal to buy Barak missiles for Indian Navy  

 

The government has approved procurement of a fresh batch of Barak missiles for Naval warships to enhance India’s maritime capability in view of the changing security dynamics in the Indian Ocean region.

  • The approval in this regard was given by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Defence Ministry.

 

barak-8-missile

Key facts:

  • Barak missiles are short range surface-to-air missiles.
  • The missiles will be procured under ‘Buy Global’ category from Rafael Advance Defense Systems Limited of Israel at an approximate cost of around Rs 500 crore.
  • Almost all ships of the navy will be equipped with these missiles.

 

About DAC:

The DAC, set up in 2001 as part of the post-Kargil reforms in defence sector, approves the long-term integrated perspective plan for the forces, accords acceptance of necessity (AON) to begin acquisition proposals, and has to grant its approval to all major deals through all their important phases. It also has the power to approve any deviations in an acquisition, and recommends all big purchases for approval of the Cabinet committee on security.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Govt. seeks opinion on changes in RTI Act

The Centre has sought public opinion on proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act, with respect to the powers of the Central Information Commission (CIC), filing of applications, complaints and appeals.

 

the-rti-act-2005

Proposed amendments:

  • An amendment proposes that an applicant can file complaints within 135 days of filing the application under the Act, and in case of delay a request for condonation will also have to be filed.
  • There is another provision empowering the CIC to convert a complaint into a second appeal. Thus, as proposed, it can order the disclosure of information on a complaint. The Commission can also allow an amendment to the complaint during the hearing, if other remedies have been exhausted.
  • Also, as suggested, the CIC has been given the power to decide if an appeal or a complaint can be withdrawn on the applicant’s request. However, once the issue has been decided, the withdrawal will not be allowed.

 

RTI Act:

Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. It replaces the erstwhile Freedom of information Act, 2002.

  • Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.
  • The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
  • The Act covers the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir, where J&K Right to Information Act is in force.
  • Private bodies are not within the Act’s ambit directly. In a decision of Sarbajit Roy versus Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Central Information Commission affirmed that privatised public utility companies continue to be within the RTI Act.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Global initiative launched to fight fake news

 

A global alliance of tech industry and academic organisations has unveiled plans to work together to combat the spread of “fake news” and improve public understanding of journalism.

 

fake news

Key facts:

  • The initiative’s mission is to advance news literacy, to increase trust in journalism around the world and to better inform the public conversation.”
  • The founding funders include Facebook and the Craigslist founder Craig Newmark’s philanthropic fund along with the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Tow Foundation, AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks.
  • Helping the public understand the difference between fraudulent news and serious journalism will constitute an important element of the effort.

 

Background:

Fake news became a serious issue in the U.S. election campaign, when clearly fraudulent stories circulated on social media, potentially swaying some voters.

Concerns have been raised since then about hoaxes and misinformation affecting elections in Europe, with investigations showing how “click farms” generate revenue from online advertising using made-up news stories.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

No of beneficiaries under Ujjwala Yojana crosses 2 cr mark  

 

The number of beneficiaries of PM Ujjwala Yojana for providing LPG connections to BPL households has crossed 2 crore mark in less than a year.

PMUY

About the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Rs.8,000 crore has been earmarked for providing 50 million LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.

  • Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
  • Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories.
  • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

 

Sources: the hindu.