Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 April 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 April 2017


 

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

 

Two-child norm tied to jobs in Assam

 

The Assam government has released the new draft population policy.

 

Highlights of the policy:

  • The policy suggests denial of government jobs to people with more than two children. Any person getting a job after meeting this condition would have to maintain it till end of his service.
  • For employment generation schemes like grant of tractors, houses and for other government benefits, this two-children norm will be applicable. Besides, all elections such as panchayats, municipal bodies and autonomous councils held under the State Election Commission will also have this norm for candidates.
  • The policy also aims to make education up to university level free for all girls. This includes facilities like fees, transportation, books and mess dues in hostels. This step is likely to arrest the school dropout rate.
  • The proposed population policy also seeks to debate on increasing the legal age of marriage from 18 for girls and 21 for boys. If anybody had child marriage then he would be ineligible for government job.
  • The policy would also seek stringent laws to prevent violence and sexual abuse of women.
  • Besides, a proposal for providing incentives is included for poor persons, who take care of their elderly parents. The policy will also care for the adolescents.
  • The policy proposes to set up a State Population Council and a State Population Research Centre.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Reclamation will cause ecological damage to Vembanad, says panel

 

A committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has held the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) responsible for CRZ violations in Vembanad, which was classified as a Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area in the CRZ 2011 notification.

wetland-vembanad

Background:

It has been alleged that the CPT has reclaimed stretches of Vembanad backwaters and has violated the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification.

Concerns:

  • The committee is concerned because such reclamation can cause large-scale damages to the site.
  • Also, activities in violation of CRZ provisions will definitely affect the ecological health of a very sensitive ecosystem like Vembanad, which is a declared Ramsar site, a Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area, and a protected wetland system.

Vembanad:

  • Vembanad is the longest lake in India, and the largest lake in the state of Kerala.
  • Spanning several districts in the state of Kerala, it is known as Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, Kochi Lake in Kochi.
  • Several groups of small islands including Vypin, Mulavukad, Vallarpadam, Willingdon Island are located in the Kochi Lake portion. Kochi Port is built around the Willingdon Island, and the Vallarpadam island.
  • The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is conducted in a portion of the lake.
  • Government of India has identified the Vembanad wetland under National Wetlands Conservation Programme.
  • The Vembanad Wetland system was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands in 2002. It is the largest of the three Ramsar Sites in the state of Kerala.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Aadhaar must for web-access to Survey of India maps

 

The Survey of India, the country’s oldest scientific organisation and official maker of maps, has set up a web portal called Nakshe that allows 3,000 of its 7,000 maps to be downloaded for free.

survey-of-india

Key facts:

  • To download the maps, one would require to provide their Aadhaar number.
  • The SoI maps —prepared for defence and civilian purposes — are considered a standard reference for the shape, extent and geographic features of the country.
  • The maps will make it easier for residents of villagers and panchayats to readily access information. Currently, organisations and people who want specific maps need to fill forms and sometimes visit the SoI.

 

About Survey of India:

Survey of India, The National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country under the Department of Science & Technology, is the oldest scientific department of the GOVT. of INDIA. It was set up in 1767 and has evolved rich traditions over the years.

  • In its assigned role as the Nation’s principal mapping agency, Survey of India bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country’s domain is explored and mapped suitably to provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development and ensure that all resources contribute their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of our country now and for generations to come.
  • The Survey of India acts as adviser to the Government of India on all survey matters, viz Geodesy, Photogrammetry, Mapping and Map Reproduction.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Healthcare sector needs innovative modes of funding: PwC report

 

A Healthcare Federation of India (NATHEALTH)-PwC report has identified the gaps in the healthcare funding in the country and has proposed reforms to fill the gap.

nat_health

Background:

The Indian government spends only about 1.5% of its GDP on healthcare, which is among the lowest globally for any country. Besides, access to capital has been one of the biggest roadblocks to the growth of the Indian healthcare sector.

In this context, there is a need to concentrate on innovative funding methods. The New Health Policy 2017 too had highlighted that innovative modes of funding were needed to meet the requirements of the healthcare sector.  

 

Reforms suggested:

  • Conventional modes of resource mobilisation must be aided by an innovative funding mechanism to improve healthcare investments in India.
  • Funding should be mobilised from pension funds and that investments should be routed through public-private partnership and long-term debt.
  • It has also suggested funding through business trust entities such as Real Estate Investment Trusts along with funds sourced through bilateral investment treaties.

 

Way ahead:

FDI in the sector has significantly increased in the last three years. However, healthcare expenditure’s share in GDP remained around 1.6% in FY16 and innovative funding modes would support the target of taking it to 2.5% by 2030. While the opportunity for improvement of health services in India is huge, it is for the government and the entire healthcare ecosystem to work together so that benefits percolate to the segment that require them the most.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill passed by Lok Sabha

 

The Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.

motor-vehicle-amendment

What is the Bill all about?

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill authorises the government to exempt or waive off any section to promote innovation. The provisions of the Bill talk about improved citizen centric services, reducing the number of accidents and several steps proposed to reduce the footfalls to regional transport offices (RTO).

The bill proposes hefty penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail term for parents of minors caught driving and causing fatal accidents, and a ten-fold increase in compensation for the families of accident victims, among other things.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at five lakh rupees in case of grievous injury.
  • The Bill provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
  • The Bill defines taxi aggregators, guidelines for which will be determined by the central government.
  • The Bill also provides for: (i) amending the existing categories of driver licensing, (ii) recall of vehicles in case of defects, (iii) protection of good samaritans from any civil or criminal action, and (iv) increase of penalties for several offences under the 1988 Act.
  • Improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance is one of the major focuses of this Bill. This include enabling online learning licenses, increasing validity period for driving licenses, doing away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses are some of the features.
  • The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance, but does not cap the compensation amount that courts can award. In cases where courts award compensation higher than the maximum liability amount, it is unclear who will pay the remaining amount.
  • Under the Act, compensation for hit and run victims comes from a Solatium Fund.
  • State governments will issue licenses to taxi aggregators as per central government guidelines. Currently, state governments determine guidelines for plying of taxis.  There could be cases where state taxi guidelines are at variance with the central guidelines on aggregators.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

First ‘Silk Road’ train sets off on 18-day 7,500-mile journey from Britain to China:

  • The first rail freight service from Britain to China was recently flagged off from Britain.
  • Thirty containers filled with UK-produced goods have set off on the 7,500-mile journey from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex which will take 18 days.
  • The service is part of China’s One Belt, One Road programme of reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes with the West.

National law on cow killing not feasible:

  • In response to a popular demand for a nationwide law for banning cow slaughter, few experts have said that the demand was not feasible as it was a “State subject” and the Constitution would have to be amended for such a law.
  • The protection and preservation of animals is Entry 15 of the State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, which empowers the States to make laws on subjects like banning cow slaughter.