Insights Daily Current Affairs, 18 May 2017

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 18 May 2017


 

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

 

Cabinet approves Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program

 

The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program which now has been extended to all districts of the country.

  • The total cost of the proposal for the period from 01.01.2017 to 31.03.2020 including Central and State Government share is Rs.12,661crore.

maternity benefit scheme

 

What you need to know about the Maternity Benefit Program?

The Maternity Benefit Program will provide compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the women can take adequate rest before and after delivery and not be deprived of proper nutrition.

It is a centrally sponsored scheme and the cost sharing between Centre and states is 60:40 for all the states and union territories (with legislature), 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100% Centre share for union territories without legislatures.

 

Objective of the Scheme:

  • To provide partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child.
  • The cash incentives provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother (PW&LM) to reduce the effects of under-nutrition namely stunting, wasting and other related problems.

 

Target Group:

All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), excluding the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who are in regular employment with the Central Government or State Government or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being. It has been decided to give the benefit of Rs.5000/- to PW&LM in three installment for the birth of the first live child by MWCD and the remaining cash incentive as per approved norms towards Maternity Benefit under existing programmes after institutional delivery so that on an average, a woman will get ₹6000/-.

 

Significance of this scheme:

India’s maternal and infant mortality indicators are very poor. Every third woman is undernourished and every second woman is anaemic, government statistics show. An undernourished woman would likely give birth to a low-weight baby. As per the UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, India recorded the highest number of maternal deaths in the preceding year, and accounted for 17% of global deaths due to pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications (some 50,000 of 2.89 lakh such deaths worldwide).

Less than 40% of births in India are institutional deliveries. Data from the Registrar General of India, Sample Registration System (RGI-SRS) show a recent decline in Maternal Mortality Ratios (MMR) — from 212 per 100,000 live births in 2007-09 to 167 per 100,000 live births in 2011-13 — but there’s a long way to go still. The Infant Mortality Rate is 40 per 1,000 live births, according to SRS 2011-13.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Cabinet approves amendment of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971

 

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for amendment in Section 2 and Section 3 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 (PPE Act, 1971), by inserting definition of ‘residential accommodation occupation’ in a new clause in section 2 of the Act and inserting provisions relating to eviction from ‘residential accommodation occupation’ in a new sub-section 3B below sub-section 3A of Section 3 of the Act.

 

buildings

What you need to know?

The amendment will facilitate smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from government residences. The Amendment will enable the Estate officer to apply summary proceedings for evicting unauthorised occupants from residential accommodations allotted for a fixed tenure or for a period he/she holds office on the basis of an order of allotment on licence basis, as non-vacation of such residences leads to unavailability of houses to new incumbents.

  • As a consequence to these amendments, Government of India can now ensure that the unauthorised occupants are evicted from government residence in a speedy and smooth manner and the vacated accommodations are made available to eligible Govt. employees thus reducing the waiting period.
  • The beneficiaries include the employees of the Central Government offices who are eligible for General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) and waiting for the maturity of their turn.

 

Background:

The Government of India has to evict unauthorized occupants from Government accommodations under the provisions of PPE Act, 1971. However, the eviction proceedings take unusually long time, thereby reducing the availability of govt. accommodations to new incumbents.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission for accelerating discovery research to early development for biopharmaceuticals

 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission for accelerating discovery research to early development for biopharmaceuticals – “Innovate in India (13) empowering biotech entrepreneurs & accelerating inclusive innovation” to be funded by the Government of India.

What+are+Biopharmaceuticals

 

What you need to know?

The Mission will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) – a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

  • The Mission Program would be a Pan-India program. The key focus areas of the program would aid in preparing India’s technological and product development capabilities in the biopharmaceutical sector to a level that it is globally competitive over the next 10-15 years and will transform the health standards of India’s population through affordable product development.
  • Total project cost to be funded by Government of India is Rs. 1500 crore for five years. 50% cost for the Mission Programme will be arranged through the World Bank loan.
  • For the implementation, a Programme Management Unit will be set up at BIRAC which will work as an operational and functional arm that oversees and monitors program implementation and progress.
  • The Mission will focus on Development of specific products – vaccines, biotherapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics; establishment of shared infrastructure and facilities; building and strengthening domain specific knowledge and management skills; creating and enhancing technology transfer capabilities in public and private sector.
  • The Mission will provide a holistic and integrated approach to strengthen and support the entire product development value chain for accelerating the research leads to product development. This will help not only in immediate product development addressing public health needs, but will also help to create an ecosystem which will facilitate development of a continuous pipeline of products.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Boost to transform domestic nuclear industry

 

In a significant decision to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power programme, and give a push to country’s nuclear industry, the Union Cabinet has given its approval for construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). 

  • The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity. With this, the total installed capacity of the Plants will be 7000 MW.
  • The ten reactors will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-art technology meeting the highest standards of safety.

nuclear industry

 

Background:

India has current installed nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come onstream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction.

 

Significance of this move:

  • This Project will bring about substantial economies of scale and maximise cost and time efficiencies by adopting fleet mode for execution.
  • It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment.
  • With manufacturing orders to domestic industry, it will be a major step towards strengthening India’s credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing powerhouse.
  • It also supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures

 

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.

 

What you need to know about the convention?

The Convention is an outcome of the OECD / G20 BEPS Project to tackle base erosion and profit shifting through tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.

  • The Convention implements two minimum standards relating to prevention of treaty abuse and dispute resolution through Mutual Agreement Procedure. The Convention will not function in the same way as an Amending Protocol to a single existing treaty, which would directly amend the text of the Covered Tax Agreements. Instead, it will be applied alongside existing tax treaties, modifying their application in order to implement the BEPS measures.
  • The Convention ensures consistency and certainty in the implementation of the BEPS Project in a multilateral context. The Convention also provides flexibility to exclude a specific tax treaty and to opt out of provisions or parts of provisions through making of reservations.
  • A list of Covered Tax Agreements as well as a list of reservations and options chosen by a country are required to be made at the time of signature or when depositing the instrument of ratification.

 

Benefits for India:

Signing of the Multilateral Convention will enable the application of BEPS outcomes through modification of existing tax treaties of India in a swift manner. It is also in India’s interest to ensure that all its treaty partners adopt the BEPS anti-abuse outcomes. Signing of the Convention will enable curbing of revenue loss through treaty abuse and base erosion and profit shifting strategies by ensuring that profits are taxed where substantive economic activities generating the profits are carried out and where value is created.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

IB-like secrecy norms to be imposed on NTRO staff

 

National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), the Central agency looking after technical surveillance, will now be bound by secrecy norms just like Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research & Analyses Wing (RAW), with its staff restricted from speaking about the structure and functioning of the organisation.

  • In this regard, the Home Ministry has issued a notification listing NTRO under The Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1985, a demand being made by the organisation for over a decade now.

 

ntro

Implications of this move:

The inclusion of NTRO in the Schedule under the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1985 will inslulate it from answering queries under the Right to Information Act. The agency can decline RTI queries on its structure, functioning, personnel and organisation affairs by invoking Section 6 of the Act.

  • Under Section 6 of the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1985, no member of a scheduled intelligence agency can communicate with the press or publish or cause to be published any book, letter, pamphlet, poster or other document except with the prior permission of the head of the intelligence organisation.
  • The member also cannot use the name of his organisation for purposes not authorised by the head or in any other manner except for purposes relating to the official work and functioning of the organisation itself.
  • Any person who contravenes the aforesaid provisions will be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to Rs 2,000 or with both.

 

What you need to know about NTRO?

The NTRO was created after the 1999 Kargil conflict as a dedicated technical intelligence agency. It has been fighting tooth and nail to get included in the list as it has the right to lawfully intercept and monitor communications externally. It reports to the PMO and the NSA.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

IARI at Assam:

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the setting up of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (lARI) in Assam.
  • lARI-Assam would be a Post-Graduate Institution of higher learning in Agricultural Education.
  • It will have the hallmark identity of an IARI including all sectors of agriculture like field crops, horticultural crops, agro-forestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry, piggery, silk rearing, honey production, etc.
  • It will be an off-campus of IARI, New Delhi and integrated multi-disciplinary research would be undertaken in school mode i.e. Schools of Crop Sciences, Natural Resource Management, and Animal Sciences & Fisheries.