Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 Aug 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 Aug 2017


 

Paper 1:

 

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

Odisha govt and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme

 

Odisha government has launched ‘She Means Business’ programme of Facebook for women entrepreneurs. Odisha government’s partnership with Facebook aimed to reduce the digital divide and empower nearly 25,000 women entrepreneurs and SHGs.

 

Highlights of the programme:

  • Under the scheme 25, 000 women entrepreneurs and self-help group (SHG) members will be given training on digital marketing skills within next one year.
  • Facebook will also make a database of entrepreneurs in the state and will monitor their growth, turnover and profit after one year. While success stories among them will be highlighted to inspire others.
  • Women entrepreneurs will get hands on training on digital marketing free of cost and they need not create their website to promote their business. The platform will also facilitate vertical integration.

 

Background:

As many as 201 million monthly active people on Facebook in India on their mobile and 57% of people on Facebook in India are connected to at least one small business. Moreover, 1.99 billion interactions generated between businesses and people in India through Facebook. Number of new women-owned small and medium business pages on Facebook in India has increased approximately six-fold in the last four years (between 2012 and 2015).

 

Sources: et.


 

Paper 2:

 

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

 

CBFC Board Reconstituted

 

In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983, the Central Government has reconstituted the existing Central Board of Film Certification for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. The new board will be headed by Sh. Prasoon Joshi.

cbfc

About CBFC:

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is a statutory body under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952.

  • Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification.
  • The Board consists of non-official members and a Chairman (all of whom are appointed by Central Government).

 

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

Push for law to ensure transparency rules

 

The Economic Survey has proposed Transparency of Rules Act (TORA), a legislation to end any asymmetry of information regarding rules and regulations faced by an average citizen.

 

What you need to know about TORA?

  • The TORA is an attempt to change in some ways the relationship between the average normal citizen and the State.
  • TORA will require all departments to mandatorily place all citizen-facing rules on their website. Officials will not be able to impose any rule not mentioned beforehand.
  • All laws will have to be updated by the department while providing access to history of the same webpage.
  • Once a department has shifted to the platform, it can be deemed “TORA compliant” and citizens can be sure that the information is authentic and updated.

 

Need for a law in this regard:

The ‘opaque mesh’ of regulations prevalent in India not only make life difficult for citizens who cannot feign ignorance of the rules as a valid defence, but also act as a magnet for corruption and endless litigation.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

BIMSTEC meeting

 

The 15th ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation concluded recently in Kathmandu, endorsing the memorandum of understanding for the establishment of BIMSTEC grid interconnection and also agreed to expedite the negotiations for BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Agreement.

  • The meeting of the BIMSTEC also pledged to deepen cooperation for shared prosperity in the region. The meeting decided to establish cells focused on areas, like energy, environment and culture, among others, for effective cooperation and to elevate BIMSTEC as a vibrant and visible regional cooperation. The meeting also decided to form an eminent persons’ group to prepare the future roadmap of BIMSTEC.

bimstec

What you need to know about BIMSTEC?

BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a regional organisation which comprises of seven member states which lie near the Bay of Bengal.

  • This sub-regional organisation was started on June 6, in the year 1997 through a Bangkok Declaration.
  • BIMSTEC consists of seven countries: 5 come from South Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka; and 2 come from Southeast Asia, which includes Myanmar and Thailand.
  • BIMSTEC headquarters are situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • The whole region which constitutes the BIMSTEC is home to over 1.5 billion people. The population counts for around 22 percent of the total world population. These countries have a combined GDP of $2.7 trillion.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

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

 

Economic survey on Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development

 

India, is emerging as a knowledge based economy, poised for double digit growth, and needs to strengthen social infrastructure by investing in health and education.

 

Challenges:

  • The deterioration in quality learning in primary education sector and achievement of targeted enrolment level in the middle education is a challenge.
  • Employment in India poses a great challenge in terms of its structure which is dominated by informal, unorganized and seasonal workers, and is characterized by high levels of under employment, skill shortages, with the labour markets impacted by rigid labour laws, and the emergence of contract labour.
  • The health sector in India faces many challenges in the form of declining role of public delivery of health services, high Out of Pocket (OoP) expenses on health and issues of accessibility and affordability of health services for many.
  • The Government’s Swachh Bharat Mission has had remarkable progress since its inception. With its focus on cleanliness and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India, there has been a significant decline in the number of people who defecate in the open, which is estimated at less than 35 crores.

 

Reforms:

Education sector: The education policies need to be designed with focus on learning outcomes and remedial education with interventions which work and maximize the efficiency of expenditure. There is need for bio-metric attendance of school staff, independent setting of examination papers, neutral examination and for DBT for schools. There is need to adopt outcome measures for the education and skilling activities to ensure improvement in delivery of schemes/ programmes.

Labour reforms: In order to make the labour market system dynamic and efficient, the government has taken several reforms/initiatives, both legislative as well as technological such as notification of ‘Ease of Compliance to maintain Registers under various Laws Rules, 2017’ and introduction of e-Biz Portal. These registers/forms can also be maintained in a digitized form.

Skill enhancement: Government has been imparting short term skill training through Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and long term training through Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). Model Skill Centers are being set up in every district of the country under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra Scheme. The emphasis should be on enhancing the quality of skill training programmes and making a competency-based framework with giving individuals an option to progress through education, training, prior learning and experiences.

Health sector: There has to be concerted efforts by the Central and State governments to reform the health sector, by addressing quality issues, standardising rates for diagnostic tests, generating awareness about alternative health systems and introduction of punitive measures like fines on hospitals and private health providers for false claims through surgery, medicines etc. For more equitable access to health services, government should provide health benefits and risk cover to poorer sections of the society.

Social security: Addressing the social security of large number of vulnerable workers in the informal economy should be prioritized by the Government along with ensuring the safety and security of women to raise their participation in economic activities.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

Economic survey on state of Agriculture and Food Management

 

The progress in agriculture needs to be evaluated in terms of outcomes such as catching up with global yields of various crops as a means to increase incomes of farmers. Managing and reducing the various risks in agriculture activities can make the sector resilient, increase profitability and can ensure stable income flows to the farmers.

agriculture and food management

Challenges:

Land holding size: The average farm size in India is small, and declining since 1970-71. The predominance of small operational holdings is a major limitation to reap the benefits of economies of scale in agriculture operations.

Credit: Credit is an important mediating input for agriculture to improve productivity. The predominance of informal sources of credit for farmers is a concern. There is regional disparity in the distribution of agricultural credit which also needs to be addressed.

Post- harvest losses: The key challenge that the horticulture sector faces in India are post-harvest losses, availability of quality planting material and lack of market access for horticultural produce of small farmers.

 

Reforms suggested:

  • To address the price risks in agriculture and allied sectors, marketing infrastructure along the entire value chain needs to be built and strengthened.
  • To address production risks, the share of irrigated area should be expanded by increasing the coverage of water saving irrigation systems like micro irrigation systems.
  • To increase productivity of crops, standards should be set and enforced for better quality, pest and disease resistant seeds.
  • Trade and domestic policy changes should be announced well before sowing and should stay till arrivals and procurement is over.
  • To enhance women’s involvement in the dairy projects, funds should be earmarked through appropriate mechanisms.
  • Providing timely and affordable formal and institutional credit to the small and marginal farmers is the key to inclusive growth.
  • Regime based on timely interventions needs to be adopted.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

Farm waivers may cut GDP by Rs 1.1L cr

 

The Economic Survey part 2 has asked the states to follow UP model, if they are doling out farm loan waivers. On this basis, an upper bound of loan waivers at the all-India level would be between Rs 2.2 lakh crore and Rs 2.7 lakh crore.

farm waivers

The survey notes the following impacts:

  • It could reduce aggregate demand in the economy by as much as 0.7%, shaving off Rs 1.1 lakh crore from GDP. This would impart a significant deflationary shock to an economy that has yet to gather its full momentum. But the predicted impact is the upper limit, as the estimate is based on the assumption that states that have not announced loan waivers will do so. The actual impact will depend on the number of states that actually decide to grant waivers, and how they distribute them over time.
  • Farm loan waivers and declining profitability in the power and telecom sectors would exacerbate the twin balance sheet problem — overleveraged companies and the pile up of bad debt at banks — and weigh on the economy. A reduction in private consumption and higher borrowings by states, among others, could affect aggregate demand. Monetary, fiscal and agricultural policies will be the key to counter these deflationary impulses in the year ahead.
  • The waivers will affect the aggregate demand in four ways: impact on private consumption via increases in private sector net wealth, impact on the public sector via changes in government expenditure or taxes, crowding out impact via higher borrowings by state governments boand crowding in impact via higher credit availability as bank NPAs fall.
  • Loan waiver will increase net wealth of farm households. Aggregate increase in income will be 28%, and 7% in consumption — or Rs 55,000 crore.
  • States with fiscal room for loan waiver will add about Rs 6,350 crore to demand, while those that don’t have the space will reduce demand by about Rs 1.9 lakh crore. This will result in higher borrowing by states with fiscal space, which could squeeze out private funding.
  • However, bank balance sheets will improve inasmuch as non-performing farm loans are taken off their books. So they might be able to provide additional financial resources to the private sector, leading to greater spending. It is estimated that these two effects would almost cancel each other.

 

Sources: et.