Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 November 2017

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 November 2017


 

GS Paper 1:

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization.

 

Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra (PMMSK)

 

mahila-shakti-kendra-scheme-1

 

Context:

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for setting up of the Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra (PMMSK). The government plans to reach the 115 most backward districts in the country with 920 Mahila Shakti Kendra. The government plans to reach the 115 most backward districts in the country with 920 Mahila Shakti Kendra.

 

About Mahila Shakti Kendra:

What is it?

It is envisioned as a one-stop convergence support service for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition.

What it does?

It will aim to improve declining child sex ratio, ensure survival and protection of the girl child, ensuring her education and empowering her to fulfil her potential. It will provide an interface for rural women to approach the government for getting their entitlements and for empowering them through training and capacity building.

At the national level, the Mahila Shakti Kendra will provide domain-based knowledge support while at the state level, it will cater to the State Resource Centre for Women that will provide technical support to the respective government on issues related to women, the district and block level centres, and will provide support to the PMMSK and also give a foothold to Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in 640 districts.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

GS Paper 2:

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

15th Finance Commission

 

 

15th fc

 

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of the 15thFinance Commission. Under Article 280 (1) of the Constitution, it is a Constitutional obligation. The Terms of Reference for the 15thFinance Commission will be notified in due course of time.

 

About the Finance Commission:

What is a Finance Commission?

It is a body set up under Article 280 of the Constitution. Its primary job is to recommend measures and methods on how revenues need to be distributed between the Centre and states.

Constitutional provisions: Article 280(1) of the Constitution lays down that a Finance Commission (FC) should be constituted “…within two years from the commencement of this Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of every fifth year or at such earlier time as the President considers necessary…”.In keeping with this requirement, the practice has generally been to set up next Finance Commission within five years of the date of setting up of the previous Finance Commission.

 

Composition of Finance Commission:

  • The Constitution provides that Finance Commission shall consist of a Chairman and four other members to be appointed by President. The Chairman or members are eligible for reappointment.
  • The Constitution authorizes Parliament to make provisions related to qualifications, conditions of service of members or powers of Finance Commission. So Parliament enacted Finance Commission Act in 1951 to determine provisions related to qualifications or disqualifications, conditions of service or miscellaneous powers to perform functions provided under constitution.
  • Qualifications: The Chairman shall have vast experience in Public affairs and other four members shall be selected among persons who a) have qualifications as par with a judge of HC, b) has special knowledge of Finance and Accounts of govt, c) have vast experience in financial matters and d) have special knowledge of economics.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

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

 

Scheme on Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs

 

Context:

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for continuation of the scheme on Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) for another three financial years (FYs 2017-18 to 2019-20) and providing Grants-in-aid of Rs.18 crore to the Institute.  It will make the Institute self-sustainable by the end of FY 2019-20.

 

About IICA:

iica objective

 

What is it?

IICA is a think-tank and repository of data and knowledge to support rational decision-making for the policy makers, regulators as well as other stakeholders working in areas related to the corporate sector.

What it does?

It offers services to stakeholders in the field of corporate laws, corporate governance, CSR, accounting standards, investor education, etc. Various activities of IICA also help first-generation entrepreneurs and small business for imparting multi-disciplinary skills as they are unable to afford to employ separate experts in management, law, accountancy, etc.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

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

 

Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY)

 

Context:

The Prime Minister recently reviewed the progress in implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY). He said that funds accruing to the District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) should be utilized to strategically focus upon and eliminate major development issues or deficits that these districts currently face. He said this should be done in a focused way, so as to achieve the greatest possible, tangible results by 2022, which marks 75 years of independence.

 

About PMKKKY:

pmkkky

What is it?

The programme is meant to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).

 

Objectives of the scheme:

  • To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government.
  • To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.
  • To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.

 

Areas of focus:

  • High priority areas like drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development and environment conservation will get at least 60 % share of the funds.
  • For creating a supportive and conducive living environment, balance funds will be spent on making roads, bridges, railways, waterways projects, irrigation and alternative energy sources.

 

About District Mineral Foundations (DMFs):

The Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, mandated the setting up of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) in all districts in the country affected by mining related operations. In case of all mining leases executed before 12th January, 2015 (the date of coming into force of the Amendment Act) miners will have to contribute an amount equal to 30% of the royalty payable by them to the DMFs. Where mining leases are granted after 12.01.2015, the rate of contribution would be 10% of the royalty payable.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.

 

PRAGATI

 

Context:

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, recently chaired the twenty-third interaction through PRAGATI – the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation. The first twenty-two meetings of PRAGATI have seen a cumulative review of 200 projects with a total investment of Rs. 9.31 lakh crore.

In the latest meeting, the Prime Minister reviewed the progress towards handling and resolution of grievances related to consumers and the progress of nine infrastructure projects in the railway, road, power, and renewable energy sectors, spread over several states.

 

About PRAGATI:

pragati

What is it? 

PRAGATI is a unique integrating and interactive platform. The platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments.

 

Unique features:

  • The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing and geo-spatial technology.
  • It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings on one stage the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States.
  • With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation. It is also an innovative project in e-governance and good governance.
  • It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).
  • Issues to be flagged before the PM are picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, on-going Programmes and pending Projects.
  • The system will ride on, strengthen and re-engineer the data bases of the CPGRAMS for grievances, Project Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. PRAGATI provides an interface and platform for all these three aspects.
  • It will also take into consideration various correspondences to PM’s office by the common people or from high dignitaries of States and/or developers of public projects.
  • It is also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.
  • The system has been designed in-house by the PMO team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

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

 

European Bank for Reconstruction & Development

 

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved India’s Membership for European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD). Necessary steps will be initiated by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance to acquire the membership of the EBRD.

 

How will this membership help India?

  • Membership of EBRD would enhance India’s international profile and promote its economic interests. It will also give access to EBRD’s Countries of Operation and sector knowledge.
  • India’s investment opportunities would get a boost. It would increase the scope of cooperation between India and EBRD through co-financing opportunities in manufacturing, services, Information Technology, and Energy.
  • EBRD’s core operations pertain to private sector development in their countries of operation. The membership would help India leverage the technical assistance and sectoral knowledge of the bank for the benefit of development of private sector.
  • This would contribute to an improved investment climate in the country. The membership of EBRD would enhance the competitive strength of the Indian firms, and provide an enhanced access to international markets in terms of business opportunities, procurement activities, consultancy assignments etc.
  • This would open up new vistas for Indian professionals on the one hand, and give a fillip to Indian exports on the other. Increased economic activities would have the employment generating potential. It would also enable Indian nationals to get the employment opportunity in the Bank.

 

About EBRD:

 

EBRD_members

 

What is the EBRD?

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an international financial institution that supports projects in over 30 countries, from eastern Europe to central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. Investing primarily in private sector clients whose needs cannot be fully met by the market, the EBRD promotes entrepreneurship and fosters transition towards open and democratic market economies.

What is the EBRD’s mandate?

The mandate of the EBRD stipulates that it must only work in countries that are committed to democratic principles. Respect for the environment is part of the strong corporate governance attached to all EBRD investments.

What support does the EBRD provide in the countries where it works?

The EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and investments in existing companies. It also works with publicly owned companies, to support privatisation, restructuring state-owned firms and improving municipal services. It uses close relationship with governments in the region to promote policies that will bolster the business environment.

Who owns the EBRD?

The EBRD is owned by 65 countries and two intergovernmental institutions: the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

How is the EBRD governed?

The powers of the EBRD are vested in the Board of Governors to which each member appoints a governor, generally the minister of finance. The Board of Governors delegates most powers to the Board of Directors, which is responsible for the EBRD’s strategic direction. The President is elected by the Board of Governors and is the legal representative of the EBRD. Under the guidance of the Board of Directors, the President manages the EBRD’s work.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country.

 

2018 as International Year of Millets

 

Context: India has sent a proposal to United Nations for declaring the year 2018 as ‘International Year of Millets’. The proposal, if agreed, will raise awareness about millets among consumers, policy makers, industry and R&D sector.

millets

 

Significance of this move:

Promotion of production and consumption of millets through conscious efforts at global level is likely to contribute substantially in the fight against targeted hunger and mitigate the effect of climate change in long run. Popularizing millets would benefit future generations of farmers as well as consumers.

 

What are Millets? Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals or dryland-cereals, and includes sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet and other millets.

 

Benefits of Millets:

  • An important staple cereal crop for millions of small holder dryland farmers across sub-saharan Africa and Asia, millets offer nutrition, resilience, income and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times. They have multiple untapped uses such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing. Therefore, millets are Smart Food as they are Good for You, Good for the Farmer and Good for the Planet.
  • Nutritionally superior to wheat & rice owing to their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber & minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous, millets can provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
  • The anaemia (iron deficiency), B-complex vitamin deficiency, pellagra (niacin deficiency) can be effectively tackled with intake of less expensive but nutritionally rich food grains like millets.
  • Millets can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.
  • Adapted to low or no purchased inputs and to harsh environment of the semi-arid tropics, they are the backbone for dry land agriculture.
  • Photo-insensitive & resilient to climate change, millets are hardy, resilient crops that have a low carbon and water footprint, can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs. In times of climate change they are often the last crop standing and, thus, are a good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: conservation.

 

Chilika Lake

 

Context:

Lakhs of migratory birds have made their way to the Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon. Major bird congregations have been spotted in the wetlands of the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary inside Chilika and Mangalajodi, a major village on the banks of the lake.

Migratory birds fly across continents from Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake and remote parts of Russia, Mongolia and Siberia and flock to the marshy lands of the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary inside the Chilika Lake, which is spread across over 1000 sq. km.

chilika-lake

 

 

About Chilika Lagoon:

  • It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
  • It is one of the hotspot of biodiversity in the country, and some rare, vulnerable and endangered species listed in the IUCN Red List of threatened Animals inhabit in the lagoon for atleast part of their life cycle.
  • On account of its rich bio-diversity and ecological significance, Chilika was designated as the 1st “Ramsar Site” of India.
  • The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is notified as a Bird Sanctuary under Wildlife (Protection) Act, the National Wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs Committee of Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, have also identified the lagoon as a priority site for conservation and management.
  • Chilika Lagoon lies in the districts of Puri, Khurda and Ganjam of Odisha State along the eastern coast of India. It is well connected to the Chennai and Kolkata through National Highway No 5, and the Chennai Kolkata rail line passes along the western bank of the Lagoon Balugaon, with Balugaon, Chilika and Rambha being the main stations along the Western shoreline of the lagoon.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

BrahMos

 

Context:

In a major milestone, the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile has been successfully test fired for the first time from the Indian Air Force’s frontline Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jet against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal, significantly bolstering the country’s aerial prowess.

 

brahmos-A

 

About BrahMos missile:

  • Weighing 2.5 ton, BrahMos ALCM is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on India’s Su-30 fighter aircraft. It has been modified by HAL to carry weapons.
  • It is a world-class weapon with multi-platform, multi-mission role and is capable of being launched from land, sea and air.
  • BrahMos is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and NPOM of Russia.
  • The name Brahmos has been taken from two rivers – Brahmaputra and Moskva.
  • The heavyweight missile, integrated with the long-range fighter, is seen as a force multiplier for the IAF.
  • The Brahmos cruise missiles have an effective strike range of around 290-300 km.
  • The land and warship versions have already been inducted by the armed forces.

 

Sources: pib.