Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 January 2018

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 January 2018


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

Election Commission recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

 

The Election Commission has recommended that 20 MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi be disqualified as they held offices of profit while being legislators. President Ram Nath Kovind will make the final decision based on the recommendation.

 

Background:

In June 2016, the Congress had approached the Election Commission, alleging that 21 MLAs of the AAP had been appointed parliamentary secretaries in March 2015. In September 2016, the Delhi High Court set aside their appointments as parliamentary secretaries.

 

What is an ‘office of profit’?

If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “office of profit”. A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.

 

What are the basic criteria to disqualify an MP or MLA?

Basic disqualification criteria for an MP are laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191. They can be disqualified for: a) Holding an office of profit under government of India or state government; b) Being of unsound mind; c) Being an undischarged insolvent; d) Not being an Indian citizen or for acquiring citizenship of another country.

 

What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification?

Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions. In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

President of India appoints Governor of Madhya Pradesh

The President of India has appointed Smt Anandiben Patel as the Governor of Madhya Pradesh with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office.

 

Governors of States in India:

Governor is the head of the Executive power of any state in India, just like the President who is the head of the executive power in the Union. But, Governor is the nominal head of a state, unlike the Chief Minister who is the real head of a state in India. According to an amendment in the Constitution of India, brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.

Appointment and removal: The governors and lieutenant-governors are appointed by the president for a term of 5 years. The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by: Dismissal by the president on the advice of the prime minister of the country, at whose pleasure the governor holds office or Resignation by the governor. There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president. Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor.

Powers: Like the President of India, the Governor of any state in India is vested with certain executive, legislative and judicial powers. He or she also possesses certain discretionary or emergency powers. But one major difference in the powers enjoyed by the President and those enjoyed by the Governor is, the Governor does not have any diplomatic or military powers.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Accessible India Campaign

Context: In a path breaking initiative to empower Persons with Disabilities, 100 Accessible websites of various State Governments/UTs under Accessible India Campaign have been launched.

 

What are accessible websites?

Accessible Websites are those websites into which Persons with Disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.

 

Background:

The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) initiated a “Website Accessibility Project” for State Government/Union Territories under Accessible India Campaign through ERNET India, an autonomous scientific society under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), to make total 917 websites accessible and providing funds for the same. Now 100 accessible websites are made accessible under the project.

 

About Accessible India Campaign:

What is it? Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Aim: The aim of the Campaign is to make a barrier free and conducive environment for Divyangjans all over the country. The campaign has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.

Implementation: For creating universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, the campaign has been divided into three verticals: Built Environment; Transport and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.

 

The Built Environment Accessibility component of Accessible India Campaign entails following targets:

  • Completing accessibility audit of at least 25-50 most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them fully accessible by the end of this year.
  • Making 50% of all the government buildings of NCT and all the State capitals fully accessible by December 2018.
  • Completing accessibility audit of 50% of government buildings and making them fully accessible in 10 most important cities/towns of States not covered in targets (i) and (ii) by December 2019.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Accessible India Campaign is in line with the Article 9 of UNCRPD(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to which India is a signatory since 2007.

 

Sources: pib.


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

 

Australia Group

Context: India was recently admitted as the 43rd member of the Australia Group, an informal bloc of countries that keeps a tight control over exports of substances used in the making of chemical weapons.

 

Significance of this development:

With its admission into the Australia Group, India is now part of three of the four key export control groups in the world. This includes the Missile Technology Control Regime—an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries that regulates trade in sensitive equipment and technologies to ensure there is no proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying payloads above 500kg for more than 300km. Last month, India joined the Wassenaar Arrangement, which is also an informal grouping of 42 countries, exercising control over the export of dual-use goods and technologies.

The only export control group that India is not a part of is the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which controls the export of sensitive nuclear technologies and equipment, with the aim of preventing nuclear weapons’ proliferation.

 

The Australia Group:

The Australia Group works to counter the spread of materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development or acquisition of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) by states or terrorist groups. It was established in 1985.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


Paper 3:

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

 

Financial Sector Assessment Program

Context: The two main Reports of the 2017 India Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) – the Financial System Stability Assessment (FSSA) and Financial Sector Assessment (FSA), were recently released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Last FSAP for India was conducted in 2011-12.

The Report providing ‘Detailed Assessment of Observance—Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision’ has been released by the IMF and the World Bank and the Report providing ‘Detailed Assessment of Observance of Clearing Corporation of India Limited (CCIL) Central Counter Party (CCP) and Trade Repository (TR)’, was released by the World Bank.

 

Highlights of the report:

The FSAP report acknowledges many efforts by Indian authorities like tackling Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), recent recapitalization measures for banks and introduction of special resolution regime, formalization of National Pension System (NPS) and making the pension sector regulator statutory, passing of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and setting up of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), to name a few.

It appreciates initiatives such as ‘no frills’ account (under Jan Dhan Yojana), promoting digitization, introduction of unique biometric identification number (AADHAR), currency exchange initiative etc. It also recognizes the improved inter-agency co-operation since the establishment of Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC), supported by its Sub-Committee and four technical groups and progress in setting up of Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC).

 

About Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP):

The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), established in 1999, is a comprehensive and in-depth assessment of a country’s financial sector. It is a joint program of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

FSAPs analyze the resilience of the financial sector, the quality of the regulatory and supervisory framework, and the capacity to manage and resolve financial crises. Based on its findings, FSAPs produce recommendations of a micro- and macro-prudential nature, tailored to country-specific circumstances.

 

The FSAP follows a three-pronged approach when looking at the country’s financial sector:

  • The soundness of a financial system versus its vulnerabilities and risks that increase the likelihood or potential severity of financial sector crises.
  • A country’s developmental needs in terms of infrastructure, institutions and markets.
  • A country’s compliance with the observance of selected financial sector standards and codes.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: cybersecurity.

 

Cyber Surakshit Bharat

Recognizing the need to strengthen the cybersecurity ecosystem in India, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced the Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative in association with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and industry partners.

 

About the Cyber Surakshit Bharat:

What is it? Conceptualized with the mission to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments, Cyber Surakshit Bharat will be operated on the three principles of Awareness, Education and Enablement. The primary objective is to keep our data safe and protected.

What it does? It will include an awareness program on the importance of cybersecurity; a series of workshops on best practices and enablement of the officials with cybersecurity health tool kits to manage and mitigate cyber threats.

Significance: Cyber Surakshit Bharat is the first public-private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

Kilopower

 

Context: NASA has announced new tests are underway for the Kilopower project, a program designed to create small nuclear power sources to fuel further space exploration. A prototype, which was created by NASA and the Department of Energy, has completed non-nuclear tests and is now running with a real reactor core at a facility in Nevada.

 

About Kilopower:

What is it? The Kilopower project is a near-term technology effort to develop preliminary concepts and technologies that could be used for an affordable fission nuclear power system to enable long-duration stays on planetary surfaces.

Goal: The principal goal of the project is to sufficiently develop and test nuclear power system technologies by 2018 so fission power can be a viable option for NASA decision makers to consider when making their informed selection of exploration surface systems.

Significance: Kilopower tackles a few different problems in spacecraft design: existing nuclear power systems rely on a fuel we’ve essentially run out of, solar power becomes increasingly feeble the further from the sun the spacecraft goes, and more complicated space activities—like those involving humans—would require significantly stronger power supplies than current projects.

Benefits: The technology could power habitats and life-support systems, enable astronauts to mine resources, recharge rovers and run processing equipment to transform resources such as ice on the planet into oxygen, water and fuel. It could also potentially augment electrically powered spacecraft propulsion systems on missions to the outer planets.

 

Sources: et.


 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

 

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)

 

Context: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) celebrated its 13th Raising Day on January 19th, 2018.

An MoU was also signed in between NDRF and NSDC. Besides, a co-operation with Facebook took place during the programme. The highlights of the cooprtaion with facebook includes targeted geographical messaging, disaster information volunteers and community capacity building.

 

About NDRF:

The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

 

Background:

Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.

 

ROLE AND MANDATE OF NDRF:

  • Specialized response during disasters.
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations.
  • Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills.
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills.
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
  • Community Capacity Building Programme.
  • Organize Public Awareness Campaigns.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite:

What is it? Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) Flight-4 satellite is the latest satellite to join the US Air Force’s orbiting missile warning constellation equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors. The sensors collect data for use by the U.S. military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield. The satellite also completes the initial constellation and allows SBIRS to provide global coverage. It was launched recently onboard Atlas V rocket.