December 23, 2013
(Today, there were only a few important articles to read )
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
- FSSAI was established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
- FSSAI has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
- The Act aims to establish a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards, by moving from multi- level, multi- departmental control to a single line of command.
- To this effect, the Act establishes an independent statutory Authority – the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India with head office at Delhi. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the State Food Safety Authorities shall enforce various provisions of the Act.
· Significance of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Why is such an Act needed?
· What impact does the Food Safety and Standards Act has on the society and economy of India? (Also link this to malnutrition).
India, Nepal to check illegal border trade
- At the Inter-Governmental Committee meeting between the India and Nepal, the two countries have agreed to address each other’s concerns on commerce and transit, including reduction of tariff barriers and checking illegal trade along the porous border between the two countries.
- It was in direction to step up efforts to check unauthorised trade and control trade in fake Indian currency.
- The two sides have agreed on a 14-point agenda to enhance trade, promote cooperation and address concerns of the private sector of both sides.
Other concerns over which the two countries have agreed on:
- With increasing demand from Nepal for milk and dairy products, the Indian side has agreed to provide 10,000 cows.
- Nepal has agreed to adjust the 5% agriculture reforms charge it has been charging on Indian exports. While India has agreed to resolve difficulties related to export of Nepali books and newspapers.
- The two sides agreed to make institutional arrangements to facilitate third country import and export to build infrastructure in newly identified customs points.
- India would provide technical assistance that can enhance the competitiveness of Nepalese exports; basically India would be looking forward to enhancing the capacity building in areas required by the government of Nepal.
- Nepal’s abundant natural resources, like its hydropower potential, can be tapped for the prosperity of the country and surplus power exported to India and other countries. The government of India has unilaterally made this possible by moving power trading or power export-import into India from a restricted category to the open general category. This would permit power generated in Nepal to be supplied to the entire subcontinent.
· India-Nepal’s historic relationship.
· What are the issues between the two countries? What are the steps taken by the Indian side to resolve these issues. Recent agreements between the two countries.
· Strategic importance of Nepal to India.
(The below article can be used in your essay or in your GS papers.)
MPs paid well, but show less productivity: citizens’ report
- According to the recent report of the National Social Watch’s “Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2013” India’s parliamentarians are one of the best paid legislators across the world but they lag when it comes to performing legislative business.
- In terms of absolute amount, the value of Indian MPs’ pay and perks is higher than their counterparts in Singapore, Japan and Italy. It is four and a half times higher than that of Pakistan; and is about 68 times higher than the per capita income of the country. A three-fold rise in the basic salary, on August 20, 2010 was protested against by many MPs, who described this ‘low’ hike as an insult to the country’s legislators.
- Highlighting the low productivity of parliamentarians, the report points out that the nine sessions during 2010-12 saw the Lok Sabha working for an average of less than four hours of work a day during its 227 sittings in 852 hours, which is less than two-thirds of scheduled six hours per day. In the process, about 577 hours have been lost in disruptions and forced adjournments.
- In 2010, the government had hiked the pay packet of an MP from Rs. 56,000 to Rs.1.40 lakh a month. The salary component was raised from Rs.16,000 a month to Rs.50,000, constituency allowance from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 45,000, and office allowance from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 45,000.
- In terms of the ratio of the pay package to national per capita income, India ranks second after Kenya and pays almost double than the U.S. Political parties work less in Parliament to perform their designated functions as people’s representatives and legislators.
- Highlighting another interesting point, the study says Rs. 5,799.3 crore and Rs.9 ,963.9 crore was allocated for about 2.5-lakh local governing bodies in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively, which looks meagre compared to about Rs. 4,000 crore per annum allotted to about 800 MPs under the local area development programme.
· Though the government has hiked the pay packet of the MP’s, what do you think are the reasons for low productivity? Suggest remedial measures for the same.
· Do you think the quality of the debates happening is detiorating? What are the reasons behind it?
· Significance of Article 105. What are its merits and demerits?