Insights Daily Current Events, 15 September 2015
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
World Bank ranks Gujarat as most investor-friendly State
Aiming to enhance the country’s image as a friendly investment destination, the government along with World Bank has released a state-wise report on the ease of doing business – a report in which Gujarat has topped with a score of 71.14%.
- States were assessed on the implementation, over a six-month period from January to June, of a 98-point reforms agenda. This action plan on “Ease of Doing Business” was finalised by chief secretaries of states participating in the “Make in India” workshop inaugurated by the PM in December 2014.
- This is the first ever ranking of States on the ease of doing business in India. The rankings reflect the ease of doing business in these States by the small and medium enterprises rather than foreign investors.
Performance of states:
- BJP-governed States dominate the top ranks.
- Gujarat implemented 71.14% of the reforms.
- Andhra Pradesh has come second with a score of 70.12%, Jharkhand third at 63.09%, Chhattisgarh fourth with 62.45% and Madhya Pradesh fifth with 62%.
- The largest recipients of foreign investments, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, are ranked eighth and twelfth with less than 50% scores.
- Punjab emerged the best performer in the category ‘setting up a business’ and Maharashtra in ‘obtaining infrastructure-related utilities’.
- Madhya Pradesh topped ‘allotment of land and obtaining construction permit’ and Karnataka ‘registering and complying with tax procedures’.
- Gujarat was assessed as the best for ‘complying with environment procedures’. Jharkhand is the best in two categories: ‘carrying out inspections’ as well as ‘enforcing contracts’.
With this, it is expected that investments will begin to flow to States that make it easier to do business, seeing which the low-rank States could be encouraged to take up reforms.
The focus of the study is on eight key areas: The setting up of a business, allotment of land and obtaining construction permit, complying with environment procedures, complying with labour regulations, obtaining infrastructure-related utilities, registering and complying with tax procedures, carrying out inspections and enforcing contracts.
Sources: The Hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.
States seek review of ban on CMs’ photos in ads
The Supreme Court has sought the Centre’s response on pleas made by several State governments to review its verdict banning the publication of photographs of Chief Ministers in government advertisements.
- The Supreme Court, in its May 2015 judgment, had banned ruling parties from publishing photos of Chief Ministers, political leaders and politicians in government-funded advertisements, saying that it cannot allow them to use taxpayers’ money to build a “personality cult.”
- The judgment had come on the basis of a series of recommendations given by a committee led by noted legal academician N.S. Madhava Menon on introducing checks on government-funded ads.
What the states say?
The States have been arguing that they enjoy autonomy in a federal structure of governance, and so, if the court can allow the Prime Minister’s photographs to be published in government advertisements heralding new projects and welfare schemes, Chief Ministers too have every right to have their photos published.
Why SC had banned?
The court says such photos divert attention from the policy of the government, unnecessarily associate an individual with a government project and pave the way for cultivating a “personality cult.”
- As an exception to this general rule, the Supreme court had held that the photos of only three constitutional authorities — Prime Minister, President and Chief Justice of India — can be used in such ads. But for that too, the personal approval of these three authorities need to be got before publication.
- The judgment also gives space for publishing the photos of acknowledged personalities like Mahatma Gandhi to commemorate their anniversaries.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB.
Paper 3 Topic: conservation.
Panel formed to restructure water agencies
Seeking to carry forward the Gujarat-model of irrigation reform in the country and to quickly complete the task of aquifer mapping to quantify available groundwater resources, the Centre has constituted a seven-member committee to restructure the central water commission (CWC) and the central ground water board (CGWB) – the two key central bodies that manage water resources in India.
- The committee, headed by ex-planning commission member Mihir Shah, has been asked to submit its report in three months so that government can make a policy framework to utilize available water resources in the country in a better way.
The committee has been asked to:
- Work on water resource planning, augmenting and budgeting in an integrated manner.
- undertake an elaborate mapping exercise as part of river basin planning, which will include mapping and characterising of aquifers.
- suggest ,measures to ensure water availability to farmers through creating last-mile connectivity.
Since more than 60% of the available water is used for irrigation purpose, the focus of the panel would be to recommend suitable re-orientation and restructuring of the CWC and the CGWB at river basin and sub-basin level to take care of the needs of farming sector.
Why restructuring of these water bodies is necessaruy?
- to optimally develop water resources in India so that all river basins and resources can be managed keeping in mind the increasing unpredictability of the monsoon and other climate factors.
- Decreasing per capita availability of water and the huge projected demand of this natural resources by 2050 are also triggers for such a move.
While the CWC is working for managing\monitoring surface water, the role of the CGWB is to look after the ground water situation in the country.
Gujarat’s model inlcudes water harvesting, drip irrigation, conservation of water resources through micro irrigation network and setting up or creating village pond, check dams and ‘boribandh’ (sand bag) dams so that water actually reaches the farmers in all areas within the state.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB.
Paper 1 Topic: poverty and developmental issues.
India yet to achieve U.N. Millennium Development Goals
According to the Statistical Year Book, brought out recently by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) that is overseeing progress on the MDGs, India is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the deadline for which expires this year.
- The data show that only six of the 18 targets adopted as part of the eight goals in 2000 have been fully met.
- A report brought out by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific also shows that India has met only four of the eight MDGs.
- As per the official figures, India has managed to halve poverty rates from the 1990 levels, ensure gender parity in primary school enrolment, reversed incidence of HIV/AIDS, and reduced malaria and TB deaths.
- However, India continues to lag behind in checking maternal mortality and child mortality to expected levels. It has failed to address prevalence of hunger as well.
- As per the Census 2011 report, 89 million children in the age group 0-3 were malnourished, with 35.6 million among them underweight.
- The failure to improve access to sanitation, with half of the country’s households lacking a latrine, remains a major concern as well.
- Even in areas where India claims to be close to meeting its targets, such as reversing the incidence of malaria and TB, the disease burden continues to be high in terms of absolute numbers.
- 8 million persons develop TB every year in india, and until recently, 3.7 lakh persons died annually, or 1,000 persons every day.
- The target to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 may not also be achieved.
MDGs: What are they?
These are eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. They were set to be achieved by 2015.
- These are time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability.
- They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security.
- Since the adoption, there has been significant progress in many of the goals. But the progress has not been uniform. The progress differs from country to country and even within the country.
The eight millennium development goals are:
- Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
- Achieve Universal Primary Education
- Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
- Reduce Child Mortality
- Improve Maternal Health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
- Ensure Environmental Sustainability
- Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Each goal has specific targets, and dates for achieving those targets.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, MDGs, UNDP.
Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Sports Ministry Grants Recognition to Indian Kalarippayattu Federation as Regional Sports Federation (RSF)
With a view to promote and give due acknowledgement and importance to sports having regional spread, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has recognized the Indian Kalarippayattu Federation as Regional Sports Federation.
- This recognition means granting a major role to the Indian Kalarippayattu Federation (IKF) for promotion and development of Kalarippayattu sport in India.
- Kalaripayattu is a Martial art which originated as a style in Kerala during 3nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.
- The word kalari first appears in Sangam literature to describe both a battlefield and combat arena.
- It is also considered to be one of the oldest fighting system in existence.
- It is now practiced in Kerala, in contiguous parts of Tamil Nadu.
- Kalaripayattu techniques include a combination of steps (Chuvatu) and postures (Vadivu). Chuvatu literally means ‘steps’, the basic steps of the martial arts. Vadivu literally means ‘postures’ or stances are the basic characteristics of Kalaripayattu training. Named after animals, they are usually eight in number.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.