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Insights Daily Current Events, 30 September 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 30 September 2015


Paper 2 Topic: Constitutional bodies.

Discoms urge HC not to allow CAG to proceed with exit conf

Two power distribution companies have moved Delhi High Court seeking direction to CAG not to proceed with its exit conference till they are provided with the detailed breakup of the alleged loss of over Rs 2200 crore computed against them by the government auditor and given a reasonable time to respond to it.

What is exit conference?

  • An exit conference is a discussion between parties before the CAG finalises its draft report. It is the penultimate step before finalising the draft audit report on power companies.

What the discoms say?

  • The discoms want the conference to be put on hold till they are provided with a detailed breakup of the alleged loss of over 2,200 crore computed against them by the government auditor and given a reasonable time to respond to it.
  • These distribution companies allege that they have not been given an effective opportunity to participate in the audit process.
  • They say that if they are not given a reasonable time to respond to the findings in DARs (Draft Audit Report) by the CAG, the entire exercises would not only be rendered fruitless, but would also severely impair the results and findings arrived at in the final audit report. Such final report would be based on incorrect and inaccurate assumption.

However, countering their claim, the CAG had told the court that the discoms were supplied with the relevant portions.


  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by the Constitution of India under article 148.
  • CAG audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.
  • The CAG is also the external auditor of Government-owned corporations and conducts supplementary audit of government companies, i.e., any non-banking/ non-insurance company in which the state and Union governments have an equity share of at least 51% or subsidiary companies of existing government companies.
  • The reports of the CAG are taken into consideration by the Public Accounts Committees (PACs) and Committees on Public Undertakings (COPUs), which are special committees in the Parliament of India and the state legislatures.
  • The CAG enjoys the same status as a judge of Supreme Court of India in Indian order of precedence.
  • Appointment: CAG is appointed by the President of India following a recommendation by the Prime Minister. On appointment, he/she has to make an oath or affirmation before the President of India.
  • Removal: The CAG can be removed only on an address from both house of parliament on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. The CAG vacates the office on attaining the age of 65 years age even without completing the 6 years term.

Sources: The Hindu, CAG.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Centre launches Green Highways policy, aims at 6,000 km in first year

The government recently flagged off its Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy 2015.

Aim of the policy:

To help the environment, help local communities, and generate employment by planting trees along all the highways in the country.

key features:

  • The vision of the policy is to provide dignified employment to local people and communities.
  • Under this policy, every year 1% of the total cost of highway projects will go to the Green Highways Fund. That works out to around Rs.1,000 crore every year.
  • The policy’s objectives include developing a framework for the plantation of trees along highways, reducing the impact of air pollution and dust, providing shade on glaring hot roads during summer, reducing the impact of noise pollution and soil erosion, preventing the glare from the headlights of oncoming vehicles, and generating employment.
  • The Policy envisages a strict system of auditing whereby money will be released by the government to the empanelled agencies only if they have achieved a survival rate of 90% the previous year.
  • The implementation and progress of plantation will be monitored via images by Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO and audit will involve modern information technology tools.
  • according to the policy, contracts for greening will be given to NGOS, agencies, private companies and government organisations with proven track record in the past in the field. Those selected will be responsible for the survival and health of trees and will be strictly monitored by a body appointed by the ministry.
  • The target for the first year is to cover 6,000 km of highways.

The planting of trees will also help in achieving the country’s forest cover target. The National Forest Policy mandate is for a forest cover of 33% of the country’s land area. Currently, only 22% is covered by forests. This difference can be met only through the planting of trees outside the forest areas.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Govt unveils indigenous ranking framework for higher education

The government has unveiled an indigenous ranking framework for higher educational institutions that it believes will give Indian institutions a competitive platform free of any international bias.

About the Framework:

The National Institutional Ranking Framework marks a paradigm shift by including perceptions of students and parents in the ranking.

  • Initially, it will be voluntary for institutions to sign up for the ranking.
  • The ranking will be done by an independent and autonomous body and the exercise will be an annual affair.
  • It provides a transparent means for institutions to engage with students.
  • The ranking framework is designed in such a manner that institutions, belonging to different fields like engineering and management, would be compared separately in their own respective peer groups.

The framework will evaluate institutions on five parameters—

  1. teaching, learning and resources (TLR)
  2. research, professional practice and collaborative performance (RPC)
  3. graduation outcome (GO)
  4. outreach and inclusivity (OI)
  5. perception (PR) of end users

The HRD ministry will rank institutions vertically—engineering, management, universities, etc. Besides, it will also create two categories. Category A: those focusing on research and teaching; and Category B: those focusing primarily on teaching.

Why such a framework was necessary?

  • International ranking agencies only consider research work done in English, the body of work in regional languages is not considered.
  • Social inclusion or the reservation system is often not considered by international ranking agencies.
  • This framework gives new institutions a level playing field with older institutions.

Performance of Indian institutions:

  • Indian universities, including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have failed to garner a respectable ranking year after year in the World University Rankings, done by various international agencies like Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds or QS.
  • Recently, British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranked the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, at 147 and 179, respectively, in the QS World University Rankings for 2015-16. This is the first time in years that two Indian institutes have been placed in the Top 200 of global education.

Sources: PIB, The Hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Nothing sinister about Aadhaar, says Gujarat

The Gujarat government has told the Supreme Court that Aadhaar card scheme should not be seen in the sinister light of surveillance and censorship. Rather, it should be seen as a fool-proof method for the government to identify the actual beneficiaries of social benefit schemes and not get duped into spending taxpayers’ money on fraudsters.

  • Gujarat is the first State to challenge the Supreme Court’s August 11, 2015 order not to make the card mandatory.

What the Gujarat government says?

It says, for the government to identify the target beneficiaries to ensure that welfare schemes meant for them reach them and not someone else, Aadhaar is necessary. It makes their work easier.


In August 2015, the court had restricted the mandatory use of Aadhaar to the public distribution system (PDS) and LPG distribution. It had further confined the use of biometric information collected during Aadhaar enrolment only to criminal investigation.


Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number which will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.

How the Aadhaar scheme is helpful:

  • Aadhaar-platform is aimed at providing social security benefits / subsidies based on eligibility through direct benefit transfer.
  • It provides access and options to rural and poor people.
  • It helps bring transparency and eliminate corruption, leakage and inefficiency.
  • It was conceived as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services.
  • It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.

Who assigns the number?

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) assigns Unique Identification Number “Aadhaar” to residents of India on voluntary basis.


  • Aadhaar lacks legal or statutory authority as of now.
  • The AADHAAR number is not recognized as a legal proof of residence due to issues with the data protection.
  • India’s Intelligence Bureau claims anyone with an Aadhaar number can introduce others without any documentation to get the identity number, which makes it vulnerable to terrorism and other issues.

Sources: The Hindu, aadhar.