Insights Daily Current Events, 20 November 2015
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
50 Uttar Pradesh districts declared drought-hit
50 of the 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh have been declared drought-hit by the Uttar Pradesh state government.
- These 50 districts either received less than 60% rain from June to September this year or more than 33% crops were ruined there.
- The decision to declare these districts, which produce sugarcane, pulses, wheat, rice and cash crops, drought-hit was taken on the recommendation of a natural calamity committee.
- The government has suspended collections in the affected districts till March 31, 2016.
- The government has asked the district magistrates to chalk out a plan to deal with the situation and ensure that farmers are not harassed on the pretext of revenue realisation.
- Government departments have also been directed to start relief work in the identified districts to provide help to the farmers.
- Last year, a similar decision had been taken for the 58 drought-hit districts.
As per the guidelines issued by the Centre in relation to drought, the state government is vested with the authority to consider declaring a district as drought hit if it receives 75% or less of downpour compared to normal.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
UNHCR to get 2015 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace
The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2015 will be awarded to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- The decision was taken by the international jury of the prize, headed by Vice President Hamid Ansari.
The prestigious award is being given to the office of UNHCR in recognition of its immense contributions in assisting millions of refugees and for working under difficult circumstances to bring about changes to reduce the flow of refugees.
About the award:
- The prize is accorded annually to individuals or organisations in recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order, ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom.
- The prize carries a cash award of Rs.25 lakhs and a citation.
- It was first awarded in 1986.
- The UN General Assembly established the UNHCR on 14 December, 1950, initially to help people displaced by the World War II.
- In the decades that followed, it became the principal agency that has helped displaced people throughout the world.
- UNHCR’S mission is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and seek lasting solutions to their plight.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
Technology Acquisition and Development Fund
The union government has launched the Technology Acquisition and Development Fund (TADF) under the National Manufacturing Policy.
About TADF scheme:
- The Scheme facilitates acquisition of clean & green technologies by micro, small and medium units across the sectors.
- It aims to bridge the technological gap at an affordable cost.
- The Scheme is conceptualised to catalyse the manufacturing growth in MSME sector to contribute to the national focus of Make in India.
- The Scheme would be implemented through Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA), a joint venture company of CII and Department of Science and Technology.
- Under the scheme financial support will be provided in acquiring of technology/Patent from across the Globe based on applications received from MSMEs.
- The fund will support, via subsidies, manufacturing of equipment for controlling pollution, reducing energy consumption and water conservation.
- The scheme will also facilitate resource conservation activities in industries located in NIMZ through the introduction of subsidy schemes for energy/ environmental/ water audits, construction of green buildings, implementation of waste treatment facilities and implementation of renewable energy projects through financial support.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
First batch of enclave residents from Bangladesh arrives in West Bengal
The first batch of people who have been living in erstwhile Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, who opted to come to India, recently arrived in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district.
- They were greeted by the district administration at the international border check-post at Changrabandha in the district on their arrival.
- The district administration is providing all the facilities to the people.
- According to the administration, the second batch of people will arrive by November end this year.
- About 980 persons are likely to come to India and the formalities have to be completed by November 30.
Land boundary agreement:
Under the Land Boundary Agreement between, the Bangladeshi enclaves in India and Indian enclaves in Bangladesh were transferred on July 31, 2015.
- The agreement involved handing over 17,000 acres of land to Bangladesh in return for 7,000 acres in 162 enclaves in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.
- It also required an amendment to the Constitution (the 119th amendment) ratified by both Houses of Parliament with a two-thirds majority.
It should be noted that under the agreement not a single person from the erstwhile Bangladesh enclaves in India has decided to go to Bangladesh. About 980 persons from Indian enclaves in Bangladesh have decided to move to India.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Seventh Pay Commission
The seventh Pay Commission, headed by Justice AK Mathur, has submitted its report to the union finance ministry.
- The recommendations, once cleared by the Cabinet, will lead to a substantial hike in salaries of central government employees and pensioners with effect from January 1, 2016.
- An overall increase of 23.55% in pay, allowances, and pension for government employees.
- The minimum pay in govt is recommended to be set at Rs 18,000 per month.
- Maximum pay is recommended as Rs 2,25,000 per month for Apex scale and Rs 2,50,000 per month for Cabinet Secretary and others at the same level.
- The rate of annual increment retained at 3%.
- One Rank One Pension proposed for civilian government employees on line of OROP for armed forces.
- Military Service Pay (MSP), which is a compensation for the various aspects of military service, will be admissible to the defence forces personnel only.
- Short service commissioned officers will be allowed to exit the armed forces at any point in time between 7 to 10 years of service.
- A status quo on the retirement age of Central government employees. Retirement age for staff of Central government is 60 years.
Implications, if these recommendations are implemented:
- An increase of 0.65% points in the ratio of expenditure on to GDP.
- Financial impact will be Rs 1.02 lakh crore – Rs 73,650 crore to be borne by Central Budget and Rs 28,450 crore by Railway Budget.
- The salary hikes are expected to boost sales of affordable homes and consumer durables, which in turn will drive demand in the economy.
- Recommendations will impact 47 lakh serving govt employees, 52 lakh pensioners, including defence personnel.
However, it should be noted that the 16% hike in basic salary is much lower than the 35% hike employees got in the Sixth Pay Commission.
sources: bs, pib.