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Insights Daily Current Events, 08 January 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 08 January 2016

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Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance.

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs merged with MEA

The Union Government has merged the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Why?

  • To avoid duplication of work as most of the work of MOIA was done by Indian missions abroad and also to improve efficiency.
  • Even the information for answering the questions related to MOIA in Parliament is provided by the Indian missions.

However, according to some reports, the merger has been done as the MEA has been short of staff and wanted greater number of officials with diplomatic experience in key positions in MOIA to deal with emergencies involving Indians in various crisis-prone countries in West Asia. The merger is expected to increase efficiency in MEA’s emergency work abroad.

About the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA):

The MOIA, dedicated to the multitude of Indian nationals settled abroad, was established in May 2004 as the ministry of non-resident Indians’ affairs. Later, it was renamed the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in September 2004.

  • The primary task of the MOIA was to connect the Indian diaspora with its motherland.
  • The ministry initiated various programmes focusing on developing networks with and amongst the overseas Indians with the intent of building partnerships with the diaspora.

sources: the hindu, wiki.

 

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

Punjab bans Guthka

Punjab government has ordered ban on manufacturing of food products containing tobacco or nicotine like ‘Gutkha’ and ‘Pan Masala’ in the state with immediate effect.

  • The government has asked the state Health Department to take immediate steps to ensure complete ban on manufacturing of ‘Guthka’, ‘Pan Masala’, processed/ flavored/ scented chewing tobacco and any other food products containing tobacco or nicotine in the state.
  • The state government had already issued a notification on January 1 banning the storage, sale or distribution of tobacco items by whatever name these are called as final products in the market and has been prohibited for one year in Punjab.

The ban has been issued as the sale is in violation of Section 7 of the COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products, Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 2003). Section 7 prohibits any trade or commerce in cigarettes or any other tobacco product unless every pack of cigarettes or any other tobacco product sold, supplied or distributed carries specified warning including pictorial warning.

Background:

After the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in 2011 framed rules making it clear that tobacco and nicotine will not be used as ingredients in food products, a number of states had put ban on manufacture, storage and sale of tobacco products.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

INS Kadmatt Commissioned

INS Kadmatt, second ship of Project 28 (P28) class Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvettes, was recently commissioned into the Indian Navy by the Chief of Naval Staff at a ceremony held at Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.

About INS Kadmatt:

  • INS Kadmatt is named after one of the large islands amongst the Lakshadweep group of Islands off the west coast of India.
  • It is one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in India. It has been constructed using high grade steel (DMR 249A) produced in India.
  • The vessel is indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, Kolkata.
  • It is propelled by four diesel engines to achieve speeds in excess of 25 knots with an endurance of 3450 Nm. Some of the advanced stealth features have been incorporated in this ship.
  • INS Kadmatt has a multitude of networks such as Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Battle Damage Control System (BDCS) and Personnel Locator System (PLS) to provide a contemporary and process oriented System of Systems for optimal functioning of the warship.
  • The unique feature of this ship is the high level of indigenisation incorporated in the production, accentuating our national objective of ‘Make in India’. About 90% of the ship is indigenous and the ship is equipped to fight in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions.

With the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, INS Kadmatt is expected to augment the mobility, reach and flexibility of Indian Navy.

sources: pib.

 

Paper 1 Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Atal Mission Plans for Punjab and Uttarakhand for 2015-16 approved

The union government has approved Atal Mission Plans for Punjab and Uttarakhand.

  • Punjab Government will invest Rs.720 cr in improving basic urban infrastructure in 16 cities while Uttarakhand will spend Rs.267 cr in 6 cities under action plans for Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 2015-16.
  • Punjab will get central assistance of Rs.319 cr while Uttarakhand gets Rs.134 cr under the State Annual Action Plans (SAAP).

State Annual Action Plans(SAAP) of each state is formulated by integrating Service Level Improvement Plans(SLIP) of each AMRUT city in respective state.

AMRUT:

  • AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
  • AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.
  • Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  • AMRUT will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above. It would cover some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few state capitals and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
  • Under this mission, states get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring.
  • States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central government will not appraise individual projects.
  • Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
  • Under the mission, states will transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds to be made failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

sources: pib.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.

Tribal ministry relents over Forest Rights Act

Setting a precedent for the entire country, the Union tribal affairs ministry has revised its views to re-interpret the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and allow the Maharashtra forest department to get control back over forest management and a grip on the lucrative trade worth crores in forest produce such as tendu leaves and bamboo.

Background:

  • In 2014, the Maharashtra state government had passed regulations that ensured its forest department retained control over forest management, which includes the large-scale trade and sale of forest produce.
  • The tribal affairs ministry found this in violation of FRA, which empowers tribals and other forest-dwellers to hold sole rights to manage the forests, including sale of forest produce in areas where they have traditional claims. The tribal affairs ministry repeatedly told Maharashtra that its rules were prima facie in violation of and irreconcilable with the law.
  • But after a meeting in November 2015 between the environment and the tribal affairs ministries, the latter has made a turnaround and re-interpreted the legal provisions of FRA to give the state government control back over the forests with some conditions.

Implications:

This could now open the Pandora’s box with some states such as Madhya Pradesh having already followed suit to put similar regulations in place and states such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha working towards such rules as well.

About Forest Rights Act (FRA):

  • The legislation was passed on 18 December 2006. It has also been called the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006,, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act.
  • The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India.

Rights under the Act:

  • Title rights – i.e. ownership to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are granted.
  • Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
  • Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
  • Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.

The Act grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the forest laws.

Eligibility: Eligibility to get rights under the Act is confined to those who “primarily reside in forests” and who depend on forests and forest land for a livelihood. Further, either the claimant must be a member of the Scheduled Tribes scheduled in that area or must have been residing in the forest for 75 years.

Process of recognition of rights:

The Act provides that the gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised. This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level. The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.

sources: bs, pib.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Gujarat’s former IAS officer D K Sikri appointed CCI chief

Devender Kumar Sikri , a former Gujarat cadre IAS officer, has been appointed chairman of the fair-trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI).

  • Sikri succeeds Ashok Chawla, whose over four-year tenure as CCI chairman ended recently. Sikri will have a tenure of about two-and-a-half years till he attains the age of 65 years.

About CCI:

Competition Commission of India is a body responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India. It was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009.

  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
  • The duty of the Commission is to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

The Competition Act, 2002 prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and Merger and acquisition), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.

sources: pib.