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Insights Daily Current Events, 28 January 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 28 January 2016

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Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

SC seeks proof of breakdown in Arunachal Pradesh

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to furnish relevant material backing their claim that there has been a failure of constitutional machinery in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The notice to the Centre and the Governor was issued by the court on a petition filed by the Congress party.

What the petition argues?

  • It says the proclamation of emergency by President Pranab Mukherjee under Article 356 of the Constitution was a result of a conspiracy by the Centre and the Governor to pull down the ruling Congress party in the State.
  • The petition argues that the Article 356 has been misused by the government to topple the democratically elected government.

It may noted here that based on the recommendation of the union cabinet, President’s rule was recently imposed on Arunachal Pradesh.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Denmark the least corrupt country, India at 76th position

Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for the year 2015 has been released.

What is Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)?

It is a composite index that draws from 12 surveys to rank nations around the globe. It has become a benchmark gauge of perceptions of corruption and is used by analysts and investors.

  • The index is also based on expert opinions of public sector corruption and takes note of range of factors like whether governmental leaders are held to account or go unpunished for corruption, the perceived prevalence of bribery, and whether public institutions respond to citizens’ needs.

Performance of various countries:

  • India is placed at 76th position along with Thailand, Brazil, Tunisia, Zambia and Burkina Faso out of 168 countries.
  • The U.S. rose one spot this year to 16th place with a score of 76, tying with Austria.
  • The U.K. rose three spots to place 10th, with a score of 81 that tied it with Germany and Luxembourg.
  • The other top spots, from second to ninth, were occupied by Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore and Canada.
  • Brazil and Turkey were among nations that tumbled the most. Brazil slid to 76th place, sharing its position with India, down from 69th last year. Turkey fell two spots to 66th, continuing its descent from 53rd place in 2013.

Performance of India:

India has improved its past year’s position of 85 and has a grade index score of 38 out of a possible 100 which indicates the least corrupt.

Concerns:

  • The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains blight around the world.
  • Overall, two-thirds of the 168 countries studied scored below 50 and the global average was 43. And half of the G20 are among them. 100% of BRICS countries score less than 50. A score less that 50 indicates that the country has a serious corruption problem.
  • Not one single country, anywhere in the world, is corruption-free. More than 6 billion people live in countries with serious corruption issues.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

CERT-In signs cyber security pacts with 3 nations

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has signed cooperation pacts with its counterparts in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan for cyber security.

Significance of these pacts:

The Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) will promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents between India and the three countries.

About CERT-In:

What is it?

CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-mandated information technology (IT) security organization. CERT-In was created by the Indian Department of Information Technology in 2004 and operates under the auspices of that department.

It’s purpose:

  • The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country.
  • According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.

CERT organizations throughout the world are independent entities, although there may be coordinated activites among groups. The first CERT group was formed in the United States at Carnegie Mellon University.

sources: the hindu, cert.

 

Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.

Centre clears new financing model for highway projects

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the Hybrid Annuity Model as one of the modes of delivery for implementing the Highway Projects. This has paved the way for construction of 28 projects worth Rs. 36,000 crore this fiscal year.

All about the Hybrid Annuity Model:

Who will invest?

  • Under this model, the government will invest 40% of the construction cost for building highways and the balance will come from the private developer.
  • The government will invest money in five equal installments based on the targeted completion of the road project.

Recovery:

The private developer will recover his investment from the government by receiving annuity payments over a period of 15 years.

Toll collection:

Under this model, the highway toll tax will be collected by the government unlike the build, operate and transfer (BOT) toll model where the private sector collects it. So, there is no revenue or traffic risk on the part of the developer.

Significance:

  • The move will speed up the construction of roads in the country by renewing interest of private developers in highway projects as the risk will be distributed between the government and the private players.
  • It is a fairly sensible risk-sharing model because it requires the private sector to focus on areas which bring in efficiency mainly in capital cost, project completion time and quality.
  • This model will also bring in long-term infrastructure funds like pension funds into the sector.
  • This model is also expected to double the speed of highway construction in the country as the government will no longer will be dependent on its limited financial resources and the expertise of private sector will be utilised to operate and maintain the roads.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure-energy.

Rajasthan Govt. signs MoU to join UDAY

The Rajasthan Government and its power distribution companies have signed a pact with the Centre under the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) aimed at relieving the debt burden of the most indebted discoms in the country.

  • Rajasthan is the third State to sign the MOU under UDAY, the other two States being Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Significance of this MoU:

This signing of the MoUs with Rajasthan is very significant because the state’s discoms have the largest debt. Rajasthan’s discoms have a total debt of Rs.80,500 crore which is 18.7% of the country’s total discom debt of Rs.4.3 lakh crore.

ABOUT UDAY SCHEME:

UDAY is an effort to make these DISCOMs financially and operationally healthy, to be able to supply adequate power at affordable rates, and enable the Governments to make efforts towards 100% Village electrification and 24X7 Power For All.

  • It envisages to reduce interest burden, cost of power and AT&C losses. Consequently, DISCOM would become sustainable to supply adequate and reliable power enabling 24×7 power supply.
  • The scheme provides that States would take over 75% debt of Discoms, as on 30th September, 2015 in two years.
  • UDAY has inbuilt incentives encouraging State Governments to voluntarily restructure their debts. These incentives include taking over of DISCOM debt by the States outside the fiscal deficit limits; reduction in the cost of power through various measures such as coal linkage rationalization, liberal coal swaps and priority/additional funding through schemes of MoP & MNRE.
  • UDAY is different from earlier restructuring schemes in several ways including flexibility of keeping debt taken over outside fiscal deficit limit, reduction in cost of power and a series of time bound interventions for improving operational efficiency.
  • UDAY also provides for measures that will reduce the cost of power generation, which would ultimately benefit consumers.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

PM’s interaction through PRAGATI

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, recently chaired his ninth interaction through PRAGATI – the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.

  • Taking strong exception at complaints and grievances from people, related to the customs and excise sector, the Prime Minister has asked for strict action against responsible officials.
  • He has also urged all Secretaries whose departments have extensive public dealing, to set up a system for top-level monitoring of grievances immediately.
  • In course of his review, the Prime Minister also reviewed the progress of vital infrastructure projects in the road, railway, coal, power and renewable energy sectors, spread over several states.

PRAGATI:

PRAGATI is a unique integrating and interactive platform. The platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments.

Unique features:

  • The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing and geo-spatial technology.
  • It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings on one stage the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States.
  • With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation. It is also an innovative project in e-governance and good governance.
  • It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).
  • Issues to be flagged before the PM are picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, on-going Programmes and pending Projects.
  • The system will ride on, strengthen and re-engineer the data bases of the CPGRAMS for grievances, Project Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. PRAGATI provides an interface and platform for all these three aspects.
  • It will also take into consideration various correspondences to PM’s office by the common people or from high dignitaries of States and/or developers of public projects.
  • It is also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.
  • The system has been designed in-house by the PMO team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Increasing the Authorized Share Capital of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for enhancement of Authorized Share Capital of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) working under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment from Rs. 1000 crore to Rs. 1200 crore.

  • The Central Government had almost exhausted its contribution of authorized share capital of Rs. 1000 crore by paying Rs.998.13 crore to NSFDC. Hence, it became essential to enhance the Authorized Share Capital of the Corporation to expand its ambit of work.

Implications of this move:

  • The approval will enlarge the quantum of funds available for economic activities, better coverage and enhanced outreach to double the Below Poverty Line (DPL) Scheduled Caste beneficiaries.
  • Enhancement of share capital would expand its ambit of coverage and increase disbursement of funds to larger sections of the economically deprived scheduled caste population.
  • The target of NSFDC for the year 2015-16 is to cover 63,000 beneficiaries.

About NFSDC:

National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) was set up in 1989 as a non profit company under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for financing, facilitating and mobilizing funds for the economic empowerment of persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes families living below double the Poverty Line.

What it does?

  • The NSFDC provides loans through its Channelizing Agencies at concessional interest rates for self-employment & economic development activities to its target group.
  • NSFDC also sponsors skill/entrepreneurial training programmes to assist the unemployed members of scheduled castes in wage/self-employment.
  • NSFDC implements its schemes through 37 State Channelizing Agencies in 32 States/UTs. NSFDC will also implement its schemes through select Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Other Institutions, wherever required, to enhance its outreach.

sources: the hindu.

 

Topic: general awareness.

Job portal for disabled

The centre has launched an exclusive job portal for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). The PwDs can avail the different facilities such as self employment loan, education loan, skill training, link to scholarships and information about jobs in a single window platform through this National Job Portal.

sources: the hindu.