Insights Daily Current Affairs, 31 August 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
First meeting of newly constituted National Council of Senior Citizens held
The first meeting of the newly constituted National Council of Senior Citizens was recently held under the chairmanship of the Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot.
National Council of Senior Citizens:
The mandate of the National Council of Senior Citizens is to advise the Central and State Governments on the entire gamut of issues related to the welfare of senior citizens and enhancement of their quality of life, with special reference to the following:-
- Policies, programmes and legislative measures.
- Promotion of physical and financial security, health and independent and productive living.
- Awareness generation and community mobilization.
- The council is chaired by the Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment.
- The Council is mandated to meet atleast twice a year.
- The council was originally known as National Council for Older Persons (NPOP). It was renamed in 2012.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Gujarat becomes the first state to distribute 2 crore LED Bulbs under UJALA
Under the Government of India’s Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for all (UJALA) scheme, Gujarat has become the first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs.
- Gujarat has reached this milestone in just 96 days and over 42 lakh households have already benefitted from the scheme.
- Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the administration of Ministry of Power, is distributing approximately 2 lakh bulbs daily in Gujarat.
- The distribution of 2 crore LED bulbs has led to an annual energy savings of 259 crore kWh which is equivalent to lighting up 5 lakh Indian homes for an entire year. Alongside the savings in units, the state has also benefitted from daily CO2 emission reduction of 5,000 tonnes.The programme has also helped the state to avoid 520MW of peak demand.
About UJALA scheme:
The main objective of the scheme is to promote efficient lighting, enhance awareness on using efficient equipment which reduce electricity bills and help preserve environment.
- The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Union Ministry of Power.
- The scheme will not only help reduce consumers their electricity bills but also contribute to the energy security of India.
- The scheme is being monitored in a transparent manner through a national dashboard (delp.in).
- The distribution of LED bulbs will happen through DISCOM offices, DISCOM bill collection centres, designated EESL kiosks, Weekly haat markets, etc.
- Under UJALA, over 15 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed across India. This is leading to annual energy savings of 1948 crore kWh and resulting in avoidance of 3,900 MW of peak demand. Through the programme the estimated cumulative cost reduction of bills of consumers, annually is INR 7990 crores.
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.
Annual Report of ‘Crime in India – 2015’
63rd edition of ‘Crime in India – 2015’ report was recently released.
- The National Crime Records Bureau publishes the report on annual basis.
- First edition was published for the year 1953.
- The report contains information on police recorded criminal cases pertaining to the calendar year 2015.
- The data for the publication has been collected from 36 States/UTs and 53 Mega Cities (having population of more than 10 lakhs).
Some of the highlights of the reports include:
- A decrease of 4.7% under crimes against Scheduled Tribes.
- A decrease of 4.4% under crimes against Scheduled castes.
- A decrease of 3.1% under crimes against women.
- 28,69,195 cases under IPC were investigated in 2015. Out of 1,05,02,256 IPC cases, 13,25,989 cases were tried by the courts in 2015, showing conviction rate as 46.9% under IPC crimes.
- Out of 46,46,419 cases, investigation completed in 43,46,003 cases. Cases chargesheet rate was 98.1% and conviction rate was 92.4% under Special & Local Laws (SLL) cases.
- Properties worth Rs. 8,21,040 lakh were stolen during the year 2015 and against this loss, properties worth Rs. 1,35,019 lakh were recovered.
- A total of 73,26,099 offence cases [29,49,400 Indian Penal Code (IPC) cases and 43,76,699 SLL cases] were reported in 2015, an increase of 1.3% over 2014.
- An increase of 5.3% under crimes against children (from 89,423 in 2014 to 94,172 cases in 2015). Kidnapping and abduction constituted 44.5% of total cases of crimes against children.
- Increase of 25.8% under crimes against Human Trafficking (6,877 cases in 2015 compared to 5,466 cases in 2014).
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
CBDT signs 20 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements with Indian taxpayers
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 20 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers. Many of these agreements also have a “Rollback” provision in them.
- The 20 APAs signed pertain to various sectors of the economy like Information Technology, Banking & Finance, Insurance, Human Resources, Pharmaceutical, Solar Energy, Oil & Gas, Foods & Beverages, Telecommunications and NGO.
- The international transactions covered in these agreements include Software Development Services, IT enabled services, Investment Advisory Services, KPO services, Contract manufacture, Contract R&D services and Import of components etc.
- With these signings, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 98. This includes 4 bilateral APAs and 94 unilateral APAs.
The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the “Rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014.
- The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.
- The taxpayer has the option to rollback the APA for four preceding years.
- Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest and that has resulted in more than 700 applications having been filed in just four years.
What is an advance pricing agreement?
An APA, usually for multiple years, is signed between a taxpayer and the tax authority (CBDT) on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology for determining the price and ensuing taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
First Phase of Saurashtra Narmada Avataran For Irrigation Project
The first phase of SAUNI (Saurastra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojana was recently launched by PM Modi at Sanodara of Jamnagar district of Gujarat.
About the Project:
The first phase of the SAUNI project will cover 105 villages, including 47,943 hectares of land.
- Farmers can reap both Kharif and Rabi crop — as opposed to Kharif crop cultivation so far — once the project makes more water accessible for agriculture.
- Though the project will not be added to the command area under irrigation, it will strengthen the existing network by providing 1 acre million cubic feet of surplus Narmada water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam through a new pipeline network connecting existing dams.
- It is a Rs. 12,000 crore project, announced in 2012.
- It aims to fill up nearly 115 dams of Saurashtra region which faces shortage of water for irrigation and drinking.
- Under the project, dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi would be filled up with the water of Narmada river.
- Through this scheme, the excess overflowing flood water of Narmada river will be distributed to various reservoirs in eleven districts of Saurashtra region through 1,126-km-long four-link pipelines. The scheme will supply water for irrigation to agricultural land of about 10.22 lakh acres and drinking water to 731 villages and 31 towns.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
Madhukar Gupta Committee on India-Pakistan border submits report
A high powered committee of the National Security Council, headed by former home secretary Madhukar Gupta, recently presented its report on India-Pakistan border to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of former home secretary Madhukar Gupta in April 2016, for strengthening border protection and addressing the issue of gaps and vulnerability in border fencing along the India-Pakistan border.
The mandate of the committee was to study all types of gaps in fencing and all other vulnerabilities in the International Border and to suggest comprehensive approach to fix these gaps in fencing and other vulnerabilities on interim and permanent basis.
Important recommendations made by the committee:
- Use scientific technology such as laser fencing along with increased vigil along riverine border areas.
- Where physical fencing is not feasible due to difficult terrain, use ground sensors and thermal imaging.
The committee has given separate recommendations for four states which touch the international border with Pakistan as each state has separate topography and problems. Of the 3,323 km long Indo-Pak border, 1,225 kms falls in Jammu and Kashmir (including Line of Control), 553 kms in Punjab, 1,037 kms in Rajasthan and 508 kms in Gujarat.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
327% rise in agrarian riots in 2015, NCRB report shows
Recently released “Crime in India” report has made the following observations on riots in India:
- Incidents of rioting remained almost the same in 2015 as compared to 2014, but as communal riots decreased, big increases were seen in other categories — agrarian, sectarian and student riots and caste conflicts.
- Recorded incidents of agrarian riots jumped 327% from 628 in 2014 to 2,683 in 2015. The number of people arrested increased from 3,540 to 10,353.
- Sectarian riots — defined as violence between sects of the same religion not considering caste conflict — showed a significant jump in incidents and convictions from a low base in 2014. Much of these incidents occurred in Uttar Pradesh.
- There is a decrease in communal riots — from 1,227 in 2014 to 789 in 2015.
- 20% of the overall 65,255 riots were reported in Bihar followed by Maharashtra (8,336) and Uttar Pradesh (6,813).
- Kerala tops the crime rate list, with 16.3 riot cases per lakh people, followed by Bihar (12.9) and Karnataka (10.6).
- More than half of the total 1,960 political incidents occurred in Kerala. Uttar Pradesh had the maximum number of caste conflicts (724) followed by Tamil Nadu (426).
- Chennai recorded the lowest rate of total crimes among major cites (154.3 per 1 lakh population). Among all cities, only Surat (86.9), Kannur and Dhanbad had better rates.
- The number of people arrested for student riots (3,600) increased – more than double compared to that in 2014 (1,474). The incidents of student riots increased by 85%, from 261 to 485.
- Kerala is the hotbed of political riots in the country with more than half (1,031) of the overall 1960 incidents.
- More than half of the student riots reported in 2015 took place in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.
- Reported cases on rape and assault on women showed only marginal change from 2014. Rape cases decreased by 5.7% while assault cases went up by merely 0.22%.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Operation Muskaan-II: It is the second phase of ‘Operation Muskaan,’ a campaign to trace and rescue missing children. It was launched by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Thousands of children have been rescued under the campaign so far.
- Asli Tarakki: It is a new campaign for Swachh Bharat Mission launched by the Ministry of Urban Development recently. It is aimed at sanitising six cities of the National Capital Region (NCR). Further, it will be replicated in other States if it succeeds. About 450 young men and women with “communication skills and leadership qualities” have been selected as “lead motivators” to spread awareness on Swachh Bharat Mission.