Insights Daily Current Affairs, 01 November 2016
Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Agricultural Marketing & Farm Friendly Reforms Index. Maharashtra ranks first
A new ranking of states by the NITI Aayog, based on their performance in reforming agriculture marketing, land leasing and forestry on private land, has set the record straight on states’ eagerness to transform the farm sector.
- The new rankings come on the back of major central initiatives to integrate the Indian farmer with markets, like an electronic national agriculture market _eNAM) and a new crop insurance scheme, both of which were rolled out this year.
About the index:
According to the ‘Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’, a score of 0 implies no reforms while a score of 100 means complete reforms. The index is aimed at helping the States identify and address problems in the farm sector, which suffer from low growth, low farm income and agrarian distress.
- The index takes into account several parameters like states’ implementation of the model agricultural marketing Act, joining eNAM, special treatment to fruits and vegetables for marketing and the level of taxes in state-regulated mandis (wholesale markets).
- These indicators reveal the ease of doing agribusiness and opportunities for farmers to benefit from modern trade. The indicators also reflect the levels of competitiveness, efficiency and transparency in agriculture markets.
- The other parameters included in the index are relaxation in restrictions related to lease of farm land to tenant farmers, and the freedom farmers have to fell and transport trees on their own land, which allows them to diversify their incomes.
Performance of various states:
- The state of Maharashtra achieved first rank in implementation of various reforms. The state has implemented most of the marketing reforms and it offers best environment for doing agribusiness among all the states and UTs.
- Gujarat ranks second followed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
- Almost two third states could not reach even halfway mark of reforms score.
- Major states like U.P., Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and J&K are in this group.
- Bihar and Kerala were not included in the rankings as they revoked their agricultural produce marketing Acts.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Vigilance Awareness Commences Across Indian Railways
The observance of Vigilance Awareness Week, 2016 has commenced across Indian Railways with a Pledge taking ceremony by Officers and staff.
- The Central Vigilance Commission has given the theme of “Public participation in promoting integrity and eradicating Corruption” for the Vigilance Awareness Week this year.
- This is aimed to reinforce commitment of officials towards bringing about integrity and transparency in all spheres of their activities and to fight corruption with vigour.
- During this Vigilance Awareness Week, various events will be organized around the theme of anti-corruption by the field units of the Railways.
- There is a special focus on sensitizing the youth and to achieve this objective through lectures, panel discussions, debates, discussions, plays, essay writing competitions etc..
- Two “Integrity Pledges” will also be taken on-line by citizens and organisations/corporates to reinforce their commitment for incorruptible governance.
It is the apex vigilance institution. It was created via executive resolution (based on the recommendations of Santhanam committee) in 1964 but was conferred with statutory status in 2003.
- Presently, the body consists of central vigilance commissioner along with 2 vigilance commissioners.
- They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a committee consisting of Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (if there is no LoP then the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha).
- Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- It submits its report to the President of India.
- The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.
- CVC is advisory body.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Government Notifies Real Estate Rules
Union government has notified Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (General) Rules, 2016.
- Notified by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, the Rules are applicable to the five Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Chandigarh.
- New rules stipulate real estate developers furnish additional information regarding the ongoing projects besides depositing 70% of unused funds in a separate bank account to ensure their completion.
- Under the new rules, the developers will also be required to refund or pay compensation to the allottees with an interest rate of State Bank of India’s highest marginal cost of lending rate plus 2% within 45 days of the payments becoming due.
- The developers have also been mandated to upload various information about the project including number and type of apartments or plots, garages booked, status of the project with photographs floor-wise, status of construction of internal infrastructure and common areas with photos, etc.
- The Rules also provide for compounding of punishment with imprisonment for violation of the orders of Real Estate Appellate Tribunal against payment of 10% of project cost in case of developers and 10% of the cost of property purchased in case of allottees and agents. Compliance with reasons for punishment shall be complied within 30 days of compounding.
- Under the Rules, adjudicating officers, Real Estate Authorities and Appellate Tribunals shall dispose of complaints within 60 days.
- Real Estate Regulatory Authorities have been mandated to publish on their websites the information relating to profile and track record of promoters, details of litigations, advertisement and prospectus issued about the project, details of apartments, plots and garages, registered agents and consultants, development plan, financial details of the promoters, status of approvals and projects etc.
- All states and other union territories are also expected to notify the rules. As per the provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, Real Estate Regulatory Authorities are required to be put in place by April 30, 2017 before full Act is brought into effect, the next day.
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.
More differently abled attend schools than before: Census
Registrar General of India has released Census 2011 data on Disabled Population in the age-group 5-19 by their Attendance Status in Educational Institutions and type of Disability.
- There are 380.1 million people in the age group of 5-19 years, of which 269.8 million (71%) are attending educational institutions. In all, 44.9 million (11.8%) people have attended schools earlier, while 65.4 million (17.2%) have never been to a school.
- There were about 6.57 million disabled people in the age group of 5-19 at Census 2011 in India.
- The disabled population of 1.75 million (26.7%) has never attended any school, 0.8 million (12.1%) has dropped out of schools in the last decade while 4.02 million people (61.2%) are attending educational institutions.
- The proportion of disabled persons who never attended any educational institution in 2011, was found to be highest among persons with ‘multiple disability’ (54.4%), followed by ‘mental illness’ (50.3%) and ‘mental retardation’ (41.2%) whereas persons with ‘any other disability’ (17.7%) show the least percentage.
- Further, out of 4.02 million disabled persons attending educational institutions, 2.28 million (56.7%) are males and 1.74 million (43.3%) are females.
- In 2001, about 3.3 million (50.5%) out of 65.3 lakh disabled persons in the same age group reported attending educational institutions. There is an improvement of about 11 percentage points for the disabled persons attending schools in the age group 5-19 during the decade 2001-2011.
- It is further noticed that disabled persons with ‘any other disability’ show the highest percentage (71.2%) in attending educational institution followed by ‘seeing’ (68%), ‘hearing’ (67%), ‘movement’ (59.6%), ‘speech’ (58.9%), ‘mental retardation’ (47.2%), ‘multiple disability’ (37.2%) and least with ‘mental illness’ (34.1%).
- Maximum percentage of disabled persons who attended educational institution earlier is seen in ‘movement’ (17.7%) followed by ‘mental illness’ (15.5%), and least in ‘multiple disability’ (8.4%).
- Among the major States, Kerala had the best record with 76,394 out 104,418 such persons attending educational institutions. In Tamil Nadu, 150,883 of disabled persons out of a total of 239,756 persons aged 5-19 were attending such institutions, while in Karnataka, 20,7779 out of 330,781 such persons had access to education institutions.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
A.P., Telangana top in ease of doing business
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with the World Bank Group, has released results of the Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms 2015-16.
- The Assessment studies the extent to which states have implemented DIPP’s 340-point Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) for States/UTs 2015-16, covering the period July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.
- The BRAP includes recommendations for reforms on 58 regulatory processes, policies, practices or procedures spread across 10 reform areas spanning the lifecycle of a typical business.
The 340 reform areas are broadly under categories including construction permit, environmental and labour registration, obtaining electricity connection, online tax-return filing, inspection reform, access to information and transparency, single window, land availability and commercial dispute resolution. The exercise is aimed at promoting competition among states with a view to improve business climate to attract domestic as well as foreign investments.
- Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have jointly topped the 2016 all-India State/Union Territory-wise ease of doing business rankings, while last year’s topper Gujarat slipped to the third spot.
- This year, four of the seven States with the lowest income levels in India have found a place in the top 10, while all the seven such States had an implementation rate of over 75%.
- These low-income States included Chhattisgarh (fourth rank), Madhya Pradesh (fifth), Jharkhand (seventh) and Rajasthan (eighth).
- Among other major states, Odisha occupied 11th slot, followed by Punjab, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
10th Indo-Nepal Joint Exercise Surya Kiran Commences
- Indo-Nepal Joint Military Exercise Surya Kiran-X has commenced at Army Battle School, Saljhandi, Nepal.
- The Surya Kiran series of Exercises are being conducted annually, alternatively in Nepal and India. Notably in the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries, Surya Kiran series with Nepal is the largest in terms of troop’s participation.
- The aim of this exercise is to conduct battalion level joint training with emphasis on Counter Terrorism in mountainous terrain. Aspects of Disaster Management have also been included in the exercise.
- The Joint Battalion Level Exercise will enhance defence co-operation and relations between the two nations. It is an ideal platform for the contingent of both nations to share their experience and gain mutually. The Exercise will be yet another step towards taking traditional friendship between the two nations to greater heights.
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
- Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was observed on 31st October across the nation. It marks the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
- The theme this year is Integration of India.
- The government had last year decided to observe Sardar Patel Jayanti Day as Ekta Diwas. This occasion provides an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of the nation to withstand the threats to its unity, integrity and security.