Insights Daily Current Affairs, 21 January 2017
Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Government to support Tangaliya weavers in purchasing looms
Government of India has decided to facilitate Tangaliya weavers in purchase of looms, by providing them an assistance amounting to 90% of the price of looms.
- The government has also announced the formation of a special association of Tangaliya workers, which will work for their interest.
What is Tangaliya?
Tangaliya is a 700-year-old indigenous weave of Gujarat which employs an exquisite technique of weaving, using raw wool yarn.
- Tangaliya is a dotted woven textile of Surendranagar district, Saurashtra. It is found only in Gujarat.
- It is usually worn as a wraparound skirt by the women of the Bharwad shephered community.
- Tangalia designs are used for preparing Shawl, Dupatta, Dress material and products of Home décor & accessories such as bedsheets, pillow covers etc.
- The patterns formed during weaving process to create design in dots for floral and geometrical motifs by using cotton or woollen yarn.
Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Draft steel policy to enable Rs.10 lakh crore investments
The new draft National Steel Policy of 2017 has been released. The Ministry of steel has invited comments on the policy from all the stakeholders and the public.
- The proposed National Steel Policy 2017 (NSP 2017) is an effort to steer the industry to achieve its future potential and strategy to deal with various impediments like high input cost, availability of raw materials, dependency on imports, financial stress etc.
Highlights of the policy:
- Under the policy, the Steel Ministry has proposed setting up greenfield steel plants along India’s coastline to tap cheap imported raw materials such as coking coal and export the output in a more cost-effective manner.
- The policy, which envisages to more than double India’s domestic steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31, anticipates a requirement of ₹10 lakh crore of fresh investments to meet that goal and expects at least 11 lakh new jobs being created in the process.
- The draft policy also aims at increasing per Capita Steel Consumption to 160 kg by 2030-31 and encouraging industry to be a world leader on energy and raw material efficient steel production by 2030-31, in a safe and sustainable manner.
- The draft policy lays out two alternatives of its vision — “to create a globally competitive steel industry that promotes inter-sectoral growth” or “to create a self-sufficient steel industry that is technologically advanced, globally competitive and promotes inclusive growth.”
- It also focuses on impediments like high input costs, availability of raw materials, import dependency and financial stress plaguing the sector.
- To cut down reliance on expensive imports of coking coal, the policy has mooted gas-based steel plants and technologies such as electric furnaces to bring down the use of coking coal in blast furnaces.
In 2015, India was the only large economy in the world where steel demand continued to demonstrate positive growth at 5.3%, as against negative growth in China, and Japan.
India’s growing urban infrastructure and manufacturing sectors indicate that demand is likely to remain robust in the years ahead. Notwithstanding the current challenges, Indian steel industry still has significant potential for growth, underscored by the fact that the per capita steel consumption in the country at 61 kg is much lower than the global average of 208 kg.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
India participates in JITSIC meeting on ‘Panama Papers’
India participated in the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) meeting held recently in Paris where 30 Revenue Authorities shared their findings on investigations arising from the Panama Papers.
- The meeting included sharing of best practices and information between participating member countries based on legal instruments under the tax treaties and OECD and Council of Europe Multilateral Convention.
- The sharing of this information within a group of this size is unique and sets the basis for greater cooperation amongst tax administrations.
Since the last JITSIC meeting of this group, significant achievements have been made including the development of uniform approaches to requesting information between treaty partners, clearer understanding of the evasion typologies adapted by intermediaries, and new techniques for collating intelligence.
The ‘Panama Papers’ leaks contain an unprecedented amount of information running into more than 11 million documents covering 2,10,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions. The names were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
- About 500 Indians figure in the list which includes prominent businessmen, film celebrities and those belonging to lucrative professions.
- The government has created a Multi-Agency Group (MAG) of probe agencies, comprising the I-T department, the RBI, Financial Intelligence Unit and the Enforcement Directorate, to go into these cases.
About Joint International Task force on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration:
The JITSIC brings together 36 of the world’s national tax administrations that have committed to more effective and efficient ways to deal with tax avoidance. It offers a platform to enable its members to actively collaborate within the legal framework of effective bilateral and multilateral conventions and tax information exchange agreements – sharing their experience, resources and expertise to tackle the issues they face in common.
- Open to all members of the OECD’s Forum on Tax Administration (FTA), the JITSIC operates through a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in each country. It is supported by the FTA Secretariat based at the OECD.
- JITSIC was originally established in 2004 as the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre to combat cross-border tax avoidance. Building on its initial achievements, the JITSIC was re-established in 2014 with many new members from across the FTA.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Ministry of AYUSH and Advertising Standards Council of India sign MoU
In order to curtail malpractices in the advertisement of AYUSH drugs, the Ministry of AYUSH has signed a MoU with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).
- Addressing the cases of misleading advertisements with respect to Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy drugs, treatments and related services, ASCI will comprehensively monitor these advertisements across print and electronic media.
- ASCI has been given a self-monitoring mandate by the Ministry of AYUSH to identify potentially misleading advertisement in the AYUSH sector and process complaints through its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC).
- The Ministry of AYUSH will also redirect complaints against misleading advertisements they receive, to the ASCI, which will be reviewed using ASCI’s code and guidelines.
- The MoU also requires ASCI to report to the Ministry of AYUSH, all advertisements in potential violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder as well as non-compliance of ASCI’s CCC recommendations for the Ministry of AYUSH to take further action.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), established in 1985, is committed to the cause of Self-Regulation in Advertising, ensuring the protection of the interests of consumers.
- ASCI was formed with the support of all four sectors connected with Advertising — Advertisers, Advertising Agencies, Media (including Broadcasters and the Press) and others like PR Agencies and Market Research Companies.
- ASCI is not a Government body, nor does it formulate rules for the public or for the relevant industries.
ASCI’s goals include monitoring, administering and promoting standards of advertising practices in India with a view to:
- Ensuring truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made through advertising and safeguarding against misleading advertising.
- Ensuring that advertising is not offensive to generally accepted norms and standards of public decency.
- Safeguarding against indiscriminate use of advertising for promotion of products or services which are generally regarded as hazardous to society or to individuals or which are unacceptable to society as a whole.
- Ensuring that advertisements observe fairness in competition and the canons of generally accepted competitive behavior.
ASCI encourages the public to complain against advertisements which they consider to be false, misleading, offensive or unfair. All of these complaints are evaluated by an independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC).
- The Board of Governors of ASCI shall appoint Consumer Complaints Council, the number of members of which is not more than twenty one. Out of these 21 members, 12 are from civil society and nine from advertising practitioners. The CCC decides upon the complaints within a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
- The Consumer Complaints Council examines and investigates the complaints received from the consumers and the general public, including the members of the Company, regarding any breach of the Code of Conduct and/or advertising ethics and recommend the action to be taken in that regards.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
Global partnership launched to prevent epidemics with new vaccines
A global coalition to create new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, designed to help give the world an insurance policy against epidemics was recently launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The coalition is named- Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
CEPI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is a “public-private coalition that aims to derail epidemics by speeding development of vaccines”.
- With an initial investment of US$460m, CEPI – the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations will seek to outsmart epidemics by developing safe and effective vaccines against known infectious disease threats that could be deployed rapidly to contain outbreaks, before they become global health emergencies.
- CEPI will initially target the MERS-CoV, Lassa and Nipah viruses, which have known potential to cause serious epidemics. It aims to develop two promising vaccine candidates against each of these diseases before any epidemic, so these are available without delay if and when an outbreak begins. CEPI will also scope out potential support for vaccines against multiple strains of the Ebola and Marburg viruses, and Zika.
- To achieve all these goals, CEPI will need significant additional investment, and the initial CEPI funders are calling for other governments and philanthropic organisations to join them in helping to protect the world against future epidemics. CEPI is looking to complete its fundraising by the end of 2017.
- CEPI also hopes to shorten the time it takes to develop new vaccines to protect against viruses that emerge suddenly as public health threats, as Zika did recently, by capitalising on exciting developments in adaptable vaccine technology and investing in facilities that could respond quickly to previously unknown pathogens.