Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 July 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
National ST Commission to take action on video films of Jaravas on YouTube
Taking suo-moto cognizance of objectionable video films and pictures of protected Jarava and other tribal communities of Andaman Islands on YouTube social media platform, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribe (NCST) has initiated action on it.
- The commission has decided to take up the matter with Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Chief Secretary of A&N Island for removal of these objectionable video films from YouTube and initiate action on those who uploaded these video clips on social media platform.
Laws protecting these tribes:
As per provisions of Andaman and Nicobar Island (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 (PAT), the Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shom Pens have been identified as “aboriginal tribes”.
- The PAT contains the provisions of protection of these communities from the outside interference.
- Penalty provisions for promoting tourism through advertisement relating to aboriginal tribes has also been made in the year 2012.
- Whoever enters these areas in contravention of the notification under section 7 (which prohibits entry into reserve areas) for taking photographs or making videos shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years.
- Besides, Section 3 (i) (r) of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act) also accords protection.
NCST was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
- The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge. The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India.
- NCST is empowered to investigate and monitor matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. order. The Commission is also authorized to inquire into specific complaints relating to rights and safeguards of STs and to participate and advise in the Planning Process relating to socio-economic development of STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and States.
- The commission submits its report to the President annually on the working of safeguards and measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to welfare and socio-economic development of STs.
Paper 3 Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
NSG organises first International Aviation Security seminar
NSG has organised the first International Aviation Security seminar. National Security Guard (NSG) has organised the seminar, with the aim of bringing all major stakeholders under one roof and facilitate them sharing views/opinion, discussions, brain storming with the matters concerning Aviation Security.
It is a security force of India constituted “for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect States against internal disturbances“.
- It was set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force to tackle all facets of terrorism in the country.
- It is under the authority Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The force is a unique combination of personnel on deputation from Indian Army and Central Armed Police Forces.
- The two components of NSG are the Special Action Group (SAG), which consists entirely of Indian Army personnel; and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG), which comprises personnel drawn from Central Armed Police Forces and State Police Forces.
- The chief of the force designated as a Director General is an officer from the Indian Police Service.
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.
First Maize Based Mega Food Park in Kapurthala, Punjab
The foundation stone for First Maize based Mega Food Park was recently laid in Kapurthala, Punjab. Kapurthala has been declared as a Dark Zone district where slow desertification is happening because of overexploitation of water due to cash crops. Establishment of this Mega Food Park will result in the development of this Dark Zone which includes Job opportunities, Environmental Conservation.
Significance of Maize based Mega food park:
Maize is an amazing cereal and is an alternate to Jhona (paddy) and Kanak (wheat). Maize is rich in protein, provides nutritional requirements that India needs and Maize consumes much lesser water and could contain the problem of further water depletion.
- Maize Based Mega Food Park is the first major and serious step in the history of India for containing the desertification problem of Punjab and would make farmers turn to maize cultivation which need less water for more production.
- Maize is being used by different industries for seed, starch, brewery, food additives, sweeteners etc and it is also a basic raw material to thousands of industrial products like oil, proteins, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, beverages, film, textile, gum, value added foods, paper industries, bio-ethanol etc.
About Mega Food Parks:
To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.
Mode of operation:
- The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
- The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
- CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC. The minimum area required for a CPC is 50 acres.
- The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Scheme for IPR Awareness – Creative India; Innovative India
Taking forward the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy 2016, a ‘Scheme for IPR Awareness – Creative India; Innovative India’ has been launched by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
- The Scheme aims at raising IPR awareness amongst students, youth, authors, artists, budding inventors and professionals to inspire them to create, innovate and protect their creations and inventions across India including Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 cities as well as rural areas in the next 3 years.
- The Scheme will conduct over 4000 IPR awareness workshops/seminars in academic institutions (schools and colleges) and the industry ,including MSMEs and Startups, as also IP training and sensitization programmes for enforcement agencies and the judiciary.
- Workshops will cover all vital IP topics including international filing procedures, promotion of Geographical Indications and highlighting the ill effects of piracy and counterfeiting.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
SEBI to move against non-compliant firms
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has initiated action against non-compliant “Exclusively Listed Companies (ELCs) on Dissemination Board (DB),” and its directors and promoters.
Non- compliant firms:
These are companies which were earlier listed on regional stock exchanges (RSEs) that have been de-recognised by the regulator. Such companies were allowed to be part of the national exchanges through a dissemination board but were directed to submit a plan of action for listing or providing an exit option to shareholders.
What’s the issue?
These firms were supposed to submit their plan of action. The deadline to submit the plan of action was extended until June 30. As per SEBI, of the 2,000 companies listed on dissemination board as on June 30, there are 536 entities that are traceable and yet not submitted a plan of action.
SEBI’s powers to punish non- compliant firms:
SEBI can bar such promoters and companies from accessing the securities market for a period of 10 years apart from freezing the shares held by promoters and directors. The regulator can even attach the bank accounts and other assets of promoters and directors to compensate the investors.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India. It was established in the year 1988 and given statutory powers on 12 April 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.
Important functions performed by SEBI:
- Approve by−laws of stock exchanges.
- Require the stock exchange to amend their by−laws.
- Inspect the books of accounts and call for periodical returns from recognized stock exchanges.
- Inspect the books of accounts of financial intermediaries.
- Compel certain companies to list their shares in one or more stock exchanges.
- Register brokers.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Centre eases pre-merger filing norms
In a move that is likely to boost mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the country, the Centre has done away with the thirty-day time period to submit before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) an application for pre-merger clearance.
- As per the latest notification, every person or enterprise who is a party to a combination is exempted from giving notice within thirty days. This new provision (exemption from the 30-day time period) will be valid for five years starting June 29, 2017.
- The notification means that parties can make a CCI application at any time in course of an acquisition but cannot effect or close an acquisition before obtaining the CCI’s approval.
The earlier norms had specified that an application to obtain the CCI’s prior approval for an acquisition, merger or amalgamation had to be filed within thirty days of: board approval of the proposed merger or amalgamation by each of the respective parties; execution of any agreement or other document of a binding nature conveying a decision to acquire shares, control, voting rights or assets; execution of any document by the acquiring enterprise conveying a decision to acquire shares, control, voting rights or assets, in case the acquisition is without the consent of the enterprise being acquired; or date of the public announcement under India’s takeover regulations applicable to acquisitions of listed entities.
Significance of this move:
- It will give parties the liberty and flexibility to decide at what stage they want to make the CCI filing, depending on the deal parameters and commercial terms.
- Besides, this will specifically benefit large, multi-jurisdiction transactions where parties may be burdened with regulatory requirements in several jurisdictions and, therefore, need more time to assess the Indian law implications and prepare a comprehensive CCI application.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
12th G20 Summit was recently held at the German city of Hamburg.
- The theme chosen for this year’s G20 Summit is “Shaping an Inter-connected World”.
- Issues like free and open trade, migration, sustainable development and global stability came up during the discussions.
Action agenda at G20 to counter terrorism:
India’s PM presented an 11-point action agenda for counter-terrorism at the summit. The agenda includes:
- Deterrant action against nations supporting terrorism must be made compulsory, such nations should be barred from G20.
- G20 nations must exchange lists of suspected terrorists and their supporters.
- Legal processes such extradition should be simplified and expedited.
- Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism should be adopted soon.
- UNSC resolutions and other international processes should be effectively implemented.
- G20 nations should give emphasis to de-radicalisation programmes and exchange best practices.
- Terror financing should be curtailed by means of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other means.
- Weapons and Explosive Action Task Force (WEATF) should be constituted on lines of FATF so that sounrce of weapons to the terrorists is stopped.
- G20 nations should cooperate in cyber security, with a focus on terrorist activities.
- National Security Advisors on Counter Terrorism mechanism should be constituted.
The ‘Group of Twenty’ is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.
The G20, with its ministerial-level beginnings in 1999, first met for a summit in 2008 in Washington to discuss ways to achieve balanced and sustainable world economic growth.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
RBI considering setting up a Public Credit Registry
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may consider setting up a Public Credit Registry (PCR), which will be an extensive database of credit information for India that is accessible to all stakeholders.
What is a PCR:
Generally, a PCR is managed by a public authority like the central bank or the banking supervisor, and reporting of loan details to the PCR by lenders and/or borrowers is mandated by law. The contractual terms and outcomes covered and the threshold above which the contracts are to be reported vary in different jurisdictions, but the idea is to capture all relevant information in one large database on the borrower, in particular, the borrower’s entire set of borrowing contracts and outcomes.
Advantages of having a PCR:
A PCR, if put in place will help in credit assessment and pricing by banks; risk-based, dynamic and countercyclical provisioning at banks; supervision and early intervention by regulators; understanding if transmission of monetary policy is working.
How exactly a public credit registry can help in India?
- Firstly, it is required to improve the credit culture in our country. It has been demonstrated in the ‘Doing Business 2017’ report that credit information systems impart transparency in the credit market, following which access to credit improves and delinquencies decrease. At present, several Indian banks burdened with mounting NPAs appear less confident in taking credit decisions. A transparent public credit registry would help the bankers to rely on objective data for making credit decisions and also enable them to defend their actions with market evidence when subjected to scrutiny.
- Secondly, large borrowers get a preference in credit markets due to their existing credentials in the public space. They have established credit history, brand value, and supply of collateral. In contrast, small and marginal aspirants, start-ups, new entrepreneurs, and small businesses in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector are disadvantaged as they lack many of those desired qualifications for credit. Transparency of credit information would serve as a “reputational collateral” for such borrowers. This would not only help promote financial inclusion, but also reward the good borrowers thereby imparting credit discipline.
- Thirdly, public credit registers in many countries have gone beyond the credit relationship of borrowing entities with financial institutions. They tap other transactional data of borrowers including payments to utilities like power and telecom for retail customers and trade credit data for businesses.
- Finally, public credit registry can have a profound impact for regulatory purposes. In its absence, only fragmented images are available of credit behaviour and indebtedness. PCR will help in getting to a complete picture that is necessary for supervisors and policy makers to assess credit risk of the entire system.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
SC stays HC verdict on Ganga status
The Supreme Court has stayed the Uttarakhand High Court order according the status of “living human entity” to Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
- The order came on a plea by the Uttarakhand government against the March 20 ruling of the high court. The petition said the high court verdict raised several legal questions and administrative issues.
Uttarakhand HC’s order:
The order issued in exercise of parens patrie (authority regarded as legal protector of citizens who are unable to protect themselves) jurisdiction said “the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams, every natural water flowing with flow continuously or intermittently of these rivers, are declared as juristic/legal persons/living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve river Ganga and Yamuna”.
It also declared the Director of the Namami Gange project, the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand and the Advocate General of the state “loco parents” — the human faces to protect, conserve and preserve the rivers and their tributaries. These officers were bound to uphold the status of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna and also to promote the health and well-being of these rivers.
The order had put the state government in a quandary. Since the rivers flow through several states, only the Centre could frame rules for their management. The ruling also raised questions like whether the victim of a flood in the rivers can sue the state for damages and also about whether the state and its officers will be liable in case of pollution in the rivers in another state through which it flows.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
UNESCO puts Hebron on endangered heritage list, outraging Israel:
The U.N. cultural agency has declared the old city in the West Bank town of Hebron as a Palestinian world heritage site, a decision that outraged Israeli officials who say the move negated the deep Jewish ties to the biblical town and its ancient shrine.
The move was the latest chapter in Israel’s contentious relationship with UNESCO, an agency it accuses of being an anti-Israeli tool that makes decisions out of political considerations.
- Hebron is part of the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. The international community considers it to be occupied.
- Palestinians claim the West Bank is an integral part of a future independent state, a position that is widely backed internationally. Israel says the territory’s fate, along with other core issues like security, should be resolved in negotiations.
- Both Jews and Muslims revere the same site in Hebron as the traditional burial place of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs — Jews call it the Tomb of the Patriarchs, while for Muslims it is the Ibrahimi Mosque.