Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 October 2017
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
IWAI raises Rs660 crore through bonds
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has raised Rs660 crore through a bond sale to finance the development of national waterways.
- It is the second time that the authority has raised money through a bond sale. Last year, it was allowed to issue infrastructure bonds worth Rs1,000 crore but the authority raised only Rs340 crore.
- The money raised from the bonds is intended to be used by IWAI for the development of national waterways.
Know about IWAI:
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Tea board proposes Rs 100 crore package for Darjeeling estates
The Tea Board has proposed a Rs 100-crore relief package for tea estates in the Darjeeling hills, where production has resumed after nearly three months of shutdown due to an agitation for a separate state. The relief package, however, has failed to bring cheer to the industry.
Plucking and other operations at the 87 tea estates in the region had come to a halt after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s strike call on June 9 demanding a separate state, called Gorkhaland. The growers of Darjeeling tea had sought Rs 325 crore as assistance to prune the overgrown bushes and prepare for production in April. But the demand was not accepted by the board which, on advice based on the Tea Research Association’s survey of the problem, cut it to Rs 100 crore.
The strike, the first time in the history of Darjeeling tea industry, has wiped out almost 70% of the annual tea production.
About Tea Board of India:
The Tea Board is set up under the Tea Act 1953. It has succeeded the Central Tea Board and the Indian Tea Licencing Committee which functioned respectively under the Central Tea Board Act, 1949 and the Indian Tea Control Act, 1938 which were repealed.
- The Tea Board is functioning as a statutory body of the Central Government under the Ministry of Commerce.
- The Board is constituted of 31 members (including Chairman) drawn from Members of Parliament, tea producers, tea traders, tea brokers, consumers, and representatives of Governments from the principal tea producing states, and trade unions. The Board is reconstituted every three years.
- The Tea Board India is responsible for the assignment of certification numbers to exports of certain tea merchants. This certification is intended to ensure the teas’ origin, which in turn would reduce the amount of fraudulent labelling on rare teas.
- The Tea Board India’s tasks include endorsement of the diverse production and productivity of tea, financial support of research organisations and the monitoring of advances in tea packaging as it relates to health beneficial aspects.
- It coordinates research institutes, the tea trade and government bodies, ensuring the technical support of the tea trade in the global industry.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojana
In a bid to provide affordable life insurance services to people, particularly those living in rural areas of the country, the government has launched Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana and expanded the coverage of Postal Life Insurance (PLI).
- With this, apart from government employees, PLI will now cover professionals also. The decision has been taken to enlarge the cover of social security and bring the maximum number of people under the protection of Postal Life Insurance (PLI).
About the Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana:
Under the Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana, at least one village (having a minimum of 100 households) will be identified in each of the revenue districts of the country, wherein endeavour will be made to cover all households of that identified village with a minimum of one RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance) policy each. Coverage of all households in the identified Sampoorna Bima Gram village is the primary objective of this scheme.
Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI), introduced on March 24, 1995 on the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee, provides insurance cover to people residing in rural areas, especially weaker sections and women living in rural areas.
Postal Life Insurance:
Postal Life Insurance (PLI) was introduced on 1st February 1884. In the beginning, the upper limit of life insurance was only Rs 4000, which has now increased to Rs 50 lakh. It covers employees of Central and state governments, Central and state public sector undertakings, universities, government-aided educational institutions, nationalized banks, local bodies, autonomous bodies, joint ventures having a minimum of 10% Govt./PSU stake, credit co-operative societies etc.
PLI also extends the facility of insurance to the officers and staff of the Defence services and para-military forces. Apart from single insurance policies, Postal Life Insurance also manages a group insurance scheme for the extra departmental employees (Gramin Dak Sevaks) of the Department of Posts.
Topic: 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.
APY subscribers to touch 1 crore by March 2018
According to the estimates by Finance Ministry, the subscriber base of Atal Pension Yojana (APY), a guaranteed pension scheme for unorganised sector, is expected to increase to 1 crore by March next year.
- APY is being used as an important instrument for inclusion. Within three years, the scheme has been able to mobilise nearly 69 lakh accounts. Given the huge population, there is a long way to go as the pension coverage is very low in the country.
The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.
- Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years.
- The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee.
- The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, to those who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Tax payers.
Sources: the hindu.
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.
Lawyers as Seniors: Supreme Court frames rules for itself, 24 High Courts
The Supreme Court of India has laid down guidelines for itself and 24 High Courts to govern the exercise of designating lawyers as seniors and has ordered setting up of a permanent committee headed by the Chief Justice of India assisted by a secretariat. The direction came based on a petition challenging the designation process.
Composition of the permanent committee:
- In the case of the Supreme Court, the permanent committee will comprise the Chief Justice of India and two seniormost companion judges, Attorney General of India and a representative from the bar nominated by the first four members.
- For the HCs, it will have the Chief Justice of the respective HC and the Advocate General of the state in place of CJI and Attorney General.
A permanent secretariat will be set up to which applications including proposals from the judges will be submitted.
- On receipt of such applications or proposals from Hon’ble Judges, the Secretariat will compile the relevant data and information with regard to the reputation, conduct, integrity of the Advocate(s) concerned including his/her participation in pro bono work; reported judgments in which the concerned Advocate(s) had appeared; the number of such judgments for the last five years.
- The Secretariat will publish the proposal of designation of a particular Advocate in the official website of the Court concerned inviting the suggestions and views of other stakeholders in the proposed designation. The cases will then be put up before the Permanent Committee for scrutiny.
- The Committee will interview the candidate and make an overall evaluation on the basis of his/her number of years of practice, judgments (reported and unreported) which indicate the legal formulations advanced by the Advocate concerned in the course of the proceedings of the case, pro bono work done by him/her, domain expertise of the applicant in various branches of law and publications by the advocate.
- The candidates will also have to take a personality test. After a name is considered and approved by the permanent committee, it will be put before the Full Court (involving SC/HC judges as the case may be) which will decide to accord senior designation to an advocate either unanimously or by majority, through secret ballot. The Full Court may also recall the senior designation of a lawyer if it feels he is guilty of conduct that disentitles him to the same.
Section 16(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 recognises senior advocates. Section 16(2) says that “an advocate may, with his consent, be designated as senior advocate if the Supreme Court or a High Court is of opinion that by virtue of his ability (standing the Bar or special knowledge or experience in law) he is deserving or such distinction.”
Supreme Court rules say “the Chief Justice and the judges may with the consent of the advocate, designate an advocate as senior advocate if in their opinion by virtue of his ability; standing at the Bar or special knowledge or experience in law the said advocate is deserving of such distinction.” It was contended that this was not transparent.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Mitra Shakti 2017
The fifth India-Sri Lanka Joint Training Exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2017 is being held in Pune.
- The exercise is based on Counter Terrorist Operations and an Infantry company from both the countries is participating in the same.
- The aim of the joint training is to exchange the best of military practices of the two countries and build a strong military-to-military relation between the two armies.
- The exercise, the fifth in the series, also aims at developing joint strategies by sharing the expertise of conducting operations, especially in the counter-insurgency and counter terrorism (CI and CT) environment.
- The fourth chapter of the exercise was held at the Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, in 2016, when the main focus was to enhance inter-operability in CI and CT operations under the UN mandate.
Significance of this exercise:
The training exercise is considered an important effort in India’s response to China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. It is expected to send a strong signal to the world that both India and Sri Lanka understand the emerging threat of terrorism and stand shoulder to shoulder in countering this menace.
Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue
The Supreme Court has asked the government to strike a balance between humanitarian concern for Rohingya community staying in India and the country’s national security and economic interests. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community the liberty to approach it in case of “any contingency.”
A plea was filed in the supreme court by Rohingyas for protection of the life and liberty of their community. Petitioners say, the Centre’s move to deport them violated the constitutional guarantee that the Indian state should “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.”
As per the petitioners, “The proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional protections of Article 14 (equality), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 51(c) (respect for international law and treaty obligations) of the Constitution.”
Who are the Rohingya?
Few years ago, religious and ethnic tensions between the Rohingya Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhists (who make up the majority of the population in Mayanmar) escalated into widespread, deadly rioting. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee. Since then, ongoing violent attacks have forced even more people to leave their homes.
- The Myanmar Government says that Rohingya people are not Burmese citizens – but the Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for generations. Today, they are a people with no home or citizenship.
- Rohingya people are being widely abused and exploited. They are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
- According to estimate, there are around 40,000 Rohingya in India, of which around 5,700 are in Jammu. Of these, only 16,000 are said to be registered with the U.N. body.
Sources: the hindu.