Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 November 2017
GS Paper 2:
Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Overreach: on the T.N Governor meeting govt. officials
Breaking convention, Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit recently held a meeting with officials of various government departments. The Governor has attempted to explain his interactions, saying he was seeking to familiarize himself with the administration and that he could appreciate its work in implementing schemes only if he got to know all details first hand.
What’s the issue now?
The move invited criticism from some political parties, which accused the governor of interfering in the state government’s functioning. Experts say, it is an act of constitutional impropriety for the Governor of a State to review the work of government officials when an elected regime is in place.
What the constitution says?
Article 167 of the Constitution says it is the Chief Minister’s duty to communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration and proposals for legislation. It enjoins the Chief Minister to furnish such information relating to the administration as the Governor may call for.
There may be occasions when the Governor may need to ask a top bureaucrat or the head of the police force for a report on a major incident or development, but even that should be for the limited purpose of getting an accurate picture before sending a report to the Centre. So, according to experts, If the Governor wanted to understand how schemes are being implemented, he could have sought details from the Chief Minister instead of holding meetings in the districts.
Governor should not refrain from taking an independent view of any matter or legislative proposal. But his functioning should be within the bounds of established norms and conventions.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
National Anti-profiteering Authority
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the creation of the posts of Chairman and Technical Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) under GST. This paves the way for the immediate establishment of this apex body.
About the National Anti-profiteering Authority:
What is it?
The National Anti-profiteering Authority is tasked with ensuring the full benefits of a reduction in tax on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers. The National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in the event of a reduction in rate of GST on supply of goods or services or, if the benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
The National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be headed by a senior officer of the level of a Secretary to the Government of India and shall have four technical members from the Centre and/or the States.
Powers and functions of the authority:
- In the event the National Anti-profiteering Authority confirms the necessity of applying anti-profiteering measures, it has the power to order the business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services.
- If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund.
- In extreme cases the National Anti-profiteering Authority can impose a penalty on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.
What are anti- profiteering measures?
The “anti-profiteering” measures enshrined in the GST law provide an institutional mechanism to ensure that the full benefits of input tax credits and reduced GST rates on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers. This institutional framework comprises the NAA, a Standing Committee, Screening Committees in every State and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).
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.
Sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)”
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, Child Protection Services and National Crèche Scheme till 30.11.2018 with an outlay of over Rs.41,000 crore. These are the sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)”.
The aims of these schemes are as under:
Anganwadi Services (ICDS) aims at holistic development of children under the age of six years and its beneficiaries are children of this age group and Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers.
The objective of the Scheme for Adolescent Girls is to facilitate, educate and empower Adolescent Girls so as to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens through improved nutrition and health status, promoting awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition, mainstreaming out of school AGs into formal/non formal education and providing information/guidance about existing public services.
The objectives of Child Protection Services are to provide safe and secure environment for children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, reduce vulnerabilities through a wide range of social protection measures, prevent actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from families etc., bring focus on non-institutional care, develop a platform for partnership between Government & Civil Society and establish convergence of child related social protection services.
National Creche Scheme aims at providing a safe place for mothers to leave their children while they are at work, and thus, is a measure for empowering women as it enables them to take up employment. At the same time, it is also an intervention towards protection and development of children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years.
The sub-schemes listed above are not new schemes but are continuing from the XII Five Year Plan. The programme through targeted interventions will strive to reduce the level of malnutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies, ensure empowerment of adolescent girls, provide protection to the children who are in conflict with law, provide safe place for day-care to the children of working mothers, create synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue negative alerts for timely action, encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals and bring more transparency.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: ICDS was launched in 1975 in accordance to the National Policy for Children in India. The scheme aims at holistic development of under-six children and providing nutritional and health support to pregnant and lactating mothers.
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
What is it?
It is Joint Indo-Bangladesh Training Exercise. The 2017 edition was recently held in Mizoram. It is the seventh such exercise in the SAMPRITI series.
Aim of the exercise:
The exercise has been aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.
GS Paper 3:
Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017
India, for the first time ever, is all set to host the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), one of the world’s largest conferences in the field of Cyber Space and related issues.
GCCS- 2017- key facts:
- The theme for the GCCS 2017 is ‘Cyber4All: An Inclusive, Sustainable, Developmental, Safe and Secure Cyberspace’.
- This is the fifth edition of GCCS wherein international leaders, policymakers, industry experts, think tanks and cyber experts will gather to deliberate on issues and challenges for optimally using cyber space.
- The overall goals of GCCS 2017 are to promote the importance of inclusiveness and human rights in global cyber policy, to defend the status quo of an open, interoperable and unregimented cyberspace and to create political commitment for capacity building initiatives to address the digital divide and assist countries.
What is it?
GCCS is a prestigious international conference that aims at encouraging dialogue among stakeholders of cyberspace, which has been taking place since 2011. Incepted in 2011 in London, GCCS witnessed a participation of 700 global delegates. Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) for capacity building in cyber space was launched in the fourth edition of the conference held in The Hague, Netherlands.
Incepted in 2011 in London, second GCCS was held in 2012 in Budapest with focus on relationship between internet rights and internet security, which was attended by 700 delegates from nearly 60 countries. The third edition of GCCS was held in 2013 in Seoul with commitment to Open and Secure Cyberspace. The fourth version GCCS 2015 was held on April 16-17, 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands which saw participation from 97 countries.
Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
The government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ Web Portal.
About Saubhagya Portal:
What is it?
The Saubhagya Dashboard is a platform for monitoring household electrification progress, which would disseminate information on Household Electrification Status (State, District, village-wise), Household Progress on live basis, State-wise Target vs Achievement, Monthly Electrification Progress, etc.
Key features of the portal:
- Through this online platform every State would feed in the current status of progress of electrification works, hence enabling the creation of a system of accountability for the State utility/ DISCOM and help in increasing their viability.
- The portal also has a feature on village electrification camps and in line with that, DISCOMs will organize camps in villages/cluster of villages for facilitating on-the-spot filling up of application forms and to complete requisite documentation to expedite release of electricity connections to households.
About the Saubhagya scheme:
What is it?
Under the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme, launched in September, 2017, all willing households in rural areas and poor families in urban areas are given free electricity connections. There are around 4 Crore un-electrified households in the country and they are targeted for providing electricity connections by December 2018.
Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) is the Nodal Agency for the operationalization of the scheme throughout the country.
The expected outcome of the Scheme is as follows:
- Environmental upgradation by substitution of Kerosene for lighting purposes.
- Improvement education services.
- Better health services.
- Enhanced connectivity through radio, television, mobiles, etc.
- Increased economic activities and jobs.
- Improved quality of life especially for women.
Topic: Disaster and disaster management.
Second warning to humanity
More than 120 Indian scientists are among the 15,364 scientists from 184 countries to endorse the second warning that the world’s scientists have issued to humanity: not mending currently unsustainable ways of living could augur “widespread misery” and “catastrophic biodiversity loss”. This is the first time that so many scientists are signatory to such a letter.
The first warning, issued in 1992 and signed by 1,575 scientists, urged governments to take immediate action to prevent environmental degradation. Following up on nine environmental issues identified by these scientists, a team led by Oregon State University’s William Ripple compiled current data on them.
The report notes that in the past 25 years:
- The amount of fresh water available per head of population worldwide has reduced by 26%.
- The number of ocean “dead zones” – places where little can live because of pollution and oxygen starvation – has increased by 75%.
- Nearly 300 million acres of forest have been lost, mostly to make way for agricultural land.
- Global carbon emissions and average temperatures have shown continued significant increases.
- Human population has risen by 35%.
- Collectively the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish in the world has fallen by 29%.
- However, there is also good news: ozone depletors such as chlorofluorocabons in the atmosphere have declined, proving that change is possible.
What needs to be done now?
Expert recommendations to “transition to sustainability” include halting conversion of natural habitats such as forests and grasslands, reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure, promoting new green technologies, and revising economies to reduce inequalities in wealth.
In a country like India, there is a need for both immediate and long-term solutions. In the short term, it’s critical to limit further habitat loss and the expansion of new roads, mines and mega-projects into the last wild places, and to enlist the help and engagement of local communities wherever possible.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- China launches world’s first fully electric cargo ship:
China has launched the world’s first all-electric ship, which can travel up to 80km with 2000-tonnes cargo after a two-hour charge.
- The ship is 70.5-metre-long and weighs about 600 tonnes.
- The vessel is powered by a 26-tonne lithium battery. It can cruise at the top speed of 12.8 km per hour.
- As the ship do not use fossil fuels, it has zero emission, including carbon, sulphur and PM2.5 and it could be used as a passenger liner or a working ship.
- IndiaRAP programme:
What is it? It is an India Road Assessment Programme (IndiaRAP) that will rate highways’ safety levels, and seek to eliminate the most unsafe roads.
Implementation: The IndiaRAP programme is being supported by FedEx Express and will be hosted by the Asian Institute of Transport Development, and will work with government agencies as well as investors, researchers and NGOs to assess existing highways and promote the use of better design to make roads safer.
The ratings are assigned on the basis of the level of safety which is ‘built-in’ to a road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Five-star roads are the safest while one-star roads are the least safe.