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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 3 March 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. State funding of elections.

2. Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana.

3. How the Centre’s planned Sanskrit universities will function?

4. UNESCO World Heritage List.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalaya Yojana.

2. How will in-flight WiFi work?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics covered:  RPA related issues.

State funding of elections

What to study?

For prelims and mains: State funding of elections- need, issues and feasibility, electoral reforms in general.

Context: The Election Commission has informed the Government that it is not in favour of state funding of elections.

What is state or public funding of elections?

This means that government gives funds to political parties or candidates for contesting elections. Its main purpose is to make it unnecessary for contestants to take money from powerful moneyed interests so that they can remain clean.

Why public funding is good?

  1. Political parties and candidates need money for their electoral campaigns, to keep contacts with their constituencies, to prepare policy decisions and to pay professional staff. Therefore, public funding is a natural and necessary cost of democracy.
  2. Public funding can increase transparency in party and candidate finance and thereby help curb corruption.
  3. In societies where many citizens are under or just above the poverty line, they cannot be expected to donate large amounts of money to political parties or candidates. If parties and candidates receive at least a basic amount of money from the State the country could have a functioning multi-party system without people having to give up their scarce resources.

Why are some people opposed to this idea?

  • Those against this idea wonder how a Government that is grappling with deficit budgets, can provide money to political parties to contest elections.
  • They also warn that state funding would encourage every second outfit to get into the political arena merely to avail of state funds.
  • Also, given that state expenditure on key social sectors such as primary healthcare is “pitifully small”, the very idea of the Government giving away money to political parties to contest polls, is revolting.

Why it is difficult to go for public funding?

  1. The funds that a political party advances to its party candidates in an election vary from one candidate to another, and there is much variation across political parties in this regard.
  2. Assuming that there are five contending candidates in a constituency, and even if each one of them does not spend as much, but just half of their elected counterpart, an amount of about ₹15 crore will be spent in each constituency, which with about 4,215 MLAs in India works out to an about ₹13,000 crore per annum.
  3. While the legal limit that a Lok Sabha candidate can spend is ₹70 lakh, a victorious candidate on an average does not spend less than ₹10 crore for the purpose. Suppose we assume again an average of five candidates per constituency, and halving the amount to losers, about ₹30 crore will be spent in each Lok Sabha constituency, and given 543 members of the Lok Sabha, about ₹3,300 crore per annum.
  4. Then there are elections to the Upper Houses, both at the Centre and in some States, and the local governing bodies. Hence, it is argued that public funding places unnecessary burden on the exchequer.
Insta link:
Prelims Link:
1.       Limits on expenditure.
2.       Other Facts related to elections.
Mains Link:
Why state funding of elections is not a good idea? Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Schemes for the vulnerable section.

Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features, objectives of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance and the role of scheme in ensuring financial security of small traders.

Context: Under performance of National Pension Scheme for Traders, Shopkeepers and Self-Employed Persons.

  • Just over 34,000 people have signed up so far.
  • The Labour Ministry’s vision document in 2019 had set a target of 25 lakh enrolments for the scheme in 2019-2020.

What is Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana?

It is a voluntary and contribution based central sector scheme. The government launched the scheme, entailing monthly minimum assured pension of  ₹3,000 for the entry age group of 18-40 years after attaining the age of 60 years, with effect from July 22, 2019. Under the scheme, the government makes matching contribution in the subscribers’ account. The scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are required except bank account and Aadhaar Card.

Eligibility:

  1. All small shopkeepers, self-employed persons and retail traders aged between 18-40 years and with Goods and Service Tax (GST) turnover below Rs.1.5 crore can enrol for pension scheme.
  2. To be eligible, the applicants should not be covered under the National Pension Scheme, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme and the Employees’ Provident Fund or be an Income Tax assessee.

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Benefits to the family on death of an eligible subscriber:

During the receipt of pension, if an eligible subscriber dies, his spouse shall be only entitled to receive fifty per cent. of the pension received by such eligible subscriber, as family pension and such family pension shall be applicable only to the spouse.

 

Insta link:
Prelims link:
Concentrate on Objectives, eligibility and benefits of such schemes.
Mains Link:
Discuss the significance of National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

How the Centre’s planned Sanskrit universities will function?

What to study?

For Prelims: Objectives and key features of the Bill, various authorities to be created- their powers and functions.

For Mains: Significance of the bill and implications.

Context: The Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 was recently introduced in Rajya Sabha. The bill was passed in Lok Sabha in December last year.

The Bill is intended to convert India’s three deemed-to-be Sanskrit universities into Central Sanskrit Universities.

  1. Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi.
  2. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi.
  3. Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati.

Other salient features of the Bill:

  1. What the universities will do?

The proposed central universities will: (i) disseminate and advance knowledge for the promotion of Sanskrit, (ii) make special provisions for integrated courses in humanities, social sciences, and science, and (iii) train manpower for the overall development and preservation of Sanskrit and allied subjects.

  1. Powers and functions:

These include: (i) prescribing courses of study and conducting training programmes, (ii) granting degrees, diplomas, and certificates, (iii) providing facilities through a distance education system, (iv) conferring autonomous status on a college or an institution, (v) providing instructions for education in Sanskrit and allied subjects.

  1. Some of the authorities that the universities will have:

A court, which will review the policies of the university and suggest measures for its development. An Executive Council, which will be the principal executive body. The 15-member council will include the Vice-Chancellor appointed by the Centre, who will be the chairperson. The council will, among other functions, create teaching and academic posts and their appointment, and manage the revenue and property of the university. An Academic and Activity Council, which will supervise academic policies. A Board of Studies, which will approve the subjects for research and recommend measures to improve standards of teaching.

  1. Visitor of the universities:

Like at all central universities, the President of India will be the Visitor of the central Sanskrit universities. He may appoint persons to review and inspect the functioning of the University. The Executive Council may take action based on the findings of the inspection.

Insta link:
Prelims link:
1.       What are deemed universities?
2.       Constitutional provisions wrt to Sanskrit.
3.       Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan.
Mains Link:
Write a note the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

UNESCO World Heritage List

What to study?

For Prelims: Heritage sites in India.

For Mains: The convention, significance and selection of sites.

Context: Government of India has submitted two nomination dossiers namely ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ and ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.

The list contains world heritage sites.

What is a World Heritage Site?

It is a location having an “Outstanding Universal Value”. According to the World Heritage Convention’s Operational Guidelines, an Outstanding Universal Value signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.”

Categorisation:

The Sites fall into three categories: cultural heritage, natural heritage, and mixed heritage (cultural as well as natural).

Who selects the Sites?

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets at least once every year, generally in June/July, to deliberate the addition, removal, or modification of items on the list of World Heritage Sites.

How do countries get their preferred spots included?

According to the Guidelines, the State Parties prepare a Tentative List, or the “inventory of those properties situated on its territory which each State Party considers suitable for nomination to the World Heritage List.”. A nomination document is then prepared in this regard based on which the application is considered by the Committee.

  • In India, the Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO (INCCU), and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are the bodies which play a key role in this regard.

After receiving nominations from the State Parties, the Committee then puts them through a rigorous examination before any new location can qualify as a World Heritage Site.

What happens after a World Heritage Site is declared?

  1. Most importantly, getting featured on the list of World Heritage Sites affords the location a coveted status, driving up demand for travel and tourism from around the world geared towards it.
  2. At the same time, a heavy onus is placed on the government of the country in which the Site is located for its conservation and upkeep.
  3. The Committee conducts regular audits at declared Sites, and can place a spot that is seriously threatened on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  4. If the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is destroyed, the Committee can consider deleting the property from the World Heritage List.

Facts for Prelims:

Dholavira is located in the Khadir Island in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. It is a mature harappan site.

Insta link:
Prelims link:
1.       Various world heritage sites in India and their geographical locations and significance.
2.       Overview of harappan civilisation with a special focus on Dholavira.
3.       Deccan sultanate architecture.
Mains Link:
What are world heritage sites? Why are they significant? Discuss.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Employment related issues.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushlaya Yojana

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the programme.

For Mains: Need for and significance of spilling and placement linked trainings.

Context: The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) will soon undertake real-time assessment of government’s flagship youth employment scheme the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushlya Yojana (DDU-GKY). 

  • The institute has developed an enterprise resource planning platform called ‘Kaushal Bharath,’ to enable states to capture data on projects under DDU-GKY and for the information to be collated in one system.

About Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY):

It is a placement linked skill development program which allows skilling in a PPP mode and assured placements in regular jobs in an organization not owned by the skilled person. DDU-GKY is being undertaken as PPP Project all over the country through Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) registered with the Ministry of Rural Development.

  • Further, Guidelines of the scheme mandate State Governments to take up skill training projects with Corporate Social Responsibility funding.
  • DDU-GKY Guidelines provide for setting apart 15% of the funds of the funds at for national level beneficiaries from among minority groups.

Beneficiary Eligibility:

  • Rural Youth:15 – 35 Yrs
  • SC/ST/Women/PVTG/PWD: upto 45 Yrs
Insta Link:
Prelims Link:
Concentrate mainly on Objectives, implementation, eligibility criteria and funding of scutch government schemes.
Mains Link:
Write a note on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushlaya Yojana.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

How will in-flight WiFi work?

What to study?

For Prelims: How does WiFi work? How in- flight WiFi works?

For Mains: Need for, benefits and concerns associated.

Context: The government has permitted airlines operating in India to provide in-flight WiFi services to passengers. 

Previously, the Telecom Commission had given its green signal to in-flight connectivity of Internet and mobile communications on aircraft in Indian airspace in 2018.

Who can permit?

The pilot may permit the access of Internet services by passengers on board an aircraft in flight, through Wi-Fi on board, when laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode.

How in- flight connectivity works?

In-flight connectivity systems use two kinds of technologies– terrestrial and satellite internet services.

  1. Once flight mode is activated, the plane’s antenna will link to terrestrial Internet services provided by telecom service providers.
  2. Then, when the aircraft has climbed to 3,000 m, the antenna will switch to satellite-based services.

This way, there will be no break in Internet services to passengers, and cross-interference between terrestrial and satellite networks will be avoided.

Challenges ahead:

  1. Airlines will have to bear the initial cost of installing antennae on aircraft. So, the additional cost could find a way into ticket prices.
  2. Apart from the equipment, airlines will have to bear additional fuel costs, given the extra weight and drag aircraft will face due to the antenna.
  3. Technology and laws allow calls to be made from aircraft, but many airlines do not want noisy cabins.

Benefits:

  1. Globally, more than 30 airlines allow voice calls and internet access during flights. This facility will now will help Indian airlines compete with foreign carriers.
  2. Business travellers greatly value these services as they can continue their work commitments without any deterrence.
  3. Other travellers can be in touch with their near and dear ones even during the flight.
Insta link:
Prelims link:
1.       How WiFi works?
2.       How internet works and is regulated?
3.       How signals are transmitted from satellites to ground stations?
Mains link:
How in- flight internet connectivity works? What are it’s Pros and Cons?

 

Link:

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


 

Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)

Context: PIB fact.

It is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, formed in 1991. It is involved in the regulation and promotion of foreign trade through regulation. It has been assigned the role of a “facilitator”. The DGFT also issues scrips/authorization to exporters and monitors their corresponding obligations through its network of regional offices.