Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
1. Common Service Centres.
GS Paper 3:
1. Budget transparency, accountability survey.
2. National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).
3. Jal Shakti Abhiyan.
4. GI tags to new products.
Facts for Prelims:
1. 1st May: Labour Day.
2. Bank of Schemes, Ideas, Innovation and Research portal.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: CSCs- establishments, need, functioning and significance.
Context: In its bid to ensure a free flow of essential goods amid lockdown in rural areas, the government has decided to work with nearly 2,000 Common Service Centres. Over 3.8 Lakh CSCs across the country reach over 60 Cr people.
How it works?
Customers can now go online and order supplies through an app that has been provided to village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs) or those given the charge of retail and other CSC activities. The VLEs then make arrangements to transport the goods within a few hours. VLEs have also been allowed to take offline order.
What are CSCs?
Common Services Centers (CSCs) are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.
They are multiple-services-single-point model for providing facilities for multiple transactions at a single geographical location.
They are the access points for delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial, education and agriculture services, apart from host of B2C services to citizens in rural and remote areas of the country.
CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:
- Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
- Governance and services on demand.
- Digital empowerment of citizens.
Significance of CSCs:
CSCs are more than service delivery points in rural India. They are positioned as change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods. They are enablers of community participation and collective action for engendering social change through a bottom-up approach with key focus on the rural citizen.
The CSC project, which forms a strategic component of the National eGovernance Plan was approved by the Government in May 2006, as part of its commitment in the National Common Minimum Programme to introduce e-governance on a massive scale.
It is also one of the approved projects under the Integrated Mission Mode Projects of the National eGovernance Plan.
- What is a mission mode project?
- Components of National e- Governance plan?
- What is National Common Minimum programme.
- What functions can be performed by CSCs?
Discuss the significance of common service centres in developing a digitally and financially inclusive society.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Government Budgeting.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview and findings of the survey.
For Mains: Observations made about India, concerns and ways to address them.
Context: The report of Open budget survey, conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), has been released.
The Open Budget Survey is part of the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Initiative, a global research and advocacy program to promote public access to budget information and the adoption of accountable budget systems.
How are the countries ranked?
- The open budget survey has been covering 117 countries. It rates the level of transparency in budget across nations on a scale of 0-100.
- The rating of the countries by the survey is based on various normative and internationally comparable indicators.
- The survey evaluates each country on the basis of the availability of eight key budget documents of the Central or Federal government. The survey assesses whether these documents are made public and whether they provide comprehensive information or not.
Highlights of the survey:
- India is placed at 53rd position among 117 nations in terms of budget accountability and transparency.
- IBP has provided a transparency score of 49 out of 100 to India’s Union budget process. The provided score to India is higher than the global average score of 45.
- As per the survey, India has performed well in timely publishing and providing relevant information in the audit reports and in year reports. It has scored well and higher than in many other countries.
- Other developing countries, with an exception to China, have scored much higher transparency scores in comparison to India.
Suggestions made by IBP survey for India:
- Provide adequate space for public participation in budgets.
- Before the annual budget is presented, the Union government should publish a pre-budget statement that can be scrutinised by the legislatures as well as by the public.
What is Budget Transparency?
Budget transparency refers to the extent and ease with which citizens can access information about and provide feedback on government revenues, allocations, and expenditures. Budgets are key documents since they lay out a government’s priorities in terms of policies and programs. Opening up budgets is a first step toward democratizing the budget process and giving citizens a say in policy formulation and resource allocation.
- What is open budget initiative?
- Appropriation vs Finance bills- similarities and differences.
- Scope of discussion and amendments to appropriation bill.
- Powers of Rajya Sabha wrt to Appropriation Bill vs role of speaker.
- Procedure to be followed while passing appropriation bill vs financial bills.
- Consolidated vs Contingency funds.
- Guillotine- applicability and implications.
- Components of annual financial statement.
Sources: Business Standard.
Topics Covered: Infrastructure.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is NIP? What it includes? Sectors and investments.
For Mains: Significance and challenges in implementation.
Context: The task force headed by Atanu Chakraborty on National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) has submitted its final report to the Finance Minister.
Important recommendations and observations made:
- Investment needed: ₹111 lakh crore over the next five years (2020-2025) to build infrastructure projects and drive economic growth.
- Energy, roads, railways and urban projects are estimated to account for the bulk of projects (around 70%).
- The centre (39 percent) and state (40 percent) are expected to have an almost equal share in implementing the projects, while the private sector has 21 percent share.
- Aggressive push towards asset sales.
- Monetisation of infrastructure assets.
- Setting up of development finance institutions.
- Strengthening the municipal bond market.
The task force has recommended setting up of the following three committees:
- Committee to monitor NIP progress and eliminate delays
- Steering Committee at each Infrastructure ministry level to follow up on the implementation process
- Steering Committee in DEA for raising financial resources for the NIP.
What is National Infrastructure Pipeline?
- It is a first-of-its-kind government exercise to pave the way for world-class infrastructure across the nation and improve the quality of life of the people.
- The initiative aims to improve infrastructure project preparation and attract new investments both foreign and domestic.
- The project will play a significant role in fulfilling India’s goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy by FY 2025.
- NIP includes economic and social infrastructure projects.
- It also includes both greenfield and brownfield projects.
Topics covered: Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: features, need for and significance of the campaign.
Context: Under the National Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Centre has decided to utilize the upcoming monsoon season to expand its water conservation efforts.
Ministry of Home Affairs, as per the Centre, has allowed to take up MGNREGA works/drinking water and sanitation works at the time of lockdown with priority to be given to water conservation and irrigation works.
About Jal Shakti Abhiyan:
- It is a time-bound, mission-mode campaign.
- Launched in 2019, it covered 256 water stressed districts across the country.
- The campaign will run through citizen participation.
- It is also a mass movement to bring all the stakeholders under one ambit of water conservation drive.
- It is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Work to be done under this initiative:
- Rejuvenation of the traditional water bodies.
- Desilting of ponds and lakes.
- Encroachments removal in the water bodies.
- Catchment area treatment.
- Construction and strengthening of inlets/outlets.
Topics Covered: IP related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is GI tag, GI tag for Basmati.
For Mains: Relevance and significance of GI tag.
Context: GI tag has been given to Black rice of Manipur, also called the Chak-Hao, Gorakhpur Terracotta and Kadalai Mittai of Kovilpatti.
- Black rice variety has a deep black colour and is higher by weight than that of other coloured rice varieties like brown rice, etc. This is mainly due to the anthocyanin agent.
- Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai is a pea nut candy made in southern parts of Tamil Nadu. The candy is prepared from ground nut and jaggery. The water is exclusively used from the river Thamirabarani.
- Gorakhpur Terracotta: The potters of the town make animal figures like elephants, horses.
About GI tag:
What is it?
A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
Significance of a GI tag:
Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
Who is a registered proprietor of a geographical indication?
- Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can be a registered proprietor.
- Their name should be entered in the Register of Geographical Indication as registered proprietor for the Geographical Indication applied for.
How long the registration of Geographical Indication is valid?
- The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years.
- It can be renewed from time to time for further period of 10 years each.
What is the difference between a geographical indication and a trademark?
- A trademark is a sign used by an enterprise to distinguish its goods and services from those of other enterprises. It gives its owner the right to exclude others from using the trademark.
- A geographical indication tells consumers that a product is produced in a certain place and has certain characteristics that are due to that place of production. It may be used by all producers who make their products in the place designated by a geographical indication and whose products share typical qualities.
Who accords and regulates Geographical Indications?
At the International level: Geographical Indications are covered as a component of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. GI is also governed by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
In India, Geographical Indications registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force with effect from September 2003. The first product in India to be accorded with GI tag was Darjeeling tea in the year 2004-05.
- What is GI tag?
- Who grants?
- GI products in India and their geographical locations.
- Other IPRs.
What is a Geographical Indication (GI) tag? Discuss it’s significance.
Facts for Prelims
1st May: Labour Day:
Context: The Labour Day was observed across the world on May 1, 2020. The day is also known as International Worker’s Day and May Day.
In India, the first celebration of the Labour Day was organised in Madras (now Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923.
Why 1 May is observed as Labour Day?
The Labour Day is celebrated to commemorate the happenings of May 4, 1886, the Haymarket affair (Haymarket Massacre) in the Chicago.
- It was a big event as workers were on the general strike for their eight-hour workday and police were doing their job of dispersing the general public from the crowd. Suddenly, a bomb was thrown over the crowd and police started firing over the workers and four demonstrators were killed.
- It was due to the sacrifice of these workers that eight-hours were declared as the legal time for the workers in the National Convention at Chicago in 1884 by the American Federation of Labor.
- To commemorate this event, the Second International, a pan-national organisation of socialist and communist political parties, marked 1 May as the Labour Day in 1891.
Bank of Schemes, Ideas, Innovation and Research portal:
- Launched by Union Ministry of MSME.
- The Portal gives access to all Schemes of Union, State and UT Governments. It has the provision for uploading Ideas, Innovations & Researches in the sector.
- The portal has unique features of not only crowd sourcing of Ideas, but also evaluation and rating the ideas by crowd sourcing. It can also facilitate inflow of venture capital, foreign collaboration etc.
- Germany has classified the organization Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in its soil.
- The Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political party that is based in Lebanon. The organization was founded by the Iranian effort in 1980s to aggregate Lebanese Shia groups. In the on-going Iran-Israel conflicts, Hezbollah acts as a proxy for Iran.
Insights Current Affairs Analysis (I–CAN) by IAS Topper