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Dec 3 rd, 2015
Misc CANo Comments

Current Events From December

Contents

Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015

    SC supported their decision to make some minimum qualification compulsory to contest elections for panchayat. According, to court minimum qualification will help candidates to discharge their duty more efficiently and they will also have the better know how to discriminate between right and wrong, good or bad.
    Some Important features of the Bill are :
    – Men from general category must have need to be Class X pass, women from general and men from scheduled category need to be Class VIII pass, and women from scheduled category need to be Class V Pass,
    – Apart from above conditions other necessary things required will be functional toilet at home, no co-operative banks dues and electricity bills must be paid up.
    It has been opposed by many people in Haryana saying its the violation of peoples fundamental rights. Rajasthan also made same such law.

Anti-Dengue Vaccine Approved by Mexico

    Anti-Dengue vaccine Dengvaxia has been developed by a France based company.
    Deague:
    – Also known as breakbone fever, – Is a mosquito borne tropical disease caused by mosquito from genus Aedes, – Caused by dengue virus, – If turns severe can lead to low levels of blood platelets, blood plasma leakage etc.

Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project

    Cabinet has given nod for India’s first 500 km long bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad for which Japan will provide both fund and technology viz Rs. 78,000 crore loan (Rs. 98,000 crore is project cost).
    Japanese Shinkansen system will be the choice because of its high safety record and less delays.
    China was also bidding for the same project but couldn’t made it, although it also got it’s first bullet train construction project in Indonesia.

Karnatka Start-up Forum

    Karnatka is planning a portal for start-ups through which they can actually pitch for local government contracts and provide them good service in specified timeline and cost, and secondly they will also get better clients.
    Currently, because of long process of government approval which always requires companies with successful track record and capital etc. to execute the project, no new and innovative solutions are came onto the table to do the same thing in some new ways.
    This move will bring various benefits like better services at low cost, innovative solutions, start-ups will grow etc.

A MoU Signed b/w India and South Korea on Taxation

    MoU is basically on suspension of collection of all taxes till Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) is pending.
    Advantage:
    – Improvement in ease of doing business, – No double taxation on taxpayers, – Improvement in cross border trade and investment
    MAP
    – Is a preferred way for settling cross-border tax cases, that can negotiate cases by subsequently taking them off from legal process.
    – It’s main advantage is no double taxation, – Permanent establishment existence etc. – Effective in negotiating a mutually acceptable settlement

Digital India Initiative of India

    Through it government aims to provide broadband access to each and every person living in India.It is not a new mission but an amalgamation of three old projects viz. of NOFN, National Knowledge Network and E-governance initiative.
    Hurdles:
    – 85% Indians still don’t have access to internet and as a majority of them live in rural areas reaching them will going to require a lot of time, capital and infrastructure.
    – FDI in e-commerce business is limited and currently they are not that big so they can provide services to all over India, – Manufacturers are not that much scaled up they also lies in small and medium size category, – An additional hurdle of checking of electronic and electrical items by BIS before approving it for sale in Indian markets, even if they are approved by International certification organisations.
    Improvement chances:
    – More investment in e-commerce business and scaling up manufacturing sector to boost production of various goods, – Accepting, certifications provided by international labs.
    India is a $ 148 billion IT industry which can innovate to provide better solutions to various problems affecting the growth of Digital India initiative.

People with Disability in India

    An act was passed in 1995 called as the Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PWDA), which was enacted basically for giving a the same opportunity to PWDs as a normal person.
    PWDA defines disability as: blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, loco-motor disability, mental retardation and mental illness.
    Highlights of PWDA:
    – Even after having provision for making places accessible for them still there are many public places which don’t have such facilities for them, – 3% reservation is mandatory for them in public employment, but it is still not achieved, – No enthusiasm or research at state level is affecting it further.
    Activism:
    – Several NGOs are fighting for their rights, – SC landmark judgement of October, 2013 to give direction to states to follow the laws strictly etc.
    Change required:
    Yes change is required and for it to take place every person needs to be aware about the necessity to help such people and second important point is how to achieve it or do it. So more research from bureaucracy side and government is needed to actually find ways to reach such deprived people living in rural areas like disabled women and in them ecen one belong to SC and ST category.

Heart of Asia Conference

    After, Pakistan this year it will be India next year i.e. in 2016 to host this conference.
    Aim of Conference: Improvement in cooperation among members, enhanced connectivity to promote peace, stability etc., Development in Afghanistan and other wider region
    Salient Features:
    – The conference has Afghanistan as main focus along with development of other regions as well, – Common platform to discuss various regional issues these member countries are facing,

Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015

    Cabinet has approved Real Estate (regulation and development) Bill, 2015 to protect consumers interest, promote fair play and timely execution of projects in this sector.
    Salient Features:
    – Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) establishment in all states/UTs, – Mandatory registration of agents and projects, – For timely construction, a certain amount of money will be deposited in separate account, – Appellate tribunal for fast track dispute resolution etc., – Mandatory disclosure of details of registered projects, – No change of plans and design by promoters without consent of consumers
    Advantages:
    It will attract investment both foreign and domestic, good step for orderly growth of sector, will being professionalism and standardization, – Increase in accountability towards consumers, decrease in frauds and delays, – Will help somewhat to India’s ambitious mission of Housing for All by 2022.

Time “Person of the Year”

    Angela Merkel has been named as the 2015 Time’s Person of the Year for her leadership during times of debt, migrant and refugee crisis in Europe. This is a title started in 1927 given to most influenced persons and is chosen for better or worse cases in the news.

Revamping of National Waterways

    Cabinet has approved amendments to the National Waterways Bill, 2015 to add 106 additional inland waterways as national waterways on the basis of recommendation of standing committee of parliament on Transport, Tourism and Culture. The existing five national waterways will be covered under it and so the total number of waterways will increase to 111. It will enable Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to develop feasible stretches for shipping and navigation.
    Union government makes laws on shipping and navigation as its a subject of Union list.
    National Waterways:
    NW 1: Allahabad to Haldia on ganga, 1620 km
    NW 2: Sadiya to Dhubri, 891 km
    NW 3: West Coast Canal, 205 km in Kerala
    NW 4: kakinada to Pondicherry on Godavari and Wazirabad to Vijaywada on Krishna
    NW 5: Talcher to Dhamra on Mahanadi river, 620 km

India The 4th Largest Black Money Source

    India ranked 4th in terms of black money outflows among developing and emerging economies with China (1st, $ 139bn), Russia (2nd, $ 104 bn) and Mexico (3rd, $ 52.8 bn). A record 1.1 trillion dollars flowed illegally out of developing and emerging economies.
    A total of $ 510 bn of illicit money flowed from India during 2004-2013 according to a report by global Financial Integrity (GFI).
    This illicit or black money includes tax evasion, crime, corruption and other illegal activities.

PSLV Bagged More Orders from US

    PlanetiQ one of the company of US to use PSLV for launch of two of its satellites next year.Because of a US policy bar their satellite operators were not able to launch a satellite from Indian PSLV, but in September Spire Global became the first customer of PSLV.
    PSLV is first launch vehicle of ISRO with capacity of 1600 kg for sending satellites in sun synchronous orbit and 1050 kg in geo-synchronous orbit. IT has three versions standard, core-alone and PSLV-XL version, – Has launched 87 satellites uptil now etc.

WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement

    India may ratify WTO’s TFA which is aimed at easing customs rules.
    Issue:
    – India may not be able to take its advantage, therefore there are chances that other countries may drag India into dispute settlement panel of WTO. Although, there is flexibility under which it can take support from donor countries for capacity building.
    Advantage:
    It will help in improving India’s ranking in world’s ease of doing business report and hence will attract more investment. It can add $ 1 trillion to India’s GDP and a lot of jobs.
    TFA:
    It was a part of ninth ministerial conference held in Bali, for faster and efficient customs rules through effective cooperation between various authorities included in it, and helping in building infrastructure by providing technical assistance as well.

FDI in India

    According, to data released by DIPP for the period from April-September 2015 Singapore with $6.69 bn FDI in India has become the top source of FDI for India surpassing Mauritius which invested only $ 3.66bn. Although, if see for period 2000-2015 we will find that Singapore accounts for only 15% of FDI while Mauritius accounts for 34%.
    Limit-of-Benefit (LoB) clause under DTAA is the reason for providing comfort for Singapore while investing in India.
    LoB Clause ensures that any third-country investors do not misuse the tax pacts, i.e. limiting it for certain conditions only.

Forest Cover in India

    According, to Forest Survey of India India has gained 3,775 sq km of forest cover since 2013. MP remain the state with largest forest cover with 77,462 sq km followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 67,248 sq km.
    In percentage wise category the maximum forest cover we can find in Mizoram (88.9%), followed by Lakshadweep (84.6%) etc.
    Forest: An area of 1 hectare or 0.01 sq km with a canopy density of 10%
    Prime Forest: Very dense has canopy density of >70% and mid-dense has >40%.

PM National relief Fund (PMNRF)

    This has been initiated by the first PM of India Sh. J.L.Nehru whose primary aim is to help families whose dear ones died in natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, cyclones etc. and also to the victims of accidents and riots.
    – No budgetary support, only public contribution, -Corpus is spent in fixed deposits, No income tax, – PM is its chairman, -Contribution to it by companies also taken as CSR hence gives them tax benefits, – Disbursement only with approval of PM.
    Recently, PM has announced relief of Rs. 5o,ooo crore for relief work of Tamil Nadu floods.

Secularism and Indian Constitution

    The words socialist and secular has been added to Indian constitution by 42nd amendment of 1976. But, some experts are of the view that the features of making India a secular state are already present in Constitution like in Article 14, 15, 16, 27, 29, 20 etc.
    SC in its ruling in Kesavananda Bharati case said that secularism is the part of basic structure of the Constitution and basic structure is beyond the power of parliament to get amended.

Atomic Energy Bill 2015

    This bill has been introduced in Lok Sabha to amend the old Atomic Energy Act of 1962 to ease procedures to install nuclear projects and their enhancement.
    Salient Features:
    – As per old Act a government company is the one with more than 51% paid-up share capital being held by central government. New bill want to modify it by introducing a clause that these shares can be held by multiple of companies.
    – Earlier a license was compulsory for acquisition, production, export etc. of any plant designed for atomic energy purpose, new bill seeks to modify this by saying that this license will be granted to some government related entity only
    – In atomic energy related purpose the license will be ceased to exist if the licensee ceases to be a government company.

INDRA NAVY – 15

    It’s a bilateral maritime exercise between Indian and Russian navies, which has beguc in Bay of Bengal in Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).
    Salient Features:
    – Sharing of best practices
    – Strengthening mutual confidence
    – Interoperability i.e. ability to work with other system

Rajasthan Joined UDAY Scheme

    Rajasthan has given approval to Ministry of Poer that it will join UDAy Scheme i.e. Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana.
    Uday Scheme is basically for improving financial and operational efficiency of power DISCOMS, – BY reducing AT&C losses, cost of power, interest burden etc.
    (For details see earlier posts)

Red Alert in Beijing

    China has issued red alert in their capital Beijing because of severe air pollution i.e. 10 times worse than that is recommended by WHO.
    Salient Features of red Alert:
    – No outdoor works, – Schools will remain close, – Traffic restrictions on certain types of vehicles, – Cement trucks, gravel transport vehicles etc. prohibited from driving on roads etc.

Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 referred to Select Committee

    After objection by some of its members Rajya Sabha sen this bill which seeks to amend Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 to a select committee. Objection is based on the view that its certain provisions will overlap with Lokpal Act.
    Salient Features of the Bill:
    – New bill covers offence of bribing a public servant, – Criminal misconduct to only cover misappropriation of property and possession of disproportionate assets, – Forfeiture of property of public servants accused of corruption etc.

      Delhi Governments Odd-Even Formula

        This formula is also be applicable on private vehicles registered in other states as well. Main aim to reduce the pollution level in the city. To deal with reduced number of vehicles government is planning to increase number of government vehicles like buses and increase in metro service facility.
        The decision was taken seeing the increasing pollution level in the city. Stats shows that 88 lakhs four and two wheelers hits Delhi roads every day.
        With the pollution from vehicles the another matter of concern is the straw burning of Punjab and Haryana which leads to lethal fog in Delhi under low temperature conditions.
        Problems:
        – Police strength needs to be increased to implement this policy, – People may purchase cars with both even as well as odd numbers, – Forging of odd/even number plates, – Can affect working women and differently abled persons.
        Other Solutions:
        Apart from odd even formula, car pooling, car free days, stringent emission norms, plantation drives etc. will be of much help

      75 Years of HAL

        HAL is now part of Ministry of Defence which was once started by Walchand Hirachand Doshi and later on acquired by British in 1942.
        Salinet Features:
        – India’s sole manufactures of military craft, – It does R&D for making better aircraft for India for future, – Some aircrafts it make ar: sukhoi-30, LCA, Mirage 2000 etc.

      Mullaperiyar Dam issue

        Heavy downpour and release of excess water into the periyar is posing a threat to Kerala due to increase in water level in Mullaperiyar dam closer to the permissible limit of 142 feet. So because of above threat that Kerala is facinf it is of the opinion to approach SC with a petition against Tamil Nadu.
        This dam was built between 1887-1895 by John Pennycuick for diverting water from the reservoir through a main tunnel to Vaigai basin in Tamil Nadu for irrigation benefits on cardamom hills in Thekkady (Idukki district of Kerala). The dam is operated and maintained by TN and Periyar national Park is locaed around the dams reservoir.

      Krishna Water Share Between Telangana, Karnatka and Maharashtra

        Krishna Water Tribunal – II to decide on the matter of allocation of Krishna water to all three states. Telangana is of the view that its interest is not being considered under the tribunal award of December 2010 valid till 2050 and second problem is that it is bounded by terms of reference os Section 89 of AP Re-organisation Act, 2014 under which it can get share of the water from Andhra Pradesh’s share only.
        Telangana want its share as it has been bifurcated from Andhra Pradesh, while other states are against it and not ready for new proceedings for fresh allocation of water.

      112 sq. km. Increase in India’s Mangrove forests

        Mangroves in India: 4740 sq. km.
        West Bengal: 2106 sq. km, Gujarat: 1107 sq. km., A&NI: 617 sq. km
        Mangroves lies on the states and Uts lying on the country’s coastline and are crucial for the survival of coastal ecosystem.

      Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU)

        It is first of its kind anti-piracy unit in India introduced by Telangana. Main task of this unit to monitor online piracy and recommending time to time the websites that needs to be blocked.
        The move is considered important from telugu film industry point of view as film piracy business is around $1 bn big market and because of piracy government loses a big amount of tax revenue.
        It is formed on the lines of London’s PIPCU.
        It a step towards giving a safety net to industry that is producing a lot of original, creative content from IP crime.

      Fundamental Duties

        Fundamental Duties has been added to our constitution by 42nd Amendment Act and are considered important for the organized polity of our country.
        Justice J.S.Verma Committee has been formed in 1998 for making some suggestions to teach fundamental duties to citizens. Some suggestions made are teaching them in schools, taking help of voluntary agencies, some initiatives by HRD ministry etc.

      Gujarat’s Controversial Labour Laws

        “This bill has got the assent of president which is basically to relax labor laws to give momentum to industrialization in the state.
        Salient Features of the Bill:
        – Ban on strikes, – A new clause for out of the court settlement of disputes between workers and management by compounding certain amount of money in government agency, – Employers can change the nature of job of their employees without prior notice etc.”

      China’s Yuan Included in IMF Currency Basket

        “Along with dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen, China’s yuan or renminbi has been included in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket.
        For getting this privilege China has done many reforms viz. better access of yuan to foreigners, frequent debt issuance, increased yuan trading hours etc.
        The share of yuan will increase to 10.92%, sterling and yen’s share will decrease to 8.09% and 8.33% respectively, while dollar will remain at 41.73%. It will help in increasing demand of China’s currency and of renminbi dominated assets.
        SDR was created in 1969 by IMF to boost global liquidity. SDR in actually not a currency but a right to take any currency of the basket to meet BoP needs. SDR also serve as the unit of account of iMF.
        Basket composition is reviewed every five years by IMF or before in case it finds it that the relative importance of currency is increasing in world’s economic system.”

      Global Index of Information Technology Access

        “India ranked 131 out of 167 nations on this index which measures the level of information and communication technology access in a country. India’s ranking dropped down by 6 place from 2010 showing that India’s IT related access rules are becoming stricter day by day.
        – Mobile subscription of India is around 74.48 per 100 inhabitants, – 18% of the individuals are using internet (in 2010 it was 7.5%), Percentage of households with computer in India is approximately 13% (earlier it was 6.1% in 2010) etc.”

      Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) By Indian Government

        Aim: To improve the quality of higher education in India through international collaboration, under it scientists and entrepreneurs will get engage with higher education institutions of India for quality reforms, improving capabilities etc. Such lectures will be made available to students across the country later on.

      Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)

        “14th Finance Commission (FFC) has increased devolution to states from 32% to 42% of the union tax receipts.
        Some Recommendations of Sub-Group:
        – Decrease number of CSS to 30 from 50, – Dividing CSS into two i.e. core and optional schemes with core schemes mandatory for states to implement and flexibility in taking decision related to optional schemes etc.
        Sub-Group also does not made any special categorization of special category states.
        States are not happy with CSS as it is like same suit to fit for all which is not possible i.e. it does not allow any flexibility to meet the local needs of states.
        For improvement states must be given more flexibility to raise funds for their projects, in choosing their own strategies, space for local initiatives etc.”

      Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2015

        “It has been approved by cabinet and will come up in Faridabad to act as an autonomous institution for research, education and training in Biotechnology with focus on industrial projects.
        It will also act as a hub of biotechnology expertise in SAARC and Asia region, will help in designing of new and novel programmes for education and training in biotech related areas etc.”

      India-Israel MoU

        “The MoU is basically in the field of water resource management and development cooperation. It’s benefits include techniques for efficient use of water, waste water recycle, desalination, aquifer recharge etc.
        The government has signed such a MoU with Israel as they have been successful in this field, hence to take advantage from their experience and expertise. ”

      India-Germany solar Energy Pact

        “The MoU has been signed between the two so that India can take help of Germany both technically and financially. Under the MoU Germany agreed to provide 1 bn Euro loan to India over five years.
        This will help India in achieving its goal of producing 100 GW of energy from solar source by 2022 under its National Solar Mission.”

      6 New IITs

        Government gave approval for establishment of six new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Jammu, Kerala and Karnatka, which will start functioning initially from temporary places and later on in the 4th year they will get their permanent campus.

      DTAC Protocol b/w India and Japan

        “This Double Tax Avoidance Convention (DTAC) has been signed between Indian and Japan in 1989 and recently government has given approval for its amendment.
        Important Features that will come into force with this amendment are:
        – Exchange of information on tax matters, – Sharing of information received from Japan with other law enforcement agencies with authorization from a competent authority in Japan, – Assisting each other in collection of revenue etc.”

      Smart City Initiative of India

        “Aim: To make sustainable cities and improve quality of life of people living in urban areas. Apart from it there will be scope for new jobs as well, plus it will attract new investment for development.
        This initiative is giving a chance to global firms to invest in rapid growing market of India.
        Development of smart city in India need to focus more on clean and sustainable energy, better streets in terms of safety, citizen engagement, good governance in terms of accountability, transparency etc.; for its success devolution of power to cities and local municipalities is also necessary, each city must prepare a detailed plan for growth etc.
        We need smart cities as more and more number of people are migrating to cities, 1/3rd population currently living in urban areas with people have to face a lot of problems like traffic congestion, power cuts, drain blockage, pollution etc. so to solve these problems we are in dire need of smart cities.
        Apart from it smart city is going to build quality infrastructure that will be sustained over a very longer period of time, can face floods, earthquakes etc. which will be of immense help for people in times of calamities. Also, with this we will bring a new improved culture in India which will further help in doing the same for other cities of India as well.”

      Heavy Rains in Tamil Nadu and Pudhucherry

        “Due to incessant rains in TN and Pudhucherry condition in those area is not good and hence NDRF team has doubled the number of their rescuers in these areas, where NDRF is being constituted under the provisions of Disaster Management Act with primary responsibility of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
        National calamities of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) made it necessary for government to think about forming some response force at national level and hence DM Act came in 2005.
        It is the only disaster dedicated response force of the world with multi-skilled nature, experienced personnels, capacity building to deal with it proactively etc.
        Salient Features:
        Providing training, – mock drills, rehearsals, – Organizing public awareness, – Capacity building, – Uprading its skills etc.”

      International Festival on Birds in UP

        “With an aim to promote UP as a center of international bord watching destination, a three day bird festival has been organised by State Forest Department and FICCI at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra.
        It is first of its kind festival which will be attended by various international bird experts and ornithologists.”

      New CJI

        Justice TS Thakur has been sworn in by president of India and hence becomes the 43rd CJI who took over this post from Justice HL Dattu. His name was first cleared by law Ministry after which it went through PMO and finally ended with President of India for his assent.

      BIS will become National Standards Body of India

        “Bureau of Indian Standards to be established as national Standards Body of India for which the bill has been passed by Lok Sabha. This new Bill i.e. Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 will replace BIS Act, 1986.
        Some Features that will came into being with the passage of this bill are precious metal hallmarking, preventing misuse of standards, recalling of such ISI marked products which are not conforming to relevant standards.
        This bill will bring global test practices to India.”

      100 Years of Zoological Survey of India

        “With the 100 years of ZSI a commemorative stamp has been released by government. ZSI was established in 1916 with an aim to promote exploration, research, etc. related to various aspects of animal taxonomy of India.
        Salient Features:
        – Works under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, – Like IUCN, ZSI also releases a red Data Book on Indian Animals which was first published in 1983, – Is equipped with modern tools like GIS tools, scanning electron microscopes, DNA bar coding technology etc., – Is the repository for National Zoological Collection etc.”

      Polio in India

        “Since January 2012 not even a single case has been registered related to wild polio virus in India and hence in 2014 WHO declared India as polio free, but cases of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) are still prevalent in India with numbering around 50,000 every year indicating that polio free status is still not that much worthy.
        In AFP a person gets suffered from sudden muscle weakness, fever etc. and is exactly like polio.
        In Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) the weak form of polio virus is injected in the body to activate immune response in the body, now this weakened virus replicates in the intestine of a child and in the areas of inadequate sanitation this virus quickly spread among children out of which the one with low immunity gets affected the most hence it is called as Vaccine-derived polio viruses (VDPV), here the problem is not with the polio vaccine but with the under immunized people in the community.
        To prevent this problem double or triple layer vaccine can be used like India has recently introduced IPV.
        According to an Indian journal children with NPAFP are at twice the risk of dying than those who get infected with wild polio virus (WPV).”

      “Accessible India Campaign
      or
      Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan”

        “It has been launched by Union Government with an aim to improve the conditions of PWD by
        – Giving them universal access, – Equal opportunity for development, independent living etc.
        This will be done by:
        – Making necessary arrangemnet on airports and railways, – Making at least 10% of government owned public transport carriers and 50% of government buildings fully accessible carriers, – At least 50% of public documents meet accessibility standards for PWD, – Website and mobile app for crowd sourcing etc.”

      Soil Degradation in India

        “According to experts almost a third of India’s soil is degraded i.e. out of 328.73 mha about 120.40 mha if facing some sort of degradation.
        Disadvantages:
        – Challenge to food security, – Challenge to biodiversity, – Further degradation of soil due to non-availability of humus and organic matter to replenish its fertility
        Reasons for Soil Degradation:
        – Excessive use of chemical fertilizers
        – Excessive use of chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers etc. for intensive cropping which is leading to decline of soil biodiversity and hence decrease in organic matter of soil
        – Wind erosion, floods etc.”

      Chief Economic Advisor’s Report on GST

        “CEA Arvind Subramanian report on GST has proposed several things like:
        – No tax on inter-state trade of goods, – GST to be in the range of 17-18%, – Things excluded from its ambit are: petroleum pdts, alcohol, electricity and real estate, – Revenue neutral rate at 15% i.e. the rate at which states and centre will not lose or gain after the implementation of GST, – Petroleum, real estate, alcohol and electricity to be brought under GST early only”

      AAP’s Odd-Even Formula in Delhi

        “Seeing the high pollution level in NCT, AAP government has made a new rule that vehicles with odd and even number plates be allowed on alternate days only.
        Special Provisions:
        – Extended metro services, – Emergency vehicles, CNG driven buses taxis, auto rickshaws etc. will be exempted from it, – Commercial vehicles entry after 10 pm only
        Currently, the pollution level in Delhi is almost ten times higher then that is permitted by WHO.”

      Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation

        “It is a part of “”Water Resilience Focus”” event under Lima to Paris Action Agenda on Climate change.
        Aim:
        – To make water system the foundation of sustainable human development, – Better water monitoring and measurement systems, – Making water systems more resilient to climate change etc.
        Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) aims to make low carbon, climate resiient societies, providing support to existing programs and bringing new partners for support and better results.”

      Renminbi in IMFs SDR Basket

        “After dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen it is now the turn of yuan or renminbi to be included in the IMFs SDR basket, which is a win-win situation for Beijing because of its recognition as a global economic power and changing world order.
        To make it happen various steps have been taken by China like
        – Bringing better access of its currency to foreigners, expanded trading hours of yuan and frequent debt issuance etc.
        For China it is a advantageous situation as their currency demand will increase alongwith renminbi dominated assets.
        But still renminbi contributes to about only 1% of total reserves, SDR also has lost much of its relevance in last decades. Also, the economic crisis of 1970s made countries to accumulate reserves in multiple globally traded currencies than one.
        SDR also can only be traded by central banks with some other institutions as well and accounts for less than 3% of total central bank reserve assets.
        Lastly, to make renminibi a worldwide currency China has to open its economy and has to reduce the capital controls.”

      Airtel: Project Leap

        “It is a project of Airtel under which it has planned to invest Rs. 60,000 crores in improving it’s infrastructure, reach, customer service etc. by increasing its base stations to approximately 160,000, covering 2.5 lakh villages etc.
        The reason for implementing this project is problem of frequent call drops in their network and government pointed their lack of investment in improving these services as the main reason.”

      China Hosted 1st BRICS Media Summit

        “A total of 25 media organisations took part in 1st BRICS media summit which will help in improving linkages between media of these five emerging economies.
        BRICS is an association of five major emerging economies distinguished by their large size and fast growth rate with significant influence on regional and global affairs.”

      International Solar Alliance

        “It has been launched by PM NaMo in Paris during climate change summit which will bring developing and developed countries to expand solar power deployment, promote economic development etc.
        The alliance will work from National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon and this center will provide both funds and land.”

      India’ First Injectible Polio Vaccine (IPV)

        “India’s first injectible polio vaccine has been launched as part of global polio eradication program. Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) along with IPV will further enhance Indian children immunity against polio. Introduction of IPV is as per recommendations of World Health Assembly.
        India has been declared polio free in 2014.
        Polio’s Salient features:
        – Viral disease, – Young children are the primary target, – Transmitted from person to person through food, contaminated water, faecal-oral route etc., – Affects nervous system”

      Seventh Pay Commission and Their Recommendation of High Salary to Govt. Employees

        “It can help reduce corruption, – Can help retain good persons who leaves job in search of better opportunities, – Also to improve the governance India is going to need both better quality and quantity of public officials, – There is already a shortage of civil servants (US has 668 employees per 1 lakh and India has only 139), – In India only 1.5% of people are being employed in government jobs where as it is 3% for China, 4.5% for Sri Lanka etc.
        But, only improving pay is not going to help a lot along with it other things required will be better competition, performance based incentives and pay, implementation of ARC reports will be oh much help in this direction.”

      2015 – Hottest Year on Record: UN

        “UN said that 2015 will be the hottest year on record and there are chances that 2016 will be even hotter.
        Reason:
        – Due to severe effects of el-nino and GHG effect i.e. due to human activities. Meteorologists are of the view that El Nino will peak around October and January.
        – Due to rising green house gases and chances of continuance of el-nino next year can be even hotter than 2015.”

      New Agency to Look After Corporate Frauds

        “This agency was planned in the aftermath of satyam computer services scam to investigate such other large frauds.
        Salient Features:
        – It will examine accounting frauds, audit and accounting of frauds, penalizing auditing firms in case of misconduct, enforcing rules and regulations, making recommendations etc.
        – It will look after fraud of greater than Rs. 500 crores, will have professionals from industry and several government bodies, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to investigate and take disciplinary action against auditors involved in such things etc.”

      Anju Bobby George as TOPS Chairperson

        “Anju Bobby George has been appointed as Chairperson of Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) by Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
        TOPS has the objective of identifying and supporting potential sportsperson which have the capability to won medal in olympics in 2016 and 2020 olympics and been formulated under National Sports Development Fund (NSDF)”.
        NSDF:
        – It was established by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) in 1998
        – Objective of this fund is to help in promoting sports facilities in India like developing sports infrastructure, helping sportsperson who have the capability to win a medal to have better training/ coaching etc.”

      Direct Benefits Transfer

        “Objective: For giving benefits like direct transfer of cash into their accounts related to scholarships, pensions, wages of NREGA etc.
        Issues Associated with it:
        – With its implementation state frees itself from some necessary services like health and education which are very important for people who are poor, living in far flung areas etc. and hence standards of such services gets deteriorated
        – The cash can be used for some other purpose as well
        – Identifying actual beneficiaries
        – Size of population for whom this scheme needs to be implemented is huge
        Improvements Needed:
        – Indexing transfer to inflation, – Improvement in financial services to improve its reach to all Indians, – No effective redressal mechanism still in case of non-payment, late payment or inadequate payment to beneficiaries.
        NOTE:
        Brazil has a social welfare program called as Bolsa Familia for providing free education to deprived students, direct cash transfer for reducing rate of short-term poverty and conditional transfer for tackling long-term poverty.”

      Prithvi – II Missile

        “It has been successfully test-fired from a mobile launch complex from Integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur.
        – It’s a surface to surface missile with a strike range of around 350 km
        – It’s the first missile developed by DRDO under India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP)”

      Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery Services) Amendment Bill

        “The act will lead to automatic deduction of salary of government officials in case of delay in delivery of services.
        – Under it every department will put out their citizen charter, – It also encourages use of e-governance for efficient service delivery, – rewards for government officials for ensuring timely service delivery”

      Kadmatt: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvette

        “It is being handed over to nay by Garden reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and is named after an island in the Lakshadweep archipelago.
        It primary objective will be neutralise enemy submarines using weapons on board. Also, it has total atmospheric control ventilation system to fight in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare environments.”

      PAN Based Litigation Management System

        “Income tax department has launched a Pan-based online system which has several benefits like:
        – It will decrease time in appeal and also it will ensure easy management of litigation in any department
        It is a part of National Judicial Reference System (NJRS) and will be maintained by National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL).
        NJRS is a project of IT department for improving or enhancing its litigation system which will help in decreasing the backlog of litigation in various courts related to direct tax.”

      Parliamentary Standing Committees

        “As parliament meet only a part of year, so it is not possible for it to carry out detailed scrutiny of any issue and hence parliamentary standing committees were set up in 1993 to for expert work on complex issues and for detail consideration of various issues.
        Salient Features:
        – Examining annual reports, supporting parliament, examine various bills, give suggestions on various policy issues, considering budgets, demand for grants etc.
        Advantages:
        – Providing expertise, – Helping parliament in fulfilling its functions in time bound manner, – Function throughout the year, – Obtaining public feedback etc.
        Issue in them as mentioned by NCRWC:
        NCRWC is National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution which pointed out several flaws in these committees like they don’t follow proper norms while selecting MP to these committees with low attendance of MPs in them, spending a lot of time in their constitution hence leaving little time for specialization etc.
        Improvement Chances:
        – By providing subject specific research personnels which is currently not available, – Providing research support, – Making it mandatory to take their help in every policy decisions etc.”

      RBI Deputy Governor

        “As the three year term of Urjit Patel is going to end in the January of 2016, Union government is looking for an option to select another one in his position.
        RBI has a total of 4 deputy governors out of which two are promoted from inside, while the other two are from inside i.e. one a commericial banker and another an economist.
        The term of deputy governor is can be maximum five years or till the age of 62 whichever is earlier.”

      Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM)

        The missile is developed jointly by DRDO and Israel’s Space Industry which is also called as Barak 8 missile in Israel which means lightning. It has been tested successfully in which all its parts achieved the desired goal by hitting incoming target.

      NHAI Greenbelt Along Highways

        This project has been designed by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur for sowing trees in rows on both sides of roads on NH-7 in a 5 km stretch. The estimated life of project Is around 5 years during which NEERI will record the impact of this initiative and developing infrastructure fro similar studies in future.

      CBDT and APAs

        “CBDT recently signed 11 more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) making it a total of 31 APAs with Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies.
        APAs are signed between a taxpayer and tax authority (here it is CBDT) for determining price and ensuing taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.
        CBDT is a part of Department of revenue of Ministry of Finance and is a statutory body established under Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. It’s main members are from Indian revenue Services (IRS) who deals with policy and planning of direct tax in India, administration of direct tax laws etc.”

      India’s Solar Target

        “Union government made a target of increasing it’s solar capacity from 20 to 100 GW by 2022, although world’s leader in solar energy i.e. Germany still produces only 38 GW from it.
        – India has a solar power potential of more than 700 GW, whereas current installed capacity from all sources is around 275 GW only.
        – It is advantageous from increasing power supply to people who still don’t have access to it, secondly it will help in decreasing India’s dependency on imported fossil fuels and thirdly from environment point of view.
        – Main problems are that people do not consider the damage caused by conventional energy resources hence they find solar energy resources quite costly, land availability is another problem, their installation cost is higher, at night we cannot remain dependent on it, in winter and monsoon again they are a problem,
        – For its scale up proper planning, improvement of transmission corridors, increased budgetary allocations etc. will be needed”

      International Maritime Organisation and India

        “India has been selected as the member of the council o International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which is the specialized agency of UN with responsibilities like:
        a. Prevention of marine pollution because of ships
        b. Security and safety of ships
        IMO basically deals with development and maintenance of regulatory framework for ships safety, environmental concerns etc.
        IMO Council is the governing body of IMO which decides various matters in relation to global shipping industry.”

      India’s Interceptor Boat ICGS C-422

        ICGS C-422 an interceptor boat has been commissioned by Indian Coast Guard designed and built by L&T Ltd. have state-of-the-art communication and navigation equipment’s and is capable of undertaking multiple tasks simultaneously like search, rescue, surveillance, coordinated operations with sea dn air forces etc.

      CAG

        “Comptroller and Auditor general of India has submitted 16 audit reports to Finance Ministry.
        Salient Features related to CAG are:
        – Established under Article#148 of CoI, – Audits all receipts and expenditure of GoI and state governments, non-banking/ non-insurance companies in which government holds more than 51% equity, – CAG enjoys same status as that of Judges of SC of India, – He is being appointed by PoI on the recommendation of PM, – 65 yrs of age or 6 yrs which ever is earlier is the criteria of his retirement,- can be removed only on an address from both houses of parliament on the ground of misbehavior or incapacity.”

      IRDA

        It is an autonomous body responsible for the regulation and development of insurance industry in India constituted by IRDA Act, 1999 and it is this act which allows entry of insurance sector in India.

      Diabetes: An Epidemic

        “According to International Diabetes Federation over 66 million people in India live with this disease and hence India is being called as the “”diabetes capital of the world””.
        It is a life long, non-communicable disease which can be controlled with better living conditions and proper diet control.
        Reason:
        – High blood glucose in blood with inadequate insulin production to take care of it or body’s cells do not respond to insulin properly.
        – Genetic susceptibility, inadequate physical activities, abdominal obesity, even stress has a role in its increasing incidence.”

      Zero TB Program

        “Chennai and Lima in Peru are two cities chosen where zero TB Cities Project will be implemented to create an “”island of elimination””, this Zero TB Project was started in 2014.
        Goal: Help communities to reach a condition where no person will die because of tuberculosis
        Objective: Take actions which will help in reducing the number of TB cases in other cities of India as well.
        Implementation:
        – Searching people for it, – Providing preventive therapy, – Controlling its transmission etc, – Accurate diagnosis etc.”

      Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Capital

        “It’s a progressive lung disease which makes it hard to breathe which happens due to pollution and lack of awareness.
        Salient Features:
        – Non-communicable disease, – Symptoms: breathlessness, wheezing, coughing, scratchy throat etc. – Causes: tobacco, smoking, vehicle fumes etc. – Third largest killer in the world with India has approximately 15 million cases – Early stages are not even recognized”

      India’s Food Security Act

        “It is also called as the Right To Food Act to provide food grains at subsidized rate to almost 2/3rd of India’s population.
        All states except Tamil Nadu are ready to implement the Act by April, 2016.
        Necessary Things Under NFSA:
        – Constructing infrastructure for digital identification of beneficiaries, – Doorstep delivery of food grains and – Grievance redressal cells
        Salient Features:
        – Making 5 kg foodgrain like rice, wheat and coarse grains available to people at the rate of Ts. 3, 2 and 2 – Take home ration to pregnant women and lactating women of around 600 calories – Free meals to children between 6-14 years of age – redressal mechanism at district and state level etc.”

      South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx)

        “It is done basically to strengthen response system to disaster in SAARC countries.
        – Eight SAARC members attended it viz.: India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
        Conducted by NDRF
        – Main focus on improvement of coordination and synchronizing the efforts for regional cooperation”

      Bamboo State

        Government is of the view to develop Mizoram as the ‘Bamboo State of India’ which has very high production rate of Bamboo which can be used not only for furniture but for manufacturing paper as well which will not only in generating revenue for state but opportunities fir youth as well.

      Pay Hike under 7th Pay Commission

        “Possible effects: Inflation increase, set back for public investment etc.
        Minimum Pay factor: Indian Labor Conference, 1957 is of the view that minimum wages must cover the basic needs of the family including husband, wife and his two children; while SPC gone by food requirements, 25% for skill factor and other necessary things.
        – Income Inequality Issue: Pay of people at higher post in government sector will be less than that of same position in private sector and in lower positions it will be higher for people in government jobs. Actually, it is the private sector high level employees salary which increases inequality.
        – It will cause a burden of around 0.65% of GDP on central government.”

      New Tree Frog Specie

        “A new species of tree frog has been discovered in Kadalar in the high ranges of Idukki district of Kerala which biggest known tree frog.
        With this discovery it made researchers to look after enhanced conservation efforts and to make further exploration in these areas.”

      India-Singapore Strategic Tie-up

        “A joint declaration has been signed by both for broadening engagement in their existing areas of cooperation.
        Aim: To catalyze relations between two countries in politics, security, economics, investment, smart cities, urban solutions etc. with broaden and deep engagement.
        Importance of Singapore for India:
        – Second largest source of FDI into India at USD 35.9 bn from 2000-2015
        – Singapore is India’s 10th largest trading partner, – Regular training exercises between both of their military’s, – Monetary value of bilateral trade between the two is $ 19.4 bn, – Between 2000-2015 Singapore was source of approximately $ 36 bn to India.”

      SEBI-Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) MoU

        “In areas of cooperation and technical assistance.
        Aim:
        – Promoting economic links, investor protection, development of capital markets etc.
        – Utilizing SEBI’s experience by BSEC for strengthening their capital market
        – Facilitating training and technical assistance etc.
        Important Functions of SEBI:
        – Inspection of books of accounts, financial intermediaries etc. – Registration of brokers and much more”

      India’s Ballistic Missile Dhanush

        “It is being test fired from a naval ship off the Odisha coast.
        Featues:
        – Surface to surface missile
        – Range: 350 km
        – It’s a naval variant of prithvi missile, single stage and liquid propelled
        – Developed by DRDO under the Integrated Missile Development Programme (IGMDP)”

      Unifying Agricultural Market in India

        “Seeing the ongoing conditions of food inflation because of hoarding government if of the opinion to make some strict structural reforms like unifying agricultural markets.
        Flaws in APMCs:
        – Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act forces farmers to sell their produce to government designates mandis only, leading to harassment of farmers by paying them lower price for their produce
        – Inadequate infrastructure, license fees, marketing fees, rents etc. are other things that acts as barriers
        – Members of these committee are not normal people but favoritism is showed while electing them
        Best Example: Karnatka model of Rashtriya e Market Services Pvt. Ltd (ReMS) which included single licensing system, auction facilities, improved infrastructure, quality assurance. It helped farmers in getting a improved revenue; power to accept, reject bids etc.

        Recent initiatives by government:
        – Promotion of National Agricultural Market through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund under which Small Farmer’s Agribusiness Consortium will lead for development of national agricultural market – integrating 585 regulated markets of India through e-platform -Provision of single license all over India, single market fee and e-auction”

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