Insights Daily Current Events, 23 January 2015
National Bravery Awards 2014
24 children between the age 8 and 17 have been selected from all across the country for the prestigious National Bravery Award 2014. Four of these awards will be conferred posthumously.
About the Award:
The National Bravery Award Scheme was initiated by the Indian Council for Children Welfare to give due recognition to the children who distinguish themselves by performing outstanding deeds of bravery and meritorious service and to inspire other children to emulate their examples. These are the awards given annually for “meritorious acts of bravery against all odds”. The award was instituted in 1957.
The National Bravery Award consists of 5 categories and they are:
- The Bharat Award
- The Sanjay Chopra Award
- The Geeta Chopra Award
- The Bapu Gaidhani Award
- General National Bravery Awards
The Bharat Award winner gets a gold medal, while the rest get a silver medal.
- The awardees will be granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling.
- Some State Governments also provide financial assistance to them.
- ICCW provides financial assistance under its Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme to those undertaking professional courses such as engineering and medicine. For others, this assistance is provided till they complete their graduation.
- The Government of India has reserved some seats for the awardees in medical and engineering colleges and polytechnics.
Sources: PIB, BS.
Appointment Of Jammu & Kashmir Chief Justice
The President has appointed Shri Justice Narayanan Nadar Paul Vasanthakumar, Judge of the Madras High Court as the new Chief Justice of J&K High Court.
Chief Justice of J&K:
The president of India appoints Chief Justice of J&K High Court in exercise of the powers conferred by section 95 of the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
How J&K High Court is different from other High Courts?
- The constitution of J&K establishes a High Court consisting of a Chief Justice and 2 or more other judges.
- The High Court of J&K can issue writs only for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights and not for any other purpose.
Sources: PIB, Laxmikanth.
DSC Prize for 2015
Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri has won the $50,000 DSC Prize for Literature, one of South Asia’s top literary awards for her book, The Lowland.
About the Award:
- The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is a literary prize awarded annually to writers of any ethnicity or nationality
writing about South Asia themes such as culture, politics, history, or people.
- It is for an original full-length novel written in English, or translated into English.
- The winner is announced at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Sukanya Samruddhi account scheme
The Prime Minister recently launched a small deposit scheme for girl child, as part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign. The scheme primarily ensures equitable share to a girl child in resources and savings of a family in which she is generally discriminated as against a male child.
Details of the Scheme:
- ‘Sukanya Samridhi Account’ can be opened at any time from the birth of a girl child till she attains the age of 10 years, with a minimum deposit of Rs 1000. A maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh can be deposited during the financial year.
- The account can be opened in any post office or authorised branches of commercial banks.
- The deposit will fetch an interest rate of 9.1 per cent and provide income tax rebate.
- The account will remain operative for 21 years from the date of opening of the account or marriage of the girl child after attaining 18 years of age. The provision of not allowing withdrawal from the account till the age of 18 has been kept to prevent early marriage of girls.
- To meet the requirement of higher education expenses, partial withdrawal of 50 per cent of the balance would be allowed after the girl child has attended 18 years of age.
About Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Campaign:
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Andolan
scheme is for survival, protection & education of the girl child. It will help in generating awareness and improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.
- It is set up with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore.
Aim: It aims to address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) through a mass campaign across the country targeted at changing societal mindsets & creating awareness about the criticality of the issue.
- A 100 critical low CSR districts in all States and UTs have been identified for focused and convergent action by the Ministries.
- It is a joint initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- All forms of media and social media platforms would be used for this.
- The key to the success of the initiatives would lie with the communities, States, Panchayats and the local self-Government.
Sources: ET, PIB.
Panel for fewer TPDS beneficiaries
High Level Committee (HCL) on restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI) has submitted its report to the Government.
- The committee was set up by the Government on 20th August, 2014 under the chairmanship of Shanta Kumar.
- The major issue before the Committee was how to make the entire food grain management system more efficient by reorienting the role of FCI in MSP operations, procurement, storage and distribution of grains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
Major recommendations made by the Committee:
- The committee has suggested cuts in the number of TPDS beneficiaries, outsourcing of foodgrain storage, an open-ended procurement system and entry of private players into bulk handling of food grains.
- It has recommended that the government “re-visit” the UPA’s National Food Security Act as well as the regime for minimum support price to farmers for the foodgrain procured from them for the Targeted Public Distribution System.
- It has suggested that TPDS beneficiaries be reduced to 40 per cent from the current 67 per cent and the rationed grains be priced at 50 per cent of the minimum support price paid to farmers.
- Each beneficiary should be given 7 kg of grain instead of 5 kg under the Act, and cash transfers be introduced in a phased manner. It is estimated that this will reduce the foodgrain requirement under TPDS from 61.4 million tonnes to about 40 million tonnes.
- The panel wants the FCI to hand over the procurement of wheat, paddy and rice to growing States such as Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha with the rider that they will not give bonuses to farmers over and above the MSP determined by the Centre.
- The surplus States must procure for deficit States. The States must also contain the taxes and statutory levies at three per cent of the MSP from the current two to 14.2 per cent in Punjab. This would mean a cut in the revenues of the procuring States as well as in the income of middlemen.
FCI was set up in 1965 (under the Food Corporation Act, 1964) against the backdrop of major shortage of grains, especially wheat, in the country. Imports of wheat under PL- 480 were as high as 6-7 MMT, when country`s wheat production hovered around 10-12 MMT, and country did not have enough foreign exchange to buy that much quantity of wheat from global markets. Self-sufficiency in grains was the most pressing objective, and keeping that in mind high yielding seeds of wheat were imported from Mexico. Agricultural Prices Commission was created in 1965 to recommend remunerative prices to farmers, and FCI was mandated with three basic objectives: (1) to provide effective price support to farmers; (2) to procure and supply grains to PDS for distributing subsidized staples to economically vulnerable sections of society; and (3) keep a strategic reserve to stabilize markets for basic foodgrains.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB.