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Insights Daily Current Events, 21 March 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 21 March 2015

Five-tier monitoring and review mechanism introduced for ICDS scheme

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development recently said that the Government has introduced a 5-tier monitoring & review mechanism at different levels (National/ State/ District/ Block and Anganwadi level) in order to strengthen the performance of the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme:

ICDS was launched in 1975 in accordance to the National Policy for Children in India. The scheme aims at holistic development of under-six children and providing nutritional and health support to pregnant and lactating mothers. Scheme provides for a package of six services viz. supplementary nutrition, immunization, referral services, health check-up, pre-school non formal education and health and nutrition education. Three of the six services namely Immunization, Health Check-up and Referral Services are delivered through Public Health system.

  • These services are provided from Anganwadi centres established mainly in rural areas and staffed with frontline workers.
  • In addition to fighting malnutrition and ill health, the programme is also intended to combat gender inequality by providing girls the same resources as boys.
  • The scheme is implemented through the States/UTs on a cost sharing basis in the ratio of 50:50 for supplementary nutrition (SNP) and 90:10 for other components except in the case of North Eastern States where the share of Central and State Government is in the ratio of 90:10 for all the components including SNP.

The predefined objectives of ICDS are:

  • To raise the health and nutritional level of poor Indian children below 6 years of age.
  • To create a base for proper mental, physical and social development of children in India.
  • To reduce instances of mortality, malnutrition and school dropouts among Indian children.
  • To coordinate activities of policy formulation and implementation among all departments of various ministries involved in the different government programmes and schemes aimed at child development across India.
  • To provide health and nutritional information and education to mothers of young children to enhance child rearing capabilities of mothers in the country of India.
  • To provide nutritional food to the mothers of young children & also at the time of pregnancy period.


Sources: PIB.



Reservation for women in direct recruitment in Non-Gazetted posts in police forces of all Union Territories including Delhi Police

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister recently gave its approval for making reservation of 33% for women, horizontally and in each category (SC/ST/OBC and others) in direct recruitment in non-gazetted posts from Constables to sub-inspector in the police forces of all Union Territories, including Delhi Police.

  • The Cabinet also approved that suitable enabling provisions in the Recruitment Rules should be made accordingly by all UTs police forces including Delhi Police.
  • The reservation will be available to women against all such vacancies existing on the date of issue of the order after Cabinet approval and vacancies arising thereafter.

Why was it necessary?

  • This decision will help in augmenting the representation of the women in the police forces of all UTs and Delhi Police so as to make the police more gender sensitive.
  • It will also instil confidence among women to enable them to approach the police without hesitation for seeking protection and assistance as and when required.
  • It has been observed that many women do not approach the police, as they may have to confide or report the incident to a male police officer. This is particularly so in respect of sex related crimes.

A skewed police force with inadequate gender representation is a major practical barrier in effective implementation of legislation intended for the protection of women.


The decision has been taken in the light of amendments brought about in the Criminal Procedure Code in the wake of the 2012 gang-rape case in Delhi which requires that reports of crimes against women as well as their statements must be collected by women officers only.

Present strength:

The Delhi Police currently has about 7,000 women police officers, which form merely 8% of its total strength.

Sources: PIB.



Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister recently gave its approval for the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of Rs.1500 crore.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY):

This is the flagship scheme for skill training of youth to be implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The scheme will cover 24 lakh persons.

  • Skill training would be done based on the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and industry led standards.
  • Under the scheme, a monetary reward is given to trainees on assessment and certification by third party assessment bodies. The average monetary reward would be around Rs.8000 per trainee.
  • The scheme would be implemented through NSDC training partners. Currently NSDC has 187 training partners that have over 2300 centres. In addition, Central / State Government affiliated training providers would also be used for training under the scheme.
  • Focus under the PMKVY would be on improved curricula, better pedagogy and better trained instructors. Training would include soft skills, personal grooming, behavioral change for cleanliness, good work ethics. Sector Skill Councils and the State Governments would closely monitor skill training that will happen under PMKVY.
  • Skill Development Management System (SDMS) would be put in place to verify and record details of all training centres a certain quality of training locations and courses.
  • Biometric system and video recording of the training process would be put in place where feasible.
  • A robust grievance redressal system would be put in place to address grievances relating to implementation of the scheme. An online citizen portal would be put in place to disseminate information about the scheme.


Sources: PIB.


Various festivals celebrated across the country today

  • Sindhi Community: Cheti Chand
  • Maharashtra: Gudi Padwa
  • Manipur: Sajibu Nongmapanba
  • Parsi: Navroz Mubarak
  • Mainly in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh: Yugadi
  • Navreh: Kashmir


Sources: PIB.

Chadar Badar

What is it?

  • It is a rare and obscure form of performing art. It is an ancient form of puppetry which tells stories of the Santhal way of life, and migration.

Where is it celebrated?

  • It is prevalent among the Santhal tribes of Jharkhand and West Bengal.


It is performed with small puppets of dark seasoned wood and bamboo, manipulated by a combination of rods and strings to songs accompanied by Santhali or Bengali songs.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


DigiLocker gets good response

DigiLocker, the digital locker system launched by the government to securely store documents online, has received good response since its beta launch last month. The locker can be accessed by individuals, using their number.

  • According to available data, DigiLocker has around 58,698 users and about 53,016 documents online so far.
  • Gujarat tops the user base with more than 9,526 users followed by Uttar Pradesh (8,299 users) and Maharashtra (6,711 users).

About DigiLocker:

It is dedicated personal storage space, linked to each resident’s Aadhaar number. DigiLocker can be used to securely store e-documents as well as store Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) link of e-documents issued by various issuer departments. The e-Sign facility provided as part of DigiLocker system can be used to digitally sign e-documents.

  • The initiative was launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, under the Ministry of Communications and IT.
  • Here, the users can store their documents such as insurance, medical reports, PAN card, passport, marriage certificate, school certificate and other documents in the digital format.
  • With this, the government is trying to create an electronic version of documents, which can be easily verified and stored in printable format.
  • At present, the digital locker gives 10MB of free space for individuals to store documents and links of government department or agency-issued e-documents. The government is also planning to subsequently increase the storage space to 1 GB.


  • It will minimize the use of physical documents and will provide authenticity of the e-documents.
  • It will provide secure access to Govt. issued documents.
  • It will also reduce administrative overhead of Govt. departments and agencies and make it easy for the residents to receive services

Sources: The Hindu, PIB,


Coal Bill cleared

The Rajya Sabha recently passed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015.

About the Bill:

The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 10, 2014. It seeks to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The Bill replaces the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 that was promulgated on October 21, 2014.

Important provisions in the Bill:

  • The Bill seeks to enable private companies to mine coal for sale in the open market.
  • The Bill creates three categories of mines: (i) Schedule I, (ii) Schedule II, and (iii) Schedule III. Schedule I mines includes (i) all the 204 coal mines cancelled by the Supreme Court in August 2014, (ii) any land acquired by the prior allottee in or around the coal mines, and (iii) mine infrastructure. Schedule II includes 42 Schedule I mines that are currently under production or about to start production. Schedule III mines includes the 32 Schedule I mines that have been earmarked for a specified end-use.
  • Method of allocation: Schedule I mines can be allocated by way of either public auction or government allotment. Schedule II and III mines will be allocated by way of public auction. Public auction will be conducted by way of e-auction on a payment of maximum fee of Rs five crore.
  • Eligibility: For the auction of Schedule I mines, any government, private or joint venture company is eligible to bid. For the government allotment process, only government companies and companies that have been awarded power projects on the basis of competitive bidding for tariff are eligible. For Schedule II and III mines, government, private and joint venture companies with a specified end-use are eligible to bid.
  • Purpose of mining: Coal mined from Schedule I mines can be used by companies for their own consumption, sale or any other purpose as specified in their mining lease.
  • Prior allottees: A prior allottee shall not be eligible to participate in the auction process (i) if he has not paid the additional levy imposed by the Supreme Court, or (ii) if he is convicted of an offence related to coal block allocation and sentenced to imprisonment for more than three years.
  • Nominated Authority: The central government shall appoint a nominated authority who will be an officer of the rank of a joint secretary in the government. Functions of the nominated authority include: (i) conducting the process of auction and allotment, (ii) executing the vesting and allotment orders, (iii) collecting the auction proceeds and transferring them to the respective state governments.
  • Vesting order: The vesting order shall transfer and vest upon the successful bidder, rights and licenses which include: (i) all the rights, title and interest of the prior allottee, in Schedule I coal mines, (ii) a mining lease that will be granted by the state government, and (iii) any statutory licences, approval or consent required to undertake coal mining operations in Schedule I coal mines, if already issued to the prior allottee.
  • Responsibility of the central government: The government may appoint a designated custodian to operate and manage the mine, on behalf of the central government, till the completion of auction or allotment.
  • Compensation for prior allottees: Prior allottees shall be compensated for land and mine infrastructure. For the purpose of such compensation, land shall be valued as per the registered sales deed together with 12% simple interest from the date of purchase or acquisition, till the date of the execution of the vesting order. Mine infrastructure shall be valued as per the audited balance sheet of the previous financial year. Prior allottees shall not be entitled to compensation till the additional levy has been paid.


Sources: The Hindu,


Mines Bill cleared

Rajya Sabha recently passed the Mines and Minerals (development and regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015.

About the Bill:

The Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 replaces an ordinance which was promulgated in January.

Salient features of the Bill:

  • All mineral concessions will be granted only through auction.
  • Direct auction for mining leases for bulk minerals; auction of prospecting licences-cum-mining leases for deep-seated minerals.
  • Uniform lease period of 50 years; no renewals; auction at the end of lease period; will solve issues arising out of all SC judgments on second and subsequent renewals.
  • Transition period of minimum 15 years for captive mines and 5 years for other mines; no sudden stoppage as a result of amendment.
  • Central Government empowered to prescribe deadlines for various processes and to issue binding directions to States.
  • Central Government to frame separate rules for atomic minerals.
  • The previous approval of the Central Government will not be required for grant of mineral concession except for Atomic Minerals, Coal and Lignite.
  • Enabling powers for reservation for the public sector to continue.
  • Higher penalties and jail terms for offences; special courts may be constituted, if necessary.
  • District Mineral Foundation to take care of people and areas affected by mining.
  • National Mineral Exploration Trust to be set up for impetus to exploration.
  • Easy transferability of concessions obtained through auctions so as to attract private investment and FDI.
  • Powers to Central Government to intervene even where State Governments do not pass orders within prescribed time lines; this will eliminate delay.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.


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