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Insights Daily Current Events, 16 October 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 16 October 2015

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Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Govt. cannot insist on Aadhaar: SC

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Aadhaar Card may be used to avail government schemes including employment guarantee, pension and bank accounts.

  • Now, the Aadhaar card can be used for availing the benefits of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act, Jan-Dhan Yojana, provident funds and pension schemes.
  • Previously, as per the court’s order, the card could have been used only voluntarily for availing subsidies under the public distribution system and purchasing kerosene and cooking gas.
  • This ruling is being seen as a relief to the government which has been trying to persuade the Supreme Court to extend Aadhaar’s uses after a slew of blows to the unique identity or UID programme following privacy petitions.
  • The aadhar scheme was challenged in court over privacy concerns since it uses biometric data like fingerprint and iris scans.

About AADHAAR:

Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number which will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.

  • Aadhaar-platform is aimed at providing social security benefits / subsidies based on eligibility through direct benefit transfer.
  • It helps bring transparency and eliminate corruption, leakage and inefficiency.
  • It was conceived as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services.
  • It is also also expected to act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.

Who assigns the number?

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) assigns Unique Identification Number “Aadhaar” to residents of India on voluntary basis.

Issues:

  • Aadhaar lacks legal or statutory authority as of now.
  • The AADHAAR number is not recognized as a legal proof of residence due to issues with the data protection.
  • India’s Intelligence Bureau claims anyone with an Aadhaar number can introduce others without any documentation to get the identity number, which makes it vulnerable to terrorism and other issues.

Sources: the hindu, wiki.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Call drops: TRAI plans to impose fines

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has raised the penalty on telecom operators to up to Rs. 2 lakh for poor mobile service quality, including call drops.

  • TRAI said that the penalty amount would be as high as Rs. 2 lakh if the operators are unable to meet the benchmark set for the quality of service in two or more subsequent quarters.
  • The penalty will also be imposed if call drops in a quarter average more than 2% of the total traffic in a telecom circle.
  • As per existing norms, there is a penalty provision of up to Rs 50,000 for the first violation and Rs 1 lakh for subsequent failures in case of network related quality parameters. However, with regard to consumer-related issues the penalty was capped at Rs 50,000 for each violation.
  • These new measures act as a sufficient deterrent against prolonged non-compliance and may further improve the quality of service in a time-bound manner.

What is a Call Drop?

  • There is no standard definition of a dropped call. In telecommunications, it referes to the telephone calls which, due to technical reasons, were cut off before the speaking parties had finished their conversation and before one of them had hung up (dropped calls).
  • There are many reasons why a call drops, including network infrastructure, spectrum allocation, traffic, as well as the handsets that consumers use.

About TRAI:

  • It is the independent regulator of the telecommunications business in India.
  • It was established in 1997 by an Act of Parliament to regulate telecom services and tariffs in India.
  • In January 2000, TRAI was amended to establish the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory functions of the TRAI.
  • The TDSAT was set up to resolve any dispute between a licencor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers. In addition, any direction, TRAI orders or decisions can be challenged by appealing to TDSAT.

sources: the hindu, trai.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Dr.Abdul Kalam’s birth place Rameswaram declared as AMRUT town

Rameswaram town in Tamil Naidu has been included in Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformatin (AMRUT) for providing basic urban infrastructure. This was announced on the occasion of 84th birth anniversary of former President Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam.

  • The Ministry of Urban Development has so far identified 497 cities and towns under Atal Mission under which basic infrastructure is to be developed in 500 cities and towns.
  • Rameswaram is the 498th to be included in the Mission. With the addition of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu would have 32 cities and towns under Atal Mission.

AMRUT:

AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

  • AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.
  • Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  • AMRUT will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above.
  • It would cover some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few state capitals and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
  • Under this mission, states get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring.
  • States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central government will not appraise individual projects.
  • Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
  • Under the mission, states will transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds to be made failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

sources: pib.

 

Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure, railways.

Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme – “VIKALP”

The Rail Ministry has announced a new scheme, called VIKALP, that would allow wait-listed passengers of a train to opt for confirmed accommodation in alternate trains.

  • The Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme (ATAS), also called VIKALP, will come into effect beginning 1st November on a pilot basis for six months on Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu routes for tickets booked online.
  • The scheme has been launched with a view to provide confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and also to ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation
  • In this scheme, waitlisted passengers of a train can opt for confirmed accommodation in alternate trains.

The ministry has also clarified that opting for VIKALP does not mean confirmed berth will be provided to passengers in alternate train as it is subject to train and berth availability. Also, once confirmed in alternate train, cancellation charges will apply as per the berth and train status in alternate train. As per the scheme, boarding and terminating station might change to nearby cluster stations.

sources: pib.

 

Paper 1 Topic: Art and culture.

Buddhist monk comes to Sannati looking for Ashoka’s tomb

Buddhist monk Bhante Tissavro, who heads the Bodh Gaya-based Budh Avsesh Bachao Abhiyaan (Save Buddhist Relics Campaign), has landed in Kalaburagi district in his search for the tomb of Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest propagators of sannati map karnatakaBuddhism in India and elsewhere.

  • The monk is on a visit to one of the important Buddhist sites in India at Sannati in Kalaburgi district in Karnataka.
  • The monk said that his research over the years and visit to several Buddhist centres in India and abroad had made him suspect that Ashoka, who had visited Sannati during his second sojourn to south India, had died there. He says Ashoka’s tomb could be somewhere among the mounds in the Sannati site.sannati karnataka
  • Historians are silent on whether Ashoka returned to north India after his second visit to the south, giving credence to the belief that Ashoka may have died at Sannati.

Sannati:

  • Sannati is located on the banks of the Bhima in Chittapur in Karnataka.
  • It is a well-known Buddhist site.
  • The only available sculpture of Emperor Ashoka, in a limestone relief, along with his consort, was found here. It was sculpted on the orders of an unnamed grandson of Ashoka.
  • Excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India is on at this site.
  • A stupa and many Buddhist relics and sculptures in limestone and sandstone have already been found here.
  • The Karnataka State government has formed Sannati Development Authority to develop the region.

sources: the hindu.