Insights Daily Current Events, 22 July 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Joint dedication of the Petrapole Integrated Check Post (ICP)
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina recently jointly inaugurated the Petrapole Integrated Check Post through video-conferencing.
- The Petrapole ICP will provide better facilities for effective and efficient discharge of functions such as security, immigration, customs, quarantine, etc. while also providing support facilities for smooth cross-border movement of persons, goods and transport.
- Petrapole ICP will be the second ICP on the India-Bangladesh border after the Agartala ICP at the Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh) land border. It will also be the biggest land port in South Asia.
- It is expected that the capacity will double with the commissioning of the Petrapole ICP and the local business community will benefit immensely from reduced transaction time and costs.
- The commissioning of the Petrapole ICP will also serve to foster greater economic integration and connectivity between India and Bangladesh.
Petrapole-Benapole is an important land border crossing for India-Bangladesh trade. More than 50% of the India-Bangladesh trade passes through Petrapole. Trade worth more than Rs. 15000 Crore takes place through the Petrapole ICP, which is more than all the other Indian Land Ports and Land Customs Stations put together. Approximately 15 lakh people and 150,000 trucks cross Petrapole-Benapole every year.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
NDB’s 1st AGM, board of governors meetings held in China
BRICS’ New Development Bank headed by eminent Indian banker K V Kamath recently held its first annual general body and board of governors meetings. The meetings were held in Shanghai.
- The bank has issued its first loans this year worth about USD 911 million for projects in the BRICS member counties. The bank was expected to provide substantial loans by next year.
- Ahead of the meeting, the NDB had issued its first bonds worldwide worth about USD 449 million to raise funds for clean energy projects in member states.
- The five-year green bonds, denominated in the Chinese currency renminbi or yuan, are worth three billion yuan (USD 449 million) and were sold in China’s onshore interbank bond market.
It is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It is seens as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
- The New Development Bank was agreed to by BRICS leaders at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa in 2013.
- The bank is set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.
- The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, China.
- Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.
What it does?
The New Development Bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.
- The establishment of the Bank will help India and other signatory countries to raise and avail resources for their infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
- It would also reflect the close relations among BRICS countries, while providing a powerful instrument for increasing their economic cooperation.
- It is expected to allow India to raise and obtain more resources for the much needed infrastructure development, the lack of which is coming in the way of inclusiveness and growth as of now.
- It will make available additional resources thereby recycling the savings accumulated in emerging countries which are presently being locked up in Treasury bonds having much lower returns.
Paper 2 Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
National Electoral Roll Purification 2016 launched
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched the National Electoral Roll Purification (NERP) programme across the country to correct errors in electoral rolls and enrolment of all eligible citizens, among other things.
- NREP 2016 will ensure single electoral register entry for every eligible elector with unique Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC) number, removal of all absent, shifted or dead electors’ entries and repeat entries.
- Photo electoral rolls will be updated with good quality images of every elector confirming to ECI standards, and linking electors with ECI by obtaining their contact details.
- Geographic Information System (GIS) would be used to standardise sections, polling station boundaries and locations.
- Booth Level Officers (BLOs) will conduct door-to-door field verification of entries apart from collecting electors’ information on contact details, family members, including non-enrolled and persons who would become eligible on January 1, 2017. The collected details would be uploaded on the NERP portal for further processing and action by Electoral Registration Officers (EROs).
- To provide easy access to citizens and electors for enhanced electoral rolls related services, voluntary collection of mobile number/e-mail ids and details of family members will be done under NERP 2016. The Commission has also ordered that such information, under no circumstances, should be put in public domain or shared with any authority.
- Provision has been made to provide the information electronically on National Voters Service Portal (NVSP). Poor quality and black and white images are proposed to be replaced by the District Election Officers (DEOs) through deployment of sufficient number of digital cameras.
- To ensure transparency and meaningful involvement and active participation of citizens of the area, the Commission has decided that the Electoral Registration Officers (ERO) would prepare part wise list of names proposed to be removed from the electoral roll on account of absence, shifted, dead and repeat entries to be displayed in the office for a period of at least seven days from the date of pasting of the list.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Will explore options to pellet guns: Govt
The government is planning to set up an expert committee to recommend non-lethal alternatives of crowd control after many members of Parliament expressed concern over the loss of lives and injuries in Jammu and Kashmir due to the use of pellet guns.
What are pellet guns?
They are a form of non-lethal crowd control methods used by police and military worldwide. The other popular methods are tear gas, water cannon, pepper spray, taser guns etc. Pellet guns are also popular in hunting and pest control.
What are they intended for?
Pellets guns are intended to injure individuals and cause pain. They are effective over short ranges up to 500 yards but when fired from close quarters can be lethal, particularly when sensitive parts like eyes are hit. Pellets can penetrate soft tissues.
Who manufactures them?
Pellet guns are manufactured at the Ordinance Factory, Ishapore.
When were they introduced?
They are used by Jammu & Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). They were first introduced in August 2010. The CRPF has 600 such guns.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Now, private citizens can seek sanction to prosecute IAS officers
In a major move, the Centre has agreed to permit private persons seek sanction for prosecution of State and central IAS officers under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Under the existing rules, requests for sanction for prosecution of All India Services Officers (IAS/IPS/IFS etc) can be initiated by the investigative agencies only. A decision to grant or deny the permission can be made only by a “competent authority” designated by the Centre.
The government will now entertain proposals/requests from private persons for sanction of public servants in compliance of a Supreme Court verdict of 2012. In this regard, the centre has intimated all states the procedures to be followed.
Supreme Court’s judgment:
The Supreme Court in its judgment in Dr. Subramanian Swamy versus Dr. Manmohan Singh case had observed that “there is no provision either in the(Prevention of Corruption Act),1988 Act or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.PC) which bars a citizen from filing a complaint for prosecution of a public servant who is alleged to have committed an offence.”
The apex court had further observed that if the Competent Authority is satisfied that the material placed before it is sufficient for prosecution of the public servant, then it is required to grant sanction or refuse sanction if the evidence is not sufficient. In either case, the decision taken on the complaint made by a citizen is required to be communicated to him and if he feels aggrieved by such decision, then he can avail legal remedy.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- A previously unknown species of meat-eating dinosaur from 80 million years ago has been unearthed in Argentina, adding to the dinosaur family known as the “Giant Thieves.” The fossil is named Murusraptor barrosaensis and may reveal more about the origins of the group known as the megaraptorids. Murusraptors walked on two legs, bore large sickle-shaped toe claws and were fast, agile and smart with voracious appetites that led to the nickname, ‘Giant Thief’.
- According to Moody’s Investors Service, India had $474 billion in external debt as of 2015, representing 16% of the Asia Pacific region’s total debt. India’s external debt has grown two to three times slower than China, at a five-year annual average rate of 8.4%. As a result, the external debt to GDP ratio in India has risen from 17% in 2005 to 23% in 2015, but is still one of the lowest globally.
- India’s space agency ISRO and USA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the NASA are jointly working on the development of a ‘Dual Frequency (L&S band) Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging Satellite’ which will be useful for variety of applications including natural resources mapping and monitoring. The joint mission is expected to bring result by 2021. Named as the Nasa-Isro Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), the satellite will also be used for estimating agricultural biomass over full duration of crop cycle, assessing soil moisture, monitoring of floods and oil slicks, coastal erosion, coastline changes and variation of winds in coastal waters, assessment of mangroves and surface deformation studies among others.
- A new species of gecko “EUBLEPHARIS SATPURAENSIS” (reptile) has been discovered for the first time in Chhattisgarh’s rich biodiversity forest at Bhoramdeo Wildlife Sanctuary in Kawardha district. Previously, the species was discovered in Madhya Pradesh.The species was spotted during tiger census being conducted in the sanctuary on the hills of Satpuda range. The species is shy and nocturnal in nature and were found only in dusk. They are a non-venomous species and very vibrant and attractive in coloration.