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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 August 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 August 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.


Paid maternity leave increased to 6 months


The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 to increase paid leave for expectant mothers from three months to six and a half months. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill of 2016 will now be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.


  • The amendment bill seeks to increase maternity leave to 26 weeks in all establishments, including private sector. The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons.
  • The bill also provides 12 weeks leave for commissioning and adopting mothers and makes it mandatory to provide creche facility for establishment where the number of workers is 50 and above. At present, the Maternity Benefit Act does not provide any maternity leave for commissioning or adopting mothers.

Significance of these amendments:

Maternal care to the Child during early childhood is crucial for growth and development of the child. The amendments will help 18 lakh women workforce in organised sector. They also help women devote time to take care of their babies and enable an increase in the women’s labour force participation (WLFPR) rate in India. The labour force participation rate (LFPR) in India is around 40%, but for females, it is only 22.5%. The gap in male-female labour force participation is such that the LFPR for rural women above 15 years is only 35.8%, while for rural males it is more than double at 81.3%, according to a 2015 research paper by the government policy think tank NITI Aayog.


The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of maternity and entitles them of a full paid absence from work to take care for the child.

Sources: the hindu.


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


MPs petition PM for hike in MPLAD Fund


A delegation of MPs has petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an increase in the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) Fund. The delegation has asked that the fund, currently Rs. 5 crore for a five-year term (Rs. 1 crore for each year), be increased to Rs. 25 crore.

About MPLAD scheme:

It was launched in December, 1993, to provide a mechanism for the Members of Parliament to recommend works of developmental nature for creation of durable community assets and for provision of basic facilities including community infrastructure, based on locally felt needs.

Salient features:

  • MPLADS is a centrally-sponsored plan scheme fully funded by the government of India under which funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities.
  • Works, developmental in nature, based on locally felt needs and always available for the use of the public at large, are eligible under the scheme.
  • Preference under the scheme is given to works relating to national priorities, such as provision of drinking water, public health, education, sanitation, roads, etc.
  • The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsablee. the liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.
  • The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme. They recommend their choice of works to the concerned district authorities who implement these works by following the established procedures of the concerned state government.
  • The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level.
  • The district authorities get the works executed through the line departments, local self governments or other government agencies. In some cases, the district authorities get the works executed through reputed non government organisations.
  • The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies. The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected. Nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Cabinet nod for changes to FDI regulations in NBFCs


The Cabinet has approved a proposal to amend rules for foreign investment in non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).

As per the new norms:

  • Foreign investment in ‘other financial services’ that are not regulated by any regulators or by a government agency can be made via the approval route.
  • Minimum capitalisation norms as mandated under FDI policy have been eliminated as most of the regulators have already fixed minimum capitalisation norms.


The present regulations on NBFCs stipulates that FDI would be allowed on automatic route for only 18 specified NBFC activities after fulfilling prescribed minimum capitalisation norms mentioned therein.


  • Non-bank financial companies (NBFCs) are financial institutions that provide banking services without meeting the legal definition of a bank, i.e. one that does not hold a banking license. These institutions typically are restricted from taking deposits from the public depending on the jurisdiction. Nonetheless, operations of these institutions are often still covered under a country’s banking regulations.
 non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), current affairs
  • The Reserve Bank of India is entrusted with the responsibility of regulating and supervising the Non-Banking Financial Companies by virtue of powers vested under Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.

NBFCs lend and make investments and hence their activities are akin to that of banks; however there are a few differences as given below:

  • NBFC cannot accept demand deposits.
  • NBFCs do not form part of the payment and settlement system and cannot issue cheques drawn on itself.
  • Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in case of banks.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP): First unit of KKNPP was recently dedicated to the nation. The 1,000-MWe KNPP-1 is the largest single unit of electrical power in India. The first Unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant was built with the expertise of the Russians after a pact between the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in November 1988. The unit was synchronised with the southern grid on October 22, 2013, and became fully functional on December 31, 2014.
current affairs
Source: NPCIL


  • Croatia: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of an Agreement between India and Croatia on Economic Cooperation. India and Croatia had earlier signed an Agreement on trade and economic current affairscooperation in September, 1994 with an aim to promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations. Croatia is a sovereign state at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. It is a member of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean.


  • Central Silk Board: K M Hanumantharayappa has assumed charge as new Chairman of Central Silk Board, Union Ministry of Textiles. He is the 25th Chairman of the Central Silk Board. CSB is a statutory body established under the Central Silk Board Act, 1948. It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Textile.