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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 30 August 2016




Insights Daily Current Affairs, 30 August 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Pellet guns are here to stay; committee suggests alternatives


A seven-member expert committee headed by T.V.S.N Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that was constituted to look into the alternatives to pellet guns has been submitted to the Home Secretary.


pellet gun

Suggestions made by the committee:

  • No blanket ban on the use of pellet guns. At the most, it will be used in rarest of rare cases.
  • Chilli grenade shells can be used as alternatives.
  • Other alternatives are Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) also called Nonivamide and other non-lethal ammunition like ‘stun lac cells’ and Long Range Acoustic Device (LARD) which create deafening noise to paralyse people.
  • Henceforth, pellets will not be of metal but of soft material like polymer, soft plastic, rubber and even paper.



More than 400 people have been injured in J&K due to pellet guns to control the violence which erupted after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter on July 8. The government is facing severe criticism for using the pellet guns and several political parties have asked for its complete withdrawal.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


India, Myanmar sign four agreements


India and Myanmar have signed four agreements following bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Myanmar President Htin Kyaw. This is the first presidential visit from Myanmar to India after Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) came to power in March this year.

India, Myanmar sign four agreements


  • The first agreement pertains to construction of 69 bridges on the Tamu-Kalewa section of the trilateral highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand.
  • The second agreement is on upgrading the Kalewa-Yargi section of the trilateral highway.
  • The third agreement is on cooperation in the field of renewable energy.
  • Fourth agreement is on cooperation in the field of traditional medicines.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.


Now, direct election of local body chiefs to be scrapped


A Bill has been introduced in the TN Assembly to empower councillors to elect the chairpersons in all local bodies in the State.


Why go for indirect election?

It was recently brought to the notice of the government that in certain circumstances, the chairmen do not get the cooperation of councillors and vice-versa and thereby, there have been impediments in the proceedings of councils and to arrive at consensus in passing resolutions to provide civic services to the public.

Hence, in order to have uniform election procedures in all the urban local bodies in the State, the government has proposed to elect the Chairman of the Municipalities and Town Panchayats indirectly by the councillors or members from among themselves, as the case may be.



In June this year, the State government had introduced and eventually passed a Bill that scrapped the direct election of Mayors in Municipal Corporations and enabled councillors to elected one of them as Mayor for the Municipal Corporation.

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.


PM’s annual award for extraordinary and innovative work instituted


The Department of Administrative Reforms has announced the institution of the Prime Minister’s Annual Award for Excellence in Public Administration to honour “extraordinary and innovative work” done by districts and the organisations of the Central and State governments in implementing the priority programmes of the Government of India.



  • The award will be given away every year for excellence in implementing the priority programmes and extraordinary and innovative work done by the organisations of the Central and State government and the districts in ‘public governance’.
  • At least five priority programmes shall be chosen for the awards. For the awards to be presented on the Civil Services Day 2017, the five programmes identified are Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Start-Up India/Stand-Up India and e-National Agriculture Market (National e-Mandi).
  • The awards shall also be given to the organisations of the Central and State governments and the districts for innovations in environment conservation, disaster management, water conservation, energy, education and health, women and child-centric initiatives.
  • For the 2017 awards, the period of consideration is from April 1, 2015 to December 2016. To ensure rationality and equity, the States and the Union Territories have been put in three groups: Group 1-North-East States (eight) and the Hill States (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand); Group 2-Union Territories (seven); and Group 3-the remaining 18 States.
  • For each group in an identified priority programme, there would be one award and the maximum number of awards would be 15. In addition to the awards for priority programmes, two awards shall be given to organisations of the Central and State governments and districts for innovation in public governance.
  • The award shall consist of a trophy and a scroll and the awarded district/organisation will be given an incentive of Rs. 10 lakh to be utilised for executing the project/programme or bridging the resource gaps in any area of public welfare.



The awards for priority programmes will be based on the pre-determined parameters, and the awards for innovations will be based on an innovative idea/scheme/project to meet stakeholders’ requirements, bringing perceptible improvements in the systems and building institutions, making public delivery systems responsive, transparent and efficient, especially by leveraging technology.


Selection process:

A screening committee, to be chaired by an officer of the rank of Additional Secretary, will short-list districts/organisations, examining the applications in consultation with the nodal Ministry/Department, along with officers of the rank of Joint Secretaries and experts from the NITI Aayog.

An expert committee, chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, will consider the spot-study reports and shortlist the districts/organisations for making recommendations to the empowered committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary. The empowered committee would submit its recommendations to the Prime Minister.

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.


Centre moves on vote totaliser machines


The Union government is working on the issue of introducing “totaliser machines” for mixing of votes from various booth for counting, as recommended by the Election Commission. The Supreme Court, while hearing a writ petition recently, had given the government eight weeks’ time to take a final decision.

  • To look into the issue, a team of Union Ministers has been constituted. The team will deliberate on the Election Commission’s proposal in November 2008. The Law Commission had also recommended the use these machines.

totaliser machines

About totalizer machines:

The machine is expected to prevent disclosure of voting patterns across polling stations during counting, which will allay the fears of voters against any pre-poll intimidation or post-poll victimisation by any candidate. It enhances voter secrecy.

  • The main intention behind this proposal is that the current system reveals the voting trends in each polling station, thus leaving the voters in that vicinity open to harassment, intimidation and post-election victimisation.
  • The totaliser machines are analogous to the physical mixing of paper ballots from different booths in an earlier era. In that sense, they are also an extension of the principle of secret ballot.



Prior to the introduction of EVMs, ballot papers could be mixed, wherever it was considered absolutely necessary under the Conduct of Election Rules in light of apprehended intimidation and victimisation of electors. However, EVMs do not permit this.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

  • Pharma Sahi Daam: It is a mobile App developed by NPPA which shows the MRP fixed by NPPA for various scheduled drugs on real time basis. It was recently launched by the government.


  • Mera Aspataal / My Hospital initiative: It is an initiative launched by the government of India at the recently concluded third National Summit on Good and Replicable Practices and Innovations in Public Health Facilities at Tirupati. It will be implemented in public and empanelled private hospitals. It is envisaged to empower the patient by seeking his / her views on quality of experience in a public healthcare facility. A multi-channel approach will be used to collect patients’ feedback i.e. web portal, mobile application, Short Message Service (SMS), Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS).


  • SAARCSTAT: Eighth Meeting of Heads of SAARC Statistical Organizations (SAARCSTAT) was recently inaugurated in Delhi. India is hosting the three-day meeting on “Trade Statistics – Merchandise & Services”. It is being attended by delegates from SAARC Member States and other international organizations including FAO, PARIS 21 and ADB.


  • West Bengal to Bengal and Bangla: The West Bengal Legislative Assembly has passed a resolution changing the name of the State to Bengal in English and Bangla in Bengali. Consent of the Parliament is necessary to effect the name change. The resolution, under Rule 169 of the rules of procedures of the House, was passed by a voice vote.