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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 28 October 2016

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 28 October 2016


 

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

 

Workshop On “Forest Rights Act, 2006 held

 

A Workshop on “Forest Rights Act, 2006 – its Implementation, benefits to tribal and other traditional forest dwelling communities and its challenges” was recently held in New Delhi as part of National Tribal Carnival – 2016.

  • The Workshop was attended by approximately 250 delegates including Ministers from the States Members of Parliament, Members of State Legislatures and other dignitaries.

 

About Forest Rights Act (FRA):

The legislation, which was passed in December 2006, concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India.

  • The Act grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the forest laws.

 

Rights under the Act:

  • Title rights – i.e. ownership to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are granted.
  • Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
  • Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
  • Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.

 

Eligibility: Eligibility to get rights under the Act is confined to those who “primarily reside in forests” and who depend on forests and forest land for a livelihood. Further, either the claimant must be a member of the Scheduled Tribes scheduled in that area or must have been residing in the forest for 75 years.

 

Process of recognition of rights:

The Act provides that the gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised. This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level. The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

EPFO joins network of Common Services Centers

 

To expand the reach of convenience offered to EPF members, Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has joined the network of Common Services Centers (CSC). In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between EPFO and CSC e-Governance Services India Limited (CSC SPV). The MoU is initially for a period of five years.

 

How it works?

To start with, the pensioners of Employees Pension Scheme of EPFO can submit their digital life certificates via Jeevan Pramaan Patra programme through a large number of points of Presence (PoP) of CSC networking in addition to those available at EPFO offices.

 

How it helps?

With this, the pensioners living in remote areas can avoid cost and inconvenience of travelling down to the EPF offices or their banks for filing paper based life certificate.

 

What are CSCs?

Common Services Centers (CSC) network is one of the largest government approved online service delivery channel in the world. CSC are broadband enabled rural service delivery points established by District e Governance Societies (DeGSs), selected by the State Governments, for aggregating content and offering relevant Government to Customers (G2C), Business to Customers (B2C), Business to Business (B2B) and other services.

 

CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:

  • Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
  • Governance and services on demand.
  • Digital empowerment of citizens.

Sources: pib.


 

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.

 

Cabinet approves establishment of National Academic Depository

 

The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval for establishment and operationalisation of a National Academic Depository (NAD). The decision aims at bringing another dimension and enhancement of the vision of Digital India.

 

Key facts:

  • The NAD would be established and operationalised within the next three months and would be rolled out throughout the country in 2017-18.
  • The NAD would be operationalised by NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL Ventures, Limited (CVL) – two of the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered under Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.
  • Academic institutions would be responsible for the authenticity of data digitally uploaded by them into the system. The depositories will ensure the integrity of the data in the NAD. The NAD will register educational institutions/boards/eligibility assessment bodies, students and other users/verifying entities like banks, employer companies, government agencies and academic institutions.
  • It will provide digital or a printed copy of the academic award with security features to the students or other authorized users. NAD will verify academic awards online on the same day of request initiated by any authorized user.
  • Requests for access to academic awards, for example, from potential employers, and academic institutions would be only on the basis of consent of the student.
  • NAD shall maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of its database. It will also train and facilitate academic institutions/boards/ eligibility assessment bodies to efficiently lodge academic awards in the database.

 

Background:

The Finance Minister’s Budget Speech of 2016-17, in February this year, incorporated this commitment to establish a Digital Depository for school learning certificates, degrees and other academic awards of Higher Education Institutions, on the pattern of a Securities Depository.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons

 

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of an Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons.

  • Signing the Agreement facilitates the Indian prisoners imprisoned in Estonia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence and shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.
  • The transfer of such prisoners to their own native countries shall also facilitate their social rehabilitation.

estonia

Background:

Prior to 2004, there was no domestic Legislation under which foreign prisoners could be transferred to the country of their origin to serve the remaining part of their sentence, nor was there a provision for the transfer of prisoners of Indian origin convicted by a foreign court to serve their sentence in India.

  • Hence, the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 was enacted. For achieving the objectives of the Act, a Treaty/Agreement is required to be signed with countries having mutual interest with India and later to the notified in the Official Gazette.
  • The Government of India has so far signed bilateral Agreements on Transfer of Sentenced Persons with countries including United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. So far total 65 prisoners have been exchanged, out of which 55 were Indians.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

CBDT signs 5 Unilateral APAs

 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance has entered into five (5) Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers.

 

Key facts:

  • The Agreements cover a range of international transactions, including sale of finished goods, purchase of raw materials, software development services, IT enabled services, exports and interest payment.
  • The Agreements provide certainty to the taxpayers for 5 years with regard to the covered international transactions.
  • With this, the total number of APAs signed so far has reached 108. These include 4 bilateral APAs and 104 unilateral APAs since 2013-14. Of these, 44 APAs have been concluded in 7 months of the current Financial Year itself.

 

Background:

The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the Rollback provisions were introduced in 2014. The Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the arm’s length price of international transactions in advance for a maximum period of five future years. Further, the taxpayer has the option to roll-back the APA for four preceding years. Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest among Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) have been filed in just four years.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Russia to destroy all of its chemical weapons by end of 2017

 

Russia has indicated that it will destroy all of its chemical weapons by the end of next year – a year earlier than previously announced.

 

Background:

Russia had to build several plants in the past two decades to dispose of the world’s largest chemical weapons arsenal. As a signatory of the international Chemical Weapons Convention, Russia already has destroyed about 93% of its chemical weapons.

In 1993, when Russia signed the CWC, the country declared that it possessed 40,000 tons of toxic chemicals.

 

About the international Chemical Weapons Convention:

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a multilateral treaty that bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.

  • CWC negotiations started in 1980 in the UN Conference on Disarmament. The convention opened for signature on January 13, 1993, and entered into force on April 29, 1997.
  • The CWC is implemented by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is headquartered in The Hague.
  • The OPCW receives states-parties’ declarations detailing chemical weapons-related activities or materials and relevant industrial activities. After receiving declarations, the OPCW inspects and monitors states-parties’ facilities and activities that are relevant to the convention, to ensure compliance.
  • The CWC is open to all nations and currently has 192 states-parties. Israel has signed but has yet to ratify the convention. A key non-signatory includes North Korea.

 

The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits:

  • Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.
  • The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons.
  • Chemical weapons use or military preparation for use.
  • Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.
  • The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”

Sources: the hindu.