Insights Daily Current Affairs, 01 March 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Nand Kumar Sai assumes charge as Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Senior tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and ex parliamentarian Shri Nand Kuamr Sai recently assumed charge as the chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
NCST was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
- The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge. The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India.
- NCST is empowered to investigate and monitor matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. order. The Commission is also authorized to inquire into specific complaints relating to rights and safeguards of STs and to participate and advise in the Planning Process relating to socio-economic development of STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and States.
- The commission submits its report to the President annually on the working of safeguards and measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to welfare and socio-economic development of STs.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signs ten (10) more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 10 more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs), including 7 Unilateral APAs. Two of these ten agreements are Bilateral APAs with the United Kingdom and Japan. Seven of these Agreements have Rollback provisions in them.
- With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 140. This includes 10 Bilateral APAs and 130 Unilateral APAs. In the current financial year, a total of 76 APAs (7 Bilateral APAs and 61 Unilateral APAs) have already been entered into. The CBDT expects more APAs to be concluded and signed before the end of the current fiscal.
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 setting the prices of international transactions in advance. Since its inception, the APA scheme has evinced a lot of interest from taxpayers and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) being filed so far in about five years.
The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for Tejaswini
A Financing Agreement for IDA credit of US$ 63 million (equivalent) for the “Tejaswini” Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project” was recently signed between India and the World Bank.
The development objective of Tejaswini, for Socioeconomic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) Project in India is to improve completion of market-driven skills training and secondary education for adolescent girls and young women in select districts of Jharkhand.
- The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary. The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand.
- The project has three main components, (i) Expanding social, educational and economic opportunities (ii) Intensive service delivery (iii) State capacity-building and implementation support.
- About 680,000 adolescent girls and young women in the project Districts are expected to benefit from the program.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
First Integrated Heliport of the Nation
The First Integrated Heliport was recently dedicated to the Nation by Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Pawan Hans at Rohini Heliport, Delhi.
The heliport is an excellent infrastructure but helicopter services in India are still at a nascent stage. National Aviation Policy proposes to have four heliports, one in each region and Rohini’s heliport is the first step.
- The Rohini heliport has been completed in almost two years at a cost of nearly 100 crores. This Heliport will provide all helicopter operational facilities and will decongest busy Indira Gandhi International Airport, and also promote Regional Air connectivity through helicopters in the northern part of the country for regular passenger services, heli services, landing & parking of helicopters, Helicopters Maintenance Services (MRO), disaster management, helicopter emergency medical services (HeMS), law & order surveillance.
- The Heliport consists of a terminal building having capacity of 150 passengers, 4 hangers with parking capacities for 16 helicopters and 9 parking bays.
- Pawan Hans has also prepared a roadmap to connect all the major destination from this Heliport such as Ex-Delhi to Shimla, Haridwar, Dehradun Mathura, Agra, Meerut and Industrial Hubs such as Manesar, Bahadurgarh etc. They will provide air connectivity between Delhi and neighbouring cities from Rohini Heliport.
PHL is planning to develop four “heli-hubs” in line with the concept lines of the “Airport-Hubs” and Rohini is the First step into this series. These heli-hubs will be a one-point solution for the helicopter business and will act as a heliport for public passenger services, MRO facility for helicopter maintenance and also as a skill development centre for training of pilots, AMEs and technicians.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
National Science Day
National Science Day is celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm on 28th of February every year in order to commemorate the invention of the Raman Effect in India by the Indian physicist, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman on the same day in the year 1928. For his great success in the field of science in India, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was awarded and honored with the Nobel Prize in the Physics in the year 1930.
Theme: the theme for the year 2017 is ‘Science and Technology for Specially abled Persons’.
What is Raman effect?
The Raman Effect is a change in the wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules.
When a beam of light traverses a dust-free, transparent sample of a chemical compound, a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than that of the incident (incoming) beam. Most of this scattered light is of unchanged wavelength. A small part, however, has wavelengths different from that of the incident light; its presence is a result of the Raman effect.
The violet light of the solar spectrum is isolated with a violet filter and passed through the liquid sample. Most of the light emerging from the liquid sample is the same color as the incident violet beam: the so-called Rayleigh scattered light (the scattering of light by particles in a medium, without change in wavelength. It accounts, for example, for the blue colour of the sky, since blue light is scattered slightly more efficiently than red).
However, Raman, along with K S Krishnan was able to show that some of the scattered light was a different color, which they could isolate by using a green filter placed between the observer and the sample.
Video link: https://youtu.be/XobekWSRbHE.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Madras HC orders TN govt to enact law on removal of seemai karuvelam trees
The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to enact a law with prohibitory and penal clauses within two months to eradicate seemai karuvelam trees (prosopis juliflora). It also directed the government to release perennial funds to the district collectors in the state for removing of the seemai karuvelam trees.
What’s the issue?
The seemai karuvelam tree that sucks a lot of water has invaded into water bodies and dry lands of government and private people. Since such trees ultimately affect the agricultural activities, a batch of cases for their eradication was filed before the high court bench.
About Seema Karuvelam trees:
The Karuvelam tree, or prosopis juliflora as its known biologically, is a species native to West Africa and was brought to Tamil Nadu in 1960s as fuelwood. Slowly, these seeds started drifting into dams and rivers, causing problems. Apparently, the plant is such that no other species can co-exist with it, and it has already caused drying up of several water bodies in the state, adding to the woes of the water-starved state.
According to a report, Karuvelam tree absorbs more than four litres of water to obtain one kilogram of biomass. It cannot even shelter birds as it produces less oxygen and more carbon dioxide. If it does not have sufficient water it begins absorbing groundwater. And if there is no groundwater, it starts absorbing humidity from the surroundings. It can also turn the groundwater poisonous.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Even hill stations will be hotter this year, warns IMD
India Meteorological Department has forecast “above normal” temperatures across most of the country.
- The IMD weather model, used to prepare the forecast, shows a 47% probability of summer temperatures being above normal.
- Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir are expected to be particularly hot with predicted temperatures, on average, likely to be well above 1 degree C above their normal summer temperatures.
- Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana are other States in the “core heat zone” that are likely to see significantly warmer temperatures.
- The summer forecast is in line with a generally warm trend over previous months. 2016 was the warmest year in a century, according to the IMD, with the country 0.91 C warmer than the 1961-1990 average.
- The weather agency blames global warming for this. Studies indicate increasing trends in the frequency and duration of heat waves over the country. This can be attributed to increasing trends in the greenhouse gases and the warming of the sea surface temperatures over the equatorial Indian and Pacific oceans.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD), also referred to as the Met Department, is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. IMD is headquartered in New Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.
IMD is also one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organization. It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Thiruvananthapuram tops city governance ranking
The report of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS), conducted by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, was recently released. This is the fourth edition. The survey evaluated 21 major cities from the country’s 18 states. The survey highlighted inadequacies in urban governance that could affect public service delivery and quality of life.
About the survey:
The ASICS report is designed to help city leaders pin point issues in urban governance in their cities and help them chalk out a reform roadmap to make them more livable.
- The City-Systems framework, comprises four distinct but inter-related components – urban planning and design, urban capacities and resources; empowered and legitimate political representation and transparency, accountability and participation.
- The survey for 2016 reveals several systemic inadequacies in urban governance that could affect public service delivery.
- The better a city scores in the survey, the more likely it is that it will be able to deliver better quality of life to citizens over the medium and long-term.
- The survey showed that Indian cities score between 2.1 and 4.4 on scale of 10, as against the global benchmarks of London and New York, which score 9.3 and 9.8 respectively.
- These low scores imply that Indian cities need to strengthen their city-systems – quality of laws, policies and institutions significantly to improve service delivery and deliver a high quality of life to citizens.
Highlights of the report:
- Thiruvananthapuram is at the first place. Pune is ranked second, up two ranks from 2015, while Kolkata retains its third slot.
- Delhi slips two places to rank ninth. The biggest gainer in the 2016 survey is Bhubaneswar, which has jumped eight places from 2015 to land at the 10th spot.
- Bengaluru has dropped four places to rank 16, while Ludhiana, Jaipur and Chandigarh retain their previous positions of 19th, 20th and 21st respectively.
- The survey found that the 21 cities generate just 37% of the amount they spend on average, with Patna raising only 17% on its own. Only Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune generate over 50% of the amount they spend from their own revenue.
Janaagraha recommends changes in planning laws to address the issues challenging the efficient planning of the cities. The Indian cities quality of laws, policies and institutions significantly to improve service delivery and thereby, deliver a high quality of life to citizens.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Fundamental duties: HC seeks Centre’s response
The High Court of Karnataka has asked the Central government to submit a statement on actions initiated to create awareness about fundamental duties of the citizens enshrined in the Constitution, while pointing out that the Centre had not done enough in this regard despite a direction given by the apex court in 2003.
The direction was issued while hearing a petition filed by a film producer seeking censorship even for television programmes, through which the court has been making suggestions to the State and Central governments to create awareness among people on their fundamental duties.
About Fundamental Duties:
The section “Fundamental Duties’ was not a part of the original constitution. These were added to the Constitution much later by the 42nd Amendment in 1976. The fundamental duties were added to the constitution on the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee.
- There were ten fundamental duties at the time of incorporation but the eleventh was inserted by the 86th Amendment in 2002. The idea behind incorporation of fundamental duties was to remind the citizens of the country that they have certain obligations towards the country and society. As the state offers them fundamental rights, it is the fundamental duty of each citizen of India to further national integration and contribute towards a better society.
- The fundamental duties are non-justifiable, that is no one can be punished in case of their violation or non-compliance. The fundamental duties are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Al Nagah-II 2017:
- The armies of India and Oman are scheduled to conduct their second bilateral exercise, Al Nagah-II 2017, in March with a focus on counter-terrorism.
- The aim of the exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army-to-Army relations and enhance interoperability while exchanging skills and experiences between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman.
- The navies of the two countries have been holding the bilateral maritime exercises called ‘Naseem Al Bahr’ since 1993.