Insights Daily Current Affairs, 26 April 2017
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Three Year Action Agenda
Breaking away from the five-year planning process, NITI Aayog has readied a draft three-year action agenda and circulated it to the States for comments. The draft has been prepared through extensive consultation with State governments.
In May 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office directed Niti Aayog to come up with a 15-year vision document for the period up to 2031-32. This would be complemented with a seven-year strategy starting 2017-18 to convert the vision document into implementable policy and action as part of the National Development Agenda and a three-year draft action plan.
Highlights of the draft:
- The action agenda will span a three-year time frame involving mostly executive decisions, the strategy will be for a seven-year period and include decisions that need legislative changes while the vision would be for 15 years and incorporate institutional changes that may need Constitutional amendments.
- The agenda includes proposals for shifting additional revenues to high priority sectors, doubling farmers’ income by 2022, creating jobs, bringing down land prices and expanding tax base through measures such as taxing agricultural income.
- The draft action agenda makes a strong case for tackling tax evasion, expanding the tax base and simplifying the tax stem through reforms. One related proposal is consolidating existing custom duty rates to a unified rate.
- In the area of urban development, the draft stresses on the need to bring down land prices to make hosing affordable through increased supply of urban land. It proposed more flexible conversion rules from one use to another, release of land held by sick units, more generous floor space index, reform in the Rent Control Act and promoting dormitory housing.
- For creating jobs, the action points include creation of Coastal Employment Zones to boost exports and generate high-productivity jobs and enhancing labour-market flexibility through reforming key laws.
- The action points also propose addressing high and rising share of NPAs in India’s banks through supporting the auction of larger assets to private asset reconstruction companies and strengthening the State Bank of India-led ARC.
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.
Online Statement Of Transaction (e-SOT) and the e-PRAN card launched for Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
With a view to digitally empower the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers and improve the quality of service, the facility of online viewing of the statement of transaction(e-SOT) and also the e-PRAN card have been launched. More than 45 lakhs APY subscribers are likely to be benefited.
The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched in May, 2015. APY is available for all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.
- Under the APY, the subscribers would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 per month from the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which depends on the age of the subscriber at the time of joining the APY.
- The Same amount of pension is paid to the spouse in case of subscriber’s demise. After the demise of both i.e. Subscriber & Spouse, the nominee would be paid with the pension corpus.
- There is option for Spouse to continue to contribute for balance period on premature death of subscriber before 60 years, so as to avail pension by Spouse.
- There are tax benefits at entry, accumulation and pension payment phases. If the actual returns on the pension contributions during the accumulation phase are higher than the assumed returns for the minimum guaranteed pension, such excess returns are passed on to the subscriber, resulting in enhanced scheme benefits.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
IPR Awareness Campaign for Schools
The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM)in collaboration with the International Trademark Association (INTA) has kicked off the IPR Awareness campaign for schools across the country.
The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, which was approved by the Union Cabinet in May 2016, is a significant move forward to encourage creativity and stimulate innovation in the country. Outreach and Promotion is the first and foremost objective of the National IPR Policy and is critical to shaping an IP environment that is conducive to fostering creativity & innovation in the country.
Highlights of the new IPR policy:
- The new policy seeks to encourage innovation and improve access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection.
- The Policy will allow compulsory licensing with restrictions in case of a public health emergency such as epidemics and it is compliant with the World Trade Organization’s guidelines.
- The policy seeks to put in place a legal framework that will encourage the IPR regime and reduce the time taken by the government to approve a trademark to a month by 2017. Currently, the process takes more than a year.
- The policy makes the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) the nodal agency for regulating IP rights in the country.
- The Policy states “India shall remain committed to the (World Trade Organisation’s) Doha Declaration on Trade Related IPR Agreement (TRIPS) and Public Health.”
- It also says “India will continue to utilise the legislative space and flexibilities available in international treaties and the TRIPS Agreement.” These flexibilities include the sovereign right of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and CLs for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
- To ensure strong and effective IPR laws, the Policy states India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders.
Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been created as a professional body under the aegis of DIPP to take forward the implementation of the National IPR Policy that was approved by the Government in May 2016, with the slogan – “Creative India; Innovative India”.
CIPAM is working towards creating public awareness about IPRs in the country, promoting the filing of IPRs through facilitation, providing inventors with a platform to commercialize their IP assets and coordinating the implementation of the National IPR Policy in collaboration with Government Ministries/Departments and other stakeholders.
Paper 3 Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
JOINT DOCTRINE OF ARMY, NAVY, IAF UNVEILED
With aim to match the pace of fast changing nature of war, the ministry of defence has released the Joint Doctrine of Armed Forces stressing on the need for synergy amongst the three Services namely Army, IAF and Navy and hone strategy for inter-operability to achieve the political and military objectives in an effective manner.
- This doctrine is the second in the series after its first version was released in 2007. It included the lessons learnt over the past ten years and is aligned with the doctrines of individual Services.
- The Joint Doctrine will serve as a cornerstone document for application of Military Power in a synergized manner and also establish a broad framework of concepts and principles to understand approach to joint planning and conduct of operations across all the domains of conflict.
- Taking the strategic scenario into account, the doctrine said India will have to have deterrent capabilities to protect its interests on the Line of Actual Control(LAC) facing China and Line of Control(LOC) with Pakistan. The document noted that while conflicts the world over for gaining territorial control were diminishing, India, however, has to protect its territory as the LAC and LOC are disputed.
- It also mentioned proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and volatile situation in Af-Pak region is another major challenge for India while describing Radicalisation of youth in some states through social media was another contemporary challenge facing national security, the document said adding management of digital environment is priority area.
- The doctrine also talked about the steps initiated for establishment of the “Defence Cyber Agency”, “Defence Space Agency” and “Special Operations Division”.
- The doctrine has added surgical strikes, even those across the border, among the nation’s possible responses to terrorist attacks.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Judgment turns focus on removal of police top brass
The Supreme Court’s recent judgment reinstating T.P. Senkumar as Director-General of Police in Kerala has brought the spotlight back on the issue of executive privilege in appointing and removing top officials.
This verdict draws from a September 2006 judgment in what is known as the Prakash Singh case where the Supreme Court said a DGP should have a two-year tenure and can be removed only in consultation with the State Security Commission under certain conditions.
About the Prakash Singh case:
In the Prakash Singh case, the Supreme Court directed State Governments to constitute a State Security Commission to ensure that the State “does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the State police and for laying down the broad policy guidelines so that the State police always acts according to the laws of the land and the Constitution of the country.”
- “This watchdog body shall be headed by the Chief Minister or Home Minister as Chairman and have the DGP of the State as its ex-officio Secretary. The other members of the Commission shall be chosen in such a manner that it is able to function independent of government control,” the 2006 judgment stated.
- A 2014 report prepared by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative revealed that while States have set up State Security Commissions, the intended independent character of these bodies has been given the go-by.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Northeast India’s largest IT hub opens in Tripura:
- Northeast India’s sixth and largest Information Technology (IT) hub was recently inaugurated in Tripura to boost employment and e-governance besides to export software technology.
- This IT hub would help to create employment opportunities for the IT educated youths and to further extend the e-governance to the door step of people.
India is now 5th largest military spender:
- The report titled ‘Trends in world Military expenditure, 2016, which ranks countries based on their military spending was recently released. The report was released by Swedish think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
- India is now the world’s fifth largest spender on defence for 2016 after having moved up from the 7th place following its largest annual military spending increase since 2009.
- While India spent $55.9 billion in 2016, its northern neighbor China — the second largest spender — did four times more at $215 billion. Pakistan does not figure in the top 15 spenders.
- The US is the top spender at $611 billion. Russia is third at $69.2 billion and Saudi Arabia fourth at $ 63.7 billion.